“A Word From the Men”

4C538AC1-CC0D-4290-B0A8-47477A6EE8ADWhile a preponderance of my favorite reads are by women, there are several men I enjoy reading regularly. I don’t know if fewer men keep blogs or if I just have ended up following more women. I haven’t seen any statistics anywhere about this. If any of you know, please comment.

“Ron’s Country Musings” came to my attention when he first commented on one of my posts. I try to always look at the blog of anyone who comments on my writing. While this frequently reveals semi-commercial sites, in this case I was well rewarded. Ron has struggled recently with health issues, so I can’t always predict when I will see his writing. A retired cop, Ron lives with his wife, his mother-in-law(I think–she’s often popping up) in a trailer park. The trailer park does not deserve the name of  “mobile home community” as you can tell when you read the crazy goings on around him. He is also a technical nerd and I am always impressed with his discussions of things mechanical even though I never have any idea of what he is talking about. His warmth, sense of humor and love of life come through all his posts, and I welcome any that show up in my in box.

“Beetleypete” has been blogging for a long time and has many followers. While he does not follow my blog since he was already maxed out before I began writing, he always responds to my comments on his. Pete’s site explores a variety of things including  walks with his wrinkly dog Ollie, his wife Julie, the weather, his constant attempt to stay positive despite politics and the weather, jaunts around England, and movies, books and songs. Pete’s comment section warrants attention.  He has a very active group of followers and I have acquired some of my favorite blogs from reading the people who comment on his. Thankfully Pete has not tried to “monetize” his site, so it is free of ads, promotions and other money making schemes. He seems to be fully rewarded by the give and take his writing promotes.

Tomorrow I will end out the year with a discussion of “where are they now?’ blogs.


“Two More Gems”


Two more blogs I read regularly are quite different from one another both in subject matter and in the  women writing them. Still, they each write with a clear individual voice which engages me no matter what the topic. In each case I have appreciated that all comments I make are responded to with care and thoughtfulness. When that back and forth can happen with comments, I feel connected to the writer in a satisfying way even though we haven’t met in person.

Rachel Mankowitz writes “The Cricket Pages” every Saturday night, I expect at the end of the Jewish Sabbath. Her posts are long but only occur once a week, so they are worth reading thoroughly. She intersperses her writing with photos of her dog(her second dog died recently) and captions those photos with “quotes” from the dog. This light humor balances the often serious reflections Rachel makes about graduate school, chronic illness challenges, religion, and, of course, dogs. I always look forward to catching up with Rachel each week.

Alexis Chateau, who writes a blog with the same name, posts often, but not as predictably as Rachel and Arlene. A native of Jamaica, an entrepreneur, a traveler, hiker and generally savvy young woman, Alexis can be counted on to post a variety of interesting and sometimes challenging writings. Her travels around the United States are accompanied by selfies of Alexis and her crew and introduce me to new places to see. Her reflections on race in the United States are of particular interest to me since she comes from such a different racial environment–one of white minority. Like Rachel, Alexis responds to comments, often asking questions to invite further back and forth.

As I have been reflecting on writers I follow, I have discovered that I like some posting consistency, a chance to interact with comments, good writing with a strong sense of voice(hard to explain but easy to recognize) and a sense of humor. Tomorrow I will mention a few men bloggers I also enjoy.

“Intriguing Reads”


Looking for new blogs to follow, I have begun to discern which I like to follow. So for the next few days, I will highlight a few of the writers I enjoy.

In general, I am not following single issue writers. Despite the advice that seems prevalent to beginning posters, I think it isn’t necessary to focus a blog by subject. On the other hand, one of my constant reads is Charlene Bullard’s “Faith to Raise Nate.” A single mother, Charlene writes about her now adult son, Nate, who was born with a rare genetic disorder, CHARGE syndrome, leaving him blind, deaf and mentally challenged. She writes truthfully about the range of emotions and challenges mothering such a child brings. Charlene, a devout Christian, also includes her faith as she writes. But unlike some religious writers I have scanned, she is not proselytizing, but rather recounting the strength her faith gives her. So no reader feels excluded for not sharing her faith.

I have followed a Philippine woman, Arlene, who writes “Dreams and Escapes” since I began posting. Arlene was one of my first readers, and it has been very rewarding to give to and receive comments from her. Arlene writes about her reading, her family, her Catholic faith, the weather, and general philosophical musings. I follow her for the consistent sense of a warm, loving person that comes through everything she writes. It feels like having a cup of tea with a good friend when I open one of her posts. Her blog reminds me that regular life is fascinating by itself, and is experienced in a very similar way between two grandmothers separated by thousands of miles.

Who do you enjoy reading?


“On the Lookout”


It’s nearly 2018 and I have decided to review the list of blogs I now follow and find some new ones to read regularly. Some of my favorite writers only write very occasionally. One just posted after not writing since September, but she is worth the wait. So while I don’t want to stop following those people, they don’t supply me with enough to think about each day. Others, I think I can safely assume, have stopped writing. By the time six months has gone by I can probably stop following those.

I am not sure how to find new blogs that I will enjoy. Often I have followed new readers of my writing, and this has been fruitful. Sometimes, though, those new followers are more commercially oriented than I am, so they aren’t of interest. I have found intriguing blogs by reading the comment sections of other people I follow. Someone who comments thoughtfully usually writes thoughtfully also.

I am wary of the search feature WordPress supplies, since on my first attempt it delivered pornography. So I am soliciting suggestions from any of my readers. If you enjoy a site, please name it in the comment section. I avoid pornography and sales pitches, but otherwise I have very eclectic tastes.

Tomorrow I will mention a few writer I especially enjoy reading.

“Hot Off French Press”


No not that fancy coffee! This is a snapshot of the cover of the first volume of my posts written between July 2016 and May 2017. I used a French publishing outfit to do the work, and I am very pleased with the results.(the actual cover lettering isn’t warped–it’s my bad photography!)

I was having some difficulty remembering which anecdotes I had already shared on my blog. With friends I can ask if they have heard this one before, but on-line I couldn’t do that. I find that with a year’s worth of posts, I can easily tell which areas I have covered for the time being and which are waiting to be explored.

Having these posts at hand also allows me to track my thought process before the Presidential election and after its sobering results. I am reassured that there is nothing I wrote that I regret writing, and I am glad that I was able to maintain my composure throughout that challenging time. I would hate to think that I ever added to the vitriol so present then and now.

I am curious to learn if others have made hard copies of their blogs and the methods they used. For now I am satisfied with this service and am looking forward to being able to print Volume 2.


“Beary Christmas”


Well our polar bear got her wish. It snowed on Christmas for several hours leaving about 4 inches everywhere. Fortunately the ice largely melted, so we don’t have to deal with a slippery surface under the new fallen snow. All the men are out with their snowblowers, happy to get out of the house for a bit, away from the noise and commotion of the kids and grandkids.

True to my 29% Jewish genes, we are having Chinese food for Christmas. Actually, we had Chinese food for Christmas long before I took the Ancestry DNA test. I had discovered that my paternal grandmother was Jewish from my own research. She had never shared that with us, but that was her story. The DNA test this fall merely affirmed my findings. Apparently you aren’t an even 25% from each parent, hence the 29% Jewish genes.

Chinese food not only solves the problem of cooking on Christmas, but also allows the vegetarians and omnivores to be equally delighted with the offerings. And you can’t beat the clean-up!

Merry Christmas to all.



Snow is fine, rain is fine, clear skies are fine. A thin coating of ice on every surface hinders the plans of everyone planning to get out and get that last item before Christmas. Including me. It looks innocuous enough in this picture, but those blotches on the driveway are ice with a very thin coating of rain atop. The bushes are bowed down, and the wires are dangling little icicles.

The weather forecast has changed every hour to reflect the truth that the ice is still there. First the advisory ended at 10a.m. then 11, then 2 and now 5. I expect that at 5 the weather forecast will be adjusted again to coincide with the still below freezing temperature. Those silly enough to venture out are sliding into each other on all the local roads.

I am settling down with a book and getting ready to make dinner. There is nothing I need badly enough to get me to slide my way over to my car and join the skaters on the road. May you be safe and warm in your homes this evening, no matter your weather.

“Let It Snow”


In addition to our angel, we have this wonderful polar bear and baby. The bear actually looks rather like a rat when looked at from the front. I am guessing the Chinese artist who designed it may have never seen a polar bear from the front. But I quibble. It looks cheery and bright in the front yard, and we have her displayed sideways so it is not obvious that she is more rodent than bear. I am hoping for a little snow to make our bear feel more at home.

The mountain laurel is festooned with several hundred blue lights. They cast a wonderful glow down the street and contrast well with the white lights of the bear and angel. The two azalea bushes in the front have various colored lights. These strings are new, replacing very old light strings that finally were beyond repair. Apparently these new lights also use much less electricity than the old ones. Also one light can go out without losing the whole string.

May you all find yourselves surrounded with ones you love during the coming days.

“Light Overcomes Darkness”


This fall we went to Home Depot with our grandchildren to pick a new lighted lawn ornament for Christmas. Our previous angel had finally succumbed to too many winters in New England. They chose this lovely angel which now lights up our front lawn. People all up and down our street string simple colored lights around their windows. It makes the chilly dark days seem warmer and more hopeful.

Our snowfall has been minimal so far this year. You can see the last remnants of it around the angel. I am sure that we will get our share in January and February. By then she will be safely stored. Where? In our basement bath tub. No one wants to take a bath in the basement, and it proves an ideal place for angel safe keeping!

May you find some light in your own darkness tonight.(Northern Hemisphere readers.) May you enjoy your hours of light.(Southern Hemisphere readers.)

“The Basics”


I have a collection of small nativity scenes that I have collected or friends have given me. The one pictured here I prize for its simplicity. The story of Jesus’ birth is very basic, a baby born to a family with no place to stay. We sometimes get caught up in decorations and elaborate depictions of His birth. This small sculpture speaks to a simpler truth.

We were in rural far Eastern Quebec two years ago where French was the common language. In Quebec City and Montreal it had been easy to get along in English. Here we were reliant on my school French and the kindness of anyone near by who spoke English.

We had stopped at a small outdoor farmers’ market that my rudimentary French had allowed us to find. I saw this small nativity set immediately. Made from driftwood, pieces of slate and beach stones, it was unlike any I had seen. The artist, a man about 75, spoke no English and his French accent was Quebecois, so I was hopeless at understanding him. Fortunately another vendor was able to learn a price for the piece and helped me navigate the sale.

No matter the language barrier, the artist and I met with our eyes. He knew that I knew the love that had been expressed in his creation. We shared a faith that was deeper than language. Thanks be to God!