Sunday, March 30, 2008

Your Good Energy Is Needed

Please hold Ronnie, Steven and little Sarah in your thoughts. They need all the our good wishes, love and prayers right now...

Update: Thank you for your good energy! Little Sarah has made it over a big hurdle. Please continue to hold her in your thoughts - think small, strong, healthy and kicking!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Perfect Home

Chuck’s Dad has lived in greater Seattle for nearly fourteen years. He first lived in a condominium. Later, after Chuck’s Mom passed away, Dad moved to an independent living arrangement. As his health and care needs changed, he relocated to an assisted living facility. Now, at 93, Dad lives in an "Adult Family Home". Prior to Dad’s move we had never heard of these Adult Family Homes. But the one Dad lives in now is wonderful.

Dad’s AFH is a single family home owned and operated by a lovely couple; N. and B. N. and B. have four residents living with them, including Dad. There is never a hint of impatience, weariness or frustration in their manner.  They are warm and gentle with each resident, as well as very respectful and attentive. For example, at dinner the other day, Dad and two other residents were all pulled up to the dining room table in their wheelchairs.  B. brought out their dinners of halibut in lemon and olive oil with garlic and onions, along with spinach, asparagus and rice.  She showed one of the prepared plates to Dad and explained that this was what he would be eating, then gave Dad a soup bowl with the same items having been pureed.  (Dad has trouble swallowing solid food without coughing and choking.)  Dad ate every bite and pronounced it good. Showing Dad the prepared plate was a simple, thoughtful gesture which captured the essence of both the couple and the home.  I wish N. and B. could be cloned so any “ER” in Dad's circumstances would be able to live in such pleasant and comfortable surroundings. 

We are quite relieved and delighted that even as his health declines, Dad’s sense of humor is still intact.  For example:  B., who runs the home, is a very attractive woman.  Dad was looking up at B and staring.  Because Dad has always had an “eye for the ladies” and can be a wicked flirt, I said:  "Dad, isn't B. beautiful?"    He immediately replied:  "She's not as pretty as I am!"    We all just about fell off our chairs laughing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Update From The Great Northwest

- Here, in greater Seattle, Washington, spring has officially sprung. Everything is green, lush and in bud or full bloom. It is night and day from back home in central Massachusetts. But after a long, heavy winter, that is a very good if somewhat startling thing! I’ll get the camera out in the coming days and upload some photos.

- The ER (Elderly Relative) in this neck of the woods is Chuck’s Dad, who is 93 years old. I’m happy to report that Dad’s overall condition is not as bad as we had prepared ourselves for. And his new living arrangements exceeded the high expectations we had. Both facts give us a sense of relief. In addition to Chuck’s Dad, we are also visiting with Chuck’s sister and her family. It is always a treat to be able catch up with them in person.

- We flew out on jetBlue. I have to say that, based on just one non-stop flight from Boston to Seattle, jetBlue seems to have found the perfect balance between economy and luxury. Every single employee, on the phone or in person, was cheerful, relaxed, professional and friendly. The seats were comfortable and had honest to goodness leg room. I was anxious at the gate and during take off, but managed it without drinking any beverages for their medicinal value or utilizing any prescription medications!

- I began writing this post earlier today. It is now approaching midnight here, but my body is still running on east coast time and is convinced it is nearly 3:00 a.m. Who am I to argue?

: : More later...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Next Stop: The Great Northwest

The cats are in the kennel - er - kitty resort. We’re pretty much packed, with one lonely, mini-load of laundry left to go. (It never fails!) We fly out tomorrow so I’ll post in a couple of days to give you an update. As of this instant all ERs are OK.

Thanks for all the good wishes and "how to stay relaxed while flying" suggestions. It’s amazing how many involved alcohol! (Thanks for the e-mail KRL!)

P. S. Red Sox have Opening Day in Japan tomorrow. Go Sox!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring? Maybe...

We saw six robins over at the track yesterday. Today we saw one red tailed hawk and no robins. Coincidence? I think not. Robins are lovely and bright and probably took their leave when they saw the broad wings in the sky. That’s the only explanation I’m willing to consider!

Our day involved laundry (the last of it?), another walk under nearly identical conditions to yesterday and me applying cork sealer to more pairs of Birkenstocks than I can count. It started out as a small chore and grew like topsy. I know it blossomed because it was a way for me to keep busy and not think too hard about flying!

If you celebrate Easter, I hope it was everything you wanted it to be...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


According to the alignment of the planets, spring has officially sprung. According to our front lawn, well, not so much! The photo above shows the greatest area of “lawn” and the least amount of snow we’ve seen out there since the first week in December.

- We’re continuing to chip away at the preparations for the trip. (NoteBook is coming in very handy.)
- The cats are eyeing their cat carriers with a great deal of suspicion. (Apparently, in their minds, kennel does not equal resort.)
- Who decided any liquid over 3 ounces was officially unsafe?
- Getting out for our walk in the sunshine today, even though the temperature was in the 30s (2 C) and it was very windy, felt good.
- Laundry, left in laundry baskets in a dark laundry room, multiplies.
- All of our “spinning plates” have been officially renamed with the collective abbreviation: “ERs” - short for Elderly Relatives, thanks to DancingMorganMouse!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Diagon Alley Here I Come

I’ve been a bit busy and a bit overwhelmed lately. (Question: Is it possible to be “a bit overwhelmed”? Doesn’t overwhelmed mean you’re totally sunk or in over your head or something of equal magnitude which makes modifying it with “a bit” oxymoronic?)

Let me start over. We have to fly across the country next week. It’s a family visit which is good, but it also includes the declining health of another elderly relative, which is tough. I am no longer a good flyer. Not only am I no longer a good flyer, but flying and the airlines are no longer fun. Once upon a time I flew quite often. I was a great deal younger and the service on the airlines was much, much better. Therefore it was a consistently more enjoyable experience. Now we fly infrequently, the service is much, much worse and the freakin’ rules keep changing!

We’ve done our best to book the most convenient flights on an airline we’ve never flown on before, but hear good things about. We’ve been reading the TSA’s and the airline’s rules and regulations trying to figure out what’s what. We’ve also booked the hotel and almost locked in on the rental car. If we could just wave a magic wand and simply be there, I would be a much happier individual right now - so would Chuck.

But my magic wand is in the shop right now. If it wasn’t in the shop, in addition to eliminating the to and fro parts of travel, I would wave my magic wand toward several things in the political realm, put a fresh coat of paint on the house, do what I could to assist the Red Sox and, most importantly, make all of our relatives healthy, well, strong and happy.

I so need a magic wand...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Red Sox Rock Via Collective Action

The baseball players of the Boston Red Sox worked as a team to right a wrong. The team was scheduled to fly overseas today for both exhibition games and the official opening day game in Japan. Then the players got word that significant stipends promised to coaches and other support staff, including Manager Terry Francona were not going to paid out by Major League Baseball. The players stipends or bonuses were secure under their contract, not so the other important staff members. So after a great deal of behind the scenes action, the players voted unanimously not to play the scheduled game today against the Toronto Blue Jays. They also voted unanimously not to go to Japan until the wrong was righted.

Little more than an hour after this afternoon’s game had been scheduled to start, a satisfactory agreement was reached and the players went on to play ball and later head to Japan. Collective action was taken by a group of guys who already had their piece of the pie sewn up, but felt an injustice needed to be reversed for vital members of their larger Red Sox team. Bravo!

You can read more details here and here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Beware & Be Aware of Sound Bites

Today, Senator Barack Obama gave a tremendously important, excellent speech entitled “A More Perfect Union”. The 38 minute speech, addressing race in America, should be listened to in its entirety, the transcript read in full. Unfortunately, most media outlets are simply extracting snippets from the speech and that’s all many United States citizens will hear and see. Here are a variety of links where you can see and or listen to Senator Obama delivering his speech in Philadelphia or read the transcript.

Audio recording of the speech from National Public Radio. Click on the “Listen” link at the top of the page.
Transcript of the speech from National Public Radio.
Transcript of the speech from The Root(dot)com.
Video of the speech from MSNBC.
Video of the speech from CNN, located on the "Obama ’08" website.
Transcript of the speech located on the "Obama ’08" website.

Despite my warning in the title of this post, I want to share one brief excerpt of Senator Obama’s speech:

"I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners - an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one."
- Senator Barack Obama, March 18, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Saol Fada Chugat!

Which, if I’ve done my homework correctly, translates to: “Long life to you!”

On this St. Patrick’s Day, when I tote up my sixteen great-great grandparents, it works out to about twelve Irish, one French, one Danish and two question marks. But perhaps as many as four of the Irish were, for at least one generation, Irish-Scots. But those Irish-Scots self identified as Scottish! So if I come down a generation, to my great grandparents, then the scales are still tipped decidedly toward the Irish, but with at least one quarter Scottish.

Which begs the question: who cares? Well I do. Surely, not so I can slap on a silly “Kiss Me I’m Irish” button on the 17th of March every year. I care because of those sixteen ancestors and the thirty-two before them and the sixty-four before them and so on, back before there are records, back before there are any names left to be remembered.

I have cared ever since I was a kid and began asking my parents and grandparents lots of questions. For some reason, I have always been conscious of the very different circumstances every generation lived under. Perhaps it came from spending so much time with my grandparents. Perhaps it was their stories which piqued my interest. Perhaps it was the times they answered any of my innumerable questions with a simple: “I don’t know.”

No matter how it came to be, this genealogical research and record keeping is important to me. I owe everything to them. The least I can do is pore over the records and write their names, their birth and death dates and any bit of information I can find. Folks who worked so hard and took such enormous risks deserve at least to have their names spoken once again, their lives and life’s work acknowledged.

So on this St. Patrick’s Day, here’s to: Miles, Catherine, Hugh, Eliza, Hugh, Winifred, Margaret, William, Bridget, Thomas, Catherine, John, Mary, George, Sarah, Owen, James, Delia, Patrick, Catharine, John, Catherine, Joseph, Winifred, George, Augusta, Augusta Florence, Edward, Mary, Frederick, Elizabeth, James, Mary, James, Alexander, Catherine, John Mervyn, Marion, Dorothy and George - - -

Go raibh maith agaibh!
Thank you all!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Toto, We’re Not In Rhode Island Anymore!

Thankfully, all is calm today, but Friday and Saturday brought thunderstorms, high winds, hail, funnel clouds and tornadoes to Atlanta, Georgia and its environs, where my sister Gail now lives. I believe this was the worst series of storms to hit the area since Gail moved down there from Rhode Island almost one year ago. Since it was scary for all of us holding our breath for her, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the midst of it. Adding to the worry, Gail’s daughter Kate and her husband Phil were flying in from Boston yesterday for a visit. Timing is everything, but happily, they are safe and sound as well.

Did you hear that? That was our collective sigh of relief from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Arizona and Georgia combined!

Happy Birthday Chuck!

”Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Chuck
Happy Birthday to you -
and many more!

Today is Chuck’s birthday! Regular readers know that I consider myself the luckiest gal in the world to be married to the nicest guy on the planet! Tell me what you will about your own Prince Charmings. While I will be very happy for you, I’m afraid it will fall on deaf ears! Seriously, Chuck is kind, thoughtful, loving, has a ready laugh and a quick wit. And yes, I am eternally grateful he somehow finds me special too.

Here’s a photo of Chuck from when he was in college. All that and brains too! Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wild Willy’s News

We stopped by Wild Willy’s Burgers on West Boylston Street in Worcester again. Chuck had a hankering for one of their delicious burgers and who am I to stand in the way of his happiness? The good news is that the food continues to be very tasty and the chaotic crush of customers has finally calmed down. It is now possible to get a parking place in the lot without idling for ten minutes! But the really good news is that they are now open on Sundays. That’s right. Seven days a week you can swing by for a burger and a root beer or even more refreshing: an orange spritzer with wedges of orange and lemon in the bubbly goodness. It reminded us of Worcester’s own Polar Orange Dry Soda, only fresher and citrusier.

For more details on our previous visits to this totally casual, local establishment with very good service look here and here. Then jump in the car and drive to Wild Willy’s!

Drumroll Please

Tomorrow is a big day around here.
Any guesses?
Yes, it is the day before St. Patrick’s Day.
Yes, it is the day Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines in 1521.
Well, yes, it is also the day that Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket right here in Massachusetts in 1926.
O.K. Stop guessing!
It’s also my husband Chuck’s birthday!
Yup. Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, Chuck made his first official appearance on the planet. Yay & Hurray!
I was what could generously be described as fashionably late to the party - my great loss.
I figured an event of this magnitude deserved a little drumroll in advance...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Oh No!

The Red Sox released Doug Mirabelli.
The Red Sox released Doug Mirabelli?
The Red Sox released Doug Mirabelli!!!

I’ve got nothing against Kevin Cash. And I’ve learned over the last few years to: “Let go and let Theo”, even though some of his decisions have been difficult to take. But I can’t believe letting Doug Mirabelli go is a good idea. I admit, I’m hopelessly sentimental and Doug’s state trooper escorted return to Fenway Park in 2006 was a peak baseball moment for me. But can Cash really catch Wakefield’s knuckleball? And is Cash’s defensive performance good enough to offset his weak offensive numbers?

Sometimes spring training truly sucks.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stone As Art

One of the highlights of our trip to the 2008 New England Spring Flower Show in Boston on Monday was seeing stone artist Lee Spiller again. He creates exquisitely beautiful vases and other items from stones. The finished product is clearly still a stone, but it has been respectfully transformed. We first saw Lee’s artwork on one of our trips to Bar Harbor, Maine. There’s a shop there, actually a couple of shops, called Window Panes. They carry home decor, furniture, kitchen and garden items along with Lee Spiller’s stone work. They have a separate shop for bath and body products on upper Main Street. Their main location is also on Main Street, but near the intersection with Mt. Desert Street. I believe they still have an annex over on Cottage Street. I couldn’t find a functional web link for Window Panes, but of the many shops in Bar Harbor, they are a “must do”.

Anyhoo, back to Lee Spiller. When you see his stone vases displayed you will feel immediately drawn to them. They call to you, inviting you to pick them up. Lee uses all different sizes of stones. Each one has a refined form by virtue of its having been tumbled over time in a river or an ocean. That natural shape is never diminished as Lee works with each stone to turn it into a vase, a candle holder, a “puddle stone” or a lamp.

Over the years we have been unable to resist a number of Mr. Spiller’s vases such that our collection now numbers ten. As we approached his booth in the Gardener’s Marketplace in the Bayside Expo Center Monday, we started telling each other we already had lots of his gorgeous vases at home. But then we saw his newest creation: stone pendants. They have the same simple, earthy, elegant qualities as his vases, just writ small and available to be worn around ones neck. One pendant fairly leapt off the driftwood display into my hands - really! Then Chuck asked if he had brought any other pendants, not yet on display and Lee graciously brought out the rest of his trove. Sure enough, another pendant flew right into Chuck’s hands! We slipped them on and immediately loved the weight and feel of them. I wish the photo below allowed you to experience them in person.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Still Winter

It snowed today. After some sleet snow mix early on, we were treated to big, luscious flakes. They swirled during squalls. They danced during flurries; seeming to bounce up on the wind from the ground, to peek in the second floor windows. Then the sun came out and what little had been able to accumulate melted, making us think it had all been a mirage. But a few hours later the sky grayed over and the snow began again.

Chuck’s new snowshoe bindings arrived and he has swapped old technology for new. But we don’t know if he will break them in this winter or next. Before spring creeps up on me completely, I wanted to share a few more winter scenes with you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Glimpse of Spring

Yesterday we decided to go to the 2008 New England Spring Flower Show in Boston. You can read about our 2007 trip here. Last year’s show seemed a little thin, but lovely. This year, there were even fewer exhibits and the ones that were presented seemed less dazzling. The theme this year is “Rhapsody in Green”; both the color and the environmental movement. Perhaps that led to designer restraint and fewer splashes of color. Also some of our old favorites such as the garden rooms and the dining tables were barely in evidence. It all seemed a bit blah and we did not experience that energizing burst of early spring we have come to expect. The show, sponsored by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, runs through this Sunday, March 16th at the Bayside Expo Center.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from the show. Enjoy!

P.S. Blogger has been acting up lately. Tonight the entire platform seemed to disappear! I hope you’re finding Pink Granite easy to open and read.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Far From Ordinary

It looks to be made mostly of thin strips of birch bark. But there are bits of blue speckled paper, adding a subtle decorative touch. Who lived here? Who worked so hard to create this small treasure to rear their young in? Will they be back this spring? Or do they start from scratch each and every season? Are they born knowing how to weave?

Remember the first time you held yarn in one hand, a crochet hook in the other and chained your first chain. Think about that first awkward casting on to knitting needles or your attempt to knit the first row. Yarn too tight, yarn too loose, needles stabbing fiber, the air and you. Now imagine doing it all while hovering in the air, wings beating, a shred of birch bark between your lips.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Again With The Clocks

Call me cranky or grumpy - both might well be true today - but I still dislike the entire concept of daylight saving time. Tonight we have to “spring ahead” an hour. Here’s my post from last spring which sums up my feelings. Hmmm.... I guess that link means you can call me lazy too!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Notebooks, Then & Now

Remember when you were a kid, the summer was drawing to a close and school was looming on the horizon? I think the most consistently good part of that transition time was going to shop for new school supplies. Pens, pencils and big pink erasers were all available at Woolworths or Warwick Shoppers World. I used to get one or two of the store bought book covers. I favored the ones with college logos on them. But the rest of the time it was brown paper grocery bags that I cut up, folded and fit snugly around my text books. (I just thought about how I used to do that and I think I remembered all the steps!) But it was the notebooks that really set my heart aflutter. Spiral bound, with white sheets of paper, covered with thin blue lines, just waiting to be written in.

I still love notebooks. Now I carry a Mead Five Star 6 x 9.5 two subject notebook, college ruled and a Strathmore Recycled Sketch 5.5 x 8.5. Both are spiral bound. Both fit neatly into my old Book Gear Canvas zippered pouch, which keeps everything neatly corralled and organized.

I also love my Apple laptop computer. And I really like the Apple word processing software called “Pages”. And the “Stickies” application allows for little computerized Post-It Notes to pop up all over your screen when called upon. But none of these things really approximates the old spiral bound notebooks.

Then along came Circus Ponies and a nifty piece of Mac only (sorry Microsoft folks) software called “NoteBook”. Bless their collective techie hearts; they did it! They made my frightfully expensive, incredibly powerful, uber-modern computer have as many genu-ine, old fashioned notebooks living in it as I want! Spiral bound to boot! Not unlike my Ferrari of a computer which I’m pretty darn sure I rarely get out of first or second gear, I have barely scratched the surface of NoteBook. But I am hooked.

When the plates started spinning again recently I created a new NoteBook called “Our Family NoteBook”. I have a page for each of our elderly relatives onto which I have been typing all the pertinent information: contact numbers, doctors names, medications, etc. Each of those pages or sections can be tabbed and labeled, just like in a three ring binder with dividers. What makes this computerized version so useful is that I can drag in clickable links to relevant web pages or e-mail addresses. I also can continually update it as needed and drag and drop information that applies to multiple people with ease. I still take notes about phone conversations with a pen and paper. But then I transfer that info to “Our Family NoteBook”.

For example, today we had to learn a whole lot about Medicare coverage for inpatient Rehabilitation Services. I spoke with a lovely young woman who gave me the highlights which I then typed up on its own page, in a new section called “Medicare”. This is what the page looks like from a screen shot. (I quickly created an edited example of our notebook for you to view.) You see the little curled corner in the upper right? If I click on that, the page turns. Or if I click on one of the tabs, it jumps to that section.

Apparently NoteBook is very popular with educators and trial lawyers. In part because you can drag in all kinds of multimedia stuff. Oh and it also automatically indexes everything for you. And you can use your computer’s recorder to insert voice annotation which it will date and time stamp! As I said, I have only begun to scratch the surface. If you go to the Circus Ponies website to see NoteBook, do take a few moments to watch their videos. They’re very cool.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Compare & Contrast

“Liberalism is trust of the people
tempered by prudence.
Conservatism is distrust of the people
tempered by fear.”

- William E. Gladstone (1809 - 1898)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Winding Down

No. Don’t worry. I’m not heading off into the sunset. Well, we were doing pretty much just that when I snapped this photo. It was the last day we went snowshoeing before the plates started spinning and the rains came. While we had no clue the plates were being mounted on the poles, we did know the weather was going to be warming up and a rainstorm was brewing. So we stayed out as long as possible, soaking up every minute of it. Instead of retracing our steps back across a corn field and through the woods, we decided to hit the road. Snowshoes slung on poles over our shoulders, this was our view as we started up the road toward home.

Today, we still have some snow on the ground, but about 24 hours of rain and balmy temperatures have taken their toll. There’s a chance of snow every day through Saturday. But, in truth, it is more maple sugaring weather (warm days, cold nights) than deep winter. I’m hoping though. That’s just between us, O.K.? I think most of our neighbors are ready for a swift mud season, followed by a warm spring!

This photo is of a little window into a small stream on our neighbor’s land. It’s near the spot I told you I went crashing through very deep snow a few years ago. I love the lacy effect of the icy snow and the subtle reflection of the tree branches on the surface of the water.

Chuck called this vignette to my attention. It puts me in mind of a snowy inchworm oonching up the trunk of the tree.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


The plates are spinning again. It has occurred to me that Chuck and I have reached a point in our lives, when there will simply be more spinning, more wobbling and inevitably, unavoidably, occasional crashes. I think this is the reality of being lucky enough to have friends and loved ones who have reached the status of octogenarians and even nonagenarians! The health challenges, the actual falls, the sudden medical crises and the evolution of aches and pains of aging bodies into chronic conditions; these are all on the flip side of being blessed to be long lived.

I know there are lessons here. Some of them I am running from at absolute top speed! Some send shivers down my spine as I get frightening flashes from ghosts of our own future. Those ghosts have nothing on Dickens’ holiday spectres, especially this year as both Chuck and I approach milestone birthdays - he sixty-five, I fifty. But some of the lessons I am taking notes on and making crib sheets. One of those is the need to stay physically active and to continue to challenge ourselves physically. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons we have been strapping on our snowshoes every chance we get. It’s not just that the snow will not be here forever. It’s that right now we can. Right now we are healthy and strong and agile enough to go tromping and traipsing in the woods. Who cares if we come back winded and weary. We are also rosy cheeked, energized, triumphant and very much alive.

Lesson learned.

Bring on the next plate.

Monday, March 3, 2008

V - O - T - R

Tomorrow, as Keith Olbermann pointed out, is “V - O - T - R Day”. Presidential primaries take place in four more states: Vermont, Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island - hence VOTR. The polls indicate that the race is especially tight in Ohio and Texas between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton. In Vermont, Senator Obama appears to have the lead. While in Rhode Island, Senator Clinton seems to have the edge. That means, if you are registered to vote in one of the VOTR states, it’s very important that you head out to the polls and cast your ballot tomorrow.

You know who I hope you vote for. I believe Senator Obama is the right person to lead the United States out of the darkness of the last seven plus years of the Bush administration. I believe when Senator Obama becomes President, he will help us to reach back as a nation to the powerful values this country was founded on, while inspiring us to be even better than we ever have been before.

Turn HOPE into reality. VOTE!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

File 2007 Taxes Electronically - For Free!

Just as we did last year, we helped a dear friend of ours with her taxes. Once again, we were able to help her file both her federal and state taxes on-line and to do it for free!

We started by going to the IRS page for e-filing. Once there, we followed the directions and clicked through to “Individual Taxpayers”. After reviewing the information, she chose to file with the Turbo Tax Freedom Edition. We had an excellent experience using this free service for our friend last year and this year was even easier, because her state is now one of the 21 linked directly with the Turbo Tax federal program.

These free filing options, available from the IRS through on-line tax preparers, have very specific age, income and filing status requirements. But if your tax situation is relatively straight forward, it’s definitely worth exploring.

Filing tax forms is never fun, but this service makes it easier!

Obama In RI Update #2

My niece Carrie reports that she was able to get inside for Senator Barack Obama’s rally yesterday at Rhode Island College. She said there were about 5000 people inside and another 5000 folks waiting outside, who could not get in.

Carrie said there were a number of individuals around her in the crowd who described themselves as “undecided”. Some of them had been to hear Senator Hillary Clinton speak last week and wanted to come and listen to Senator Obama. She even met a registered Republican who said he wasn’t satisfied with Senator John McCain and decided to come listen to Senator Obama!

Carrie said being at the rally, listening to Senator Obama speak in person, was an “awesome experience” and “very inspiring”! Her final message: “Go Obama!”

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Spring Training - At Last

We watched our first Red Sox spring training baseball game last night.

Pause for blessed sigh of relief...

It was the usual whirlwind of returning favorite players, peppered with a dizzying array of guys who are working hard to make the team or at least get noticed. Jerry Remy accurately refers to it as the “fog of spring training”. It was nice to listen to Jerry and Don Orsillo banter back and forth as they did their spring training approximation of color commentary and play by play. There was even something reassuring about the way they occasionally snipe at each other.

I was disappointed to hear that Tina Cervasio will no longer be with NESN. NESN had managed to assemble a great team of gals to cover New England sports - in particular, Tina and Hazel Mae. I hope they bring another woman reporter on board to fill the gap left by Tina.

And I have to say it was wonderful to see Johnny Pesky in the Red Sox dugout, right where he belongs! (See my Red Sox Notes from March 31, 2007 for my full rant on this topic!)

BTW, the Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 8 - 3 Friday night and this afternoon 7 - 6!

Obama In RI Update

My niece Carrie just called us on her cell phone. She is standing in line at Rhode Island College, waiting to get in for Senator Barack Obama’s 1:00 p.m. rally. She arrived at 10:30 a.m.. They opened the doors about 11:15 and she is still inching her way forward in the line. She reports the crowds are huge and the excitement electric! I hope she is able to make it inside to hear Senator Obama speak in person and be part of this amazing, historic, political experience!