Sunday, May 31, 2009

Like Whales' Tails

This bunny has been happily grazing both on our lawn and on the wide and wild variety of plants/weeds which edge said lawn. Late afternoon into eventide seems to be his/her favorite time of day to dine around here. The reason I know it’s the same bunny is because he/she has let me get close enough to take some pretty clear photographs. When I took a closer look at the pictures, I noticed the right ear. Sure enough, just the way cetologists identify whales by the unique markings on their tails, this rabbit has a very distinctive double notch pattern on its right ear.

I don’t know if this bunny is a native New England Cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) or an Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). I’d be delighted to learn it was a New England because unfortunately they are classified as “vulnerable”. But either way, it is cute as a bunny!

As always, feel free to click on the image to get a better look.


I began this blog because I had to. Once I figured out what a blog was, the desire to start my own was powerful. I expected it to be simply a way to stay in touch with family and friends. Then “strangers” stopped by, who have now become friends. (I used to put friends in quotation marks but after two and a half years friends is accurate!) Surprising to me, many of those visitors were from very far away - England, South Africa, Australia... Then, in September of 2007, I was mentioned in Worcester Magazine’s Blog Log. Suddenly I became part of a community of Worcester County Bloggers.

Now, one of those fellow Worcester bloggers, Papamoka, is in need of assistance. Maybe you will have a suggestion for him. Maybe you have walked in his shoes and will have a word of encouragement for him. Maybe you just want to hold him and his family in your thoughts. Here’s the link to where he posted about the situation he is in right now.

Thank you...

Friday, May 29, 2009


Here is an example of the way the Lily of the Valley I mentioned yesterday (Convallaria majalis) have settled quite happily in their new bed. This side of the house gets morning sun, but soon falls into deep shade for the remainder of the day. Many years ago, I planted Ivy (Hedera helix), Winter Creeper (Euonymus fortunei), Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) and Hosta all along the eastern side of the house. (Why yes, it was my ground cover period!) I just plopped them in somewhere between willy-nilly and evenly distributed. Because they have thrived, I can treat it as a nursery bed and divide a Hosta or pluck some plants to go be fruitful and multiply elsewhere. They all play well together and never fight, so I consider it a success!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I love the spunkiness of these Creeping Phlox (Phlox Subulata) and all the native perennials which push up each spring. The Phlox are nearly past, but they have an amazing capacity to, well, creep. Several years ago I hastily transplanted some phlox from an area out beside our stone wall to a sandy spot in full sun in front of our barn. By hastily, I mean I used a bulb planter to twist and dig a clump at a time for transplantation. Those few clumps soon knitted together with the other phlox to form quite a carpet. I first used this down and dirty technique to relocate a slew of Lily of the Valley pips from the west side of the house to the busier eastern side, next to the driveway. It worked fine and I’ve employed it ever since. Perennials: spunky and tough enough to survive my gardening - thank heavens!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tiny Tech Triumph

For years, actually decades, Chuck and I relied on various Day-Timer calendars and planners to help keep us organized and sane. While Day-Timer continually adds new products and features, they maintain their core product line. Which, for creatures of habit like us, is a really wonderful corporate policy! But as our lives and routines have changed and as our technology usage has evolved, we’ve been moving away from paper calendars and planners to software based ones.

When we bought our first Apple laptop four years ago, it came with Address Book, exactly what it sounds like and iCal, the calendar application. We used them intermittently at first, but then the first round of holiday cards were ready to be printed and their envelopes addressed and we suddenly had a big motivation to learn Address Book. When we got our second Apple laptop two years ago, iCal moved onto our radar. Chuck and I had long coordinated our calendars on a monthly and weekly basis. We would flip through to make sure we had each other’s appointments jotted down to avoid scheduling snafus. But we soon realized that if either of us noted a birthday or a dentist appointment in iCal, we could have it show up automatically in iCal on the other computer. Sweet!

For quite awhile we’ve been syncing our iCal calendars and it has been an absolute breeze. But for some reason we had problems syncing our Address Books from one computer to the other. Recently, we slogged through a manual sort of all our Address Book “cards” - so called because when you import or export the .vcf vCards individually, they look like traditional Rolodex cards. But even after we had checked all 180 cards, we still couldn’t sync automatically. So Chuck called Apple tech support tonight and after much backing and forthing, our Address Books are syncing up a storm!

Next stop: something portable to handle such nifty software. Oh please Apple, send the iPhone over to Verizon Wireless and soooon!

Monday, May 25, 2009


A couple of weeks ago I posted about a gal named Wendy who lives in Scotland and has a lovely blog called A Wee Bit of Cooking. I made her Lamb Pilaf recipe tonight and it was super! No regular reader will be surprised that I did play with it a little. (Does substituting beef for lamb constitute more than a “wee bit”? I enjoy the taste of lamb, but really can’t tolerate the smell as it cooks.) I’m quite convinced I am incapable of following a recipe to the letter! But Wendy’s Pilaf was satisfying and scrumptious. She recommended serving it with a dollop of yogurt. I used some thick Greek yogurt added some mint, basil, dill and finely minced cucumber to make a sort of Raita, which I served on the side in a small sauce cup. And for all of you in the Southern Hemisphere heading into winter, this Pilaf recipe is a must try now.

Memorial Day

In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to suggest some veterans charities you might wish to learn more about and support:

Fisher House: is "a home away from home" for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available.

Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust: supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, meets the special needs of veterans with specific disabilities – such as amputation and blindness – and aids and shelters homeless veterans.

USO - United Service Organizations: supports the troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services to our men and women in uniform.

National Military Family Association: works to educate military families concerning their rights, benefits and services available to them and to inform them regarding the issues that affect their lives and to promote and protect the interests of military families by influencing the development and implementation of legislation and policies affecting them. is a movement of the Bob Woodruff Foundation that educates the public about the needs of injured service members, veterans and their families as they reintegrate into their communities and empowers people everywhere to take action.

With gratitude to all who are serving now and all those who have gone before them. With special appreciation for those who gave their lives in service to our nation, in particular Uncle Carl.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

But Molasses Wasn’t One of the Ingredients

Last night I had one of those nights in the kitchen when I was all at sixes and sevens. I’m embarrassed to admit that I am not a big planner when it comes to meals. I tend to walk in and wing it. Usually that works out just fine. But last night I couldn’t get in the groove. It was a simple meal - grilled tuna, brown rice and a tossed green salad. Normally I take my grilled tuna in an Asian direction, but last night I wanted to go Mexican/Southwestern. It was the change in direction which did me in. I started with an avocado dressing for the salad. I had never made that before and the first go round had it too thick - more like guacamole. So I introduced some seasoned rice wine vinegar which thinned it and added additional tang, with a hint of sweetness. But while I was winging the dressing, I wasn’t grilling the tuna or preparing the rice. And the tuna needed a “new” dry rub to fit the Southwestern twist. Do you see the problems developing?

In the end, it all worked out and we really enjoyed the meal, A jarred Pace Salsa Verde was put to work in the dipping sauce made from the reduction of the tuna pan drippings. The Salsa Verde also accented the rice. And that avocado/guacamole/green goddess dressing was a fun change. But at every step I felt slow as molasses and not in control. The funny thing is, I’m looking forward to making it all again someday. Dollars to doughnuts it will go smoothly. In the meantime, the dandelion is here as a reminder that ordinary, simple and run of the mill is just fine. Even if I still crave more exotic experiments done on the fly.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Last year, I confessed the neglectful way I had treated an Amaryllis plant which is actually a Hippeastrum. It continues to sit on the windowsill above the kitchen sink and we have been attending to it. Apparently the Hippeastrum is quite satisfied and this year has rewarded us by adding two additional blooms to last year’s three!

I am duly humbled.

Friday, May 22, 2009

More Candles Please!

Happy Birthday Wendy!

Wendy’s birthday was Tuesday. So while I was wishing Roo and Sue and Jake and myself Happy Birthday, I should have included Wendy! It looks like she’s having a wonderful time with her Mum Fiona up for a visit from South Africa.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Talking Point

I’m shy. I was extremely shy as a little kid. Then, in third grade, with the help of Mrs. Farley, I began to turn things around. By the time I hit high school and college I was an extroverted introvert. So much so that as a college upperclassman, freshmen sometimes thought the gregarious, outgoing me was inebriated. My friends would tell the newcomers “Nope. That’s just Lee.” Later, life threw me a couple of curve balls and I found myself right back in Shyville. It was safe there. Quiet and invisible has its rewards; safety chief among them.

Happily, my life has been very good for many years now. Most of the time, folks I meet have no idea I’m shy. But sometimes I struggle mightily. One of the places where I still reflexively retreat is in large social situations with all new people. That dreadful, awkward, painful small talk one has to make with complete strangers, can leave me quaking in advance. Every social faux pas I have ever made threatens to play in a continuous loop before I arrive at the gathering. Once there, I have to muster my courage and latent acting skills to banish the deer-in-the-headlights-look or the equally likely I’ll-just-stand-here-and-look-at-the-framed-certificate-of-occupancy-over-here-in-the-corner.

Well, I just found a cheat sheet to help me in those ever so strange stranger moments. Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project has “Seven Tips For Making Good Conversation With A Stranger”. The suggestion which resonated most profoundly with me was the following question:

”What’s keeping you busy these days?”

It’s brilliant isn’t it? Instead of “What do you do?” you can ask: “What’s keeping you busy these days?” which allows the person to answer from any area of their life they’re comfortable with. If they want to tell you they work for a collection agency and your name sounds familiar - fine - awkward but fine! But they might volunteer that all their free time is spent Geo-Caching and wouldn’t that be interesting.

Having been on the receiving end of some blunt and insensitive questions over the years, I want to spread the word that “What’s keeping you busy these days?” is a gracious and welcome way to begin a conversation with a stranger; especially a naturally shy one like me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh What A Night!

We were at Fenway Park in Boston last night! Our niece Kate gave us a call Monday afternoon inviting us to join her at last night’s game. She had come into three tickets through a friend of a friend and was kind enough to think of us. She did not have to ask us twice!

This was only my third trip to Fenway. Chuck and I went together for the first time in the summer of 2001. Let’s just say that while being at Fenway Park and seeing the Red Sox play in person had been fabulous, there were some extenuating familial circumstances which threw a big wet blanket over the whole experience. Shortly after that trip, we were at my Mom’s condo in Rhode Island regaling my family about the high highs and the low lows of the night. Kate, along with her sister Carrie, slipped away to Mom’s bedroom to make a call. The next thing we knew, they were asking if we were free on such-and-such a date near the end of September. Unbeknownst to us, the two girls had called to get us four seats at Fenway. They were determined to give us a totally satisfying night at the ballpark watching our beloved Red Sox together. That was how, just a couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, we all went to the park and had a great time from start to finish. The event was certainly overshadowed by the recent terrorist attacks, but somehow the joy was also heightened. There was a sense of collective determination, courage and patriotism palpable in the crowd that night.

Last night was our third trip to Fenway Park. The Red Sox were playing the Toronto Blue Jays. The weather was perfect: mild, clear and dry. The seats were amazing. (If you click on the photo above, you can more clearly see the panoramic view from where we were seated behind home plate.) The place smelled good - the special incense of grill smoke, sausages, hot dogs and popcorn (with only a faint whiff of spilled beer near the end!). It looked good - from the new seating, to the Green Monster, to the sea of red hats, tee shirts and jackets proclaiming our membership in Red Sox Nation. And it sounded good - laughter, cheers, boos, vendors hawking food and souvenirs and the crowd singing: the National Anthem, Take Me Out To The Ball Game and Sweet Caroline.

I have to admit that it is very distracting being at the ballpark. In many ways, it is much easier to watch and follow the game closely at home via television. At the park, there is a relentless three ring circus of sights and sounds competing for your attention. Sometimes the side action is so compelling that you need the scoreboard to catch up with the primary purpose of the event. But when David “Big Papi” Ortiz came up to bat all eyes were on him. The crowd rose to their feet to cheer him on; willing the Designated Hitter and fan favorite to break out of his home run drought. It didn’t happen last night, but Papi hit one high and hard out of center field tonight!

Was last night a great night? Absolutely! Not just because the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 2 - 1, but because once again we were in the living, pounding heart of Red Sox Nation. For the third time in my 51 years I was able to viscerally feel what it’s like to be on baseball’s sacred ground. No, I didn’t genuflect, but I could have. Especially walking out of the underground concourse and up the ramp into the park. At first all you can see is blue sky above the heads of the throng of people in front of you. Then you emerge from the tunnel and the green of the field spreads out before you. It takes your breath away.

Yeah, it was a great night.

Thanks Kate!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I don't feel a day over 50 and yet here I am, 51 years old today!

Happy Birthday to me!


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where’s Dale?

These guys are so skittish that I had to take the shot through the storm window on our kitchen door. The chipmunks also provide endless entertainment/taunting to the cats. We know one is outside when we hear a combination meow/chirp from a cat perched in a window with her tail switching back and forth at a brisk clip. If we approach, the cat will look up at us as if to say “Puhlease let me outside now! I would so catch it in an instant!”

Happy Birthday - Cubed!

Happy Birthday to Roo
as well as Sue and her son Jake !

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pink & White Safari

I went out in the yard this afternoon to take a few photographs. I was headed for the lilacs, but along the way I spotted this lovely pink tulip.

I was working on zooming in on the flower and letting the background slip into soft focus when something moved.

Eeeeek! It was a white(!) spider! Spiders are not my favorite creatures on the planet. But being a good blogger (with an inquisitive mind) I tried to zoom in on the spider. Unfortunately, shuddering does not lend itself to excellent photographs!

But then I got this shot. I’ll be darned if the white spider didn’t have a pink(!) swoosh on each side of its body!

Despite being a spider (shudder) it was very cool!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


There’s a good television show on the USA network called “In Plain Sight”. It focuses on a couple of U.S. Marshals who serve in the Federal Witness Protection Program. The lead character is Mary Shannon played by Mary McCormack. Her partner is Marshall Mann, played by Fred Weller. At the very end of this second season’s opening episode, entitled “Gilted Lily”, Mary speaks in a voice over as her sister says goodbye to her deceased boyfriend in the morgue. In the background Alison Krauss, along with a chorus, sings “Down In The River To Pray” a capella.

The voice over was so striking, so poetic, we tried to find it online. No results led us to transcribe it. I’m sorry I can’t credit a specific writer, but here it is:

My addled brain tries to connect the dots
wondering how it is we’ve come to this place.
Cold, stark, blue-light lodging
indifferent to hope, desire, love;
lacking all but the most basic amenities.

Perhaps this stainless steel and formaldehyde rest stop
stands as a post-mortem reminder.
A kind of finger-wagging refrigerated warning
hung for all to see:

“For those inclined to feed the bears,
beat the light,
traverse thin ice,
run with scissors,
get rich quick:
Here but for the grace of God goes you.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Me - Ow!

Last January, we got our cat Cassie through her Iodine-131 treatment which left her healthier, calmer and less prone to the crazy bedtime habit she had developed of bouncing off the walls with a sudden, prolonged burst of energy. Now, the cats have decided that they wish to have a sunrise breakfast each morning. Charming - Oui? Not so much! What’s odd is that it didn’t start gradually as the days grew longer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Instead, I think they had a meeting, decided they wanted to get a bright and early start every morning. Then they worked out which one would crawl prance up onto my shoulder and meow - - - first!

As a result, my eyes snap open and it’s very hard for me to fall back asleep again until the alarm goes off. Closing the door to shut them out of the bedroom leads to piteous meowing from the other side, which also begins at dawn. I’m running on appreciably less sleep now than I would like, which leaves me foggy brained and cranky. Hence this wonderfully insightful, clever and amusing post - Oui? Sorry, not so much.

I am hoping that this coordinated feline demand for a sunrise breakfast extinguishes as rapidly as it developed. Because right now, the long nights and later sunrises of next winter seem really, really far away.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Time For Change

The United States policy pertaining to gays and lesbians serving in the military, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” came into being in 1993 during the Clinton administration.

Last night, Clifford Alexander, former Secretary of the Army appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show. He presented the most cogent and forceful argument I have ever heard against “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. You can watch the video below.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Food & Laughter

We had a wonderful time down in Rhode Island yesterday where we celebrated Mother’s Day with my Mom. We went over to Legal Sea Foods in Warwick, where we met Carrie and Kate, my sister Gail’s daughters. We spent about three hours laughing and eating. With five around the table, we each ordered a different entree which allowed for tastes all around. Add in oysters and calamari as appetizers and a selection of desserts, we turned it into quite a smorgasbord. Our server Susie was great and caught on right away to our celebratory mood. Mom was in high spirits from start to finish - her getting a little choked up when Carrie and Kate presented her with a bouquet of flowers notwithstanding!

All in all, it was pretty darn perfect.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom's Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weekend Breakfast

So, you know how to make French Toast right?

O.K. good.

After you take the bread out of the egg mixture, press it gently onto a plate, upon which you have generously sprinkled dried, grated, unsweetened coconut. Repeat on the other side. Then place it gently on the greased griddle as you normally would, except you might need to lower the heat just a teensy bit. (We get our coconut in the bulk food section of Whole Foods.)

Then serve the way you normally serve French Toast: with maple syrup or dusted with powdered sugar or with a warm fruit compote - maybe strawberries and blueberries to which you have added a splash of Grand Marnier...


Friday, May 8, 2009

Cue The Klieg Lights!

For too long I have treated cabbage as an ingredient when it deserves more of a starring role. I’ve made corned beef and cabbage and cole slaw of course. Then I began using cabbage as an ingredient in stir fries and simmer sauce dishes a few years ago. After that came my Rumbledethumps adventure ( Yum! ). When we were out in Seattle, Chuck’s sister Carol was rummaging around in the refrigerator as she whipped up a meal for us and she ended up improvising cabbage with onions. When we got home, I took it to the next level. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Cabbage Is King

Olive oil
Onions - chopped or sliced
Bacon - cooked & crumbled
Cabbage - Green - cored & chopped coarsely

Saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften.
Add a splash of sherry and let it simmer for a bit.
Add some crushed garlic.
Toss in some crumbled bacon.
Add in the chopped cabbage and cover. Simmer on low heat, stirring periodically.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add a bit of butter if needed/desired.
Cook to the level of doneness you prefer. You can leave the cabbage with a bit of crunch or let it wilt dramatically.

I think this could be very nice with some chopped apples tossed in near the end of the cooking process or perhaps some golden raisins.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Vexing Problem

I get frustrated with myself when someone who is truly irrelevant to me and to my life manages to say something which wounds me. In this instance, I understand intellectually that what they accused me of is not only completely false but says far more about them than it does about me. But I still find it difficult to stop replaying the exchange. Although in this most recent example I am proud of having comported myself calmly, accurately and with dignity. It also helps that I had a witness (a completely, wonderfully biased witness) in Chuck. He too remained calm in the moment and supported me swiftly without getting the least bit angry on my behalf.

As the days tick by, I know my hurt feelings will fade. I just wish I could dismiss the incident more quickly. Until I do, I am reminded of a line from Robin Williams’ 1979 comedy album “Reality...What A Concept”. He was doing a bit which revolved around (and digressed from) Shakespeare. In an exaggerated version of a Shakespearean accent he proclaimed loudly: “Assholes do vex me!!!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More Than A Wee Bit

It’s happened again. I followed a trail of breadcrumbs in the blogosphere and wound up somewhere wonderful. A woman in Scotland blogs about food and life and captures it all with lovely photographs. Her name is Wendy and her blog is A Wee Bit of Cooking. She’s not all about the haggis. There’s a lamb pilaf recipe Morgan linked to which sent me there in the first place and a black bean and sweet potato burrito recipe, both of which deserve further exploration.

The only problem is her photos of the countryside around Inverness are so achingly beautiful that I want to pack up and move there - immediately.

Chuck? Sweetie? We need to talk...


"I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."
Governor John E. Baldacci upon signing a same sex marriage law in the state of Maine.

The law has yet to go into effect in Maine and opponents are promising a fight, but enormous progress has been made. Next door, the New Hampshire legislature has also approved a same sex marriage law, but must wait for Governor John Lynch’s five day waiting period. During that time Lynch can veto the bill, sign it or simply allow the clock to run out and it will become law without any action on his part. (More details available here) When the laws in New Hampshire and Maine go into effect, Rhode Island will be the only state in New England to be without a civil same sex marriage law. Come on Little Rhody...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


There was no duct tape nor bungee cord used on my photo safari, but I did have a Key Grip. The weather turned out to be even more challenging than expected. Instead of rain there was a steady, heavy mist and lots of gusty wind. An umbrella would have been an ineffectual tool in such a swirling mist. So my favorite Key Grip (A.K.A. Chuck) offered his handkerchief and I did my best to keep the lens dry. Each time I focused the camera I was struck by the tender beauty and the lush shades of green overtaking the gray brown landscape of a long, icy and damaging winter.

39 & Still Holding

Happy Birthday to my eldest sister Karen! While I am headed for 51 (Egads!) in just a couple of weeks, Karen is miraculously younger than I am!

Happy Birthday Sis!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Be It Resolved...

Looking at Roo’s photographs has strengthened my resolve to get out in the yard with my camera. Despite the recent gray mizzly-drizzlyness around here, spring is marching on. I can see the deep dark violet of the lilac buds even through the rain streaked windows. So tomorrow I need to dodge the drops and see what I can capture on film. I’m thinking I can rig something out of an umbrella, a bungee cord and duct tape as a traveling drape! Or I’ll see if I can coax Chuck into playing the role of Key Grip...

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Revisionism - On The Fly

You know it has been a very low, slow and exceptionally lazy Sunday when your “accomplishments” include: cooked (and ate) brunch, cooked (and ate) dinner, fed cats - twice, scooped kitty litter, showered and called Mom.

Can I blame it on the gray, drizzly day? I can sure as heck try!

Oh! I did Tweet on Twitter a couple of times and I watched the Red Sox lose to Tampa Bay - again. Actually, whenever the Red Sox lose a game, it is automatically followed by a period of angst and worrying. So that took up quite a big portion of the day. Which means my day was down right jam packed with activities!

I feel so much more virtuous now!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Joe’s Salmon

You know how much I like Trader Joe’s. I like most of their basic ingredients as well as many of their prepared foods. One favorite is the Mojito Salmon. (Please don’t let this post be the kiss of death!) It’s in the frozen food case. You get two pieces of salmon filet covered with a mojito sauce. I partially defrost it in the microwave so that I can easily separate the two pieces of salmon. Using two gratin dishes, I put a layer of cooked and rinsed black beans in the bottom of the dishes. (I like Goya’s canned black beans. They make a great pantry staple.) I drizzle a couple of tablespoons of V8 juice on top of the beans. Then I place one salmon filet on top of the beans in each dish. I spoon the mojito sauce on top of the fish and then tent and cover tightly with aluminum foil. I bake it in a hot oven - more or less according to package directions. You don’t want to overcook the salmon, but all the moisture trapped by the foil provides a lot of forgiving wiggle room on the timing.

Tonight I served the TJ’s Mojito Salmon with big round couscous (sometimes known as Israeli couscous) which I had cooked up with lots of dried green herbs: mint, basil, oregano and dill. I also steamed some green beans and tossed them with marinated artichoke hearts and lightly toasted pine nuts. Yum saith Chuck and so say I!

Friday, May 1, 2009

More Housekeeping

The other day I recommended (urged, beseeched, implored, exhorted) you to back up your computer. Today, I’m writing on the importance of having a will. About ten years ago Chuck and I finished our wills and all the attendant documents. It was not an easy task for us. Looking at death, dying and life expectancy is not our favorite sport - unlike my Mom! But with the recent passing of Chuck’s father Milton, we are even more mindful of the importance of a clear will.

Milton was a dot every “I” cross every “T” sort of fellow. Something for which Chuck and his sister are both enormously grateful. But even the detail oriented Milton had a few bits and pieces left undone. Nothing major, but with each paperwork snag, we count our blessings that these are only small details to be sorted out and that Dad did not die intestate.

Ricë over at the Voodoo Cafe was asking for advice from folks who had used any on-line legal sites to draw up a will. She received a lot of recommendations, but I have to vote for a family attorney. We love our attorney. She’s intelligent, compassionate, knows Massachusetts law and is reasonably priced - a truly winning combination! But what she provided, besides a host of thorough legal documents, was peace of mind.

In light of our current experience with all things related to a last will and testament, we will likely be meeting with our attorney once again. First off, it’s just a good idea to revisit the will a decade after its writing. Secondly, we want absolutely everything to flow as smoothly, automatically and painlessly as possible for our beneficiaries, should we both get eaten by alligators tomorrow.

Which reminds me, if the alligators only nibble and we are hospitalized, we want our health care proxy forms to be crystal clear as well!