Tuesday, October 27, 2009

licking batteries

To learn a little trick, hence the title of this post, you'll have to read - or skip - to the very end.

We threw the bikes in the van this afternoon and headed to Delaware State Park to pedal a few miles. A veritable ghost town, the park seems to be going into hibernation for the winter. Of course, I found a few photo opps...

My knight pumps up my tire.

My motivator!

Bikes, leaves, lake, me.

Now. Were it not for a little trick I pulled from the cobwebs of my mind, there would be no photos. Somewhere, sometime, someone told me that if your batteries are giving out, just give them a lick. Yes! Take them out of the camera, lick both ends, and put back in the camera.

Call me crazy...but it works.

new blog

Good news: my son David is now blogging. Good news because he's an excellent writer.

Check him out! www.hallerdave.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 25, 2009

autumn addendum

Gleaming sun, a sky so blue, and blazing yellows and reds converged for a glorious October afternoon. We took to the woods, Gallant Woods, as well as the village of Radnor on the way home. What better place to be than a landscape so perfectly painted by God?

Friday, October 23, 2009


Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. - George Eliot

It seems to me that autumn took its sweet time floating in this year. And now it seems to be in a rush to finish and give way to winter.

I follow autumn's lead ... yanking geraniums, cutting back long-dead ferns and storing the garden hoses.

How I love autumn. It stirs sweet memories of leaf-raking and luscious apples in my New England childhood. It offers a reprieve from the constant care of flower beds and thirsty impatiens. And autumn's explosion of colors is beyond compare.

Won't you linger awhile, autumn? What's your hurry?

(c) Barbara M. Haller

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy birthday, Jenny!

Our daughter-in-love Jenny turns 25 today. She's a little amazed by this milestone ... and I chuckle.

As I decided what to write on Jenny's birthday, I looked back at last year's post. It still holds, and then some. So here is the amended version...

Jenny is special to me and has been from the day we met. Things I like about her:

- She loves to laugh and has a sharp sense of humor. She just "gets" funny things that I get, so that's fun.

- Jenny has taught me a thing or two. Like how to peel an avocado. Stupid, you don't peel it! You cut it in half, then scoop it out. No, she never said that, she just kindly showed me and I was amazed!

- She really wasn't too overwhelmed by our family with three brothers, even when they are loud and annoying. That's a cool girl.

- Though she's always been the "little sister" in her family, Jenny has shown she knows how to be a loving and attentive big sister to our Katie. Very neat.

- She says things and we talk about things that boys just don't. She never seems in a hurry to finish a conversation.

- She has good fashion sense and I don't, usually, and is honest and tactful enough to gently help me in this area.

- Jenny loves books, coffee and God and what could be better than that?

- She is a giver of special gifts, time, friendship and love.

- Jenny loves my son Dan, and that makes me very happy.

- She is the mother of my first grandchild, so that puts Jenny somewhere around queen status, right? She is already a good mother by taking care of herself and her unborn baby.

- My other wonderful daughter-in-love, Jill, threw a baby shower for Jenny over the weekend and we ended the day with a mini-birthday celebration. Here's Jenny with her carrot cake:

I'm thankful for you and I love you, Jenny, and I wish you a most excellent birthday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

getting on the grocery bag bandwagon

While in Florida last week, I picked up a souvenir: a bright green earth-friendly shopping bag from Publix, the premiere grocery store of the Sunshine State.

Well. You must have noticed, unless you exclusively eat out or grocery-shop online or something. There's been an explosion of reuseable grocery bags. I am gathering quite the collection, and I notice others are following suit.

I jumped on the bag bandwagon with some heavy-duty canvas totes that I found in the hall closet. Then there's a bag from a city beautification conference, a gift from my friend Beth. A free one arrived in the mail. And finally the green Publix bag.

In the usual fashion, none of my bags match. I'm hopelessly uncoordinated when it comes to matching and such. To market I go, mis-matched bags flapping on my arm.

At our local grocery, Buehler's, bag-toters are rewarded with a 5-cent credit for every bag they use. Let's see. If I buy two bags of groceries per week (empty nesters, ya know), that adds up to about $5 a year. More than the cost of the bags. Not bad.

And oh. The guilt and shame when I step in the store and HAVE FORGOTTEN MY BAGS. How could I be so thoughtless? I resolve to remember next week!

What about you? Are you on the bandwagon? Do you have a collection, too?

Friday, October 16, 2009

the roadies, part 2 (Florida's east coast)

We traversed Florida on Saturday, with David at the wheel. These were more familiar stomping grounds, since we lived on the east coast of Florida as newlyweds...and brand-new parents.

The House of Refuge was exactly that at one time: a place of refuge for those who encountered storms at sea or other crises in Florida's earlier, wilder days.

I plan on applying for a job here at the House of Refuge...I think someone is needed to guard the porch.

These dudes look cool, but they were dripping in the 95-degree heat.

Bill and I first ate at John G's in 1978 and it remains one of our favorite restaurants. Ashamedly, I report that we ate there three times in 24 hours this trip!

Please don't leave this earth before eating an Hawaiian omelette at John G's on the beach in Lake Worth, Florida...

... and the cinnamon-nut french toast comes in a close second.

This trip held some nostalgia ... David was born at Good Samaritan hospital in West Palm Beach, so we included it in stops from our past ...

1983 ... a first trip to the Lake Worth beach. And now ... 2009 ... David and I standing at the same spot almost exactly 26 years later.

I imagine that anyone passing by wondered about this insane pose, taken at Good Samaritan Hospital. For the record, it was David's spontaneous idea... he dubbed the pose "born again." Hilarious!

And so ended the belated birthday road trip with David. It confirmed a truth I learned long ago when we had a passle of children underfoot: spending time with one child is a rare treat. Totally different. Totally fun. And totally worth it.

Thanks, David!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the roadies, part 1 (Florida's west coast)

I don't know many twenty-somethings who would road-trip with his parents. We went to Florida for six days and our oldest son David took us on a road trip extraordinaire. We beached. We ate local Cuban food. Picnicked on the beach. Found cool local breakfast spots. Explored the Saturday market in downtown St. Petersburg. Traipsed the Trop!

We then crossed the state to the ocean side to check in with old friends. And ate some more. And drank in the spectacular Atlantic Ocean.

Best of all, we spent several days with our first-born, a treasured time of laughter, eating out and sharing our hearts. In fact, the first night there we spent in a waterfront restaurant in St. Petersburg, talking for two hours. When raising our kids, I never realized how cool it would be to know them as adults.

I shot a whole bunch of photos, and now ... I present them to you.

Soon after arriving, we ate dinner at the waterfront in St. Petersburg. A perfect evening for catching up with David.

Late-night ice cream!

Thursday: off to Fort DeSoto and the beach. The heat index topped 100 degrees, but we persevered!

Birds at the beach ... so peaceful!

David took us to the Banyan on Friday ... a cool little breakfast spot... then on to The Trop (Tropicana Field) for a first-class tour of his workplace.

David and I in the Rays dugout.

The boys check out work down on the field.

David's perch during games: the press box.

We stopped by a gigantic bookstore.

On Saturday, we explored an open-air market in St. Petersburg. We nicknamed it the Hippy Market. Just before leaving, we met two women holding these little guys: Australian Sugar Gliders. They're marsupials, in the kangaroo family. Yep, the brown female had a little pouch. Very cute, but too rodent-like for me.

Tomorrow, part 2, the East coast ...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

there comes a time

It's no secret: my daughter and I struggled as she was growing up. Yelling (both of us). Screaming (both of us). Tears (ditto). From age three until oh, say 17 ... Katie and I loved each other but many days didn't much like each other.

I questioned my ability as a mother, despite my husband's support and encouragement to the contrary. I prayed for wisdom and grace. I came to the end of myself and trusted God to grow my child.

Now, the time has come. Katie has shed the tantrums, the willfulness, the screaming defiance. She has grown up. Well, almost. And maybe I have, too.

I think of good mothering like crock-pot cooking: you're not going to have a good pot roast if you wait until 5 p.m. to start. Start early, use the right ingredients, be patient.

And there will come a time ... maybe not a perfect time, but a new one of greater peace and friendship.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy birthday, David!

My first child entered the world twenty-six years ago tonight. It was a Sunday and Dr. Fealy (for real) who delivered David had to miss the end of a Miami Dolphins game.

We named our son David William. We had little idea of what to do with a newborn, but we somehow figured it out and were crazy over our little boy. His easy-going demeanor was a preview of him as a man: isn't it amazing that a newborn's personality can carry right on to adulthood?

For reasons that will be revealed later, David's birthday post is being POST-poned. Get it?

In the meantime, you can go here and read a post about David from one year ago.

Happy birthday, David!