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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Father's Day is coming up and we think this will put you in the mood:

Her hair was up in a ponytail,
her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
and she couldn't wait to go.

But her mommy tried to tell her,
that she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
if she went to school alone.

But she was not afraid;
she knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
of why he wasn't there today.

But still her mother worried,
for her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
she tried to keep her daughter home.

But the little girl went to school,
eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
a dad who never calls.

There were daddies along the wall in back,
for everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
anxious in their seats.

One by one the teacher called,
a student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
as seconds slowly passed.

At last the teacher called her name,
every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
for a man who wasn't there.

"Where's her daddy at?"
she heard a boy call out.
"She probably doesn't have one,"
another student dared to shout.

And from somewhere near the back,
she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad,
too busy to waste his day."

The words did not offend her,
as she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
who told her to go on.

And with hands behind her back,
slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
came words incredibly unique.

"My Daddy couldn't be here,
because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
since this is such a special day.

And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
and how much he loves me so.

He loved to tell me stories
he taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
and taught me to fly a kite.

We used to share fudge sundaes,
and ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I'm not standing here alone.

"Cause my daddy's always with me,
even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
he'll forever be in my heart"

With that, her little hand reached up,
and lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
beneath her favorite dress.

And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
who was wise beyond her years.

For she stood up for the love
of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
doing what was right.

And when she dropped her hand back down,
staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
but its message clear and loud.

"I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
but heaven's just too far.

You see he was a fireman
and died just this past year
When airplanes hit the towers
and taught Americans to fear.

But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes,
and saw him there that day.

And to her mother's amazement,
she witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
all starting to close their eyes.

Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
they saw him at her side.

"I know you're with me Daddy,"
to the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
of those once filled with doubt.

Not one in that room could explain it,
for each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
was a fragrant long-stemmed pink rose.

And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
by the love of her shining bright star.
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them. Send this phrase to the people you'll never forget. It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them. If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in a hurry and that you've forgotten your friends.

Take the time... to live and love.


"Life is a succession / of moments / to live each one / is to succeed." Corita Kent

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Summer and special recollections of times past seem to go together. We all enjoy creating new memories and exploring different opportunities. There are constants in life that can be especially reassuring regardless of where we may be in our journey. A site, which examines a little of both, is Last year, site owner Mary Ann shared a memorable sampling with us. Her Still-Room has new offerings now and we urge you to drop by for a visit!


The hummingbird has led you to this still-room where Mary Ann mixes it up. In the Seventeenth Century a good housewife had a 'still-room' within her home where she preserved and mixed her herbs. She normally maintained a 'still-room' book, which contained everything from recipes, myth, magic, folklore handed down through generations, notes, advice for running the household and much information regarding the use of herbs.

Lemonade Days and Blackberry Summer
By Mary Ann Perry

"And the running blackberry, would adorn the parlor of heaven." Song of Myself, by Walt Whitman

Summer: sipping iced lemonade, while lolling on the afternoon porch dreaming our dreams of 'blackberry summer'. Blackberry summer will come soon enough, those days of fine weather in late September and early October. Right now let's accept the zest and zeal the lemon in our lemonade gives us and fill ourselves with summer when the herbs and flowers speak to us.

People have developed herbal calendars and found symbolism in plants and nature since ancient times. What better way to express summer than through herbs and flowers? Many herbs are associated with summer. Helen Keller said "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It's what sunflowers do!" What's more appropriate, sunflowers symbolize adoration and a sun worshiper in the language of herbs. The calendula or pot marigold is a symbol of sunny days with good health, joy, and affection. The calendula cares.

The Chinese, Japanese, Romans, Egyptians, American Hopi and Navajo Indians, among countless others, developed herbal calendars. Because calendars were so closely tied with nature, it follows that different months should be associated with particular herbs. Primarily the Japanese and English adopted the custom of using floral calendars. In addition to formal calendars using certain flowers, superstitions and old wives' tales about plants and flowers abound for each month of the year. These are generally connected with the changes in weather and how they affect the gardener.

Chinese Herbal Calendars specify the pomegranate as the symbol of progeny and prosperity and the month of June. When I was a child, I lived in northern climes, where pomegranates were rare and expensive. My Mom gave us the experience of this rarity and I remember experiencing the ice cold, juicy, red pulp and the crunchy seeds as a little bit of summer paradise we shared.

Japanese celebrate the peony in June, symbolizing 'hands full of cash'. The Chinese call the peony Sho-yo, which means 'the beautiful' and it, is considered the flower of prosperity. It reminds me of my Mother's summer peonies and the long lasting beauty of those huge, brilliant, pink bouquets brightening our simple, farmhouse home. At the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 the peony was used to symbolize the American Spirit, ambition and determination to adapt and thrive.

The rose is the English Floral Calendar symbol for the month of June, and means success, love, beauty, congratulations, reward for virtue, grace, joy, "You are gentle." friendship, silence and unity. Celebrate roses by making Rose Wine to enjoy during those long 'blackberry summer' days. Pour one gallon of boiling water over 3 or 4 quarts of lightly packed rose petals, add the cut-up rind of 2 oranges and 3 pounds of sugar. Boil for 20 minutes; cool, strain, and add a package of yeast dissolved in warm water and the juice of from the oranges and 4 or 5 peppercorns (white). Let all ferment in a covered crock for about 2 weeks. Strain, discard petals, and bottle in sterilized bottles, corking lightly for about 3 months or until the wine has finished working. Seal each bottle with paraffin. "A rose by any other name would smell so sweet." From Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare.

The Summer Solstice occurs around June 21st and is a celebration when nature is heavy with the bounty of the coming harvest. This is a time when energies abound, and a good time for magic and purification rites. Some who practice the arcane arts choose to bury protective amulets each Midsummer Eve and construct new ones. Rue, rowan, and basil, tied in a gold or white cloth, are a good protective trio that can be carried in your pocket year round. A few cinnamon sticks tied over the door of your home are another good protective charm.

Larkspur with its ardent attachment and levity brings swiftness to the long balmy days of July in the language of herbs. The Chinese celebrate the lotus flower in July, the symbol of perfection and purity. Japanese calendars specify mountain clover as their July herb. For the English it is water lily with its great beauty that brings to mind July. In the United States what better way to celebrate the 4th of July when thyme symbolizes the courage and bravery of our fight for Independence. We place rosemary on the graves of soldiers' honoring their brave deeds with remembrance, fidelity, and devotion. With nasturtiums we celebrate our patriotism and white carnations our democracy.

If your summer herb garden has spoiled you for anything other than fresh herbs, devote your sunniest window to an indoor herb garden to carry you into 'blackberry summer and winter'. When summer has long passed a gift of an herbal jelly or rose wine, labeled and tied with a ribbon, is a much-appreciated way to share the memories of summer. Check out all the new treats in Mary Ann's Still-Room


Thank you friend, Mary Ann for sharing the loveliness of summer with us. "Friends are the perennials in the garden of our heart." CJF

Monday, June 14, 2004

We don't want to start your day off with a downer…so, hold onto your sense of humor and for some, you may want to "hold your nose" as well when you read this!

The following is from an actual 1950's Home Economics textbook intended for high school girls, teaching them how to prepare for married life:

1. Have dinner ready: plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal--on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him, and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little happy and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

3. Clear away clutter: make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives, gathering up school books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too.

4. Prepare the children: take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them play the part.

5. Minimize the noise: at the time of his arrival eliminate all noise of washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

6. Some DONT'S: don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day.

7. Make him comfortable: have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing, and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

8. Listen to him: you may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

9. Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his need to be home and relax.

10. The Goal: try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax.

SOMEONE HAS WRITTEN AN UPDATED VERSION INTENDED FOR THE 21st CENTURY WOMAN, a time when young men and young women both may take classes having to do with marriage and family preparation but no one has used the term Home Ec in a VERY long time. If the following seems a little cynical for your tastes, keep in mind that it was sent to EVE by a woman who at the age of 40 something has decided that a husband is an unnecessary inconvenience (she's exceptionally cynical on the subject).

1. Have dinner ready: make reservations ahead of time. If your day becomes too hectic, just leave him a voice mail message regarding where you'd like to eat and at what time. This lets him know that your day has been crummy and gives him an opportunity to change your mood.

2. Prepare yourself: a quick stop at the "Clinique" counter on your way home will do wonders for your outlook and will keep you from becoming irritated every time he opens his mouth. (Don't forget to use his credit card!)

3. Clear away the clutter: call the housekeeper and tell her that any miscellaneous items left on the floor by the children can be placed in the Goodwill box in the garage.

4. Prepare the children: send the children to their rooms to watch television or play Nintendo. After all, both of them are from his previous marriage.

5. Minimize the noise: if you happen to be home when he arrives, be in the bathroom with the door locked.

6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet him with problems and complaints. Let him speak first, and then your complaints will get more attention and remain fresh in his mind throughout dinner. Don't complain if he's late for dinner, simply remind him that the leftovers are in the fridge and you left the dishes for him to do.

7. Make him comfortable: tell him where he can find a blanket if he's cold. This will really show you care.

8. Listen to him: but don't ever let him get the last word.

9. Make the evening his: never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or other places of entertainment; go with a friend or go shopping (use his credit card). Familiarize him with the phrase "Girl's Night Out."

10. The Goal: try to keep things amicable without reminding him that he only thinks the world revolves around him. Obviously, he's wrong. It revolves around you.

We think the updated version is pretty cynical, isn't it? Somewhere in between is probably reality.


"A house does not need a wife any more than it does a husband." Charlotte Perkins Gilman (The Home, 1903)

Sunday, June 13, 2004


A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open. "Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets." The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road, which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree Waiting for them.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates?

Nope.That's Hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."


One song can spark a moment
One flower can wake the dream
One tree can start a forest
One bird can herald spring
One smile begins a friendship
One handclasp lifts a soul
One star can guide a ship at sea
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness
One laugh will conquer gloom
One step must start each journey
One word must start a prayer
One hope will raise our spirits
One touch can show you care
One voice can speak with wisdom
One heart can know what is true
One Life can make a difference ----Author Unknown


Saturday, June 12, 2004



A small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial - a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"

She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot. When you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Williams, do you know the defense attorney?"

She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."

At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be jailed for contempt!"


A lawyer says to a witness on the stand, "Now, sir, did you, or did you not, on the date in question or at any time, say to the defendant or anyone else that the statement imputed to you and denied by the plaintiff was a matter of moment or otherwise? Yes or no."

The witness looked at the lawyer and said, "Yes or no, what?"


One night, a lady stumbled into the police station with a black eye. She claimed she heard a noise in her back yard and went to investigate. The next thing she knew, she was hit in the eye and knocked out cold.

An officer was sent to her house to investigate, and he returned a half hour later with a black eye as well. "Did you get hit by the same person?" his captain asked.

"No sir," he replied. "I stepped on the same rake."



No, Windows is not a virus. Here's what viruses do:

1. They replicate quickly - okay, Windows does that.

2. Viruses use up valuable system resources, slowing down the system as they do so - okay, Windows does that.

3. Viruses will, from time to time, trash your hard disk - okay, Windows does that too.

4. Viruses are usually carried, unknown to the user, along with valuable programs and systems. Sigh... Windows does that, too.

5. Viruses will occasionally make the user suspect their system is too slow (see 2) and the user will buy new hardware. Yup, Windows does that, too.

Until now it seems Windows is a virus but there are fundamental differences: Viruses are well supported by their authors, are running on most systems, their program code is fast, compact and efficient and they tend to become more sophisticated as they mature. So Windows is not a virus.

It's a bug.

"Lawyers are like morticians—we all need one sooner or later, but better later than sooner." Eileen Goudge

Friday, June 11, 2004

I've learned that, even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.

I've learned that, if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others, your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I've learned that, you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.

I've learned that, no matter what happens or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

"Life cannot be captured in a few axioms. And that is just what I keep trying to do. But it won't work, for life is full of endless nuances and cannot be captured in just a few formulae."
Etty Hillesum

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. They picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him. The scientist walked up to God and said, "God, we've decided that we no longer need you.

We're to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost."

God listened patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, "Very well! How about this? Let's have a man making contest."

To which the man replied, "OK, great!"

But God added, "Now we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam."

The scientist said, "Sure, no problem" and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God just looked at him and said, "No, no, no. You have to get your own dirt!"

Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah's Ark

One: Don't miss the boat.

Two: Remember that we are all in the same boat.

Three: Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

Four: Stay fit. When you're 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something really big.

Five: Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

Six: Build your future on high ground.

Seven: For safety's sake, travel in pairs.

Eight: Speed isn't always an advantage. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

Nine: When you're stressed, float a while.

Ten: Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

Eleven: No matter the storm, when you are with God, there's always a rainbow waiting.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

It's been reported that "old fashioned geography" is no longer taught in school. The statistics on how many students graduate from high school without a clue where major countries are located are rather stunning. Apparently, it's gotten so bad, that when asked to name a continent, some reply, "The breakfast of juice and a bagel you get in hotels ("Continental Breakfast)." Many think the Arctic is the name of expensive bottled water.

Thinking about geography reminds us, in certain areas of the country there are old habits that still have life in them and may never die. The south (which includes the "deep" south, and the rest of it, and the southwest which Texans do not consider their state part of because--well, because Texas is just different.)

Our mobile society has prompted lots of us to consult with experts in "local etiquette," if we want to mind our manners when traveling. A few recent books have cast a critical spotlight on specific destinations, which does not always please permanent residents. Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil comes to mind, by John Berendt. Although, a work of fiction (sort of) there were some southern traditions revealed that folks thought too outrageous to be true--until they visited Savannah.

Author Marilyn Schwartz has tackled the topic of Southern Belles in a hilarious (only to women who aren't one) book titled, A Southern Belles Primer: or why Princess Margaret will never be a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

From the "Iced Tea and Deviled Egg Plates" chapter:

"Want to know if someone is a real Southern Belle? Just look in her cupboard. If she's got an iced tea pitcher and a deviled egg plate, you can bet she's as Southern as tomato aspic. If not, she probably moved to New Orleans when she was two or three from someplace like Chicago.

Southerners don't just drink iced tea, they practically inhale it. They see no reason not to drink it when snow is on the ground. It's equally appropriate in the middle of a heat wave. When Bloomingdale's opened a store in Dallas, the manager of the crystal and china department had to make a special request that large beverage glasses be shipped as part of the merchandise to be sold. The New York buyers obviously did not understand just how important iced tea and iced water are in the South. And much to the horror of the local Southern belles, they didn't automatically ship iced teaspoons either. 'Up north, they just stir their iced tea with their coffee spoons,' observes one belle.' It's so tacky.'"

Whether or not something is viewed as "tacky" has a lot to do with geography! Eve has great respect for Southern Belles—she used to be one until the local chapter learned she didn't own a deviled egg plate.

Author Robert Fulghum has produced a body of work, which continues to offer, lessons in living life to the fullest. His first, All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, remains a best seller and carried the subtitle, "Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things." Human beings can simultaneously be common and uncommon. Overcoming middle-age presents uncommon experiences, which we may have previously viewed as rather mundane. There is a heightened awareness of the world around us and everything in it, which often eluded us when we were younger and more distracted by everyday occurrences. If someone admonished us to remember to "stop and smell the roses," when we were thirty, our reaction might have been, "What roses, no one sent me roses, I don't see any roses." There is now a T-shirt that bears the expression: Over the Hill--what hill, I didn't see any hill, was there a hill?

A neat woman's response to that could be, "What in the world does a hill have to do with anything!?"

When we find ourselves "overcoming middle-age" we have mastered much or most of Fulghum's list about "clean up your own mess, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together, etc." We are now eligible for a Storyteller's License if we are willing to abide by what he refers to as the Storyteller's Creed:

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge.

That myth is more potent than history.

That dreams are more powerful than facts.

That hope always triumphs over experience.

That laughter is the only cure for grief.

And I believe that love is stronger than death."

We can handle that can't we?

And, by the way, Southerners are noted for being the best storytellers in the country.


"For Southerners, storytelling is as natural as breathing." Alice Storey

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Positive Count

Count your blessings instead of your crosses,
Count your gains instead of your losses,
Count your joys instead of your woes,
Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your courage instead of your fears,
Count your laughs instead of your tears.
Count your full years instead of your lean,
Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth,
Count on God instead of yourself.

- Author Unknown


One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom.
One heart can know what's true.
One life can make the difference,
you see, it's up to You!

- Author Unknown

A woman professed her new found faith one day. A co-worker asked her what it was like. She was caught off guard and didn't know how to answer, but when she looked up she saw a jack-o'-lantern on the desk and answered: "It's like being a pumpkin." The worker asked her to explain that one. "Well, God picks you from the patch and brings you in and washes off all the dirt on the outside that you got from being around all the other pumpkins. Then he cuts off the top and takes all the yucky stuff out from inside. He removes all those seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. Then he carves you a new smiling face and puts his light inside of you to shine for all to see.

I'll never look at a pumpkin the same way again! God Bless you.


"Faith, it seems to me, is not the holding of certain dogmas; it is simply openness and readiness of heart to believe any truth which God may show." Margaret Deland

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Visitors to NEAT WOMEN INC occasionally pose questions about site content. Sometimes we actually answer them. Periodically, "why would a web site for women of a certain age post a lengthy essay on the importance of parenting when most women 'overcoming middle-age' have adult children or none at all?"

The answer is threefold. We all have the opportunity to "parent," regardless of whether or not we actually have offspring. Three of Eve's dearest friends are women who said farewell to fifty a couple of years ago. One has accepted full responsibility for parenting a nine-year-old girl who is a distant relative. This woman never married and never had children. When she learned of a situation where the single mother was finding it difficult to deal with two boys and a girl, she stepped in and offered to help. The child now lives with her and consequently has a brighter, more secure future. The second woman is married but never had children and she and Eve have known each other since childhood. She retired recently after teaching high school art for more than 20 years. She has "parented" literally hundreds of young people and has an exceptionally nurturing approach. She created the original Eve and Treasure Chest—brought them to life for Neat Women Inc. Finally, a lifetime friend of Eve's (since 4th grade) assumed custody of her 54 year old Downs Syndrome sister last year when their mother passed away. Jan also mothered four step children many years ago and now, at an age when most women would indeed be "resting on their laurels" she has willingly and uncomplainingly, become mother to a 54 year old child—her sister functions at about a four year old level.

Those of us who have offspring realize that one never stops being a mother, regardless of their ages. Finally, we should all care about every child as much as any good parent would, and be concerned enough to extend ourselves when the occasion arises.

We have routinely offered humorous anecdotes that fall under the heading, "out of the mouths of babes." Children are born stand up comedians but often times, by the time they can actually walk well, the world has rubbed off some of that charming patina of comedy. Eve's daughter-in-law gave her a book for Mother's Day as an expression of appreciation to the woman who had been a "good Mom" to her husband. We think it's probably one of the most charming little volumes you'll ever see. The illustrations are beautiful and the sentiment is pure love. We don't want to spoil your experience of reading it for yourself—it's more than worth the $5 or $6 so this is a just a brief excerpt:

When I'm An Old Lady by, Mary Ann Hopkins:

"When I'm an old lady, I'll live with my son, and make his life happy and filled with such fun.

I want to pay back all the joy he's provided, returning each deed. Oh, he'll be so excited.

...when I'm an old lady and live with my son.

I'll write on the wall with red, white, and blue; and bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.

I'll drink from the carton and then leave it out. I'll stuff all the toilets and oh, he will shout.

...when I'm an old lady and live with my son."

And at the end: "And later, in bed, I'll lay back and sigh, and thank God in prayer and then close my eyes; and my son will look down with a smile slowly creeping, and say with a groan, 'she's so sweet when she's sleeping.' ...when I'm an old lady and live with my son."

We guarantee it will make you smile and put a lump in your throat at the same time….pretty much the way our kids did when they were small!

When Eve's daughter was about 3 years old, she stuffed a handful of raisins up her nose. A hysterical call to the pediatrician was embarrassing, especially when he explained that they would soon get mushy enough to fall out. When EVE asked in an exasperated tone of voice, "Why in the world did you do that," her daughter replied, "To see if they would fit." Recently, someone asked Eve the age of her children. When she explained that they're both grown, the person queried, "Oh, so they're living independently of you?" To which Eve replied, "Actually, my daughter has been living independently of me since she was about three years old!!" Mothers and daughters are a whole other story but if you've never endured one of those epiphanies when you realize your child "has your last marble"—well, that's a moment not soon forgotten!

Eve's daughter wanted to read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (she was working her way through the bookcase) when she was 11. Eve insisted she wait until she was 13. Eve did, however, give her Hot Flashes to read when she was 17 and afterwards asked what she thought. Her daughter said, "It was good—funny. But, I didn't understand that one expression that 'a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Fish don't need bicycles! Ahhhh…"


"There are children born to be children, and others who must mark time till they can take their natural places as adults." Mignon McLaughlin (The Neurotic's Notebook 1963)

Monday, June 7, 2004

Monday is a good day to review our nutrition guide!


This diet is designed to help you cope with the stress that builds up during the day.

1/2 grapefruit
1 slice whole wheat toast
8 oz. skim milk

4 oz. lean broiled chicken breast
1 cup steamed spinach
1 cup herb tea
1 OREO cookie

Mid-afternoon snack
The rest of the OREOS in the package
2 pints Rocky Road ice cream with nuts, cherries and whipped cream
1 jar hot fudge sauce

2 loaves garlic bread
4 cans or 1 large pitcher Coke
1 large sausage, mushroom and cheese pizza
3 Snickers bars

Late Evening News
Entire frozen Sara Lee cheesecake (eaten directly from the freezer)

1. If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories
2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, the diet drink cancels out the calories in the candy bar
3. When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you do not eat more than they do
4. Food used for medicinal purposes NEVER count, such as hot chocolate, toast and Sara Lee Cheesecake
5. If you fatten up everyone else around you, then you look thinner
6. Movie related foods do not have additional calories because they are part of the entertainment package and not part of one's personal fuel. Examples: Milk Duds, buttered popcorn, Junior Mints, Red Hots and Tootsie Rolls
7. Cookie pieces contain no calories. The process of breaking causes caloric leakage
8. Things licked off knives and spoons have no calories if you are in the process of preparing something
9. Foods that have the same color have the same number of calories. Examples are: spinach and pistachio ice cream; mushrooms and potatoes with gravy
10. Chocolate is a universal color and may be substituted for any other food color
11. Anything consumed while standing has no calories. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass
12. Anything consumed from someone else's plate has no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to his/her plate (and we all know how calories love to cling)


"I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I lost is two weeks." Totie Fields


"The first thing I did when I made the decision to kill myself was to stop dieting. Let them dig a wider hole." Gail Parent

Sunday, June 6, 2004


Comfort on difficult days,

Smiles when sadness intrudes,

Rainbows to follow the clouds,

Laughter to kiss your lips,

Sunsets to warm your heart,

Gentle hugs when spirits sag,

Friendships to brighten your being,

Beauty for your eyes to see,

Confidence for when you doubt,

Faith so that you can believe,

Courage to know yourself,

Patience to accept the truth,

And love to complete your life.

I asked the Lord to bless you

As I prayed for you today

To guide you and protect you

As you go along your way....

His love is always with you

His promises are true,

You know He will see us through.

So when the road you're traveling on

Seems difficult at best

God will do the rest.

Have you heard? It's time to let GO, let GOD!



They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry.

They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.

They fight for what they believe in. They stand up for injustice.

They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without new shoes so their children can have them.

They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally.

They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.

They are happy when they hear about a birth or a new marriage.

Their hearts break when a friend dies.

They have sorrow at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all sizes, in all colors and shapes. They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world spin! Women do more than just give birth.

They bring joy and hope.

They give compassion and ideals.

They give moral support to their family and friends. Women have a lot to say and a lot to give.

Saturday, June 5, 2004



Every now and then, a great invention comes along that transforms the world and makes our lives easier, if not better.

The plane, invented a century ago, gave people the freedom to travel anywhere in the world, Meet all kinds of foreigners, and, if necessary, drop bombs on them. It also created the need for large airports, where thousands of passengers could stand in line, waiting for their next flight to be cancelled.

The television, invented some 80 years ago, allowed people to invite a variety of guests into their homes, guests who would inform and entertain them, but unlike real guests, would never expect any food. Some of these guests would even wrestle each other, saving people the trouble of visiting the zoo.

The Internet, invented more recently, gave people the ability to chat with strangers around the world, visit thousands of interesting websites and download pictures of actors and models, while pretending to be working. Yes, thanks to the Net, millions of people with no athletic skill whatsoever have managed to become professional surfers. And not all of them work for the government.

It's no wonder people get excited when they hear rumors of another great invention. They can't help imagining how it might improve their lives: "Perhaps it will allow me to drive my car while taking a nap. Perhaps it will allow my mother to send me delicious food by email. Perhaps it will allow my cat to operate the lawn mower and my dog to do the dishes."

Such wonderment was rampant in recent months with the news that Dean Kamen, a prominent inventor with more than 150 patents, had created something called "Ginger," expected to be more revolutionary than the World Wide Web. Even I was excited. "More revolutionary than the Web?" I asked. "Oh my goodness. What has this great inventor created? Has he helped mankind everywhere by inventing a machine that will warn us, in a reliable way, about any nearby occurrence of PMS? If so, I want to be the first to own it. And if I can't afford it, I want to be the first to steal it. It could be the greatest invention in history, even greater than the nose-hair trimmer."

With the PMS-Detector, I would know when to keep my mouth shut, when to get out of the way, when to hide under the bed. I'd finally feel safe.

But unfortunately Kamen's invention isn't that revolutionary. Though he has revealed little about it, Inside magazine apparently did enough investigating to conclude that "Ginger"  - also known as "IT" - is nothing more than a hydrogen-powered scooter.  What a disappointment, especially to Americans, who couldn't care less about scooters, whether they're hydrogen-powered or hyena-powered.

Scooters are just too small to get Americans excited. The average American has gained 30 pounds in the last few decades and is now large enough to EAT several scooters. And what about all those Americans who don't want to be just average?

Most Americans prefer vehicles that are big enough to haul not just their entire families, but also several sumo wrestlers. Just in case they go to Japan. Never mind that a scooter would be more fuel-efficient. If it can't haul a fat foreigner, what's the use?

So maybe Dean Kamen needs to go back to the drawing board. If he's intent on inventing something that's hydrogen-powered, I'd be willing to invest all my money -- every last penny -- in a hydrogen-powered PMS-Detector.

Even if I had to make all the hydrogen myself.

Friday, June 4, 2004

On This Day in History by Leonard & Thelma Spinrad, states that June 4 "used to be celebrated as Old Maid's Day, which was originated in 1946. It doesn't get much attention any more. This is not a manifestation of a mere alteration in vocabulary to satisfy feminists. It is simply that singleness is no longer regarded as a liability."

What's wrong with that statement? Almost everything. Our culture does not celebrate singleness. We do not embrace the idea that being single is rewarding. There is a subtle, but nevertheless obvious discrimination against individuals who are not married--especially if they are under the age of 60. The term Old Maid was never O.K. unless it referred to the once popular parlor game which emphatically declared the loser as the person who ended the game holding the Old Maid card. Admittedly, we've made some progress in recognizing a person's worth when it is not defined by a spouse. However, it's still far more socially acceptable to be a single man than a single woman. There is obviously no coincidence in the fact that Old Maid's day was designated in a month when weddings and marriage are highlighted. Get a grip world--lots of women are single and loving it! Hooray for them.

Speaking of the rewards of independence, one of our favorite authors, Sue Patton Thoele, who wrote Freedoms After 50, talks about, "Find My Spiritual Home:"

"As women over fifty, we have the right and responsibility to embrace the spirituality that resonates with our hearts while allowing others to follow what speaks to theirs. Each of is empowered to drink from the cup of spirituality that quenches her own thirst."

Consider keeping a "spiritual journey" notebook or writing a brief spiritual autobiography to share with friends and/or family, or to simply provide an outlet for reflections on such a the importance of "satisfying your spiritual longing."

Finally, here are words of wisdom from Alexandra Stoddard's Grace Notes:

"Nothing makes one more tired than just sitting around purposely. That's quite different from sitting in solitude when we can daydream in peace and then spring into action. Our minds need to be occupied not to feel sluggish.

Often unrelated actions or thoughts trigger concentration. Something kicks in, like an energy appliance. The mind is an amazing appliance. Plug it in and it goes."

Often "women of a certain age" get very preoccupied with the way our minds/brains work--or don't seem to work. Some of us are even old enough to remember that not only were we told, "blondes have more fun," we were often admonished that it was "smart" to be a "dumb blonde."

PUUULEEZE on that one. At a particular stage in life it is easy to be distracted by our forgetfulness, an erosion of our ability to do five things at once, or why we walk into a room and then can't remember what we were there to retrieve. Eve's good friend Betty is fond of saying, "Hey, I was this ditzy 30 years ago so why worry?"


Countess of Blessington wrote in1839, "Wit is the lightning of the mind, reason the sunshine, and reflection the moonlight." A beautiful picture of four women in profile, representing approximate ages of 18, 30, 50 and 80, carries the tagline, "The sunset is just as beautiful as the sunrise." The mind is still there; we simply have different perspectives at different times in our lives.

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Eve has been an inveterate reader all her life. Anyone who was ever been "dirt poor" as a child may recall how wonderful an escape could be found in books. Eve's mother worked full time from the time Eve was two years old. Although there were no material possessions for entertainment, Eve's mother understood the potential of the written word to enrich, expand, and enlighten a young child's mind. The library was a tiny place in the living room of an old home and by the time Eve reached middle school she had checked out and read almost every book in the collection.

She now has too many favorite authors to list and is continuously adding new names to the list. One such writer, whom Eve was introduced to just five years ago by a friend she's known since 5th grade, is Anne Lamott.

Anne Lamott is a writer who can beautifully articulate matters both gut wrenching and heartwarming. She is the author of a book listed on the NWI resources page. Bird by Bird is a non-fiction work which is alternately, laugh out loud funny, and lump in the throat agonizing. Ms. Lamott refers to it as "Some Instructions on Writing and Life."

Writing professionally can be a pretty lonely experience according to those who have "been there, done that." In an era when publishing may be more fiercely competitive than it has ever been before, the success of a book can be an exercise in serendipity at best and a remarkably torturous process at worst. Judy Collins wrote in her autobiography, Trust Your Heart that writing "is actually easy, if you are willing to sit down at the typewriter, open a vein and go to work."

One of the most compelling aspects of Bird by Bird is why she chose that name. "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"

No a bad philosophy for living.


"I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of day, was there to read in, or to be read to." Eudora Welty

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Dedicated to Eve's dear, dear friend Jan who has been there, through thick and thin—since fourth grade and will be there Forever. All friends are important and there is something quite special about a friend who has "been there" a long, long time…..someone in the distant past who made a commitment to always be with us and for us….even when separated by geography. We hope you'll consider sending this to someone with whom you share a long history!

Forever Friend

Sometimes in life,
you find a special friend;
Someone who changes your life
just by being part of it.

Someone who makes you laugh
until you can't stop;
Someone who makes you believe
that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces you
that there really is an unlocked door
just waiting for you to open it.
This is Forever Friendship.

When you're down,
and the world seems dark and empty,
Your forever friend lifts you up in spirit
and makes that dark and empty world
suddenly seem bright and full.

Your forever friend gets you through
the hard times, the sad times,
and the confused times.
If you turn and walk away,
your forever friend follows.
If you lose your way,
your forever friend guides you
and cheers you on.
Your forever friend holds your hand
and tells you that
everything is going to be okay.
And if you find such a friend,
you feel happy and complete,
because you need not worry.
You have a forever friend for life,
and forever has no end.

"Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling." Margaret Lee Runbeck

"Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship." Dorothy Parker


You will find a Send to A Friend form on the bottom of this page and we hope you'll consider reminding someone of how much her friendship means to you. If you would like to send a free, electronic greeting card to lots of friends, we offer a large assortment to chose from!

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Carl was a quiet man. He didn't talk much. He would always greet you with a big smile and a firm handshake. Even after living in our neighborhood for over 50 years, no one could really say they knew him very well. Before his retirement, he took the bus to work each morning. The lone sight of him walking down the street often worried us. He had a slight limp from a bullet wound received in WWII. Watching him, we worried that although he had survived WWII, he may not make it through our changing uptown neighborhood with its ever-increasing random violence, gangs, and drug activity. When he saw the flyer at our local church asking for volunteers for caring for the gardens behind the minister's residence, he responded in his characteristically UN-assuming manner. Without fanfare, he just signed up. He was well into his 87th year when the very thing we had always feared finally happened.

He was just finishing his watering for the day when three gang members approached him. ignoring their attempt to intimidate him, he simply asked, "Would you like a drink from the hose?"

The tallest and toughest-looking of the three said, "Yeah, sure", with a malevolent little smile. As Carl offered the hose to him, the other two grabbed Carl's arm, throwing him down. As the hose snaked crazily over the ground, dousing everything in its way, Carl's assailants stole his retirement watch and his wallet, and then fled. Carl tried to get himself up, but he had been thrown down on his bad leg.

He lay there trying to gather himself as the minister came running to help him. Although the minister had witnessed the attack from his window, he couldn't get there fast enough to stop it. "Carl, are you okay? Are you hurt?" the minister kept asking as he helped Carl to his feet. Carl just passed a hand over his brow and sighed, shaking his head. "Just some punk kids. I hope they'll wise-up someday." His wet clothes clung to his slight frame as he bent to pick up the hose. He adjusted the nozzle again and started to water. Confused and a little concerned, the minister asked, "Carl, what are you doing?" "I've got to finish my watering. It's been very dry lately", came the calm reply.

Satisfying himself that Carl really was all right, the minister could only marvel. Carl was a man from a different time and place. A few weeks later the three returned. Just as before their threat was unchallenged. Carl again offered them a drink from his hose. This time they didn't rob him. They wrenched the hose from his hand and drenched him head to foot in the icy water. When they had finished their humiliation of him, they sauntered off down the street, throwing catcalls and curses, falling over one another laughing at the hilarity of what they had just done. Carl just watched them. Then he turned toward the warmth giving sun, picked up his hose, and went on with his watering.

The summer was quickly fading into fall. Carl was doing some tilling when he was startled by the sudden approach of someone behind him. He stumbled and fell into some evergreen branches. As he struggled to regain his footing, he turned to see the tall leader of his summer tormenters reaching down for him. He braced himself for the expected attack. "Don't worry old man, I'm not gonna hurt you this time." The young man spoke softly, still offering the tattooed and scarred hand to Carl. As he helped Carl get up, the man pulled a crumpled bag from his pocket and handed it to Carl.

What's this?" Carl asked. "It's your stuff," the man explained. "It's your stuff back. Even the money in your wallet." "I don't understand," Carl said. "Why would you help me now?" The man shifted his feet, seeming embarrassed and ill at ease. "I learned something from you", he said. "I ran with that gang and hurt people like you. We picked you because you were old and we knew we could do it. But every time we came and did something to you, instead of yelling and fighting back, you tried to give us a drink. You didn't hate us for hating you. You kept showing love against our hate." He stopped for a moment. "I couldn't sleep after we stole your stuff, so here it is back." He paused for another awkward moment, not knowing what more there was to say. "That bag's my way of saying thanks for straightening me out, I guess." And with that, he walked off down the street. Carl looked down at the sack in his hands and gingerly opened it. He took out his retirement watch and put it back on his wrist. Opening his wallet, he checked for his wedding photo. He gazed for a moment at the young bride that still smiled back at him from all those years ago.

He died one cold day after Christmas that winter. Many people attended his funeral in spite of the weather. In particular the minister noticed a tall young man that he didn't know sitting quietly in a distant corner of the church. The minister spoke of Carl's garden as a lesson in life. In a voice made thick with unshed tears, he said, "Do your best and make your garden as beautiful as you can. We will never forget Carl and his garden."

The following spring another flyer went up. It read: "Person needed to care for Carl's garden." The flyer went unnoticed by the busy parishioners until one day when a knock was heard at the minister's office door. Opening the door, the minister saw a pair of scarred and tattooed hands holding the flyer. "I believe this is my job, if you'll have me," the young man said. The minister recognized him as the same young man who had returned the stolen watch and wallet to Carl. He knew that Carl's kindness had turned this man's life around. As the minister handed him the keys to the garden shed, he said, "Yes, go take care of Carl's garden and honor him."

The man went to work and, over the next several years, he tended the flowers and vegetables just as Carl had done. In that time, he went to college, got married, and became a prominent member of the community. But he never forgot his promise to Carl's memory and kept the garden as beautiful as he thought Carl would have kept it. One day he approached the new minister and told him that he couldn't care for the garden any longer. He explained with a shy and happy smile, "My wife just had a baby boy last night, and she's bringing him home on Saturday."

"Well, congratulations!" said the minister, as he was handed the garden shed keys. "That's wonderful! What's the baby's name?" "Carl," he replied.

"So many gods, so many creeds, / So many paths that wind and wind / While just the art of being kind, / Is all the sad world needs." Ella Wheeler Wilcox


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