Monday, December 24, 2012


I sit here with a little cat on my lap (making it difficult to type,) but I can’t keep him off for more than a few seconds. Guess he needs some people attention. Maybe I do, too. I guess we share that from time to time. The stereo is on, Christmas carols being sung in Latin, the way I learned them. I do love Christmas music – not the junky Rudolph or Santa stuff, just the classics. I have so many things I want to say yet I promised myself that I would keep this blog positive and upbeat – it’s just that sometimes it is so hard to do that, especially when we are constantly being reminded of one tragedy after another. I tried reading some other blogs for inspiration, but instead I found more sadness and heartbreak. Even the pictures of the happy little grandchildren just brought back the images of those babies just laid to rest in Connecticut. One fellow blogger will be burying her mother this week, and Christmas will never be the same for her. (My heart hurts for you, my friend.) My neighbor is on her way to Florida to bury her mother as I type these words. We buried Aunt Kathryn one year ago – she was more of a mother to me than the woman who gave birth to me (and immediately passed me off to her mother and sister.) I think of the mothers and fathers for whom Christmas will forever remind them of burying their child. And if you have never had to do that, I am here to tell you even 50 years does not erase that memory, that pain. Christmas will always hurt. Always. Sorry, but that is a fact.

I had someone (a regular reader who comments in emails not on the blog) complain that my blogs were never personal; they never told anyone anything about who I really was, what I really felt. He said, “You play your cards very close to your chest,” saying I hid in my gardens and behind the accomplishments of others, praising friends, family, even my cats. Recently he asked what a good Buddhist was doing setting up a crèche in a Baptist church! Well, I don’t see a conflict there anymore than I see any problem wearing my headscarf and slippers when I visit my friends’ mosque to honor their traditions. I no longer feel the need to persuade others to believe as I do, and I honor their beliefs and their right to them. I believe we are judged, whether by God or the Law of Karma, by what is truly in our hearts, and how we treat one another, not the name we use when we think of god, not whether we get dunked, spritzed, head bumped, have smoke waved over us with an eagle feather, or just stand in the sunlight with gratitude in our hearts… judge not lest ye be judged… love thy neighbor… do unto others… Do NO harm.

Right now I am struggling to respect all those fighting about what we must do to prevent another tragedy like Newtown or Columbine from happening again, or tragedies like Tucson, Aurora, VA Tech, or any number of other horrific crimes that make no sense whatsoever. But along with the image of all these little faces I have the image of our President shedding a tear, I mean he has kids and had to think of what it might be like to have to bury his child… but does he care about all the kids our drones kill in the Middle East? Does he shed tears for them? Oops doesn’t quite cover that. Did Bush lose sleep over all the innocent Iraqi children who were killed so he could be a War President? Did McCain think about how many innocent children would die when he advocated bombing Iran if elected? Did it matter? Do we mourn for dead children only if they are “ours,” only if we can see their little faces on TV? You can say we are powerless to save the starving children in Somalia or any other country but we are not powerless against the anonymous drone attacks we seldom hear about. That stuff is kept off American TVs.

Will taking guns away from the cowards who feel they need assault rifles to show that they are Real Men make any difference? The gun used in CT belonged to a woman who felt she had to defend her $24,000 a month alimony payments, I guess, and her huge stock of supplies for when the 99% decide to revolt. I don’t know. I do know the gun shops have made a fortune this week as they have sold out every assault rifle in stock. Oversized ammo clips have now disappeared from the shelves as they were sold out within a couple days, too. So now all the scary people have guns and guns to defend their guns. Wonderful. The boy that did the killing (I refuse to honor his name) had tried to buy his own guns but was refused. So, he did the next easiest thing, he took his mother’s guns, killing her in the process. If she hadn’t had them in the house, those children might still be alive. But, she bought them for “protection.” Didn’t work out too well, did it.

Put armed guards in the schools, they say. Didn’t do any good at Columbine, did it? Arm the teachers, they say. Well, I guess I am glad I am retired, I don’t think I would want to have to carry a gun to class, and I can think of several other teachers who I would not want to be around if they had guns. Funny, I remember when I first started teaching, the boys often carried their guns in the back windows of their pick-up trucks because they had been hunting before school or planned on going as soon as school was over. No one got their panties in a bunch over it. Ah, but times have changed, haven’t they?

Get rid of video games. Get violence off the TV. I would vote for that and I have no doubt that both things contribute to the problem. After all, if you spend hours killing people for relaxation (?) or recreation (?) it seems a small step to doing it for real. We seem to thrive on killing. What’s with that? Can we find no other entertainment but in killing someone or something? One blog advocated that the kids who loved killing on video games get themselves to the nearest recruiter and go to one of the countries where we are currently killing people and get it out of their systems. Having a real bullet coming back at you ought to do something for you. But it seems these big old macho men don’t do well when they look into the faces of those they have killed, if only in their imaginations, as nearly 100% of the GIs that return to the states and then commit suicide have at least one or 2 notches on their gun barrels. I guess it is harder to deal with having really killed someone than they thought it would be.

And then the other thing no one wants to talk about – we are a nation of druggies. No, I am not talking about coke or crack at this moment, I am talking about curing every problem with one drug or another starting with giving our kids antidepressants. No, no one wants to talk about that because chances are the person you are talking to is taking them, too. But, all these kids who committed these atrocities were on various antidepressants. They were medicated because someone deemed them mentally ill. One blogger suggested we lock up everybody who needs drugs in order to function in society. OK. Then our next newest business in this country will be building and staffing these huge institutions. That is assuming we can find enough folks not on some psychotropic (legal or otherwise) to build and staff these places. Then we have those who self-medicate with booze and illegal drugs. Lock them up, too? I tell you, it is going to be lonely around the old hood.

So, now that I have ticked off just about everyone, what is your solution? And please don’t tell me it is all because we don’t have organized prayer in school anymore – no one stops YOU from praying with your kid before he or she leaves for school in the morning – then you will have control over what that prayer says. And isn’t that truly the parent’s responsibility to teach their child, to pass on their religious traditions? Do you want me, a Buddhist, to teach your kid how to pray in school? Do you want my friend, Trish, to teach them to cross themselves and start each prayer with “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” or to add a couple Hail Mary’s to the school day? Would you rather have one of those fundamentalist televangelists (who eventually got caught doing drugs with some boy in a motel room) pray with your child before school? Do we give equal time to the Muslim kid to put his prayer rug on the floor, face Mecca, and recite some passages from the Koran? Oh, you support Israel? Well, don’t try to make those little Jewish kids pray to Jesus. Do you want to use their prayers instead? My last school had a moment of silence for everyone to pray as they chose – as they were taught at home – or to be silent out of respect for those who wanted to pray. Prayer has NOT been taken out of the schools; it has been handed back to the PARENTS to train their kid to pray and not to some stranger to impose their prayer on MY child. Prayer is brought to school every day in the hearts of every child who has been taught to pray by his parents.

How do we change where we seem to be going? Kids killing kids, day care providers coaching 3 year olds to fight one another so they can post it on YouTube, neighborhood “Protectors” shooting kids coming from the corner store... kids and adults spending hours blowing up imaginary people on video games, and the “quiet” crimes, the bankers and politicians, the businessmen who rob the rest of us as they lie and hide their money in Swiss banks or the Caymans. How long can we convince our young men that they’re “fighting for our freedom” by patrolling poppy fields in Afghanistan?

Tomorrow is Christmas, and no, I will not be celebrating it in any traditional way. I will be spending much of the day alone and spending it in serious prayer for Peace, a return to sanity, and a prayer that folks might hear the true words of Jesus – words of love, love thy neighbor, do unto others as you would have them do to you – not do it first so they don’t get to do you… those were the things He taught. Man made up a lot of the rest of the story for power, for ego.

I will be spending part of the day between a couple of churches that will be opening their doors for those who will be struggling with a day that does not necessarily bring joy to them, but a day when they will be struggling to stay clean and sober. I will take my sobriety, serenity, hope and love and give it freely. If there are some who are hungry, I will take them and feed them. Giving someone love and acceptance, understanding and compassion beats the hell out of all those nicely wrapped packages under a tree somewhere. As the old saying goes, What Would Jesus Do? The same thing the Buddha would have done.

May your Day be filled with Love and Peace.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


ON SATURDAY, Dec 15th, 2012, we got our Caroling group together for our 3rd Annual Community Caroling – my effort at getting various members of the community together to sing Christmas Carols in town – folks who get together regardless of their religious backgrounds or church membership. This year the bulk of the singers were from the Onley Baptist Church and St Peter’s Catholic Church. I have to say this, we sounded pretty good! We had a much smaller number this year – colds and the flu seemed to have taken their toll… I have a bad cold myself today, and if I had not been the coordinator for our “Joyful Noise,” I, too, would have stayed home last night. However, the weather cooperated, temps were in the middle 40s, and the rain waited until after midnight. Our first year we had snow on the ground.

After singing, we went back to the Fire Hall and had cookies and hot chocolate. Rose Moore was again in charge of setting up the tables with all the goodies… I LOVE her moose centerpiece. A sincere thanks to all those who went with us to sing and those who stayed behind and set up the tables and made hot chocolate. DSC_2127DSC_2122DSC_2125

2 years ago we sang in the snow. Boy it was cold!  DSCN2843


Do grown ups really need to play with military grade weaponry in the year 2012??

Friday, December 14, 2012


MAJOR FRUSTRATION! For those of you with email addresses that end in, 95% of the mail I am sending to people is bouncing back - and has been for several weeks. I AM NOT IGNORING YOU - Some of you have alternative email addresses, so I am using them... or I am resorting to phone calls. Funny how some folks get all out of joint when they send an email and do not get any reply... Well, folks, maybe their computer died. MAybe they had an emergency and had to leave the state... one best friend's MIL just passed... it is a year since my Aunt Kay left us and I disappeared for 4 days... things happen. Or, your address might end in and I hit reply and 2 days later I got a failure notice... a day late to RSVP. Strange how we have become so dependent on these machines. Anyway, I am hoping if you are one of those folks who doesn't understand why you have not heard from me - well - who knows if your mail is getting thru in this direction either. IF IT IS IMPORTANT - use the phone. Thanks.

Monday, December 10, 2012


Many years ago I made several ceramic crèches, one I gave away, one I sold, and one that got packed up and stashed in my barn where it sat until last year. It once was set up at Zion Baptist Church, but when the pastor, my best friend’s husband, became very ill (and shortly after died of cancer) I brought the set home. In cleaning out one of my barns last year, I found it, or at least most of it… one box is missing containing animals and the angel… and I decided it was time to pass it along to someone who might appreciate it. John Burr is the pastor at the Onley Baptist Church and is a fine man – the kind of man I like to think is a good Christian. If you know me, being called a good Christian is something I seldom do considering some of the other ministers around - but I will not use this space to tattle on them. The crèche – I offered it to John… knowing that I am a Buddhist, I often wondered what he thought, but he was really pleased with it. So we set it up this year. The way I usually set it up is to move the different parts around the church with every one ultimately ending up in Bethlehem. Even the “stable’ does not get built until the next to the last week. DSC_2109

The wise men – or at least a couple of wealthy appearing men and their camels are over on one side of the church. The truth is they never went to Bethlehem anyway, probably never found Jesus until he was over a year old, but, because modern Christmas stories place them at the manger, I at least include them in the parade of folks included in the final scene. Besides, I really have an appreciation for camels, having ridden a few and having watched while they pulled our station wagon out of more than one river we were trying to cross… amazing DSC_2106animals… so I included them. I also have a nice herd of sheep, not all seen here, including one black one, tho whether a black one would have been in the flock of sheep kept just outside Bethlehem, I don’t know. The shepherds would have actually been rabbinical students, and the sheep would have been the sheep they kept near the temple for sacrifice. Each rabbinical student would have served at least a year as a shepherd for this flock having time to pray and contemplate “life” out in the hills overlooking the city. So, I have my little flock moving around.

Not everyone or everything is in this set of pictures… if I have a chance, I will take pictures as the scenes change. I do not have a place to move Mary and Joseph this coming week DSC_2108because of the way the church is laid out – so they will just disappear for now, reappearing on the 23rd. I am not sure what John wants to do with the wisemen… I would explain to the congregation that they really weren’t there… but who knows what he will do. Churches each have their own way of doing the Nativity scene. A friend of mine was a lobster at his when he was a kid. What? You didn’t have a lobstah at your church’s Christmas play? Guess you didn’t live in Maine! Anyway, here is the setting, 2nd week.  DSC_2107When we came in to move things around, we discovered whoever put up the tree moved everything, so Bethlehem got places on a smaller table and the ground (which had been kitty litter) was now a white cloth. Snow? Also, MY interpretation of the wisemen  says they traveled to the East… remember there are several books that were removed from the Bible over the years and they are really worth reading… so I put the wisemen in Egypt for this part of their journey. Even with some really swift camels, they would not make it on time. Their ground was covered with sand, but that got cleaned up. Oh well… it is a messy process.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


The Santa Train was a roaring success again this year. As always, it presented its own set of challenges, but the weather DSC_2065cooperated beautifully with temps right around the 60 degree mark and a perfect sunny day. Last year we nearly froze and the year before that we nearly drowned, so this was awesome! It took a lot of work to get the Station cleaned up – all the tools moved, wood stacked, scaffolds folded and put away, bags of insulation packed in the corner – and then setting the “stage” for Santa, Mrs. Claus and the helpers. Furniture was brought in from storage and cleaned, props brought from home, sheets staples to the walls to hide the tar paper and ancient boards. The “office” had to be emptied of all our work stuff and set up for dispensing hot chocolate, cookies, and popcorn. One of our best Santa helpers and his wife even washed the windows!  Imagine that! (I wonder if she rents him out?) (Thanks Paul and Sharon!)

We got to try out our HVAC system – so of course, the temps went up to 60 – wouldn’t you know it? For the first time ever, we did not blow any fuses (Thanks, Dennis!) so the coffee pots and popcorn machine did not have to take turns! LOL! We had a wonderful crew of volunteers – I cannot say enough about people giving of their time to do all this… the Santa crew and our members. Wanda B made hot chocolate for me this year – bless her heart. That is a never ending job. Frank loans us his coffee pots which then stay in my van waiting for the next event next week. Shore Bank brings their popcorn machine and Susan serves up bags of piping hot popcorn. Yes, I ate some! PNC donates a load of cookies, and the rest of the dozens of cookies come from our various members. I have to admit I ate a couple of them, too – nothing like a good home made chocolate chip cookie. So it is not on my list of things I am allowed – this only happens once a year! DSC_2067  DSC_20681  DSC_2072

The crowd starts to gather and grow… with someone keeping an eye down the tracks. And then the magic moment arrives. After waiting and waiting and looking down the tracks, that tiny light that seemed to never move started to get a little bigger. I don’t know who cheered the hardest, the kids or their parents (or us!)                                                  DSC_2074  DSC_2075  DSC_2079 DSC_2081DSC_2084 Santa and his entourage finally work their way into the building. The long line followed. I bet the chairs felt good. Kids from the tiny to big climb on board and answer such questions as, “Have you been good?” Some of the answers were more honest than others with, “Ummmmm, well, ummmmm, mostly.” Or, “I did my best, honest, Santa, but you know how it is… do you have any little brothers?” It was hard not to crack up. DSC_2082 DSC_2086  DSC_2088  DSC_2092DSC_2085 DSC_2093 Some kids brought a l-o-n-g list, others ad-libbed as they went along. Niall found a scrap of paper, as we were cleaning up on Monday, with some little kid’s wish list on it. It was a modest list, the spelling was pretty good… I wish him well. Most of the kids, after seeing our trains told Santa they wanted trains for Christmas. I can’t wait until next year when we have our layouts built and running. Our members obviously were not having a good time, right? Who is happier?DSC_2070 Finally, a hundred plus kids later, The Santa family head back to the train and the last stop. One of the elves told me they had started out at 4:30 that morning. What a long day! Thanks to all our wonderful workers for helping to make this a success. Its enough to make even me believe in Santa Claus!

Sunday, December 02, 2012


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______________________________________________________________________________ SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION





We are really moving along and 2012 has seen much accomplished in the renovation of our little station.

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The roof is tight and sound. The outside walls are repaired, scraped and the painting is almost finished. The big freight door on the south end of the station was completely rebuilt and turned into two giant shutters with attractive strap hinges. A beautiful set of French doors was installed on the inside of these shutters so when the shutters are open you have a clear view of the southern approaches of the rail line. A new front door was also installed.

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The inside ceiling joists are now set. The attic floor is complete and we are in the process of insulating the ceiling and walls. We hope to be building train tables within the next six months.

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This project is costing a little more than we expected but the town of Onley generously decided to help us finish the project with an additional grant of $5,000. This should be enough to finish the renovations and get the trains up and running, but a method of generating a modest but constant flow of income must be developed.


We have been truly blessed with tremendous support from the community, not only with financial donations but with train donations as well. Attics are being searched and a surprising number of engines and rolling stock as well as track and buildings are making their way to our door step. We plan on repairing and running many of these trains. We plan on running a small repair shop and also allowing the community to bring their favorite trains and run them on our layout for a very small fee.


A summer camp is being discussed where we will teach the history of railroading in America and on the Shore and also teach the older children how to repair, and operate a railroad as well as develop scenery. A child can learn so much building a model railroad. Subjects such as electricity, physics, math and visual arts are all part of developing a layout. We look forward to our years with the children helping them learn to Play with Trains.


We were invited to exhibit at Harvest Festival this year. Although the venue did not have many children present, those that were there found their way to our tent… even those who seemed to have traveled through time!

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We hope to see you at one of our events this coming year. Our meetings are on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7 PM at the Sage in Onley. All are welcome. If you see us working at the Station (usually Saturday mornings) feel free to stop by – or visit us at Thanks for your support!