Monthly Archives: March 2012

Why go out of your way to help?

This early spring weather has taken us by surprise and put me in a tizzy. All of a sudden everyone’s got major yard work to do. So why did two friends from Greenwood, IN, give up an entire spring-cleaning weekend to help me prune, clean and paint? They were so gracious with their time and labor, they left me scratching my head. And a bit choked up at their generosity.

Granted, these lovely people are long-time friends. They join a list of family members who have given their time to help me settle in to my new digs.

Friends Garnet and David donated their weekend to paint my garage and prune my overgrown yard. Why?They have a home and a special event venue with beautiful outdoor acreage. So I asked them ...

But Garnet and David own a home and a special event venue with beautiful outdoor acreage. So I asked them:

“Why give up a perfectly good spring weekend to work at someone else’s house, especially when you’ve got a ton of your own house projects to do?”

“I’ve been struggling with how to put into words something that is so much a matter of the heart,” Garnet wrote in an email. “Then I reread your question …  Continue reading

Is your negative antenna up, too?

When I've got the blues, my negative antenna pops up and the world looks darker.

If you’re a “misery loves company” person this post is for you.

The fact is, I’ve been working for three years to move back to Indiana and now that I’m here I have to reestablish myself, join new organizations and make new friends. It’s all good because I know what I need to do to make me happy. But it’s a process that takes time, and meanwhile, well, I’ve been down this week. When that happens, my “negative antenna” pops up and tunes to station C-R-A-P. Where’s Bobby McFerrin when you need him?

Sitting in my pity pot I have been distracted by so many things that I haven’t been able to write. In fact, my desk work was so pitiful I had to take a few days off for “spring cleaning.” And as I sit at the keyboard today, my mind is mired in muck – senseless killings in Afghanistan, France and Florida, ongoing mood assassinations at home.

I am a “can’t-we-all-just-get-along?” sort of person. We are in Afghanistan to fight the Talaban; a dozen years, thousands lost. We hear progress is being made yet we also hear our soldiers are pissing on corpses, burning the Quran and killing innocent men, women and children. No wonder they want us out. Imagine Continue reading

Love it or lose it: the 5 R’s of spring cleaning

The calendar tells us spring starts next week. Here in the Midwest, it’s already in the air. Of course, it could snow again, but in the meantime, the neighborhood is buzzing with leaf blowers, weed whackers and lawn treaters. And that’s just on the outside. Inside, it’s time for the ancient ritual called spring cleaning. Are you ready? Yes you are and here’s why.

Lucy, you've got some spring cleanin' to do.

You’ve got stuff you don’t use, haven’t seen in years, don’t even know you have. Rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in a year you won’t use it. Get rid of it. You’ll feel better if you do. And I know whereof I speak.

When I moved from Las Cruces, NM to Valparaiso, IN last fall I watched three guys pack box after box of dishes, linens, books and other accumulations into nearly 100 boxes. I’d gotten rid of a bunch of stuff but still had more than 7,720 pounds of “things” that were packed, moved across country, stored and moved again. I’ve moved a half dozen times in about a dozen years and have gotten rid of unused things every time. Remember what George Carlin said about stuff?

” … A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you’re taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody’s got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house … Continue reading


Try to remember or try to forget?

This gallery contains 1 photos.

A glimpse into the large life of one small Naomi Baughman – part 2 of 2 BY KRISTINE SANDRICK Living in Las Cruces gave me the opportunity to meet many interesting people. One in particular was Naomi Baughman … she seemed … Continue reading

Try to remember or try to forget?

A glimpse into the large life of one small Naomi Baughman – part 1


Living in Las Cruces gave me the opportunity to meet many interesting people. One in particular was Naomi Baughman. She kept her long, silver hair swept up in a soft twist, and dressed in classic, tailored attire and gorgeous jewelry. Used a cane to support her slight frame. She seemed glamorous, yet shy and enigmatic. At 90-something she witnessed so much in her lifetime. Yet, when I asked her, she seemed to keep “the good stuff” to herself.

I learned she worked in London during World War II, had lived all over the country and traveled extensively. When we sat down for an interview in May 2011, she had just turned 97.

“My name is Virginia Naomi Curtis Hill Lincoln Brown Baughman,” she said as she began to talk about a life that spanned nearly a century.

She spoke haltingly, even wincing at times as though sorting through a dusty vault of filed memories. The way she did or didn’t or couldn’t answer questions made me wish she’d kept a diary. Throughout her career, she prided herself on finding “the facts” through numbers, but now the facts elude her. She’s sharp for 97, but she … just … can’t … recall …

During her life, she suffered many disappointments including being separated from her siblings at a young age, her parents’ divorce and then two of her own. But “disappointments” is my word. She might have chuckled once or twice during the interview but otherwise showed very little emotion.

Naomi poses in her un-Western garb during the Klamath Falls Rodeo Queen contest, circa 1934.

Risque? “No way.”

She was born to Florence May Curtis and Clifton Roy Hill, May 10, 1914 in Philadelphia. Her sister Marian was 5 years older; Clifton was their younger brother.

When she was 4, the family boarded a train from Philadelphia to Reno, Nevada – 2,600-some-miles – where Mr. Hill, as she called him, took a job as a civil engineer and also taught at the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mackay School of Mines.

“My earliest memory … hmmm. Well, Marian was going to do a balloon dance,” she said. (I mentioned it sounded risqué. She ignored the comment.) Continue reading