Monthly Archives: November 2014

Irma B! Who Are You?


Erma B

I bought this silver bracelet at Clearing House, my mom’s favorite consignment store in Towson, Maryland.

Who would give up such a pretty, simple bracelet?

Surely Irma didn’t sell it herself. Maybe, but I doubt it.

So what family member decided not to keep it? Couldn’t a granddaughter or cousin or niece wear it in Irma’s memory?

Every time I put on the bracelet, I wonder about Irma.

Did she ride horses?  Play the flute?  Bake a great pie?  Shoot skeet? And dare I add, what was her menopause like if she lived that long?

Poor lost abandoned Irma.

I have an idea! One of my daughters can have a daughter and name her Irma B!


The bracelet will be hers! I’ll tie a pink ribbon around it and bring it to the hospital the second I get the news.

Not sure Irma is at the top of Kath or Laura’s list of names, though.

Maybe I’ll have a chance encounter with someone named Irma B. I’ll gallantly remove the bracelet. “Here, please take it,” I’ll say, pressing it onto the new Irma’s wrist.

Perhaps a reader, one of you, will come forward. “My name is Irma B.”

If so, Irma, the bracelet will be in the mail to you tout de suite.

But until that day, I honor Irma, mysterious Irma B, by sporting her name on my wrist.

Erma B

Thanksgiving: The Greatest Thing



Ah. These words shout “Thanksgiving!” louder than a mountain of mashed potatoes or a planet full of pies.

They speak a truth you know as well as I, so I won’t say a word more.

I’ll just wish you the exuberance of your favorite balloon floating over the Macy’s Parade.

Curious George

And thank you for your kindness during a year when I’ve counted my blessings in ways I would never expect.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks Giving Square

Thanks-Giving Square: I snapped these photos last Christmas when we visited daughter Laura in Dallas, Texas. You can learn more about the Thanks-Giving Foundation here.

Curious George over Fifth Avenue: My top balloon choice is George! Read the fascinating (and scary) story of H.A. and Margret Rey, George’s creators here.


I love reading the books and watching the TV show with my best little monkey, my grandson Mazen.

Barbara and Grandson

My Cancer Story: Moms and Apron Strings


Although I’ve cried some buckets since my cancer surgery in July (that story to come!), I never shed a tear before I went into the hospital.

In fact, my eyes only welled up with tears once. The morning after I received the diagnosis, I flew to Baltimore to visit my mom on a trip that had been planned for a month.

I stood at baggage claim. I want to tell Mom.

But I knew I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I didn’t want to drag her through the worry of the surgery and the wait for the pathology report. She’d be too upset.

As soon as I walked into her apartment and the festivities began, I was fine. No way was I going to ruin the fun.

Apron strings. This experience taught me just how strong they are.

I did some digging around, and the expression is usually a negative one.

But not in this case. For me, the airport tears were just a lesson in love.

What about you?

Do you/did you share upsetting news with your mom?

The Fruit Apron:  My mom began collecting old things many years ago. The hand-stitched apron above hangs on a quilt rack in my guest room.

After the surgery, I did tell Mom. “I want to tell you a story,” I said, “and it’s got a happy ending.” She took it fairly well, all in all.

Downsizing: The Recycling Shed (and a Old Factory Candle Giveaway)



When I started my huge downsizing project this summer, my main goal was to keep as much as I could out of the landfill. I’ve done lots of donating and recycling.

But I became frustrated by the stuff that can’t be recycled and is too odd/hard for our local thrift shop to resell.

Enter the Salvage Shed!

Salvage Shed

You drop of your weird stuff, and people swoop it up. My load included a metal sign left by a wayward roofer, a bag of fabric scraps, and the candles above. The metal sign was gone before I even got back to my car.

The shed is part of our county recycling center and was the missing peg in my downsizing puzzle!

Now that my odd assortment of candles is gone, I’m enjoying brand new Old Factory Candles.


The company sent me their creative list of gift set offerings:

New Born Baby

Candle 5
The candles, only sold on Amazon, are made with natural soy wax, self-trimming cotton candle wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each candles burns for twenty hours and comes in a a tidy jar. I chose Winter Wonderland: Hot Cocoa, Roasted Chestnut, and Fresh Snow. Time to gear up for winter! I love how the fragrance lingers after you puff out the candle.
Giveaway:  Old Factory is offering  candles to one Friend for the Ride reader. The winner will choose from the gift sets above. Please leave a comment by December 5 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. only please. Thanks!
Candle 7
Facebook: There’s a FB page for each candle set. Check out the page for Winter Wonderland here.