Sunday, November 25, 2012

Silent Night, Holy Night by Joseph Mohr

This is a beautiful full length movie of the story of the beloved Christmas carol "Silent Night" and Father Joseph Mohr, its composer, filmed on location in Austria. Is is a testament to the power of beautiful music to influence our lives.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Mitt Romney Victory Rally at Patriot Center

I wish you could have been there yesterday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax for the Romney Victory Rally! It was an inspiring day. Mitt Romney is a great man. Our nation is blessed to have him. Ann Romney was there too, beautiful and wonderful. We waited in line for more than an hour and when we finally got into the auditorium, the 7-8 thousand seats were almost filled. The seats soon filled to capacity and when Ann Romney arrived she announced that there were as many people snaked around the building as were inside. All of Virginia's top Republicans were there to introduce Mitt and Ann. America is fortunate to have Mitt Romney willing to serve as our President. He is an inspiring man and all day today millions will be praying for him to become our new President. His family will be a model for the nation. God Bless America forever.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Genealogy on a Wall

Family faces are magic mirrors … we see the past, present and future.

In August 2008, I was visiting a lovely Virginia home and espied this sepia portrait collection arranged upon a wall next to their staircase. So I made a poster with my portrait of their “genealogy wall.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Buttered Eggs Wait for No Man

I really splurged this morning on Fathers' Day breakfast - Old English Buttered Eggs. My neighbor gave me some butter and heavy cream last night as she was going away on vacation. I already had eggs, potatoes and raspberries, so it all went together. She even gave me Mascarpone, something I never use. I spread that on the English muffin. Cliff wouldn't go for it, spreading the butter instead. Mrs. Charles Darwin's recipe for Buttered Eggs is VERY filling!

Time, tide, and buttered eggs wait for no man…”* he must have been thinking, as he began eating before the cook had even seated herself. *John Masefield

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Hardy Begonias

Hardy Begonias

These lovely, seemingly wild flowers begin blooming in September. They thrive in shady spots in the garden or woodland and reseed themselves year after year. I found them at Old Londontown, Maryland, some years ago. They are truly hardy and can tolerate a lot of shade and still bloom. They are supposed to tolerate the cold between zones 6-9, Northern Virginia is zone 7, so they do fine here. They get quite tall, sometimes about three feet if exposed to sunshine. Those in deeper shade stay shorter. They produce bubils so if you don't pull them out of the ground, the clump will get wider every year. They die back to the ground in winter and come up in the spring. During mid-summer they display their begonia leaves. The species name is "Begonia Grandis." Their pink blooms appear at the end of summer. The flowers rise about another six to eight inches over the foilage. This is when the bulbils form. You will find them in the crook where the leaf attaches to the main stem. Let them fall to the ground and you can collect them and scatter about to increase your clump for next year or to transplant.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Mr. Squirrel by Edna Barney
Mr. Squirrel, a photo by Edna Barney on Flickr.
RECIPE: Fried Squirrel and Gravy

1 Squirrel cut into 7 pieces
1 Cup Flour; seasoned with Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Crisco for frying
Chicken Broth

Melt Crisco in cast-iron skillet. Place seasoned flour in a paper bag. Add squirrel to the bag, one or two pieces at a time, and shake to coat with flour. Carefully add squirrel pieces into the hot Crisco and brown on both sides. Reduce heat, cover skillet, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until done. Remove fried squirrel to rack. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth, SLOWLY adding flour from the bag - one tablespoon at a time - while whisking the mixture, until gravy thickens.

Save this recipe so that when Squirrel Week rolls around, April 8th through 14th, you can celebrate again.

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day. May you find yourself surrounded by nuts.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Geraldine 'Geri' Nyman 1920-2011

Geri's full name was Marylene Geraldine Elder Lamphere Nyman.

Geri's Story -- as found at the Beatitudes Campus Blog. April 05, 2011 at 12:00 PM -- IntroductionGeri Nyman, who turns 91 this month, is a Beatitudes Campus resident. She received the Congressional Gold Medal for serving in the U.S. Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASP during World War II. This story originally ran in the Beatitudes Campus Roadrunner Extra! newsletter, a monthly publication "for the residents, by the residents" created by the volunteer Writers' Group.

The commanding officer at Ellington Field in Houston didn’t really know who had been assigned to his base when 25 young women aviators—civilians—reported for training. These experienced lady pilots were some of the best in the country and could fly circles (literally) around their instructors, freshly commissioned lieutenants just out of basic flight training. That in part probably explains the chilly and less than chivalrous reception given these future founding members of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots—the WASP.

Geri Nyman, now a resident at The Beatitudes with her husband Van, was one of that adventurous group. They all had been recruited by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran to join "Wings for Britain," but Cochran finally convinced our military (with the help of Eleanor Roosevelt) that their skills were needed right here in the U. S. Geri tells us what happened when they arrived in Houston.

Finally in 2009 members of the WASP were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor actively and posthumously for their service to our country.

By Geri Nyman, Beatitudes Campus Resident
Twenty-five women from all over the U.S. headed for Houston. For this first class Jackie Cochran had selected members who had lots of flying hours. She said if this first 25 didn’t make it, the whole program would go down the drain. She warned us to expect "bad stuff" in Houston.

Four of us from New York drove to Houston in two cars. We headed for the municipal airport--not Ellington Field which was next door. We would be given $150 a month and had to pay our own room and board. We were told we had to find our own housing. A lot of the girls went into town to a hotel because they had to take a bus or cab to the airport. Eventually the base found an old cattle truck without seats to transport the girls from town. Magda Tacke and I found a nice room in a private home near the field and fortunately had a car to drive back and forth.

Even though we were using the only nonmilitary field in Houston, the brass did not want anyone to know what we were doing. We were to tell anyone who asked that we were a basketball team. With two five footers and three close to six feet, it was truly a comic opera.

Our headquarters were an old shack at the end of the field. That’s where we were to do all our studying and training. If we wanted to eat or go to the bathroom we walked a half mile up to the terminal. They did eventually put in a porta potty for us. In the lunchroom the commanding officer and the instructors would sit in the middle of the room eating their steaks etc. We sat on high stools at high tables eating starchy foods that were really bad. We asked for salads for lunch. So they gave us beans on a lettuce leaf. To show their good humor they gave us brown beans one day and white the next.

One of our girls was a stunt pilot. When she got aboard for her qualifying run her young instructor asked her if she could really fly. She answered, “Do you really want to know?” She took off down the field, turned and flew back over the field upside down, righted and flew straight up in the air until she stalled out. What a performance! The young lieutenant staggered off the plane and vowed he would never get on a plane with one of those wild women again.

We really had a comedy when the PT’s (trainers) arrived. Two of our girls were only five feet tall. Those girls required two pillows tied to their parachute and another pillow to sit on. Otherwise they could not reach the rudder pedals. In January it was so cold in the PT’s that we complained. They brought in several boxes of cast-off winter gear from Ellington. Not a suit was under size 44, and the smallest boot was size 11. If we used the boots we could not feel the rudder.

One day some heavy equipment removed a section of fence between our field and Ellington. They shoved five airplanes through the hole. We couldn’t understand why they didn’t just fly the planes over. I got a call that night from a friend at Ellington who said the planes had been junked when termites were discovered in the wings. If we had complained they would have said we were scared, and it would have been a good way to get rid of us. So we flew them—the “Bamboo Bombers.” We had one minor accident with one plane when its wing gave way. Our girl was o.k., but the male instructor was slightly hurt.

They started a second and a third class and they stayed in a motel downtown for a few weeks and rode back and forth in the old truck with no seats. The Air Force realized this program was going to fly so it was transferred to Sweetwater, Texas to a great facility. We were the only class to graduate from Houston.

Twenty-three of us graduated. (Two dropped out for health reasons.) For the graduation ceremony we each flew a plane over to Ellington next door for the ceremony and formed a half circle around the podium. There we were presented our wings by Jackie Cochran. She had purchased the wings herself as the Air Force still didn’t acknowledge us as real Army Air Force pilots. We had no uniforms but our own tan pants and tan shirts so we at least had something to pin our wings on.

Geri's Hasty Wartime Wedding as found at Beatitudes Blog,

Geri's Obituary 2011