A Multi-purpose Word


Usually I look up the history of the daily prompt, but I’m short on time today.

This word can mean so many things, from that which is deeply personal to matters of the nation and the world.

Safety, Protection. Something which is secure is safely moored, locked, resistant to breaching.

It is very important in my work that the clients I see know that their personal information is secure with me—that I will not reveal to anyone at all what they tell me without their signed consent; or unless I believe they are a threat to themselves or others. I know thousands of secrets. I try my best to forget them 🙂

We have a strongbox. It wouldn’t be hard for a knowledgeable thief to breach the lock, but we have a couple of fail-safes on it. Security for our important papers and other documents.

I think little kids, more than anyone else, need to feel this sense of safety and security. When one of my granddaughter was only three, I remember her confidently climbing up on her daddy’s lap and snuggling in. I love that. She knew where her security was.

I remember just the simple act of my dad telling me, “Hold my hand, Linda,” as we navigated a busy downtown street. You bet I held his hand. Didn’t ever want to let go.

Here in America, we are used to the security of two very big oceans on either coast. What we forget, sometimes, is that they aren’t as big as they were before digital technology shrunk our world. I think a whole lot of us lost that sense of security when the Twin Towers fell so many years ago. Long before that, there were both German and Japanese submarines lurking off our coasts, and most of us never knew it. Pearl Harbor certainly shook our sense of security. And long before that, the horror of our Civil War made us understand that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Well. See how easy it is for me to go into teacher mode? I have to leave, though, so I’m done 🙂

RDP: Security


House Keys and Musical Keys

RDP Monday: KEY

Meaning: “instrument for opening locks,” Middle English keie, from Old English cæg “metal piece that works a lock, key” literal and… See more definitions.


My sister and I were latchkey kids long before that was a thing. We wore our house keys on strings around our necks, and used them to get into the house before Mom and Dad came home from work. We never felt anything was unusual about that. It’s just the way it was. This picture is very similar to the key I remember using:

Image result for key

There are so many different usages of the word key  that   it would take way too long to mention them all. But the first thing I think of when I see the word is musical keys. The key for a piece of music determines which scale is used to compose it; each key has its own number of sharps or flats; and you can compose it a major key or a minor key. What’s the difference? The easiest way to describe it is that a minor key has a somewhat sad feeling about it. That, of course, way over-simplified, but it will do for my purposes.

I used a couple of beginner piano books to teach myself to read music, and I was always fascinated by the difference one single note made in a scale if you played it, for instance, as E Flat instead of E.

I just took a quick cruise through You Tube, where you can learn to do almost anything you can think of. Sure enough, there are lessons on scales and chords and all sorts of other musical things.

Too bad no one had invented in the internet back when I was a kid. Where was Al Gore when I needed him? 🙂

RDP: Key

Mixing Colors


Meaning: “skin color, complexion,” from Anglo-French culur, coulour, Old French color “color, complexion, appearance” (Modern French… See more definitions.


Image result for many people, all different colors

Wonderopolis.org says: “There are no people who actually have true black, white, red, or yellow skin. These are commonly used color terms that do not reflect biological reality. Skin color is due primarily to the presence of a pigment called melanin , which is controlled by at least 6 genes.”

I remember, as a very young child, looking at the skin colors in my own family, and wondering why they were all different. The most noticeable difference was in my little brother, who had very pale skin, big blue eyes, white blond hair. Mom and Dad both had brown eyes, different shades; my sister has blue eyes. With two brown-eyed parents, I was the only one of the three of us children who got their brown eyes. My sister’s skin is quite fair; I tanned easily but still have what is classified as fair skin, just a little less pale than my sister’s.

All of this fascinated me, and I started paying more attention to other people. Siblings, their parents. People who were of different nationalities, but had skin, hair and eyes like mine. All the different hair- and eye-color combinations. As I grew older, I began to be curious about obvious combinations of so-called white traits with other nationality traits. White skin, dark curly hair, liquid brown eyes. Sometimes a slant of the eyes that was different from what I was accustomed to seeing. I loved the glossy, black hair a Chinese friend of mine had, way back in second or third grade.

How did all these differences happen?

And then, in high school, I took biology. We studied genes, and learned that their are dominant and recessive genes. Brown eyes, for instance, are dominant to blue eyes. So what happened in my family? Obviously, both my parents had a recessive blue eye gene, and they got together for my sister and brother. Since all my four of my children have brown eyes and Terry’s are blue/grey, I’m guessing that I got both my parents’ dominant brown eye genes. But apparently my four kids got a recessive blue, because only two of my nine grandchildren got brown eyes. Their moms all have shades of blue.

Isn’t all that interesting? I’m still fascinated by the whole topic.

The more international travel, jobs, general contact there is among different races, nationalities—the more genetic mixing there is, and the harder it will become to figure out origins.

The bottom line, though, is that we all bleed red.

RDP: Color

Lost and Scared!

RDP Saturday: LOST

Old English losian ‘perish, destroy’, also ‘become unable to find’, from los‘loss’.

The last time I remember being lost was about five or six years ago. I’d had to go to the courthouse in Doylestown in relation to a client who is now in prison, probably for life. The whole thing was horrifying, and then I got lost. On foot. In the winter.

I had been directed to a parking lot that was free, and was described as “close, convenient to the courthouse, easy to access.”

None of that was true. However, I was determined to follow through, so I found the parking lot, locked up my car, and started the uphill trek to the county courthouse. Several blocks later, I was finally there. I’d been keeping careful track of where I’d been, noting landmarks and street names to help me find my way back.

Image result for Doylestown County Courthouse

It was February or March, and it didn’t look this pretty. Bleak. Cold. But I was there.

After my interview was over, I bundled up again and started to walk back downhill to the parking lot. I recognized street names and felt fairly confident, but once I reached the bottom of the hill and looked around, there was no parking lot in sight.

Icy cold terror seeped under my coat. There was no one around. It was NOT a part of town a woman should be in, alone and lost. I did the thing that came most naturally. I prayed. “Lord, I’m in a mess here. Could you please send someone to help me, or point me in the right direction? It’s starting to get dark, and I’m lost and terrified. Thank you, Father.

I stood on a corner, assessing my location and trying to figure out where I went wrong. As I stood there, undecided, an older man walked up to me. He was dressed warmly and well, and I felt no fear.

“Are you looking for something?” His voice was rich, totally unexpected from a man his age.

“Yes. Can you point me to the parking lot that’s reserved for the County Courthouse? My car is there, and I missed my turn somewhere along the walk down from the courthouse.”

“Of course. You’re really not that far off track. Come with me.”

Even though he seemed perfectly harmless, my heart was hammering and I began to try to plan what to do if his intentions were not good.

I had nothing to worry about. Only two block—long, cold blocks—from where he had approached me, there was the parking lot. I turned to thank him, but he was already walking away, and acknowledged my “Thank you SO MUCH!” with a wave of his hand.

“And thank You, Lord, for sending one of Your angels to help me,” I said out loud. Was he an angel? Didn’t matter. I believe with all my heart that God sent him to me.

I’d never been so thankful to be in my car, warm, and on my way home.

RDP: Lost

Low Bridge


Image result for Erie Canal near Easton, PA

It’s been a long time ago, and my memory dims, but one excursion we made with some of our grandkids was to see some of the Erie Canal near Easton, PA. They have a wonderful museum, and they even have people dressed in period costume, leading mules on the towpath. The kids loved it, and of course they really loved getting on the canal boat for a float down the canal.

Image result for Erie Canal near Easton, PA

Along the way, I taught them this old song:

It was a fun and interesting day, to drift back into the past and visit the lockkeepers house, walk the trail, ride the boat, and enjoy the museum. If you live nearby and you’ve never visited, you really should.

RDP: Canal

Spread Out your Hair!


flare (v.) 1540s, “spread out” (hair), of unknown origin, perhaps from Scandinavian or from Dutch vlederen. Meaning “shine out with a sudden light” is from 1630s …

(It’s been a while since I was here. Things I had to tend to for work and at home, and for a class I teach at a homeschool co-op on the Constitution and Current Events. Beside all that, I’ve been fighting a sinus something or other, laryngitis, and of course my ever-present back issues. It hasn’t been a terribly happy break, but I’m glad to say I think things are slowly going back to normal.)

I thought about this shampoo commercial when I read the first definition of flare: 

Selena Gomez in Pantene commercial

Wouldn’t it be nice if just using some shampoo would give us all that kind of hair? Nope. Won’t happen. You’re born with it, or you’re not. You learn to make the best of what you have 🙂

RDP: Flare

Immersed in What You Love

RDP Wednesday – IMMERSE

early 17th century: from Latin immers- ‘dipped into’, from the verb immergere, from in- ‘in’ + mergere ‘to dip’.


Immersion can be very, very good or very, very bad.

When I first learned to swim, I also learned to watch where certain other people were in the pool. If I couldn’t see them, I hightailed it to the side of the pool and watched. At least that way I had something to hold on to that would keep me from being held under the water until I was terrified.

If you really think it’s fun to dunk someone, then go ahead and help yourself, but don’t hold anyone under the water. It isn’t nice. It isn’t fun for the one who is drowning. And it makes you a bully.

On the other hand, being immersed in something you love is a pure delight.

When I first learned the art of quilting, it was all I wanted to do. I remember feeling the same way about other needle arts. Knitting is probably my favorite. There was a time when I always had something in process. Not so much now, because of arthritic pain in hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Life changes, whether you want it to or not.

So I’m immersed in books. I guess I always have been, really, but now more than ever.

Immerse yourself in something you love, whether that is a person, people, family, work, hobby, exercise, etc. But be careful, because anything can be taken to an unhealthy extreme.

RDP: Immerse

Happy Birthday!

RDP Monday: Marble

Middle English: via Old French (variant of marbre ), from Latin marmor, from Greek marmaros ‘shining stone’, associated with marmairein ‘to shine’.


One of my sons always asked for Marble Cake for his birthday, only he called it “Narble Cake,” until he was maybe eight or nine. We always thought it was cute, and were a bit disappointed when he started getting it right.

Image result for Marble Cake

I don’t know which he enjoyed more–the finished product, or helping me do the marbling:

Image result for Marble Cake

He loved cutting the knife through the batter and make designs. I was always watchful that he didn’t overmix it and ruin the contrast. And of course, I topped it with rich fudge frosting, and served it with a scoop of ice cream.

Those were fun days.

RDP: Marble

A Serendipity

RDP Tuesday – collection

Image result for collection of ceramic birds

My mom had a collection of ceramic birds. She loved all sorts, but was particularly fond of hummingbirds. Of course, once the people in the churches my dad pastored discovered her love of birds, she was given all sorts of them as gifts. At first she was delighted, but after a while, there was just no more space for them all. She had one, though, that she loved more than all the rest because my dad got it for her. It was truly beautiful. I can’t remember what kind of birds, but the figurine was white, and it was truly lovely.

After she died, there was the chore of boxing up all her things and disposing of them in different ways. Someone, I don’t know who, must have taken a box of her birds to a local antique shop.

One day, my niece who lives in the same area as my mom had lived was shopping. She went into the antique store, just poking around to see if there was anything she liked, and she suddenly saw my mom’s favorite ceramic bird sitting there. She bought it on the spot. Later, she said that she had always wondered what happened to that bird. She and my mom had a special tie, and it seems to me she had asked my mom for that particular bird.

We’ll never know the whole story. When you have many hands helping, sometimes things get overlooked and/or under-valued. In any case, my niece was so excited to find that particular bird that she could hardly wait to get it home and let everyone know she had found it.

I have a collection of teapots, and a small collection of dolls. I love them all, never tire of their beauty. Someday, my female relatives will be left with the chore of “what to do with Mom’s/Grandma’s collection.” It is sad that the things we treasure often have little appeal or value to the following generations.

RDP: Collection

Rivers of My Life

RDP Saturday: RIVER


I was born in Colorado. Water is precious there, and I remember the irrigation ditches that were common in every neighborhood on the Western Slope. I also remember the Colorado River that rushed past as we drove in the opposite direction. It always seemed we were within inches of falling in 🙂

The river is quite peaceful here. Other places, not so much.

Image result for Colorado River near Grand Junction

Then we moved to Minnesota, and the Mighty Mississippi colored the landscape. It started as a trickle up north in Itasca, and broadened quickly to accommodate transportation and industry.

This is Minnehaha Falls on the Mississippi:

Image result for Mississippi River in Minneapolis

Minnehaha  means laughing waters;  Mississippi means Big River.

Then we moved to Portland Oregon, which I absolutely loved. No mosquitoes. And the mighty Columbia River met with the Willamette there. Some of the most gorgeous scenery imaginable. The Willamette is actually a tributary of the Columbia, and they meet rather gently in this photo at Kelly Point Park:

Image result for meeting of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Oregon

Now we’re in Pennsylvania, where there are lots of rivers and creeks, but very few lakes. Most of the lakes are man-made, which still seems strange to me after all these years living here. Growing up in the Land of 10,000 lakes gets a person used to always having a lake nearby.

The most well-known river in our part of the state is the Schuylkill, which is always busy with water sports and industrial commerce.

Image result for Schuylkill River

RDP: River