Awards can give you a tremendous amount of encouragement to keep getting better, no matter how young or old you are.

Thanks, Alan Alda, we agree.  And a megamonstrous shout out to Carol Chepper, blogger at Time for my thoughts, for nominating our blog.



WWWW is doing handsprings.



7 Facts about Patty (there’s more on Patty’s page)

1. As a child I had tons of sugar on my grapefruit. Now I never eat grapefruit. But I DO eat sugar.

2. I used to see a bird and say oh that’s just a little brown bird and not wonder.  Now I see a bird and say oh that’s a little bird bird and I wonder.

3. I’ve never gotten over being left behind with little Jimmy and little Linda (there was not yet a little Susie) while my big sisters Ruthie and Barbara and my big (a few months bigger, for heavens sakes Mum and Dad!!) brother Bobby got to go to Lake Winnipesaukee with my mother and father. Mrs. Jones who I remember as being a termagant of the first order took care of us. She put us out in the yard after  breakfast and kept us out there till lunch, made us take naps, even tho’ we were too old for naps I told her, and fed us scrambled eggs All the Time. I hate eggs now. And I never split up my children on vacations. (I may have almost left one at a Howard Johnson’s once, which may have been what my parents feared would happen if they DID take all 6 kids with them, but, and I’m just realizing this, my mother and father weren’t used to 1. having vacations and 2. going places with each other. Perhaps they didn’t know how one does such things.)

4. I’ve written a book. It’s called Isabel Scheherazade, Storyteller. It was accepted by the editor-in-chief of a reputable publishing house and then the house went under for a while; when it emerged the editor was gone. That is to say, however, the book is pretty good. I love reading it aloud to 4th graders and have revised it piece by piece as a blog that Isabel is supposedly writing. I’m in the process of getting an actual paper and digital copy; right now it exists only on the blog–how avant garde and foolish is that. http://www.isabeltellsherstories.com gets you a good read. Suggestions as to my next step?

5. I taught school for 40 years. Have been married to the same gorgeous man for 46 years. Have 4 children (1 girl and 3 boys) and  wonderful daughters and son-in-law and one fiancee of the last son, as we speak. 6 grandchildren delight me constantly. They are SO smart and SO beautiful and make my heart sing.

6. The day I retired I discovered that Harmon Steiner came over the mountain ever week to teach cello. Now my 1850’s era cello and I take lessons for the first time since I was 17 and it was, well, younger too. I have a cello group to die for. We just had our first gig for the public. Wild. One of our recent pieces was a 4-part harmony of “Game of Thrones.” How good is that.

7. Every week I go birding with Ray, Marie, Ronnie, and Doreen. So much fun! See #2 above.

 7 Facts about Toni ( there’s more on Toni’s Page)

1. As a child, I had a raw yolk in milk and a Hostess Twinkie for breakfast every day.  These days, there’s oatmeal with fruit, nuts, and berries.  Mom needed 13 whites to make an angel food cake. She tinted it pink (with a entire bottle of food coloring) and, on the 14th day, we devoured it.

2. When I was little, I used to see a skunk and think oh it’s such a cute cat and try to catch it.  Now I know better.

3. Unlike Patty and her carload of sibs, I was an only child who was rarely out of the spotlight and never under the eye of any person who wasn’t my mother. Vacations always included a drive to upstate NY, antique stores, stone quarries, and – Are we there yet?!?!? – a room with a cot at Howard Johnson’s motel.

4. I live with my sweetheart in a Connecticut hill town, far from my humble Italian roots. I went to school every year of my life. As both student and teacher, I was equally challenged, terrified, and humbled. Of late, however, I coax blooms from flowers, tinker with kitchen gadgets, and socialize in sweaty gyms. Currently I’m working on my next author bio.

5. I taught school for 30-something years and loved every day of it. Lucky me, being part of all those astonishing young lives, well, it’s flat-out unbelievable.

6. The day I retired I started the search for The Perfect Piano.  I met a besiegingly lovely Young Chang.  When Patty and her cello come to visit, they get me jazzed. It’s a dopamine storm. Ask the man in my house.

7.  A post called Starting Over was selected for Freshly Pressed. Made me swoon ~ THX, WordPress. And then another, Do Try This At Home. I’ve written for journals, magazines, newspapers, and websites, and visited a lot of libraries. Once, they let me be on NPR. Kind of. (Patty actually went to WNPR and recorded a story for a Colin McEnroe show!) If anything amazing like that ever happens again, or I have deep thoughts about umami or tomatoes, I’ll probably tell you. (I also have a blog, MentalCrumbs, where I stash my poetry.) BTW, Patty’s book is on the Isabel Tells Her Stories Blog. Next step, she asks? I say, self publish.  Don’t you all agree?


Our nominees for the VBA are:

Suzie81 Speaks


Thin spiral notebook

Grace Notes

Coruscatingly Cool Writing Blog 

Color the books blog

Paula’s Garden Patch

Tea and Cookies

White On Rice Couple 

Not Quite Old

Mod Meals on Mendenhall 

The Back 40 

Hoskings’s Blog

Silver Birch Press

Rachel and Maya

Only Child Writes Blog

Through a New Lens

Tim Panogos (Millard Fillmore’s Bathbub)


10000 BIRDS: birding, nature, conservation, and the wide,wide world

Birding Ninja


 VBA suggestions for the fave bloggers we nominated ~

Nominate 15 blogs.
Link your nominees’ blogs.

Show the award on your blog.

Thank the person who nominated you.
Share seven facts about yourself.

How cool is that?

tea-party-vintageToni and Patty 2/11/15

What do Isabel Scheherazade and the American Ice Dancer Gold Medalists have in common? Scheherazade: The skaters and the 10-year old Isabel captured the message of the ancient Scheherazade who set the standard for what it means to live from story to story and how those stories can sustain you (a 420 Character, 9-Liner)

Scheherazade music plays for the Gold-Medal Dancers

etching their story in ice.

And we are mesmerized,

sustained by the narrative’s spirals, sit-spins, & twizzles,

which is fitting,

since the original Scheherazade etched her future in the 1001 tales

she spun and twisted to keep herself alive,

just as Isabel Scheherazade is doing now with her sequential stories.*

Inspired by that master-story-catcher of them all.


* (Check out 10-year old Isabel  Scheherazade at isabeltellsherstories.com  Make sure to start with blog entry #1)





Isabel, the 10-year old narrator of her own blog*, continues her story. Here’s Chapter 31 (Is it true? No but it all happened one way or another says Patty) “I Remember a Clothesline Story, and It Somehow Helps Me Get Over It–Whatever It Is.”

isabelcrossleg2If I were going to draw a picture of Mimi, I’d do one of her at the clothesline. She loves hanging out the clothes. A bunch of times now I’ve seen her out there with clothespins in her mouth, humming away.

I haven’t offered to help. I don’t know why. Mom and I used to hang clothes together all the time, but I do like watching Mimi from my dormer window seat up here in my bedroom.  That’s what I’m doing now.

It’s the morning after all the court caper stuff. ** “Caper.”  What a dumb word. Way too jolly for what ended up happening.

I haven’t come down for breakfast yet today just because–just because I’m shy or something. Shy to start talking and stuff with Mimi and Pop.

So, I sit and stare.  And remember.

Mom loved hanging the clothes. In fact, I have this sun-bright memory of something that happened a long time ago, I think even before we had the twins.

If this were a newspaper story, the main headline would be: “Four-Year Old Decides to Run Away.” The smaller print headline–the kind that’s right under the bigger one–would say, “Mother Hears News at Clothesline.”

Here’s what happened.

‘Bye, Mom! I’m running away now.  I have a backpack full of comics. Mom is hanging clothes. I knew where to find her at this time of day because usually we hang the clothes out together. She has two clothespins in her mouth and is stretching to hang my favorite “blankie” on the line. She keeps one hand on the blanket and takes the clothespins out of her mouth while she looks at me.

Okay, Isabel, but first do a little job for me, would you? More clothespins? Under the sink in the mudroom?

I slip my pack off my shoulders and trudge into the mudroom.  I bend over and drag the clothespin bag out from under the sink. My head is full of exciting thoughts. I can’t wait to get going.  Dad ran away when he was four, too.

I hand the bag to Mom.

She smiles at me and adds another pin to my blanket so it won’t blow away.

I stare at the blanket like it’s hypnotizing me. It’s drying fast, I think.  I put one arm through the backpack strap. It’ll be ready for my nap–if I was gonna be here, that is. Which I’m not. I shrug the other strap onto my shoulder and start to turn away.

Isabel? One more little job?  Mom was shaking out my socks. Could you get me the little wooden drying rack? She smiles down at me from over the clothesline. I remember now that her face looked like a full moon peeking over a hill.

I drop my pack again and march back inside. I know where to find the little rack. I loved hanging my socks on it and always put it back in the mudroom closet when the socks were dry.

I daydream. Maybe I’ll cross the big road and go to the drugstore. I could sit on one of the twirling stools and spin around. I could get a sundae with no cherry and no sauce.

I find the little rack right where I put it the last time. I set it up in the sun next to Mom.

Just as I am about to leave, she says, One more little job? I slip my thumbs through the backpack straps, just to let her know this better be the last job. Do you think you would mind hanging the socks before you go? Hmmm? She looks at me.

I shrug and say, Okay, Mom. So, off with the backpack–again!

First, I pull the sock right side out. Then I shake it so the wrinkles smooth.  Last, I drape the sock over the wooden bar so it hangs evenly.  Mom tells me stories while we stand there working together. I am very happy that she’s doing this because I’m beginning to feel a little tired and hungry. I yawn as I curve the last sock over the rod.

Mom sees that I’m about finished. She says, I know! How about this, Isabel? Why don’t we go inside and have a little reading time? With a snack maybe?

I frown. I’m thinking, A little reading time sounds good, but what about the drugstore? 

My Mom was a mind reader. She picks up the empty basket. Better yet, she says while she takes my hand, let’s you and I go to the drug store.  We can sit at the counter while you have a sundae. No cherry? No hot fudge sauce? She checks on how I like that idea. Too tired for that?

Sounds good, I say. And maybe you could read me some of these?  I shake the comics out of the backpack.

 I’ll run away tomorrow–maybe, I murmur to myself.

I jump out of the Way Backseat of my memory and into the Front.

I lean out my window and call down to Mimi, Need help with the socks?

She waves and nods her head.

I’ll get the rack.


* http://isabeltellsherstories.com/2013/01/23/chapter-1-i-am-isabel-scheherazade-storyteller/

** http://isabeltellsherstories.com/2013/04/03/chapter-24-court-caper-part-one-the-beginning-where-i-worry-a-lot-about-what-im-doing/