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Subtitle of this post: Things I Am Not Good At.

If you are a follower of my regular blog, you have heard about my frustration with growing things. And maybe you remember how my grandmother, who shook her head despairingly over my black thumb, could resuscitate totally dead plants into thriving botanical wonders.

I try. Herbs in pots, who could go wrong with that? Here they were in a sunny garden window, last fall. imageimageimage


Here they are now. Oh, bitter day.


My brother gave me a book for Christmas: Urban Gardening for Dummies. And I’ll try it, really I will. But I face the fact that I’ll never be mistaken for a gardener, urban or otherwise. Sorry.


I……….Who, Me?

imageWell, my personal blog, Musings with Marianne, is Me by Me. It is I.

I use my blog to Introduce myself to people I‘ll likely never meet. I talk about things I like, I don’t like, I know, I want to know…..it’s a microcosm of who I am.

I never stop moving on. I can be paused but not stoppedI am Inquisitive. I am Intelligent. I find Inspiration for posts and other life bits all around me. What a world! Tell me more!

I have very few Idols because I have very high standards. I am an All American mutt of many Immigrant forebears whom I discover from time to time in the online world of ancestors and I wonder how much of them I have in me.

I am sitting in my home using three electronic devices to connect to the world….how can I not learn and grow with all that support?

I am a woman, a mother, a grandmother, a sister and a friend. I am part of Infinity. I am happy to be here.

H……Justin Hall




None of us would be doing this Blog Challenge if it weren’t for Justin Hall, acknowledged as the pioneer who started the whole blogging phenom. I never thought about that!

His original, unofficial title is Internet Based Diarist, according to Wikipdia. Justin invented this oversharing of information in 1994, when we barely even had the means to share, much less carpet the online world, with all our personal information. We didn’t even want to! Apparently all he wanted to do was document his life online.

Wow, how’d that work out? Well, by the end of 2011, there were more than 181 million blogs worldwide, up from 36 million in 2006.

More than 6.7 million people publish blogs on blogging websites and 12 million blog on their social networks. Bloggers know no age limits or territorial boundaries. Look at the group we’re blogging with now–we’re everywhere!

Did you know about Justin? I wonder if he’s in The Blog Challenge with us? Look at all the fun he started, however unwittingly! OK, some blogs aren’t fun, but in the 21st Century world, it’s how we share information, whether agreed upon or not.

Thanks, Justin Hall. If you’re out there, let us know how you are and what you think of the A to Z Blog Challenge.

F…… Friend!


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imageAnd FRIEND in the Twenty-First Century isn’t just a noun anymore!  That’s the first thing I thought of when I decided on this topic for the letter F.

Friend is also a verb, thanks to the Facebook phenomenon. You know: you are someone’s NOUN FRIEND when they VERB FRIEND you from their Facebook page. Another evolution in the English language!

I am thinking of noun Friends, though. And how they come in all kinds, from all parts of your life, and become such a piece of who you are. Best of all is that they just keep coming!

I have my Old Friends. Some of them have been with me since childhood–even infancy!– and that’s been a long time! They’re the kids from the neighborhood and the kids from school and even though you are all quite grown and mature now (ahem) you are always kids to each other. Best part of Old Friends: they knew you when, they know you now, they still like you, they are there even when you don’t see them very often, they will always be there, and oh, how you all revert to kid-hood when you’re together!

New Friends are those I have collected since the Old Friend phase described above. Funny how New Friends come in distinct categories and time periods that separate them from Old Friends

New Friends come from college, after marriage, moving to new neighborhoods, having your own kids, work….the Adult Level of Friends. They fulfill different roles from Old Friends.

They only know you in your maturity, whatever that may be. You’re a classmate swapping notes, you’re a neophyte spouse and parent swapping How-To stories, you’re an office colleague swapping work ideas and adding to the team. Your shared experiences are so different–these Friends are adding to different parts of who you are.

Then what? Where do your Friends come from when you’re in that comfortable phase of life when you think you have about all the friends you need? Well, this might be the best part of all. Now you can find Friends everywhere. 

I have Verb Friends now, as well as new Noun Friends. They come from all over the world, in person and virtual. They are all ages, sizes, shapes, colors……amazing! Some I have never met in person–those are the Verb Friends from my online community. Others, my newer Noun Friends, are a most amazing and wonderful group of people just seem to keep coming into my realm when I need them most. These Friends all never cease to add new dimensions to my life. I’m so fortunate to have them.

Keep all your Friends, my Friend. You know who you are!

E….Easter and so much more!


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Today I’m serving Easter with a small side of Passover. It’s a deviation from my original intent, but hey….

Well, our Easter was great, except for the recurring blaze in the oven (we had to post a watch on it) and the bottle of dessert wine that took three grown men, four corkscrews (one didn’t survive)(the corkscrew, not the man) and a final resort to power tools to open. That cork was some beast.

The smoke dissipated when we opened every window in the house and fired up all the ceiling fans. The wine was kind of needed by then. No need to worry….all is well. Return to your homes. Nothing to see here.

What I really wanted to tell was an Easter/Passover tale from my childhood.

I must have been about six. Growing up and going to school in Center City Philadelphia was just the best thing ever….so much to see and do. Like shopping for those great big Easter eggs with mom after school.

Barricini’s Candies was on Walnut Street near Broad, a posh wonderland of the fanciest Easter eggs imaginable. While mom discussed buttercream vs coconut eggs, I browsed amid the display cases. And found Little Girl Heaven!

There was a set of silver color dishes in one case, with silver flatware and….wait for it….silver wine glasses! It even had candy food with it, all in a gift box. I mean, wow! Just like my idol Cinderella probably had in the castle with the prince!

I so wanted it!

It wasn’t like me to wheedle and it wasn’t like mom to just buy me anything I wanted, but I REEEEAAALY wanted those dishes! My brother and I could be Cinderella and the prince with that set! Pleeeease, mom?

She looked at the set, her eyebrows flew up, and she shushed me…..whispering, “No…..you can’t play with that.”

Oooooohhh……why? Please? Yes, we will. We will play with it all the time! Promise!

Long story short, she bought me the cool silver dishes with flatware, goblets, and candy food. And we played Cinderella and the prince for days on end, toasting with those silver goblets and serving the pretend food on those silver plates.

We didn’t eat the candy food, though. It looked kind of weird. But no matter.

Years later, I found out why mom really didn’t want to buy me this great plaything. It wasn’t, as I envisioned, a Cinderella/Castle/Prince toy. It was a Passover toy.

Well, that explained the weird looking candy food. But what six-year-old girl thinks about possible sacrilege, playing Cinderella with religious symbols?

Mom thought about it, of course, but I guess she figured we would be forgiven. And maybe she knew it was a good way to honor both holidays in a childlike way.



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Like most dads, ours knew everything. Really. Just ask the question and you’d have an answer. No, THE answer.

“How come some guys don’t have hair on top of their heads? They only have frames around the sides.”

Well, their heads grew so much they pushed out of their hair.


“What does blood taste like?”



Da….I always called him Da….was the one who taught us great words, like GAZONKSHTAHIGGIN and GESHICKTISS. Translation: thingamajig and yicky, as in “What’s that gazonkshtahiggin in your hand? You’re getting all geshicktiss.”

Da made the best Christmases ever. Christmas started early and ended, reluctantly, after New Year’s. He read the stories and listened to the carols on our little record player with us and always found the best tree.

He was the ruler of a magical empire of model trains, where on state occasions we were invited to enter and watch…..not touch…..the trains that ran round tracks that wound behind the stairs and up the walls and all over the old cellar where he spent so much time creating his masterpieces.

Da was in The War. Everybody was, back then. It was something that had to be done and that was that.

The thing we never expected was that Da would be our only parent for more than forty years. I know he never expected it. Mom suddenly wasn’t there anymore and it was him and four kids, two teenagers and two not even in school yet. It was numbing. For all of us.

But we all kept moving, not always confidently or even on the right foot. That’s how it was.

He was a father, grandfather and great grandfather. He came to graduations and weddings. He sat in a hospital room while his grandson battled a catastrophic illness and conspired with his great grandson to squash Easter peeps–those awful marshmallow chicks–in his chubby little hands. Geshicktiss!

I thought of blogging on Da because I just realized he’s been gone almost ten years. We thought he would be with us forever. It seemed like he was.

It seems like he is.

“C” is for Cop Out


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No, I’m not really Copping out. I don’t feel very Creative. The thing is, I have a Cold and a Cough and I feel like Crap and it’s Cloudy and I’m just bummed. And that’s a B word.

My original plan was to Chat about Cats. My grand-Cats. I have three: two girls and one boy. So bear with me and I’ll tell you a little bit about Callie, Lucy, and Mojo.

Callie is the senior Cat at age eleven. image Never forget that. She doesn’t.

Callie talks all the time…..when she’s available. Most of the time she disdains general interaction with the hot polloi.

Next in seniority is Lucy. imageGotta love black cats. She’s an only-Cat and ok, spoiled a little. I mean, look at her….who could resist that face?

The baby of the family, and the lone boy, is Mojo.image

He is a no-kidding around kitten who tears around terrorizing his sister Callie. He’s the one who zips up to say hi when you come in, and walks you to the door when you leave. He likes Computer games, which turns out well for his dad, my human grandson.

The best thing about these Charming Cats is that they are all rescues. Chosen by their families. Cosseted, Cared for, Cherished, and loved. Loved, above all.

I feel better now.

“B” is for……BASEBALL!


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image image   Today’s featured letter is B! How appropriate that Baseball season opens this month and Baseball is a sport I can actually follow and almost completely understand! So my blog post for B will focus on The Great American Pastime and how I came to know it.

Baseball formed the background noise of so many lazy summer days when I was a kid. Windows open, fans droning, hot city streets outside, everybody just sitting around……and the little Bakelite Westinghouse radio on the shelf crackling with the nasal voices of Byrum Saam and Bill Campbell calling the play by play. Richie Ashburn, Del Ennis, Robin Roberts…….Yeh, I know them.

What was really special was if dad and some of his buddies got together for a game in the street. Oboy, dad’s playing baseball! He made a hit! Hey, dad!

My longest association with baseball came many years later when my son was in Little League. He played for ten years, all the way to American Legion ball, and was a really good natural athlete. His nickname was The Vacuum Cleaner……nothing got past him at first or third base.

There were times when my enthusiasm outran my knowledge of the game. Like when I heard the “clunk” of the bat on the ball and leaped up, yelling, “Run, Michael! Runnnnn! Runrunrun…..!”, only to be admonished by my dad. “It’s a foul ball.” Well, okay, then. Fortunately for Mike, he knew not to run.

We still spend hot, lazy summer days listening to baseball. Only now we use a 21st century electronic device to tune in. And I still don’t grasp some of the fine points, like The Infield Fly Rule and the Pace of Play rules. But you don’t need to know that stuff to lean back and listen to the play by play, let it wash over your memory, and take you out–take you back–to the old ballgame.


Blogging A to Z Challenge!




Today’s post features the letter “A”



Angst! Anxiety! Apprehension! Aaaaaaaauuuuuuggggghhhhhh!


Wow, did I really commit to blogging my way through the alphabet? All twenty-six letters? Daily (except Sundays) for the entire month of April?

Yeppers. Looks like I did. So yes, I’m feeling all of those “A” words describing panic. And also feeling like the man…..or whatever it is….in Munch’s painting.

Ever experienced the phenomenon in which you can come up with a whole slew of ideas you would like to blog on? I mean, they just pop up like dandelions on a summer lawn. You’re on fire! Can’t wait to get online and get to it! Yeh!

Then when you MUST come up with an idea…..you blank. Got nothin’. OMG. Imminent failure. What do I know about anything, anything AT ALL, that begins with [fill in the letter!]?

Well, I can’t wait to find out!

Fortunately, the Alphabet posts don’t have to be long. Be back tomorrow to Blunder through something B.

You’ll get used to me.