Archive for the ‘The Waters of Excelsior’ Tag


Recently in a Zoom poetry class at the Waters of Excelsior the instructor, Sheila Augustine. asked us to create a work using the technique called model poetry. Basically it’s a series of questions. The class suggested I should submit mine to the Star Tribune but I discovered their word count limit is 250. The following comes in at a count of 279. So, instead of the Star Tribune I decided to publish it here. Enjoy, I hope!


Should everyone give everyone the things they want themselves?

Would everyone be thrilled, as I was, to be given a nice scotch tape holder when the other            women received perfume?

Would everyone be thoroughly happy as I was to receive a packet of TuLpens for mother’s day?

Should everyone be happy to be appreciated as I was for being their own unique selves?

Doesn’t the golden rule really ask us to respect the essence and value of everyone?

And if we did?

Would everyone expect the sun to rise in the morning over a peaceful world like what      they had fallen asleep in the night before?

Would everyone’s bed be free of rats and vermin?

Would everyone expect enough healthy food every day so they could focus on growing their essence and joy?

Could all children count on the constant, loving care of someone who appreciates and encourages their uniqueness?

Could all children go to a school as clean, stable, and fun as the one in the next town over? With teachers who exult in their successes?

Would house sales and mortgages be based on standard financial rules?

Would all gifts grow out of caring knowledge of the receiver, not TV commercials?

Would everyone feel others fear as their own and do something about it?

Would everyone feel others joy as their own and rejoice in it?

Would “African-American” or “Mexican-American” or “Asian-American” or Native-American” be received with as much respect as “Swedish-American” or “Norwegian-American” or ”Irish-American or Italian-American?”

Would I sleep better and live a longer healthier life if everyone followed the golden rule of respect?

Would you?


YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE   6 comments

When I was eleven years old or so my best friend Hallie and I must have driven my mother crazy at Bay View Beach in Milford Connecticut repeatedly harmonizing to “You are my Sunshine.”

What goes around comes around. Here we are, Rhoda Blake and I keeping six feet of distance on a borrowed balcony at the Waters of Excelsior — harmonizing to “You are my Sunshine.” (Mona on the right)

Definitely not stir crazy — yet.

I’m loving this sequestered opportunity to do what I want to do when I want to do it without external demands. I have to be patient with some things, though. I’m waiting, for example, to hear some word from the editor working on “My Father’s House,” and I need a little more input before I can escort the Nick Spooner book out the door.

But there’s the opportunity to join my across-the-hall neighbors for cocktail (wine) hour from our doorways eight feet apart. And fun surprises like the visit today from a tall and walking pink balloon rabbit delivering a cup of creamy ice cream.

Then, too, I’ve been mastering the art of hosting Zoom meetings so my writers group can get back together.

My life is good. I wish that were true for everyone.

THE WORLD WAR II FEELING        10 comments

I’m pretty sure a piece of me is going to feel embarrassed after I post this, but here goes. I think my father would have approved with that look of “oops. There she goes again.” Anyway …

This morning it suddenly washed over me – that WWII feeling – a warm safe feeling, believe it or not. No, I don’t love war. Yes, I’m ridiculously a pacifist, at least as far as I’ve been tested. But I am old enough to remember my Aunt Esther and Uncle Frank arriving unexpectedly at our kitchen door on a Sunday in December, 1941, to announce that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor? Where’s that? It wasn’t the memory of that mysterious and scary announcement that warmed me this morning. Or the worry about my brother and brother-in-law and cousins or fellow church members off to war. It wasn’t the nighttime trips around the neighborhood with my best friend Hallie to make sure all windows were blackened to the light within, or the ridiculous recollection of us two on a building roof spotting for enemy planes. I couldn’t tell an airplane from a mosquito in flight to say nothing of distinguishing an enemy plane.

It wasn’t the image of gathering by the radio on our nook table – the one that looked like a church front, or maybe by the floor-standing unit in our living room, ingesting the daily news. It wasn’t the careful accounting and saving of ration stamps or storing our weekly purchase of canned foods in the pantry my father built in the basement. It wasn’t the memory of crushing the emptied and cleaned aluminum cans to contribute to the war effort.

No. I can’t verbalize the feeling, but it brings me close to tears. That sense of coming together. Almost a visual image of lots of scattered pieces of metal rushing together to the magnetized center of energy. Do I dare call it love? Togetherness is such a weak word. A rush to join on the same metaphorical path with the whole country. Sure, I was pretty young, and memory is a constantly changing creative process. But the feeling was real. I think it’s happening.

That’s the felling that crept up on me this morning. I have been sure for a long time that out of our current stresses and struggles there is going to emerge a better country, a better world. These are birth pangs, I know. But today I felt it, maybe because of the coming together of those of us who live here at the Waters of Excelsior – isolated in our own apartments, separated physically from each other, joined by so much creative caring, and buttressed by staff and so many outside our walls.  (I confess; my eyes are tearing. Some one of these days I’ll tell the story of how my friend Milt Turbiner helped me overcome that tight-throated Swedish stoicism that once was a virtue.)

That’s it. My confession. So corny, but I feel the love.

Thanks to all.


Yesterday life was quite sweet

Living the rule of six feet

Today at the Waters

We have tighter quarters

Connecting by phone and by tweet

I’M BACK AND SETTLING IN   11 comments

I closed on my town home on August 30th and lived for the month of September with a generous and lovely neighbor across the way. Then I moved two doors down to live with another generous and lovely neighbor for the month of October.

Fortunately, I had thought to remove my passport from my file cabinet before it was stored, because, at my request, my son Doug found a bargain Holland America Line cruise of South America for us to fill up November.

We were home from that for one night at his house — long enough to unpack and pack and head for our Thanksgiving weekend at Cove Point on Lake Superior. Then back to Doug’s to spend several days boxing the stuff I’d stored at his house and the things I’d carried with me through my other two stops.

December 3d finally came. I moved into my apartment at The Waters in Excelsior. What an amazing project with an efficient and caring team of assistants. I love my apartment – Sun all around with lots of windows in a southeast location. I’m still settling in – unpacking, storing, notifying of change of address, searching for things like my lost checks. Three long months of pleasant but tentative living are now behind me. I’m home.

There were, of course, some blips along the way of moving in. My love seat was burned up in a moving van, my weird and therefore favorite lamp was broken, the night table that attaches to the headboard of my bed was damaged. They promise to repair or replace it. (They can’t replace it. It’s a part of the bed.) Oh well.

Now I get to spend a few days here before leaving for Williamsburg, Virginia for the holidays.

Maybe in January I’ll be able to set some of my more serious thoughts down here on my blog, and some reports of the South America trip, which turned out to be much more than a time-killer on the way to my move. Delightful and interesting.

For starters on a travel report, here I am celebrating my birthday (belated by a few days) in Rio De Janeiro.



Since I closed on the sale of my townhome on August 30th, I’ve had a wonderful time living first with my friend and neighbor Jean in the unit across the way, and then Dianne, two units down. Now it’s time to leave here and move in on my son for a few days before we take off for the South American cruise we arranged to help me kill time – and find food and shelter – for another segment of the journey to the Waters of Excelsior. I’ve seen my unit twice, now, the second time to request some modifications. I love my apartment — can hardly wait to move in. But I have to wait for my scheduled move-in day — December 3.

In the process, my life has become a rather disorganized – albeit pleasurable – mess. But I have managed to stay on top of “My Father’s House.” At the suggestion of MaryCarroll Moore in the course I took at Madeline Island, the 900 some pages are being divided into separate books. The first one, with the working title “My Father’s House: Book One – from Tursås, Sweden to Forestville/Bristol Connecticut,” is about 300 pages long. Now I’m looking for people – preferably who don’t know me – to review it before it gets another editing — and then, probably, another. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them, and I’m happy to attach a “Word” copy to someone who’d like to commit to the task/pleasure. This is the time when I need people to be honest in their comments.

A good thing about e-mail is that it follows pretty easily wherever I go. I can even get it sporadically when I’m at sea (literally as well as figuratively.)

My regret is that I haven’t eked out the time to fulfil my middle-of-the night intentions to blog about my hopes and fears for my country and my part in it. In a nutshell, I long for decisions based on hope, compassion, and love. I dread choices based on fear, isolation, and hate. In the sleepless hours I’ve read Olivia Hawker’s “The Ragged Edge of Night.” (I do recommend it.) It’s the story of ordinary German’s working to live, love, survive and thrive in the shattering results of Hitler’s fascism. As bombs drop in the nearby city, and personal destruction threatens, they frequently ask the question, “When could we have acted to stop it?’ I ask the same question now – “How can we stop it?”

Like the characters in the novel, I know I have to work at staying alive, happy, and productive to avoid the potential for inaction and despair as I can’t avoid exposure to political smear tactics. My father and his house saw many terrible periods in our history, but I am sure there wasn’t the desire to destroy those in the opposition even after victory has been won.

So, I wish healthy, productive, and satisfying survival and growth mechanisms for all of us.







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