Tag Archives: Photos (mine)

Daffodil in rainAfter the longest winter ever, our daffodils bloomed Thursday afternoon.


These were taken this morning and something about the rain on the newly emerging daffodils somehow seemed fitting in the aftermath of the stabbings at Franklin Regional High School here in the Pittsburgh area. We don’t know anyone at Franklin Regional, but given its proximity to us (it’s about 40 minutes, give or take), seeing that bright splash of yellow during the last two days was definitely needed.

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” ~ Albert Camus, “The Stranger”

Daffodils emerging

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Some bursts of red and white (in the form of lillies) and blue (as in blueberries), as seen in our garden yesterday evening.

Red lilly 2


Red lilly


White lilly 3 White lilly 2 White lillies White lilly White lillies 2


Blueberries Blueberries 4 Blueberries 3 Blueberries 2


… and, for good measure, some green in the form of transparent apples (I just learned that this is what these are) that may make their way into a pie.

Apples Apples and shed Apples 2


Happy Fourth of July to all who are celebrating!


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Words in Process


We are back from a few days by the ocean and the bay, a few days during which I walked these paths and gazed at these skies I love. As is often the case with the weather at the Jersey shore, the skies were sometimes stormy and sometimes breathtaking within the same few minutes. One never knows what to expect from one second to another and these few days by the ocean were that way.

Writing is like that too, isn’t it? Sometimes, our words surprise us. Our characters find themselves on  roads they (and we) never knew existed.

Despite my best intentions, I only pulled out my novel and notes once during this vacation in preparation for my talk tomorrow evening as part of the Words in Process writers series. I did do a lot of thinking and internal prep work for my remarks.


I hope you will join us tomorrow evening, June 18, beginning at 7 p.m., when I will read from my novel in progress. I will also discuss the world of book blogging and how writers can promoting their work through their blogs. (Keith Campbell’s legendary red velvet cupcakes with chocolate liqueur are rumored to be served.)

Allegory Gallery is located at 139 East Main Street in Ligonier, PA. Hope to see you there! 



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In Philadelphia, You’re a Member of the Family

Philadelphia Eagles head coach
Andy Reid. Photo taken by me at a
charity event in April 2009.  

Philadelphia will always be home. Always. 

~ me on Facebook last week in conversation with my friend Beth K. 

Philadelphia is unlike any other sports town I’ve lived in.

To be fair, up until a year ago Philly was the only sports town I’d lived in.

There is something about the rough and tumble gritty nature of the city. When it comes to our local Philly celebrities, our newscasters, and especially our sports people, we take that brotherly love business to heart.

Not always, mind you. God knows, all one needs to do after a particularly heartbreaking, unfathomable Eagles loss is spend a minute scrolling through the comments on philly.com or on Twitter and you might as well be in the 700 level of the Vet. (Yeah, the Vet.)

We’re cranks and critics as we call  for our coaches’ and owners’ heads to roll, for our taxpayer-funded stadium houses to be cleaned, in post and in haste. We’re content to call the game from our recliners and everyone connected with it every name in the playbook. We’re not an easy bunch to live with.

And then, when a particularly heartbreaking, unfathomable Eagles loss happens, we give you the biggest of bear hugs, cry with you, and call you a member of the family.

We’re a dysfunctional Philadelphia sports family, all right. No doubt about that. Which is why a humid Sunday morning yesterday found us sending Facebook condolences and virtual prayers and calling our own family members and hugging our kids a bit tighter and remembering all too well that we were here once before with our Coach.

With our Coach. Like family.

That there for the grace of God go we.

When news broke that Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid was absent from training camp for the first time since November 2007 and that our players were in a prayer circle, we knew something was very, very wrong. That was not like our Coach. (“How many of these yahoos who otherwise would be calling for Andy Reid’s head can say they’ve missed two days of work in 15 years?” I said to The Husband). We worried. We reacted the same way that we would if we’d gotten a similar call from a family member ourselves.

It’s his health. A heart attack. Or maybe one of the kids. 

You thought the same thing, didn’t you?

Unless you’re a cretin from the 700 level, you did. Because on a day like yesterday, it doesn’t matter anymore what the hell you think about Andy Reid’s coaching or decisions regarding players or clock management.

Because you’re family. And this is Philadelphia.

And that’s a visceral thing here in the very lifeblood of this city. I’ve written about this Philly phenomenon before, about our attachment to local celebrities, particularly our sports people. All one needs to do is look at how beloved our celebrities are – how our city will truly never be the same post-Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas, how we’re still mourning Tug McGraw and Reggie White, how we even rallied around Allan Iverson when his daughter was sick, how we can give a prodigal son’s welcome back to our old friends Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. Bygones them all.  Even sportscasters like Gary Papa become revered, with a “Support for Gary Papa” Facebook group attracting over 14,000 people.

So, what is it? Why are we so connected to our news personalities here in Philadelphia? Does this happen elsewhere? Or is it a unique byproduct of our town, our city of brotherly love?

The answer to that is a whole book, but I think it has to do with this: our connection to our people keeps us connected. It goes back to when families, like mine, ate dinner with the local news and the Phillies on in the background. When families got together to watch the games, win or lose. (Mostly lose.) Our sports and the people in them  keep us connected now in a media age that has become fractured and splintered in the decades since our local treasures first commanded our airwaves.

I think it also has to do with their longevity in this market. Like I said, we’re not an easy bunch to be around for the long haul and those who can make it somehow become more endearing to us. Somehow, their longevity in this media market translates into keeping us connected with our city, our heritage, our roots and our families. It’s a constant in a constantly changing world.

For a generation of Eagles fans, the Andy Reid era is all that they know. Maybe that’s why we’re so passionate, so vocal. Maybe that’s why, despite his faults and ours, we continue to embrace our Coach as we do, year after year. Why we say we’re going elsewhere, that we’re never buying another Eagles jersey ever again, that we’re boycotting the entire season until they win a Super Bowl already.

And maybe that’s the reason why we feel more deeply as we mourn because we know that that connection is symbolic of those we have with the people in our own lives.

There for but the grace of God go I.

Fleeting, gone too soon.

Just like family.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Wrong Kind of Rain

photo taken by me
June 12, 2012

There are times when it feels like I am typing the same things on my friends’ Facebook statuses. 

Will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

My deepest condolences to you and your family.


Thinking of you.

I’ve been writing a lot of these kinds of sentiments. To a childhood friend, who just jetted from one coast to another to say a final goodbye to her father. To another, remembering a sad anniversary and to another, wishing to turn back the clock as she said goodbye to her mother. To a blogging friend, who goes in for a 6 month cancer scan tomorrow. To another, asking if his father was all right in reply to a vague posting.

And that’s not to mention others, the ones with the job losses and precarious family situations and issues concerning children and loved ones.  I can’t keep up; I fear forgetting someone.

In this summer of record drought, it seems at times to be too much of the wrong kind of rain for too many.

“Laugh, when your eyes are burning
Smile, when your heart is filled with pain
Sigh, as you brush away your sorrow
Make a vow, that’s it’s not going to happen again
It’s not right, in one life
Too much rain
You, know the wheels keep turning
Why, do the tears run down your face
We, use to hide away our feelings
But for now, tell yourself it won’t happen again
It’s not right, in one life
Too much rain
It’s too much for anyone, Too hard for anyone
Who wants a happy and peaceful life
You’ve gotta learn to laugh
Smile, when your spinning round and round
Sigh, as you think about tomorrow
Make a vow, that your gonna be happy again
It’s all right, in your life
No more rain ….”
“Too Much Rain” ~ Paul McCartney

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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Lucky Black Cat

Our very lucky (and very well-read) black cat. 

text and photo copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles, If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: At the Flight 93 National Memorial: All That They Left Behind

With family in town for several days, we took a little road trip out to the rural-most parts of Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon, to pay our respects at the Flight 93 National Memorial. 

It was my second time visiting, but the first for the rest of the family. Two things struck me this time: the hot wind blowing over the hills from whence the plane came on its fated path, and the particular mementos that were left tucked in the overhead compartment-like shelf overlooking the final crash sight.

Wristbands. Flowers. Coins (for In God We Trust?) 

And these, stories left behind with them all.

The most poignant one, to me:

“And I know it aches

And your heart, it breaks
You can only take so much
Walk on
Leave it behind
You’ve got to leave it behind
All that you fashion, all that you make
All that you build, all that you break
All that you measure, all that you feel
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason, all that you care
(It’s only time and I’ll never fill up all my mind)
All that you sense, all that you scheme
All you dress up, and all that you see
All you create, all that you wreck
All that you hate.” 
“Walk On” ~ U2

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, click here.

copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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