I wrote a blog a few months ago when I first started using Facebook. I wrote about how disappointed I was because I didn’t feel as ‘connected’ after joining Facebook as I had hoped.

I realize now that my problem was that I didn’t really understand Facebook and had unrealistic expectations. My friends had told me that they felt much more connected and less isolated on Facebook. I assumed they were talking about emotional connection. So I naïvely expected to become more involved with my Facebook friends lives. To me, that meant regular comments, back and forth about our families, careers or hobbies, etc. I envisioned something more like texting, but with a wider range of people. I said I was naïve.


That’s how it may work for some people, millennials in particular. But my ‘friends’ are mostly in the Baby Boomer demographic. Some people post vacation photos or the odd family photo or announcement. Some even post about a particularly memorable meal. I see some cat and dog videos and photos and many wonderful humor posts. But mostly I get articles. And most of these are ‘political’ news items.

I’ve now developed a more realistic relationship with Facebook. I read it to find articles I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. I truly appreciate that. I also enjoy the comments my ‘friends’ make about the pieces, although I don’t usually read through the endless comments and rants written by strangers.

I particularly like the Facebook feature that tells me when someone has liked, commented on or shared an article that I have shared or posted. It is very gratifying to get a ‘like’ or a ‘share’ from someone. It’s like having a conversation about the piece and agreeing (or respectfully disagreeing) in that wonderfully bonding way. That actually does make me feel ‘connected’ on an intellectual level.


One of the major criticisms of Facebook is that you only talk to like-minded people. For me, that’s a plus. I read actual newspapers so I’m exposed to plenty of opposing views. I don’t need Facebook for that. But for those who rely solely on Facebook news, the lack of divergent views and ‘facts’ is a serious problem. On the other hand, I don’t understand why anyone would use Facebook as their primary news source. It’s content is fairly random and it is not designed to be comprehensive or unbiased, like a newspaper.

Now that I understand Facebook’s limitations and have adjusted my expectations, I am a big Facebook fan. I have interesting and intelligent Facebook ‘friends’. So I get to see a lot of fun, interesting, funny and informative things that I otherwise would have missed. I also get to share things that I find interesting – mostly articles from reputable news sources and funny videos and photos. And I get to learn about other people’s pet issues, just as they get to learn about mine.

I’m not really more involved in anyone’s life, but I am sharing mutually enjoyable content. It’s not what I went in hoping for. But Facebook has added an unexpected dimension to my life. For that I say, “Thank you, Facebook!”


At least in New England, January has the most unpredictable weather patterns of the year. In theory, it’s the deepest of the deep winter months. This is when the icy grip of Jack Frost has his fingers around our collective heart … except … when he doesn’t. Because there’s this thing we call “The January Thaw” when it gets springtime warm, often just after we get a foot or more of snow.

I started SERENDIPITY in February 2012, so my first January was 2013.


Sometimes, January is a month of blizzards. Others, it’s dry. Sunny. Maybe cold, maybe not.


Last January, we were in Arizona … which has got to be the nicest weather they get all year, or at least it feels that way to we who come from more northern climes.



And although the month is just halfway done …



A Photo a Week Challenge: Good Times

I added some calliope music for the calliope enthusiasts (I am one!) and those who have never had the pleasure of hearing a real, old-fashioned steam calliope. Enjoy!



There is no music that makes me as nostalgic as a steam calliope. There are so few working calliopes remaining anywhere … if you get a chance to spend some time with one, don’t miss it! And if you play a keyboard, playing a calliope is just something else!


Be Delightful, by Rich Paschall

If you live anywhere in the United States, except the extreme southern portions, you will eventually get your share of winter weather.  The further north you live, the worse it is likely to be.  Here in the upper Midwest, we are likely to get a lot of snow and much sub freezing weather.  Some years we get a lot of subzero weather when I can look forward to the possibility of the pipes to the kitchen sink freezing.  It is somewhat less than joyful to discover the water does not run in the kitchen.

During my many years in Chicago land,  we have enjoyed some of the biggest snowfalls ever.  By enjoyed, I mean we were all stranded somewhere.  Hopefully, you made it home before the snow got too deep.  In 1967 as a youngster, I thought it was fun to have over two feet of snow.  School was cancelled and we got dig out cars and play in the street.  We could walk right down the center of usually busy Irving Park Road (Illinois 19) and not worry about traffic.  Buses were stranded everywhere as they were connected to overhead electric wires and could not get around stalled cars and snow drifts.

January 1967 Pulaski and Irving

January 1967 – Pulaski and Irving Park Road

By the Blizzard of 1979 we were not as amused with the snow as we were at a younger age.  In fact, it was the storm that pushed Mayor Bilandic out of office.  We can forgive almost any sin in this town except not moving the snow.  If he had not insisted the city was on top of the situation as the blizzard was raging on, he might have survived the poor effort. Like the snow in a soft storm, Bilandic was pushed to the curb in the following election.

We did not have another great blizzard until 2011, but we have had plenty of large snowfalls before and since.  I have done enough snow shoveling for a lifetime.  If you are lucky enough to have a snow blower, you learn they are not much good when you start measuring the snow in feet instead of inches.

February 1, 2015

February 1, 2015

Recently at work we heard that there was a state of emergency in the Atlanta area as they expected 1 to 4 inches of snow.  One to Four!  Of course we were all amused that they had to shut everything down over an amount of snow we would consider practically nothing.  On the other hand, they do not have mountains of road salt, a fleet of snow plows and an army of city workers prepared for even the smallest of snowfalls.  If the Department of Streets and Sanitation does not move our snow in a timely manner, the mayor will be the ex-mayor after the next election.

One year we decided to escape the winter with a week in Florida.  That was also the year that Florida did not escape the winter.  Everywhere we went from Orlando to the southernmost reaches of the state, we heard the locals swear to us that they NEVER have an entire week of weather like that.  Even Mickey Mouse must have gotten giant ear muffs for his mouse ears.

At least we had the beaches to ourselves.  From Clearwater to Sarasota and Miami to Key West, we did not have to fight crowds of locals and tourists for a spot in the sand.  Only the seagulls were walking around.  Perhaps it was too cold for flight.

Florida in January?

Florida in January?

Perhaps there just is no escaping Mother Nature.  If she so desires, she can stalk you around the continental USA like the merchant of evil she can sometime be.  Winter vacation in Florida is no guarantee of warmth.  When it is barely warmer than 1300 miles to the north, you are being advised that you should have stayed home.

So if the cold and the snow has overtaken your area, what should you do besides fret about the accumulations outside?  Aside from clearing a path in the snow, it may be time for a snowman, snow fort and snow ball fight.  It could be the time to get out the sled or toboggan.  You may wish to lace up the ice skates if you can actually get to the ice rink.

At this point in life, I can recall all those things fondly, but would rather delight in the inside of the house.  After all, there are so many things I consistently delay, a snow day or two would seem like a great time to start.  I have accumulated many books over the years that I have intended to read.  It would seem that not being able to go to the Wild West Sports Bar and Grill should not be so troubling.  I can always start one of the mysteries on hand or dive into the John Adams biography.

This January, I have continued my quest to watch all of the James Bond movies in order. I am now on the Daniel Craig films and have just one more to go. There are other DVDs I have had for a long while that I would like to watch, or watch again.  When the thermometer shows Zero degrees or the snow is piling up, the fire can be so delightful.  If you have a fireplace, that is.  Otherwise, just get a warm blanket.


Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: January 13, 2017

It’s getting very hard to figure out what’s odd and what not. I went out today to find some interesting and maybe odd pictures. I found some very pretty things, but I’m not sure how odd they are. So … anyway … these are as strange as I could work out.

Toys in the basket!

Toys in the basket!

Froggy survived the snow and is happy to be out from under that white stuff

Froggy survived the snow and is happy to be out from under that white stuff

Garry introduced little Bear to Gibbs

Garry introduces little Bear to Gibbs

It's ... GIBBS!

It’s … GIBBS!



A few years ago when I looked a bit less decrepit than I do these days, I was in the post office. Minding my own business. Waiting in line to mail a package. When out of nowhere swoops in one of our grander dames of the valley. Those were the years when they were building McMansions and asking insanely high prices in hopes that we’d get some of the wealthy carriage-set professionals to move to our neighborhood.

You couldn’t miss them: these were people who went to the grocery store in high heels and makeup. They were clearly a new invasive species. This one was after me.


“Is that your car in the handicapped space?”


“You don’t look handicapped.”

My jaw flapped open. “I don’t suppose you noticed the handicapped placard hanging from the mirror?”

“No, I was looking for a licence plate.”

“Well, surprise, lady. Most people don’t get the licence plate so they can take their pass with them into any car in which they are riding. And who the hell are you to judge me? You got x-ray vision?” I sputtered to a conclusion and she sputtered out. Apparently her “business” at the post office could wait.

We’ve had another memorable incident during which we (really, my son … I was supervising) were moving rocks from an old stone wall deep in the woods where it probably marked the edge of a field, maybe a hundred years ago. We were building a rock garden. A newly arrived “local” pulled up into our driveway and proceeded to berate my son for moving historical rocks.

“They aren’t historical,” he said. “They are just big rocks. And they are OUR big rocks. Because this is our land. I would ask you to please leave since you are trespassing. On our property.”

“There are laws,” she cried, as she stormed off.


No, there aren’t. There are no laws pertaining to the use of big rocks taken from your own woods and moved to a different part of your property. I’m not even sure there are any laws if you take rocks from along the road and put them ON your property.

People make a lot of assumptions based on what they think they see.

The see me on my feet, so I couldn’t be disabled. They don’t see a handicap, so it must not be there. And the obverse: my son is using rocks from an old stone fence … so he much be doing something illegal. Surely Massachusetts has a “Department of Historical Rocks” to protect them. Because, you know, rocks are an endangered species.