Posted by: didyouseethis | December 21, 2019

Longest Night Of The Year 2019

This may just be the last blog post here.  WordPress has changed just enough that I’m not sure I can keep up.  It’s 9 years since the Solstice night that changed my world.  I was informed today that my sister has taken the next step into her dementia that she absolutely cannot be left alone.

I am 70.5 years old.  I feel like ME inside.  (I’m guessing about 40 or so…give and take a few).  I don’t feel like the “elderly person” I might be described as.  And yet,  I look in the mirror and wonder ….who the hell  is that?  I spent today working out a design problem for a gift for a family member. I am still ME…and yet…I know my time is limited.


I am sad tonight because of memory.  And yet hopeful for what I was able to accomplish today.  And for the possibilities of tomorrow.

Happy Solstice.  The light returns.  I love you all.  Merry Christmas and an absolutely wonderful New Year.

Love, Amma

Posted by: didyouseethis | December 21, 2018


As I do every year on this night, I look back to the Solstice night the year everything in my world was deconstructing.  I don’t dwell on it. But…it is there. Part of  hiraeth, something I will always have with me.  This year, however, I found a new word.  A word that encompasses some of hiraeth but in a good and sweet way.  Hygge. A Danish word for home, comfort, coziness.  Something one definitely needs on the longest night of the year.

This year while I recall past years I will also be relishing the cozy comfort of my little world as it exists now.  Thankful for the people that have helped me arrive here and hopeful (as always) for the coming of the light tomorrow and Spring.

Natalie Winter Solstice



Posted by: didyouseethis | November 21, 2018


Today would have been the DH’s 71st birthday. Instead, the daughter and I made the drive to Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery (OWRNC) to visit, say happy birthday, share a beer and some birthday cake (carrot cake with cream cheese icing). We stood at attention as a three volley salute was given across the road for another veteran being laid to rest.

As this day closes, I am so very grateful for my children who share their very different interests with me. And share our combined histories with love and respect for all that has come before.

Tomorrow we will share our new found tradition of going to the Zoo on Thanksgiving. We are hoping to meet there with some old friends. Then home for dinner and stories and appreciation for all that we have.

Happy Thanksgiving to whoever may come across this writing. A Blessed Thanksgiving to those who have come through the tribulation of their lives in the fires of California. If anyone wishes to read more about what so many have gone through go to American Digest . And if you feel so moved, please donate.

Happy and grateful Thanksgiving,


Posted by: didyouseethis | December 21, 2017


It seems my blogging skills are beyond rusty. I’ve not posted a thing since this very night an entire year ago and I’m having a hard time remembering the simple codes I once used regularly.  Any way…the above link at American Digest fits perfectly with all I am thinking about tonight.  Past, present and future.

“No matter what time and the universe can throw at us, we still go on.”

“…no winter is without end and that the Gift is given to us again.”

So…I go on.  Much has changed since the first Longest Night post 7 years ago.  Life has altered, sad time endured.  As the longest night of the year passes I am settling into my new home and life,  smaller than before, less expansive, knowing how little I know.  Yet, it is  full of the richness of all that went before.  There are gifts left in my heart by those who went before me.  I vow to find the light in my own heart and in everyone I meet.

May this Longest Night of the Year bring you rest and hope for the coming light.





Posted by: didyouseethis | December 21, 2016

The Longest Night Of The Year…Solstice 2016

Reposted from 2014.  The thoughts are still the same……


It is the longest night of the year.  I have had thoughts of this on my mind now for weeks.  Once upon a time it was a happy thought.  Here it is, the longest night.  Tomorrow the days will grow longer.  The lengthening days bringing spring/summer closer.  “Sweet Summertime” as Bob Seger would sing.

But no more.  I still do look forward to the lengthening days and the coming of spring.  But overriding those thoughts tonight are thoughts of the past decade.  10 years of change.

21 December 2004.  Mosul, Iraq.  10 years.  Many families were irreparably altered that day.  For our family…well…we got serious about supporting our military.  We made friends and lost friends in these 10 years.

21 December 2010.  DH had surgery confirming what we already knew.  It was cancer.  (So much for “World Class Care“.)  We spent that longest night in the excellent care of Metro Health.  DH was still pretty angry with me for the permissions I had given the docs.  He pretty quickly came to realize they were necessary and “forgave” me.  Four years ago tonight I sat at his bedside and while he dozed I read.  It’s always fascinated me the things that stand out at times like that.  I remember going through his bookmarks on the Mac…reading his daily reads.  News and politics and gun blogs.  That night I read William the Coroner’s post on the longest night of the year.  And…as I’ve mentioned before,  neither DH or William the Coroner would live to see the next Solstice.

So very much is gone that was so very important to me during these last 10 years.  DH is gone.  Home is gone.  Lots of “stuff” is gone.  Friends are gone.  But…some things remain….“Strength in what remains…”  The Daughter, The Boy, The Grandson…they fill me with a joy that sometimes takes my breath away.

The song says “let the candle burn all night”.  10 years ago tonight I went out into the Memory Garden and lit the first candle for the Soldiers lost in Mosul.  Every night since, a candle has burned for our military….for family…for friends…for peace.  Though the Memory Garden is gone the candle still burns all night ….though now it is an electric candle in a small window.

And while I no longer have seven Christmas trees to light this darkest night…I apparently have…

…something that resembles hope.

I stopped everything I intended to do last night…and built…this….

2014 Book Tree

The candles (real or electric) burn for the past, the present and the future  Tomorrow I will welcome back the light.

Longest Night of the Year

They say that spring will come again–
No one knows exactly when.
Still the suns a long lost friend
On the longest night of the year.

We stare into the firelight
While December beats outside
Where the darkest hearts reside
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight
Let the candle burn all night
Tomorrow welcome back the night
It was longest night of the year

I used to think the world was small
Bright and shining like a ball
Seems I don’t know much at all
On the longest night of the year

We press our faces to the glass
And see our little lives go past
Wave to shadows that we cast
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
Twas the longest night of the year

Make a vow when Solstice comes:
To find the Light in everyone
Keep the faith and bang the drum
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
Twas the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
After the longest night of the year

Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2016

15 Years On..,

What were you doing on that fateful day?

I arrived at my work.  I parked my car.  I got out and noticed the office girl was still sitting in her van.  I walked over and said good morning…what’s up.  She looked at me and said that she was listening to the radio…a plane had crashed into a building in New York.  We went in and started our day.

At that time, 15 years ago, we didn’t have piped in muzak….we had the local radio.  Not long after we had punched in the music was interrupted by news reports from New York.  When the news coming in was fairly sure that it was not just a small plane accidentally hitting a building, that it was intentional, the stock boy made an antenna out of a spool of wire for a demonstration television we had.  He stood and held that wire up while we watched the news reports and eventually………………………………….watched the towers fall.  A customer stood next to me.  Weeping.  For…I don’t know how long.

I eventually went to a phone (no cell phones back then for most of us) and called the DH.  I will never forget saying to him “this is the end of the world as we know it”.  He, trying to comfort or console or pacify me said “maybe not”.  But I knew that was what he was doing.  I knew in my heart I was right and the world had changed.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted The Daughter and The DH home from work and The Boy home from school.  I wanted to be home with them.  Safe…or as safe as we could be.

I was in War mode.  I was ready for War Bonds and Salvage Drives and Blood Drives and every darn thing I’d ever read about WWII.  It was the end of the world as we knew it….I was right.  But I was so very wrong.  For a brief moment we were united.  And then…as time went on…it all fell apart.  I’m not smart enough to venture a reason why.  Now, 15 years later, we are the most divided we have been in my life and I fear for the future.

Back then “Never Forget” was the banner everywhere.  Now….”professors”…”educators” are tearing down posters memorializing the day.  Athletes are refusing to stand as the Anthem plays.  We have forgotten and I weep for the future for my children and my grandson.

Suggestions for some thoughtful reading…



Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Yvonne E. Kennedy….Project 2996

Reposted from 2011…NEVER FORGET.

Project 2,996 is an effort to remember the victims of 9/11 through individual memorials. Starting in 2006 bloggers from all over the world began posting tributes to those that lost their lives in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Over the years some of the links have gone dead . If you would like to help keep the memory of one of the 2,996 alive you can go here.
I chose someone on the list of broken links who was the age I am now. Yvonne E. Kennedy. Rather than paraphrasing the many articles I’ve read about her, I’m just going to repost her biography from the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.
Yvonne Estelle O’Prey was born to Jack and Mona O’Prey on the 29th of June 1939, in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Seven years later her brother, Barrie, was born.
Yvonne attended Glenfield Primary School and furthered her education at Liverpool Girls High School, where she completed her Senior Certificate. Yvonne began working as a secretary and bookkeeper for ES&A Bank in Sydney. She worked for both the South Sydney Council and the Sydney City Council.
Even at this early stage in her life, Yvonne was smitten by the travel bug and lived for a time in New Zealand. On returning to Sydney, she met the love of her life, Barry Leigh Thomas Kennedy. They courted and were married on the 16th of January 1972.
In 1973, Leigh James Charles Kennedy was born and in the following year, Simon Paul Kennedy arrived. They grew together as a family and built the family home in the Sydney suburb of Toongabbie. Yvonne and Barry commenced their own successful business and traveled the world with their two boys.
With two active boys constantly getting into mischief, Yvonne realized the importance of having knowledge of first aid and, consequently, in 1976 Yvonne joined the Australian Red Cross as a volunteer and First Aid instructor, reaching the rank of Commandant.
On the 10th of May 1985, Barry tragically died, leaving Yvonne to care for the business and their two boys alone. Yvonne’s parents, Jack and Mona, moved to Toongabbie to assist her, and as the years went by, Yvonne tended to the needs of her aging parents and cared for them until their deaths.
In 1990, Yvonne began her career as a full-time staff member at Red Cross. Her work involved developing the Voluntary Aid Detachment and Training and Coordinating First-Aid volunteers. The Australian Red Cross became Yvonne’s passion; she continued her work there until her retirement on the 15th of December 2000 and, of course, once again became a volunteer.
Yvonne was awarded the “Australian Red Cross Distinguished Service Medal” in May 2001. In July 2001, she was elected Executive Officer of the Corps – a position she would never have the opportunity to fulfill.
Yvonne proudly attended the wedding of her eldest son, Leigh, to Tracey Kathleen in New Zealand in March 2001.
Her interest in travel never subsided. Yvonne decided to have the adventure of a lifetime – a tour of North America, Canada and the Arctic. She set off for her dream holiday on the 4th of August, due to return home on September 15th. Yvonne never made it home. Her trip was cut short by a tragic chain of events. Yvonne passed away happy, living her dream.
She was the strongest pillar of her family. Her door was always open to those in need and those who wanted to see a friendly face. She was loved, respected and admired by all who knew her. She will be sadly missed by her family and friends. Her determination and her spirit will be with us forever.
Like Nina Patrice Bell, I think I would have liked Yvonne. She was a strong, accomplished woman with a sense of humor and adventure. I’ve read articles about her son who has said that his mother was not a hero, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is true. …only….I think from reading about her, she was much loved and respected… she was the hero of her own story. A mother a son could be proud of, a human being we could all aspire to.
Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Nina Patrice Bell…Project 2996

Reposted from 2010…NEVER FORGET


Nina Patrice Bell from the NYT

Nina Bell was every inch a fighter pilot’s daughter — slender, athletic and looking even taller than her 5 feet, 8 inches. Born in the Netherlands, the first stop in a nomadic Air Force childhood, she grew up confident, smart, “the It girl,” as a friend once put it. A bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder led her to become a manager of information systems and, most recently, into project management.

But to her friends and family, there was also the side that was not all business. Ms. Bell’s notebook had a bumper sticker that read, “Mean People Suck.” With her brother, Lowell Bell, 40, she kept up a private banter, sometimes based on the dim Canadian duo, the Mackenzie brothers, from the 1970’s television show, “Second City TV.” “Hey, hoser,” she would call him.

This September, Ms. Bell, 39, had settled in Manhattan, in a new apartment on the Upper East Side and in a new job as a project manager with Marsh & McLennan. In an e-mail message to her friend Lorraine Davis on Monday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m., Ms. Bell wrote, “I am so very happy.”

Nine years later, here I sit, “remembering” a young woman I never knew. A young woman who was a member of Mensa, having scored in the top 2% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test. Who loved her Yorkshire Terrier. Who was adored by her sister, as shown in an entry in Nina’s Legacy Guest Book.

January 07, 2002

there may be words enough to express the loss of my sister but I don’t have them. if you knew her at all, you have an idea how great the loss really is. if you didn’t know her – you missed a good one…

please think of her often. it keeps her close. and finally, try to take the counsel offered in her tag-line

!love!laugh!play! – nipabe

Dutch Bell,
Boston, Massachusetts
I read through the 21 pages of the guest book and I think how much I would have liked Nina. What a loss to her family, and her friends, and the world. Every night I light a candle in my memory garden. Tonight it burns in memory of all that was lost nine years ago, especially Nina Bell.
Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Glenn J. Winuk …Project 2996

This was originally posted in 2009…all I can say tonight is…NEVER FORGET.

How do you “remember” someone you never knew? That was the question I asked myself as I thought about signing up for the 2,996 Project. I signed up and decided to figure out the “how” later. I’d read a lot of the profiles done in previous years but was still intimidated…especially after beginning to read about my assigned name…



A name, and my memory of 11 September 2001, was what I started out with. “What is a name?” The answer, I am still discovering, is many things. As I began my research I realized I’d been assigned a hero…in the truest sense of the word. A man who ran into the danger.


Mr. Winuk had been a volunteer firefighter for 20 years with the Jericho, New York Fire Department. On that tragic morning of 11 September, Mr. Winuk was in his office at Holland & Knight a block away from the World Trade Center. After helping evacuate his own workplace, his first instinct (a hero’s instinct) was to do what he could to help.

“Glenn was last seen outside the recently evacuated New York office at approximately 9:30 a.m., donning some simple emergency gear — a mask and gloves,” Robert R Feagin, managing partner, and William J. Honan, executive partner, said in a statement.

He had also been involved in the evacuation of the towers after the 1993 bombing.

I thought about a poem that was sent to me after my mother passed away. It is called The Dash. I began to do the same thing I’d done with my mother, making a list of descriptors…words I could almost “see” between the dates…the essence of “who” that is represented in the dash. Reading the Guest Book for Mr. Winuk, the words of people who knew him stood out on the pages.


hero…special…intelligent…sterling example…funny…selfless… kind..caring…

good..integrity…helpful…gentle…giving…good hearted…substance…warm…

generous…compassionate…hell of a guy…calm…honorable…strength…




wall_038c The 343 and Glenn J. Winuk

Just four days before the 8th anniversary of 9/11 Glenn Winuk has posthumously received the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor.

From Newsday:

For Seymour and Elaine Winuk, having their son posthumously recognized with the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Monday was bittersweet.

Just four days before the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Winuk family gathered at the Jericho park named after Glenn Winuk to receive the recognition they had long been seeking.

“We’re sorry we lost him,” said Seymour Winuk, 78, of Jericho. “But he’s getting an award that is well deserved for many reasons.”

A 19-year volunteer firefighter for the Jericho Fire Department, Glenn Winuk was hailed Monday for his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to rescue people. He responded to the crash in 1990 of Avianca Flight 52 in Cove Neck and three years later to the bombing of the World Trade Center.

And on Sept. 11, 2001 when the first plane hit the North Tower, Winuk, an attorney in a law firm nearby, helped evacuate the building he was working in, then rushed toward the chaos.

Winuk, 40, died when the South Tower collapsed. Six months later, his remains were found next to those of other would-be rescuers.

“He was always running to help people,” his father said.

Because Winuk had not been an active member of the fire department since 1998, the Department of Justice refused to recognize him as a qualified rescuer who died in the line of duty.

I think it is appropriate to use the paraphrased Gen. Patton quote used every week in the Wednesday Hero posts.

We Should Not Only Mourn The Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived


Posted by: didyouseethis | January 18, 2015

Balance…In So Many Ways

Found this at American Digest.  I want to do this.

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