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Sunday, July 31, 2011


*photo by Kathie Rebman

Yesterday on July 31, 2011 about 8 or so Iowa time, the Decorah Eagle Ustream  cam shut down. Was the public notified of this event? Yes and way in advance. I was one of the 203 million viewers who watched the birth of the three bald eagles and the loving care given by the parents for a period of four months. Seeing it come to an end last evening was a time of sadness and yet a time of knowing that the eagles [now grown big] will soon be off on their own flying away at least one hundred miles away from the nest. And each will have his or her own life; we all found out that when Bob Anderson, the director of Raptor Resource Project, caught and banded one juvie eagle that it was a female--E2. Not only did she receive a band but also was fitted with a transmitter; her movements have been tracked and will constantly be monitored by Bob Anderson.

At their birth they were given the names of E1, E2 and E3 for their birth order and E standing for eagle of course. Did I ever think I would get hooked on watching a live web cam day and night? No way but I did. Aside from watching this event I was also on live chat where I learned so much information about eagles that I don't need to google a thing at this point. The chat had strict guidelines as well as twelve moderators who kept everyone in line and also taught us much.

Members of Raptor Resource Project took videos and posted them on you tube. Watchers, like me, took photos of eagles on our computer monitors and sent them in for others to see. Now there is a wealth of remembrances of those four months as well as the farm on which the cottonwood tree is located:  In that tree is the nest that the dad eagle built. Smart for he built it near a trout stream and a fish hatchery: Nirvana for his female mate and the three eagles. We watched daily as the routine of fish drops happened in the nest and the scrambling of the three eagles to get the fish first. It took a lot of fish every day to keep them nourished. And the eagles got water from the fish and stored it in their bodies.

As the three eagles got bigger, it took more fish to satisfy them and probably still will. The parents have to teach them hunting and fishing skills before they are ready to fly away for good. At a certain point, the three eagles will not be allowed back in the nest period. Dad will stand firm on this point.

All three are huge, flying and have weathered many storms and are prepared for a long life full of wonderment. But E2 is the hungriest of the three [she is the banded one and fitted with a transmitter] and who knows when she will leave for good? She knows she has it made for now as do the other two.

These four months have been such a blessing for not only did I learn about this bald eagle family from the start but garnered information and made many chat friends with whom I now am in contact with by email. I was sad to see the cam shut down for it means no more till next February when the parents will have a new clutch of eggs--and then it will start all over again with the watching and learning and being enamored.

The bald eagle is our national symbol and its image is found on our coins and paper money as well as on our national seal. Course you already knew that as did I but were we really aware of it? Maybe not till this all happened in Decorah, Iowa of this year. I will definitely miss the daily and nightly watching of what was and will hope that all three eagles survive their journeys. The photo is a real one of a "juvie" eagle and this eagle is big with a six foot wing span now as are the other two. It along with the others won't have a white head, yellow eyes or white tail till it is four to five years old. So you might think you are seeing a vulture when it really is a bald eagle.

All good things must come to an end fortunately or unfortunately. But I would like to thank Bob Anderson again for letting all of us watch his project--what a ride it has been! More people have watched this live cam than any other live feed ever: It set a worldwide record! No wonder!! Catch it next year and be prepared to be completely hooked and involved. You won't be sorry for you will be grateful and will appreciate the "little things" in life for that is what truly matters after all.

Sherry Hill


After I wrote the post about having no electric, I also had no computer for the modem had died—bit the dust. And the adapter also got zapped sometime during that horrible thundestorm last Friday. Trust me, I called my broadband service only to be told that it would be the end of the week [and I called on Monday!]; they were right in that a tech guy showed up here this past Friday and replaced the modem.

Not long after he left, I was off to buy a new adapter for my laptop. Did I want to? No but had no choice. At a well-known store I purchased the adapter after my laptop was checked:  At least it was just that and not more things wrong.

Stopped to have lunch with a friend after that. It was so wonderful to have a hot meal for once instead of living on anything cold for days. Rushed back home to install the adapter and was back online! What an adrenaline rush! Later that evening I called my male cousin [the computer expert] and told him that his prior diagnosis was right. He asked me what I did before I had a blog, was on facebook and twitter and I told him that it had been boring before those three things—real boring!

And so I am back with more stories to come for there are so many to write. That one week was a bummer if ever. I apologize to you readers for my lack of posting but that is the reason—no computer! Things could always be worse but last week was up on the top ten list of BAD!

Sherry Hill

Friday, July 29, 2011

'NOW SITTING IN THE DARK!" electric came back on Sunday at 11:20 a.m,


Just when things turn back to normal, you know that other shoe will drop. And guess what it did! After an almost three day seige of no water at all, now there is no electricity and why? A horrible storm hit us about five hours ago. The weather prior was so hot outside that you couldn’t breathe—94 with a heat index of 105. Now that’s hot and I don’t do hot—not that hot.

Excessive heat makes me sick anymore. Used not to bother me but this is the second day of feeling like I have lived in a frying pan. And so about five hours ago or so, I decided to take a nap; the water was on and so was the air conditioning and fans. Ah sleep seemed to have come quick but I was awakened by thunder that shook this house! Not once but more than eight or nine times did the thunder shake and the lightning flashed. Jumped out of bed and realized that there was no electric. How special for after those almost three days without water, there was nothing running or working that was electrical.

As I write this I am sitting at my computer with a candle beside me. Wonder how Abe Lincoln did all that he did with only candle light? I know how: It was the norm at tha time. This is not the norm. So stuffy in here that I have been outside numerous times and even in the pouring rain—felt good and at least I could breathe. My dog has been in hysterics for she doesn’t handle thunderstorms well at all; in fact, she runs and hides. Can’t say I blame her for I don’t like them either but my reasoning is different: We had torrential rain, high winds and I worried that my large trees might fall on my house. My cat is oblivious to this for you know how cats are—they cope in the dark.

No “Henny Penny” here for I did use my cellphone and called a neighbor:  She and her husband were in their car and off the hill. Said trees were uprooted all over and that water had gushed down hills to the point of many areas being flooded. As for my two huge trees they are standing –at least for now. And meanwhile it is smothering in here; might as well go out and sit in my car. At least it has air conditioning and I could listen to music.

This has not been a good week for me at all! Not alone in my thinking for my entire neighborhood and other areas that I can see are pitch black. Sometimes progress is not a good thing at all. I’d like to move to Australia! Anywhere right now would be better than this for the other shoe did drop. And what is next? A hoard of locusts?  I don’t want to know!

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I am more than sorry that comments cannot be made by you the readers: I have received comments by email. And I can't reply to your comments for when I start to type, I see slivers of letters.
Trust me I will get this fixed.
And I apologize for this fact.
Thank you!
Sherry Hill



I’m sure that most everyone is familiar with Coleridge’s poem “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.” It’s a poem about a seaman on a ship and there is no water for drinking. The seaman is parched and says later on in the poem “Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink!” If that weren’t bad enough, an albatross swoops down and hangs onto his neck! [No doubt where that saying of having an albatross around your neck came from!]

But on Sunday night in my neighorhood area [of 1600 people in total] the water went off at eight at night. Not a drop. At first I thought “Did I pay the water bill?” And yes I had. Called my next door neighbor and they had no water either. Checked with people up the street and no, they had none either. Later, I went to bed thinking that the water would come back on. When I woke up on Monday morning, no water. Not a drip. Nothing. Phone calls again and no one had water and none of us had been notified by the water company. That’s when panic set in: You can’t live without water. I did have Pepsi in my fridge which helped for a while.

More calls were made by others and me and we were told that the water would soon be on. Guess what? It wasn’t. Then the emails started flying back and I was one of the writers; none of us knew what to do. Neighbors had to miss work due to many reasons: Babysitters didn’t have water either, no showers and other reasons. We found out that the huge water tower up on the hill had leaked out and was empty. Were we told about that from the get go? No! And so more emails flying back and forth as to what to do. So many people helped me and others for they either had bottles of water or went out and bought gallon jugs of water.Strange going to the sink to turn on the faucet for it is a force of habit; worse was nothing coming out and the realization that yep we had no water still! I think I went to wash my hands more times that I could count forgetting that there was no water.

By Monday night we were told by the water company that the water would be on by midnight. Midnight came and went and that’s when real panic set in for not only does everyone need water but there are many elderly and sick people around as well as young children—and we had no water still! Luckily my son as well as friends brought me water [I live on iced tea but had no ice] and others went on pursuit of gallon jugs of it. Stop and think that you can’t cook most meals without water or wash dishes, clothes or take a shower or bath and that leaves you in a mess. And if you have pets, they have to have water in order to live and not to mention that it was also hot outside.

Come Tuesday morning we still had no water and by this time, everyone I knew was not only livid but getting the runaround about when we would have water. The emails started flying around again and we [my friends and neighbors] decided to call the health department as it was a crisis if ever. I was fortunate to speak to a woman there who agreed that we needed help and she contacted agencies and the fire department. We also called our mayor’s office [the water company here is not owned by the city] and the mayor took action in getting water to a place where all could go get it in containers that they brought. By this time, I was more than hysterical as was everyone else! How many days can you live without water unless you go out and buy it or retrieve it from a source such as above? And the huge water tower had to be refilled to the top and that took forever.

During these days the television stations did report our plight as well as the newspapers but we never received one notice from the water company—none! By one o’clock on Tuesday the water came back on; I really thought I was imagining seeing it come out of the faucet! But the bad thing was and is that a boil water advisory was issued for three days. Boiling water to brush your teeth reminded me of an episode on the tv series “Monk!” I didn’t boil water but used the bottled kind instead.

Today is Thursday and I am not boiling water yet [we can’t drink it still for it has contaminates in it] because I would be worn  out with doing it and for me, it’s not worth it. Luckily, I still have lots of gallons of water to use. Run the dishwasher? Can’t unless you use boiled water to put in it. I know I am not alone in being worn out and frustrated to the nth degree for we had water in the river [no way would anyone drink that!] but not a drop to drink! Thank heavens for being able to buy bottled water is all I can say and I live in a big city but unfortunately in the affected area. You don’t know what you have till it’s gone or not working. And during these days it didn’t rain a drop; I had made up my mind that if it did, I was going out and stand in it!  Water water everywhere and it is the bottled type—works for me and others. What a saga!

Sherry Hill

Sunday, July 17, 2011



To those of you who don’t know what “Musical Pictures” is or was it was a radio program that was only broadcast here in Kanawha County, WV. And it was a program for grade school students:  The late Bill Richardson [the weatherman at that time for channel 8 here] would play a famous music composition and then ask us to draw what we heard. I first heard it in the fourth grade and remember that after it went off [the teacher turned off the radio] my teacher would hand out drawing paper to us and we had to draw a picture about something from the music.

Since I always loved to draw, I was in heaven! And I was eight and had long hair halfway down my back. This was my first time at this grade school—Highlawn Elementary as I had transferred from another school for my parents and I moved to St. Albans, WV. It was the typical school for back then: Wooden desks nailed down to the floor and placed in rows—remnants of a hundred  years before apparently. Every desk had an inkwell and every desk had a kid behind it except for the last desk [wish I had that one after what happened to me!]

So here I was drawing a scene [can still remember it. I drew a red brick house and some kids beside it]when I felt something on my hair and then a sound. Knew that sound! It was scissors and the boy behind me, John, had cut my hair. Turned around to see a big wad of my hair on his desk and then felt the back of my head. He had cut off my hair right smack in the middle right up to my neck! Well, my teacher saw it too and John was promptly pulled up to the front of the class and paddled.

And here I was with long hair on the sides and way short hair in the back. I was mortified. Mortified all day and the day seemed to have no end. And he was still sitting behind me and I wouldn’t look at him. When the dismissal bell rang, I headed for home which was a long hike up the huge hill across from school—South Walnut Street. My babysitter was there and she went haywire and called my mom at work. I can still hear my mom’s words on the phone to me to this day. Both of my parents worked [not typical for that time] and when they got home, I was taken out in the backyard by my mom wielding a pair of scissors. Had to sit in a chair and she promptly cut off my hair on the sides and I wound up with a haircut that only can be described as a bowl cut.

Sick to my stomach. Hated it. But there was nothing else that my mom could have done; it would have looked quite stupid to walk around with long hair on the sides and short up to the neck in the middle. [In today’s world it would have been great—cool and I  would have been in style but not then—ever.] Remember going to bed sick to my stomach and dreaded going to school the next day for two reasons: I hated my hair and school pictures were going to be taken!

Sometimes you just have to live with what has happened to you; I did and survived the rest of the school year. But when I got my school pictures back, I looked like an idiot; the group picture was worse. Stuck out like a sore thumb with my hair going every which way.

I was with this same group of kids till we went to junior high school at St. Albans Junior High. Some were still in my homeroom while others got separated into other rooms. In the middle of the eighth grade, my parents decided to move to Charleston, WV and I hated it. Didn’t want to leave St. Albans but what choice did I have? None.

Whose grandmother lived close to mine in Charleston? John, the hair cutter! I would go on to see him for years and he always apologized for cutting off my hair and by that time I could laugh about it—sort of.  Forward in time to when I was teaching school and lo and behold, my school,[J.E.Robins] along with Lakewood Elementary in St. Albans were chosen by the board of education to partner in a whole language program. I was so excited about this program and our staff met the Lakewood staff. One woman had a familiar last name! She was married to John! When I introduced myself and told her who I was she said, “So you’re the one!” Guess that John had told her that story more than once. Both of us laughed and developed a long friendship.

Several years later, I had a student teacher [I had many] named Angie. She was impressive from the start; we were talking and then she told me that she was engaged. Asked her who and it was John’s son! And then she said, “So you’re the one!”

If you are wondering if John and I are still friends, yes we are. Off and on I talk to him or his wife on the phone. And I am friends with  his daughter-in-law who was my student teacher! But when anyone brings up those two words “Musical Pictures” I am thrown back to that terrible day of getting my hair cut off and after that, I never liked “Musical Pictures” again—ever. John will remember that day as well. But he did apologize a gazillion times!

Sherry Hill

Saturday, July 16, 2011


No Matter What, Be Thankful”

There are so many times that I get down:  We all do. And how do we cope? All of us react differently to things and the cure for being down might work for one and not another. If you are like me, sometimes things get so blown out of proportion [or they really are big things!] that it is mind boggling.

I was raised to believe that things could always be worse. I have been through worse and yet in retrospect, those things are over and in the past. And were survived. But keeping it all inside of you only makes it become gigantic. Talking to other people—family or friends really does help. It puts things in perspective seeing it from another person’s point of view. Sometimes we listen and take heed; other times, we shove those views out of our minds.

Just living in today’s world is hard enough with the complexity of it all let alone the lack of communication. Would you put your bad feelings on facebook for the world to see? I wouldn’t. Some do though and it makes them feel better I suppose. And there might come a time when I will do it too. But no matter what be thankful that you are here and do have problems for everyone does. They might not spout out that they do but you know that is true.

Every day is a new day and that is the thankful part. Coping with being down is normal and it hits all of us one time or another. My best help aside from family and friends is to either go outside and just watch nature or watch a funny movie or laugh with someone. Does wonders for the soul. And remember that things could always be far worse—you could be living in another country or be bed-ridden or living a nightmare. 

If none of the above works, here are some things to try:*Get in bed and pull the covers over your head. *Buy a roll of caps [yes you can still buy them]--take them outside, unroll it and put a rock on either end. Get out a hammer and beat the tar out of the caps! *Go bowling and use your imagination!

 Stay happy and cope—hard to do but it does work.

Sherry Hill



I have always loved polka dots on clothes, shoes, pocketbooks or on anything. But I wasn’t allowed to wear a single thing with them on it till I went away to college. Why? My mom hated them. Good enough reason I suppose but her reasoning was due to working with a woman who wore something with polka dots every day to work.

Actually saw this woman a lot as I spent a lot of time at my mom’s office after school and she wasn’t attractive—more on the frightening side as far as looks go. But nonetheless, I liked what she wore. Her name was Nelda—how could you forget a name like that for it was unusual.

Spring forward to college when I picked out my own clothes and yes, I had polka dot clothing—not a lot but some like blouses or the like. Would I wear those around my mom? No way or get screamed at. When I graduated from college and the week before I started teaching, I was on the hunt for some wow of a dress. And I found it. It was chocolate brown with white polka dots! A sense of nirvana came over me –it was love at first sight. Bought it and remember wearing it my very first day of teaching school oh so long ago.

From that point on, I wore polka dot clothing and defied my mom to say anything. But she did. Called it “tacky!” and said I was like Nelda. Well, I wasn’t:  I was me. My mom has been gone for ten years now and whenver I put on something that has polka dots on it, I can’t help but think of her hatred for it. And yet I will always love anything that has polka dots on it—anything! Tacky? No way!

Sherry Hill
*If I could have a birthday cake like the one in the photo, I would love it! After all, it has big polka dots on it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


“FOG” by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
In on little cat feet
It sits looking
Over harbor and city
On silent haunches
And then moves on.

Love Sandburg’s comparison of fog to a cat. He expressed it so eloquently and in such few words. And yet his words are vivid and produce not only a picture but the movement of fog.

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Sometimes things happen over which we have no control. None. Nada. But I will never ever forget an evening when a man named Bob descended upon me. He had worked on the remodeling of my house and was sent here to do a repair by the contractor. Knew when he called me that he was on his way here; what I didn’t know was that that early evening was never ending as well as horrid.

When the doorbell rang, I opened the door and there he was all “duded” up and reeking of cologne. As he entered my kitchen that cologne smell mingled with everything and he then proceeded to plop himself down on one of my kitchen chairs. Guess I should add that I was hobbling around with a fractured knee and wearing a long leg brace—for that comes into play later. I said “I thought you were going to fix the part of the wall in here but I can see you aren’t dressed for that.” His reply was “Would you like to go out and eat some pusghetti?” I looked him in wonderement or maybe shock; no one had called spaghetti that except my sons when they were little. I knew it was going to be a bad evening right then!

Told him that I couldn’t [didn’t want to anyway with him!] and then he said, “Well, you can put your leg up on my dashboard and we can go eat at a restaurant and get some fine food: Fried liver and onions!” “No” again was my answer and I could tell that Bob was relentless. I was stuck in movement re my knee and wanted to run but I couldn’t. At that very minute the phone rang and it was a friend of mine calling; she wanted to come up as she was in hysterics due to her husband. Told her “YES!” That call from her was a lifesaver—timed just right.

Bob kept going on about going out to eat and then my friend arrived [I was never so thankful in my life!] and she sat down at the table with us. He then asked her  if she would like to join us in a dinner of pusghetti or liver and onions. She told him that she wasn’t hungry. Bob then started telling us about Simon Kenton [a real life legend in West Virginia also known as “The Whispering Ghost”] and he went on and on about how the Indians tied him up to a tree and what transpired. My friend said, “Was he dead then?” “No!”he replied and proceeded to go on and on. I said to him “Oh you mean The Whispering Ghost?” and he had no idea of whom I was talking about.

By this time my friend was getting the message from me that I had to get rid of him. She said that she hardly had enough gas money to get home and he started throwing twenty dollar bills at her! Those were thrown back at him by her. And he continued on with that Simon Kenton story till I thought I would scream—he told about Kenton’s intestines [who wanted to hear that?] and all the while using horrible English as well. Told us that Kenton was “sustrended”-have no idea what he meant but he sure did. Finally after two hours of this, my friend said that she thought she’d just spend the night here as it was getting late—thinking that would make him leave.

Wrong! Bob said, “I know let’s order a pizza!” And so I had to for by this time not only was I starving but so was my girl friend; not sure about Bob. Pizza was delivered and we watched him chow down piece after piece while still going on about Simon Kenton. Made me lose my appetite. About midnight he finally said that he had to leave. I was never so glad to see anyone depart my house ever! On his way out, he said “I’ll call you tomorrow and we can go out and have pusghetti!” That never happened because I had caller id and saw his phone number when the phone rang the next morning. Didn’t pick up the phone. And his cologne still lingered in my foyer and made me gag!
And so thankful I didn’t. Sometimes when you get company like  him you know it’s going to be a bad evening and was it ever. No pusghetti or liver and onions but a pizza and a friend who saved the evening! And Bob never did return to fix the kitchen wall problem. But if he had, would I have let him in? No way! Not in this life time!

Sherry Hill

Monday, July 11, 2011



When is the last time you saw anyone buying a cloth handkerchief? Or can you still buy them? No doubt not but I haven’t looked for any for I have an overload—from antique ones to the retro flowered ones to my own. I was raised to believe that a “lady always carries a handkerchief.” Reason why? My grandmother did as well as my mom. From the time that I was little, I always carried one in my pocketbook [yes I had tiny pocketbooks then] and into my adult years.

Men also had them and most kept them in their pockets. I remember watching my grandmother and mom ironing my grandfather and dad’s handkerchiefs. Think that men used them  more for wiping their brow whereas women used them for sneezing or to put up to their faces to give someone “that look.” If you’ve watched old movies, you noticed that a woman would drop her handkerchief in hopes that the handsome man would pick it up and return it to her. And it always happened—in the movies. As for me, I never did that as it was way before I was born and it would have looked quite dumb to do that for boys would just go on ignoring the dropped “hanky.” Women would sometimes carry a beautiful handkerchief or wear it tucked into their belts. Men wore them in their coat’s breast pocket all folded into a neat shape.

Handkerchiefs came in all variations and in all types of material. Linen and lace ones for women were costly yet beautiful and in today’s world, quite collectible. The flowered ones were considered secondary as far as carrying one and now they are called “retro.” Men’s handkerchiefs were either white, embroidered with their initials or the secondary type of plaid cotton. If I close my eyes, I can still see those that belonged to my dad—they were white and he wore them always in his coat pocket.

With the advent of tissues and disposable everything, handkerchiefs are now “Gone with the wind:” Just one more elegant past accessory that has met its doom. Shame is all I can say for I loved them, have them and yes, I still carry one sometimes. If you were to ask today’s twenty-something people what a handkerchief is, they would look at you like you were a Martian. On second thought, don’t ask.

Sherry Hill

Sunday, July 10, 2011



Okay face it: I have no guts anymore to do the things I used to love to do! None. Used to ride the front seat of a roller coaster and love every minute of it. Used to ride a bike and let go of the handles and not crash! Used to dive into water anywhere to swim—didn’t really matter where it was. Loved going on a sled down the hill in the snow and never minded walking back up. Loved making snowmen—the bigger the better. Loved swimming in an open pool in the fall when it was cold; made me shiver but it was exhilariting.  Loved roller skating and could even do it backwards.

Now with the advance of age I will do none of the above ever! What is it that sets fear in us as we get older? Is it the rationalization that we know we could get hurt when before we didn’t think about that? I can tell you one thing and that is that there is no way on earth that I would even get on a roller coaster much less sit in the front seat. Ride a bike? Are you crazy? Do I want to live in a body cast? I don’t think so! Diving into water? Yes, I might do that in a pool that I am familiar with but never in a river like I used to do. And why?  I would break every bone in my body ---that’s why!

As for sleigh riding no way! Still have my sled and yes, I also used to go down my hill while sitting on a garbage bag flying all the way down. My driveway scares me in the snow and I have fallen several times so forget sleigh riding period. And how could I walk back up my hill? I can’t walk up it in the summer much less in the winter with ice and snow. As for making snowmen, I still do that every year but they are about a foot tall—for I can’t take the severe cold anymore [or severe heat either!] Still have my metal roller skates but gave away my white lace up leather ones long ago. Could you see me out skating on my old metal skates? Just the thought of it scares me and there is no way I am doing it.

Face it: I am not brave anymore. No guts and definitely no glory. It’s a shame it is this way but I know darned well I am not alone! I loved what the late Erma Bombeck said of skiing: “I do not like a sport like skiing where there is an ambulance waiting down at the bottom of the hilll.” Bombeck hit the nail on the head. How did she know I would feel that way too? I know how:  It comes with age for you just lose your guts to do things.

Sherry Hill

Saturday, July 9, 2011



Oh my what to say about this real photo taken in 1919?  It was the start of the "temperance" movement inspired by none other than an American woman named Carrie Nation.

The women in this photo look scary enough to make men   unapproachable. And no doubt no man would have gotten near them period! But it wasn't these women standing like this that scared men and made them quit drinking--it was Carrie Nation who stood six feet tall, weighed 190 pounds and went into saloons and bars carrying an ax with her that scared men.

I don't know if it made them quit drinking or not as I was not alive at that time. But she had female cohorts with her and they were also carrying axes. Heaven help the unassuming men who were drinking in saloons or bars when these women descended upon them! They would head straight for the bar and whack their axes at all of the liquor bottles smashing them into a gazillion pieces and then vacate the place---leaving a bunch of men stunned out of their wits! Carrie Nation's words, echoed by her cohorts, were "SMASH LADIES SMASH!"

I read that one time Carrie Nation went into a saloon with her ax and there was John L.Sullivan, the well-known fighter at that time. One look at her and her ax and he ran and hid from her in another room. No wonder!

If you are wondering why Carrie Nation started this rampage it was because her husband [he must have been a brave and/or senseless man] was an alcoholic! No wonder! Go online and check out her photos: Frightening. 

If a group of women with axes pounced upon bars today they would all find themselves behind bars and facing lawsuits--oh and add lunacy warrants.  Did that happen to Carrie Nation and her female cohorts? They were jailed but not sued. Lunacy? No doubt. Some good might have come out of this rampage [who knows?] but these women of 1919 as well as Carrie Nation left their mark all right --scaring the heck out of drinking men  or those who were just sitting in saloons or bars is what they are most remembered for.  And I am pretty sure that all of those men retaliated. As for Carrie Nation's husband, wonder what happened to him? Now there's a disturbing thought all right!

Sherry Hill

Friday, July 8, 2011



July is national ice cream month but personally, I think any month is one for ice cream. You can just have a lot more this month to celebrate! Whatever your choice of flavor might be, just go for it. But have you ever wondered who started making it and how? I thought it was something American made but WRONG! Ice cream making went back as far as 200 BC. Amazing isn’t it and how was it made?

After reading a lot about ice cream, I discovered that in the year of 200 BC or thereabouts, ice cream was made by having servants or slaves [to a king or emporer] go up to high mountain tops that were snow-covered. These men had the horrific task of digging out snow and ice and carrying in back down steep mountains by pulling a handmade wagon. Once their destiny was reached, others who served the king or emporer had to take the snow and ice out of the wagon. After doing that, whatever the royal wanted put into it was his choice—such as berries or lemons or the like. And the workers had to stir that by hand into the snow and ice. In China, the emporer liked ice mixed with milk and rice: And that is what the upper-class ate at that time for ice cream.

And as soon as that was done, the king or emporer set out to eat the homemade ice cream [not like today’s ice cream but similar] along with his chosen family and guests. If the king or emporer lived in a hot region, you can guess that the ice cream was devoured quickly! The royals of that time and a little later who lived in cold climates had the pleasure of eating ice cream at their whim but pity the poor workers or slaves to them—for they had the disgusting duty as described above.

Forward in time to about 400 BC and Arab countries as well as those in Africa and Europe were also making ice cream by using the same method:  Someone had to climb high mountains, retreive the ice and snow and cart it back to the palace. And once again, whatever the choice of flavoring the royal wanted was added to the ice and snow. If you live in another country other than the United States, google the history of ice cream in your area—might be surprised at what you find out.

When the United States became a country, people here wanted ice cream as well for their forefathers had eaten it in England. But the United States had no emporer or king in its beginning and still doesn’t as you know well—we have a president. Read that George Washington kept cellars under ground [all Americans did at that time—no electriticy and no refrigeration] as did other prominent and non- prominent people. The recipes for making ice cream in 1776 and years forward came from Quaker colonists who brought their own recipes with them when they came here to settle.  Again some had the grueling task of digging ice and snow [indentured servants] and carrying it down steep hills to a specific place. This ice and snow was kept in  tin containers and put in cellars underground a house or a building nearby.

Cellars were built underneath as a basement is today of sorts. Stairs led the way down to them and it was here that the above was kept till someone wanted ice cream. But a change was made and that was that when the ice and snow was put into tin containers, rock salt was added as a first layer, then ice and snow, then more rock salt and so on till the top of the container was filled. What did rock salt do? It lowered the temperature of the ice and snow to way below freezing. Milk was added as well as a flavoring. And this fact allowed the ice cream makers to be more variable with types of ice cream made. This was really the first ice cream here in the United States. [Some people still do this today!]

An African American man named Augustus Jackson made many ice cream recipes and is credited with inventing a way to manufacture ice cream in 1832. Eleven years later, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia got the first United States patent for a hand-cranked freezer for ice cream. From then on, everyone could have ice cream—if they wanted to make it themselves or have someone do it for them. Imagine after the invention of electricity what transpired with ice cream! There were ice boxes in houses and unlimited possibilites.

Fast forward to today’s time and if it’s ice cream you want, all you have to do is to go to a store to buy it—any flavor and any way—slow churned, low-fat and/or with fruit, nuts, chocolate or whatever added is there for the taking! And since it’s July, go for it! After all, ice cream is wonderful and be so grateful that no one has to climb high mountains anymore to get ice and snow—who’d want that job anyway? Long live ice cream! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&v=pufDz2Ax5Z0&annotation_id=annotation_153569#t=1 **HOW TO MAKE ICE CREAM IN A BAG
                        Sherry Hill

Thursday, July 7, 2011



In about 1997 or so, my then-husband decided we needed one of those free- standing swimming pools—the type that are five feet deep and very big across. Instead of searching for one at a store, he went to the ad section of the newspaper [which can be good] and found a pool as described above, called the person and bought it sight unseen. Not good.

When the man who owned the pool arrived at our house, he had brought not only the pool but the metal stakes for holding it up as well and two other men. The first thing I saw was DUCT TAPE on one piece of the pool liner. Did my husband? Of course not. When I pointed it out to the prior owner, he said, “Oh the liner is just fine; I put that tape on there to cover a tiny hole.”

After hours upon hours with my husband and those men, the pool was assembled. And it was dark. The pool was put out back behind the house on top of a brick patio; behind the house is woods and it goes straight down to houses below. The men left and my husband took forever in filling it up with the garden hose. About eleven o’clock that night, it was completely filled up with water and yes, I got in it with him—but not for very long. Decided to come inside and went out to the carport and saw him still in the pool—and that wasn’t all that I saw!

The pool took on a life of its own! It started moving from the back and was nearing the top floor of the house! The front was getting flatter and flatter. My husband screamed at me to call 911 and I ran into the house and called—trying to explain the impending disaster. One of my biggest fears was that the hundreds of gallons of water would go flying down the hill and hit the house where friends live and they also kept dogs outside in a pen.

A fire truck arrived with flashing lights and the sirens going on! The firemen got out and ran to the pool only to see it flatten right out and the water [A MIRACLE] went to the side of the backyard and ran down the hill missing the neighbor’s house and dogs. Course the firemen left, my husband was standing there staring at a flat pool and in a rage. “But the duct tape!” I reminded him. And that did no good at all; he had been taken financially—sure he knew it but never did admit it.

In all of my life, I had never seen an inanimate object full of water take on a life of its own till that incident. It is etched in my mind forever. Moral is that if you are going to buy a free-standing pool, never buy a used one that has any duct tape on it at all—anywhere! If you do, be prepared to call 911 and have hundreds of gallons of water descend to somewhere and hope it doesn’t hit any houses. What a disaster!

Sherry Hill


To all of you readers who have left comments, I have to apologize. Thanks for your comments! Trust me I read yours and am working on  how to fix it so I can reply. If anyone else who has a blog knows how to fix this, it would be appreciated! Thanks. Meanwhile, know that I appreciate your comments!

Sherry Hill

Tuesday, July 5, 2011



I can't remember a time when I didn't love hydrangeas.  There was an elderly woman who lived near a relative of mine and she had the most glorious hydrangea bush right in front of her house:  It was breathtaking. I loved looking at the different colors--blue, purple and pink all swirled up into one huge cluster. Although young, I would always want to see that when I was at my relative's house. And I did. When I got really close to it, I could see that each blossom contained many little flowers all bundled up into one blossom--that made it even more special to me.

Somehow between then and becoming an adult, it never dawned on me to plant a hydrangea bush at all. Don't know why for I still had the love for it: I would drive by houses that had them in the front and be taken back to my first meeting with one and just stare to the point of almost wrecking! No newer houses ever had hydrangea bushes ever. Seemed to me that only old houses had them for they were in vogue a long time ago--maybe in the early 1900's.

A couple of years ago, I purchased four hydrangea bushes and planted them in my front yard. Was so excited. Put wire fencing around each one so that they would not be cut down by the man who mowed my lawn. Even went so far as to point each one out to him one day when he was here to mow my lawn, came inside and when he knocked on my door, I went outside to see what he had done. Lo and behold, he had mowed all four of those bushes down flatter than a fritter! I was livid. The conversation between him and me was not one for writing here but honestly I said to him "But I showed you where they were and they had fencing around them!" He just looked at me like I was from Mars.

Never had him mow my lawn again ever.
Last year I purchased four more hydrangea bushes and had a neighbor [who had a green thumb] to plant them for me. This time I didn't put fencing around each one but big rocks--really big rocks. Boulder type almost.

I have a wonderful woman who takes care of my yard --she mows, trims and is oh so careful with those hydrangea bushes. They have leaves on them now and I check them daily [should I? I do] and am crossing my fingers that each will grow big and be the colors of the very first one I ever saw--blue, purple and pink. I know they will at least be blue for that is the color of the blooms when my neighbor planted them last year.

Can't wait for them to get big: Not sure how long it takes for I didn't look online. Sort of afraid to find out that I am doing something wrong and by now I really don't want to know. Just hoping for I never forgot the first time I ever saw a hydrangea bush ever. And I want at least one out of the four to get huge.
Maybe I'll be lucky and have four of them.

Here's hoping!

Sherry Hill



When your mother called you by your first and middle name together, you knew instantly that you were in trouble. Big trouble. Might have been the tone of her voice but more was using those two names together! My real first name is Sharon and my middle name is Lynn. When I heard my mother scream “Sharon Lynn!” I knew that trouble was looming as sure as the sun would come up!

From the age of three, I had the nickname “Sherry” but by age five and in the first grade, I had to go by Sharon. Did all the way through school and even to this day for technical reasons go by Sharon when I fill out a form or write an article—but not on my blog. To this very day, I don’t like my real first name for that very reason of being called “Sharon Lynn!” Must have heard my mother scream that hundreds of times together and I was not a bad kid—really I wasn’t. But the hangup is on my part for not liking my first name and that’s the reason why—trauma big time.

If your mother got mad at you and screamed your first and middle name at you, you know exactly what I am talking about—it makes you shudder. My two sons were never called by their first and middle name by me ever for that very reason. Maybe I should have for sometimes I forget their middle names and I chose them—that’s not good to forget that at all. Their names are Brian David and Kevin Michael—maybe they forget their middle names as well. Never asked them and definitely not going to ask. They would think I had gone over the edge.

If you have suffered the trauma of being called by your first and middle name by your mother when you were young and into your teenage years, welcome to the club. To this day, I still don’t like my first name. Do you?

Sherry Hill



When I was a teenager, ankle bracelets were frowned upon--nice girls just didn't wear them at all. Never. Ever. I remember seeing some women with them on while walking on Capitol Street [the main street here in our town] and it made me wince. After all, I had been told the above and so I just knew that these women were not of the nice type at all. And an ankle bracelet was considered taboo.

The only type of ankle bracelets available then were either silver or gold. And women who wore them, wore them over their hose--the bracelet sort of hung down onto their feet. Men stared at these women and I am pretty sure that women did too:  So did I.

When the seventies hit with the hippie-type clothing and accessories, ankle bracelets appeared in all types of fabrics and metals. Did I wear one then? No. I was teaching school and again, it was frowned upon if you were a professional woman. But women from all walks of life started wearing ankle bracelets and the "taboo" sort of got lost in translation.

It would take me to the nineties to wear one and did I ever! The choices were even more than in the seventies--you name it and it was made out of it as far as fabric, metal or whatever and embellished to the hilt. Still have some made out of twisted rope, embellished ones and some are metal--one is sterling silver. When I think about wearing one, I get it out and put it on and feel no shame whatsoever! None. Ever.

For those of you who are younger than me, thought you might be interested in knowing how such a small thing as an ankle bracelet went from taboo to acceptable. If you live in another country, maybe things were different in perspective than here. All I can say is that what happened earlier here was really ridiculous if you were to stop and think about it. 

Long live ankle bracelets! If you still have yours, get them out and wear one--dare you. Make that a double dare.

Sherry Hill


Someone sent this to me in an email; I found it more than astounding for if you look closely, you can see hundreds upon hundreds of soldiers from WWI forming the Statue of Liberty.

Would make a nice keepsake for that is what I did: I printed it out and saved it. Rare to see a copy of a postcard this old and even more rare to see soldiers forming this specific shape! Enjoy!

Sherry Hill

Monday, July 4, 2011



Charles Allen Gilbert painted this and as you can see, it is a play on words as well as an optical illusion. I used to have this painting [a copy] and it scared my then-young sons—no wonder! If you look at it one way, you see a skull.
If you look at it another way, you see a woman sitting down at a vanity perhaps reaching for some makeup. I always thought that the artist was trying to say that too much vanity can lead to one’s death. Say you were walking down the street and you saw your reflection in the glass front of a store:  Of course, you’d stop and stare for that’s natural. But what if that store were on a corner and then you started walking—you might end up in traffic.

I knew the word “vanity” from the time I was little for my grandmother would catch me looking at myself in the mirror and she’d say, “Woman, thy name is vanity.” Really didn’t know what she meant but knew that word! Later on, she told me that her mother had said that to her; by then, I knew what the word meant. And then my mother said it to me and so I have passed that saying onto my own granddaughter.  The saying lives on! But as for Gilbert’s painting, if you have never seen it before, take time to take in his message and the wonderful optical illusion—scary one way and lovely the other just as vanity can be for "all is vanity!"

Sherry Hill

*Check out Wikipedia: Def Leppard has an album cover with this painting on it--Vanity.

Sunday, July 3, 2011



Having lived in my house a long time, I hadn’t seen any crows around until the last couple of years and now I am bombarded with them. They like to stay in an oak tree that is across the street from me—it’s a wooded area. The minute I put out birdseed or bread for birds and squirrels and come inside, they swarm into my yard. They are huge and beautiful but also skittish for if they see me watching them from my kitchen window and make a move, they fly off in unison.

Sometimes I will have as many as twenty in my yard—that’s a lot of crows! And they will eat anything in sight leaving the yard barren of anything I put out. At other times, I will see only three or four mingling with other birds such as cardinals, chickadees and the like and the smaller birds pay no attention to the crows at all. [Could be that such a small number of crows is not as threatening to the smaller birds as a large number.] I do know that they are on constant watch to see if I put anything out—how could they not be for they swoop down as soon as I shut my front door.

Curious me decided to google crow information and I was astounded to learn that they have a good memory; not only that but if someone is mean to one of them, they will carry a grudge forever. And a group of flying crows is called a “murder:” Doesn’t mean that they are on a murdering rampage—it’s just what the group is called.

I have seen hundreds of crows gathering across the street at times and then they all take off in a huge group flying across the river which is way down below my house. If you’ve ever heard a crow, imagine that sound magnified by a hundred: It’s so loud that it blasts your ear drum! These gatherings are no doubt a reason to congregate and fly off for food somewhere else.

It’s fun to watch a crow grab something out of my yard such as an ear of corn [I put those out in the fall] and take it out to the street. The crow will put its feet on the ear of corn and eat away right there in the street but also protecting that corn from other crows. One specific day, I had three crows on my split rail fence and two were in the yard. All of a sudden, a red-tailed hawk flew down and sat perched beside the three crows:  I could see the hawk’s yellow eyes as it peered to the left and the right to see the crows. But the hawk decided to fly away for it was outnumbered. A red-tailed hawk will attack a crow in a heartbeat but not when it’s outnumbered.

Another fact about crows [maybe you the reader knew this] is that they will swoop down and peck at a small dog or cat. I actually saw this happen a long time ago and was so surprised—my neighbors had a small dog that they let out in their backyard and one day a crow came down and pounced on that little dog. The dog was all right with a few scratches.

So many sayings about crows are prevalent in our English language:  “As straight as a crow flies” is one as is “dark as a crow’s wing.” There are so many more but I’m sure you’ve heard them. And as for a “scarecrow” I don’t think they do much good at all in keeping crows away from crops. Crows catch on real fast that the “scarecrow” is a fake!

If you’re out and about glance up and see if you see any crows: They are awesome to watch. Just don’t be mean to one for they have that long-term memory!

Sherry Hill