Monday, 26 June 2017

U.K. Premier Theresa May and the Magic Money Tree.





In a recent comment about government cutbacks to Health Care (NHS) and Public Education the U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May defended her austerity programmes by stating that "there is no magic money tree.".





How soon she forgets.  Today she found such a tree, which released One Billion Pounds to bribe the Northern Ireland "Democratic Unionist Party" into supporting her reactionary programme in the U.K. Parliament, and thus assure her of a Parliamentary Majority.  That translates into a Ten Million Pound bribe to each of the D.U.P. Members who sit in the U.K. parliament.

See this;  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-dup-deal-billion-pound-bribe-magic-money-tree-criticism-latest-a7809416.html

Northern Ireland, already financially coddled by  Westminster will stand to gain, even as Wales, Scotland and the poorer northern regions of England have to make do with less.



The Democratic Unionist Party of northern Ireland is a narrowly focused, bigoted  and utterly sectarian "Protestant" Political  Party.

I wonder how many Tory voters in England, Wales, and Scotland thought that their  vote in the recent General Election would also be a vote for the D.U.P.?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Why should I be so fortunate?

I have mentioned my enrollment in a Sarasota Memorial Hospital cardio rehab. programme called Health Fit. It is run in the SMH complex at Rand Boulevard, off  Clark Rd in SRQ. I like it.

It's a good programme, but with limitations.  We meet for just one hour three days each week,. It's a short hour after we (the ten or so participants) have checked in, fitted our heart monitors and had our blood pressure measured; and then after about 50 minutes of exercise returned to the desk to have our blood pressure taken again before we leave.

That one hour is reduced to 45 minutes on Fridays to make time for an optional 15 minute educational presentation.

That's not enough, but thanks to a programme available to  Episcopal Church retirees called "Silver Sneakers" I can get free membership in a local gym.  Thus I can get more exercise than Health Fit affords.  I have hooked up in the local YMCA which is open seven days a week,

My orientation was given by Don, an almost 80 years old man who is as fit and lean as many of the young studs at the Y.

This is all good, and I am very fortunate.





Sarasota''s "Y" on Euclid Ave

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The sublime Mozart

WSMR (Sarasota Music Radio?) licenced  to the University of South Florida, is south west Florida's Twenty Four Hour Classical Music Station.

Eat your hearts out those of you who live in metropolitan areas who have no such radio stations  (remember when in Boston we had WGBH which used to major  in Classical Music, with the eccentric and marvelous Robert J Lurtsema and his five hour classical music programme, and WCRB with its daily offering of the classics,)

GBH = Great Blue Hills
CRB = Charles River Broadcasting

As I tuned into WSMR last week it was to enjoy Mozart's Piano Sonata # 11 with the deceptively simple first movement -  so utterly beautiful as to bring tears to my eyes.


https://youtu.be/vp_h649sZ9A



The third movement, a Rondo, is so well known as it is often played as a stand alone piece.

That movement, dubbed by Mozart as "Alla Turca" is passionate and exciting.  When I hear it my mind is taken back to St. Stephen's Parish in Pittsfield where I was the Rector from 1984-2000.   Michael W (aged then 16 or 17) was an accomplished pianist.

Twice, at my request, he played that "Rondo All Turca" as an offertory or a postlude, much to the delight  and joy of the congregation.

I cannot hear it without thinking good thoughts about Michael W.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Lunch today with good friends

AT


Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Bradenton

WITH




Bob (seated),  Ron and Char

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

June 22nd Sad Day Part Two

It's the first anniversary of the sudden and unexpected death of my good younger  brother Steve.  Not a day goes by without my thoughts of Steve, his wife Angela, their children Lee and Nicola, and grandchildren Reece, Ebony, Thea, Luna and Ryan.

They are sad thoughts indeed, tempered somewhat  by my gratitude for such a good brother, husband, father and grandfather

Steve and Angela.

June 22nd - Sad Day, Part One


June 22nd would have been the 93rd birthday for our friend Ben Morse who died last December.

Ben was sometimes an irascible curmudgeon.  His impatience was legendary.

Ben was also a warm hearted and generous soul.  We all loved him dearly.

If he had not died before Inauguration Day 2017 he would have died daily of apoplexy at the self serving tweets of the ghastly TRUMPeter in Chief.

Many of his friends will raise a tumbler of of gin on the rocks in Ben's memory.

I'll not do that, but I will eat and enjoy sushi as my way of honoring Ben.


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

A cautionary tale, and other matters.


















Two friends of mine bought a new "brand name" lap top from a reputable retailer last week.

As one of them was setting up the computer and downloading Widows 10 the screen froze.  A "Microsoft" message appeared, complete with a 'phone #.

He called that 'phone # and was told that it would cost $200 to right the error.  What's more, he was told that his Credit Card could not be verified, and that he should fax a copy of a personal cheque for $200.

This he did and the cheque was instantaneously cashed.

Then he realised that he had been "had", A call to the genuine Microsoft revealed that  this brand new computer, made in Ch,,a had been loaded with pirated Microsoft software, and a Trojan Horse scam which had relieved him of $200.

Fortunately when he reported this scan as fraudulent to his bank they played ball, so it is unlikely that he will be out of pocket.

So, you can buy a new computer, only to discover that the software has been pirated.

Caveat Emptor.

--------------------------------------------------

P.S. 1,  My friend is a smart lawyer, but I can fully understand how he fell into this trap, We all are in danger of trusting our computers too much.

P.S. 2, Who could have believed that the Ch..ese could not be trusted!

P.S. 3,  I got  a Skype message from my nephew Dave T this morning.  It urged me open a link. I didn't trust it.  My caution was wise.  Dave told me that he had not sent such a message.

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Bleeding  My very small wound continued to seep through the night.,  I had to launder my sheets this morning.  I will ask my Heart Doctor if I can reduce my blood thinner meds. from two a day to one a day.

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My impoverished  nouveau pauvre (? sp)  neighbours.

Their situation is grim.  I took them some  Quiche, and Cherry Pie on Sunday.

The mother sent me a nice ":thank you" text,
 sad
I saw the son today.  He averred that they had no food in their home, and that the quiche and pie had saved their day.

Then he told me that by Thursday their problems would be solved because  they would receive millions and millions of  dollars from a game they had won.

His illness was speaking,  How very sad,

If I had millions of dollars I would not share them with this hapless mother  and son.

I do not have those dollars, but I will try to make sure that they have food on their table.

Monday, 19 June 2017

BLOODY EL

BOW

I've been on a blood thinner since May 6th.  I have  been thin skinned and  an easy bleeder, (aren't we all at our age?)  but now I bleed, and bleed and bleed, and the blood takes for ages to clot.

I knocked my elbow on the door jamb of my car this afternoon.  It was a superficial wound, but I bled, and bled and bled for three hours.

Blood on the floor, blood on the sofa  (leather fortunately), blood on a clean pair of walking shorts, and blood on three clean undershirts, blood all over the place.

BLOODY EL --- BOW

Third dressing

Blood on the Sofa

Gauze after four dressings

blood on undershirt # 2

Now you know why I will never be a smash and grab criminal.  Morality apart, I'd leave a blood trail for miles.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Nipples!

I awoke on Saturday 17th.  thinking that I had developed two new nipples overnight.

Then I realised that I had forgotten to remove the sticky nipples which are attached to a heart monitor when I worked out at the Sarasota Memorial Hospital "Health Fit" programme for Cardio. Rehab. on Friday.



To the Ugly Mall




"University Town Center" is the name given by the developers to the series of retail centers  either side off University Parkway, on the borders between Sarasota and Manatee Counties.  It's an odd name given that the nearest University is many miles away, and if you have lived in the rural mid-west or in the U.K. it hasn't the slightest resemblance to a real town center in a small town.

The centerpiece is the ugly and cavernous "Mall at UTC" (what an imaginative name!)

When the Mall first opened I vowed that I would never darken its halls, viewing it as I did as a place where people with too much money and too much time on their hands buy expensive **baubles that they do not need and will never use. (I can be so subtle!).

I had broken my vow three times until yesterday, twice to go no farther than the Concierge Desk which has a foreign exchange till, and once in and out of Dillards where I bought some towels.

It was hotter than hades yesterday so I thought that the Ugly Mall would be a cool place to walk.  I parked at the uncrowded south end parking area, and entered the place via Dillards.

Dillards apart it was a mistake.  I had forgotten how noisy malls can be.  I think that they are designed that way to create a "buzz".  And the lower level was crowded.  I had forgotten that the shoppers would be out in force to get that perfect and unique Fathers' Day gift.

There was a bright spot.  The Mall management had sponsored what they called a Fathers' Day Block Party. Two Tampa Bay Buccaneers were on hand to autograph TBB pictures.

There was a long and patient line of (mostly) women and children. I was heartened to note that the two Football players  greeted each person with a broad and generous smile, responding with alacrity to request for "selfies."

It was as if they were saying  "I knew that you would be in line, and I couldn't wait to see you today"
.  
Well done!

**  Back to the baubles.  As I left via Dillards I noticed, first in the Cosmetics area that essential make up evidently  first requires FACE PRIMER, and then in the Men's Department I could have bought BEARD LUBE.

I kid you not.  How have a lived so long without using these!

Here endeth my "cranky old man" posting.


Saturday, 17 June 2017

Delta Saga - Part the Second (Hurrah)

I called Delta Airlines again this morning at 5:39, and was speaking with an agent within two minutes.

My flight has been changed.  The only charge was $18.10 because Sunday flights are a wee bit more expensive.

It was a done deal within eight minutes.

Now I will not have to spend an additional night in a Raleigh Hotel, nor spend most of Monday kicking my heels.

PHEW!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Mea Culpa (but I am still irked)

I will be traveling to Raleigh, N.C in July for the Ordination of my friend the Revd. Sam Rodman as Bishop of North Carolina.

No sooner had I made my airline reservations today I realised that I had made my return flight reservations for 7:59 p.m. not 7:59 a.m.

My fault of course, but I would not have made the mistake had Delta used the 24 hour clock.  That's always much clearer that a.m. or p,m,

To make matters worse when I tried to call Delta's loosely called "customer service" 'phone I was told that the wait time for an agent was two hours.

It's almost as if they don't want to talk to customers.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Soup, sliders etc

My good friends Gordon and John invited me to dinner last night  (Tuesday).

The main course was Vichyssoise -  oh so good, so very good, thanks to the cream.

It was so good that I developed temporary amnesia and abandoned my dairy free diet.





--------------------------

After about four years of minor frustration I threw caution to the winds and raided my piggy bank of $140 so that the sliding glass door between my dining room and porch would no longer jam, and the lock would work.




Monday, 12 June 2017

Heart Healthy Diet

I've had to lay off bread, bacon,and dairy etc (I haven't eaten cheese in two weeks -  argh!)

Red Meat is also "not good".    I am not terribly fond of pork ("The Other White Meat"as the advertisers say). Skinless chicken  is O.K, but it can become very old hat. Steamed veggies are good, as is some fish.Legumes are great.

I'll never become a complete vegetarian,but some veggie burgers are pretty good.



The Black Bean Burgers are very tasty.  The Kale Burgers are a bit bland, but I sometimes eat them cooked and cooled with a slice or two of good ("Ugly Ripe") tomatoes/




I thought that Oatmeal would be a good choice for Breakfast. This  steel cut "Irish Oatmeal" claims to be better that stone ground Oatmeal. Why is this?

I had some for my breakfast this morning (12th) June with a sliced banana, but it was oh so bland.

I'll add a bit of honey tomorrow.  Is this cheating on a heart healthy diet?

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Mrs. Grace Edwards and Trinity Sunday

I didn't attend Church this morning, Trinity Sunday.  To be truthful I couldn't be bothered, but don't tell anyone this.

But I did think about Mrs. Grace Edwards, a parishioner in Pittsfield, MA. Many people thought that she was a spinster (to use an old fashioned word).  In truth she had been married but (I think) was widowed early in her marriage,   She was quick to tell folks that she was Mrs. Edwards, not Miss Edwards. Good for her.

Grace seized upon me one Trinity Sunday.  She asked "why do you Ministers always make us sing "'oly,'oly 'oly on Trinity Sunday?"

I can't remember what I said, but in hindsight I might have replied "for lack of imagination".

The same Grace Edwards (a plain speaking New Englander)  accosted me at Coffee Hour after I had been Rector for about six months.

She said  "well Mr. Povey",  (not Father Povey!)  "what do you think of us so far?" Unusually for me I gave her a bland answer, muttering that I had not been there long enough to form a judgment.

Grace responded without equivocation. "Let me tell you" she said. "95% of the people here are good, honest, and hardworking.  You will ,like them".

"The other 5% are jerks, and that's all there is to be said about them".

She knew of which she spoke!

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For your amusement. Cartoon from Google images.



Saturday, 10 June 2017

Now we see through a glass darkly

I had an eyesight test on May 19th.   The news is mainly good with no signs of glaucoma or macular degeneration. I have mild cataracts which do not need attention for now.

 I needed a new "script" for reading glasses.  (I use progressive lenses, the top part being plain glass and the bottom to correct my reading vision - 'cause I "hate" having to take my glasses on and off for reading or for driving,)

I also wanted to use my existing frame partly because it is in good shape, and partly because I like the design - (which  is no longer available).

The new lens arrived on June 3rd.  Woe upon woe they did not fit tightly into the old frame.

So on June 3rd the Optician sent the old  frame and new lens back to the manufacture for a  new fit (with reground lens),

I was told that this process would take between a week and ten days.  So for that time I used my "standby" spectacles from two prescriptions back.

This was not good,  I could read the newspaper if I held it about a foot from my nose. I could not read internet mail and pages without magnifying them.  Reading my Hamilton book was impossible.

I had to use a magnifying glass to read an e-mail address on a business card.  All this made me think about my late friend Ben M, and my living friend Betty M who both suffer(ed) from Macular Degeneration which makes (made)  their lives so very complicated.

Mercy me, my new lens and old frames came back yesterday, only five days after they had been returned.  This is good,



Old glasses (l)_  New lens with older frame (r)


If you think this is mundane or parochial i agree!

Anything to take my mind away from the speculations, masquerading as opinion, in turn masquerading  as news about Trump/Comey/May.

BLAH







Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Primer on the Amish

Sarasota residents are used to the sight of Amish men and woman as they ride their tricycles in the Pinecraft area, especially in the winter


.

Many of we Sarasotans, alongside people from other places view them as quaint, anachronistic, somewhat alien - but a good tourist attraction.

Others see them as the ideal Christians, living the  plain and uncluttered lives for which we sometimes yearn.

We know little about their history, and can be easily confused about the various Amish groups, and the differences between Amish and Mennonite people.

Lazy thinkers see Amish as "exotic Quakers", or Hutterites, or Moravian Christians.

---------------------------------------------------------

I was fortunate enough to take a four session course titled "Amish Customs and Practices" at Sarasota's  Suncoast Technical College.  It was taught by a local resident J.B,.Miller who was born into an Amish family - though he himself was never baptised into the Amish Church. J.B. Miller knows more about the Amish and Mennonites than many of us know abut our own religious traditions.

J.B. Miller disabused us of  many myths and misconceptions about the Amish in his honest and gentle presentations.

He recommend the following book


Published by Johns Hopkins  University Press 2015 $16.95

Thanks to a birthday gift of a Barnes and Noble Gift Card I was able to purchase the book.  I recommend it without reservation.  It is scholarly. honest and utterly accessible. Do not sound off about the Amish until you have read it!.





Sunday, 4 June 2017

My grievous errors unmasked at Church this morning

It was only after I made a sassy remark to Matt O'Farrell (one of the Ushers) just before  Church this morning that he exposed the error of my ways.  I drove all the way to Church without noticing this.





Observant eyes will also notice that I was wearing a left shoe on my right foot.

I need a valet!

Photo's for family

From Auntie Irene's stash of photo's, via Janet Draper.

I can't identify them all but you will see Maureen and Jean with Nanny Povey  (I have only one other photo' of her);  Mum, Dad, Maureen, Jean - all in hats!   - John and Elizabeth are babies (Mum had a copy of this one); Maureen and  Rosemary (?) with Mum, Auntie Phyll and Uncle Albert (I think that's him);

Enjoy!   Janet may be able to identify some of these.







Who is the woman looking at them?




Saturday, 3 June 2017

Observed and overheard in SRQ today



I was at Target Optical this morning to have new lenses fitted to my existing frames.

As I waited I watched a thirty something  couple, complete with a child aged about eighteen months who sat in the shopping cart.

The man was more than six feet tall. He looked like a Marine.  He wore a "wife beater" (yes I hate that term) shirt, with his tats and muscles in plain view.

She was picking out new sunglasses.  She chose three designs and tried them one, one at a time.  Each time she asked her partner "do you like these?":  His responses were "yes I like them" (frame #1); "I really like them" (frame #2), and "I like those too" (frame #3).

I started to laugh out loud..  He was clearly hedging his bets.  His body language said "get me out of here right now!"

Meanwhile the little child was opening and closing a "Target" leaflet as he chattered (OK. - "babbled") away.  Mum and Dad seemed to be oblivious to him.  I wanted to babble away with him.

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A bit later I was at my local pharmacy to pick up some prescribed meds.

The woman ahead of me seemed to have a very complicated order, and there was much to-ing and fro-ing between her and the pharmacist.  That being done the pharmacist asked "would you like a bag?".  The customer responded with a curt "yes".

Before I could stop myself I said out loud "yes please".

Without turning to look at me the customer said "oh, yes please".

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I can be such a snob!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Cardiac Rehab - ouch!



I began my cardiac rehab. programme today at Sarasota Memorial Hospital's gym facility on Rand Blvd. (off Clark Road) in Sarasota.

My body has aches in places where I didn't know that I had places.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Cameron May Trump



NEW!

From Downing Productions


MASTERS OF THE U-TURN

Developed and Perfected by David Cameron and Theresa May

The Game In Which You Will Always Be The Loser

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



NEW!

From The Makers of "The incoherent Twitterverse"

"Take America Back.....  to the 1950's and to hell with the rest of the world"

*Written, Directed and Produced by Donald Trump
*Starring Donald Trump.

* With additional material by Scott Pruitt
* And a cameo appearance by Mike Pence

-------------------------------------------------


Wednesday, 31 May 2017

I'll have another one next year!

I love my birthday.  I advertise it widely in advance of the day.

2017

Thursday 25th May  (the night before)  Dinner at Cafe Baci with my besties Allan, Rick P, John C, and Rick R.

Friday 26th May (the day) wonderful table fellowship and a home cooked meal with my dearest Ron and Char, and with Ron's sister Karen and her husband Den.  Just what the Doctor ordered!

Saturday 27th May a "special edition" Ben's Bar at my home with Gordon and John, Bill and Patrick, Rick and John, and another Rick at my home

Tuesday 30th May  Drinks and nibbles at the home of Jack and Donna C, with dear Muriel Q, and with Chris and Clare (Brits who live and work in Germany),


Some lovely and unexpected gifts:  wine, and more wine!, ginger preserves, chocolates, Scottish shortbread, "best" English tea bags, a book about Alexander Hamilton, and a Barnes and Noble Gift Card (ear marked for a book about the Amish).

Scores and scores of greetings via birthday cards, e-mails and Face book messages, together with  'phone calls from family members in the U.K.

I should be so lucky.  I am grateful.   I plan to have another birthday in 2018!



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

English Euphemism




My Dermatological Surgeon and I got to be very silly this afternoon.

Dr. Bogart related that last Christmas she was with her family on a beach in Antigua.

An English couple of a certain age walked by.  They had been sitting on the beach.

The wife said to her husband, "I've got sand in my bits and pieces".



😊

Monday, 29 May 2017

More MOHS surgery on Tuesday




I have this so often that I should probably move in with my Dermatological Surgeon  (but I haven't asked her yet)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Town of Lee, MA and Memorial Day

The central Berkshire County town of Lee, MA calls itself "The Gateway to the  Berkshires". That's indisputable as Exit 2 of the Massachusetts Turnpike is right there. If you are traveling in I 90 west from Boston or east from New York State and Albany you will get off the Pike in Lee for your travels south to Stockbridge, Great Barrington or Sheffield you will use Exit 2.  If you are going north to Lenox, Pittsfield or Williamstown you will use Exit 2.

The story is that the original design for the Mass Pike has it taking a more northerly route with an exit near the industrial City of Pittsfield.  But a powerful south Berkshire County State Senator prevailed so that the Pike took its present route with the exit in Lee.

It's a mixed blessing. Easy access on and off the Pike is a plus. But Lee also bears a cost. All the traffic from north County has to go through the heart of Lee using the two lanes Main and Housatonic Streets. In "the season" all these streets are clogged with all manner of vehicle: trucks, 'buses, R.Vs and cars with the consequent noise and air pollution.

I was dreaming about Lee the other night (as one does!).  I cannot remember the dream, but as I was emerging from sleep I began to imagine Main St  Lee in 1917.  I saw a parade of newly enlisted doughboys as they prepared to go off to Camp and thence to France to fight in "the war to end all wears" in what was then called "The Great War".

Then I thought of Lee  (and so many other small American towns) two years later, a Lee which had all too many widows, orphans and bereft parents.

The Great War was brutal,  Contemporary accounts speak of young men (cannon fodder) writhing and dying in agony as they cried out for their mothers.

"War is Hell" said Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. Only unthinking romantics, filmmakers novelists, corrupt politicians,  and those who have never served in battle would say otherwise.

"War is hell" says the widows, the orphans, and the bereft parents.

Which brings me to Memorial Day.  It is not designed to honour Veterans - they have their own day. It is not designed to honour those who currently serve -  we have Armed Forces Day for that.  It does not mark the beginning of barbecue season in northern States.  It is not (as an NPR reporter said) "the holiday weekend".

It should be a day for solemn marches with muffled drums, for dirges, for mourning.  It should be a day on which we honour the memory of those who died, and share the tears of those whose grief is unquenchable; a day for fasting and requiems.

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Note some of what I write is rooted in my visits to French, American, British and German War Graveyards in Europe. I particularly remember three graveyards near the town of Soissons in France - a place for some of the most brutal fighting in World War I. Many of the graves in the French Cemetery were of  Algerian Muslims, fighting for Mother France.  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Soissons_(1918)

And of my visit to the infamous Viet Cong tunnels in Vietnam into which young G.I's were made to crawl on their bellies in an attempt to root out the enemy, but to their almost certain deaths (the Tunnel Rats), The place made me shudder. War is hell.

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World War I Memorial, Franklin St, Lee MA




Memorial Day Cake at Publix. This made my blood boil -   talk about trivialising  a solemn day. I wanted to call Publix Corporate and remind them "this is Memorial Day, not friggin' Valentine's Day".

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Celebrations continue (and why not!)

May 26th -  by birth date

Super and relaxed dinner at the home of my great Gulf Gate SRQ friends, Ron and Charlotte Thompson (and with Ron's sister Karen and her husband Den).

Charlotte

Karen and Den

Ron

Birthday ice cream

Terrific gift from Ron and Char  (I know next tk nothing about Hamilton


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My beloved Aunt Irene recently moved from her Flat in Bristol to a splendid Memory Unit in a good "care home".  As her daughters, (my cousins) cleared out her flat they discovered a veritable treasure trove of family photo's

Cousin Janet sent me one today.  I had never before seen it.


Here I am with my twin sister outside of the house where we were  raised.  Are we maybe three, or four years old?.  The presence of the perambulator (what a wonderful word!) confuses me. It certainly was not for Elizabeth and I  - we are far past that stage.  It cannot be for our brother Andrew for he was born in 1950 when we were already in what Americans would call first grade.

I love my sister's mischievous look, and I like that I was bearing a nice smile.

What nice children!

Thanks Janet!