Make yourself at home. Put your feet up. Grab your favorite beverage and prepare to enjoy the reads.



A Morning Page

Today, I present Guest Writer, Thia Tsurata who follows the practice of "Morning Pages" as suggested by Julie Cameron, author of The Artist's Way.

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning.

This is an example of one of Thia's morning pages.

So I made up my mind that I would do this. Thanks to Aptos Writer's Group. I got the book, The Artist's Way and got going... I started the very first morning pages while visiting Mom and Frank in Montana.

Taka and Thia Tsurata
There were days after that, weeks and months, where I'd set my alarm to get up and write from 5am... and then be able to go back to bed hoping to doze off again- would loved to sleep again. However... the main idea was to be able to just wake with Taka to have breakfast together before sending him off to work. There were days, actually they felt like the middle of the night, when I'd awaken to pee and not be able to sleep again. So many nights... in the wee hours, anywhere from 3am and 5am, I'd write for an hour and take my homeopathic insomnia pills eventually with plans to sleep again. Or it'd be the nights of "dark regrets" that I knew I could spew out on these pages for my morning.

It took maybe a year before I trusted myself to get to the writing after Taka would leave for work. I'd get myself distracted too much sometimes and not really feel I was giving my pages the attention they deserved. But it's been an evolution. And I've learned to write in cars, in hotel bathrooms, while others slept, on planes... figuring out the time differences between Japan and the U.S.... two mornings in one day of looking like I missed a day on the return flight. But all I've missed has been half or a page in more than sixteen months and MAKING UP MY MIND to do this. Being ALLOWED and GETTING to do this has changed my life, my direction, my heart, my friends ... and the way I am now able to... how I am getting better able to express myself having taken this "course".

When my stepbrother this past October  asking me (another one of the many) what I'm doing now, I once again shyly... almost... really hesitantly... practically GUILTILY I try to say "Oh, well, I'm writing." Or when asked my job, I'm still uncomfortable saying I'm a writer. And stepbrother Jim, said with quite the firm conviction, "Ok so that is your job now.... so THAT is what you will spend 2-3 hours every day doing now cause it's your JOB!" And I nodded, feeling somewhat...like..."oh- yes-yes..." and beginning to feel this stirring of excitement "Yes!! My JOB now!!!"


A Little Bitty Tear Let Me Down

The other day I visited my Rhematologist for a follow up on my Sjogren's Syndrome which had been bothering me considerably, including bodily pain and exhaustion. He had given me a prescription for prednisone, which has been quite effective in making me feel better. Though I am still bothered very much by dry eye. That might not seem like a big deal to those who do not have it. But, just imagine yourself going through life with what feels like sand in your eyes, with pain and sometimes swelling of the eyelids. Not to mention your appearance is reminiscent of a bad hangover!

In my visit with the doctor, I hesitated to bring up the fact that I was disappointed the Prednisone didn't give me a "High". Usually it does, and I had been hoping for the benefits of it helping to pull me up from my recent depressive state. We discussed the fact that perhaps my depression was deeper than just a side effect of my physical condition and needed to be treated with anti-depressants instead. This made me more sad. I do have an underlying condition, and it was time for me to face needing care. Tears formed and fell down my cheeks. He handed me some tissues and said, "At least you are producing tears."

That was reassuring. I'm glad he reminded me. I had been feeling so sorry for myself. Sometimes I forget to count my blessings! Afterwards, I thought about what he said. Then wondered. If I can produce an abundant quantity of tears for the sake of crying, then why are my eyes still dry? And, then I thought, if I could just have a good cry every day, perhaps it would help my tear ducts be healthier. Of course, I began searching for information that might back up my theory.

I found the following: "There are in fact three types of tear, two of which are rather uninteresting: basal tears which lubricate and protect the eye and reflex tears which flush out irritants such as smoke particles or onion vapors. The third type of tear is, of course, shed in response to emotion, and differs from basal and reflex tears not only by its cause but also by its chemical composition, being considerably richer in certain substances such as prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormone."

So now I wonder if because emotional tears have a different chemical composition, the idea of purposely crying every day wouldn't be beneficial. Hmmm... Is this making sense? Or is it just the hopeful wishes of a patient who wants to be in the know?

In the same article I found this: "Damage to the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve renders the surface of the eye insensitive and thereby prevents the production of reflex tears. However, it is the parasympathetic division of the facial nerve that is actually responsible for making tears, and damage to the facial nerve, as in Bell’s palsy, can lead to a decrease in tear production. Reflex and emotional tears are produced by the lacrimal gland and drained through the nasolacrimal canal into the nose."

I do NOT believe I have Bell's but I wonder if my TMJ could have an affect. Even though I have positively been identified by specialists at UCSF as having Sjogren's Syndrome, I wonder if my TMJ problems contribute to the much more troublesome dry eye problems that I experience on the right side. Perhaps if I could get appropriate treatment for the TMJ, then some of the pain and discomfort I have in the right eye could be diminished! Is my logic off? Or again, is this just wishful thinking?

And now for a little bit of fun!


Morris Franklyn Evans of Cattaraugus County New York

This is the elder sister of Morris Evans. Her name is Anna
Photo taken in Dover, New Hampshire circa 1908
As I was growing up, my father often reminded me that I could rely on my own inner strength, which, in his opinion, I inherited through my ancestors; particularly the ones from Wales.

Dad’s mother, Jessie, spoke the native tongue, Cymraeg. His grandfather, Morris, was the first generation American. I guess that makes me fourth generation away from “the old country”. My great-great grandparents, William and Anna Evans came to New York State about 1843, bringing two sons with them, John and William (Jr.). As far as I have been able to determine, they first settled in Schuyler, Herkimer county.

By the time Morris came along, April of 1852, his siblings, Thomas, David, Benjamin, and Mary had preceded him; after that, a younger sister, Elizabeth, known as Libby. Morris and Libby remained close all their lives.

Eventually, William and Anna moved to Cattaraugus county in western NY probably because of the railroad boom. They purchased and exchanged a great deal of land, speculating more than farming it.  They continued to speak and live in the Welsh ways.

As was common practice among his people, at the age of thirteen Morris was apprenticed out to learn a trade. His older sister, Mary, was married to a man who ran a cheese factory where Morris could have continued out his life as a cheese maker in familial job security. However, as an adult, Morris choose to become a carpenter and most of his life he worked in various aspects of the field; once, for the railroad building huge railroad bridges, especially the famous Kinzua bridge.


December 14, 1960

A letter from Laura Wakely of Merritt Island Florida, to her best friend, Gennie Deane, living in Burt, New York.

December 14, 1960

Dearest Gennie,

Well I guess it’s time I answered your letters.

It sure has been cold for the last 2 days. But then, I guess it’s nothing compared to what you are getting up North!

Jerry and Darrell are both working for a fruit packing co. Jerry going on 2 weeks and Darrell one. It seems good to not have them under foot, but I miss my babysitter.

Roy is working from 12 AM until 8 am. So he is home all day now and it’s just like a mad house. I never get my work done. I hate it.

I was so in hopes we would be in the house by xmas. But that is another dream up in smoke. He hasn't done anything since it was plastered and tiled except make five windows and fix one closet. I guess he isn't going to. I asked him today if we couldn't buy the furnace. He says, “what with?” and we really aren't that hard up. God, he is a pinch penny. I don’t blame him for not wanting to spend all he has in the bank. But I don’t see how he can take this place either.

At least he has been home every day for nearly 2 weeks. I don’t know what happened to him. But I hope it continues

Gee, xmas will soon be here and I don’t have a bit of xmas spirit. Do you? I don’t like the holidays anymore.

Well I have all my uppers out except four and I’ve really had a time with them. My face was black and blue. This is the second week, and I’ve had enough jaw bone out to make a soup!

Well anyway they are all better now and I’m not going back until after xmas, as he said I need a rest and I agree, It sure took a heck of a lot out of me.

Dam, my feet are cold. Mr. Brandy and Princess are sleeping. That is good, as I could just take one and knock the other in the head. I don’t usually feel that way

I sure hope your problems are dissolving and your life will be happier. At the best, life is hard isn’t it? I’ve already received some xmas cards. I almost feel like Scrooge. Bah Humbug!

I haven’t seen Myrna and kids since Friday but I guess they are all fine.

I’ve got to go to the toilet and Roy is in there. Guess he has rented it. It sure look’s funny to see him stand there with the toilet seat in his one hand and Ha Ha in the other. Then, when you want to flush the dam thing, you have to reach on the back as the handle is broke. Well I hope he freezes his hand. Then maybe he will get busy. It’s been like that for about a year. Then he wonders why I bitch.

I’ve just got to get me some warmer clothes.

Wanda’s daughter is in the hospital. At first they thought she had polio or a virus infection of the spine but they still don’t know what it is. She can’t walk. Well anyway I guess she is better but still can’t walk.

I guess my husband is looking at furnaces in the catalogue. I hope he buys one, as I’m mean when I’m cold. And I’m cold.

Well I can’t think of any more this time except I love you very much, and when you are unhappy so am I. Just remember that everyone has problems.

The best way is to pray, and you really get the strength to go on. I know that the Lord is up there, and I know that it has sure helped me to keep my senses in my hum drum world because when I need Him, I can just feel Him. So, I know that He will help me, and protect me. Well, anyway, it is a wonderful feeling. And without that thought, I doubt that I could stay sane, as sometimes it’s pretty rough around here.

I don’t pray for me. I pray the Lord will just comfort me and give me strength. I'd I swear I do get strength, almost like I could feel His presence, and I know I’m not worthy. But I pray to Him a lot and hope, in my feeble way, He forgives me and loves me. I’ve never told this to anyone. But I hope you try it. Because if I couldn't have this feeling, I’d be more lost than even you was. At best, there is very little pleasure or comfort around here so, you see, I sure need something strong to cling to.

Love always
Laura and All

Descendants of Robert Higgins of Leominster

I kept a copy of this after I found it on the internet. Today I came across it and clicked on one of the links in order to assuage my curiosity. But, was disappointed to learn the original site was no longer existing. So, I'm taking it upon myself to post the information (exactly as found) for the benefit of those who might find it useful in their search for family.

Thought to have been planted by descendant of Higgins.


Robert Higgins, mercer of Leominster was mentioned in the will of Christopher Higgins, verger to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford as were Robert's children. The will is dated 18 July 1610 and calls Robert "cosin" probably meaning nephew.


  • 2I. RICHARD- b.c.1613, m. 1634 LYDIA CHANDLER

    Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin
    Higgins, Worcester, 1918, pp.14-5

    m.1. 23 Nov. 1634 Eastham, LYDIA CHANDLER (d. by 1650 Eastham, MA)
    2. Oct. 1651 Eastham, Mary ______ (m.1. John Yates (adm. 8 June 1651 Eastham), 3. c.1684 Isaac Whitehead of Elizabethtown, NJ (d. Feb. 1691 Elizabethtown), d. after 2 Dec. 1702)
    d. before 1 June 1675 Piscataway, NJ Richard Higgins, son of Robert Higgins of Leominster in the County of Hereford, mercer, places himself as an apprentice with Philip Ruddock of St. Clements Land, London, for the term of seven years from the date given herein, for the term aforesaid, on said day and year, April 23, 1627"(1)

    Richard went to Plymouth, MA about 1633. On 7 Oct. 1633 he purchased from "Thomas Little his now dwelling howse and misted, for and in consideration of twenty-one bushels of merchantable corne, whereof twelve bushels to be pd in hand, & the remainder at harvest next ensuing."(2)

    On 1 Mar. 1633/4 Richard was taxed 9/ and on 27 Mar. 1634 he was taxed another 12/ in corn (two bushels). Sometime in 1633 or 1634 he was admitted a freeman.

    On 1 Apr. 1634 Samuel Godberson, son of Godbert Godberson of New Plymouth, deceased, was apprenticed to Richard Higgins, tailor, for the term of seven years. Samuel was a ward of the Colony and Bradford agreed to pay Richard "six bushels of corne and a cowe calfe this present year of the next." Richard was to teach Samuel his trade and to give him the calf and half her offspring at the end of the seven year term.(3) Richard sold this apprenticeship to John Smaley 31 Aug. 1639.

    On 13 Jan. 1633/4 Richard purchased from John Barnes "one dwelling house and twenty acres of land, being lately in the possession of Edward Holman, with all the fence, boards, timber (squared and unsquared) (belonging to the same) in consideration of ten pownd starling to be paid in currant English money or beaver at the rate it shall passe at the day of payment which is the 20th of March in the year of our Lord 1634. And also that the said Richard shall possesse the said John and his heirs of 20 acres of land in Scituate in some convenient place."(4)

    On 14 Mar. 1635/6 Mr. Hicks, George Watson and Richard were granted the rest of the Island Creek for haying. They were granted more land for haying on 20 Mar. 1636/7.

    On 2 May 1637 Richard was one of the committee to lay out highways in Plymouth, Duxbury and Ele River.

    On 7 Aug. 1638 Richard was one of the jury in the case of John Weeks vs. George Russell for slander. On 3 Dec. 1639 Richard posted a bond of 20/6 for Samuel Chandler who was accused of slander against the governor and the government. The bond was released. Richard was on the jury several times while living in Plymouth and was a member of the "Grand Inquest" in June of 1644.

    In Mar. 1638/9 Richard was granted 40 acres of land on the southeast of Great South Pond and two pieces of marshland southwest of the other grant. Richard swaped land with John Smaley in June 1640. On 2 Nov. 1640 Richard was granted 6 acres in South Meadows. His property on Manomet Pond was confirmed to him on 30 Nov.

    In Feb. 1643 Richard was one of the people who was appointed to make traps to kill the wolves in the area.

    "The Names of the Freemen of eich Towne. Plymouth (1643)... Richard Higgins." "August, 1643. The Names of all the Males that are able to beare Armes from xvj. Yeares old to 60 Yeares, wthin the sevrall Towneshipps. Plymouth... Richard Higgins." (5)

    In 1644 several families moved to Nauset (Eastham): "The Court doth grant unto the church of New Plymouth, or those that go dwell at Nausett all the tract of land lying between sea and sea, from the purchaser's bounds at Namskaket to the herring Brook at Billingsgate". 5 Mar. 1644/5.(6)

    On 3 Mar. 1643/4 Richard sold a half acre of marsh at Hobb's Hole to Gyles Rickett for 40/. In Aug. 1645 he sold his house, garden and orchard near Brownes Rock to John Churchwell for £12 provided that "it shall be lawful for the said Richard to take away the boards that line the inward room and the bedstead and board overhead, and some fruit trees in the orchard so that he leaves the said John Churchwell 30 trees."(7) Richard moved to that part of Eastham called Pochet which was next to Nauset Beach in what is now East Orleans. He is listed as an inhabitant of Eastham in 1658.(8)

    Richard was one of the representatives to the General Court at Plymouth beginning in 1647. He was also one of the surveyors of highways. In 1657 he was one of four men chosen to settle the boundary between Barnstable and Yarmouth. He was a selectman in 1664 and in 1668.

    Between 1659 and 1669 Richard bought and sold numerous parcels of land and obtained many land grants.

    "June 1, 1659. Whereas it is and order of court that every town in this colony is to choose two or three men for the oversight and disposal of poor children, this town hath chosen Edward Bangs, Nicholas Snow and Richard Higgins according to order."(9)

    "1659. Richard Higgins has one little black mare which was Job Cole's with a blaze down the face and a little white hair above her hoofs before, burn marked with an E on the right shoulder. Dec. 23, 1659."(10)

    "May 15, 1660. Mr. John Doane, Richard Higgins and Thomas Paine with the surveyors are to appoint what particular highways are to be mended and those that are most concerned in the ways are to mend them by the appointment of the abovesaid for the present year."(11)

    "Court of June 13, 1660. Richard Higgins one of a committee to dispose of the trade at Kennebeck."(12)

    "Dec 13, 1660. Richard Higgins undertook to provide a company for to cut up the third fish" (whale).(13)

    "The mark of Richard Higgins (for his cattle) is a piece cut off the hind side of the left ear, to the top of the ear, and a slit cut in the side of the ear slanting downwards. Jan. 22, 1660/1."(14)

    "24 10th mo. 1667. Richard Higgins and Benjamin Higgins were on a jury of inquest as to the deaths of Robert Chapell, James Nichols, and William Pidell, cast ashore upon Cape Cod."(15)

    "To all people to whome these presents shall come. Know ye that I Richard Higens of Eastham in the Government of New Plimoth in New England in America, Taylor... grant unto my son Benjamine Higens of the Towne of Eastham abovesaid, Husbandman, a parcell of upland and meadowing the upland containing twentie acres be it more or less lying at a place commonly called Poche, the which upland lieth next to the lot of Job Cole and was bought and exchanged by the said Richard Hignes of Jonathan Sparrow as appears by a deed... And two acres of marsh or meadowing, be it more or less, which was formerly Mr. William Bradfords deceased, that Richard Higens hath and lieth at the harbor's mouth... 4th day of the 5th mounth 1669 in the presence of us

    Nath: Bacon
    John Scudder                   Richard Higens."(16)

    In 1669 a group of people moved from the Cape to New Jersey because of religious and political differences with the establishment at Plymouth or because of the fact that land was more available in New Jersey. Richard seems to have moved to New Piscataway because of the last reason.

    "Know all men by these presents that I Richard higgens of New Piscataway in the province of New Jersey, yeoman, for the sum of nine pounds sterling to him paid... to Benjamin Higgens of Eastham in the jurisdiction of New Plimouth... land at a place called little Billingsgate." Dated 20 Nov. 1672.(17)

    On 8 Mar. 1677/8 Mary had her deceased husband's claims to land laid out to her in the western part of old Piscataway township near the Raritan River consisting of 254 acres.

    Samuel Moore Sr. of Woodbridge, NJ obtained a license to marry Mary, but for some reason the marriage never took place and she married Isaac Whitehead. In her son Thomas' will in Dec. 1702 she recieved "the Parlor or Rooms where she now lives and also one-third part of the orchard during her natural life."

  • I. Jonathan- b. July 1637 Plymouth, MA; m.1. 9 Jan. 1660/1 Eastham, MA, Elizabeth Rogers (b. 29 Sept. 1639 Duxbury, MA, d.c.1678 Eastham), 2. ?Hannah Rogers(18), living in 1711 
  • 3II. BENJAMIN- b. July 1640 Plymouth, m. 24 Dec. 1661 LYDIA BANGS (d. after Feb. 1706/7), d. 14 Mar. 1690/1 Eastham
  • III. Mary- b. 27 Sept. 1652 Eastham, m.c.1682 Samuel Oliver, d. 23 Jan. 1729 Elizabethtown, NJ
  • IV. Eliakim- b. 20 Oct. 1654 Eastham, m. Elizabeth Newbold (bpt. 8 Dec. 1654 Handsworth, Yorkshire, d. 13 Nov. 1692)
  • V. Jediah- b. 5 Mar. 1656/7 Eastham, m. 12 May 1684 Mary Newbold (bpt. 23 May 1661 Mossborough, Derbyshire)
  • VI. Zerah- b. June 1658 Eastham, m. Elizabeth Oliver
  • VII. Thomas- b. Jan. 1661/2 Eastham, m. Elizabeth Hull
  • VIII. Lydia- b. July 1664 Eastham, probably d.s.p.
  • IX. Rebecca- b.c.1666 Eastham, m. Thomas Martin
  • X. Ruth- b.c.1668 Eastham? Piscataway?, m.1. Isaac FitzRandolph, 2. Stephen Tuttle
  • XI. Sarah- b.c.1670 Piscataway, NJ, m. Samuel Moore Jr.

    (1) Apprentice Book of the Honorable Company of Merchant Taylors of London- Vol.9, folio 276
    (2) Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin
    Higgins, Worcester, 1918, p.26
    (3) Ibid- p.27
    (4) Ibid
    (5Records of the Colony of New Plymouth- Nathaniel Shurtleff, M.D., Boston, 1857, pp.173-4, 187-8
    (6) History of Harwich- p.29
    (7) Higgins Genealogy- p.30
    (8Records of the Colony of New Plymouth- Nathaniel Shurtleff, M.D., Boston, 1857, p. 201
    (9) Higgins Genealogy- p.33
    (10) Ibid
    (11) Ibid-p.34
    (12) Ibid- p.31
    (13) Ibid-p.34
    (14) Ibid
    (15) Ibid-pp.34-5
    (16) Land Grants, 1659-1710, Town of Eastham
    (17) Book of Land Grants of Eastham- p.98
    (18) Higgins in her genealogy lists Hannah as Jonathan's second wife. This may be the case, however, no record to prove this theory has been found to my knowledge. Besides the lack of evidence it seems unlikely that Jonathan would marry his dead wife's sister as there was a strong predudice against such a relationship as being illegal and incestuous. Therefore I seriously question whether this statement by Mrs. Higgins is accurate.

    Newbold Genealogy- Charles Platt Jr., New Hope, PA, 1964, pp.1, 60, 110


    b. July 1640 Plymouth, MA
    m. 24 Dec. 1661 LYDIA BANGS (d. after 13 Feb. 1706/7)
    d. 14 Mar. 1690/1 Eastham, MA
    Benjamin probably lived on lands which he received from his father in Pochet, now in East Orleans.

    "Benjamin Higgins hath a mare of a brownish bay color and one white foot, the other three feet partly white, with a white strip on her face, and running broad toward the right nostril, a piece cut out of the top side the near ear, and burn marked with E on the near shoulder." 14 July 1664.(1)

    On 2 Mar. 1668/9 Benjamin was sued by Peregrine White for a debt of £16. The disagreement was settled out of court and the suit was withdrawn.
    On 1 June 1675 Benjamin was one of the jury in a trial which caused the outbreak of King Philip's War. In 1662 Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampanoags, died and was succeeded by his son Wamsutta or Alexander who also died suddenly in 1662 possibly due to being poisoned by the English. His brother Metacom or Philip succeeded him as Sachem and was appropriately suspicious of the English and did not trust them. An Indian convert of Rev. Eliot's named Sassamon accompanied Philip to Boston as an interpreter and was his aide for some time. Sassamon, however betrayed Philip's secrets to the English concerning the Sachem's preparations for war because of his brother's supposed murder. Philip caught wind of this and went to Plymouth to free himself of suspicion. In the spring of the next year (1675) Sassamon was discovered in Assowomset Pond. An investigation led to the belief that he had been murdered the previous winter and his body thrown under the ice. Three Indians were arrested based on the testimony of another Indian who was an eye witness. The three were convicted by the jury, which included Benjamin, and were executed. This prompted the Wampanoags to declare war. Benjamin waa again on the jury in 1685 and on the grand jury in 1689.

    Because of his share in starting this conflict it is appropriate that he was a soldier in that war. His grandson received a grant in Narragansett Township No. 7 (Gorham, ME) for his grandfather's services.

    "In answare to a petition prefered to the Court by Benjamin Higgens in right of his father deceased, to be accommodated with land at Saconett (now Little Compton, RI) with the ptenors and servants there, the Court, generally conceiving that the said Richard Higgens had wronge in that he was not accommodated in the said land with the rest, severall of the ptenors being psent did engage before the Court that in case the petitioner shall and doe make his adresse to the rest of the companie interested in those lands, that they will pswade them that altho hee can not be supplyed out of the devided land of it, that he may bee competently supplyed in the undevided land thereof." 1 June 1675.(2)

    "The mark of the cattle of Benjamin Higgins is a piece cut off slanting on the fore side of the near ear, and a slit in where the piece is cut out. Entered this 17th April 1680."(3)

    On 5 May 1685 Benjamin was elected constable of the town and was confirmed by the General Court on 2 June 1685. He was elected selectman for Eastham on 4 June 1688.

    The inventory of his estate is dated 19 June 1691 and showed £85 in real estate and £206/6 in personal estate. "Memorandum: that Ichabod Higgins hath already had £10 and a piece of land on which his house stood, appraised at £9." An agreement was made that Ichabod should have cattle, bedding, boards, shingles and cash amounting to £20/5, Richard the loom and gears, 7 acres of land, a cutlass, cartridge box, cattle and cash worth £20/18, Joshua a gun, rapier, cartridge box, bedding, wearing clothes, powder and bullets, saddle and cloth, cattle, sheep and cash worth £20/5, Lydia was to have cattle, sheep, an iron pot, books, cloth and cash of £20, Isaac a gun, ammunition, a cutlass, cartridgebox, bedding, clothing, cattle, sheep and cash worth £20/5, Samuel a gun, sword, cartridge box, a book, bedding, clothes, ammunition, cattle, sheep and cash of £20/5, Benjamin was to have two- thirds of the house and one-third of the land and meadows with the widdow to have her third.(4)

    Lydia received from her brother Joshua's will 13 Feb. 1706/7 one-eighth part of his personal estate which might remain after his wife's death.

    On 20 Aug. 1711 the town of Eastham "Laid out to widdow Lidia Higgins for her natural life and then returns to the town, a parcel of land near the head of Namskaket on the Eastern side of the first lot which is the lot of Daniel Cole Sr."(5)

    Issue- all children born in Eastham.
  • I. Ichabod- b. 14 Nov. 1662, m. Melatiah Hamblen
  • 4II. RICHARD- b. 15 Oct. 1664, m. SARAH HAMBLEN (b. 1 July 1661, West Barnstable, m.2. 15 Nov. 1732 Lieut. John Cole of Eastham), d. 27 Apr. 1732 Eastham
  • III. John- b. 20 Nov. 1666, d. 13 June 1689
  • IV. Joshua- b. 1 Oct. 1668, m.1. Elizabeth Smith, 2. Priscilla Bixby, 3. Mary Baker
  • V. Lydia- b. May 1670, living 24 June 1691
  • VI. Isaac- b. 31 Aug. 1672, m. Lydia Collins
  • VII. Rebecca- b. 14 June 1674, d. Mar. 1675
  • VIII. Samuel- b. 7 Mar. 1676/7, m.1. Hannah Cole, 2. Thankful Mayo, 3. Elizabeth Harding.
  • 5IX. BENJAMIN- b. 15 Sept. 1681, m.1. 22 May 1701 SARAH FREEMAN (d. 21 Jan. 1743/4), 2. 28 June 1749 Truro, Mercy Freeman (b. 31 Aug. 1702, m.1. Caleb Hopkins, 3. 5 Dec. 1771 Ebenezer Dyer of Truro, d. Dec. 1786), will 1 July 1760- 11 May 1761


    (1Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, p.52
    (2) Ibid
    (3) Ibid
    (4) Ibid- p.53
    (5) Ibid


    b. 15 Oct. 1664 Eastham, MA
    m. SARAH HAMBLEN (b. 1 July 1661 Barnstable, m.2. 15 Nov. 1732 Lieut. John Cole of Eastham)
    d. 27 Apr. 1732 Eastham
    will 24 Mar.-25 May 1732

    "A parcel of land laid out to Richard Higgins upon pochett containing 4 acres more or less lying on the easterly side of a lot of land which was his father's formerly Jonathan Sparrow's and at the southerly end of a parcel of land which was granted to his father..." 3 Apr. 1693.(1)

    Richard was also granted several pieces of land in 1711. He was a selectman from 1709 until 1711 and was on the jury in 1728/9. Richard was the hog-reeve in 1729.

    The inventory of Richard's estate was taken 25 May 1732 and amounted to £1292/4/1.

    Issue- all children born in Eastham.
  • I. Joshua- b. 1 Oct. 1668, m.1. Elizabeth Smith (b. 24 Feb. 1668), 2. 27 Oct. 1720 Boxford, MA, Priscilla Bixby (d. Jan. 1737/8), 3. int. 24 Sept. 1737 Mary Baker (living 13 Mar. 1750/1), d. after 3 May 1757 Eastham 
  • II. Eleazer- b. 9 Feb. 1696/7, m. Sarah ______
  • 6III. THEOPHILUS- b. 6 May 1698, m. 25 Apr. 1724 JOANNA YOUNG (b. 1 June 1703 Eastham, d. 22 Mar. 1767 Eastham), d. 12 Dec. 1780 Eastham 
  • IV. Jedidiah- b. 8 Feb. 1699/0, m. 9 Jan. 1728/9 Phoebe Freeman (d. 23 May 1759 Marshfield, MA), d. 6 Feb. 1732 Antigua 
  • V. Zaccheus- b. 11 Jan. 1701/2, d. 22 Aug. 1715
  • VI. Esther- b. 23 Feb. 1703/4, m. 15 Jan. 1733/4 Stephen Totman Jr. of Truro
  • VII. David- b. 5 Apr. 1706, m.1. 5 Oct. 1727 Eastham, Mercy Twining (b. 20 Feb. 1708), 2. 6 Oct. 1757 Middle Haddam, CT, Jane Brown (m.1. Theodore Higgins), d. July 1771 Middle Haddam, CT
  • VIII. Reuben- b. 6 Jan. 1708/9, m. Hannah Cole
  • IX. Moses- b. 24 Mar. 1710/1, m. Elizabeth Arey
  • X. Abigail- b. 8 Aug. 1715, m. 22 Mar. 1732/3 Reuben Merrick


    (1Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, p.78


    b. 6 May 1698 Eastham, MA
    m. 25 Apr. 1724 JOANNA YOUNG (b. 1 June 1703 Eastham, d. 22 Mar. 1767 Eastham)
    d. 12 Dec. 1780 Eastham
    will 16 June- 21 Dec. 1780

    Theophilus was a juror in 1724 and in 1734. On 4 Mar. 1733/4 he was chosen to look after the boys and disorderly persons and in 1736 he was chosen "to look after the children on the Lord's day". Theophilus was a precinct officer in 1757 and in 1761. In 1762 he was a selectman and in 1768 an assessor.

  • I. Richard- b. 29 Mar. 1725, d. 11 Aug. 1747
  • II. Jeanette- b. 20 Jan. 126/7, m. 18 Mar. 1756 Elisha Smith (b. 10 Dec. 1727, d. 4 May 1795), d. 1813
  • III. Eunice- b. 27 Mar. 1729, d.s.p. after 8 June 1781
  • 7IV. MARY- b. 21 Sept. 1731, m. 4 Mar. 1756 ELIPHALET NICKERSON (b. 30 June 1731 Harwich, MA, d. Orrington, ME)
  • V. Josiah- b. 28 Dec. 1733, d. 3 Sept. 1757
  • VI. Nathan- b. 2 Aug. 1736, m. Jerusha Mayo
  • VII. Eleazer- b. 18 Oct. 1738, probably d.s.p.
  • VIII. Levi- b. 27 June 1743, m.1. Bathsheba Young, 2. Mary Higgins


    Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, pp.112-3
    The Nickerson Family- p.188


    b. 15 Sept. 1681 Eastham, MA
    m.1. 22 May 1701 SARAH FREEMAN (d. 21 Jan. 1743/4 Eastham)
    2. 28 June 1749 Truro, Mercy Freeman (b. 31 Aug. 1702, m.1. Caleb Hopkins, 3. 5 Dec. 1771 Ebenezer Dyer of Truro, d. Dec. 1786)
    will 1 July 1760- 11 May 1761

    Benjamin was the tithing man in 1714, a juryman in 1719/20, 1730, 1737 and 1738. He was elected constable on 16 Mar. 1725/6. He received a grant from the town to land on the Town Flat on 26 July 1703.

    On 11 June 1752 "Benjamin Higgins yeoman of Eastham for ten shillings eight pence sold to Benjamin Higgins the third of Eastham one acre and a quarter of land near my dwelling house, where my orchard now is, bounded beginning at my dwelling house... and then runs one pole to the south part of my house..."(1)

    Issue- all children born in Eastham.
  • I. Priscilla- b. 17 Nov. 1702, int. 15 Sept. 1722 Jonathan Smith
  • 8II. THOMAS- b. 24 June 1704, m. 12 Oct. 1727 Eastham, ABIAGAIL PAINE (b. 3 Aug. 1707 Eastham), d.c.1789 Wellfleet, MA
  • III. Sarah- b. 13 July 1706, int. 4 July 1724 Jesse Smith (b. 31 Jan. 1703/4)
  • IV. Paul- b. 25 June 1708, m. 3 Oct. 1737 Rebecca Mayo (b. 19 Apr. 1714 Eastham, d. 1776 Eastham), d. 1801 Orleans 
  • V. Reliance- b. 13 May 1710, probably d.s.p.
  • VI. Elizabeth- b. 1 Apr. 1712, m. 8 Mar. 1731/2 Henry Young (b. 23 Mar. 1710/1)
  • VII. Experience- b. 31 Jan. 1713/4, m.1. int. 3 May 1734 Israel Coombs, 2. _____ Toby or Foby
  • VIII. Benjamin- b. 1 Mar. 1715/6, m.1. Hannah Higgins, 2. Margaret Sears
  • IX. Thankful- b. 28 Oct. 1717, int. 25 Apr. 1741 Theophilus Mayo Jr.
  • X. Zaccheus- b. 15 Aug. 1719, m. Rebecca Young
  • XI. Solomon- b. 8 Sept. 1721, m.1. Bethiah Chase, 2. Esther Deane?
  • XII. Lois- b. 6 Aug. 1723, m. ______ ?Kirkham
  • XIII. Isaac- b. 12 July 1725, m. Rebecca Mayo
  • XIV. Freeman- b. 28 July 1727, m.1. Martha Cole, 2. Thankful Hopkins


    (1Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, p.86

    8II. THOMAS (ROBERT 1, RICHARD 2, BENJAMIN 3, BENJAMIN 4)b. 24 June 1704 Eastham, MA
    m. 12 Oct. 1727 Eastham, ABIGAIL PAINE (b. 3 Aug. 1707 Eastham)
    d.c.1789 Eastham
    Thomas settled in the North Precinct of Eastham which is now Wellfleet. On 14 Mar. 1747/8 he was chosen to be on the Precinct committee and on 19 Mar. 1749/0 he was an assessor. He was a juryman in 1728 and 1733. Thomas was the surveyor of highways in 1742. In April 1741 he, along with Jabez Snow, were masters of a porpoise voyage. In 1760 he was a selectman and tithingman.

    Issue- all children born in Eastham.
  • I. Philip- b. 28 Jan. 1727/8, m. Mary Wiley
  • II. Thomas- b. 1 Jan. 1729/0, m.1. 28 Dec. 1751 Anne Treat (d.c. 1769), 2. 31 May 1777 Ruth Rich (d. 6 Jan. 1826), d. 31 Oct. 1809 Wellfleet 
  • III. Benjamin- b. 8 Feb. 1731/2, m. 21 Aug. 1766 Hannah Mayo (b. 28 Nov. 1724 Eastham)
  • 9IV. JONATHAN- b. 10 Apr. 1734, m.1. 22 Nov. 1753 SARAH COOMBS (b. 4 Apr. 1729 Eastham), 2. 10 June 1777 Bethiah Snow (d. 23 Oct. 1783), 3. int. 11 Feb. 1785 Eunice Brown (b.c.1755, d. 11 Oct. 1819 Wellfleet), d. 10 Jan. 1821 Wellfleet 
  • V. Jesse- b. 21 Feb. 1736, m. 28 Apr. 1757 Experience Hinckley. Jesse moved to Georgetown, ME and then to Lewiston, ME.
  • VI. Thankful- b. 9 Apr. 1738, m. 25 Nov. 1756 Isaac Freeman, d. 29 Jan. 1824 Wellfleet
  • VII. Sarah- b. 17 July 1740, m. 13 Apr. 1758 Jonas Dean (b. 27 Oct. 1732 Barnstable, MA)
  • VIII. Solomon- b. 15 July 1743, m.1. 24 Jan. 1760 Margaret Holbrook, 2. 28 Oct. 1773 Abigail Pierce, living in 1790 Wellfleet

    Ref:Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, pp.123-4

    9IV. JONATHAN (ROBERT 1, RICHARD 2, BENJAMIN 3, BENJAMIN 4, THOMAS 5)b. 10 Apr. 1734 Eastham, MA
    m.1. 22 Nov. 1753 SARAH COOMBS (b. 4 Apr. 1729 Eastham)
    2. 10 June 1777 Bethiah Snow (d. 23 Oct. 1783 Eastham)
    3. int. 11 Feb. 1785 Eunice Brown (b.c.1755, d. 11 Oct. 1819 Wellfleet)
    d. 10 Jan. 1821 Wellfleet, MA
    Jonathan was a resident of the North Precinct of Eastham, which is now the town of Wellfleet. He was a deacon of the church in Wellfleet.
    As a selectman of Eastham he signed the account of the town for the care of an indigent stranger and the petition to the county court for reimbursement 6 Apr. 1767.(1)
    The distribution of his estate was made 11 July 1821 and apparently everything was given to his son Elnathan.

    Issue-all children born in Eastham/Wellfleet
  • I. Jonathan- b. 6 Nov. 1754, int. 22 Apr. 1785 Mercy Pike, d. 1819 Truro, MA
  • II. Sarah- b. 11 Feb. 1756
  • 10III. PAINE- b. 15 Dec. 1758, m. 10 Apr. 1782 ELIZABETH HARDING, d. 4 June 1812 Wellfleet
  • IV. Mary- b. 12 June 1761
  • V. Lois- b. 12 Aug. 1763, m. 1790 ? Edward Hawes of Barnstable
  • VI. Anna- b. 15 Sept. 1767
  • VII. Nathaniel Snow- b. 20 Sept. 1778, m. 13 Mar. 1802 Rebecca Harding Young (b. 24 Oct. 1783 Truro or Wellfleet, d. 5 Dec. 1864 Duxbury, MA), d. 25 Jan. 1859 Duxbury 
  • VIII. Benjamin- b. 24 Feb. 1780
  • IX. Edward- b. 5 Mar. 1782, d.s.p.
  • X. Henry- b. 23 Oct. 1783, m. Hannah Harding Newcomb
  • XI. Bethiah- b. 14 Nov. 1785, m. 4 Oct. 1804 Joseph Swett of Wellfleet
  • XII. Ezekiel- b. 11 Sept. 1788, m.1. Jemima Atwood, 2. Jerusha Knowles
  • XIII. Sarah- b. 30 Nov. 1790, m. 28 Nov. 1815 Eben Wiley
  • XIV. Elnathan- b. 20 July 1793, m. Thankful Swett. Elnathan's home is still standing and is located on the north side of Pamet Point Rd.
  • XV. Olive- b. 28 July 1795, m. 8 Jan. 1822 John E. Kemp
  • XVI. Hannah Horton- b. 17 June 1798, m. Thomas Cobb of Truro

    Ref:(1) Mass. Archives- Vol.118, pp.275-7

    Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, pp.189-0

    10III. PAINE (ROBERT 1, RICHARD 2, BENJAMIN 3, BENJAMIN 4, THOMAS 5, JONATHAN 6)b. 15 Dec. 1758 Wellfleet, MA
    m. 10 Apr. 1782 ELIZABETH HARDING
    d. 4 June 1812 Wellfleet, MA
    Paine lived in Wellfleet. He served in the Revolutionary War in Capt. John Gill's Co., Col. Thomas Crafts' Regt.

    Issue- all children born in Wellfleet

    I. Martha- b. 15 Dec. 1782, int. 3 Nov. 1819 Benjamin Rich Wetherell
    II. Samuel- b. 27 May 1786, m. Lucy Newcomb
    11III. ELIZABETH- b. 25 Nov. 1788, m. 25 Sept. 1811 BENJAMIN NICKERSON (b. 18 June 1787 Orrington, ME, d. 21 May 1879 Orrington), d. 18 Aug. 1870 Orrington
    IV. Hannah- b. 20 Aug. 1793, m. ______ Lewis of Wellfleet
    V. Temperance- b. 25 June 1796, m. 5 June 1818 Cornelius Harding


    Richard Higgins And His Descendants- Katherine Chapin Higgins, Worcester, 1918, pp.290-1

  • Friday

    "Fly" by Amy Obenski & The Carbone Band (at Maison des Arts, France)

    My dear friend, Amy Obenski traveled to France and made this recording of "Fly" written by Amy and The Carbone Band  (Josselin Sebille, Philippe Crochet & Mourad Ait Abdelmalek). This performance was recorded at La Maison des Arts in Saint Herblain, France, November 8th, 2013.

    A second video of the same song performed by Amy is below, for your comparison, performed in the United States with Steve Uccello and John Russell at Don Quixote's in Felton, California. . Film Credits: Ryan Keenan - photography and sound; Vincent Lowe - direction and editing

    Letter to the Google Powers That Be

    I received a notice from My Health Online. It was to inform me of a message regarding a recent blood test result. I take a medication called Lamotrogine. The result of the test revealed that I had low levels of the drug in my body. This means, though I am taking my medicine, it is not being absorbed properly. This is no surprise to me. I have Leukemia and I am taking a chemo drug which causes me to have a constant upset stomach. This is not well controlled because the usual nausea meds conflict with the absorption of the chemo drug.

    It is necessary that I take the Lamotrogine because I have a seizure disorder, plus it works well for another medical problem I have. In fact it works better than any other medication I have ever taken for that condition. Therefore, when I learned I was not absorbing it properly, I did a Google search to learn more about it. As usual when I do a search like this, I am so fascinated with the facts that one search leads to another and another and another. I just enjoy learning so much that I'm like a bee gathering pollen.

    I soon became frustrated because I felt things were not moving fast enough. Like a little kid, I just want to ask, "What does that mean?" and be instantly satisfied by having the answer. So, I wrote a letter to Google. I didn't send it. I'm sure the answer will come to me.... But, I'm posting it here, just in case someone has an thought on the question.

    (Though, now... as I am finishing up this post, I realize I could easily use my Droid to speak the new search term and get the answers I am looking for faster than using the computer!)

    This is the message to Google:

    Dear Google,

    When I am reading something in my Kindle and come across a word I am unfamiliar with, I can select it, click on it, and get a description of what the word means.

    I would like to be able to do that with Google, too. If I'm reading a website, for example, come across a subject I would like to know more about, I would like to be able to automatically Google that word (or phrase) and have Google search results pop up.

    I know I can copy and paste the word or phrase I'm looking for into another browser page, but that takes extra steps. Is there some way, I can just click and have an instant Google search response?

    Elizabeth Munroz



    Willow Weep For Me

    I remember lying on a blanket on the ground by the creek while my mother hung wet clothes on the clotheslines. I was mesmerized as i looked up through the labyrinthine branches and watched them weave and breathe their peaceful magic over me. As I listened to the soft murmur of the wind kissing the air above me, the clotheslines, the wet clothes in the basket, and my mother all disappeared from my little world.

    My willow and me, about 1948-49
    8124 West Rivershore Drive, Cayuga Island, Niagara Falls, NY

    The weeping willow, her green skirts hanging down sheltered me. I didn't know the streams of leaf filtered light caressing my face was not part of her.

    Perhaps I was swaddled. I had no desire to turn my back to the beauty, to roll over or crawl away. Perhaps I was younger than I imagine. Born in June, that first four months would have been the time this early memory occurred. If I had known there was such a thing as God, I would have been sure it was the Weeping Willow.

    The next year my mother tied me to the tree. The blanket was my boundary again. I could toddle a bit, yet she hollered and screamed at me so much to be still, to not go in the direction of the river, and to not walk myself around and shorten my tether that it was easier to just sit. I would reach out and grasp at the long threads gracing the grass and get lost in the veins lining the leaves. When my mother wasn't looking, I would bite into a branch and taste the bitterness. I liked the crunchy chewiness of the pulp. I knew the weeping willow didn't mind. She was my friend.

    The following summer, there was no more hanging clothes on the line. A big white box sat in the basement in the laundry room. My mother would stand at the washing machine fishing the clothes out of it to squeeze them between the rollers. I was not allowed in the that room, but could stand in the doorway to watch the drying machine go around in circles. I was easily bored by the whole process. Much to my mother's consternation I wandered off to explore other parts of the basement.

    Our forays into the backyard to my weeping willow tree were few by that time. I remember when Daddy and Davy brought the kitchen table outside. It was a hot day and my cousins were there. Later, Mommy and Aunt Laura laid on the blanket in the sunshine wearing their swim suits. They didn't go into the creek to swim but sat talking and giggling while Nona and I sat under the magic tree playing with her little dishes with teenage cousin, Myrna watching over us.

    "Don't go near the creek" I was warned so many times, I sang a song to the tree. "Don't go near the creek. It will take me away forever. My tree will really cry. Don't go near the creek." And I didn't. But, Dickie Culp did, and Bobby Baker did. They sat on the edge of the cement wall.  Willow had provided them with their pretend fishing poles which they held out over the water. Bobbie went home when his mother called him. Then, I watched when Dickie arched his back, dropped his fishing pole shaking his arms and fell into the water with his eyes open, not blinking, not moving and began to float away. I ran along beside him for a while calling his name. But, he did not answer.


    Recently, I used Google to look at the location where I lived as a little girl. I was disappointed to discover my willow tree is no longer there.



    Near Big Sur on Coastline of California
    photo by Elizabeth Munroz

    with Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar
    August 4 - 9, 2013
    Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

    There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language. Mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though we’ll focus on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment. For more information, click here.

    September 28 - October 5, 2013
    La Serrania, Mallorca, Spain
    In this small, intimate workshop, you have the opportunity to create writing that is more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you've been able to do before. This will be my seventh year teaching at La Serrania and it's always a deep pleasure to return. La Serrania is remote, gorgeous, and inspiring. If you'd like a chance to sink deeply into your writing, enjoy delicious food, go to sleep in a simple, yet elegant room, wake to sheep bells, this is the place. For more information,click here. For information about La Serrania, visit www.laserrania.com. To register, contact La Serrania. If you have questions, you can email me.



    Today the limping is not so bad. I don’t feel it is noticeable to others. But the pain is there just the same. Today the pain is in the front of the left thigh radiating down past my knee and the side of my calf; pain level #4, tolerable, and able to ignore. I’ve been functioning in a daze. The migraine meds I took in the middle of the night still have hold of my brain. The headache was the worst I’ve had in a long time; Up to a pain level #8. But, now the temporal artery is only swollen and throbs when I walk in the heat. Doctors say that migraines run in families and that they start at an early age. They’re right about the first part. I was a bit disdainful of my relatives when they complained of migraines until I had my first at age thirty five.

    I digress.... back to the thigh. Today the thigh, yesterday, lower back, day before that--I forget. Sounds like a hypochondriac. Right? I used to hate my body for being weak, for hurting me like this. I questioned my sanity, too. How real is all this pain? Why does it fluctuate, and change so? Could I just be imagining it? As a teenager, I only had to worry about the hereditary bone-bumps (benign tumors) all over my body, as being unsightly and nothing more. Time has taught me what scientific research has revealed: that muscles, ligaments and cartilage were not designed to wrap around these cauliflower-like growths without stress and strain, thereby resulting in a chronic condition very much like a cross between arthritis and fibromyalgia. Most of my family has inherited this condition, too. Mine’s a little different. One of my bone bumps became cancerous and I’ve had numerous surgeries over the years beginning in 1967, to try to keep it at bay. I haven’t had a recurrence since 1980. But, the damage is done. About one quarter of the pelvis has been removed. That includes the right pubic ramus and right ischium, all the way from the center to the hip joint with no prosthetic implant to hold things together. Doctors said I’d never walk again. What do they know? I forgot what they said, and walked, albeit with a limp.

    But they never told me that one half of my pelvis would flap in the breeze like a hinge on a gate without a lock. They didn't tell me of the years of excruciating pain while the bones rubbed against each other until they wore down the cartilage and began to fuse together. They didn't tell me that the muscles on the side, without the support, would shrink and spasm and need constant stretching. They didn't tell me about a lot of things. I’ve had to find out for myself. Its not too obvious to most people, this gaping hole in my anatomy. Even doctors who don’t know my history, don’t really understand the long term effects. Occasionally, I’ll run into a really good Physical Therapist who documents all the bio-mechanical reasons for my difficulties. Then I produce those records to any new doctor I might have and get some understanding. I’ve made it a point over the years to survive without being drugged. The first couple years I lived in a not entirely pain free stupor. It wasn't worth it. I’d rather feel the pain, cope with it the best I can, and feel alive. What annoys me most are the judges of my life, well meaning friends, family and strangers, alike, not living inside my body, who, when I have made monumental effort to climb a flight of stairs without wincing, say something like: “You look like you do just fine to me. Maybe you’re over-reacting!” I never know whether to cry or strike out in rage. I usually do nothing. I’ve often thought if we were all born with a simple purple dot on the forehead that would intensify in color indicating increasing pain levels everyone would know exactly how everyone else was feeling.


    What's in Your Garage?

    How easy it is to come up with reasons why we are unable to let go. The older we get the more stuff we accumulate, it seems. A group of us were having a cup of coffee at my local Starbux the other day. We began to talk of trying to minimize our lives.... getting rid of stuff.

    "We did that clearing things out once, but, and there are so many things I need--like my pressure cooker and canning equipment" This said by a woman whose grown children have moved far away and no relatives live nearby. I wondered how much canning she does these days. "Not as much as I used to," she said. "But my garage has enough jars of home-canned pickles.... And has never seen a vehicle."

    We then got onto the subject of chock full garages and how much money we would make if only we'd get out there and have a garage sale!

    Another friend said he and his wife had been forced to minimalize because they sold their 10 room house and downsized to a 5 room house with garage. They had two auctions and several garage sales. And gave some stuff free through freecycle. But once they moved in, they found it easier to leave the boxes unpacked and they are still sitting there stashed away in the "guest" room.

    When I open the garage door, I get overwhelmed and just turn around and go back into the house and attempt to clean out a kitchen cupboard or two.


    A Day in the Life

    Big day today. Went to pick up free herb plant (Epizote) from Freecycle friend. It is supposed to help with gastrointestinal issues I've been dealing with for much too long. I hope it works.

    Then off to Starbucks where we ran into a group of Impala enthusiasts. They were all wearing Impala Bike Club T-shirts. Lots of kids were there with their bikes. Adults were there with their classic Chevy Impalas. I love old cars and had to take pictures. Struck up conversation with a lovely young lady, Alexandra, and hope to run into her again, soon.

    Afterwards we ran into our friends, Rob and Lisa, and Rob's new pooch, Anna Banana. He reminded us of Patty's big yard sale, so we gave her a call to find out if she was still "open" and went over to hang out. It's amazing the amount of wonderful stuff she had... lots of china, silver, glassware, copper, art and other collectibles. One of which is something my grandson, the pilot, might find interesting, a print of a painting of a 1936 Spitfire done by artist, Jim Mitchell. (the photo does not do it justice)

    It's been a long day. I was pretty dizzy and lightheaded throughout most of it. Really wondering how much is due to low blood pressure. If so, then what's causing it? Or is it due to the recent bouts of pancreatitis I've been experiencing. I have some GI tests on Tuesday and appointment with the doctor on Friday. If all of this is due to leukemia and my chemo, I don't know how I will cope if this is how life is going to be.

    I hope whatever it is will be treatable!


    Courage and Fear

    Digital art by Elizabeth Munroz
    So often over the years, people who learned about my original bone cancer diagnosis and subsequent recurrences over eleven years, would say how courageous I was. I would deny that I was courageous at all, thereby, denying their opinion of me. (almost like calling them a liar or fool)

    It wasn't until one very old man told me that there were just two people in the world who he admired more than any others because of the courage they had due to succeeding to live a life with suffering and not taking everybody down because of it.

    The first person he admired for his courage was his own father who had been crushed between two cars of a train and carried to the station where a doctor sawed off his leg (it was the early 1900's. Thats how they did things way back then). This man lived out his total of 86 years with, at first, a very heavy wooden for forty years. Then he had a surgery to correct the first botched one, and a new artificial leg was provided. This man worked a job until the day he died. This man was his own father.

    The second person was me. This little old man, age 90, was my own father who told me this a few months before he died. I cried to know my father had kept those secret thoughts about me for so long, but terribly grateful he told me.

    Sometimes I wanted to die, sometimes I thought I would go crazy, but I'm still here, so maybe that did take courage to get through it all.

    I have learned that courage is in the eye of the beholder, and you never know who admires your courage sometimes. Even though I did not (do not) feel courageous, when others say they admire my courage, I now let them say it and I say thank you, reminding myself that there must be something I do or did that deserved that badge of courage.

    It was not easy in my own eyes to think of myself as courageous, but now I can finally see it. I hope others who are told they are courageous will too.

    Try to realize that you can be afraid or feeling down and still have a courageous spirit. If life gives us a precarious path to follow and there is no getting off the path, all we can do is keep going even with the fear. That takes courage.

    What I try to do is put one foot ahead of the other and keep going. As they say, the only way to out of fear is through it.
    Check out the link below to learn more about overcoming fear.


    Living La Vida Loca (What's a Bi-Polar to do?)

    The sun rises and the sun sets, but before it sets, the shadows start out ahead of her sneaking across the land, falling upon every plant and tree limb, every building, every face. Sometimes the full moon rises and brings back some light to make the night less foreboding, but mostly the night is dark, the only signs of hope, stars. But, then, there are the moonless nights shrouded in clouds.

    My depressions start like that, slow and insidious even when I feel like the sun is still shining. Like a prowler, that shadow spirit haunts me. I feel uneasy, have trouble sleeping. Sometimes there are nightmares, grotesque faces, angry voices, and the moaning of pain. I toss and turn. I awaken exhausted, dreading another day. The sun hurts my eyes. I seek the shade of the trees. I stay indoors, close myself off from the world, sadness and grief my companions. There is no comfort.

    Friends say, "Call me when you get to feeling blue. You can lean on me. I'll be there for you." That's the last thing on my mind. Reaching out is not part of shadow self.

    "Just think happy thoughts. Watch funny movies. Focus on the positive," well meaning acquaintances say. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before. But find myself not reaching out. Who can reach out when curled into fetal position?

    It's brain chemistry. It would be like telling a diabetic to produce his own pancreatic hormone by magically inducing healing insulin. Mind over matter stuff only works so far. Ordinary depression that everyone feels at some point in their lives is not a mental illness. It's not the kind of depression that takes over my life like an unwelcome overbearing relative. I was so grateful to science when I learned that I was not to blame for being crazy. It’s brain chemistry! Too bad I didn't know that back then.

    Doing without medication to fix my brain chemistry is a big mistake, like an asthmatic doing without an inhaler. Things just get worse. Lives are in danger without psychiatric medication… especially my own. I’ve learned that the hard way.

    Though, over the years I’ve also learned, if I can manage to pay attention and focus my awareness. I can remind myself that it's not permanent, that it will eventually go away. Everything changes. Rivers flow. Winter changes into spring. The sun rises and sets. But I need the help of brain chemistry changers to help me get through. Otherwise I'd be dead now. I would have continued to make attempts to end my life. Science. I love science!

    Of course medication is not the be all, end all of the problem. Pop a pill and your well? Not exactly. But, at least life is more tolerable and can be productive. With bipolar disorder, which is what I have, one must learn to recognize the mania. By definition mania is "a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels". That's saying it mildly.

    I like the elevated moods… feeling happy, especially the ones of my youth. I could go on for weeks like that, loving myself and everyone I met. Smiling and showering those smiles upon the world. Truly everyone loves me when I'm like that. I believe I can do anything I want. I succeed and accomplish whatever I set out to do. My brain is my high caliber engine, racing along, multi-tasking with perfection. I get things done. I am artiste extraordinaire! I paint pictures that sell. I am a genealogy researcher, I speak to large groups and teach history. I'm a musician, entertaining Saturday night clubs and blessing Sunday morning churches with my voice. That was me in my thirties and forties.

    I'm also a bitch on edge, fighting off anxiety attacks, sweating and palpitating, afraid my heart will explode. A powerful desperate energy runs through me. I argue heatedly with my spouse. I criticize my kids, frightening the B‘Jesus out of them. I yell at strangers, that woman who took the last purple shirt during the sale, that young gangster guy who bumped into my car. I threatened him with my fist and flipped his hat back off his head. He could have killed me if he wanted. Even when manic, I challenge life to leave me, the Angel of Death grinning hopefully at my side.

    I should count myself lucky, I guess. I've got what they call hypomania (Bipolar II). It’s not as obvious as full blown mania, exhibited on a grander scale than what I experience. That's why it took five decades before a qualified psychiatrist properly diagnosed me. I never saw a shrink when I was feeling manic. I thought I was well. I wasn't depressed. Why would I think otherwise?

    True Bipolar I patients are a different story. I've seen them in the hospital those times I was there for depression and suicidal ideation. They pace. They cannot sit or stand still. They are not able to stop talking, changing the subject as though someone was constantly switching channels on a TV. Whenever I could catch what was being said by a fully manic person, their intelligence left me breathless.

    For example: there was Irene. She had just returned from an exorbitant trip to China and gave me an valuable jade bracelet as a gift because I was her room mate in the mental ward we shared. She thought we were soul sisters within five minutes of meeting me. She knew that for sure. She had been looking for me all her life. She knew we would find others like us and begin our own community on an Island in the Pacific. Her whole trip to China and back, she had charged to her credit cards with no money to pay. When I met her, she was coming down off her expansive high.

    Before I left the hospital I didn't recognize her. She had been given a drug called Lithium. We were no longer soul sisters. She was extremely calm. Her eyes were blank. She no longer had a personality. I was a stranger to her. When I tried to give her back the jade bracelet, she didn't recognize it as hers. At the time I didn't know I was a Bipolar, but I swore if anyone ever prescribed Lithium for me I would never take it and I’ve kept my promise to myself.

    They used to say that the diagnosis of manic depressive illness was Schizophrenia because there was no medication to control it. That was the doctor told me when I first went for help after my second suicide attempt, at the age of twenty in 1965. He gave me that diagnosis because of the white light I saw when I had a near death experience during the birth of my daughter. It continued to manifest itself for a few months after. Hallucinations… he called them. I called them Visitations, yes, with a capital V. They were the only peaceful place in my life and I wanted badly to be with that light permanently. That’s the dichotomy!

    Being the dutiful patient I took the two kinds of sleeping pills he gave me back then, and the tranquilizers, and the uppers to wake me up and get me going through the day. Truly I felt crazier than ever, and eventually flushed them down the toilet. I needed to tend to the needs of both my girls. I needed to hear my three month old baby, if she cried. I needed to know what my older girl was doing. A toddler climbing out of her crib, wandering about the house by herself, opening the door, going down the outside is not something any mother wants to experience!

    With today’s medical wisdom we now know my diagnosis was partly post-partum depression. Maybe not the Visitations, though. I still think they were real. That Spirit Light is not something of this earth.

    Flushing those drugs… that was a mistake. I didn't know you needed to go off those medications slowly. The mania came upon me then. I cleaned house from top to bottom, took my babies out for rides, buying and selling antiques. I packed up the house and drove 3,000 miles with my husband and kids. We made the trip in record time. He slept while I drove. I needed no sleep.

    A few months later in the dead of winter, I was back to being immobilized, unable to take care of myself, let alone the girls. Arguing with my husband ended that day in the car when I opened the door and jumped out. Needless to say, that led to another hospitalization. That doctor said I was in no way a Schizophrenic. I was only despondent and suppressed by a bad marriage. "Get out of the marriage and your life will improve." He was right.

    All the anger and irritation that had built up, dissapated and I was energized again, ready to take on the world. Splitting up was easy. Just like sweeping dirt into a dustpan and tossing it in the trash. I never looked back, got a job in a luggage factory sewing seams and zippers. I drove my car too fast, played the radio too loud, left the kids at the babysitters and went out and danced to Motown every weekend. Sleep? I didn't need it. Sitting at those heavy duty sewing machines was enough to put anyone to sleep.

    Again there was that wonderful honey flavored life where I was the center of attention. I loved everyone and they loved me. It's not just an imaginary feeling. Studies show there's something about being manic that creates some charisma. People like a happy, magnanimous manic person. Even when irritable a manic can be quite convincing as to the reasons why. People easily overlook those outbursts as long as they are not with that person all the time.

    During lunch breaks at the luggage factory, my co-workers would gather around me to have their fortunes told. In my teens I had read a book on palmistry once belonging to my grandmother. Suddenly it all came back to me with clarity as I pointed at lines on palms, the shapes of hands, noting their meaning and told people how many marriages and children they had, what their health and finances were, and even when they would die. I had full confidence I was right, and so did those whose palms I read, especially the woman who had four marriages and seven kids, three boys one girl, the one that had not survived her birth. I had gotten it right. They called me Gypsy.

    One can only go sleepless for so many weeks playing the wise woman and  happy Motown dancing girl before one gets into trouble. I hadn't bother to pay bills, except for the babysitter, and before you know it I was evicted. I sold my furnishings, packed what I could in the car. I drove myself and my girls a thousand miles to live with my parents. That was a really big mistake.

    A workaholic Dad, an alcoholic mom, a divorced older brother and two unhappy teenagers (my siblings) and a crazy woman with kids is a bad recipe for a healthy relationship.

    Tilted Balance Table

    Daddy laid the level on

    the table and explained

    how the kitchen floor

    was tilted.

    It made me think

    about how the

    earth was tilted.

    Then I wondered if

    the tilt of the earth

    balanced the table.

    Poem by Elizabeth Munroz


    What Color is Your Love?

    Put your arms about your Beloved and swing into a slow dance.


    I walk to see the darkness
    I walk to see the sun
    I journey through the ages
    return to fit my glove

    I look inside and all I find is love

    I walk to find the devil
    I walk to find a god
    wrestle with salvation
    tap out to smell the smog

    I look inside and all I find is love

    now why would I
    want more to find than love?

    My love’s a Rainbow
    many colors deep
    a drunken fool
    an angry beast
    A light too bright for eyes
    a black too thick to see
    current too strong for courage
    a slope to steep to ski

    I look inside and all I find is love

    Song and Lyrics by Amy Obenski

    Another Cup Runneth Over

    Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

    Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

    The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.

    “It is overfull. No more will go in!” He said.

    “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations.

    How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”



    Near Big Sur, Coast of California on Highway 1
    Photo by Elizabeth Munroz

    with Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar
    August 4 - 9, 2013
    Esalen Institute, Big Sur, CA

    There is a world inside each of us that we know better than anything else, and a world outside of us that calls for our attention. Our subject matter is always right with us. The trick is to find out what we know, challenge what we know, own what we know, and then give it away in language. Mainly this will be a writing retreat—time to explore and create in a supportive community. Though we’ll focus on poetry, prose writers who want to enrich their language will find it a fertile environment. For more information, click here.

    September 28 - October 5, 2013
    La Serrania, Mallorca, Spain
    In this small, intimate workshop, you have the opportunity to create writing that is more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you've been able to do before. This will be my seventh year teaching at La Serrania and it's always a deep pleasure to return. La Serrania is remote, gorgeous, and inspiring. If you'd like a chance to sink deeply into your writing, enjoy delicious food, go to sleep in a simple, yet elegant room, wake to sheep bells, this is the place. For more information,click here. For information about La Serrania, visit www.laserrania.com. To register, contact La Serrania. If you have questions, you can email me.


    How to Make Mistakes?

    "We have all heard the forlorn refrain: "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!" This phrase has come to stand for the rueful reflection of an idiot, a sign of stupidity, but in fact we should appreciate it as a pillar of wisdom. Any being, any agent, who can truly say: "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time!" is standing on the threshold of brilliance. We human beings pride ourselves on our intelligence, and one of its hallmarks is that we can remember our previous thinking and reflect on it – on how it seemed, on why it was tempting in the first place and then about what went wrong.

    I know of no evidence to suggest that any other species on the planet can actually think this thought. If they could, they would be almost as smart as we are. So when you make a mistake, you should learn to take a deep breath, grit your teeth and then examine your own recollections of the mistake as ruthlessly and as dispassionately as you can manage. It's not easy. The natural human reaction to making a mistake is embarrassment and anger (we are never angrier than when we are angry at ourselves) and you have to work hard to overcome these emotional reactions.

    Try to acquire the weird practice of savouring your mistakes, delighting in uncovering the strange quirks that led you astray. Then, once you have sucked out all the goodness to be gained from having made them, you can cheerfully set them behind you and go on to the next big opportunity. But that is not enough: you should actively seek out opportunities just so you can then recover from them."
    Cognitive scientist and philosopher Daniel Dennett is one of America's foremost thinkers. In this extract from his new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, he reveals some of the lessons life has taught him

    Mellow Yellow is the New Uptown Brown!

    Lemony Lemon Brownies

    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup flour
    2 eggs, large
    2 tbsps lemon zest
    2 tbsps lemon juice
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon sea salt

    For the tart lemon glaze:
    4 tbsps lemon juice
    8 tsps lemon zest
    1 cup icing sugar

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.

    3. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.

    4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

    5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.

    6. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

    7. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.

    8. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.

    9. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice.

    10. Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.

    11. Cut into bars and serve.


    I'm not sure of the original source for this recipe. It was posted on a friend's facebook. But, I love lemon! So, I'm sharing this.


    To the Children of My Heart

    An open letter to my "Heart Children"

    Dear Ones,

    I've adopted you over the years as my special Heart Child. (or maybe you adopted me) Perhaps it is because you have no mother, or have an estranged mother, or have had to develop your own "inner mother". Perhaps you have a perfectly wonderful Mom, and I'm happy for you because of that.

    Perhaps you walked into my life alongside one of my own Birth-Given Children, and my heart was captured by you because you brought joy to my child. Perhaps you and I are still in touch even though the old ties with my son or daughter are gone. Or you both may have gone your own ways as your life paths diverged. Perhaps you are no longer in my life either. Whatever the reasons, it doesn't matter. You are still a child of my heart.

    You've shared your life and loves with me. It pleases me when you have joy. My heart aches when you are discouraged. Sometimes you've turned to me for guidance. Sometimes you've given me guidance. Though we have this special friendship, it is not always expressed. It is understood. But, I sure do love it when you refer to me as your "other mother".

    You know I love my Birth-Given Children more than the world itself. They are my heart and soul. But, Dear Ones, there is room in my heart for you, too. I'm sending you my best wishes and love today wherever you are.