A long month | #WeekendCoffeeShare

large and small, brown teapots

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would offer you some fresh, cold-brew coffee. Also, there are green and black teas, water, and some cheese to go with that. I’m heading back for a second helping, since I don’t seem able to get to sleep. Too much coffee? My formal commitments for the week were (a) to have the prep work done by the dentist for a new crown, since I’d a cavity beneath the current one, and (b) to get a picture taken and write a brief bio for a Memory Book the class organizers are putting together for our 50th College Graduation Reunion, in September.  That would be (a) like filling a tooth and (b) like pulling teeth. 

I would admit to you that I never do well with autobiographical sketches. In this case, how to encapsulate 50 years…Here’s [approximately] what I ended up with.

After graduating with a BA in philosophy and English, I spent 15 years in IT with several financial companies in programming, operations, shift lead, and regional remote payroll coordinator. In 1984 I left corporate for freelance editing/writing, retiring in 2012. In 2015, I stopped selling photo art online. Al and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2017. I have been writing and occasionally selling poetry since the 1970s, and have served as a volunteer in and contributor to the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association since 2004.

The other barrier was not having a current photograph of myself, and so I asked my husband to take a few snapshots. I also got some of him in the process, but I have not gotten permission to add one to my blog.

First Try


Second Try

I chose a third. 😏

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would tell you that I have had a lot of trouble sleeping during the night. Instead, I drift off to sleep during the day when one puppy or the other climbs into my lap and curls up for a few hours of sleep. We nap for a few hours, two…three…four times during the day and evening. While I have done a little reading, I have not gotten to the computer very often or for any length of time. Nor have I exercised, which is really not good.

Thank you for keeping me company for a while. I am going to try again to sleep, tonight. It’s four-thirty in the morning, here. I hope that you are having a good weekend, wherever you are!

I’ll try to make it for “coffee share” next week, too.

Best regards,




In the Company of Women: An Article

This article was originally written for and published as part of a WOW (Women of Worldnet) project; it was republished in 1999 in the Inspirations section of the ezine Moondance.org, Loretta Kemsley, Editor. I was on the staff for a number of years.

Rhoda Elleen Berry, holding her 2005 Christmas present from me and Al
Fantastical Nightbird by Liz Danforth – Gift to Mother
“In the Company of Women”
by Elizabeth Wicker Bennefeld

Published in 1999, and previously*

I was not often in the company of women during my early years. Growing up in a small town, I found only a few who shared my passion for war novels, the inner workings of prop jets, archaeological expeditions at the farthest corners of the world, and books of all sorts. It never occurred to me to fit the narrow mold my home community had laid out for women of that era. I had no interest in bearing and raising children, teaching home economics, or becoming a secretary or a nurse–the acceptable options.

While at college, I plunged into one subject after another—chemistry and math, psychology, German, economics and computer programming—finally ending up with a degree in English and Philosophy. Then, determined to spend my life learning everything there was to know about everything, I secured a position in computer operations and settled down to read whatever I wanted, and to write my poems and short stories to please myself. I had not realized how much the women of my day were oppressed by boundaries and barriers. I was absorbed in my own thoughts, with goals that made such things irrelevant. The few friends I had were men. For the most part, I was an outsider and content to be so.

In my later years, as the pace of life slows, I find myself more in the company of women—women who are no longer confined by earlier expectations or demands that life begin and end with parenthood and family. Women are making up for lost time with a vengeance. In their fifties and sixties, they are finishing master’s and doctoral programs and setting out on new careers. These are women who are taking control of their lives in ways that were unthinkable forty years ago. It is now the women in my life who are breaking new ground, trying new things, pursuing a lifetime of interests with no thoughts of barriers or limits.

In 1996, my mother, who had a degree in business administration, then abandoned a career, following discharge from the Navy, to bear nine children and raise the seven who lived, inquired about computers. Rhoda Elleen had never run one, and had only looked at mine from a distance. So, my husband and I built a computer for my 77-year-old mother out of pieces and spare parts gathered from various family members. In the meantime, Rhoda had decided to call the telephone company to have a dedicated computer line installed.

After a couple one-hour training sessions and a few frantic phone calls, Rhoda was out surfing the web and corresponding with people from all over the world, particularly about quilting, which is her passion. She paid her America Online subscription two years in advance.

She encouraged her children to get their own computers and helped them learn more about how to use them. During the next three years, my mother added a fancy color printer, a scanner, and a sound card to her computer, as well as doubling the disk space and memory.  She got out into the usenet  and was a regular participant in the newsgroup rec.crafts.textiles.quilting. When I signed up to be a beta tester for WorldNet’s web pages feature, Rhoda announced, “I need something new to learn. Is HTML something I could learn to do?” I do believe she actually bought an HTML how-to book!

It seems that this woman whose company I enjoy with increasing frequency wants to spend some of her time, now that she is older, putting together a web site on quilting and teaching the younger people how to quilt, because, while she still loves quilting, learning HTML programming and putting up a web site on the same would be less strenuous. She is also transferring the old family photos to digital format, while one of my sisters edits the book that Rhoda wrote about our ancestors from their arrival in America to 1900.

I am reminded that my mother’s mother, Florence Elizabeth, died at age 84, still employed as an undercover store detective at Younkers Department Store in Des Moines, Iowa, and really enjoying it. On one of my web pages, I have a photo of Florence taking part in a ballroom dancing competition, an activity she picked up in later life.

These women represent my heritage. I’m in very good company.

* * *

In 2000 Mother received a Worldnet Recognition Award, and in 2010, when Worldnet discontinued its webhosting service, Mother asked me to move her site to WordPress: Rhoda’s Web Site

Winter Snowstorm

The town, and many surrounding, closed down for Monday’s winter storm. The snow was wet, piling on tree branches and leaving the yard and streets heavily covered.

This morning, Al finished blowing snow from the driveway and sidewalks. After a break, he hauled the snowblower into the back yard and made paths for the Scampers. They had a lot of fun running up and down the new alleyways and making new paths from one to another, bounding through deep drifts.

They’re now taking a nap, while we are waiting to move the laundry from washing machine to dryer.

It’s been nice to have a (severe) winter storm during which we did not lose power. Although there was a lot of heavy snow, the winds never got to blizzard strength. And not having to depend on landlines for telephone/Internet service also is reassuring; we did charge up the emergency batteries for the phones and tablets.

So soon, another Sunday

clean cups and tea bags

Saturday night, actually, but it’s too late for coffee. Weekend Coffee Share, and I’m tucked into bed with a cup of water.

If we were having coffee together, this weekend, I would tell you that I have not done much to the point, this week. I’ve taken a lot of naps, read/reread a few books, and probably not stuck to my diet as much as I ought to have. It’s been too cold to try to heat the gazebo enough to exercise out there. With the wind chill, temperatures even during the day have been down in the Gosh Awful to Downright Nasty range. Wearing two pair of slacks and three shirts under my winter jacket (not the parka, yet…still not that cold), when I do go outside, and a shawl scarf to cover my head, neck and shoulders.

If we were having coffee together, I would admit that my biggest accomplishment of the weekend has been to fill out the survey that I received from the Hospice organization some days ago and put it in the envelope to mail out on Monday. On the survey form, a frequent option for selecting an answer to a question was “Don’t remember”. Sensible, given that the bereavement services were available for a full thirteen months after the death of the family member.  I would tell you that I am quite done with the bereavement counseling except for returning the last two books that I borrowed from them and thanking the most recent counselor for her presence during the last months. Since I have fragrance/chemical sensitivities, I cannot take part in support group activities, and so it has been nice to be able to get together with a counselor every month or so to talk.

I have done little writing over the past month or so, and that has puzzled me. While both of us have been fighting off colds (and perhaps a touch of the flu…once again, Al didn’t get a flu shot), I would have thought that I would be writing as customary at least every day or two. I have not. I realized, today, that I have been relaxing. Resting. I have not, for a while, now, been tense…stressed…compulsively doing. I haven’t been this relaxed, I think, since before my mother  became unable to come to town to visit and her hearing became worse, so that phone calls became difficult. I forget my phone in another room and do not panic if I am not where I can hear it ring. I do not even think about not being available. Relaxed enough to let everything go to voice mail.  I think that this is a good thing.

If you and I were having coffee together, I would show off some of the photographs that I have taken during the week. That’s really where I have taken my enjoyment recently.  These are my favorite photos from our snowy Saturday:

I have also taken a lot of photographs of The Scampers, this week, since we have spent so much time together in the front sitting room. Just a few of my favorites, here:

I am afraid that I am going to fall asleep quite soon, and so I must say good night, with apologies for not having gotten the link information for the post, this week.

My best wishes to you for the coming week,


P.S. Click here for the LinkLinkz link-up page. Eclectic Alli is the host for @WeekendCoffeeShare. This week’s post can be found here.