Saturday Morning 08/18 #WeekendCoffeeShare

Good morning! I am glad that you stopped by for coffee and a visit. If you’d showed up when I started writing this post…I would have fallen asleep, which would not have been good. The other of us turned out the bedroom light; I woke briefly, around 1:30 in the morning, to say “good-night” and once more fell asleep.

The photos above are of the western sky at 7:30, last night. No clouds, but smoke carried by the winds from fires in Canada. Are there Air Quality warnings where you are, also? There have been entire years when I have not resorted to taking an antihistamine tablet. but I have taken one three nights in a row, now. We do expect rain after midnight, Saturday, which is expected to clean the air.

My outside visits have been short, this week, due to the smoky haze. The smoke makes for richer colors in some of the wildflowers, light waves filtered through the particulates. I have enjoyed playing with the photo editing software, fooling around with the color balances and saturation.

If we were visiting together, today, at our house, there would be some new beverage options. Two of my tea infusers broke, this past week, and I forgot several times that I had a pan on the stove, heating water for tea. I had saved enough money that I could buy an electric water kettle at my favorite kitchen-wares store, along with replacing the infusers with stainless steel ones.

I can now heat water to the preferred brewing temperature for the various types of tea in the cupboard: green, black, and oolong. My favorite teas are oolong, but I like a nice, strong “breakfast blend” in the morning, once I’ve had my breakfast of Toddy coffee (mixed with whole milk, rather than water) and 10g of very dark chocolate. That’s 200 calories, 15g of carbohydrates, for breakfast.

The Scampers have been fed and made a couple visits to the back yard; they’re now taking an after-breakfast nap. While I was outside, I got a snapshot of the “clear” sky and morning sun. There is a smoky haze, but the sky is cloud-free. I am destined to put in the majority of my exercise, today, on the elliptical machine in the front room. Yesterday, I put in 4.5 miles on the exercise bike in the gazebo, and in the evening, 5 minutes or so on the elliptical, which is more strenuous (and less aerobics time?).

Smoke Haze

This week, I posted my #RonovanWrites #Haiku on my The Moments Between blog:
“Fooling Around With Flowers” post. I also reblogged several of my poems from years past. As my brother’s wife is in hospice care, my mind turns to thoughts of my late mother and her passions, and so I donated the remainder of my allowance for this month to the local food bank. I’ve certainly got enough books on my “to be read” list to carry me through not just the rest of August, but through the end of the year.

If we were enjoying a cuppa whatever (I’ve moved on to Irish Breakfast tea), this morning, in the front room, I would confide that the isolation imposed over the past years since my (medically necessary) retirement has become wearisome. It came on gradually, as my energy lagged, but still… I have become unaccustomed to actual interaction with people. I may never be well enough to brave the human-made environmental hazards that affect my breathing &c. I remember the years when I exchanged letters with people around the world via postal service. We grew busy as life moved on, more insular, and those contacts inevitably faded away; life’s focuses changed, people died. The Internet seems to be more ephemeral.

Thanks for the visit! I look forward to reading your weekend posts throughout the coming days. Best wishes for your weekend and the week ahead!


Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)! Grab a cup of coffee and share with us! What’s been going on in your life? What are your weekend plans? Is there a topic you’ve just been ruminating on that you want to talk about?

All are welcome! Just add your link to the Linky-List, and be sure to visit others and join in their conversations! The link will be open from Friday August 17 th at 7am (Pacific Time) until Monday August 21 st at 7pm (Pacific Time) to give us a good range of “weekend”! — Allison, host, at


Sleepy Sunday, 2018-08-05 | #WeekendCoffeeShare

Under the Cotoneaster branches

Welcome to the weekend that has almost vanished! I have drunk all of the Toddy coffee, but I do have water for tea (oolong of several varieties and a lovely green tea) and Al’s brewed Folgers. Cold, filtered water in the refrigerator. Snacks are hard to come by, since I have not been feeling well and hence have no carbohydrates to offer.

At least two days in a row —perhaps three—I have awakened at five thirty or so in the morning, pain in back of my eyes and high blood sugar. I have a cough, and my oxygen level is lower than it should be. Part of that may be that I turned off my air cleaner, middle of the week, instead of having Al clean out the dust, so that I could put a new filter in. Al has been sleeping late, this week. He is planning his vacation (a long weekend with the ham radio guys) and assembling his electronics.

I had forgotten that yesterday was Saturday, and got up thinking “beginning of the weekend”. We did take care of the grocery shopping, yesterday. We decided to not go out for dinner, but to try to accomplish at least some items on our lists.

I am looking forward to clearing the grass and dead plants from the wildflower garden, hoping that some of the later blooming seeds will grow, given more clear space. I’ve lots of seed pods from the first growth of wild flax and hope to see a second season from them before we get a hard frost.

This has been an uncomfortable week generally for looking back/looking forward. My mother left me a lot of cloth, thread, embroidery machine, and other quilting supplies. When we talked together, I was quite enthusiastic about getting back into thread work, having done a lot of embroidery and cross-stitch when I was in my thirties and forties. Just waiting for retirement to start up with it again. I find that it no longer holds my interest.

While “I am not really doing anything with it”, I enjoy the wildflowers and insects, reading, and writing. Sitting in the back yard, the Scampers napping close by, watching the clouds and listening to the murder of crows that have been camped out in the nearest cottonwood tree, this past week. I think. I wonder at things. I look around me. Something in me, when I find myself feeling that I should be accomplishing something, says, “Wait. It’s not the time.” Which I listen to, because I don’t have a clue about options, possibilities, or even inclinations. I am fallow ground. Not recovered or yet renewed. Maybe I’ll simply continue to produce haiku and wildflower photographs. Or maybe not. Waiting to learn what comes next.

I hope that you are enjoying your weekend! The weather here is cool and quite lovely.

My thanks to Allison for hosting the Weekend Coffee Share! You can learn more about it at her blog: EclecticAli, where you will also find a Links button with connection to other participants in Weekend Coffee Share for the current week.

Best wishes, and take care!

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, 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

#WeekendCoffeeShare on 2 July 2017: A long week

If we were getting together for coffee, this evening, we could sit in the back yard and visit for a while. Until it gets dark and the illegal fireworks and noise makers start up, again. Some years it is difficult to breathe because of the combustion byproducts. I have come in with the Scampers, where quiet will prevail for a while longer.

If you’d like coffee (drip or cold brew), I could offer you a muffin to go with it, tonight. A neighbor brought over a box of muffins and cookies, late this morning, and my husband had me put some away in the freezer. The wonders of the microwave! Instantly thawed muffins and fresh-frozen fruit!

There have been people in my week. On Monday I met with the grief counselor, and I enjoyed talking with her. I am more determined, now, to try establishing some social contacts that involve in-person interaction. It does feel different, although mostly I think it’s not having a lot of time to ponder how to respond and what I might want to say in the course of a give-and-take conversation. (No, I don’t Skype or do instant messaging, either.)

And toward the end of the week, an Internet friend dropped by in the midst of a few days of visiting at the home of relatives here in town. She’s from California, but travels a lot, and couldn’t pass up the chance to add North Dakota to her list of states she’s been in. And, our having known each other for years through the SF Poetry Assn., it followed. I even got to fix a light lunch for the two of us, since Al had volunteered for an extra shift at the marksmanship center over the noon hour. It is remarkable, how I felt that I had known her practically forever, and was comfortable visiting. (I had previously bought her recent poetry book [then lost it, and ordered another, then found the first, again] and was happy to have her sign it for me. Just the one copy.) 

I’ve gotten both of the manuscripts for the two prequel “Lady Astronaut” books (by M.R. Kowal—won the bid in the Con-or-Bust online fund-raiser auction), read one, and am starting on the second. Lovely! I look forward to reading the final version, next year. I very much enjoyed the

This weekend’s splurge was beef liver. Yes. Really! Bought enough for three meals, cooked it up with onions, and ate Meal the First for today at lunch.

I must mention (and would take you on a very brief tour of) the woodworking shop that we are building in the back yard. Al has painted a “test” board of the siding we’ve chosen for the shop with the color that we’ve chosen. The primer is oil based, which I can’t be around at all, but it’s got a short drying time, and the outer layer will be a different (safe to breathe) sort of paint. Two thirds of the building will be Al’s woodworking space, and the other third will be a multi-purpose hobby room.

Just Looking Around

It’s time for our local amateur radio Sunday Night Net, and Al’s net control, this evening. I should sign off, now, so I don’t miss all of it. I’m glad that you stopped in for a visit.

Best wishes for the coming week!

P.S. I hope you’ll have time to stop by Emily’s blog, who is the current host of Weekend Coffee Share:, where you’ll find “a big ol’ announcement” and the link button to other people’s Weekend Coffee Share posts.

#WeekendCoffeeShare, 11 June 2017 | Getting it Right

Across the Back Fence

If we were having coffee together, this morning, I would offer you a lap robe, and we would settle into a huge, comfy sofa to visit, sound of rain on the roof. As long as we are in this virtual setting, we should enjoy the sunrise and the seasonable weather in comfort. I’ve hot milk here for making hot coffee or cocoa, or I could brew a pot of black tea. The dishes are washed, the puppies are still asleep, and I’m settled in, potentially without interruptions for a little while.

The past week has been … varied. Monday, with my visit with the grief counselor, was productive. We visited about thoughts I had related to the book that she had loaned me from her library. The recognition of sources of “nonfinite” grief as a result of my processing the loss of my parents, this past winter, seems to have lifted a huge burden. In token of which, I scheduled our next appointment for three weeks ahead, rather than four or more. I have (a) wondered whether the “high” of these realizations might result in a “low” in the short term and (b) considered that it may be helpful to review with the counselor the processes and changes that come out of these next few weeks.

My husband and I picked up copies of the seven poster-sized photo montages that were created for my father’s and mother’s memorial/funeral services from the funeral home with the goal of finding frames for them. I expect to find their presence to be helpful in recalling life with them when we, all of us, were much younger. I have had some thoughts about how much, if anything, I really want to write about my parents or my life with them, as I remember it, during my childhood. In token of which, I scribbled out a poem on Saturday that touches on what I see as a potential personal problem with getting involved in my writing a memoir.

“Getting it Right”

I write the story of my life
one day at a time, taking care
to leaf through previous pages,
editing events, adjusting
back stories, tidying errors
and casual mistakes
that I would not have made,
had I known then what I think
I know today…subject
to further alterations
as seem prudent at the time.

There is time. There is always
time to get it right. There is
an eternity to get it all right.
Written out finally with no mistakes.

Copyright © 2017-06-10, by E.W. Bennefeld.

I suspect that if I got involved in writing a memoir, I would end up writing fiction, rather than remaining objective (i.e., in contact with the reality of my life). There are things that I choose to remember, things that I choose not to remember, and then the details and general sweep of life that are most likely interesting only to me (or not so interesting). When my mother wrote her “memoir”, she gave it the title of Selective Memories. I think she nailed it!

On Thursday, Al’s younger sister and her husband came over to help with wrapping the workshop building in house wrap in preparation for the siding (which he has yet to order), the windows, and the doors. It will be nice, not having to haul the tools into and out of the garage. I’ve made a case for deadbolt locks and wireless/cable surveillance system. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

I woke up, this morning, with sinus trouble, which I suspect is the result of an increase in humidity. The rain? Natural watering is undoubtedly good for the garden. I finally see tiny wild flax plants in the new garden plot. We are talking about putting a more permanent fence around it. A little higher, since the dogs are jumping in and out over the three-foot, decorative, wire fencing. We also, while we were at it, this week, removed the protective fence around the gazebo, meant to keep the dogs from digging out the gravel to get to the rabbits that had their hideaways underneath. Our current dogs, while they enjoy racing the rabbits to the back fence, do not seem inclined to try to dig them out from where they’re lurking. If necessary, another (permanent) fence around the gazebo. They eat the plastic fencing.

I am glad that we’ve had the chance to get together, this weekend. Why do I feel like I’ve been doing all the talking? I hope to get to many more blogs, this week, than I did the last, to find out what you’ve been up to.

Best wishes for the week to be!


 P.S. Be sure to visit Emily at to read our host’s WeekendCoffeeShare post and find the Link-up to other participants’ posts for this weekend!