Archive for the ‘vacations’ Category


August 19, 2017

I was born about 1:10pm on a Wednesday. My mother always said, “I knew the minute you were born!” like that was unusual. I think because from her experience, women were doped up and pretty much unconscious, which is sad, to me. I was the 2nd child and my older brother 8 years older than me. Probably, I took a lot of our parents’ attention that he was used to absorbing. They tried for 2 years to get pregnant for me, & then got the other gender, so I figure I was the center of their world for awhile. Until my sister came along 2 1/2 years later. And then our younger brother 5 years after that! So I was 7 1/2 years from one brother, 8 years from the next. It was my sister & I in the middle.— My dad was a professor and he loved to take 3-4 weeks of his summer and roam around out West. We went to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Yosemite and the Redwoods, Canada and Mexico. My birthday usually occurred on a trip. I can’t really remember hardly anything that I really wanted for my birthday, I think because it was celebrated away from home. I remember more, what I wanted for Christmas. Dolls……. Raggedy Ann, Barbie, “Miss Ideal”, Tiny Tears. Nancy Drew mysteries. A stingray bike. One thing I DO remember I really wanted was a transistor radio for my 16th birthday. My dad said they couldn’t find the one I wanted, they’d get it later. We had the birthday dinner, I went to bed, then I heard this loud rock & roll-type music playing…….. went downstairs, there was the RADIO, my radio. My dad liked to play games & tricks like that on us. He died 9 days later at the age of 50, on my mom’s birthday. I have lived 14 more years than he was able to. He never met a grandchild. I have 6. No one ever knows how long they have on this earth, to be with your loved ones. Life is a gift of God. I appreciate all the bounties I have been given to have lived this long. May I enjoy many more.


New Orleans

March 28, 2012

New Orleans

We watch him make a coin disappear

Into thin air,

The magician entertains us

Not in a fancy nightclub

Or at a show we bought a ticket for,

But on the street in Nawlins,

Where he earns his living

Collecting money in a hat,

A cop on motorcycle

Interrupts the show

Beeping his siren, clearing us away,

The magician, irritated,

Quickly wraps up,

reminds us to contribute,

he steps to the curb,

Where now appears

On the street where he was standing

A parade! – for no other reason than to celebrate Spring,

Strutters strut their stuff

While playing ragtime music

Marching past with drums and trumpets,

They wink as we catch the beat

start moving to the music,

while Kings and Queens and children

Hand out flowers to the crowd,

I collect my own colorful bouquet,

Some real, some imitation,

Then the band goes by, and we join the end of the line,

Climbing into the street,

we strut our own stuff

on the streets of New Orleans,

dancing, strutting,

we join the grand parade.

Cfblack            3-27-2012

summer projects

June 16, 2011

Well, I just started writing this entry and my computer decided to update itself and shut itself down. NIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE.

I have these left for summer projects, each one being something that could take the entire summer:

1. Finish research and write a journal article, sending it in for publication. 🙂 

2. Prepare for Fall semester. I always look forward to Fall because these are classes I love and this will be the 4th time I have taught the main two. Social problems I teach every semester so I am prepared for that already, though there are a few changes I will make to improve it this time. Social Theory– my FAVORITE, and students are usually all sociology majors who need to write a 10-page paper. Stratification we have fun with.

3. Think thru Criminology and Criminal Justice, one I taught last semester and One I will teach next Spring. For all my classes, I plan to get them down to the day in planning, with lecture, film, guest speakers, assignments, tests and class activities.

4. Put together my booklet of 15 Children’s class lessons on Virtues. Organize my children’s class materials, which are vast and totally disheveled right now in various containers and boxes. 15 lessons = 1 weekly lesson for a semester. They are virtues lessons with a base of spirituality adaptable to children of any faith background, incuding my own, the Baha’i Faith, which has a universal viewpoint.

5. Do more work on the mystery man, James Agnew, my great grandfather, more work on Family history, including some more on the Black’s, my husband’s family. Maybe copy pictures I have for siblings.

6. Find a few more gravesites for those looking for their family history gravesites, from

Family vacation 1 week in July.

Meanwhile, my husband just lost his job. He earned employee of the month 3X in the past 6 mos., but he is laid off. Some new man in charge decided to make a name for himself by getting rid of all remote recruiters, even tho’ my husband has been doing this remotely for the past year. THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANKS!! Thanks a bunch. If we have to live on my salary, we are screwed. I really don’t want to move again. I could get a better paying job in my field, but for now, we’re cutting expenses as much as possible and seeing how it goes. He is 59 and unemployed.

Besides that, I am having some other serious problems I won’t mention here. All I know is, wihtout prayer and trust in God, I’d be a goner. WITH those things, we are always winners. There is nothing that can harm me if I have my Lord’s love and guidance. This is all I can count on right now.

Our house is once again childless, quiet and empty. We miss our grandkids who were here, but at the same time, we are older and they do wear me out. Glad to have time once again for reflection, prayer to myself, quiet walks out in the nature of South Carolina. I have restarted my 3-mile daily walks. But I have not yet been able to go to the pool without them. The kids in the pool will make me sad my grandkids are not there as well, saying, “Grandma! Watch this!”


December 29, 2010

This is an Indiana week. There is snow on the ground the entire time we’re here. Haven’t seen any new snow, it just comes & stays, never melts.

Have spent the last 2 nights at my daughter’s, sleeping in Caspian’s bed. He sleeps on the couch. For him it’s a big treat. Was sick Tues. all day, feeling better today. Have not hardly been out of this house for 2 days. We are getting ready to leave for Al’s parents again.

Nothing much happening, just sitting around at relatives. World going by. Sat. we leave for home.

Our daughter is enjoying a fast, new computer, courtesy of us and 1 of our sons. She is working as a fork lift truck driver, gets to work by 6:30am daily.

Have done more work on fam. history while here, it is mind boggling at this point, expanding everywhere. No end to it, and no siblings or parents of James Agnew yet. Next project is to try to find living relatives my age who may know something– anything– which will be a link to any of his siblings. Those siblings will link me to which family line he is from that I see on old census records. It is quite the puzzle.

Have lost faith in political systems of the world. We rec’d a new 16-page document from the Universal House of Justice this week, which is amazingly significant in itself. Why now? Why at the end of 2010? Who knows.

Haven’t walked one mile all week.

leaving for Indiana

December 22, 2010

We leave for Indiana early in the morning. I don’t really feel like we are leaving…. it was in the 60s here in SC today, don’t really want to leave. Our house is not cleaned, clothes still need packed, Al is hibernating upstairs as usual and we haven’t really talked much. Leaving until after New Yr’s!

Labor Day weekend

September 6, 2010

Someone I know has this for her signature file:

“America’s Labor Unions: the folks who brought you the weekend”

Thank you for that! I appreciate it. Especially 3 day ones like this one.

Leah, Jean, Zakiah and Naylah all weekend. We had great fun. Zakiah was a true delight. Naylah was so sweet and fun. We all had a good time and didn’t spend much money at all. We cooked at home, never went out to a restaurant, and didn’t even have a grill. Dishes were being washed continually. Leah & Jean got to go out together Sat. night & I watched Naylah. She took the warmed bottle just fine! Other times over the weekend it wasn’t so easy. She is cooing and smiling.

We went swimming in the pool, where the water has now turned cold. But it was still sparkling clean and great fun. Hardly anyone was in it until today, when we didn’t go. The days are piping hot, up to 9o degrees and the hot sun burns into your skin, but the nights are now getting down into the 60s, so we wake up slightly chilly.

Took walks around the pond, had 2 other friends over Sun. morning & they talked about being in Africa & practiced Swahili. Shared late breakfast/early lunch.

They left Sun. night but their car broke down about 45 mins. away from here. It’s incredible what then happened. They called, waited until Al got there & was looking at the battery, then BOOM!! A car wreck happened right next to where they were. Al pulled a car door off to get some people out of one car, and directed traffic. Jean called 911. As Leah said, “Our car broke down so we could be here to help these people.” In any case, they returned here, then Jean, Levin AND AL went back AGAIN to start their car to get it back here that night. The gas station they parked in was closed, & there was a WHOLE LOTTA TRAFFIC going in and out of the lot, in the form of illegal activity. They needed to get the car out of there, and the three of them needed to go retrieve it. As Al said, “3 men will not get attacked. Two could get attacked.” I was so glad when they were all done and home at 3am. Didn’t sleep much that night.

Monday we were lucky enough to find a place open to get an alternator replaced. They left about 5pm tonight & are finally home. Leah was worried about her class preparation this week. (Me too! I was going to work on it all day today.) But it was fun to have them return. Zakiah slept one more night on blankets at the end of our bed. It was such a nice time together.

Took Zakiah to the Chapin local parade today, which is small town memories. He got his face painted. All the boy scout troops and local businesses march in a parade and throw candy to the crowd…. Then Zakiah picked out boiled peanuts & went on 2 rides, as well as got a free balloon.

Toys for the weekend at Grandma’s house included:

a small rocket that launches with air through a cardboard tube, coloring book and crayons, numerous  balloons, a “find it” tube with small things in it besides beads, various other little things. I keep an assortment of toys around for visits like these.

end of summer

August 6, 2010

It is still very hot, to the tune of 100 degrees and heat advisories. But there is a different “mood” entering the air. Kids are bored with swimming, not as excited about going to the pond to fish. Families are gone, taking their last trips to wherever. Summer camps are over. Stores are filled with long-sleeved shirts and Fall clothes. Student furniture is all over Wal-mart on sale. Toads and tree frogs are still singing at night, but not quite as loud.

My son and daughter-in-law are here the rest of this week, then all family trips and visiting will be over and I will be in work mode. As of Monday, I will be in my office daily. But last night we had 2 big games of Scrabble, the last one I almost won, with a new game that rotates the board and stores your pieces better. And TODAY, a trip to a chiropractor for my son whose back has been out for a week, and then a drive to CHARLESTON and the ocean. People in Wisconsin don’t get to see that big body of water with a weekend drive. So we are going. Then tomorrow morning, a drive back to our daughter’s in Raleigh, from where our son & wife will get on a plane the next morning to fly home. One more visit w/ Naylah, baby girl born this summer, newest member of our family, and Zakiah, big brother, at our daughter’s & son-in-law’s. That will truly complete the circle for this summer.

Indiana Baha’i summer school

August 3, 2010

a little poem dedicated to:

Indiana Baha’i Summer School

Lovers of His Light

from whichever vessel It appears,

We are many lamps,

different shades of brilliance,

some farther, some nearer,

we circle around the Center,

intermingle, interact,

sing praises, dance, talk, teach,

swim, play, reflect, learn,

and most of all,

We love one another,

Come in, come in,

Stay with us awhile,

Where else can one go

but to the Land of His Beloved?

Praise God

from Whom all blessings flow!

frantically back home in SC

August 2, 2010

I don’t want to say I’m frantic. That will be when school actually starts. But since getting back last night at 1am, reading briefly thru my mail (slow mail and e-mail), I’ve had 2-3 big things to take care of already, at my college. I plan to see my son and daughter-in-law the end of this week, who are visiting from Wisconsin, so it should be an interesting week. The good news is, I have a new loaner laptop, so I can actually WORK and read my own mail on my own computer again… (My former laptop got stolen in Indiana.)

From traveling the past 2 mos., I have many thoughts, but that will have to wait until later.

It was good to see my old Indiana friends again at summer school. Hard to describe the grounding it gives you to see people you’ve known & loved for 25 years. We are all loving our grandkids now…

I am excited & ready to greet students and be into all the activity of a Fall semester. I’m just not ready yet to present and teach….

back home again…

July 24, 2010

in Indiana…

Not really home. This is my hometown & will always feel like home. But I am not home. Still in other people’s spaces.

Walked through the Mall here today, used my new Penny’s card. It is always fun to spend money when it doesn’t affect your immediate cash available… Dangerous freedom. There is one Mall in this town. I remember when it was built. My husband and I came home from college & noticed this huge new complex being built, which was to be called a “Mall”. What a concept. What came before Malls? Stores in the downtown area, something which does not really exist any longer. Non-franchise food. Drive-ins, and car hops, ice cream joints next to the park where teenagers hang out. It is always a walk into the past to come back here.

I await the arrival of my in-laws to their own home, which is where I currently am, having entered with a key. My son and his wife are here for his 10-yr high school reunion. Will see them soon as well, along with my daughter after she gets off work, and her 2 boys again. At this moment, all is quiet.

If I get time alone, I can once again gather my thoughts and feel somewhat together. When I am with other people 24/7, I begin to lose the capacity to feel whole. I am a true introvert.

My school laptop was stolen out from under my feet, at a public library yesterday, where many homeless hang out. Not to say a homeless person took it. Anyone could have taken it. But middle class people are not so desperate, or sometimes daring. It is a huge loss, and I do not yet know the ramifications of it. (Will they charge me for it? If so, how much? Will they not get me a new one right away? If so, I cannot function as a professor. I need to read my mail and to advise students for classes, need to be connected, plus a million other reasons.) At the same time, I would perfectly understand their being upset with losing it and I wonder how often this happens, or has happened, with students. (Do they get another laptop? Are they charged another laptop fee [which is outrageously toob much for the equipment they receive]?)

It is very difficult to just get my bearings each day, decide what to do. I have no home to come back to, to reorient myself. Staying at my daughter’s where my cell phone does not get reception, there is no Internet and no tv cable. Disconnected from the world.

This blog has become somewhat of a diary, which is probably not a good thing. Not all that interesting to anyone besides myself.

I have been home I think maybe 3 weeks since May 24th, and one of those was with a grandson there. Another week with 2 other grandsons there.

I will make it to New Albany somehow, for 1 day and at least locate and photograph my great-grandparents’ Agnews graves. Frustrating that I have not had the time to do any more family history research.