Need to Nomad Blog

"Thankful Generations" WWII Project - Part 1


Sometimes to move forward with purpose, we must listen to the voices of our shared past, listen to the backdrop of the lessons history provides, and incorporate the best of these learnings as part of what we bring forward into our future. That’s what the Thankful Generations project is intended to do.  I'm hoping this project will promote new dialogue across generations, and most urgently with the generation of brave men and women who participated in the Second World War. So many veterans are in their 80's and 90's, and I feel compelled to do this project before their collective voices are lost forever.

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As an historical point of interest, my mother was a young girl on the island of Okinawa during the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945. There were many civilian Okinawan casualties, and the quaint towns and tropical landscapes were all but destroyed. Her family lost everything, and it goes without saying that this was a defining moment in her life. My father, an Irish American from Westboro, Massachusetts, met mom in the 1950's  during his early years in the Air Force when he was stationed in Okinawa. The rest is history, as they say.

USS LST 47 (1943-1947)*

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I first thought about this commemorative project when I visited my parents in Texas last year. I had the chance to visit with their neighbor, Joe, who is a WWII veteran. Joe participated in the D-Day invasion, June 1944, making 13 trips across the English Channel taking troops and equipment to France and bringing wounded and prisoners-of-war back to England.  Then he participated in the invasion of Southern France.  He thought he was all done when he came back to the US.  However, his ship was re-outfitted and LST-47 went to the far east and was involved in the battle for Okinawa. I am thankful for Joe, and so many like him who liberated the world. How lovely and ironic he should live across the street from my folks.

Next thing you know, my heart is filled with tremendous gratitude, and I don't know what to do with this wellspring of intense emotions. So I turn to my art and my Mirrix Loom for expression. When complete, this beaded tapestry will have three panels, capturing an iconic photograph of a soldier in Saipan, 1944. His stare ensnares me. My concept is simple. Three panels, captured like the frames of a filmstrip, each getting progressively further away and fading, just as the passage of time fades our collective memories. The "bottom line": NEVER FORGET.  


My mission is to ask viewers to never forget the sacrifices of our brave military men and women and their families, past and present. My message is to spread heartfelt gratitude from the "thankful generations" who benefit from these sacrifices.

This project is just getting started. I am harvesting other National Archives photographs looking for ideas for my next tapestry. Given my experiences with General Dynamics, don't be surprised if you see shipbuilding as an upcoming theme. I hope you follow my progress through this blog as planning for the "Thankful Generations" project evolves. 

* Photo from 

More Majesty from Mother Nature


In celebration of the Equinox, which arrived today at 7:02 a.m., I say let's spring into Spring! But wait! First I have to shovel out from the 12 inches of snow that fell yesterday. On the heels of yet another New England blizzard aptly named UKKO, this empty nester wants to fly the coop and find some warm sunshine! 

I'm not really complaining. Mother Nature is magnificent no matter where we are on this big beautiful planet. So just for giggles, here's an interesting series of contrasts between Arizona, Hawaii, and Maine, all three of which I have had the pleasure of spending time in over the past two months. 

Comparison #1 - Birds: Within a span of three weeks, I captured each of these wonderful birds during January and February. The Arizona roadrunner didn't hang around for long, as you can expect. The Hawaiian saffron finch spent the afternoon leisurely enjoying the abundant papayas. And in my own back yard in Maine, the white breasted nuthatch got very comfortable in my bird feeder, much to the annoyance of my sweet little chickadees. 

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Comparison #2 - Colorful sights: What's better than a parade of patriotic riders and horses at the Parada del Sol in Scottsdale? Perhaps the even more colorful spirited Gecko on the Big Island, or the startlingly red Cardinals breezing through the Maine winter. 

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Comparison #3 - Pine Trees: The variety is astonishing. On a ledge overlooking the Grand Canyon, tall and mighty pine trees hug the rocky edge. On the Hanakapi'ai Trail along the Na Pali coast, pine needles display a curious "knuckled" appearance. And of course in Maine, gorgeous pines bow down from the weight of wet and heavy snow. 

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Comparison #4 - Geometric Shapes: Perfection, sheer perfection. Stars, circles, and semi-circles. I'm still trying to figure out how that Pacman ghost landed in my backyard!

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Comparison #5 - Weather: Thanks to 'The Weather Channel' I was able to do this juxtaposition of average monthly high and low temperatures for Arizona, Hawaii and Maine. Wow! Does anyone else want to move to the Big Island with me with year-round average high temperatures between 82 and 88 degrees? I think we might have to leapfrog from Maine to Hawaii, and forget about our impending move to Scottsdale! The fly in the ointment is the state income tax, at 4.5%, 11% and 8% respectively. 

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That's all for now! Happy travels, happy Springtime and wish me luck with my shoveling!

Time Traveling


Does anyone else keep a daily journal? For almost thirteen years, three lines of writing per day in three Five-Year-Journals are recorded by my own hand for my own amusement. Self-defense for a faulty memory? Maybe. Inspiration from an elderly neighbor who once told me her daily journal went back sixty-five years? Likely. Obsessive compulsive tendencies? Oh yes.

Just for laughs this week, I took the time to read daily entries starting in 1999 for March 1st through March 14th. It didn't take long, and I reclaimed many memories tucked deep in my dusty brain.  Had I been a news reporter, here are some of the choice headlines:

1999: IMAGINARY FRIEND COMES FOR A VISIT - Alexa was her name, and she made her first appearance with our youngest daughter, Sarah in March of 1999. 

2001: BLIZZARD DESCENDS (OR THE DAY BIW SHUT DOWN) - My Bath Iron Works shipyard buddies will appreciate this, since BIW rarely closes due to inclement weather.


2003: BALLOON GAME ANTICS - Any of you blow up plastic gloves and bat them around with family for cheap entertainment? 

2005: RETURN FROM DELHI - Daughter, Jennifer, learns what a curiosity she is as a fair haired tourist in India, and our 'adopted' son Rahul and his parents relish the chance to share their magnificent country with us.


2006: RAT FALLS FROM DORM ROOM CEILING - Two a.m. phone call from daughter, Rebecca, screaming about Rodents of Unusual Size falling to earth in her College of Charleston dorm. Yes, she survived AND graduated!


2009: MAINERS DON HAWAIIAN SHIRTS IN DEFIANCE - Oh no you didn't just dump another foot of snow on us!

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My conclusions? 

  • The best memories are with family and friends. Spend more time NOW making these types of memories!
  • Things like workplace drama with people behaving badly in retrospect seem comical, then annoying, then just plain sad. 
  • Don't spend too much time dwelling on the past … the present and future are way too exciting! Go explore and make great things happen!

'Nuf Stuff

Maureen with the very flat purse


How many parents out there have shoulder, neck and back problems because we serve second duty as the coat rack or pack mule for the rest of the family? It's bad enough we have to carry our own possesions, but everyone else's, too? The more stuff I have, the less nomadic I can be, so last summer I introduced a new strategy, carrying a hand bag big enough only for essentials, a true "pocket book" with no room for anyone else's castoffs.

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When I switched to this strategy, amusing screams of protest arose when my formerly bottomless bag closed up shop. The treasure trove of goodies in my purse disappeared, including treasures such as socks, dental floss, lip gloss, chap stick, hair brush, water bottle, chewing gum, notebook, sunglasses, ibuprofen, and lactaid. 

"No, I don't have room to carry your sunglasses."

"That's not fair!"

"You'll live."

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I did not do this to be mean, though perhaps my daughter would disagree. The shoulder and neck pain is real, arthritis is taking up residence in my knuckles, and I know I'm getting older by the day. I'm on my two month count down to fifty, which may be why I'm pondering this subject at this particular time. For my birthday, I wish I could mail order a Mary Poppins carpet bag, from which whimsy and full length floor lamps can be conjured upon demand. If only such a magical creation did exist. 

In contrast, many of my friends take pride in being “that person” for themselves and their families. Imagine my surprise when my friend rummaged through her enormous purse and pulled out a massive city phone book, then expressed surprise at finding it in there. She caught me off guard with her ensuing comment, "No wonder this darn thing is so heavy." The bigger the purse, the bigger the boulders get.

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And so my war on big purses has begun. To my friends bearing the burden of incredibly large satchels, here's my advice:

1. Trade in your "ginormous" purse for a modest "pocket book".

2. Brace yourself for complaints when you do so.

3. Repeat three times in the mirror each morning, "I am a person, not a pack mule".

 Your over burdened body and inner nomad will thank you!

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