Birds on a Wire is now a Featured Elderblog listed on Time Goes By, a terrific website and blog devoted to aging. With help from a collection of professional contributors,  Ronni Bennet puts out an almost-daily newspaper, complete with interesting and very useful information, thoughtful opinion pieces, and lots of discussion in a well organized format. You'll even find videos and music, and you never know what some of her contributors are going to put up. If you haven't looked at it yet, you should.   

Thank you, Ronni. We're honored to be included on your list of recommended blogs.


I think the photos in Greetings from New England (below, down 2 posts) deserve some caption information. Sorry about that.  

If you look carefully, you'll find:

John F. Kennedy's sailboat, outside of the Kennedy Museum on Boston Harbor
Quincy Market, Boston
Fenway Park (home of the Red Sox), Boston
City dock, Burlington, Vermont
A replica ship under construction in Gloucester, Massachusetts
A view of Lake Spofford, New Hampshire, from a rear deck
The French King Bridge over the Connecticut River
Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
Several buildings at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont
The Heath Fair in Heath, Massachusetts
Newport Harbor, Newport, Rhode Island
Downtown Wilmington, Vermont
Lake Whitingham in Wilmington, Vermont
A view of Greenfield, Massachusets, from Poet's Seat Tower
A family of geese crossing the Green River, in Greenfield, Massachusetts
Our cabin in Wilmington, Vermont
Mountains in southern and central Vermont

My husband is a very lucky man. He says he's a licensed electrician, but I know he's in the stress-reduction and bliss-delivery business.  

Five mornings a week, he's out rescuing unfortunate people from the cold and the dark. He also saves people who are miserable from living with ugly light fixtures and inconvenient outlets. He goes out, does whatever-it-is-he-does and, by the end of the day, he's got happy customers whose frowns have turned into smiles of gratitude. He gets thank yous almost every day. Is that fair?

As happy as I am for his good fortune, I've harbored a certain amount of envy over the instant gratification he gets from his work. I mean, in spite of paychecks and raises, how many of us have ever been thanked for the work we do?  

We may write well, nurse, cook, raise kids, negotiate, prosecute, analyse, coordinate and supervise with the best of them, but it's a rainy day in LA before anyone picks up a phone to tell us how much they appreciate our work. Am I right?

That's how it's been for me, at least. 

Until last week. (Click Read More to see the rest of this story)
Downtown Wilminigton VT

Dear Reader,

Summer's finally here, and as soon as the rain clears (if ever), it'll be time to get out on the lake, the ocean, the hiking trail or at the cabin to enjoy what summer has to offer.

Here are a few photos I've taken of the New England I know and love. Some are recent, others are a year or two old. Click on the photo to enlarge. Most pictures were taken on a cell phone, so please excuse the fuzzy focus.

Scenes are in and around Gloucester, Cape Cod, Boston, Greenfield, Colrain, Shelburne Falls and Heath, Massachusetts; Wilmington, Burlington and Shelburne, Vermont; and Newport, Rhode Island. 

I hope you like them. Have a wonderful summer!

Wish you were here!




This is the weekend to get out on the track and walk as a survivor, raise money with a team, or write a check to support cancer research.

I think it's time we got back to basics.

Over the past few days, I’ve met some interesting people while reporting out a story on marriage. Three, in particular, made me stop and think about where this blog is headed. I may invite one or all of them to participate. 

One highly accomplished woman told me she has had the rug pulled out from under her in the past few months. Not one accustomed to free-fall, she’s lost her marriage and her business, all in a very short time. She has no choice but to move on, she said. 

This woman's education and career should provide her some very positive choices, but still, she’s out there on a limb, maybe for the first time her life. I’m not sure of her age, but am certain she fits the situational requirement of the average birdsonablog reader.

Yesterday’s conversation reminded me how far many of us have come in our lives. We were all pioneers, but without the sunbonnets.

Those of us who grew up in the US in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, had few role models, really, for the lives we’ve lived. What were our choices? Not Barby, not Jane Fonda, not Nancy Drew or Betty Crocker, not even Gloria Steinem or Madonna. How did we ever find our way?  

(Click Read More for the rest of this story)


It's in the 50s and raining today in New England. Made me think of this photo, taken April 28 at the entrance to the Whole Foods Market in Mill Valley, California.



It’s time to do a little explainer on navigating this site. 

First, let’s look at the various pages available at

Notice the line of page names, just below the sunflower banner: 

                Blog        Readers’ Pages    Offwire    About     Birdfood     Contact

Click on them, and here’s where you’ll go:

Blog: You’ll be sent to this page  -- the blog -- a continuous, scrolling page, with posts listed in reverse chronological order. 

Readers’ Pages: This contains some of the comments people have left in various spots on the blog. I separated them out and put them on their own page so readers won’t miss seeing them. I haven’t put all comments up, but will, eventually. The date listed with each comment is the date I reposted it, not the original date.  

Offwire: This page contains the mission statement for this blog. You might want to read it before you read the posts, if you haven’t already done so. Offwire may answer some of your questions. 

About: Here’s a sketchy profile of the blogmistress. Since she (I) wrote it, don’t expect anything objective.

Birdfood: You’ll find some fun things here: a daily crossword puzzle from the New York Times and links to some interesting or useful sites. Feel free to add to the treasure by sending along some of your own. 

Contact: If you don’t already have my email address, you can use this one. Comments are welcome, and mail will be answered. 

(Click Read More to continue reading this post)


Some of us have noted that more and more seniors and not-so-seniors are “early adapters,” turning to the Internet for support and social interaction. Now Harvard and others are studying the phenomenon. 

Read all about it in the Technology section of today’s New York Times: 

Online, ‘a Reason to Keep on Going’

Like many older people, Paula Rice of Island City, Ky., has grown isolated in recent years. Her four grown children live in other states, her two marriages ended in divorce, and her friends are scattered. Most days, she does not see another person.

But Ms. Rice, 73, is far from lonely. Housebound after suffering a heart attack two years ago, she began visiting the social networking sites, an online community for aging baby boomers, and (she is a former police dispatcher). Now she spends up to 14 hours a day in online conversations.

“I was dying of boredom,” she said. “Eons, all by its lonesome, gave me a reason to keep on going.”

That more and more people in Ms. Rice’s generation are joining networks like Eons, Facebook and MySpace is hardly news. Among older people who went online last year, the number visiting social networks grew almost twice as fast as the overall rate of Internet use among that group, according to the media measurement company comScore. But now researchers who focus on aging are studying the phenomenon to see whether the networks can provide some of the benefits of a group of friends, while being much easier to assemble and maintain.

Read more…


Songs without Words by Ann Packer

What are friends for? The author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier continues to explore this theme, this time within the context of family scenario set in the Bay Area. This is a very dark tale, so expect to be depressed by the characters and the story. I couldn’t put it down, but I can’t say I enjoyed it. In fact, if you’re already depressed, don’t read this book. Frankly, I can’t believe it was a bestseller. 

A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton

A little trash mystery to clear my brain. The last time I read Grafton, I followed private detective Kinsey Millhone through to the H book. She may have completed the alphabet by now, but I’m starting over, with her very first book. It’s light, fairly lively, and much more interesting than half the cop shows on television. 

 If I Live to Be 100 by Neenah Ellis

Interviews with centenarians for the NPR series, “One Hundred Years of Stories.” Stunning voices of people from all walks of life, all 100 or older.