William E. Dimorier: Servant Leader

Day 46: William E. Dimorier project. 10/15/2014

William E. Dimorier

This blog post contains information on the manuscript that resulted from the Dimorier Project.


The Dimorier project began in 2004, when a handwritten journal of original poetry was discovered at a printing-house auction in Erie, Pennsylvania. The journal belonged to William E. Dimorier (1871-1951), an educator, administrator, benefactor, and poet. Born in Afton, New York, Dimorier was the son of a farmer. In his young adulthood, he preached in Baptist churches and evangelized at revivals, yet he didn’t complete high school until he was 25 years old. After graduating from Colgate University at the age of 31, he became a teacher and spent more than three decades dedicating his life to his students and the community in Erie, Pennsylvania.  Dimorier’s life fits closely that described by Robert K. Greenleaf as a servant-leader, one who starts with the desire to serve and becomes a leader, rather than the opposite path.


The original purpose of the Dimorier Project was to publish William E. Dimorier’s poems with a short biography, but it became clear as the research progressed that the man was a poet and much more. He was an educator, but much more than that, too. Gradually, the scope of the project widened and revealed that Dimorier was man of service. Ultimately, the project evolved into the biography of a man for whom fulfillment was found in the work, not the rewards.

The goal of William E. Dimorier: Servant Leader is to share how a person from humble beginnings can lead a life of service, largely unrecognized, but ultimately, one that becomes an influence that stretches around the globe and across centuries.

Residents of Dimorier’s hometown and his adopted city will appreciate his story for the historical value, but a wider audience will be interested in the tale of an everyday person who did much more than was asked of him, without the expectation of reward. Readers will also be found among those looking for inspiration in role models for service to one’s community.





  1. BEGINNING, (1871-1897)
  2. SCHOLARSHIP, (1897-1903)
  3. THRESHOLD, (1903-1906)
  4. ENDEAVOR, (1906-1910)
  5. INSPIRATION, (1910-1912) 
  6. RECOGNITION, (1913-1915) 
  7. ASPIRATION, (1915-1917)
  8. LOSS, (1917-1918)
  9. ADVANCEMENT, (1919-1920)
  10. CONTENTION, (1921-1922)
  11. FUNDRAISING, (1923)
  12. ACCOMPLISHMENT, (1924)
  13. ADVOCACY, (1925-1927)
  14. SPORTSMANSHIP, (1927-1928)
  15. PUBLICATION, (1929)
  16. PERSISTENCE, (1930-1933)
  17. EXPLORATION, (1934-1938)
  18. RELEGATON, (1939)
  19. SEPARATION, (1940-1943)
  20. PRODUCTIVITY, (1943-1944)
  21. MELANCHOLY, (1944-1951)
  22. HOMECOMING, (1951)
  23. LEGACY







Day Book Front Cover

In 2004, a chance visit to an auction preview at a defunct printing company led to the discovery of a handwritten journal of poetry. Inside the well-worn book was a note offering a reward for its return. The journal had spent decades at the printing house, and the poet must have mourned its loss. A compulsion to find the owner set off lengthy research project, which revealed that this poet had been a prominent educator and servant leader. William Edward Dimorier never married, and he never owned a home of his own. He devoted his life to serving his community.


For this project, over more than a decade, many people provided documents, information, artifacts, and encouragement. Some took pity on the unfunded researcher and waived the usual fees. Others went out of their way to find information about the poet. An expression of thanks and a list of many names occupies this section.

BEGINNING, 1871-1897

William Edward Dimorier was the first of four children born into a farming family in Afton, New York. This chapter paints a picture of Chenango and Broome counties and establishes the family’s roots in history. The record of William’s early life is scant, but his early adulthood was recorded in the pages of the local newspaper. Before he graduated from high school at the age of 25, he had earned a reputation as an evangelist and captivating orator.

SCHOLARSHIP, 1897-1903

After high school graduation at the age of 25, William spent two years at college-prep Colgate Academy, before entering Colgate University as a freshman. Likely the oldest undergraduate in his class, William assumed several traditional leadership roles and even pledged to a fraternity. He was reportedly working toward a divinity degree, and at one point during these years, he also served as the pastor of a rural Baptist church. When William graduated from Colgate in 1903 at the age of 31, it was with a degree in English, not divinity. The reason for the shift can only be speculated.

THRESHOLD, 1903-1906

Referred to as “reverend” in a telegram, William traveled to Penn Yan, New York, for an interview at Keuka College. After a year teaching English there, he spent two at Cook Academy, a college-prep boarding school for boys in Montour Falls, New York. One of William’s students was V.K. Wellington Koo, future Chinese ambassador to the United States. On Cook Academy stationery, William jotted a prayer, asking for wisdom, fortitude, humility, unselfishness, and Christian courtesy. In the summer of 1906, William began graduate work at Syracuse University and was recruited to a teaching position in Erie, Pennsylvania.

ENDEAVOR, 1906-1910

As head of the English Department at severely crowded Erie High School, William took on several extracurricular roles, including athletic-association treasurer and debate-club advisor. He was a witty and accessible teacher, frequently and humorously mentioned in the annual yearbook. In 1907, William established an employment agency, the Erie Teachers’ Bureau, most likely modeled after the agency that placed him in his own teaching engagements.

INSPIRATION, 1910-1912

Heavily involved with Erie High’s sports programs, William befriended many student athletes, such as Oscar “Oc” Anderson, who would, along with his brother, Gus, become an Erie sports legend. In 1911, William and the students became inspired to start fundraising for the construction of an athletic field. William’s name soon became synonymous with the project, which consumed much of his time.

RECOGNITION, 1913-1915

Although William was an avid sports supporter, he was also a lover of literature. In 1913, his hometown newspaper, the Afton Enterprise published his lyrical poem, “Sanford,” an ode to the countryside where he spent his early years. In 1914, a Louisiana newspaper reported on William’s classroom project, “Newspaper Week,” a forerunner to today’s Newspapers in Education (NIE) project. That year, William and his students witnessed the dedication of the athletic field, now known as Ainsworth Field, which became the long-lived venue of countless football and baseball games, both amateur and professional.

ASPIRATION, 1915-1917

Now aspiring to publication, William proposed a selected collection of classic poems for memorizing to the American Book Company. This was during education’s progressive movement, when poetry was used to inform many school subjects. After more than a year of back and forth, the publisher declined, citing profitability concerns. During this time, another of William’s poems was published in a magazine, and his essay, “The Significance of Poetry,” was published in the Journal of Education. William also continued in his educator role during this time, designing and implementing a program to encourage students to stay in school after eighth grade.

LOSS, 1917-1918

From the lighthearted account of the theft of William’s bicycle, and the mournful passing of both of his parents, to the many lives taken during the Spanish Flu and the Great War, this marked a period of loss. In 1917, one of William’s former colleagues, Edgar Morris, passed away at a young age, and from the tribute William wrote, the values he held dear come to light, including that Morris had “made the world better by his life of victory.” It was also in 1917, that the cornerstone for Academy High School was set, where William would spend two decades of his career.

ADVANCEMENT, 1919-1920

In the fall of 1919, the Academy High student body was formed, with John C. Diehl transferring from principal of Erie High to that of Academy. William was promoted to the role of boys’ counselor at the new school, which operated in the Erie High building while the new structure was being finished. A promotion to Erie High principal could have led to higher advancement than William achieved in his career, but William’s counselor role extended subtle influence that spans continents and generations. Of course, William did not confine his role to counselor of boys. He was now focused on a new project, that of a grand stadium to be constructed in front of the new school.

CONTENTION, 1921-1922

In 1921, Academy’s principal, John C. Diehl, moved on to the district assistant-superintendent role. William, by now assistant principal with a newly awarded master’s degree from Colgate University, was not promoted. Instead, C.W. McNary, from New Jersey, filled the position, Still, the men seemed to enjoy a good working relationship, fortunate, because this was a period of contention for both. Their integrity was tested when they received negative press regarding the use of athletic funds. Also after receiving a mysterious letter, William requested the swimming coach’s resignation, resulting in the team’s walk-out and public furor. During this time, there was opposition to the expense of the stadium project, but William continued his efforts to bring the bowl to life. It was also during this time that William decided to sponsor the education of a student in China through a Baptist missionary, who was also a fellow Colgate alumnus.


The year 1923 marked the most activity yet in fundraising for the stadium project, with various organizations taking up the cause. By this time, a centralized commission had been created by the school district, and all other committees were released. Funds were generated by the Service Star mothers, whose children had served or died in the World War. They requested that the stadium be dedicated as a memorial to those who had made the ultimate sacrifice. Various fundraising activities included dances, concerts, and festivals. There was even a three-day horseracing event with proceeds donated to the stadium fund. That year, the Academy yearbook, the Academe, was dedicated to William for his work on the stadium project. The tribute included the following: “There are grave doubts that this ambition would have been fulfilled if he had not taken the initiative.”


In May 1924, the stadium committee presented $133,551.44 to the school district. The total cost of the project would be $150,000, so more fundraising would be necessary even after the stadium was in use. That year, the Academe was again dedicated to William. His work on the stadium project was acknowledged, but this year’s sentiment was far more encompassing of his worth as an educator. In part, “He is one whom we respect as a teacher, advisor and a man, the eveready adjustor of our smallest troubles.” On Armistice Day in November 1924, after a parade and numerous speeches by dignitaries in front of 15,000 people, the stadium was dedicated. A football game followed and many, many more such competitions and programs would take place in Veterans Stadium for decades to come. It remains a landmark in the city of Erie today.

ADVOCACY, 1925-1927

One wonders when William had a free moment during this period, when he seemed to act as an advocate for everyone but himself. He brought a music educator to Academy, Morten J. Luvaas, who started a school choir, which William would support as business manager and through his own finances for the rest of his life. William petitioned the school district for more funds to equip the school’s marching band. He chaired regional musical competitions. He acted as a district chairman of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), and organized track and field events. As chairman, he had to take the hard line when member schools played over-age players. He organized debates between colleges, including Colgate, as inspiration for the Academy debate club.


As district chairman for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), William was often quoted in newspapers regarding regional sports-event policies. In Academy sports, William arranged a football game against an Atlanta team in one of the country’s first-ever intersectional scholastic competitions. As Academy’s athletic advisor, William made difficult and provocative decisions, including severing the relationship with another district for poor sportsmanship.


In 1929, William self-published a small book of poetry entitled The West Wind and other Verses. Most of its poems are recorded in William’s handwritten journal, discovered in 2004. The book contained 26 poems using classical conventions, scholarly references, and complex themes. Many themes included nature, spirituality, morality, fate, and eternity. At the end of the decade, William’s poetry was used in a choral piece based on an Italian folk song, called “Tiritomba,” composed by his good friend, Morten Luvaas, the Academy choir director.

PERSISTENCE, 1930-1933

In 1930, during the Great Depression, William, and others, believed that a pipe organ would enrich Academy students and the community. A fundraising campaign ensued, and in early 1931, the pipe organ was installed for $12,000. Not all of William’s efforts were successful, and this was one of them. A decade later, the pipe organ had become a white elephant. By this time, Morten Luvaas had moved on to Allegheny College, but William would remain friends with him. The new choir director, Obed Grender, would also become a good friend. William was a frequent guest in both the Luvaas and Grender households, taking a keen interest in the children of both families, who remembered him fondly. William’s persistence proved to be of great value when, for nearly a year, he pursued the opportunity for the Academy choir to perform at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, a performance which earned the group nationwide recognition.

EXPLORATION, 1934-1938

William was an explorer, but documentation of his travel exists only during this period. In early 1935, William took an extended trip southward to visit various high school colleges from Pennsylvania to Florida. In the summer of 1935, he accompanied the Luvaas family on a trip out west, which he extended into a nearly month-long adventure. According to his account of the trip, he traveled 30,000 miles that year. William’s poetry was getting some traction, too, when Maryland composer Franz Bornschein used four of Williams poems in a choral cycle called, “The Sea.”


In May of 1939, the Academy choir appeared at the New York World’s Fair. That summer, William trekked westward again. While in Salt Lake City with friends, he received a letter from the Erie school superintendent, referencing a change in Pennsylvania law, which had lowered the mandatory retirement age. William, at age 68, was relegated into retirement, because the Erie school district, like many others in the nation, was strapped for cash. There was no lead-in to William’s departure. No time to plan going-away parties or send-off dinners.

SEPARATION, 1940-1943 

Although retired, William wasn’t completely absent from school in the early 1940s. The 1941 yearbook mentioned that he was frequently seen in the halls and was still arranging concerts, trips, and making plans for the choir. William had always loved nearby Presque Isle, but now he had more opportunity to spend time there. His servant-leader qualities hadn’t waivered, and a newspaper reported William sweeping a sidewalk there. He said since he used it so much, he might as well maintain it.


Although William was now in his seventies and retired, he entered a period of productivity and creativity, writing and editing poetry that would culminate in his second self-published book of poetry, called Rhymes and Some Reason, published in 1944. The Erie School District superintendent, C. Herman Grose, wrote the preface for the book, stating that William was “fondly remembered as a friend and guide of youth.” In the foreword, William claimed that his verses could not claim to be poems. Instead, he asserted that they were merely reflections from his many years of teaching in the Erie School District. This statement is too modest.

MELANCHOLY, 1944-1951

Five years after William had been forced out of his job as an educator, he still wanted to be involved in the lives of young people. In 1944, he heard there were plans to hire a school counselor for Academy. In a letter to the superintendent, William offered to work for free, citing his 20 years’ experience in counseling. He admitted that his head might not be very good, but his heart was in it. In 1947, if William felt as if he was no longer useful, he was probably heartened to hear from the Baptist missionary, whom had facilitated William’s sponsorship of the Chinese student years before. The student had become a teacher at the high school associated with the University of Shanghai.


When William looked back on his life, he probably had some regrets, as do many men, but in general, he was likely very satisfied with his accomplishments, and any moments of pain were worth the moments of joy sprinkled throughout his life. William was conscious and appreciative of joyful moments, and he even wrote a poem entitled, “Joy,” which appears in Rhymes. For several years, William suffered from arteriosclerosis, and on June 14, 1951, William had a cerebral hemorrhage and entered Afton Hospital. After almost a month there, William passed away at 10:10 a.m. on July 10, 1951.


If William had married and had children, he might not have been able to devote as much time to his students and community as he did over his lifetime. The major projects that captured years of William’s life, Ainsworth Field and Veterans Stadium, still stand today. Both have undergone major renovations, and although they barely resemble the originals, they remain prominent, well-used landmarks. Through William’s work with young people, his legacy continues today, although it cannot be quantified. His life was one of service, and the service itself was paramount to accolades. In these times of inflated egos and celebrity adoration, we can all take a lesson from William E. Dimorier.


This section includes a chronological list of Dimorier’s publications in scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, choral compositions, and self-published poetry collections.


The major publications that informed the project and are judged to be of interest to readers are listed in this section.


Using the Chicago Manual of Style format, the notes section is 25 pages in length. It contains nearly every source of every claim in the book.

Dimorier Project Main Page

Ann M. Silverthorn Resume

About: Ann Silverthorn


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Posted in Dimorier, History, Northwest PA, People, Writing

7 Things Your Veterinarian Wants You to Know

veterinarian_dogAll around the world, pets play an important role in the human family structure. In addition to their day-to-day care, managing their health can be complicated. A good relationship with a qualified, caring veterinarian can help navigate the many options in providing pets with the best-possible, and most-practical, care.

Brandon Grimshawe, DVM, and his wife, Jenny Campbell Grimshawe, DVM, founded Millcreek Animal Hospital, in Erie, Pennsylvania, with a mission that includes a goal of establishing long-term, trusting relationships with patients and their families. In keeping with that goal, they’ve come up with seven things they’d like you to know about veterinary care:

  1. Not all veterinarians are created equal.

Veterinary care varies widely, even though the description of such care may not. We get a lot of questions about why a spay procedure would cost less at one of the low-cost clinics. When comparing cost, you must remember to ask questions and compare apples to apples. You should always ask how anesthesia is administered and what type of bloodwork, if any, is included in the cost. Many of the full-service hospitals hold themselves to a very high standard when it comes to what type of service they offer and the safety it provides for your pets. Sometimes the additional steps we take to provide the safest treatment take more time and resources and can translate to a slightly higher cost to the consumer.

  1. Animals are not little humans.

Despite what you may find on popular websites, you should never give over-the-counter medications or supplements to your pet without consulting a veterinarian first. Animals process drugs differently than we do. Some drugs can cause ulcers, and when drugs are used for the wrong reasons, they can cause harm to the animal. We never mind a quick phone call to ask if something is safe to use.

  1. We cannot diagnose your pet’s ailments over the phone.

As much as we wish we were truly that good, we rarely are. We should also be held to a higher standard than to guess what could be going on with your pet. We should never forget the importance of a good physical exam and face time with the doctor.

  1. Pets do truly age much quicker than we do.

There is an undeniable importance to having a routine physical exam performed. In senior pets, having more frequent exams, and health screens of the blood, can help make quicker diagnoses and prolong your pet’s life quality.

  1. Preventable diseases are a real thing.

Preventative care can save your pet, and you, from sometimes life-threatening, human-contractible illnesses. It can also save you money in the long run. Diseases prevented by vaccination include rabies, parvo/lepto, Lyme disease, and panleukopenia. Oral medications can prevent heartworm, fleas, and ticks. Routine care and preventative medicine can, and should, be the key to long and healthy life with your pet.

  1. Vaccines must be given correctly to protect your pet and build a proper immune response.

Some people buy vaccines online, or in a store, and administer these vaccines to their pets themselves to save money. If vaccines are not given to a healthy immune system (determined by a physical exam of all body systems), at the right time, and boostered when necessary, the immune system doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do to keep your pet protected. Although some of these decisions come from a well-meaning place, they can be, and often are, detrimental to your pet’s health.

  1. Your veterinarian doesn’t judge you.

Your veterinarian is there to help educate you and direct the best possible care for your pet. It is your veterinarian’s job to offer the best possible medicine, but it is his/her responsibility to allow you to choose the plan that works best for your family. If you feel you’re being judged for not accepting the gold standard, you should look for a new partner in the healthcare of your pet. Veterinarians are faced with the same gut-wrenching decisions as you, regarding finances. No one wants to admit it, but the financial side of veterinary medicine is an important factor in the overall healthcare of your pet. Your veterinarian should be able to comfortably guide you through difficult healthcare decisions.

So, there you have it: seven things to know about veterinary care. Giving a pet a good home requires plenty of love, a fair amount of daily maintenance, and adequate healthcare. A good veterinarian can help families thrive in all three of these aspects in caring for their pets.


Nutmeg and Nora Silverthorn

Nutmeg and Nora

Ann Silverthorn is a writer whose family includes Nutmeg and Nora, happy patients at Millcreek Animal Hospital, a full-service facility that welcomes both emergency treatment cases as well as pet patients in need of routine medical, surgical, and dental care.

Many thanks to Drs. Grimshawe for sharing their insights on veterinary care for this blog.


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Posted in Consumer Life, Daily Life, Family, Health, Nutmeg and Nora, Pets

Contacts and Carry-Ons: What About Saline?

“Contact solution is considered medically necessary

and allowed in containers in excess of 3.4oz.”

(TSA – July 21, 2017)

If you wear contact lenses and you’ve traveled by air, you’ve probably made a special trip to the store for contact-lens solution in a bottle 3.4 ounces or smaller. But that trip was unnecessary, because you could carry on a gallon of it if you wanted to lug that much. Every so often, I check to make sure the policy hasn’t changed, and the most recent was communication with the TSA on July 21, 2017.

Contact solution

You can put any-sized container of contact-lens solution in your carry-on, but at security, it must be placed in a bin by itself, and you must declare it to TSA officials.

Here’s what TSA says:

Passengers may bring prescriptions and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solutions for medical purposes into the secured area.

Contact lens solutions are considered over-the-counter medications and are allowed in carry-on bags.  If the contact lens solution is in a container that is 3.4 ounces or less, it may be placed in a quart-sized, resealable plastic bag along with other toiletries.

Passengers are not limited in the amount or volume of these items; however, if the contact lens solution or other medical items are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces, they must be placed in a bin by themselves and declared to the Transportation Security Officer for further inspection.  These liquids are permitted to be carried in a plastic bag separate from other liquids, gels, and aerosols.

For the most current information on TSA security screening procedures, we encourage travelers to visit our Web site at www.tsa.gov (Transportation Security Administration email 8/24/2015).

Original post from April 13, 2013

I learned something new about flying yesterday, and I’m so excited, I just had to share it with you–well those of you who wear contacts and have to fly the friendly skies. The rest of you, who know people who have contacts and fly, can impress your friends with information that will make their travel experience much, much more comfortable. And if you already know about what I’m going to tell you, well, you’re just a smarty pants.

For years, when packing for a trip, I’ve had the experience of not being able to find the little bottle of saline solution that I had been saving for these trips. That is, not until I returned from the trip. Sometimes, I would just fill my contact case with saline solution in case I decided to take my contacts out during the trip and wear my glasses. But what if I just wanted to clean my foggy contacts and put them back in my tired eyes between point A and point B? Well, sometimes, I would dig out a small, empty travel container and squirt saline from the big bottle into it. But that never seemed too sanitary.

What About Slightly Larger Contact Saline Bottles?

Recently, I purchased a small bottle of saline and actually found it prior to packing for the trip I’m on this weekend. To my dismay, I realized that it was a 4 oz. container. The limit for liquid in carry-ons is 3.4 oz. Why the heck would the saline company use a 4 oz. bottle? Something sounded fishy.

So, I Googled the matter, and I found a reference to saline solutions being medically necessary with a link to this page: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/liquids-rule. However, that page didn’t specifically address saline and whether it is considered medication. I then navigated to the disabilities and medical conditions page: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/travelers-disabilities-and-medical-conditions.
But that didn’t answer the question to my satisfaction, either. It did, however, list a phone number for TSA Cares (855-787-2227), so I called it.

The woman I spoke with read the policy to me and asked me if I would like her to email it to me. What a nice lady.

Well, well, well. Apparently, contact saline solution is considered an over-the-counter medication. Who knew? Therefore, you can carry a gallon of it, as long as you place it in its own bin and “declare” it at screening. If you wear contacts, and weren’t already aware of this factoid, this will make a big difference in your future flying life.

So, when I got to the airport yesterday, I had my 4 oz. saline solution in a separate plastic bag along with a copy of the email the TSA lady sent me. Ha! Just wait for those TSA people to challenge me. They didn’t bat an eye, and all went smooth as silk.

Yesterday’s travel was a very nice experience overall. Even the knives I packed in my checked baggage made it to my destination just fine. Apparently, there are lots of interesting items that you’re allowed to put in your checked baggage. Why was I carrying knives? I’m attending a three-day natural foods intensive cooking class in Philadelphia, and we were instructed to bring some of our own equipment.

I thought you might like to read the official email from TSA, so here it is:

Actual TSA Email Regarding Contact Saline Solution

   Thank you for your e-mail [it was a phone call, but anyhow. . .] regarding the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) policy for transporting contact lens solutions in carry-on baggage.  

   Passengers may bring prescriptions and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solutions for medical purposes into the sterile area.   

   Contact lens solutions are considered over-the-counter medications and are allowed in carry-on bags.  If the contact lens solution is 3.4 ounces or less, it may be placed in a quart-sized, resealable plastic bag along with other toiletries.  

   Passengers are not limited in the amount or volume of these items, however, if the contact lens solution or other medical items are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces, they must be placed in a bin with no other items and declared to the Transportation Security Officer for further inspection. These liquids are permitted to be carried in a plastic bag separate from other liquids, gels, and aerosols.

For the most current information on TSA security screening procedures, we encourage
travelers to visit our Web site at www.tsa.gov. 

We hope this information is helpful.  

TSA Contact Center  

[The Contact Center advised me about my contacts.]

 For a handy air-travel essentials packing list check out “7-Item Checklist for Air-Travel Essentials.”


Ann Silverthorn


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Posted in Consumer Life, Health, Travel

If You Break Your Right Arm (and you’re right-handed). 7 Tips.

Recently, I fell while running in my basement and broke my right wrist. Yes, you read that right. I run [ran] 5K in an oval in my basement three times a week, because I’m afraid of falling off a treadmill or tripping in a pothole outside. . .

Smile compliments of dilaudid.

Smile: compliments of dilaudid.

That morning, I caught my toe on the splayed leg of our aged ping-pong table. It seemed like it took about five minutes to hit the concrete floor, and on the way, I had plenty of time to think about how this wasn’t gonna be good.

I knew this because about 10 years ago, I was walking the dog, wearing clogs in the rain, and fell on my left wrist, requiring the surgical implantation of hardware that remains there today. I was probably trying to shield that wrist and ended up breaking my right radius into 15 pieces, which somehow managed to stay together, so, I probably won’t need surgery (fingers crossed). We’re three weeks post-injury, and the bone man will make his final decision next week.

Anyhow, it’s bad enough to break your non-dominant arm, but what happens when you break your right wrist, and you’re right handed? What do you do when the ER folks are overzealous and splint you up to the tips of your fingers and practically up to your armpit, and you’re in it for a week?

You know this will be over in a month or two, and you don’t want to abuse your Amazon Prime with dedicated handicap aids, so how do you function? Here are seven tips that won’t break the bank, if you’re ever without the use of your dominant hand.IMG_2199

  1. For bathing (a): Pump bottles of shampoo and body wash in the shower. I just happened to purchase these in pump form before my fall, and I’m glad I did. I must be psychic.
  2. For bathing (b): Invest in a commercial cast protector rather than a plastic bag and a rubber band. You can put it on my yourself! Yes, it will set you back about $15, but that’s better than having to deal with a wet arm or having to be recasted because you have water in your cast or splint. CURAD® has a good one, but I wish they made a long-arm version. I had one for my last break, but I don’t know what happened to it.
  3. To open jars: Use two of those rubber grippers you got at the bank, one on the counter, and one to turn the lid. This really works, and I may use this hack to open spaghetti sauce jars forever! If this doesn’t work, you can try placing the jar between your knees and use the rubber gripper to turn the lid.
  4. To open lids, in general: Remember to turn the opposite way than you are used to. It takes an actual thought process to remember this. If you can’t get into your pain-med bottle, use the rubber-gripper hack above to push down on the lid. If you have the kind that requires you to push the tab down and then turn the lid, you may need assistance.
  5. For food prep: If you need to slice fruits and vegetables and no one else is around, use an electric knife. If you don’t have an electric knife, borrow one, but don’t buy one. You can buy plenty of precut fruits and veggies at the grocery store.
  6. To use scissors: I got this tip from a lefty friend. Turn the scissors upside down. Yes, you might pinch your fingers in the smaller hole, but it works.
  7. To open a Ziploc® bag: There are always your teeth, but when that gets old and your teeth get sore, you can hold down one side with your ring finger and pull up on the other with your thumb and middle finger. It works!IMG_2181

I hope these tips help you if you ever are without the use of your dominant hand. Do you have any other tips to share with us? Please comment below!


I got a white cast, so people could sign it in many colors. Here’s what it looked like on the way home.

(You might wonder how I typed this post with one hand. I’m happy to say that I have a short-arm cast now, and I started typing with both hands two days ago, thanks to ibuprofen!)

Update: June 27, 2017 – Even my English major eye could tell that the bone didn’t look good on the X-ray this this morning. So, there will be surgery later this week. I guess I’ll get to use my new skills for a bit longer!

Update: July 23, 2017 – Surgery went well, and I’m on the road to recovery. I have a removable splint, instead of a cast, so I was able to start PT one week after surgery!


Ann Silverthorn


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Fun with the DVD Netflix + John Grisham Sweepstakes


Disclaimer: I am a member of Netflix’s DVD.com Director’s program, which gives me free access to movies. If you sign up with my referral link, I may receive a referral reward.

I love opening the red envelopes that appear in my mailbox from DVD.com. Oftentimes, they offer a fun activity on the mailer, such as Mad Libs. These activities give movie lovers, like me, the opportunity to post our ideas on social media, and they help us feel more connected with other movie lovers. Often, the mailers include the chance to win a prize.

The most recent DVD.com promotion is called “Get Stranded,” and it not only gives you the opportunity to share the five movies you would want with you if you were stranded on an island, it also gives you the opportunity to win a trip for two to Miami Beach. I filled out my list so that I could share DVD.com’s promotion, and I thought it would be fun to tell you briefly why I selected each movie on my list. Let’s get started:

  1. Splendor in the Grass

I saw this movie only once, on TV, probably on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The 1961 classic stars Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty as two young lovers from different social classes, with Natalie Wood being considered the type of girl you don’t marry. In addition to being heart-wrenchingly romantic, it floods the viewer with the sense of loss at what might have been.

  1. Hacksaw Ridge

I didn’t think I would like this 2017 multi-Academy Award winner and nominee, because of the violence, but it turned out to be one of my favorites. This is the true story of a man who stood up for his ideals with grace and endless patience. It depicts the horrors of war in more graphic detail than I’ve ever seen, but what stuck with me was the display of pure courage.

  1. A Man Called Ove

Don’t let a movie with subtitles scare you away. My husband hates subtitles, but he loved this one. The story of Ove unfolds its secrets gracefully throughout, and it allows the viewer to understand why Ove is the way he is. It is also a story of community: a man who finds his place in it and a village that cares for him near the end of his life.

  1. City Island

Who knew that this quaint little island was part of the Bronx?  This is a story of years gone by too fast, of relationships nearly lost, and the future of a young man salvaged.  It’s the story of father and son, husband and wife, family and secrets.  It is also a movie that will make you laugh out loud.

  1. Clouds of Sils Maria

Ego, ego, ego, and pride. This movie is about resisted aging, faded beauty, and losing one’s place in the universe. Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart play the aging actress and her wise, young assistant. Binoche learns a difficult lesson about respect and loyalty, and that without the first, the second is doomed.

As I review this list once again, I can see that it does not contain much levity.  If I were stranded on an island, however, I think I’d want to turn over the complexities of these movies in my head again and again. This should hold me over until the rescue boat comes.

You can rent all these and more from DVD Netflix, which is also co-hosting an awesome tropical giveaway that you can enter here.

Read  more about the giveaway on the DVD Netflix blog.

Netflix is also letting me give away a $50 Target gift card. All you have to do is like, comment on, OR share the post on my Facebook page that links to this article. Click on the Facebook icon below to get there. Deadline: June 26, 2017 at 12 noon EDT.

Ann Silverthorn


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Posted in Entertainment, Family

Nutmeg’s Destruction Teaches a Lesson

Nutmeg and Nora, Cairn Terrier sisters, joined our family about five years ago. We have had our ups and downs but we eventually settled into a comfortable companionship, occasionally marked by complications caused from the Cushing’s syndrome and then the blindness that Nora developed a couple of years ago. We call Nora our special-needs dog, while Nutmeg is sometimes overlooked, sometimes referred to as the red-headed step-child.

Summer 2016 Photo Credit:  Misty O'Connor

Summer 2016
Photo Credit:
Misty O’Connor

Well, this post is all about Nutmeg (mostly).

Now that Nora is blind, she does not dominate ball play anymore. She’s more obsessed with her “Baby,” a stuffed candy cane, which we, for some reason, assigned a female gender. So, Nutmeg doesn’t have to worry about Nora taking her balls anymore, she’s loves to carry them around, and often, she seems to work them under the sleeper sofa in the family room, or in any other nook or cranny, necessitating our involvement to retrieve them. Maybe she’s a genius dog and figured out that she gets attention that way.

Well, after hundreds of retrievals, the process started to get old for my husband and myself. One day, I sat down to eat lunch in the living room, catching an old Gilmore Girls episode on Netflix and could hear Nutmeg in the family room making the familiar little groans and tiny howls that she produces when she’s lost her ball.

I must have lost my mind that day, because I actually thought Nutmeg would just have to wait, or deal with the lost ball on her own.

Oh, she did.

The destruction.  Note the brown pillows behind the polka-dotted ones.

The destruction.
Note the brown pillows behind the polka-dotted ones.

Eventually I got off my derrière, because Nutmeg was being “so irritating.” When I got to the family room, I saw bits of brown on the floor, and, at first, I thought that she had taken out biological revenge on me for my laziness. Then, I realized what had happened.

She had torn apart the bottom of the sleeper sofa, trying to get to her ball.

Have you ever laid your eyes on something that made you put your hand to your mouth and say, “Oh no!” over, and over, again? I couldn’t be mad at Nutmeg, because I realized this was my fault. How did I think a ball-obsessed dog was going to deal with her problem in a constructive way?

Soon, I reasoned that I never really liked the sofa, so I went shopping for a new one. Believe me, the sofa is not worthy of a professional upholsterer’s services. After visiting a couple of furniture stores, I realized that all sleeper sofas are ugly unless you pay a lot more than I wanted to. Still, I found one that cost about 50 percent more than I wanted to pay and didn’t look too bad, and I said I’d be back a couple of days later so my husband could look at it. Then, I set about finding a new home for the boring, brown sleeper sofa that is only four years old and has only been slept on five times or so.

Surely, the Salvation Army, or some other charity, would take it. No dice. None of them wanted a torn-apart sofa any more than I did. It seemed like mine was destined for the landfill, which wasn’t acceptable to me.

I can do this.

So, I decided to try to repair it myself, thinking about different ways to approach the problem. Cut material from the back? Buy new material that sort of matched or complemented it? Then, my husband remarked that neither option was necessary and pointed to the matching pillows. Genius.

If you realize by now how much I hated the couch, you can imagine how much I couldn’t stand the matching pillows. At least they could have made them with some sort of print. So, tearing them apart and seeing if I could make a patch for the sofa sounded good to me.

The pillows were adorned with piping, so when I dismantled them, I saved the piping in case I could use it to make the patch more interesting. I threw the pillows’ zippers away. When I need to put a zipper in something, I buy the kind that’s in a package, with instructions. This tells you how often I sew.

Once the two pillows were in four pieces, I squared the sections off, making sure I had the material all going the same way. Then I sewed all four together in a line, using the piping in between. It’s amazing! The size couldn’t have been more perfect for the area I wanted to cover.

A step stool held up the sofa bed while I worked on the patch.

A step stool held up the sofa bed while I worked on the patch.

Annie, get your gun.

I used a staple gun to attach the material to the wood frame and tucked either side in. Voila! It looks so nice! The three lines of piping give the sofa a more-interesting look now. And now that I have three hours invested in it, I have more “skin in the game,” as they say.

Nutmeg’s destruction taught me a lesson about laziness, and it gave me a nicer-looking sofa. I even have some fondness for it now. Last night, when we were going to bed, before we turned out the living-room lights, I started walking in the opposite direction from the bedrooms. When my husband asked where I was going, I said, “I’ll be there in a sec. I want to look at my sofa again.”

The finished product.

The finished product.

Don't look so sad, Nutmeg. it's all better now.

Don’t look so sad, Nutmeg. it’s all better now.

Ann Silverthorn


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Posted in Daily Life, DIY, Family, Nutmeg and Nora

7 Things to Know about the DAR

When I tell people I belong to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), sometimes they ask what the DAR is or what it does. Generally, I tell them that DAR members can trace their lineage back to a Revolutionary War patriot and that its members honor American history. But, there’s much more to the organization. Here are seven things to know about the DAR that you might find interesting.

DAR Headquarters  Washington, DC

DAR Headquarters
Washington, DC

  1. The DAR was founded on October 11,1890 by Mary S. Lockwood, Ellen Walworth, Mary Desha, and Eugenia Washington, after the newly formed Sons of the American Revolution resolved to exclude women.
  2. The DAR’ mission is to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism.
  3. Since its founding, the DAR has admitted more than 950,000 members, and currently 180,000 women belong to 3,000 chapters around the world.
  4. Any woman, 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a person who assisted in the American Revolution, may join the DAR.
  5. The DAR headquarters is located in Washington, DC, on a campus that includes Memorial Continental Hall, Constitution Hall, the DAR Museum, the DAR Library, and the Americana Collection.
  6. The DAR is not a political organization and does not lobby. Its members subscribe to individual political philosophies.
  7. The DAR provides scholarships to high school and college students. It also awards grants to 501(c)(3) organizations to support projects that exemplify the DAR mission of historic preservation, education, and patriotism. DAR members log millions of hours volunteering in their communities each year.

    DAR Library

    DAR Library

So, there you have it: seven things to know about the DAR. The DAR website contains much more interesting information about DAR activities. Visit it at www.dar.org.

Ann Silverthorn


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Posted in Culture, History, USA

Blu-ray vs. DVD: Is Blu-ray Worth it?

© Universal Pictures

While waiting in the grocery checkout a couple of years ago, I regarded a small display of movie DVDs, including Annie (2014). For some time, I had been considering purchasing the movie I had so loved in the theater, so I placed it on the conveyor belt.

When I opened the case at home, I found it interesting that it contained both a DVD and Blu-ray version of the film. Curious, I tried out both formats, and I was impressed with how much more rich the Blu-ray experience was. Anyone want a used Annie DVD?

Blu-ray technology uses a shorter blue laser than the red on a DVD, allowing the its disc to store five times more data (25 GB vs. 4.7 GB). Therefore, the Blu-ray image can hold more pixels (1080) than the DVD (480). The Blu-ray disc can also handle Dolby surround sound vs. straight Dolby by the DVD.

© Universal Pictures http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610/mediaviewer/rm4161863936

© Universal Pictures

For the past few months, I have been partnering with DVD Netflix in its Director program, and recently, we Directors were challenged to try the Blu-ray experience and provide feedback. With a new Blu-ray player, provided by DVD Netflix, I compared the two formats using the movie Jurassic World. The equipment used was an older Visio 47” smart TV, a Visio sound bar, and the new Samsung Blu-ray player, provided by DVD Netflix.

I watched the DVD first, and although its picture and sound were very good, I looked forward to viewing the same movie in Blu-ray. I wasn’t disappointed, and here are some of my observations of the Blu-ray experience regarding clarity, color, and sound watching Jurassic World.

© Universal Pictures http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610/mediaviewer/rm437321984

© Universal Pictures

Clarity: On the Blu-ray aerial shots, I noticed individual ripples on the water and individual leaves on the vegetation. In the dense jungle scenes, the rays of light shining through the trees seemed ethereal. In scenes with low light, it was easier to make out the detail. Inside the museum, the hologram dinosaurs had more substance and looked almost three-dimensional. With the “live” dinosaurs, the Blu-ray version revealed fine details of the leathery wrinkles and smooth flesh.

© Universal Pictures http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610/mediaviewer/rm3024491776

© Universal Pictures

Color: In the DVD viewing, I didn’t notice that on one of the Velociraptors, named Blue, a bright stripe of the associated color ran across his body. Similarly, I hadn’t noticed the ocean being so blue. The amber displays of fossilized resin and in the dinosaur’s eyes warmly received and reflected the light. As for the dinosaurs, as they did what dinosaurs do, the tight shots of jaws and teeth revealed the victims’ rich blood and flesh. The blood spraying past jungle trees seemed jewel-like and spectacular both in color and motion.

© Universal Pictures http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369610/mediaviewer/rm4077977856

© Universal Pictures

Sound: When I was watching the Blu-ray version, I didn’t remember hearing the sound of breaking twigs in the jungle or individual insect sounds in the DVD viewing. The musical score was also more rich and full in the Blu-ray version than in the DVD.

So there you have it: Some reflections on the Blu-ray experience from a long-time movie lover. For this experiment, I upgraded my DVD Netflix plan to Blu-ray, and I don’t think I’ll be switching back any time soon.

Ann Silverthorn


Disclaimer: I am a member of Netflix’s DVD.com Director’s program, which gives me free access to movies. If you sign up with my referral link, I may receive a referral reward.

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Posted in Entertainment, Reviews, Technology

7 Things to Know About Steve Gleason, Living With ALS

Last weekend, we watched the latest Netflix DVD.com arrival, Gleason. This documentary, about retired New Orleans Saints defensive back, Steve Gleason, is a love letter to his son, and so much more. It’s a story of courage, hope, and grit.

STAFF PHOTO BY MICHAEL DeMOCKER Saints vs. Falcons in the Louisiana Superdome Monday. Sept. 25, 2006 Steve Gleason blocks this punt which the Saints ran in for the first score of the game. https://goo.gl/images/BY25af

Saints vs. Falcons in the Louisiana Superdome Monday. Sept. 25, 2006. Steve Gleason blocks this punt which the Saints ran in for the first score of the game. https://goo.gl/images/BY25af

Diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) in 2011, Gleason began a video diary for his then unborn child, and along with this project, grew a movement called Team Gleason. The non-profit’s mission is to increase awareness of ALS, search for a cure, and provide relief, often in the form of technology, for those living with ALS.

Here are seven things to know about both Steve Gleason and Team Gleason.

  1. Born March 19, 1977 in Spokane, WA, Steve is married to Michel Rae Varisco, and they have a son, Rivers, born in 2011.
  2. Steve played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000 to 2008, and is best known for the punt he blocked against the Atlanta Falcons during the first game played in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
  3. The result of five years of filming, a documentary, Gleason, was included at the Sundance Film Festival. It was considered, but not nominated for an Oscar. Gleason was gracious and congratulated those that advanced to nomination.
  4. In 2014, Steve underwent a tracheotomy to relieve breathing difficulties, which has allowed him to live, and thrive, with ALS. Ninety-five percent of patients with ALS opt out of the procedure.
  5. Steve, along with his friends and family, founded Team Gleason in 2011. It operates as the Gleason Initiative Foundation. A 501(c)(3) organization, and donations to Team Gleason are tax deductible.
  6. Team Gleason has provided more than $3 million in technology aids for pALS (people living with ALS). The technology includes devices that operate with eye-tracking software and allow pALS to communicate with the world. Steve uses this type of device to speak, operate his computer, drive his wheelchair, and much more. His electronic voice is his own, because he painstakingly captured words while he still could speak.
  7. In July 2015, the Steve Gleason Act became law. It amended the Social Security Act to provide Medicare benefits for speech-generating devices and removed the rental cap for speech-generating medical equipment. This restored communication ability to many pALS who had been left without a way to communicate with the world when their benefits ran out.

So there you have it, seven things to know about Steve Gleason and Team Gleason. Their motto is “No White Flags.” Steve hasn’t given up the fight and remains a vital part of his wife’s and son’s lives.

Steve’s eye-tracking technology software allows him to stay connected with the world, and he’s active on Twitter as @teamgleason. On October 3, 2016, he shared a video clip from Dazed and Confused on Twitter, referencing Wooderson’s sage advice on life. Steve tweeted:

Attention journalists. Breaking news: I’m not “afflicted” or “suffering”. I’m L I V I N.



Steve has already outlived many people, who had no “affliction” to speak of and didn’t realize that none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. Looking to the future, on December 5, 2016, Steve tweeted:

While I’ve thought about how I might die, my primary focus is on how I will live.


Ann Silverthorn


Disclaimer: I am a member of Netflix’s DVD.com Director’s program, which gives me free access to movies. If you sign up with my referral link, I may receive a referral reward.

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Posted in Daily Life, Health, People, Technology, USA

7 Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter

If you’re like many folks, there’s a point in winter where you hit a wall. The holidays are over, the Super Bowl has been won, and the sun is playing hard to get. Spring seems so very far away.

IMG_0741We all know the traditional ways to stay healthy during winter, take your vitamins, get a flu shot, wash your hands, etc.

I’m going to share some other ideas that may help to lift your mid-winter funk, which could very well translate into a healthier, happier winter for you. Here are seven to get you started, with links to sites with further information. If you have others, please share them below!

1. Join/Start a Club: This doesn’t mean you have to join an expensive gym. You can start your own club that matches your interests, such as a book club, or indoor sports club, such as a darts tournament in your basement. The important thing is to not isolate during the cold months. Carnegie Mellon researchers have found that people with larger social networks produce more antibodies than loners.

2. Take Care of Your Feet: Just because no one is seeing your toes, you don’t have to neglect them in the winter. Being trapped inside shoes and boots can make your feet more vulnerable to fungus. Moisturize daily to keep your skin healthy, and wear moisture-wicking socks.

3. Keep Cozy: Winterize your home, check your heating systems, and keep the gas tank in your car full. Stock extra food in case of power outages. Invest in warm coats, gloves, and boots. Then, actually button your coat, put your hands in the gloves and your feet in the boots.

4. Keep Moving: Work some activity into those long winter days and nights. While you’re watching reality TV or working through your Netflix DVD.com queue, you can make circles with your feet or even get out of your chair to march in place. This will keep your hands and feet warm, too. You can also play some music and dance around like a crazy person, which will both warm you and lift your spirits.

5. Weather the Weather: If you’re able, get outside, and walk or run. Install grippers on the bottom of your boots, so you don’t fall on the ice. Even if you just walk to the corner and back, you’ll strengthen your body and lift your mood, which will improve your health. Make a snowman. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll delight the kiddies who pass by your house or apartment building.

6. Set a Goal: Aim to accomplish a goal by the first day of spring. Make a bucket list and check off some items. Do you have a computer that needs to be cleaned up and disposed of? A closet that needs cleaning? How about all of the paper that’s cluttering your home? Having a goal will make the days go faster, thereby lifting your spirits, and making you healthier.

7. Take a Vacation: It’s not giving up to get out of town. If you have the means, get into some sunny weather for a few days. Find a great deal on plane fares on Google Flights. February is the perfect time for this, especially when the Groundhog says there are six more weeks of winter.

So, there you have it. Seven things you might not have thought of that could keep you healthier this winter. Please let me know in the comments below if you have more to add.

Finally, I leave you with this poem that’s cheered me for many years in the depths of winter and other dark times:IMG_0741

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.


Ann Silverthorn


Disclaimer: I am a member of Netflix’s DVD.com Director’s program, which gives me free access to movies. If you sign up with my referral link, I may receive a referral reward.

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