Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Dear Friends,

My camera recently met it's end. After a bit of research, I replaced it. Upon arriving home I was unable to load my photos. I needed a card reader ??? to load my photos. I have yet to make that purchase. 

My blog posts in recent years have been few and far between.  I will try to do better...or fade away altogether.  

In the mean time, the folks at Mugwump Cottage send you warm thoughts, good cheer and wish you and yours many blessings on this Christmas morning.

Enjoy the day,
Robyn, Mr. Mugwump & Annie

God bless us...every one!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


I took the above photo years ago at the United States Supreme Court. This chandelier hangs in the private room where we attended, with our Board of Governors family, a private breakfast reception before the swearing in ceremony of our group. 

This impressive source of light reminds me of our 41st president...George H.W. Bush. His "Points of Light" endeavor was, and continues to be, about volunteering service to America. 

What a fine man we lost this week...a statesman, a patriot...a true source of light. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Original watercolor by Lori Brechlin

Wishing friends and followers a blessed Thanksgiving. Peace...

Enjoy the day,
Robyn, Annie & Mr. Mugwump

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


...a wordsmith of great skill and importance. 

Words matter. Then...and now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Thinking good thoughts...

Keeping all our friends and family in the path of Michael in our thoughts and prayers. Stay safe. Keep your head down Tallahassee!
Take care Pensacola, Panama City and Apalachicola!

 It's windy and rainy here...we're catching a few of the backside bands. Looking forward to seeing our Florida Bar BOG family later this week in Amelia Island, after the storm.

Enjoy the day,

Friday, September 21, 2018

HOPE...it's all I got!

Annie sends her love!

About a half a million years ago, I use to spend Saturday mornings at Georgetown Prep...the elite Maryland school filling the headlines these days. An old beau was the Assistant Headmaster/English teacher/Swim Coach. Swim meets were held on Saturdays, and I was often enlisted to time swimmers in their individual lanes. I spent many hours at this school...sports events, social events with the faculty...a visit to my old beau's office. It is a beautiful school.

One of my memories centered around a swim meet. I was sitting in the bleachers, after the meet, waiting for my old beau to finish up with his team in the locker room. Back then I would have been around twenty two...and could have been mistaken for sixteen. On that Saturday morning, I was, indeed, mistaken for a "student". An affable young fellow...a student...approached me and sat down for a chat. He was well into the top ten on his list of openers when he spied the Assistant Headmaster/Disciplinarian  coming our way. He put two and two together and by the time Mr. Headmaster was taking my hand to help me down the bleachers...well...he was babbling about having to be somewhere and making a hasty exit. Imagine...caught in the act of making a move on the Headmaster's girl...by the Headmaster himself. Pretty benign goings on compared to what we are hearing these days.

I write this on this last day of summer. Perhaps a metaphor is in order. Every day an old memory is laid waste by ugliness. Places and institutions that I grew up with have become vestiges of their former selves. The ruins have left me reeling. Summer is, indeed, over.

Because I am home with Annie, I spend a lot of time watching news unfold in real time. Natural disasters, shootings, political vitriol...I'm there. And I'm tired of it. The ugliness that has seeped to the surface in America has become too much for me. But, as a citizen, I am obligated to be informed. I can't just stick my head in the sand and pretend all is well.

I always knew that there was a seedy underbelly in this great country of ours. When I was a teenager, on a family trip south to Florida, I saw a billboard that denounced "Negroes, Catholics and Jews" sponsored by the local KKK. It terrified me. I have seen, with my own eyes, a burning cross surrounded by men/women wearing white hooded robes. That was in the 1970's, in a field not ten miles from this very house... a field that is now a strip mall with no knowledge of it's sordid past.

The ugly that once lay beneath the surface is now, in some cases, brought out into the sunlight to be nurtured and encouraged. In some cases exposure is welcome. In some cases it shouldn't be. It should be used for good to dismantle backward thinking and push us toward enlightenment. Exposure is a double edged sword.

I don't know what has provoked me to write this today. They are just my thoughts as they pop into my head. Not meant to scorn or admonish. Mostly just looking for something to hang on to as those with power lay waste to the rules I grew up with not so long ago.

I feel adrift these days. I'm a worrier. I see a lot of good out there that is often overshadowed by the not so good. When I was growing up, a lie was a lie. What is it today?

I plan on doing something fun this weekend to get me out of this funk!  A walk in the woods is in order. And maybe a sunset.

Enjoy the day,

P.S. I often recall that horrendous billboard  I saw as a teen...especially when I am in the company of two of my dearest friends. We are the personification of all that that hateful sign was against...an African American, a Jew and a Catholic...good friends. As for those that hold any sort of affinity for the ignorant sentiment expressed in those four foot letters...you lose.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Hello, friends. How fast the time is moving along. Summer is slipping into autumn and the holidays are not far behind.

This handsome owl is what is known as Mennonite Ledger Folk Art. Old ledger pages were used as paper for primitive, naive paintings. Resourceful folks, the Mennonites used what was available...in this case re-used. 

They have become a sought after type of folk art. I have found mine, here and there, luckily, at reasonable prices.

I have collected these wonderful works for a while. Because I have several, and framing costs are rather pricey, I have chosen to frame them myself. I am getting it done...slowly.

I am in the process...also slowly...of undergoing a change to our decor. In other words, I am cleaning out! I am so over a lot of things I once loved in pursuit of a cleaner look. 

These ledger works will replace some things I am letting go.

More on this later.


Annie and I have put other projects on the back burner while we work on our Nature Journal.

We have collected specimens from local woods, as well as on our trips. We have pressed them in the flower press and are now putting them into a journal.

We are trying to identify and learn names...but mostly we just have fun!  We identify where they are from as a means of remembering our adventures. It's a great time of year to collect plants for the press. 


I've been lax with my needle. Not much stitching going on...need to get back to it. Right now I'm reading a book that just came out..it's a doozy.

Thinking of all those in the path of Florence. Stay safe...

Enjoy the day,

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Happy Birthday, Annie & Besties

Our Annie turns thirty-two today! 

Of course, her favorite flowers are always a part of the celebration. 

And balloons...always a few balloons!

Happy Birthday, precious girl! We love you more everyday and are so happy you belong to us...Mommy & Daddy!

We started the party early with a reunion with our "besties". Met them for lunch in Ft. Lauderdale on our way to a board meeting in Hollywood...Hollywood, Florida. The guys were there too, but we wanted a pic of just the girls. I miss these two so much...and Annie adores both of them. Great fun!


Spent some time with our great-nephew while we were in Hollywood. I remember when his father looked just like this! Annie had a ball playing with William at the beach during the Battle of the Boards. (Young Lawyers Board vs. Board of Governors)

I have no idea who won or even what they were doing. That's the current president of the Bar...the lady on the pink flamingo. My husband, the Parliamentarian of the Bar, in the long sleeve grey shirt, looks as if he's thinking "out of order". Everybody had fun!


Thank you for all the kind comments many of you left on my last post. I have to admit, it took a long time before I felt like myself again. Four weeks to be exact...this past Friday...just seven days ago...was the first day I felt good. This last trip was hard for me, but I pushed through and was happy I did. Seeing all our friends...our Bar family is always good for the soul. And, I would never have missed lunch with my two dear friends. Or having our little William smile at me as I handed him a giant cookie. Good medicine!

I have come to the conclusion that celery was the cause of my bout with food poisoning. I eat a lot of celery...use to, that is. I'd munch on it all day. No more. It is hard to know what to eat these days. Seems like there is an awful lot of food borne illnesses out there...always on the news. These days I eat little bits rather than large quantities of anything. Don't ever want to go through that again! 

Thanks for your good thoughts and concern...it made me feel better.

I'm off to wrap presents!

Enjoy the day,

Friday, July 13, 2018

S.O.S....Caregiver Down

Last Saturday morning, I awoke at around four a.m. thinking for sure I was leaving this world. My head was spinning so violently I could not walk. Thankfully, I have a very strong husband...and a very level headed one, too. He recognized that I had severe food poisoning and took control. Can you say

For the next forty eight hours my husband carried me back and forth to the loo...chopped ice...located the paper straws I have stashed for just this sort of thing...put cool cloths on my head...and, most importantly, became Mr. Mom. Mercifully, it was the weekend and not a work day.

As time went by, I knew I was over the worst of it, but was so weak I could not move. I lay in bed listening to the goings on in the rest of the house...unable to get up. I remember thinking that if I did not feel so terrible it was kind of like a vacation. 

Annie took over ice supply and slowly Mommy came back among the living. She was scared and concerned, my girl. She loves to give comfort...but she prefers me conscious...and able to answer her rapid fire questions.

Monday morning we tried to get back to normal. Mr. MW went to work. Annie slept in late. I surveyed the damage. It was not too bad. I could not have cared less what the kitchen or any other room looked like at that point. Actually, they did very well keeping things in order...kind of. I was thankful to be upright...albeit, wobbly.

When Annie did make an appearance she informed me, "It was a hell weekend.". I can't say I disagree.

I've spent the entire week on the "cozy couch", doing nothing but drinking ginger ale and eating oyster crackers. Things got done...and we all survived.

Not one thread was pulled through cloth. But I did laugh a lot. I binge-watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix. It is the best written and funniest thing I have seen in a long, long time. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are spectacular. The humor sophisticated and sharp. It knocks it out of the park! I am so glad I found it and could sit and watch episodes back to back, as I recuperated, without feeling guilty.


Before the wheels came off, we went to Orlando to see all our friends.

The new Florida Bar president is one of Annie's gal pals. She got her law degree from the Washington School of Law which is part of American University in D.C.. Law schools hold receptions at the convention...it's good for their foundations. I had fun attending as American University is my alma mater. We'll be going to D.C. in the spring with the board...can't wait!

Her favorite cousin! Our nephew wears a rainbow ribbon to honor his friend killed in the Pulse Nightclub shooting on the second anniversary of that horrific event.

Her favorite dance partner at the big party Friday night. 


Still working on Sparrow...missed out on a lot of stitching time this week, but finding Grace and Frankie made up for it.

Have a great weekend!

Enjoy the day,

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Annie & Ben...and George

Annie and I are working on a scrapbook all about the Founding Fathers...and mothers, too. Hope to get back here soon with photos. This is our busy traveling time so we are a little lax when it comes to posting. 

This kid loves learning new things...and this old teacher loves teaching her.  We have been fortunate to visit so many historical sites and will be including them in our book. Annie is so excited about this adventure! We'll be back to share more soon.


Still working on this huge sampler. This top section measures thirty inches across.

His Eye is on the Sparrow from Beth Twist.

Four pages of pattern down with eight more to go. I'm still enjoying this ambitious project. Still going slowly, but trying to stitch a bit every day. I took it to Key West a couple of weeks ago and was able to stitch in the car. 

Hope you are enjoying your days leading up to summer. After last year, I am dreading the hurricane season, but keeping fingers crossed it will be an off year for us. 

Enjoy the day,

Monday, May 7, 2018

...harrowing times...and a little bit of silly

Meet "Agnes"...my birthday present this year. She is circa 1840 and has the loveliest expression...not quite a smile...more a look of serenity.

I had her hanging for several weeks as purchased..she came unframed. I finally decided she deserved a little gold surrounding her pretty face. Even though it is not a period frame, I think it was needed to do her justice. She is in fine shape for all her hundred and seventy some years...very little damage. I adore her cameo and lace! 

Welcome to the House of Mugwump, dear Agnes!


We've had a crazy ride here the last few weeks. We lost all power for a good while when our towering pine tree gobbled up our lines. All of our power lines, etc. are underground. This is the second time this has happened in the last few years so a major job is on the books to replace our old wiring. Not looking forward to no power while they tear up the yard. 

We also had a flood. I was making hotel reservations on the phone. The bathtub was left filling...someone went back to their room and got distracted...it wasn't pretty. Wood floors in adjacent bedroom and closet were involved. Just one of those days when husband arrives home to find melting down wife on her hands and knees ,using every towel in the house to wipe up water, with the contents of the closet in a pile in the bedroom, and a very remorseful child looking for a place to hide. We all survived.

I was waiting for the pestilence. Didn't take them long. Annie was hit with a wicked bug that lasted more than a week shortly after the flood. 


Did a little stitching on "Sparrow". I had a big scare when my extremely sharp embroidery scissors somehow sliced into the linen. I don't even know how it happened, but I watched in horror as the slit grew. I remembered Marly (Samplers & Santas) had addressed a similar situation on her blog. I went to work trying to minimize the damage...pulled thread from outer edge and began to weave the threads together to close the gap. It worked. I have a not so attractive glob of thread on the linen, but when all is finished I think it will fade into the background. In all honesty, I had a wave of sheer panic when all this was going on. I considered just tossing the whole thing! Those old teacher instincts kicked in...keep calm and fix it. And that's what the old teacher did. 

Thanks, Marly, for always sharing your tips and knowledge with us out here in blogland.


My husband's legal assistant is having surgery soon. Annie found these cuddly owls at Target so we bought one for her to send to Miss S and she kept one for herself. They text back and forth...Fudge  (Annie's owl) and  Boots (Miss S's owl) to keep spirits up. Little things give Annie such pleasure. She loves sending Miss S encouraging thoughts and lots of love...and reports about what Fudge is up to. Just a simple thing to make smiles all around.


Yesterday, we attended a special presentation at the St. Petersburg Holocaust Museum. It included a traveling display of many of the artifacts that were pertinent to the tracking down of Adolf Eichmann and his eventual trial. The museum actually has a rail car, from Poland, that was used to transport Jews to the death camps. The displays are incredibly heart wrenching. Annie snoozed in her buggy as we entered the part of the tour that was the most difficult. How lucky she is to not know of the horrendous acts of man's inhumanity to his fellow man. 


So...that's what is going on at our house. Fighting power, floods and pestilence...pulling a needle when I can...having fun being silly with Annie. Fixing things that I can fix. And being grateful that  all these trivial inconveniences are nothing but that...inconvenient. Hope you are all well. 

Annie and I have all sorts of things going on here in preparation for the coming summer. We'll be back soon to share. In the meantime...

Enjoy the day,

Friday, March 16, 2018

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Good Morning, friends. I've been on a stitching sabbatical for the last few months. I purchased His Eye is on the Sparrow by Beth Twist last year...but did not begin to stitch in earnest until this year. I have tried to stitch a bit here and there since mid-February. 

This is a lovely pattern. The colors are magnificent. 

I have started several rugs over the last few years and have been unable to stick with them. Last fall I did a small cross stitch pattern and it was a lightbulb moment...I enjoyed stitching again....stitching it would be. So, out came "Sparrow" and I was off!

Being a full time mother, in her sixties, I have to pace myself. I stitch in the morning while Annie is sleeping. I stitch when I can find time. 

This is an ambitious project. Twelve pages of pattern. I've completed one and am currently half way through the second. I am really enjoying this beauty. Taking my time, I have not given myself any finish date to work toward. Trying to stitch a bit every day, but not always able to do so, I inch ahead, one stitch at a time. 

My husband always reminds me, when I've had a challenging day as the parent of a special needs young adult, this is a marathon, not a sprint. We take this journey one step, one day at a time. Always cognizant of the future, but in no big hurry to get there...eager to "enjoy the day".

Sparrow has become my stitch marathon. A refuge...a place I can go to escape into the colors and the threads. And, as time passes, I see stitches become horses and flowers and birds. Real progress appears on my linen in each completed motif.  It is a slow process. But, I'm use to slow. I'm comfortable with slow. I like slow. It is the best way to accomplish anything...slow and steady.

There are only so many hours in each day, and only so much energy in this old mom. I have been staying off the computer to stitch and mother. I hope you all are well and keeping busy...and warm. Spring is on the way. We've had robins in the yard every day for some time. Our trees are spring green and the days are gorgeous. Hang in there.


March 21 is National Down Syndrome Day. If you have any questions about D.S. that I am able to answer, I was thinking maybe I'd answer your questions right here. I will try to be forthright, but not too personal. I don't even know if anyone is interested in D.S. but I know that as time goes on, there will most likely be less people with D.S. in the world. They call that science...progress?

 I like to get the word out that people with D.S....well, they are special.

Enjoy the day, 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The thaw...

Schneeman bird...Punch needle Red Birds by Lori Rippey

Uncle...there, I've said it. I've had it with cold. The outfits I've donned in an effort to stay warm are, alone, sufficient evidence of "cabin fever". I've run the heat more in this one month than in the last two decades we've lived here. It has even run at night...we never turn the heat on at night! 

For those of you suffering through wicked low temps, I don't know how you do it. I guess I've been down here so long I have forgotten what real cold feels like. Bear in mind, Florida homes are, for the most part, built with cinder blocks...with no insulation. That's right...they slap the drywall on wood strips right on top of the blocks. Plus, my wood floors are right on top of the cement slab. That's why it takes days for my house to warm up.That's why the damp cold is bone chilling. That's why we've been wearing hats inside for three weeks.

But...the end is in sight. Going up to the 60's and 70's this coming week. No more frost on the roof! No more hats, two pairs of socks and three sweaters. I will, however, continue to don a wool shawl over my jammies...and sip lots of tea...that's the part I like.

Hope you all are staying warm...and healthy. I'm worried about the flu this year. A nice fellow in Whole Foods last weekend coughed all over me. I actually held my nose and covered my mouth right in front of him. I got away from him and his infected cereal aisle as fast as possible. If I go down, Annie will soon follow...and vice versa. We always share. 

Loving all the red!

Stay safe...stay warm...stay healthy, my friends. 

Enjoy the day,

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's even cold in the Sunshine State...and we have seen very little sun in the last four days!

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas. We had a nice quiet day...we love a day spent reading all our new books!

I can always spot my gift...my detailed oriented husband...when it comes to wrapping...not so much.  In all fairness...it's a lovely addition to my Shooner collection...beautiful! He and Annie have a Christmas Eve routine. Door closed, lots of giggling and silliness...and then they emerge with Mommy''s present...always the best part of my gift!

This is my New Year's Eve attire...I'm still in it. Annie and I didn't even make it to midnight!

Christmas is put away and we are coasting into a brand new year.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy 2018!

Enjoy the day,