Meg Noble Peterson

Author of Madam, Have You Ever Really Been Happy? An Intimate Journey through Africa and Asia


That says it all as far as I’m concerned. The only thing that keeps me going during these difficult times, with war and misery everywhere, is incurable optimism and the knowledge that there are lots of others in this world a helluva lot worse off, so instead of complaining, look around and do something constructive. Ever hear that? My eldest daughter, Cary, returned from a month in India and was held up by last week’s snowstorm. Grounded in Newark, she had to stay at Martha’s through Christmas. How wonderful for the family! She brought with her news of our Tibetan friends and some of the six to eight-year-old children who are still making their way across the plains and mountains of Tibet, seeking refuge in Dharamsala, India. Several more friends have volunteered to sponsor these children, so the work of compassion and support continues. That’s something to be thankful for, as they join so many others who give their time and money, unheralded, throughout the year, to care for others.

I’m trying to get over making New Years Resolutions, because, to my horror, they’re almost the same as those I wrote in college. It definitely is time for a change!  But then comes that wonderful day…January one…when I walk up and down the streets of Maplewood and think all things are possible and, yes, I have it in my power to turn over a new leaf. So what always goes wrong? Why, even though I have blessings coming out my ears, is there still a restlessness about “what to do next” that I can’t shake. So I say to myself—maybe writing a funny book about the family would put things in perspective. But four of my children are still around and might just send me to one of those death squads that the tea party people warn me is just around the corner. Perhaps a good resolution to keep me upbeat would be to stop reading the paper and listening to so much in-depth analysis on PBS, and stick to Masterpiece Theater, New Yorker cartoons, and Jon Stewart. But, alas, they just couch the bad news in humor. Still, it sure beats the NY Times at breakfast. And is good for your digestion. Tune in next time. I still have many more travel rules, and they just get better and better the more you use them.

Behold, my new poinsettias. For all of you who love this symbol of Christmas, I must tell you that I have learned one big lesson…taught to me by my horticulturally-advanced son, Tom. You do NOT, repeat NOT, over-water them and, after you have, put them on a radiator, hoping they will dry out and revive. Now you have steamed them to death. In years past, I treated my poinsettias to benign neglect and kept them for months. This year, however, I became over-zealous, and below you can see the result. Let this be a warning to all. I’ll tell you in a few months how the above plants fared.

A final word to theater buffs. I did get to enjoy an uproarious off-Broadway comedy, The Toxic Avenger, with my like-minded grandson, Thomas Bixler, and we’ll be seeing the new musical, Memphis, next Sunday. This will be my second time. It’s that good.

The Plainfield Symphony is taking a break after its wonderful family Christmas concert, but will be back with Shostakovich’s 5th symphony in February. In the meantime,







  1. Since I haven’t heard from you, I pulled up your blog, and there you are, sounding depressed, but hopeful. Attagirl!
    If you’d come visit me in Alaska, I’ll show you some real action. I posted one of our ice sculptures on and that should inspire you.

  2. chris hartridge

    Just found this posting regarding Kenya etc
    Ive recently returned- in fact arrived in Kidong just after your grandaughter left. Having raised 5 myself I decded it time to do what id been sending them all off to do the last 25 years.
    You took the words out of my mouth and wanted to add- that I had to pry myself away- literally. even seeing the pictures of the vilagers- as I know them by name- it was by far the most significant experiences of my life. There simply just no words.
    GVI were the link to a most amazing personal journey.

  3. Tell me more. I think you meant my daughter Cary, who, I believe, is connected with Kidong through Diane from Whidbey Island, WA. Please tell me more about your travels and refresh that link. I can’t seem to get into your information. Meg

  4. Meg Noble Peterson

    Hi Chris,

    I just replied to your comment on my blog. Would like to hear more a about your travels. Meg

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