The Joy of Surviving Pancreatic Cancer Plus The Alex and Ronni Show
ELDER MUSIC: Dancing the Night Away



On Monday, the four children of Nancy Leitz sent out the sad notice that she had died

” her sleep early this morning. She not only did not suffer, she passed away quite peacefully. She was 89 years old, and keeping with her usual style, she did it her way. No huge battle, no lengthy hospital stay. She was awesome...”

Yes, she was awesome.

Readers who have been here since before 2014 may recall Nancy from the dozens of marvelous and funny family stories she contributed from 2007 to 2014 at TGB's then-companion website, The Elder Storytelling Place.

Almost all of them starred one or more of her four kids – Jerry, Chris, Steven and Carol – and/or her husband, Roy, and we readers came to feel that we had been there at those family events.

Once, via email, I told Nancy that I suspected she invented all those great punchlines to the stories after the fact and she admitted that was usually true.

When I related that little anecdote to Jerry Leitz a few days ago, he told me the rest of that story:

”As for making up punch lines, you could say that both parents and all four kids have a syndrome a close friend called SLE and no drug on TV could cure it.

“It was just known as the 'Standard Leitz Embellishment'! None of the basic facts have changed, but that punchline, oh yeah, that's fair game!”

I discontinued The Elder Storytelling Place in 2014 but it is still online, all the stories, and you can find Nancy's stories here.

Rest in peace, Nancy. You and your wonderful stories will not be forgotten.


Surely you know Twiggy, the waterskiing squirrel or her immitators. But Twiggy was the original – well, there were seven Twiggys over her 39 year career.

The latest Twiggy is 10 years old now and she gave her last performance a week ago. Here's her final appearance and a recap of her life.

You can read more about Twiggy here.


As of 1 August, that is next Wednesday, Americans will be able to make their own 3D-printed guns following instructions that will, on that date, become legal to download from the internet.

”The choices will include the AR-15, the gun of choice in American mass shootings,” reports USAToday. “All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.

“A settlement earlier this year between the State Department and Texas-based [firearm developer] Defense Distributed will let the nonprofit release blueprints for guns online starting Aug. 1, a development hailed by the group as the death of gun control in the United States.”

You can read more here and here and here.


There are plenty of online videos with images of past decades but this is one of the best I've seen – this one about the Fifties in the United States that a lot of us at this blog lived through.

The song is Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night) by Ronnie Milsap.


And sometimes they really surprise you with their savvy and understanding.

My friend Autumn, who is also my health care proxy, has a five-year-old daughter, Catherine. A week or so ago she sent me this story that took place while the two were driving to school listening to NPR on the radio.

In her email, Autumn titled it, Parenting Success.

CATHERINE: Mommy, what are they even talking about?

AUTUMN: Let’s say you and your friends are at school and there is a kid we know is a bully who comes to our school. The Bully starts picking on Max (one of The Littles whose name has been changed). What would happen?

CATHERINE: We would help Max.

AUTUMN: Remember, Max is too little to help you if the Bully picks on you.

CATHERINE: We still need to help Max. It is what’s right.

AUTUMN: Ok, now one of you goes and sides with the Bully. That is what they are talking about. You and your friends are NATO. Max is Montenegro. The Bully is Putin.

CATHERINE: And the one who is going to Putin’s side is, let me guess, Trump.

Boom. Parenting success.


Due to a childhood illness, 24-year-old Kyle Monahan is profoundly disabled. One of the joys of his life is a two-year-old chicken named Moto who lays an egg for him in his bed every day. See the video:

You can


It has been rumored since the PBS series ended and now it is official: there will be a Downton Abbey movie, says Vanity Fair magazine:

”Focus Features has announced that the show’s principal cast—including Dame Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, and Hugh Bonneville—has officially reunited, and shooting will begin this summer. The script was penned by show creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce...”

No date has been set for release.

I watched the program haphazardly – it was such a richly soapy story in fancy dress that it was hard to resist. But after all six seasons, my favorite line is still the final line of the final episode spoken by the Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith (which Vanity Fair quoted:

ISOBEL (WILTON): "What else could we drink to? We're going forward into the future, not back into the past."

DOWAGER COUNTESS: "If only we had the choice."



No, that is not meant as a metaphor – at least not today.

Sometimes I wonder if we here at TGB are the last generation who will know how to sew. It's not a popular skill these days. Nevertheless, this video turned up somewhere to show me I've been threading needles all wrong.

I tested this method. It worked. Where has it been all my life.


Too bad for us that I'm late with this story and the Takoma Park Farmers Market in Maryland held its annual garlic festival last Sunday. The Washington Post reported it, in part, this way:

”The The [Market] will transform into a celebration of all things garlic on Sunday with talks from the Takoma Horticulture Club and a man simply billed as Tony 'the Garlic Guy' about the various types of garlic and how-to’s on growing your own.”

I just want to let you in on it: Tony the garlic guy is my old friend, Tony Sarmiento, who knows all kinds of things about garlic and sends me some ripe bulbs when they are ready each year.

You don't realize – well, I didn't - how unfresh that supermarket stuff is until you've used garlic straight from the garden.


According to the YouTube page:

”Hector the Nigerian Dwarf baby goat is just 2 days old. His Mama, Amelia Earhart, is a little protective of her only kid (most goats have 3-4 babies at once.)

“While he waits for cousins to be born in the stall next door, he has befriended the three barn kittens. Mom is not so sure about this plan. The kittens did inspire him to climb the wood shavings bale for the first time.”

Here are the newborn baby goat and the barn cats:

There are two live cameras at the website of the Sunflower Farm Creamery in Maine where this baby goat and the kittens live.

* * *

Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog.


Threading a needle, oh my I wish I had learned that a long time ago! Loved the 50's clip as that is also my era. :-)

I will miss Nancy for a long time. Her sweet comments never failed to give me a warm feeling.

Love the baby goat and kittens.

I can still thread a needle the old way; but I'll keep this in mind.

My needle-threading days were rapidly coming to an end, so I was delighted to learn this new technique. And cats seem to attract so many other animals - they are often buddies with horses, and I saw a charming video of a cat on a boat nuzzling a dolphin! Not to mention how much they attract us.

I watched the videos of the 50s and 60s with a sweet sadness. I'll check the one on the 70s later, when I feel stronger. What a time the 60s was!

Can you stand another 'chicken' story, Ronni? When I was 6 y/o, and at the time, an only child since my 3 older siblings had gone off to the war effort, I had an Banty rooster and hen as pets. My stepfather raised a flock of White Rock chickens for the eggs and occasional hen he could sell to the men he worked with at the mine. Rationing affected us all.

My job was to go up the slope some 200 feet to the coup and spread the corn each morning. White Rock roosters, in my experience, are mean and territorial. I was unusually small as a child and this one was nearly as tall as me. I was quite afraid of him when he flew at me flapping and squawking.

I soon learned that if I let my Banty rooster out to go along with me I had a bonafide bodyguard. Believe it or not, my feisty, colorful little friend with ATTITUDE could drive the big bully away. The rooster never approached me again. Maybe it truly is a matter of self respect and knowing your own strengths. My wee Banty gentleman friend obviously knew his.

It is beyond my comprehension why these 3D weapons would be allowed, taking any and all controls away. It's a recipe for disaster.

That needle technique mght also work for tying flies. Awesome in both cases!

Can't believe those 3D weapons are legal. What a giant step backwards.

What an amazing needle threading technique. I agree with Deborah about the fly tying. I haven't sewed for years but I have one granddaughter who sews her own clothing and disassembles old clothing and makes it into something new. Quite creative. Her Mom sews too. There's still some of those souls out there.

Nancy’s stories brought both joy and warmth to my heart.

Rest In Peace Nancy

Claire Jean

3-D printing uses a plastic material, so these guns won't be detectable by metal detectors. Can't believe the law allowed this. Why am I not surprised it came about in Texas?

It's been many years since I tried to thread a needle. (Imported clothes these days don't last long enough to need repair.) Hope I can remember this method if I need it in the future.

How I will miss seeing Nancy's name in my in-b0x. No matter how bad I was feeling, just reading one of Nancy's cheerful, and often very funny, notes made many of my days a lot brighter. Her positive outlook on life was such a welcome distraction from the aches and pains that often plagued me.

Nancy and I became digital friends about the time she was writing her funny stories - perhaps a prior time - and she has made me feel so warm with her humor.

There will never be anyone who can replace her. Her winning smile (sadly I only saw it in photos) and her love of her family was a joy to behold.

I hope that Nancy knew what a positive impact she made on so many lives.

Digital guns? God help us. Pogo was right "We have met the enemy and he is us."

That needle threading idea is a godsend for failing vision and hand stitchers. I recall having to seek needle threaders for my mother when they seemed to be hard to find. Later years as macular degeneration began to rob her of even more vision she used a treadle machine as electric too uncontrollably fast and dangerous since she was feeling her way. I still have my sewing machine but probably need to have it serviced though so few stores around for that now.

Enjoyed the fifties video with reminders including how much I disliked the RB simple repetitive drumbeat doo-wop music.

Always enjoy the animal videos as I recall when our bantam hen was given duck eggs to hatch and then she became frantic one day when those little “chicks” jumped in the water to swim about safely.

As if guns didn’t present enough problems, they’re going to make them and other items in more plastic which is polluting our environment — oceans and landfills as doesn’t readily decompose.

The "Threading a needle" video really hit home. There was a pair of fairly new jeans sitting in my closet with a missing button. I have been putting off replacing the button because I knew I would not be able to thread a needle. I Finally found a set of needles with an extra long "eye." online. I wish I had seen that video before i bought the needles. I could have saved $6.
BTW; Yes, I am a guy. And yes, I do know how to sew. My grandfather was a tailor so I guess it's in the DNA.

Loved the barn kittens and baby goat, but of course, I love anything to do with cats!

3-D printed GUNS? So, let me get this straight. Americans aren't killing each other effectively enough with the guns we already have or can easily obtain? The Wild Wild West redux.

Enjoyed "The 50s" video but glad I don't have to live through that era again. It was NOT a good time for women or anyone who wasn't white. Most of my life was lived rebelling against the 50s.

I don't sew (never did) but will probably use the needle-threading advice sooner or later for something minor.

Thanks for the needle threading clip. I can't see properly, even with my glasses, to do it the way I've been doing it all this time.

Neither my husband nor I could thread the needle as shown in the video. Anyone challenged? Help!

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