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Steps for Posting onto a Blog



Steps for Posting onto a Blog


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



After hearing about and reading the blogs of Deon Patrick Lyons, Abbie Johnson Taylor, and John Wesley Smith–all members of Behind Our Eyes, the international organization of writers with disabilities founded in 2006–I was inspired to initiate my own blog in January of 2013. Thus, as I begin my eighth year of my WORDWALK blog, I want to share with you the basic steps which I use each Wednesday to post onto my weekly blog, WORDWALK. Of course, other bloggers will achieve the same goal with somewhat different steps. (Word Press offers tutorials for the beginning blogger.)


Additionally, please keep in mind that I am not sharing how to set up a blog on Word Press. On January 19, 2013, a sighted friend assisted me in setting up my blog. After that afternoon, I have independently posted each week on my blog. Through the seven years of my posting, I have had to make changes periodically in my method of posting to flow with the changes made by Word Press.


Currently, I am into the tenth day of working with my new desktop computer which includes Windows 10, the 2019 version of Word, JAWS (speech program) 2019, and Kurzweil version 14. (Previously, I used Windows 7, Word 2013, JAWS 2018, and Kurzweil 13.) In recent years, as well as last Wednesday and tonight, I have followed the steps listed below to post onto my WORDWALK blog.


  1. Create your “to-be-posted” document in Word.
  2. Carefully edit and meticulously proofread your document numerous times.


IMPORTANT: Please understand that posting a piece onto a blog is considered publishing; thus, some sources will not consider a piece for publication if the piece has been posted onto a blog. If you want to submit your piece for publication elsewhere, you may prefer not to post the piece onto your blog.


  1. When you are totally satisfied with the document, save the document. (I save each of my documents while the document is in progress and at the end. I name each file to be posted with three segments.
  2. blog
  3. two digits for the year
  4. key word to identify the post

An example of a file name for one of my blog documents is: “blog19steps.”)

  1. Select the entire document with control key and the letter “a” key.
  2. Copy the document to your clipboard with the control key and the letter “c” key.


** Optional Step

  1. After closing Word, I, in recent months, next go to my Thunderbird e-mail program and paste the saved document from the clipboard into the text of an e-mail which I most often send to the Writers’ Partyline (e-mail list of Behind Our Eyes). In this way, I have another means of checking my document before posting onto my blog. If the document proofreads well in Thunderbird, I send this e-mail.


  1. On my computer’s desktop, I have the link to; I enter on this link. (While some participants of writers’ groups to which I belong use a paid version of Word Press, I have used only the free version of Word Press for these past seven years.)
  2. On the Word Press log-in screen, with forms mode on, I type in my e-mail or user name.
  3. When you next hit the tab key, you may here the direction to enter your password; however, do not enter your password until the next screen. (This quirk arose this past summer; just ignore this directive for your password at this point.)
  4. Hitting the tab key again, you will hear, “terms of service, link”; but just hit the tab key again to hear the “continue button,” at which point, you will hit the space bar to activate this button.


  1. On the next screen, you will hear “type in password, edit”: now is the time to type your password.
  2. When you hit the tab key, you will hear your password as asterisks only.
  3. With another hit of the tab key, you will hear “terms of service, link”; I just tab again to the log-in button which I activate with the space bar.


NOTE: I choose to avoid having my password saved; thus, I do the above steps each time I plan to post onto my blog; you may choose to do otherwise.


  1. The next screen is my Word Press administrative site.

On my Word Press admin, I hit the tab key about a dozen times until I hear “all posts” link; then, I know the next hit of the tab key will take me to where I want to be–the link for “add new.” I enter on the “add new” link.


NOTE: You may choose to find the “Add New” link by using the “find” option.


  1. Arriving at a new screen, I hear, “add title, edit; press enter for forms mode.” After hitting enter, I type the “title” which actually becomes the label for the link to this blog post. (Sometimes, I type this title/label the same as the title of my article/ or poem; sometimes I type a different label which a search engine could more readily find because the title of my piece will be printed with the piece as part of the pasted document.)
  2. After hitting the tab key, you will hear “rich text area, edit; type in text.” At this point, you need not type in the text of your document because you have saved your document onto the clipboard. All you will need to do is paste the document from the clipboard to this edit box with the control key and the letter “v” key. After pasting the document into the edit box, I pause a while at this point.
  3. Unless you wish to do more than I most often do, simply tab past the save text link, preview link, edit status button, edit visibility button, edit date and time button, move to trash button. Right after you hear the trash button, you will hear the “publish button.” Hurray! In recent months, I have had to use the enter key (rather than the space bar) to activate this “publish” button. For a few seconds, you will hear nothing from your computer; then, your speech program will begin reading information from your administrative page of Word Press. Congratulations! With your posting onto your blog completed, you can exit this administrative site.
  4. Back on my desktop, after a minute, I enter on the link for my WORDWALK blog site and then check that the post was successful.


Although this process may at first seem lengthy, only the writing and editing of your post will be lengthy. The actual posting can be easily accomplished in five minutes or less. Please keep in mind that I am not a “techy”: each time I successfully post onto my blog, I consider the action a small miracle! (Smile!) Basically, what I am saying is that if I can do this process of posting onto a blog, I am certain that you can also. Consider a blog! Good luck!


If you missed reading my blog post of last week, please continue reading after the end of this post because the January 15 post contained preliminary steps which you may find helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know by leaving a comment on this blog or e-mailing me at:

Please type “blogging question” in the subject line.


NEXT WEEK ON WORDWALK: On January 29, I plan to return to my typical other topics. Please read another WORDWALK next Wednesday night.


Happy blogging and blog reading!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


January 22, 2020, Wednesday


Celebrating Seven Years on WORDWALK: Preliminary Steps for New Bloggers


Celebrating Seven Years on WORDWALK: Preliminary Steps to Blogging


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



On January 19, 2020, Sunday, I will mark seven years of weekly blogs on this WORDWALK and will look toward a new eighth year of blogging. Have you ever thought of initiating a blog? Creating and posting a weekly blog on Word Press may be much easier than you may think. Since I am really not a “techy,” please keep in mind that if I can post a blog on Word Press, you can also. Although Word Press offers tutorials for new bloggers, I am sharing with you some steps to ponder.


Preparing for Initiating a Blog


STEP ONE: Reason(s) for Blogging


Why do you want to start a blog? Determine the focus for your blog.


STEP TWO: General Purpose


__ to inform

__ to persuade

__ to entertain

__ to inspire

__ to preserve family and/or community history

__ a combination of the above

__ all of the above


STEP THREE: Topic(s)


Now that you have a focus and general purpose in mind, determine a more specific purpose for your blog and/or a topic or group of topics for your writing. Some bloggers focus on one limited topic while others write on a variety of topics. I prefer to write on a variety of topics; but I most often focus on my small hometown of Blanford (Indiana), my Italian-American family, my four Leader Dogs, and writing.


STEP FOUR: Type of Writing or Genres


__ personal essays

__ poetry

__ journalistic, report writing

__ persuasive essays

__ political commentary

__ recipes

__ how-to pieces

__ humorous essays

__ travel writing

__ short stories

__ more than one of the above


STEP FIVE: Name for Your Blog


Make a list of possible names for your blog. Some of your ideas may already be in use, so try to create a name for your blog that represents well your focus and you, as well as one that is unique.


STEP SIX: Password


Of course, you will need to think of another password. You can think of a password in advance of your initial work session also.




Word Press allows you to create a “tagline” for your blog. You may wish to write a tagline that is one sentence. My tagline is: “This Word Press site is a WORDWALK at the intersection of Alice Avenue and Memory Lane.”




Word Press allows you to create a “Profile” of your blog and yourself. Thus, write a “Profile”–an article to introduce yourself and your blog to your new readers.


STEP NINE: Blog Post


Now, you are ready to write, edit, revise, and proofread your first blog post. Before initiating your blog, prepare at least one blog post. Happy blogging!


IMPORTANT: A piece which is posted onto a blog is considered “published”; thus, if you intend to submit the piece to other sources (publishers), you may choose not to post the piece on your blog. Only some sources allow submissions to be works that have been previously published on a blog. Carefully read the writer’s guidelines for magazines, journals, and other sources where you would like to submit articles for publication. Secondly, remember that all that you post on the internet will be there forever; so, go wisely and gently into the blogging world.


NOTE: I am beginning this eighth year of blogging with a new computer which just arrived on Monday, January 13. I am still trying to fine tune my new version of Word to suit my writing and editing style. Soon, I hope to have all back in the order which I prefer. Meanwhile, I thank you for your understanding and patience.


Happy blog reading and writing during 2020!

Alice Massa and Leader Dog Willow


January 15, 2020, Wednesday



Envisioning 2020: Perspective and Poem



Envisioning 2020


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



On this eighth day of the new year, I am finally writing a first post of 2020 because I wanted more people to have the opportunity to read my Christmas story of 2019 and because I had company over the New Year holiday.  Also, I convinced myself that my “Connecting the Christmas Dots” short story was appropriate for another special day–January 4, the 211th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille (the inventor of braille).  Thinking of Louis Braille and his tactile alphabet at the onset of January is a grateful way for me to begin each new year.


For JEOPARDY! fans, this new year is kicking off in spectacular fashion with the one-hour, prime-time programs with the greatest of all time contestants James Holzhauer, Ken Jennings, and Brad Rutter (in alphabetical order).  While I have been and remain a super-fan of JEOPARDY! since its inception with first host Art Fleming, I realize that I am definitely past my prime in my ability to respond correctly and quickly enough in the form of a question.  With thoughts of Louis Braille’s birthday and my realizing that I have been in a JEOPARDY! decline ever since sometime in my early 60s, I decided to check the ages of these three most highly regarded competitors of my absolutely favorite game show.  Although I thought that Brad Rutter was the elder statesman, I was incorrect:  Ken Jennings is most senior with a birthdate of May 23, 1974.  Just shy of 42, Brad Rutter will celebrate his birthday on January 31.  Sharing a July birthday with host Alex Trebek (July 22, 1940), James Holzhauer was born on July 1, 1984.  On these cold January nights, I hope you are enjoying these special JEOPARDY! games as much as I.  These games are definitely my “Super Bowl”!


Pondering these landmark years, I do clearly recall being in fourth grade and marveling at writing “1960,” instead of a year with a “5” in the ten’s place.  In high school, when some students were reading the novel 1984, I could hardly imagine the calendar turning to such a distant year.  In the well-known year of 1984, when I turned almost the same age as “JEOPARDY! James” is currently, this outstanding competitor was born.  The next landmark year was 2000; however, leaving behind the writing of each year with the preliminary numerals “19” ended up being rather uneventful.  Now, the calendar has turned for all of us to the eye-catching year of 2020.  I do wonder what it will hold.  Well, of course, for me, another year has begun with massive, most unwanted construction.  How many times have I written that I am a magnet for construction?  Unfortunately, this year of 2020 is envisioning more construction challenges for my Leader Dog and me.


Thus, I need some inspiration for the onset of 2020.  For this new year, I have appropriately created a twenty-line acrostic, based on the phrase and poem’s title:  “Intricate Inspiration.”  (If you read each initial letter of the twenty lines of this poem, you will find the phrase “Intricate Inspiration” is spelled out.)  I hope that this acrostic will inspire you to create a wonderful 2020 for yourself and those around you.



Intricate Inspiration


acrostic poem by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



In a welcoming heart,

near–so near–a smiling soul,

through the very, very narrow veins,

running carefully, then swiftly–

inspiration comes like an expectant dawn:

curling like holiday ribbon–

annually, monthly, daily–

tendrils of inspiration blossom, are blessed,

even baptized with grammar, punctuation, and holy computer.


Intricate patterns of inspiration

nest within the tops of my PO-e-trees;

sachet the air with good wishes, wisdom, and rhyme;

point the way to the Land-of-Book-Dreams-Come-True.

Intricate, delicate, delightful inspiration–

rest comfortably upon my rolltop desk,

anoint me with your morning grace and energy,

treat me with your ever-present treasury of ideas,

itemize my strengths and prizes,

organize my corral of goals and gifts,

never, never leave me, Sweet Inspiration.



Best wishes for a 2020 filled with inspiration, imagination, and happy surprises!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


January 8, 2020, Wednesday


A Santa Tale from 1957–for Older Believers



A Santa Tale from 1957–for Older Believers:


Connecting the Christmas Dots


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



The massive, golden oak rolltop desk was covered with stacks of letters and bright red ringbinders.  Seated comfortably at the highly polished desk was the bearded man that we all know as “Santa Claus.”  For a long minute, his sleepy eyes drifted from his 1957 ringbinder #1225 to the drifts of pristine snow outside the Bay window.  Then, suddenly, Santa refocused his attention when he felt a brush of air over his desk and sensed a flutter of wings atop his desk.


“Good morning!  Santa dear, you must get more sleep tonight:  you have a mighty big three weeks ahead of you.”


“G.G., is that you?”


“Gloria Gayle, GGA, reporting for duty,” she snapped.


“What does my GGA–Gifted Guardian Angel–have in the way of advice for me this Christmas season?  Have you come to tell me about a special case among all of these requests from this year of 1957?”


As she smoothed out some of her feathers, G.G. casually remarked, “I trust that you, dear Santa, will connect the dots.”


Leaning back in his chair and looking up at his guardian angel on the shelf above his desk, Santa pondered Gloria Gayle’s words for a couple of minutes.  Then, he grabbed his cranberry red phone and called Louis, one of the tip-top elves.  With a commanding voice, Santa requested the latest update about the number of connect-the-dots activity books in the workshop’s wondrous warehouse.  After Louis gave his boss the exact tally from his ledger, the elf zipped over to the warehouse to double check for Santa.  Meanwhile, G.G. smiled broadly and straightened her halo.  As Santa tapped on his desk like a drum, the gifted guardian angel’s light laughter crescendoed into a bowl-full-of-jelly belly laugh.  When she noticed a frown on Santa’s face, G.G. tried her best to hide her laughter under a few feathers.  “Yoo-hoo, Santa, I am absolutely not speaking of that type of connecting the dots.  That would be much too easy and would certainly not require the service of a GGA.”


“All right, Gloria Gayle, just come right out and tell me what you mean … please.”


“By this decade, you know me quite well.  This case is a most special one:  I think you will fully and immediately recognize the case when said case sits upon your lap.  Just be alert!  Now, I must fly off to choir practice.  Someone is ill, and a first soprano is urgently needed this morning.”


“G.G., wait just a minute!  What about this afternoon?  Will you join me this afternoon?”


“Sorry, Santa, you are on your own.  This afternoon, upon the insistence of a boyfriend, a young ballerina will be skating at Rockefeller Center.  Her JGA has asked for my assistance because the ballerina will stumble during her third turn around the rink.  The junior guardian angel will right the young ballerina then; but a few yards ahead, I will be needed to cushion the ballerina’s fall onto the ice so that she will not severely break her ankle.  Double duty will be very important because the young lady will leave the boyfriend, but will go on in her career to dance the Sugarplum Fairy role in The Nutcracker.  I love to help the JGAs and am honored to save this ballerina’s path to stardom.”


Of course, Santa said that he understood and appreciated the tip.  With a wink and a fan of her feathers, G.G. assured that she would, as usual, return for Santa’s bedtime prayers.


After greeting and listening to many, many children that morning and early afternoon, Santa was still smiling and laughing a few more of his famous “Ho, ho, ho” trademark laughs when he spotted a most unusual sight in the line of children and parents.  Nearing the front of the line was a little boy with a small white cane, tipped with red.  As soon as Santa Claus bid farewell and “Merry Christmas” to the two little sisters who had just sat upon his knees and waved at the camera and before the next family came forward, Santa promptly, but discretely told Elf Keller to greet the family of the little boy with the white cane and to gather all necessary information.  Santa knew that he could be brief and trust that Keller would know what to do.


A few minutes later, soon before the little boy’s turn to meet Santa, Keller rapidly whispered to Santa that the little boy’s name is Davey Dierdorf, he is seven years old, and  his parents are Patsy and Wesley Dierdorf from Carmel, Indiana.


As Davey approached Santa, the little boy outstretched his hand to shake hands with Santa Claus.  With a most jolly voice, Santa greeted Davey and his parents and hoisted the young fellow onto his knee.  After a few minutes of chatter and before the snapshot, Santa asked the big question.  Davey somewhat shyly replied, “Santa, I want only one gift for Christmas–a brailler, a Perkins brailler.”


“Santa queried, “What will you do with this Perkins brailler, Davey?”


The seven-year-old explained that he had learned to read braille in first grade and had also learned to write braille with a slate and stylus, but that in second grade, his teacher introduced his class to a machine–something like a typewriter, but with only nine keys to make the dots and spaces.  Finally, Davey said in a flourish:  “I love to read braille, and I really like to write my own stories.  With the brailler, I can write my stories so much more easily and quickly.  Please, Santa, can you please bring me a brailler for Christmas?”


Santa looked up at Mr. and Mrs. Dierdorf; both were sadly shaking their heads to indicate the negative.  Nevertheless, Santa was connecting the dots, as G.G. had advised him.  “A Perkins brailler–I will arrange for my craftiest elf to get to work immediately.”


Exchanging wishes for a “Merry Christmas,” Davey and Santa parted company.  While Davey and his mother walked around the Christmas tree and down a couple of stairs, Mr. Dierdorf managed to speak privately to Santa:  “Santa, I would love to give my son a brailler for Christmas; but that machine costs one week’s salary.  I just cannot afford to give him one this Christmas.  You should not have given him the idea that you will bring him one for Christmas.”  Before Santa had a chance to reply, Wesley Dierdorf rushed off the stage.  Santa shook his head and wondered if G.G. knew what she was doing.  Did he know what he was doing with this connecting of the dots?


That night, when Santa was relaxing in his rocking chair, Mrs. Claus brought him a mug of hot chocolate with a peppermint stick, a cinnamon stick, and one large marshmallow.  She thought he needed a triple treat that evening.  A minute later, she returned with a manila envelope that one of the elves had hurriedly delivered.  Inside the large envelope was all of the information from Watertown, Massachusetts–from Howe Press and the Perkins School for the Blind.  Santa read carefully.


When Mrs. Claus sat on the rocker beside Santa, she inquired about the special case which was garnering so much of Santa’s time and attention.


“Mrs. Claus, in this year of 1957, do you know that the average income of a family in the United States is $5000?  So many parents want to give their children more gifts, but cannot afford all the wishes.  You, the elves, and I work in so many ways throughout the world.  However, can we ever do enough?  A little boy in Indiana has asked me for a Perkins brailler; his parents cannot afford the gift, so I must make this happen for the little fellow on Christmas Eve.”


“Santa, you go to bed early; give me the order form from Watertown, Massachusetts.  I will fill out the form and send it on its way C.O.R.–Care of Special Reindeer.”


As soon as Santa knelt down beside his four-poster bed to say his prayers, G.G. flew in for an abrupt landing.  “G.G., I think I needed your help this afternoon when I tried to speak to that father of Davey Dierdorf.”


“Oh, Santa, don’t you know by now that I am always with you?  Do you really think that red-nosed reindeer has gotten you through all those foggy nights, blizzards, and icy rooftops?  Rudy is an excellent reindeer, and I love him dearly–but you must know there is so much more to your safety, well-being, faith, and heart.”


“have you ever thought of dropping me a tiny feather once in a while when I am in a pinch so that I know you are watching over me?”


“I do not need to give you a feather, Santa; I give you faith.  Now, I can also give you a glimpse of two future Christmases.  On December 25, 1957, Mr. and Mrs. Dierdorf will be astonished and forever grateful to awaken to the shouts of their son’s announcing that Santa did bring a Perkins brailler for Christmas.  On December 22, 2019, on the television program CBS SUNDAY MORNING, another Hoosier Jane Pauley will interview Davey–David Frederick Dierdorf, a well-known author, most famous for his annual Christmas books.  In the interview with Ms. Pauley, David will explain that a turning point in his young life was his receiving a Perkins brailler for Christmas of 1957.”


* * *


NOTE:  Once again, I have used names of some special people whom I have known as names of characters in this fictional story.  Patsy Dierdorf (of Brazil, Indiana) was an extraordinary volunteer for many years for the Sight-loss Support Group of the Wabash Valley (Indiana); C. Wesley Lambert (Terre Haute), husband of one of the founders of the Sight-loss Support Group of the Wabash Valley, was another very dedicated volunteer throughout the existence of SLSG.  “Keller” was the name of my first Leader Dog.  In honor of my dad who made many Christmases magical and special for me, I gave the character of Davey the same middle name as my father, who was always willing to give a helping hand and words of encouragement to all who were around him.


May your stocking and your heart be filled with the joy and wonder of Christmas,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


December 24, 2019, Tuesday


Holiday Poem: Just One Gift


YULETIDE NOTE:  After beginning the month of December on WORDWALK with a short story (“The Christmas Poet”) and then sharing a holiday recipe last week–on this chilly night in Milwaukee, I am decorating this post of WORDWALK with a short, twelve-line Christmas poem.  Since we all are so very busy with just seven days until Christmas, I think this Wednesday is the perfect time for a brief WORDWALK–just a little poem with a sleigh-load of meaning.  Enjoy!


* * *


Just One Gift


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Within the fragrance of Balsam pine,

beside the wreath we made of twine,

at the farm where we heard the sheep,

before the Manger where the Babe did sleep,

where our hands are joined in prayer,

below the glow of candle’s golden glare,

while the harpist strums gloriously to play

all the joyous carols of Christmas Day,

as I stand here so near the tree,

please think little–so little of me:

give me, give me just one gift–

winter’s peace in snowy drift.


* * *


Wishing a winter’s peace to all this holiday season,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


December 18, 2019, Wednesday


A Holiday, Family Recipe: Homemade Pasta


A Holiday Recipe for a Festive Wordwalk


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



For our Christmas dinner, always for Thanksgiving, frequently for Easter, and at other special occasions–my mother made her own pasta–“noodles.”  from a young age, I helped with some of the steps of her recipe.  In the earlier decades of my mother’s homemade pasta, she used only a roller-type dough cutter:  unlike a pizza cutter, this handheld device made eight or ten cuts into the dough at one time.  Much later, in December of 1977, I purchased as a gift for my mother a non-electric appliance for rolling out and then cutting into strips the pasta dough.  This well-used and much-appreciated appliance was in my mother’s Indiana kitchen until she moved to Colorado, early in 1998, after the passing of my dad on December 1, 1997.  Since that time, my sister and her younger son took over the pasta-making tradition.  Before moving away from his home state, my younger nephew made the noodles for holidays a number of times.  Additionally, my Aunt Lydia (one of my mother’s sisters) and my Aunt Kathy (my dad’s sister), as well as some cousins, made this pasta recipe over the years.


During this Thanksgiving of 2019, the tradition passed onto a fourth generation when my sister made the pasta recipe with her Colorado granddaughter (age nine).  Also, for Thanksgiving, in Michigan, my sister and her Midwest grandchildren (ages six and four) made the following noodle recipe with their daddy (my previously mentioned nephew) after each of the little ones made a tasty pumpkin pie with their “Mammar.”  The little chefs donned their gingerbread-boy aprons and enjoyed helping in the kitchen.


Purchased as a gift 42 years ago, the Ampia Pasta Maker (manufactured in Italy) remains an important part of my sister’s kitchen and our family’s holiday traditions.  During this Christmas season, I hope you are enjoying making and eating some of your family’s holiday traditions.



Mother’s Homemade Pasta Recipe


three eggs

one-half teaspoon salt

one tablespoon milk

one tablespoon soft butter

two cups flour

Extra flour (for handling dough balls)

chicken or beef broth


  1. In a large bowl, with a wire whisk, beat the eggs until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the salt, milk, and butter.
  3. Beat well with whisk.
  4. Gradually pour the flour around the edge of the bowl, on top of the egg mixture.
  5. Mix the flour and egg with a fork.
  6. When a ball starts to form, use your hands to further mix and knead the dough.
  7. Divide the dough into four balls or patties.
  8. Knead each part until well-blended and smooth; use extra flour as needed.
  9. Spread a soft tablecloth or paper towels onto a table or countertop.
  10. After setting up the pasta machine , dust one of the balls of dough with flour.
  11. Using Setting number one, put the dough through the machine once.
  12. Away from the machine, cut the piece of dough in half, lengthwise.
  13. Using setting number four, put each piece of the dough through the machine two additional times.
  14. Cut “rolled-out” dough into desired length (as dough becomes elongated with each pass through the machine); flour lightly, if needed.
  15. Move handle to position for cutting the noodles; pass each of the pieces of dough through the machine for cutting (of the desired width).
  16. Separate the cut noodles and lay them out on the table to dry.

** Follow this procedure with each of the remaining three balls of dough.

  1. Allow the noodles to dry overnight; then, store in a plastic bag until ready to cook.


  1. After chicken or beef broth comes to a boil in a large pot, add the dried noodles slowly.
  2. Boil for 20 minutes or to desired tenderness.

Number of servings:  four to six


The holiday season is a wonderful time to copy and share family recipes.  One may even want to video-record an older relative’s making a favorite recipe.  As you preserve your family history, preserve and enjoy your family’s traditional and treasured recipes.


**WORDWALK NOTE:  If you were too busy last week to read my post, I hope you will continue reading along this HOLIDAY WORDWALK.  Last week’s post was a holiday short story entitled “The Christmas Poet”  (posted on December 5, 2019).


Enjoy the flavors and fragrances of this holiday season,

as well as treasured traditions,

with your family and friends!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


December 11, 2019, Wednesday


A New Wreatha Natale Holiday Story


NOTE:  To kick off this holiday season on WORDWALK, I am decorating my blog with a second Wreatha Natale short story.  The character of Wreatha Natale first appeared on WORDWALK on December 16, 2015; “A Sign of Peace at ‘Cocoa with the Clauses'” was also included in my book THE CHRISTMAS CARRIAGE AND OTHER WRITINGS OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON.  As some of my readers will realize, this character’s name is a combination of the names of two postmaster friends of my mother (who was postmaster of the Blanford, Indiana, Post Office for more than twenty-eight years).


Although I initially thought I would write a Wreatha Natale story each Christmas, the journey to this second Wreatha Natale story has taken me four years to find my character again.  During this first week of December, I hope you will enjoy reading more about Wreatha Natale.



The Christmas Poet:


A Wreatha Natale Holiday Story, #2


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Spanning ten city blocks and maintaining its status as the third largest rail terminal in the United States, Chicago’s Union Station was a whirlwind of noise and activity on December 17.  Sitting quietly in the midst of the hubbub were retired teacher Wreatha Natale and her guide dog Wiggles.  Douglas Fir–the man, not the tree–was kind to have taken the time to accompany her to this waiting area.  “One half hour, and we will be back on the train,” she whispered to her Black Lab/Golden Retriever.  Wiggles seemed eager for the short train ride home to Milwaukee.


As Wreatha took out a braille volume from her backpack, she realized that the man sitting next to her arose and walked away.  Within a few seconds, someone else–much smaller–quickly occupied the empty spot.  The sweet and gentle voice promptly began:  “I hope you don’t mind my joining you and your guide dog.  I have been watching the two of you, and I want to give you something.”  When the rapid delivery of words stopped, Wreatha felt something atop her hands:  a piece of paper had been rolled up and tied with a thin satin ribbon.


“Since you recognized my guide dog, you must understand that I do not read print:  I read braille,” Ms. Natale explained.


“Oh, yes, but do you have a computer that converts print into speech or braille?”


“As a matter of fact, I do.”


“Good.  Then, you can read my gift to you–a Christmas poem–when you arrive home.  Each holiday season, I write Christmas poems and give them as gifts here at Union Station and other places.  I want you to have this one.  You will read it when you arrive home, won’t you?”


“Yes, dear, I promise I will read your poem.  Thank you so much.  I love poetry.  Are you a student?”


“No, my voice sounds a bit younger than I am.  I am twenty.  May I help you to your train when it arrives?”


“Do you work at Union Station?”  Of course, the young woman’s answer was negative:  she just wanted to help Ms. Natale and her Leader Dog.  Conversing with someone would pass the time more quickly for both individuals, but Wreatha determined that her new friend was not awaiting a train or any person.  The young lady was merely at Union Station to give her poems to reluctant recipients, most of whom were not as fond of poetry as was her current recipient.


Since the young woman could not be urged to read aloud the poem to Wreatha Natale, due to the inappropriate atmosphere:  reading the poem in a house with a Christmas tree was mandatory.  Waiting to read the verses would, indeed heighten the anticipation and wonder–Christmas wonder.


As the minutes of conversations lengthened, Ms.  Natale did introduce herself and Wiggles; however, the young poet was respectful and knew not to disturb a guide dog in harness.  Then, the poet shared that she had known a fellow high school student who was blind.  Eventually, the youthful poet revealed that she had been in a foster home until she turned eighteen.


“I appreciated my foster parents; they were well-meaning people, but I never grew to love them.  I had contentment, safety, lodging, but not a home.  For a long while, I knew I would leave when I turned eighteen; and I knew that they would not dissuade me.  They did not even try.  For two years, I have been trying to move on, make something of my life.”


Finally, Wreatha had to ask the young girl her name.  Her meager response was:  “I am The Christmas Poet.”  Despite a little prodding for a more conventional name–at least a first name–none was mentioned.


“I have no idea who my parents are, what color they were.  I do not know if they were together when I was born, nor if they liked poetry.  I know nothing about them.  I do not know who gave me my earlier name, so now I just go by the moniker ‘The Christmas Poet’ no matter what the season of the year is because I keep Christmas in my heart all through the year.  Christmas is such a family time, warm and loving time:  I try to hold onto it all through the twelve months of the year.  I believe that through Christmas, I will find my way in life.”


Ms. Natale prided herself in being able to detect people who were not genuine:  this young woman exuded only a delicate, fragile honesty.  What would Douglas think of this young poet?


Checking her raised-dot watch, Ms. Natale said:  “My train should be here any minute.  I will return here for an appointment with Mr. Fir on December 23.  I should arrive at 10:25 that morning.  Can you meet me here?  I would like for you to come with me to meet my … friend Mr. Fir.  We are going to lunch–my favorite, high tea.  I want you to join us.  Will you?”


For a long minute, The Christmas Poet said nothing.  At last, she smiled:  “I will be here at ten o’clock on December 23:  I like to be early.”


Ms. Natale reached for her backpack and put the braille volume inside; then, she pulled out a copy of her print manuscript.  Handing the red folder to The Christmas Poet, Ms. Natale told her new friend:  “Here is my little gift for you.  Please read it before you meet me on the 23rd.”


The Christmas Poet was already silently reading the title page, but had to repeat the words aloud:  “The Christmas Poet:  A wreath of Holiday Verses, by Wreatha Natale.”


* * *


HOLIDAY BOOK NOTE:  To read more about my book, to view the cover photo, and to see my new poster, please visit my author’s web page:

For patrons of Talking Book and Braille Libraries, my book is order number DBC 08305.  Print and e-book copies are available from Amazon and other online sellers.  The braille version is available for the same price as the print book ($7.50) from :



Wishing you a delightful December,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


December 4, 2019, Wednesday