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Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Making My Lists......

Two weeks from today we start our annual trek. And so I start my annual preparations. Being old and pre-senile I find that lists have become my best friends. Bill has always been a list maker but that was never my habit. I guess I always had a pretty organized life, much of which was regulated by bells ringing every 45 minutes. Now that my time is my own I find that days fly by and I've done nothing of the things that must be done. With a list to organize me---well, sort of, if I look at it--more gets accomplished. LOL Retirement to me means, what gets done, gets done. The rest will get done sometime, maybe!! and if not, oh, well!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Club Challenges or What Am I Reading Now?

Today the gently falling snow made me feel as though I were living in a snow globe. Liking that feeling of being surrounded by the glass and thus protected from the icy air in which the flakes swirled I decided to work on the book challenge for the beginning of 2011. The challenge comes from my Reading the Classics group and is in six parts:

1. Read a classic children's book--I chose Chatterer the Red Squirrel for several reasons. We collect old editions of Thornton Burgess' books and have all of the Bedtime Story Books, but I've never read any of them. My husband remembers them from his childhood but I had never heard of them. I chose Chatterer because I adore the Red Squirrel who sits for hours with his tail lifted up over his back, happily gorging himself on the sunflower seeds meant for our beautiful feathered friends. I have finished that book and just love the way the animals are described--for being a lover of wild animals and an observer of them whenever possible , I think old Thornton must have been a lover and observer of them, too.

2. Read a classic written by an author from a country other than your own. Boy, that was a toughie but I settled on The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Again, for two reasons--I loved the movie that made a lasting impression on my very young mind when I saw it on TV. I was too young to see it in the movies in 1945. I thought Hurd Hatfield was incredibly handsome although in reading the book I find he looks nothing like Wilde's Dorian. What ever happened to Hurd Hatfield, I wonder? The book was hard going--although maybe the old film would be now, as well. Yet, as I remember it, in this instance the film was better than the book. The other reason I chose this classic was because I'd never read it. Thank goodness it was only around 150 pages; I don't know if I would have finished it otherwise!

3. Read a classic written by an author of your own country: For this, I've chosen Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Again, for two reasons--Twain is very much ignored in the schools and he is certainly one of our most prolific and well know authors. I realize that it has probably been due to his use of local dialects and 19th C words, considered inappropriate today--as evidenced by a reissue of Huck Finn this year--cleaned up and reworded! Vandalism that was only equal to the fig leaves strategically placed on classic statues or the actual removal of genitalia from them by prudish Victorians. I can only imagine the uproar if one were to change the colors in the Mona Lisa or Picasso's Don Quixote! Well, anyway, the second is that I've never read Twain--despite my father's urging. I'd had enough of Dickens and felt that the writing would probably be just as ponderous. It may be I was correct but I'm going to give it a try.

4. Reread a classic from high school or college: I've always enjoyed Hawthorne's Hester so shall reread The Scarlet Letter. I couldn't find my copy of Tess of the D'Urberville's which was my first choice and I wasn't up for Adam Bede, though I liked that very much, too.

5. Read a classic about an Animal: Once more, though I loved Watership Down, I decided to read Call of the Wild, since I'd never read it either.

6. Read a graphic novel version of a classic: This one I'm not sure I'm going to try--if I happen to see one while browsing in the bookstore I may pick it up but it really isn't calling to me.

I also have a mini challenge for Feb--to read a book with pink or red in its title or in its cover design--I'm doing Death on the Lizard by Robin Paige. Also read a book with a flower or flowers in its title or in the plot--I've chosen Nightshade by Susan Wittig Albert. I hope to have these done within two weeks and since they are pretty light reading I should be fine.

I'm going to take The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest with me on the trip. I don't usually have much time to read but like to have a book handy always for those few empty minutes that sometimes occur.

Friday, January 28, 2011


My earliest memory of my baby sister is holding her in my lap when Mom brought her home from the hospital and hearing Mom say " Careful, don't drop her!" I can still see my little girl legs with my little girl shoes hanging down toward the floor and this round faced baby in my little girl arms and Mom's hands helping to hold her. I was just 3 and she seemed so small.

I remember being at Rockaway Beach, playing in the sand at the water's edge. She wearing my hand me down navy blue bathing suit with the yellow flower in the middle of the chest. I loved that suit. A big wave washed over her head and she started to cry. I leaned over to comfort her and Mom came rushing over and picked her up. She is afraid of water til this day.

Through the years she was this little blonde girl who looked up to me and had the upper bunk in our room. I can remember her crying when I said I was going to run away from home--for who knows what reason. Mom dressed us alike for many years and I have pictures of us in endless Easter outfits until I got into around 6th grade and was obviously much older.

Pictures of her in the fourth grade show the strain she felt when I moved on to another school on the other side of town and we didn't walk to and from school together.

One time in Carnegie Bay we were playing on the dock after Dad had gone out to fish on the St Lawrence and she pushed me in. I could not swim but managed to get hold of the underpinnings and started to call for help. She in the meantime walked back to our cabin and when Mom asked where I was she said " In the drink!" Mom rushed to the dock, where another lady, in her slip, had already rushed to my aid, hearing my calls. They yelled to Dad who heard them over the boat motor and he and the lady's husband returned. Dad was about to jump in wallet and all to rescue me, by now it being rather dark and him not able to see me holding on in the cold water. He got me around the waist and onto the dock. Mom took me back to the cabin and tossed me into the shower. Sis in the meantime was locked in our room afraid she was in for a spanking but I made Mom promise not to hit her and so I was able to get warm pj's and the evening ended fine. We both wrote endless essays,none of which survive unfortunately, about this incident. Everyone of them earned an A or A +. Wish I had them now to see our various versions of the event. LOL

It was also about this time that she inherited my prized Roy Rogers gray shirt with the burgundy cuffs and shoulders. Boy, was I mad when Mom gave her that but in fairness it was too small for me by then.

We used to use the bed sheets to create nun's habits and I taught school by writing in chalk ( that I must have gotten in school ) on the wall. We washed it off before Mom and Dad got home from work and put the sheets back on the bed but Mom always figured it out--we thought she was incredible and couldn't figure out how she knew.

When we moved upstate we went to the Catholic school --she in 7th grade , me a junior --but we were back in the same school again. We hung out at the beach in summer and walked the three miles to town and back. When I went off to college she finally told Mom she wasn't staying in that Catholic school anymore--it was horrible--nothing like the wonderful schools we attended in NYC--also Catholic but with CND's--much nicer than the St Joseph of Carondolet nuns in upstate. Mom let her change. We were each other's best friend always---even though we had others we really only needed each other.

Then we were reunited as roommates when I went to grad school and she to college in Albany. We were living together there when John F. Kennedy was killed. I also remember that was when the Beatles were the big rage. She was in her long nightgown one morning and started to dance to She Loves Me, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah and as she kicked out her leg she extended the bottom of her long nightgown to its fullest and both legs went out from under her and she landed flat on her back. We were both frozen in shock until we both dissolved into uncontrollable laughter, the tears running down our faces.

Eventually, I married and moved out of State. Yet, we continued to be close and seemed to always know when something --good or bad--happened to the other and many of our calls started with " I was just thinking about you!" She eloped,I divorced, she had a boy and divorced and moved back home. I stayed out of State she moved back to the Albany area. Her son came to my home every school vacation--I thought of him as my child, too. We visited often and eventually I remarried and had a daughter.

Now we are both retired, our children are grown, she is a widow but I am not. We've had our ups and downs and there have been times I wished I'd dropped her that day long ago. But through it all, we are still each other's best friends, sharing secrets we've shared with no one else and a history that is all our own. It is interesting to see our differences and hear our different takes on that history considering we grew up in the same house with the same parents. But we are more alike than different and now she is 65 and I'm still three years older--her big sister and she's my baby sister.

I'm still looking after her, Mom and Dad--I hear you.

Oh, yeah, Happy Birthday, kiddo-----I love you, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Parental Units

Today she would be 110 years old. My sister and I thought she looked so beautiful in this picture. She loved soft feminine clothes and she had such style sense. One of the things we learned from her was to wear what was flattering to us in style and color and not try to wear the latest fashions if they weren't. So I never owned a real mini skirt and still don't wear certain shades of green, yellow or purple. It is so funny that she looks like a painted lady here because she never wore make-up but she always had her nails perfectly polished. When I look at my hands I see hers--they were one of her best features and I inherited them. I keep mine polished, too. She took such pride in her home and had a weekly routine that varied very little until she went to work in Maiden Lane--don't you love that name?-- in the financial district. She worked for Sanborn Insurance company and, even though she brought some home to show us, I was too young to understand that they mapped buildings in towns and showed the insurance coverage on each one. Little colored pieces of paper were cut by hand and glued like mosaics on the maps. I've wished so often that she were still alive so I could tell her I've seen some of them in museums and understand them now. I wonder if she did some of the work on these historic exhibits. Later on, when talking with a few ladies in the incredibly elegant ladies washrooms that existed in old NYC buildings, she heard about a new job--key punch operator! The precursor to computers, long cards were punched by operators typing on big machines. These cards were then read when needed by other machines much like music rolls were read by player pianos. The cards took up much less room than files and held a lot more information in their smaller spaces. Being a new technology the operators who were the first earned so much more money than other clerical workers. It was a job she loved and she worked all over the city. When we moved upstate she again became a stay at home Mom. When they both retired they traveled until she became ill with colon cancer--her surgery was performed in Georgia --and then she came home to die. A light went out in all our lives--she was funny, warm and loving. She could be cold and cut you dead at times but she loved me and supported me in all I did. I don't think I've ever grieved for anyone or anything the way I've grieved for her.

On January 17, he would have been 108 years old! Here he is such a young man, only about 19, his whole life ahead of him. He married, had two children, a boy and a girl, and survived the depression in New York City. The marriage didn't survive but he started his lifelong career as a Unionized electrician, having been trained in the Navy. He worked primarily on elevator installation for Otis Elevator Co and Westinghouse Electric. He was foreman most of the time and helped install the first radio tower on the Empire State Bldg and the Electric People Mover at the 1939 World's Fair. He met my mother and had two more children, me and my younger sister. They were both in their 40's. I was born in Washington, DC at home and he took my placenta in a mayonnaise jar and dropped it into one of the footings that were being poured at the Pentagon. Someone someday will find that and wonder how it got there, whose it was and when it was put there. LOL

He was an outdoors man, who loved hunting and fishing. He enjoyed gardening when we moved upstate--especially Beefsteak tomatoes--I got so I couldn't look at tomatoes for awhile. He loved to read, National Rifleman and The NYS Conservationist stand out. He taught me to read before I ever went to school by having me sound out the names, Latin and English, of the plants and animals in the Conservationist. Before I could get my driver's license I had to learn how a car worked--the carburetor, the engine, the fan belt, the distributor cap, etc,etc,etc--almost to the point where I didn't want the darn license! He was the smartest man I ever knew and I relied on him for advice and guidance. I miss him all the time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Eggsactly the Way I Like Them!

I do not like boiled eggs, soft, hard, or medium
I hate fried eggs: over easy, sunny side up or scrambled
An omelet is just awful and an egg roll is worse
But, oh, I love deviled eggs and have to restrict myself to just one!

I also love grapefruit: with honey soaked in overnight
or broiled with brown sugar, almond extract and a nice cherry on top.

Together they make a perfect breakfast
Topped off with fresh brewed coffee, flavored with spice.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby Talk

Oh, Addy, it is so good to have you back from the hospital. How does your leg feel?

As good as new, Mary Rose, no pain or anything. You should have seen that place--so many of the other girls that I knew in Wisconsin when I was born and before your Mom brought me here to play with Betsy. Samantha, Molly and the others. It was fun to see them. My injury was so minor in comparison to some of the others--one girl had almost all her hair pulled out!!! I can't imagine how her new Mother could do that to her or let any of her friends do it.

Well, Addy, I'm not sure I ever understood how your Mom pulled your leg off. Kathy would never do that to me and boy did she play with me when she was little. She used to dress me in all different baby clothes. This is a new outfit--my Aunt had it made to replace my original one that I arrived in. That clothe just rotted away it got so old. Kathy likes to keep me in my dressy dress and bonnet, you know.

Oh, Mary Rose, your dress IS lovely. But you know, Betsy really didn't break my leg off. Yours are sewn better to your body but my legs and arms are attached with stretchy bands. Actually, the leg was still attached when your Mom took me off the shelf to send me to the hospital but it was really hanging very loosely--by a thread, you know? LOL And when she took my travel dress off, and my leather shoes, it just finally broke. Replacing it was pretty fast but I was sore for several days and so I had to stay there until they were sure I was going to recover easily. It is really great to be better and home with you.

Addy, It is great to have you home--I've been so lonely--the cats talk to me but it isn't the same. They don't care about what my Mom was like when she was a little girl--all THEY want is to have most of the room in the chair. And Betsy's bed! Forget it--that Misty almost pushes me off at night!

Well, I'm back now, Mary Rose--so we'll just have to spread out real wide and let them move across the hall to Grandma and Grandpa's bed. Besides, when we are giggling and laughing they can't sleep and leave anyway. Ohhhhh, it is wonderful to be home. ( and the two girls hugged and kissed and giggled some more while Kathy, MR's Mom and Addy's Gram, put together some lunch nearby. )

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cold Snap in Vermont

Sort of says it all--except it was -22 F at 6:30 am and is now at 1:30 pm, or 1330 for military types, -5 F! The wood stove and the sun shining through the many windows is keeping the house at a quite comfortable 69.5 F and that is fine. We cannot complain --this is the first subzero cold snap in two years although I remember about 10 years ago having -40 F for several days. I hung quilts on all the windows and doors to try to keep the cold out. It was amazing to feel the difference between the kitchen and the mud room which was closed off by a quilt! At least with this cold snap there has been no wind---wind is the enemy in a log cabin!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A late January Sunday in Vt--Soot wants to know when this tree is going to come down; Bill is watching football--Green Bay vs Bears for NFC title to go to Superbowl--; I'm reading.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Auricular Musings

Shell-like attachments

Stuck to the side of one's head

Yet largely unseen by their owners

Convoluted, strange-looking

Extending vertically from jawline

To eye at its corner

Things admired by lovers

Who long to nuzzle and lick them
Bringing on shivers and goose bumps in waves

Destroying the equilibrium

One is charged to maintain

With its opposite mate

They make no decisions

About these warm frissions

That is left up to the brain

They're objects to be lent

Or otherwise bent

According to Marc Antony

All manner of sound

Both pleasing and foul

Is detected by these vital organs

Emotions arise--fear, happiness, pain

Anger, joy, sorrow

Peace, passion, alarm--

From their function

But these and response to them

Are handled elsewhere

By injunction

They hold up one's glasses

For reading or sunscreen

And, at times, are quite ornamented

But for all that they do

So passively interjected

They are mostly ignored or neglected

As the years pass us by

Ringing or hissing may commence

Creating some mild irritation

Sometimes it is stressful

Insanity it seems to be nearing

Yet, far worse it would be
(At least as I see it)
The loss of my hearing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow's Geometry

After the storm it is amazing to see the pyramids and triangles of snow wherever one looks. It seems impossible that withered chive and bee balm stems are strong enough to hold little caps like pixie caps or that each and every group of pine needles would cling together to support their own white beanies.

Even more beautiful is the limning of the limbs and trunks by tracings of white clinging at all angles to the Earth's surface in defiance of gravity! The black bare bones of trees made individual by the definition of their outlines with snow--making dramatic and sometimes delicate traceries in a monochromatic world.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of My Favorite Places

I bought this chair and footstool for myself at Pier I several years ago. Used to have it surrounded by four windows but Bill wanted that area for himself and the table so, though I can't easily look out the window, I still have the light shining on me from one on the right of the chair. It is enough on a sunny day in my small oasis in the living room. Many a book has been read, many a cat has curled in my lab and many a nap has been taken in this chair. Bill never sits in it although Betsy does sometimes when she is home and it is available. It is truly my own and I love it. Mary Rose, my childhood doll does, too. Even the cats avoid sleeping in it --it is as though they know to wait until they have my lap before they near it. Now THAT is something since CATS believe the WORLD is theirs.

Good Friend, Good Conversation, Good Coffee

Kathy: The mad man photographer is running amok--just ignore him and we'll be fine! He will take shots from all angles and try to crack us up. Just make believe he isn't there and we'll be able to talk about the really important stuff.

Dawn: I read somewhere that when you have your picture taken you should turn your head--like so!
We just had a fabulous four hours talking about everything, anything and nothing. Lots of laughter and some serious Mother talk about our girls, too. Simply one of the best evenings as they always are with Dawn and not done as often as we should!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What a Way to Start the Day!

I do so wish that Barbara, the hygienist had made sure that Elaine Neal's, my dentist's, whole visage was included--she is such a lovely woman besides being the most competent and honest dentist I've ever had work on my teeth. Here, I am thanking her PROFUSELY for doing work on my daughter's teeth at no charge, since Betsy has no insurance. We are also discussing the gold cap she will place on my broken molar in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, after starting at 7 am as we were heading out to the dentist's office, the snow is slowly closing us off from the rest of the world. Notice how Soot has stopped right at the snow line on the porch, looking out and wondering where all this stuff has come from. The red car is definitely in for the season!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Swirling Emotions

Strange emotional eddies today! To start, my Dad would be 108 today--40 years my senior! I miss him terribly, still--though he was proud of me, he loved my sister best! LOL

Then I baked a cinnamon quick bread that broke into three pieces when I took it out of the pan--tastes good though. I almost blew my Weight Watchers points but held myself in check--I did eat some but did not stuff my face.

Tomorrow we are in for ANOTHER storm--this time including sleet and freezing rain! I have dentist appt at 730 am--should I have cancelled?

Also, I'm feeling stressed about ANOTHER cross country trip in winter--this time by way of Montana. Usually we head south out of St Louis--not this year!

So trying to figure out how to lift my spirits I turned to our marvelous Christmas tree. This led to laughs--I had bought the adorable penquin for my daughter LAST January, on sale, at Pier I ! But with advanced early senility I had forgotten that--so, on a Fall visit to my sister's, I bought her a more elegant, though PLASTIC ornament at AC Moore's!

My wonderful daughter, deciding not to buy a set of five or six ornaments this year, bought me this elegant red ornament. So, we both broke from our tradition--I bought her a grown up elegant ornament ( not remembering the little girl penguin) and she bought me one, but more elegant, ornament this year.

While the emotions still churn a bit, having reflected on a Mom and Daughter exchange of love, I feel a little less sad missing my Dad and a bit more settled about the stress of Winter in Vt and time spent in the dentist's chair rebuilding a tooth! ( Don't get me started on the cost of this uninsured procedure--I'm trying to be like Scarlett--tomorrow! )

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Golden Morning Light

Sitting at the counter having my second cup of coffee, around 8:30 am, I feel the warmth of the sun on my back and I turn to see the slanting rays illuminating the leaves of my pregnant onion plant.As I look about the room I notice the sunlight filling the colored glass objects that once belonged to Aunt Mabel and I remember that she kept them on a window sill in her apartment. I wonder if she loved the way the morning light transformed simple glass into jewels.

Looking out the window I realize that this is the view from my daughter's bedroom window above and understand why she wants her bed in front of it--so that the morning sun shines on her and wakes her up and she can look out at the trees and their long shadows on the snow.

I love the warmth of the wood and the cluttered objects inside the window touched by the golden rays.

Later in the early afternoon, this being winter in Vermont, the sun disappears and the sky turns leaden and spits snow now and then, as if to remind me that the warmth of the sun is fleeting at this time of year.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Winter's Day Alone

On days like today--monochromatic gray, snowy and cold--the best thing to do is to settle in with a pot of jasmine tea, some German Rapsblute honey for sweetening and a new mystery set in San Francisco. It is nice, too, to think of one's sister, who gave me the beautiful tea pot and the tea posey in it....I saw a period piece in which the heroine's brother brought her a lovely flower which opened in the pot when boiling water was added and brewed a lovely tea. My sister found the set and gave it to me. As for the book-- a freebie from Goodreads and a most interesting one at that. It was with great surprise that I looked up and saw that winter's early darkness had arrived! Time for homemade pea soup for dinner.

Friday, January 14, 2011

NOT in MY neighborhood!!!!

The owl who'd been here a few days ago, but farther from the house, decided to take a position in the oak tree, right off the porch. The perch affords a good hidden spot from which to survey the large open fields in front of the house. I have often seen crows dive bomb owls in the distant tree line overlooking the river but this morning I had a front row seat. Only one crow did the actual attacking but there were three in the tree above giving loud vocal support. When all was said and done, however, the crows left and the owl, with a look my way, posed for his picture as if to say " you won't do any better, trying to scare me off! This is MY neighborhood! "

Some Creature WAS Stirring!

January 13--After the storm of yesterday the house was surrounded by an unbroken blanket of snow, the birds and other creatures were strangely quiet and absent from the surrounding trees. The only sign that a creature had scurried to the porch to fill up on black oil sunflower seeds was this beautifully symmetrical path of the red squirrel--the only evidence of his presence.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Alarmist weather reports last night--heavy snows starting late and continuing throughout today with large accumulations!!!

So it started snowing at 4am and snowed until 4pm--a fine dry snow that accumulated to maybe six inches. Hardly a Northeaster blizzard! I'm sure it was worse south of here--but there was next to nothing north of here.

Joe the cat did sink a bit out of sight but we've had storms where all that was visible were the very tips of his ears.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soot on 1-11-11

Soot is a very intellectual and curious feline. She is a vociferous reader--newspapers,magazines,books--she loves them all and must be lying right in the middle of the page to get the most out of the experience. One of her favorite things is numismatics. Her faithful assistant, Bill, stacks and rolls rejected nickels to be returned to the bank. She truly enjoys knocking over the stacks to make sure that no good ones are being overlooked. Notice the keepers on the RED BOOK. It is so good to have hobbies. Later she will sit on her stool and watch TV with her pal!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Tea and Crumpets

Sister in law, Meg Pond, dropped by on her way to Rhode Island. She brought the lovely basket almost seen here, with a jar of pickles, which Bill inhaled, and a jar of apple - pear butter. I served Walker's shortbread, ritz with spreadable herb - garlic pub cheese and a glass pot of jasmine tea, made from one of my tea poseys. A nice light repast and break for her on her jaunt south.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The day started with a broken tooth! I guess Candy Canes and ancient molars don't mix :(
Feeling old and blue!
Look at that moustache--where's the wax???

Late afternoon brought some of nature's beauty in the butternut tree and all is right with the world once more!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No Signs at All of Our Existence

Woke this morning to the sounds of the State plow scouring the road----sounded like he was grinding the asphalt to bits! Walked out on the porch to enjoy the gently falling flakes and flushed a mourning dove from the woodpile right at my bare feet. I'm not sure who was more startled but he/she flew to the oak and we two silently observed the snow silently drifting down around us. Hours later as I look at the bough on which it perched the snow is thick and undisturbed showing no evidence at all of its having rested there. The prints of my bare feet, too, are obliterated. And the snow keeps falling, hiding secrets beneath its winter white.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Between Storms

I started before Christmas to make ice lanterns--hoping to use votive candles to light them along the path to the door. We had a huge storm on Dec 27 which filled them with snow and then we got a warm spell followed by a lesser storm on Jan 5! With all the fluctuation my project was doomed and, today, here is how it stands. Never did get to put candles in them. Perhaps I'll try again if we get a cold snap--they really are lovely when lit.


y And so after a long and arduous journey across the ledge of our bay window the Kings have arrived at the Manger, bearing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In celebration, I burned frankincense and myrrh in the living room fragrancing the house beautifully. And, even though January 6th has arrived, I am still going to keep my tree and decorations up and the lights lit. I want to hold back the winter darkness as long as possible--it is so depressing and the rooms look so warm and welcoming lit with the small white lights at the windows.

Diamond Day

One of my favorite Christmas holiday songs is Marshmallow World by Dean Martin ! BUT, January 5 began as cold and hard and sparking as diamonds. Incredibly beautiful. I love the overhanging boughs mimicking the archway below them-- a path to the new year. And, on the porch, some of the wood that we'll use to keep the cold outside.

Netflix and Me--Home Alone

The first day of the year home alone--all visitors gone and hubby back to work. Decided to watch Slumdog Millionaire and have some red beans and rice in one of my favorite bowls. While I liked the movie and was horrified by the poverty in old Bombay and the ways the children, in particular, are exploited. Even though, I'm not sure why this movie swept the Oscars the way it did.

Early Morning

For some reason I've been waking before light these past two mornings. I think it is because on the 1st I knew it would be the last day of our daughter's visit and on the 2nd because she would be flying away that day. On this day as I sat in the darkness and quiet of the sleeping house admiring the lights of the tree and decorations I happened to notice that the amaryllis had bloomed. It is my favorite peach colored flower and somehow my heart lifted and my sadness at her departure lifted a bit, too.


There are those who put their decorations up at Thanksgiving and take them down on Dec 26 or at the latest Jan 2. Ever since childhood I've particularly loved the story of the Magi---I think the words frankincense and myrrh just tickled me. And here are my Three Kings in the far off West looking toward the East and the newborn who dwells there.

A New Beginning

The early morning star--blue, my favorite color. A gift from Bill several Christmases ago. It, with two others, hangs in the bay window all year long. It changes with the mood of the day--here it is deep and dark but beautiful with a coolness of the snowy day upon which it shines. May it shine with peace and beauty on all who dwell in and visit this house in 2011.

Turning a new page

So! A week of 2011 has just about gone by and I've decided to do another 365 day pictorial history of a year in the life! Last time I did this I'd just had a cancer scare and took a picture a day of that year. The pictures are on a memory card but I did no journaling to speak of and haven't gotten around to creating a scrapbook. One of the photography websites to which I've subscribed suggested using a blog to save the pix and a short journal entry for each. Seems like a better idea if ever a scrapbook will come of this project. So each day--with luck--or each week, at least, a picture and a blurb will be posted. There will be days in which the record will be boring or mundane or just sad or depressing. But there will be days of incredible beauty, of interest, of curiosity, of love, too. A chronicle of life--unique in some ways to me--but in far more other ways: Life as it is for all of us at one time or another. So here's to life!! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another book giveaway!!! 3 books!!!

I love Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles series about a lawyer turned herbal gardener and shopkeeper who seems to find herself in the midst of deaths in her Texas hill country town. The series is drawing down, I think and in looking for a replacement series I stumbled upon a contest to win three books by an author whose heroine is a landscaper in Connecticut. Sounds like I may have a new series of crimes to explore with this amateur sleuth. Check out the link and try for the books yourself!!!


Nothing like winning a free book!!

If you like to cook, if you like to read mysteries, if the White House and its workings fascinate you, you should check out this link http://kayespenguinposts.blogspot.com There is a contest to win Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy. Have never read anything by her but this sounds like a really fun book involving the delivery of poisoned Buffalo wings to the children of the newly inaugurated president........how did they get past security? Who sent them? Hmmmmm, and I hear there are recipes from the head chef who it seems is also an amateur sleuth. The broth--oh, I mean, the plot thickens! I hope I win!!!!!