May 20, 2015

No, dear neighbors and passersby, I have not been turned to stone like Lot's wife.  Nor have I taken to meditation, doing my statue pose in front of my kitchen window.  If you passed by my home this morning and wondered at the silhouette in the window, it was just me, quietly watching my new hanging plant.  

After losing the "battle" yet again last year with nesting birds and expensive hanging plants, I opted for an inexpensive pot of impatiens from Home Depot this year.  I also found this charming wire basket on sale, which dresses up the humble plastic pot.  And as expected, it hadn't been up for more than a few hours before I witnessed the first turf war...two mama cardinals each took up residence on opposite sides of the pot, and after they noticed each other, had a rather alarming duel outside the window!  And while they were flapping and darting at each other, a cozy little sparrow hopped in the basket and made herself at home.  So this morning, I spent a long time quietly watching at the window to see if I could identify the "winner"...every so often the basket would shake so I knew my new tenant was home, but I have yet to figure out if baby cardinals or baby sparrows will grow in the shelter of my front porch basket.  I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, here are two Emily Dickinson garden poems for your enjoyment.  In case you ever wondered, Emily only gave a very few of her poems titles, so most of them are now either given numbers or categorized into collections by subject.  These are two of her "nature" poems.

There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields—
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!  

Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets, —
Prodigal of blue,
Spending scarlet like a woman,
Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
Like a lover's words.

May 19, 2015

a little bit of this, a little bit of that...

The song from Fiddler on the Roof seems appropriate for today's blog...catching you up on some of the comings and goings around here.  Yesterday heralded the new "living arrangements" at my workplace...I think I can safely speak for most of my colleagues when I say we were a little dismayed to discover what close quarters a cubicle meant for one can be when it is shared by two.  I ended up sitting at a funny angle in my chair because of a slanted keyboard stand, and by the time I got home my evening revolved around Aleve and a heating pad.  

Displaying IMG_20150515_123534434_HDR.jpg
Who would have thought I'd actually be missing my old cubicle??
My back probably was also suffering from a little too much gardening this weekend, but it was wonderfully gratifying to peek outside this morning and see the progress!

Front and back window boxes planted...

Front walkway weeded and cheerful geraniums and violas planted...

Umbrella table planter decked out in colorful moss roses and impatiens...I seem to be gravitating towards bright oranges and yellows in my garden this year instead of my traditional pastels.

All gardening done, of course, under the watchful eye of my faithful companion...

You can see why I just had to buy this garden flag!

It's almost Lily time!  And yes, that means my lilies of the valley are blooming, and my day lilies are filling out beautifully...

But it also means that my darling Lily is getting ready to turn one!  Oh my gosh, where did this year go?!  She celebrated with her Milwaukee relatives and friends last weekend...what a party girl!


 And if that wasn't enough to celebrate, it turned out that yesterday was an extra special day at our house!!  Kudos to my husband, who after thirty four years of golfing, had his first HOLE IN ONE!  Way to go, sweetheart!!

Special ball is proudly displayed on our You Are Special plate...

Here's a celebration poem by Mike Birdscratch just for you, honey!

As I approach the beauty of the waving blades marked with golden stakes
I feel the gentle breeze brushing through my hair standing on the overlooking mound
The power rushes through my hands as I pick up my powerful staff to tame this green beauty
I swing my staff with all my might at the unusually round white evil of the average man
As I forcefully strike evil and watch, it soars gently through the air
It slowly lifts towards the heavens but is just as slowly denied and falls to the final battlefield
Softly landing on the forbidden grounds it shakes a white flag at me signaling submission
Finally I have won I have been accepted in to God’s green heavens

May 18, 2015

Prithee...into my garden, come!

A lovely, quiet weekend, with a lot of time spent in the garden.  My guess is Emily would have approved...

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church –
I keep it, staying at Home –
With a Bobolink for a Chorister –
And an Orchard, for a Dome –

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice –
I, just wear my Wings –
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church, 
Our little Sexton – sings. 

God preaches, a noted Clergyman –
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last –
I’m going, all along.

In the name of the bee
And of the butterfly
And of the breeze, amen! 

--from poems by Emily Dickinson

May 15, 2015

I am a "nester."  Not as in empty nest, but as in wanting to always make where I hang out feel homey and comfortable.  I've lived in umpteen apartments that, truth be told, were pretty dreary, but I somehow managed to hang art on the walls, drape a quilt over a sofa and make it feel like home.  And since so much of my time is spent at work, I tend to do the same with the office space I inhabit on a daily basis.  Kind of a cubicle, sweet cubicle, thing.  This, however, is coming to a screeching halt today as my place of work is starting a building wide remodeling project and that means temporarily all of us cubicle dwellers are being displaced.  It will be an interesting summer, combining workstation sharing, working from my home office, working in coffee shops, and maybe even occasionally working on my laptop on my deck near my garden.  

So today I bid adieu to the gray cubicle that I tried my best to infuse with warmth and a touch of personality. Everything is safely packed up and in my car trunk.  My cubicle is empty and all I need to do is unplug my phone and laptop and walk away. And to close out the end of my cubicle era, I thought you might enjoy a few of these humorous parodies, because even if my office space no longer has room for my poetry books, fortunately poetry can be carried in the heart...

The Cubicle Less Traveled By
Two cubicles in my new office stood,
And sorry I could not claim them both,
I pondered longer than I should
Which would do the greater good
To stimulate careerish growth.
The first was colder than I could bear,
Beneath an overzealous vent;
The other was fine, with warmer air,
But to the network printer there,
A steady stream of people went.
And long I dithered there in vain,
Weighing the less distracting glitch.
Would cold or traffic render me insane?
And knowing how moving’s such a pain
I doubted I should ever want to switch.
I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Someday ages and ages hence:
Two cubicles vacant stood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Goodbye, Monets, that made me want to step into the picture and glide down the river or sip a cool glass of lemonade...

Goodbye, Prairie Woman (artist Harvey Dunn).  I've admired your strength and grace since I was a teen--and I have always carried a piece of South Dakota in my heart and on my walls...

Goodbye, lovely reminders of Kensington Palace and all the fun I had in London...

Goodbye, lovely prairie prints and my graceful McCoy vase, that I filled with garden flowers all summer long...

Goodbye pictures of Greece and Maine, and all the sweet memories they remind me of...
Avoiding One’s Cubicle on a Busy Morning
Whose cube this is, I think I know–
Its owner’s in a meeting, though.
She will not see me stopping here
To watch her philodendron grow.
It’s odd my feet should try to steer
This way when there is no one here.
It’s just to keep the office flake
From blithely talking off my ear.
“Hello,” I said–a big mistake,
Which led to an extended break,
In which I barely gave a peep,
Nor he a pause, a breath to take.
The chance of an encounter’s steep,
But I have deadlines still to keep:
Back to my cube, I’ll have to creep…
Back to my cube, I’ll have to creep.

Goodbye, family photos that make me smile, and the philodendron that added a much needed touch of green...

Emily Dickinson’s Lunch Hour
Because I could not stop for lunch,
And leave at half-past three,
I stayed inside my cubicle,
And worked on, grumpily.
I soon recalled I hadn’t brought–
Or purchased on the way–
A sandwich, drink, and bag of chips,
For this contingency.
My window showed where children played
A game out in the sun–
I watched–then turned to face
The work still to be done.
Or, rather, tried to face the work–
Distractions do abound–
And hunger just accelerates
The mental runaround.
My fellow workers paused outside
My cube and talked of food,
And ever since my abdomen
Has given rumblings rude.
‘Tis hours since lunch, and yet there seems
No ending to the day.
How long until my work’s complete?
Right now, eternity–

Goodbye, little reminders of my love for my family, my passion for travel, my enjoyment of a good cup of tea (and Jane Austen!), my enthusiasm for poetry...

Goodbye, banker's lamp, favorite coffee mug and a little reminder to keep calm...

Emily Gets the Last Word
The bustle in a cube–when an employee quits–
Would give the former occupant a half a dozen fits.
The clearing off of shelves, and filching of supplies
That they won’t need to use again is Practical, not Nice.

Poems based on “The Road Less Traveled,” by Robert Frost
“Because I could not stop for Death,” by Emily Dickinson
“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening,” by Robert Frost
“The bustle in the house,” by Emily Dickinson

May 14, 2015

God thought about me, and so I grew...

Where Did You Come From, Baby Dear?

~George MacDonald

Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the everywhere into here.

Where did you get your eyes so blue?
Out of the sky as I came through.

What makes the light in them sparkle and spin?
Some of the starry spikes left in.

What makes your forehead so smooth and high?
A soft hand stroked it as I went by.

What makes your cheek like a warm white rose?
I saw something better than anyone knows.

Whence that three-cornered smile of bliss?
Three angels gave me at once a kiss.

Where did you get this pearly ear?
God spoke, and it came out to hear.

Where did you get those arms and hands?
Love made itself into hooks and bands.

 Feet, whence did you come, you darling things?
From the same box as the cherubs' wings.

How did they all just come to be you?
God thought about me, and so I grew.

But how did you come to us, you dear?
God thought about you, and so I am here.

Being a mother is wonderful.  Being a grandmother is sheer bliss.  Happy Thursday!

May 13, 2015

"you are the smell of all summers..."


By Amy Lowell
False blue,
Color of lilac,
Your great puffs of flowers
Are everywhere in this my New England.

Among your heart-shaped leaves
Orange orioles hop like music-box birds and sing   
Their little weak soft songs;
In the crooks of your branches
The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on spotted eggs   
Peer restlessly through the light and shadow   
Of all Springs.

Lilacs in dooryards
Holding quiet conversations with an early moon;   
Lilacs watching a deserted house
Settling sideways into the grass of an old road;
Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a lopsided shock of bloom
Above a cellar dug into a hill.
You are everywhere.
You were everywhere.

You tapped the window when the preacher preached his sermon,
And ran along the road beside the boy going to school.
You stood by the pasture-bars to give the cows good milking,   
You persuaded the housewife that her dishpan was of silver.   
And her husband an image of pure gold.  

You flaunted the fragrance of your blossoms   
Through the wide doors of Custom Houses—
You, and sandal-wood, and tea,
Charging the noses of quill-driving clerks   
When a ship was in from China.
You called to them: “Goose-quill men, goose-quill men,   
May is a month for flitting.”
Until they writhed on their high stools
And wrote poetry on their letter-sheets behind the propped-up ledgers.
Paradoxical New England clerks,
Writing inventories in ledgers, reading the “Song of Solomon” at night,
So many verses before bed-time,
Because it was the Bible.

False blue,
Color of lilac,
You have forgotten your Eastern origin,   
The veiled women with eyes like panthers,
The swollen, aggressive turbans of jeweled pashas.
Now you are a very decent flower,   
A reticent flower,
A curiously clear-cut, candid flower,   
Standing beside clean doorways,
Friendly to a house-cat and a pair of spectacles,   
Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight   
And a hundred or two sharp blossoms.

Maine knows you,
Has for years and years;
New Hampshire knows you,
And Massachusetts
And Vermont.
Cape Cod starts you along the beaches to Rhode Island;   
Connecticut takes you from a river to the sea.   
You are brighter than apples,
Sweeter than tulips,
You are the great flood of our souls
Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our hearts,   
You are the smell of all Summers,
The love of wives and children,
The recollection of gardens of little children,   
You are State Houses and Charters
And the familiar treading of the foot to and fro on a road it knows. 

May is lilac here in New England,
May is a thrush singing “Sun up!” on a tip-top ash tree,   
May is white clouds behind pine-trees   
Puffed out and marching upon a blue sky.   
May is a green as no other,
May is much sun through small leaves,   
May is soft earth,
And apple-blossoms,
And windows open to a South Wind.   
May is full light wind of lilac
From Canada to Narragansett Bay. 

False blue,
Color of lilac.
Heart-leaves of lilac all over New England,   
Roots of lilac under all the soil of New England,   
Lilac in me because I am New England,
Because my roots are in it,
Because my leaves are of it,
Because my flowers are for it,   
Because it is my country
And I speak to it of itself
And sing of it with my own voice   
Since certainly it is mine.

May 8, 2015

The Man You've Become

Twenty-five years ago this little boy stole my heart.

We love you for your sweetness, your gentle heart and the way you love your family like crazy...

We love you for the joy you find in everyday life

We are, of course, so proud of all you have accomplished--you are simply an amazing person.

 Smart, funny, loyal, and so very talented.  Dedicated to the craft of acting. 

A devoted son and brother and grandson.


We have watched with pride as you grew into a loving relationship with a wonderful young woman.  


You love your family. You love your friends.  You strive to do what's right.  Your moral compass points true north. 

But we love you not because of all you have accomplished and won and starred in and created, but for who you are...our son.  This poem seems so appropriate today....Happy Birthday!

The Man You've Become 
by Molly Pasutti
Big wheels, hot wheels
Little trucks and cars
Skinned knees, climbing trees
Wishing on the stars
Moments may be lost somewhere in time
But the sweetest memories are never left behind
Now you've grown so fine
And come so far...
I'm so proud of who you are
The man you've become
Thrilled to share your deepest joy
To know you've found the one
For the great things you will do
I'll be blessed 'cause you're my son
But I'll always see the boy
In the man you've become
School days, sleep-aways
Driving all alone
Phone calls, shopping malls
Late coming home
It was hard to know when to let you spread your wings
When to let you got to face the challenges life brings
But you've grown so fine
And come so far...