August 31, 2012

I am so excited for this weekend!  My husband and I are heading to Indiana to celebrate my uncle's 85th birthday.  We will attend church at my 'home church'--it holds so many memories for me and all of them are precious.  I learned all about the people in the Bible with my Sunday School teacher, Miss Ruth Foutz, and her felt board presentations.  I learned to sing "Climb Up Sunshine Mountain" and "The B-I-B-L-E" and "Deep and Wide" (all with the appropriate hand gestures, of course!).  I earned my perfect attendance pins which are still in my jewelry box. I watched my parents marry in this church on Christmas Eve 1960.  I returned to Indiana after my parents' marriage every summer and sat in the pews with aunts, uncles, cousins and childhood friends, and although some of them are now gone I can't wait to return to Kingsley United Methodist on Sunday and once again worship in the church that has never left my heart.  

There’s a church in the valley by the wildwood,
No lovelier spot in the dale;
No place is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the vale.

Come to the church in the wildwood,
Oh, come to the church in the dale,
No spot is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the vale.

How sweet on a clear, Sabbath morning,
To list to the clear ringing bell;
Its tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh, come to the church in the vale.

Stained glass window honoring my aunt and uncle

I hope your Labor Day weekend is filled with all good things--family, friends, and opportunities to create more wonderful memories!  If you are traveling, be safe, and I'll be back on Monday morning.

August 30, 2012

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

Well, it looks like it is back to school time!  My kids are back at college, my nieces and nephews have all shared their beautiful 'first day of school' photos and all the stores are filled with back to school specials on clothing and supplies.  I always loved starting school in the fall--the excitement of wondering if you would like your teacher, who your classmates would be, what subjects would hold your interest, and last, but not least, your new clothes!  For some reason I developed a fascination for marbles in elementary school.  I once traded 35 regular marbles for a beautiful cobalt blue marble that gleamed in the sun...I have cherished that marble for over forty years now and it still resides in my jewelry box!  Here's a fun poem about someone who must love marbles as much as I....

 Max Mendelsohn

I love the sound of marbles   
scattered on the worn wooden floor,   
like children running away in a game of hide-and-seek.   
I love the sight of white marbles,   
blue marbles,   
green marbles, black,   
new marbles, old marbles,   
iridescent marbles,   
with glass-ribboned swirls,   
dancing round and round.   
I love the feel of marbles,   
cool, smooth,   
rolling freely in my palm,   
like smooth-sided stars   
that light up the worn world.
May you have a shiny new marble day!

August 29, 2012

Last night a song by Harry Belafonte kept running through my mind...Turn Around--the song about a little girl who grows up so fast.  Yesterday my youngest son headed back to college, but my 'baby girl' stayed in her apartment all summer, working as a nanny for three special needs teenagers.  She tackled so much this summer--staying by herself in an unairconditioned apartment during the state's hottest summer on record, taking two summer school classes towards her degree in Human Services, working with young boys who needed a lot of TLC and direction, supporting herself and paying her bills--I am so proud of her!  She has become an amazing young woman....but I miss that little girl that loved to snuggle in my lap.  Thank goodness you never grow too old for hugs!

Where are you going
My little one, little one
Where are you going
My baby, my own
Turn around and you’re two
Turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door

I hope you make time today to hug someone you moves at such a fast pace but we all need to take time to express our love for others.  Have a wonderful Wednesday! 


August 28, 2012

You would think by now I would be used to it....with three sons I've gone through it enough.  One minute they are little boys...full of fun and adventure, sniggering at some awful joke and their eyes dancing with mischievous thoughts.  And then, right before your eyes, they are men.  My youngest son goes back to college today--it's been great having him home this summer but I know he's ready to go back to his friends, his college life and finish up his last year of college.  Matthew--I love you, for the little boy that will always live in my heart and the fine young man you have become.  Have a great year!

Matthew and his sister Caitlin, 1st day of kindergarten and pre-school!

Why God Made Little Boys

God made a world out of His dreams,
of magic mountains, oceans and streams,
Prairies and plains and wooded land.
Then paused and thought
I need someone to stand, on top of the mountains,
to conquer the seas, explore the plains
and climb the trees.
Someone to start out small and grow,
sturdy and strong like a tree and so
He created boys, full of spirit and fun
To explore and conquer, to romp and run
With dirty faces, and banged up chins
With courageous hearts and boyish grins.
And when He had completed the task He'd begun,
He surely said, "That's a job well done."

Have a wonderful day--what memories do you cherish about the 'back to school' days??

August 27, 2012

Happy Monday!  Last night I was watching television with my husband, and I must confess, I grew weary (and then irritated) at the number of political ads and their increasing vitriol.  What has happened to courtesy in this country?  I couldn't help but wonder what some of our past leaders would think of how we know conduct ourselves in the political arena.  One of my favorite presidents was Abraham Lincoln, who read poetry voraciously.  He memorized this poem on a visit to his wife's home in 1847 and then recited it to her family.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


by William Cullen Bryant

     To him who in the love of Nature holds   
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks   
A various language; for his gayer hours   
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile   
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides   
Into his darker musings, with a mild   
And healing sympathy, that steals away   
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts   
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight   
Over thy spirit, and sad images   
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,   
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,   
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;—   
Go forth, under the open sky, and list   
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around—
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air—
Comes a still voice— 
I hope you can find a still voice today in between work, family and errands!  Take a moment to "commune with Nature's visible forms" and listen for the voice of gladness!

You can find the rest of the poem at

August 26, 2012

Sunrise in the Black Hills of South Dakota

 I'm thinking of my Dad today and how much he loved to be outside.  He worked outside in all weather, and loved to camp, hunt, fish, and taught all of us to appreciate nature and be good stewards of the beauty around us.  Whether it was creating whistles for all the kids at a campground, hunting for diamond willow in ditches, or bringing Mother a huge bouquet of lilacs from the wild bushes in the country he reveled in all the glories of nature.  I think of him every time I hear this hymn.  I miss you, Dad.

        This is my Father's world, 
 and to my listening ears 
 all nature sings, and round me rings 
 the music of the spheres.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 I rest me in the thought 
 of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
 his hand the wonders wrought.
        This is my Father's world, 
 the birds their carols raise, 
 the morning light, the lily white, 
 declare their maker's praise.  
 This is my Father's world:  
 he shines in all that's fair; 
 in the rustling grass I hear him pass; 
 he speaks to me everywhere.

August 25, 2012

 Well, Maggie Smith (Lady Violet in Downton Abbey) may not know what a weekend is, but hopefully all of us do!  I'm spending today with my daughter and looking forward to some 'girly' time--just the two of us!  Sometimes between work, housework, grocery shopping, meal planning, and family errands 'girl time' gets put on the back burner.  I hope all of you make time for a little fun today!

When the working day is done
Girls--they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun,
They want to have fun,
They want to have fun... blog today is ''pop culture' oriented with a television series image and lyrics from Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun, but that's the fun of having your own blog!  It's okay to lighten up sometimes...hope you do the same!

August 24, 2012

I am always surprised when the week turns to the weekend so fast--eight hours of work today, and then I can relax and play!  I plan to shop and visit with my daughter tomorrow (she's moving to a new apartment next week so I imagine the visit and shopping will center around her decorating ideas!), and I also want to finish up two pillows I have been working on.  I have taken the plunge and signed up for a beginner quilting class this fall and am looking forward to learning another craft.  It's a big world of fun out there, isn't it?!

And speaking of fun, it looks like this picture really may be of Emily Dickinson!  Dr. Susan Pepin, Associate Professor of Surgery (Ophthalmology) and Pediatrics at Dartmouth Medical Center, has carefully studied the daguerreotype and draws the conclusion that the lovely, assured woman on the left is indeed 'our' Emily.
You can read about her research at  I find it fascinating to think that Emily's photo was hidden for over 150 years.  The evidence is mounting that this is Emily on the left and her good friend Kate Scott Turner on the right.  You can also find more fascinating facts about the research behind this picture (including the investigation at the Emily Dickinson textile collection as to whether a blue checked fabric in the collection might match the pictured dress) at  Here's a poem that I have always loved--my hope today is that all of us in some way or another can ease the burden in someone's life. 

Kate Scott Turner (right) and possible Emily Dickinson (left 

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
- Emily Dickinson

August 23, 2012

Big news in the world of Emily Dickinson!  A second picture that MIGHT be Emily has been discovered and all sorts of scientific tests are being run--a big announcement is expected today.  How exciting!  Up until now the only picture in existence has been the one on the left.  What do you think--does the picture on the right reflect an older Emily?

You can read more about the discovery and the research into the authenticity of the new picture on The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson  page on Facebook.  And by the way, if you haven't read the book by the same name (author is Jerome Charyn) it is a fun and provocative fictional take on her life.  I am left wondering what the reclusive Emily would think about all this hoopla! 

I'm nobody!  Who are you?
And are you nobody too?
Then there's a pair of us--don't tell
They'll banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
                       --Emily Dickinson

May your day be filled with a little adventure and excitement!

August 22, 2012

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Good morning, and happy Wednesday.  I'm sharing a special poem with you today that kept me going last summer.  I am happy to write that today I am celebrating my first year of being cancer-free, and am looking forward to another year of health and happiness.  May all of you find blessings in today--let's enjoy each day to the fullest.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

--Emily Dickinson

Once you choose hope, anything's possible.  ~Christopher Reeve

August 21, 2012

Welcome to Tuesday!  Today's poem has me thinking about all the ways my life has been enriched by books.  What a joy it is to share favorite books with a friend or family member...some characters become so real that it feels they are part of your family.  I have been so blessed to have a mother, aunts, siblings, children, and friends that are avid readers.  I share of love of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) and Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn) with one son, and right now another son and I are aching over the cruel and harsh lives of characters in the Game of Thrones series (George R.R. Martin).  Meanwhile, my daughter and I are time traveling through Jacobite Scotland with feisty Claire and the love of her life, Jamie, in the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon).  I will always remember the summer my entire family was reading the final Harry Potter book and spent our evenings discussing the plot twists and turns and agonizing over the fate of our favorite characters.  This weekend my friend and I greeted each other with 'what are you reading?" and exchanged rather lengthy reading lists.  At work yesterday my colleagues recommended two new books--Quiet and The Art of Fielding.

And my mother and I....well, what can I say?  From Anne with an 'e' (Anne of Green Gables) and lonely  Elnora (Girl of the Limberlost) to the adventures of Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth, we've laughed and cried and lived with these characters so long that they are truly part of our lives.  Mother and I have roamed the mist shrouded streets of London with Anne Perry's detectives, cheered on spunky jockeys in Dick Francis novels and traveled the world with our favorite intrepid spy, Mrs. Pollifax.  My mother inspired my love of reading and for that, I am so very grateful. 

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

--Emily Dickinson

Mother and I at Orchard House, home of the Alcotts in Concord, MA, 2011


August 20, 2012

"My friends are my estate..."**

Good morning! I hope you had a lovely weekend filled with rest and relaxation, and you are ready to face the week.  Mondays are always a little difficult for me...hard to get up and face the work week, although I'm fine once I get going.  My husband and I visited good friends of ours a couple of hours away from us, and the drive through the beautiful countryside was restorative.  Good friends, lots of laughter, some rather silly and delightful moments creating a dinner worthy of Julia Child (more on that later this week!) and time spent with two people we cherish and admire---it was a great way to unwind and enjoy the weekend.

I promised you a glimpse into Emily Dickinson's world this week.  She is one of my favorite poets, and there is a real buzz about her lately that I will share with you later on.  For today, let's start the week on a happy note with one of her charming nature poems.

The bee is not afraid of me,
I know the butterfly;
The pretty people in the woods
Receive me cordially.

The brooks laugh louder when I come,
The breezes madder play.
Wherefore, mine eye, thy silver mists?
Wherefore, O summer's day?

**Written by Emily in a letter to Samuel Bowles, 1858

August 17, 2012

Happy Friday!  I can't believe the weekend came so fast, but I won't argue about it!  I hope you have plans for a fun weekend--my husband and I are spending time with two of our dearest friends.  I'll make time for laundry and vacuuming next week...this weekend friends and family come first.  Here's a fun little poem penned by Sir Walter Scott that sums up my enjoyment of Door County.  I hope you like it too!

Hie Away...

Hie away, hie away,
Over bank and over brae,
Where the copsewood is the greenest,
Where the  fountains glisten sheenest,
Where the lady-fern grows strongest,
Where the morning dew lies longest,
Where the black-cock sweetest sips it,
Where the fairy latest trips it:
Hie to haunts right seldom seen,
Lovely, lonesome, cool and green,
Over bank and over brae,
Hie away, hie away.

Cave Point State Park, Door County, Wisconsin

Have a wonderful weekend--I'll be back on Monday morning with some thoughts (and new pictures?!) of Emily Dickinson!  Do you like her poetry as much as I do?

August 16, 2012

When you take Monday and Tuesday as vacation days, the week sure seems to fly by!  Here it is Thursday already, and I must confess, I'm not even completely unpacked from camping.  Since I'm still wishing I was in Door County, I'll share with you one of my favorite places in Peninsula State Park--Eagle Bluff.  My family finishes up supper and dishes in time to jump in the car and drive over to this spot and watch the sunset over the water.  Small islands dot the horizon and you can sometimes see a sailboat or two making for land as the last rays hit the water.  It is beautiful, peaceful and serene.  Perhaps Wordsworth had a favorite place like Eagle Bluff....

Sonnet No. 4
William Wordsworth

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a Nun
Breathless with adoration, the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the Sea.

May your day be as calm and lovely as this picture!  Do you have a favorite vacation place?

August 15, 2012

What's nicer than a little vacation time, removed from the world that 'is too much with us'?  I am back from one of my favorite get-away locations, beautiful Door County, Wisconsin.  This little peninsula at the top of north-eastern Wisconsin juts out into Lake Michigan, with Green Bay on one side and Lake Michigan on the other.  The tiny hamlets of Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay, Ellison Bay, Gills Rock, Bailey's Harbor and Jacksonport (each with populations ranging from 200-2000) are friendly, welcoming, and remind me so much of New England.  The views are spectacular and after a day of hiking, picnicking, and kite flying, nothing is better than a campfire, some s'mores and a delicious piece of Door County cherry pie.  Today it's back to work, but even while I'm sitting at my desk I'm sure I will be dreaming of my next trip 'up north'!  Here's a poem by Emily Bronte--she must have felt the need of a small vacation also.

A Little While, A Little While
Emily Jane Bronte

A little while, a little while,
The noisy crowd are barred away;
And I can sing and smile--
A little while I've holiday!

Where wilt thou go, my harassed heart?
Full many a land invites thee now;
And places near, and far apart
Have rest for thee, my weary brow--

A little and a lone green lane,
That opened on a common wide;
A distant, dreamy, dim blue chain
Of mountains circling every side;

A heaven so clear, an earth so calm,
So sweet, so soft, so hushed an air;
And, deepening still the dream-like charm,
Wild moor-sheep feeding everywhere.

I hope you have a great day.  Thanks for stopping by to read my blog!  What are some of your favorite destinations?  I would love to hear from you!

You can find the full poem at:

All pictures are my own.

August 11, 2012

Sunset at Eagle Bluff, Peninsula State Park's the weekend!  My husband and I are off to beautiful Door County, Wisconsin for some much needed r&r and a long weekend of hiking, reading, golfing and camping in the beautiful 'up north' country on Lake Michigan.  Hopefully I will have some nice pictures to share with you when we get back.  We are tent campers and I'll be far away from wi-fi and computers, so please look for my next blog on Wednesday morning.  Until then, have a wonderful weekend and carpe diem! 

after a storm, Ephraim Harbor

Lautenbach's Orchard Country Winery near Fish Creek

Fern Trail in Newport State Park

August 10, 2012

Happy Friday!  The work week is drawing to a close, and it's time to start thinking how you want to spend your weekend hours--hopefully you have plans to spend time with family and friends, perhaps work on a project or just find a place to curl up with a good book and relax.  I know laundry needs washing and floors need scrubbing, but we need time to refresh our souls as well as tidy our homes!  I woke up this morning with this tune in my head...I imagine many of you will recognize it from the Cat Stevens' version or perhaps from church youth campfire sing-alongs.  The lyrics were actually written by Eleanor Farjeon, for inclusion in a Scottish hymnal, Songs of Praise, in 1931. The editor of the hymnal, noting a need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, asked English poet and children's author Eleanor Farjeon "to make a poem to fit" the lovely Scottish tune Bunnesan.  May we always remember to give thanks for each day!  Take a big breath, let it out slowly and may the peace and gentleness of the words flow over you.

Morning has Broken

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Spring in completeness where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
Gods' recreation of the new day.

Morning mist, New Hampshire 2011


August 9, 2012

Good morning!  I've got travel on my mind today...many of my co-workers are on vacation, my daughter and her boyfriend are just heading back from the Black Hills, and my brother and his family is heading towards Utah.  I am looking forward to a long camping weekend---walking by Lake Michigan, sitting around a campfire and marveling at the star studded night sky.  I think Walt Whitman was feeling the same urge to get and up go with this excerpt from Song of the Open Road.

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

I think heroic deeds were all conceived in the open air, and all free poems also,
I think I could stop here myself and do miracles,
I think whatever I shall meet on the road I shall like, and
whoever beholds me shall like me
I think whoever I see must be happy.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

May your day be filled with happiness!!

August 8, 2012

Good morning!  I was sitting on my deck early this morning enjoying a cup of tea before work, and I saw a lovely spider web shimmering in the sunlight.  It reminded me of a story I heard last September when visiting the Orchard House in Concord, MA.  Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women at Orchard House, and I love visiting her home and soaking in all the history and anecdotes about the Alcott family.  Our guide shared a story about Thoreau, who was a much loved family friend, and the Alcott sisters.  He always enjoyed taking them on nature walks, and would point out spider webs as 'fairy handkerchiefs'.  A few days later my husband and I were visiting Robert Frost's farm in Derry, NH, and came across a lovely fairy handkerchief in the meadow. 

A noiseless patient spider
by Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark'd how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch'd forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

I hope your day is filled with magical moments!

August 7, 2012

Good morning and happy Tuesday!  I hope your week got off to a good start yesterday--here in my state the horrible hot weather packed up its suitcase and went on vacation, and I hope it stays away for quite some time!  It feels wonderful to be able to open the windows and feel fresh air instead of a blast of heat.  I spent most of last night thinking about my post for today--this poem conveys the sense of sadness I feel at the senseless shootings in Aurora and Milwaukee.  I want to take today to honor those victims.

Chorus from a Tragedy
Leonard Bacon

The world is no longer good.
Men's hearts no more are kind.
There is coldness in the mind,
Bitterness in the blood.
And I am not resigned.

When they talk of burning things
That touch me to the heart,
They trammel music and art,
They wither Ariel's wings
Or tear his pinions apart.

We shall not have things as they were,
Not as they were before.
If I had the heart to restore,
Would the chestnut thicken its burr?
Would the olive leaf once more?

May your day be blessed with goodness.

August 6, 2012

Thames Below Westminster (Westminster Bridge), Claude Monet 1871

Good morning!  After a week of watching the Olympics and thinking about all things English, I thought this beautiful painting by Impressionist painter Claude Monet would be a lovely way to start our week.  I hope you had a restful weekend with time to relax and play, and that your Monday starts off on a pleasant note!  Not only painters loved London's Westminster Bridge--here is how William Wordsworth described it in words instead of paint.

Westminster Bridge
September 3, 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, 
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock or hill,
Ne'er saw I, never felt,a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Do you have a favorite painter?  I'd love to hear from you!  Until tomorrow, have a day as lovely as the picture above!

August 5, 2012

Good morning!  Having learned my lesson yesterday about procrastinating on writing my post and feeling vaguely guilty all day about it, I woke up this morning determined to find the perfect poem early in the day!  And with the help of my mother's 1941 Viking Book of Poetry (sorry, Mom, if you have been looking for your book!) I found one that amused me, and I hope you enjoy it as well.  My husband is an avid golfer, and likes to get up EARLY in the morning and start his day on the course while the sun is still coming up.  Most of the time I can manage to sleep through his early morning dressing and leaving the house, but not always.  This poem reminded me of how sometimes couples with sleep cycles that don't quite match have to make compromises.  Have a wonderful Sunday...carpe diem!

"Anna-Marie, Love, Up is the Sun"
from Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott

Knight:  Anna-Marie, love, up is the sun,
Anna-Marie, love, morn is begun,
Mists are dispersing, love, birds singing free,
Up in the morning, love, Anna-Marie.
Anna-Marie, love, up in the morn,
The hunter is winding blithe sounds on his horn,
The echo rings merry from rock and from tree.
'Tis time to arouse thee, love, Anna-Marie.

Wamba:  O Tybalt, love, Tybalt, awake me not yet,
Around my soft pillow while softer dreams flit;
For what are the joys that in waking we prove,
Compared with these visions, O Tybalt! my love?
Let the birds to the rise of the mist carol shrill,
Let the hunter blow out his loud horn on the hill,
Softer sounds, softer pleasure, in slumber I prove,
But think not I dream of thee, Tybalt, my love.

August 4, 2012

I gave myself a little more time to write my blog today, figuring I deserved some recreation time on Saturday after working all week, but I didn't count on feeling vaguely guilty all day because I hadn't written my post yet!  I guess I need to follow Longfellow's exhortation to "let us then be up and doing" a little more closely and sit down to write early in the morning, even on the weekends.  I hope everyone has had a pleasant day, filled with enjoyable activities that set the weekend apart from the busy work week.  While I certainly didn't set the world on fire today, I thoroughly enjoyed the book I finished (an interesting mystery by Barbara Michaels, Vanish with the Rose, that featured old roses and made me want to run right out to a nursery), went to a movie (Total Recall, my husband's pick), and tried two new recipes for supper (mango salsa and baked herbed tomatoes).  Not a bad Saturday!

My mother mentioned on the phone this morning that she had put up applesauce from her apple tree, and it reminded me of a poem that I first encountered in freshman English Literature and have loved ever since.  You can find the full poem at, if you would like to read more.

To Autumn
John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-treees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
Wth a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells.

Apple tree at Robert Frost Farm, New Hampshire

August 3, 2012

Were any of you able to tear your eyes away from the television yesterday as we watched beautiful Gabby earn her gold medal?  I was so excited to see her so confident and smiling on the mat during her floor exercise--her smile lit up the room!  Her enthusiasm and joy of life brought to mind this favorite poem of mine, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (but more likely written by Bessie Stanley in 1905 in a slightly different version)


by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
To find the best in others,
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

August 2, 2012

I had one of those perfect summer evenings last night....sitting on the grass, sipping wine, listening to an amazing orchestra play an English-themed outdoor concert.  The cicadas joined in, and for awhile all was right with the world.  When they played Percy Grainger's beautifully orchestrated arrangement of English Country Garden I pictured Queen Mary's Rose Garden in Regent's Park, where my mother and I discovered gorgeous blue delphiniums in bloom during our magical visit to London several years ago.  I was also transported back in time to the television show Captain Kangaroo, which would occasionally play this tune and show pictures of England--and one little girl and her mother dreamed of going there someday and seeing the flowers for ourselves.  Don't you love it when dreams come true?

English Country Garden

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Daffodils, heart's ease and flox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks
Gentian, lupine and tall hollihocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden

How many insects come here and go
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Fireflies, moths, gnats and bees
Spiders climbing in the trees
Butterflies drift in the gentle breeze
There are snakes, ants that sting
And other creeping things
In an English country garden

How many songbirds fly to and fro
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know
Those we miss you'll surely pardon
Bobolink, cuckoo and quail
Tanager and cardinal
Bluebird, lark, thrush and nightingale
There is joy in the spring
When the birds begin to sing
In an English country garden

All photographs are my own. Please do not copy without permission.

August 1, 2012

Happy August!  August meant vacation time in my family, and each year my parents would load up our station wagon (five kids, no air conditioning and definitely no DVD players or I-pods!) and head to Indiana to visit my mother's side of the family.  One of my favorite memories was going blackberry picking with my Dad.  We would take buckets out to the pasture, braving those pesky chiggers (think mosquitoes but five times worse!) and bring back fresh blackberries for Grandma to turn into delicious blackberry cobbler with homemade ice cream.  It was such a sweet, innocent time, filled with family, love, good food and lots of pink calamine lotion for the chigger bites!  Here is a fun poem about that special time in my life:

by Seamus Heaney
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.

Dad and I by Grandpa's fishing pond, mid 1960's

What memories make you smile?  I'd love to hear about them!