March 26, 2015

upside down...

It's nearing the end of March, and while I really do understand that even if the calendar says it is spring, living in Wisconsin means the possibility of snow hasn't left yet.  But it's a little discouraging to see things "upside down" this morning...

In my solarium I have blooming hibiscus that over-wintered far better than I expected:

and tulips at the end of their blooms:
and sprouting seeds...all hopeful signs of spring!!

Yet a peek outside my windows tells a far different story...

front yard...

and back yard...

Even a visiting baby hawk looks a little confused!

Hopefully we will soon be turning our faces toward the summer isle as poet Claude McKay envisions in his poem After the Winter.  I am sure at this point in the change of seasons we are all more than ready for wide mouthed orchids and ferns that never fade!

After the Winter 

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
     And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
     Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
     Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
     And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
     Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
     And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
     Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
     And ferns that never fade.

March 13, 2015

Good morning and Happy Friday!  I hope the weather has been mild where you live--we have had some days in the fifties this week, and oh my oh my has that ever wonderful!  I'm heading off to the windy city this weekend for my annual opera adventure so I'm looking forward to sharing some Chicago stories with you next week, but in the meantime I thought I'd give you a peek of my dapper husband, all dressed up for a music competition last week.  Isn't he cute?  And because he always wears a hat, I thought this cute poem by Aaron Belz was a fitting accompaniment. 

The Love-Hat Relationship
I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.
It is the relationship based on love of one another's hats.
The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is
You don't necessarily even know the other person.
Also it is too dependent on whether the other person
is even wearing the favored hat. We all enjoy hats,
but they're not something to build an entire relationship
My advice to young people is to like hats but not love
Try having like-hat relationships with one another.
See if you can find something interesting about
the personality of the person whose hat you like.

 I definitely found something interesting about the personality of the person whose hat I like!

Now that spring is hesitantly peeping around the corner here in Wisconsin and even occasionally agreeing to stop by and chat for a few minutes, I thought it would be fun to watch her show off as she begins to wave her magic spring wand over the lovely golf course I pass each day on my way to work.  Stay tuned for a transformation over the next few weeks.  But I should probably also post a disclaimer...I live in a state where we can have green grass growing and daffodils starting to bud one day, and the next have a raging blizzard!  We'll see how this spring unfolds!

I'll take the same shot each night on my way home from work at five...

Have a lovely weekend and I'll be back next week with tales of Tosca and high tea!

March 3, 2015

...brought to you by the letter "T"

Good morning, and here's hoping you have a Terrific Tuesday! (My perkiness may or may not be in direct correlation to the very short amount of sleep I got last night...I think I'm over compensating). 

And if today is brought to us by the letter "T", Sesame Street must be close by!  Here's Lily's first glimpse of Sesame Street...

"T" can also stand for Terrific Times.  On Sunday we were invited to celebrate my oldest son's best friend's 30th birthday with his family.  It was a wonderful time and so gratifying to see how these two men have cherished their friendship through high school football, college days, graduate school (physical therapy and law) and still make time to enjoy each other as they start their professional careers and families.  He's also Lily's godfather.  How sweet is that?

"T" can also stand for thankful.  Right now I'm thankful we've made it to March, because I don't think I could have done one more day of February.  Evidently it was the coldest February here in the last 80 years.  I am sooooo done with winter (did I mention it is snowing like crazy as I'm typing??)

And finally, "T" can stand for...............TULIPS!  Yes!  TULIPS!  My son's girlfriend planted a big tub of bulbs and I present a little bit of springtime just for you!

And here is a sweet little poem from the book Enchanted Tulips and Other Verses for Children by Maude Keary (1914).


TULIPS white and tulips red,
Sweeter than a violet bed!
Say, old Mother Bailey, say
Why your tulips look so gay,
Why they smell so sweet, and why
They bloom on when others die?
“By the pixies’ magic power
Do my tulips always flower,
By the pixies’ magic spell
Do they give so sweet a smell!
Tulips, tulips, red and white,
Fill the pixies with delight!

“Pixy women, pixy men,
Seek my tulips from the glen;
Midnight come, they may be heard
Singing sweet as any bird,
Singing their wee babes to rest
In the tulips they love best!”

March 2, 2015

the word beautiful...

Happy Monday morning!  I really hadn't planned to write a post this morning, but I woke up at 5:09 and couldn't get back to sleep so I may as well enjoy the quiet house and my first cup of coffee.  It reminds me of a lovely poem by Mary Oliver, Just Around the House...

Though I have been scorned for it
let me never be afraid to use the word beautiful.
For with is the shining leaf
and the blossoms of the geranium at the window.
And the eyes of the happy puppy as he wakes.
The colors of the old and beloved afghan lying
by itself, on the couch, in the morning sun.
The hummingbirds' nest perched now in a
corner of the bookshelf, in front of so many
books of so many colors.
the two poached eggs.  The buttered toast.
The ream of brand-new paper just opened,
white as a block of snow.
The typewriter humming, ready to go.

And while it is not quite time for shining leaves and blooming geraniums, I do have a happy puppy who loves to snuggle with me in the morning as we greet the day together!  But if I don't have spring time treats to treasure this morning, what is beautiful in my world?  For starters, my brand new floor in my bedroom!  I had hated the ugly old blue shag carpet in the bedroom and hallway from the very moment we moved in to our home eleven years ago.  I shared a picture last week of how the floor looked after we tore up the carpet, but here is a "before" picture...

 I believe my vehement statement as soon as we closed on the house was "this dreadful carpet needs to be the first thing we rip out."  Ahem...sometimes vehement statements don't translate into actually doing something about the problem.  There was always some other house project that took precedence, but finally I am shag free!  We had to let the wood "breathe" for a few days to acclimate to our home's temperature and humidity, which left Willow a little confused by the maze in our living room...

And of course, everything from my bedroom ended up stacked in all the other rooms upstairs, so it's been a messy week, which is hard for me to handle.  I really do best in a clutter-free, tidy environment, so it felt great to spend this past Saturday putting my bedroom to rights.  Here are a few "after" pictures so you can see why I am now so shag-a-licious-free happy!

 I love how the various colors in the floor blend the different woods in my bedroom together...

In the process of clearing out my bedroom in preparation for the new floor, my dresser lamp was broken.  That turned out to be a good thing, as I found this lovely lamp on sale and it goes so nicely in the room!

So I'm finally in love with how my master bedroom looks...I guess it's time to look for a new project!  I'm sure my husband can't wait...

Have a wonderful day and I hope that you also find the courage to see the beautiful in the world...