30 June 2010


The Prince of Tides. I don't remember how many years ago it was that I first saw the movie. It is based on Pat Conroy's novel of the same name. It doesn't matter. I've seen it many, many times since. I'll never read the book. I can't. I've read other works by Mr. Conroy and his storytelling is phenomenal. (I highly recommend them.) The problem is this: I saw the motion picture first. The story is an emotional one and I have personal connections to it. But the screenplay differs from the novel, and I am unwilling to allow the book to affect the pictures I see behind my eyes.

If you read the synopsis of the movie, you'll see this tagline: "a story about the memories that haunt us, and the truth that sets us free." There could not be a more suitable precis. I am unable to relate to the tragic events in the lives of the characters as children, but I do understand the sadness of a family that cries even without tears...and I am learning something about forgiveness. As the story progresses, an adult Tom (played by Nick Nolte) leaves his family behind in the Carolinas and ultimately falls in love with his twin sister's therapist in New York, Dr. Lowenstein (Barbra Streisand). It is the psychiatrist that helps unlock the painful memories of the past...and unchain Tom's heart. I'd love to tell you more, but I'd really rather you rent the movie. (In fact, I insist on it.) Maybe I'll rent it again too.

The narrative at the end of the film moves me each time I hear the words. "In New York I learned that I needed to love my mother and father in all their flawed, outrageous humanity, and in families there are no crimes beyond forgiveness. But it is the mystery of life that sustains me now. I look to the north, and I wish again that there were two lives apportioned to every man - and every woman."

And in the final scene, the one that always, always makes me cry, Tom drives across the sea and speaks these words: "At the end of every day I drive through the city of Charleston and I cross the bridge that will take me home. I feel the words building inside me. I can't stop them, or tell you why I say them, but as I reach the top of the bridge these words come to me in a whisper. I say these words as a prayer, as regret, as praise, I say: Lowenstein, Lowenstein."

"As a prayer, as regret, as praise..."  Sometimes there is such power in a name.  I know Lowenstein ~ by a pseudonym.  As I look out my window and reflect on where I've been...question where I'm going...I simply do this:  offer a prayer of thanks.  That has made all the difference.

27 June 2010


I awoke before anyone in the house this morning and I've been online ever since. I've found some inspiring blogs and have enjoyed my solitude these past few hours. I was reading the posts at Red Shoes, which in turn led me to a Scandinavian blog, syko (I seriously smiled at the name!), which in turn led me to this blog: The Scent of Water. The Scent of Water ~ ??? Obviously I am a writer at heart, so I wondered, "How, exactly, does one describe the scent of water?" This verse was found onsite and I felt a connection to it. I can already see the relevance it has for my day.

"For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. Though its roots grow old in the ground and its stump dies in the dry soil, at the scent of water it will flourish and put forth sprigs like a plant." Job 14: 7-9

As for the blog, I think I have no choice now but to read it everyday. The author numbers her daily posts as part of A Diary of a Hundred Days. Nice concept. And as I continue to search for my own voice, I think I will enjoy hers. She has a way with words, as all good friends do.


Such a sweet word. Such a sweet place. This afternoon I will take my daughter to church camp for the first time. She is excited and I am, well, feeling nostalgic. I have so many delightful memories from the timeframe stamped "church camp" ~ but I've never really been any good at growing up, and each passing year finds me farther from this happy place of yesterday. *sigh* The grounds have changed a lot with the passing of time but if I listen carefully, I can hear that which I remember... I think I'll be a good listener today.

"What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen." ~Cynthia Ozick

Dear Ally,

May you live and laugh these next few days in a place that is truly a place after God's own heart. Most importantly, may you learn more about His plans for your beautiful life. Always remember these things...

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:14

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself." John 15:4

(At the scent of water...yes, the scent of water.)

All my love sweet girl,

26 June 2010

Love Affair

This image hangs in my classroom. I do not know the photographer's name, only the name of the person who gave it to me for Christmas one year. Natalie knows I'm an addict. I am completely and utterly obsessed with books. And not just any books. Good ones. Today I got my fix...

But first, I love this picture of Harper Lee with Mary Badham ~ the author of my favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the young actress who played Scout in the motion picture. The story is one I reread often. With each return visit I never fail to be moved, never stop longing to befriend Boo or wishing I could sit in Calpurnia’s parlor just once (or twice, or…). I am always left awestruck by the innate goodness of Atticus and sorrowed by the injustice served to Tom Robinson. And Jean Louise…what’s not to love? I wanted to name my second child after her, to call her Scout. My insistence fell upon deaf ears, but my Ally was born a ‘Scout’ in her own right. Interesting how that happened. I suppose I won the argument after all.

As I said, today I got my fix. I was wandering through the bookstore (another habit of mine) and came upon a display of various formats of To Kill a Mockingbird. In the center was this:
Scout, Atticus & Boo
A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird
by Mary McDonagh Murphy
Could it be? Fifty years? I am excited to read the commentaries found within these pages. I suppose many of us could write our own. It is suggested that To Kill a Mockingbird is America’s national novel. You will get no dissension from me on the matter. It is a story that tugs at our heartstrings and stays with us long after the last page ends.
* * * * *
Nelle Harper Lee steadfastly declines interviews, just as she has done for so many decades. In 2006, however, Oprah Winfrey was able to persuade the author to write a letter for the July issue of O Magazine, an issue which celebrated the TV magnate's love of reading. (The novelist's love of the same is highlighted in her only novel, through the characterization of Scout.) In her letter she says this, "Now, 75 years later in an abundant society where people have laptops, cellphones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. I prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it."
* * * * *
"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking." ~Albert Einstein Maybe this is the reason I love this book so intensely, why receiving an unexpected copy of this beloved story brought happy tears...and ranks among the most cherished gifts I've ever received... It hasn't been long, but I think a return to Depression-era Maycomb is on the horizon. I can always find a few friends there, and like them, I never, never want to be accused of having a mind like an empty room.
"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." ~Henry Ford

22 June 2010

My Smile

"Glitter In The Air"

Have you ever fed a lover with just your hands?
Closed your eyes and trusted, just trusted?
Have you ever thrown a fist full of glitter in the air?
Have you ever looked fear in the face and said, "I just don't care?"
* * *
It's only half past the point of no return
The tip of the iceberg
The sun before the burn
The thunder before the lightning
The breath before the phrase
Have you ever felt this way?
* * *
Have you ever hated yourself for staring at the phone?
Your whole life waiting on the ring to prove you're not alone
Have you ever been touched so gently you had to cry?
Have you ever invited a stranger to come inside?
* * *
It's only half past the point of oblivion
The hourglass on the table
The walk before the run
The breath before the kiss
And the fear before the flames
Have you ever felt this way?
* * *
La La La La La La La La
* * *
There you are, sitting in the garden
Clutching my coffee,
Calling me sugar
You called me sugar
* * *
Have you ever wished for an endless night?
Lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?
Have you ever held your breath and asked yourself will it ever get better than tonight?

* * * * *
My Happilist

Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb
Nos. 299 ~ 404
  • cookie cutters
  • Clinique skincare
  • moonlit strolls
  • Baltimore rowhouses
  • air conditioning
  • the Ten Commandments
  • white ink tattoos (okay, just maybe)
  • red peppers in my salad
  • "Bear Jams" in the Smokies
  • Daughters of the American Revolution markers at the graves of ancestors
  • Deer Crest cabin
  • the sound of evening crickets
  • Lone Elk Park
  • puppet shows courtesy of Lane ~ and once upon a time, McKenzie
  • Windsor-back chairs
  • fashion ~ from design to execution on Ally's Parisian dress form
  • Monticello
  • reverence at Arlington
  • the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • boiled peanut "diddies" at Charleston, South Carolina
  • the treasures of the Smithsonian
  • the silent voices at Gettysburg
  • Susannah and Tristan
  • the purity of Forrest Gump
  • Fuji apples
  • warm banana bread
  • driving across a bridge, over a river or the sea
  • driving through a tunnel under Tokyo Bay
  • Shiatsu massage chairs
  • porch swings
  • Gohen...karma
  • floating lotus flowers in bloom
  • fireworks
  • carriage rides
  • building snowmen
  • snow days
  • butter rum candy
  • rock candy
  • furniture made by grandpa
  • dad's lasagna
  • mom's sugar cookies
  • a loving father for my children
  • my great grandmother's silver
  • my great-great grandmother's ice cream dish
  • my grandmother's poetry written by her own hand
  • a sister
  • legal immigration
  • Currier & Ives prints
  • old Audubon Society lithographs
  • fresh corn on the cob
  • Missouri mornings
  • trick-or-treating
  • sunflower kernels
  • tilapia topped with shrimp and cream sauce
  • mountain streams
  • mountain air
  • the sound of trains in the night
  • gravel roads
  • the smell of barbeque
  • water slides
  • the Cross
  • spotted fawns
  • velveted antlers, a sign that autumn is coming
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon
  • the sound of jets flying overhead
  • summer breezes
  • Native American ancestry
  • white picket fences
  • Jimmy Buffet songs
  • eating blackened gator ~ delicious
  • flips on a trampoline
  • the sound of an old screen door
  • fried catfish
  • raindrops
  • Easter baskets
  • visits with Santa
  • a trip to the farm
  • synaesthesia
  • cobblestone streets
  • strawberry preserves
  • raspberry jam
  • the view of Chicago from the top of the Sears Tower
  • to be told you're beautiful by someone who believes it
  • waking up next to the person you love
  • holding a corn snake and admiring its beauty
  • starry nights
  • somersaults under water
  • Double Dutch in the driveway
  • a baby in a manger
  • etiquette
  • courtesy
  • Levi's
  • onions,onions, onions...and some garlic, too
  • hearing "I love you" before the call ends
  • bouquets of flowering weeds from children
  • giggles
  • flying kites
  • wishes on shooting stars
  • spaghettios
  • feedsack material
  • spooning...*sigh*
  • puppies
  • thoughtfulness
  • perspective, sometimes bittersweet
  • Staff Development

20 June 2010

Daddy's Girl

It is Father's Day. I miss my dad.
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die, that's how you and I will be
~Billy Joel, Lullaby (Good Night My Angel)
* * * * *
"In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember." ~Edgar Allen Poe, from Ligeia
* * * * *
If you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

~ from "Remember", by Christina Rossetti

Sometimes, I think, imposed amnesia precedes forgiveness... leaving behind the remnants that possess the ability to encourage the smile. For years I've been missing my dad, long before he passed away. Today the ache is palpable. To love someone with all your heart and yet live a life separate from his, well, that seems to be a recurrent theme with me.

I do feel selfish thinking of myself so much today. I am trying hard to remember the happiness, too, and get past the self-pity. During the best of times my dad was intelligent, protective, loving, and so very entertaining. It was my mother who brought out the best in him. Of this, I have no doubt. I love you, Mom. You spent a lot of time being 'dad' too... I haven't forgotten and am grateful beyond measure. What I wonder, and hope, is that today my dad would be proud of me. I think I know the answer. I love you too, Dad.

The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.
~Frank Pittman, Man Enough

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
~Diane Loomans, from "If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

And thou shalt in thy daughter see,

This picture, once, resembled thee.

~Ambrose Philips

I will publish this momentarily and the stamp will indicate a morning timeframe. That is a lie. It is late now as I finish writing, and I have spent a lonely evening with my dad ~ at the cemetery...Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

17 June 2010

Traveling Shoes

Today doesn't feel quite as sunny as yesterday. My fractured tailbone is, well, still feeling fractured. It's cramping my style. I have bruises on my legs and arms for no apparent reason. (I'm trying hard to envision them as beauty marks. Somehow, though, I'm not so imaginative at the moment.) And I'm making an attempt to entertain myself online instead of outdoors. Here's what I've discovered: calligraphy stamps at Primele ... gotta have one! That's all I found, though. End of discovery. It's time to go offline.

I just began reading a new book by Jamie Ford. The title is thought-provoking...Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. The dedication ~ For Leesha, my happy ending ~ is, to me, a tearjerker. I've been chasing happy endings for years. The book's epigraph speaks truth:

My poor heart is sentimental
Not made of wood
I got it bad and that ain't good
~Duke Ellington, 1941

And some excerpts from the early chapters:

"But in the end, each of them occupied a solitary grave. Alone forever." (page 4) "...he wondered if his own broken heart might be found in there, hidden among the unclaimed possessions of another time...Lost, but never forgotten." (page 7)

And finally, in the Acknowledgements Mr. Ford says this, "As they say, writing is a lonely business." Victor Hugo said, "Melancholy is the pleasure of being sad." Whichever the truth, certainly...certainly...I will find my story. "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Maya Angelou

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~Chinese proverb Thankfully, as Ms. Angelou puts it, all God's children have traveling shoes. "Will the road you're traveling get you to my place?" ~ God

* * * * *
My Happilist
i.am.sanders Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb
Nos. 251 ~ 298
  • realizing your new smaller size is already too large
  • Sephora eye shadow duos ~ wow!
  • OPI polish
  • lobster
  • clam bisque
  • hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • homemade apple pie
  • baptisms
  • new purses
  • monograms
  • hot apple cider
  • navy peacoats
  • ladybug wishes
  • sunshine on my shoulders
  • Grandma's old Mel mac dinnerware
  • playing in the rain
  • forgiveness
  • letters from my father
  • Psalms
  • Proverbs
  • playing football in the yard
  • well-loved, well-worn sweatshirts
  • reading stories to, and with, children
  • mom's needlework
  • funnel cakes with powdered sugar
  • cotton candy
  • memories of church camp...good friends, good times
  • surprise texts from close friends
  • memories of dinner with dad at Troop F during the evening shift
  • warm maple syrup over buttered waffles
  • four leaf clovers
  • sixteen-mile float trips
  • dead mosquitoes
  • Southern accents
  • Northeastern accents
  • FOX News
  • ocean views
  • sunset walks on the beach
  • the right to vote
  • competence
  • old tobacco barns
  • Key Lime pie
  • a snooze button
  • daughters
  • chalk drawings in the driveway
  • a tan...olive, no lighter
  • bubble baths
  • beaches with no hint of oil...ever

16 June 2010


I did something today I haven't done in years. Many years. I put on a swimsuit ~ and I didn't even cry. For years I've hidden behind the memories of myself as a teenager...the 100 pound girl in a tiny, aqua-colored Op bikini...the girl who laughed, played hard, and lived life in the sun. Today something resurfaced within me . It was a bit like DejaVu. I think it has a name: Summer.

There was a time when I loved summer above all other seasons. As a child, my grandmother's house in the country provided a treasure trove of entertaining indulgences. There were no worries of strangers, and the biggest "danger" was the scare of a long black snake overhead in one of the many large maple trees. We played croquet in the "back forty" and swam in a pool filled with ice cold well water. In town there were adventures as well. The neighborhood kids played games of Tag that spanned an entire block. Our parents never doubted that we'd arrive home safely in time for lunch, and then again before dark. Once the night descended, we simply confined our play within the perimeter of someone's yard. Bedtime did not come until hours after so many lightning bugs were caught...and then set free again until tomorrow. And my thoughts on summer cannot be separated from my memories of church...of youth group excursions, of good times at camp, of the friends I met and never let go.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feeling a bit sad when I think back on all these things. My children will never know the childhood freedoms I have known. They will never experience absolute abandon absent of all fear. But I'm also a bit sad when I think of my old friends... Life has a way of twisting the paths of "what might have been" or, maybe more accurately, who we might have become. We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere. ~Tim McGraw Today there was sunshine on my shoulders and sunkisses on my cheeks. Sometimes, sometimes, that's all you need to warm your heart and dry the tears. I miss you, my friend. There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving

Before I go I must return to the mention of swimsuits...or, well, whatever. Sometimes the pool presents itself before the suit. Anyway, my daughter is taking swimming lessons at a private pool nearby. I spent so much time at this particular house in high school years ago, when it was owned by someone else...with friends, running amok indoors (seems I remember something about a Roman Candle spewing fire in the family room), diving into the pool late at night under the moon.

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
The photograph on the dashboard, taken years ago,
Turned around backwards so the windshield shows.
Every streetlight reveals the picture in reverse.
Still, it's so much clearer.
I forgot my shirt at the water's edge.
The moon is low tonight.
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
I'm not sure all these people understand.
It's not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water.
They cannot see me naked.
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday.
Nightswimming, remembering that night.
September's coming soon.
I'm pining for the moon.
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
That bright, tight forever drum
Could not describe nightswimming.
You, I thought I knew you.
You I cannot judge.
You, I thought you knew me,
this one laughing quietly underneath my breath.
The photograph reflects,
Every streetlight a reminder.
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night, deserves a quiet night.

Summer...I'm glad you're back.

14 June 2010

pour mon amis

Last night my status was described as 'incredibly bored'. It's true. I was. More than anything, I'm ashamed I actually admitted it. Liz suggested I write something, and Kim reminded me that I do NOT allow my children to complain of boredom. Megan, though, had this to say: Boredom is a state of mind. Maybe you are just content to dream for the moment. Ahh, someone I have known seemingly forever effectively explained it to me! Content though? I remain incredibly impatient and therein lies the problem. I've been dreaming a lot lately (of Harry, great friends, walks on the beach at sunset...) and have been impulsively wishing my summer away. I've got to stop...not the dreaming (never!), but I really must quit this attitude of boredom. There are days ahead to spend creating memories with my daughters, the oldest of which will leave for college far too soon. And besides, a bit of patience should make the last days in September so much sweeter. I'll be sure to let you know...

I did awake this morning with a smile, albeit not feeling overly energetic. My youngest daughter happily told me that I was her best friend (along with Santa Claus). This made me laugh, yet I know her sentiment is fleeting. Soon enough she will no longer find me quite so enchanting. And then there is the matter of a certain phone conversation late last night. I love, love, love talking to Suzy but I gotta say it...Julian is the man. To converse with a 13 year-old and come away from the experience utterly impressed...well, that says a lot about his character. It also says a lot about his mother and my dear friend. Julian said it best: His mom is "awesome!" And I haven't even yet mentioned his note I discovered in my inbox last night!

Dear Madame Green,

Merci beaucoup pour mon nouveau livre du train! J'adore cette tres beaucuop! Je savoir mon Mama aime vous tres beaucoup parce qu'elle parle toujours de vous. Vous est tres geniel pour pensee de moi et obtiner moi cette livre. Je me réjouis de vous rencontrer très.

Merci beaucoup,

Are you kidding me?! In French?! AND I've been told he connected some very lovely adjectives to my name. (Beautiful? Kind?) Oh Julian, you are a young man after every girl's heart. I have just the daughter for you! xoxo

(Translation: Thank you very much for my new book about steam trains! I love it! I know my Mom likes you a lot because she talks about you all of the time. You are so kind to think of me. I look forward to meeting you. Thank you very much, Julian.)

101 days...and BOOM, I'll be there. I look forward to meeting you as well!

Listen to a Boomer's story
Pay attention to what I say
Well, I hear another train a-comin'
Guess I'll be on my way
~ Ry Cooder

12 June 2010

Girls' Day

Today was well spent with my Baby Lane. She's not really a baby any longer, although I still affectionately call her this. She has granted permission for use of this nickname as long as I remain cognizant that she is attending preschool in the fall. If you haven't time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded. ~Robert Brault As I showered I heard the bathroom door open, then quickly close. When reaching for my towel, I noticed she had left a present for me. She had lovingly drawn a six-legged monster especially for moi! I will cherish it always... Unbeknownst to me, a kidsfest was in full swing downtown with just a few hours to spare. Lane and I arrived in time for her to hang out with a police officer and stare in wonderment at the gadgets inside his car. (At 4, she has already stated her desire to become a member of the police force. She wants to drive a "bad boy" car someday.) We then moved on to the Diego Bounce House and the firetruck, watched ballerinas on stage, shopped for books, and then headed to lunch. There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million. ~Walt Streightiff Next we visited the pet store. Lane went directly to the snakes and tarantula, then moved to the fish and the ferrets. And no "girls day out" would be complete without a little shopping. A couple of pairs of shoes and a pair of jeans later, and momma is happy. The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day. ~M. Grundler

Fortunately for me, the family was invited to dinner. I had intended to skip this meal all together but couldn't resist the invitation. Besides, it meant I didn't have to cook for anyone else either. I'm beginning to adjust to my summer schedule and somehow, I struggle to find adequate time to stand in the kitchen and toil. Seriously, I'd rather read...or write...or play...or... You get the point. And so today's commentary is brief. It just so happens I'm busy. Spend the afternoon. You can't take it with you. ~Annie Dillard

11 June 2010

Ebb and Flow

Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.

These are the first three lines in the book I've just begun: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I was immediately drawn to the title. It defines my journey of the past ten months...

It's funny that dinner was mentioned. Last night I made something new. I never cared for cube steak as a kid but I discovered that paprika can do wonders. I peeled, cooked and mashed 5 pounds of potatoes (can you say starch?), whipped up some homemade country gravy, and added some green beans with bacon for good measure. The meal went over well ~ for the 'others'. I, on the other hand, chose for myself a different version of supper. It's amazing how filling a handful of Kashi's Organic Cinnamon Harvest shredded wheat bites and a tall glass of ice water can fill you up when you want it to. Then there was dessert: a folic acid pill. I'm living an exciting life these days.

Seriously, though, dinnertime seemed to be last night's turning point. I heard from a friend I've been missing for far too long. What is the opposite of two? A lonely me, a lonely you. ~Richard Wilbur
I also enjoyed exchanges with friends from the Cape. I am so looking forward to that sunset walk on the beach. 104 days...but who's counting?

And I must confess. I did something you are never supposed to do. I glanced at the last page of the book...right after reading the opening lines. The message means something to me already, without even reading the words in-between.

I think about swimming with him into the cave at Portuguese Bend, about the swell of clear water, the way it changed, the swiftness and power it gained as it narrowed through the rocks at the base of the point. The tide had to be just right...You had to feel the swell change. You had to go with the change. He told me that.

* * * *

I am watching your chest rise and fall
like the tides of my life
and the rest of it all
and your bones have been my bedframe
and your flesh has been my pillow
I am waiting for sleep
to offer up the deep
with both hands.
~Ani Difranco

My Happilist

Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb

Nos. 168 ~250

photo essay, historic properties, included

  • water fights
  • patience
  • hospitality
  • the silence of snowfall
  • digging for sand dollars with your toes very early in the morning at the beach
  • making words with alphabet soup
  • lilacs in bloom ~ always too briefly
  • when young children suddenly "get it" and begin to read
  • campfires...at camp, or with marshmallows, or watching silently with someone you love
  • Big Chief tablets ~ remember those?
  • nightswimming
  • a full moon
  • boat rides
  • finding Venus, and sometimes even Mars, in the night sky
  • liberty
  • The Beatles White Album...It's poetry.
  • bird songs
  • polka dots
  • United States military uniforms
  • manicures
  • green lights when I'm running late
  • parent-teacher conferences and the interactions with "my" families
  • warm cinnamon sugared pecans
  • Christmas lights
  • fresh-baked bread, still warm
  • window seats on airplanes
  • homemade potato soup with bacon and cheese
  • Sudoku puzzles
  • New York Times crosswords
  • a view of Times Square from a 37th floor hotel room window
  • the scent of plumerias
  • homemade applesauce
  • antique pillow linens
  • strawberries with powdered sugar
  • breaking the water with a dive
  • long drives ~ just because
  • cinnamon-scented candles
  • scrambled eggs
  • clementines in season
  • eating with my Japanese chopsticks
  • epic stories, whether in print or on screen
  • Amish country stores
  • the view of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry
  • Battery Park
  • Broadway plays
  • treehouses
  • the music of R.E.M.
  • silver bangles on my wrists
  • black leather high heeled boots
  • red firetrucks
  • black and white photography
  • tire swings
  • red plaid shirts
  • dirt track racing
  • Hot and Sour soup
  • highway miles
  • the scent of someone special
  • dinner dates
  • the secrets of Victoria's Secret
  • John Hughes' films
  • riding shotgun
  • warm woolen mittens
  • Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Super Bowl memories with the Troop F crew
  • crabcakes
  • ankle-strap espadrilles
  • the first kiss...and the last

09 June 2010

Battle Scars

"I was thinking about how disjointedly time seemed to flow, passing in a blur at times, with single images standing out more clearly than others. And then, at other times, every second was significant, etched in my mind." ~Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, 2005

So today's title is a bit, well, depressing. I really didn't intend for it to be. I've been doing a lot of thinking about a lot of things...and it just seemed to fit. I revisited an old Russian today. Anna Karenina is quite the novel. Her author is quite the philosopher:

"The two most powerful warriors are these, patience and time." ~Leo Tolstoy

I'm not sure I believe in the use of most as an adverb here but definitely, definitely, I am learning the power of time...and well, maybe a bit of patience. The latter is not my forte, but time? It just has a way of moving you forward, ready or not. I've decided to keep putting one foot in front of the other right along with it.
"We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch."
~John F. Kennedy

And so...even as I type this I am anticipating my evening. I'll be celebrating time with Jami and Liz. This post will not be complete until tomorrow, but once again, I do not care. Afterall, it's just a matter of time before this rant of mine goes live anyway. I can never hold it in for very long! Tonight, I'm spending my time with people who love me and wish to spend their time in my company. Trust me, after a day away from home doing endless loads of laundry (yep, the dryer is still broken), I would consider nothing else but to oblige. Besides, who's to argue with great friends and delightful conversation?

* * * * *
And thus, I have returned to finish. I spent a nice summer evening with these ladies, Shannon, and Joni and her daughter, Brette, too. We enjoyed our conversation outdoors and not one mosquito found me attractive. (I'm learning to be thankful for the little things). Finally, finally the remodel on Jami's bungalow, is nearly complete. There is but one word for it...stunning.

Liz is a phenomenal artist who specializes in faux finishes. She is a hometown girl who now resides in Decatur, Illinois. Today she is at the bungalow considering a new look for the recently stained concrete floors. Her work, too, is stunning...

Become a fan of her work by clicking this link...
Anyway, I'm back to the notion of battle scars. We three gals are fortyish (shh) so of course, we've experienced a bit of, well, life...kind of like the old bungalow...

remodel [riːˈmɒdəl] Verb

  1. do over, as of (part of) a house; "We are remodeling these rooms." cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  2. cast or model anew; "She is remaking her image."
"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with." ~Harry Crews
* * * * *
A lovely thought, don't you think?
Oh, but so elusive...

08 June 2010

Thinking Out Loud

Today there is rain. Actually, it is storming. I happen to like thunder and lightning. A lot. It is extremely dark outside at the moment and feels something like a song in minor key. (I like those too ~ a lot.) The girls are playing in the family room and I am reclined on the living room sofa, feet up and watching the downpour. I am quite relaxed and it is hard to decide which book (from my stack of four) to pick up next. The dryer is currently not working and I do not care. There is food to prepare but it can wait. I have words to read, words to write. I think a week of days like this will do nicely.

Much to my chagrin I seem to have writer's block before I've even begun...on my book, that is. I know the hero by heart, know the protagonists and the conflict as well. But the plot, well, it seems to be hiding somewhere in my head. That's okay for now, I suppose. I have the rest of my life to figure it out. I recently reread excerpts from my favorite book, a gift that I'll always treasure from someone who loved me, a story that remains of utmost importance. These are sentiments I'd like to capture...somehow.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view--until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch to daughter Scout, Chapter 3.

"You are too young to understand it ... but sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whiskey bottle in the hand of--oh, of your father." To Kill a Mockingbird, Miss Maudie Atkinson to Scout, Chapter 5.

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience." To Kill a Mockingbird, Attitus Finch, Chapter 11.

"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks." To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout, Chapter 23.

"An' they chased him 'n' never could catch him 'cause they didn't know what he looked like, an' Atticus, when they finally saw him, why he hadn't done any of those things... Atticus, he was real nice..." "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them." To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout and Atticus Finch, Chapter 31.

To finally see someone. Wow. That is what makes all the difference.

04 June 2010

Summer Love

In some cultures, the raspberry is revered as a passion fruit. I absolutely love raspberries so I find this notion a bit funny. Each time I pass the jars of raspberry preserves in the grocery aisle I can't help but don a silly smile. Just the sight makes me crave a bit of raspberries and (dare I say it?) c-cream... nope, too fattening. This girl's watching the calories! The love business aside, I'm drawn to this information I recently found about my favorite fruit:

  • They do not have any fat, saturated fat, sodium or cholesterol.
  • They are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate.
  • They are low in calories.
  • They can help lower high blood pressure.
  • Raspberries have an anti-inflammatory property that may help to reduce inflammation of the joints.

Anyway, I've got some berries just waiting for a purpose and I think I'll bake some muffins today. Here's a recipe courtesy of About.com. You can substitute blueberries for raspberries and lemon for orange...Looks delicious!

Lowfat Raspberry Orange Muffins
Yields 12 muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 8-ounce carton fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 6-ounce pack fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk. In a separate bowl, combine oil, orange juice and zest, vanilla, yogurt and egg. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add liquid ingredients. Stir until just moist. Add raspberries and fold in gently. Spoon batter into a 12-cup muffin pan lined with paper cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

* * * * *

I am excited about tomorrow. The Historic City of Jefferson, of which I am a member, is hosting its annual Home Tour. This year the event is to be held near the Four Corners area of the old West End...my former stomping grounds. My dear friend and her husband have lovingly restored a circa 1930s home and will be featured at the event. All seven homes on the tour boast the finest attention to detail. Historic preservation...another reason for me to smile. I hope to share pictures with you soon.

My Happilist
Gratitude is the heart's memory. ~French proverb
Nos. 102 ~167
  • the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe
  • the sound of summer crickets
  • fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • honest communication that requires no words
  • mechanical pencils that never dull
  • lyrics that say everything you otherwise could not
  • poetry...in words, in a look, in a smile, in your heart
  • memoirs
  • the truth
  • number 11
  • the color yellow...roses, a shirt...Dad
  • Dad's chili on a cold winter's night
  • loyalty
  • fresh-cracked pepper, always
  • a Combination Salad from Madison's Cafe
  • birthday wishes
  • a great workout at the gym
  • grandma's aprons
  • vintage jewelry
  • Moleskine journals, lined
  • a little black dress (or 2 or 3)
  • seaspray
  • songs in minor keys
  • trees in autumnal dress
  • Warren Kimble folkart
  • the magic of Larkspur Lane
  • handmade gifts, created with intention (and the sentiments behind them)
  • antique Christmas ornaments
  • my grandparents' first set of dishes, circa 1938, displayed in my hutch
  • antiquing in Hermann, Missouri
  • one-room schoolhouses
  • sour cherries, eaten right from the tree
  • games of croquet
  • homemade ice cream
  • love letters from world War II...those between my grandparents
  • Hershey's Fruit candy bar in lime...Tokyo, Japan
  • picnics
  • spinach salads with bacon and egg
  • Badge #60...my father's
  • sukiyaki
  • baklava
  • Teddy and Cat...my oldest friends
  • old buttons in a Mason jar
  • plane tickets to the "right" destination
  • the wisdom of Robert Brault
  • the intuitive words of Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • pottery, McKenzie-style
  • a room with a view
  • ranch dressing
  • new crayons
  • the subtlety of lamplight
  • quiche...made by me!
  • new shoes...One can never have too many.
  • goal-oriented people...much more interesting, I do believe
  • salvation
  • Navy uniforms...on sailors, of course
  • McDonaldland cookies
  • forgiveness
  • intellect...too often a rarity
  • beer bread
  • the laughter of children
  • catching a rainbow before it fades, and remembering the promise it signifies
  • blue...like my mother's eyes...like mine, too
  • heartsmiles
  • the release of tears
  • goodbyes...sometimes...sometimes