Archive for July, 2011

Our television, telephone, and internet are all “bundled”.

When one goes out, they all go out.

We’ve been lucky this summer with all of its storms; through gale force winds, lightening, flooding and the rest of the vengeance of Mother Nature that has been prevalent in our area, we have had power. We were home from the hospital but a few hours on a clear and sunny afternoon when the television went blank. A quick check of the phones and the internet, and, poof. All gone. Tom wandered out to the road and there was our cable connection, draping the driveway, our technical umbilical cord severed from the mother source. Woe is me, alas and alack and, as Winnie-the-Pooh would utter, “oh, bother”.

Out of every crisis, I hear tell, comes an opportunity. Opportunity came. Out came some favorite videos not seen in a while. I sat and I sprawled, reclined and scrunched, a shield over my eye. Doesn’t a patch sound more exciting?  There I was, falling asleep and nodding off,  rewinding scenes over and over again in my sedate state.

I started with one of my favorite television series, The West Wing.

Whatever one’s political bent; right or left-wing or center – or upon one’s head, which is where, I fear, most of our elected officials are poised as I write this, The West Wing was, to me at least, one of the best written dramas of all time. You can tell good writing when you close your eyes and still enjoy the dialogue without the visuals. I know. My eyes, at least one, was closed through the first season of this boxed set.

Then came the wonderful seaside classic, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

The beautiful Mrs. Muir and the dashing but curmudgeonly sea captain, a ghost, play out some of the most romantic scenes on the screen, with nary a kiss or a touch. They grow to like each other and become companionable, in their own special way, as he ghostwrites a seaworthy yarn, which allows Mrs. Muir to buy the charming Gull Cottage.

Then, to round out my convalescence, I had only to pop in one of my all-time favorite movies, Mrs. Miniver. Have you seen it? You really should. Mrs. Miniver’s pluck, especially when encountering an enemy parachutist in kitchen one morning, and her gentle spirit in times of loss and sorrow, always give me a boost and leave me admiring the British resolve  and stiff upper lip all over again.

Do you have a favorite movie or two that you like to bundle up with when you are recovering from whatever it is that ails you?

I love this early scene where Mrs. Miniver is introduced to a rose named in her honor by the station master.


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I need help! Serious help!

Saturday was steamy and hot, hot, hot; even more so after the record breaking rains of the early morning hours. I had some errands to run, one of them being a library stop. I’m having my second cataract surgery this week and I wanted to have a few audio books to tide me over until I could read again.

Yep! That was my plan. Plans are sometimes waylaid.

Some audio books made it home. Maeve Binchy never disappoints me and I found a Dorothy L. Sayers book.

Then, I got a little carried away, and found this,

and then these. The Katie Fforde book is a new one and is due next Tuesday. What was I thinking?

I wasn’t thinking. I told you. I need help.

 Don’t you just hate it when the librarians throw their candy wrappers in the with the books? I found it when I emptied my sack.

Then, perhaps because the Three Musketeers Bar turned into hot chocolate in the car, I decided to take in the going-out-of-business sale at Borders, which was nearby.

Really. I need help. Serious help. Did I leave empty-handed? Of course not.

There were some children’s books that I just knew Kezzie would like. Can you see one hiding in sack #2?

I needed these,

and this, because I do judge a book by its cover,

and since I won’t be doing any weeding for a while, I thought this would do.

Not so much for its cover, but, for the illustrations found inside.

Yep, I serious need some help. Oh well, off I go. I’ll see you in a few days.

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Different paths

We take different paths in life. Sometimes they are straight and sure. Other times they bend, sharply and without warning, to the right or left. Sometimes they take us to the proverbial fork in the road. Often, they just meander, slowly, taking us places we simply could not imagine.

When I started blogging almost two years ago, I wasn’t sure what would happen; if I could write on a regular basis, if anyone would read me, if I would ever learn to upload pictures, or what I would do if someone commented. Then, I fretted over what would I do if someone I didn’t know commented?

I know now that blogging has taken me into the words and wonders of so many good people and that I have wandered down some extraordinary and enlightening paths. I have learned so much more than I have taught, and have grown because of the experience.

Today, I walked the path pictured here, guided by a lovely fellow blogger. Mary Anne writes a beautiful blog called Always, Robins Egg Blue, where she shares her home and her family and her wonderful gifts at decorating, furnishing a home and tending a garden. Through our comments to each other, we discovered we lived in neighboring towns, only a few miles apart, in fact, and that we share a love of family and friend, gardening and antiques and the beauty of life around us.

Mary Anne  recently invited me to lunch and a tour of her lush gardens. A gracious hostess, savvy businesswoman, and a blogging friend, I consider myself blessed to have met her and shared a few (okay, more than a few) hours with her this afternoon.

Everything in Mary Anne’s house and garden seemed to have a story. From the summer savory given to her by a friend, to this fountain and an arbor, currently hosting a nest of robins. The abundant beauty was enhanced by her stories of where they were from, how they came to be, and what they meant to her.

All of Mary Anne’s posts are interesting, but a recent one on her varied uses of trays really inspired me to look around for some trays I’ve put away and to find some interesting uses for them. You can see Mary Anne’s post on trays here.

Well, I’ll be quiet now and let you see a bit of Mary Anne’s garden. Who knows? Perhaps it will take you on a different path today as well.

Thank you, Mary Anne, for your graciousness and hospitality. You’re the best!










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Oregano and Sugar Snap Peas

With all the rolling thunder and flashes of lightning on Sunday, the sun peaked out and shone upon one of my favorite herbs, golden oregano. I just couldn’t resist a quick dash out onto the deck to take a picture. This oregano is a real winner; it holds up throughout the summer and behaves well in a pot. A few snips and the flavor is mine for the taking.

I chose to put it in a pot, but, it does well in the ground and spreads its golden goodness, as such herbs are wont to do. If we weren’t always spraying to deter the deer, this oregano would certainly make it into my garden.

Have you ever tried oregano with sugar snap peas? Olive oil, salt, pepper, and some chopped up golden oregano is all you need, though some chopped tomatoes can be added. Mix with peas and refrigerator for an hour or so to let the flavors mellow. It keeps for several days, but, doesn’t usually last that long here.

Do you have a favorite summertime dish that uses oregano, or some other herb you pluck out of your garden?

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“When I Am Among the Trees”

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call me again, “It’s simple,” they say

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light and to shine.”

from the poem, “When I Am Among the Trees” by Mary Oliver

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On a quiet, northwesterly corner of Wheaton College, in an appealing cottage-like setting, sits the The Marion E. Wade Center. Though sedate in its demeanor, the center speaks loudly in its volumes of literature and holdings of seven notable English authors and theologians. You know their names or their works. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien are the most popularly recognizable literaries whose books and papers rest at the center. It is here that visitors come from far and wide to open the doors of the large, wooden cabinet that inspired the wardrobe in the classic, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Nearby the wardrobe sits the desks of both Tolkien and Lewis. Walls display artwork and maps and memorabilia, as well as displays of their books, as well as the five other English authors whose works are contained in this little gem of literary greatness.

While our friends Jeri and Kyle from Oklahoma were visiting this week, we drove out to the Wade Center and had a lovely time reading and learning about the noted authors, though we did get a bit “chatty” in the reading room, necessitating a stern reprimand from the librarian. (I promise, we’ll be quiet next time.)

Although I’ve been to the Wade Center a few times, it still leaves me in awe; all-the-more-so when I see family and friends enjoy the exhibits and learn something new. On Thursday, we were awakened to Dorothy L. Sayers, who was friends with the other notables in scholarly residence at the Wade. The connection to the Lord Peter Wimsey series she penned and Sayer’s fascination with Dante, learning old Italian in order to translate his works, has left me eager to read some of her books. Jeri uploaded Dante’s works for Kyle on her Kindle that afternoon.   Now, I need to locate my G.K. Chesterton book of short stores and see what Father Brown is up to very soon.

If you are ever in the western suburbs of Chicago, I urge you to visit the Marion E. Wade Center.

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Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts, The Beach Afternoon

“Don’t hug me, it’s too hot” was the greeting on Tuesday as a few friends met for lunch. Coffee and soda drinkers, we all drank water. Lots of water.

All beaches but one were closed to swimmers because a fog was so dense over Lake Michigan that lifeguards could not see swimmers in the water. A rather rare summer phenomenon as the cold lake water and superheated air met. For many, the Lake Michigan is the only place to get relief from the temperatures soaring close to 100°. I hope they open today.

One thing we are really good at here is talking about our problems. Often, our problems concern the weather. Too cold, too much snow, not enough snow, rain, no rain, winds. We do it well here. We do it really well on our radio talk stations.  Yesterday, one station I was listening to as I was running a bevy of errands before my hug free but delightful lunch, had listeners calling in with songs that had to do with heat. It was fun to listen to suggested songs and then to hear clips from them.

Here are a few. Do you have any “hot” songs?

 Hot Time, Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful  www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLdv4a3AVIY

 Fever, Peggy Lee www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYxoAJ3Boyc

Hot Stuff, Donna Summer www.youtube.com/watch?v=27-TM3q5-Cc

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