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Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Whilst the Irish Soda Bread was baking and the corned beef dinner was  simmering, a few of my favorite Irish films came to mind, and I was wondering what some of your favorite Irish movies might be.

One that always sets me to laughing is Waking Ned Devine

Of course, there is The Quiet Man, which usually shows up in the these parts on St. Patrick’s Day, as it did again this year.

Evelyn is perfect for social justice and protection of children –  and a wee bit of angel rays,

 

and Finian’s Rainbow if just the one for song and dance.

The trailers are from YouTube. A few I couldn’t find but are enjoyable to watch include Da, The Mammy,  The Secret of Roan Inish, and Ryan’s Daughter.

While I’m blathering on about movies, I would like to mention the British import , Moone Boy on PBS? Have you watched it?

What are your favorite films of Ireland?

 

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MagicofOrdinaryDaysth copyth-2th-3th

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

What are some of your favorite love stories?

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DSCN7038The sun danced through the house today, slipping quietly through the windows of the kitchen door, splashing warm memories of dew drops on the faucet, while sipping on a bottle of Chardonay.

Those angel rays brushed the kitchen cabinets, rendering them a honey brown. Down the narrow hall they slid. They drifted from the skylights, casting shadows on the walls. It was a sunnyside up sort a day, so welcome and warm that I did not mind that the sunbeams accented the cobwebs that have chosen corners from which to hang. The sun has made such infrequent appearances this winter that it is pure joy to see her rays on this January day – especially with the ominous prediction of an Alberta clipper about to descend upon the Great Lakes region.

Our sunny day will be a bittersweet memory come Sunday morning. I think I’ll worry about the snow when it comes and just enjoy the goodwill of sunlight today, sipping something warm, perhaps, and enjoying a dollop or two of lemon curd on an English muffin, while I read Jan Karon’s new book, “Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good”, which I have on seven day loan from the library.

DSCN7081Maybe, just maybe, I’ll take a walk about the Cutoff,  with this wonderful little book in hand, a gift from a very dear friend. Perhaps I can tell the Cape Cods and Georgians of the nesting world and determine who has been living in the trees, pondering their return from the south as soon as warmer winds start blowing.

It’s all in the little things, my friend; like angel rays and birds nests, lemon curd and bittersweet.

I Come in the Little Things

. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord:
Yea! on the glancing wings
Of eager birds, the softly pattering feet
Of furred and gentle beasts, I come to meet
Your hear and wayward heart. In brown bright eyes
That peep from out the brake, I stand confest.
On every nest
Where feathery Patience is content to brood
And leaves her pleasure for the high emprize
Of motherhood . . .

. . . I come in the little things, Saith the Lord . . .

Evelyn Underhill

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Checking out the “chipper chicken” in the middle refrigerated case of Marianno’s, I heard someone calling from across the case . ” .. .enny, I haven’t seen you in years, how are you?“.

She was looking at me, gesticulating gleefully, as one tends to do upon a chance encounter with someone from their past.  “Do you like your new house?”.  She was talking to me.

I had absolutely no idea who she was.

I’ve lived a life where more people seem to know me than I them. It is what it is. I’ve learned to roll with it. I can have a conversation with a hard boiled egg.

Yes. Love it, but, miss my friends and neighbors of so many years“.

We miss you too.”

Pause. Smiles. Chicken choices.

I don’t think I know you. I thought you were an old neighbor.”

“It happens” I said.  “I’ve done it myself.”

Someone chuckled behind me: a kindred spirit who had likely been on either side of such a conversation herself; or, was it the butcher? We laughed, the two of us, strangers in the supermarket  – and proceeded to chat for fifteen minutes. We set the world right, as women all over are wont to do whilst shopping for their evening’s supper.  Has this ever happened to you?

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shoppingMy earliest childhood memories are muted in black and white with my cousin Ted nearby. He was a constant playmate in the large brick two-flat in which our family lived. The house on Congress Street was filled with family; aunts and uncles and cousins, my parents and sister, and my Yia Yia.  The photos are many of Teddy and Penny with Christmas presents, sitting on Santa’s lap at Marshall Field’s, and some with a Christmas tree in the background.

There are stories, too, of Christmases past, especially the one where my dad conjured up Santa Clause talking to Teddy and me through the heating ducts.  “Penny. Teddy.” the voice boomed.  “Have you been good?“, our toddler heads pumping yes up and down like bobble headed dolls. The masterful storytellers that wove the stories year after year are now long gone, but the tales, they linger on.

That magical junction where Christmas memories become my own merge in our small house on Harrison Street in Maywood. The lively cast of characters still played their roles, but, in separate houses next to each other, with my Yia Yia living in our house.

The magic of Christmas began in the early morning under the same Congress Street Christmas tree, which followed us to the suburbs. The tree has a story of her own that I will tell one day.

On Christmas morn, at the foot of tree, were two felt stockings, their toes rounded and plump with an orange in each toe; one stocking for my sister and one for me. Inside the stockings were trinkets befitting young girls of the 1950’s; a necklace or bracelet, a candy cane, a toy. My stocking was decorated in pink with a ballerina appliqué on it; proof that Santa has a sense of humor.

It did not really matter to me what my stocking held. What mattered was that the stocking appeared each year – and that it was filled to bulging with a fragrant orange.  We had those stockings every Christmas Day in the morning throughout my childhood. As we grew older, the stockings were filled with other small treasures, evolving as we did, until they held such things as lip gloss and oval, plastic eggs holding Legg’s pantyhose.

What I remember the most, however, are the oranges and it is oranges (or tangerines or Clementines these days that evoke Christmas memories in me.

Ma gave each of us our Christmas stockings to keep when we were on our own. When Tom and I married, I bought us new, matching stockings that we would fill for each other. How fun it would be to come home from work or awake in the morning to find our stockings a little fuller as the days until Christmas neared. What could that little wrapped box mean? or that odd shaped tissue paper lump?

When our children came along, they each had a stocking of their own, which, each in their turn was filled as well. When they became engaged, a Christmas stocking appeared for each of our then future sons-in-law, and those stockings followed each couple into their own marriages.

The constant in my Christmas stocking(s) has always been an orange; with its taste and scent and nostalgia. Besides, how else does that toe in the stocking become full?

Addition to post:  Teddy and Penny on Santa’s lap in Marshall Fields. dscn6409

There is a heartwarming and sensitive movie; which is sometimes sad and harsh,  but always hopeful, called Christmas Oranges.  Have you seen it?

 

 

 

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I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.
Willa Cather

DSCN4884

I call it “my tree”;  a stately copper beech, it holds court just east of the visitor center It is an anchor of the shade garden at the Morton Arboretum.

It isn’t really mine, of course. It is everyone’s, but, I call it mine as it is truly my favorite tree. I look for it each time I wander the Morton. It’s copper leaves, smooth bark, sturdy limbs and strength of character call to me.  It is a prescient presence, whatever the season. This copper beech is so wide of girth that I could never hug it completely. I know. I’ve tried to. Standing beneath its comfort and shade, however, seems to be all the beech I need.

Sir Author Conan Doyle knighted one of his stories  The Adventure of the Copper Beeches. Maeve Binchy gave Copper Beech  title to a book. Poets and troubadours have caught its essence in verse and in song.

Soon, very soon, “my tree” will turn  toward another season. It will shed its leaves, resigned to the way it must live, but, its strong trunk and encompassing limbs will still hold court in the shade garden.

Do you have a favorite tree?

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DSCN5701“Yia Yia. What is true love?”  . . .

. . .  so began our rainy-day morn as we watched Frozen together.

It was a thought-provoking conversation with a lass sixty years younger than I am.  Kezzie and I manage to enter in such conversations. I love her curiosity about life, and, in this case, about true love.

 We discussed our hearts’ amazing capacity for love. I was settled upon the couch. Kezzie was bouncing with barely contained enthusiasm around the living room; a princess in a pink dress. We discussed who we love and how we love new things while still loving those we already have a heart for –  all while she danced and gestured and stepped into the animation on the screen through her own lively imagination;  body and soul, my sweet little girl.

We talked about how she loved her Mommy and Daddy and how they loved her and when her little brother was born there was more love to go around. We talked about love of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Then, she pretended to be Elsa from the movie and burst into song, duplicating her actions on screen. Elsa and Kezzie, singing together the song “Let it Go“.

Suddenly, from the Pack ‘n Play, a newly emerging voice shouted out  “let go – let go!

I look forward to more interesting conversations, as time goes by.  For now, I’ll just let it go.

True love; it is found in many places; family, friends, pets. It is more, much more, than a kiss from a handsome prince.

 

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