In Bloom

imageOver the weekend, my backdoor garden has come into bloom.

Except for a bit of weeding (which I, sadly, rarely get to), this garden is self-sustaining, filled with perennials, many of them gifted to me by my dear father before he died. The tea roses are from cuttings he brought from the Homestead (originally brought there from his mother’s tea roses in Massachusetts). My Grandma Reed died the summer before I was born, but I feel like I “know” her a little through the stories my father told me about her quiet, intelligent nature, her inventive and hearty cooking, and her beautiful flower gardens.

The iris are quintessentially my father: he loved this kind of large, colorful – and some scented – iris. These are all gifts from him, with his favorite being what he called the “blue and whites” that are in the foreground. I feature one, even, in my family-life-love-loss-hope-filled novel Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven.

We spoke many times about the mysteries of life, the Universe, energies, and what the afterlife might hold. I detail some of those conversations and thoughts in the novel as well – but I like to think that the tangible  beauty of this garden speaks to that in a different way. It blooms every year, all on its own, bringing joy, a feast for the senses, and happy memories that keep uplifting emotions and treasured people in the forefront of my thoughts.

And it reminds me yet again that love might change form, but it never truly dies.

Spring Sights

imageSpotted on back roads leading to Daughter #2’s voice lesson (her wonderful voice teacher lives about an hour distant in the countryside…well worth the trip!) The sheep looked content…and curious.

 

imageAfter this first pic on the left was snapped (at a Stop sign), the two sheep in front, who had been grazing when we first pulled up, raised their heads and stared at us. We “spoke” for a bit and then we continued on our way. 🙂

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I always enjoy my Irish heritage…but what I enjoy almost as much is the way anyone can be “Irish for a day” on Saint Patrick’s Day!

When considering the mix of all the cultures that make up many second or third generation Americans – and especially when focusing on those that compose my biological inheritance – I’ve always viewed the Irish part of me as one of the more happy-go-lucky, warm and welcoming parts. ❤

This video is a happy memory for me from childhood…not just of Bing but also of my sweet, 3/4 Irish mother singing this song in her lilting and pretty voice in the kitchen (often while making her famous Irish soda bread, the recipe of which she’d learned from her own Ireland-born Grandma Katherine O’Halleran who hailed from County Tipperary).

Perhaps it’s also my penchant for lush imagery in poetry or lyrics, particularly nature-based imagery, that makes me love this and so many Celtic songs.

And now, I’ll leave you with a little Irish Blessing. 🙂

“May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart,
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.”

Cozy Nights

cozyI love this illustration. It’s from the children’s book The Snatchabook, by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty, published in 2013.

It captures those magical possibilities that always delighted me as a child, when I’d imagine little homes in the woods where all the animals lived, snug and secure. In my mind’s eye there were tiny, warm beds covered in puffy patchwork quilts, and Mama animals of all sorts reading their babies bedtime stories in their cozy little rooms.

I’m ordering the book for my granddaughter, for when she’s older. Maybe her imagination will be sparked, too.

SnitzelAnother favorite – Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies by Jane Flory, for its magical elements of a never-ending supply of baking ingredients for cookies, cakes, and other delights, all earned from the simple act of being kind and offering a meal and a warm bed to a stranger in need.

November days like today – a little raw, gray, and rainy – bring out these nostalgic memories. I happen to enjoy this kind of day…much easier for me to get cozy in it, than in the blazing (though still beautiful) sun of summer. 🙂

How about you? Any favorite books from your childhood that sparked your imagination?

My Mr. Rogers “Happy” Cup

I loved “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” when I was a child. It was my all-time favorite (it even earned a mention in the “past” scene just after Chapter Four in Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven).

imageThis past summer I was thrilled to find this mug in the gift shop of a theater where my younger daughter was attending a week-long “Broadway Professionals” program. There was a wide variety of eclectic gifts and items, including several mugs and bobble heads.  I also picked up a “Shakespeare Love Quotes” mug to go with my “day job”. 🙂

imageimageimageOkay, so here’s what’s especially awesome about this mug. When you add hot water, Mr. Rogers changes into his yellow sweater!

It’s just like in the TV program, when he’d get inside his house and change his shoes and jacket for sneakers and a sweater.

imageAnd there are quite a few of his sayings and quotes all around the mug, too.

It just makes me happy…much in the same way the late Mr. Rogers always did.

He still does, whenever I get to see something where he is featured.

There is this article, “46 Things I Learned by Making Mr. Rogers and Me”. It’s well worth a look (it also contains links to other articles, videos, and photos that are wonderful too). It’s by Benjamin Wagner, a young MTV producer who, with his brother, premiered a documentary called Mr. Rogers and Me in 2011.

And like this video, where he received an award, but still managed to turn the spotlight away from himself to make us think and feel, and potentially leave us better people because of it.

What a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

Any other Mr. Rogers fans out there?

Halloween Memories

Halloween in the 1984

This was done my first year at college, when I came home on break…

Reminiscing Halloweens past, and the decorating we used to do at the Homestead with all homemade materials.  All the pictures in this post are from the 80’s (as the clothing and hairstyles will attest, LOL)!

Ma with pumpkinCutting jack-o-lanterns with Pa and Ma. Ma is having a bit of fun with her pumpkin. 🙂

Pa and Mary with pumpkin

Admiring the finished products with Pa

pumpkin and mary

And finally, sitting atop the little shelter Pa built for us to stand in while we waited for the school bus at the end of our long driveway…sharing the space with a giant pumpkin Pa grew, and a little orange cat he and Ma took in.

Happy Halloween!

Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors Take Warning…

imageIt was a gorgeous sky as the sun came up, while I was pulling out of the driveway this morning.

imageAt a stop sign a little farther along the road to work, the sky was still beautiful.

It’s gray and rainy now and is supposed to be so for several days – so it looks like the old adage was true!

Perfect for reading and a nice cup of tea. I can’t indulge now, but hopefully I’ll be able to grab 20 minutes sometime later today.

I hope you, too, have a great day wherever you are and in whatever weather. Happy Wednesday!