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.

Happy Spring!

Although it’s quite chilly here in Upstate, New York, it’s been sunny and a lovely, brisk first day of Spring.

 

imageI put out my “spring-themed” flag in the front (I have 8 or so flags, to match the seasons, though I always seem to be adding more…I just put away the green spangled Saint Patrick’s Day flag).

 

 

imageAnd the first harbingers of Spring, since I can remember, have begun to poke their little blue heads from the soil next to the house. Apparently they’re called Scilla siberica (Siberian squill or wood squill). We always called them the “little blue flowers” when I was growing up. They spread a lovely-hued carpet of blooms next to the old homestead, and the autumn before my father died, he (presciently) dug me a rectangular bit of that turf from home and brought it the 1.5 hours or so to my house, so I could have a patch of them growing every Spring. Just another reason I love him and another reason to always think of him whenever I look at the beauty of those flowers.

 

Happy Spring to one and all!

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.”

2015 Book of The Year Finalist!

FINAL COVER MOOSE TRACKS

Feeling the #indielove! Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven has been chosen as a Foreword Reviews’ prestigious #INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards finalist in #General Fiction! In a competition with over 1500 other entrants, it’s pretty great to have made it this far. Stay tuned for the winner announcements at the end of June, at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, in Orlando, FL.

Click HERE to go to the list of General Fiction Finalists, and HERE if you want to go directly to the finalist page for Moose Tracks on the Road to Heaven.

Woohoo! 🙂

It’s Been A While…

It’s hard to believe that here it is the end of February, and this is my first post of 2016.

There are several reasons for this, which I won’t get into in any detail, but I will share that my life has become more complex and complicated in many ways, due to some family-related issues and a delightful and loveable new little human who has been living with us and made me a (quite youthful!) grandmother.

imageNeedless to say, the slogan on the Yogi tea I’ve been drinking this past hour is one I’m working actively toward achieving each day: “To be calm is the highest achievement of the self”.

Speaking of tea, what do you think of my mug? It’s new (well, as of January) and was a little gift to myself, purchased at a country store but from a source called Healing Touch Pottery. Each mug or pottery item is unique, handmade from quartz clay and containing a gemstone or mineral in the handle, imbued with energy associated with that. Mine is my birthstone, amethyst (yes, I recently had a milestone birthday) 🙂

I love it!  Has anyone else here tried their pottery?  I’d like to collect a few more pieces. It’s pretty and comforting all at once.

Anyway – I’m glad to be back and will try to post again more frequently. I’m writing sporadically, working at the moment on a prequel novella for The Crimson Lady – but thanks to the aforementioned changes in life, I’ve yet to find my rhythm to set up any regular schedule. It will come in time – when it’s supposed to – I’m confident.

Until my next post, wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

It’s Almost Time…

tgpc2Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, probably because it’s about being together and sharing food, time, and memories, without any need to focus on material gifts and the like.

turkey tom 1I’ve always loved it. I can remember being a little girl and sitting in the living room watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, eating a bowl of grapes (a special treat, along with tangerines, for the holiday).

The big picture window would be all steamed up from Ma’s cooking in the adjoining kitchen, and the delicious smells of the turkey roasting, onions and celery sautéed in butter for use in the stuffing, and sage filling the whole room with a homey, delicious scent.

So…what are some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, if you celebrate the holiday? I’m always looking to add something to our table, so please share in the comments! 🙂

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?