Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rupert Brooke and my French Lilacs...

"Just now the lilac is in bloom,
All before my little room;"

Rupert Brooke

During these late spring days, not only do my peonies bloom, but so do my French lilacs. They are a bit different from the old-fashioned purple lilacs. They are more delicate in nature and a paler lavender as well.

My bushes are right outside my parlor window. (I like saying that better than living room!)

This past week I held two meetings during the twilight hours with the windows wide open, and the scent was so strong that several folks commented on it.

The bushes are probably too close to the house, too close to the windows, but nonetheless, I love living in a bit of a forest right here in Indiana at the House at White Picket Gardens.

Here is a photo from my French lilac tree. If only, if only you could smell it!

Until tomorrow.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Peony Flower

Indiana's State Flower

This is the first bloom on my peony flower in my garden. I think it is one of my favorite blooms, and I know I wait and wait and wait patiently for this striking flower.

According to Wikipedia, "The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. Asclepius became jealous of his pupil; Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower"

It has been depicted in many art forms such as this painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir..
Peonies - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The General Assembly in Indiana chose it to be the state flower in 1957. This replaced the zinnia which had been the flower since 1931.

As for me, I just love it in my garden. It sits right outside my backdoor and permeates the entire garden with its scent. 

Just watch out when you pick a bouquet for your house as you will find a few ants crawling out of the petals!

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

From patch to pie with John Fogarty...

Rhubarb in my garden.

My first rhubarb pie of the season.
This is the first year for my rhubarb in my garden. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't plant it earlier, but nonetheless, here it is now.

When I was a little girl, my sister, Jessie, and I used to sit out in our grandma's patch pulling up rhubarb and dipping it into little tin cups of sugar. My grandma would always tell us that we would get stomach aches, but I don't remember ever getting one!

Making my rhubarb pie in my kitchen made me think of my grandma. She froze the rhubarb and then, in the deepest part of the winter, she pulled it out and cooked it slowly on the back of the stove. The smell permeated her house along with the scent of her sugar cookies. I can still smell it today.

So, give rhubarb a chance, and if you don't like it, you can at least sing the song by John Fogarty!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou

"Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin — find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less." - Dr. Maya Angelou

I do not think any of us have enough words to express our grief on the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou. Her name is a household word. Who does not know of her and her work? It seems as if folks like Maya Angelou should live on and on sharing her wisdom with us who crave and need it so.

I posted this on my Facebook page this morning, and thought it was fitting I should also put it on my blog. And whereas I never met her, her words have carried me through many situations in my own life.

Perhaps she gives us a standard to strive for or live up to; perhaps her words from the above quote are enough to get us through. 

So, this we shall remember, we are all just human beings.

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Read Me a Story...

This is just one of the art pieces at the Fremont Library.

Last week I told stories at the Fremont Public Library as part of the summer reading program. The kids were able to walk over to the library from the elementary school, take a tour of the library, and hear a tale or two.

This statue is right out the front door and a great place to just sit and take in the sun while waiting for students.

This week's article is also attached. Just click and enjoy.

Thank you for reading.

Until tomorrow.
Make sure you sign up for summer reading - KPCNews: Kpcnews

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day

I took this photo of my flag on my balcony.

Today is Memorial Day, and a day off for most Americans. Here in Northern Indiana, the day could not be more beautiful. 

I was up early taking a morning stroll around my neighborhood. It was peaceful and quiet.

It is a day of reflection for those who have come before us and how they have preserved our freedom. Let's not forget them on this day.

If your town has a ceremony, please make sure you are there. In my hometown we will gather on the Mound at 9:00.

Happy Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Secret Garden

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”
"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Inside my own garden walls (picket fence) I have many little secret hide-aways. The raspberry patch is tucked into its own trellis as well as my rain barrel. 

If you look carefully you can find little blue bottles, broken pottery shards, and cottage bird houses.

One of my favorite little places is my Buddha garden. My friend, Kathy, gave me this Buddha for my birthday one year. He holds court over a small garden. At night I usually light a candle illuminating the space. Actually I have candles in all the trees as well.

If you aren't busy one night, come on over for a cup of tea or glass of wine and we can sit in the garden by candlelight and chat about our day!

Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Green Grow the Rushes, O.

I arrived home on Sunday afternoon. The temperature was 101 degrees in Phoenix and in the 50's in northern Indiana.

I was struct by the green of the groves as we drove back home. The colors of spring are so beautiful with every color of green imaginable. The air was cool and fresh as well.

I had a wonderful time visiting my son and his wife and children. They are gracious and kind and so willing to share their lives with me. But there is always something wonderful about coming home no matter where you live.

Years ago I didn't have a home for part of the year. I lived in an apartment and I had to vacate the apartment during the summer. I lived on the lake and my landlord rented it out.  My things were in storage and all I needed was placed in the back of my Jeep.

During that time period I often heard folks talk about much.

"See you at home."
"Where will you be home?"
"Are you home?"
"How soon will you be home?"

I was so in love with the word home when I had none.

So, driving home from the airport, I thought about how green was my home.

Until tomorrow.

Oh, and enjoy the Celtic Women!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

This visiting family business is a good hobby...

This visiting family business is a good hobby - KPCNews: Kpcnews

Here is the link to my Saturday morning column. As you can see I am in Phoenix visiting Abe and his family. The following photos accompany the column.

Enjoy as always and thank you for reading!

Until tomorrow.

Abe's garden does not just feed caterpillars!

This is the caterpillar with Abe's business name, Papili-Machaen-Bairdi.

Just another morning in the kitchen!

The morning brings tedious work for the lepidopterist..

Kristin walked in on the morning scene, "Holy Moly!"

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mary Poppins meets "The Children's Hour."

The Children's Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
      When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
      That is known as the Children's Hour...

This is Holly with both front teeth out!

Brianna is licking off the frosting on our cupcakes! I can't believe she waited until dinner!
Traveling to Arizona is not just a change in time (three hours), or a change of scenery (small town to the desert), but a change in my status. I become the Nannie of stories, puppets, and songs under the big sky.
It is always sad to leave and not see my girls for a long stretches, but the moment I walk in the door, all time passes, and it is as if we were never apart.
They remember everything...every story, every song, and all of our activities. We have many to do: we must make cupcakes, read in the afternoon, have puppets shows with Goldibocks (she travels in my suitcase), and no that is not a typo. We also swim in the afternoon, and every night we sing songs under the big night sky.
I am so fortunate that there is a full moon tonight. The rising of the moon and the singing of the songs is an event that I hope they will remember all their lives. Our songs include, She'll be Coming Round the Mountain, Jennie Jenkins (every color), I See the Moon, and Good-Night my Darling, Good Night from The Music Man.
I love that when I visit I am the Nannie and nothing else. What more could a person want?
Don't forget to see the full May Flower Moon tonight.
Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It was not a quiet week in my hometown...

It was not a quiet week in my hometown - KPCNews: Kpcnews

Here is the link to this week's column. As always I hope you enjoy it.

I took the above photo last week after the completion of the T. Furth Center for the Performing Arts. After you read the column you will understand my thoughts of Hamlet!

As always, thank you for reading and supporting my work.

Tomorrow? Where in the world am I?

Until then.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you women out there reading my blog. The day is a bit bittersweet for most of us. There comes a time in our life when we realize those little ones will grow up and leave the nest as it should be.

I have three boys including twins, Adam and Aaron. Abe was born just two years later. During the early years I couldn't see past the work. I loved every minute of it and was not aware of the passing of time.

One day when they were in elementary school, I was home alone. I remember hearing the clock tick. It was the first time in years I heard the clock tick. I also remember crying my eyes out realizing that someday that is all I would hear in my house.

It did happen. I am so happy for my children; they are grown up, responsible young men and really nice kids.

Today I get to have breakfast with Aaron in my hometown and dinner with Abe and his family in Phoenix. That just leaves Adam, my oldest son in St. Pete, out of the equations. I miss them all every day.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms. Enjoy each moment.

Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

William Faulkner

Today was the first gardening day of the spring and a day I had completely to work, no meetings, no deadlines.

I started early with the garage door opened and hauled out all my tools: wheelbarrow, hoe, shovel, rake and other small odds and ends.

With the gardener's tools I worked the day working magic into the ground, into the air, into my soul, I might add.

The sounds of day wove around me as well: the street cleaner, the mechanic down the way, the church bells, a lawn mower from a few streets over.

It was a day of thinking of beauty, of poetry, of good life.

The photo is from last year. Two of my rose bushes died out because of the dreadfully cold winter and that was one of them.

Today also made me think of William Faulkner and his book, "Vision in Spring." Here is a short excerpt:

We dance and dance; the while our faces
Lighten, darken, resume their places
By walls of dark where spikes of bloom
Like censers swing and wall the room
With scented mirrors that beguile
Us with the promise of a smile
Which time alone can now efface,
Which always will return a face
When we draw near, to stir each heart
With memories ere we touch and part.
Harps soothe darkness to appease
The nervous swiftness of our knees
That maze the dark with little lights
To twinkle beyond all empty nights
When we are old, and lonely and wise,
And think and smile, with shadows in our eyes.

William Faulkner

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Post election thoughts...

Yesterday I was honored to work the polls in my small town. I set my alarm for 4:00 a.m. and honestly wonder to myself why I do this!

I made a small pot of coffee, showered, dressed and was out the door by 5:00. It was a beautiful morning with a sky full of stars and just a few cars lumbering out on the road.

My poll location was a small church in the country. Usually I work the town polls, but not this year. There were five of us gathered, a couple of folks I knew, the other two I did not.

It didn't take long for us to become friends. We worked together getting everything ready, read the oath to each other and opened the door promptly at 6:00. 

I must say it was a bit of a slow day. Perhaps because it was the primary without a huge national election...perhaps because the sun was shining and that alone is a rare phenomenon here or perhaps lack of interest.

We kept each other company by talking, sharing food, reading magazines, welcoming voters, and taking strolls up and down the hallways.

By 6:00 in the evening, our inspector, Tracy, went out to announce the closing of the polls and we locked the door. We spent another hour making sure the numbers all matched, the forms all filled out, and everything placed in the proper envelopes with seals.

As I worked as a judge, I followed Tracy to the court house with our totes and books and we were checked out by the clerk. The court house was buzzing with local folks and Mike, my editor, and Jim from WLKI.

I spent the rest of the evening with friends at McCool's tavern in town where we hashed out the day.

I am proud to be a participant in this system as well as a voter. I only hope we can garner more votes in the fall election.

Why don't Americans vote? I guess that is a topic for another time. 

Hopefully you were among the voters. Thank you for that.

Until tomorrow.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Hymn of early evening...

Last evening I was returning home from a storytelling performance when i decided to take the back road. It wasn't afternoon yet it wasn't night...I guess dusk would be the best word. The day was cool, as most days have been here in northern Indiana this spring, but so lovely. At one point I pulled over to the side of the road to just enjoy the beauty of the early evening.

Maybe I was drawn to the sound of the birds, or the color of the sky...or maybe the scent of fresh dirt or the grass, I don't know what made me stay and linger as I did. With my camera in hand I took a couple of photos to capture the moment. The photo does not give you all that I felt in that short amount of time.

Later I thought about the photo and the evening and likened it to the singing of a hymn in an old church.

Perhaps you know exactly how I felt or perhaps not.

Until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Ocracoke Music and Storytelling Festival

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to send you a link to Philip's blog today announcing the line up for the Ocracoke Music and Storytelling Festival.

What he failed to mention is that the women of Ocracoke will be presenting an evening of stories and tales! I will be emceeing the event and telling a tale or two as well. Mark your calendars for the first weekend in June for a great time on Ocracoke Island.

Until tomorrow.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

May Day might get pushed to June 1 this year...

May Day might get pushed to June 1 this year - KPCNews: Kpcnews

Hi folks,

Here is the link to this week's column...a story of May Day (not Yeats, did that yesterday!)

Just click on the above link and there you are!

As always, I appreciate you reading my stories, and I appreciate the opportunity to work for KPC as a columnist!

Have a great post-May Day this weekend.

Until tomorrow.

Friday, May 02, 2014

May Day with Yeats

May Day comes and goes with nary a thought about the meaning. It is actually the cross-quart day between spring and summer. It is also known as May Day Beltane, according to Celtic folk lore. This day was a celebratory known know for gathering green branches and flowers and twining them into wreaths or sticks. 

Girls washed their hair in the morning dew and were sure they would see the face of their true love in that early dampness. May Day celebrates the persistence of life and the possibility of love.

I am not sure about you, but I did not wash my hair in the morning dew as it was 40 degrees in my back yard, and I certainly did not go out to look for the face of my true love in the dampness. I didn't even have my traditional May Day campfire because of the rain (could that have been snow?)

Perhaps another day I will try the hair washing, and the campfire will soon come to be when I can drop the winter coat!

Hope you had a great May Day!

The Land of Heart's Desire

The wind blows out the gates of day,
The wind blows over the lonely of heart
And the lonely of heart is withered away,
While fairies dance in a place apart,
Shaking their milk-white feet in a ring,
Tossing their milk-white arms in the air.

W.B. Yeats

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Christel's Crutchercise

Christel Barelse is a performer, storyteller, and teacher who was also injured this winter. We spent a lot of time discussing our injuries even though I fell on the icy sidewalk and she fell while she was skiing. 

She still needs surgery in the fall, but nothing is stopping her as you can see from this really fun video. I was not on crutches long so I would have really liked to see a  video on the wheelchair shuffle.

It is hard to keep good women down, especially when they are determined and a bit funny!