Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Some Very Good People

     Blogging is an amazing thing if you think about it. Several years ago, before I started blogging, I was talking about it.  My daughter told me that no one blogs anymore, if you want to keep in touch, do Facebook. And if you look at the numbers, she was right.  But oh, how I hate FB!  I never contribute to FB and I went cold turkey from browsing on inauguration day so if something has happened in anyone's life since then, I don't know about it.
     Blogging, on the other hand is different.  If you are here, it's because you want to be.  You somehow found this blog and if you like what you saw you came back.  I don't have hundreds of readers but the ones that do return here more than once do so because they want to.  And I appreciate that.  It makes me feel like I'm not talking to myself.
     I got started by wandering around one evening and found Chookyblue's page. Through her blog list on her sidebar I found other like minded people. One thing led to another, one blog led to another, and I found myself pretty much moving next door to several people in Australia, somewhere I've wanted to go since I was ten years old.
    Chooky set up my Snappyfriends page one evening through email messages with me.  I don't even know what time it was in Australia when it's about 9:30 p.m. here.
    Susan and I have become fast friends and our emails are long, deep and very much like a phone call from someone near and dear. 
     Because of Chooky's Christmas secret exchange I've shared gifts with people who have become friends.  One of them is Jenny at  http://birdontheborder.blogspot.com/2017/02/a-kangaroo-famiily.html.  Jenny is coming to the U.S. on an excursion in late October/early November and has arranged to come visit ME at the end of her itinerary.  No, I am ON her itinerary!  I can't believe how amazing  that is. I keep pinching myself.  It was Jenny and her husband who coached me through deboning a raw turkey last year.
     When I read Jenny's post today (the link is above) about the resident kangaroos in her neighborhood she knew it would be something I would never see around here!  It brought to mind some pictures I took of the deer that are in the forest behind us and sometimes  right out the dining room window.
 Such a sweet face, but when the new spring flowers and greenery come back the deer will devour them from springtime hunger and then she won't be so cute anymore.
I toss a little extra corn on the ground when they come around.  I'm not helping things, but they sure are fun to watch.  Especially from 6 feet away!  They aren't tame and we have to stand like statues because they bolt if they see us move.

     Last week Monday was our monthly quilty day with Friends Marilyn and Jan.  Friends  Barb and Sally joined us because when too much time goes by I miss them.  Barb and Sally live near the lakeshore where I used to live so to come here is a real testimony to friendship.  It's about an hour's drive.
 We sat around the dining room table doing hand work and eating cookies and drinking tea and catching up. 

Each month one of us brings lunch, someone brings dessert and on the fourth month we go out.

     Near or far,  blogging buddy or not, putting a needle into a piece of fabric has brought some very good people into my life.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Himself by Jess Kidd

     Himself is Mahony, a young man often in trouble with the authorities of Dublin.  Mahony was raised in an orphanage in Dublin and his whole life believed what he had been told, that his mother abandoned him on the steps.  One day Mahony receives a photograph and a short note telling him otherwise and he leaves Dublin immediately to travel to the village where he was born, Mulderrig, to learn the truth of his mother.
      Mulderrig is an unusual place, the superstitions are real, the locals are secluded and the place is full of dead people who wander around still living their lives.  Mahony can see them.  He can talk to them. And they lend a helping hand in sorting out the mess of Mahony’s life. The villagers recognize  Mahony as soon as they lay eyes on him and are not so welcoming as the dead.
     Mahony was always told and continues to be told by the villagers that his incorrigible mother got on a train with him in one arm, a suitcase in another and good riddance to her. No one is willing to drag her life out into the open again.  Least of all her killer.
      Mahony has an ally in Mrs. Cauley, a very old, very frail retired actress who seems to hold the town in her hands and somehow manages to stay alive in spite of that. Mrs. Cauley agrees with Mahony.  His mother didn’t get on a train. The two of them use her annual production as a means to uncover the truth in this very closed village.
     I happen to believe in the ghosts around us so I had no trouble with this part of the story.  If you don’t consider the ghosts around you then you could look at it as an element of humor to the story.    Superstition, belief in fairies and the living dead are a large part of the Irish psyche and wow, Jess Kidd gives them a real part to play. 
     I don’t want to give away too much about this story, nor do I want to say so little that you will think this isn’t something special and deserving of your time. I loved the language in this book.  I loved the story, the mystery, the characters and living in the village for awhile.  Just give yourself a bit of a feel for the place and enjoy the journey.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Socks On, Socks Off

    Every year there are two particular days that are the clear signal of the change of seasons. Socks on and socks off.
In the fall when the days are just too chilly to ignore anymore there is one morning when you know the barefoot sandal days are done and you say to yourself, "Ok,  socks go back on."  And conversely, in the spring when the sun is shining, the snow is gone, the windows can be opened for a whole day and the jackets and coats stay in the closet, you can say, "Ok, socks off today!"
   That was today.  Yesterday was beautiful, too, but today was picture perfect and PH got my lounge chair from the garage, set it up on the front porch, I got my book, an iced tea, a couple of pillows and settled down in the sun for a nice little nap.  Shoes kicked off, socks off.
    I lay there listening to the sounds of the town, a little yappy dog somewhere down the street, a small airplane circling the river park, car radios because windows are rolled down, and then, "HI, GRANDMA!"  The girls rode over on their bikes for a visit.  SO much better than a nap.

 The first stop is always at the freezer to get a fudge bar.  Then they ran out to 'the fort' in the back to eat them.
 One thought led to another  and they started to build their own little pockets of ingenuity.  Sometimes they call these spots forts and sometimes nests.  I just thank God they have imaginations that take them everywhere. They gather sticks and twigs.
 Stones and small rocks.
Any found objects, including one of my plant supports. 
 Adelaide had the idea of mosses for softness.  Elizabeth found five different kinds of mosses today.
Their special spots grew, were decorated and I was given charge of keeping things right while they were gone.
SO much better than a nap.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Signs are Pointing

Yes, indeed, the signs of spring are all around us.  The temperatures are so mellow I sat out on the porch yesterday in the afternoon sun and read my book for awhile.  I could hear somewhere in the distance a robin, the true sign of spring here in the north. I couldn't see it but I could hear it.
 But there are other signs, too.  The gold finches are turning back to yellow.
 The sap is running and this little squirrel was licking the sap from this branch like you'd handed him an ice cream cone.
 And this morning PH hung our first batch on the clothesline.  When you live at the top of a hill in the woods you can go out in your jammies and no one notices, unless your wife has a camera.
Just look at that sunshine!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Juliet's Answer

Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak by Glenn Dixon

     Glenn Dixon has taught Romeo and Juliet to his high school classes for over twenty years.  He knows the story inside out. When his own love life just can’t seem to take off, in despair, he travels to Verona, Italy, the home of Romeo and Juliet to clear his mind. Where else would one who is disappointed in love go for answers?
     In Verona, at Juliet’s house, there is a group of women who consider themselves the secretaries of Juliet.  They answer the thousands of letters written to Juliet and either mailed or left in the courtyard of her home. These letters are all about finding, keeping, grieving the loves of life.  From young girls to grown men, from all over the world, they write to Juliet. 
     While Glenn is in Verona he volunteers to help answer these letters.  All letters with a return address are answered by the secretaries of Juliet and these secretaries are always in need of help.  They agree to let Glenn become one of their group and he begins to look for love between the lines.  He questions what is love? He must give a listening ear and a compassionate heart to every letter’s writer and while doing so he questions love all the more.  He wanders the streets of Verona and learns about the real Romeo and Juliet. We are treated to a walking tour of Verona by Mr. Dixon that takes us to the sites of the real Romeo and Juliet, we live in the neighborhoods and eat at the best pizzeria, drinking the espresso thick as pudding.  We climb the stairs of Juliet’s house and stand on the balcony and feel his pain and his hope.   
     But finally, he must return home to his life and his classroom.  And once again he is disappointed in love but reinvigorated by his students. And once again he turns to Juliet and the secretaries when he returns to Verona, this time with the intention of living there.  But this time, it’s different.
     Juliet’s Answer is a memoir told with hope, humor and the despair of finding a special someone, for we do believe, as he does, that he will grow old alone, penning answers to letters written to a young girl.   
     I couldn’t help but think as I read this, “What a perfect Valentine gift!”  That’s not to say it’s schmaltzy.  It isn’t. It’s full of hope.