Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Panini

I have been into making paninis lately. This one is made with a hearty white bread, Tuscan pane from Trader Joe's. Inside is a smear of a tomato spread, a thin slice of salami, and gouda cheese.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dear Diary,

The groundhogs must have been right this year; spring seems to be coming early. It hasn't been that long since I hiked to the compost pile, but the ground of my back yard is now sprouting all kinds of early spring growth - mostly in the form of weeds. I welcome them as they are life. In spite of the nice day, I have mostly stayed in and have begun a book, new to me, Angle of Repose, recommended by a co-worker. The first few pages pulled me in just as any good book should do, and I expect the interest to continue, making for a quick read.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Since returning to work from my retirement sabbatical, I have avoided a frenzied pace - until this week. It's been busy, but I am not complaining. Work is a good thing - for mind and body. But when there is a lot of mental stimulation, it takes time for our brains to process everything, and I am awake early this morning with thoughts of the past three days still on my mind. But pretty soon the interesting conversations and challenging situations of the week will not be at the forefront but filed away, waiting to be recalled at the mention of a name or a scenario.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

At the Lake

Paige and Stuart rented (via a nice house on Lake Murray, central to where we all live, for the weekend so the family could together and celebrate our many February birthdays. We were glad the weather was so warm and pretty. Thanks, Paige and Stu!

Here's the house.
The hammock and hot tub were fun.

They played pool downstairs.

All the kids went fishing.

We watched the sun go down.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Same corner

at 6:30 pm and another week has passed. Each evening is lighter.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Too much of a good thing

Toward the end of 2010 when the stores were stocked with good things to buy, I treated myself to an electric blanket, throw sized for my side of the bed. I had entertained the idea of an electric blanket for years, and when I saw the pretty paisley design inside the package at Costco, I asked myself...what are you waiting for? I really love it. Before I tuck in at night, I turn the control that hangs off the foot end of the bed to medium. A few minutes later it is heavenly, luxuriously warm under my covers. But there is a drawback. The heating control is set to go off after three hours, but after about two hours, I become hot. The blanket that warms me now feels like it is blistering me! It reminds me of when I overeat. The food can taste wonderful at first but then a few hours later, woe is me. And too much working or busyness or too much taking it easy, or really an excess of anything can be too much of a good thing. It really is good to learn moderation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

For Valentine's Day

Shakespeare's Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Friday, February 11, 2011

poets and poetry

For the second time in this new year I have attended poetry gatherings in a public coffee house where people read what they have written. It's been a while since I tried to write any, but I am encouraged by what others write and share with a group. Poetry can speak to universal experiences that people relate to, and I think the writing of it is healing and can help clarify conflicting and difficult feelings. I have a hard time defining poetry; if someone says it's poetry, then I suppose it is. But it's definitely emotionally expressive, from a personal place, and can defy the rules of grammar.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

@ home cleaning

I have been a bad blogger of late. Interesting thoughts pop into and out of my head and I don't take time to do anything with them. For now, I will just say how my day is going - so far.

After many moons, the husband is out of town again. On such an occasion, often before the car leaves the driveway, I start cleaning house, then I enjoy my clean space for a while. It is sort of like playing house all by myself. Was it Piaget who said, "Play is the work of children?" If so, maybe work is the play of adults.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Downtown Corner

Cold and no rain tonight.

To be an American

Jacob had to write a paper for one of his classes about what it means to be an American. I was glad to hear that a teacher was making the students think about it, because over the past few years, I have wondered if anybody really knows, including me. We are as heterogeneous a nation as there has probably ever been, and that leads to greatness as well as discord. What Jacob and I discussed last night is that it is beyond being born in America or being a naturalized citizen that makes an American. We decided that perhaps it includes a respect of the past including the American Indians, our Native people, the way of life our American forefathers determined for us to have, and the ordeals of the adventurous settlers. It also includes having a proper understanding of the law and the freedoms we are allowed to have and express - as long as we don't violate the freedom of others. That being an American doesn't have anything to do with what we have but who we are; that we value what we have here and desire to contribute to our home, cities, and nation in a positive and meaningful way. Much more could be added to the list, but that's a start. I hope lots of teens are mulling this over in other classes, and that it will contribute to a strong American society.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Lion and the Mouse

When I was a little girl, my daddy used to read to me in the evening. I loved to sit on his lap and hear his bass voice tell the stories from the pages of words I had not yet learned. One of my frequent requests was the Aesop's fables, short, timeless, anthropomorphic stories each with a wise lesson or moral at the end, like this one:

Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him. This soon awakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon the Mouse and opened his big jaws to swallow him. "Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse. "Forgive me this time, I shall never forget it, and I may be able to do you a favor in the future." The Lion was so taken at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he let him go. Some time after, the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters tied him to a tree. Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight of the Lion, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?" said the little Mouse.

Moral: Little friends may prove great friends.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Growing Up At Last

Some people may think when they hit the mid sixties that they are getting old. Not me; not yet. Instead, I feel that I am finally beginning to mature, and I welcome it. With the last new car I bought, I began to drive more carefully and quit my bad habit of speeding. I have learned to keep a secret, to make plans, to look at all sides of a situation, to curb my impulsivity, and not to overreact. I try to think before I speak. I keep fairly regular hours and attempt to live a balanced life. Maturity sounds boring, but I find that it is really pretty good.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Sky as Art

The watercolor artist I am taking a class from said her favorite thing to paint is the sky; then she demonstrated some ways to do it. Often she paints in the color(s), and while it is wet, she carefully blots up some of the color with a paper towel or natural sponge to make clouds. It is no wonder this beautiful ever changing phenomena is popular with artists. It can be anything! On my drive in to work, the sky was watercolor perfect as if the Master's hand washed in rainbow layers of soft pastel glazes. During the day, as the sun moved and the cold winds blew, the sky kept changing, moment by moment. At the end of my workday, driving home, there was an absence of color around and above, only shades of gray in the clouds and the background sky. A magnificent subject.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tidbits of the Day

Today I got to see inside a federal court house. Last month, I received a big envelope inviting me for jury duty. There were all sorts of papers I had to fill out and send back with personal questions such as, "Have you had any bumper stickers on your car in the past twelve months, and if so what were they?" I had to admit to my "Life is good" smiley face! So today I was one of about sixty randomly chosen, normal looking folks who showed up to see if we were needed to be jurors in three upcoming trials. Getting into the court room was an ordeal akin to getting on an airplane, thanks to the bad guys who have made it tough on the rest of us. After we were settled in and quietly watching the procedures, one of the potential jurors became ill and pale and had to be taken off in an ambulance. I don't know which way I would have been swayed if I had been selected for one of the cases, but I won't mind missing them, especially the racial discrimination one. I will long remember the interesting few hours.

Then tonight, this third Tuesday evening in a row of yucky weather, I went back downtown to my fun art class. Before I went in, I got a quick pic of the rainy corner near the gallery where we meet.