Friday, April 30, 2010

Like it was yesterday, Lexington, Discussion

1. I met Steve 31 years ago this week. "I can't tell one from another, did I find you or you find me?"
2. Lexington, Virginia for lunch with B. We poked around the used book store followed by the chocolate shop. A pretty, historical town buzzing with life on a warm spring day.
3. She asks for my opinion. This is a precious thing from our teen-aged children and not to be taken for granted.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

They Won't Let Us In the Door

Bright moon, Mary Ann, Pushing the limits

1. The full moon is so bright that I squint my sleepy eyes when I look out the window this morning.
2. She is 85 years old and walks the property carrying an ax. She's smoking out groundhogs, chopping at tree stumps and spray painting rusty metal. I admire her gumption.
3. At the back window, I see Audrey galloping up the hill. At the kitchen window, she is standing on the horse's back. And then she is at the front door where Steve is telling her, "No, don't even think about bringing the horse in the house."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Catch me if you can, Stone stories, Gale force wind

1. Cloud shadows race across the hillsides while the grass tries to keep up in frantic waves.
2. One by one we photograph the headstones. One by one they tell us their stories.
3. The wind pounds at us with such intensity that I turn to get my bearings. I see we are on a mountainside at the end of a valley and the view is breathtaking. The wind is funneling down the valley and slamming right into us.
4. Audrey phones, sounding like a new, proud parent. She announces that Jenny had her foal last night! (Jenny belongs to someone else, but she spent her maternity time at our place, up until last week.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tempestuous skies, Daydreams, Harmony

1. Wind, clouds, sun, rain, a day that can't make up its mind. No matter which hat it wears, it is beautiful.
2. Baby gazes out the window in a daydream. It is a world of green out there and I can only imagine how intense the color must be to new eyes.
3. The biannual concert of Tess' Singing School Choir was held tonight. Scared faces, tentative smiles, slicked down hair and hundreds of sweet voices bring tears to my eyes. The dedicated volunteers who direct the two choirs coax beautiful harmonies from the children in a top-notch performance.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lost then found, Very big, very loud, very fun, A picnic

1. I am driver, Steve is navigator and in the back seat is our happy crew. Navigator's google map takes us out into the middle of nowhere, miles off course. Not to be deterred, we turn around and roll along for another 45 minutes. Suddenly, from the distance, we see black smoke billowing into the sky and hear rapid gunfire and know that we have arrived!
2. The AAF Tank Museum is a huge, impressive facility showing off thousands of weapons of minor destruction. I am all about peace, love, Woodstock, make-love-not-war. But this place left me in awe of what man will build. Being the happy people that we are, we had a really fun day.
3. Towels spread under the pines, lunch eaten outdoors, today feels like summer.

* We haven't "evolved" very far, really. A tank cannon is nothing more than a trebuchet and a flame thrower is not much different than Greek fire. Same man, same weapon, different method of delivery.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday drive, Rock brace, Who wins, Dance tonight

1. We are the only car on the road, driving for miles through the mountains on winding country roads.
2. Huge slabs of natural rock, dark brown and mossy, were built into the bottom of the hill running along the highway. Natural elements in landscaping, my preference whenever possible.
3. One of the horses was very naughty today and had to be broken of a dangerous, bad habit. This meant performing the same movement over and over until the horse complied. It also meant holding onto a 1500 pound animal and pitting will against will. Now I know why God made Audrey a strong-willed child. She's amazing.
4. The band strikes up the first foot-tapping song and we have one hundred people commence the dance. Everyone is smiling.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Steve's day, Music to drive by, A new tree

1. Steve's 50th birthday! He requests a Boston Cream Pie, no candles.
2. Smash Mouth was my music-to-run-errands-by today. I had a good time driving along to the upbeat tempo.
3. I buy a new Purple Leaf Plum tree for our garden. They have striking purple-red leaves year round. I buy it today because we'll easily remember that it was planted on Steve's birthday as we count the years it grows.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In season, Spiraea, Return of the trumpet vine

1. Artichokes, bigger than my hand, made dinner fun tonight.
2. The delicate branches of Bridal Veil Spiraea arch from the vase and form a beautiful arrangement.
3. Last summer someone I love gave the Trumpet Vine a pruning that we compare to the cutting of a Barbie doll's hair. (You persist in evening off each side and before you know it, the hair is gone.) I still remember my scream and her tears when I first laid eyes on the sad spectacle. Today I rejoice in the return of a vigorous vine. It will probably be more beautiful than ever, covering the pergola and finally giving us shade.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Plants to plant, Spectacle, Spectacles

1. The purchasing of plants has officially begun! I'll visit several gardens and nurseries before all is said and done. The joy is in the hunt!
2. A perfectly shaped rectangle opens through the clouds where a wedge of sunbeam streams through, hitting smack onto the side of a mountain. I wonder where this beam has focused and if some lucky person on the mountain even knows the sun is doing this to them.
3. The ophthalmologist shows us photographs he took of the insides of our eyes. They are amazing, colorful pictures showing every detail. I clearly see the miracle of our creation. As we leave, the doctor kindly gives Tess a microfiber cloth and lens cleaner for her camera. We have spent two hours at our appointment, and it was worth every minute.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The best meal ever, Algebra 2, The finish line

1. The aroma of simmering spaghetti sauce and meatballs fills the house today, making everyone impatient for dinner.
2. Steve helps Audrey with her math. I hear the drone of their voices from the other room. Then I hear Audrey say with relief, "Yay, I got it right!"
3. I still get excited about having the laundry and ironing all caught up. I know it is a very temporary victory, but those empty laundry baskets are my trophies today.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Steaming mountains, Beautiful names, Strata for dinner

1. Mountains of mulch and compost wait for loading at the garden center. The scent of mulch fills the air. Sweet, like cedar.
2. The name on the check is Greek. It has many, many syllables and a sing-song flow. I am impressed by the names people carry and intrigued by their possible meanings. Of course, a beautiful name could end up meaning "goat boy" or something.
3. Our dinner was a spinach and cheddar strata with sides of tomato salad and brussels sprouts. Very economical plus delicious. I especially liked how the bread cubes browned and crisped on the top.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Chocolate cake, Annual turns perennial, New from old

1. I was having a yen for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting so I made my favorite recipe for our dessert today. It was everything I imagined and craved.
2. Attempted to dig out a Silver Mound Artemesia that had morphed into a monster in the flower bed. It was ugly and had to go. Chelsea came to my rescue and got it out, pulling up roots that reached deep and far. The dirt is now turned and ready for something more beautiful to be planted in its place.
3. Playing around with some scraps of my favorite linen, I finally figured a way to sew it into an appealing pillow.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fundraiser, Home sweet home, A little elf

1. People-watching as all of humanity walked through a town-wide yard sale.
2. Steve brewed a fresh pot of coffee after I came home. I had been standing outside for eight hours on this blustery, chilly day so a hot cup of coffee was most welcome. And I sat down in a soft chair to drink it, with a cookie, and a book.
3. The kitchen was clean and tidy. The computer desk was cleared. The living room was in order, pillows fluffed, remotes in their basket. Every room had been straightened. I looked at Audrey and she said, "Yeah, I kinda got on a cleaning roll."

Friday, April 16, 2010

So far, so good, Trillium, One man's junk...

1. The hallways at the middle school were flooded with sunshine and the cafeteria smelled good.
2. Beautiful white Trillium grow on the roadside. There are also plenty of red Columbine and some Rue Anemone.
3. The pile of "junk" is sorted, tagged and tidily packed for donation to a yard sale fundraiser. I'm happy to finally have it out of the basement.

Me, chalky browns, life's work

1. "I've got my feet on the ground, head in the sky..."
2. Friend's chickens are laying in abundance. Each carton holds many shades of brown.
3. Re: parenting teenagers. Progress is made with one step back but two steps forward. Hugs and kisses from our grown children are just as precious as when they were babies. Maybe even more so. Trial by fire, thank you Lord.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Studies, Boy meets plant, Happy Birthday Mom

1. Steve studies with a stack of books on the table. There is a green book and a red book. He tells us there is also a brown, blue, orange and purple book. They are literally colored and named in this simple way. Leave it to engineers...
2. The youth group is planting flowers. One boy carefully tips a plant out of its pot and says, "Oh, cool!" I'm not sure what he was expecting.
3. My dear mom turned 88 today. She is not the same force to be reckoned with as when I was a teenager. Nevertheless, she is still a force and I'm glad of it. Gosh, couldn't we all write pages and pages about our moms?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Loads of scent, Thank you, Catching up

1. My fairly new lilacs stand only 2 feet high, but each has a little bunch of flowers standing tall at the top. For miniature things, they pack a powerful scent.
2. Kind words from the father of the baby I watch, regarding her care, mean a lot to me.
3. Tess has a far away friend staying with us this week, so we hear a lot of chatting and giggles.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Funny face, Wild, Over shell pasta

1. Baby caught on to the game that when she made faces and sounds, we laughed. Seeing this, she made more faces and sounds. Then she would look at us to be sure we were laughing. She had us in stitches!
2. Planted a cultivated variety of blackberries at the back of the property to see if they will grow "wild". I'm anxious to follow this little experiment and see what happens.
3. Roma tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, thyme, coarse salt and pepper, then roasted until bursting. Thus began our simple yet satisfying meal.
4. And I heard myself say, "Steve, don't give the dog jellybeans."

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rays, Sleep Deprived, Babies

1. We migrate outside to warm in the sun. As our bodies warm up, we strip off vests, hoodies, shoes and socks. Sunglasses come down and faces turn up toward the warmth.
2. A good nap refreshes me from a sleepless night.
3. Frantic, wiggly, cute tadpoles in a jar.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Onion, One Life's Work, Returning, Purple Mold

1. The mower cuts through some wild onion grass. It smells like a salad.
2. I'm able to see the results of my hard day's work in the garden. Bit by bit over the years and it all begins to come together.
3. It is dusk and I sit outside to rest. Just then, I hear Steve drive up after being away. Perfect timing!
4. The lavender-colored creeping phlox is stunning this year. But its mounded form gives it the appearance of some kind of alien mold.

And they lived happily ever after...A bunny update

The bunnies that were found abandoned on Easter have been adopted out to a good home. Because there are more kindhearted people out there to counteract those few with neglectful hearts.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Psychedelic Basil, In a Glass Bowl, A Good Book

1. I ask the produce clerk for basil. He hands me a package and says, "It's purple". Sure enough, it's purple basil. I glance at the package several times while I continue to shop, wondering how it will look on my pasta.
2. Segments of mandarin oranges suspended in red Jello.
3. Finished reading, To Have and to Hold, A Tale of Providence and Perseverance in Colonial Jamestown by Mary Johnston. I love history and historical fiction and was pleased enough with this tale.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Glory, Feeding Time, Water Color

1. The abundance of blooms are enough to sustain me. Everywhere I walk or drive, nature shouts, "Glory, glory, glory!"
2. I had the rare chore of feeding the horses this evening. I liked being out in the misty rain because it brought a hush over everything. A lone bird sang with the rain. I walked past the ancient pear tree and studied its gnarled form, I smelled the sweet grain, the good hay and the wet earth. On second thought, this wasn't a chore, it was a privilege.
3. Tess and I are alone for a bit and the house is very quiet. I sit on the porch to enjoy the rain. It deepens all the colors.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Independent, Keep It Cool, Sweetness

1. Audrey and Tess are now capable to go off shopping without me. They are excited as they prepare to leave, but I still get in my "mother's list of warnings".
2. I close the windows, doors, and shades trapping in the cool air from morning.
3. Tess and I walk around the yard, smelling the flowers with long deep inhales.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Aprons, Flowering Almond, Found Money

1. A neatly folded stack of freshly ironed aprons placed on the pantry shelf.
2. The flowering almond is adorned with little, frilly, pink, ball-shaped flowers. I almost lost it last year, but made a last ditch effort to save it by cutting it back, then watering and fertilizing faithfully. It has come back in full splendor and it gives me great pleasure to see it blooming.
3. Performed the checkbook balancing act. When all was said and done, I "found" money!
"Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." Martin Luther

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

1. Voices raised in song as the sun rises before us.
2. Chelsea and Chad have found two abandoned bunnies on their way to church. After dinner, we sit with them on the porch while Chelsea cleans off their dirty fur. They are sweet bunnies and we comment on their cuteness as they groom each other.
3. Audrey and Chelsea return from their horseback ride and tell us of the new trails and all the interesting sights they found along the way.
4. Late in the day, we take a long walk. Upon our return, we find Audrey trying to catch wild Jenny, who is pregnant and whose halter is chafing her head. Five of us try to corral her into a corner, without getting her too worked up (!). This one little hackney pony has all five of us exhausted, dirty and sweaty. We perform the "human corral" very well and in good humor, I think. But she finds a break and charges through us every time until we must give up, not willing to chance harming her unborn foal. We tried.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New Life, Baking, Time-Out, Let's Play Box Office

1. Wrapping flower pots in cellophane, Tess spots some movement in one of the flowers. We gently pick out a baby Praying Mantis and we cannot believe its tiny size.
2. The kitchen smells of sweet bread as the Italian Easter Bread bakes. It is a braided wreath of sweet bread, sometimes studded with fruit bits and baked with colored eggs nestled in the dough. It is drizzled with icing and served with Easter breakfast.
3. Tess and I reward ourselves with a movie. I have popcorn and soda for my dinner and Tess has a Breuster's ice cream.
4. We have a talk with Chelsea through the box office window. It's the old-fashioned kind of movie box office with a little speaker hole, a smallish glass window and she has a microphone on her side. From the bright outside where I stand, it is hard to see her in the dark interior. It's a strange way to talk with my daughter and it feels like we are playing a game.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Conductor Please? Scented Drive, Family

1. The birds have begun their sunrise song. The turkeys have added their voice, but someone needs to tell them they are off tune.
2. The Bradford Pear trees are in full, glorious bloom. They completely surround the shopping mall area and their perfume is intense today. Most people will agree that their scent is a little "off". But no matter, it smells like spring and that makes it alright!
3. At dusk, the four of us sit on the porch, candle burning, chairs slowly rocking. I sip my Tanquerey with tonic and lime, we laugh, we discuss, we watch the evening deepen together.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Moon vs. Sun, Old Cutters, Spring Breeze

1. The moon sets on my right as the sun rises on my left.
2. I search in the cookie cutter jar for just the right shapes. I choose a bird, a bunny and a flower.
3. White ball-fringe curtains flutter in the open window, reminding me of our house in Maine a long, long time ago.

A Feast for the Eyes, Ready for Warm, Bonanza Egg

1. I volunteered the happy task of choosing flowers for our Easter breakfast at church. Tess and I found a beautiful assortment of purples, yellows and pinks.
2. The screened porch gets a wash down from a winter's worth of dust and dirt. Chairs, tables, lights and walls now shine. I placed some flowers and a hurricane globe, then sat for a moment to enjoy the clean.
3. The big kids are stuffing plastic eggs for the little kid's Easter hunt. A boy confides in me, "I stuffed seven candies in this one!"