Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Foible - Caffeine dependence

Yup, that pretty much sums it up for me most mornings! 
Everytime I see this cartoon it makes me laugh so I decided to share it with my readers this morning.
I hope it makes you laugh, too!

(Hoping to get back into blogging mode next week!)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sunday Sounds - For the Beauty of the Earth

John Rutter is one of my favorite contemporary English composers, his music is always light, buoyant, and beautiful.

According to Wikipedia:

Despite composing and conducting much religious music, Rutter told the US television programme 60 Minutes in 2003 that he was not a particularly religious man yet still deeply spiritual and inspired by the spirituality of sacred verses and prayers. The main topics considered in the 60 Minutes programme, which was broadcast a week before Christmas 2003, were Rutter's popularity with choral groups in the United States, Britain and other parts of the world and his composition Mass of the Children, written after the sudden death of his son Christopher while a student at Clare College, Cambridge, where Rutter himself had studied.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Sailing on Saturday - Narragasett Bay

On Saturdays during the warm summer months, let's find refreshment by viewing beautiful paintings of sailing on open waters. Today at my house is it a sunny 87 degrees and it is dry, dry, dry. Our grass is already starting to turn brown. We are in need of a good soaking rain.

Wouldn't it be nice to be at the beach? This scene in the painting is very familiar to me. It is by American artist William Stanley Haseltine and it is called "Narraganset Bay" (which is off Rhode Island).  It was painted in 1864, right at the time of the American Civil War! It looks to me as if it could have been painted yesterday. The painting is from the collection at the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

And just for fun, here I am with my son in 2010 at the beach at Rocky Neck State Park in Connecticut. Obviously this was not taken during the summer but I'm not sure what time of year this is from. All I remember is that it was very windy and chilly that day.


Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Foible - I've got England on my mind

I had planned a different post for today, but I simply must post something to acknowledge the momentous events taking place across the pond. Almost all of my ancestry is English, I get a little crazy with sentimentality about my English roots, and I consider myself to be a wee bit of an Anglophile (meaning a lover of all things English). We may be in for a very bumpy road in the days ahead, but I trust that we will be surprised and all will be well in the end. 

And so, as I sip my nice hot cup of afternoon tea, this post is in honor of my dear friends and family in Great Britain: 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thinking on Thursday - the dried seed pod

Today I am too tired to write coherently, so please forgive me if I ramble a bit today. I went to bed early and was up to start a new day at 3 AM. No, this does not work for me, but it happens sometimes. Sometime after 2 AM I was lying in bed tossing and turning, then heard my son go downstairs to the kitchen. He is a night owl and usually gets a very early morning snack (which is actually a very late night snack from his point of view). I got out of bed thinking, "Why should I be up here tossing and turning lost in my thoughts while he is downstairs rummaging through the refrigerator lost in his thoughts? We may as well be together and think and talk together." So think and talk we did from 3-5 AM, at which time my son headed upstairs to bed.

So anyway, it was a very nice two hour chat I shared with my son in the wee hours of the morning, since we often find ourselves sharing the same roof over our heads but with little time in our schedules to spend together. So, there was some benefit to being sleepless and getting up in the wee hours of the morning.

I wasn't sleeping well because my husband had called from work yesterday with bad news. He had just received notice that he was being laid off from his job and has only two more weeks to earn a paycheck. This, obviously, is not only a shock but a major bummer. We knew his job was "temporary" but had gone on for two years and we had hopes that it would last at least another year while our son is finishing up college. But no, I guess it wasn't meant to be. We've been in this place before, both of us unemployed and worrying ourselves sick what the future held in store. So here we are again, in this uncomfortable mental place, worrying and wondering how we will make ends meet in the months ahead.

I don't mean to be telling a sob story, in fact I was reluctant to write about this today. But I'm too tired to be creative and dream up something pleasant and benign to blog about. And besides, I began thinking about the expression, "There is light at the end of the tunnel" to see if that gave me any sense of comfort in our present predicament and to see if that might be a good blog post topic. I thought maybe I could write, "Ugh, this awful thing happened, but don't worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel!" But no, I couldn't get to that place in my head today, I don't see any light in this today.

Maybe tomorrow.

So, life goes on. I was outside a little while ago with Ms Pumpkin and pondering my current predicament. I started weeding around a lone tomato plant that was given me by a kind neighbor, and found myself breaking off dead stalks of neighboring plants to give my lone tomato plant a little more room to grow. Some of the dead stalks I broke off had seed heads on them which looked just like the picture at the top of this post. They are the dried seed pods of a purple iris.

I love dried seed pods and often use them as arrangements inside. These iris pods are not particularly attractive, especially considering how completely lovely and beguiling the purple irises are in full bloom. But here are these brown, rather homely seed pods that have opened up and given up all that they contained to the world. They just spilled out their guts for the benefit of the next generation. All that is beautiful and alive and hopeful that was once contained in the seed pod is now scattered and gone. I don't see the seeds themselves, but the empty seedpod is testament that what I cannot see exists.

And this, strangely enough, gave me hope.

Sometimes when life gets bleak, we don't see that light at the end of the tunnel. It's just all darkness and uncertainty around us. But life has a way of going on, of overcoming the odds, of hiding its blessings of new life somewhere we can't see just now. I know, when gazing at the empty seed pod, that all of my life experiences have invariably led to that next step, and it has always ended up being better than I had dared to hope.

My sense of the future is limited and dimmed by my own fearful fretting and tendecny to despair. But the iris seed pod reminds me that life cannot be contained in a dead shell. It will out and scatter and bless the earth for another day. The iris will live on, and it will prosper. Someday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Windows on Wednesday - A Cosy Corner

A Cosy Corner by Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912)

The artist, Francis Davis Millet, was an American painter, sculptor and writer.
 He died in the sinking of the Titanic.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Touring - Ireland

In June of 1976 two girlfriends and I treated ourselves to a one-week trip to Ireland. We toured around the countryside in a tiny rental car, stopping at bed and breakfast places for the night. It was fun and interesting, but I will admit the country seemed a little lonely to me (being accustomed to bustling cities). It was also rainy and chilly. Someone loaned me a 35mm camera with a broken light gauge to take on the trip, so many of my photos are either over-exposed or under-exposed. I have several of them so let's take a tour of rural Ireland:

These white-washed thatched farm houses were a very common sight. Ireland was still very rural, peaceful, and GREEN in 1976 (and maybe it still is)! There were rain showers each day we were there and I saw at least three rainbows a day. No wonder Ireland is the land of leprechauns and their pots of gold!

This poor little donkey needed his hooves tended to. I felt very bad for this little guy.

The yellow flowers above are gorse bushes, which dotted many of the out-of-the-way roadways.

Above is a view from our bed and breakfast place. A double rainbow!

 Ireland of course has many reminders of their Catholic heritage in graveyards...

but also in unexpected places and along the roadways, as seen in the photo above.

We drove past many stone churches nestled in stony hillsides like the one above...

 and we walked through an astonishing number of old stone ruins of churches and abbeys.

 Above is a photo of a tea shop where we stopped for some refreshment.


The photo above is from the mystical  Hill of Tara.

It's hard to believe but there were three of us traveling in that tiny car, along with our luggage!
You can see that the road is wet from a recent rain, and the air was chilly. I was just barely warm enough in my rain coat and my friend Lisa is wearing a wool sweater in June!