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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Time

Two little chickie decorations in my bay window.

Easter Rhyme

Did you color boiled eggs?
Did the bunny bring you treats?
Does your heart sing "Allelu
The Lord is risen it is true"?
Enjoy each aspect of this day,
Happy, Bless-ed, Easter Day.

Easter is a time of transformation and renewal. Brown groups of sticks are transformed over night into beautiful splashes of color in the landscape. It's also a chance to have some treats like chocolate bunnies and jelly beans. Be careful there or you'll be transforming your wardrobe by buying larger sized clothes! Haha!

Blooming forsythia in my front yard.

The thing about forsythia is that it reminds me of my mother and childhood. We had a beautiful row of it bordering our back yard between ours and the neighbor's. it's the first thing to bloom, its bright sunny yellow flowers hinting at bright, warm days to come. Mom loved flowers, and the color yellow, it's only natural that this plant should immediately bring her to mind.

This is a shot of some of our trees laden with buds on Easter morning under a beautiful blue sky.

We have many trees here, which is nice for shade in the summer, and great for the birds and squirrels to live in. One of the pleasantest things to do is sit quietly listening to the birds chirp and twitter, and squirrels scolding and scampering through the trees. It's amazing watching them run through the network of branches as they travel tree to tree on a lazy summer afternoon. 

Spring is a time of renewal, time to wake up from the cold winter's slumber and feel reborn; like the trees and flowers, wake up and let your splendor show.
















Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Ocean

Seaside Park where Island Beach State Park begins. 2010

I love being near the ocean, It stirs something in me; something about the unharnessed wildness speaks to me. It tells of life hidden under the surface, secrets yet to be discovered, and unrelenting motion. At the same time, I find it soothing. The sounds of waves breaking on the shore, rushing up the sand with foamy edges is a sight and sound that comforts; it's mesmerizing.. I could sit and watch it for hours.

I haven't been down the shore in many years. My husband and I used to go every year in the early spring and again in Autumn when the sun is still golden and warm but the air hints of chilly nights. I love it in the off season when it's too cold for most people. I'm not a sun worshipper, lying on the beach for hours perfecting my tan. I like a little nip in the fresh ocean air as I comb the beach for sea glass and shells. The wind off the water blows the cobwebs from my mind, clearing way for fresh thoughts, and memories to rise to the surface.

My aunt used to live in a shore town and when I was 19 it was there that I retreated for a few days after the break up of a whirlwind relationship that left me hurt and breathlessly wondering where my young life was going. For hours I walked the beach on cold, gray November days contemplating my feelings about everything. I'd return to my aunt's house, red nosed and rosy cheeked to share a pot of tea and confidences. Sage advice and laughter were shared over fragrant steaming cups poured from a large green ceramic teapot in the little shore house which was filled with framed and copious numbers of books on shelves and stacked on tables. It was cozy but not cluttered for such a small space. It was a perfect retreat for figuring things out, and my aunt and uncle comfortable hosts.

One day soon I hope to visit the ocean again, if only for a few short hours. It feeds my soul and clears my thoughts like nothing else can.

Seaside Park, NJ

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Food Scents


Image may contain: food




This is a poem from Facebook that I wrote and posted a couple years ago.  The picture of banana bread is more recent.



Scentsational Sunday!

Apple cinnamon oatmeal and toast scented the morning air,
French onion soup made at lunch-time made everyone feel quite fair,
Banana bread in the afternoon made the whole house smell so good,
The aroma of meatloaf and mashed potatoes promised yummy dinner food,
The day ended with homemade rice pudding scenting the evening time,
I'd have to say this scentsational day was gastronomically divine!


I think there's nothing better than a house full of the scent of good food.  It's part of the reason we love the holidays so much.  The smell of our favorite foods cooking brings back warm memories of family or events that lie dormant until awakened by the heavenly mingling of sweet and savory delights we look forward to enjoying. The feelings evoked by foods cannot be denied. Some, such as those described in the poem above, are the ultimate in comforting.  Cinnamon, onions, baked goods, and meatloaf bring me back to my childhood when the house would be warm in winter and smell of wonderful homemade meals and snacks.  They also bring me the satisfying knowledge that I am capable of filling my own home with the same comforts for my family.  Letting them know that they are loved and cared for.  I can't imagine giving them any greater gift than that.

The rich aroma of coffee brewing brings back so many memories for me.  First there are the memories from childhood and young adulthood when I lay in my bed just off the kitchen, my father getting ready for work to the sound of the percolator, toaster, and eggs cracking for his breakfast.  His gentle voice talking to the dog as they shared bits of toast dipped in coffee from a saucer.  Later in life, the scent of coffee figured in a big way as I worked in a donut shop.  The air was always filled with the smells of coffee brewing and the sweet odor of donuts.  My coat, in winter, always smelled of coffee.  As I grew into adulthood, the smell of coffee in the morning shared over breakfast with my husband on weekends was a staple, and we still share that weekend ritual although now we are more likely to be drinking from take out cups and watching the weekend morning news program in the living room. In the afternoon my daily cup of coffee is a nice pick me up.  No matter what else is going on, if I catch a whiff of  coffee I am almost always calmed and in a better mood.
Today was so warm that I headed out to the back deck with a cup of coffee and a book.  Such a treat in February!

The smell of someone grilling meat outside is another memory inducing scent.  Mostly it happens on weekends, but sometimes on a week night especially in summer, the air is filled with that mouthwatering tang of barbecue.  Memories come flooding in of trips to state parks and roadside grills, backyard parties, lazy weekends, and hamburgers, hot dogs, and toasted marshmallows.  Gas grills are nice for convenience, but give me the old fashioned charcoal and time spent outside with a squirt bottle of water to put down the flames so as not to burn the food as it cooks.  Those are some of the nicest times to remember.

I love the smell of tea; any kind of tea.  English Breakfast is my favorite on week day mornings, and peppermint my favorite before bed.  I just love the scent of a freshly opened box of tea!  Sometimes when I need a little post dinner pick-me-up to get me through kitchen clean up and lunch packing duties I brew a cup of Constant Comment which is an aromatic blend of black tea, orange and spice.  It is a heavenly perfume that I enjoy when I open the little foil packet to place it in my cup to await the magic that happens when boiling water is poured over the teabag. When I was growing up my mother was always a tea drinker and if one of us was sick she brewed us a cup of tea with lots of sugar in it, which was soothing and comforting.  Some of my fondest memories as an adult with my mother involve a cup of hot tea after dinner enjoyed over a game of Scrabble or Rummy at the dining room table.  Whether as a wake up call or a soothing end of the day treat, for me tea is a balm to be enjoyed sip by sip.

                                                   My top three favorite teas that I always keep on hand.

So those are some of the scents that we enjoy at our house.  It makes for such a pleasant, comfortable atmosphere enjoyed by us and anyone who visits.  I hope that your home is filled with delicious aromas every day.

 


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Rhymes and Thoughts on Winter


TGIF Haiku



I like Friday best

This week seemed extremely long

A chance for down time

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Well at the end of the workweek we all look forward to Friday and some time to relax, or at least a change from the Monday to Friday routine.  The busier I am one weekend, the more I look forward to Friday the next week.  I guess when I’m doing things, even fun things, on the weekend my body and brain don’t get to relax as much as I need them to.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’



Saturday's a lovely one,

The squirrelly workweek

Is all done.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

This one is short and sweet, and to the point.  I do love Saturday mornings, even on busy weekends because I generally get up early any way so I can have a few minutes to myself.  I can reflect on the week just passed and plan out how I want my day to go (even if I plan way too much!).  It feels like such a hopeful day to me.  Whether or not it turns out to be as productive as I planned, it’s still nice to have the time to fill.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’





Ok, ok, the weather's bad,

It's windy, cold and rainy,

It's not the first storm we've had,

So let's not be so complain-y!

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Really, we do tend to go on and on about the weather.  At this point in time, politics being what they are at the moment and everyone upset about something, I guess the weather is one thing we can all talk about without too much argument---although I have seen times when people got really angry at each other because one person hates cold weather, and one hates hot weather.  I guess if you’re looking to fight, any subject will do.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

This is the Seward house at our town park. The town is thinking about renovating it to use as a small banquet hall for our recreation sports teams to use for their awards dinners. I just like stone buildings!



The sky is gray, the trees are bare,

The birds are flitting from here to there,

There's random snowflakes floating 'round,

They're not sticking on the ground,

The pine trees are swaying in the breeze,

Which makes cheeks red and noses freeze.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

February’s gray skies and barren landscape are somewhat brightened up for me when there are birds around.  You can’t go wrong with appreciating Mother Nature when all else fails.  Snow flurries, a little breeze, cold air, and swaying pines really make for a lovely view whether you’re looking out the window or out and about getting a frozen nose and rosy cheeks.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’





Monday and caffeine

Go together

Like bulky coats

And Winter's weather

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

This is another short and sweet verse.  Mondays are hard!  Getting back into the workweek routine needs a little help.  Whether you get your caffeine from coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cola or an energy drink, most of us use it to get going Monday morning and to keep going through the afternoon energy slump.  Winter cold demands a warm coat, and they feel so bulky when you put them on and try to get into and out of the car.  They just go together.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’





They dragged the ground hog from his bed

He didn't look too happy

They asked him 'bout the winter's length

(I'd have been mad and snappy)

With beady eyes he looked around

And they said he saw his shadow

Which means six more weeks of winter

Ok then! Time to go.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Groundhog Day!  Oh boy, this year I think we were looking forward to the nonsense associated with the day more than other years.  It was a nice diversion to have a rodent predicting when winter will end.  And of course it wasn’t without controversy!  The Pennsylvania groundhog, Punxatawny Phil, and the Long Island one, Chuck didn’t agree about the nearness of springtime.  No surprise since they are in two different states and hundreds of miles away from each other.  Oh well, it was a good diversion from the usual crap on the news.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’





The workweek ends

And I am spent

Tonight my sofa's

Heaven sent.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

And another Friday came, I was tired, and the sofa felt oh so comfy!  My energy was gone, and it was time to recharge.  I am always so thankful for my nice couch corner with its pillows and blanket waiting for me like old friends.  I tried to read a book, but darned if I didn’t keep falling asleep on it.  Geez! How could I be so tired?  Oh well, I guess that’s what comes of being busy all week.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’



Saturday starts cold and bright,

The sun is very nice,

It makes me think of summer days,

When I drink my coffee iced.

‘’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’

Sometimes the sun in winter is so bright, with a bright blue sky with white puffy clouds and it looks like it would be warm outside.  That’s when I start daydreaming about summer days spent sipping iced coffee in the afternoon while relaxing outside on the deck reading a book or just watching the leaves on the trees fluttering in a light breeze while squirrels frolic in the bushes and jump tree branch to tree branch.  Those thoughts are a nice respite from the chill of February days.  It’s at this point that the days are noticeably longer and the sun, if you’re in your car, actually feels warm.  Surely those lazy iced coffee sipping afternoons cannot be too far away!
A view of the trees and summer sky from my favorite seat on the deck.


Let your mind wander a bit, dear readers, it will help you feel more hopeful to think of some happy days ahead.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little Things

Up With People pin.


People always say it’s the little things that count.  I think that’s true.  A pleasant greeting, a smile, or offering a mint when someone is coughing are all things that make daily life more pleasant.  A small gesture or kind word can keep you going through your day.  I know someone who recently was surprised with a gift of candy and some kind words from a coworker.  It made her day, and validated that she is doing a good job.  These things say to the other person, “you are valued”, and “you are appreciated”.  We all like the feeling of being noticed for our contributions to the smooth running of the workplace and home.  We go through our days trying our best to accomplish what needs to be done, while getting along with others and trying to help each other as we can.  Surprise acknowledgements of our efforts go a long way toward keeping everyone moving in a positive direction and working together.  Sometimes when we are getting frustrated with a task, it’s nice if someone asks if we need help with it.  Even if we don’t need help, when someone offers to assist us it’s as if they are saying, “I see your struggles, we’re all in this together”, and it may be just the thing we need to help us refocus and finish satisfactorily.  Of course, there are times when we get more annoyed by the offer of help because it feels like an interruption or a criticism; as if we are not capable of doing our job.  I think those are feelings that we read into other people’s words and not what was behind the offer of assistance, which then leads us to be out of sorts and ungracious.  We need to remind ourselves that an offer of a helping hand is not an indication that we are failing, it is simply another person’s desire to support us in that moment.  I am one of those folks who sometimes feels insulted by the offer of help, and I’m trying to remind myself that someone holding out a hand to help is a good thing, a sign of respect and care.  Responding to that offer with a smile and either grateful acceptance or gracious refusal is something I’m trying to remember.  It doesn’t mean I’m inadequate, it means that maybe I have too many tasks for one person that day and allowing another to do part of them is a good thing.  Then when things calm down I can return the favor, or do a little thing such as bring her a cup of coffee.  After all, it’s the little things that count.