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April 2016

Poetry Friday

Thanks so much for indulging my love of poetry this month.  

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The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

        ----  Derek Walcott, Collected Poems: 1948-1984


Enjoy the weekend!

(The flower in the photo is not from my garden; rather, it was blooming at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh last weekend.)

Right Now - April 2016

April . . . was pretty much a blur.  There was winter and there was spring.  There was crazy-busy and there was some relaxing.  But mostly . . . blur.


Here's what's happening for me . . . Right Now.

Watching . . . Prince tribute after Prince tribute.  Prince footage.  I sort of can't look away.  Here is my favorite (so far).


Reading . . . In the ears: Miller's Valley (Anna Quindlen).  In print: Pleasantville (Attica Locke)

Knitting . . . Nearly finished with my toddler sweater -- and . . . just in time.  Because the recipient is growing fast!  Now, I think this one is up next (even though I swore I'd never knit with linen again).

Listening to . . . Sirius radio.  That channel that is just like listening to the car radio back in 1976?  Yep.  That one.  (Pablo Cruise, anyone???)

Drinking . . . Beer on the patio.  (And, my.  That feels good!)

Itching to . . . Plant my herb garden.  (But not quite yet.  I need to be patient for a couple more weeks.)


Humming . . . Poetry Man by Phoebe Snow.  I heard this one the other day - for the first time in probably 30 years or so - and now?  Can't get it out of my head!  (See Sirius radio; above.)

Needing to . . . Put away my winter clothes.  Really.  I'm sure I won't wear them anymore.  (Even if the weather turns winter-y again.)  (Once I put on the flip-flops, it's All Over.)

Dreading . . . Not being able to hear for a couple of weeks.  (Because my hearing aids went haywire yesterday and need repair.)

Celebrating . . . An 80th birthday just around the corner!

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Delighted by . . . Grape hyacinths.  I think I planted about 100 bulbs last fall.  (And I have no regrets!)

Looking forward to. . . Lilacs!  I planted a lilac bush of my own last year -- and it's full of buds.  (And, of course, there is my neighbor's lilac.  Which happens to drape over my side of the fence in a most accessible way . . . )

Thinking about . . . Gratitude.  And feeling the need to acknowledge it in a more intentional way.  Every day.

Planning . . . My garden.  Home improvements.  Trips up north.  My workload.  How to make everything work.

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . right now?

Weekend Adventure

Tom and I headed to Pittsburgh last Friday . . . to visit Erin and have a little adventure.

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Erin and Keith moved into a nice, spacious apartment since our last visit, so it was fun to see their new place.  AND . . . meet their kitten, Dash.

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Dash is adorable -- a tiny, mini-panther with tons of energy and fearless athletic abilities!

We ate a lot.


We went on some very cool field trips.  Here is Erin, showing us around the Humanities building at Carnegie Mellon -- where she will (again) be a graduate student in the fall.


We also visited the Phipps Conservatory, a pinball emporium/coffee shop, and a micro-brewery/pub.  (Each place has a story to tell, so watch this space next week.)

Pittsburgh is a great city -- and a fun place to visit.  Especially when you have your own trusty tour guides!  (Also really cool bridges -- that turn color at night.)


Mostly, though, it was great to spend time with Erin and Keith.  Lots of fun; lots of laughs; lots of love!


A perfect weekend adventure!


(Bonus surprise:  Pittsburgh is a few weeks ahead of us, spring-wise.  The dogwood trees are in full bloom everywhere!)


Just Can't Look Away

Yesterday, Tom and I were in the car for a long time.   


We passed several miles of our trip discussing this week's Ten on Tuesday topic: 10 Movies You Have To Stop & Watch When You Come Across Them While Channel Surfing.

Our lists vary a bit, but we share a few, too.

We seem unable to look away from pretty much any Quentin Tarantino movie . . . 

1 -- Pulp Fiction

2 -- Kill Bill (1 or 2).

And, equally, get sucked right in to the Bourne series . . . 

3, 4, 5 -- Bourne (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum).

Tom stands alone with . . . 

6 -- any of the movies in the Rocky franchise,

and I am on my own when it comes to 

7 -- Mary Poppins or anything with Fred Astaire.

Jointly, we can't look away from these comedy favorites . . . 

8 -- Caddyshack*

9 -- Young Frankenstein

10 -- Best in Show

How about YOU?  What movies do you stop and watch when you find them as you channel surf?


See what sucks everyone else in . . . here!


* I have never actually seen Caddyshack from start to finish, but I've seen most of it . . . thanks to channel surfing through the years.


Poem in my Pocket

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If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden sprouting tulips

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

    --- Billy Collins, Nine Horses


I'm off for a long weekend adventure.  See you Tuesday!


I have a star magnolia in the border in front of my house, and it is just stunning each spring when it blooms.  Although it's hard for me to choose, it might actually be my favorite of all the early spring blooms in my garden.  

The flowers are lovely.  Delicate and graceful.  Creamy white, with just a hint of a pink blush.

Fragile . .  but tough.

I've been worried about my magnolia this year, though. Because its buds were just barely beginning to pop open when that nasty second-winter-worse-than-the-first-winter hit a few weeks ago.  

I was right to worry, because there was a lot of damage.  But, like the good, hardy bloomer that it is, my star magnolia hung in there!  Once the weather warmed and the sun came out last weekend, the buds - damaged from the freeze - just continued to open.


Right where they had left off -- before getting frozen-in-time by the freeze.


Damaged.  A bit funky looking.  But still doing their spring magnolia thing!


It got me thinking again . . . about us.  About people.  Because we're like that, too.  

We all carry our damage -- the imperfect bits and general wear-and-tear -- yet there we go!  Opening up and blooming our fool heads off.  Beautiful.




Just a reminder:  Tomorrow is Poem-In-Your-Pocket day.  I'll be sharing a poem.  How about you?


Only Ten?

Some Ten on Tuesday topics are oh-so-much harder for me to put together than others.  

Like this week.  Ten Albums We Love.


Only ten?

Because.  Well.  I love a lot of albums.


Loving an album, you see, is so much . . . more . . . than loving a song.  To love an album, you need to love each and every song.  Each. One.  And, for me . . . there are just so many!

It sort of pains me to limit myself to only ten.  So I had to pretend that I was stuck on a desert island, and could only have 10 albums on my iPod.  To listen to forever.  Here they are (and, if you know these albums, you'll notice that I've stacked the deck with four double-albums; so bonus!):

  1. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. White Album - The Beatles
  3. Nevermind - Nirvana
  4. Joshua Tree - U2
  5. Tapestry - Carole King
  6. Unplugged - Eric Clapton
  7. Hotel California - The Eagles
  8. Rearviewmirror - Pearl Jam
  9. So Far - Crosby Stills Nash & Young
  10. In Your Honor - Foo Fighters

But it really does pain me.  And I'd try to sneak in another ten . . . Kind of Blue, Rumours, The Stranger, Harvest, Breakfast in America, Brothers in Arms, Synchronicity, Red Octopus, A Few Small Repairs, Jagged Little Pill . . . 

How about YOU?  What albums do you love best?


See what everyone else has to say this week over here!


What a Difference 6 Days Makes!

Last weekend?

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Tom running in 20ºF.


Somewhat desperate for spring.


This weekend?

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Blue skies.

Perfect weather.

Getting a little sunburned.


So grateful for such a quick turnaround!


Spring.  So bad when it's bad.  But so good when it's good!

Poetry Friday

It's Friday . . . and it's National Poetry Month.

Let's have some poetry, shall we?

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You might see an angel anytime
and anywhere.  Of course you have
to open your eyes to a kind of
second level, but it's not really
hard.  The whole business of 
what's reality and what isn't has
never been solved and probably
never will be.  So I don't care to
be too definite about anything.
I have a lot of edges called Perhaps
and almost nothing you can call 
Certainty.  For myself, but not
for other people.  That's a place
you just can't get into, not 
entirely anyway, other people's

I'll just leave you with this.
I don't care how many angels can
dance on the head of a pin.  It's
enough to know that for some people
they exist, and that they dance.

                        ----  Mary Oliver, Blue Horses


(The photo, above, is a tree peony.  In bloom at a nursery near me.)

Advice for Knitters

Let's just say . . . you're knitting a cute little sweater for a toddler.

With (a little bit) tricky intarsia pocket thing going on.

With English instructions, but not written in "American."  

(By which I mean "cm" are listed first/"in" second.)

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Pay attention to those "cm."

(Because they are NOT the same as "in.")

(Just sayin.)