Friday, February 27, 2009

look inside again

I think I put this photo on my blog a few years ago, but it is a favorite of mine. My sister took it looking inside her china cabinet. A lot of these little pretties I know the history of, and that makes it all the more meaningful. I'm at my sister's right now, down further into the sunny south, and I'll be checking to see if there is anything new inside here! 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

a few random thoughts

The day seems brighter when  you get a w*lmart cart with all four wheels working. And even better when all four head the same direction.  You can make an oppressively long return line more bearable by watching the people around you and making a study of human nature. You can add a smile to your day when you look a sour checker in the eyes and smile, and watch the smile return to you.

I'm going to see my sister, among others, today. When I travel I always make sure to bring a journal along, not only for the experiences or thoughts I want to jot down, but it seems there are always new things to learn when you go somewhere outside your own neighborhood. So I'm tucking in this journal that my sister gave me. She may have a new recipe, her friend may have read a good book, there may be a new craft to note, or ... I just may want to write about ... anything! For a writer, security is having pen and paper always nearby.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

many comments

From my tea calendar: "In the 1940s Ruth Bigelow began pursuing the perfect cup of tea. She found an old colonial recipe using orange peels and spices, and in her New York kitchen she created a tea that generated "constant comments." She named her signature tea, "Constant Comment."  

Who knew that? I'm not sure I ever really wondered before about the name of that tea which is not my favorite, by the way, but the Gardener is drinking it these days.

Monday, February 23, 2009

365 notes

My friend Lydia Grace and her hubbie D come over once a week to watch an "on the edge of your seat" TV show with us. It's become a tradition of quite a few years, and we claim it to be the fastest hour in the week. Knowingmy love of all things "tea," LG brought me over a tea calendar a few weeks ago.  Just a little thing with daily quotes on tea. Can you imagine 365 things said about tea? They are all interesting, some more than others, and I am learning a few things you may see here from time to time. Meanwhile I love this one:

"Another novelty is the tea party, an extraordinary meal in that, being offered to persons that have already dined well, it supposes neither appetite nor thirst, and has no object but distraction, no basis but delicate enjoyment."  (Jean A. Brillat-Savarin)

Friday, February 20, 2009

casting cares

"Casting all your cares on Him (God) for He cares for you!" I can just hear voices of children reciting this favorite verse. In fact I can practically remember the voices of my little friends in Sunday School as we children said this verse in unison. Such a simple statement, maybe easy for a childlike faith, but difficult to do in reality. 

Sometimes I feel like it's a big tug of war, this casting our cares on our Heavenly Father. Especially the big burdens. I cast them at His feet in submission, and before you know it, I've got them back in my hands, doing a great job in the anxiety or worry department. What is it about trust, that it can't totally be ours (or at least mine) long term? How thankful I am that as a child I learned the story deep into my heart. Now if I could only live it all the time, like a childlike faith, believing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

taking tea together

When I woke up to rain yesterday I thought, "Perfect day for a cozy tea party!" Later in the day, while rain sprinkled down from the sky,  our Bible study group from last year gathered around the table to sip tea, eat goodies, catch up, and celebrate the good success of Boniface's surgery. 
"Somehow, taking tea together encourages an atmosphere of intimacy when you slip off the timepiece in your mind and cast your fate to a delight of tasty tea, tiny foods, and thoughtful conversation." (Gail Greco)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


After a visit with Little One,
there are ...
... echoes ... 
 ... in our hearts ...
HAPPY 50th, a milestone birthday, to my contemplative joy friend. Kindred blogging spirits! We've never met, but have virtually shared book clubs, ideas, thoughts, and would enjoy sitting down for a cuppa together, I know.

Monday, February 16, 2009

my two front teeth

We enjoyed a visit with Little One and her parents this past weekend. Nothing like having a dentist for a daddy and getting your teeth brushed well every night. I guess the gums were in on the job too, as she only has her two front bottom teeth and he brushed everywhere in her mouth. Looked like Little One enjoyed the process. Such a good baby!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy hearts

"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and gave His Son ...."  I John 4:10

Friday, February 13, 2009


Hey you three! How I wish I could deliver these to your house this week! We miss you! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

hearts on the table

Go to Cindy's site if you would like to see more "tablescapes."  The  real "hearts" on my table are pictures of loved ones, no longer here,  who are a part of making me who I am today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

wrong number

Got a call on my cell phone today. "Hello. Cassie?" A female voice spoke into my ear. 

"I'm sorry I think you have the wrong number."  The Gardener was in my office when the call came. The connection wasn't good. "Do you think you didn't hear right and she was saying your name?" I could see that possibility so I called the number back while heading outside for a better connection. "Who is this?" I asked (a bit rudely I admit).  

"Is this (podso)?" My cousin's voice became clear. "I was sitting here wondering who I had called by mistake. Your voice sounded familiar. Let's talk now that we're connected." We laughed.

It'd been quite awhile since we've talked together. We had a segment of time when we were in close connection--when our parents lived in the same retirement community. Keeping in touch is still important to us, so we were glad that we connected. Just a serendipity in the middle of a mundane day: a wrong number turned right.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Barb!!!

Monday, February 09, 2009

slippin' and slidin'

The sweetest little waterfall came into our view when we were in the mountains this weekend. The cool water cascading over the rocks was so clear and clean, I had to dip my hand in for a refreshing sip. Friend Debbie and I quickly climbed to the top for a view from up there. Of course we had to slip over the ropes for a better look 
as, in spite of the warning signs, they were just begging to be climbed over. Funny, when the men arrived (quite awhile after us, by the way) they each and every one chided us for disobeying the signs. And then they promptly followed us across to the forbidden territory.

On our way down, Debbie decided to take a short cut, down a slippery bank that didn't have rock ledges to ground her feet, branches to grab, or trees to hug on the way down. I took a look. Hmmm ... I may be too old for such nonsense, but I couldn't let her go it alone. Slippery it was, especially without proper hiking shoes. Precious little to cling to or wedge our feet on. We got to laughing, especially with the positions we found ourselves in. Got to almost a PIYP kind of laughing, as we struggled to make our way down and arrive in some decent order. 

Friend Debbie has what I call an infectious laugh.  It doesn't matter if you know what the funny thing is, if you're in the same room and hear her laugh, you join in. (When we're with her we always have a good, laughing time, and come away feeling so refreshed.) So there
we were, two women well over 25, slipping and sliding down the side of a mountain. (The men were taking the long path.) 

When we got to the bottom a young woman, who had been sitting there watching our escapade, greeted us, "You were sure having fun!" Yah, but glad to have both feet firmly on the ground again!

Friday, February 06, 2009

from the mouth of little ones

My mom was in the hospital this week so I've been with her a lot, including sleeping at her house last night. (Note: no matter how old I get, or how our roles reverse, there's nothing like spending time at mom's house for it's coziness. ) I finally left her this afternoon after leaving charts for taking meds; fresh jello in the frig and water bottles placed for hydration purposes; and reminder notes here and there. I had to come back into her apartment twice for things I forgot. As I was leaving for what I hope was the final time, she called to me, "Listen to what John wrote about his grandchildren." (she was reading a letter.)  "The twins, Emma and Kate, aged 2 1/2, changed each others' diapers. And the five year old said, 'Grandpa, Jesus is God's nickname.'" I had to smile as I headed to my car.

Photo: my father's favorite chair sitting by my mother's view

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Maybe it's because I'm getting older, but I love things around me that bring memories, particularly pleasant memories. I found a way to use my old yarn -- for now, until I use it for something else. I can look in this jar and be reminded of baby caps, baby blankets, scarves, afghans, and yes, cotton dishcloths that I have made for friends. So, not only a collection of projects past, but a reminder of dear friends present. 

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Assault At the Mall

Mustered up some strength--or whatever it is I gather up to go there -- and headed to the mall. I used to enjoy a trip there now and then, but it's had a "re-do" in recent years and is twice the size and many more times "upscale" than it was when I used to enjoy walking the corridors, and shopping at some familiar department stores.  They didn't ask my permission, but they really changed things on me. And even if a store's name is the same, the familiar inside is gone. I can't figure out where anything is, and it sure seems geared for the "under-35" crowd. The music has changed too. At B*lks, someone used to play a grand piano on the second floor--its delightful sound filtering throughout the store, but this day I could not help but notice a new, jarrring, driving beat kind of "music." It didn't fit as I walked past the lovely jewelry and perfume counters--at least in my humble opinion.

Even the days I "dress" just to go to this mall, I feel like the salespeople (who can't be any higher economically than I am) look  right through my middle class "dress" and know I don't really belong there, and treat me so. It's an odd feeling.

I sense a big disorientation there now, like a feeling of being lost. I have to "let go" the desire to figure out where I am. "Let's see, is this where Sears use to be?"  "What about the old food court? I'm sure it was near these four pillars." Let the old mall go ... to be what it wants to be.  After all, most everything else in life seems to be changing (rapidly, by the way).  

So there I was the other day, venturing forth between two "flagship" department stores. I can't even remember what I was looking for, but of course I didn't find it.  On my way back to the original store, through which I hoped to make a fast exit to my car, I passed by some of those small, sometimes irritating kiosks.  At one, as I tried to glide by quickly, a young woman approached me with a miniature dollop of hand cream in a small cup. "Please you need to try this ..." as she forced it, yes, forced it into my hand. I kept moving, but not fast enough to miss hearing, "Are those your nails? Oh my  G___." I felt assaulted as I kept moving, and she kept talking. I'm sure this young thing didn't get that good a look at my unpolished but trim nails (and by the way, if they weren't mine, who else's would they be?)

Watch your step, dear, I thought to myself.  I immediately mentally defended my, yes, aging hands with their signs of bygone glorious days in the sun. After all, these hands, along with their nails, are practical hands. 
They scrub pots, wash dishes, rake leaves, mow the lawn, cook meals, type on the computer, crochet blankets, write letters, change 20 baby diapers in a day, foam in and out of countless hospital rooms--and, more. (My guess is that the most her hands get roughed up is by punching her calculator or texting on her phone.)
Increasing twinges of arthritis make my hands even more endearing to me. They are what they are, so please don't attack how they, or their nails,  look.

Photos: my mother's beautiful, caring hands on the right, and my busy hands on the left. Above: my shadow last spring, pausing at this sign, probably wondering what there is to watch out for.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

25 cent deed

"Rent-a-cart" grocery store. You may have one in your town. I've finally figured out how the system works (it takes me awhile), and quarter in hand, I headed to the long line of chained grocery carts. A young mother passed me on the way to returning her cart. Oh, of course, I thought to myself, let me save her the trouble. "Here," I said, thrusting my quarter towards her hand, "Wanna just give me your cart? Unless your daughter loves to do the coin thing..." I didn't want to take away a possible thrill from her little daughter.

"Just take my cart," she spoke softly, smiling into my eyes, "I insist. Happy Birthday or something." Such a small 25 cent thing, but so huge in the way it blessed me and made me smile. After shopping I headed again to the line of carts, thinking I'd be making 25 cents that morning, when I saw an older woman about to begin her shopping. I headed toward her, offering my cart, as she tried to hand me a quarter.

It sort of reminded me of the movie Pay It Forward. On a very small scale. And I was able to do a good deed, though it  cost me nothing. 
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