Tuesday, March 30, 2010

a mere three hundred years

On our way back from my sister's house, further south, we stopped outside Savannah for the night. Even a quick trip into the old city stirs our souls as we sink into some rich history for an hour or two.

We always love a walk on the old cobblestone streets along the river front. Three hundred years ago it was a busy seaport in the New World. I could imagine how women would wait for the ships to come in, hoping they'd be carrying treasures of tea, spices, and household goods from their homeland ... 

... maybe rushing down to the port just to see all the action of the ship arriving.

There aren't many places we find in our "new" country where buildings are so old. 

It was a perfect spring evening. We enjoyed even our brief visit, remembering times we'd been there in the past ... a bit of our own history joined together with Savannah's.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Swing High

The Swing 

 by Robert Louis Stevenson

"How do you like to go up in a swing?
Up in the air so blue
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside-

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown,
Up in the air I go flying again,
                                                                                                                              Up in the air and down!"

Joining with Little Red House for other Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Starting People

"Babies are such a nice way to start people." (Don Herold)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

seeing forward

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."  Marcus Tellius Cicero, 46 BC

 "The further backwards you look, the further forward you can see."   --Winston Churchill

Have I said I love history? It's all just fascinating to me. The older I get the more intrigued I am by our own family history. I wonder what will be left of our history with computer photos and "sound-bite" emails rather than, for example, long letters telling about life. The little boy sticking out the farthest on the left is my grandfather. His brother and sister are also in this group of school children, probably taken around the turn of the last century.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

...unless something changes ...

"What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists."  ~Archibald MacLeish

The news in our fair city that half of our public libraries are closing is disturbing. I feel like I am in mourning. Not that I am at the libraries that much right now, but there is a security in knowing they are there. We are spoiled with many libraries in our system, so if we can't find the book in one spot, we can either request it be sent, or drive to another library to obtain it. 

I decided to look up some quotes on libraries and there are plenty:

"The best of my education has come from the public library... my tuition fee is a bus fare and once in a while, five cents a day for an overdue book.  You don't need to know very much to start with, if you know the way to the public library. " ~Lesley Conger

"We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth."  ~John Lubbock

"To those with ears to hear, libraries are really very noisy places.  On their shelves we hear the captured voices of the centuries-old conversation that makes up our civilization."  ~Timothy Healy

And now, 140 library employees are getting their pink slips. Of course there is an uprising among the ranks of those who value libraries, so it is said there will be a phrase added at the end of the letters:  "...unless something changes..."

That's  a tiny point of hope. But I sent a sympathy card to my friend who uses the library very, very often, and today she saw evidence of it happening.

Photo: not a library but a bank my grandfather built many years ago. It looks a little like our neighborhood library. Bookshelves are my parents' library, not the public one. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blue and White Stripes

It was great to clean out the garage the other day. I was surprised to find my nursing school uniforms––I bet they were transferred from the attic to the garage on the way to the trash and I decided to hold on to them a little longer. But, yellowed with age, they really need to go now.

     I unpacked them all, still stiff with starch from their last washing, the collars and bibs pristinely packed in the zippered laundry bag that brought them to and from the cleaners. I saw my name stamped on each piece.  Blue and white stripes. How proud we were of them! Yes we complained about the ten minutes it took to get into them (5 buttons at the cuff, studs and other complex contraptions to attach the collar, bib and apron, and the secret folded Kleenex clipped on to the back of our hair to hold our caps on.) Yes we'd complain, but I know we were proud. I think deep down we didn't mind the limp bustle in the back of the uniform, or wearing the so out-of-it mid-calf long skirt (unheard of in the late 60s/early 70s). I think we rather liked the white stockings and proper nursing shoes ... proud probably because of the rich 100-year history of our school, and for its reputation for producing quality nurses ... proud because we were making it through the rigorous academics.

The summer of our senior year we got to wear whites––after all we were team leading and working full time as nurses in our chosen area of leadership. And when graduation arrived we all decided to cut off those long uniforms and hem them knee-length for graduation. What could they say, anyway? We were at Columbia University in the late 60s--rebellion was a part of us.

And nothing was said about our little deviation as we marched out onto the lush green lawn tucked down among the tall Manhattan skyscrapers, wearing our student uniforms for the last time. There was a sense of freedom in the small adventure of our shortened skirts, signifying an awareness that we would soon be on our own to make our own nursing judgements and decisions. 

I decided to keep the best uniform, wash it, and put it away. After all, I have a granddaughter now. With both her mom and grandmother nurses, she may dream about Florence Nightengale herself someday!

Reposted from two years ago because I just got a letter from our alumni association in search of old uniforms, the "ones with the bustles." How I wish I had saved more of mine. See Chari's blog Happy to Design for more Sunday reposts.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

...like a flower...

"I think thankfulness is like a flower. It needs care and cherishing if it is to live and grow. Perhaps thankfulness, even more than some other qualities that seem to come naturally to us, is in real need of cherishing, because of the withering winds of life. The best way to cause it to grow in our hearts is to be careful never to let ourselves be unthankful. Has anyone ever done something to help me and I have said nothing about it? (It is not enough to thank God; we should thank the one to whom He gave the loving thought that caused the loving deed.) ...

If we have been careless about this, let us put it right. I often think we must disappoint our kind Father by not noticing the little things (as well as countless great things) that He does to give us pleasure. ... So, let us cherish thankfulness."

Amy Carmichael in Thou Givest ... They Gather.
See Rhondi's blog for more thankfulness.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

room with a view

Seems like I've spent a lot of time this year looking out our windows, as winter came with a vengeance, and spring has taken her sweet time coming back here to the south. Even now the gorgeous vistas out the window are deceiving as it is still cold with a stiff breeze that seems here to stay. I love the views out my windows, particularly as people or little creatures pass by (a possum recently boldly visited us in broad daylight), and I like what is in my windows, especially when the sun shines through pretty colored glass. I've been working on a big project on my computer these past weeks and tire easily of my little windowless office, so am drawn to the dining room table where I can work in this "room with a view." (Notice the little glass-etched sun catcher I bought in Ecuador many years ago. It sure does it's job at flinging around bursts of sunshine.)

Above: a gray day outside our bathroom window. Yes, it's up high over our heads. :-)

See Window Views and Doors Too  for other (possibly more) interesting window and door views.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

after the rain

Weather predictions were for a rainy Saturday. So it was a great delight to see sunshine wake up the day. I went outside to visit my flowers still droopy from the weight of the rain.

Joining Little Red House for other Monday Mosaics.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


This month marks my fourth year of blogging. I started out so tentatively, very unsure of myself, and too timid to invite others to have a look. I now call blogging my hobby, as it combines two great loves of writing and photography. I also consider my blog a "room in my house" that needs tender loving care. Since this is my 725th post (where did I find that much to say?), I decided to re-publish my very first post, slightly modified. I also recently found this photo of me and my dad and sisters in our 1953 blue Ford. It was such a surprise to find it that my eyes filled with tears. It was like a visit with my dad. Looks like I was missing my two front teeth. :-)

My father called me Podso. I never knew why. When I was a child I had this idea it was a Native American name. I don't remember ever wondering enough to ask him where the name came from, but I remember rather liking the idea that "Podso" was his special name just for me. He rarely called me that as an adult, and now the "why Podso" is included in a growing list of "I wish I had asked Daddy that...."

I guess as children we don't wonder about those kind of things like we do when we become older adults. The excitement of growing up, buying a home, having a career, raising kids suddenly slows down as you settle in life. Then time to think arrives and you wonder.....

My father very gradually lost his short term memory. When asked questions, he would give clever answers showing his great sense of humor. For example, the doctor would ask what day it was and Daddy would reply, "The day after yesterday, of course." His long term memory stayed pretty sharp, but his ability to speak full sentences gradually diminished, so that eventually we had guessing games when we asked him questions. His main reply towards the end of his life was a gaze intently into our eyes, telling us he had the answer, and most likely wishing so much he could share it. "Search deeply in my eyes and you'll get the answer."

The questions we ask unlock more about who we are. Or the why of who we are. As we grow older, albeit content to be who we've turned out to be, we still like to put puzzle pieces together.

Connecting with other Sunday reposts at  Chari's Happy to Design

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

he and me

This is everyday supper at our house. Just the Gardener and me. The cheap old oilcloth comes out every winter before Christmas and I keep it on the kitchen table as long as dark comes early. I absolutely love it and what it does for our yellow and blue kitchen. It speaks of coziness which is high on my list. It's gone now, as spring has come.
These blue and white dishes are so cheap they don't have a name on them. But I love them and they don't break or chip--at least yet. And they suit me just fine. The denim napkins should also tell you something about us. The pewter napkin rings were wedding gifts 38 years ago.
The cutlery is Oneida and also never "breaks" or wears out.  I got it from the Betty Crocker catalog, setting by setting, after I got engaged, with those little coupons off the Betty Crocker mixes that everyone I knew saved for me. Oh yes, and little pink salt and pepper shakers were my grandmother's--depression glass.
This sugar bowl is one of my favorite thrift shop purchases ... fell and broke to several pieces and was glued back together. I couldn't part with it.

Connecting to Between Naps on the Porch today with other tablescapes, probably more elegant than mine!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I Love This Old House

I think the more I write this blog, the more my in-the-flesh
friends seem to understand me. That might be because I find writing a story easier than talking one. And when they say to me, "This would make a good blog " ... I know they "get me."

I received an email yesterday from a friend who lives on a beautiful farm out in the country. She started by saying, "This was such a 'Podso blog' moment ..." So, with no further ado, over to my guest blogger, Christine, and a tale about a spring day with her two kiddos:

"It is gorgeous outside. I convince the kids to go on a nature walk through the woods. Reluctantly they agree. We find old bottles, flowers, you name it. The dog chases a huge wild turkey into the air. Never seen that before in my life. We are walking back to the house through the field. Caleb (7) says, 'I love this old house.'  Brenna (8) says, 'Can we have [my school] field trip here?' The kids are calling their bottles treasures. Does it really get any better than that on this side?"

Christine invited the Gardener and me to come enjoy a mini vacation on their farm one day when they were away. It was so restful and just what the "doctor ordered." And I could not resist taking photos, three of which you see here.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Hats Off!

I see these vintage hats all the time outside my mother's door at the retirement community where she lives. For the first time today I really looked at them and thought ... aha ... they'd make a cute mosaic! The one in the  upper left is just like my dad used to wear, though I don't remember such a wide ribbon.

These all look familiar from my childhood, back in the day when people wore hats a lot!

See Dear Little Red House for some wonderful mosaics!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

cutting oranges

"Do it lovingly--in perfect  quarters like little boats, or in staggered exfoliations like a flat map of a round world, or in one long spiral, as my grandfather used to do. Nothing is more likely to become garbage than an orange rind; but for as long as anyone looks at it in delight, it stands a million triumphant miles from the trash heap.

"That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God's shoulders like a chandelier, the wishbone in His kitchen closet. He likes it; therefore it stays."

"[God] likes onions, therefore they are. The fit, the colors, the smell, the tensions, the tastes, the textures, the lines, the shapes are a response, not to some forgotten decree that there may as well be onions and turnips, but to His present delight––His intimate and immediate joy in all you have seen, and in the thousand other wonders you do not even suspect.

"... Man's real work is to look at the things of the world and to love them for what they are. That is, after all, what God does, and man was not made in God's image for nothing."

--from Robert Farrar Capon in  The Supper of the Lamb. I'm combining two posts from two years ago this month when our book club had a wonderful supper of lamb together as we discussed this delightful book. Incidentally I orginally called the first part "How to Cut an Orange" and got hits on my blog from all over the world. Apparently many people don't know how to cut an orange and googled directions. :-)  Connecting with other re-posts at Chari's Happy to Design.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

doctored soup du jour

Some of you now associate me with soup. So here's an example of a "doctored" soup we had the other day. It was so delicious, I just fear I won't remember it so I'm writing it down. Right here.

I started with a can of soup pictured below. I know it's a pricey brand, but it was on sale. Notice that new addition to the label: no msg added. That's impressive.

I started to warm it while I added some left over angel hair (chopped into small pieces). Then in went 1/2 can of black beans (rinsed, please). Next I added about 1/2-2/3 cup low fat small curd cottage cheese (always good to have on hand and I was glad I did for this.) Then in the pot went a little left over hummus! Just a tablespoon or two. Really. That was totally just a "clean out the frig moment," but it didn't hurt the taste a bit and added some protein. I had a little bit of feta cheese found in the frig. That went in towards the end as well as 1/2 cup of wine (red preferred for tomato soup, but only had white cooking wine.) That bit of wine just adds a nice touch to any soup one is making. It ended up being a bit of a thick soup, which the Gardener always loves. Guess that's a man for you.

We love Italian food, so that might be why we thought this was soooo delicious. Maybe I'll remember to check my blog for this recipe next time.

Connecting to Foodie Friday today!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

hysteria on the homefront

"Oh!!! Oh!  _______ ,(fill in the Gardener's real name) come quick! There's something red in the back of the yard."

"It is so bright red. I think it's a carcus, fresh and big, what can it be (being a nurse I know bright red blood is fresh blood)... and the birds are pecking at it."

"Eeee...ish ...what are you going to do with it?" (I now had a mental picture of the Gardener taking a shovel out back to bury the dead.)

By now the gardener was arriving at the window where I was straining for a better view. I know he was prepared to take care of "things."

"My dear," came his gentle reply, "It's a plastic bag."

On another subject, in spite of our incredibly rare March snow yesterday, I noticed signs of spring today outside an upstairs window.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

the table was laid for tea

"There did not seem to be a straight line anywhere, and yet the old place gave no impression of decay. On the contrary, it looked immensely strong as a fortress.... None of them seemed able to move. The beauty of this place had laid a spell on them. It seemed too good to be true. They were afraid that if they moved it would all vanish...."

"There was a wide fireplace with a fire burning in it and a kettle singing on the hearth, and two wide windows, one looking south towards the river, and the other east onto the stable yard. The room was furnished with old furniture: a splendid oak table, a huge dresser with blue willow-patterned china upon it, a tallboy, high-backed rush-seated chairs, and a rocking chair. There were some fine pieces of Bristol ware upon the mantelpiece, flowered chintz curtains at the windows, strips of plain matting upon the floor, and pots of geraniums upon the window sills. The table was laid for tea with a blue-and-white-check tablecloth, willow-pattern china, a homemade cake, scones, and honey. The room was gracious, lived-in, warm, glowing, and altogether glorious....And extraordinarily familiar. Standing there in the sunlight and firelight, George and the children felt as thought they had come home. They looked at each other, but they could not speak."

From Pilgrim's Inn by (the queen of description) Elizabeth Goudge. I'm joining Rhondi's tea party Tuesday today because this is such good description, I'm transported right to this afternoon tea!

Monday, March 01, 2010

service, not duty

The silence--and a bit of tension--in the room could be cut with a knife. Twenty-four adults, apparently well-educated and handpicked as potential jurors for a big civil case. We sat in rows in an empty courtroom, making sure of personal space around us. Most were reading, one was knitting, one had paper work spread out on his lap, and another man did Bible homework as he prepared to become a deacon for his church. It was a sunny, very cold day outside, and the silence throughout the old federal courthouse was on the chilly side as well. (Later we learned there could be no talking anyway, not even friendlies.)

When the court attendant came in and announced we had a one-in-three chance of being chosen for a case that would likely take three weeks, I'm sure each and every one of us began a little internal panic. Who could put three weeks of life on hold? And then the news that this particular judge liked to work long and hard hours, and that daily sessions could go into the evening made us swallow hard.

The quiet remained as we were transferred, like school children in single file, to another room with a cable news channel running. I discovered an acquaintance from church and we chatted quietly. No other noise other than the drone of the TV newscaster.

Then to the courtroom. Fourteen were put in the jury box to start out. Not me. We had already filled out two questionnaires from home to get us to this point. The process was interesting, the questions asked to the potential jurors were detailed and sometimes personal. I learned quite a bit about those 14, and would love to write stories about them. Tension mounted as one or two were dismissed and other names called to fill the empty chairs. Not me again ... at least yet. Being the control kind of person I am, it was hard to sit there with a week full of commitments ahead of me, not knowing what the next three weeks of my life would hold. I couldn't figure out how I could give that much time (for coming in as potential jurors, we were told that it normally would be a three to four day commitment.) The Gardener reminded me before I left that morning that God knew about those appointments too.

By early afternoon the lawyers were satisfied with the jurors they had, and the few of us remaining were dismissed permanently. As we left the courtroom, and the huge heavy doors closed behind us, I heard the first chatter. "Yes!" "Phew." "That was close." Everyone seemed so delighted to be "set free,"for most likely they also had been considering how to manage such a time commitment.  For myself, I had a feeling the rest of the day that I had just been through exam week and now had a holiday ahead of me. Interesting emotional reaction.

The judge was a wonderful communicator and had given us a great speech about how we were there not because we wanted to, but out of "duty." He hoped that we would consider it more a "service" to our country than duty, and explained how without us "extras" sitting and waiting, the due process and legal system of our country would not be possible. His thanking us went on for quite some time. I was happy to be of service,  and at another time in my life would find jury service a great privilege, but on this day, I was thankful it was only for a day.
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