Tuesday, May 31, 2011

guess who's coming ...

A quick trip to the grocery for a couple of things for a simple dinner. I was looking forward to just "laying low" or "hanging out" that evening after a busy weekend. The Gardener was gardening ... and looked at me sheepishly as I drove into the driveway. I rolled down the window, asking him what the look was about. "Guess who I invited for dinner?" he answered. Having our neighbor over for a meal was not in my plans for dinner that night.

Of course when MY plans get thwarted, I'm not happy. The Gardener knew that, but he also knew me well enough to know I'd "come around" and that we are a team in this marriage stuff. After all these years, we work pretty well together. So he quietly listened to me fuss and fume for awhile.

I actually did have plenty of chicken, and proceded to marinate it. I had the veggies I needed to roast some of those and got going on that before the day got too hot. Meekly the Gardener went off to buy some ice cream bars for a simple dessert.

It was our 88 year-old neighbor lady he had invited. While I was at the store, they were talking out in the street, and she mentioned her husband was buried in Arlington, where she also would be buried. Maybe the Gardener felt sorry for her alone-ness, or appreciated her husband's sacrifice for our country ... For whatever reason he felt like asking her to join us and she accepted his invitation readily (and later asked me if I had "read him the riot act" for asking her before asking me!)

The reason I wasn't so enthusiastic is that I have trouble understanding her way of speaking. Her French accent is as heavy as probably the day she moved here as a war bride. I was imagining how difficult our dinner conversation might be. So I did what I needed to do; I prayed about it. And asked forgiveness for my attitude.

Of course sitting across the table from her, I was able to understand 99.8% of what she said. And she told us interesting stories. What an amazing woman. Knowing how much yard work she'd done that day, I wondered how she would have the energy to come join us. But right on the dot of 6 pm I peeked out the window and she was on her way. Walking sprightly, she was dressed as cute as can be in a blue jean skirt, crisp collared white blouse, red slip on sandals and carried a chilled bottle of wine in a colorful wine bag. I never before realized she had two piercings in each ear --diamond studs and big hoops. This gal is on the ball. Did I say she is 88?

Three hours flew by. She was game to eat on our hot porch (yes, we're breaking records here with the August-like heat.) My only question is why we didn't have her over sooner. Sigb. The Gardener seems to usually, if not always, know best.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Serendipity

The English author Horace Walpole coined the word serendipity. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call 'Serendipity,' a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, "Serendip." He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called 'The Three Princes of Serendip': as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, 
of things which they were not in quest of...."
During our cousin weekend, on a lovely afternoon, we visited Wing Haven. It is just what it is called––a haven for birds in a beautiful three acre garden, with paths begging to be wandered. But we didn't know about the big bucks party being readied for that evening. Donors, patrons, the board ...
some important people were going to have a smashing gala when twilight settled in.
With pure delight we gazed upon elegant table settings under a green tinted tent.
We "admired 'til we were tired".... It was, without a doubt, a "serendipity." 
Reposted from four years ago this month. It's time for another cousin get together! 
Connecting to Chari's Happy to Design. Visit her for more Sunday reposts!

Friday, May 27, 2011

friends and windows

"Friends are like windows through which you see out into the world and back into yourself."
                                                                            ~Merle Shain

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

outside the window

There is a certain hum to our neighborhood. It seems to bring a measure of comfort as the day passes, and I love it when I can stay home all day and listen. I hear a garbage truck arrive early in the morning, know the sounds of the mail truck as it squeaks its brakes closer and closer to our house, or the muffler of our neighbor's car arriving home at night. It's interesting how even the sounds of construction, such as a new roof going on, sounds good ... it must have to do with the joy of improvements. We live in the suburbs of our city with a parcel of woods in our back yard. Think "bird sanctuary." Chirping birds compete with the distant sounds of traffic or a passing motorcycle. I've come to recognize some of the birds's songs, and the familiarity is nice. One particularly melodic guy sings from the same area of our yard every day.

Youngest son moved his family here last week and we helped scrub the house and move them in. They are living up near the city, and their neighborhood sounds are so different from ours. On the day we were cleaning, the weather was delightful and the windows were open (a rare treat here in the humid south). I wasn't feeling too great so sat on the floor for awhile and was lulled into a nap by the sounds I heard out the open window. A distant city bus, hammers on a building project, church bells on the quarter hour, neighbors chatting on their front porches, the beeping of a truck backing up, a soft breeze rustling through the trees ... Funny how such humdrum sounds can help you sleep.

Sometimes I think I pay too much attention to my environment and wish I was less "in tune" with things.  That's when I turn on a great symphony or some country music and "ignorance" becomes "bliss."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

sunset beach

 A favorite thing to do at my sister's is head to the beach in time to watch a sunset. 
Apparently we aren't the only ones who come for the show.
It'd be more romantic to say those are lights from fishing vessels in the distance,
 but it's really just dredging to bring more sand to eroding beaches.

Please visit Little Red House for other interesting mosaics!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

about 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."    --from Robert Farrar Capon in  The Supper of the Lamb.

I first posted this more three years ago and it has been one of the most viewed and googled posts I've ever done. All I can say is people must not know how to cut an orange and need to seek advice about it. But if you've never read The Supper of the Lamb, I highly recommend it. It's all about how to make four meals for eight people out of one leg of lamb. But it's much  more than that. Robert Farrar Capon makes you see preparing food in a new way, and it is rich with wisdom and entertainment. There is a whole chapter devoted to cutting up an onion!

See Chari's Happy To Design for more reposts!

Friday, May 20, 2011

more from a southern city


More photos from our "stroll" around Charleston.
It's hard to choose favorite scenes, they are all so lovely.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Little One and I were just starting out to have a lovely cup of tea, 
when suddenly something started to happen,
and all was abandoned

for the show 
 We were fascinated as nine men descended on our yard to take away some old trees.
 It's always sad when they go, but in no time you forget how it used to look. 
We were mesmerized by their beautiful example of team work, and talked
about the furniture that would be made, or houses that would be built from the logs. 

Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere, 
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.

from The Sound of Trees by Robert Frost

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

windows on the weekend

During Youngest's celebration banquet I slipped away for a moment,
as this window was calling me.
Then a newly discovered window in an old house. 
Sometimes the beauty of a window is more the outdoor scene it frames. 
And sometimes it's the window itself.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

whatcha thinkin' about?

No words needed. 

See Little Red House for more Mosaics!

Friday, May 13, 2011


It's been a long time since I wore a pair of heels. I really didn't think I could manage them anymore.

I love surprises (i.e. I've still got it! Yes, I know they're not that high.)

We're all decking out for big festivities for Youngest this weekend ... the completion of three degrees and 12 years of study post high school is something to celebrate! We're proud parents!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


 When I first tried to get The Help from the library there were 200 holds on the book so I knew it was a popular. Now that I've read it I see why. Kathryn Stockett write beautifully and jumps around from character to character writing in the first person. And, cleverly, she writes about the book (The Help)  being written. That was fascinating to me.
So on a balmy spring evening, some of us gathered on the porch to talk about the book. It was an interesting discussion as some of us grew up in the North and some in the South. Some of our mothers had house help and some did not. For some of us it was an eye-opener. Some parts were hard to read or talk about. But you could say we all were "helped" by reading and talking about the book.

Some of my favorite quotes: "That's what I love about Aibileen, she can take the most complicated things in life and wrap them up so small and simple, they'll fit right in your pocket." Also: "All I'm saying is, kindness don't have no boundaries."  And finally a good summary of it all: "Wasn't that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought?”

A movie based on the book is coming out in August.

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Walking to the grocery store this weekend, my sister and I came upon a garage sale. 
The little table and chairs were so tempting, especially with Little One 
and her family moving here very soon.
The price was OK so I phoned the Gardener and like the wonderful gentle man he is, 
he drove right over, handed me the money and we loaded it into the trunk. 
On we continued to the grocery store, and upon our return, my sister did the lion share of 
cleaning it all. OF COURSE, while it was drying, out came the cameras!

Connecting to Little Red House for other Monday Mosaics.

Friday, May 06, 2011

new on the block

Look who just flew in, tucked inside my sis' carry-on luggage (here for Mother's Day) ... a match to his or her lil' buddy down in Forida.  Old established rabbit did not seem impressed with the new bunny on the block.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

fit for a (small) queen

 I brought my sister a plastic tea set to have at her house for her granddaughters to play with.
 Of course we decided to try it out and do a tablescape on an old linen napkin of our mother's. By the way,  plastic cupcakes are the way to go. 
They are so beautiful to look at, but hard to digest.
 Love the colors and the sweet details.
 You can mix and match to your heart's content.
Very soon after, some of those little girls visited their grandma's house. When they talked to me on the phone the first thing the sweet little girls said was,
 "Thank you for the tea set you gave Grammie!"

Connecting to Susan's Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursdays

Sunday, May 01, 2011


On the way home from time at my sister's we had a lovely stroll through the streets of the lower
 part of old city Charleston. We took our time and studied the houses, enhaled the scent of spring
 flowers and horse droppings, and caught ourselves up in an ambience that is unique to Charleston.
 We had dinner and then strolled some more. 
It was all so delightful and made a wonderful memory for the Gardener and me.

Please visit Mary's Little Red House for more Monday Mosaics.
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