Sunday, September 27, 2015

a favorite quaint town

There's a quaint little town the Gardener and I like to visit
at least every year. We're content to sit on a bench and
watch people pass by.
Or picnic in the park and peek in the shops.
It's amazing how refreshing a short time away can be.
Especially in the cooler mountain air!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

almost perfect

A beautiful late summer weekend. The weather was nearly perfect. We traveled to a nearby city 
for an event Friday night, stayed over and before going home, spent part of Saturday 
enjoying the marvelous river park followed by a stroll downtown for lunch.
 We were in this city at the beginning of the summer, and I'd visit again anytime! It's so lovely.
Shady urban streets lined with quaint shops and restaurants … lots of people enjoying the day.
Three things were especially interesting: first, walking on the bridge we met old friends that we haven't seen in years. Secondly, we hung around this old empty mill which was obviously being set up for a wedding or at least the reception. We saw the groom and attendants arrive, but the event people seemed to be taking their time setting up. The ducks were definitely in a row and ready for the show. And lastly, the little waterfall park area for kids to play in had a large sign with a long list of rules for using it, such as no skin infections, no broken skin, no colds…that all makes sense, but "shower before using?" How many parents are running their kids home or to a hotel to shower 
so they can run through some water fountains? Interesting!

Joining Monday Mosaics.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Autumn came early

I surprised myself by bringing out fall decorations before
I flipped the calendar page to September.
I had been still embracing summer.
Maybe it was just one too many hot days, or an extra ounce of humidity
that made me yearn for change,
Having the rich colors of fall around helped to remember that
 cooler weather is coming … I think.
 The fireplace seems to be the center pallet for each new season.
I love using old books and pulling out an heirloom vase.
The photo doesn't do justice to its rich turquoise color.
A 50th anniversary present from my grandparents to their parents.
I'd say it's got to be 80 years old at least.
We're actually dropping down into the 70s this week.
Now that's a welcome change in the air.
Time for some soup!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

monsoon munchies

As we begin our short drive into the city, the sun is shining. We are headed to our favorite restaurant: a picnic by a fountain. The phone said 30% chance of rain, but we know that also means 70% chance it won't rain.  But storm clouds seem to be gathering in the distance. Another check of the phone--ah yes, a storm appears to be passing north of our destination.

We are bringing along friends who haven't tried our beloved restaurant yet. As city workers are leaving the city for home, we easily find a parking spot by the fountain. We look at the array of tables to choose from near the fountain, and our friends suggest one to the side under a very large umbrella.

We set the table with placemats, cloth napkins, plates, cutlery, wine glasses and a candle enclosed in a lantern kind of thing to avoid the wind blowing it out. Menu: just grilled-at-home chicken breasts, rice/orzo, salad and chocolate for dessert. Everything looks lovely.

But you can guess the rest of my story. A wind stirs up and gets pretty strong. Then the rain starts. Before long it's a driving, torrential rain. Monsoon like. The rain pounds us sideways. One (plastic) wine glass spills over, marinating the Gardener's chicken a second time. We laugh and eat faster. The guys hold umbrellas sideways for a little extra shelter, while eating the best they can. We help by cutting up their chicken like they were little kids. We laugh and laugh some more. Everything is getting wet. Then the rain stops. Ah, that's better. But in a minute it starts up again with new gusto. That happens again and again with the new addition of lightening and thunder. We go on with our picnic, now enjoying chocolate and conversation between bursts of thunder. (The men convince us that the skyscrapers will attract the lightening sooner than our umbrellas.)
Eventually we call it an evening and pack up the soaking wet picnic baskets and head for the car pleased that we endured. Of the many times we have picnicked by our favorite fountain, it has never rained. We certainly made a memory. And I was so pleased that my little candle burned on, unaffected by the raging wind and rain.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

bucket on my list

… Not a bucket list as much as a bucket on my list of
things to do with the grands ...
On Labor Day we stop by our kids' house. 
I have along a small bucket and a rope much
bigger than we need. I know they have the perfect 
tree in the side yard to rig up a bucket rope "contraption."
Sure enough, and before long the neighbor kids join in.

They have no trouble loading up the bucket and hand-over-hand 
pulling it up into the tree.
Down it comes again. Dump. Refill. Dump. Refill. 
No one asks "Is that all there is to this game?"

But soon Littlest One in all her two-ness is pulling 
my hand to come and bring the step ladder.
So the game goes to a new dimension as one by one those brave enough climb
to a perfect perch in the tree to receive the bucket. Pockets are stuffed 
with new things to load in the bucket for the trip down.

I saw this idea "somewhere on the internet" and wanted to 
try it with our grands, remembering our boys pulling stuff up 
to their tree house over and over again.
The internet article said little kids are entertained for hours and never
seem to mind "that's all there is" to the activity.
How true!
Soon it is time to go. We head off with the oversized rope and little
bucket stashed in the back of our car. I smile and wave at the kids--now moved
to the neighbor's yard, a different tree, a larger bucket, and another parent
cutting up a piece of rope to pull up the bucket.
And the game goes on.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

window views

Do you like to slyly peek in windows as you drive past houses at night? I love to see colors, chandeliers. and any other visible decor. Plus it gives me a feeling of coziness. Someone is home; life is happening in that house. What might their stories be?

We had our book club recently on Elizabeth Goudge's Pilgrim Inn, which I've mentioned several times on this blog. I don't win many blog give aways, but did win a beloved old copy of Pilgrim's Inn five years ago from a blog friend (who doesn't blog much any more.) Our late summer book club was well attended and we met on a porch on a morning with a gentle breeze so we could get a teeny sense that "fall is in the air." There is rich character development in this book, not the least being Pilgrim Inn itself, and it was those characters that we spent our morning discussing, while sipping coffee or tea, and munching on fruit, crumpets, scones, and chocolate chip banana muffins. It's the second time I've read the book and I'd read it again.

The book was written about post-war England in the late 1940s and Goudge described well the continuing effects of war. With my love of window views, this quote below is a new favorite of mine from the book. Daughter Caroline was on her way home for Christmas from boarding school.
      "It was wonderful driving home with the last glow of the sunset lingering in the west and
        the hedges black and mysterious on either side. There were lights in the cottage windows, 
        and sometimes they had forgotten to draw the curtains and one saw the flicker of firelight, 
        and the bright heads of children sitting round a table munching their 'cooked tea,' a man 
        reading a paper with a pipe in his mouth, or a woman with head bent over her darning. This, 
        too, was new to Caroline, used to the years of blackout.  It was lovely and most magical, 
        like turning the pages of a storybook, each fresh window a fresh story."

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