Monday, July 18, 2016

A Bucket List?

ABC Wednesday
July 20th, 2016
The Letter is B, for BUCKET List

It's not that I'm closing up shop, but my Bucket List is strangely reminiscent of preparing to Close the Doors for good.

No, no, - what I am trying to do is make life more serene, - stuffing the bucket full of things accomplished and stressful decisions made....

My Bucket List doesn't contain any exotic wishes - like visiting the Taj Mahal, riding elephants in Africa or crossing Canada by rail - it is much more prosaic, but just as satisfying.....

In one corner, tucked in beside the piano, I have a chest of drawers full of music, a CD stand bulging with discs, more CDs in the tall stand Charles made to hold them and the myriad DVDs we gathered over the years,as well as the LPs that that we treasured when that's where beautiful music came from, to fill the home.  Some of them not sent twirling for years........

So that's No. 1 on my Bucket List - to listen to each of them at least once more, and keep the CD player hot on the go, from morning until evening, when occasionally I will watch a DVD, or even an old VHS that languishes towards the back.  Haven't watched On Golden Pond for years.......

And No. 2 would have to involve snapshots!  Have you any idea how many pictures you can accumulate in eight decades???  And the frames to fill them....?

Speaking of frames, how about all the pictures hanging on the walls, waiting for a little tape to be affixed assigning their final destination.  Oh, who would like what?  This will have to be No. 3 on the list, I think....

And the genealogy papers. All the emails and correspondence I saved when that was my great passion - the little notes that found their way into the family tree but still linger in files and notebooks.  No. 4, for sure....

Well, you get the drift of how my Bucket List is going to evolve into one great clean-up and when I come to the end of it I will be living a life of great simplicity and satisfaction.

Time to go and change discs on the CD - I have been listening to Louis Armstrong's Golden Jazz while I write.  Next in the queue is Nigel Kennedy's Violin Concertos...  the Concerto is too long to include, but here is a Kennedy recording that always brings tears.....

For more great Bs click here for ABC Wednesday,
 with thanks to Roger, Denise and all their helpers.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A for Auden

ABC Wednesday
July 13, 2016

The letter is A - Again
and it stands for W. H. Auden

The poet, Wystart Hugh Auden

Born in 1907 in York, England, to
George Augustus Auden and Constance Rosalie Bicknell Auden

British from birth, but American from 1946,
he was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.

After toying with atheism he returned to Christianity
and the Anglican Church 

W.H. Auden died in 1973 in Vienna, Austria

he is a favourite.....

More 'As' as we start another round, here, at ABC Wednesdasy
with thank to Roger, Denise and Able helpers.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

A Rainy Day

Saturday, July 9th, 2016

When I woke at six this morning, grabbed a robe and quickly opened the back door to the garden for Bruce to find a convenient spot to make himself comfortable (euphemism),  I discovered that the rain had been coming down in torrents and had created a great huge puddle in the back lane, - probably wide and deep enough to launch a small boat with a paper flag.....

I immediately thought of the Saturday Farmers' Market and my daughter-in-law with all her marvelous loaves of bread, and cheese sticks and cinnamon buns that she would would be transporting to a rainy venue.

However, within a half an hour, while I had my first cup of coffee, I saw a patch of blue sky high in the sky, westward, and soon there were sunny skies reflected in the waters of the mini-lake...

The rain returned about noon, - by this time I was quite nonchalant about it, and happy to have a cool day and so much welcome moisture in the garden and the hills and forests.  Last year was so dreadful for heat and wild fires.

For the rest of the morning I buried myself in Julian Barnes' "Levels of Life".

A small book, in size, - but both entertaining and heart catching in content.

Julian Barnes speaks of the levels of life, - the drifting and soaring of his account of ballooning in the first third of the book;  the photographs taken by those early ballooners that gave us the opportunity to look at ourselves with increasing awareness of the earth, and the realization that Icarus was not a warning that this particular level of the heavens was off limits....  and then in the mid section, a faux biographic story of a love relationship between Sarah Bernhardt and Captain Fred Burnaby, on the level.

It is the last desolate essay on grief and mourning that I found so meaningful.  Written in memory of his wife, it is not the first book I have read on grief, - this area of human life that is so often camouflaged with silence and evasion, and probably not fully understood until we find personally that 'what is taken away is greater than the sum of what was there'.

I have just finished reading Julian Barnes' book "The Sense of an Ending" and it still sits open and marked on my desk to pages I want/need to re-read.  A short book, - really a long essay on memory and aging.  How in our younger years if we are not too busy with the exuberance of living we might now and then give thought to the other end of life, - the 'likely pains and bleakness' that age might bring, and imagine yourself being lonely, your friends all dying, the loss of status and desire.  Well, I don't exactly remembering spending much time thinking that far into the future or being so melancholy about it......

He also speaks of memory - and history.  How to him the ancient history is more stable and believable, whereas history as it is happening now is most deliquescent (had to look that up) and hard to pin down.

And memory, I find that unless I am well ordered and AWARE of everything I do I am inclined to have a very short memory - but my long memory is fabulous!!  All sorts of things keep coming back to me from my childhood - how else would I have remembered when I was talking to my daughter on the phone (I have forgotten what we were talking about that stirred the memory)  the little ditty that  we used to replace the beginning of the Anglican Morning Prayer.

Dearly beloved brethren, the scripture moveth us in sundry places
 to go and watch the donkey races
and when the races have been run
 we'll go and see which donkey won..

There is also a story contained within the book but it was Barnes' comment on this last part of life that I kept nodding my head in agreement over - "discovering, for example, that as the witnesses to your life diminish, there is less corroboration and therefore less certainty as to what you are or have been."  That gives one pause for thought.........

A quote from the book...  "We live with such easy assumptions, don't we?  For instance, that memory equals events plus time.  But it's all much odder than this.  Who was it said that memory is what we thought we'd forgotten?  And it ought to be obvious to us that time doesn't act as a fixative, rather as a solvent.  But it's not convenient - it's not useful - to believe this;  it doesn't help us get on with our lives; so we ignore it"......

Monday, July 04, 2016

Zorba the Greek

ABC Wednesday
July 6th, 2016

The letter is Z
Z is for ZORBA  the Greek


For more enticing Zs zip along here to ABC Wednesday,
with thanks to Denise and Roger
and their zingy helpers

Saturday, July 02, 2016

This and that, but mainly remembrances...

July 2nd, 2016

Oh dear, - I have to confess to forgetting the White Rabbit as the calendar turned over into July!!!

Too late to do anything about it when my messaging son reminded me of the required obeisance!!

Nothing to do but turn three times, repeating the required imprecations, and hope for the best.....

I went out into the garden to perform,

thinking that might be a place dear to the White Rabbit's heart

where he would be most inclined to bestow the delights of July upon me.....

(my version of an English Garden with faint hints of the jungle!!)

That was yesterday.....

Today I was doing up the breakfast dishes when my eye caught 
the little calendar that sits over the sink..

The second of July, - my dearest Aunt's birthday, 
but alas, she is long gone.

Nevertheless the many wonderful memories I have of her

brought happy moments and
remembrances of times past.
How I used to hang on to her arm when we went shopping on
Saturday afternoons....
the time I spilled iodine on her tortoiseshell 
brush and mirror set, and she was so kind and forgiving....
the beautiful knitted negligee my mother made for her trousseau
and then her fiance turned out to be a cad
and she remained single until the end of her days
but so dearly loved by all her nieces and nephews.

Oh, this first week in July.....
In a few days it will be the anniversary of my sister's birth,
and she has left me too, with dear memories...

I thought about how much I miss her telephone calls;
how my house is blessed with her beautiful needlework
and pottery.......
how much I appreciate the close contact of her children on Facebook..
little messages and glimpses into their lives and those
of her grandchildren.

Well, Time taketh away, but Giveth, too...

Lovely moments to recall and be grateful for.

Things to laugh about, relationships that helped us grow
and were such a dear support.

To these two lovely ladies, my love and thanks....

Those hearts that we have treasured.......

And speaking of birthdays.....

our first born will be seventy this month....


Monday, June 27, 2016


ABC Wednesday
June 29th, 2016

The Letter is Y for Yellow

The pretty pastels of spring have retired from centre stage

and now that summer has arrived

the whole world glows with yellow!!!!|

At least  in my part of the World......

Lovely, - what is better than breakfast out in the morning sun

when all around you the garden  reflects

blue sky and YELLOW flowers and summer, summer, summer.....

Here's a little bonus, - a poem by Oscar Wilde

Symphony in Yellow

An omnibus across the bridge
Crawls like a yellow butterfly,
And, here and there a passer-by
Shows like a little restless midge.

Big barges full of yellow hay
Are moored against the shadowy wharf,
And like a yellow silken scarf,
The thick fog hangs along the quay.

The yellow leaves begin to fade
and flutter from the temple elms,
And at my feet the pale green Thames
Lies like a rod of rippled jade.

For more interesting Ys pop over here to ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise and  all who help them.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Twelve Bar Blues

Friday, the 24th of June, 2016
as I pick up the Ukulele at the breakfast table
and practice the 12 Bar Blues......

Well, concerning the Ukulele, this is what I might aspire to if I were twenty years younger.....

....but this is what I aspire to now!!!

........and in reality, - here is where I am in my quest to entertain myself with the ukulele!!!

you can stop listening after the illustration.....

I chose this particular video to learn finger picking because the young man who teaches is so articulate and defines his words with the kind of clarity
an ancient pupil requires!

There are oodles of videos 
and all sorts of teachers
but many of them have had no lessons in diction
and I find their mumbles and slurry instructions
beyond my ken, alas, alas.....
sweet as they are!

Bruce looks at me quizzically when I pick up the Uke
tapping my foot while I try to keep the rhythm going as I slide 
awkwardly from chord to chord.

Callie just ignores this strange behavior.....

When I come to the end of the 12 bar blues I add the little connecting bit
with a flourish, - I have it down pat and it sounds quite jaunty, 

It adds a little zest to life....