Monday, September 18, 2017

Ted Kooster Poet Laureate

ABC Wednesday
September 20th, 2017

The letter is K for Ted Kooster


Ted Kooster was born on April 25th, 1939

in Ames, Iowa

He worked for many years as Vice President
of an Insurance Firm,
writing his poetry in the mornings,
in the evenings,
and during his spare moments.

For two terms Poet Laureate in the United States,
a Pulitzer Prize Winner,
now he writes children's books,
is a Professor at the University of Nebraska,
and is Editor of a newspaper column

"American Life in Poetry"

which is carried in 150 newspapers
 throughout the country
as well as being distributed
by email,
and used in classrooms.
(From Wikipedia)

I have his book
"The Wheeling Year -
A Poet's Field Book"

in which he says about September

"One of our old neglected apple trees is so burdened with fruit this year that a limb has cracked, turned brown, and drapes, limp-wristed, bejewelled with apples that ripen, day after day, on those lifeless fingers.  This morning I noticed that hornets have come to set each garnet in golden filigree"


and he goes on to say, about September...

"Labor Day weekend, rainy and cool, and the second hatch of barn swallows are still in their nest under the eaves, three of them, downy and mewing, their beaks like buds just opening, while the rest of the swallows, an extended family of a dozen or more, including the year's first hatch, wheel round and round this axis, crying,  as if to unwind the invisible thread that holds them here, 
with winter coming".


A beautiful expression of a poet's awareness
it is well named

"A Poet's Field Guide"

Open it to any page and there is a vignette of life;
creative, imaginative, heart touching, sometimes poignant
and very beautiful.

For more expressions of the letter K visit
here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this meme.






Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday morning Scones

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Cool and smokey this morning, and with the weather report over
 let me tell you about making scones!

I have this fabulous recipe in our church cookbook "Secrets of a Small Town",
 inserted by a dear friend who is, unfortunately,
long gone from our midst.

She suggests doubling the recipe, and each time I make it, that's what I do!

It was a great hit at after-service refreshments last week at church,
 and I'm always in for things that make an good impression.

Being a 'bake right after breakfast' type of woman, (as I age), 
I got busy right after the second cup of coffee
 and threw together these marvelous biscuits.  

All went well, and I slipped them into the 425 degree oven,
forgetting that the last time the oven performed at that degree of heat
the super-sensitive smoke alarm led me a merry chase 
up and down the hallway, with a towel to quieten it.....
until at last I had to plug in a fan to make a breeze and calm it down.

Sure enough, - as the timer was about to go off at 12 minutes
 the alarm started to wail, 
and only increased its cries 
when I took those lovely scones from the oven!

What do the neighbours think??

Living alone,
and with diminished hearing,
I know it is a comforting 'thing'
to have outside my bedroom door..

but seriously??


Well, it's no wonder it kicked up such a rumpus...
Look at the bottoms!


I shall serve them with butter and jam 
and a sharp knife to cut off the burnt part, and they will be delicious.

One can get away with that kind of thing when one is ancient,
and family will be happy that I still have the
ways and means and the wit to make scones.

Even burnt scones....

Here is the recipe...

Jean's English Scones

2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs (save one white)
1/4 cup currants
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of margarine
1/4 cup of mixed fruit

Mix flour, sugar salt and baking powder.  Cut in margarine.  Add fruit and mix.  
Add milk, one whole egg and one egg yolk.
Stir until moistened.

Turn out and knead well.  
Roll out about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut into shapes, put on cookie sheet and brush with egg yolk.
Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes

Watch carefully, - if your oven is sensitive take a peak at 11 minutes.

I doubled the recipe and used cheese instead of fruit. 
so I ended up with nice cheesy scones 
with black bottoms!!!

I plan to spend the rest of the day winding a warp 
to put on the loom...
and hoping all goes well!



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Jambalaya

ABC Wednesday
September 13th, 2017

Letter is J for Jambalaya


The Music


The Recipe

In a large Dutch oven heat 1 tbsp of olive oil
add  one onion, finely chopped
along with two chopped bell peppers
cook for about five minutes until tender - almost!

Stir in one pound of boneless chicken breasts, cubed
along with one teaspoon of oregano, some salt
and some pepper.

Cook until the chicken is gold and then stir in
one half a pound of andouille sausage
two cloves of garlic and 
two tablespoons of tomato paste,

Cook until it smells yummy
(probably about a minute)
and then add two cups of chicken stock,
one can of crushed tomatoes
a cup of long grain rice
and 2 teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning.

Cover with a tight lid and cook until the
rice is tender and the liquid almost
absorbed (about twenty minutes)

Add a pound of shrimp (peeled and deveined) 
and cook until the shrimp is pink
(three to five minutes)

Stir in two green onions, thinly sliced,
before serving.

Enjoy!!!

For more interesting Js click here
at ABC Wednesday
many thanks to all who maintain this meme

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Indigo

ABC Wednesday
September 6th, 2017

The letter is I, for INDIGO




Indigo
by Barbara Strang

To achieve the
desired blue

the cloth had to
be lifted in
and out of the vats

in the heat
of India, Nigeria,
or Thailand.

Indigo, - you used
to wear that deep-dyed hue,
it suited you.

The name for the
spectral blue-violet.

Indigo
as blue as
deep as your eyes,

the lashes a flight of geese
on the last stripe of blue as the
sky plunges towards night.

More I s here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this meme!




Sunday, September 03, 2017

This and that, and then there's the past

Sunday, September the third, 2017

While I have my lunch this very smokey September Sunday I am listening to David Garret as he plays Beethoven's Concerto for Violin and. Orchestra in D with the National Philharmonic of Russia.


Right soloist, right piece of music, but not what is on the DVD I watched.
and I must warn you it is 27 minutes long
but pure pleasure...

 It is a long time since  I have gone through the cupboard Charles made to house all the music we collected over the years; the records, the cassettes, then the DVD audios and movies, as time passed and the media came to us in different forms.  What I really wanted to listen to was the Adagio in D...it seemed somehow fitting when I came in exhausted but satisfied with my morning bringing order (more or less) to the garden...

Sunday...,and I'm not terribly focused.  All week my energies have been concentrated on the loom, with satisfying results now the shuttle is whizzing back and forth through a nice taut warp.

This morning I had a lovely four minute egg with toasted soldiers  (not something my beloved husband would have approved of....dipping your toast in the dripping yolk! ). A second cup of coffee and I browsed a bit in Anna Quindlen's "Lots of Candles - Plenty of Cake".  I ordered three of her books from the library, to re-read because they give me nothing but pleasure and comforting memories.

The quote with which she starts the first chapter.."Life must be lived forward but understood backward" ( Kierkegaard) resounds with me more and more, the longer I live.  Quindlen says "It's. nothing short of astonishing, all that we learn between the time we are born and the time we die......in the laboratory of our lives". But our understanding comes late in life.....

"There comes a time when we finally know what matters, and more importantly, what doesn't".

And then in the next chapter she goes on to talk about the bane of my life.."STUFF". I remember those first sweet innocent days of our marriage when Charles had his uniform, I had my trousseau (sp) and there was a barrel full of wedding gifts to pick up at the train station.

Now I view with despair this great collection of "things" we have accumulated over sixty-seven years of marriage and family and events and treasuring.  I have pretty well limited myself to books, and a little bit of new cotton thread to weave with, since my love departed.

I ponder on ways to get rid of all this STUFF, much of which has so kindly been given to us by our six children, and their offspring, and their offsprings' offsprings.... Do you suppose I could label it all, to be returned on my departure...but how would I remember what came from who, and imagine the uproar if the legacy went to the wrong person.

Well, I will be like Scarlett and worry about that tomorrow  if and when.....

The Beethoven is over now...I think I will make a cup of tea and take it into the loom room and contemplate the beginning of my fourth towel. I have an hour before Radio City comes on Knowledge Network .... Enough time for three or four bobbins to advance the work.....


Maybe by bedtime the smoke from these ferocious wildfires that are all around us will have wafted away with a change of breeze and fresh air will blow through the open window.

And maybe I should be very grateful that it is smoke, and not flames!!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017




A Gentle Reminder

as We Welcome September


Now hath the summer reached her golden close....(Lampman)

and perhaps the White Rabbit will arrange

for a welcome smattering

of sweet rain.....

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hallelujah

ABC Wednesday
August 30th, 2017

The letter is H for Hallelujah

A beautiful version, I think..






Leonard Cohen took the world by storm with this haunting piece of music..

It has even reached the thousands of Retired Ukulele Groups that add music 
to their entertainment repertoire........


Enjoy!

It's great to play....

For more Hs click here for ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who
maintain this meme.






.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Time and the Sunflower

  


Ah sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the Sun,

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the travelers journey is done..

an exerpt from William Blake


Hurry into the coolness of Autumn



and its sweet, subtle, September shades......

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Goldenrod

ABC Wednesday
August 23rd, 2017

The letter is G for Goldenrod



from the paintings of Sandra Baggette



As always,
when we approach the last days of August
and the garden appears to be a little tattered
and ragged,
before the asters and the sedum start to
celebrate September,

I have really had enough of the heat
of summer,
the stress of wildfires,
and the dry and lifeless cold
the air conditioner brings.

I am ready for the GOLDENROD,
the Rabbit Brush..
open doors and windows
tunneling in that wonderful
fresh fall air!!!

In the days when I used to dye wool for weaving
I would go out into the country
to gather the Rabbit Brush
and the Goldenrod.

I might still do that, but it is more likely
that I will just enjoy memories,
and Mary Oliver's sweet poem...

Old Goldenrod at Field's Edge

Ice upon old
goldenrod
stops me at the edge
of the field, how

gleaming,
this morning,
the still stalks
stand,

slender, exhausted,
the gray boss - 
all that is left of their
golden hair -

holding
a crown of snow, and the rest-
stem and leaves - 
just waiting

in their glass suits
to fall -
or,  if enduring,
to see

the great melt, and the fields
tinged green -
and the lambs,
coming again from the
cozy barn,
with their crazy prancing...
how the cold
makes us dream!

The seasons pass, and the spring will come
but before then SEPTEMBER,
that I truly love..

along with the Goldenrod.



for more Gs click here to visit
ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain
this meme.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Fata Morgana

ABC Wednesday
August 16th, 2017

The letter is F for FATA MORGANA


Earth Science Picture of the Day is a service of Universities Space Research Association


A Fata Morgana is a complex form of
superior mirage that is seen in a narrow band right
above the horizon.

This particular Fata Morgana is a mirage observed
from Brittany, France, and it is affecting the rather featureless
Island of  Ile d'Houat, located about eleven miles from 
the shoreline.

This photo was taken by Guillaume Doyen who says
"notice that parts of the island seem to be floating or looming.
Mirages such as this occur when there's a steep temperature
gradient.:  when a layer of colder air (immediately above the seawater)
is trapped below a layer of warmer air - a temperature inversion. the temperature at the time the picture was snapped was 98F"

Guilllaume Doyen goes on to say
"under these conditions light rays from a distant object
(the island) are curved toward the eye by layers of air
having different densities, caused by the abrupt temperature gradient.
So it seems that the island is more or less smeared upwards into a cliff."

This Fata Morgana mirage lasted for a little more than an hour.

Before science began to look into mirages, and their cause,
mirages were firmly in the realm of mysticism, and the fata morgana
takes its name from Morgan le Fay, that wicked half sister of King Arthur,
enchantress and treacherous fairy.



You may well ask how bending light creates a mirage,
 and here is where your brain enters the picture.

I learned this online, and I quote verbatim....

"When light hits your eyes, your brain assumes it arrived there in a straight path between you and the object reflecting the light.  So if light is bent on its way toward you your brain will think the object is where it would be if the light's path was straight.  This is why when you are looking down on a surface of water, objects under the surface will appear to be in a different spot than they actually are.....the human brain doesn't automatically account for refraction"

The writer of this article goes on to say 
"the brains of some birds like ospreys do correct for the effect
so that when they dive headlong into the water after a fish,
they are right on target"

but I digress.....

Christina Rossetti wrote a poem entitled FATA MORGANA
and it goes like this....

A blue-eyed phantom far before
is laughing, leaping toward the sun:
Like lead I chase it evermore,
I pant and run.

It breaks the sunlight bound on bound:
Goes singing as it leaps along
To sheep-bells with a dreamy sound
A dreamy song.

I laugh, it is so brisk and gay;
It is so far before, I weep:
I hope I shall lie down some day,
Lie down and sleep.

Perhaps she was referring to the constantly changing conditions 
of the atmosphere which causes the Fata Morgana
to change within just a few seconds of time,
alternating between stretched and compressed zones,
either erect or upside down.

If you are interested in reading more of the history of the Fata Morgana
I would suggest you Google 
"Fantastically wrong: the bizarre mirages that once 
scared the bejesus out of sailors"

and perhaps some day you might be in the right place at the right time
and see for yourself the fantastic
Fata Morgana

For more interesting Fs visit here
at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain and visit....







Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Evening

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

No rain, but a lovely smokeless day!  The first in two weeks when we have not been besieged by great drifts of smoke from the wildfires in the interior of B.C., - the central portion where a few of my dear children are waiting, ready and prepared in case they not only have smokey days but also flames coming along to their fifty acres of meadow on the mountaintop.

Whenever I have been inclined to complain about smoke, or when I hear someone else complaining, I always say "but no flames!!"

Rain would be nice...the garden looks perky in the morning, but by this time of night the pots are crying for their evening watering.

Last night after my evening stroll with Bruce I gathered up all the outdoor pillows and tucked them into the sun porch, in preparation for the rain the weatherman promised.  It DID rain, in Penticton, in Kelowna, and up the valley, but here in the semi-desert Similkameen, not a drop!

It rained in the Chilcotin, where the fires are prevalent, but it rained mud and ash, all over the windows, said he who had to wash them....

Well, anyway, the garden is golden in these hot, dry August days.



and in the evening I luxuriate beside the Nicotiana that grows in a pot next to the swinging garden couch, enveloped in its beautiful scent.


The evening are shortening, and it is time for Bruce and I to take a walk up the lane.

I will linger awhile and commune with the white blossoms
before I come in for the night.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Elephant and his epistemology

ABC Wednesday
August 9th, 2017

The letter is E for Elephant and Epistemology




The Blindmen and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind)
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.

The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl;
'God bless me! but the elephant is nothing but a wall!'

The second feeling of the tusk, cried; 'Ho! What have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp?  To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!'

The third approached the animal, and, happening to take
the squirming trunk within his hands, 'I see' quoth he,
'the elephant is very like a snake!'

The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee;
'What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain, ' quoth he.
'Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree.'

The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most;  Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!'

The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
'I see' quoth he, 'the elephant is very like a rope!'



And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!

So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!

John Godfrey Saxe

This tale is ancient, originating in the sub-continent of India
and has an epistemic context in that it regards
the way we absorb human knowledge
- and its limitations....!!!!

"all these partial truths could be integrated within
a bigger picture so long as you have eyes to transcend
your own limited perspective."

A good thing to keep in mind when you are
judging other's opinions!!

Lots more Es here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this exhilarating meme.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

What to do on a smokey Saturday afternoon....

August 5th, 2017


As the sun rose this morning it greeted the Similkameen
with the promise of a smoldering, smokey Saturday
but somewhere the wind changed directions
and although the scent of the air is still reminiscent
of wildfires, in the distance,
it was still pleasant to be outside for a while,
watering the pots and moving the garden sprinklers around.

The house is all closed up, and the A/C hums away...
so nice and cool I am glad of a sweater.

Along about August in days gone by the peaches would be
getting ripe in the orchard, - fuzzy and warm!

The children would be wary of Mother when she came in from picking peaches...
they tell me now!!
And I must admit to being a cranky peach picker until 
a shower made me feel civilized again.....



But how we all loved peaches, - dessert was easy those August days
peaches and cream, peach crumble, ice cream and peaches,
peaches and chocolate cake....

After we moved to town, bereft of fresh peaches right off the tree,
I used to go to fruit stands and beg for their over-ripes,
(which they didn't sell to tourists)
hurry home, slice them up, and Charles and I would be in peach-heaven!



Because it is really not wise to be out gardening while we are bathed in smoke
I have been keeping busy in the house.
Well, not busy cleaning and re-arranging cupboards,
or dusting, or baking.....
just busy in the loom room and reading a bit.

I had hoped to start off August with a bare-naked loom, and I did
finish the garden scarf I was working on
but when it was all done and I threw the last pick
I discovered I had probably a yard and a half left on my warp,
quizzical as to what I was going to do with it!!!

I also have four bobbins of 20/2 white silk
and two bobbins of green silk, left over from other projects,
and I am hoping that they will stretch to make a rather shorter scarf
with a rather longer fringe on it!!!



As to the reading.....whilst roaming through blogland
I came upon a recommendation to read
Phil Rickman's series about Merrily Watkins, a Vicar
(Priest in charge) of a parish in  Bedfordshire (or Hertfordshire,
depending upon when the boundaries were changed). 
 In any case, from the home of some of my ancestors, which tempted me to
read at least the first book "The Wine of Angels"
I am at page 71 and think I am going to enjoy it! 

I have also been fiddling with the ukulele, if that is possible....

The other day I came upon the ukulele chords for "Bring me Sunshine",
which I love.... and they are easy enough for me to play.
I strum away, and sing to myself, missing
Charles who always helped me stay in tune when he sang beside me....

If I wasn't a church-goer and still believed
what I learned in Sunday School I could imagine him
looking down from heaven (gold streets, clouds, harps, etc.)
but there, the years have confused me and I don't know where his spirit is.
I feel him close and the memory of his lovely clear tenor is very dear, - 
and I imagine what fun we would have had if I had discovered
the ukulele earlier....



This one will make you dance....

Monday, July 31, 2017

Dolomites

ABC Wednesday
August 2nd, 2017

The letter is D for The Dolomites


The Dolomites

A mountain range in Northern Italy 

forming part of the Southern Limestone Alps.

The Dolomites are also known as

The Pale Mountains, 

They take their name from the 
carbonate rock, dolomite

The Dolomites are renowned for skiing in the winter,

mountain climbing, hiking and cycling

in the summer.






As you can image

The Dolomite mountain area abounds

in tourists

and here is a bird's eye view of

the lovely mountains


More Ds here http://abcwednesday.comat ABC Wednesday
with thanks to all who maintain this meme

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunny Sunday Morning - This and That

July 30th, 2017

Saying goodbye to this hot, hot dry month of wildfires
 resulting in a dire game of musical accommodations
for those poor people in towns affected by the flames that have been devastating
the central part of our Province.



So many families leaving homes threatened by fire;
 so many other little towns nudging over to make room for these evacuees
 and welcoming them with hospitality and compassion.

Will August be any better?  
The weather makes no promises for rain in the next three weeks
but the last two weeks of August have invariably been damp and cloudy, 
and one can only hope.....

Our own dear ones still under Evacuation Orders, 
but like so many in the Chilcotin who have stayed home to protect their property,
 were elated to finally get into town (after three weeks) 
to re-stock groceries and farm supplies 
and that little refreshment after a long, hot, smokey day!!!

Here at home I have plans for August.
Well, I have plans for every month, - not always ones that reach fruition,
 but nevertheless ones that make the month meaningful.

I hope to greet the new month with an empty loom,
 having great and illustrious visions of finishing
my Summer Garden Scarf today.


Sometimes my hopes, no matter how great or illustrious, forget
to take into account the amount
of energy available to me in one afternoon!!!!

Tomorrow is the last day of July, so that gives me
twenty-four hours grace.......

Here in mid-summer, as the days grow shorter (than they were)
I take Bruce out for his evening jaunt a little earlier
and at the end of the lane the sweet sliver of the new moon
grows a little each night.
If it is dark enough a gleaming scythe, holding
the old moon in its arms.
mister google

That choice of words is quite ominous and I didn't mean it to be
It is really very beautiful, despite having rather
dark connotations!!

During these summery days when the car finds a home
at the front drive-in, rather than in the garage,
it has been easy to hop in and go visiting or to shop
but lurking in the back of my mind  l am conscious of the fact
that the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles is going to run his finger
down the list of drivers in their nineties
and when he discovers my name he will immediately jot it down
on the list of the ancient who will receive orders to visit
their Doctor before the next birthday rolls around
so that he can examine your wits, your eyesight, and any other physical factor
which might give the Doctor pause to recommend that
you continue to drive.....

I ponder this, and wonder if I should make the effort to keep my license.
I don't worry too much about my wits and general health,
but I know they place a great emphasis on eyesight
and IF I plan to continue to have that precious piece of paper I must
make an appointment with the Optometrist, Dr. Zak,.

Probably in August!!

Which brings me to my next "this and that" for the month...

Charles mobile electric cart sits in the garage, fully charged,
just waiting for me to feel less vulnerable when I take it down the lane,
trying to get familiar with the beast.




Last Sunday I went for supper with a dear son and DIL
and during the course of the meal the subject of the cart came up,
and my reluctance to use it.
Son said - "It's just that she doesn't want to be seen on it..."
And I have to acknowledge that he is right.
Dratted ego again!
Don't want to appear ancient
and one of the crowd who swish down the road, 
flags flying on their mechanical cart...

So that is on my August list, (as it has been on every monthly list
for the last three or four years)
But this time I am DETERMINED.

On my list for today is the creation of a number of small quiches
(company coming for lunch during the week)
and I think it is time for kitchen duties.

Tomorrow I will pay obeisance to the White Rabbit,
but today I must say farewell to July
and put the air conditioner on...

Right now!!!!




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

C is for Crow

ABC Wednesday
July 26th, 2017

The letter is C for CROW


Every morning
crow 
steps
along the beach

as though he found the world
brand new,
and wonderful,
and without a doubt,

made especially for him.
The eiders stare,
the black ducks are busy
with their own affairs

as he marches 
along the wrack line
on his sturdy feet
to the bounty of stranded sea worms,

crabs,
abandoned bags of popcorn
"oh yes" his big black beak seems to say,
"this is good,
here is breakfast and lunch both

and as for dinner
I'll be back.
What a good world!"

I wish we could be friends,
but when he sees me
daring to look at him
he opens his strong arms

that are dressed,  always, in the darkest ribbons,
and floats off...


but only a little way
and he's down again on the sandy track -

and who has seen yet anything cleaner,
bolder,
more gleaming, more certain of its philosophy
than the eye he turns back?


Mary Oliver

More Cs here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Melody and 
all who maintain this meme






Monday, July 24, 2017

Happiness

July 24th, 2017

Monday, and the week stretches invitingly as I open my daily journal.  Nowhere to go except Ukulele practice - how lovely!!!

I breakfast, send messages, water pots and then come in to wander lazily through Facebook in case something momentous is happening that I should know about!!!!

Well, I came upon a picture of the Reverend Shane L. Bishop, a Sr. minister at Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois, who was posting about "Twelve things I see happy people do (that unhappy people do not).

That caught my eye, - for two reasons.  Fairview Heights is the name of the Veteran's project where Charles and I settled five years into our marriage, and where, in the next forty years we cleared sage brush, established a farm and  brought up our children. Happy years.....

And it has long been my belief that despite genes and circumstances happiness "is a choice".  The Rev. Bishop thinks so as well, so I read what he had to say about this topic....

of course, the bluebird of happiness.  Make room on your windowsill!

His first advice is to FOCUS ON WHAT YOU HAVE AND NOT ON WHAT YOU DON'T....... 
 be thankful and aware of all the good things in our lives.

QUESTION THE SOURCES OF YOUR EXPECTATIONS,
 are you trying to keep up with the Jones? 
 Have you fallen victim to an inviting ad for things that are beyond you,
 - be realistic and content.

BE GENEROUS -
 selfish people are miserable....happy people give of their time and resources.

HAPPINESS IS NOT A DESTINATION -
 happiness is learning to enjoy the ride!!!

IF YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR LIFE CHANGE IT. 
 Don't daydream, - take control and replace dreaming with doing....

SLOW DOWN and smell the roses.

REALIZE THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS
 work hard, put in the hours, pursue your dreams...

STOP FEELING ENTITLED.  
So relevant to today's era of handouts. 
 Make your life happen, independently.

THINK SIGNIFICANCE  and leave the world better than you found it!

FORGIVE and be free of regrets - 
especially forgive yourself!!

ATTITUDE - cultivate a good one. 
 Don't let your miseries control you, - look on the sunny side.

SPEAK LIFE. 
 Choose words that uplift, encourage and bring positive energy into every situation.
The Rev. Bishop says 'people who speak life 
are like human air fresheners!!!'


This happiness advice reminded me of a poem by May Sarton, - 
oh, so many years since I have read her.  At least twenty, 
but I do remember her "House by the Sea" and "At Seventy" 
as well as some of the poems she wrote. 

One is called "The Work of Happiness". ( I had to look it up!)

I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall -
These are the dear familiar gods of home
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charge with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.

May Sarton from Collected Poems 1930-1993




Now that the morning is half over I must go and do what makes me happy
 and continue weaving the current colourful scarf that awaits me.

I must cultivate happiness, if not in the garden
then at the loom...