Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Y is for Yesterday

ABC Wednesday
January 1st, 2014

The letter is Y - the word is Yesterday

Where all our memories lie.........
and so we
Cherish Yesterday
Live Today
Dream Tomorrow
for more Ys lean over and peek around the corner here
at what's been posted at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Roger, Denise,
and all their helpers.

Monday, December 30, 2013

A lighthearted morning

I devoted the morning to pure pleasure!

A lovely sleep-in (until 7.45)...

A lingering visit with my daughter over morning coffee....

A search through the DVDs I gathered together the last day the library was open before Christmas holidays, to get me through the long evenings, and the splendid discovery that I had included 'My Family and Other Animals' in the treasure trove....

At one time, when Gerald Durrell was writing his wonderful books, a number of them found places on my shelves and delighted me.  Through the years when we have moved and downsized and made the library shelves available to family, these great books have moved house also to other family homes and I had quite forgotten how hilarious and human they are.

I gathered my knitting together (more about that later) and sat down to watch, and soon lost myself in that pure pleasure I was talking about.   Christmas has not been particularly easy, and it was so wonderful to feel my spirits lighten.  When the show ended I found I had let my needles drop, and my knitting lay untended on my lap.  I sighed a happy sigh and got up to make yet one more turkey sandwich and think about Gerald Durrell and his life , and his amazing curiousity and devotion to the  bugs and the beetles and the birds and small animals.  I took my lunch to the computer room and googled the Durrells , and discovered that Gerald Durrell was born just three days after I was, on the 5th of January, 1925.  He was not as fortunate in the length of his life, but I read on reminding myself of the unique  and humane view he had of Zoos and the study of wildlife.  In comparing his writing career with that of his brother, Lawrence, he pointed out that Lawrence wrote for the love of writing, while Gerald wrote to raise money from the sale of his books to establish animal shelters and maintain them with the loving care he seemed to give to all creatures.

I remembered that at one time Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet had been in my library and that it has been a long time since I read it, so I ordered it from the library along with those Gerald Durrell books that they still have and that should make the winter pass more pleasantly....

About the knitting, - I am making mittens lined with wool fleece for the birthday of one of my sons who lives on the Chilcotin Plateau where the skies are blue in the winter and the sun shines brightly for a while, but where sometimes the temperature drops to wicked lows and unless, as he says, fingers are in bed with each other, keeping each other warm in woolen mittens, they get mighty cold. 

These should do the trick.  They are fiddly to knit, having to insert little puffs of fleece every three or four stitches on alternate rows,  but how delicious to bury one's hand amidst all that  soft, cosy  down!  I understand that after a while the fleece felts and they provide great protection from the cold.

I will finish the second mitten tomorrow and then see the Old Year out....
Hope we all slide through the New Year happily, and if
perchance we should run into bumps and ruts that
we have lots of spare resilience to see us through.....
God Bless.....

Friday, December 27, 2013


The piano reflected in the midst of the snow covered cedar tree, where the little birds sleep
an angel, - a prism, - catches the light and is haloed in the night, outside
the candles, flamed down now to sweet stubs after glowing for two magical evenings
lighting the way for the angels
a nostalgic Christmas, anticipating a blithe New Year.

Monday, December 23, 2013

X for

ABC Wednesday

The letter is X and it stands for
which is the Greek symbol for Christ, being the upper case forms of the letter X (ch)
and P (r) in the Greek alphabet.
As far back as 1021 there are references in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle
where Christ was often written as Xp or Xt
and so this shortened form of Christmas (Xmas) is not as modern
as we might think, or a careless way of referring
to the birthday of the Christ child
(as in, ' U R a Holy Child)
but an ancient and historic symbol.
The figure above is called a laburnum, an amalgamation of the two Greek letters,
and is often used in Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches.
And even, it seems, it was used by Santa in this l910 Christmas card.....
I echo his wishes and send you all best wishes for happiness and Christmas blessings.
For more Merry X's click here to reach Roger and Denise and their helpful elves
at ABC Wednesday.

Monday, December 16, 2013

CHRISTMAS WINDOWS from AM&A's Buffalo, NY in Lancater 2008

ABC Wednesday

The letter is W for Christmas WINDOWS

A video of a lovely old fashioned Christmas Window above, but here below are some wonderful examples of more modern and sophisticated displays to delight and attract buyers to some of the large departmental stores in New York, London and Paris.

At Harrods, depicting the English Steam Train

and at Lord and Taylor's in New York

at Macy's

 and Tiffany's

a simple nativity scene that surely depicts
the true meaning of Christmas -
not sure if it is in any Christmas Window
but it would be a stunning reminder!

For more great interpretations of the letter W wander on over to ABC Wednesday, found here
With thanks to Roger, Denise and a host of wonderful helpers.

I wish you happiness at Christmas, - an abundance of joy!

Peace and many blessings.....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is V

I am stretching a little by choosing Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his quote from Faust, Part 1, but it has been one I cherished all my life and was in the first teen-age collection of poetry I gathered and sighed over, during the Second World War.....
If the whole world I once could see
on free soil stand, with the people free,
Then to that moment would I say
'linger awhile, so fair thou art'. 
always, so apropos
von Goethe, a German writer was born in August of 1749 and died in March of 1832
George Eliot called him 'Germany's greatest man of letters" and his works span
the fields of poetry, drama, literature, theology, humanism and science.
for more interesting takes on the letter V (or v)
visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise and Roger and, verily, all their helpers.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

ABC Wednesday,
Dec. 4th, 2013

The letter is U, for Maurice Utrillo

b. 1883    d. 1955
On one of our trips through the alphabet I included paintings by
Utrillo's mother, Suzanne Valadon, who was taught and encouraged by Degas.
Her child, Maurice Valadon, whose paternity was never recognized,
became Maurice Utrillo when Miquel Utrillo, a friend of Suzannes, in a spirit of kindness
 bestowed upon him his own name.
Maurice was a highly neurotic child and by the time he was eighteen he was
committed to an asylum temporarily because of his alcoholism.   One of the doctors there
advised his mother to encourage him to take up painting as an emotional outlet
 to help him regain his equilibrium.
Despite many alcoholic relapses with self destructive tendencies,  through his lifetime
 Utrillo produced thousands of oils, gouaches, water colors and pencil sketches,
becoming a legendary figure who in 1929 was awarded the
 Cross of the Legion of Honour
by the French Republic.
Many regard him as the century's greatest painter of urban scenes, and recognize his genius.
"Above all, Utrillo has an eye for Montmartre, the old, picturesque and
relatively quiet artists' quarter as it existed before the First World War.  He is fascinated
by the sad little streets and miserable bistros of the industrial suburbs."
In his fifties Utrillo married the widow, Lucie Pauwels, who managed his
interests so ably that he was able to live in 'grand' style in Paris,
 and both she and his mother, Suzanne, are credited
with the peace, rather than tragedy, with which his life ended.
Find more representations of the letter U here, at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise and Roger and all others
who make this meme so Utterly Fascinating. 

Sunday, December 01, 2013

This and that

December 1st, - White Rabbit Day,
 and when I woke at 3 a.m., early into the morning, I made my way to the ensuite all the while muttering, White Rabbits, White Rabbits!!!

And that's just what I feel like - a White Rabbit, hurrying Time, late for a very important date.......

I have oodles of baking to do this coming week for our tiny congregation
who are bravely holding their annual Christmas Bake Sale and
 'come for cookies and coffee on us'.

And for the Bell Choir who plan to distribute bell-shaped sugar cookies from white baskets at the Light-up Parade and Celebration this coming Friday.....

I offered to help decorate the Christmas Tree at Lodge (Tuesday morning)  in lieu of climbing ladders and putting up garlands - I do know my limitations!!!

Bell practice Monday and Thursday evenings, and in the meantime I am frantically playing triplets and arpeggios, trying to get the accompaniment to Helen's wonderful Bell solo up to speed.  "O Come O Come Emanuel" - beautiful, but I have a dreadful horror of missing a beat and coming in a bar behind the star, as we finish!!  Five concerts to play......

I think I am too old for all of this, - all I had really planned to do for Christmas was finish the digital album of Charles' life, to keep his sweet memory alive.
And now all this, and all that!!!!

Pray for me!
I am off now to add music to the digital album and immerse myself in
marvelous memories of younger days
when all this was a piece of cake!!

If you don't hear any more from me you will
know I have fallen down the rabbit hole -
or the 'memory hole'..........

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ABC Wednesday
November 27th, 2013

The letter is T, for Three

To amuse and Tickle your fancy, here is a video of THREE German Shepherds in an English Pub.

When you are no longer amused, (it does go on a bit) click here
and make the Trek to ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Denise Nesbitt,
the originator of the Meme, and Roger Green who does
a Tremendous job maintaining it, with help from
Ten or Twelve who Travel the net to visit.

Monday, November 18, 2013


ABC Wednesday

The letter is S - the subject is Stardust.....

and who better than Artie Shaw to play this Sentimental tune.

Heavenly to dance to.......
For more splendid Ss visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise, Roger and
all their spiffy helpers.

Friday, November 15, 2013


A poem wherein I find comfort this day
I think sometimes of the possible glamour of death
that it might be wonderful to be
lost and happy inside the green grass -
or to be the green grass! -
or, maybe, the pink rose, or the blue iris,
or the affable daisy, or the twirled vine,
looping its way skyward - that it might be perfectly peaceful
to be the shining lake, or the hurrying, athletic river,
or the dark shoulders of the trees
where the thrush each evening weeps himself into an ecstasy.
I lie down in the fields of goldenrod, and everlasting,
Who could find me?
My thoughts simplify.  I have not done a thousand things
or a hundred things but, perhaps, a few.
As for wondering about answers that are not available except
in books, though in my childhood I was sent there
to find them,  I have learned
to leave all that behind
as in summer I take off my shoes and my socks,
my jacket, my hat, and go on
happier, through the fields.  The little sparrow
with the pink beak
calls out, over and over, so simply - not to me
but to the whole world.  All afternoon
I grow wiser, listening to him,
soft, small, nameless fellow at the top of some weed,
enjoying his life.  If you can sing, do it.  If not,
even silence can feel, to the world, like happiness,
like praise,
from the pool of shade you have found beside the everlasting.
Just Lying on the Grass at Blackwater
Mary Oliver (of course - the source of my comfort)

And in my mailbox this morning

What the Day Gives

Suddenly, sun.  Over my shoulder
in the middle of gray November
what I hoped to do comes back,

Across the street the fiery trees
hold onto their leaves,
red and gold in the final months
of this unfinished year,
they offer blazing riddles.

In the frozen fields of my life
there are no shortcuts to spring,
but stories of great birds in migration
carrying small ones on their backs,
predators flying next to warblers
they would, in a different season, eat.

Stunned by the astonishing mix in this uneasy world
that plunges in a single day from despair
to hope and back again, I commend my life
to Ruskin's difficult duty of delight,
and to that most beautiful form of courage,
to be happy.

Jeanne Lohmann

I am thankful for poets who put my thoughts into such beautiful words.....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reflections and remembrance

ABC Wednesday

The letter this week is R - for Reflection and Remembrance

Ginty's Pond, rippled and with a few faint reflections
and now, the sky has fallen into Ginty's pond - a clear reflection of the hills and clouds and
the buildings that surround it....
Remembrance Day, 2013 at Memorial Park in Keremeos
Reminiscing with an old friend
and recalling past Remembrance Days.

For more great Rs visit here at ABC Wednesday.



Tuesday, November 05, 2013

ABC Wednesday

The letter is the quirky Q,  and the subject is Quatrain

A Quatrain is a type of stanza, or a complete poem, consisting of four lines.

It appears in poems of ancient civilizations and continues into the 21st century

During Europe's Dark Ages, in the Middle East and especially Iran, poets such as Omar Khayam continued to popularize this form of poetry, also known as Ruba'i.  There are twelve possible rhyme schemes, but the most traditional and common are AAAA, AABB and ABAB.

From the Rubaiyat

Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring
Your Winter garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To flutter - and the Bird is on the Wing.

or Gray's Elegy

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

And then there is Christopher Marlowe's 'Passionate Shepherd to His love', and Sir Walter Raleigh's Reply....

John Donne got into the act too, copying shamelessly, but beautifully, from Marlowe's Passionate Shepherd
And you can too!!  It may not have the elegance of Donne and Marlow or Omar Khayam, but
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are You.
Visit here to find out more about Q, with thanks to Mrs. Nesbitt, Roger Green
and all their quaint and qualified helpers.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Melancholy November

I have always found November to be a very melancholy month.  This morning it rained - a damp. disconsolate mist that left the leaves that remain on the trees hanging heavily; somber and soggy  with large tears falling mournfully unto the wet grass below them. 
Where had all the sunshine gone, and the crisp leaves that were so pleasant to shuffle through as one raked them into piles,
Poor November, - falling between the wild beauty of October and the happy anticipation of December.  Surely it must have a purpose......

I cannot help being pensive and sometimes sad, but I have decided to change November's character - give it a reason for being!  And so I have sent away for some new treadle cords to put on my loom, to add a little bit of life to the lift of the shafts, so I can whiz the shuttle through a nice clean shed.
And I am going to finish spinning that lovely cheerful pink roving into yarn, and then I shall learn Navajo plying  and knit somebody a warm hat and a pair of "texting" mittens.......
Perhaps I will finish scanning the few remaining pictures that sit here in a basket beside the printer, and tuck them into appropriate places in the DVD I am doing to tell the tale of Charles' life.
I have been haunting the library and have a dozen books that have been calling to me in vain as I take home a DVD or some special music to distract me through the evenings.
And some baking - I could start the Christmas baking!
 - oh, I don't suppose I will get all of these things done, but November CAN be happy and productive,  and I think that this is the year to brighten it up and rid it of its despondent reputation!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

ABC Wednesday
October 30th, 2013

The letter is P, for Peaks

Here are the peaks of the Rocky Mountains as I flew Westjet across them, late this morning*

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world
for I would ride with you upon the wind
and dance upon the mountains
like a flame!
William Butler Yeats

*home from a lovely wedding - when we flew out it was all cloud and fog
For more interesting takes on the letter P, go here to see what Mrs. Nesbitt and Roger Green
and all their perpetual helpers have to offer.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Another year gone.....

Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues; vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water.  This
I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
Mary Oliver   Fall

Monday, October 21, 2013


ABC Wednesday
October 23rd, 2013

The letter is O, for Oscar de la Renta

What I knew about Oscar de la Renta before I started a little research was his Eau de Parfum,  which I loved in younger days, before I made Crepe de Chine my 'signature' scent, - in the days when a faint perfume was pleasing to people as they brushed past you, before so many people began to throw up their hands in horror and complain about their 'allergies'!

And doctors and dentists and optometrists and even chiropodists put up signs saying 'No Perfume, No Perfume - we are pure in this office and will not be seduced by your Eau de Parfum'.

I know of a lady who changed churches because she was so outraged by the faint perfume a fellow  lady
pew sharer refused to give up when she got dressed for church.....good for her, (the lady) say I....  I'm not sure what the outraged parishioner's thoughts were on after shave lotion....

This particular Perfume, pictured above, is L'Esprit de Eau de Parfum Oscar de la Renta.    Its 'Base' is Heliotrope, Muskt, Tonka Bean, Vetiver and Amber.  The 'Heart' is Egyptian Jasmine, Orange Flower, Tuberose, Parma Violet and Iris, and it is 'Topped' with Sicilian Lemon and Cedrat. 

Who could object to such a lovely potpourri  - in moderation,  of course.

Oscar de la Renta left his native Dominican Republic when he was 18 to study painting in Madrid, and while living in Spain he became interest in the world of design and became apprenticed to Balenciago, Spain's most renowned couturier.  In 1963 he came to New York to work with Elizabeth Arden, and in 1965 began his highly successful signature ready-to-wear label.

He has received many awards in the industry and from his native country he has been honoured as one of its most distinguished citizens with the order al Merito de Juan Paqblo Duarte and the order of Cristbal Colon.  In 1996 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hispanic Heritage Society and in 2000 he marched down Fifth Avenue as Grand Marshall of New York City's Hispanic Day Parade.

He is the recipient of the Gold Medal of Bellas Artes from the King of Spain, and even more importantly he has helped build a much needed school and day-care centre in the Dominican Republic for 1200 children.   As a tireless patron of the arts he serves on many boards of important cultural institutions, and I would say his life has been one of excellent citizenship,  besides his contribution to a sweet scented world.

You will find more interesting O's here at ABC Wednesday, with thanks to Roger, Denise and all their visiting helpers.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Another photo run...

A glorious day, again!

After a morning spent in the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall, watching and listening to a most beautiful presentation of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion I had a quick bowl of chicken soup for lunch and was then drawn outside by the sunshine and the geraniums that I have been meaning to bring indoors before we have a frost that decimates the blossoms.
Yesterday I raked up all the leaves that had fallen on the front lawn and filled one large bag. 
Then I cut the lawn and everything looked so tidy.  Of course, overnight the tree released another bagful, but that's alright - I take everything in moderation these days so I will work in tandem with the tree and fill my bags in accordance with its whims. 
The leaves fall patiently
Nothing remembers or grieves
The river takes to the sea
The yellow drift of leaves
Sara Teasdale
If only the river swept away all these leaves that gather on my lawns!!!!!
However today was not the day for raking leaves, - I could hear the river calling, - 'everything's golden here, come and see, come and see' - so off I went!
And so it was, golden, and very beautiful. 

In places richly bronzed......

and upstream the leaves were light and transparent, and they gleamed against the water below.

The water was quiet and the golden branches bent down to converse with it.
John Burrough says 'how beautiful leaves grow old.  How full of light and colour are their last days.

I followed the road around the bend,

through the ranches, and along beside the meadows, ringed with the brilliant colours of small shrubs and evergreens at the foot of the mountains - vivid where the sun strikes them, somber where they lie in shade.
I thought how lovely it would be to continue on through to the Ashnola, and see the beautiful waters of the creek as it crashes its way down the mountain, foaming white and green and the
darkest and richest blue.
However, I remembered I was alone (although I didn't feel alone) and the road
is winding and twisty, and perhaps
it would be wiser if I turned at the first wide spot in the road.

Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile.......William Cullen Bryant

And then there is that gorgeous October moon, at night!
The brilliant moon, and all the milky sky......Yeats.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You drive!!!!

Autumn in the Similkameen, and this afternoon I said to myself, "A good day for a photo trip - you drive"!!!!

Well I missed my driver terribly, - no taking pictures out of the side window while he zipped along, - nobody to point out terrific possibilities or special captures, but I had a feeling he might be along and enjoying the drive.

Because I had to stop to take pictures I had to watch for safe places and unfortunately missed some lovely shots as I haven't yet (or likely ever will) mastered the art of snapping photos while I drive....

It was sunny, and the valley was shimmering!

Not just the orchards, but the trees in the river bottom
glowed in the sunlight

Off in the distance the Chapaka hills were that misty blue
fading a little with each passing mile

At the upper end of Ginty's pond the brilliant blue water was edged with grasses,
naples yellow, creams and oranges and cool greens
A few ducks

but the majority of them were in the lower pond, plying their way through the silvery scum
that covers the water

I didn't venture along the river bank, as Charles would have done,
but I found some lovely golden coins clinging to the trees
along the roadway

Closer to home the rich gold of the tree along the front fence
The last of the roses


and a lovely potpourri of colour in the back garden.
A perfect way to spend the afternoon
and treasure memories.......