Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

How lovely are your branches.
A tree of any size, real or not, when decorated presents a beautiful sight.

golden globes,
and candy canes
show the colors of Christmas.

Presents tied up in bows wait for family and friends. I hope they will be delighted with my choices for them.

We await, too, the arrival of the Christ Child to bring light and love to the darkened world. How lovely is the Holy Family with its promise of peace and good will. Our earthly family gathers to celebrate the baby's coming and to share togetherness.

     The Joys 
         of the Season 
              be with You.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Beauty of Hoarfrost

Hoarfrost created early this week has lasted for days painting our landscape with white beauty. Railings, limbs and bushes wear a lacy coat. The patterns are intricate and beautiful.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Christmas Shopping

         Today the sun shone brightly enticing me to leave my condo with lists in hand. The sticky note pieces bore a name and items to find for that individual. I pasted them to one of those thick coupon cards that come in the newspaper inserts. Because it was Monday and early, the traffic flowed nicely, drivers minded their manners. Parking lots had open spaces close to store entrances, always a helpful circumstance.
         In the mall, shoppers sauntered the corridors wending their way from store to store lugging parcels. I took my shopping bag to the car and returned. Traversing the aisles of merchandise made easier without a bunch of parcels. Decorations of red and green, music, and bright displays added a holiday mood to my search for the perfect gifts for family members. The lady ahead of me in the checkout line handed me a discount coupon from her stash! What a honey.
         I returned home with tired feet to sort my items and reorganize my lists. I made a start, a good start on the gift list. I stocked the cupboard with ingredients for fruit cake which will get made this week. While I stir the mixture, I will remember my mother. Fruit cake was one of her favorite things at Christmas. Memories of her will waft on the aroma coming from the oven as it bakes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leaf Peeping (2)

Through Vermont and New Hampshire along the Kangamungus Highway, the hills, valleys, and towns provided picture postcard views. The photos exhibit Jennifer's photography skills.

Kennebunkport, ME
Minuteman at Lexington, MA

Lexington Commons, site of the first battle of the American Revolution

Beautiful tree on Concord battlefield

The Old Manse, home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, neighboring the battlefield

Martha's Vineyard, Jennifer and I on the beach

Newport, RI

New York City from the Washington Bridge

The Appalachians through Pennsylvania

Leaf Peeping

    "Leaf peepers, 99% of the people here," said the man wearing a jacket with a messenger service logo. He sat across the table from my daughter and myself in the crowded eating area of Quincy Market in Boston. Recognizing him as a local person, I had asked him if the Market was always this crowded and how many, in his opinion, were tourists.
    I laughed and said, "That's us! We're here to see the leaves."
    Jennifer and I traveled by bus through Minnesota (below) to  New England.

At right is a light house on Lake Superior in Michigan and below is the bridge across the strait, Sault Ste. Marie.

This is the Bavarian style town of Frankenmuth, MI. The white central portion of the inn behind me is topped with a Glockenspiel that tells the story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The town is the home of Bronner's Christmas Store.

 At Niagara Falls, the afternoon was drizzly, but that didn't dim our enjoyment of the colors and falls. At right, the Niagara River, which flows between Lake Erie and Lake Huron is at the edge of the ledge.

I'm at the American Falls with the Horsehshoe Falls in the background. Note the spray rising from the falling water.

The thin area of water falling  toward the center of the photo is the Bridal Veil Falls.

At left, the water eddies through the gorge below the falls. The colors were lovely.

 In the Adirondack Mountains, NY
Woodstock, Vermont
At Qeechee Gorge, the Grand Canyon of the East.

This bush is typical of the brilliant reds.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Summer 2010

Summer 2010: a time of sadness and joy; a time for home and travel.

In June my husband and I moved for the second summer in a row. In 2009 we sold our house and moved to a rental town home; this year we chose to purchase a condo. It's one level, 1800 sq.ft., on the third floor in a building with an elevator. Solitude South Condominiums - doesn't that sound restful?

We planned mini-vacations for Mom from her assisted living apartment. She struggled to recover from an infection during June, even spent time in the hospital. By early July, her spirits were high and her health improving.

Then came the news that Mom had fallen, broken a hip. She came to Fargo for surgery and came through just fine. A couple days later the chest pains started; the stress overcame her heart, weakened by a heart attack years ago and regulated by a pacemaker. On July 12, she died. She remained awake and lucid until the last half hour. She named her kids by their voices in the room. Relatives and friends celebrated her life at a service in Lisbon.

With Delta Kappa Gamma friends, I attended the International Convention in Spokane in late July. The Spokane River area featured parks, walking trails, a carousel, fountains, and bridges. A live band serenaded us at Meet Me at the River Night.
 I took a city tour, a walking gourmet tour, a Victorian House tea tour, shopped, checked out a quilt shop and the casino, and toured the famous Davenport Hotel. The buses left from the convention center.
At right, the lobby of the restored Davenport Hotel shows the elaborate detail of its decor. At the far end, is a fireplace (gas fired today) that is always lit to welcome travelers.

The sessions featured Society talent, gifted speakers, and Society information. A new Constitution was approved. The Northwest Regional Breakfast, Birthday Luncheon, and President's Banquet provided opportunities for tasty food and socializing. The week of events and workshops flew by.

Home. It's August, with a mix of hot days and thunderstorms. Harvest machines hum in the countryside: combines, beet trucks, semis of hay bales. And in Lisbon, at Mom's house we pick through a life time of treasured possessions.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


procrastinate: delay or postpone action; put off doing something

delay, put off doing something, postpone action, defer action, be dilatory, use delaying tactics, stall, temporize, drag one's feet/heels, take one's time, play for time, play a waiting game

I scroll through the dictionary definition and the thesaurus entries for procrastinate trying to decide why I haven't opened a file of a work in progress or even begun a new effort. For weeks my characters were stuck in limbo. Ellen and Jack toured Paris in never ending rounds getting nowhere. My imagination failed to move them, make them grow, or achieve their desires. 

I went to bed at night letting the possibilities play on my mind screen, boring myself with repetition and tedium. Nothing upped the tension or sparked interest. Jack had a problem and a goal, but Ellen, my heroine, needed more depth. This mind play went on, and on, and on, and on until I put the draft aside. It loitered in the documents folder, today's bottom drawer. 

A flash of inspiration appeared in the form of a quotation that suggested not only a theme for my work, but also a means of increasing the complexity and angst of my heroine. I opened the draft and read with a new perspective. The notes accumulated for adding intrigue and intricacy to my characters and plot.

I prefer to think that this period of non-writing was not procrastination in a bad sense, but rather a period of simmering the many strands that mix, combine, and juxtapose to form a creative work. Sooooooo, I'm back at the keyboard writing the next chapter.

Monday, March 22, 2010


A moment of sudden revelation or insight

Epiphany, the festival commemorating the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child occurs in early January. The story relates the journey of the three Wise Men following the star and bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby in the manger.

Caspar offers gold as the sign of royalty, the kingship bestowed on the child. Balthasar gives frankincense, fragrant incense symbolizing prayer. Melchoir brings myrrh, a symbol of strength and love, love of parent for child, love of man and woman for their fellow beings.

For days after I reflected on the three gifts and even spoke to a friend about them. By embracing these gifts, people could achieve a deeper spiritual life. We discussed the symbolic meaning of these gifts in larger contexts.

Insight flashed through my mind.

For a writer, gold is inspiration, the sign of creativity, imagination and originality. An idea bursts through the trivial sending out branches, expanding in new directions. An excitement permeates the activity.

Frankincense is passion. The fragrant smoke of intense desire and enthusiasm rises from inspiration and motivates the shaping of inspiration. The wisps and tendrils undulate in streams that prompt creativity.

Myrrh is artistry. The strength of communicating ideas depends on word choice, sentence structure, and apt metaphors combined for a pleasing read.

These are the tools that lead to books on the bestseller list.