Thursday, May 27, 2010

I've "moved!"

To all you faithful blog readers, please go from now on to me new [& improved] site, at
Everything here, including years worth of archives, now lives there . . . so please feel free to add the new address to your blogroll, favorites, bookmarks, followings, etc. Thanks :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a "special" announcement

This is, according to state law, a very "special" flower. My friend pointed it out to me as we were doing trash pick-up in the local state park: I knew about Ladyslippers, but did not know about the protection of them until after this, when I did a bit of research. It turns out that this one--a Pink Ladyslipper, is considered to be of "special concern" while a few other varieties are actually protected. Either way, I find it ravishing, in a mysteriously delicate sort of way.
And so I am making use of this particular shot to illustrate my current announcement:
In honor of a pending change [ ;-)] I am in the process of various forms of organization and preparation. One of those involves finally revamping my blog. For some time I have been wishing to fix it up, and do it in a way that suits my creativity better. It took a while to figure out the transferring logistics, but now I am well on the way to leaving this particular domain. All my blog's current content will transfer, so I invite all who read here to stay tuned for a website redirection: it will be a good one, I assure you!
Thanks, folks!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Knowing to expect the unexpected is one thing. Having that same unexpected happen is quite another . . . which is, I think, one of the main reasons I love telling "true" stories so much: I am one of those who delights in the re-living as much as [and often more than] in the moment itself. So telling about those moments is no trivial matter—telling the tales of the absurdities in a day in a life almost makes the day, the life, worth living.
But enough of that: I have a bad writing habit of overly prefacing . . . on to the story:
A portion of this particular day was spent at two area assisted living facilities. One of which I had been to already, many times, to visit my grandmother. But the other was a new one to me. When I arrived I took some time navigating the maze-like, under construction hallways, searching for members of my group. Eventually I found what looked to be the gathering room and entered, looking for a place to stash my camera and gather song sheets and itineraries. As I did so, a woman came towards me, looking directly at me as she did, with an expectantly cheerful look on her face. She looked rather young, and very aware, so I assumed her to be a member of the staff. But instead of an expected approach, and then [personal space bubble allowed] stop, she continued her walk until her face was an inch away from my own. Rather stunned, I just waited, wide-eyed. And for several minutes she stood there, smiling, as she hummed “Mimimimimimimimimi . . .” in a high-pitched monotone. Then, her song complete, she inched slightly closer yet, and then [still looking straight into my eyes] walked away. I surmised my error in her identity pretty quickly and carried on in preparations.
A bit later, as we began a prayer, she came towards me again, with the same “Mimimimimimimi” song. This time, anticipating her actions, I quickly ran through a few courses of potential action for myself: Should I keep my eyes open and look at her? Should I just pray as usual? Should I smile? I opted to look at her, smile quickly, and then close my eyes and continue joining in on the prayer. When I closed my eyes I felt her face and realized that now, instead of just peering into my own, she was giving me “Butterfly kisses,” brushing her nose side to side against my own.
This time I just couldn’t help but giggle. Seriousness aside, how can any reasonable 30-year-old woman stay straight-faced when being given Butterfly kisses by a bright-eyed slightly-older women? I decided not to try.
And the day continued—as a day does—with other moments of ups and downs, of the unexpected and the expected . . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

when it all boils down

To say that Mom's garden is impressive is decidedly understating the reality: it is, in fact, an amazing array of vegetables and herbs that far exceeds the norm for regional growth. And so it is in no way the fault of the harvest that our dinner greens this evening were a meager affair; rather, my own lack of expertise in gardening is the problem. What I thought was a large bundle of carefully-chosen Swiss Chard stalks boiled down to the equivalent of approximately 1 Tablespoon per person, for of the three of us dining tonight. Ah well--I know better for next time. And thankfully, 20-some-odd brimming bundles remain in the rows from which I gleaned tonight's portion :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

still-living stalks

As I headed out the door to grab my camera, I grinned with a smug sort of satisfaction at the sound of Mom's laughter . . . I find it to be oddly gratifying when I manage to amuse my own family members. I had announced to her my intent to photograph the lavender I had just planted, playing up the haste with which I had to do so: "I know that, since I planted them [and you did not], they won't last long--I have to document their existence while they are still living . . ." And off I rushed. So here they are: beautifully still-blooming sprigs, duly documented :-)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

another of my own

Emboldened [too much so?] by the kind response to last week's Poetry Wednesday post . . . and perhaps also by the fact that I am trying to flame the fires of my song-writing creativity, I have decided to go ahead and put another of my own writings out there. This one is decided less serious than last week's--quite goofy, in fact. But as much of my children's writing is just as goofy, there is no good reason for me to hide that fact :-) This one was inspired by a conversation I had with a little one, years ago, in the church bathroom after the service . . .

Stuck in the Loo
Oh dear, I fear it's true:
I'm stuck here in the loo.

I've wiggled, and jiggled, and pried:
And now I'm fit to be tied.

I really had to pee.
So Mommy came in with me.

I told her she could go--
I'm big now and, well, you know.

But now I wish I hadn't.
Cause she'd a known how to unfast'n it.

She knows how to do
Just anything--I promise, it's true!

Well I guess I'll settle in a bit--
The loo's not a bad place to sit.

I can make it real nice and comfy,
Even have my friends over for tea.

Suzy, and Jane, and Jackie.
And maybe Jane's puppy, Jalopy.

We can all sit right there on the floor,
In that space--it's just perfect for four!

After tea, then time for . . .
What's that? Did I hear the door?

Oh--Mommy, you found me!
I was just . . . well, I'll tell you later.

Yes, I'm fine. Tell you now?
Well ok. This is how . . .

Sunday, May 09, 2010

you know you're from Africa when . . .

After dinner this evening I picked up an MK Newsletter that had arrived this weekend and started flipping through. Once I had read only a few of the items in one rather lengthy article, I started chuckling. Then, since Lou had looked up from his own readings, and seemed curious enough—and since we were all still lingering there around the table—I began to read out loud. But suddenly, unexpectedly, my laughter had turned to tears. Here are a few of the truisms that stuck out to me: some because of how true they are to my own experience, some simply because they made me laugh, and some because they are as beautiful as the land about which they are written:
“You know you are from Africa when . . .”
• No running water for a day is just another ordinary thing.
• It doesn’t seem right to pay the asking price on anything without bargaining first.
• Someone asks you how much your sister costs.
• You miss rain on a corrugated iron roof where it’s so loud you have to shout to be heard.
• You visit your grandparents and take your passport—just in case you have to evacuate.
• American corn isn’t hard enough for you.
• You expect people to tell you they’re fine before you ask them.
• As a girl, you’ve been proposed to while walking down the street.
• You can lead a 20-minute conversation starting with “Walleponaua!” and keep it going by replying “ehh” in numerous different tone levels for the next half an hour! (and have the other person understand exactly what you’re saying!)
• Something that would normally take half and hour in the Western world takes a few days or weeks.
• Your journey is interrupted by herds of cows and goats on the road.
• You can smell the rain before it comes.
• The only thing you throw away are avocado stones, and even then you wonder if you should save them and plant a tree.
• You know that an umbrella is useless during the rainy season and simply accept the fact that you’ll be wet for 3 months . . . and really don’t mind.
• Your bed doesn’t seem right without a mosquito net.
• Tears well up in your eyes as you read this list, wishing you were back in Africa.

[adapted from “I’d rather be in Africa” ]

Saturday, May 08, 2010

make way for duckling[s]

When I first spotted this fuzzy family, huddled together, mother sheltering little ones, I kicked myself for not having my camera on me. It being first thing in the morning, I assumed that they would be long gone by the time I returned. So later, around midday, when I came back with my camera . . . just in case . . . I was thrilled to find them still out, still braving the cold of the rain and wind. And I cheered them on in their lonely trek out towards the middle of the lake :-)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

till Zion

This Spring, thanks to an inspiring baby niece, I accidentally wrote a song. I am accustomed to making up songs, as they rather regularly pop into my head to be used as teaching tools . . . silly French ditties, usually. This time, however, it sounded kind of like a "real" song. When I shared it with one of my blogging friends, she suggested that I post it for a Poetry Wednesday. It took me a while to decide to do so but, now, here it is.
The poem itself I wrote a while back--an "Alphabet Prayer." But the tune is new, and I first sang it a cappella. Then, with the help of a talented collaborating musician, it turned into an official song, complete with instrumentals and background vocals. Anyhow, here are the lyrics. If any of you, who have not already heard it, would like to hear either version of the song itself, I would be happy to pass along the MP3 version: just comment or email me directly if so . . .

Till Zion is Nigh

Verse 1:
Abba Father
Blessed Jesus
Come and cheer us
Do be near us

Every Creature
Far and near
Give You praise for Your
Holy ways
[Refain]: For Yours I’ll be, till Zion is nigh. Oh, yours, till Zion is nigh.

I am Yours
Just as I am
Kindly made
Loved and framed

May I never
Not be true
Or be forgetful in
Praising You

Quiet me when
Restless I grow
Still my spirit
Tame my soul

Under Thy wings
Verily I fly
Watched for by Your
eXtra watchful eye

Final Refrain: Sung with a 3rd line] of “Till Zion”

Friday, April 30, 2010

why did the chicken cross the road?

Well tonight, at least, he clearly had places to go . . . chicks to see [?]. So I stopped my car and let him cross. Then I got out, Lauryn Hill still grooving out my car stereo, and snapped this shot of him. I mean, who wouldn't pass up the chance to document the real-life happening of such an age-old, burning question? :-)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

no hare there

It was a delightfully different day today than it was yesterday--snow turned to sunshine. So taking advantage of the evening light while dining with a friend, we walked out to her backyard where I had been admiring the shed. I chuckled at the name of it, upon which she mentioned that it was falling down . . . I was slightly embarrassed to admit that I actually thought it was intended to be slanted like that :-) Either way, the effect is all quite picturesque, even though it no longer houses its original, intended inhabitants. And I did like her choice of a paint job for the barn--what rabbit wouldn't be proud to be raised in a pink and purple abode?

Monday, April 26, 2010

it isn't easy being green . . . ?

Having been on a significantly long road trip for the past 3 days, I have had a slight bit more time than usual to "smell the flowers" along the way. To be more precise, however, I have been "watching the trees." For some reason, I have never before taken such notice of the Springtime Colours. Fall, for sure: that season is a given for me, so far as being awed by nature's colours. But this year, I see so many varieties of green that I have ended up pointing constantly to name a new hue that appears. No doubt Mel has had enough of it and is ready to be out of a car with me :-) Finally today I requested a stop to take a few photos of them, so here is the resulting pick--not particularly exciting so far as photo ops go, but hopefully it illustrates a little bit of what I've been seeing . . .

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

time for poetry

I am one of those [of whom a larger population exists, I suspect, than one might imagine] who tends towards an obsession with words. I seem to be unable to hold back the compulsive composition of word plays, poems, rhymes, and songs. This does come in handy as a teacher for little ones, as I have a knack for randomly composing mnemonic devices to help them remember such things as the French Alphabet, the Days of the Week, and the like.
It is not, unfortunately, as skill that does very well at earning a living . . . but I digress.
The point of my, er, point [;-)] is that I like words. And that I like poems. And so I like Poetry Wednesday.
For today's such event, I decided to post a poem that is probably familiar to many of those in my blogging circle. Multiple reasons prompted this decision. One of those is that I recently was asked [by one who was used to seeing the name in my email signature] who Gerard Manley Hopkins was. This gave me the occasion to go back and read through several of his poems, and to re-read about his life.
Around the same time, I learned of the newest release by Natalie Merchant which is, I think, quite brilliant . . . a passion of my own, as well. Her album--Leave Your Sleep--is a children's collection of songs based upon sophisticated and traditional poems, rhymes, and lullabies.
Also around this same time, I accidentally wrote my first "serious" song [as opposed to educational little ditties and limericks]. Consequently, with the urging of a friend and collaborating musician, I have begun the exhilarating project of my own potential [budding] musical project . . .
All that to say, I would like to share with you one of the poems that my dear blogging buddy introduced me too years ago, also introducing me to the poet. This poem is also the inspiration for one of my favorite songs on Merchant's CD [though I confess that I do not have, and so have not listened to in its entirety, the album.
But enough ramblings from me. Here's the poem. Enjoy!

To a Young Child
by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

mystery plants?

When I caught a glimpse of these little curiosities the other day, I knew I would be returning with my camera. After doing so, today, I mentioned my intriguing photo subject to my friend, showing her the picture. I should have expected as much, considering how knowledgeable she is about all things local--but I still found myself duly impressed when she spouted off the name and spoke of what folks do with them . . .
And so I ask you all: anyone out there in blog-land know
1. What the common name is? and
2. What can be done with them?
The first correct responder just might win a prize :-)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

the professional angle

It wasn't until right before I left today's Spring Fair that I realized I had a young sidekick. As I was crooning to the corn snake draped upon my arm, this little fellow, in a noticeably adult-like tone, asked me if I was a photographer. Looking down, I recognized him as the same youngster who had looked on at another child's artwork when I was snapping photos of him and his father, engrossed in the task of painting a fabric grocery bag. At the time I assumed he was just another child enjoying the artwork activities. But when he appeared by my side minutes later . . . and again shortly thereafter, I figured I must have captured his interest.
Realizing this, I quickly clarified my initial response that yes, I was somewhat of a photographer: Mind you, I added, this is not really professional work, to be holding my Nikon in one hand as I snap a shot of the snake holding the other: but sometimes, you just do what the moment requires :-)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

chiming in

There has been a "Poetry Wednesday" circle amongst some of my blogger buddies that I have been following for several months now. But I have not joined in, preferring to just enjoy others' posts. I decided to chime in this week, however. Largely, this is due to my own contemplative and creatively-inclined state of mind as of late. When I am in such a mood, I tend to remember past artistic loves, as well as embarking upon new ones. At the moment, I have been musing on the first poetry I really resonated with: I didn't even know why . . . still don't, for that matter! But for whatever reason, I fell in love with A.A. Milne's "Buttercup Days" back in high school--before I even really liked poetry all that much, so far as I can remember. I read it as school required, but wouldn't have dreamed of recreationally writing it, as I do now. Enough said . . . here it is :-)

Buttercup Days

Where is Anne?
Head above the buttercups,
Walking by the stream,
Down among the buttercups.
Where is Anne?
Walking with her man,
Lost in a dream,
Lost among the buttercups.

What has she got in that little brown head?
Wonderful thoughts which can never be said.
What has she got in that firm little fist of hers?
Somebody’s thumb, and it feels like Christopher’s

Where is Anne?
Close to her man.
Brown head, gold head,
In and out the buttercups.

-A.A. Milne. “Now We Are Six”

Monday, April 12, 2010

tulips, take 2

After my last post, one faithful blog follower kindly made a request . . . asking for a follow-up photo of those tulips once they were fully bloomed. Well, here at Full of Grace, we aim to please :-) With the near-blinding intensity of the hues, I was tempted to, of all things, mute the colour. But I thought better of that and, instead, decided to give you the pure, "unadulterated" photo. So here they are: Mom's tulips, fully a-bloom. Do you doubt my word as to her "greenest thumb?"

Saturday, April 10, 2010

the greenest thumb

As I prepared to leave her house this evening, my mother looked up from her Sunday School lesson planning, peered over her reading glasses, and reminded me, "You really should look at those tulips as you head out." I have learned the lesson, many times over, to do what mom says, even when she says it in the most off-handedly distracted sort of way. So I sidestepped into the garden and poked around until I found this little gem . . . and then I ran back into the house to thank mom for being so motherishly all-knowing. And thankfully, I had my camera to capture its rosy twilight glow.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

by any other name

Ever since they bloomed, about a week ago, I have been intrigued by these oddly-hued blossoms in my mother's garden. They are not the sort of flower I would normally swoon over but I just kept returning to look for new shades [white, lavender, even pale green among the current ones]. So tonight I finally thought to ask her what kind they were. Her response made me smile to myself, amused at my own mental workings, as I suddenly realized the true reason for my interest: it is their name. Lenten Rose. It is a striking sort of name, befitting a strikingly homely sort of bloom . . . and I think I have fallen for its unassuming loveliness :-)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Christos anesti . . .

. . . Alithos anesti.
Those of you not as familiar [as some of my blogging buddies] with Greek Orthodox tradition may not recognize the significance of a bowl of red-dyed eggs. This is a part of the traditional tsougrisma ceremony, in which I got to participate this year. Between the festive traditions, the reading of Benjamin's Box, and lingering over post-children's-bedtime coffee & conversations, it was a truly blessed Resurrection Sunday . . . for you all I hope, as well!

Monday, March 29, 2010

children of the world

In honor of the "Nonfiction Monday" community, I have decided to do a bit of a flashback for today's blog post . . . these are the notes I took when still a graduate student, for a school presentation I gave that featured multicultural picture books. My sole caveat in posting this is that it is admittedly embarrassing for me to display my "schoolwork," as it were. But I thought it would be helpful for those interested in raising culturally aware little ones, so here it is :-)

The Stories:
[My Intro] "What I would like to do now is to read a few books with you. These are all books that were written in different countries, and in different languages. And you know what’s so neat about it is that kids like you—kids with the same types of people they love, pets that make them laugh, things that make them afraid, and dreams that make them happy—are reading books, just like you are, way over on the other side of the world. They may not look just like you, talk just like you, live in houses just like yours, or learn in schools just like yours, but deep down, in the places that matter, they are kids just like you."

1. Vaugelade, Anais. Translated by Marie-Christine Rouffiac and Tom Streissguth. The War.
I adored the way this book tackled a potentially inflammatory topic: War vs. Peace, in an amazingly light-hearted and thus un-inflammatory manner. It is simple, uplifting, and wholesome in its message. Could lead to interesting class discussions, for sure!

2. Une nuit, un chat, written & illustrated by Yvan Pommaux [France]
Plopped contentedly on the floor of the library, I chuckled as I read this book, and I concurred with the selectors’ that it was indeed an excellent representative book for this particular collection.
One of the most immediately evident reasons, for me, was that the text is simple, and easy to follow—even for my level of French ☺ As a result, it is excellent for the targeted audience of upper primary school children. Also concerning the language, its rhyming lines and alliteration make it playful, and simply fun to read.
Its theme fits as representative for any international collection, in that it is about family—one of the most universal of themes, and certainly one with which any child can identify.

3. El guardian del Olvido, by Joan M. Gisbert/ illustrated by Alfonso Ruano [Spain]
Reading this book, I placed it at a slightly older level than the previous one—but still definitely within an elementary age group.
This one is longer, with basic prose [rather than rhymes], but still simple dialogue and verbiage—again, understandable for my level of Spanish!
And here again, we have an easily graspable universal theme, of friendship, contained within an uplifting story.

4. Un jour mon Prince Viendra, by Andrea Neve/ illustrated by Kitty Crowther [Belgium]
This story provides a new—again universal and easily understandable—theme, this time of love. And, yet again, I was able to easily understand the word choice and language of the text ☺ This one was at a similar level as Une nuit, un chat, with its spare text of rhythmic and lyrical prose—but not actual rhyming in this one.
One final note of interest, concerning its theme, is that there was a surprisingly sly note to the humor—surprising from my cultural perspective, at least—concerning the theme. My assessment is that this is indicative of Europe’s tendency to be less inclined to talk down to children in their picture books—from what I’ve seen—compared to the U.S.
5. La Petite Marchande d’Allumettes, by H.C. Andersen/ translation by P.G. La Chesnais/ illustrated by Georges LeMoine
When I first read this book I cried. I was immensely moved by this retelling of Andersen’s tale, and I was amazed at my own reaction. Interestingly enough, the language of the story is not what touched me the most. The tale is indeed a highly moving, and immensely sad one; unfortunately, though, I fear I have grown hardened to it by merely being overly familiar with it.
For that reason, I love that La Chesnais and LeMoine have redone the story in a way that brings new poignancy to a potentially stale story. They have brought it to life by the ingenious parallel, via solely the artwork, of the original tale with the modern real-life equivalent of a little Bosnian girl stuck in wartime harsh reality. The truth, of course, is that life really can be every bit as heartbreaking as Andersen’s original story . . . and I am grateful for any way of communicating, in an emotive manner, such truth to sheltered young people today

Saturday, March 27, 2010

up to the highest height

I had no idea how much I had missed those girls. That is the way it goes with children oftentimes--for me at least; it is not the sort of perpetual ache you feel when apart from a significant other. Not a craving sort of longing . . . but one that catches you off-guard with giddy delight. So this afternoon I had the singular delight of being surprised by my own emotion: as I drove towards the house the two were out playing in the park. They saw my car and then, when they recognized me, they began jumping up and down, racing towards the vehicle. I had forgotten their endearing habit of doing this and, also, forgot that I was now driving a modern sort of car that boasts such extravagances as power windows. So I did what I am accustomed to doing, which is to wave them towards the driveway, indicating that I would talk to them once at the top of the hill. Driving the short remainder of the way up the hill, I beamed at them, laughing to myself. And then, when I stopped the car, I ran towards them and was treated to giant, little-girl-version, bear hugs.
And then we flew a kite. They excitedly told me about their new "turtle" kite so, it being a glorious day, we got it out and ran around the field . . . until encountering the rain-soaked portion. Running with children + Looking up at a kite + Wet field = A muddy [but happy] trio :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


It may not be evident from this photo, but it was actually raining all day today--and yesterday, for that matter. So I had to smile at the irony of this shot as I captured it this afternoon [remembering my "starched?" photo from a month ago. Come snow, come rain . . . here in rural New England, nothing can cramp our free-spirited laundering style :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

equine awakening

It was, quite simply, a perfectly Spring-awakening sort of day. So this afternoon, giddy with the possibility of it all [so much so that I excused myself from an indoor gathering], I wandered with my camera. And when I came upon these handsome fellows, I flirted shamelessly . . . they didn't seem to mind too terribly much :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

in semi-bloom

Remember that single green hint of a changing season? Well, amazingly enough [considering the length of winter hereabouts], it seems to have sprouted some colour. I must admit, mind you, that I did not notice it immediately; in fact, it took me a while to find the flowers even after Mom had alerted me to their existence. But once I had, I was smitten. Spring . . . could it be true?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

bubble, bubble . . .

This being the first time I have been witness to the Springtime thawing of a lake, it is with no small measure of interest [impatience? :-)] that I am enjoying the ways in which ice and water conduct their space-trading dance . . .

Sunday, March 14, 2010

about that spring bloom . . .

Ah yes, it is beautiful . . . but an ice storm in March? I guess I am not enough of a New Englander to be able to appreciate it. Or maybe I am too prone to excitement over little things like blooming bulbs, so that a new layer of snow and ice feels like a bit of a cruel joke :-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

just a dream

I've always been a believer in the mysterious nature of dreams . . . or at least I was when I was younger. Somehow, the older I get, the more "practical" my sense of reality has grown, leading to more of a focus on the logistics of daily life and future plans and, sadly, less of an awareness of mystery.
So I am grateful for occasional reminders of this reality that is, I think, just as important in many ways as "real life." Why else could a dream--a single night's brain waves--lead to an entire day in which I fought the temptation to daydream myself back into that dream? Ever since I woke up this morning I have been longing to recreate that dream for myself, trying to remember it as vividly as possible. Trying to recapture that other-worldy, wonderfully heartrending ache in the deepest part of my sensibilities.
Silly? Perhaps. But not without meaning. I cannot help but believe that such reminders in the heart are the way we really reconnect with what is most, in the depths of each human soul . . .

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

an icy ascent

Granted, it may not look all that impressive. But this is a very important little bulb: the first of Spring. Mom noticed it this morning and called to announce the birth . . . so I was camera-ready this evening, to document its brave ascent through the elements.

Monday, March 08, 2010

emergency eviction

Barbara promptly offered "writing" permission this evening, after telling me the day's excitement. Granted, my neighbor has provided me with writing inspiration in the past, so she knew what to expect when relaying this particular event as I arrived with the day's pharmacy pick-up for them:
For several days now, she has been concerned about the odor of what seemed to be some sort of a leak. So today she called for assistance, alerting the authorities that she seemed to have a gas leak. Shortly thereafter the inspector arrived and was directed to the room in question.
When he emerged, some time later, Barbara waited, with some concern, to hear the outcome. He quietly made his notes and she, anxious to see, peered over onto his work log, to see what he was writing . . .
"No gas leak. Dead mouse. Removed mouse. Cleaned area. Odor taken care of" . . . Disaster averted? :-)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

mornin', sunshine

As Erin and I gasped at the view out her window, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of sadness over the fact that my visit was already almost over . . . and nostalgic as I visited my old haunts from living there. I thought about playing with this photo but opted against it, deciding that "as is" was quite perfect :-)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

for the color of it

It was with singular delight that I carted my camera along on a brilliantly spring-like day here in the Pacific Northwest. After a winter of ice and snow, and frigid temperatures, it was indescribably soothing to feel such newness in the air. I can't remember ever quite appreciating spring so much. But then again, I have had a habit of running away in the wintertime, accepting conveniently timed work opportunities in more tropic climes than those encountered stateside. And so today I soaked in this one afternoon of mildness with intense gratitude.
"Is it silly of me," I asked Erin, "to be so giddy about photographing flowers today, solely because of the thrill of encountering color again?" She thought for a moment, then said simply, "Nah--I don't think so."
So I'm taking her word for it, and posting this simple shot for you of today's color :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010


When I first passed this line, I noticed how beautiful it was against the white of the snow. And then it occurred to me that it was a rather odd sight to see, all things considered, here in our wintery wonderland. But being without my camera, all I could do at the time was bemoan the lack of my other limb . . . so it was with delight that I discovered the clothes still out "drying" when I returned, camera-ready :-)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

teacher knows best?

It never ceases to amaze me how much of an adventure it is to work with little ones. And one of the reasons I keep gravitating towards such work is that I love the discovery process it is for me--oftentimes just as much as it is for the students!
At the moment I am thinking of my last lesson with one of my French students [who I will nickname Abby for blogging purposes]. Abby is 5 years old. Young enough to be a learning "sponge," yet old enough to catch me off guard with her snippets of insight and with glimpses into her intriguing little mind.
So this past time we met, I had intended to jog her memory with a review of the past songs we have used as French learning tools, going back as far as early in summer of this past year. But she didn't have a great deal of patience for this exercise and, you know, I decided that it wasn't worth pushing it. Because what I quickly realized was that her impatience was not due to any lack of retention. In fact, she easily [and with a twinge of feigned boredom!] sang the words of the songs I prompted. But then she started to suggest her own lyrics and songs. Soon she had me singing a series of impromptu songs about various objects she set her sights on. Who knew that one could sing a cute French ditty about "drapes and a couch"?
But I did, and it proved to be a much more interesting language lesson than the one I had intended . . . never mind the test it proved to be for my own language retention over the years! Serves me right for assuming that "teacher knows best" :-)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy "Hearts" Day!

Too all of you out in blogland, here's wishing you a happy Day of Saint Valentine!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

a sight so lovely . . .

It's been cold. It's been really cold. And I don't much care for it. But it has also been stunningly, sunshinily beautiful. So I had the urge to just point my camera up at the sky and take a shot of it. I was tempted to adjust the photo but then changed my mind, deciding that it was quite perfectly lovely just the way it was :-)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

on the rocks?

So remember that "snow hearts & ice blocks" post from last week? Well, after noticing since then the uncanny effect of those "cubes," I just couldn't resist having a bit of fun with it :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

the fullest moon

I was grateful to hear the news, at work today, about the fact that tonight would be the brightest full moon of the year. And I also thought it was pretty cool to have the capturing of this sight be a part of my work assignments :-) Mind you, I have not yet done any moon photography, so it took a bit of research to figure out the proper settings. Once out there, however, my camera began to be its recently-finicky self, so I couldn't use the settings I "should" have anyway. What I ended up with is growing on me a bit, in a slightly eerie, full-moon befitting sort of way :-)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

the concentric hearts

For those of you following my snowshoe hearts saga, here's the visual of my "community creation" :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

snow hearts & ice blocks

This afternoon I headed out to the lake with the snowshoes . . . and there I found a delightful surprise: someone, it seems, both noticed and appreciated my snowshoe heart. For now, on the lake, there is a lovely set of concentric showshoe hearts :-) In other news, today was the annual ice-cutting on the lake--an authentically historic event, after which the blocks of ice that are culled are stored in the farm's ice house for the remainder of the year. While I did take the expected shots of the process itself, it was this photo of the after-effect that I found most interesting. Of course, that is my own aesthetic preference: one that is admittedly not-necessarily-normal :-)

Friday, January 22, 2010

just for goofiness sake

. . . because sometimes it is just necessary to amuse oneself. And, hey, after yesterday's photo fun, I realized I had a whole lotta frozen lake in front of me today that just begged to be "decorated" :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

paving the way

It occurred to me today that I was tired of solely documenting other folks' snowy fun. So I donned the snowshoes and hit the lake today . . . leaving my own mark :-)

Friday, January 15, 2010

finicky fishies

When I spotted this fisherman and his paraphernalia out on the lake this morning, I first thought that it was some sort of preparation for the annual ice-cutting later this month. So I stopped and called out, "Excuse me, sir: would you mind if I ask you what you're doing?" [never mind the fact that it was of course too late, by this point, to ask if he minded my query :-)]. He was kind enough to not only not mind, but to oblige my curiosity by explaining a bit about the process of manually drilling holes for ice fishing--and to allow me to photograph the process. It seems that, so far today, the fish have not been cooperating very well . . . the nerve!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

let's go fly a kite . . .

As we left to run some errands in town, I debated whether or not to take my camera along. Thinking out loud, I told Jen I'd just leave it for now, anticipating a practicalities-only sort of outing.
Later, dropping her off at her place as the sun was setting, she hollered back at me before going inside: "Get your camera," she advised, "and go down to the lake!" I did as she said and was ever so grateful to her for the tip. What I found was the most lovely sight--a solitary skater with a kite/parachute . . . a stunning sight, as he glided to and fro on the ice, the wind lifting, and dropping, his yellow kite behind as he went.
So maybe winter's not all bad :-)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

snow dunes?

Perhaps it's just a winter-weary imagining--similar to thirst-induced mirages of glittering oases in the middle of the desert . . . But for whatever reason, when I passed this wind-swept patch of snow, all I could think was Sand dunes! Yes, I am officially, decidedly, bad at winter :-)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

from the horse's mouth

Neighhh . . . I sayyy--aren't you glad Farmer Bob bought us fine new coats for Christmas? I just love stylin' in the snow!