Thursday, October 8, 2015

A State of Sunshine

Sweet sunshine ushers in the mornings now.
We're back in our winter quarters,
where we're called "sweetheart" when we get our flu shots
 and "honey" while paying bills at the cash register.
Handwritten signs say, "Welcome, snowbirds! We've missed you!"

Lawn mowers buzz about (there's been so much rain).
Buckets of bottles/cans and barrels of lawn refuse line the curbs
 because today is garbage day.
Pickers continue to drive by in their trucks looking for treasure~~
metal to salvage and turn into dollars. Maybe a cool piece of furniture to redo.
Tony, out in his front yard, is hanging Halloween ghosts and goblins
in his live oak tree. It's scary watching a guy with 7 screws in his back
(from a bad motorcycle accident) climb a tall ladder into leafy heights.
I've been binging on Reign, a glitzy UK series about Mary, Queen of Scots and am ready for the third season to open tonight (love the 16th century architecture, sets, and costume parade that's quite incorrect for historical times but, nevertheless, fun to watch).

The real project, though, is the November 14 bazaar I'm chairing...
big organizational meeting with the Outreach Committee at Fellowship Hall today.
We're doing a fund-raiser for the Lutheran Churches of Haiti.
Hope all is well with you this fall,
in spite of the disasters that plague our world.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Francis, Sinner and Saint

To change the world we must be good
 to those who cannot repay us.
                ~~Pope Francis

Pope Francis. Photo: Wikipedia
 Pope Francis days in America look a bit like St. Francis Days in Assisi, Italy.
Festive flags, medieval arches, and crowds of excited tourists
 walking the streets while enjoying gelatos and pope pizzas.

We were here on St. Francis Day in Assisi.
It was 2009.

Painting by Jusepe de Ribera via Wikipedia

October 4 is St. Francis Day.
Mystic, confessor, and founder of the Franciscans,
 he is revered and honored in his hometown of Assisi, Italy.
Like Pope Francis, he was a lover of the poor and humble.
One to bring hope to the downhearted.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's Good to Be Clean

Wash your hands. Use soap.

Saturday's the perfect day for Whole Foods. I ate my way through the product samples while gathering a few items. My best buy for the quick trip was good soap,  3 for $6. I selected varying shades of white and fragrances: the ivory bar for Lavender, cream for Ginger Pear, and pure white for Clean Linen.
I'll use them with great pleasure.
Meanwhile, my sisters of perpetual charity are gathering singly-wrapped bars of soap for Lutheran World Relief. Last year we added 450 pounds of bar soap to a major shipment of health supplies sent overseas to refugee camps. A bar of soap (when water is available) is a great personal boon to miserable conditions.  
 What is elegance? Soap and water!
~~Cecil Beaton

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Seeing the Light

It takes darkness to be aware of the light.
--Treasure Tatum
Waking this morning after cataract surgery was a revelation.
I can read the words on my phone without glasses!
And the light on the face of the phone shines brightly.
Modern medicine and surgeons hold miracles in their hands.
The idea that my doctor removed the cloudy natural lens from my right eye
and replaced it with a clear artificial IOC (intraocular lens)
while he talked to me as he did it
is well outside my realm of thinking.

I am deeply grateful for this gift and for all the health workers
who participate in our nation of caregivers. 
The visible reminder of Invisible Light
--T. S. Eliot

Friday, July 31, 2015

Meditation Falls

The manmade waterworks at Jordan Creek's Town Center
 offer peace and tranquility.
 I can't pass by without pausing to reflect.

"He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul," Psalm 23:3
If I lean over a bit, I find my reflection there.
Where do you find a peaceful place?

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Parchment has come a long way.
From ancient scrolls to the pages of illuminated texts
and vellum for Gutenberg's printing press.

Now it's an ordinary form of paper at home.
Thin, bleached, and perfect for baking,
 I look for other ways to use this bit of ephemera.

At tomorrow's backyard birthday party,
I'll line my galvanized garden tins with parchment
for cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, and stuffed black olives.

How do you use parchment paper?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Small But Mighty

Small but mighty, our summer balcony can host an intimate dinner party.

Well, it can't hold a dinner table (we step inside for that) but the 8 x 10
 open-sky space
 hosts pre-dinner drinks and appetizers, breakfast coffees,
 and Fourth of July fireworks.

The potting bench with a galvanized metal top is the basis for container gardening--
nothing but water and deadheading required.
And it's an inspiring space to practice napkin folds for future social gatherings.

This summer, kitchen towels will unfurl like sails on the laps of my guests...

Monday, May 18, 2015

Play Ball!

We're back in our folding canvas chairs at Walnut Creek
 where our grandson pitches for the Lynx Majors team.

Today they're wearing red and white so they're easy to spot.
Every time Hunter slides into base, I think of the laundry he'll bring home.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Time to go..

Weather permitting,
we'll travel north
for the summer.
I spent a little time today
saying good-bye to our
quaint and quirky city.

The town clock on Miami Avenue...tick, tock.
Time flies...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hello, Spring!

Next door, Barbara's tree is in full bloom.
 We're sitting on her garden swing admiring the fragile blues.

Petrea volubilis Vine. Also called Queen's Wreath, Bluebird Vine, Fleur de Dieu, and Purple Wreath.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guilt-Free Pleasures

 Sometimes presentation is everything.
The gift bag a bottle came in, far left, was worth saving~~the wine, not so much.
The silver bottle in the spirits store was too beautiful to resist.
And the tequila bottle, far right ?
 I just want to look at it.

"Still Life with Bottles" atop my refrigerator.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

An Airing of the Quilts

It was a glorious Saturday for a stroll and show.
 Visitors from everywhere flocked to our bright flags of fabric at Maxine Barritt Park
 along Venice's sparkling sea-blue coast.

A king-size bed cover, hung at the front of the park pavilion,
 showed colors and patterns of what we call "modern" quilting.

Each member of the Sarasota Modern Quilt Guild made a block for this group quilt.

"Ode To Gee's Bend"

Not as bright as the others, my quilt was patched together from used clothing purchased at a Salvation Army store. I'm an admirer of the quilters of Gee's Bend, Alabama who gained national recognition for their improvisational and modern work at the Whitney Museum in NYC. I wanted to experience a bit of what they did while recycling old work clothes into quilts.

Altogether, our show consisted of about 150 quilts,
 winds for the airing at a gentle 9 mph, and temps in the inviting low 70s.
 This post is but a glimpse.
Wish you could have been there for this lovely day in Paradise...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Flying Spirit

Leaving today for Mom's funeral in Minnesota via Spirit Airlines.
 I rather like the word "Spirit" for today :)


Monday, December 22, 2014

Seeing Red, Part V

Our Christmas houseguests are about to arrive.
We're ready.

Wishing you all a Merry, Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Seeing Red IV

All is calm. All is bright
Waiting for the Holy Night...

Junior's at his usual post.
 Waiting for a tasty bite.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seeing Red, Part III

Julenisse on the Loose!
I made this toy julenisse (the Norwegian gift-bringer) for our youngest grandson
and posted it with a tracking number.
The Julenisse has taken a side-trip to Forest Lake, Minnesota!
What? He's making mischief already?

Meanwhile, I'm wrapping packages for grandsons who will come for Christmas.
When they arrive and survey the premises for the first time, they always say,
 "So, Nana, which of the presents are real and which ones are fake?"
They know me.
 As a magazine stylist, I wrapped empty boxes to create instant Christmas sets...
I still do. It's an inexpensive trick for creating festive excitement in the house.

This year, there are no fake presents.
 Each red-and-white box or bag has something in it for the participants of
Grandpa Al's Busch Gardens trivia game.

Grandpa Al writes a trivia game every year.
 After candlelight services at church, we come home to rowdy game-playing while I get a light Christmas Eve supper on the table.
Postcript: Julenisse has moved on to Saint Paul.
Will he make it to Des Moines?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Seeing Red II

Target's red-and-white logo promises eye-popping styles and they don't disappoint when it comes to wrapping papers and gift bags. Also, the post office offers an array of packaging for sending gifts. Lines are getting longer to get my giddy up!

Snowflake pillows popped off the end-cap at Target
 as I whizzed by. Snowball. Snowflake. A theme is developing...
At Books-A-Million, I was promised this chevron canvas bag for $5
 if my purchase reached $25. It worked out.
My Christmas guests will be spotted easily at the beach!

Putting the finishing touches on handmade gifts...


Friday, December 5, 2014

Seeing Red, Part I

Call me the Queen of Affordable Style,
dime-store decorating,
and Christmas ephemera.

Inspiration for this year's Christmas decorating plan
began with a set of greeting cards based on Lucy Pettway's 1950s quilt called "Snowball."
 Lucy belonged to the Gee's Bend, Alabama quilting group.

Once I limited this year's Christmas colors to red and white,
I was off to see what I could see.

First stop, IKEA. Surprisingly, not in much red and white this year so we came home with sparkling pear and apple beverages and a couple bottles of Dryck Julmust with jolly tomte labels.

Would you believe? Red and white tissue boxes?

Ho, ho, ho!



Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Blustery Day

It's a Wind's Day, as Piglet calls it in Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
 but that doesn't keep tourists away from our beaches.
 After all, they've traveled far and away to escape the snowy conditions of the north
 and they're bound to make the most of it, blustery weather or not.

While palm branches above the tiki rooftops stir up restless sounds,
 the wait staff at Sharky's serves their guests sea salads, sun-coast sandwiches,
 and frozen specialties.

At Sharky's bar, customers gather around a fascinating diver who entertains them
with an awe-inspiring collection of fossilized sharks' teeth that he
plumbed from watery depths nearby.

A fine way to spend a Wind's Day.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dragon Fruit

Brother Virg refers to Florida as the land of sunshine and honey~~where the sun shines over the sea and everyone calls you "honey." Southern sweetness to go with peaches and cream, kiwi and mangoes, plantains and dragon fruit.

Unfamiliar to me, dragon fruit turned up at the grocery store this week and curiosity put it in my shopping cart. I asked the cashier what it was like and she called the manager over to give me an answer. "It tastes like a cross between kiwi and cucumber," he said.

Slicing it in half as I would an avocado,
 I scooped the flesh from the pink cup with a spoon.
Delicious. Subtle. Refreshing.
Another one of Eden's sweet enchantments.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It's a sparkling day today. Windows are open and easterly winds breeze in.
 Now that sultry summer temps have passed, we're treating the house to fresh autumn air while our dining room chimes, relieved from still air,
 respond with a spirited tune.

Across the street, Bob washes his big, black truck which he'll polish until it gleams.
 Next door, Carmen, sitting in her open garage, entertains dog walkers who stop by to chat.
 And Barbara rings our doorbell, inviting us for home-made apple pie.

It's a good, good day in the neighborhood.
All is peaceful...all is calm. The hammock awaits...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkins, Zinnias, and Sunshine

 We're back in Florida where sunshine abounds. The brilliant oranges of Fall appear in local garden stores and we're busy in our back yard, cutting away the extra growth borne of summer rains. Occasionally, a cold front sweeps southward from the northern frontier...which we love...only to disappear into higher temps again. We're snowbirds following the sun so we're OK with it.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill,
Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.
~~Rupert Brooke

From our trip to northern Italy...