Monday, April 13, 2015

Small Domestic Pleasures

When I was in Savannah I got a few small souvenirs.  Two cheerful tea-towels and cute little enamel cup.  I wish I'd the cup when my boy was a baby!  I used to feed him from espresso cups and many of them ended up broken.  I don't exactly know what I will use this cup for, but it was cute and light and inexpensive and I'm sure I will think of something.

Thinking of my little finches in their precarious little nest on my porch (built in a spot where once I found the teeniest sleeping squirrel) reminded me of a little book called "Miss Suzy" which is about a happy little squirrel.

She gets chased out of her house by a band of mean squirrels (on a rainy night of course) and has to move into a dollhouse in someone's attic.  But in the end, all gets resolved and she gets back home, safe and sound.

Funny the appeal of these little domestic stories.  Like Beatrix Potter's "Two Bad Mice" another favorite of mine, or "Miss Tittlemouse."
My sweater is slowly, slowly growing.  My husband jokes that it will be done just in time for the hot summer months.  I'm afraid he is probably right.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Something about Spanish moss is strange and romantic to me.  Romantic as in the period, not as in love and romance.  You know, that mysterious sometimes gothic and usually harsh literary period that brought us Coleridge and Shelley (both of them) and the Brontes?
So, I much enjoyed ambling around in this dripping with Spanish moss and studded with pleasing architecture Southern town for the past few days. Downtown it's compact and sophisticated.  It's artsy and smart.  New and old at once, in the way the best cities are.

(Yeah, not real.)

We came to tour the Savannah College of Art and Design with my youngest son.

I didn't take a picture of it, but inside the building where the college tour began there was a gigantic cluster of lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling and dangling from them were small cards upon which hopeful students had written their goals and aspirations.  Inspiring aspirations!  If we could all remain so forward thinking and optimistic, open to experience, original, fresh and wise--wow!  What a world this could be!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday in Spring

Today is warm and everything is blossoming!  I put these flowers out on the front porch.  I haven't tried them before in these planters--so I am hoping they'll thrive.  I just love this type of flowers.  (Here's hoping they love me back!)

Above the planters on the porch, I've been watching a two little house finches (the male looks like someone dipped his front half in raspberry juice) trying to make a nest.  They do this every year, and every year some other bird comes and chucks out their nest material before they get it properly built.  I put up a nest box on one of the pillars to try to assist, but they never move in there. (Though other birds have slept there from time to time.--And once a baby squirrel slept up there before I put up the nest box!)

Meanwhile, the peas have put up their little heads.  Always a miracle to me that things really do grow from seeds!  A few beans are sprouting as well, in spite of the fact that the dog and the squirrels found the fresh soil irresistible.

 Our backyard is covered in little purple violets.  My mother-in-law used to tut and shake her head and tell me if I didn't get rid of those violets they would just take over and ruin my lawn. Well, I guess they have taken over, but I don't care.  They make me smile.

Because they remind me of this fabulous little book.  One of my all time favorites.

I'm very excited too, because now that spring is here I am going to use my new purse!! Mmm.  It is delicious hand died leather.  I've never owned a bag so nice.

It was a gift to me from my dearest husband who bought it while we were in Florence at Christmas. What a sweetheart!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

In-Laws: So Much More Than In Law

Another gray and rainy day.

Last week we got together and with Grandpa and went over to the Crawdad Shack and got him and Oyster Po'Boy.  On Wednesday he was admitted into the hospital.  After a minor surgery, he was out on Friday.  Today, we went over to see him again.  He was doing well.

Here are some old picture of him when he used to come out to the soccer fields to watch the boys play when they were little.

Granny passed away in early January.

She meant so much to all of us.  She was the one I could always call at any time day or night when the boys were small.  When my oldest was in the hospital so much--because of leukemia we'd have to report to the emergency room for the slightest touch of fever and then sometimes we'd have to stay overnight, or sometimes they might have to do unexpected tests that lasted all afternoon--I would have to call Granny.  She would come right over to the hospital and pick up my youngest, who was a toddler then and keep him until life normalized again. 

She'd take my oldest boy to the zoo and spend hours in just the reptile house.  She'd let him pour beans all over the floor in her living room and drive his little dump trucks and excavators through them and dig and load.

The boys enjoyed going over to their grandparents' house and spending the night and watching TV, sewing with the sewing machine, and making things to eat.  They also like to shoot grandpa's b-b gun in the backyard.

Here are some funny pictures of that:

Granny was 81 years old when she passed.  Grandpa is 84.  

Granny used to come to visit us in Italy every May and I would always look forward to it, wondering if April's rains would ever subside.  She was there when my oldest was born.  She arrived the day before he did!

They both came to Turkey.  Grandpa liked it there especially.  He and I are both spoiled since the fresh squid we ate right there right off a fisherman's boat as it pulled into the harbor.  No squid will ever be as good as that again!  I'll never forget the night Granny drank too much raki and beat a Turkish man in backgammon! 

The first time I met Granny she gave me the biggest hug of my life right outside of the hospital where she would lose her son twenty years later, where Grandpa hugged me in the wee hours of that fatal Sunday morning, saying, "It wasn't a matter of if, it was just when."

It's funny how life circles along, pulls us along with all of those we are connected to.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gray and Rainy

Well, after what seems 100 years, I have returned to my blog!!

Yesterday was another overcast, wet day.  I have to say I love those kinds of days.  I love the sound of rain on the roof and the windows.  I love fog.  I think sometimes of moving to Seattle.  People here say,  "Seattle?  That's a depressing city.  Too rainy."  But, I think I might like it that way.  Maybe.

Anyway, despite the wet, I got out and ran another 5k.  I was very happy to do so.  I ran that one back in the fall, and then hurt my foot and then it got cold and I got into hibernate under blankets mode.  I really needed to sign up for this run and go out and do it to get moving again.  So, I did it.  And I am not really sore at all--rather miraculously. But, it isn't like I haven't been walking and I have been a jogging, biking, hiking person for many, many years. So.

I am also crocheting a sweater (my first ever!) in mostly gray.  I love a mostly gray sweater. The button band will be either a blue or purple color and there's trim to add too.  Hopefully, it will look something like this in the end.

I gave up on knitting the mitts.  I wasted so many hours trying to get one made.  I had it to the thumb and lost my way and had to rip it all out.  I cast on so many times it was depressing.  I couldn't get the thing to join correctly.  I finally quit.  Maybe I was just at the point of breaking through to the light at the end of the tunnel, but I just couldn't go on.  I'll just have to get back to that some other day.

Meanwhile, spring is in the air and today we cleaned up the raised beds and planted sugar snap peas, cow peas, and some bush beans.

I've still a million things to do, but I really want to come back to my neglected blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

First Makes of the Year

Oh my!  I haven't been here in forever it seems.  January has been a time of reflection and readjustment.    Here is my first make of 2015!  Hooray!  A knitted hat!
Last year I set myself the task of learning to knit, and here I am at a hat--so exciting to follow a pattern and knit in the round.  The pattern is the free beginner one from tincanknits.

I have also started work on the mitts, which has been a fun challenge.  I wrestled with the double pointed needles, but found them too fiddley, so I'm now trying the magic ring which is going much better.

Plus, I ordered yarn--enough for a sweater!  I have never made a sweater before.  I figure if I crochet a sweater or two, work these short row, circle, and tube shapes in knitting, then I will be pretty good and can eventually knit a sweater.  I'll have to do a check back next year and see how it's going.

Meanwhile, it's warmed up here and I'm not sure we'll get any Snow Days.  I didn't hear if the groundhog saw his shadow or not.  I'm satisfied to move into spring, though I do love winter trees.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Nights

What a fabulous holiday we had!!
Christmas in Italy. What a dream!
Way back in August, a friend of mine offered us the use of his empty apartment in Florence.  And who in their right mind could say no to that?
So, we held this voyage in our minds and thoughts for months (which is indeed half the fun!) and finally the time came to actually go!

This last one was taken in Parma where we were treated to glorious snow!  Notice the odd guy in only a hoodie walking along the right hand side of the street? Of course that is a crazy American boy who did not listen to his mom when she told him it would be cold.  Tch, tch.