Sunday, May 17, 2015

Celebrating Diversity…

Once a year at the church we attend, we hold a Flower Communion.  The Unitarian Universalist Association describes the service this way:
The Flower Ceremony, sometimes referred to as Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community.

Originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Czechoslovakia, the Flower Ceremony was introduced to the United States by Rev. Maya Capek, Norbert's widow.

In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower. Each person places a flower on the altar or in a shared vase. The congregation and minister bless the flowers, and they're redistributed. Each person brings home a different flower than the one they brought.

I look forward to this service every year not only for the beauty of the flowers that people bring, but also for the way it celebrates our uniqueness and diversity, qualities I truly value.

Sharing with you all today the diversity of Mother Nature here in the Northeast USA.

We come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.
Some of us grow in bunches.
Some of us grow alone.
Some of us are cupped inward,
And some of us spread ourselves out wide.
Some of us are old and dried and tougher than we appear.
Some of us are still in bud.
Some of us grow low to the ground,
And some of us stretch toward the sun.
Some of us feel like weeds, sometimes.
Some of us carry seeds, sometimes.
Some of us are prickly, sometimes.
Some of us smell.
And all of us are beautiful.
What a bouquet of people we are!
~Thomas Rhodes

Heading out on the road for a few days tomorrow morning.  Olive, the pug,  is staying home to take care of our son Evan while we are gone.  Hope you all have a great week ahead!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Willy-nilly Friday Five: Paint, water and fantasies…

1.  I mentioned last week that I was going to Brush It Off Paint & Sip Bar in Sturbridge for a night out with the girls.  It was a fun night.  We painted wine bottles that can be threaded with fairy lights and used as a night light or something like that.  Here we are with our bottles:

I think we did a great job!

2.  While I was standing around waiting to leave Brush It off, I noticed that the paint aprons were pretty cool and I took photos of a couple of them.  I think this looks like an intentional modern art painting.

3.  We’re having a very dry spring.  While our problems in the water department are dwarfed by the problems they are having in California, I think it’s interesting that the record-breaking amount of snow we had this year was not enough to keep us from having a spring drought.

4.  On Tuesday this week, I got up early to let the refrigerator repair guy in for the fourth or fifth time in a month.  Our Samsung refrigerator that we bought in August, 2011 had been on the fritz for more than a month for the second time in its short life.  This time, I think he fixed it, but I have no faith that the repair will last.  My Facebook friends have heard all about this travail so I won’t go into the ins and outs of it.  Living without a convenient refrigerator is bad enough, but I am distressed that major appliances, while being so expensive, are so shoddily made as to have a short shelf life.  I know that sadly we have become a “throw away” society, but throwing away something as large as a refrigerator is so very wrong!  It’s not just the “fancy” appliances that this applies to.  We bought a very simple fridge for a condo we own and rent out to our daughter.  It lasted about one month past its warranty and the repairs were so expensive it didn’t make financial sense to do them, so we had to buy a new one.   We shouldn’t have to take this, people, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what to do about it!  Every time I think about this, I can feel my blood pressure rising.
  Okay, rant over.  I need to take a deep breath and clear the air…

5.  Well, I guess it’s fanciful to imagine major appliances that might last at least ten or eleven years.  But one can dream, can’t one?  How about this?  I think I will petition Congress to install a coffee pipeline from our kitchen downstairs to my office upstairs.  Or actually, wouldn’t it be nice if it could just come directly from Dunkin’ Donuts to my office piping hot?  That way I wouldn’t even have to grind the beans.  It’s a thought.  Congress has been known to spend money on stupider things than this, but I’m not going there.  It's a crazy world!

Hooking up with Willy-nilly Friday Five!

Around Roanoke

Late Edition:

Joining up with Friday Greens, too!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Willy-nilly Friday 5: Resurrecting words…

Yesterday while I was going through my notifications on Facebook, one in particular caught my eye.  Its title 15 obsolete words we should still be using really flipped my switch because next to photography, I really love words.  So I decided to willy-nilly a few of them here today and link up with Tanya's Around Roanoke Willy-nilly Friday 5.

1.  Here is Olive, the pug, as she basked in the sun by our slider today.   It reminds her of the apricity (a) she missed this year during the everlasting snow storms we endured.  Looking at this picture reminds me that we must be in denial about spring being here, because Greg’s snow boots still sit there behind her.

2.  Maybe I’m a cockalorum (b), but I think I did a stand up job on this photo.  In reality, I’m just fudgeling (c).  It’s really Mother Nature who did all the work.

3.  Tonight I’m going out with the girls.  We’re going to Enrico’s Brick Oven Pizza for dinner and then on to Brush It Off to paint pussy willow lighted wine bottles.  While at Brush If Off, I will probably restrain myself on the wine consumption, but at Enrico’s I’m planning to be crapulous (d) because they make a fine pizza there and serve a pretty good Chianti.

4.  The magnolia flowers on our tree in the back yard gorgonize (e) me.  I can stand awestruck and stare at them for hours.  Well, maybe not hours, but you know what I mean.

5.  Our two younkers (f) are coming home on Sunday for Mother’s Day.  I want no gifts except the presence of their company.  I will definitely deliciate (g) that evening with my family because we are having another nice meal at our favorite place here in town – Cedar Street Grille.

Whether or not you are a mother, there is probably someone in your life you have it human or canine or feline or other. Whether or not you are connected by blood to your mother or your child, may the sun shine on you this Mother's Day!

a.  Apricity – noun.  The warmth of the sun in winter.
b.  Cockalorum – noun.  A boastful person.
c.  Fudgel – verb.  To pretend to work.
d.  Crapulous – adj.   Characterized by excessive eating or drinking.
e.  Gorgonize – verb.  To have a paralyzing or mesmerizing effect.
f.  Younker – noun.  A young person.
g.  Deliciate – verb.  To enjoy oneself; to indulge in feasting; to revel.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Good Ole Fences…

About a week ago, I had to go somewhere.  I can’t remember where at this point, but I do remember I took the long way home and since I had my camera I looked around for a couple of fences to share with Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report.

This one’s just a piece of a fence.

And this one is a fence next to a collapsed barn.  Unfortunately, after the winter we had, there are plenty of falling down barns around these parts.

Well, sometimes when you are out poking around, you run across some strange things – like this tire sculpture.

Pretty glamorous for a tire sculpture, don’t you think?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Things are stirring...

I got up in the middle of the night as I often do.  It was the night before the full moon and it was bright out.  Looking out the window and down into the yard, I saw a fox walking across the stone wall in front of our house.  He hesitated right below my window like he knew he was being watched and then sauntered off toward the woods.

The next morning when I went to the garage, I noticed that suet feeder was down on the porch.  It had obviously been pulled off the hook where it hung through the winter.  I think we had a visit from a bear.

Things are stirring around here, folks.  Yep, things are stirring.

Our crabapple tree has set its buds.

The squills are starting to go and the bluets have sprung up.

We even have a tulip blooming.

The magnolia buds are getting ready to burst open.

Of course, the may flies are out, too.  But I'm doing my best to ignore them.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It is spring – really, it is…

I got up this morning and felt the urge to put on a turtleneck and a sweater.  It just felt like the right thing to do.  At church today, a friend said that she thought about wearing a turtleneck, too, but jokingly said she was afraid people would make fun of her because it’s almost May.  Hey, I don’t care if I get laughed at.  It’s raw out.  They say on the local news that this is not really unusual for New England this time of year.  And I do believe that, but after the winter we had, it would be nice to feel the warm sun on the old face now and then.  Yet we haven’t cracked 70 here.  Even so, I’ve seen lots of signs of spring around.

Of course, I know it’s spring when I hear the spring peepers.  They have been chorusing for a while now.  And that means that the water on the ponds is ice-free and open.

And, of course, there’s the skunk cabbage showing up in its usual places.  That’s a sure sign.

I even found a little fern family coming up the other day.

And the squills.  We have Striped Squill…

…and Siberian Squill in our yard.  Aren’t they beautiful?!

Mr. Cheeky is wondering where that pile of snow went that gave him easy access to a free lunch.

A friend posted on Facebook today that he saw a black bear jump the guardrail on Route 49 and cross the highway.  That's not far from our house.  The bears are out of hibernation.  I think that this means that the birds’ days are numbered in the free lunch category, too.  Sorry, little friends.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Willy-nilly Friday Five: Fits and Starts

1.  When I took Olive the pug out this morning, I couldn’t believe it.  It was downright cold with a rather biting wind.  It made me think that I had under-dressed for the occasion and should have worn my winter coat or that maybe I accidentally time traveled backwards and it was really February.  But, no, there is no snow on the ground.  It’s definitely April.

2.  Well, I’ve lived here long enough to know that spring comes to New England in fits and starts.  I was out yesterday buying a new toaster but couldn’t decide which one to buy.  In order to put off making a decision, I decided to check Facebook instead.  On Facebook, there was post after post of people complaining that it was snowing.  I missed it yesterday because I was in Target trying to figure out what toaster to buy.  But I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see it snow here today.

Some things are blooming here....really!
3.  Speaking of toasters, Greg and I have been married for close to 35 years and have had terrible luck with toasters.  I think we’ve owned six or seven in those years and we don’t eat that much toast.  We’ve had expensive toasters and cheap toasters.  I don’t see much difference between the two.  The best one we’ve ever had was a middle-of-the-road toaster pricewise.  It was the Oster that I was replacing yesterday.  I bought it at Target about ten years ago and it toasted our toast until a few months ago when it didn’t want to keep the toast down to finish the toasting cycle and had to be coaxed with curses and kind words.  I got sick of babying it.  So, off I went yesterday hoping to find the exact same toaster – the best toaster we’ve ever had – but unfortunately, they’re selling a new model of that Oster there now.  I bought it anyway and am hoping it lasts ten years like the last one, but I’m not holding my breath on that.

I got sick of waiting on the forsythia, too.  I brought this into the house and forced it.
4.  You know, we could probably get by in life without a toaster, but they are handy to have around.  The toaster I bought yesterday is red.  I consider that a kind of bonus.  Yes, I’m happy about that even though my favorite color is blue.

5.  Earlier this morning, I was sitting here at my computer with a blank expression on my face trying to think of what to write about, when I heard a great racket coming from the front yard.  There were six crows in the pines crowing louder than a Counting Crows concert.  I finally had to get up to see what it was all about and looking down, I saw a fox crossing the yard.  I believe the crows must have been warning the whole neighborhood that the foxes were out and about.  They kept at it for about five more minutes and then dispersed one at a time.  I think that crows are about the coolest birds going.  As a matter of fact, they are my favorite bird.  They may not be colorful and flashy, but they are sleek, elegant and intelligent and infinitely fun to watch.  What is your favorite bird?

Linking up with the crowd at Around Roanoke's Willy-Nilly Friday Five!

Around Roanoke