Sunday, April 26, 2009


THIS IS WHAT THE THERMOMETER registered today at 3:30 pm, which is downright freaky considering that my tulips haven't all opened their lovely blooms yet and the trees are still struggling into their leafy garb.

Only the second day of heat and my enthusiasm for summer has already waned considerably.
If I grumble enough will spring return?


Saturday, April 25, 2009


SUDDENLY...SUMMER!! After a stunningly brief spring, summer has arrived! Many of the natives are clad in shorts and sandals.

At 4:00 p.m. the temperature measured thus:

A daughter of mine spent the afternoon here preparing and seeding her vegetable garden, a typically springtime activity.

And the yard man was very busy today, as well, with springtime duties.

Mulching and mowing.

But nothing says that we've got summer so much as a cookout.

And when the daughter arrived with her chef, he said, "Bring out the grill!"

Perhaps this is just a short summer preview. If so, it looks to me like it'll be a blockbuster! I'm already anticipating opening day.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


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TODAY I kept noticing the beauty of the earth in my little section of it,

which contains an abundance of splendid scenes and vistas.

I also grieved the atrocities visited upon Earth in order to service our society's collective greed. In honor of this day, I've been attempting for the past month to reduce the truckloads of unsolicited, unwelcome, unwanted junk paper mail that the USPS drives to our house six days a week. Recycling it is only second-best, and besides, it's work I feel I should not have to do.

I've emailed or phoned the non-profits, the mail order catalogs, the car dealerships, the credit card companies, the alma maters...tried to put a halt to the neighborhood newspaper (just because it's free, do I have to have it?!), the plastic wrapped quasi-catalogs from the local department stores, the advertisement-laden publications that try to masquerade as magazines of interest. All of it is what Bill McKibben calls "stuff-porn" in the latest issue of Mother Jones. Actually, his article, "Waste Not, Want Not"* was enough to make me feel a little nauseous and to realize how tiny in the overall scheme of things is my attempt to staunch the flow of mutilated forests to my doorstep. I could be an ant, I think, volunteering to help stop a million elephants from stampeding.

So since today was Earth Day, I added another resolution to my list: No more plastic water bottles. EVER! And then I celebrated by going up the road to my orchard, admiring my little trees that are taking nourishment from Earth every day...and being grateful.



Tuesday, April 21, 2009


LAST WEEK I TOOK A little trip. No, no, not the weekend trip to Hillmeadow...this one was to the grocery store. It was only a few items I was after, and one of them was apples. Wheeling my cart to the produce section, I picked up some organic ones that seemed frightfully expensive. But did I wish to ingest chemicals and spend my money on remedies for the possibly awful long-term health effects? Or...did I wish to spend more to protect my health and run the chance of outliving my monetary resources? Hmm. I looked around.

The sign hanging over the glossy Royal Galas was enticing...the special price being, uh, somewhere around a thirty percent reduction. (Only a rough approximation...So sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Flougher*) At any rate, it seemed a pretty good deal, so I tried to overlook the wax and the pesticides and sprang for a hand-filled bag of the shelf-preserved apples, meanwhile dreaming of my little orchard and its swelling buds.

At the check-out with my small load of mostly nutritious and healthful food, my diligently sought out non-high fructose corn syrup and non-hydrogenated oil and non-artificial colorings and flavorings and non-elevated-sodium items, I piled the groceries on the conveyor belt and rooted around for my gold card--the key to my apple discount--while emphatically saying, "Paper, please!" (I'd forgotten my nifty Trader Joe re-useable grocery bags, which are meant to live in the car and frequently be called into service, but which instead spend many of their days moving around my kitchen and trying to avoid being noticed after they've been emptied.)

"Here ya go, maam, have a nice day." I had swiped my card, and the clerk handed me my sales slip. I glanced at it to see my savings on the apples--how much to go toward health care costs? But...wait...I studied it closely... there wasn't any price reduction at all. What was the problem?

"The apples," I said. "There's no sale on the apples?"

"Service desk," the clerk responded, nodding her head in the proper direction, and the bagger added helpfully, "You'll have to go there for a refund."

I tried to do a quick calculation of the value of my time as I wheeled my cart to the service center counter, and fortunately, no one stood in line there, meaning this exercise in price adjustment would possibly be worthwhile. The friendly employee quickly strode to the apple bins when I told him how certain I was that the sign clearly stated a dollar twenty-nine per pound for these apples. Yes, he nodded. Sure enough. I'd been overcharged.

Back at the service counter, he doled out a surprising amount of cash.
"This can't be right," I said, somewhat puzzled. I'd forgotten the details on the total apple sale, but I knew without a doubt that the weight of eight or nine apples times a dollar seventy-nine per pound, minus the same weight at a dollar twenty-nine a pound certainly could not equal six dollars and ninety-one cents.

"Yes, it's right," the service center worker assured me. "If we make a mistake, you get all of it back...the whole price! That's our policy."

"Wow," I exclaimed, "Thank you."

I left the store feeling rather lucky. How often does one roll out of the grocery store with the food and its purchase price in cash?

That was my stroke of good luck for the day. And moments later, in the parking lot, the fates seemed a tiny bit miffed. They sent a bird to "rain" on my parade!

So here's my advice...Keep your eyes open. You never know which side of luck you may fall upon...or should I say...may fall upon you!


Monday, April 20, 2009


HERE...(huff, puff)...I'm going to simply dump this load of photos and scurry off to the pottery studio. Over the weekend I went away for two and a half days and now I am running at least five days behind.

(Perhaps I'd best toss a few brief explanations over my shoulder as I go.)

Hillmeadow: the name my mother gave to the lovely nine acres where I grew up in southern Virginia. Though she and my dad have moved on to mansions in the sky, they left behind a house which is now sparsely furnished, lots and lots of blooming plants and trees and a pier stretching out into the river that flows ever so faithfully to the sea.

That's where I spent the weekend along with most of the descendants they also left behind (this photo showing only the hatless and hat-wearing handful that remained--and agreed to leave the breakfast table-- when this procrastinator thought to take a snapshot of the bunch on Sunday morning.)

Hillmeadow was at its finest.

There was the tree that once was young with me (perhaps it was young with my grandfather, as well).

The fig bushes preparing for production.

The river.

The river's water fowl.

And then the sunset.

Ah, the sunset.

At the end of the stay, of course, there was the long trip home.

And now the memories.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TAX DAY. IT'S A DEADLINE, no procrastinating allowed. So I'm off to pay Uncle Sam. It's a decidedly unpleasant task, and today is as gloomy a day as you'd want to see in early spring.

But I try to imagine each drop of rain as a note of music,
and for me there is nothing gloomy and unpleasant
that the right music can't palliate.


Sunday, April 12, 2009



(you get the wishes, Reader Dear. I get to eat the m&ms!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009



Now what I have for you to find is news...
News that would headline today's daily paper if I were the editor.
News headline that would likely have a very large font if I were setting the type.
News that might even cause me to holler "Stop the presses!" if headlines for the day were scheduled to be anything less momentous than Leaders of the World Unite for World Peace, or perhaps Current Tax Code Scuttled, Individuals to Pay Whatever Each Deems Fair.

Okay...are you set to go? First place to search is here, where you should take a microscope to the last paragraph and decode my added layer to the dream of which Obama spoke.

Secondly, you may pick up a clue here. Think carefully about the title, and determine the most pertinent word (relative to the post).

Thirdly, drum you fingers on the table (or against your cheek if you prefer) and make an attempt--in your best Sherlock Holmes fashion--to put two and two together, connect the dots,
read between the lines,
solve the riddle...
determine the news of which I speak.

Dear reader...(sigh)...if you are still scratching your head over this, I am sorry.
Truly I am.

To me, this news is simply GRAND!

sure, go ahead...ask

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


WINTER HAD BEEN SITTING IN A CORNER snoozing while the cozy fire burned out, ashes growing cold, and the spring sun came peeping in the windows. But today Winter finally bestirred itself, put on its chilly clodhoppers and stomped on out of here...little flurries of snow falling off with every step.

The birds continued to sing and the daffodils went on smiling and nodding.


Friday, April 3, 2009


First two pages torn away
(Suffer no fools)

Not the thirteenth

Settles on sun

Veers toward the light
What luck!