Monday, February 21, 2011

Of Profile Photos and Such

I've not given much thought to profile pictures since I began blogging. I do remember using my own picture in the early days. I was so much younger then! And thinner! Then one day I began looking at my eyebrows and I took that photo off faster than one can strip off her turtleneck in a hot flash. I even posted about it way back *here.* There are some of you who'll remember...
The other day, I was looking at my Followers List and I was particularly drawn to the faces. I really enjoyed seeing each face. Now I look at my happy little list of Followers and think of it as a bouquet. I went so far as to think that God must love our faces, too, since He created so many unique ones. After all, even twins have enough differences between them to tell one from the other.
And that is how I came to put my own face back in the profile picture. Just one little problem. I can hardly stand to look at it so you may see it change over the next few days until I land on one that I can tolerate. I'm thinking of a butterfly or a pine cone or something like that. :D
Now it so happens that I do have a lovely face to share with you and it's in keeping with the theme of my sister's and my looking through old family photos. We've been able to go back through seven generations of women on my mother's side...her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother, and her great-great grandmother. That's five including Mother and with my generation and my daughter's generation that makes seven.

So, putting this in context now, this is my Nan's grandmother, her mother's mother. Her name is Alice. What can one tell from looking at such a sweet face? Probably not a whole lot. If I didn't know the back story, I'd think something entirely different. Sadly, I do know the story. Would you be interested to know, too?
~*~*~*~
3/07/11

It may be because I'm deep into Lark Rise to Candleford and all of the story lines there and the delicious little wisdoms shared. (I just watched this episode, which explains all I'll say about that.) Whatever the reason, I've had a change of heart about Alice. It may also be that I read Cait O'Connor's poem titled Genealogy Days, which changes my perspective.

This I will say, we can never know an ancestor more than the stories that remain. A photo can not tell the story. My maternal grandmother described her maternal grandmother in such unflattering ways that I have always thought of Alice as The Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella. Now I know that she had many more layers than my own grandmother could have been aware or wished to be aware having her own sense of things. I know that Alice's husband James adored her and that he sank down to his own end pining for her. I also know that she had a voice like a lark and the neighbors loved to sit on their porches to hear Alice sing from her own. That strikes me as the better way to leave her. When I had nothing but disturbing passed-on memories, I now may replace them with
better ones. Yes, I'm going to give Alice some grace all these years later and let those nasty stories rest.
Thank you for understanding...

Edited to Add Again: I'm getting famous for these. Aunt Amelia asked me how I knew all these things and here is my answer in case anyone else was wondering.

Aunt Amelia, thank you for the question... I know so much more now because of letters. Lots and lots of letters. No, she didn't run off. Died at home in 1924 after a lovely day spent with a friend...actually collapsed at the door while saying goodbye.Yes, I have that letter from her friend to my great-grandmother describing that day. I know that James pined for her because of letters written by his sons to their sister (my great-grandmother). It's been an interesting journey through the years now let me tell you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet Times at the Lake~Mosaic Monday

My sister was home from New York for the long weekend bringing many treasures of our shared heritage. We looked at many old family photographs and we spent a lot of time looking at pictures of the lake in New Brunswick, Canada where we spent every childhood summer and many happy summer vacations until recent years. 
photos taken by my talented nieces
This mosaic pretty much tells the story. There's a lot of berry picking in the summer and the making of good things to eat with said berries. Yes, we train chipmunks — doesn't everyone? We sail, walk the tracks, swim, play cards, and enjoy the wild flowers. Since this spot is six miles from the nearest paved road and lacks many of the amenities of polite society, we pay careful attention to the signs.
Another of the treasures was a book of poems written by a family friend who also called this place her summer home. I share her poem "Blessings" with you.
photo will enlarge

Please join Mary at Little Red House for more mosaics.
(I'm off for the evening so am posting early. I'll connect up with Mary as soon as I can and visit as many as I can as soon as I can. Thanks!)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shopping for Headstones

It's a strange thing to do, almost surreal, this kind of shopping. Sis and I made a few decisions a month ago...the company, the style, the price, but we wanted something special. We want to include my mother's name and dates, of course, her favorite psalm, and her favorite spot on this earth.

We recently found a letter from my mother to hers. It was written after my parents were married, but before my grandmother had remarried. In it my mother said, "Say, Mom, we were talking and would hate to see the cottage sold. If there's any way that we can help, we want to so that it won't have to be." My grandmother would often tell the story of how my mother loved the lake and loved the cottage and would say that she didn't care if she had anything as long as she could have that. My mother was looking forward to spending time there this summer. She was last there in 2008 because of her illness.
So this morning we have been looking at pictures of the lake and I do believe that we've settled on this one. It will be etched upon her stone much like a pencil sketch. I think that she would have approved.

Comments are closed because this is a journal entry sort of post for remembering...
Have a great weekend!
Edited to Add: To see the final result, click on the title.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Campanula


What a nice spot of color my little bucket of Campanula provides on such a rainy, gray day.

It's all thanks to my sister who arrived home with gifts—the plant and a can of peppermint hot chocolate from Trader Joe's. Hmmm, the peppermint hot chocolate is very tasty.

I'm off to create a runner for a fussy little spot. Catch you later...

ETA: Whoops! Forgot to mention one little thing. How does this background look to you? I read somewhere that wide three column backgrounds worked well with stretch minima templates. I was getting so tired of the bland stuff available for stretch minima. It looks great on my screen, though I'm learning that what looks fine here may not look so fine on another's computer.

ETA Again:





Thanks for the input...as you can see, the post text is all on the background in my world. Not so for the sidebar, but not completely awful. I will be going back to the drawing board tomorrow. I'll just enjoy it for myself today. Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Hope that some of the background sites will pick up doing more minima stretch backgrounds. Most of the ones I have found are just too blah. Yes, Aunt Amelia, I know not to mess with the template. I like minima stretch just fine and will use a plain background before switching it. Again, thanks for telling me the truth!! :D
NOT AGAIN! Say, does this new spacing for text work?
NOT AGAIN again...
I've learned a few things while playing today. It's all about screen resolution, Baby. The easy way to control screen resolution is to press the Ctrl button while rolling the little gizmo on top of one's mouse. I'll be able to enjoy anyone's blog knowing this. If words spill over on the side, I'll rein them in. If font is too small, I'll increase it. Phew! I hope that I've found a background that isn't too obtrusive and still fills my need for change. Thanks for the help!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prattle, Ramble, Blather On

Did you have a goodValentine's Day? I'm going to ask the most impertinent question in a line or two. Prepare yourself! My sister wrote me an email on Valentine's Day. She shared that her husband gave her a surprise gift—a Pandora bracelet. When I wrote back, I shared that mine had also given me a surprise gift—three peanut butter crackers and a glass of milk. So here's the question: did you have more of a bracelet kind of day or a peanut butter cracker kind of day? :D

We enjoyed a quiet Valentine's with a nice dinner of pork roast, baked potatoes, and roasted asparagus. I made whoopie pies with heart shape cut-outs for the kids and called it good. That we ourselves ate too many whoopie pies...

Just this morning, I finished the last of the letters to be written. Some days were simply too difficult to sit down to the task. Today, having safely passed the one-month mark, it seemed as if I could do it. It is one of those tasks that must be done, that one feels better for having done, and that is meaningful for both the writer and the receiver. Anyway, it is a task accomplished and one that leaves me feeling brighter for it.

I'm still in Lark Rise or Candleford as the case may be. My understanding is that season 4 is the end. What a shame! How ridiculous to think that the stories are all told. Stories are never all told. If it mattered at all, I would write to the producers and writers and tell them that they are more than equal to the task and that this program provides so many with great enjoyment, even comfort. In this country, excellent programs go on for ten years without the bat of an eye. Four? A mere four? Pah!

Prattle, ramble, blather on is what I'm reduced to; I do hope that I can do better soon. Until then, create a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Messy and Thrilling and Lovely, Too

Such a lovely thought and so beautifully, simply said.

I do love Brin's Messy, Thrilling Life.

My own life is a lot more messy than thrilling right now. As you keep reminding me, it's to be expected. Here's to a brighter day and a better week!

My mother's favorite Psalm was/is 139; mine is Psalm 100.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Listless

list·less adj \ˈlist-lΙ™s\

Definition of LISTLESS:
characterized by lack of interest, energy, or spirit
*Example: Vee became listless, answered in monosyllables, gurgled, drank a great deal of whisky, and looked with hateful eyes at everyone. —Isaiah Berlin, New York Times Book Review, 12 Apr. 1987
*slight adjustments made and with all due apologies to the source.

There's no sense in my pretending that I am interested in much. I've made a few minor attempts and when they don't work out, I rapidly lose all interest whatsoever.

I left you wondering about the china cabinet. Here's the brief, brief story...


It's much too dark in there...


Still too dark and too much going on...



My future answer, you know, for when I'm not listless anymore...

It's just 8:19 in the morning, but perhaps I could treat myself to a stiff drink of coffee and another episode of Lark Rise to Candleford.

You have a great Saturday and a fun weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lark Rise to Candleford, Etc.

Last week, it was Downton Abbey, this it's Lark Rise to Candleford. (And for several more weeks to come, I'm sure.) I heard about this BBC program all over Blogdom, but didn't pay a lot of attention until reading more about it at the blog I mentioned on the Downton Abbey post. There I found out that I could watch all episodes on You Tube. (If you click on *this,* it will take you to Season 1, episode 1, part 1.) I have happily given myself over to it. I'm somewhere in Season Two and rapidly heading for Season Three.

This is because sometimes You Tube skips an episode or six if one is not really careful so I wound up missing a few in the beginning of the second season and must retrace my steps. It was a happy day when I found *this episode list* and so I've been able to keep myself straightened round. One other bit, the first season does not have the visual quality that subsequent seasons do. It is still well worth watching and is no fault of the program, rather the quality of the upload.

I'm not going to give a lot of background because others have done a better job. Barbara at Ramblings from an English Garden discusses it *here.* I will say this, I had supposed that the title had something to do with larks (birds) rising over Candleford. Hahahahaha... No, no, Lark Rise is the name of a community and Candleford is the name of a community so it would be as if naming your own city or town and adding the next nearest to it. My town and the next nearest to it don't have quite the same ring, but you get the point.

And the thing of all this is that I have sooooo much to do. I really don't have the time for all this Lark Rise business, yet I'm beyond helping myself. So I've decided to dig out the embroidery and at the very least give my hands something to do while watching.


In other news, I am pondering doing something about the "Give Thanks" cabinet.


Just thinking mind you, but that's better than a totally empty head. Perhaps next time you find me, I'll have acted upon this idea I have to...

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Rest of Yesterday's Story

Have been grinning that some have thought that yesterday's winter mosaic was the view from my window...I wish! No, John took me out to dinner after he'd been to church and we drove the back way over the ridge so that I might capture some photos of the foothills and beyond to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

As a reminder, this is the scene that I see beyond my own windows...


I think my neighbor has the prettiest house in the neighborhood and I'm glad that it is my view.

On the other side, I have the pointed firs, which are the boundary trees between my neighbor to the east and myself...


Here's John standing beneath them just before we struck off for dinner.


It's so much fun to see him taking a cell phone call these days without any difficulty whatsoever. When he first got the cell phone, it would ring and he would jump straight into the air and usually drop it before retrieving his call. Actually, that was kind of fun, too. < insert sweet little grin here > Anyway, he's come a long way!


John had to drive some pretty mean roads for me to get my winter mosaic pics. I love that he is willing to suffer my directions and my frustrations and winter driving in general.

After lunch, we did some grocery shopping and then some flea market shopping. John loves shopping at the flea market. In fact, this is the mosaic that didn't make it yesterday. 


He's often the last one out and even then he doesn't want to leave. ;> All in all, it was a very pleasant day to be out and about. We must enjoy the time we have even if it isn't July with warm temps and low humidity. There are precious few of those kinds of days, right?

Have a happy day...


Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Winter Mosaic


No matter the cold or the storms that have come and will come again, this was a beautiful winter day.

For more mosaics, visit Mary at Little Red House.

Remnants



The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever. Isaiah 40:8

Have a blessed day...

(Comments are closed)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lost in a Fog

Thanks for leaving the light on for me. It was quite late when I finally was able to do some visiting. That's because I have been trying to find a home for so many items like a home for all the photo albums of the past 100 years. I always feel sad to see lost photos in a flea market; now I can see why it would be tempting to part with some of it. Don't worry, I'm banishing the thought even as I type it.

Now here is a breakfast table. I think so because of the syrup jug on the table. And here is little Vee at her high chair with her great-grandmother to her left, her beloved step-grandfather at the head of the table, her parents peeking out on the other side, and her darling Nan turned around looking at the camera. (Nan was only 46 in this photo.)

Let's take a closer look at little Vee. Ahhh, there she is. Some things never change. She's still lost in a fog. It appears that there's a battle of the wills going on as little Vee's plate is full of food and she's not touching it.


And here's a recent photo of the grands, John, and me. Note the hair. Some things just really do not change. I'm calling this one "artsy" because it's so out of focus. We're reading No, David by David Shannon. The grands think it's terribly funny and so do I. That's why I gave it to them and another book by the same author David Goes to School. Yes, another set of birthdays came and went. The grands are now five and four.


Where do the years go?




Friday, February 4, 2011

Messy

Life can be so messy. I'm speaking literally here. There's no way to keep ahead of it. A few days ago, I noticed that my bank's lobby looked like a sand pit. My own back door dumps opens directly into my living room and is in danger of looking the same way. If I were ever to design a home again, it would not be this way.



There's Molly. She tracks in a lot of sand, snow, and ice.


Here's my new door mat. You can see that each little trench is filled with snow and sand. The flat monkey was not tracked in; he actually lives here now.

Now this is one of my favorite solutions! A plastic boot tray filled with rocks. It really helps collect the boots and allows them to drip dry right there. After a couple of weeks, I rinse out the sand and start all over again. No, it's not my idea; I found it in a magazine (wish that I remembered which one). I know that Martha Stewart uses this idea with old cookie sheets, but I didn't want to risk the rust from metal, hence the plastic.

I hope that my reward for having a productive day at home...you know, actually getting some things done, will be visiting you. Catch you later!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Storms and Projects and Gifts

Things are coming around here slowly. Yesterday I cleared the dining room table and felt a great sense of accomplishment even if it's only temporary. In my home, the table can disappear for weeks at a time when I am in the middle of a project. The latest project/s are not complete. I am working on sending a video presentation of my mother's life to those who could not attend her memorial service and I am also working on the dreaded paperwork that comes with such events. I also have many notes to write.

Anyway... Where was I? Oh yes. The clearing of the table so that I could show you the second part of my gift from the lovely Vickie of Sand Flat Farm. A visit to Sand Flat Farm is always a treat. All except for that one little dead creature who looks at me making me feel like Mr. Parker in A Christmas Story when the duck is served at the Chinese Restaurant. "He's smiling at me."


Can you tell that I'm just frittering time away waiting for the light to come? True. I've already been up and have taken photos, but the light isn't good. So I'll chat some more.

Oh! Forgot to say that I've changed the arrangement in the living room with the painting and may have a better picture. Let's see...


Yes, that's a bit better I think. I like the painting having something to sit in rather than being propped.

Yesterday, John was up on the roofs again (yes, there are two distinct roofs up there) clearing snow. Perhaps I should clear this table too?

The storm fizzled out at 10.5 inches. So between the two storms back to back, we received about 14 inches of snow. Big whoop and nothing compared to the snow of the midwest and other places. No ice either. Phew. I hate ice.

And here's the rest of the story — this lovely embroidery done on flour sack material and hemmed with a feather stitch. I am going to be copying that idea. Thanks again, Vickie! My table hasn't looked this good for a long time. John was so pleased to have a spot at the table this morning instead of balancing breakfast on his knees before the tv.



Any eagle eyes notice that my table top is now painted? Just one of the many unfinished projects around here. It has two coats and needs two more and a glazing finish plus polyurethane. Some fine day, I'll be showing it completed. Until then, I'll cover it up with this lovely table topper.

A wonderful day to you...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Such a Gift!

East Texas Scene

The quality of my photography is slipping, which is upsetting because this is such a sweet gift I received from Vickie of Sand Flat Farm. She describes this scene as an East Texas one that she loves driving by just to enjoy viewing that dear barn. Vickie is a very talented artist, I can vouch for that!

One thing that Vickie didn't know, but my family knows so well is that my mother had two wishes for 2011. First she wanted to visit my sister in New York. Secondly, she wanted to visit *her dear friend* in Texas. Perhaps that is another reason why this touches my heart so.


A Brighter Corner

My home is brightened not only by the painting, but also by the love behind it. Thank you, Vickie! I will treasure this gift always.

There's even more to show from Vickie tomorrow when the light will be better. It's a perpetual twilight here the past few days as one storm moves out and another moves in. Stay cozy!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Downton Abbey

Of course, you've all heard of Downton Abbey the *BBC production of which the first four episodes are available for a limited time only *here.* I have enjoyed the escape that watching an episode a day for four days has given me. Perhaps you will, too. Thank you, Aunt Amelia! (I learned about this program at Aunt Amelia's Attic on *this post.*) Season II will not be available until autumn of this year and then followed by a Christmas special. It's challenging to have to wait that long to find out what happens next. Filming hasn't yet begun so there are no spoilers anywhere to be found either. Looks as if I'll be practicing patience.

It's Not All About the House; It's All About the People

Enchanted Serenity Period Films is a lovely blog for learning more about any period piece. I see that Charley has a lot of information about The King's Speech as well as Downton Abbey. We went to see TKS over the weekend and enjoyed it very much in spite of the language.


~♥~♥~♥~♥~♥~

Popping in the picture made the rest of my text go poof. I was chatting about the header and how I haven't had time to take photos. The flowers on my windowsill are remnants from the larger bouquets. I'm quite sure that I wished you a wonderful evening... If not, I do now!

~ ~ ~
February 10, 2011
Edited to Add: I stand corrected. Downton Abbey is not produced by the BBC; it's produced by Carnival Films, which is a part of the NBC corporation, for the ITV network. (Thanks, Linds!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deep Cold

To be warm in a warm room is nothing; but to be warm in an icily cold room is to taste a very special pleasure, a security in danger, peace in a storm. ~Elizabeth Coatsworth

Exactly. This is just how it is every sub-zero winter morning in the upstairs bedroom. There is no heat  there. Still, with fleece sheets, a comforter, a very heavy quilt, and another 98.6 body, it's perfectly delicious.

I used to feel sanctimonious about surviving deep cold. After all, I'm up heah in northern New England and it's flippin' freezin' and we're tough. Now that there are lots of folks way south of here who are struggling with snow and more snow and dipping temps, my superior attitude has had to be adjusted. I laughed so hard reading Sandi's post called Temper Temper! She describes this northern weather visiting the South so well. If you like a bit of spunk, spice, and sass (as I do), you'll love reading this.

Thought I'd answer any lingering questions...if you have any, feel free to ask. My sister stayed this week to help get some final things accomplished. Unfortunately, she became very ill with the flu. It'd be great if she could take another week, but I don't imagine that can happen. My nieces both have been ill as well so I'm hoping that it stops with them. (I've just learned that my daughter is also ill. Where's my echinacea bottle?)

My sister Molly has now become our little pup. She is 14 years old and I'm hoping that she'll be around for a good while longer. I couldn't handle another upset just now. She missed my mother terribly for the first four or five days, but seems to have settled down and has really bonded with John, though she's pretty fine with me, too. Anyone who has tips for living with and caring for a geriatric miniature poodle please comment.

We are finding that grief comes in waves. Sometimes we're fine, then we'll hear a song, be given a hug, receive a special card or call... Don't ambush me in the dairy aisle and tell me how sorry you are for my loss if you don't want tears. Tears come at the most inopportune times.

I am looking forward to getting back to normal blogging though it won't be for several more days. Until then, I hope to catch up with you in Blogdom. You're so entertaining!