Friday, July 31, 2009

Gifts from the earth

I loved reading your answers to the questions from yesterday’s post! Thanks for playing along with it.

Things are quiet here and thankfully the humidity wasn’t nearly as bad today. I feel for Diane in Seattle; they’ve had temperatures as high as 105, and only 15% of residents even own an air conditioner.

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Today I grabbed the camera and made sure the macro lens was on it before heading out for a walk around the garden. It’s bordered along one side with a grape arbor and there are a lot of clusters. Maybe I’ll do up some grape juice when they’re ripe. I used to do that when my sons were little, having learned from a Mennonite woman who watched the boys for me while I worked part-time.

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This is actually my husband’s garden. He took a patch of ground and turned it into this small wonderland where he grows sweet corn, sunflowers, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and squash. He also planted nasturtiums along one side and has a couple of morning glories that are really beginning to climb.

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My husband tends this garden on a daily basis and it really shows. I enjoy watching its progress. Today as I snapped the photos above, I kept hearing the slight droning of a bee.

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I stood up, with the tops of the tomato plants at eye level and could see little yellow flowers sprinkled here and there. A bee was slowly making its way down the row towards where I stood, methodically visiting every flower.

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Indian corn is always fun.

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It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. A beautiful day for a tomato would

you be mine . . .

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Oh, hello there, my friend.

Thanks for coming along on the walk with me. I planted a sunflower for you on [my other blog] today.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Soft summer rain

It’s been quite humid these past few days in my little corner of Maryland. We have yet to turn on the air conditioning system here in the manor house, mainly because of the cost. It’s a large area to cool and we both think we may be able to live without it. We’ll see.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are many things to do to keep the heat out of a house, and during the day my husband keeps things going here, but when it’s humid there’s really not so much a person can do to combat that situation. Sometimes by the time I get home (like today), it’s just plain yukky. And tonight after dinner, I planned on cleaning 2 of the bathrooms. Exciting, I know!! But I hadn’t been able to get to them during my regular cleaning day (Saturdays) because we’ve been busy the past few.

Well, they’re spic and span now but it sure was hot while I was at it and despite a cool shower, baby powder and my favorite pj’s, I was still quite warm. I came downstairs to the living room and turned on the fan, but felt this wonderful breeze coming in from the front door.

It was heavenly and it beckoned me out to the front porch. As I sat there with a big smile on my face, it began to lightly rain. I watched the petunias slowly fill with droplets of water and then decided to run back in the house and get my camera.

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I love a soft summer rain, don’t you?

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And now some questions for you . . .

  1. Where’s your favorite beach?
  2. Where’s your favorite place to spend money?
  3. Where’s a good place to watch people?
  4. Where’s a good place to be totally alone?
  5. Where’s a place outside of work (or school) where you’re likely to run into people from work (or school)?

See you in the comments. Until then, my friends . . .

PS ~ The Blog Fest I attended earlier this month made the [front page] of the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun in Philadelphia

I took the day off Monday to spend with my niece and my sister in Philadelphia. We met at my niece’s apartment and headed out and about.

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Our first stop was Reading Terminal Market, which I’d heard about but never visited before yesterday. There was a plethora of vendors offering everything from lunch dishes to spices and specialty items. There was a great selection of produce and flowers as well. What a feast for the eyes and the senses!

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I shot this photograph at one of the eateries. It just looked like Philadelphia to me.

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Next we headed for Fabric Row and South Street. Along the way, I shot this building from the car window while at a stop light. I noticed there was a statue of a rider on his horse but I have no idea who it is or even what this building is. (Thanks readers, for letting me know it's City Hall!)

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As my niece shopped in one of the many fabric stores along Fabric Row, I took photos. I liked these vintage dressmaker forms at the Pennsylvania Fabric Outlet.

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Trying on some hats at Hats in the Belfry (I love that name).

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William King’s striding sculpture is on the overpass above I-95 that connects South Street with the steps at Penn’s Landing.

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My niece, Emily, with her mom ~ my lovely sister, Charlotte. Charlotte fun!

I processed all of the photos on this post with [Kevin Kubota] actions, specifically his chocolate syrup series. When it comes to b&w, I really like what he has to offer.

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I also have a really colorful photo on the Picture a Day blog today. Just for those of you who are jonesing for some color. And yes, it is a word.

Thanks for stopping by, my friends. Until tomorrow, then . . .

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rooftop view of Philadelphia

It’s late and I’ve just returned home from a visit to see my niece who lives about an hour away from me, in Philadelphia. Her mom, my sister Charlotte, met us there and we had a fun day traipsing about.

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But I’m tired and I wanna go to bed, so I’ll leave you for today with the rooftop view from my niece’s apartment. I was quite impressed with her place and it was much bigger than I thought it would be!

(And the rooftop deck was pretty cool, too).

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I realized today that I’ve been in three major cities this month. New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. That’s a lot for this country girl!

Before I hit the hay, I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind comments on both this and my Picture a Day blog. I’m glad that each and every one of you stop by. Have a great day, all.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

O Captain! My Captain!

Promises, shmomises. I simply cannot keep them sometimes. And to celebrate that fact, I am posting yet again of my fabulous yet completely laid-back trip to Mathews, VA for Blog Fest last weekend.

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Meet Carlton, our Captain. It was his boat that took us on the Tour de Mathews from the water because, as we all know, things look different when viewed from the water.

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Is it just me or is our captain not a manly man with an impish grin? I was not afraid to be on this boat. Especially with him as Our Captain. I just needed to put that out there.

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This is his lovely wife, Ann Marie. And that’s their dog, whose name absolutely escapes me.

But this post is not all about Mathews. No.

Did you know that Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain!” after the death of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865? The ship of which he spoke was a metaphor for the United States itself.

And the poem, and poetry itself, was immortalized in one of my favorite movies, which was filmed nearby my home, at St. Andrew’s Academy in Middletown DE. It is an absolutely beautiful campus. Here’s one of my favorite scenes:

If you haven’t yet seen this movie, you need to rent it. Here’s the original trailer from 1989. The Dead Poets Society starred Robin Williams at his best.

I work at a school and our boys wear uniforms very similar to this. Our teachers aren’t nearly this stuffy (thank God), but this movie is very dear to my heart.

Have a wonderful Monday, my friends. Until tomorrow, then . . .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Silence (with words)

This was our kitchen island yesterday after my husband came in from the garden. With the freshly picked roma tomatoes, I made a wonderful Pico de Gallo [recipe] and we took several of the tomatoes to my in-laws house in NJ.

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Warm and humid here in Maryland on this beautiful Sunday, but the house is still staying pretty cool. I think it’s the 3-foot thick stone walls, combined with the closing of the drapes and windows as the sun comes round the house.

I’d like to give a huge thank you this morning to Sharon of [A New England Life] for teaching me a bit about html coding. Thanks to her, I was able to change my [Picture A Day] photo blog into a format that I like much better. It’s still the same old me, but the photos are bigger and the sides have the spacing that I wanted. So thanks, Sharon, for your patience.

And in the top left hand corner of the picture above, I’d like to point out yet another batch of cookies that my husband started. I swear, he’s going to turn me into a . . .

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But I will choose to just think of it as being really cool. Like a cool cat. Yeah. That’s me. Ha!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, July 25, 2009

An Affair to Remember

I have a pie crust promise to make you, dear readers. I promise that this will be my last post on Mathews, VA and this year’s Blog Fest. However, you must know that pie crusts are easily made and easily broken.

A week ago today, I went with fellow Fest guests to Hills Bay off Gwynn’s Island on the western shore of the Chesapeake. Our hostess, Janice, told me that this is the place she comes to wash away her worries and within a short amount of time, I completely understood why.

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As I floated in this serene body of water that stretches far and is only about 3 feet deep, I realized how much I needed this. It wasn’t only the discovery of new friends that shared common interests, or the joy and laughter that surrounded us for several days, but the feeling of peace I felt on this, our last evening together.

I needed this.

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I swam out to be alone, put my fingers in my ears and floated on my back. Just floated, as I looked up at the sky. I could hear the quiet as the water cradled me. I know to some, I may sound like a hopeless romantic, but life hurts sometimes and this was pure magic.

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When I was a little girl and saw clouds parting like this, with the sun’s rays shining down, I always thought that God was peeking down at me. And I would wave hello.

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I love you, I love you, I love you.
That's all I want to say.
Until I find a way

I will say the only words I know that
You'll understand.

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Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

Somebody to love

This is my friend, Lauren. She’s the famous Mental Pause Mama. But this is not George she’s petting. He looks like George from here though, doesn’t he?

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This is Danger the border collie and he’s owned by Sam and Mary Ann, parents of Janice, who hosted last weekend’s Blog Fest in Virginia. He’s a sweet dog.

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Danger did not run from the Mama. Danger loved his kisses and pets.

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A week ago today, I was packed and ready for my trip to Virginia and awaiting my friends’ arrival at my house. Lauren and Daryl were on the way, with Annie close behind. I was sitting at my computer, catching up on e-mail, when I heard someone shout, “It’s GEORGE!!!!”

They had arrived and I hadn’t even heard them come up the lane! I went outside to see two excited people, but no George. “He ran away”, Daryl told me. “I think we scared him.”

Lauren told me that George doesn’t like her and he ran off.

My George is shy. I guess I hadn’t really realized to what extent it was it until then. He was very skittish to let them pet him and was hiding behind my husband’s legs. I was sort of embarrassed that my dog had some social issues but when you think of the family dynamics, it all makes sense.

His master got sick. We don’t entertain a lot of visitors at the house and my husband and the dog spend lots of time together. It’s very quiet here. And he’s very protective of us. We’re his people and it’s his job.

Maybe I should get Danger to give him some tips?

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Oddly enough, George is all over our guest, David, who arrived from Lake Tahoe the other evening. He’s his new best friend and I just can’t figure it out.

Don’t cry, Mama. Give him another chance!

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Angles and lines, and a step back in time

I promise I’ll stop soon, but before I do, I’d like to share a couple more photos from my trip last weekend to Mathews County, Virginia.

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I loved walking along Main Street in the town of Mathews. Such an old-timey feel.

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The old Sibley’s General Store currently houses the Welcome Center where I picked up a great map of the area. I love maps.

I also bought a beautiful gourd birdhouse for my husband’s birthday this Saturday. It was made by a local man who lives near Mathews and I think it’s beautiful.

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We also went to visit an old tabernacle. Can you envision sitting in these pews in the late 1800’s in your Sunday best and fanning yourself to keep cool?

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I felt as if I’d taken a step back in time.

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We have an old friend visiting for a couple of days. He comes back occasionally to see his family on the East Coast and we get to see him every few years or so. He’s been living in Tahoe since we were in our very early 20’s. Today, after another routine doctor visit for my husband at Johns Hopkins, we’re going to have dinner at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Or Fell’s Point. I haven’t decided yet.

Hope your day is a good one. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thanks for the memories

Please bear with me, dear readers, because this is yet another post about my recent visit to Mathews, VA where I attended Blog Fest. However, it didn’t start out that way. I was going to post something else entirely today but after a phone call gone bad with my youngest son, I felt a bit peeved. I went outside to tend my petunias, but soon found that if I didn’t calm down, I was going to inflict some damage on the fragile petals.

I tried to force myself to relax and clear my mind, but this is easier said than done. And then I came inside and looked at photos I’d taken last weekend and immediately I began to feel better.

Here, I’ll show you why.

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How cute is she? This is Meg, a fellow Marylander.

I took all these photos on our first morning of activity. On the schedule was a trip to New Point to see the lighthouse, Bethel Beach to see the shoreline, and an old tabernacle that we all found really interesting.

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The irrepressible Daryl, from NYC. My father would say that she’s a tall drink of water.

He had a lot of expressions like that and when I first opened my photo files when I came home and saw that one, it popped into my mind.

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Angie from VA, Shelley from Vancouver and Diane from Seattle are learning the proper way to wave like a Baroness. Shelley demonstrates.

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Lauren from CT.

Fun fun fun fun fun!

Meg from Maine is on the left and Annie, also from CT on the right. Annie can identify birds just by hearing their sounds. And there’s a beautiful photo of Meg [here] on my photoblog.

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I feel so much better now.

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My husband would have a field day with this photograph because it’s of everyone’s back. [Here’s what he thinks] of my photography when I shoot photos like this.

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I like the perspective, however, and will continue to do whatever I want to do. He says I do that all the time, too.

Shelley, Grandma J and Angie above. Grandma J’s name is Janice and she arrived from Texas.

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*** Sigh ***

I love landscapes. I wish I could have bottled the scent, too.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .