Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 10

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like the Love of a Pet.

Otis and Milo



Katie Belle

Brown Eyes

Sammi Gayle

Brown Eyes, Sammi Gayle, Katie Belle

And the sweet memories of pets no longer with us…




Jake and Tex


Bird Dog



"Asking nothing in return, and, whatever happens,
never going to complain,
never going to be cross,
never going to judge,
and against whom no sin committed will be
too great for immediate and joyful forgiveness.
Saints, in fact.
Cheerful saints, too, which I think is important."

from All the Dogs of My Life
by Elizabeth von Arnim

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 9

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like Daffodils in March.

The garden has not yet been prettied up.

Last summer's hosta leaves and flower stalks remain.

I try to tell myself they're interesting,

that they add character,

serve as counterpoise to the daffodil's beauty.

I tell myself that autumn's fallen leaves

add protective mulch in cold March nights.

I remind myself that a rolling stone gathers no moss,

and that I love, love, love moss.

So, I'll just keep still and admire the simple beauty

of daffodils and moss

in an untidy March garden.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 8

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like Staying Home.

When I was a young woman in my 30s, I dreamed of taking theater trips to NYC with Nashville theater critic Clara Hieronymus' group and attending Broadway plays. Failing that, I wished I could buy season passes to the symphony here in Nashville.

While nothing like that ever happened, except for December trips with our daughter to see the Nutcracker Suite ballet, when I turned 58 my sister and I bought season passes for our mother and us to TPAC in Nashville so that we three could attend plays. By the end of the first performance I was only pretending to love it because they did.

It was a very long season, with me dreading Sunday afternoons, other than for the pleasure of being with them. I thought about how many good movies we could have seen for the price of those season passes. Or better yet, how many more movies we could buy and watch from the comfort of home.

The necessary gene for enjoying live entertainment must be lacking in me. I would rather be in my own house and watch a movie in my pajamas. I would rather listen to my own CDs than go to the Schemerhorn Symphony Center. And I do not yet want my music coming from an iPod. I like holding my CDs in my hand and choosing one, even wish I still had the large LPs I grew up loving.

Mrs. Potter, the heroine of my beloved Virginia Rich mysteries, agreed with me:

"Trouble is, she told herself,
you will never be anything but a small-town person.
You're content with books and records
instead of concerts and theater,
and you know no matter how shameful it is to admit this,
that you can't stand grand opera.
You seldom enjoy shopping and you prefer
to do it by mail or telephone whenever you can.
You have eaten too many overpriced
and overrated restaurant meals,
and perhaps even enough really good ones."

from The Baked Bean Supper Murders
by Virginia Rich

Books, records, movie night on television in my pajamas--heaven!

But I will play my Puccini CD for dinner music.

And I would never turn down an invitation to dinner at a nice restaurant

or an invitation to a dinner party.

Other than that, staying home sounds best,

even with dirty dishes waiting in the sink.

[Note: the white Italian dishes are my favorite when serving fish. 
And Virginia Rich, one of the very first authors of culinary mysteries,
is a favorite of mine too. Sadly she passed away after writing only a few books.]

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 7

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like an Old Green Kitchen Chair.

Re: Picasso by Beverley Nichols

"I am equally convinced that Picasso, when he chooses,
can out-draw, out-paint and out-think
any artist in the world today.

"But most of all I am convinced that as long as I live
the prospect of mustaches growing out of violins
surrounded by decapitated frogs…

"will, for some occult reason,
fail to arouse in me the same pleasurable emotions
as are aroused by the sight of a spray of apple-blossom,

"or a face well painted,
or even an honest kitchen chair."

Beverley Nichols in
All That I Could Never Be

[I love this old green kitchen chair. We found it and its twin in the smokehouse when we bought this old farmhouse, abandoned furniture, not thought worthy of being moved by the sellers.  Cleaned up, they were the old "kitchen green" of the 1930s and are now treasured as the work of art they truly are. In lieu of apple blossoms, sprays of Pieris japonica adorn the old kitchen chair.]

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 6

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like an Old Picture Found at Goodwill
that Reminds You of Your Daughter

when you see it every morning as you wake up,
on the wall across from your bed,
reminding you of beach days when she was young,

in her Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut

and a scrap of pink shorts.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 5

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like the Smell of Onions Cooking in an Old Iron Skillet.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 4

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like a Popsicle-Stick Cabin Made By a Child Years Ago.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Simple Things of Life - # 2

The Simple Things of Life Are the Best…

Like an Old Beloved Book.

Did you ever read Lad a Dog by Albert Payson Terhune?
Or see the old movie Lassie Come Home?

And bawl through them?

Do you love a simple, sweet, romantic story?

Do you know and love Gladys Taber?

Then this is the book for you. 
A dozen short stories by the beloved
Connecticut countrywoman,
Gladys Taber of Stillmeadow fame.

The perfect book to keep by your bed
and savor one story at a time.
Maybe shed a tear or two, happy ones.

Great literature?
There are times I run from it.

Stories of dysfunctional families?
No thanks, not anymore and 
not found in this book, glory be!
If you sometimes reach for a book to escape
"life is real, life is earnest"
then try this one instead of another depressing bestseller.
Choose to escape into a gentler time.

"But he'll never be recognized, because Scots
literature these days is all about complaining and
moaning and being injured in one's soul."

Alexander McCall Smith, The Sunday Philosophy Club

[Spode Morning Glory plate and cup shown on table and a nursery rhyme plate by Spode on wall. The old stained glass window of pink tulips was a gift from son Zack.]

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Guess Who Came to Dinner?

Guess who came to dinner?
And breakfast?
And lunch?

Dressed in their best bib and tucker,
they lined up at Dewena's kitchen window.

One married couple fought over the best seat at the table.

R.H. made sure there was plenty for everyone.

Some ate buffet style at the window ledge
while others ate at the communal table.

Other guests ate at the drive-through window.

While most of our guests were vegetarians,
others chose a meat-and-three diner.

One special guest prefers meat only.
And he'll stand on his head to get the choicest bit.

They all order water afterwards.

Gurn dropped by to keep an eye on the breakfast crew.

And sipped hot coffee at the kitchen window.

The coffee was about all that was hot at R.H. and Dewena's yesterday.
The electricity was out for 26 hours.

With a low of 14 degrees forecast,
the faucets were kept dripping.

R.H. kept busy keeping the generator gassed up
to keep the coffee hot and the refrigerator cold.

Even though not toasty warm inside this house at Valley View,
there was beauty in all the window views.

The skylight revealed the beauty of Mother Nature's ice-scaping. 

Our guests lingered long after each meal was eaten.

And so did the ice.

What did Dewena do while R.H. kept the avian guests fed and was resident photographer?

Without her computer available there was always that stack of cookbooks 
to look through and dream of a different kind of dinner than bird seed and suet.