Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

For all that has been--Thanks!

For all that shall be--Yes!
Dag Hammarskjöld

Its time familiar time to gather my dear fledglings--near and far, stuff the turkey, eat pie, sigh with contentment and look forward to the holiday time soon upon us. Wishing you all a day of peace and plenty. When I count my blessings you will be on my list!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Norwegians in Wisconsin

I took this photo from a motorcycle on a trip we took to Wisconsin along the Chippewa and Mississippi Rivers where we visited a wetland preserve that was on the migration path for Trumpeter Swans. The church sits outside of Nelson on flat ground, I was just a little 'atilt.'
'The first Norwegian settlers in Buffalo County were Ole Hansen Lerum, Jens J. Hovland, Erik Alme, Arne Ottesen Sørum and S. Arnesen, all from Lyster, Sogn...Lyster Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, that was founded at Urne in 1856, was the first Norwegian congregation in the county. Its first priest was K. Thorstensen of The Norwegian Synod.' [genealogy info found on-line here.]

Visit Skywatch Friday for photos of skies from all over the world. You'll want to join in the fun.

These are the days. . .

While I read this it is 23 degrees outside and I've been wearing socks to bed lately. . .it is finally sinking in that winter has arrived. Over my bowl of oatmeal I remind myself to practice the same mindfulness I use to cope with the bleak midwinter as I do diabetes. Mindfulness offers the suggestion that with patience it can be possible to move nearer to instead of running away from the unpleasantry which can offer rewards of its own. One result is to make peace with the pain. This Marc Chagall painting is one I keep on hand for just such an occasion as my current journey to Siberia.

Blogging has saved my bacon [“Mmm … bacon”--H. Simpson] as well and today is no exception. I recommend you visit iBeati who has written her take on this here. You'll be swept up in her delightful sense of humor and the 'grace' of her thoughts.

Speaking of delight, visit Blue as she has begun a new MeMe called True Colours Thursday--today's color is RED in all its amazing glory. Stop by and join in.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Don't forget your umbrella!

Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.
Pepper Giardino
* * * * *
Rain falling on the Midway at the University of Chicago, Hyde Park, in the summer of 2006, my last summer there. I took this photo from the law library looking northwest toward the city.

Another rainy day in Washington, D.C. last March. About l/4 of Erica and her umbrella can be seen as we wandered in Georgetown while she was on spring break. The photo below is a small rain washed garden between buildings.

ABC Wednesday, Round 3, has reached the letter 'R' this week. For more interesting R photos, visit Mrs Nesbitt here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

That was the week that was. . .Monday

Do you get my drift here? Red and green? Feeling the holiday spirit a bit early, I am because we've been having cold, crisp days with snow flurries. And I've been picking up the olives, et al., for Turkey Day and priding myself on my advance planning. . .well, its n.e.x.t. week! Audrey will be joining us but alas, Erica can't get away as she only has Thanksgiving off. Besides, she hates the day: 'All we do is sit around smelling the turkey cooking all day. Then when we finally eat, you know I don't like the meal, and will only eat my usual black olives, mashes potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs and rolls.' So speaks Starch-Face on every Thanksgiving Day since about 1985. Sigh.

Saturday I spent the afternoon at a couple of holiday bazaars. Besides the usual church basement delicacies, I bought the last lemon poppy seed cake because it was an adorable heart!
Speaking of yum, this is a Cupcake Hat I made for Maria, a little girl in Romania. I love this pattern recommended by my dear pal, [the other] Marianne. A quick knit. In fact, it probably took me longer to repair a purl stitch bitten through by 'Bad Cat' when I turned my back to get the tape to wrap the package, than it did to make the hat!! Bad Cat having a self-imposed time-out after flossing her teeth with the above hat.
And a recipe. . .since I now have to revamp sweets to suit my blood sugar, I gave this a try and found it to be quite yummy and not so very 'diet' like:
Orange Mocha
1 sm. pkg. sugar-free orange gelatin
1 c. hot coffee
1 c. cold coffee
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
4 T Splenda (I used one packet & it was sweet enough)
3/4 c. Cool Whip (recipe calls for Free but I use extra-creamy)
Combine gelatin, cocoa and Splenda in a bowl. Add hot coffee, stirring until dissolved. Add cold coffee. Refrigerate until thick-- it will look like a shiny chocolate pudding.
Stir in Cool Whip Free until blended. Refrigerate until set.
note: may use decaf coffee, or increase/decrease coffee strength as desired.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Camera Critters. . .life on the street

5click to enlarge photos for a better view6
While we were visiting in the Minnesota north woods last weekend we were parked in downtown Ely in front of a diner called Verdin's, home of skrŭmp'shəs caramel rolls and friendly people. After stuffing ourselves we tossed around a bit of the snow we had the night before and said goodbye to another anniversary trip. I couldn't help noting the disparity between our sated appetite and zooming cholesterol when I saw these pigeons huddled outside an old building.

I know that a lot of people hate pigeons calling them rats with wings, etc. As for me and my tendency to overthink, they remind me of feathered street people who get along the best they can. In the city these birds are harmless, amiable, and loyal to their flock. Besides who could actually hate a creature that coos? I've seen in my commute in Chicago some partially blind or walking on stumps instead of feet. Survivors for sure.

I offer these photos and my humble opinions as part of Misty Dawn's wonderful Meme, Camera Critters. Visit her here to see all manner of beautiful creatures.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fact is stranger than fiction.

Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is 'stranger.'

My dad drove my mother to work and back every day in a gunmetal gray Ford Falcon. He parked it with precision in front of our house so that when the passenger door opened she could step right onto the sidewalk leading to our front door. You would have thought she was a movie star arriving on the red carpet; but sadly she was only on her lunch hour from the grocery store. This day my father’s mood matched the perfect v formation and the peeling paint in the dented hood. The day before, our black and white world had been rocked as he had been following another car too closely while he lit up a cigarette. Now he felt even guiltier than he was every other day and try as he might, he couldn’t smoke, yell, hit or sleep away the fact that his new car wasn’t new anymore.

After he deposited my mother back at work he went immediately to the back porch, retrieved the hand clippers from the windowsill and marched to the front lawn. On his knees he carefully cut the grass that the lawn mower didn’t reach along the curb. As he crawled along he finally came even with the front of the car. He stood up. Filthy Italian expletives flew out under his mustache like startled bats. Then he returned the clippers to their windowsill parking spot, forgetting that he had only finished half the trimming job he had started.

Sitting out his penance on the top step of the porch he had a perfect view of the incised hood as well as a man standing next to the fender, also surveying the hood. This mystery man was as tall and swarthy as my father but wore a long sleeve flannel shirt, boots and a small hoop in both ears. His unseasonable dress should have alerted my dad that something was odd about this man but the visitor in our front yard was someone to talk to until my mother got off work.

For $50 this wanderer promised to return in the morning with some tools and in no time he would have that dent pulled out. My father was skeptical and my mother was too tired to care. From their conversation my father also knew that he was a gypsy just passing through and could use the money. A deal was a deal. Next day my friends and I watched from the porch, while my dad stood at the window intent on the spectacle in the street, a sweaty $50 bill wadded in his palm.

The man brought along a giant rubber mallet, a can of Simonize and an old rag that I recognized as a sleeveless undershirt. All morning he paced, pounded, tapped, wiped and stopped periodically to wipe the sweat from his face with the undershirt. Nothing changed. While we were in the kitchen making sandwiches, we missed seeing him climb on the hood. When we returned he was jumping up and down like the car was a little round trampoline. Finally he gave up, climbed down and slowly met my father at the front door.

I wish I could say that benevolence won out over anger but my father was driven by even more humiliation than the exhausted would-be car repairman. Whenever I see a rebuilt Falcon or a Gypsy, for that matter, I can recall in perfect detail the defeated posture of a retreating man carrying a mallet down Birch Street in the summer of 1960.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gray skies are just clouds passing over. (D. Ellington)

Last weekend for our 38th anniversary we traveled to Lake Superior staying in Ely, in the Boundary Waters area. This was taken on Highway l leaving Finland, Minnesota as we approached the lake. What a sight! Just the tip of the lake runs for miles.

We had snow and gray skies which followed us back to the Twin Cities where it snowed the rest of the weekend.
Visit SkyWatch to see more sky views from around the world. You'll want to join the fun!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Watch your p's & q's

ABC Wednesday's Round 3 letter of the week is the ever illusive 'Q'.I choose quilt-ing in its natural form. One of the best examples of Nature's needlework are certain varieties of Hostas.
Not to be outdone by Terra firma, the sky can just as easily remind me of quilt batting on any given day. I always snap these skies because of the unique shape of the cloud clusters and the cottony puffs.

The letter Q is a difficult one so it would be worth a visit to Mrs Nesbitt's site here to see the clever uses of Q from around the globe.
Happy Wednesday

Remember the quiet wonders. The world
has more need of them than it has for warriors.

Charles de Lint

Monday, November 10, 2008

O, wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?~Shelley

I am totally aware of the fact that I can never make up my mind. . .Although happy to see winter on its way, now my thoughts keep weaving their way back to spring where it all started. What is life without little reminders,
and little vases of flowers all over the place?
These are from my early planting of pansies in March.
Come travel the world today through the virtual flowershop Today's Flowers.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

One flat, double occupancy--Camera Critters

I have been hanging on to this photo for a post on Camera Critters since September. . .and am I the only one who feels that time has been spinning out of control? All of a sudden we have snow and freezing temps and I needed to show this photo before next September!

So, I caught one white egret and great blue heron, both now long gone. on a peaceful morning sharing the same snag over a great fishing hole.
I'm all for peaceful coexistence -- AND sharing the wealth fish whenever possible. Clicking on the photo will give you a better view of these two unlikely roommates.

See more Camera Critters at Misty Dawn's wonderful site here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blog Blast for Peace

Years are coming when forever,
War's dread banner shall be furled,
And the angel, Peace, be welcomed,
Regent of the happy world.
Sicilian Mariners' Air

A strong feeling of hope pervades the air these days. Today is a day to celebrate the peace we need in the world founded on that hope for social justice, adequate food, clean water and shelter, loving kindness, compassion and abundance. See all the participants in this bi-yearly virtual celebration and vigil called Blog Blast for Peace by visiting Mimi here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You can go home again!

ABC Wednesday zips ahead to the letter 'P' this week. And I am choosing my hometown of Pocatello, Idaho to highlight that letter. It is a small town in southeastern Idaho that came into being to serve an advancing railroad in the 1880's. Sitting on a prehistoric Lake Bonneville the area's rich volcanic soil is famous for growing potatoes. My grandfather came there from Italy in the 1890's opening several grocery stores--Vito Cuoio & Sons--to serve the railroad trade. It sits on the Oregon Trail and is near Fort Hall, an early fur trading station and later the Shoshone Bannock Indian Reservation. It is a conservative religious community that is somewhat diluted by being home to Idaho State University, a school Dave and I both attended.
Pocatello is surrounded by mountains with alluvial fan formations on several 'benches'--a fisherman or geologist's dream. Most people are employed by the railroads. It has doubled in size from when I was young--to about 50,000. Elevation there is a whopping 4400 feet above sea level.
early Pocatello view
historic downtown todayhome of Idaho State University
Visit more P letter posts at ABC Wednesday.