29 March …


Short blog this week.  Quiet time without much to tell. 

24 March 2017Friday the 24th …

25 March 2017Saturday the 25th …

29 March 2017Wednesday the 29th …


A cousin posted this on FB a few days ago and it struck a chord. 

I saw the queen with her diamonds
and laughed …

There are times after a rain when our trees are full of diamonds. 

Tree DiamondsI know I’ve mentioned this before, but this time (last thursday) I tried to get a picture to show you how that looks.  This is the best I could do.  You will have to take my word for it that were I to see a queen in her diamonds, I too would laugh. 

I have diamonds on trees when it rains and in the meadow when there is frost on snow. 

I am Blessed. 


Yesterday was weed appreciation day.  Made me think of dandelions.  Spring has been delayed this year, so there are no dandelions yet.  Guess we have to wait a bit longer for Spring Tonic salads and the eye pleasure of the bright yellow.




April’s reading woman is titled (appropriately) Reading Woman.  It was painted in 1907, oil on canvas, Yamashita Shintaro.


Nice Spring colours.


Tomorrow is our second trip to Medford this month.  Both George and I need to have our vision checked for new glasses.  There is a place in Yreka, but their prices seem as if they are gouging MediCare … so we’ll go north.

Of course, I wish I still had good sight.  But then I suppose I should be grateful to have any sight at all, right? 

I was once asked if I had to give up either seeing or hearing, which would I choose?  I think I’d choose to give up hearing.  I’ve had a lifetime of listening and can recall sounds …wind in the trees, my children laughing, good music, running water and surf, my husband’s soft breath when he is sleeping, bees in new blossoms, AC’s purring, the rustle of turning pages, family footsteps, and so much more.  But were I not able to see I’d really miss reading and spinning and knitting and watching children grow and seasons change. 

What about you? 

Which would you choose?


I loved this thought when I first saw it many years ago and when I saw this copy I knew I had to share …

Love Name

So ’til next week …



So … ’til next week …


22 March …


SpringWell, here we are … finally in Spring.  It has been raining since last wednesday.

John was scheduled to be here last week to help with the tree pruning.  Didn’t happen. Rain … so he will be here tomorrow.  A break in the rain pattern is predicted. 

We shall see.


During the last trip north, I was given a walkthrough of the WinCo in south Medford.  What a revelation.

When I was growing up, there were two kinds of grocery stores … the one in town and the one in the close neighborhood which was often a gas station, a farm supply, and a nosh spot as well.  Now there are the day-old, the surplus, and bulk, the gourmet, the organic, the farmers’, the ethnic, the super, and the quick as well as the neighborhood and the town.

Making a shopping list is getting complicated … where do I go for the best deal on that item?, can I get that someplace easy or do I need to go to a specialty store?,  will that be at the farmers’ market this week?, is the coupon price at the super market better than the regular price at the discount store?, are the savings worth the extra time and gas?,

Such a such.


Some time ago I wrote about how to turn a child into a reader.
A cousin told me her mother
 took her and her brothers to the city library every couple of weeks to peruse the children’s section and choose something that interested them in order to encourage them to read on their own.

She also offered the following … Our grammar school had a summer reading program where you earned stickers for every book read over the summer.  The kids with the most stickers (1st, 2nd, and 3rd place) all got prizes of some sort.  And everyone who turned in a reading list signed by their parents got something, no matter how many/few books were on their list.  Parents could take this same concept and encourage reading that way.

Good ideas.  Our local library is quite small (I grew up with a Carnegie Library and a large school library, neither of which survive in today’s world) and I’m not sure what the local library does for reading children.

Maybe I should check.


The wheel of the year is actually turning.  The advent of warm weather is palpable. in spite of rain.

Iris Shoots


The first of the iris shoots are showing.


We no longer need to put the heated rice bags in the bed before we retire.  But we are not quite to the point where we can begin to shed comforters.

But with Spring comes the surprises.  As Years said …



And finally a thought from my grandson … 


And time slips away like ice cream melting off a spoon, leaving barely a trace behind as life seems to move on without you.


So … ’til next week …





15 March …


Yesterday was our monthly trip to the retinologist.  Nothing new.  Weather was fine.  Shopping went well with the exception of George’s failed “treasure” hunt for an obsolete heater part. 

Tonight is the monthly radio meeting. 

Keep moving and they’ll have trouble catching you.


Last weekend was Purim. My chosen sister used to be the pocket lady at her Temple’s celebration.  But with her children grown and grandchildren spread, I’m not sure she does that anymore. Guess I’ll ask.

Hamentaschen are a longtime part of Purim and I really like them … light, sweet, and short.  I baked some (although I was more careless with shaping than in the past) … prune Hamentaschen … yummy.

They disappeared before I got a picture so you will have to imagine how they looked. 


Last saturday as I listened to “La Traviata” by Verdi, listening triggered some thoughts.

George and I agree it is, in our opinion, the opera with the most listenable arias … “most” in that there are more of them as well as that the ones it has are pleasing.  It starts with the drinking song in the first act, rises with Alfredo’s paean at the beginning of Act II to their wonderful life , proceeds through the conversation between Violetta and Alfredo’s father, and continues on to the final act with the reunion and subsequent death. 

I left out so many.  I can only suggest you suspend your kneejerk reaction to opera (I had it once … I clearly remember wobbling my finger against my larynx while holding a high note pretending to be a diva) and just listen someday.

Another thought concerned Violetta’s profession … that of a courtesan, a traviata.  In Europe being a “courtesan” was a lot more than being a prostitute or mistress.  To hold that position one had to be educated and knowledgeable.  Great beauty was not a necessity as long as you met the cultural requirements. Like the geishas and flower women of the Far East, a courtesan had to be able to speak intelligently on any subject.  She had to show “class” by setting a perfect table and hosting “salons”.  She had to be an asset to her sponsor and compliment him by proving his intelligence as well as his social position and his cultural taste. 

And she had to be supportive as well as available.  These women were often more of everything than the women in arranged marriages.

America never had these women, thanks (in my opinion) to our Puritan ancestors.  There were dock women in every port and crib women on the frontier, but those women were un- or undereducated poor women with no choice who lived on the edges of society and whose only role was to be the means of relieving sexual tension.

Violetta was not a hooker.

And the last thought was about the current staging.  More years ago than I care to remember, I knew a woman who did design for a fairly well-known theatre in the San Francisco area.  Once she was doing a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”.  Her design was to have everything on stage, costumes as well as the set, in only black, white, and shades of grey.  The eye catchers were spots of the brightest yellow available … such as the lining showing through slashed sleeves (the setting was the Victorian era of balloon sleeves and bustles and HUGE hats), a bow tie, a large flower in a vase, a ribbon or a feather here and there … but you get the idea.  Not a lot.  Not more than two or three on stage at one time.  No overwhelming presence.  Small attention grabbers here and there.

I did not see that production, other than in my mind, but the idea impressed me.


Years later I was involved in a photographic project and suggested the same use of black-white-grey with splashes of colour. 

Most of the resulting photographs were real eye-catchers. 

One of me (which didn’t make it into the finished project) is a favorite of mine.

How this fits into this discussion of “La Traviata” is that the current Met production takes place in a modern time on a minimalist set in stark white relieved only by shadows.  The costumes are all white or black with the exception of Violetta who wears a simple dress in the brightest RED available. 

An eye-grabber. 

The current production is visually interesting.  However, I think I prefer a setting in the original time … the Paris of Alexander Dumas.

But that’s enough opera thoughts for now.

Next week is “Guillaume Tell” by Rossini … and I have a couple of stories about that.


My oh my … I seem to have blathered on at great length so here’s a final thought to ponder …  

 The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, it starts feeling like one.

… and a thought from Yeats …Yeats


.. so …’til next week …


 8 March …


The circle of the year is changing rapidly and AC continues his journey toward adulthood.AC

It is now light outdoors when I come up after breakfast to check my email. And it is staying light later in the evening.  It will be time to change the clocks (AGAIN) next saturday and that will lead to the twice yearly fuss over such changes.  I personally am in favor of choosing one plan or the other and sticking to it.  Since I do my best work in the morning, I guess I’m in favor of the plan that provides light mornings and earlier evenings.  Oh well …



Last week I forgot to share the Reading Woman for this month.  Oops … 

She is “Girl Reading on a Divan”, 1920, painted by Isaac Israëls.


How long has it been since you heard anyone refer to a “divan”?  Of course, a real reader will read anywhere.  The contents of my “reading pile” change, but there are still at least six books there, four on the active pile and two others for later.  My current choices are going to Rome for cocktails in the 1920s, watching the solving of a cultural mystery in Cambridge in 2011, joining Holmes and Watson in Edwardian London, or exploring imagination in horror authors’ minds.

And speaking of reading … the mother of a young child said she was advised to teach the value of reading by reading, but that when she sits down to read, her son wants her attention and is disruptive.  Suggestions?

I thought about always having a book appropriate for his age available and giving it to him when he shows up.  Maybe include time for him to read out loud with time for his shared reading vs time for her individual reading as a bargaining point, i.e. you read to me for 5 minutes, I read to you for 5 minutes, and then we read to ourselves for 20 minutes.   

Any other ideas?


Back to the subject of horror … the rash of anti-Semitic behavior has me upset.  I don’t agree with or approve of all that is done by the bebe, but that isn’t every Jew and is no excuse for hateful behavior.

I just learned there had once been a Jewish cemetery here in Siskiyou County which has disappeared (?).  Maybe a summer excursion will be to see if I can locate the site.  I have a friend who does genealogy in this county and has a fondness for cemeteries.  I may ask her to join me.

And bones have been found (via ground penetrating radar) in what had been the Chinese cemetery.  We thought all the bodies had been returned to China a long time ago.

This might be a place to use my friend Mary’s dowsing rods way to locate buried bodies and determine their sex.  That could be really interesting.

So many fascinating things to do and I’m running out of time.  Oh well …


Weather is following the weird pattern.  We had a couple of days when Spring didn’t seem out of the question.  Then saturday morning it began to snow.

Last year it looked like this …7 Mar 2016

Monday we woke up to a new coat of 3.5″ of new snow.  Here’s the view out the back door …Back Door 7 March 2017

and here’s the courtyard gate …Gate 7 March 2017

It snowed all day yesterday and we now have about 6″ on the ground.

Are you tired of snow pictures yet?


Father and Sons is at it again.  This time for St. Patrick’s Day …father and Sons


Studying nouns and articles in Spanish is this week’s assignment.  I don’t understand the requirement that nouns have a gender designation, but I’m practicing. 


I recently saw this and it hit a chord … 


Fate will break your heart … and break your heart … and break your heart … over and over again until it stays open.

— Sufi proverb


So … ’til next week …



1 March …


We have a new grocery store near us, closer than any of the others … less expensive, owned and run by someone I’ve know since he was in school with my sons.  I’ve never shopped in a brand new store before.

Guess where I’ll be doing a lot, if not most, of my shopping.

They held their grand opening last thursday.  I didn’t go.  I missed out on free food and chances in raffles … but I avoided a situation with too many people. 


We received word last week that another of the early Hammond Ranch folks died.  Her name was Barbara Allen.  Back before the turn of the century, there was a craft group here on the ranch to which a lot of us belonged.  One thing I remember clearly was that there was Barbara Allen who played the dulcimer, was a knitter, and loved books. Whenever something of mine was published, she would bring it to me to be signed.  And there was another Barbara (Stewart) whose maiden name was Allen. 

I may be the only one of that group left. 

Then last evening, I got an email from a high school classmate about the death of another Hemet High graduate.  Soon there will be only a handful of us from the 40s left alive.

One real drawback of reaching my age is looking at the newspaper or the mail and seeing that another one is gone.


26 Feb 2017

Weather is still winter although not as strong as earlier.  We’ve been having snow flurries almost daily, but the patches on the ground are slowly diminishing.


23 February 2017

The Mountain is looking her most beautiful (another photo of John’s).

Today we go to Yreka for some shopping, another load of firewood, chicken feed, and a meal at Subway (Black Forest ham and cheese).


Last week I offered you a look at an old time kitchen tool and asked if you know what it is.  Several said “no”.  But one friend (from high school days) said “ That’s an apple corer !!  I have one also that is just like yours !!  My mom used to core the apple, then stuff raisins and nuts in the hole and bake them, yum!!

Yup … it’s a corer, but not just an apple corer.  I use mine for pears and cling peaches and melons.  I have even used it to clean out squash centers.  I’d guess the thing is over a hundred years old and I use it nearly every day for something.  Thanks, Nana.


I recently set out on a new bread baking adventure.  I have enjoyed baguettes as long as I can remember … with only butter and salt or with tapenades.  But had never made my own.  King Arthur Flour had baguette pans on sale and I now own one which bakes three loaves at a time.  First try with sourdough tasted great but was a bit soft so they spread out too much.  I’ll try again next week.


Recently, on NPR, someone spoke about a teacher making reading so much fun that kids were “wallowing in books”.  It caught my attention.  I loved the visual.  It’s what I do … often … wallow in words. 

Currently there are four books on my reading table.


And just because I don’t have anything to do … I decided to attempt to relearn Spanish.  I have lectures on DVDs with a workbook.  Only problem is I will be looking for someone with whom to practice.  George has no interest in learning another language.

 I had this same problem a few years ago when I was studying ASL.   I still have enough signing to be able to communicate on a basic level and if Tyler moves closer I will be able to practice with him.

I’d like to be more proficient in both ASL and Spanish.  Maybe I’ll get us to eat out at Casa Ramos at least once a month and practice my Spanish there.


I haven’t been seeing as much of AC as in the past.  It can’t be weather since it was worse earlier and he spent time huddled at the backdoor waiting for me to come out.  Must be he is maturing.  He’s becoming a big boy and needs “mama” less.

That’s good … but I sort of miss him.  It’s a bit like when your kids fledge.


Today … I am Blessed

and tomorrow …

What’s past is past, nothing can change that. But the future can be different if we choose to make it so.  — Dalai Lama


So … ’til next week …