Friday, July 21, 2017

 I am surrounded by summer green even in the house. : )

 Look what I found at the flea market this week! A very nice on-canvas reproduction of Van Gogh's CafĂ© Terrace at Night for five dollars! I love it--it's my favorite find this season.

I re-upholstered my old desk chair last weekend with a puppies print. Do you see the pugs? 

I also recently re-purposed the old glass-fronted bookcase in my dining room to display my head vase collection (all flea market finds!) and a few of the pieces from my tea set, too. The bottom shelves hold my nature treasures: shells, feathers, fossils, a butterfly wing, &c.

This is Mustead Wood aka Baby Groot.--my other Mother's Day English rose. Someone was eating all of his new leaves for a while, and I really worried he wouldn't make it. Then we rigged up a little wire fence to put around him. Now he's thriving, but he's very small. I hope he still has enough time to grow. The color of his first blossoms is not as deep as I expected, but hopefully it will change as the plant matures. Also, it's quite hot out which definitely impacts rose color. The blossoms of my pale pink "Falling in Love" hybrid tea are nearly white. 

A great book and delicious lunch. I just finished reading Station Eleven yesterday. I know some of you have read this book, too, and I would love to know your thoughts about it. The story is set in a dystopian future a few years after the collapse of civilization. It is a book about memory and loss and art and connection--what it is that makes us human. A couple of years ago I read Laurus by Russian author Eugene Vodolazkin. That book was set in an indeterminate time period which, I realized as I was reading Station Eleven, might have been the future, although it had a distinctly medieval quality to it.  Vodolazkin wrote Laurus to show what is absent from our modern lives that was essential before: a wholeness in human experience with no separation between natural and supernatural awareness. This contrasts sharply with Station Eleven which removes the trappings of modern civilization to show us the meaning the civilized world imbues to our lives. It portrays religion as dangerous incoherency adhered to by the coercive, the weak, the deranged, and the deadly. Station Eleven speaks eloquently about the bonds people form with other people, with objects, with place, with animals, and with time.  (Interestingly, the word 'religion' is from the Latin 'religio', meaning:  obligation, bond, reverence; and 'religare' meaning "to bind".)  The book has given me a lot to ponder, and I don't think I will easily forget it. I have already recommended it to a few people. But, if I had to choose between re-reading Laurus or Station Eleven, I would pick Laurus.

The new study is becoming everyone's favorite room. Someone is always on the daybed. :)
 It doesn't hurt that it is the coolest room in the house.

This iced ruby rose tea is my summertime favorite: spearmint, lemon balm, hibiscus flowers, dried orange, rose petals, and clove. Mmmmmm.

I love roses best, but really, geraniums are star bloomers, aren't they? I just love them. 


Have you seen this? What a joke! Every number in that budget is below reality except the net income, which is more than it should be (they didn't account for state income taxes, and I'm not certain that they deducted Social Security and Medicare either). The other evening the kids and I watched 12 Angry Men--the old 1957 classic film starring Henry Fonda. (It was amazing how much it mirrored my own experience as a juror!) There was a line in it  that really got to me. One of the characters--a salesman played by Jack Warden-- brags to Henry Fonda that he made $27,000 last year selling marmalade. "Not too bad for marmalade," he said.  I should say not, considering that was a fortune sixty years ago. Today, however, it is a pittance. My daughter earns nearly double the federal hourly minimum wage and works 35+ hours a week, and yet she did not make that much last year. When I think of all of the problems that affect society, including race and gender inequality, I can see that much of it comes down to economics. In the mid-nineteenth century Irish were considered scum in this country. They lived in slums and were widely discriminated against. The same was true for Italian, Polish, German, and Jewish immigrants, as well. These groups are now privileged "white people". That's the power of money. Racisim is real, but the deep root of the problem is not primarily skin color, it's poverty. We hate the poor. Even if we donate to the local food bank and give clothes and money to organizations that help, we don't see poor people as "good as us". We don't live near them, and we don't make friends with them. 

Presley had a birthday yesterday--he's three! And still acts like a puppy. The girls and I think Presley is actually a prince who was bewitched and trapped in a dog suit. He has such soulful, knowing eyes. We are sure he understands everything we say. ♥

Friday, July 14, 2017

It has been months since I last posted--an update is certainly long overdue. : ) I really didn't mean to disappear for so long!

Summer is here now. Everything is in bloom and reaching up to the sun.

This is one of the new English roses I received for Mother's Day this year. Her name is Gertrude Jekyll. She struggled a bit at first, and I worried about her, but now she's putting out lots of new growth and just finished her second flush of deep pink blossoms.

I've had a few dogs in my life, and I have loved them all, but this pug, my Elvis, is the sweetest, funniest boy. He is my shadow, always beside me. Just look at that face--I can't take it!!!

This moment, when the sky is all lit up with delight from the day, is my favorite. Just then, there is an opening and an exchange between Everything, if you know what I mean. And under the trees are so many rabbits that you would be frightened if you have ever read Stefan Spjut's novel The Shapeshifters.

In the last week, my son sold his 225 gallon aquarium and I turned the front room into a cozy study--a little dream of mine for several years. Here is the room 'before' (the tank used to be against the brown wall). 

And, here is the room 'after':

I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.. :) We found the rug at the flea market for $40. The daybed was less than $90.00 at Walmart (we already had a hardly-used mattress on-hand in my daughter's trundle bed). The little table and the desk chair were flea market finds for $10 each, and the bookcase is from IKEA. The piano got to stay where it was, and my antique desk got a nice new corner nook (I love it there--who knows, maybe it will motivate me to write).

Elvis thinks it's a good change. :)


The garden is like a little jungle just now. Peas and raspberries are ripe for the picking.

These two girls are six years old and still laying eggs every day! 

Things are changing in the world. There is a loudness which has made me and others quiet. You can see it in the mass exodus from personal webpages to instagram. Some people have shifted to sharing more often yet less. Connecting through conversation--sharing thoughts, ideas, words--is now blasĂ©. If social media was superficial before, what is it becoming now? 

I understand that for a lot of people (most people?) the internet has expanded the world, but for a person like me, an introvert who values deep relationships, the internet has reduced my universe to a hermit's cell. I have relatives who won't communicate with me because they prefer to text, and I don't own a cell phone. I have friends who no longer keep in touch with me because they prefer facebook, and I don't have a facebook account. I could get these things, I suppose, like I got an instagram account, but I know I would never use them, just like I don't use instagram. The thing is, I don't want to be anyone's fan. I want to be their friend. ♥