Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category

market

Okay! Okay! You got me!

Having just spent the better part of two days proclaiming my sheer joy at the arrival of autumn… there are a few things that I will bemoan about summer’s passing and our Saturday Farmer’s Market is top of the list.

You know how they say that one picture is worth a thousand words…. I’ll let this be a pictorial post and go easy on my tendency to be too wordy. Suffice it to say that the colors, the music, the fresh produce, the beautiful array of freshly cut flowers… not to mention the many customers who come into the store tantalizing us all with both the good food and the bouquets of fleurs…all make for merriment, fun and festivity each saturday of the summer months.

Then there’s all the artisan’s handiwork making it so difficult to stay away from temptation. Do I really need another pair of earrings or a new purse? Like I tell our customers on a daily basis…. just park that word “need” at the front door before you enter. The same applies to Saturday Market shopping!

Oh.. and most of all there’s the food vendors filling the store with aromas that simply cannot resist temptation. Kettle Korn…freshly baked bread and pies…wood-fired oven pizza… wonton wrappers filled with goodies from crab and cheese to cinnamon apple dessert. So many choices…so little time to try them all and, by far, too little tummy room to try them all. Alas!

How lucky am I to live in the middle of this town’s joie de vie.

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Oh dear…
here I am going on and on when I promised a pictorial post.
So be it!
Good-bye Summer Market….
until we meet again next year.
You shall be missed!

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bursts with unfamiliar meaning as one explores the jewels to be found in all the nooks and crannies lining autumn’s coat of many colors. Tumbling out of her pockets come maple, alder and oak shaped nuggets of amber, garnet, citrine and smoky topaz… gems weaving the tapestry of autumn’s beauty.

I feel more present in autumn. Like watching my grandson’s soccer game, for me autumn is a spectator sport of sorts… the surrounding beauty is my play field and it’s a wonderful time to cheer and applaud till one is hoarse from the excitement of nature’s winning streak.

That autumn is rounding the bend needs no calendar to convey better than one’s own ‘sense’ of the incomparable radiance of nature. As the chill seems to arrive earlier every day, just step outside your door on one of the new season’s first crisp mornings and you’ll see, smell, hear and even taste the fall flourishes that have drifted in to dazzle us with their golden presence and presents of gold.

With nose in the air, you’ll smell that slight hint of smoke somewhere in the neighborhood. Perhaps that hint has arrived because autumn has set foliage ablaze with colors straight from my box of crayons…. burnt sienna to burnt umber to burnt orange to deep merlot and bittersweet.

In the early morning light, dawn’s heavy dew reveals the glistening of dozens of spider webs as they drape and decorate my favorite hanoki cypress…. like tinsel on a Christmas tree . Walk more briskly, add more layers, wear those new boots for the first time and listen to the Cap’n crunch of colorful, dry leaves beneath your feet. Pick up a favorite coffee drink along the way and I just bet that savoring the first sip of that hot, creamy, mellow ‘deliciousness’ never tasted quite so comforting as it does on an autumn morning.

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Remember when …. with a wave of her wand Cinderella’s fairy godmother transformed her from tattered and torn to belle of the ball? On my walk to work each and every day there is a canopy of trees surrounding the fountain and four corners of the square…. While never taken exactly for granted, I must admit that in shades and shadows of green they sometimes fail to capture my notice, until nature waves her wand in the autumn of the year and adorns them with new attire. Suddenly, the transformation is stunning as these trees wear their regalia with Cinderella’s blushing enthusiasm.

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And then there’s my garden! Despite the air of dishelvement that just naturally occurs as the new season approaches, the beauty that autumn brings is worth a bit of untidiness.

Endless nuances and complexities gathered together in layer upon layer of nature’s slow shedding away of summer’s full bloom. Quick… before Jack Frost tiptoes in and snatches away the purple blooms of my plumbago, let me savor the remnants of what is being plucked away by the changing of the seasonal guard or by the pruning shears of the angel who tends the garden with me. Japanese bloodgrass plumes. . . mop heads of hydrangea blossoms…twigs fallen from the sumac…moss covered piece of driftwood near the oriental fisherman…..and, from the bittersweet family, bright red fruits on my strawberry tree open to reveal orange seeds blown to earth by a gentle breeze. And, of course….. that bird is having a ‘field day’ as he nibbles away at what remains to feast upon.

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumn.” ~ George Eliot

Speaking of delicious! Eliot got it right… autumn’s ambience is dappled with numerous elements of deliciousness. Not the least of which occurs in my kitchen at this time of year…. it’s not called comfort food for no good reason. The elements that proclaim this seasonal change are cozy and comforting and food is high on the elemental list. At last…. autumn chowder, meatloaf and baked potatoes, homemade stews and dumplings are back on the menu. Simply prepared, savory, aromatic, mouth-watering and full of nostalgia…..comfort food is aptly named, bringing with it a sense of well being. Let’s see… here we are at the beginning of the month of October… so many choices await. What shall it be tonight?

comfort-foodsOut comes a favorite cookbook of the same name. A day off for me today with time to cook something scrumptious. A delicious dilemma! Why does everything seem to taste better at this time of year? Do I stay with the tried and true or try something new? Think I’ll keep the soup pot simmering with the first Minnestrone of the season. Pure self-indulgence!

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And… Bittersweet you wonder! A re-occurring theme in my short essay and an adjective expressing contrasting emotions of pain and pleasure…. with the bitter comes the sweet. So, while the passing of the seasons is bittersweet, as are the passing of years and memories, autumn brings with it a certain optimism inspired by nature’s bounty of beauty.

One of the first telltale signs of autumn’s arrival is the lowering position of the sun in our sky. The lighting of our world has changed. A beautiful autumn day begins with luminous light casting a warm glow on nature’s generosity. As the day progresses and the sun moves, the color of the season seems even more flamingly intense and, with luck in my small corner of the world, a sunset on this autumn day ends in the embers of what appears to be a fire on the beach. So goes the bittersweet tapestry of life.

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amy-rogertext

Look at that Rog!!

We’re so old that our pictures merit a circa mentality. Egads! Shall I state the obvious? How did that happen? And, as I’m looking at that picture, I’m thinking that my ‘circa’ is off by one year, although I know that circa means about and not the exact year stated. If you haven’t experienced it already, seventy is the threshold of memory challenges to state it politely.

Doesn’t much matter how it happened…. it just did and here we are in the seventh decade. By the way, I beat you to it so welcome to the seventies of our life or better yet…. let’s just consider it the “the 30th anniversary of our 40th birthday.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. said, “To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.”

Remember that great surprise party Georgie planned for your fortieth?

Well…. here we are at another birthday celebration. I’ll be there with bells on!

Back to the picture up there at the top. Besides delighting me every time I happen upon this picture, just why did I choose it for this birthday post? I wonder! That was a very warm summer day and we all decided to take a picnic to a park in Olympia.

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Of all the parks in the area and of all the picnic baskets we could have taken anywhere…. why Olympia? For the life of me, I’ve no recollection of our reasoning. Perhaps it was just to take a Sunday drive.

 

rotunda-in-olympiaHowever or why ever we got to Olympia, there are the two of you looking up in what can only be awe and amazement….. kind of a symbol of how you embrace life and joy and the strong desire to share it with all of us. Blink and you might miss something really special. Although, if you look closely, you’ll realize that Amy has her chin up but she’s kind of cheating and looking more at the photographer than the ceiling.

Speaking of amazement, the world has been blessed by such an amazing person for a whole seventy years. And my life has been all the better for having you in it for the past …. well, let’s see…. for over forty five years now.

I wouldn’t have missed the “ride” and your friendship for anything and I’m so grateful that our paths crossed that many years back and hope the journey continues on for many many more.

Happy Birthday, Roger!!

Much love,
Julie

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true friends

Most all of us have friends during stages of our lives but only lucky ones can say they’ve had the same friend through all stages of life. Okay… so we weren’t in one another’s lives during the earliest stages of childhood but once we met in high school there’s been no looking back on the friendship that Vicky and I have shared for over fifty years now.

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So here we are in our wedding dresses… me on the left in 1970 and Vicky on the right… one year later 1971

Ah but wait!

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There’s Vicky on the left in her maid of honor dress at my wedding and me in my wedding dress as her maid of honor.

Whew! Even I’m now thoroughly confused!!

Now mind you, as I recall…. this switching of the dresses from wedding to maid of honor and vice versa was not a calculated plan but rather an evolutionary process that just materialized when Vicky decided to wear that beautiful yellow dress which she had chosen to wear on my wedding day as her wedding dress when the time came a year later and then I decided why not? I’ll wear last year’s wedding dress for her big occasion. How many brides can say they wore their dress twice?

Here I am to say happy birthday to a dear friend and up pops all these wedding memories. But…as I was looking through pictures to find a proper memory to share for Vicky’s birthday day… these stood out amongst them all and memories just have a way of doing what they’re going to do.

Besides…. beautiful dresses as those were and… as smashing as we looked in them… those pictures and memories deserve preservation on this little blog of mine. Wouldn’t you agree?

And, for the sake of truthfulness and clarification…. much to my dismay and due to circumstances beyond my control at the time, Vicky was not “technically” my maid of honor on my wedding day. Except that in my heart then and now and always, she was and is and will be my maid of honor.

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And while we might bemoan seventy plus candles on the cake and the aging process just a little bit…. let’s definitely plan on being eighty together!!

Love,
Julie

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elizabeth

  
Okay Miss “Lizzie Lu” (Shh! I always wanted to call you that but wasn’t sure how kindly you would take to my nickname…. so I decided to leave well enough alone.)

So, Miss Elizabeth…

This is one very belated birthday story! And Birthday Wish For You!!

Well…. don’t really have a story to tell because I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of the day you were born so many times already that I’d just be a boring re-tell… even though I do have a certain perspective that no one else could possibly have seen. So… someday you and I will have to share what your very real ‘birthday’ was like from my point of view. Until then, know that you were a joy and blessing to welcome into our family. The very first of my now seven grandchildren.

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Ah! But wait! A mere three months later and along comes blessing number two by the name of Ethan Jack. And you dear boy… I always thought you’d become an EJ and I was looking forward to the nickname.

But, alas!

Neither you nor Elizabeth ever got shortened into the category of nicknames. Perhaps just as well. Both of you have simply glorious given names. I can’t imagine calling either of you anything but Ethan and Elizabeth. So I was right in the first place by leaving well enough alone.

And, as with your cousin, Elizabeth, I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of the day you were born many times over. It was quite a coincidence, however, that you both decided to make your appearance into this world, and our lives, an entire month earlier than you were actually due to land… giving us all pause to worry just a bit!. But here you both are into your teen years and growing up all too fast for this Nana to adjust to.

So There!

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8792324 - back to school. green desk with school supplies.

You know that I just can’t resist a little bit of reflection!! Chalk it up to the teacher in me! (pun intended)

Not that I would have listened to any of these suggestions that I’m about to propose when I was fourteen but maybe you two will. If not this fourteenth year of your life, perhaps in years to come….

Dear Elizabeth and Ethan,

A friend of mine had dinner with her 28 year old granddaughter the other night. My friend was proud to tell me all about her granddaughter’s accomplishments as a graduate in the school of business and that she now has this amazing job with a great company here in town. It got me to thinking about the both of you and where you might be in fourteen years, and more importantly, how you will be in the world.

And, I shall state the obvious here…. a lot of that depends on you and the choices you make. There will be so much you can’t control in the coming years. But you can choose, in fact you have to choose, every single day who you’re going to be.

FOR EXAMPLE:

You can choose gratitude over thanklessness. “Let your heart be awakened to the transforming power of gratefulness.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

You can choose kindness over thoughtlessness. If you act from a compassionate place, you can change someone’s life. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” ~ Dalai Lama.

You can choose how you spend your time. Because how you spend your time really does end up being how you spend your life. It’s not about how you make a living so don’t worry about what you want to be when you grow up. Just decide who you want to be today!

You can choose to ask for help, support and the love that you really need, instead of pretending you can go it alone because you’re determined not to impose on anyone else. This bit of wisdom and advice comes directly from the heart of your Nana as, in this case, she admonishes you to do as she says… not as she has done in the past. “I get by with a little help from my friends.” ~ Ringo Starr

Are you nodding off yet?

‘Cause I, of course, could go on and on but I won’t. That’s enough pontificating for this journal entry.

Well, come to think of it!

As a connoisseur of the gourmet, I must add one more small but very important addition to my list of reflections on growing up…..

Don’t wait until you are forty to try mustard greens or swiss chard or other foods you think are weird. After all, Ethan, remember how much you liked your Mom’s green salad the other day at lunch? Who knew? And, if you hadn’t tried, you would never have known. And now your palate and menu choices have been broadened.

I’m so excited about the young man and young woman that you both are now and will become in the years hence. I can hardly wait to see you fourteen years from now.

“God willing and the creek don’t rise,” as a very wise and dear old friend used to say to me so often… let’s plan to meet for lunch. OK?

Just what delicious morsel will be ordered off the menu in fourteen years? I wonder!!

Love,
Nana

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This collage was a major undertaking and, no doubt, I couldn’t include all the mothers that I know and love. The idea just popped into my head a mere two days ago and that meant using pictures that were already close at hand. So… perhaps another collage for next year will be in the works and I can plan ahead by starting now to gather more pictures of mothers and their children.

With that said…. I owe special appreciation and gratitude to my dear heart and dear friend, Neil Reid for his time and expertise in the artistic presentation of my tribute to just some of the mothers in my ‘family.’

Thank you Darlin’….

This journal and journey of mine would not exist were it not for your love, wisdom and technical support. What a gift you’ve given to me, as you’ve opened up a world that was unknown and now has become familiar and welcoming and just so much fun to have in my life.

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Dear Nick,

After all these years, your lovely, tenacious lilac tree has surpassed my border of arbor vitae trees in height. The boughs drape beautifully over my side of the dividing line between our properties. And, it will always be your property in my mind. How many bouquets came from this lilac bush to be placed gently on my front porch as a kind and chivalrous gesture?

I lost count after you left and have been too too reluctant to go cut a branch or two for an inside bouquet. I know you wouldn’t mind in the least but I’m not at all sure of the intent of the new property owner, as he is more than a bit of a curmudgeon.

Funny, huh? I know that description was often given to you but ‘they’ weren’t witness to the charm that you shared with me. I’m not at all sure that my ‘charms’ would win over the new owner of your property and I’m not going to test them out. I’d rather remember the many lovely conversations we shared over the fence before the lilacs and the arbor vitae grew to such immense heights. Even Jack in the Beanstalk might find the height intimidating and Rapunzel might not have enough hair to let down. So… Nick and Julie’s chats before the armor of nature’s growth will remain with me.

The warmth of sunshine this last April week erupted the aroma of lilac, as it permeated the air and nearly drove me mad with delight.

Geez! I love that last sentence and I think you would too. We would smile knowingly at its ‘romance novel’ appeal.

I miss you Nick!

May that lilac tree grace the property line we share for all my days left to enjoy both its’ beauty and perfume.

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