Monday, November 20, 2017

A look ahead, a look back...

A frosty morning walk. 

 Frost on the lawns,
 and on the fallen leaves.
 I stopped to photograph these beautiful scenes...
 So ethereal and brief.
 Tiny crystals of ice, perfectly coating this pine hedge.
 The leaves are still falling,
 along with the fruits of the Osage orange .  The french name for these is Boise d'Arc.
 I noticed this tree, an American sweetgum. I knew from the seed pods.  I saw them only once before, at the Country Living Fair in Ohio.

I love the way they look.

 Lambs ear, already fuzzy, sparkled with frost.
 The sky so blue on this crisp morning.
 A long straight sidewalk, and time to observe.
 Willows loose their leaves pretty late.  Usually after a snowfall.  Our neighbors have giant Willows.  Usually the early snow is covered with it's thin leaves, and twigs.
The Osage orange hedge was the property line of the farmland our home was build on .
This hedge continues across a busy road and into the Forest Preserves.  To go back in time and see this place as it was 100 years, maybe 200 years ago.   

Forgive me if I have told this story before, but it's one of my happiest memories. I remember being on a farm with my family when I was young.  We were invited to somewhere in Indiana for Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.  I went out for a walk with my Dad and our host, Father Lee, a friend of our family, and I am pretty sure a couple of my brothers tagged along.  We walked in a cornfield, where the corn had been harvested, as it was getting dark,.   We stopped and looked back to the farmhouse.  The windows of the house all glowed with light. I have thought of that moment a hundred times in my life.  It was so beautiful to see that cozy home waiting for us.  I think it's the reason that every Christmas Eve, I walk out of my house, with my sweetheart, and look back at our home, all glowing and filled with love and all those we hold dear..  Somewhere in our subdivision, many year ago, there was a farmhouse.  I hope it was a happy place.  That hedge always reminds me of how this place might have been long ago, and also of the Native American people who lived here first, long before that hedge was ever planted.  

 Just moving things around for our Thanksgiving feast.
 I start earlier now.  It takes a while to get things in order.  We have a small dining room, and Thanksgiving is the only time we all seat at the table.  Usually there are too many of us, so we often have buffets.
 I move the love seat into the living room.  Swap out some chairs for the small table in the dining room. Clear the family room to make way for the long tables, right in front of the fireplace.
 Some things I love just stay in place.

Like the globe hanging from the light .  Peace on Earth, it's banner says.

I've done some baking, most of the shopping is done.  The tables and chairs are at the ready.
Time is flying.  Here we go, another holiday season.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, November 13, 2017


 We had our first snowfall on Friday, we were caught with our leaves down, so to speak. It sure was a pretty sight, snowflakes softly fluttering.
 I turned on the Christmas tunes, and put a little meatloaf in the oven. Lit a candle and enjoyed the view.
 We've been feeling poorly the last few days. 
 When Penny was with us last week she was a dripping faucet of snot. (I know not a pretty picture.)
The thing is that you have to prompt nose blowing in someone so young, or in my hubby's case someone set in his ways and absolutely against nose blowing.  It's a chore for both of them.  No matter how many times you wash your hands, or purell them, snuggling with a cold sufferer, begets a cold for yourself.

We did brave the cold and bundled up to enjoy the annual fireworks to welcome Santa at the Fancy Pants Mall, just down the road from us.  
It is one of my favorite events, and this year's display did not disappoint.
The finale was a shower of those sparkles that fall like rain.
There was not one, or two bursts, but dozens and they fell in the most magical way.
We were pretty close to where the fireworks are launched, and they fell right over us.  It was like a dream, so beautiful.  Holding my sweetheart and being held in the cold, and the magical display, made for a memorable evening.

Just a quick story about our girl.  Kristen and Doug celebrated their 12 year anniversary on
Saturday.   The went out for a family dinner and during the dinner a song came on in the
restaurant.  It was Unforgettable, the famous Nat King Cole song.  Penny sang along, and serenaded
her parents. Kristen and Doug were amazed and moved by her performance. 
Later when they told me the story, I asked where she heard the song and how she knew it.  Penny said, "Oh, at Grandma's house."  Then I vaguely remembered slow dancing, or as Penny calls it, romantic dancing with Penny, and of course I was singing to her.  She has an amazing memory, and quite the ear for music.  It made me think of this song that I love, from the musical, Into the Woods.

It's called, Children Will Listen.
by Stephen Sondheim

Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see
And learn
Children may not obey
But children will listen
Children will look to you
For which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say
"Listen to me"
Children will listen.

They do listen, hopefully what you say and do is good and positive.
It's a privilege to be a grandmother and a joy like I've never known.
I hope the part I play in Penny's life, brings her many times when she can happily say, I learned it at Grandma's house.  

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, November 6, 2017

Roses in November

 A school holiday for our Penny was time for a visit with the old folks, and when the weather didn't cooperate, we got busy doing some crafts.  Our girl excels in art and crafts.  She made a beautiful necklace for her Mom.  She was thrilled by my little hardware drawers full of beads and trinkets.
Seven years blogging, my first bathroom shot.
  There was work to do too.  Cleaning for Uncle Mikey's birthday dinner.   Penny scrubbed and swiffered, windexed and wiped.

 Then she vacuumed and dusted.  Do child labor laws apply to Grandparents? She was so serious, and only let me "help" when she was good and finished.

Nothing was stopping this girl.  She decorated the chalkboard and helped to hang the 
felt birthday banner. Really good printing too.  Those are streamers on the bottom.
When we were done cleaning we cooked.  The night before we had made Dutch Oven Bread to bake for the spinach dip Penny whipped up.  She helped to roll little hot dogs in crescent rolls but left making the pizza to Grandma.  

Here's the birthday boy with his lovely bride to be Amanda. We had a couple of extra guests, friends of the kids and Kris and Doug and Jon and Charlotte.  A sweet party topped by a cheesecake, Mikey's favorite, and a recipe that has taken me his whole life to perfect.  I think if you keep trying anything for more than thirty years you are bound to become proficient. ;-)
The sun came out for the first time all weekend, just as the sun was about to set on Sunday.  

Sunday flew by, darn daylight savings time, and everyone went home after a very happy visit.
We sure do miss that girl when she heads home.  There is quite the prolonged goodbye and last kisses and things to tell us before she heads home with Mom and Dad. What a gift, my children, their sweethearts and our girl.  Makes for very tired and happy Grandma and Grandpa.

 Thinking ahead we took Monday off for R&R which started at the Gardens. November 6th, the temp was about 35 degrees, We bundled up and had a brisk walk. Alone in the garden, at last! 

Almost alone.

The garden sparkles in the Autumn light.
 If you're tired of garden photos, this is your chance to bail out of this post.  I can't help myself.

 Roses, still beautiful and fragrant after our first frost.
 The buds were all fine, the blooms had a little frost damage but still lovely.

 That sky!

 The only bare tree I saw.
 We could have bowled down this path and not hit another visitor.
 My favorite place, even with all the water features drained.
 We did see one man walk through this garden.

 Devastatingly handsome.
 Seeing these views without obstruction is rare indeed.

 Stainless steel #1 Don't you think it need a more romantic name?
 Another birch grove, don't think I ever really saw it before.
 Dearest thought I was taking a picture of know.  I wasn't! Good girl that I am.
 Hundreds of people are here in the summer.
 Today, just us.
Not for long, it was cold, and our bodies have to acclimate to these colder temps.
I have a little Polar Bear blood in me, I love the cold and look forward to some winter outings.
When I was young we used to ski, that was my first real experience in the cold.
Not like when you'd walk home from school, or make a snow fort or snowball fight, but extended time in the cold.  I loved it.  I think I could still ski, but I would not be able to get up if I fell.
God knows if my hips would hold, or my knees.  Walking in the cold will have to do.

Sewing machine fixed and Kristen's sewing machine I also broke is fixed too.  Why is it that when you can't do something, (like when your sewing machine is busted) that is all you want to do?
I have a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving prep will start.  Until then, if I'm not at the Garden,
 I'll be sewing!
Thanks for stopping by my friends.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny