Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Healing takes time...

Enlarge to see the cranes!
 I was raking leaves when I heard the familiar sound of sand hill cranes, so high above me I wasn't sure that I would see anything on a photograph I took.  I stood and watched and remembered last year, not knowing what I was seeing, as the cranes formed a circle to maintain their high altitude.
A autumn wonder, the migration, a long long journey. 

 The leaves are raked to the curb and picked up by our village.  A job that I always did alone, while my guy worked inside.  Periodically he would check on me, and laugh when I came indoors and put my cold fingers on any warm part of his body.  The things I remember, comfort me.

 The moon is a source of comfort too.  By day or night.  How often we gazed at a full moon or a moon dog on a crisp and cold evening. 

Yes, healing takes time.

 These two help immensely.  They are trying to crawl and if that doesn't work they roll anywhere they want to be.  Sometimes they get stuck and need to be rescued.  They like Grandma and their Aunties and Uncles.  Pure love and fun.

 This is a photo taken by Irene.  It is of her sister's leg.  Note the fuzzy quality. I'm sure she was aiming for that arty avant-garde look.  Those girls love a phone, to chew!  The photo was accidental, but I swear she looked proud to have taken it.

 A mystery solved.  Clarence my bear has been missing.  He's the bear on the right. (Radar, on the left is Tyke's bear) We looked everywhere.  Even Kristen who bought Clarence for me many years ago was concerned.  To show how preoccupied I have been, I just noticed Clarence wasn't in his usual place in the family room.  Then I checked...I accidentally put him away with my Christmas bears.  He's been gone since January! I just noticed. I'm sorry Clarence, it won't happen again.  Oh, and Radar is now hanging out with him too. (They were in good company, in the Christmas bear bag, swapping stories with two dear bears from Michigan, gifted to me from sweet Lynne from Irish Garden House.)
 Speaking of angels, my girl making a snow angel, at home with Grandma on her day off.

 Strange weather for Autumn.  Leaves still on the trees, snow covering all the leaves and debris from summer.  I guess things will all get sorted out.  Maybe a heat wave between now and Thanksgiving?
Anything can and will happen weather wise in the Midwest.

I've been shopping for Thanksgiving and working on our guest room.  Looks like I'll have a full house.  We have six girls from eleven to eight months, seven couples and one Grandma.  After hosting for thirty five years, I've got this.  At least, I hope. 
Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, November 4, 2019

A Snowy Halloween

 A cold or rainy Halloween is not unusual in Chicago, but a snowy trick or treat is.

 This is what the kids had to contend with, wind, cold and slippery conditions.  

 Inside was the place to be.  I handed out about 25 bags of treats.  

 I sent the rest home with our Amanda for her office.  

 It sure looked beautiful.  The snow covered the birds on Tyke's sculpture.
 I have been thinking of getting another chair for a while.  I found this one at the thrift.  It is in excellent condition, from a swanky furniture store that has been out of business for a while.  If you like the farmhouse look, this buffalo plaid is now all the rage in decorating.  It was marked $50 but when I got to the register it was 37.50!  Elizabeth gave us this pillow early in the spring.

They loaded it up in my car at the thrift, but I was alone when I got home.  Polish ingenuity and determination helped me get it in the house.  I should have waited for the guys to help, but that is not my way.  I sprinkled the chair with carpet fresh and let it sit for a while.  I vacuumed the chair and all the crevices, and had to clean a single spot.  The reason I went to the thrift in the first place was to see if they still had a lamp I liked.  They did!  

 It is perfect in my living room on a table we also found at the same thrift.  My dearest was my partner in thrifting as well as in life.  He enjoyed a bargain as much as I do.  Small changes, big steps in making the house ready for the holidays. Making me emotionally ready will be a harder task.

 Ginkgo leaves.  They seem to all fall off the tree at the same time, one day on, next day all on the ground.  

 Leaving bare branches and the memory of a mosey in early spring with my guy when the leaves were just emerging.   How different I felt then.  Now the  bare limbs echo the feeling of my empty arms. It will be a long, cold, lonely winter.

This morning carpet was installed in what will be a guest room.  I called Empire, sing along, 588-2300, EMPIRE!  Four men showed up at 8:15, just as promised.  They attacked the old carpeting...it was at least 25 years old and the foam padding  just crumbled.  It took them 45 minutes from arriving at my door to completion.  It is the nicest room in the house. Now to furnish it, and I will, shopping the house, except for a mattress and box spring.  

"Life’s impermanence, I realized, is what makes every single day so precious. It’s what shapes our time here. It’s what makes it so important that not a single moment be wasted."
~ Wes Moore  

 I don't know who this teenager is.  Cool, hip, fashionable...

Who ordered ketchup and mustard? 

"When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life."
-Jean Shinoda Bolen

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

Monday, October 28, 2019


 The magical light of Autumn, right outside my back door.  

"I am sure there is Magic in everything, 
only we have not sense enough to get hold of it
 and make it do things for us." 
-Francis Hodgson Burnett

 Add a few ingredients, and glue turns into slime. 
Tinker with the recipe, you get silly putty.
Add glitter glue and extra glitter you make magic!

 Flamingos appear on a lawn, on a crisp autumn day. 

 Grandpa's hat. 
That in it self is magical, 
put it on a granddaughter and it's enchanted.

 Can she make lasagna?  Of course she can!  A lesson that was fun and delicious.

 The magic of a friend, so sweet and caring.  Socks for me and my girls, which is so generous, but to buy them from a company that matches every purchase with a equal donation to the homeless...
No matter how many times I sing the praises of Jean and Tom, it's never enough.
Thank you so much.  

The walls hold memories.  
See the tree how big it's grown... The opening line to a song my Mom loved. 
 "Honey, I miss you, and I'm being good 
and I'd love to be with you if only I could."

 A perfect day after a string of windy, rainy weather.  

 A magical Larch.  It's odd and unusual, one of a
 kind in English Valley.  One of my favorite trees.

 Texted my BFF in California, asking about the fires and if they were in danger.  It's so hard to talk in the past tense about my guy.  Sue sent this photo reminding me that he is always with me. Sue was there from the very start and thought I was crazy to be so in love with this guy we just met.  She was right I was crazy, but magically, so was he.

 Oh my girls.  Pure love, the best magic.  

A Sunday walk with my girls, priceless!

The treat bags are filled and I have my costume, a kindly retiree.;-)
I don't really do Halloween, but I will be waiting for the Great Pumpkin 
in the most sincere pumpkin patch I can find.

Thanks for stopping in and for your kindness.

Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Monday, October 21, 2019

Taking the Gentle Path...

 Autumn had me standing in the middle of the street on a recent walk.   I have been walking with my head down, but slowly, I have been walking and stopping to admire the sky and trees.

 Spending time with my granddaughter is soul soothing.  Here we are at our favorite place, The Chicago Botanic Garden.  We usually steer clear of the cafe, it's pricey, but my girl has been asking every time we visit. We sat and had soup, mac and cheese and hot apple cider.  Tiny sparrows landed all around us, looking for a dropped crumb.  There was a sign, to keep the birds wild and refrain from feeding them.  They were so cute. (We decided next time to have a few seeds in our pockets, to feed them what they normally eat.)  It was brisk and sunny. A beautiful day.

 We walked in the English Walled Garden, my favorite place  This cabinet is new, and we have seen it now in three seasons.  I need one of these in my garden.

 Penny was a walking advertisement for Starbucks. As I took pictures of her, I kept on telling her to put down the cup!  Sipping warm cider was so enjoyable to her, I don't think I had a photo of her without it.

 The rose garden was still filled with blooms.  It was also filled with children.  The Chicago Public School teachers are on strike.  It was my good fortune to have my girl on a precious weekday.

 This is the first time I saw a Bonsai tree with it's leaves in all it's Autumn glory.  Just amazing.
We took the tram, again, and then walked right past our car in the parking lot.  Clicking my key fob to sound the horn...  Usually I would get very nervous, but with Penny, it became a game.  She is a tremendous girl and a fun companion any day.

 Back in the neighborhood, we walked and talked some more.


"The weird weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you're faced with tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking." -James Patterson

Shakespeare said to give sorrow words. I guess that's what I am trying to do here.  I don't feel like me, look like me, talk like me.  I feel like I am still here somewhere, though half of me is gone. Writing helps, but if you saw the mound of tissues it takes to write a post, you might be surprised.  Things are still hard, as life goes on without my guy.

Then there's this... 

Tomorrow will be 35 years since I lost my Mom.  She died just two weeks before our son Micheal was born.  Once again, in our time of sorrow, babies have helped us through.  Mikey was raised with lots of tears, but was such a sweet and happy baby. (and a kind, sweet and soft hearted man, much like his father.) He not only helped me though the loss of my Mom but also helped my Dad through a loss I only now understand.  Our girls Stevie and Irene (named after my Mom) are helping us all get through.  They are the cutest most cheerful little girls.  They are now seven months old and so happy to see me when they visit. My arms are never empty when they are here.  They think cousin Penny is so funny.  I see the admiration in their tiny faces.  I make sure to spend quiet time with each of them.  I whisper things about grandpa, so they will know about him.  They love a whisper or a meeting under a blanket.  Pure joy and love for all my three girls.  So grateful for the memory of a loving, kind and funny Mom.  I love you and miss you still.

Thank you for your support and kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Cherished Autumn Traditions

"The dying is a part of the renewal and the colors are calling us to live.  Hurry on and live".
Alexandra Stoddard

A wonderful visit of the cousins made my Sunday a happy and busy day.  Six beautiful girls!  My three baby grands and my three great nieces.  Everyone wanted to hold the babies, and they were happy for a split second then wanted a more familiar face.  Our Zoe who is no longer the baby was a "chatterbox" and anxious to help with the tiny twins.  Zoe is hiding at the right.  My girls, our girls are so very special.  Each has a bit of my heart.  

 Keeping with the tradition of visiting Edwards Orchard, dear son Mike and sweet Amanda came along for the first time.  Penny and Grandma and Grandpa visited every year since Penny moved back to Chicagoland from New York.  Sweet memories brought some tears, but Penny was quick to soothe dear old Grandma and provide the comedy for the day.  We laughed as she visited the pirate ship and General Store.  Penny tried to climb these large truck tires, and we were both giggling as tried  to  hold on, but slipped off into my arms.  

The place was packed with kids off from school, so it wasn't the best visit.  Poor Amanda is recovering from knee surgery, Mike was pushing her wheelchair over uneven ground.  Still Amanda was especially happy to get out of the house and enjoyed some hot cider and apple cider donuts with us.  Mike navigated the country roads and found some of his favorites in the barn filled with gifts, apples and specialty foods. Penny shared her nachos and sampled many of the dips and jellies set out to taste.  A girl after her Grandpa who also enjoyed the sampling more than the rest of the visit.

Have I mentioned how wonderful this girl is?  
We always have a great time when we are together.

Reflections on the water, like shadows in my mind...

Later towards sunset we walked the neighborhood. 

 It was such a beautiful evening, the air crisp and very fallish.

 The milkweed pods are ripe.   The seed and the floss are bursting out and spreading the seed to the wind. This neighborhood spot has hundreds of milkweed plants, and might even be the source of the plants that now show up in my garden each year.  It's been a couple of weeks since I saw the last Monarch butterfly in my garden.  I say Adios and safe travels 
to all the Jerry's that pass this time of year.  

  The silky floss is exquisite.  A marvel of nature.

Two Pennies!

Thank you for stopping by and for the tremendous 
kindness and patience you have shown me.
I am forever grateful.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny