The Calla Lilies are in Bloom Again

Calla Lily - All You Need to Know

For the first time in over 20 years, I have a backyard with flower beds. We’ve been living here for about 5 months, from late fall through the winter. Of course, in Southern California we don’t have much of a winter, but the temps do drop a bit and it does effect the local growing season. We’ve had many plants blooming throughout the winter, especially the azaleas and the camellias. Many other plants are blooming now too, but currently the one that is taking my breath away is the Calla Lily.

Calla Lily Bulbs - Aethiopica | Spring Flower Bulbs | Eden Brothers

I’ve never had a Calla Lily plant before, so I’ve never had the thrill of watching the blooms unfurl and opening to such magnificent grandeur! And oh, grand they are! The pure white, sophisticated upright flowers really take my breath away. They are simply the most beautiful, yet simple, flower I can imagine. I am smitten with them!

There is a quote by Katherine Hepburn from the movie Stage Door (1937): “The calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower—suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died.” I can imagine Katherine Hepburn holding a bouquet of calla lilies in her arms, cradling them as if she were holding a baby. And sure enough, here’s a picture of just that!

3 Lines About...: The Blooming of Hepburn's Calla Lilies | Calla lily, Lily,  Calla

Symbolically, Calla Lilies represent innocence, resurrection, and rebirth. Apparently they are often used at Easter services, but I have only seen Easter Lilies at the churches I’ve attended. And the look isn’t the same. There’s a good reason for that. Calla Lilies aren’t really lilies at all! According to my brief research, they are members of the same botanical family (Araceae) as caladiums and philodendron.

Yesterday, I cleared away an old unhealthy geranium from one of the flower beds. And guess what was lurking beneath just waiting for a breath of fresh air and sunshine. Yes, another Calla Lily! I hope this one blooms as abundantly as the first.

I’m told that cut Calla Lily flowers can last up to two weeks. I think I’ll get out a tall cylindrical vase and put that to the test! I’m so happy the Calla Lilies are in bloom!

Calla Lily Tall Arrangement | FLORALS & TREES | Ethan Allen

A Local Hero

We recently moved into a new neighborhood. Despite the lockdown because of the pandemic, our first day as new residents we met several friendly people who were out and about (with masks ON, of course!) And one of the first things that was mentioned to us was “Don’t throw out those cans and bottles! We have a collection point for them.”

We have always recycled our cans and bottles. It can be inconvenient to separate them and then take them to a recycling center. But we have faithfully done that for years so we were all in favor of a collection point right in our housing development.

But the surprise was, that these cans and bottles are being recycled by a KID of 11 years old…and he has been doing this since he was the age of THREE!!!!!

This 7-Year-Old Entrepreneur Built A Company Out Of TRASH, Literally!

Ryan’s Recycling is managed by this 11 year old. He has a passion of recycling. He spends time every week sorting cans and bottles from his customers and getting them ready to take to the recycle center. An article on his website (yes he even has a website!) says that Ryan “has since recycled over 1.2 million bottles and cans (over 67 tons) over the past eight years in his effort to clean up the planet and to keep pollution out of our oceans and landfills. Ryan leads and organizes weekly beach clean-up events in his community and he travels internationally speaking about recycling and saving our planet from plastic pollution.” He has been on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, featured in national news and magazines, and has received numerous awards for his mission to clean the environment.

Just imagine this…a child has recycled over 1.2 MILLION bottles and cans! I’m so impressed with his dedication to his mission, his faithfulness to keep at it for so many years, and his determination to get the word out.

The world could use more people (both kids AND adults) doing positive things for the environment. Imagine if there were a Ryan or two in every community! Not just words, not just complaining, but real ACTION! I’m very pleased to be part of Ryan’s Recycling community and I’m proud to introduce him to you. Spread the word. Let’s see how many more Ryan’s are out there just needing a bit of encouragement and a role model.

You can find out more about Ryan and his work on his website https://ryansrecycling.com/

The Daffodils

Lilik Wijayawati: Analysis on Poem “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth  (1770-1850)

In 2014, my husband and I visited England, Scotland, and Wales. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting the Lake District in England. I felt such an affinity for this beautiful area. It just draws you in and you never want to leave. The spectacular landscape also influenced many writers in the late eighteenth and nineteen centuries, including the Romantic Poet William Wordsworth. We visited the Wordsworth Family Graves in Grasmere, Cumbria, England…”The fairest place on Earth”.

This morning, I came across one of his lovely poems. It paints such a vivid word picture and makes me long to be among the daffodils watching them bend and sway in the breeze. Many others have written scholarly analyses of this enchanting poem. My intention here is to simply share it for the pure enjoyment of the beautiful words and the thoughts they evoke.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, by William Wordsworth

The Problem With People

This blog came across my feed today and I wanted to share it. I think it contains thoughts that we all KNOW to be true (or funny). But I also think sometimes a reminder can be like a kick-in-the-pants…it can get your attention when you most need it. Enjoy…and thank you to Mitch Teemley for this blog post!

Mitch Teemley

'Dinosaur'.jpg - photo by Vitor Fontes (unsplash)Photo by Vitor Fontes

Thought for the Week

The best way to deal with people is to remember they’re just people. Forgive them that (and yourself in the bargain) and you’ll at least be headed in the right direction. Oh, and one other thing: you’ll need to do it over and over again for the rest of your life. Because people will just be people for as long as you live. And probably even after that.

“I love mankind…it’s people I can’t stand!!” ~Charles M. Schulz

“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.” ~Steve Irwin

“The reason there are so many stupid people is it’s illegal to kill them.” ~John Wayne

“I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them.” ~Jane Austen

“The more…

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The Field – A Childhood Memory

Grass Field At Sunset by spc01 | VideoHive

During a recent move to a new home, I found a handwritten assignment I wrote for a college English class from MANY years ago. At a friend’s request, I share it now.

The tall supple green blades of wild grass waved beckoningly. How I longed to run recklessly through the field and forge paths though the three-foot high weeds! Such were my thoughts as I passed the field while walking to elementary school.

My family lived on a dead-end street. The twelve homes on our block housed an abundance of kids. Most of us were only three years difference in age. And all of us thoroughly enjoyed romping through the field that lay invitingly at the end of our street. We would descend on the field in great numbers in hope some magical metamorphosis would take place. We believed we owned this field…it was our private oasis in suburbia.

On this particular day as I trudged reluctantly to school, I thought back to the previous day’s adventures in the field.

I was in the field with my two younger brothers. We stood amid the tall wild grass to behold our wonderous field. It measured two blocks across by six blocks long. To our inexperienced eyes, it was the singular most significant piece of real estate anywhere and was obviously created just for our enjoyment!

As we scanned our field, we had an important decision to make. How would we best use our time and our field on this day? Should we fly a kite or play ball? Or perhaps we could play tag or maybe climb the only tree in the field and be spies in the treehouse. No, none of those diversions was just right this time. What then? A-ha!!

Today we would become trail blazers and fashion complex trails through the weeds!!

With excitement and no concern about grass stains, I got down on my hands and knees. The weeds become trees, great tall obstacles I couldn’t see over. I inched forward and the first pliant blades easily bent forward. I moved on and tamped down clump after clump. As I looked behind, I could see that I was blazing a fine trail that zig zagged across the field. My two brothers were busy blazing their trails too. We continued on our hands and knees going one way, then another, tamping down the grass in front of us. When we finished, we stood and surveyed our handiwork. We had created a maze of trails in the tall grassy weeds! We felt the pride of a project engineer who has just completed a complex paving project. With delight, we tromped through the trails we had made. We felt like pioneers who had just found the way through a vast wasteland. It was pure bliss!

My mind drifted back. I was almost to school now. Just seven more hours and I could be back in my green field planning my next adventure. I could hardly wait!!

(As I read this story now, I recall that day so many years ago. Although its a simple tale, it is still vivid in my mind and it truly was blissful. This is just one memory from a very happy childhood. It really doesn’t take much to make an ordinary day turn into a joy to recall. Its the little things in life that mean the most. I’ve been blessed with so many happy memories! And yes, the field still exists!)

Stitches

Hi there! Its been awhile!Avatar Hi

I’ve been in stitches lately!! No, not the kind a doctor performs on you when you have an injury. I mean the kind that go on fabric!

I’ve been embroidering some kitchen towels for friends who have recently (pre-covid!) moved to Arizona. Hand embroidery is a slow process. You have slow down, consider each and every stitch to make sure it is in the position and the length that you want. It is deliberate, not random. You get into a rhythm and it becomes calming. I tend to think alot when I’m embroidering. In this case, I spent a lot of time thinking about the friends I was stitching this for. And then I began to think about other stitching projects I have made as gifts over the years and was surprised that there were quite a few I could remember. Most (not all) were happily accepted by the recipients.

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Embroidered gift for some friends

I thought a lot about my love of stitching. Stitching is actually a very broad term. In my definition, I would include: knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, cross stitch, hand sewing, hand quilting, and even machine sewing and quilting. If it involves needle and thread (or yarn), then to me its a type of ‘stitching’.  Over the years, I have dabbled in all of those types, some more successfully than others. And today my love for stitching continues as I seek new ways to use needle and thread.

I first learned to stitch by my Aunt when I was about 10 years old. My mother wasn’t much into any kind of sewing or stitchery, but my Aunt certainly was. She was especially good at sewing and made me many dresses. She taught me how to sew and how to knit and thus began my love of stitching. I’ve tried to instill this same love of sewing in my own nieces.

As I was thinking about the broader sense of stitching, I also reflected on how each day of life is stitched to the next, resulting in a cloth (or tapestry) of our lives. Remember the song “Tapestry” by Carole King?

Tapestry by Carole King

 

My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue,
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold

 

 

Along those lines, I came across a book called “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter. I just purchased it and am eager to get started reading!

Amazon describes the book this way:Threads of Life Book

“A globe-spanning history of sewing, embroidery, and the people who have used a needle and thread to make their voices heard

In 1970s Argentina, mothers marched in headscarves embroidered with the names of their “disappeared” children. In Tudor, England, when Mary, Queen of Scots, was under house arrest, her needlework carried her messages to the outside world. From the political propaganda of the Bayeux Tapestry, World War I soldiers coping with PTSD, and the maps sewn by schoolgirls in the New World, to the AIDS quilt, Hmong story clothes, and pink pussyhats, women and men have used the language of sewing to make their voices heard, even in the most desperate of circumstances.”

 

Imagine that! Over the centuries people like me have taken to stitching and used it for both practical purposes and as a way to tell their stories, even in the most difficult of times. It makes me feel like I am in good company when I am stitching!

I believe that stitching is not just a hobby. Its not just a craft. Its not only a creative outlet, but its an important way to communicate the stories of our lives, and in many cases to be handed down from generation to generation.

I recently saw a video by a black male Marine who is also a quilter! This guy is very macho and manly and certainly not a wimpy type. And he was proudly showing off some quilts he had stitched together! Stitching is for everyone!

I believe the world would be a better place if everyone was stitching!

Living in a Box

I was thinking about how I live my life mostly inside a building…a box! As I pondered that, I came to the conclusion that is not how God, our Creator, intended life to be.

I sit inside and gaze out the window enjoying the view of the pretty backyard. I enjoy seeing the greenery, the trees, the flowers, the birds and butterflies. I enjoy watching the feral cat making his rounds and eating the food we provide for him. Each day, I watch one of the birds steal a morsel of cat food. I’ve noticed the monarch butterflies are back. The citrus trees have buds on them.

But just perhaps I was created to not just be an observer from looking through a window. It’s almost the same as looking at a tv screen…just watching. I think I am meant to be out there experiencing all this wonderfulness first hand. To feel the breeze on my skin. To get my hands into the dirt. To look up to the sky and feel the warm of the sun on my face. To kick off my shoes and feel the cool green grass on my bare feet and let them bond with the earth. I think they call this ‘earthing’. And yes, its a THING!

So here I am living in a house…which is a box. I think God meant for us to have shelter, of course. But not to spend the majority of our life stuck inside and peering out.

And that’s not the only box I live in! As humans, we tend to categorize people…its our way of defining each other.

The biggest box I am in besides the house is “the old lady” box. I look the part. And although I try not to, I suppose I act the part too! I have physical limitations now that I didn’t have when I was younger. Some things are just not as easy to do as they used to be. That’s part of being in the old lady box. Being invisible is another part. What I mean is that old people are often just not noticed….not noticeable. The only people I see taking notice of me these days are other old people who are probably making comparisons to see if they look better than I do. Hey, I do that too, so I know!!

I imagine I’m in a bunch of other boxes too. But that’s a thought for another day.

Right now I’m wondering how hard it is to break out of these boxes. Before its too late and I end up in the final box.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table and looking out the window. I just saw that bird steal some cat food. I think I better go outside and do some earthing while I still can!

Contentment

I’m sitting on a beach chair on the grass in the backyard. I have kicked off my flip flops, drinking a glass of Chardonnay, and enjoying the weather on this mid-July day. The cool grass is soft and refreshing on my bare feet. In fact, I am ‘earthing’, which is to say my body is in direct contact with the earth and hopefully those good earth vibes are flowing into me. For the uninitiated “Earthing (also known as grounding) refers to contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors .”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

I have also been bonding with “Jackie”, the feral cat who seems to have adopted us. (I assume Jackie is a ‘her’). Jackie’s ear is clipped, which means she should have been spayed and so I should not be concerned about the little pudge around her middle!!

The weather on this day is simply glorious! At 4:15pm is it a perfect 75 degrees. Where I sit, I see a very blue sky and lots of green in the backyard. Thanks to the weekly gardener, this backyard is lovely. The Lily of the Nile flowers are fading, as is the hydrangea, but the bougainvillea has fresh flowers and some roses are ready to open up.

My focus is on the charming house view, the contented cat doing her preening (after she rubbed herself all up and down my legs), the crows cawing, and the butterflies doing their haphazard fly/dance around the yard.

This is serenity! This is bliss! And this is what contentment looks like!

Choices in 2019

Image result for choices

 

Its been quite awhile since I’ve written here. Someone mentioned to me today that they missed my writing. Imagine that! So here I am, writing to see what comes out of my head, because I have no plan. So lets see what words come tumbling out and see if they end up making any sense.

Its January 1, 2019. The old calendars have been removed and new ones are now in their places. January 1 represents a fresh start – a clean slate – a new beginning to make each day as good as it can be. It represents hopes and dreams for the days ahead and I enter 2019 with optimism. I realize that each and every moment of my life is filled with a choice!  I can do this – or I can do that. I can think this way – or I can think that way. I can eat this food – or I can eat that food. I have choices and each choice carries my life in the direction chosen.

For 2019 I am not making any resolutions because I never can keep them. But if I can just do one thing, it would be to take each moment and THINK about the choice I have to make right then and there. And if I make the better choices, then my life will be better for it.

And that’s what I’m thinking on this first day of January 2019. I hope to make the best choice in each moment.

A Visit to Wales

The following is taken mostly as I recorded it in my journal. I hope it makes sense!

 

Wales! Wales is so different from England. It is hilly and rocky with trees and sheep. It looks wild and wonderful. Lots of wonderful walking and hiking opportunities.

Where do I start? We stopped in Llangollen (  http://www.new.llangollen.org.uk/) for lunch and a brief look around the town and shops. At the very last minute before boarding the tour bus, I found a quilt shop! So I purchased some fabric with the Welsh flag and another piece with images of London. I hope I can find something from Scotland when we get there so I can make some kind of memory quilt.

We passed through Snowdonia National Park and the scenery was spectacular! Rough terrain, high hills (or mountains), and rocks. Everywhere rocks. I guess a glacier passed through this area eons ago and deposited the rocks. (You can learn more about this stunning place at this link: http://www.eryri-npa.gov.uk/home )

snowdonia

Tonight we go to a home-hosted dinner with a Welsh family in Caernarfon. We are taking a set of corked back wooden coasters from home as a hostess gift.

The Welsh in-home dinner experience…..

The tour company we are traveling with (Grand Circle) has a tradition that somewhere on each trip the traveler will be invited into a local home for a lite meal or a traditional dinner. It’s a wonderful way to meet some local people and find out about their life and culture.

On this trip, our home visit was in the town of Caernarfon, Wales.  http://www.caernarfononline.co.uk/

A friendly Welsh driver took us six of us in a passenger van and delivered us to Bryn Carrog, the home of our hosts for the evening.

photo 2 (1)

I’ve been on these home hosted visits before and you never know what to expect. Sometimes the hosting family does not speak English, sometimes, the food is of poor or questionable quality, or sometimes it just doesn’t work…for any number of reasons.

So when we were delivered to Bryn Carrog, I held my breath.

We were warmly greeted by our hosts. They were smiling and seemed genuinely happy to greet us to their home. They live in a house that was originally built in the 1860s. The house has been well maintained and updated, with some modern rooms added on. The house and décor matched the owner’s personality perfectly…a very inviting, warm and cozy atmosphere. The house was decorated with cheerful colors, artwork, and other treasures collected from all over Europe. I noticed a lot of hearts, which I think also reflects the personality of the owners.

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What down to earth people! They immediately made us all feel comfortable and at home. They wanted to know about us and how we live as much as we wanted to know about them and their culture. I just loved to hear them talk. They spoke very good English, of course, but it was so charming to hear their Welsh accent and especially the way they roll their ‘rrr’s’.

Let me introduce the family as best I can. The husband and wife have been married for 24 years. He works for the county making sure that the over 150 county buildings are well maintained and secure.

The wife is a fantastic cook, who also has a great ability to make the home warm and welcoming. She works part-time for the local school and tutors a child.

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(Note: The green stuff in the picture above is mashed peas. They were very tasty!)

They have two sons. The 19 year old is studying geography in his first year at the local university. The studies are all done in the Welsh language. He works part time in the local 5-star hotel. The other son is 16 years old and he is a singer. He takes voice lessons and sings in two choirs.

Most years, the family takes a four-week vacation to continental Europe. They have a motor home and enjoy traveling around the various European countries. They are not sure how much longer they will do this, since their sons are old enough to make other plans during vacation season.

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The visit with them is a trip highlight for me! Good food, good conversation, and laughter. And the grand finale was the younger son singing a Welsh folk-song to us. We were captivated by his voice and his willingness to entertain six strangers from the United States.

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What a charming family. What a wonderful evening!