Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Daddy took little darling to the fair, and bought a ticket to the trampoline.

Ten dollars for a chance to fly!

His eyes told what his words never would ... it was worth every cent.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Through a tunnel of buildings stands the majestic Federal Palace in Bern.

I call out to my son: We should go see that up close!

But we grew distracted with the shops and general busyness along main street until it was time to catch our train and speed toward home.

One week later we kick ourselves. Why did we miss that? How could we forget to see the main attraction?

A relatively unsightly alley leads to a different Palace, and it is easy to miss it; it is even easier to consider the road hence as dark, lonely, oppressive.

But something looms there, something beautiful and worth embracing. Let us go that way.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

something comes from living the uprooted life: knowing
that seed will settle and grow
with time
rain comes and
sun shines after welkin drapes.

try to believe it – though you are in
a fog.
don’t despair.
your heart will dry before it buds:
it is the law of nature. hush, you know
it’s true.

let it come upon you – as it has come upon others, me.
duly decompose.
there’s no resisting what time will do –
stubborn as it is.

and when you think you’re destined for the humus pile
surprise yourself
and see

how beautiful you bloom.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On a recent trip to the south of France, she took this lovely shot ...

... and this one.

I'm so glad she found her way home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

heads for sale

A shop window bears an odd resemblance to the prevailing philosophy of the modern world: selling hearts for pennies, trading beauty for personal gain.

If it had its way, the world would make each of us just another head.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

If you don't like winter sports in the old country ... your life is a bust.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A stormy day at the lake found me wandering down tiny plank avenues, watching coot feed their young with the grasses that grow in their watery underworld.

They hid between the boats and called to one another...

...lost and separated among barques when they would do better to stick together in this giant world.

If you hear me chirping, do come quickly.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Some say I'm naive, looking at people through a filter of tolerance. Where is your dark side? Oh.... I have one, not to fear. It is perhaps darker than you'd like to think.

But not when it comes to the people I see. At those times I'd rather live in a garden, where every flower and weed has its place in my world. And if that's the definition of naive, I can assure you that I know how to wield my thorns should you come snipping off my buds.

In this garden ... everyone is free.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We were outdoors picking berries, Russian and me, and not saving a single one for anybody else. Just picking and eating, picking and eating - when we saw two apples lying on the ground under the apple trees. Mind you... our two apple trees are tiny, and our crop is modest. There are just enough apples for everyone to have one.

And yet, here were two whole apples lying on the ground! A third of our overall crop! We picked them up and stared, puzzled. Now, how could this happen? Two sets of identical teeth prints on each apple? What in the world?

I popped them in my apron pocket and brought them to the dinner table later that night. The inquisition began... and then the protests.

"No, no! It wasn't me! I never touched the apples. I don't know how an exact replica of my teeth prints got on there. MAYBE IT WAS A FOX WHO HAS THE SAME ONES!"

And here I was thinking we'd schooled them in the art of honesty when they were little. We are officially CSI investigators. CSI Switzerland investigating apple theft.

An explanation finally did surface and this is what it was: "The first bite is always the best. Plus, it was sour so I tried another one... but that was equally sour. So I just gave up."

And wasn't I lamenting their absence just yesterday? ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For Beebe:

Freeze for just a minute, will you?
Speak of something in your heart.
Tell a joke – a silly story
Before with age you part.

Bring a little earthy boyness
Help de-dull-ify my world.
Pass a bit of youthfulness, please,
Through sticky fingers curled.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to school for little hands and feet, for little minds and hearts.

Each were off to different schools this morning and for two of them, the day is an unknown. Last night were little girl tears of apprehension, and teenage outbursts of irritation; both from the same source, unbeknownst to them: fear.

I listened and smiled by turn, shaking my head in understanding and confessing my own apprehensions of the fifth and tenth grades. Minds relaxed and the choking fear subsided into a gleeful giggle as the smell of pancakes and the glow of candle lighted an early morning start.

But they will never know the howling of quiet that blows through this house as I tidy up in their wake. They will never know the surprising emptiness that follows the departure of their demanding intensity.

I click on the dishwasher and throw cloth napkins in the wash; I open windows to air out, plump pillows and wipe down bathrooms. And still, a paralyzing fear creeps up my own back, as it has crept upon women for generations before me; a paralyzing fear that here, in this new silence, there is no one needing you. And kindly neighbors call out your liberation - you smile and nod - of course they're right!

And yet the rain falls outside my window as it falls inside my heart, and this plank of future becomes mine to walk.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world.

-- Rumi

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friendship Mitts on the needles today and no, I'm not hankering for fall! I needed something mindless to keep my hands busy and this is just the thing.

Notice my deluxe stitch markers; made with love by dad and the envy of many a knitting friend. Every time I move one from left to right as I go round and round I think of him peering through his tiny glasses making the beads just right. And then my knitting looks more beautiful to me, and my heart swells and bursts as love pours out into the yarn. When they're finished I give them away - and all that swelling and bursting and pouring moves farther into the world, one person at a time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is better than eating summer corn? Why, shucking it of course!

I wish these deep summer sighs would last.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking at life through my own Sweet Peas makes the things I have look so much more valuable. A presence in the kitchen, pressing tiny hands into bread dough; outside that window, boys play in rare washes of sunlight.

Silence leaves room for human voices, and welcomes laughter and thought; it opens gardens where eyes meet and hearts lock; where love is given the strength to get up yet one more time to dust cheeks with good night kisses.

This tiny life seems quite wonderful, after all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ever planted Swiss Chard in your garden and not known what to do with it? This recipe is an original handed down to me by a sweet Swiss woman. I learned in her kitchen, under merciless scrutiny!

Here's Esther's recipe for Summer Swiss Chard:

First, season and brown ground beef until done.

While it's cooking, wash and chop the chard (leaves and stalks, please). Boil these in salted water for about five minutes or until white pieces are tender. Drain.

Whip up a bechamel sauce to a thick consistency, season to taste, and add drained and boiled chard.

Line a pan with the ground beef, pour the bechamel melange over the top and - as a good Swiss sous-chef always does - cover the entire thing with Raclette cheese, or any good cheese that melts well.

Pop it in the oven until the cheese gets melty and starts to bubble.

Bon appétit!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Philip Gulley writes in Home to Harmony:

"Thus are the changes wrought in a man's life - that courage is treasured more than comfort and, in that choice, victory is gained."

The first time hubby asked me to drive his Vespa, he took me to a roundabout and nearly got us both killed. I wouldn't take to the driver's seat for years after that.

But I've been bothered by the fact that I didn't get back on the proverbial horse...and yesterday was my day to do it.

This is my first official Vespa lesson - in a parking lot this time - and after thirty minutes of training, I was already speeding up to 40 km/hr and stopping short, zig-zagging around apples he'd strategically placed in the street. My ultimate goal is to fly around town in a little summer skirt and sandals ... dreaming of Rome and other "exotic" cities that speak to a Vespa-paradise. (Let me have my fantasy, people!).

Courage, did you say? I'll post again the day I get my license!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A chapel sits beside the inn, housing an intricate scale model of Lucelle's once thriving monastery. Naturally, we had to go inside!

Three stained glass windows reminded me of some of the images Randy has been posting from Santa Fe. http://santafedailyphoto.blogspot.com/ (I'm sorry... I don't know how to paste a real link. Help, anyone?).


Can you identify the saints? I would love to know who they are.

And then we golfed ... in the courtyard just adjacent to the holy sanctuary. Have I told you how much I love France?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In the backwoods of France, quite on the Swiss boarder, is an old coaching inn. And since we've been having such rainy (depressing) weather, we thought we'd drive up to see it.

Switzerland is not green by happenstance - it is green because it RAINS!

In the courtyard behind the inn is a miniature golf course - French style. That means that things are not bolted down with precision made high-quality stainless steel parts, and that if your kids trip over things and hurt themselves... Ah bon? Fallait faire attention!

The French put beauty and charm over functionality. They are not, as the Swiss would say, "always very practical"!

Thank goodness.

I always leave France wondering why I waited so long to come back!