Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lost in Paris

 I finished reading Dancing With Degas , Kathryn Wagner, the first of last week.   It was my favorite kind of book.  A book, when reading,  I can't wait to turn the page; when finished I find myself lost.

It was the kind of book, when finished, that sends me rushing out to the bookstore or the library to find the next wonderful read, knowing I won't enjoy my next selection quite as much.

I loved Dancing With Degas for the same reason I loved the movie "Midnight in Paris".  With each turn of the page I knew I would find someone familiar.   When watching "Midnight...."  I felt like it was I meeting up with the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Stein.  When the main character traveled even further back, I knew the moment they would meet up with Toulous Lautrec.

I unexpectedly found Renoir and Degas sitting at the same table.

While reading Dancing With Degas I followed Alexandrie's preparation and entrance into the Paris Opera Ballet, I walked the back streets of Paris and visited with Cezanne, Monet, Manet, and, of course, Degas along with other artist of the time.  Although fiction, I felt I was an active participant in intimate conversations between some of the great names in the artist community of the time.

Upon finishing I returned my book to the library and began browsing the stacks for my next great escape.  I knew, after depositing the book into the return slot, I should have turned around and walked away.  Instead, I returned home with three books in my bag.  I opened each one; read a couple of pages.  I stacked them, moved them from room to room and carried one or two of them to bed.   I returned them  to the library two days later without really ever beginning even one.

I received an email from someone who suggested I might enjoy Claude and Camille.  She continued to say she would be interested to know what I thought.

Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
I am hopeless!
By the end of the day the book was mine.

If you need me, you may find me strolling across Monet's Japanese bridge at Giverny.

I am once again lost in least for a few stolen minutes a day.

images are  my photos    
with the exception of the book cover 
via Goodreads

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Garden Dreaming

One weekend in February the local Master Gardner association hosts it's annual Flower and Garden Show.  It is always fun to walk around browsing and collecting inspiration and advice from those who garden for a living.  

This little fellow was the first thing I saw when we walked in the door.  Do you notice the tape and brown paper attached to the bowl?  That is a note marked SOLD along with my name.   While waiting for one of the attendants to find a cart to take him to the car for me,  several people stopped to tell me they had wanted him.  This happy little circus monkey has been relocated to my back patio.  (The plants were not included.)

Here are a few displays that caught my eye and started me dreaming.

I like the idea of the plants planted between the planks on
the hanging table.  I'm not for sure I would be able to keep
it up through the heat of the summer.
Possibly a one time tablescape for an event.

I can see spending an evening sitting here.  
Would like to join me?

When you run out of space on the ground...go up!
I would love to have this hanging succulent garden.

Do you see what drew me to this tabletop garden?

I bet you saw the books immediately.

This may be my favorite color combination this year.

I love these curly branches for interest.

I've been a little obsessed with trains lately.  

I hope you found something to inspire you this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

74 Degrees and Rising

Yesterday the mercury reached 74 ℉.  Today it is suppose to rise into
the 80s.  There is a strong wind, but it hasn't put a damper on my day.

I had to take a bit of a wellness walk.
The Forsythia buds are beginning to open.

The Quince is now in full bloom
and entertaining visitors.

The Meyer Lemon is even giving me reason to smile.
It is loaded with little lemons.
We will need to wait and see.

Tomorrow the high is suppose to be in the 50s,
with near freezing temps overnight.
I guess I haven't seen the last of evening fires.

I will be pulling out all the sheets and tablecloths
to cover the tender vegetation.

What a roller coaster ride we are on this winter.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rainy Weekend

“The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn't know how to read.” 
...Benjamin Franklin

We are expecting rain later this afternoon or in the early evening.  I actually thought it would start raining early and rain all day; I completed my errands early.   I'm involved with a book I would really love to curl up with and finish.

Dancing for Degas

I picked it up at the library a week or so ago.
The blurb on the cover read
"Like Tracy Chevalier, Wagner imagines how layers of meaning pervade works of art."  Publisher's Weekly

Placing Dancing For Degas in my book bag, I took the bait and headed over to find Tracy Chevalier.  I read The Girl With the Pearl Earring shortly after it was released; I liked it, but it wasn't a favorite.  I read Remarkable Creatures a couple of years ago and loved it.  I found Falling Angels waiting for me to pause and take it from the shelf.   I didn't find it spellbinding. I was, however, drawn in and compelled to continue to turn the page.  It was a good read.

Dancing for Degas, Katheryn Wagner,  has received mixed reviews (from readers).  So far I'm intrigued and look forward to continue reading.  You know I'll share my opinion when I finish.

Here are a few other books I've enjoyed over the past few months.
(I'm not going to try not to repeat any reviewed in earlier posts)

The Judges,  Eli Wiesel
It wasn't what I was expecting, but I found it intriguing.  Mr. Wiesel writes with a message.
The Ponder Heart, Eudora Welty
A story only Eudora Welty could successfully tell.  Loved it.
Daphne, Justine Picardie
Follows Daphne du Maurier's obsession with the Brontes.  It was a great book to read while traveling.  Made me want to pick up and reread something by the Brontes.  I am definitely going to reread Rebecca.
Isaac's Storm,  Erik Larson
This was a book group book and I was not looking forward to it; I had heard it was very technical.  It is an account of the hurricane that destroyed Galveston, Texas at the turn of the twentieth century.  I didn't find it overly technical at all.  I loved it.
The Gardener's Gripe Book, Abby Adams
An entertaining gardening advice book written by a non-professional.  If you've ever killed a plant,  wondered if growing a lawn is environmentally "green" or wondered why those flower seeds you threw out in you flower bed didn't come up creating the beautiful cutting garden you envisioned, you will love this how-to, or maybe how not to book.  A great book to whet your appetite for spring.

When I finish ".....Degas" I always have an ongoing project in my knitting basket.  Maybe there will be a wonderful movie to watch.....

What do you enjoy doing on a rainy day?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Life

The sun was out and shining brightly today.  Even though I would really like one nice blanket of snow, I am beginning to feel the itch for spring.  After school I did visit one of my favorite shops to browse.  I couldn't resist the pretty new colors and picked up a few fun things for my spring wardrobe.  I always love the first new things of the season.  It feels like the breath of "new life".

As I sat in the kitchen I noticed the winter honeysuckle blooming.  It is planted on the side of the house, and I don't always notice it when it blooms.

Of course, I grabbed the camera and headed outside.  While following Willie around I found "new life" all around me.

I told you the red camellias were ready to burst open.

The daffodils are a little droopy; I suspect from the little cold spell we had earlier this week.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed this is a bloom on the magnolia.
It will be it's first time to bloom.

Tonight while you are reading this I will be celebrating the expectation of  a "new life". 

I will be joining my school friends in hosting a baby shower for a very special woman.

Can you keep a secret?  
I'll show you what is in the package.

I'm a little partial to "spring babies".
(my baby was born in the spring)

There is "new life" all around me....
                                                             and I am truly blessed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just a Sprinkling

It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness.  We have no scar to show for happiness.  We learn so little from peace.  
...Chuck Palahniuk

We had our bit of snow this morning.  It began snowing and sleeting just after dawn.  The schools made their decision to close long before I woke.  The news reported it as our first snow storm.  It is mid February, I suspect it will be our only snow this year.  I would have loved more, but I will not be greedy.

The above quotation has absolutely nothing to do with snow, but it spoke to my heart.  Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  While you are bestowing valentine treats and wishes on everyone you love, I hope you will take at least one act of kindness, one spoken word, one special moment, be a little selfish and tuck it away somewhere to pull out when you need it most.  If we remember the joy that fills the heart when someone tells us we are loved,  maybe it will soothe the ache when they can no longer remember how to say the words.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

All Tucked In

These little guys come each evening just about dusk.  I love opening the front door and finding them all tucked in for the night.

We are nestled in for the night.  Sleep well!

In the Pink

Julie over at Monkey Grass Hill is giving away one of her beautiful necklaces in celebration of Valentines Day, her blog birthday and some good health news.  We all love good news don't we?

Julie is a talented and creative artist.  Her pieces are contemporary with a vintage feel.   I found Julie's blog about a year ago.  I discovered not only does she make beautiful jewelry, she has a beautiful heart as well.  I hope you will go over and say hi.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It's a Sunny Day

Yes, it was a beautiful sunny day today.  My pal Phil saw his shadow this morning, as did our wonderful construction paper groundhogs.  I wish you could have seen the excitement in the children's faces when they saw exactly what I have been telling them.  

Tradition tells us we will now have six more weeks of winter.  Long before there were weather satellites animals and insects were routinely used by farmers to aid in predicting planting time.  Supposedly they would gauge the arrival of spring by watching the hibernating animals, bears, groundhogs and woodchucks, waking up.  Many claimed they could judge the severity of winter by the fuzz on caterpillars; the fuzzier the caterpillar, the colder the winter.   Now we have high tech instruments to forecast weather trends.  I'm not for sure they are any more accurate.  They certainly are not as much fun.

While Phil has returned underground for a longer nap things are awakening behind my garden gate.

The pink Camellias are almost spent.  They have been blooming since late December.  The reds are ready to burst open.  Camellias usually bloom this time of year.  I'm not worried about a cold snap hurting them.

Both shrubs have been suffering from a blight, bug or something for a couple of years.  Until this past summer both were in containers.  They did very well for several years and then stopped blooming.  Roger was ready to send them to the garbage heap until I came home from a nursery trip with a picture of a price tag from a comparable size shrub.  He finally agreed they were worth trying to salvage.  We planted them in the ground and they both flourished.  Well, except as I said, they do have something going on.   I've been treating it with a systemic to no avail.  Once the blooms are gone I am hoping to find a cure and have healthy plants by the next blooming season.

 The Hellebore are loaded with blooms.  

The Quince is blooming.
I would love to say the Lilac is ready to bloom as well, but it fooled me last year.  I was so excited by what I thought were blooms.  Alas, I did not have a single flower.  I was so disappointed.  I am not expecting much with with the mild winter we are having.  I am after all on the wrong side of the border for successfully growing lilacs anyway.  

I must say seeing things beginning to emerge and bloom does whet my desire to to start digging in the dirt.  I'm still holding out for just a little snow.