Friday, June 14, 2019


 Erin was in town yesterday, and we had lunch at Retro 521 
in the East Bank District.  Delightful daughter and delicious lunch!


Outgoing Mail
 I took advantage of the back to include another 
Will Rogers' quote and stamp.

The Delray Beach Historical Society
will have a Snail Mail Camp
for the second year in a row!

Monday, June 10, 2019

And Away We Go

Mail:  I'm almost caught up with answering letters! 

Incoming Mail

Outgoing Mail 

Garden:  Still a work in progress, and I keep finding things I need or want to do.  It doesn't help that I keep looking at Pinterest gardens.  :)

Books/Reading:  I have a bunch of posts scheduled for my book blog because I get ARCs from publishers sometimes months in advance of publication, it is difficult to remember the book unless I go ahead and write and schedule a review quickly.  I'm not sure what that says about me, or at least I don't want to confront the possibility.

Family:  Mila is sixteen and now has her driver's license!  It is much more difficult to get a license now than it was when I was young, and I'm glad they are much more stringent.  Erin, Max, and Mila are among the volunteers greeting and handing out snacks and necessities to asylum seekers at the Greyhound Station as they pass through Baton Rouge.  

Amelia, Chris, and B.E. are in Italy for another week!  They seem like they've been having a great time!

For Fun--although true.

Friday, June 07, 2019


The aphids are already a problem on my milkweed plants.  I'm not sure why the aphids love the milkweed, but I don't find them anywhere else. I really hate those tiny little buggers, but at least I'm getting a head start on them, and I've noticed some helpers in my war against aphids--ladybugs.   

I'm seeing a few bees in the garden, but wait until the mint blooms--then the bees will come in great numbers.  At least I hope they will, because every year I worry that there will be fewer bees or even none to pollinate the flowers, fruits, and vegetables of the world.  

I love the following poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

The Human Bee by Carol Ann Duffy
I became a human bee at twelve,
when they gave me my small wand,
my flask of pollen,
and I walked with the other bees
out to the orchards.
I worked first in apples,
                                  climbed the ladder
into the childless arms of a tree
and busied myself, dipping and tickling.
duping and tackling, tracing
the petal’s guidelines
down to the stigma.
                             Human, humming,
I knew my lessons by heart:
the ovary would become the fruit,
the ovule the seed,
fertilised by my golden touch,
my Midas touch.
I moved to lemons,
                            head and shoulders
lost in blossom; dawn till dusk,
my delicate blessing.
All must be docile, kind, unfraught
for one fruit –
                 pomegranate, lychee,
nectarine, peach, the rhymeless orange.
And if an opening bud
                                  was out of range,
I’d jump from my ladder onto a branch
and reach.
So that was my working life as a bee,
till my eyesight blurred,
my hand was a trembling bird
                                             in the leaves,
the bones of my fingers thinner than wands.
And when they retired me,
I had my wine from the silent vines,
and I’d known love,
and I’d saved some money –
but I could not fly and I made no honey.

In the way that synchronicity works, I've been reading R. Allen Chappell's mysteries set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest.  The characters are Navajo and the setting is mostly on the Navajo reservation.  The first two are Navajo Autumn and Boy Made of Dawn, which I've reviewed on my book blog.  I love a good mystery, and these are excellent, but they are also informative about the Navajo people, their history, traditions, and culture.

Navajo Views on NatureThe Navajo Way never viewed religion as the activity that must be separated from daily encounter in life. The livings things (animals, people and plants) have been a great portion of the religion and their life. Everything has a purpose and spirit in their own world. The main intention for Navajo people is maintaining balance and peace and stay in harmony with nature and the world.  (Source)
Balance, peace, and harmony--admirable goals.  So as I was thinking about bees and the pollination of plants, I thought about the importance of corn pollen to the Navajo.

The Navajo word tádídíín is the word for corn pollen.
Tádídíín is a fundamental aspect of Navajo traditional culture. It comes from the tassels of a mature corn plant, and can only be collected by a female.
It is then blessed and used by all as the primary means of communicating with the Navajo Holy People. It is a conduit through which safety and happiness are assured, especially when one travels beyond the Navajo homeland (Dinétah).
It is a sweet-tasting yellow-colored powder that is commonly kept in small leather pouches.  (Source)
Where else does all this lead me.  I've been curious about the WWII Navajo Code Talkers for years.  When I finish all of R. Allen Chappell's mysteries, I will look for nonfiction accounts of the Code Talkers.

Back to bees, the importance of bees and the pollinating of plants cannot be underestimated.
P.S.  My cousin is a beekeeper.  :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

This and That

To counteract the depressing news, I've been gardening and playing upstairs with collage and clay--trying to avoid the negative influence of this crazy world.

We've had a great deal of rain this spring, which has been wonderful for the garden (including weeds) and gives me time to rest and recover from all of the activity.   On sunny days, the constant bending, digging, planting, weeding makes me stiff and creaky, and I rest more often than I did when younger.  I walk out in the morning full of energy and vigor, and come back in depleted and decrepit.  Recover.  Start again.  Wait for a rainy day to play inside.

I don't mind the rain, but the continuous threats of severe weather are problematic.

I love the seeds from the various maples.

The garden is shaping up.
I have much work ahead on other areas, but this section is getting there,
and this is the area I see when I sit outside.

Playing with paper clay
I started these figures a week or so ago, 
and when it rains or is just too hot and humid,
I get out the paper clay.


A few favorites that I've finished and have scheduled reviews closer to release date:  
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (fairy tale retelling & dystopian)
After the End by Clare Mackintosh (very different from previous books, but touching)
The Liberation of Paris by by Jean Edward Smith (nonfiction)

Fun fantasy authors:  Jeff Wheeler, Michael Sullivan, and Mary E. Pearson have great series that I devour greedily with each new installment.

Outgoing Mail

another little paper clip collage

Postcards to grands

Monday, April 29, 2019

Painting Rocks, Making Dragons, and Other Stuff

Annie's last letter mentioned that she was painting some Kindness Rocks.  I remember reading about the project, and since I have a pile of rocks that need to be hauled off AND Bryce Eleanor was coming on Saturday, I washed some and brought them inside.  Would she be interested, I wondered, in painting some?  

We ended up painting several and distributed three around the neighborhood on a late evening walk.  The rest she has taken home to place in her neighborhood.  

But then she wanted to play with clay...

dragon in progress

Dragon is now wrapped securely in plastic wrap with misting to keep him moist.  Hopefully, she can finish him next weekend.

Outgoing Mail

:) I've already used one of the book page
cut outs Connie sent me on Annie's letter below.

Thanks, Annie, for a timely suggestion on Kindness Rocks!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Catching Up on Mail

this card from Erin

beautiful postcard from Carla, a dear friend  




An ARC from NetGalley/St. Martin's Press:  The Long Call by Ann Cleeves.  A new series for the first time in twenty years.  I really liked it and look forward to the next one.

You Are What You Read by Jodie Jackson.  Nonfiction about the effect of the barrage of negative news and how to be more critical in your selection of news.  I'm trying to look for more solution based journalism--the kind that addresses problems, but also looks at possible solutions to them.  

and a bunch more because I can't help myself--I'm a greedy reader, mixing fiction and nonfiction; mystery, fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction.  Almost anything.

In between the terrible storms that seem to continue week after week, we have had some good gardening weather, and I've been taking advantage when I can.  Mostly weeding.

guara, and I've found 3 volunteers in the garden :)

 I wanted to catch her rolling around like a kitten,
but no, she doesn't want to show her less sophisticated side.

Hope most of you have avoided some of the terrible storms and are having a lovely spring!