Tuesday, April 28, 2009


My Chive babies wanted to meet you. Hello.

A Stormy Spring Evening

"Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things- with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope."
~ Corazon Aquino

We're inside now, Charlie T. and I, and we're fully enjoying this evening storm. Won't you join us as we sip raspberry sangria tea, read magazines, and listen to the plip-plop of the raindrops?

As the storm approached, Little Peep and I took a stroll through the lawn. We noticed some of the bushes, shrubs, and trees beginning to show some signs of life. Ever the adventurous ones, we took off with the camera, in full hopes of capturing these blooming delights before their warm springtime shower.

We came across this little guy. How he managed to settle in along the sidewalk, we have no idea. But, we're glad he did. Even if he's the only one, he's pretty sweet and a welcome addition to the habitat on Dott Avenue. Against the stormy sky, he almost looks as if he's glowing. Or, perhaps he's just happy to share a pad with us.

As if begging for a drink, the Sand Cherries turned up their tiny faces, smiling at the sky and showing their lovely delicate petals. It's amazing how beautiful they are if one takes the time to truly study their intricate features. Sand Cherries- it's good to see you again.

Although these pollen packers make me sneeze, they also cause me to travel down memory lane. You see, a few years ago when Chad-o and I were just friends, he was contemplating cutting down this delightful maple tree. Being that I'm a huge fan of vegetation, I did my best to persuade him against it. Realizing that my highly-honed debate skills were failing to produce the necessary results, I went into Rachel Carson mode. I climbed the tree and stayed there. I named the tree. I called him Terrance. Thankfully, all my antics worked. To this day, Terrance goes by no other name, provides me with peaceful shade, and houses my little friend the tail-less squirrel. (It's honestly true!)

And, it also appears as if Miss Crab Apple is making her annual appearance. How adorable are her delicate pink blossoms?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Slice of Heaven

"It is always the simple that produces the marvelous."
~ Amelia Barr

Twas a beautiful day for a ride, and the perfect day to pay a visit to my favorite place.

Tucked away at the junction of the Youghiogheny River, the Casselman River, and Laurel Hill Creek is the tiny, quiet town of Confluence. It's beyond special to me for many reasons, and as soon as I cross the "whistle bridge," as we so affectionately named it many moons ago, I am filled with a sense of peace and calm. Someday, I just might live there.

Today, was the seasonal opening of my favorite restaurant, The River's Edge Cafe. If a more serene place exists, I'd love to see it. Do yourself a favor and take a weekend jaunt to this historic town. I promise that you will be greeted with beautifully crafted homes (some in need of much love), welcoming bed and breakfasts, down to earth people, natural, old-fashioned landscaping, and the best sweet potato fries you'll ever eat.

If you're extra kind, and bring along your own loaf of stale bread, it's quite possible you'll make friends with one of the many delightful duckies that patrol the river. They quickly befriend those toting any type of carbohydrate treat.

The sweet joys of simple days with my favorite people.

Much Love,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Chamomile Grows

"Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy."
~Astrid Alauda

Imagine my excitement when my eyes saw these tiny green sprouts today. You see, they were just planted on Saturday. Obviously, my thumb gets greener by the minute.

Therefore, according to my calculations, chamomile seeds germinate in 3 short days. Amazing. I need to plant more, as they are quite kind to my gardening ego.

Along with the chamomile, I also planted seeds for basil, chives, thyme, and rosemary. From what I've read, it's more difficult to grow herbs from seed, but naturally, I have chosen the path of most resistance. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Shamrock Plant

"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into."
~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

I bought this interesting plant as a gift for me on St. Patrick's Day. Nothing quite as classy as buying yourself a present, huh?

It just so happens that I'm completely and totally in love with my purple shamrock plant. It sits, quietly perched, on the kitchen counter and never utters a word when I sneak chocolate chips from the baking cupboard, or gummy bears from the candy drawer. She's a marvelous secret-keeper...

Every now and then, she yields the prettiest white flowers. The contrasting colors prove quite stunning and make me love her that much more.

Good night, dear shamrock plant. I heart you.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby Tree

"We can learn a lot from trees: they're always grounded, but never stop reaching heavenward."
~Everett Mamor

Check out this cutie little Maple Tree. Chad-o found it in the yard last week and brought it in to show me because the "helicopter" was still attached. He knows the child in me delights in these small wonders of nature. As luck would have it, by the time I got around to taking this photo, the crispy brown pod had detached. Nonetheless, I decided to give my baby tree a blog shout out. I'd like to see how big I can get it to grow. If I'm successful, perhaps I'll find a serene spot and give it a permanent home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Things Are Bloomin, Bloomin

"The 'amen' of nature is always a flower."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Come with me. Won't you join me on an early evening walk through my yard? We'll pretend we're gently sauntering along the garden path, while drinking fresh lemonade, or perhaps, homemade sangria.

Hooray for the forsythia! Finally, finally, finally, they are beginning to emerge. Don't you just love their yellow faces?

Not to be outdone by it's sunny neighbor, the white primrose decided to showcase some of it's lovely star-centered blooms.

And of course, there's the hosta, slowly poking through the damp soil.

Yes-sir-ree. The yard at 403 is a happening place, full of quiet activity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let the Sun Shine

"To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring."
~George Santayana, American Philosopher

Oh Spring, Oh Spring, where art thou? It would be really nice to see your sweet, warm face and feel the gentle breeze blow through the air. I'd love to start taking afternoon walks with the puppy, or enjoy an evening stroll with my honey pie.

But, alas, winter continues to hold my flippies and shorts and little seedlings hostage. How they would relish the opportunity to venture out of stuffy closets, tightly packed drawers, and makeshift greenhouses. Shine sun, shine- You can do it!

No, I'm not hopelessly in love with Spring. I'm just in the mood for a change of pace. Plus, these pussy willows are so looking forward to being firmly planted in a sunny outdoor location. Although peaceful and content on the shelf above my desk, they are excited for a more organic home. They are ready. They told me so today.

What do ya say, Mr. Golden? Will you come out and play? (pretty please, with a cherry on top)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Knitting, Coffee, and a Puppy

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
~Robert Brault

It's a dreary day and it also happens to be the last day of Easter vacation. Charlie T. and I decided it would be a perfect day for knitting. We've been cuddled up and knitting this curly whirly scarf for the past few hours.

I have a thing for scarves. Actually, I have an entire drawer in my dresser devoted to them. The drawer has become so full that my closet now has numerous ones draped over hangers or hiding out under winter coats.

I think it's still raining or drizzling or misting. Whatever it's doing outside doesn't really matter. We're quite cozy in here-- drinking coffee and knitting like grannies.

Yesterday, my mama and I enjoyed a day out. We visited some of our favorite haunts, but spent hours at Kathy's Kreations in Ligonier where we were enveloped into a world of yarns and wonder. Looking at the cute little puppy in the above photo, you'd never imagine that she'd sneak into my knitting bag and chew my bamboo needles. No. Not a chance. Not her. (wink*)

Imagine my happiness and surprise when I found a used bin of knitting needles in search of a new home! And, to make matters even better, they were only 50 cents a pair. Lucky me!

Monday, April 13, 2009

So Long, Farewell...

"What I like, or one of the things I like, about motoring is the sense it gives one of lighting accidentally, like a voyager who touches another planet with the tip of his toe, upon scenes which would have gone on, have always gone on, will go on, unrecorded, save for this chance glimpse. Then it seems to me I am allowed to see the heart of the world uncovered for a moment."
~Virginia Woolf, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, 1927.

Ruby has been replaced. Ruby, you see, was my ride.

But she was so much more than a red metal body with two sets of wheels. She was my transportation, my therapist, my trusty little friend.

There was a time when my red car could have told you more about the events in my life than the people closest to me. She listened to long cell-phone conversations that often included fights and make-ups. She patiently drove along as I attempted to solve problems by talking aloud to myself. She would glide along country roads while I sang insanely loud and cried or celebrated the current major life event.

Dear Ruby kindly put up with me listening to my favorite songs over and over again. She was fine with the fact that I used her trunk as a storage facility and rarely cleaned it out. She was even alright with the fact that I drove her way to fast and took turns much to sharply.

Yes, she was a pretty good pal and I'm quite certain I'll miss her.

Thanks, my dear, you've been there through it all. You will be missed.

RIP, Ruby
August 2001-April 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lovely Day

"Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life."
~Katherine Fullerton Gerould

Today, the road ahead of me was wide open. I had an entire day to do whatever it was that would please my soul.

Naturally, there were a few errands, but it was rejuvenating to cross them off my list. Plus, now I officially do not lead a double life. Finally, after 9 months of marriage, I went to the Social Security office and changed my name. I guess there was a small part of me just couldn't imagine being someone else.

I also made a completely random stop at the Erbe Shoppe. I only wish you could go. The place is so quaint and charming and makes you want to move to a cottage in the woods where you can plant your own garden, admire your flowers, sip tea on a shady porch, and cook all your meals using organic, homegrown goodies.

The shoppe is quite tiny, really. It's probably not any bigger than your bedroom. However, it's stuffed to the gills with all kinds of herbal treats; loose teas, handmade,natural soaps, essential oils, baggies of fresh herbs, books, jellies and jams, coffees, and tons of cute trinkets.

Plus, I met the kindest, most interesting man. He's a lawyer uptown. Apparently he visits the little shop everyday for a cup of tea and some conversation with the owner, Ann. He walked all around the store with me, pointing out this and that, suggesting his favorite teas, and talking about life. I really enjoy being around people like that. Real, honest, kind people. People without an agenda. People who can loose themselves in the art of conversation. So rare these days, don't you think?

While talking, exchanging stories, and choosing teas, the squawking and tweeting of some nearby birds caused a mild disturbance. The three of us (me, the owner, and my new pal) went outside to investigate. Above the door, directly under the sign, a mama bird was tending to and nurturing her eggs.

The owner went on to inform us that this bird has been making her home above the bay leaves and under then sign for more than five years. None of us could identify the species of our feathered friend, but found her to be highly entertaining to watch and listen to.

It was a good day. I picked up a few new teas, purchased two vanilla beans (one for the sugar dish and one to make extract with), found some nifty soaps, sampled a remarkably delicious bar of Belgium dark chocolate, and enjoyed some simple and refreshing conversation with two of the nicest people.

Then, I got in my rickety red car and went for a drive. I took this picture while cruising along a road in Zehnerville. Isn't it just a lovely day (grin)?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Showers...Bring a trip to Buy Flowers!

"Who loves a garden loves a greenhouse, too."
~ William Cowper

I celebrated the first of April by visiting the greenhouse. Lucky me, I pass it to and from work everyday. It always tempts me, but today I gave in. I wanted to buy Mrs. Wilson a purple shamrock plant for her super-sweet generosity. You see, she has been so kind as to share many of her plant cuttings with me. Thanks to her, I have quite a nifty little collection.

The greenhouse proved an invigorating stop. I could have spent hours browsing the isles and hundreds of dollars on seeds, hanging baskets, and the gorgeous hydrangeas. They honestly were perfect...so perfect they looked artificial.... (I would have photographed them, but people were already looking at me strangely. I was balancing three plants, a purple shamrock, and attempting to steady my camera. Obviously, I was not your typical flower shopper...)


"A torn-up book is rarely dusty."
~ author unknown

This week I witnessed something wonderful. Actually, it both fascinates and excites me.

I have an entire classroom full of pre-teen girls who are completely and utterly obsessed with the Twilight series of books. It has been brewing for quite a while, but Monday brought the eruption of the volcano. Thank you, Stephenie Meyer, for providing my students with an outlet that shows the true joy of reading.

After I gave into the madness and read the first book in the series, I started to share with my students how much I enjoyed the book. I told them bits and pieces of the plot, careful not to give any of the "good stuff" away. I would preach about my favorite characters and how I wanted a red truck like Bella's.

Well it seems that they, too, have been bitten by the vampires. And, personally, I couldn't be happier.

Every morning my girls come running (literally) into my classroom, where they proceed to give me a very long synopsis of what they read the night before. I listen and nod and smile and comment and we bond. It's a great way to have dialogue with adolescent girls.

Even the boys have been bitten. They pick at the girls and make fun of Edward and Jacob, but the funny thing is they actually know about them and haven't even read the books.

For better or worse, they are subject to constant chatter about Edward and his silver Volvo, Jacob and Bella's time at LaPush, and the ever present battle about who is hotter: Jasper or Emmet. It's honestly hilarious to listen to. I wish you could hear it. I always jump into the conversation, adding my two cents and stirring the pot.

Monday morning brought many jealous girls as two of my students started off the week with Twilight tote bags. They proudly carried their notebooks and folders into room 11 in style. The envy was apparent as the other girls flocked to check out the new goods. Naturally, they all plan to get their own this weekend.

Since Monday we have started a Twilight collection in the room. We are making a collage of Twilight memorabilia. We have pictures, magazine articles and photos, t-shirts, tote bags, computer printouts, bookmarkers etc. I revel in the excitement-- they are talking about books!

When I think about all the children that have borrowed and read and enjoyed and passed my book on to the next student, I just couldn't be happier. I find true delight when I look at a book and it shows wear and tear.

I glance around my classroom at the numerous copies of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn and observe the ripped covers, curled pages, and cracked spines. I don't mind one bit.

This means they have been read. This means they have been loved.

(The above photos were taken in my classroom on Monday afternoon, as we attempted to make a quick collection of all items Twilight. I tried my best to capture the tote-bags, the aforementioned coveted accessory.)

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