Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A brighter rainy day

That's an oxymoron, I guess -'brighter rainy day'.
The redbud trees are still beautiful, even tho the pink blossoms are falling steadily, making rosy carpets on the ground under their limbs. Dogwoods are blooming nicely now that it's almost Eastertime. The spashes of white in the woods are so inspiring! All the flowering trees, cherry, etc, are adding color everywhere you look. It seemed like the Bradford Pear blossoms didn't last very long this spring, before the green leaves were popping out! I always wish they'd bloom for a longer time.

We kept the appointment with the tax reappraisal people last week, and had a good interview with a very nice clerk. She was as shocked at our reappraisal numbers as we were. Now the information we gave has been entered into the system (ah technology) and we're on hold until after April 20th, when we'll hear from the Assessor's office again.

The Buick repair has turned out to be not as overwhelming as first thought. It might even be affordable. Good news! I've enjoyed using hubby's van during my car's down-time, but it's much handier to have two vehicles available.

Now if the hospital bill and the doctors' bills would turn out as well...wishful thinking. Not a chance!

I am enjoying the blog posts that granddaughter Jessie has made recently. Her adventures in France are always interesting, and I go to the Atlas frequently to see where she's been or planning to go. Such fun! The Acadian history blogspot is fascinating. Every day there is something new to learn about those people who lived in Acadia during the 1700s, and to wonder how any of them survived the trials and hardships they were forced to endure. Like our own early settler ancestors - pioneers who traveled by wagon train, flat boats on the rivers, and walked from their coastal homes to literally break new ground in the 'west'... that is from the Carolinas to Tennessee and Mississippi. Could we do that today? I wonder.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mixed Bag

Yesterday, on my calendar, was to have been a Quiet day. NOT !

A welcome visitor to our front porch serenaded me with its lively tune all morning, as I worked on follow-up stuff for DAR. How do you describe a bird song with mere words? An internet site suggested "chirr-up, chirr-up..." but whatever description is given, nothing compares with the actual song. The little bird perched on top of the largest wind chime and sang its heart out for the longest kind of time ...until I disturbed him by going to the open front door to get a better look. The song was so cheerful and happy that I didn't even mind, too much, the 'calling card' he left on the porch floor.

From then on it was pretty much downhill the rest of the day. The 'verdict' on the Buick problem was not unexpected, but still to hear that your favorite vehicle is 'terminal' without major surgery is very disconcerting. The beautiful used car was my 75th birthday present from our children, and I have enjoyed every mile of its life since then. Now the dilemma is deciding if it's worth putting a whole new transmission in a car with its accrued miles, or not. And if not, how much to put into it to make it sellable? The Pollyanna in me is glad that the van is running nicely now, and we'll just adapt to being a one-car family for a while.

Then the County's four-year real estate property reappraisal notice arrived in the mail. Ludicrous, ridiculous, fantastic and just plain unreasonable. Whoever made the decision to increase the 'fair market value' of a 100-year-old house by over $100,000 must have been delusional. Just because there are 3 or 4 new houses built in the neighborhood last year (and still unsold), that should not affect our old house/property so adversely. Other homeowners nearby are reporting huge increases in their property values, too...but none as drastic as ours. We have an appointment later this week to take our paperwork and pictures to the Assessors office to seek relief of some degree.

The rest of the beautiful spring Monday was lack-luster in comparison. How much stress can one day offer anyway? It was late afternoon before I oould get to my recliner to finish an excellent Fern Michaels book. That took my mind off everything else for about 60 pages!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thinking about things...

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

These words, in the song 'Sunrise, Sunset' from "Fiddler on the Roof" have been a favorite of mine for a long time. Having raised five children and been privileged to share in the lives of our eleven grandchildren, the words become more meaningful as time goes by.. and it goes by So fast these days. I truly don't remember growing older... so when did they?

Reading my dear friend Liz's thoughts about her approaching birthday the other day, got me to thinking more about 'aging' in general. I am blessed to have friends in every age group. I cherish my older friends and enjoy the youthful enthusiam of my 'younger' friends. It's contagious, you know. Hubby found a quotation recently: "Don't be concerned about growing old. Think how many don't have the privilege." Think about it.

Shifting gears -- we had a good DAR meeting yesterday, and accomplished a lot. Instead of inviting a guest speaker, each member present was asked to take 'no more than 5 minutes' to talk about herself - telling the others something we might not have known before. This idea came about when one of our longtime members died, and we realized how little we really did know about Sara. Rationale: we see each other at meetings, and then go our individual ways until next meeting. Most of us don't see each other in between times. So now we have shared some thoughts with each other in our Chapter, and learned much more than we knew before.

We're doing something similar in our Sunday School Class at church. When a member has a birthday during the coming week, he or she is given a few minutes to tell us more about him/herself. A dear friend celebrated her 86th birthday recently, and we were amazed at things she told about herself that we didn't know before. She said, I am "just Alice" to most people

The rain that accompanied us on the trip to the DAR meeting place soon abated and the sun was shining nicely by the time we finished the second meeting of the day -with the Huguenot Society. It was a full and busy day, but quite rewarding.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Pat's day and More

Since I really can't claim any Irish in my ancestry, I don't try to 'celebrate' today, but enjoy watching or hearing about the various activities of others.

There's always "something" to take care of when vehicles are concerned. This time it's the Van that's in the shop for repairs. When it is finished, we'll leave the car to find out what's causing the problems with it. YIKES, I dread the verdict on that one.

Since my last post I've started two books by familiar authors, only to decide to leave them both. They just didn't appeal to me. Instead, I picked up another Carolyn Hart "Death on Demand", which is a lot more fun to read.

I've been invited to read and follow (if desired) two new blogspots. Both are very interesting, so I did sign on as a 'follower'. One is a fascinating History of Acadia and Le Grande Derangement (the expulsion of Acadians from their homeland by the British rulers in power) of 1755. I never cared much for history of any era when I was in high school. I took the required courses and got good grades, but that was it. In college, I did not care at all for the required "Europe to 1600"... really ancient history to me. I think I passed that course too, but really don't recall. NOW, however, with my avid interest in Genealogy, history follows along beautifully and is fascinating.

The other blogspot comes from my first cousin's daughter's group that's connected wtih RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). Lili is leading a group of students on a research trip to India to study the environment. This one is interesting - even fascinating - though far above my head. The blog describes their study and preparatory work prior to starting the trip and the research. I am Impressed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mitch Albom

When I saw that "Tuesdays with Morrie" was published in 1997, I thought I was probably 10+ years behind the times. But that book is Timeless. No matter that I didn't read it until now. I was quickly drawn into the mood of Morrie and Mitch and their thought-provoking conversations.

I must admit, though, that I found Albom's other books first: "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "For One More Day". Given to my hubby by a friend, these two quickly captured my interest and imagination and held me captive to the last pages.

IF you haven't discovered Mitch Albom's books before now, I hope you will seek them out. They are stand-alone books, and the order in which they're read is of no consequence. Each is a jewel of special significance.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Ghost at Work"

Carolyn Hart’s 2008 mystery novel “Ghosts at Work” introduces Bailey Ruth Raeburn, a member of Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. Hart’s expertise in mystery writing makes each of her books an enjoyable adventure, and “Ghosts at Work” is another one.

Bailey Ruth is an emissary who returns to her small hometown in Oklahoma to help the pastor’s wife who is in “dire straits”. Wiggins, the stationmaster alternately helps and hinders Bailey Ruth’s work on earth as she works to solve a mysterious murder on the porch of the rectory.

This was an entertaining “willing suspension of disbelief” for me as I followed Bailey Ruth’s attempts to aid the police with whatever means seem plausible. She has a hard time remembering that emissaries from the Department of Good Intentions are cautioned about making “appearances”, and are warned never to use the term “ghost” in reference to themselves.

Now I really can’t wait for the next in the Bailey Ruth series from the pen of Carolyn Hart. This promises to be as good a series as Hart’s “Death on Demand” and “Henri O” has proved to be.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I didn't really 'wander lonely as a cloud' this morning but I saw "A host, of golden daffodils,... Fluttering and dancing in the breeze." No, I had a definite destination - the flower beds that flank our front walk - for the purpose of gathering another handful of those beautiful flowers.

With apologies to Poet Wordsworth for lifting a few lines, I think of that poem whenever I look out at the daffodils (aka jonquils/buttercups) in our yard.

They survived the many inches of snow this past weekend and seemed to thrive under the covering. Indeed, I had to shake some snow from some of the petals I picked this morning to grace our dining room table. Those brave blossoms tell me that spring in coming, if not already here. The forsythia in the corner of our front yard is gloriously golden, as well. There are a few grape hyacinths peeking up through the detritus of winter, and I am amazed at their survival.

These cheerful harbingers serve to lift spirits, when spirits really need the boost.

Temperatures are climbing nicely today, as promised, from an early below freezing mark to mid-40s now, with higher numbers expected by afternoon. I'm looking forward to the FRIENDS meeting today, and later a 'dinner out' with a dear friend.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the buttercups in the dining room and in the front yard as long as they last.