Another Week-end Wrapped Up

We arrived back at Sonnystone early afternoon Thursday.  You can read about our trip at My Travel Blog.  Wink had traveled very well, (even alerting us to bear outside the camper one night!) but was glad to get back to his old box, as were we.

Saturday was Olivia’s Dance Recital (as well as the Preakness, which did not turn out well, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  She has really improved and this year was her best.  In fact, the whole (half) of the recital that I watched was better than the last few.  It’s tough to get dancing pictures from the cheap seats without blur, but here’s my best of her best…


Didn’t I warn you about what happens when we go off-grid?  While we were in the Smokies, the news cycle was Spinning, and when I came out of the no-news-zone it took several hours of reading to catch up with the chaos.  I’m glad I missed it in real time.  Reading it all summed up was anxiety-producing enough…  Of course, those of you who watch faux news 24/7 don’t have any idea what I’m talking about…

Busy week ahead.   The garden is growing strong.  Check out the photos at My Garden Blog.  Until we meet again…

Peace

 

Week-end Update

I bet the winner at the Kentucky Derby across the board, but he wasn’t the horse I was rooting for.  I’ll take my winnings, however bittersweet.  Preakness next….

After the monsoons let up—I thought it would take forever—I scrambled outside to the garden (visit Growing Every Season–my gardening blog),  stopping only to celebrate my #2 grand-daughter’s #9 birthday.

Olivia Mayne Casey, birthday Queen

We’re packing up for a few days,  trailer trippin’ to Cades Cove campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I’ve got a hankerin’ to hike back to Laurel Falls.   We’re still learning about dry camping, and Wink will be coming along, so it’s kind of a science experiment, too.  We never tire of GSMNP and have been dozens of times, but have only seen a bear once.  We’re told that the bear population around Cades Cove has increased and that we will have no problems seeing lots of them!  I don’t know if that’s good or not, but Casey thinks it’s great.

Remember when we were there (at another campground) in late October?  Just before we went out of cellphone range, the news broke that Comey had re-opened the Hillary email investigation…when we came home 3 days later, she had for all intents and purposes lost the election.  Now as we go back into the wilderness, Comey has been fired and…you know…

 We will be gratefully off-grid, and on the lookout for Bears…

Peace

birds, coyotes, squirrels, and thoroughbreds…

It happens every year at this time…the spring ushers in waves of thunderstorms, downpours, big winds…the green pops up, bordered by gloomy gray skies on the top and mud puddles on the bottom.  Inside, we’ve had the fires going, cozily going crazy while we watch the birdfeeders…

There has been an influx of rose-breasted grosbeaks at our sunflower-seed feeders.  The male and female look Nothing alike.  The male is quite striking with the patch of rose on his chest and white marks on his wings, while she looks like a large carolina wren sort-of (same eyebrows, totally different beak, etc).

I got this picture on May 2, when we had a brief glimpse of the sun.  Shows 2 males and a female…

In fact, the grosbeaks are kin to the cardinals, but my resident cardinals don’t seem too happy to see them.  One of the female grosbeaks hissed off a male cardinal and she and one of her girlfriends hogged that feeder for a while… Mostly, though, they just crowd in and everybody seems well-fed.  We put out the hummingbird feeders and we’ve had several visitors there, as well.

Speaking of well-fed, a coyote visited Sonnystone today.  We’ve seen him/her before, down at the far end of the property, but today he wandered right up to the birdfeeders by the time we noticed.  Casey said he was after a squirrel and went to chase him off, but he had his eye on two and took off toward the garden where that one scrambled over the fence.  I saw him stand there and sniff, then he took off around to the other side where that squirrel was cornered.  This happened quickly, so by the time we figured out where he was he had the squirrel and was sauntering off…

I have no problem with a coyote eating well, but not that close to my house and my squirrels.  He’s thinking he’s got a buffet here, so we’re on Coyote Alert.  He came back for seconds as soon as he ate the first one, so we’ve chased him off once.  Now the pellet gun is pumped and Casey has a Mission…

Meanwhile, I’m researching for my bets on the Oaks tomorrow and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.  The archives show how many times the Race has been Run on a rainy, cold day, so nothing new there.

Fresh crop of horses that will have to run in the mud, god love ’em.

2017 Kentucky Derby Horses

We’ll stay warm with some Bourbon sippin’ and make our bets online.  Will still wear a hat, of course…

Peace

Reading Challenge #6

Oh, my…  I believe that “Lincoln in the Bardo” is one of the best books I have ever read.  I am moved beyond words at this beautiful story, so uniquely told.

The title intrigued me right away, as I am familiar with the Tibetan Buddhist definition of Bardo: “a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death.”

Bardo is the “in-between place” a “transitional state,” the period of the afterlife between two states, sort of like a waiting space before you enter into your next birth (or not).  I would say this applies to the bereaved, as well as the deceased. If you’ve lost a loved one, you know that it takes some time of grieving before you can transition to the reality of your life without them.

At the time of his 11-year-old son Willie’s death,  it was reported that Lincoln often visited the crypt where he was interred to hold his son’s body.  Note that:  he would go to the mausoleum, pull the corpse out of the coffin, and Hold his son’s Body.  The grief that one can feel in that image is the essence of this book and has been fully and imaginatively depicted, told by the deceased in the cemetery who remain in the bardo.

The conversations are more like rambling monologues, all speaking at once, creating a cacophony of thoughts of past lives, current obsessions, and watching as Willie is laid to rest, watching as his father removes him from his “sick box”, watching as Willie waits for his father to return. There are “historic references” interspersed between the dialogues (monologues?)   Lincoln does return, and the ending is so True…

The story is told in such a unique way—like a play—and yet each character becomes as real as a dream.  I’ve always enjoyed George Saunders’ short stories, but this format is as brilliant as his prose is moving, presenting Lincoln’s grief so poignantly that it will break your heart.

I haven’t done it justice, really.  You just need to read this one…

Next up is “A book set in a place you want to visit”….hmmm

definitely not the bardo…

Peace

Back home again…

Had a great trip to visit with the NYC grand-daughters, mostly Eliza, who was on spring break.

Anyway, it was a quick trip…  Eliza and I went down to Rockefeller Center, but I failed to get Studio Tour tickets.  Not to be daunted we went** to the Top of the Rock…

We played games and did some book-reading, attended Emma’s All-School Assembly, and just enjoyed being together!!

I arrived back at Sonnystone on Saturday, and I have to brag that my house was freshly swept and my windows were shiny-clean.  All of the my veggie plants were in great shape.  The seeds that I planted last Sunday are just sort-of starting to pop up.  Sunday we planted 9–count ’em–9 double knockout roses across the front of the house.  We’ll be planting veggies this week-end, if not before..!

I’m babysitting Samantha today and tomorrow…

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Peace

 

** (I accidentally walked by trump tower while there…the whole block has to be cordoned off and there are seriously weaponized men everywhere.  I don’t blame Melania for not wanting to live with her husband, and I understand that Barron has special needs,  but according to the New York City Police Department, it has cost the taxpayers an average of $127,000 to $145,000 per day to keep Melania and Barron Trump in New York. By the time the Trumps vacate Trump Tower in June, (if they do) the tallied amount is projected to hit $8.6 million.  Since he’s so rich, can’t he pay that himself?)

(that wasn’t very peaceful, was it?  sorrrry…)

For Real…

Peace to All of you!

 

Just in case you miss me…

I’m off to NYC for a couple of days–3 to be exact.  It’s Eliza’s spring break and I got a great price on a ticket out of Indy.  We’ve been non-stop gardening for weeks and I’m actually ready for a break.  The weather in Manhattan won’t be as warm, but what better way is there to spend rainy spring days than playing with your grandkids?

Hope your Easter was happy…ours was!

Peace

Reading Challenge: Nos. 4 & 5

I cheated a little.

#4 challenge was “A book with a color in the title”.

Whilst searching for such a book, I wanted something kind of short, frankly.   We’re so busy in the garden that I’ve gone into REM before I can get in my usual bedtime reading, but I’m determined to complete this challenge.   When I came across “A Study in Scarlet”, 108 pages of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was delighted.  I had read several Sherlock Holmes mysteries, but not this one, and it just so happened to be the First!  To top it off as an inspired choice,

#5 on the challenge is “A book that’s more than 100 years old”, so I get a twofer…

Plus, I love detective stories starring old-fashioned sleuths like Nero Wolfe, Hercule Poirot, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes has been the most portrayed fictional character in film history: 75 actors have played him in 211 movies. Having seen many of those movies before I read the books, I pictured him as Basil Rathbone, a fella who never did much for me, so I judged them a little stuffy.  It wasn’t until Benedict Cumberbatch and the excellent BBC series “Sherlock” that I picked up a collection and, envisioning Cumberbatch, fell in love with Sir A.C. Doyle’s cerebral detective.

A Study in Scarlet (1888)

Ward, Lock & Co. published the first separate book edition of A Study in Scarlet in July 1888.  This small and fragile 7×5 inch book had paper covers glued to the spine and included six line drawings for the story by Charles Doyle, the author’s father.  Shown here is the rare first impression.  A second impression, issued in March 1889, came with a slightly different cover.

 

Study in Scarlet 1888 Ward Lock cover

 

A Study in Scarlet, 1888, First British Edition.

Lent by Dr. Constantine Rossakis.

Photo © Private Library of Constantine Rossakis, M.D.

(from the website http://www.bestofsherlock.com)

 

Can you imagine a time when Sherlock Holmes hadn’t been created?  Detective fiction started with the 1841 publication of Poe’s “Murder in the Rue Morgue”, featuring the brilliant and eccentric C. Auguste Dupin.  There were some others following, but it’s intriguing to imagine what an impact this story made to our reading world.

 Part one of this very first Sherlock Holmes story is subtitled

Being a reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department.  

 Watson is a British surgeon whose health was ruined in one of those unending wars in Afghanistan.  He’s drifting around, lost and depressed.  He needs a flatmate, as does Holmes, and they are brought together by a mutual friend.  From the first, Sherlock is already Sherlock, seeing clues and putting them together instinctively to Wow the room with his brilliant deductions.  Watson is amazed at his jaw-dropping genius.  It all goes along and Sherlock solves the crime…but…Suddenly, you are in Part Two, subtitled

The Country of the Saints

 This is a totally different book full of Mormons and frontiersmen and no Sherlock.  I almost thought that there had been a problem with the printing and another book had been mistakenly placed there, but I kept reading.  I was transported to another time, another place.  Somehow everything ended up coming together and this story is as riveting as the happenings on Baker St.

You ought to read it.  It’s great.  And it took me a lot less time to read than it did to write this post.  I actually finished it up last week and am now working on

 #6 of the challenge…A Book you chose for the cover…

I’m reading “Lincoln in the Bardo” because its cover said “Lincoln in the Bardo” and that is a book I want to read…

I’ll tell you all about it later…

Peace