Friday, June 6, 2008

A Weekend in Connecticut

Oma’s cat scan came out clear. We still don’t know what’s wrong, but I am relieved that we got good news on this test. The other good news is that she appears to be feeling better every day. Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes and stories about Oma. I think they had a very positive effect on her! I will definitely be writing posts about her amazing quilts and her home town of L├╝beck, Germany, but I have to transfer the photos from another computer before I can tell the full story. Watch this space!

In the mean time, I have some photos from my trip to Connecticut on hand. About a month ago, I visited a small town close to the New York border named Kent. It is along the Housatonic River., which inspired Robert Underwood Johnson’s poem “The Housatonic at Stockbridge”



Contented river in thy dreamy realm
The cloudy willow and the plumy elm:
Thou beautiful! from ev'ry dreamy hill
What eye but wanders with thee at thy will.

Contented river! And yet overshy
To mask thy beauty from the eager eye;
Hast thou a thought to hide from field and town?
In some deep current of the sunlit brown.

Ah! there's a restive ripple,
And the swift red leaves
September's firstlings faster drift;
Wouldst thou away, dear stream?

Come, whisper near!
I also of much resting have a fear;
Let me tomorrow thy companion be,
By fall and shallow to the adventurous sea!

Well okay, it wasn’t September, instead it was May. If I was more talented I would write the May counterpart to the poem. I would not speak of the restive ripple and the swift red leaves, instead I would wax on about how the perfectly still waters reflect bright green juvenile leaves…



…and how the fishermen cast their flies (can you see them? they are about 3 pixels wide)


…and how nature always balances a perfect palette.




I will leave that poem for someone else to write.



Everywhere, the blossoms were at their peak:





We don’t get to see enough dogwoods here in California:




The coffee shop in town has a bulletin board where townspeople can purchase coffee futures for each other:


I fell in love with a basket shop with this shelf of Nantucket baskets:



Which is your favorite? Mine was this purse (or pocketbook, as they say on the East Coast):





It turned out to be just a tad too small to house all the electronics I tote around everywhere - a blessing, given that I don't need another purse, or another hole in my head.

When I had to make a U-turn, I pulled into a random driveway and saw this flanking the left side of the driveway:




and this on the right side:





On our way to visit Bard College, my daughter and I saw this farm:



We city slickers are not accustomed to seeing this!






We both liked the cow with the white face:


We visited my sister-in-law in Westport. Her one-year-old
Weimereiner, named Daisy, loves my daughter.





When we drove off, Daisy bid us good-bye.




We’ll be back, Daisy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Oma



My 82-year-old mother, my kids call her Oma, was actually the reason why I finally decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere. She has been ill since April 22. After five visits to the emergency room, numerous doctors’ visits, and many lab tests later, we still do not have a diagnosis. Tomorrow she will get a cat scan of her head.

At first I wanted to launch a blog in order ask medical advice, but I decided it was better to celebrate her amazing life. There is a lot to tell, so I will share just little tidbits at a time.

Here is a recent picture of her in front of the cottage behind her apartment building in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, near tangobaby. When she first bought the building she lived in the cottage, but she was miserable there. She moved to the front apartment where she could see the N Judah stop right in front of her window. “I like to see ze people valking by, hear ze lovers’ quarrels, and see how ze young people dress.” In case you haven’t noticed, she speaks with a German accent. Her father was Dutch and her mother German.






The cottage recently became vacant, and because she was ill, my sister, her husband, and I helped her get it ready for the next tenant, thus I happen to have some photos. This is the cottage.










And this is the view from the living room window.

The garden is my mother’s. She dotes over this tiny plot of land, but it is just the right size for her. I love how unstructured and bountiful her garden is. The cinerarias bloom stronger every year, with no telling where they will pop up. The tallest tree you see on the right is a variegated holly tree she grew from a tiny drugstore four-inch pot. Can I tell you how many times I’ve tried and failed to grow a holly from a drugstore four-inch pot? I console myself by saying it must be the San Francisco fog.






Here’s the kitchen with her famed cineraria.


She bought the apartment building before Cole Valley became the tony part of town. Her instincts told her that this part of town would flourish and, as usual, her instincts were right. Long ago, she had a vision to buy an apartment building in order to support her in her later years. She doggedly stuck to her goal and achieved it, one baby step at a time.
Not bad for someone with an eight-grade education.

Taking the Plunge!

With great trepidation, angst, and hope, I enter the blogosphere. Not just as a lurker, or one who leaves the occasional comment, but (yikes!) I enter as an author. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be writing in this venue, but I have been inspired by two extraordinary bloggers. Here’s to you tangobaby and relyn; I’m taking the plunge! P.S. Don't you love my picture? I look like this every day, no matter how many cream puffs I eat!
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