Hey, it’s your birthday!
Happy Birthday to my friend V, who tells me good stories and makes me laugh! Enjoy your day. This angel is a music box.
A little iPhone shot of a still life I put together for your birthday.
“Capture something you treasure“, Krista Stevens at WordPress says this week for the challenge.
What better treasure than friends?
Last snowy Sunday my dear friend Joanne (green pepper jelly maker) emails and says,” Let’s SKYPE at 10:30.”
Okay. At 10:40 I call, ”what happened?”
Oh ten thirty CENTRAL time! Got it.
So at 11:30 (my time) the SKYPE rings in on my computer and J says,
“I have a house guest- would you like to meet her?“
(and I am thinking, why would you want to SKYPE with me if you’re entertaining a house guest?)
SURPRISE! Look who enters the screen! It’s Aïda whom I’ve not seen in 27+ years. We lived in Granfenwoehr Germany in the early ’80s.
Aïda (from Florida) visiting her daughter and granddaughters at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas and drove up for the weekend to visit J.
Great memories of good times with dear friends. We were on for more than an hour. What a nice surprise! Fun.
Photographed by Aida’s daughter Suzanne.
here we are SKYPEing Joanne on the left, I’m in the middle with the hat! and Aïda on the right
You’ve Got a Friend
Thanks for looking at the four days of 2010 Snowmaggedon photos this week. I imagine most people are weary of watching and talking about any weather ad nauseum but depending where you live, it’s been tough to ignore.
(Okay, Rob, Shuey and Kristin don’t mind sending the Florida temps to me)
Right now I’m curled up with a laptop and a shawl, enjoying the flannel sheets, unwinding from the week, deciding whether or not to go down to the basement to take the clothes out of the dryer while they are still warm and unwrinkled or wait until morning and give them a quick whirl.
This is what I found on my computer keyboard on my school desk this morning. Yes, I considered tidying up for the shot, taking off the knitting, removing the battery charger, pushing the papers to the side but this is what it actually looked like, unretouched. The custodian who cleans my room left me a lovely heart of chocolates. An early morning surprise.
(See the Knitting Blog for student progress in knitting since last post)
Thursday night the girls and boys basketball teams won their respective games in the playoffs and advanced to the next round. I photographed both games and this is what it looked like when I left school around nine. Getting more proficient at the action shots. The players sure move fast.
And then the bonus of the day- homemade Green Pepper Jelly shipped via the USPS from Omaha, Nebraska. Thanks J. Steve and I had some fancy appetizers before dinner. Steve had bought a container of organic cream cheese so I opened it and put them on some gift crackers Steve brought home.
This dish was given to me by my loving neighbors Ann and MJ who have both passed.
So that’s my Friday. Thanks for making and sending the jar of Pepper Jelly, J! Delicious.
Have you chosen a word for this year’s theme yet? Mine is gratitude.
This afternoon I drove home alone to Pittsburgh after a nice vacation in Ohio with my family. Two hundred miles can feel long and lonesome after all the activity with the family. If you’ve been following along you saw that the girls and I went to Laura and James and had a nice New Year’s Day celebration with the rest of the family.
On my way home I spoke with my dear friend J in Omaha. She told me about hostess gifts she passed out to her Fondue Party guests on New Year’s Eve. Here is what she gave them ( a semi-guest blog, J?)
Picture a quart Mason Jar (thanks John Landis Mason 1832-1902) wrapped with a fancy bow.
Inside J put a paper with instructions.
Starting January first. write good things down on little pieces of paper and put them into the jar. Could be a goal accomplished, something good, a happy moment, a thought. Then on Dec 31st, 2014, reread all the good things you wrote on all the little pieces of paper that you deposited throughout the year.
Right now this jar in my kitchen is filled with homemade Chex Mix (thanks Laura)
But starting when it’s empty, we’re going to fill it with good notes. Lots of them. Kind of like Three Daily Delights by my number one commenter this year, Stef.
Thanks for the good idea J. It’s a wonderful way to start a new year.
And a p.s. from J this morning A photo of her gratitude jars all lined up plus the original instructions from her niece.
A surprise in the mail from my friend
A Friend is Someone Who Likes You. (by Joan Walsh Anglund)
Can’t show you the sweet images inside as they’re copyrighted but it’s all about how lovely it is to have a friend.
I took the book to school in 1961 and the teacher, Miss Grace E. Wagner, inscribed it after I shared it.
A good friend is to be cherished.
You may not see your friend all the time, live far away, but when you’re together it is as if all the time between melts and you pick up where you left off.
Your good friend “gets you”, accepts you, and loves you, no matter what. And you love them right back!
Life events, milestones, heartaches, joys, loss and laughter. Sometimes all in the same moment. These are shared, celebrated or in the case of grief you keep one another in your hearts. Carefully. Remembering. With gratitude. And much love.
for my longtime friend – I love you. Happy Birthday!
A good friend brought a quart of vegetable soup and some homemade bread for tonight’s supper.
Especially welcome as I just got home after being in Ohio for the Thanksgiving break and no chance to go to the store yet.
Simmered the soup and sliced the bread and enjoyed the delicious meal. Thought of how fortunate I am to have good friends.
My friend J in Omaha trades a quart of homemade soup each week with her friend A.
I won’t return the mason jar empty!
After school, I was knitting at Ann’s again.
Her hydrangeas contrast with the turned leaves caught my eye as I left to go to my car. A balmy temperature and a gorgeous Autumn light. Unseasonably warm November afternoon.
Wow! This evening I attended a 100th birthday party for my friend Joan’s father.
I brought my camera and had the privilege of photographing him as he blew out the 100 numerals on his cake.
He really liked the books of unexpected animal relationships.
The cake looked pretty and was enjoyed by all.
Born October 29, 1913 Happy 100th Birthday!
Blowing out the candles
The animal book with the unlikely pairs Reading with granddaughter Molly
A lovely party! Grandson Luke is holding Rusty.
This afternoon my friend Ann taught me how to knit a sock on two circular needles. As we knit, we drank some unusual organic herbal coffee (from a tea bag, no coffee beans involved) with a drop of almond milk.
Using two circular needles took time to get the hang of it. When I got home, I watched a video by Cat Bordhi on YouTube as a follow up. It’s good to learn new things.
So the double pointed needles are taking a break. I’m thinking about knitted gifts, wondering why I didn’t start in July- there’s not a lot of time before the holidays. We all know the family is eager to see what grandma has knit this year. Ha!
As I left Ann’s porch, I saw this stunning rose in a lovely light. Ann saw me stop on the steps and I called through the glass – “I’m photographing your rose!”
Thanks Ann. For the knitting instruction and your beautiful rose- almost November.
Wishing every happiness to the bride and groom!
It was a loving wedding.
Guest Poster JB Writes from Omaha
This morning I took my usual walk through Memorial Park and the Rose Garden and came upon this piano sitting all by itself at the top of the Memorial Park, overlooking Dodge Street.
A jogger happened to come by, sat down and played a number of tunes so I asked if it would be OK to photograph him. He said his goal was to find each painted piano throughout the city and play them.
On the back of the piano is a bag filled with leaf-shaped paper cut outs – and a request that you write one phrase or line from a favorite song and then pin it on the piano back. These will be collected and the artist will compose a piece utilizing them.
To read more about Play Me I’m Yours Project click here to read the article at Omaha.Com
Thanks J for the great post today.
Since the family is visiting , Erika wanted to see her longtime friend Liz. We drove out to the country today to see Liz and her family’s new home and all the hard work they have done (continue to do) to make it spectacular. During the house tour she shared her attempt at Bonsai.
She made us smile. It can’t be easy.
I should have asked her more about it but the little brown growth had a prime spot in a sunny window in the kitchen, even though it had seen better days.
Not sure if she took a workshop or class.
Here ‘s a link to the Brooklyn Botanic article on Bonsai Small Tree, Big Heart by Julian Velasco
And here is one of the photographs of a Bonsai tree at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I took in June when I visited my sister.
Probably more what Liz had in mind. Bonsai means “planted in a tray” and the definition and history is here
At least a year ago, my friend Connie W. from Florida, sent a newspaper article from an Ocala paper about the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb Croatia. Connie must have read it and thought of Matthew, my son who lives there. I asked him one time about it and then another time and we didn’t talk about it or mention it for along while. Then I said I hope he could take Flat Ruthie there as I thought it would be an interesting place to visit. Then Flat Ruthie went missing. And besides Flat Ruthie hasn’t really had any relationships to break up that I’m aware of………….
Today in my email I received photographs of his visit to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Here is what Matthew wrote:
My Blog-following friends- Sasha, Ana Maria and Tanja asked if I had taken Flat Ruthie to the Museum of Broken Relationships. I hadn’t. So we decided to go together and take some pics for the Blog. Flat Ruthie was too busy exploring the remote reaches of my desk drawers, so she opted not to join us this time. I bought a Bad Memories Eraser for Mom at the gift shop, but a few hours later ran into a friend who needed it more. Her boyfriend has gone to NYC to play the drums.
I wonder what she’ll donate to the museum: a pair of scuffed sticks or an abandoned ride cymbal? Hopefully, she’ll update us when she decides – Matthew
It isn’t just the objects. It is the stories behind the objects.
Tanja, Sasha, Ana at the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb
At the gift shop
I am so happy you all encouraged MAtthew to go to the museum!!!
I am not sure to whom the credit should go to for the photo of Matthew at the entrance. Let me know and I can edit the post.
Photo credit to Sasha, Tanja or Ana Maria- Thank you
In my email this morning-
A hail storm broke out in Zagreb today and my friend Maja captured it with her iPhone from her 9th floor office. She was a little bit reluctant to be blogged, but she had this to say about the picture : “It looked so great and it made me so happy that I wanted to share it.”
And it reminded me of the sentence from the film “American Beauty” – “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can’t take it, and my heart is just going to cave in.”
I think that quote is a great motto for us to live by. You and your blog do a great job reminding us all of the beauty that surrounds us every moment of every day, so I knew what to do with Maja’s picture right away!
Thank you Maja for sharing your beautiful photograph of the hailstorm from the ninth floor window and thanks Matty, too.
Yesterday Sue commented on the new tulip tree being planted in front of my house. She told how her father had the city plant trees up and down her street, thirty five years ago, and how they were a memorial to him. He was featured on the blog for a Veteran’s Day post- Martin H. Cooper.
Today I was driving by her street on my way home from the Waterfront. Took two cell shots of his trees. Thanks Sue for your good words on the blog.
Stuffed grape leaves, and fancy cheeses. Goat cheese and fig jam on bruschetta. Green grapes. Some bubbly to toast. M and D brought the most drinkable wine. A secret in the carafe, a blind test. Carlo Rossi. No kidding. Beat out the pricey Portuguese wine. What do we know?
Dates and nuts in a chocolate South African pudding recipe, topped with whiskey whipped cream, created by his wife Janice. Happy Birthday to Peter. Live music at a party makes the evening rhyme. Marc on harmonica and Peter and Doug on guitar. Kim sang a number with the lyrics on her cell phone.
A fun surprise party. Well done, J.
In this age of devices and flat screen tv, the kids marvel at my friend V’s typewriter. She said remembers how she used to type her college term papers on it in the early 70′s.
Michael (7) was fascinated with Tin-Tin and inspired by the typewriter he saw in the movie. He asked if I could bring one out to Ohio. V had given this to Laura when L was in high school. I had it in the hall closet. Michael typed the name of each member of the family and the others were mesmerized.
When we lived in Germany, we’d get Pussywillow with fuzzy gray shapes along the branch and hang wooden eggs and rabbit ornaments to make an Easter Tree.
Add MediaI’d never seen Black Pussywillows until Wednesday night at my friend J’s home. I was to take a photograph over to her and the evening turned into an impromptu supper. My crazy part is I went over without the picture I was to take. J followed me back to my house after we ate and got the photograph to take back to her own home but she didn’t seem to mind.
A great blog post about this unusual looking plant is here. The Latin name (Salix gracilistylus ‘Melanostachys’)
I can’t remember the name/type of ceramic vase holding the branches. (Taken with the iPhone)
So I got home from my weekend in Ohio, Sunday night with no chance to photograph the neighborhood for the weekly photo challenge as it was dark outside. Changing the clocks didn’t help me with enough light by the time I pulled in the driveway
-but in my inbox I found a message from my son Matthew who lives in Zagreb, Croatia (9 years already!)
The subject of his email: Guest blog The dilemma of what to post? SOLVED!
—————————————————————————————————————————–Dear Ma, Yesterday I spent the evening with the Kaplowitz family. My dear friend Joe Kaplowitz is pretty much the only American I know over here and he invited me over for an American-style chocolate cake. Not only is he a brilliant jazz musician but he is quite an accomplished baker to boot! His beautiful wife Lela is a marvelous singer and they recently came out with a big-band album of original compositions called With Every Breath that you can hear (and buy!) here After enjoying a generously-sized hunk of cake chased by a glass of milk, Joe, Lela, their daughter Lucija and I played a cut-throat game of Name That Tune. Lucija is also a budding musician, so as you might imagine the competition was pretty stiff. Then we headed to the parlor for a concert. Joe and Lucija, who plays the violin, teamed up for a set of traditional Croatian melodies played over some soulful blues piano. Perhaps I was witnessing the concept for the next album being born. Joe’s cake was so tasty that I plan to go back over tomorrow for another sliver. In keeping with the spirit of the blog, will get the recipe tomorrow and send it to you! Love, Matthew p.s. Here is the recipe, just in from Zagreb this morning
A friend invited me for a winter supper after school today. A nice invitation as the week was winding down. It was refreshing and delicious.
Doesn’t it always taste better when someone prepares food, sets a table and serves it to you?
Vegetable Soup with Pesto. Bread and Olive Oil. Spring Mix, Tomatoes and Olives with Oil & Vinegar.
Pumpkin Bread and Fruit
Paynes Prairie Preserve in Micanopy Florida. Photographed by my friend Kristin F.as she took a walk on Christmas Day.
(Just five feet away from these guys! Yikes)
Such a contrast to the frozen white world of Pennsylvania and Ohio. She says Jan 1st temp is 73 degrees! And I am trying to not fall in my driveway as I unload the suitcase and bags from my Winter Holiday in Ohio, prepare to return to school in the early AM. Thanks Kristin.
And here is an article explaining the most popular and the second most popular way to spell- Hanukkah or Chanukah? The Festival of Light.
Tuesday- the fourth night.
I was invited for potato latkes and the lighting of the Hanukkah candles at my friend’s house. We taught together these past 6 years until I moved to the high school this year. The first photo is her beautiful Menorah on the mantle. Her kids are grown up and out of town, too. She and her husband and I sat by there fire and then she lit the fourth candle. It gets dark so early now as we approach the shortest day of the year. The warmth of the fire and the glow from the colorful candles was lovely.
After we ate the latkes(served with sour cream and or applesauce) Ann lit the fourth candle.
We left for an adventure, traipsing around Squirrel Hill, Murray Avenue and Forbes. Up and down trying to decide where we should eat! At least it wasn’t raining. We had a nice evening, catching up on our families and school and mutual friends. When we walked by the Giant Eagle supermarket and a young man asked if we were Jewish and she said, yes and he asked if she had candles. Then we saw the table set up in front of the market with another young man cooking latkes on a griddle. They had applesauce available and their organization had a big sign on the Menorah. They told me they were “spreading light in the world.” I asked if it would be okay to blog them and they gathered to gather for a group shot. Pulled out the cell phone camera. Yep, my camera was back by Ann’s house in the back trunk of the car.
Thanks Ann for including me in the candle lighting and for taking me on a good healthy walk around the neighborhood to find the best dinner.
Sunday morning. Breakfast at Joan’s. A cadre of colorful windup toys in her kitchen… I asked if I could photograph them. I can’t remember a specific windup toy I had as a child but these all felt familiar and provided a relaxing and fun time as she wound them up and they executed their motion while I tried to photograph them.
Guess they are making a big comeback. I am going to get some for
me the grandkids so I they can play with these adorable windup toys.