when your friends come by

“Dear Bird” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Got to keep it together when your friends come by
Always checking the weather but they want to know why
Even birds of a feather find it hard to fly
Aimee Mann
♫ (Goose Snow Cone) ♫

Today is the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death. The pain of loss has dulled somewhat over the years, but this year is a little different because my mom was 59 when she died and I am now 60. It just feels a little unsettling… One thing I still miss terribly is calling her and telling her what was new in my life and what her grandchildren were up to. She would have found this autism thing very interesting.

When I was in nursery school my behavior was different enough to prompt my parents to take me to a child psychologist for evaluation. Autism was not understood or even heard of in the 1960s. The psychologist told them I needed more attention from them. A few years later, when I got a stomach ulcer in elementary school the doctor told them I needed more emotional support from them. How I wish I could tell them now it was not their parenting that was the problem!

Currently I am reading a wonderful book, Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing by Julie Brown. It’s no secret that Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet and my jaw dropped to learn that she probably had autism and one whole chapter in this book is devoted to her. I found it interesting to learn how autism made so many of her poems indecipherable, although they no doubt made perfect sense to her.

The recurring practice of quoting from someone else’s literature in your own text resembles the echolalia that people with autism are known for. Some repeat words from movies, television, or other people because they are trying to understand the meaning of the words. Sometimes echolalia is an attempt to communicate with others — the words are tools borrowed to build meaning. Some repeat phrases for the sheer joy of it.
~ Julie Brown
(Writers on the Spectrum: How Autism & Asperger Syndrome Have Influenced Literary Writing)

A couple of things struck me in the above paragraph. My autism may be what drives me to collect and share quotations! I’m not sure I completely understand the definition of “echolalia” but my mother did tell me something that I think may be related. She could always tell when I made a new friend at school because I would come home with a different accent and different mannerisms, evidently copied from various classmates. It still happens to me when I spend a lot of time with someone, although I try not to do this.

So many things are making more sense these days…

midsummer magic

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6.25.16 ~ we celebrated the summer solstice on Saturday ~ good friends, good food and good fun…
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6.25.16 ~ bald eagle
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6.25.16 ~ catbird
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6.25.16 ~ woodpecker
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6.25.16 ~ woodpecker taking off
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6.25.16 ~ I’m drawing a blank on identifying flowers…
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6.25.16 ~ a lily?
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6.25.16 ~ ???
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6.25.16 ~ another lily?
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6.25.16 ~ fairy light
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6.25.16 ~ as close as I could get to this doe before she stomped her forefeet at me ~ I backed off so she could graze in peace…
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6.25.16 ~ chipmunk
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6.25.16 ~ so many orbs on a magical night
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6.25.16 ~ after a long day of fun in the sun, a fire to enjoy under a clear sky full of shimmering stars, with fireflies glowing in the surrounding trees, and fairy lights sparkling near the grass…

 

old radio soap opera

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Hanley Stafford, voice of John Perry on “John’s Other Wife.”

This morning I’ve been pleasantly occupied catching up with reading my favorite blogs. My blogging friend Jane, over at nichepoetryandprose, has been writing about one room schoolhouses. Reading her posts brought back a memory my father used to share frequently in his later years, when he was suffering from dementia.

He said he would walk home from school at noon to eat lunch with his mother. He always had to wait a few minutes for her to feed him while she was listening to the end of an episode of her favorite radio soap opera, “John’s Other Wife.”

Papa attended a one room schoolhouse in Montville, Connecticut. He also walked to high school at Norwich Free Academy in Norwich. One day Tim & I drove along the route to see if that was feasible, and it was 3 miles, no problem for a teenager.

I decided to search online for “John’s Other Wife,” and found this interesting blog post: September 14, 1936: Debut of John’s Other Wife. My father was 14 years old when this program debuted and he must have been in high school by then. Perhaps his mother was listening to it when he got home from school in the afternoon? I’m not sure he would have walked 3 miles home for lunch and then back to school again for a few hours. The memory of returning home for lunch from the one room schoolhouse must have mingled with the memory of returning home to find his mother completely absorbed in her soap opera, no doubt after a long day of hard work on the farm.

Then I found an episode online – “John’s Relapse” – it was only ten minutes long! Anyway, it was fun listening to the very program my grandmother listened to all those years ago.

from daffodils to snow

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3.21.16 ~ second day of spring in Groton, Connecticut. The small dumpster is for construction debris from our bathroom renovation.

It’s been snowing! I’ve come back from my twelve days in North Carolina, where spring has already sprung, big time!

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3.13.16 ~ daffodils blooming in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Poor Katherine… it’s no fun when it’s so nice outside but you are miserable with a fever and a very runny nose. And you don’t want to get out of your pajamas or comb your hair or let go of your bunny or blanket… And your visiting Grammy still insists on getting some pictures of you!

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3.13.16 ~ Katherine and Hopkins the bunny.
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3.13.16 ~ Maybe I will try taking a little walk.
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3.13.16 ~ Getting warm, time to take off this jacket. Yes, I do know that one pajama leg is scrunched up and I don’t care!
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3.13.16 ~ Maybe Daddy can get the blanket draped over my shoulders just the way I want it.
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3.13.16 ~ Then again, maybe not. Oh well. Feeling warm enough so I’ll just sit here with Hopkins and Daddy again.

Several hours later – it must have been at least 80°F in the afternoon!

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3.13.16 ~ Mommy persuaded me to get dressed and follow her out to the garden, but I still don’t feel well…
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3.13.16 ~ Mommy and I fixed the position of a slate stepping stone that had shifted over the winter.

I had a lovely time visiting the little one and her parents. Their new house is beautiful. Larisa and I planted some seeds in her vegetable garden, re-potted a couple of plants, discussed colors for painting the walls, took walks, ate out several times, and went shopping for all sorts of things for the house and for clothes for Katherine. I also got to spend time with my friend from high school, Susan, who lives only two miles away. We got caught in a scary thunder and hail storm one night on our way home from having dinner out. Yikes! And I had plenty of time to work on my ancestor table (see sidebar) while the family was at work and daycare.

Now that I am home work on the bathroom has stalled as we wait for the floor tile to come in. But a lot got done while I was gone. The new closet is framed out, the electrical and plumbing are all done, and the walls are up. And I’m looking out my window at about 5 inches of snow – quite a contrast to the daffodils down south!

content with silence

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looks a little wintery ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.
~ Ansel Adams
(Meditation on Both Sides of the Camera: A Spiritual Journey in Photography)

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autumn hangs on ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Life has felt pretty blurry, quiet and strange lately, what with the shingles odyssey for Tim and the unusually warm weather for this time of year. It was a welcome change to get outside and take a walk with Janet, camera in hand, to enjoy a pleasant, spring-like day in December. We found plenty of natural beauty exploring the woods behind my condo complex. Even so, I’m yearning for the first snowfall…

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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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contrast ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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late autumn sun ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

At home I have two woodpeckers who frequent my suet feeder. I’ve learned their call now because they always squeak before they start eating. So while on this walk I recognized a woodpecker call in the wild for the first time and started looking around to locate it. Found him in the reeds!

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woodpecker ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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woodpecker – symbol of determination and heightened levels of awareness ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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forsythia in December? ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut
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spent milkweed ~ 12.10.15 ~ Groton, Connecticut

And now the weekend begins. Content with silence for the time being, I hope it will be a relatively quiet one, with time for continued healing. Wishing you a great weekend, too!

Whimsical Kingdoms

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Lieutenant River ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

The theme of this year’s Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is Whimsical Kingdoms. Last week Janet, Kathy and I visited and had a lovely morning and afternoon walking through the outdoor exhibit, enjoying the cool, crisp autumn air and fanciful creations.

I love this time of year! We stopped for lunch at the museum’s Café Flo, where the addition of a cup of warm apple cider was a most welcome pleasure.

This year I was particularly drawn to all the earth tones and textures in many of the fairy castles. But we were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a colorful fairy! Following are a few of my favorites…

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“Brave” by Kristin & Tom Vernon ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Whimsical Sugar Maple Castle” by Jared Welcome ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

Many years ago a sugar maple seedling twirled to the ground. Inside, a mighty tree hiding a faerie castle, hid inside. For seven and seventy years the tree grew tall, until the winds of Hurricane Sandy took its toll. It was time for the faerie tower to emerge. Coaxed out of hiding by chain saw and sander, this whimsical, yet sturdy castle “welcomes” all faeries fluttering down in search of shelter.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Whimsical Kingdoms

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“Sand Castle Extraordifaerie” by Greg J. Grady ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Wizard King” by William Vollers ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tiger Lily’s Village” by Madeline Kwasniewski & T. Arthur Donnally ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Thumbelina” by Nancy MacBride ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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autumn sky at Florence Griswold Museum ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“The Woodland Faerie Kingdom of A Midsummer’s Night Dream” by Tammi Flynn, Cheryl Poirier & Lisa Reneson ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“One Thousand & One Arabian Nights” by Pam Erickson & Sharon Didato ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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“Tower of Baubles” by Billie Tannen & Robert Nielsen ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut
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a Valkyrie hanging out in “Valhalla” by Amy Hannum & Laurie McGuinness ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

To view my pictures from past Wee Faerie Villages click on “Florence Griswold” in the categories below.

five years by the sea

"Incoming Tide, Scarboro Maine" by Winslow Homer
“Incoming Tide, Scarboro Maine” by Winslow Homer

Sssh says the ocean
Sssh says the small wave at the shore ~ sssh
not so violent, not
so proud, not
so remarkable.
Sssh
says the surf
crowding around the outcrops,
washing the shore. Sssh,
they say to people,
this is our Earth,
our eternity.
~ Rolf Jacobsen
(Night Open: Selected Poems of Rolf Jacobsen)

...Daddy concentrates, Katie hams it up for the camera...
…while her dad concentrates, Katie hams it up for the camera…

It’s hard to believe this little blog is five years old today! And it’s still a great pleasure, finding images and words to combine and share – I wonder if I will ever tire of it. More and more I am enjoying taking my own pictures, and am hoping to take some great ones when we go to Germany, Italy and Norway this spring. And of course, there will always be more pictures of precious Katie.

Since we are pretty cooped up in the condo because of frequent snowstorms with no melting in between, I’ve been making the best of it, watching Seasons 1 & 2 of Vikings on DVD in preparation for the start of Season 3, on Thor’s Day (Thursday) the 19th.

Thank you all my readers who have left such thoughtful comments over the years! Making friends with you in the blogosphere has enriched my life beyond measure!

delightful dots

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Katie and Barbara ~ 1.17.15 ~ Billerica, Massachusetts

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.
~ Lois Wyse
(Funny, You Don’t Look Like a Grandmother)

a quiet moment with Grandpa
a quiet moment with Grandpa Tim ~ 1.17.15 ~ Billerica, Massachusetts

Saturday we spent the day north of Boston, visiting Katie, who was visiting some friends there with her mother. Katie the observer, she is definitely an observer, bright-eyed and curious. She had grown a lot in the month since we saw her last.

Things have been relatively quiet around here. We’ve postponed some plans because a few relatives and friends have caught that severe flu going around. I haven’t had the flu since 1988 and I hope to keep it that way! We get flu shots every year, but this strain mutated and this year’s vaccine is only about 33% effective.

And the nursing home where my aunt lives is under quarantine, because of the flu outbreak, which may interfere with our plans to celebrate her 100th birthday on the 30th. So far she hasn’t caught it.

happy child
happy Katie ~ 1.17.15 ~ Billerica, Massachusetts

Zoë, who normally has excellent litter box habits, got the trots. Poor thing was doing her best to get to the box on time but we had a day of cleaning up after her. She wouldn’t eat and she didn’t want to be around us, but she is now back to her hungry, sweet, affectionate self.

And so I am enjoying my winter rest, puttering around the house, watching the birds, wishing for a little more snow, pruning my family tree (still), and making travel plans. My eyes get very bleary reading these travel guides……

We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
(The Conduct of Life)