Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Just Checking In.....Hello, World!

Well, gosh darn and boy has been a long time since I have been here! You know what, I got busy living and traveling. Then, my blog mentor left the country, though she is keeping us all posted on Facebook. It was just this time of year, ten years ago, when I tumbled along the internet highway looking for a certain water colorist when I stopped for my first visit to Tess Kincaid's blog...and... it just happened to be a very extraordinary place. After being totally enchanted by Willow Manor for a few weeks, I decided to try my hand. So, by way of updating you, here are some images.

 Citrus in the California kitchen of dear friends John & Chuck 

 Clover keeping watch...she is the newest resident here at the cottage

 Self portrait or glorified selfie

 January in Monterey...magical double rainbow

Yosemite falls ...June 2016

 Gulf coast sunset near Seaside, FL

 Mineral King Valley, in  Kings Canyon, CA

 Spence Cottage, 2015, our home for a week near Chichester, England

American Cream horses in Williamsburg, VA

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mountain Vision

Heading for the hills of North Georgia

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In the good old summer time...

The Pecan Orchard
One of my favorite summer places...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

100 years ago today! Happy Birthday, Nina!

Nina (pronounced with a long I) was my mother. Today would have been her 100th birthday. She passed out of this realm in April of 1982, but her spirit and humor are alive and palpable in my home. She was near 40 when I was born, so I have no personal memories of her as a young woman, other than a few cherished photographs. Two of my favorite stories about her early days are how I love to think of her. The first night she met my father, a young Army Air Corp officer, instead of a gentleman's polite goodnight, he said to her, " I am going to marry you." This was not long after she had won a contest as a Clara Bow look alike. I think you will agree that she deserved it. That's Nina on the left, and Clara on the right. I really think the IT girls have a certain twinkle in their eyes. (Updated from an original post on this date 2009, the year I began this blog.)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vintage Valentine

Found on eBay....a fun place for the nostalgic.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thank you, Laura!!

While I was riding my horse all about the countryside in search of evening wear....I remembered something I have longed for...
One of the things I have so wanted is to get back to my sewing room...well I just popped in this afternoon to find some black taffeta and velvets...and while I was going through my pattern box and dreaming of the days when Laura Ashley reigned in my wardrobe...well.....ah....I looked up and there she English fairy godmother.....I showed her a few patterns....told her I needed something by midnight...she waved her magic scissors and measuring tape.....and it is!!!!!

Simple elegance!
Thank you, my dear!

What to wear??

The The Willow Manor Ball will commence in a few hours,
 and I have no clue
as to what I will be wearing. I do have a mask...
hmm??? Off to the wardrobe ....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Welcome October & Soup!

Nothing says autumn like a great bowl of beef vegetable soup!
Yes, you guessed it, that is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the side. We love soups here at the cottage.
What is your favorite fall fare?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Past Loves

Chelsea 1987 - 95
Every time I drive past the turn off to a little winding road off  Highway 280 on my trips to Birmingham, my mind goes back to the time I drove to a warm country home and found this runt of the litter who stole into my heart...and never left. She was a darling, very small for an English Springer Spaniel, and a Walt Disney sort of pup. 
Thank you Cameron, for this portrait of our Chelsea Puddin' .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One Hundred Years Ago...

Born December 7, 1911

Today I am REPOSTING  this feature in honor of my father John Patterson.
The original title was December  Boy.  In the great scheme of days
 and hundred years suddenly seems  not  such a long time ago.
My father was an in inventor and played several instruments and
sculpted figurines from wood in his spare time. And like so mnay who offered
so much light in the world...gone...way   too soon.
This is my first offering for Alan's Sepia Saturday. Of all the old photos I have, this one is  very dear to me. It makes me think of the photo that Willow found on one of her treasure hunts a few months ago. As I study it here on the big PC screen, I am suddenly aware that it may have been this very photo that gave me a love of baby dolls and baby boys! Don't you just want to scoop him up in your arms? Can't you just see him toddling downstairs on a wintry morning rubbing his sleepy eyes? Isn't he simply adorable? For as long as I can remember, the photo has been creased and scratched. A few years ago, I did have it very carefully retouched and cleaned up very nicely, but this is the real deal version. Here are the facts as I know them:
This photo probably dates December 1913 or January 1914.
The child is close two years old.
He was a redhead.
He was born December 7, 1911 near Birmingham, AL.
He was the fifth of eight surviving siblings.
His name was John.
He died June 10, 1971.
This is the only known baby picture of my father...NOT grandfather.
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh, Mr. Livsey!!!

Well HE is,  and here we are getting off the train near Willow Manor.
The train journey took more time than imagined, but it was so much fun traveling with the oh so ...and ever English gentleman Roger Livsey!  So on to the car....and I see our trunk has been strapped to the back and we will soon be there.....

Oh Heavens,,,,where is the chauffeur--- Nigel?  Nigel, please hurry we need to get to the Manor house!

Of course this is gorgeous....right  neighborhood, but not the right house....keep going...I know she is close to the river.......just over that rise.....keep going, Nigel!
Ooooh.....hhhhh  .....Lord what a view....and oh my the road ends.... we must take to the footpaths!! 

Here is the powerful and mysterious...just like Mr. Livsey.....

A short time to regroup...and encouraging words to one another....we decide to follow the river...
Maybe this is the right  house.....
Or maybe it is this one....

Oh...I know this he right place....this is the barn where Mr. Ed stayed last year!!!
Oh for sure we can change here....I know Willow won't mind....Do you have your velvet coat and dress kilt, Roger, darling? I'll just take my gown from the trunk. Hurry the ballroom is waiting!!
Take your rest Nigel and thanks for carry our things!!

Off to the ball....

It is that enchanted time of year, and after going through my mahogany wardrobe several times, I found this treasure. I picked it up in a London auction house back in June 2010.  I did pay a ROYAL price. Someone said  it was once owned by a certain princess. I think this portrait of my great grandmother must have inspired me...though I think my dress is .... well... it may be.....just a tad more interesting than hers.  I'll be slipping into this after I have had time to freshen up from the train ride from Auburn to Dublin!  I think we will be arriving in just a short time. There is a very special person in the compartment next to me. (And we know where we're going.) Be at the station if you want to get a peek at my oh so daaaaaarhling companion for this year's gala along the banks of the Scioto...under a full moon,,,,where the magic has a glow all its own. 
Miss Willow is weaving another tapestry of music and dance and romance....don't be late, now!
Next Stop: Willow Manor Ball 2011

 Great Grandmother Rebecca Cameron ......I must say she looks ready for any ball!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

For the Falling Man

"...falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling,
like the descent of their last end,
upon the living and the dead. "
Today, I was asked by my principal to review a poem that a young man at our school had composed  as a remembrance of 9/11 to be read over our public address system here at school on Friday morning.  I had never actually met this student until this afternoon.  He explained that he was in the first grade in September of 2001, and just felt he had to write a poem in honor of the day. He also told me that the story of Flight 93 had really left a deep impression on him when he saw it at age 13.  He is now a junior.  We talked about the bravery of so many people who were forced to make decisions on that day. I told him that I personally remember feeling that New York City was really very close when I knew in reality that it would take me over 18 hours to drive there. Each morning I came to school in those days after, I wanted to just go there--not really knowing what I could possibly do to help anyone--but the sense of wanting to let so many there know that I was trying in my own way to help with the leaden weight they must bear was quite overwhelming.  I confirmed  that even now, he just knew he must do this probably for the same reasons. It is because we know we are all "falling through the universe" like so many snowflakes in James Joyce's lines from his story "The Dead."  And because I knew he would appreciate another poet, I shared with the young man Annie Farnsworth's poignant tribute to a man who appeared on the front page of major newspapers* and who is buried in our collective consciousness as we mourn and revere that day in September.

For the Falling Man

I see you again and again

tumbling out of the sky,

in your slate-grey suit and pressed white shirt.

At first I thought you were debris

from the explosion, maybe gray plaster wall

or fuselage but then I realized

that people were leaping.

I know who you are, I know

there's more to you than just this image

on the news, this ragdoll plummeting—

I know you were someone's lover, husband,

daddy. Last night you read stories

to your children, tucked them in, then curled into sleep

next to your wife. Perhaps there was small

sleepy talk of the future. Then,

before your morning coffee had cooled

you'd come to this; a choice between fire

or falling.

How feeble these words, billowing

in this aftermath, how ineffectual

this utterance of sorrow. We can see plainly

it's hopeless, even as the words trail from our mouths

—but we can't help ourselves—how I wish

we could trade them for something

that could really have caught you.

*Click on the title of this post to read a recent article on the photograph of The Falling Man.
My photos (click to enlarge) were taken by the Colonel in the churchyard of
 Holy Trinity at Stratford-Upon-Avon, June 2006.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It’s the Good Old Summer Time!


 It's the Good Old Summer Time!
What have you been doing to keep cool? I have been remembering the days before air conditioning and ice makers. Sue ( on the left) and I filled up the ice trays, enjoyed long slices of watermelon, and when all else failed, we went to the creek. Please come and enjoy a salad supper, iced tea, some good old fashioned summer memories, and the best gossip in town! Oh, yes, if you bring your swimsuit, I'll turn on the sprinkler!
July 29, 2011
6:30 PM Central Lightning Bug Time
Graystone Cottage

 This is my latest invitation for my Women's Night Out group.  I have used an old photo taken by my brother.  This creek is near my childhood home. It was quite a trek to creep down the walls of the deep ravine to Lost Creek, but the cool air and sounds of the running water and the chorus of bird song  are a permanent and glorious page in my book of memories. 

        (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boleslawiec Tea Party

(Click on photos to enlarge or to "embiggen" as Country Girl says!)

After being hauled around in the Colonel's carry on luggage through several airport layovers, these little Polish beauties are safely on my table. I have admired Willow's Boleslawiec mug often featured in her sidebar. And more than once, I have passed up one of the mugs at T. J. Max. I do struggle with my I-Need-New-China habit. I recently visited a unique gallery, The Cat's Meow, in Pine Mountain, Georgia which offers very handsome prints, framing, and a huge collection of Boleslawiec pottery! I oohed and aahed for a long time, but I was strong, and left empty handed. Shopping for a gift in Ramstein, Germany, my dear  husband came upon a similar stunning display and confessed it was hard to make a decision. The Colonel knows me well. "Hmmm, blue and white, teapot: dishes!" Trifecta! Yes, this lovely set is a big hit at Graystone Cottage this morning! Cuppa tea?

(Click on blog title to visit the official website for the pottery.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Father

John Patterson

He did not go gentle...

My father has been dead for forty years as of this month. For the last ten years of his life, he suffered from cancer, likely caused from radiation poisoning that he experienced while doing post WWII research at the Pentagon in 1951. I was eleven when he had his first surgery and ironically, radiation treatments. All during my early teens and, as I was becoming an adult, he was dying -- and quietly raging. He never complained or said anything about his suffering to me. He stayed busy, kept his sense of humor, and took in as much of life as he could. He was a wonderful dad. I was twenty when the "dying of the light" claimed him. Click on the the image above to hear Dylan Thomas read his famous villanelle. I never teach or read  the  poem without thinking of my father.

NOTE: The link was taken down from YouTube. Sorry if you missed it. 10/18/13 MPL

About Me

My photo
Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), lives in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat