Saturday, December 27, 2014

Who are the Angels In Your Lives?

. The subject on my mind today is the Angels who touch our lives on a daily basis.Some we do not know are even there or what they have done for us.

I am old enough to have lived through the ending years of the second world war, granted I was a child, but I remember, We knitted blankets for the soldiers, and were taught to hide under school desks in the event of an attack. Then Korea came along, by then I was a teen, became a Pen Pal to soldiers I still have never met. My memories are strong during this time because our church, near Ft. Devens in Mass.Organized a place for soldiers to come for music, food, dancing and happy times. Our Mothers provided the refreshments and some of us sang with a live band, brought fellows home for dinners and  Friendships were formed.

Then of course Vietnam became the next "Biggie" with some un-named fights in between. This was an unpopular war, and our troops were treated badly by our own population, I never understood why they were punished for just following the orders given to them. Faithful to those in command. They suffered physically, and mentally and when I visit the Va hospital with my husband I see the results of that time. 

Now we are in the present and we are still being confronted with enemies, but these times are quite different, and we still have the "Bravest of the Brave" protecting us!  Everyone of these men, from every battle in our history, are ANGELS who have protected us and our country. Maintaining our precious way of life.When I began to think of Angels every definition that I found, proclaimed, " A Guardian spirit sent by God"  A spiritual being believed to act as an attendant , agent or messenger of God. The word itself is from the Greek, Aggelos, which means Messenger.

How many of you have someone in your current life that you know is an Angel sent for you.?  Is it a special friend who looks after you selflessly?  I have one of those, who I know I can depend on for anything, despite her own needs.  Is it a Doctor who has given his or her ALL to heal you? Is  it a spiritual adviser who really cares about your pain?  Perhaps it is a now elderly person who has mentored you just to make you strong, or a teacher who influenced your life, a neighbor who just loves you for you, warts and all?

I recently, just by accident, re-met someone who was an acquaintance some years ago. Many things had happened to this person in the intervening years. She herself now has MS which is a daily battle, she has a grown child who has a terminal illness. These are only two things in her daily struggle, but she saw a need in our area, and facilitated the opening of a food pantry in her church. She works tirelessly to make this a success. I can attest to that because My husband and I became  volunteer recruits and feel blessed to be able to do so.  She is definitely my definition of a modern day Angel.  God is working through this person , She is one of his ministering spirits!

When the Angel  of the Lord came to the Virgin Mary to proclaim that she would bear a child. I wonder just what Mary was feeling?  Can you imagine such a thing? She, who was so young, trusted!!!  We have heard the Bible stories of the Christ child and the birth in the stable, but would anyone of us really have that much faith or trust? Think of the tumult of emotions for Joseph!

In discussions, often among my own age group, the subject many times  is,  "we, as a society are bending the "rules. Some sacrifice unborn lives because it is not convenient or not the right time. The nuclear family life is shrinking, and the Christian religions are under attack. Divorce is on the rise, because it is now relatively easy to do. I am often told " well times are different" " Lives are busier and there are more choices." ,  It is then . I am reminded  of Mary, who bore and birthed a child on trust and Faith and Joseph, who did not leave her.  God's rules do not change!

We have just celebrated the Christian celebration of Christmas!. Now all of us will celebrate the New Year and turn the calendar page to 2015. I never make resolutions, about diet because I would probably fail that test, more money--well it would be great, but probably won't happen. I will pray, to meet the challenges with Grace, and kindness. To become a more passionate follower of Christ and to trust!  What will your resolutions for 2015 be this time? I will share with you just a few pictures of friends and those I count as Angels. Mr. Dude counts as No # 1 with my darling son right there with him. They both keep me centered.There have been so many in my life who have guided me and mentored me, many are now in the arms of our Lord including my dearest Earthly Father Carl. I cannot show them all--my sweet young neighbors who include us in their lives. My  Younger brother who comes when I call and takes care of our Mother. All of these single acts of kindness makes us all  the better for it.

Dearest and some of our oldest friends.We have been nurturing each other for almost 40 years. The kind of Angels you can call in the middle of the night or be called by them  in the middle of the night! We both feel blessed every day by their love and Friendship.They are family!

My Sweet 98 year old Mother with my friend Barbara who is such an example of service and helps me in so many ways. She is helping me take up the mantle of service my Mother always did but can no longer do.  My sister in Christ Norma who I met through our work for those less fortunate that we are.  We have such a good time doing what the Lord has asked us to do.These woman are an inspiration to me, despite their own burdens , they carry their crosses with Grace and move forward always helping others.

Norma and I joking with the picture "taker" and he snapped this one of us both being silly,so had to include it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Brooklynese is Spoken Here in Pinellas County Florida!

If you have lived in or near to New York City or hail specifically from Brooklyn, I have a treat for you. Mr Dude and I lived very close to NYC for many years and he comes from that area. When I came to Montclair, N.J. as a young bride I had no idea how the  experiences or the people I would meet  would enrich my life.  Now that we are older and have relocated, we both find ourselves missing so many things. The memories continue to sustained us. Our dearest friends moved here at the same time and came from the same place.  " Do you remember?" is a frequent start to many conversations.  They found and introduced us to the "Lucky Dill Deli". If you love great Deli sandwiches, made the New York way, then follow this tale of our lunch date this week.

We traveled up highway 19, never a pleasure on any day, but knew that this restaurant spot would be on the West side of the highway in Palm Harbor, Fla.  Hooray,  old, but still keen, Eagle eyes spotted the sign! It necessitated a turn around, but I wasn't driving and  the thoughts of the menu made any anxiety I might have had about oncoming traffic disappear--whew, it was close though.
When we parked and walked to the door knew we were in the right place, the Brooklyn flavor began right here.

It was a little later in the day so seating was easy and  fast.  This was the wall scene that we were able to see while waiting for our waiter.  This just brought us both to the right place at the right time. I hope that this one brings back fond memories for you. Beautiful, beautiful Broadway.

I rarely  put pictures of people in my blogs, but when I told our Waiter what I was doing he showed an interest in being part of this story and gave me permission to include him. A delightful man, an excellent waiter, cute sense of humor and above all dedicated to our needs and making our lunch time a positive experience. His name is Mike and if you are there at that hour ask for him.

  We gave our order and while waiting we had all of these wonderful pictures to prepare us for our NY. experience.  A picture taken in the 1930s or 1940s of the great old Cotton Club where so many
great artists started and then stared. This next picture is another one of my favorites. We sat and picked out buildings and places we  could identify.
Do you recognize the old Flat Iron district?  Wowza is all I can say about the memories that came flooding in on us.  Lunch had arrived!  Take a look at what is one of our favorites.

A  NY style Pastrami on Rye bread 1/2 sandwich, homemade potato salad, and a delicious cup of Matzo ball soup. A bargain at 10.00. Oh yes, don't forget that famous Kosher Dill pickle! There was so much there on the plate it was impossible to eat it all--a Doggie bag please! I had viewed many of those bags leaving with other satisfied folks who are lovers of the food and the New York atmosphere. I did not feel uncomfortable asking for my little container .

I had been told to " check out" the ladies room for a surprise. Now, it isn't any news to anyone that most Ladies and Gents, yes Gents are not immune to the old age maladies as well, Have you seen that ugly commercial that shows the women checking out the necessary rooms and locations, well I personally believe that is just good planning!  When I opened the door I thought I was in  the subway station looking at the graffiti that New York is famous for. Isn't this wild?  I am told the Gent's is the same.

I decided, that little bit of nostalgia demanded a cup of excellent coffee and a free sliver of apple strudel. Time to say Thank you to Mike and pay our bill, but we were not through just yet. A trip into the bakery was ahead of us.  The array of delicious morsels starts the taste buds into high frequency over drive. There is almost every Sweet Goodie for the most demanding . This place is impossible to escape from--well you will see what I mean, I will let you be the Judge. It is truly a sweet sinning!

Now I ask you??? and that is not the half of it.

Well you know what happened here, but I honestly tried to be conservative--ahem, well I did try? Time to get on the MTA and take a ride together, just like we used to do. It  was a great afternoon, sharing the best of times with my special Mr. Dude. It never ceases to amaze me, that after all these years we still have so much to talk about, we still have fun together, and we still are in love as well as like each other--what a gift we have been given!

Why don't you take this same trip through Pinellas County, Brooklyn, Florida? I promise you will like it.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Gentle Waves Bringing Peace!

It was 6:00 P.M. after a very hot "muggy" day.   It had been a full working  day at the computer with our internet business, and I was not looking forward to organizing dinner, when my Darling Mr. Dude popped his head in the door of my office and said, " let's go to the beach!  We live very close to the beaches, but frankly very seldom go there.  His enthusiasm was infectious, and how could I say No when he had already packed our smaller cooler bag with bottled water, and packed our current reading material in another bag.  The folding green chairs were already in the back of the Volvo, so what was a "Girl" to do, but tag along.

That hour in the evening is usually a very good one, most people have taken their families home for dinner and the tourists are soothing their sunburns in the privacy of their rented Condos.  When we arrived at the beach in Indian Rocks Fla. we were almost alone.  Parking the car was easy , the parking lot was empty. As we walked down the ramp to the water's edge the most wonderful breeze greeted us and I knew that this had been the best decision we could have made.

This is the scene that greeted us as we walked to the water's edge,unpacked our chairs and settled down to read a chapter or two of the books that we are currently reading. No technical devices for us, we love the feel of a hard cover book in our hands. Birds were flying before us and occasionally a rider on a bicycle would ride by and wave to the two of us. The special larger beach tires making their ride swift and safe for
rider and the sand.
Sitting there in the quiet of the early evening, in this peaceful setting, the stresses of the day began to melt away. The sound of the gentle slap of the waves, the chirping of birds, looking for a tidbit of food that that the lovers of the sun might have left. The splashes of the pelicans who float quietly on the surface and then suddenly dive and disappear for their dinner, could this be the same world that I left just 15 minutes ago?

The evening news at this same time presents us with the sad facts of War torn nations, continuing threats to our own existence, corruption on many levels, of facts which tell us, inch by inch we are losing our individual Rights and the control over our own lives.  The PC police are everywhere and most often do not use common sense or decorum . I come from, what I believe was a better time in our world. We did not have to lock doors, our children could play outside without supervision, every home did not have a gun and we did not carry guns on our person,  we felt privileged to live under the "Stars and Stripes", our precious flag that so many had fought and died for so that I could sit here and feel the beauty of this beach and sea. We believed in the rights of worship. How could we not believe that this wonderful place was created by someone other than ourselves?  Hmm. For this moment in time, I didn't have to think, worry or be stressed about the future of our country and the futures of  our children and Grandchildren. I feel the healing of this beautiful place.
as I look out to the horizon I see the changes coming in the horizon.  Will it rain, I do hear distant thunder, or is this some far away voice agreeing or disagreeing with my thoughts?  Fantasy--think it might be the notice of rain!
Darkness invaded, but we continued to sit and wait for the array of colors that we knew would soon be coming.
God's paintbrush at work!
The rain never came, and we continue to sit and watch this magic until a little after 8:00 P.M. This was better medicine than all the prescriptions we could have been given to relieve the daily stress in our lives. We came home feeling truly blessed to be able to have been able to witness this daily miracle of the "End of Day"

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Lone Brave Survivor

This has been one of the hottest summers on record in this part of Florida and we have the energy bills to prove it!  That tale is for another day.

The heat and lack of water has destroyed our small little garden, my beautiful basil bush is pathetic in its thirst. I cannot water enough to make things right. Our lovely Mature Magnolia is dying, even though we have done everything we can to save it.

In my anguish about this, started pulling out the tomatoes that never really fruited, the egg plant, which is usually the easiest thing to grow and trying to clean up, just so I wouldn't have to look at the devastation. when I came around the corner I saw vines all over the ground that had seeded from the compost bed. Hope lives eternal for this is what I found hidden under the leaves.

 Now this pretty thing braved it all and will ultimately end the fight in a pie or just as a vegetable for the table. Steamed, mashed with butter and cinnamon.

He or she weighs 2 lbs 10 oz. Is 4 inches in diam and 9 1/2 inches long/

Soon we will start out seed pots for the cooler weather crop. September has come and we really haven't seen much of a change in the weather as yet, but in October I should have quite a few plants to plant in pots, boxes and perhaps the ground. This part of Florida is really not a good place for "in the ground gardening" . We miss the wonderful soil of New England and New Jersey, but we keep trying new methods and who knows we might win!

Blessings to the Garden Fairy for allowing me to have at least 1 (one) success to prove I did have at least "One brave Survivor".

Sunday, August 31, 2014

When I am an Old Woman "Will I" Wear Purple?

Today is the last day of August and I have not posted since June--shame on me! This could indicate a great Summer in a faraway place or it could mean that the extreme Summer heat has kept me hidden inside enjoying the cool atmosphere working on other things. Sadly it has been the latter. It has given me time to contemplate and think of all the things that mean so much to me and those that irritate!

Some time ago my Dear Friend gave me a book. At the time I wasn't quite sure why, but every page brought more wisdom and memories and then I knew why.  It is called, " When I am an OLD WOMAN I shall Wear Purple" edited by Sandra Haldeman Martz. She has invaded the memory banks and brought to life each contributor's stories and poems to this wonderful book. There are over180 pages of "wisdom" and sometimes the not so happy times of lives.

During this month of August I had another birthday. I am under the sign of Leo and have been told many times that it suits me. I am not sure why, but I am sure friends as well as those who are not friends could tell you why.  I have never thought of age as part of me--it was a nebulous thing that belonged to someone else. My drivers License had to be renewed, but this time I could not do it on line. My age dictated that I must appear in person and bring my birth certificate. Hmmmmm suddenly I am being reminded that I am not in the bloom of youth. How tacky of them, made even worse by the fact that I could not find my elusive Birth Certificate and had to apply for a new one from the state of my birth, at the cost of 70.00 I might add. My 98 year old Mother told me to take her with me, "after all" she said " I was there and know you were Born"! The way things were going I didn't think they would believe her either.

Each time I was asked my birth date, it suddenly seemed like an "off color" word and I found myself waiting for the reaction. The first person at the bureau asked me for my marriage certificate, "why" I asked. "Because your name has changed", another hmmm was gathering in my throat ready to burst forth. "Well yes, but that was 54 years ago" . I think she noted that my tone has changed slightly and sent me on to the next window , where the Buck was passed, to a delightful young woman who had a sense of humor. This went further down the hill when we discovered we could have used my expired Passport--funny the website said no--" oh well the rules have just changed". I was considerably poorer at the end of all this but I came out still legally able to drive and had the paper to prove it.  The clerk's parting shot was, "You won't have to go through this again, it is good for 8 years". Now I don't want to be negative about this, but in 8 years , yikes I don't want to contemplate that!

It was when my Darling Mr. Dude, quietly said, " honey we will both be 80 next year that I suddenly realized ,Wow have I really reached that age!  You see, for me, age is just a state of mind. I am grateful that I am still able to do almost all the things I want to do. Financially that isn't always possible, but that is a state most of my contemporaries are experiencing. I have been loved by a wonderful man. I have a son who has blessed us with a wife, who is more like a daughter than a Daughter-in-law and 4  Grandchildren, we have traveled, and always had a good time together. These are the memories that we can depend on when it will no longer be possible to do these things.

It all sounds Utopian, but it has not been, there has been great illness, disappointments, loss of many friends and family, our retirement disappeared and countless other things, but through it all we knew the Lord was in control and as long as we shared the strength of that and each other, Eventually all would work out. Time is not on our side, but does that really matter? 

So far I still do not have to dye my hair, but I will when the time is right, and I do not think I will be wearing Purple--I love Hot Pink !  I am going to leave you today with a Poem written by Sheila Banani which I love,

                                            Life's Rainbow

                                Beginnings are laquer red
                                    fired hard in the kiln
                                         of hot hope

                                Middles,  copper  yellow
                                       in sunshine
                                      sometimes oxidize green
                                      with tears, but

                               Endings are always Indigo
                                     before we step
                                     on the other shore.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Evolution of the Game from Gillet, Brelan Bouillotte to Poker

Personally I know very little about gambling or card games.  My only experience of the excitement that accompanies this "playtime" has been acquired by  visiting the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, Florida.  As you go through the gates of Win or Lose, there is a hum of noise that makes the juices flow.  The dedication with which some sit and work the levers with intensity is a study in human psychology.  I have to admit, I enjoyed it and in the end came out even. Never really lost and that is when I decided I had better leave the games of chance to those who know a lot more about it than I do. Playing solitaire or Hearts on the computer is safer for me. Watching the game of hearts being played and lost where it counted, for money, would be more excitement for me than I really need. I do hate to lose!

In going through some of our storage  boxes, from our business, Mr. Dude found this lamp. Very attractive and certainly quality. I wanted to find out more. We knew the purpose and what it was but like most people involved in this business , the mystery of old things, that is not enough. Research is where the fun begins.

This is actually a 3 arm, ( one arm is hidden by the center post) Bouillette Lamp from the 1920s, 30s. As you can see this is designed for electricity, but in the 18th century those candle holders would be for candles, I am getting a little ahead of myself with this tale.

In the 17th century the card game for the gentry in France was Gillet, but as time and circumstances moved forward the new game of Brelan evolved. This from the French brelenc which in literal translation means, a card player, gambler or refers to a place which is provided for card playing. This game of Brelan became the card game of the 17th and early 18th century in France.  The game migrated to England and the name was changed to Brag or Bragg  and from what I can determine, "bluffing" to outwit your fellow players was a major component of the game.  Just like the game of gossip, the rules and interpretation kept changing.This was also a time of great political unrest in France. The game of "Bouillotte" became the game of the 18th century. Based on the French Revolution, it became the great favorite and was played everywhere.. This game was played with 3-5 players  It came to America and was a favorite all through the1830s.  In reading about this, I found that those with great historical knowledge of card games believe that that this early history was the evolution for the game of poker. There are several similarities in both games.

Of course with such a favorite past time, drawing rooms or card rooms had to accommodate the needs and comforts of the players. Tables were invented and lighting was the most important component, thus the lamp called Bouillette lamp. Some were floor lamps, some pull -down ceiling lamps, and of course the table lamp The shade for  these lamps was a shorter oval shape and always metal. Why, because the open flame of candles would have been too dangerous for anything else..   Paper or Fabric became a much later addition.

The center Shaft, or "Tole", not to be confused with tole painting, is shared by 2 to 4 candle arms. This Shaft is designed to rise or lower to accommodate the length of the candles. Some shafts have a key like projection, the lamp above does not have that, but does have a thumb screw for the same use. This is a later model,  certainly vintage, but not a true antique and was always intended for electric. Very often the base was a deep dish shape, this was where the chips were stored during play..

The metal shades for these lamps, as well as paper shades, are still manufactured.  My apologies to those with greater knowledge of  card games and their histories.As I said as I began, I know very little about cards, but I do love the story of how inventions met needs and this is a classic example.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Story of The Aladdin Lamps

I grew up in what was termed, a rural historical town in Massachusetts. Of course in the 50 or so years since then, it has become an affluent suburban extension to Boston. A wonderful community, rich with the history of the Shakers, and beautiful in its landscape . In the years since I left it, one by one the farms of the area stopped producing  and were sold to accommodate the rising need of the upward mobile looking for that perfect little oasis away from the city.

Most of us, as a society have become used to that modern marvel electricity, but living in the 1940s 1950s we often lost power due to winter storms. Everyone I knew still had the use of Oil lamps and my family was no exception.  My Mother kept lamps ready for use, the wicks were trimmed or fresh mantles were ready, and  Kerosene was on on hand. Remember that smell when that lamp was first lit? More than once I remember doing homework at the kitchen table by the steady glow of the Aladdin or Rayo Lamp.To this very day My husband and I keep at least 2 good lamps ready for use if we should lose electricity for any reason.

As the history books relate, more than a 100 years ago, on a rural Nebraska farm a small but creative boy read the story of Aladdin by the oil coal or Kerosene lamp. As an adult, in 1908 Victor Johnson founded the Mantle Lamp Co. of America --the very year my Father was born. More than once I heard his stories of reading by the light of the lamp. In 1909 the Aladdin Trademark was born.  Is it fantasy to think the name came from the stories of Aladdin?

This is an example of an all original Aladdin Glass oil lamp with loc-on chimney that we sold a short time ago.

In 1926 Mr. Johnson bought the Lippincott Glass Factory in Indiana and then began manufacturing glass lamps, as well as chimneys and lamp shades.The lamp shown above is one such lamp.  They became a one stop shopping supplier. In order to merchandise to a wider base, agents were hired to travel throughout the country, demonstrating the product lines.  It was not unusual to leave a lamp with a family over night to make the sale. The term "Traveling Salesman" comes to mind.  Part of his job was also to arrange with local merchants to stock Aladdin supplies. This approach to selling was so successful and had grown to such proportions that by 1928 the company became a totally franchised dealership organization.

The Original headquarters was in Chicago Illinois,  by the 1930s most families had been at least introduced to electricity and the Kerosene lamp's days seemed to be numbered. To keep current with the needs of the
electric customer for the next 15 years the electric Lamp division created unique and beautiful lamps. Most designs were Deco and remain Highly collectible today. During this time the manufacture of electrical units were also being made to adapt your kerosene lamp for electrical use. The lamp I am showing below has such a unit.

This is Aladdin's Lincoln Drape design in Alicite glass and is being sold as electrified, but with an oil burner could be converted back to  be used with kerosene.

In the 1930's a glass Genius and chemist, Henry Helmers,  invented the formula for alacite glass .In the early 30's  he worked for almost every prominent Glass Manufacturer and was responsible for the glorious colors of the old Cambridge glass, Somewhere in the this same time frame he also did work for the Aladdin lamp company and was responsible for their beautiful Alacite lamp bases and Deco electric lamps. Alacite glass has a very soft luster with an ivory and pink tone. The original formula used uranium oxide to achieve this appearance. In1942 the U.S. Government banned the use of this because of the war effort. The formula then had to be changed but retain the same appearance. If you place a piece under a black light it should glow a greenish yellow, if it was made by the original process. It then can be dated to before 1942. On the  Alacite Aladdin lamps the letter A is in raised letters on the bottom.They used the process for both oil and electric lamps.

This is one of the Aladdin beautiful Deco Alacite glass Table lamps. I am always thrilled when I am lucky enough to find the original finial with it. This lamp is for sale,  It can be found by clicking the box on the right.

 In 1949 the Chicago Aladdin Headquarter moved to Nashville Tenn. where it is still located. Competition of lamp Manufacture forced the company to make other items and those are also collectible today. The famous Character lunch boxes with thermos bottles.

If you own, what you think is an Aladdin Oil lamp, look at the burner knob, it should say Aladdin and a model number.

Parts are still sold by Aladdin Industries, but many changes have taken place. Almost all parts are made out of the country. You can buy the  chimneys, mantles and burners, and they are good parts that will fit your lamp.

In 1999 Aladdin industries sold the lamp Division to collector investors . If you have an old original Aladdin Oil Lamp or a 30s 40s table lamp, take good care of this piece of history from a fine old American firm that was built with ingenuity and the dreams of a Nebraska School boy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Own Little Easter Bunny is Thriving!

Next Sunday is Easter, a celebration, in the life of a Christian, and what a celebration it is!  I am reminded every day how grateful I am to have a Savior who cares about me.  Our small family has faced many challenges and crisis this past year, but through it all the love of the Lord and his love for us has kept us whole. We will continue to fight the "good fight".

Mr. Dude and I have been working very hard in the back yard, trying to bring it into some sort of reasonable focus, and as I have told you before we now have a bunny who has reached the Toddler stage.  Like most toddlers he does get into places he shouldn't, but like our children, I love him or her anyway.  I had planted several containers of Gerber daisies and Petunias.  Hmmm, well this is how some
of them look now. Nary a blossom in sight!  Boo Hoo, oh well they will grow again, It was my mistake putting them in a tempting spot. Now I am putting everything up out of harms way, just like we did with the kids,

You can see how he is growing, here he has found something delicious to chew on. Like most growing children he appears all the time now and eats his fill.

We may never have the grass  mowed again.We have a built in mower, who has a liking for green patches, and that is about all there is left.

Now I ask you isn't he cute?  He is getting used to us, doesn't run away if we should meet in passing

I am preparing myself for the day he grows into the teen years and decides to move on. I will just love     .                                                                                   him for this moment in time.

Look what I found in the side garden today--I believe that my own special Easter Bunny has left me a purple Alabaster egg, as a gift. What a sweet Bunny we have living in our yard! 

We will not be with our Son and family this year and that makes us a little sad. The Grands are growing up. I miss the egg hunts we used to organize and making the baskets to surprise them with and  All going to church together to worship as a family.We would then come home for a big dinner. Sharing with extended family and friends to celebrate!

                                                                                    In our mobile world today, it is just a fact of life that
 we can't always be together. We hope to bring up our children to be successful, secure people who are able to live happily and successfully away from the family nest.

I guess this is much the same for the Mother Rabbit who is teaching her baby offspring to be prepared to function in a world that is sometimes not very friendly. I appreciate her sharing her baby with us until he is ready to face the world away from us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Well Well, Does This Mean Spring Has Finally Arrived?

The sun is shining, hopefully the horrendous and torrential rains have peaked, and many of us who now  live in the Land of Sunshine, start to clean up our yards.  We do not have to contend with snow and slush, but heavy rains do leave us with mud and weeds the like of which I have never seen before.

The other day, equipped with gloves, pitchfork, rake and what little strength I could muster, I began the Spring cleanup. It will be much easier next year because Mr. Dude and I have made the decision to only do" Pot Planting" this year. Hopefully this will be a better solution and easier for us to maintain. The results are often  much better, due to the poor soil we constantly have to fortify.. The weeds, in what used to be my Day Lily Garden, looked like a hay field. 

I boldly stepped forward and began to pull the dead weeds away and as I did,, guess who suddenly jumped  out and ran for his life?
Now isn't he cute?  Where is his Mama and why is this baby all my his lonesome?  We had been feeding a larger rabbit last year and suddenly he or she disappeared.  Could this be the result of our full grown Rabbit's wanderings?  

As I looked out the window very early the other morning, Lo and behold, I saw, what I assume is the Mama Rabbit. I think she now sends the "kid"  out to Play every afternoon, while she takes a nap. This little guy is making his appearance, in my garden, every day around 5:30.  I am usually working out there around this time as well. We are learning to tolerate each other . We look at each other, and then sensing my love for Rabbits he goes about the business of eating and I quietly pull more weeds.  I am preparing myself for the day when he grows to womanhood or manhood and leaves us, but in the meantime, I am enjoying his sweet presence in the middle of suburbia. The Baby Easter Rabbit has arrived!  The first sign of Spring, after a very hard winter everywhere. Hope reigns when Baby rabbits are born and the flowers begin to bloom!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Today Is The Beginning

Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten Season for Christians all over the World. A sacred time and a time of decisions. If you are a practicing Christian will you be observant for the next 40 days? Will you be making a sacrifice as our Lord sacrificed for us? 

When I was a young girl, we hoped for a new dress and shoes for church and in those days we also wore hats.We thought we were so cool! We constantly, in our vanity, checked with others to see, "what color is your dress?"  As an adult I wonder this, why was a new dress so important and who was it really for? Was it to welcome the resurrected Christ or was this just a personal indulgence along with the Easter Bunny and our very welcome basket?

Today in the world,Christians are in a religious war and every day the brave and dedicated Missionaries, many who serve in nations unfriendly to their beliefs, are sacrificing to bring that word of the Lord to non-believers. Their sacrifices often mean , imprisonment, torture, death or conditions so severe they are forced into hiding or escape.  I honor and applaud their bravery, because I am afraid, if tested, I might  not be that brave.

We are beginning to feel that we are under siege in our own country.  I read not long ago that leaving Bibles in Hotel rooms is not any longer P.C.  That COULD be offensive!  That is only the beginning of many such stories. Removal  of Crosses that were dedicated to those who served us and died for us.How sad!

Perhaps in the Lenten season, while fixing Easter baskets for the Children and Grandchildren, which I think is a great idea and provides a sweet remembrance for them to store in their memory bank, your thoughts will include all of those who have sacrificed and still sacrifice for us today so that we may have the right to religious freedom.. Everyone needs a basket that has a special little gift along with, yellow Marsh mellow chicks, I love those. Jelly beans, yes I love those too. Wasn't it fun to hand dye eggs and then hide them all over the yard and then pray we could still make egg salad from them?  Today we have little plastic ones that we painstakingly fill with candy and of course , please don't forget the chocolate bunny!!

I have a dear friend who is eliminating sugar as her sacrifice,  this a a very big deal for her. She has supported and given me the strength to do the same.  Gosh , how will I give up my sweet in the afternoon with tea, my chocolate and a few other things I love, that satisfy my sweet tooth-- because I will be remembering, every time I reach out to take that forbidden sweet, what the Lord did for me! 

We arrange to send Lillies to the graves of those we have loved and lost, we contribute to the Alter Guilds to provide flowers for services and we order our Sugar Ham for the Easter table which we usually share with friends and family. It is after all, a celebration of the Risen Christ!  Please stand up, and show the world who you are and what you believe!  Make this a happy time and share with others!

If you were to visit my Garden, you would find this symbol of my Faith protecting all of God's Flowers as well as my Family and I.

Thank you for stopping in today and for listening. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

A slight correction to my Bromeliad Family Name

We all know how important family names are to some--guess Bromeliads are no exception to that rule.  Today I received some added information from our Botanical Gardens. The name of my mystery plant  is actually Billbergia Windii. It is one of the oldest hybrids  in the Bromeliad family and is the result of crossing  Billbergia nutans with B. Decora. This was accomplished in 1870 at the National Botanic Garden in Belgium.  I am thrilled to get this new information, now if someone could tell me where I acquired this little gem that would really make my day!  Name or no name, it doesn't really matter to me. It is a beautiful plant. I did not want to mislead anyone with the information I previously recorded.
I thought as long as I was dropping in again, I would bring you some pictures of the interior of our Botanical Garden and Agricultural information center . To the right of this information desk there is a beautiful and quite large Koi  pond. It was feeding time for these beauties.

  Some of these fellows were quite passive and then there were a few that were very aggressive, made it known they were "Top Koi" in the pack.
Below is the rock, man made waterfall that provides a continuous  water flow that keeps every one happy and healthy. Tropical atmosphere and peaceful soothing sounds .

Beautiful display of different types of orchids, which is maintained and constantly changed by the Master Gardeners.  When my Grandchildren were small they loved to come to the Gardens to watch the Koi, and if it was their "lucky Day" to be allowed to feed them!

It was lovely to visit with you again, hope you enjoyed.  See you soon.

Way behind, but Here I go Running to catch up in 2014

I haven't been able to post for awhile, as some wise soul has said " Life Happens" and our choices are limited.  I think I am back on track now, but that isn't a guarantee of anything. Some very serious health issues have been occupying our lives, we are learning to be more patient,  to take one day at a time, and pray a lot.

In most parts of the country this has NOT been a good winter, and that is putting it mildly.   Florida has been very cold, which is a little unusual, but we did not have to cope with snow, ice, shoveling, dead batteries, and all that good "stuff". I remember Mr Dude and Son had shoveled our driveway in New Jersey and just as they finished,  the plow came along and piled it right over the end again.  Whew, certainly glad I wasn't within hearing distance of that conversation! We decided then that we would  not ever want to deal with that much bad weather again, so here we are on the West Coast of Florida, where it was in the high 70s today.

We were able to save most of our plants by covering everything and moving some to more protected areas. I have had a plant for about 3 or 4 years that I thought  was a form of lily, but never even knew where I had found it. Initially, I thought it was an orchid. I re-potted  it in the fall, and then ignored it.  Just before the cold weather arrived, I noticed that this plant suddenly had two potential flowers.  What a surprise that was!
I am sure that many Floridians will know right away what this plant is, but I wasn't sure.  We are so fortunate to have the Botanical Gardens very near to our home.  I have written about this wonderful place many times, but each time I learn something new, and today was one of those times.  Mr. Dude and I decided to take the now dead bloom to the Head Plant Guru, who happens to be an expert in Bromeliads.  Yes, that is what we have--a BelBergia Nutan or Queen's Tears and sometimes called Friendship plant. He was so accommodating, and then told us to look in a tree right outside of the main door--- This is the same plant, which has sent out so many pups that it is all round this huge Oak tree. 

 We had stopped, on our way to the garden, at our local Mickey D's for a Quarter Pounder with cheese. A treat for us. We rarely eat these, and of course if you are going to "Sin" you might as well go all the way--processed cheese and all, pickles and more! It was such a beautiful day, just warm enough, and sitting in the beach chairs, which are located all through out the area, we relaxed and watched the birds in front of one of the water ponds.  Winter does come here and most things are still in hibernation.  I could see all the buds coming on the Japanese Iris, and I know that the pond lilies will soon be in massive bloom.  There were quite a few winter visitors walking through out  the park, we met a couple from St. Louis and another from Mass. It was fun to share what we knew about the gardens. We all agreed this weather was better than snow and ice!

Our focus became the Bromeliad gardens, which up to now, we hadn't paid much attention to--here are a few views, remembering that at this time of year,  most things are not in bloom.
This is a  huge "Man Made" waterfall at the edge of the garden. The picture below  is a very small selection, of what will be wonderful color a little later on.

This is a Giant Alcantarea Imperials,  I would love to see this in bloom!  I know that I am "hooked" on these beautiful Tropicals. If you love Pineapples, then you must know that they are also a form of Bromeliad. This plant form asks very little of us, and shows us so much in return.  I will continue to visit this beautiful garden and bring you plants in bloom.  A great place for a stroll amidst beauty , then stopping for a little lunch, and a cup of coffee. Take a relaxing nap or read your book. A peaceful retreat in the middle of a busy, busy area.
Thanks for looking--see you next time--bring your lunch and we can have a chat!