Wednesday, December 12, 2018

1/2 down-1/2 to go

With great sadness I realized that we are 1/2 way through Advent already. I haven't even heard every song in our Advent music booklet yet, in fact it may be an impossibility as there are 57 songs and only 23 days of Advent this year!

Nonetheless, Kris Kringles are alive and well. Little gifts appear in mail boxes and shoppers get out to purchase their little package for the gift exchange Christmas Eve. Here are two Kris Kringle items that appeared in my hallway: a lovely vase of berries and greens and a Merry Christmas Advent calendar (isn't that an oxymoron?) with Peanuts characters!

By this weekend Christmas will begin creeping in more and more.....slowly, slowly.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hardball comes to Erie

Last evening we had the opportunity to attend an hour and a half "event" held in downtown Erie, a conversation with Chris Matthews, host of the MSNBC evening show "Hardball." Sure Cokie Roberts was here a couple years ago, and we heard Doris Kearns Goodwin last month as part of the same series, but generally these aren't an every week occurrence here, 350 miles from DC as we are.

In contrast to his rather in-your-face interview/hosting style on TV, he was casual, warm, very funny, Catholic, Irish, and generally "a regular Philly guy" as Anne, a regular Philly gal herself, concluded. He shared his opinions and mostly his experience of years in the world of national politics and journalism. He was not overly judgmental nor overly critical. One of the memories I will have is that although he clearly admired some presidents and politicians more than others, he said that most of our presidents were a mixed bag...good and admirable things in all of them and the opposite, too.

His latest book is about Bobby Kennedy who he thinks was quite the unique man and politician--and often the not-so-secret influence behind his brother's presidency.

It was delightful evening.

Beautiful, unique, special Advent moves into its second week.



Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Fluffy Kind

We haven't had snow in about a week....no complaints here, just the facts!

Today we had the fluffy stuff, really light and really beautiful. Our winter-long commitment to our bird population is strong. Here is how pretty the feeders looked, just before a refilling this afternoon!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Brewerie

Thanks to recently acquired gift certificates we took in lunch at a new-to-us restaurant, the Brewereie. Located in the old Union Station at 14th and Peach, I was overwhelmed when we opened the front door: "Oh, I wish my Dad could see this" I said out loud. In fact, I wish all old-timer Erieites who remember the station as a busy train hub, could see it now. WOW!

We sat in one of the "booths"--really old waiting room high-backed wooden benches and then walked all around while we awaited our soup and salad lunch--which was delicious. Oozing with natural atmosphere, it is a wonderful nostalgic trip a few decades back when passenger trains came through towns like Erie on a daily basis and were one of the primary modes of transportation.

If you live in Erie or visit it regularly I encourage you to give it a try (it's open for lunch, dinner and its famous beers every day). Enjoy!



Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Snuggling up with a good book

Our second--rather mini--snowstorm came along earlier this week and it reminded me that it would be a good time to share one of my favorite winter photos again: St. Scholastica and the courtyard gazebo, taken from a second floor balcony.



Winter is a time for many things that just don't fit quite as well in the other seasons. One of these for me is reading. Michelle Obama's book, Becoming, is making the rounds here, as is Bob Woodward's Fear. Yesterday I received a surprise in the mail, Louise Penny's brand new book, Kingdom of the Blind. There was no note to indicate the sender--perhaps I have a secret admirer!! Anyway, eat your hearts out you Armand Gamache lovers. He's off on another adventure in Three Pines and Montreal, wonderfully described and shared in Penny's outstanding writing. I'll have to read it rather promptly in order to then donate it to the library. I hear the waiting list is really long!


Sunday, November 25, 2018

"Follow the Star"

For the fourth or fifth year in a row, we've hosted the Christmas special dress rehearsal for the local singing group extraordinaire, Tennessee Back Porch. This weekend was no exception in their presentation of a unique holiday event. Many sisters and friends took in the two-hour show in our chapel and marveled once again at the vocal quality of lead singer Julie Moore and, now, her daughter Becca. The accompanying musicians are also excellent in their own areas. A wonderful, wonderful performance all around. They present their "Follow the Star" program a number of times in the area. If you're local, you should give it a try. It's great! Tennessee Back Porch's website. P.S. Who was that mystery guest oboist on that one song?

Our bird feeders are busy these days as the natural food sources for our many birds dwindle.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Pure joy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Take 4 minutes to enjoy this special treat...
Beethoven's 5th uniquely presented!

Click here.




Sunday, November 18, 2018

More classroom adventures

My friends all loved my Blessed Mother/Algebra story in the last post. So much so that one of them read it to the high schoolers that visited our place this weekend. She reported that they laughed and said that indeed it would be as I wrote if one of their teacher broke a statue during the Pythagorean Theorem. BTW, the girls were just delightful and we are grateful to their teacher for giving all of us, former teachers, a weekend of memories of our years with teenagers.

In response to a request for one more--here's a short one: one spring day, in a similar enthusiastic way, I suppose, the sun was bringing a strong glare onto the blackboard, so without missing a syllable, I backed up over to the windows, backhanded the hanging cord in an attempt to pull the curtain without a pause in my thrilling explanation of the problem at hand. I felt a little blockage as I pulled at it, but instead of backing up as I usually did and trying again, I tried to yank my way through it.....yanked I did, and brought the full length blackout curtains and some of the hardware they were attached to down on myself and my desk! Re-roll tape, the ending was the same: absolute silence, followed by hilarious laughter, begun by me, as I worked my way out from under the tent! And...same conclusion, that's probably the number one memory from geometry for that particular class! Poor Pythagorus.


Our beautiful larch and the two willow trees are the only ones left with their leaves. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Memories of Algebra II

This weekend we will have an unusual group of visitors--high school sophomores! They are being brought here by their theology teacher who was part of the Joan Chittister Institute for Contemporary Spirituality this summer--held for millennials with degrees in theology/religious education. We get lots of college-age students, but not high schoolers as a rule.

Their upcoming visit has put me in a nostalgic mood for my high school teaching days. Here's one of my memorable moments from my first or second year as a teacher. I was in the original habit and was being overly animated in an Algebra II class one day. My arms were flying around trying, I guess, to make an exciting algebra point or trying to get or keep their interest. On the teacher's desk in front of me was one of those classic plaster of paris statues of the Blessed Mother. In one particularly excited gesture my wide swaying sleeve hit that statue and sent it flying the length of the room (luckily right down an aisle) smashing the whole way, sending shards of blue and white everywhere.

Of course this brought total silence to everyone--as 35 pairs of 16-year-old eyes turned to me--too stunned to even blink. Luckily I was still young and, as I said, very excited about being in a classroom. Once the statue came to a stop I just burst out laughing, which of course allowed them to join me! Want to bet that's the only thing some of them remember from their algebra II class!

I'm sure I will continue to be flooded with memories throughout this weekend. How nice!

Our weekend snow is gone but it was really beautiful while it was here.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Our first snow + Mary's take

Oops! White metal summer furniture didn't get put away in time! They're still white, but with snow now.

Autumn berries were caught in our first snow. They make great photo ops.

Our little chickadees are faithful visitors to our feeders--all winter.

"First Snow"
(excerpts)

The snow
began here
this morning and all day
continued, its white
rhetoric everywhere
calling us back to why, how,
whence such beauty and what
the meaning;

The silence
is immense,
and the heavens still hold
a million candles; nowhere
the familiar things:
stars, the moon,
the darkness we expect
and nightly turn from.

Mary Oliver

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Odd time for trees


I think that this is a type of Japanese maple, but I'm not sure. Its "home" is right at our front entrance! What I do know is that it was "drop-dead gorgeous" last week in this, its full autumn color. And then, with two days of rain and winds it lost every single leaf and now stands totally empty, yet on an equally beautiful carpet of red-orange leaves!

Our autumn leaf-changing time was odd this year. Our peak is usually in mid-October but this year mid-October stayed green. Finally the golds and red came out about 10 days ago but are quickly disappearing. An odd year.

What is not unusual, but very usual, is our October-November list of visitors. Oblates were here a couple weeks ago, a group for their own retreat last Friday and Saturday and our own retreatants coming up next weekend. In between, the annual pilgrimages of family and friends, who are making the trip to Erie before the holidays come and the snow flies. (BTW: I've got all my snow measuring equipment ready to go again this year: Year #2. Great fun, especially over the long haul--not so much some early mornings in the freshly fallen snow and cold 6:00 a.m. temperatures---"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...")

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Lighthouse Lovers

We are fortunate in Erie to have three lighthouses. Two are on Presque Isle State Park: The Presque Isle Lighthouse, whose light reaches out into the lake, and the North Pier Lighthouse whose light is at the entrance to the channel that leads from the lake into Presque Isle Bay. The third one was recently restored (2004), though it doesn't have a working light, and is the Land Lighthouse, located along the shoreline in east Erie about 5 miles from us. It was first built as a wooden structure, then rebuilt out of brick and finally rebuilt with sandstone. All of these took place in the 1800s.


An Open House this weekend at the Land Lighthouse enabled us to climb the spiral staircase to the top. It was quite a feat.

Here's the view looking down at the historical story boards on the grounds. That's Lake Erie at the top of the photo.

Here's the renovation of the sandstone structure. It really is lovely, very "historic" looking and has garnered quite a number of local history buffs so that it will never fall into disrepair again!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween

from the children of St. Benedict's Child Development Center. The best place in town!







Sunday, October 28, 2018

Better (ob)late than never

Delightful October community weekend which included a "home" visit by 100+ of our obates--lots of "old timers" and quite a number of new ones. One initiate was greeted by the sign "Better (ob)late than never," given to her by a friend with a not-so-veiled comment on how long it took her to decide on it!

The best, however, was this Benedictine medal on a pumpkin carving:

Photo and carving courtesy of Erin C. 

Were pumpkins even a thing in 6th century Italy????
Maybe just yet another example of how the life is evolving through time and culture!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Intermodal

The Erie Intermodal Transportation Center was the site this week of BFP's monthly Silent Walk For Peace. Entering its second year already, this 30-minute public demonstration for peaceful hearts, peaceful cities, peaceful countries and a peaceful world is held at various venues around Erie. This month the place was downtown right along the bay front where there are a variety of city offices as well as the hub for Erie City buses and Greyhound buses as they come into and go out of the city. The reality of border patrol agents monitoring the Greyhounds for possible immigrants to question is what drew us there to pray for peace.

Watch our community website for a reminder of November's walk on Thursday the 8th at 10th and Sassafras Sts.

By 7:00 pm the sun has just about set in our part of the country in late October. The only light available for these shots was artificial but I thought it would be worth a try.

The Russian Orthodox church on the cliffs above the Bayfront Highway.

The Bicentennial Tower

The side wall of windows in our main library branch, with the masts of the Flagship Niagara in the background.

A large Great Lakes freighter in port. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bus full of nuns (and others!)



This week the 2018 tour of Nuns on the Bus, sponsored by the Catholic lobby, Network, will come through Erie, on the way to its final destination, Mar-a-Lago Florida.

From their literature: "NETWORK's Nuns on the Bus is hitting the road—for the first time in two years! This time, Nuns on the Bus: the Tax Justice Truth Tour is traveling from California to Florida ahead of the 2018 midterms to focus on tax justice and reasonable revenue for responsible programs. Throughout the journey, Sister Simone Campbell will be joined by 30 other Catholic sisters for the 21-state tour that will end with a Fiesta for the Common Good."

Our prioress, Sister Anne, has been asked to be part of the program at our downtown Perry Square at the Rally in Erie.



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ROYGBIV VIBGYOR


We get rainbows in Erie. Half a dozen times a year, I'd guess. Usually in spring or early fall and usually in the late afternoon as the sun is setting in the west and as a little rain is passing through. Beautiful, full rainbows in the eastern sky. Wednesday this week was an unusual one: 7:30 in the morning, the just-rising sun caught an early rain and, voila, a lovely bow, with its inverted double, over the western end of the bay, city and lake.

This happens also to be the half-hour when many of us are driving west, into downtown Erie and, therefore, we were treated to this glorious event all the way into work! Another sister and I immediately went to our 4th floor windows, that face exactly the right direction, opened the windows, raised the screens and took pictures. These are the best I could get--enjoy.


The residual enjoyment of the bows was in hearing the comments all day (and evening): "I just knew it was going to be a great day," "I was kind of down, but when I saw the double bow I perked right up," "I think they were just for me, I needed that today," "I finally saw a double bow for the first time." etc. etc. etc.

Genesis 9: 13 "God said...'I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth.'"

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Closing up the house



As we hit the mid-October point there is a "closing up of the house" feel to the days now. Our central air is off and heat is on; cardigan sweaters are beginning to make their appearance--even some sweatshirts and long sleeved tops show up in chapel each morning; the feel of fresh air coming in from open windows is gone--replaced by that closed door feeling; the first sinus infections and stuffy noses can be heard; we are awash in apples in every conceivable manner our cooks can think of; the trick or treating hours for the city and surrounding townships were in the paper yesterday and more people seem to be taking soup at lunch! All of these come with the cool mornings, intermittent daily rain and the newspaper announcement that our trees will be at their peak autumn colors this week!

The number of visitors has not changed yet. The guest list that we post weekly was as long Friday as ever. Maybe they are getting in their last car trip before the roads turned "iffy" on any given winter weekend.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Pulitzer prize winning mushrooms

I knew that Mary Oliver had won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for her book, American Primitive but I had never read it or even seen a copy. Lo and behold I now own one.

Also this week, down on the Glinodo side of our property, near the Eagle Scout built boardwalk, and under a grove of very tall pine trees we spotted a whole family of mushrooms. The damp, cool nights of fall are mushroom time for us and they are sprouting all through our woods and under trees such as these.

Here's a Pulitzer Prize piece, along with our own entries to fall's delights.





"Mushrooms" by Mary Oliver:

Rain, and then
the cool pursed
lips of the wind
draw them
out of the ground--
red and yellow skulls
pummeling upward
through leaves,
through grasses,
through sand; astonishing
in their suddenness,
their quietude,
their wetness, they appear
on fall mornings, some
balancing in the earth
on one hoof
packed with poison,
others billowing
chunkily and delicious--
those who know
walk out to gather, choosing
the benign from flocks
of glitterers, sorcerers,
russulas,
panther caps,
shark-white death angels
in their torn veils
looking innocent as sugar
but full of paralysis:
to eat
is to stagger down
fast as mushrooms themselves
when they are done being perfect
and overnight
slide back under the shining
fields of rain.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

October sights



This week I was standing under a large, old maple tree waiting for a ride to pick me up and I was just looking around. At one point I looked up and this is what I saw. Pretty nice, huh?

The days of cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon and a rain shower thrown in whenever it wants continue. We have lots of visitors still--some for overnight stays, others just passing through in the daytime. One man, who owns a small art gallery in a town down in Pennsylvania, came all the way up to Erie because he heard there was a collection of Brother Thomas's pottery here. He was delightful and quite complimentary about our collection--as well as being amazed. We get such a variety of visitors. One sister says, "It seems as if the whole world comes through Erie and the Mount at one time or other!" I agree.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wesleyville

Thank you, John Wesley. We are into Methodists these days. For a number of years we have had a group of 12-15 Methodist pastors/church personnel with us for 3-4 days for their annual "retreat"....I think it's more a planning gathering, but I'm sure that there is prayer involved, too. They are delightful, every year a little more at ease and we really look forward to having them, (about 2/3 male, 1/3 female). Now, what happened last week? we had a group of Methodist women here for retreat! They were even more at ease, friendly and even came to our prayer. Delightful again!

On the southeast side of Erie, when you reach Bird Dr. you leave the city limits to enter the little borough of Wesleyville--yes, originally a settlement of primarily Methodists--now totally heterogeneous, of course----even to the extent of holding their gatherings at a Catholic monastery. What is this world world coming to?!!!


On the same note of common Christianity, on our trip to New York State this weekend we passed this darling little "church," actually a Mennonite place. Very small, sort of like a wayside chapel. I knew we had Mennonite or Amish nearby, but I had never noticed this little place before: Still Waters.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Weekend wonders

This weekend a trip 20 miles east took us past all the small towns and fields that are into early autumn activities. One little township was having its annual Wine Festival and it was packed with tents of vendors and visitors galore. Every few miles we'd pass a roadside stand full of pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. Very Norman Rockwell-ish.

The highlight, however, was the grape fields that were being harvested right as we passed by. If you've never seen a grape harvesting machine you should, it's really something. Kind of like a giant letter U, upside down, on wheels, with a cab on the top. The driver rides right over a long row of grape vines and the harvesting begins.





Finally, our presider at Sunday Mass gave a wonderful reflection on "entitlement," a contemporary topic for the readings of the day. He proposed four areas that should be part of our own entitlement awareness: a) it should force us to do some real soul-searching; b) prayer should be a part of our considerations; 3) we must adopt "speaking truth to power" as a personal commitment and 4) politically speaking, we must vote and exercise our responsibility as citizens. Serious subject, wonderful reflections.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Owl Power

This week we watched a wonderful hour-long show "Owl Power" on PBS. It was one of those stories where a dedicated couple, Brits by the way, are truly bird-whisperers who live among a number of falcons, eagles, hawks, etc. in the countryside and engage in lots of education and research.

This show focused on two barn owls they raised from the moment they hatched to the time they flew away to be independent. Along the way they helped researchers study and try to understand better the amazing "super powers" of owls: sight, hearing and flight to name the major ones.

We have owls in our woods occasionally and we can hear them in the early mornings, especially.

This month's magazine, Birds & Blooms has an owl on its cover and my own entry into the coming year's art show is this beauty...a snowy owl in cross stitch.




Sunday, September 23, 2018

The beauties of autumn are many

The opening days of fall find goldenrod all over our world..in gardens, along highways and in every field. Here's  Mary Oliver's reflection on a herald-of-autumn "weed."


This morning the goldenrod are all wearing
their golden shirts
fresh from heaven's soft wash in the
chill night.
So it must be a celebration.
And here comes the wind, so many swinging wings!
Has he been invited, or is he the intruder?
Invited, whisper the golden pebbles of the weeds,
as they begin to fall over the ground.

Well, you would think the little murmurs
of the broken blossoms would have said otherwise,
but no. So I sit down among them to think
about it while all around me the crumbling goes on.
The weeds let down their seedy faces cheerfully,
which is the part I like best, and certainly
it is as good as a book for learning from.

You would think they were just going for a 
small sleep. You would think they couldn't wait,
it was going to be that snug and even, as all their
lives were, full of excitation.

You would think it was a voyage just beginning,
and no darkness anywhere, but tinged with all
necessary instruction, and light,
and all were shriven, as all the round world is,
and so it wasn't anything but easy to fall,
to whisper Good Night.





Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Celebrate---good times

Walking up the east side of our property from East Lake Rd. we discovered what has to be 8-10 crab apple trees that are not out on the grounds but instead are "just inside" the woods. They are loaded with ripe crab apples. No wonder the deer travel down that route so much. I wonder--were they purposely planted like the others and by shifts in mowing and clearing got absorbed into the woods? Or can trees grow up on their own at wood's edge? Or----how did they all get there?

The monastery is moving quickly toward a grand weekend celebration as we honor five sisters who pronounced their first monastic vows in 1968, 50 years ago! Family members and friends will join us for Saturday afternoon's prayer and reception and many will return for Sunday morning Mass, too. Weather looks good and a wonderful time is surely to be had. See our community website over the next week to see for yourself!


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Tree shopping

This week I'm going tree shopping--to buy a tree in memory for a recently deceased friend. We've decided on a black gum tree, which seems to be good for this area and is beautiful in autumn:


And, then next spring we'll bring in part 2 of the memorials, with the purchase of a larch tree--a twin to the larch we already have near the back patio--only this one will be going in front.

Hmmm, that might be a worthwhile "retirement" project: asking people, who probably wouldn't entertain the thought themselves, if they'd like a new tree for their front or backyard. All it would take is some money, some time, some helpers and some jumping of hoops for permissions (landlords, etc). I'll have to start a list!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BBC/PBS mysteries

To all my fellow PBS/BBC mystery lovers, here's a new type of show that we just discovered and like very much. It's an 84-minute DVD titled " Inspector Morse's Oxford." It's a wonderful companion piece, as they say, for all Inspector Morse mystery lovers. It was produced for the 25th anniversary of the TV series and was filmed right in Oxford. The narrators are none other than the author of the Morse books, Colin Dexter--and let's be honest, from the get go he comes across as a classic quirky Brit, as well as the actor that plays Morse's assistant and later star of his own PBS series, Inspector Lewis, Kevin Whately.  I checked: amazon.com has it and pretty cheap!


P.S. You see the problem is that we are actually running out of series that we haven't seen...I mean the really good ones: Vera, Foyle's War, Morse, Lewis, Midsomer Murders, Hamish MacBeth, Dr. Blake mysteries, Brokenwood, Shetland, DCI Banks, Brother Caedfel, Grantchester, Endeavor, Bletchley Circle...see what I mean?!

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Not an exaltation of larks

nor a troop of baboons
nor a clowder of cats
not a convocation of eagles
nor an ambush of tigers
nor a descent of woodpeckers
nor a watch of nightingales
nor even a company of parrots...
we have been invaded by a gaggle of geese....a huge gaggle, maybe even numerous gaggles.

We thought that they had passed us by this summer as we had no sign of them at all...until about 2 weeks ago. And then, they appeared. Not just appearing overhead, that is a constant. But, instead, they have taken again this year, to whatever they find in our lawn as they wander and walk and jump and fly and sit and pace for hours all around the Mount property. No, they don't do any damage, unless you call having to walk with your head down, watching where every step is taken, damage.

But, Friday night those of us who eat on the patio were distracted by what appeared to be a goose who could not fly. She tried and tried, but there was something wrong with her leg or wing...something.

Our sister who knows the local bird whisperer made the call and the advice was this. "Let her be overnight and see if nature takes its course or if she recovers and if she is still there in the morning, call me and we'll send a team to get her and we'll take her to Tamarack, the animal recovery center south of Erie."

She was gone. Maybe hobbled around somewhere else. Maybe recovered her flying ability. Maybe something else.

Ah, life, in all its forms. And the coming of autumn. Which is already peaking out--just a little.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Guess who's coming for dinner!

Our dinner (and Evening Prayer) guests tonight were the wonderful residents of Benetwood Apartments, our next door neighbors. Here for their annual meal with us, we enjoyed their company immensely. At my table was Dolores, introduced as the longest resident--having moved there in 1986, at age 58 (her husband was the required 65, she got in as his wife). Now 90, she raved about her years at the senior-living complex and made us laugh with her stories of card games, power walks around the property, and the funny lines by her visiting 4-year-old twin great-granddaughters!

"A great time was had by all" as they say. And the meal? Delicious--see below!


Sunday, September 2, 2018

New detective series

Time to read has caught me up in a new (to me) detective series that I can't get enough of. Today I printed out a copy of the 24 books that Martha Grimes has written, starring her Scotland Yard detective, Richard Jury. I read two over vacation and will now proceed to make my way through the other 22...hope it takes a long, long time!

Here's a short summery from goodreads.com "Richard Jury is a fictional Scotland Yard detective who stars in a series of mystery novels written by Martha Grimes. Initially a chief inspector, later a superintendent, Jury is invariably assisted in his cases by Melrose Plant, a British aristocrat who has given up his titles, and his hypochondriacal but dependable sergeant, Alfred Wiggins. Many of the novels include Divisional Commander Brian Macalvie of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. In addition there is a recurring ensemble of background characters."

What this rather generic paragraph doesn't say is: 1) Melrose Plant and the "recurring ensemble of background characters" are equal to the award-winning casts of Barney Miller and The Closer...only British and therefore unique, quirky and delightful beyond description! 2) Martha Grimes is a great writer...no cookie-cutter plots and descriptions EVER; 3) The next book I will read with a dictionary nearby....every 8-10 pages there's a word I swear I never saw before. Do you know what an "antimacassar" is? Only by usage did I hazard what turned out to be the correct guess. Left on my own--not a chance; 4) Richard Jury himself is in the Armand Gamache club.

So, hurrah for vacations which allow us to find and read good, contemporary fiction. One I really wanted to read, but it's on reserve and is still coming, is Anne Tyler's latest, Clock Dance. Remember, summer doesn't officially end until Sept. 22 this year, so keep those summer reading books alive!

Coming home also meant doing the rounds of the gardens and plants. The hummingbird feeders were empty but the indoor plants all made it, thanks to my substitute "waterers." The gardens look good, too. It was a very good year for our flower gardens. Everything seemed to have its time and looked beautiful and healthy and full when it appeared. One of the very last to make its appearance is this clematis. It wasn't out when I left August 20, but I could tell it was on the verge. Two weeks later, viola, in full bloom and beautiful---it looks like a sky full of falling stars.