Wednesday, October 17, 2018


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,
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


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 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: 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 "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 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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August and December

Thanks to the internet and the ability to read hometown newspapers online, get 24-7 communication with friends via texts, Facebook posts and emails, a vacation isn't really "leaving home" much at all. In fact, since I really love my hometown, my home, friends, ministry, etc. the only reason to take some time away is more for healthy psychological and mental reasons---a change of schedule, a break from daily responsibilities, and time for personal and emotional relaxation, so to speak. It's not just to "get out of town"!

That said, I am enjoying to no end a text from one of my more quirky friends who announced: "You missed a huge snow melt yesterday"! I had read the local paper already and knew exactly what she meant. Seems that the National Weather Service (NWS) had reason to doubt the extraordinary amount of snow that was recorded at the "official" site for our area--our airport--during a huge snowstorm last December 25-27. It seems that they put a study group together and last week announced that errors had been made by a novice snow observer at the airport and that the totals were being adjusted based on the numbers recorded by a 10-year snowfall observer who lived very near the airport. See full article here.

Much of my (our, since many of the sisters share this with me) enjoyment of this announcement comes from our memories of that time. All I recall is that our days consisted of just a few things: watching the Weather Channel, clearing off two dozen of our cars (every 12-hours, over and over again), going to prayer, meals and, as a novice snow observer for NWS myself, measuring the snowfall every few hours and sending the data into the Cleveland station.

We are proud to know that the measurements we took in our yard in Harborcreek were almost exactly what the (revised) official snowfall totals were for both the Christmas storm and for the season's total. Thanks to all my helpers--sisters who measured when I was out of town and all those who showed such interest and gave encouragement all winter. Let's do it again in 2018-19---maybe we'll be the one that the committee checks with to verify their numbers!

Oh, yes, it's really still August, so here's a local view of shore life. It's not unlike lake life, just saltier and much more crowded!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Lighthouses that guide the way

My love of lighthouses got a huge boost this weekend as I spent a wonderful 2 hours at Cape May Point State Park, home of the Cape May Lighthouse. Open in 1859, it has thousands of visitors a year, many of whom climb the steps right up to the observation deck that surrounds the light at the top. It is a beautiful sight to behold--though simple in design and not as "interesting," I'd say, as ours at  Presque Isle.

Additionally, every day that we drive home from the shore, we pass the Wildwood Lighthouse, which is entirely different from the one at Cape May, but just as attractive to us lighthouse lovers!

I remember once reading about a couple whose retirement plans included trying to visit as many lighthouses as they could, along all five great lakes. Add the ones up and down both coasts of the USA and I believe we have an impossible task, even in a lifetime, let alone retirement years. I'll settle for the DVDs that I know are out there!

BTW, do you know that wonderful wisdom tale of the standoff between the proud captain of a submarine and a lowly seaman in a lighthouse? Remind me to tell you. (Spoiler: the lighthouse wins!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Every summer we looked forward to a visit to Erie's Waldemeer amusement park. One of every child's favorite rides was the Old Mill Run. You rode a rickety, wooden flat boat through a long mill trough filled with water and, after a 3-4 minute trip, ended with a finish that sent you down a hill causing a huge spray of water to engulf the riders and even nearby onlookers.

Look at this! Flash forward a number of years and here on the Jersey boardwalk I found the 2018 version of the Old Mill Run. There is even a "splash" area where onlookers can get a cooling off. But the part that amazed me was this: a dryer!

"What?" I said to myself. You mean you don't have to walk around the rest of the park for 30 minutes to dry off, yet proudly showing off your Mill Run dousing?! was more fun the older way!

If you're in the middle of a stay-cation in Erie or anywhere, please enjoy some of mine.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Late August

The signs of late August are all around us this weekend: photos of freshmen moving into their dorm rooms (highlighted by two newly built dorms at local colleges) fill our papers; one of our sisters who teaches in a local university is getting set for her first days of classes this coming week; our flowers are either dying away or on their sure-to-be last days of blooming; the apples in our small orchard are getting pretty big, ditto for the grapes in the miles of surrounding fields--some have even just begun to turn light purple. And, two large families of three of our sisters came this weekend for family get-togethers before the summer weeks end.

In spring the national arbor foundation promised to send out saplings for a certain donation level. One of our oblates did donate and gave us the dozen saplings she received. I planted them as best I could (they all looked like bare twigs at the beginning!) and much to my surprise, about 1/2 of them are showing signs of "making it." I've been looking into winter/snow/deer protection for the coming months and I've found some options. After vacation I'm going to have to visit our local Stan's Garden Center and see what they recommend for survival over the long and cold winter days! Meanwhile, I just keep watching them grow and grow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Hard Times

It's been a couple of hard days here this week as our diocese is one of a number in Pennsylvania that are the subject of a two-year grand jury study on abuse by Catholic priests. The whole subject is shocking and has brought great sadness, along with its share of anger and distress, to the people of the Church and many others as well.

Our bishop, who has only been with us for a little more than five years, is turning out to be quite the "stand-up guy" through it all. His communications director, with whom I worked when her 20-something children were newborns and toddlers, is also contributing mightily to the admirable statements and transparent honesty that are marking their compassionate responses.

A difficult, very difficult side of humanity.

But as the poet would say, "And yet the flowers, the flowers continue to bloom and share their beauty without cost or question."

The view right below my window. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

850 LCWR members take on St. Louis

The last day of the LCWR Assembly included a public witness of our resolution to address racism in this country. The Old Courthouse, where the Dred Scott case was heard, was right across from our hotel and its steps became a perfect venue for our event. 

Look right under the word "against" and you'll see someone you recognize. 

A little free time took us to the St. Louis Zoo. 

Their zoo is large and nationally known. Three "twiga" are a highlight of their residents. 

Good-bye St. Louis. The assembly and your city were memorable. Nothing moreso than the Gateway Arch

See our community page for a front page news item on the LCWR's resolution on racism. Here.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Under the Arch

Life in St Louis this week means life with the Arch, which is literally right across the street from our hotel and right outside our room’s window, too. Of all the topics we are exposed to within the LCWR‘s concerns the topic of immigration is right in front of us—-the Gateway to the West is right here. And to whom is that Gateway open?

The view from our hotel window.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

L (leisure) continues after LLL Days

A mile and a half walk on Front Street, a ridge above the dock area of the city right along Presque Isle Bay, brought these photos to share with you.

18 new condos overlook the Bay.

One of our many marinas.

The Sheraton on the right and the Marriott on the left. A four-story high walkway connects the Sheraton to the Convention Center....right over the bay. Very cool.

A very attractive home on Front Street with a perfect view out on the bay.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The sunshine waggle

One of our sisters has a very, very green thumb and plants, especially African violets, flourish under her care. One of our parlors has an African violet that she has started from a single leaf on every available table space. They are beautiful. But, in addition to this plant paradise she has dotted the little ledges between the upper and lower parts of the three windows with those cute little sun-powered bobble toys. There used to be just two or three but tonight I counted a dozen, lots of new ones I'd never seen before: a Hawaiian dancer, a rocking Santa Claus and lots of flowers. Since these windows have a southeast orientation the sunshine makes them wiggle and waggle all day. Cute! (We are in the midst of our annual LLL Summer Community Days, BTW, and this blog post fits into the second L: leisure!)

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Philip and Andrew

Today's homily is worth least one little piece of it. Father Jim P, one of our regular Sunday presiders, offered wonderful reflections on the readings today, all of which carried out the theme of bread and feeding the people. The gospel story, (the only parable shared by all four gospels, he mentioned) was of the loaves and the fishes and feeding the 5,000.

Jim mused that the two disciples involved in the parable are a perfect parallel for our own times. Philip, upon seeing the huge number of people and realizing that there was no way to feed them, came and said, "What are we to do?" And isn't that what many of us are hearing and saying ourselves these days--either in reference to things happening in our own country or things going on in the broader world? His question resonated loudly with the audience, you could just hear it in the silence.

The second disciple, Andrew, finds the boy with a few loaves and a little fish and brings him to Jesus, despite the absurdity of the amount. Jim's point was clear, simple, and probably the only "answer" to: What are we to do?...we gather up the little we have and bring it to Jesus and it will be taken from there. (He didn't go into the particulars! This was just a parallelism in the realm of what-do-the-scriptures-mean-today genre.)

Months ago, Jim posed a similar question and that day his answer was, "Follow Me." And follow the Holy One, we do.

A couple weeks in the summer find the hydrangea in front of the Blessed Mother statue and the clematis in back of it, both blooming at the same time. This is the week. Sr. Cecilia tells me that the statue came from the convent in Sharon, PA where many of our sisters ministered and quite a few grew up. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Summer time and the living is easy!

Summer is a time for extra fun and relaxation. Enjoy these!

1. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been canceled due to a conflict.

2. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

3. Don’t let worries kill you – let the church help.

4. This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Jones to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

5. The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains.

6. The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I upped My Pledge—-Up Yours.”

7. If you need to heave during the Postlude, please do so quietly.

8. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church congregation.

9. Thursday at 5:00 PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become Little Mothers, please see the minister in his study.

Music concerts on the beach!

Sunday, July 22, 2018


This afternoon, as we do every day at Evening Prayer, we remembered the sisters who died on this date. Today it was Sr. Anne Marie Nolan who died on July 22 in 1995 at age 83. I only knew Sr. Anne Marie in the last couple years of her life but even then I could see how she lived up to her "reputation" as a dickens, loads of fun, and a little bit of a character.

The two events that stick with me are these: 1) whenever you'd be on portress/switchboard duty at the front door, Sister Anne Marie usually came through and asked if Sister Patricia was home yet. Sister Patricia, it turns out, was a longtime friend. She had died in 1967. It was very touching to all of us that even in her semi-dementia Anne Marie was looking for her friend each evening. 2) I guess that in her days in ministry at Glinodo (especially summer camp) Sr. Anne Marie had a car and would tear around in it going hither and yon on errands and outings with the sisters! In her last years she continued this tendency as she rode a motorized scooter around the Mount--however, the tearing around took its toll indoors. One day we heard this terrible scraping sound in the front hall. Sure enough Anne Marie's scooter had hooked onto a little hospitality desk we had for visitors to sign in, and she was dragging it with her down the hall--oblivious to the newly attached sidecar.

It's a lovely experience to hear these sisters remembered and to share all sorts of memories of life with them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Look at all the angles

Four years ago one of our oblates  brought a friend to the Mount. Her friend was a professional photographer. As part of her stay she offered to share some "shooting tips" with any of our sisters who love to take pictures. I was able to attend one session and as is common for lectures, seminars, classes, if I remember one good idea I'm happy. And after this one, I did--and here it is: when taking a picture of something, take shots from all sorts of angles, even unusual ones.

Remembering this tip I took this photo of a mushroom that I found in our inner courtyard the next week---looking right down at it. Not bad I thought!

Last week when I was just walking around our place I came upon a nice patch of Queen Anne's Lace growing up in one of the gardens. One of them was unusually tall and, since I had my camera with me, I thought it might make an interesting photo for this blog. Suddenly I remembered the four-year-old tip and took this shot---from underneath. Not bad I thought!

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Although the purpose of our trip was a funeral, this weekend we had a lovely summer car trip though Pennsylvania. The state, also known as Penn's Woods, is surely at its most beautiful right now--miles and miles of gorgeous farmland, hills, fields and breathe-taking vistas around every corner of Interstate 80. One of our sisters, a Buffalo, NY native, had never been across the state by car. Her experience of PA. has been limited to here in the northwest corner along Lake Erie. She was "blown away" by the great expanses and acres and acres of greenery.

Back here on the lake, we found this unusually large and weathered remains of a tree which looks as if it has totally converted to driftwood--that smooth, white, lightness that typifies driftwood. It's beautiful, but it always sets us musing on where it came from and how it got in the position it is in here on our beach!

The nightly news seems to bring us a daily dose of Mother Nature's assaults this summer, but dare I say, we are having a lovely far.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Two celebrations

We are having two celebrations this week. The first was today, the summer feast of Benedict. Forty oblates, guests, family members and friends joined us for Evening Prayer and supper. The dinner was delicious and the weather beautiful, too. This feast day is highlighted by once-a-year songs and prayers and beautiful chapel decor from our summer gardens.

On Saturday a number of us will travel across state to Philadelphia to celebrate the life of Isabel Wambach, 91, our prioress Anne's mother who died on Monday in Florida, the home of her other four daughters. Isabel was a lovely, lovely woman who often visited us with her husband Mike and her sister and brother-in-law. Later, she and her oldest daughter were regular Holy Week guests each year. We will miss her greatly.

Here's her obit from the Erie paper.

Sunday, July 8, 2018