Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Nature girls all

Isn't this a riot?! Right under our windows here on the east lawn. This is just another example of "nature" appearing all around us these days. Even the prayer leaders have taken to offering praise in their closing and opening prayers for the beauty of the natural world of spring.

I know that many of our sisters have been "nature girls" for a long time, but it seems this spring as if everyone is especailly attuned to it: telling each other of the hummingbirds, fawn, bluebirds, blossoming rhododendron etc. that they saw that day. Could it be our 198" of snow (at the airport.....130-140" here!). Yes, I think that has to be a definite factor.

A new resident to Erie said to me this week that she comes from a four-season region but was never so aware of the seasons as she is here! I laughed and said that yes, in order to love Erie (and other Great Lake regions) you have to be able to embrace and appreciate all four INTENSE seasons, not just four seasons! Luckily she's on her way.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Food connoisseur

One of our sisters could be our local newspaper's restaurant/food critic. If there's a new place anywhere within 10 miles of center city, she's there in the first two weeks. And she shares her critique with everyone she meets over the following two weeks.

The thing is, she's really good at it. So, I feel rather intimidated even writing this review of a new restaurant, but it's not really in her realm--just a standard brand all-American place--but very nice.

For you Erieites, it's the latest place to open in the old Fergie's building on W. 26th St. Most recently it was the Summerhouse Cafe, I believe. Now it's Arnie's! Don't let the casual guy-name discourage you, it was just fine. And, yes, I'd go back again.... moderate prices, clean, fresh, nice wait staff and both of our meals (1/2 to eat and 1/2 to take home) were generous and tasty.

Here's my pasta dish. Don't you love the presentation? It comes with chicken or shrimp, but I had it plain...but there was a bite to it that was not unpleasant! 

My friend's pork chops don't look as special, but the meat was golden and the potato perfect. I forgot that we both had generous (not all lettuce) house salads that were great!

Extra! Extra!

One of those photos I never even
dreamed of catching.
West lawn of the Mount, under the trees.
Sunday, May 27, 2018

click to enlarge

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Before, during and after

About 250 of our sisters are buried in Trinity Cemetery in Erie. The gravestones are flat and therefore have made it a losing game to keep the ever-spreading crab grass and other weeds at bay--from overtaking them and making quite a number unreadable. To the rescue this week came our landscapers who agreed to help. The results? Beautiful.

Come to 8th and Peninsula and see for yourself. Click here for a cemetery map.






Sunday, May 20, 2018

To join or not to join...

Since we were up for a spin around Presque Isle on an otherwise damp and cool day, we decided to go the the advertised Open House of the Erie Coast Guard Station.

We were first met by Sea Cadets, aka high schoolers, think of Jr. ROTC or Explorers clubs. They were helping park cars, give directions etc in their very neat looking cadet "uniforms"--think camouflaged pants and shirts, except in shades of blue and white instead of olive green and brown!

Our station now has 22 coast guard men and women assigned to it but 16-17 have apartments in the city although we were told all 22 have a room at the station and can stay there on the days they're on duty. We met a young guy from nearby Ashtabula who began his career in Virginia, then spent a year in a small town in Michigan before getting a chance to come to Erie (just 25-30 miles from his hometown). He told us that an average week sends them out into the lake/bay for emergencies on the water about one or two times, although they had a day last year when they were called out 8 times!

I found out that we've had our Coast Guard station since 1878, although its first year or two it was mid-way down the peninsula before moving out to the very tip where it is today. It's now on the peninsula side of the channel and next to Misery Bay where our houseboats are located.

I mentioned on the way home that although I can swim and enjoy boats I didn't think I'd join the Coast Guard..I don't think I'd like that much time on the water; ditto for the Navy. I guess it would be the Air Force IF I had to choose. Anne listened to my little speech for a bit and then asked, "Are we talking about next week or in the next life?" Ha ha!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Virtual evening walk

Come take a virtual after supper walk with us around the monastery and see what we just saw the other night!

Right outside the front door we find two new little trees, in full spring purple bloom. One on each side of Benedict himself.

Turning right we start down the sidewalk and run into another new tree--red maple I think. It's pretty big already and was planted in the spot where an older tree had to be removed after our early March ice and snow storm. Can you see the little bird on the shepherd's hook bird feeder?

Going around the east end we come to the library courtyard and its centerpiece tree--appropriately right in the center. It has bloomed its annual white cloud blossoms and is now shedding them. Underneath is a white carpet.

Little plants nearby the tree get a sprinkling of the falling blossoms, too.

In the back of the Mount we take a quick jaunt over to Benetwood and find that their lone, somewhat wild grape vine seems to be starting up again--all on its own. No worry, these aren't grapes for humans--primarily they just feed our deer!

Coming back along Troupe Rd. we pass lots of roadside wildflowers. Here is a very large patch of dandelions that have changed from yellow to their fluffy whiteness--ready to take to the winds.

Click to enlarge.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My protector

These 9 days between the Ascension and Pentecost are filled with 15-20 songs of the Holy Spirit every Morning and Evening Prayer. Many of them we sing only at this time. They are all inspiring and filled with hope. The singing, even at 6:30 a.m., is loud and strong!

Here is verse 3 of one of our favorites, "Send Us Your Spirit" by David Haas.

Send us the wings of new birth,
fill all the earth
with the love you have taught us.
Let all creation now
be shaken with love,
come to us, spirit of God.

Also arriving this week, another type of bird--our ruby-throated  hummers!This one already staked out my feeder by "patrolling" on the nearest tree, in order to keep others away.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Filling My Days

My days are a mish-mash of things for sure. Serious things, trivial things, funny things and all other sorts of things.

Here are a few of my early May "fillers."
Every day I try to work a little on the Title Banner for our latest professed sister. It's rather like a yard-long cross stitched sampler that will read "Of the loving hands of God." It's a privilege to do them--but they take a couple months to complete. A yard is long! We've come upon a new (to us) BBC mystery series, "Blue Murder." It's one of those gritty city locales rather than the (supposedly) calm English villages, but we like the female lead and the cast of characters in her precinct. Good stories, great acting.

Thanks to donations, we are able to continue to "spruce up" our hospitality ministry--aka guest rooms. Some new mattresses are the latest acquisition. Just in time for the busy summer season. Getting outside every day is a novelty and a welcome follow up to a day behind a desk. Hard to get use to but we're doing our best at walking 1/2 hour or more every day. Sometimes down to the lake and other times just around our property, which is large enough!

This week's new bloomers are our two Bleeding Hearts plants. WOW.

And, finally, as always, I'm reading Mary--here she is on the wonders of spring:

This Morning

This morning the redbirds' eggs
have hatched and already the chicks
are chirping for food. They don't
know where it's coming from, they
just keep shouting, "More, More!"
As to anything else, they haven't
had a single thought. Their eyes
haven't yet opened, they know nothing
about the sky that's waiting. Or
the thousands, the millions of trees.
They don't even know they have wings.

And just like that, like a simple
neighborhood event, a miracle is
taking place.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Let's show off!

Hey, all you readers who live in Erie---or love Erie--let's show off something other than our Golden Snow Globe Winning 198.5" of snow this past winter season! How about we all "document" our beautiful spring and send, say, one photo a day to our friends who live south of the Mason-Dixon line, or winter in the south or who use to live in the north and no longer experience spring! Let's show off our beautiful May days--No one, I  say no one, can be more appreciative of this season. Time to do a first class Show-and-Tell.

Here's mine this week:

Lots of birds are frequenting our many feeders.

Right up the road: the first goslings of the season. These are very small.

Pesky garden violets, but they are beautiful this week when they are blooming.

Benedict from the back...awash in daffodils.

Do you think they are attracted to our Morning Prayer in the chapel?!
Click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

What's Up?

Often on Sundays and Wednesdays, days when I'll be blogging, I find myself asking the same question, What would visitors see if they were with us today? Or, what would they hear us talking about? Or, what would they think about if they were among us?

Today I answer as if I were a broken record--as we are still in the first euphoria of spring and all things are centering around the natural world around us.

I saw a man and woman at prayer today and wondered if they were first-timers or if they had been here before and I had just not crossed their path. Right after prayer I ran into the woman at our glass double doors, which open into our inner courtyard--she was just standing and smiling. I passed her and said something like, "We've waited a long time, but things are finally bursting forth!" She turned and surprised me when she said, "It's just beautiful. We're from Toronto and we don't have any flowers out yet." Amazing...someone came to Erie to experience springtime!

We switched our shepherd's hook this week, too. During the winter it holds two bird feeders: a long tube and a suet cage. But the birds have slowly been ignoring it and not coming so often, so it was time to move it to the inner courtyard garden and hang a hummingbird feeder from it now!

At lunch time I saw about 25 Villa girls in the food line. They had come to volunteer with us on the school's annual spring Giving Back or Community Day. One of the things they did while here was get out, set up and clean/dust all of the patio tables and chairs. Thank you, girls. About a dozen of us took immediate advantage of our outdoor eating season for lunch and again at dinner today. Warm, sunny and glorious!

So, if you're among us these days you'll certainly still hear Easter hymns (Week 5 right now) and you'll see the chapel still decked in its Easter finery. But, the new addition is certainly SMILES! Smiles on everyone's face because it is warm, sunny and beautiful. We are indeed blessed!

Our annual row of wild daffodils came up right on schedule. They are right at the edge of our woods, behind the apple orchard.