Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Ernest Howard Shepard

A little retro admission. I love greeting cards, whether through the mail or hand-delivered. And I have some friends that find the most wonderful cards, really unique and just stunning. Fortunately I am often the recipient of these unique pieces of art. This week I received two of them.

The first one was from one of my favorite illustrators, E.H. Shepard. Hallmark still produces a series of Winnie the Pooh cards, both the Disney ones and originals like this one.

And here's a new type of card, laser cut. They are just lovely. This one is "Birds on a Wire." You can see lots of examples by going to google images and type in laser cut cards.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Peak week #2

Sorry, this is all we're talking about these days! Our trees and bushes absolutely popped over the last 3-4 days, more so than even the ones last week. I was encouraged to share some more pictures when our weekend speaker, who is from San Antonio, Texas, just exclaimed and exclaimed when she saw the autumn colors. "We don't have this in Texas," she said. "I have to take pictures for the sisters that I live with. They won't believe it."

So, believe it--here they are. (Plus another, better fire escape sunrise. More sky in this one).

Our backyard #1

Our backyard #2

7:45 am, four stories up and facing east.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Color my world--it's our peak week

Some of our trees have turned, others are as green as ever!

Along Troupe Rd at our side entrance

One of our many "golden" trees.

Even one of our sweet new trees changed colors! 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

October interlude

This weekend was certainly an autumn interlude, a break from our more recent cool and somewhat rainy days that crept in throughout October. But, this weekend the sun shined brightly and the temperatures hit 70.

Two major groups were extremely grateful for this "surprise": the first one I'd say were the groups that came to our place this weekend, three of them. All really did their own thing, so to speak. One was a one-day retreat, the second was here from a local college for a planning meeting and the third was another college small group here for a get-away and probably some planning within that. All of them could enjoy the beautiful sunny outdoors, whether they were actually in it or enjoyed it through open windows.

The second major group that was very grateful for this break were the local residents of the Erie area. We took some time at the peninsula Sunday afternoon and I swear 1/2 of Erie was there! People were walking, fishing, taking their boats out of the water for the season, playing with their dogs and kids, biking, and any other activity they could come up with. We were doing a little walking and passing pleasantries with other walkers and bikers we met, along with trying to get some photos--primarily just for this blog.

Here's the best one of the day--The Victorian Princess must still be having lunch/afternoon trips around the bay. Beautiful!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sunrise, sunset

In our Lake Erie town the sunset is right "into" Lake Erie, allowing great beachfront or parking lot views on the lake's edge and at Presque Isle State Park, as well as right at our Glinodo beach, too. One of our sisters, a great photographer, is obsessed with catching the perfect sunset and has taken 100s of photos in the attempt.

In October, the three weeks that precede turning the clocks back an hour, we have a unique sunrise reality. The sun rises around 7:30 am, give or take 15 minutes during these three weeks. That is exactly when we are arriving at work. So, as you can see from the pictures below, I can run up to my office on the fourth floor, go to the old fashioned fire escape on the east side, open the upper window (no screens) and see these once-a-year sunrises come up over the east side of the city of Erie.

I'm going to try to get our sunset-Sister to come up to the fourth floor window, too, and try her magic eye on a sunrise!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A chip-monk among us

I wasn't a first-class participant in this (ad)venture--I just saw a little at the beginning and passed through near the end, but here is the gist of the hour and a half event as I understand it.

As I was leaving for a prayer vigil downtown on behalf of the immigrant children being held at our southern border, I passed through chapel and heard a sister exclaim, "There's a chipmunk on the altar!" After verifying this unusual announcement, I grabbed my phone and took this shot.

Soon two sisters, armed with a piece of paper and a plastic bag, tried in vain to coax it into the bag. It would have nothing to do with that and scampered down to the chapel floor. I went off to the prayer vigil and when I returned an hour later, I traveled through the chapel again. Much to my surprise about a dozen sisters were there now (arriving for lectio a 1/2 hour before evening prayer, I presumed) and they were up and kind of dancing around, stamping their feet and waving their arms. The chipmunk had reappeared!

I continued through the chapel but I did return twenty minutes later, wondering what in the world I would see now. All was calm, all was bright. Quiet, serene and chipmunk-less. It seems that all the "encouragement" by the sisters had finally sent the chipmunk to the open door and off it went, most probably grateful to escape this odd group of animals.

"What do you do all day in the monastery?" we still occasionally get asked. It's very hard to give a full accounting!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Funk & Wagnalls---fond memories

No, this is not from National Geographic, nor from our Presque Isle State Park or from google images! This was taken by my friend Io right in the backyard of the Mount yesterday. What a great shot! So, I immediately went to google and put in white-tailed deer, which eventually got me to what I was looking for: their mating season--and sure enough mid-September to mid-November, with October being the prime time.

We seldom see buck, especially with antlers like these, on our property, but we do have plenty of doe with their various-aged offspring--and it is October.

This whole scene took me back to growing up. What did we do as a child or even an adult, when we had questions such as that? Ask the nearest adult? Go to an encyclopedia if we had one? Wait till we got to school to find one? Call the reference desk at the library?! It's a whole new wonderful world of knowledge now: What's that? What's this? When is it happening? How do they do that? Where's that? Who was she? Just "google it" and voila!

Sunday, October 6, 2019


It's mushroom time at our Glinodo property, especially along the boardwalk down to the lake. There are three large evergreens rather close together and in the grasses around them a colony of mushrooms seem to pop up every fall. I've been disappointed that I haven't seen them this year, even thinking that I'd missed them entirely, as I don't get down there as much as I wish. But, today I did and found this amanita mushroom. Well, I'm not sure it is an amanita, for 20 minutes on google and google images doesn't make one a mycologist (one who studies mushrooms)!

Anyway, if it is an amanita it is not one of the edible kinds of mushrooms, poison in fact. No fear here, I wouldn't even think of picking it, as it is beautiful to just behold! I hope some of its friends come along soon though, they make a lovely setting for October viewing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019


I just finished Louise Penny's latest effort to bring us outstanding, thrilling mysteries mixed with equally enthralling characters. The Better Man is the 15th in her series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and the cast of characters that he works with in the Montreal Surete as well as those in his village, Three Pines. One of my friends said that this might be her favorite of all of them, but that's hard for me to say after fourteen others! If I really, really had to pick one (which I do not want to do) it would probably be How the Light Gets In, though as soon as I say that I think of others that I loved equally!

In this book one of Penny's recurring themes is in full view and that is the theme of conversion or redemption, you might say. This time it's Clara, the brilliant artist in Three Pines and Jean Guy, Gamache's protegee and son-in-law who continue to struggle with their demons--not that they haven't made progress, they have...but conversion continues each day--as the Rule of Benedict professes!

The books continue to charm, the excellent writing by itself is reason to return to them. The only downside is the fact that only the first, Still Life, has been made into a film. Come on film makers...there are many more!