Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My dear friend Judy wanted one of the purses I've been making, so she picked out the fabric and I said I'd make it for her.  She chose a purple flower print with silver sparkles on it, and a green to match the leaves which also had sparkles on it.  Michael Miller prints, I believe.
Here are all the pieces cut out, backed with iron-on fleece, and pockets sewed on and straps completed.
This is the back with a pocket that fits my cell phone perfectly.  Hope it fits her phone, too!
Here is the front flap.  The little circle you can make out is where I ironed over the magnetic snap closure.  There is also a pocket under this flap, and four pockets on the inside.
And here is the finished bag, hanging on the drawer knob of my thrift shop find!
Isn't it springy?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I love my local State Park!  And I love taking walks in the spring, watching the new green growth, and the awakening of the prairie and woods.  Sunday we took our first hike of the spring.  The day was sunny and warm, and I grabbed my camera and a bottle of water and off we went!  This is the upper falls at our State Park.  Often by summer's end there is only a trickle of water running over the rocks, but after the many snowfalls this winter, and now the quick thaw this spring, it is gushing with icy cold water.
In the second photo you can see a little of the upper falls beyond the bridge, and the much larger lower falls on this side of the bridge.  I'm a little surprised that my pictures didn't catch more people than they did.  There were a lot of people out there, strolling the paths, enjoying the sunshine, and even taking graduation pictures.
Then we went to the other section of the park, about a mile away from the falls, to the prairie where I love to hike.  We headed out down a trail, enjoying the robins perched in trees, on rocks, on the ground, and in the middle of our path.   And look at what's happening!
Teeny, tiny buds are appearing on trees and bushes!  Yea!  Spring has sprung!
I found some green in a few places, like in this moss.............
......and in these little sprouts of grass poking through the brown winter dried grasses.
And the park workers have been busy clearing out the invasive sumac and cedar trees.  I'm guessing they will be doing a controlled burn one of these next days, and then we will really see the green come forth!  And I'll be back out on the trails, hiking and taking pictures, just as I do every spring.  Did I say that I love Minnesota State Parks?

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang.
To Jesus, who had blessed them, close folded to His breast,
The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.

From Olivet they followed mid an exultant crowd,
The victor palm branch waving and chanting clear and loud.
The Lord of men and angels road on in lowly state
Nor scorned that little children should on His bidding wait.

"Hosanna in the highest!" that ancient song we sing.
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of heav'n our King.
O may we ever praise Him with heart and life and voice
And in His blissful presence eternally rejoice!

J. Threlfall  1821-1880            ELH 279

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We went for a ride this weekend, and found bare fields.  Where did the snow go? 
Is it here?  No............
Is it here?  No........where could it have gone?
Not here either.  Hummmmm, where could it be?

Oh, here it is.  Filling the space that is normally open between the river and the bridge.
And there it is too, filling the pavilion at the local county park.
Oh, it's here too, right under the swing set.  Guess we won't be bringing any grandkids here in the near future.
This is actually the middle of the road in the park.
Shucks, guess we can't go camping either!  

This is the state of the Minnesota River in our area.  I think it's going down now.  Hopefully no further flooding will take place and the waters will recede, and soon green grass will replace this water. 

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

When I was in grade school, I was fortunate to have a teacher who loved poetry and hymns, and thus insisted that we did too.  We memorized a lot of poems, sometimes the whole poem, and sometimes just a verse or two.  I think we only had to memorize the first verse of Daffodils, but the other three are familiar to me also, especially the last, so maybe we learned the whole thing.

Spring is here.  Spring makes me think of golden daffodils.  And daffodils always bring this poem to mind.  I wish we had them in sight, too!  Soon.  Maybe soon. 


It seems I can make it through the winter with the help of going south for two months, but March and April are really rough months for me.  Again this year I am battling the thoughts and dreams that remind me of two years ago.  Two years ago we left our chosen lifestyle of traveling to return to Minnesota to help care for mom.  Two years ago we started over, finding an apartment, buying furniture to replace what we had given away, and setting up housekeeping in a permanent spot again.  Two years ago we knew mom had developed some problems that wouldn't allow her to live independently any longer.  And two years ago we knew things were going to change drastically in the next few months.  And those of you who are regular readers, know that things did change.  Our precious mother had brain cancer that wasn't discovered until it was stage four, and she lost the battle before we even had time to try to fight it.

My thoughts these past days have so often traveled back in time to two years ago.  My last thoughts when I crawl into bed at night are of those days two years ago when we were just finding out that things were not going to be the same anymore.  I wish I could shake these feelings and thoughts, but it's tough.  I need to find something in the here and now to think about and be excited about, and not forget the pain of the past, but put it further back in my head so it's not the first thought of the day and the last thought of the night.  That's what I've been working on recently, and therefore I've not posted a thing of value.  I do think I'm near the end of my funk however, and hopefully I'll be back soon.

After all, God is with me.  He says 'I will never leave you or forsake you,' and I need to remember that and trust that.  He will help me through this, just as He has always helped in the past.  It's time for me to kick that old funk in the butt and get on with it.  I'm going to try.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Okay, back to March 9, 2005 -  I'm still in the "reliving my Italy trip" mood, so here's a post on Assisi.  Now, Assisi, a small town of only about 3,000 inhabitants (with tens of thousands of tourists) was one of my favorite spots of the whole trip.  It sits in the hills at about 1,300 feet, and is famous as being the birthplace of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy. This is the Basilica de San Francesco, the inside walls of which are covered with beautiful frescoes of his life, done by Giotto.  The town has Roman ruins and winding medieval streets, and I fell in love.  
I hung out my hotel window in the last light of the day to take this photo.

 The tan colored awning was the entrance to our hotel, the green ones led to the restaurant and bar.  I loved the winding streets that haven't changed much since medieval times.  And I was fascinated by the different doors on the buildings.......but that's my next post.  Come walk the quiet streets with me on this cool morning, five years ago...........

I need to go back with a better camera.  And I need to go back for the peace and quiet and unhurried life.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I committed a crime in Florence.  That isn't usually something I would purposely do......I'm usually about following the law to the letter.  (Ask my husband)  But something came over me in Florence and I had to do it!  Most of the places we visited allowed photography.  Some places stated no flash, but you could usually take pictures everywhere.  After all, this was a once in a life time trip, the one and only time you'd be viewing this painting or sculpture, and you wanted to capture the scene forever.  However, (you know what's coming, don't you!) at one of the world's greatest treasures was a sign NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED, and I ignored the sign.  I broke the rule.  I committed a crime.  I turned off the flash.  I held the camera at my hip and just happened to press the button, and I took a picture of David.   

It was one of the most impressive sights I've ever seen.  David is huge!  Much bigger than life.  And I needed a picture of him.  And I didn't get caught.  I know that doesn't make it right, but.............Well, it's done and over and I did it.  
Michelangelo's Pieta is breathtaking.  He has put himself in the sculpture, holding up Mary who is holding up Jesus. His most famous Pieta is in the Vatican, but I loved this one too.

This is Donatello's Mary Magdalen.  She looks so incredibly sad.

Graffiti......this is an iron gate on the Ponte Vecchio.  Those are locks that lovers have written their names know ML + EL or Kari loves Mike or some such thing, and they attach the lock to the bar and throw away the key.  When the gate gets too heavily covered with locks, the authorities come along and spend the day cutting the locks off!  At least it doesn't permanently damage some of these treasures that are hundreds of years old.

Below is the famous view from Michelangelo Plaza showing the Baptistry, Bell Tower and Duomo. 
This is the famous Ponte Vicchio.  Along the bridge are shops, mostly expensive jewelry shops.

Next on the trip is Assisi, one of my favorite places.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

FIVE YEARS AGO................

March 5, 2005:  Venice, Italy!  I went on the art trip to Italy with the class from the college where I worked.  I had my dear friend Lisa for a roommate on this once in a life time trip.  We flew into Amsterdam from Minneapolis, then boarded a smaller plane and flew to Venice. 
The sun was setting as we left the airport by bus and were dropped off at the dock for our ride to the hotel in a water taxi.
San Marco Plaza....... WOW!
The streets are really water!
We wanted a ride, but the gondoliers were napping, and it cost way too much for my tiny budget.

Tomorrow is Florence!

Thursday, March 04, 2010


We have been home for a few days but I've been suffering from PTSD over the trip through Iowa and the horribly bumpy road we decided to take.  And the scenery through most of the state didn't help my stress either.  This is an intersection along the highway!  Often the snow banks were higher than street signs or stop signs.  Rather a dangerous situation, wouldn't you say?
And then we turned down our street in small town Minnesota.
 Icicles on the building next to our place.
I probably should have taken in the bench and the two chairs.....oh well.  They should be clean at least!
 This icicle has formed beneath the exhaust of the furnace.
And this beautiful tree is still gracing the living room.........we left for Texas just three days after Christmas, so I didn't have time to take the tree down.  I guess this will be tomorrow's job.
It's good to be home.  Nothing is as comfortable as my own bed and I have slept well four out of the five nights since we returned.  Now if I would only find the motivation to put away everything we hauled in from the trailer.