Sweet Tennessee!

Sweet Tennessee!

November 12, 2012

Felines of the Torre Argentina..

I came across an interesting piece today as i looked over Archaeological News.  These are brief bits of news that appear in Archaeology Magazine online.  They come from sources like Discovery News, Scientist Magazine, etc.  I love this stuff!  Like licking the frosting bowl after icing a yummy cake.  Chocolate frosting, or peanut butter anyone?  :)  Anyway.. this article includes interesting information about a Roman dilemma involving cats!  It appeared in the November 7th edition of the New York Times in the Europe section.  'Strays Among Rome Ruins Set Off a Culture Clash.  Fascinating subject.  Ancient Roman History, artifacts and preserved archaeological sites and how this all affects felines and vice versa.  There is a homeless cat shelter above the site where Brutus is thought to have stabbed Caesar in 44 BC!  The felines are being threatened with eviction because they are compromising a vitally important location.  And the 'Gattare', the Roman cat ladies, don't like it one bit.  Felines are as much a part of Rome, and have been around Rome, as long as these ancient ruins.   I am a confessed 'cat lady' myself!  I love archaeology, but i love cats a lot more.  I'll post the article here so you can have a look...


I find that fascinating.  And i'll bet evicting the kitties IS a sensitive subject.  And i agree, the cats will return if they're relocated.  A feline is a territorial creature.  I hope a solution can be found to both help preserve this important ancient historic site and continue to aid all the cats who need the help.  I admit that as much as i adore ancient history, and think that these sites should be preserved and explored, and the findings recorded for posterity, i reside on the side of the kitties!  History is of vital importance to us as human beings.  We want and need to know where we came from and about ancient customs and cultures.  But cats are also an important part of Roman history, and they're living, breathing beings in the present.  Alas, i'm not a resident of Rome.  I'm an American cat lady.  :D  Another thing i want to share with you here is a post from a blog i found called, 'A Passport For Hercules.'  It's a great post!  It tells so much about the history of cats in Rome and their importance in daily life there for centuries.  Here it is..


So next Monday's post will the a post about archaeology per se.  This one is about that in sort of a roundabout way.  I just found this intriguing and wanted to share.  When the study of archaeology comes to mind i don't automatically think.. cats!  But from now on, i'll think a little about the kitties at the Forum, etc when i think of Rome the City.

Speaking of cats, our four are vocally seeking my attention!  I'll take that as a hint to sign off.  But of course..

Our Tennessee, who was a feral stray before we became his.  :)  Love him and our other three kitties!  I'll be back soon.  M

October 12, 2012

It's All In Perception..

It's raining out there!  It's been raining all day.  First day of rain in ages.  That's not a complaint; i love the rain.  Today.  But if we have no sunshine until Thanksgiving, i'll begin to dislike it a little.  The leaves are just starting to turn in places.  It's odd, because some of the trees in our neighborhood have completely changed into their brightly colored autumn outfits.  However, two streets over, they've only changed a little.  Like on those days in early fall when we don't know how to dress to go out in the morning.  A short sleeved blouse because it'll warm up later on.  A turtleneck sweater to stave off morning chill, but definitely a cotton one.. not a wool one?  Because the wool will be too hot as the day wears on.  Maybe a light jacket because it might rain?  You know what i mean.  Anyway, the rain has been restful and relaxing this afternoon and evening.  I feel cozy with S and our four kitties.  I love the sound of rain on our roof.  Yes, there are times when i like pouring rain, and times when i enjoy it not-so-much.  I had this quote on mind off and on today...

     'There is no truth.  There is only perception.' ---  Gustave Flaubert

I find i agree with that statement most of the time.  So many things are subjective, and often, one person's truth is not the same as another's.  It's true with fine art, with music, with writings, and especially i've noticed in the last few months; it's true in politics.  Now this is not a political post.  I've said i won't write posts like that here on bloggie anymore.  :)  I'll not advocate for one side or one party, or one candidate over another.  I was just thinking how different our political beliefs are.  And we vote for one candidate and not another for such a variety of reasons.  There's endless analysis over who won a certain debate.. when.. really.. these things are subjective.  I want to think my candidate won.  But lately, there's so much animosity in the political world, i've had to detach myself.  And though i don't understand the views of  'the other side', i respect others' right to have views that differ from mine.  It's all in perception.  Oh i still roll my eyes and shake my head and think to myself, how can a person THINK that way?  He/she must not know the facts.  Or the truth.  But what is the truth, truly?  lol.  So i've let it all go.  I'll vote for whom i choose, then it'll be over.  And even if 'my' candidate loses, the truth is, the world will be fine.  Well maybe not fine.  But it won't be any worse just because my side lost.  See what i mean?  My perception of the glass is that it's half full.  Not half empty.  I love classical music because it speaks to me.  Others love classic rock and roll because it strikes a particular chord in them.  I would rather watch National Geographic Channel than Dancing with the Stars.  It's all good.  I'd rather watch Antiques Roadshow, and a couple of friends of mine would rather watch Hawaii 5-O.  Or Hawaii 5-0?  I'm not sure.  lol again.  That's what i mean by perception.  And it's one of the things that makes our world such a fun, fascinating place.  I mean if we all agreed, and had the same perceptions of all things all the time, how absolutely deadly dull would that be?

So it's movie time for S and me this Friday night.  It'll be a Hitchcock, but we haven't made a certain choice yet.  We'll see.  Our perceptions of which one we want are different!  :)  How about that? And speaking of how we perceive things...

What do you perceive Tennessee is thinking in this photo?  He seems to be scowling at me.  Hmm...

Goodnight now.. i'll be back soon.  M

September 19, 2012

A Royal Find? :)

So i know i've talked before on this page about how much archaeology and history fascinate me.  There are times i think i should have been an archaeologist, but time has passed.. and i'm satisfied and happy with my life the way it is!  But one of my favorite hobbies.. if i can call it a hobby.. is armchair archaeology.  I'll bet you didn't know there is such a thing?  LOL.  I love Archaeology Magazine.  I prefer it to Vogue or Martha Stewart Living.  The photos in it are just as beautiful, though they are of piles of dirt, ruined buildings, and 'digging' tools!  And the articles!  Oh my pounding heart!  True stories of cave paintings,  ancient artifacts,  Bronze Age gold jewelry,  present day finds in the Egyptian Pyramids, and bog bodies in Ireland and Scotland.  They go on and on.  It feels, in a sense, that i can go back in time.  Way back in time, without digging in the desert sand and in the swamps myself.  :)  Reading archaeology articles feeds my desire for more knowledge about our history as humans.. how certain customs or mores developed in our world.  Endlessly enthralling.  Just Sunday evening, i spent five hours, that's right, five hours, watching 'Alien Deep with Bob Ballard' on the National Geographic channel.  He's a geologist/oceanographer who sails around the world on his explorer ship the Nautilus, (with his crew,) and searches the ocean deep for wrecks from our distant past.  I was in heaven.  The first episode was the most interesting of all.  They found a wreck of a cargo ship that was sunk in the Mediterranean Sea 300 years before the time of Alexander the Great.  My mouth watered.  :)  More so than it does when i'm just about to take a first bite of a piece of delicious apple pie a la mode!

Anyway.. there's one particular archaeological discovery i want to talk about here.  A body has been discovered under a car park in Leicester, England that may or may not be that of Richard III, the last Yorkist King of England!  DNA tests are being done (and compared to a descendant) to determine whether or not it is indeed he.  And if it is Richard III, where should he be buried?  He's entitled to a Royal burial at Westminster Abbey, but when he was still living all those years ago; he stated a desire to be buried at York Minster.  I've always been enthralled by stories of the Lancasters and the Yorks and the War of the Roses.  I've read fictional, well researched novels about them and history books about that era of English history.  The white rose and the red.  :)  I'm posting an article here from the UK Guardian that spells out more details  of this find if you'd like to read.  I read this piece and i felt transported to the 15th century.  On one hand, i know that these events occurred over 500 years ago, but these were real people we can never know.  In a way it feels as though i'm watching a film.. or the Shakespeare play, Richard III!  I see, in my mind's eye, the scenes playing out.  Of their family lives, the battles in which they fought..  Here's the piece for you to see..


Did you find that as interesting as i do?  And it was a skeleton the archaeologists found.. not a body.  I think i've read so many murder mysteries in my time, that i prefer that term.  LOL  And just for fun, i want to include a piece of music written in the 15th century in England.  Hope you love this too!


Did that put you in a 15th Century Yorkshire mood?  I think it's beautiful in a haunting kind of way.

Time to close for now.  It's time for our four fabulous felines to eat their supper!  First of course...

Serene and gorgeous!  I'll return soon. Hope you're all having a fantastic week.   M

August 25, 2012

Cooler Temps, and a Cool Archaeological Find!

Yay!  The temperature has dropped about twenty degrees since i wrote here last!  And i adore this weather.  Autumn is definitely in the air.  Its delicious, crisp scent is out there.  I'm not sure if i'm ready for summer to end, but fall doesn't need my permission to arrive.. now does it?  :)  Really.. i suppose i might be jumping the gun a little.  It IS still August, and the temperature could be back to the high eighties tomorrow!  Oooo, perish the thought!  I love summertime, but i prefer the temperature to be around 72.  With clear blue sky.  None of that white, humid sky.  And a gentle breeze to whisper through the Douglas Firs.  Cool enough to make air conditioning unnecessary, and for our windows to be left open for lovely fresh air to make its way through our home.  I don't ask for much.  Just a little perfection is all.  LOL.  Though i try to be satisfied always, and find something positive in all things.  Well, maybe not all things.  This past week, i became too wrapped up in all the negative, toxic goings on in our political world.  I found myself needing another break.  I don't want to get into it here; though one day pretty soon, i might feel it necessary to talk about it.  Just to get a little excess stuff of my chest.  I found myself changing the TV channel to Spongebob Squarepants more than once.  He's positive ALL the time, that Spongebob!  Yes indeed he is.  He laughs at everything.  And his laughter is contagious.  I still don't get the pineapple under the sea thing, but that's okay.  It's a cartoon for goodness' sake!  :)  And i got back into my meditation routine, which had been, shall i say, lacking some in the last few weeks.  Now i remember why i practice in the first place.  And the cooler temps made it more comfortable to do it outdoors.  Love the feeling of peace i have.  The breeze rustling through the trees, the water falling in the pond.  Happiness.  I also, as much as i love my Atlantic and Harper's magazines, had to close them for a couple of days and turn to Vogue, (the September issue!)  :D and Vanity Fair.  This month's issue of VF has Princess Kate Middleton on the cover.  I know that's not her official title, but you know who i mean.  But i'll save my love of those two glossies for another post.  A post all its own!  So i guess i had a little cooling off period this week in more ways than one.  And today is a lovely, cooler day also.  Temp is around 73.  Now that's close to perfection!

Anyway, one thing i love to read, no matter what's going on in the political environment, and regardless of the outdoor temperature, is my Archaeology Magazine.  I learn so many cool things about the (way back) history of our world!  I found this one article that i thought you might enjoy, so i decided to share.  Actually i found many i want to share, but the others can wait for their own entries here!  This article is from the mag ScienceNow, and i found it in the online news section of Archaeology Magazine.  It's about remnants of a black drink that were found in some ancient 'cups' around the location of the ancient American city of Cahokia.  Phew.  This city was located not far from what is now St. Louis, MO.  Were these remnants some kind of cacao drink or some kind of black ritual tea?  Well, tests and experiments were done, and you can read about them here.  Fascinating.  (And the article is short, but full of fun and interesting info.)  :)  I eat this stuff up with a spoon, just like hot fudge sauce off a hot fudge sundae.  Articles like this just make me want more knowledge of our human history and prehistory!  Here it is..


It's getting to be Saturday evening, and a lovely evening it is.  The light is just sparkling out there!  So, offline i go for now.  But of course, first...

Yes.  We have gorgeous, beautifully scented roses this late in the summer!  Bye for now.  I'll be back sooner this time around.  M

March 9, 2012

About an Old Place..

Sometimes.. i need to get out of town.  I love our home in the suburbs, and i love our neighbors and our neighborhood.  Some days i love to get out of these suburbs and go into the city!  Into Portland.  West Coast rendition.  But today, i wanted quiet.  A little open space.  Trees.  Fields.  I had just a little over an hour between appointments, so i couldn't make it a day's long drive to the countryside.  And i couldn't go too far out.  It takes awhile to leave the traffic behind around here.  Especially on a Friday.  It seems there are more humans on the roads.  They likely want to get out of town for awhile too!  :)  I knew exactly where i could go.  And i timed it just right!  I love little historic churches.  White ones with steeples.  I have a thing for them.  I think they remind me of my first home in Maine.  I adore an old white clapboard church on a pretty New England Town Green.  There aren't many places of worship like that out here.  There are some lovely churches.  It's just that they're more.. modern.  From an architectural standpoint, many of them are fascinating.  And i must admit, i'd never seen a church in a strip mall until we moved out here!  :D  I realize a church isn't supposed to look a certain way.  It's not about the building.  A church is made up of people who attend it and make the community.  But when i get a little homesick as i have been the last week or so, i love to spend a little quiet time walking around an old church.  I feel comforted.  So i spent part of this afternoon here...

The West Union Baptist Church is just a few miles outside of Hillsboro where S and i live.  It's a Classical Revival style church built of hand hewn lumber in 1853.  It's the oldest Protestant church still standing west of the Rocky Mountains, and it's on the National Register of Historic Places.  It has beautiful cedar rafters, which i wanted to get in and photograph.. Alas, it was a spur of the moment trip.  I couldn't go in but, yes, i admit it.  I spied a little in the windows...  :)

Simple and beautiful.  I love ornate cathedrals too.  The stained glass windows.  And i find them architecturally fascinating.  But part of me is minimalist.  I love small and plain.  Just as lovely to me...

The charming gate to the tiny sanctuary.  I fell in love!  Pretty soon, the gate will be covered in pink and white roses...  And it will smell as lovely as it looks.  It just feels good to be here.  :)

I also have a fondness for shuttered windows.  These are weathered and wonderful.  It's comforting to see them.  I love old things.  Old buildings.  Antique objects!  Of course, i'll never know the people who attended this church and farmed this area over a century and a half ago,  but i feel as though i've been introduced in a way.  And i certainly admire their handywork here!

The beautiful two acres surrounding the church were donated by David Thomas Lenox in 1853 specifically for the church building and the surrounding cemetery..  Peaceful.

So.. all in all, it was a 'productive', relaxing and quiet hour i spent sort of..  :) .. out of town!  I would have loved to go into this wonderful place for a few quiet minutes of meditation.  Contented sigh.  Some other day.

I experienced many other beautiful moments this Friday!  And a couple of them, as usual, happened while i was observing our kitties...

Cute kitty paws!  Love 'em.  And i have a few photos to prove it and save for posterity, but i won't post them all here.  That would definitely be overdoing it...

Just one more.  I promise.

Gorgeous Maine Coon Otis!  Who, when he's in the right light, shows more of his orange fur.  He also, as most felines i've met, worships the sunshine!  Spring's coming soon, he says!

6:20 Friday evening here on the beautiful Left Coast.  Have a beautiful weekend all!  Love, peace and hopefully lots of sunshine.  Remember.  Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend.  Fondly...  M.

February 28, 2012

Just Can't Do the Politics.. Yet..

Watching the 1000th episode of 'The Colbert Report' with S.  This show is one of my favorites.  But this is as close as i'll come to writing about politics tonight.  I planned to make this post about Romney/Santorum.  The Michigan Primary, and a couple of other things politics related.  I couldn't do it.  Just. couldn't.  As the months progress and bring us closer to the November election; however, i'll find it more difficult to avoid shouting my opinions to the Universe!  I'm a liberal after all.  And those two men drive me crazy.  But that's all i'll say about them at the moment.  It was a gray, rainy, cold day in these parts, and i want some light and beauty before i head to bed.  Mr. Colbert is making me have belly laughs as he always does.  He always tickles my funny bone, and i love him.  So.  Instead i'll talk a little about a book i bought this afternoon that i can't wait to dive into.  And i'll share a review with you here.  Then after i finish the novel; i'll write my own review.  :)  The book is called, 'Leela's Book', by Alice Albinia.  Maybe it's a book that would interest you?  It's about a woman, (Leela) who is a Sanskrit scholar living in New York City.  She moves back to Delhi, India after a couple of decades of self-imposed exile.  I find India, its customs, politics and architecture fascinating though i've never been there.  I know poverty is rampant, though i've heard it is a place of magnificent beauty.  Full of contradictions!  I think this will be an educational as well as an engrossing read, and i'm looking forward to getting lost in it!  I love books that take me away.  Especially this time of year.  On the cusp of spring, but not quite over the fence!  So here's a review for your perusal.  See if it strikes your interest as well...  :)


I think you know that i also find beauty in classical music.  So i want to share just one short selection with you to close out the night.  Hope you like!


And to say goodnight this Tuesday the Twenty Eighth of February, Twenty Twelve, i want to share another pic of a scene i love.  Peace to you all...M.

February 24, 2012

A (Not) Joyful Ode to Food Poisoning...

This week, i had the worst case of food poisoning ever!  Came down with it Tuesday.  Still not sure what i ate that made me so profoundly sick, but i am ecstatic to be feeling good again!  I was just out doing mundane errands around 2 pm Tuesday, when i broke out in a cold sweat.  Got the shakes.  A wave of nausea like none i've experienced in memory.  Luckily i made it to my car, and made the twenty minute drive home and through the front door before my body exploded.  Seriously.  That's what it felt like.  Then came a little over twenty four hours of pure hell.  No sleep.  I couldn't leave the bathroom long enough.  (A loo does not make a comfy bed.)  Utter exhaustion.  Much water and gatorade later; i felt better!  And felt a wave of relief and gratefulness like none i've experienced in memory.  :)  I've heard that a bout of food poisoning can take down a marine.  I believe it.  I'm nowhere near that caliber of fitness and discipline.  I thought an alien was trying to hatch from my body a la... 'Alien'.  And S was by my side through it all.  Waiting on me hand and foot.  Sitting beside me.. (when i could move to the couch,) holding my hand while i heaved.  I mean really.  He didn't have to do that!  But i'm glad he did.  'Do you want to go to the doctor?  I think you should see a doctor.  Let me take you to the doctor.'  No honey.  Really.  It just has to pass on its own.  There's something in my body that it doesn't want.  It wants it OUT!  Anyway, i figured out that mind over matter only works sometimes.  Then there are times when your body says..  **** you!  What did you put IN me?!  I love to find joy every day, but there was no joy for me here.  Not one iota.  So now that i'm well and healthy, i'm beyond thankful.  I feel nothing but joy joy joy and happiness.  I'm determined to be good to my body and mind.  I'm well, knock on wood; and i want to stay that way.

So no more talk about being sick.  Springtime is closer than it was on Tuesday!  The daffodils in our yard are almost ready to open.  I have the energy for one of my long walks.  :)  It's the weekend.  S doesn't have to travel to Israel next week for work.  My Mum and Dad are healthy.  S has been keeping up with the housework, so i don't have any to do this weekend.  Let's see.  I could go on and on and on.  But i won't.  I will; however, share a piece of wonderful music that i love.  It's one of my favorites ever by Claude Debussy.  I may have posted it before here, and if have.. sorry about that.  But i adore it, and i'm so happy tonight that i can't resist sharing it (maybe?) one more time.  It's called 'Clair de Lune'.  Maybe you've heard it and like it?  I hope so...


And i want to share another lovely photo of my grandparents' farm.  I loved that place!  So very many wonderful memories there.  And those memories were extremely comforting when i was so sick, but they're beautiful to think of anytime.  The exquisite blue sky here makes me look forward to summertime.  It'll be here before we know it.  But spring first.  The season of love and rebirth!


Goodnight for this Friday, February Twenty Fourth, Twenty Twelve.  Be healthy!  When you have your health, you have it all!  LPH..  Love Peace and Health!

February 20, 2012

Thoughts on Free Will...

So.  Until about an hour ago, i'd planned to do a post on our day trip to the coast.  Then i changed my mind as i seem to be doing often of late.  The question is.. did i make the decision?  :)  We all like to think we have the will to think through many possibilities, and make choices ourselves regarding what action to take in a given situation.  I sat down with my laptop shortly after we arrived home from our journey.  To check e-mail.. write a couple 'messages', and do some reading.  Catch up on some of the day's news, though news is slower than usual due to the Presidents' Day Holiday.  I googled The Economist Magazine.  Came upon 'More Intelligent Life', one of my favorite reads.  In it is an article named 'Neurons v Free Will', by Anthony Gottlieb.  It's not about God or religion, although those things came up in my mind as i read. Questions about the extent of our free will have been debated for centuries.  This article is about studies of the human brain, and how much we actually choose for ourselves.  How much is chosen for us?  How much do modern brain scans truly tell us about how our minds work?  I'll post the article here for you to read if you're interested.  Quite fascinating really!  And not too long a piece.  I was enthralled.  I started wondering and questioning many things.  Right down to the smallest actions i take.  Like what time i get up in the morning.  What i have for lunch.  Split second decisions i make when i'm driving.  The books i decide to read.  Whether or not i like a certain type of music.  And like i said above,  did i decide to change the subject of this post?  Or did my neurons tell me to do so.  How much did i think?  Anyway, here's the link to the article if you'd like, or have a few minutes.  I'd love to read any comments you might have and your opinions of what Mr. Gottlieb has to say. .....  ..


And Anthony Gottlieb has written a book called 'The Dream of Reason'.. A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance.'  It's not related to the above article, and was published in 2001, but i'm going to read it.  Philosophy is fascinating to me.  I am a human FULL of questions about so many things.  And i love to know what other people think about just about every subject imaginable.  Of course i don't ask.  lol  Not that nosy!  The differences in our philosophies of life, our interests, and opinions,etc. are what make life in general so wonderful and extraordinary!  I love to learn learn learn!  I just have no interest in doing it in a classroom these days.  Too stifling.  Here's a review of 'The Dream of Reason'.  You might like to find a copy and give it a read.  Or not.  :)  I think this will be a looooong book that i might just save for a summertime day (or a few) on the patio with an iced tea (regular, not Long Island,) or a yummy Strawberry Daiquiri (avec the rum and whipped cream.)  :D

Here's the review..  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/anthony-gottlieb/the-dream-of-reason/

I like to think i have control over much of my life.  And the choices i make every day of my life.  Like the fact that i get up early most mornings to walk several miles because it's good for my mind and body both!  Or the fact that i forgo a piece of delicious apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream because it's not so good for my figure.. or more importantly.. my good health.  I posted a couple of months ago about serendipity, and how i think there's a higher being, or at the very least, 'something' more powerful than myself steering me in certain directions.  Putting certain opportunities in my path.. or something..  I just don't know what.  Nature. The natural cycles of the universe.  Then there are the sciences.  Biology.  Physics.  Chemistry.  Fascinating all!  But a scientist i'm definitely not.  Well, i won't draw this out any longer.  Monday evening is coming on fast!  And it's still light out at 5:15 pm.  Now that makes me HAPPY!  lol  Did i decide to be happy??  Maybe.  Maybe it's the neurons.  Perhaps it was predetermined?

Goodnight all!  Have a beautiful evening.  Sending out peace on this Monday, February Twentieth, Twenty Twelve.. M..  for Many Questions..  Picture above taken at what was my Paternal Grandparents' farm (when they were living.)  Not sure who owns it now..  : )  Such a beautiful place.  Would love to walk that path through the meadow again someday...  :)

February 18, 2012

Three Books to Make Me Ponder..

I've been thinking a lot about war today.  One in particular.  The Great War, or World War I.  Now how did i get from having such a girly girl nail polish/lipstick filled day yesterday to thinking about something so not-uplifting?  Well, to tell the truth i've no idea.  I wonder what makes certain things pop into and out of my mind all the time, and i wish i had answers.  Alas.  So after lunch, i made another voyage to.. ahem.. my favorite bookstore, my Droid and Google in hand, to search out some excellent World War I fiction.  There's nothing wrong with non-fiction history books, per se.  It's just that i prefer well researched fiction with characters i can relate to as opposed to a bunch of facts and dates thrown at me in textbook form.  And if i'm going to read about one of the bloodiest wars ever; i want it to be...  Well, fun is certainly not the right word.  Engrossing maybe?  Mesmerizing?  I want to stay involved until i finish the books.  I don't want them to make me full of anxiety either.  I can see i may need to increase my meditation time.  :)  So on this afternoon book search/trek, i found six books, but i want to tell you about three of them.  I could talk about all, but i don't want to draw this out into Saturday evening!  One of these books i read about ten years ago and loved it.  I want to read it again.  The other two, i've yet to read, but i can talk a little about them even so.

The first one is called "A Very Long Engagement", by Sebastien Japrisot.  I read another book by him a week ago called "Women In Evidence".  Also fantastic.

This novel is part mystery.. a lot of history.. and a profoundly beautiful love story.  It takes place in 1917 France.  Five wounded soldiers are brought to Picardy by their own troops.  Left on the front to die.  It's punishment, but i won't reveal the reason here.  But, by official accounts, these men have been 'killed in the line of duty.'  The truth is kept quiet.  Two years later, Mathilde Donnay receives a letter from a dying soldier hinting that her fiance .. one of the five men left in 'No Man's Land', might still be alive.  She carries out a search for him, and while she travels through France, learns about the true horrors of war.  The book has quite a few scenes that are difficult to read, but they're beautiful in a raw way.  And often the second time i read a novel; i take things away from it that i missed the first time around.  That will likely happen this time too!  Find yourselves a copy, and sit in a quiet, peaceful spot and give it a read.  You won't be sorry.  The events take place during and after World War I, but much of the action in the book can be applied to our present time.  And history, even in fictional form, as you know, can teach us much.

The second book i want to talk a little about is "Burden of Desire", by Robert MacNeil.   If you watched the 'MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour' on PBS, you know that Mr. MacNeil is an intelligent, well spoken investigative journalist.  I've read some of his non-fiction, but never any of his novels.  This is his first novel, published in 1992.  The story begins on December 6, 1917 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The day a freighter containing high explosives blew up in the harbor.  The explosion levels the North End of Halifax, and while searching through the rubble, a clergyman finds a young woman's diary.  He becomes obsessed with finding her.  I've only read the first few pages, but am looking forward to the rest of the story.  I can tell it's well written and thoughtful.  But it has a different perspective than 'A Very Long Engagement' and is told from a male point of view.  Will be an excellent read i think!

The third book is called 'Regeneration', and it's the first novel in Pat Barker's World War I trilogy.  This will be the most difficult of the three to read, i think.  It's the story of decorated war hero Siegfried Sassoon and his time at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh.  In 1917 Sassoon publicly refused to continue serving in World War I because he thought.. and said.. it was a senseless slaughter.  So he was declared 'mentally unsound', and sent to Craiglockhart to 'recover.'  So to be sent back to battle to likely die.  This book contains no bloody battle scenes.  And it's not a love story.  It's an anti-war novel.  It's only 250 pages long, and i'm betting they're 250 difficult pages to swallow.  But i want to read it.  I need to read it.  Then i want to read the second and third books in the trilogy.. 'The Eye in the Door' and 'The Ghost Road.'  And i'm pretty certain that when i'm finished with these books, i'll wonder why so many humans in this day and age push for war.  I don't want to make this a political post.  But that's something i wonder about often already, and i haven't delved into these stories fully yet!  I know my grandparents wondered.  My paternal grandparents were born in 1903 and 1907 respectively and my maternal grandmother in 1911.  They shook their heads a lot about the Vietnam War.  The Korean War.  My grandfather lived through the first Gulf War.  We younger generations forget i think.  Or we never learned in the first place.  Why is that, i wonder?  Nooooo!  :)  this post is going exactly where i didn't want it to go.  Must stop now!  :)

Have a wonderful Saturday evening all!  Think fun and relaxation.  Party or put your feet up.  Whichever you prefer.  Bye now for this Saturday the Eighteenth of February, Twenty Twelve!  BTMYT for Books That Make You Think!  :D

February 15, 2012

Sky Love.. and a New Book! Or Two..

I love the sky!  Blue sky.  Gray sky.  Sky full of clouds.  The night sky with the bright (when the clouds don't cover it,) moon and stars.  I love its vastness.  The fact that most often it makes me feel small.  In a good, comforting way.  Makes me realize there are other worlds out there, and that this one is enormous; however, not all there is.  I live a couple thousand miles from my family and many of my friends, but i know that when we look up on a cold winter's night or a scorching summer's night; we see the same sky.  My grandfather taught me about the clouds and weather when i was a young girl.  I wish i'd paid closer attention.  I loved my walks with him and my grandmother around their farm.  Gramps was, in his young days, a Merchant Marine officer and traveled the world.  An expert navigator and 'cloud reader'.  When he married my grandmother, he retired from the Merchant Marine, and they became farmers.  They lived by the weather and natural cycles their whole lives.  When i was a girl, Gramps read to me from National Geographic.. or 'The Geographic' as he called it.  Fascinating!  When i got older and visited, he always asked,  'Have you read the new 'Geographic' yet, Mary Ellen?'  Usually, i hadn't.  I became interested in other kinds of reading when i 'grew up'.  Thought i was too mature for it, or something.  Silly i know.  S and i have subscribed to it for years, and i read each month's issue.  I wonder if my grandfather knows and feels a sense of satisfaction?  :)  Anyway, back to my love of sky and clouds.  I used to know the names of the various clouds and why they formed in a particular way.  That knowledge has been lost unfortunately.  I want it back!  Therefore..

I took myself to Powell's Books (again.)  As i've said before, it's one of the places i lovingly call Paradise, and i bought this little second hand gem for $5.  I need to brush up on the clouds and make my grandfather proud!  It's a tiny book, but fascinating from what i've looked at so far.  By the week's end, i'll be a cloud connoisseur!  I'll have to be careful i don't drive S crazy when we go for walks or drives.  That i don't constantly discuss what kind of clouds i see and what the weather will be like in an hour or so!  Though he likely wouldn't mind.

I love to take photos of the sky too.  Especially if i see something i like, as here.  It was rainy/sunny/sun beginning to set here.  I thought this was beautiful.  Clouds.. even 'rain clouds', are lovelier than just a plain steel gray sky.  Especially at sunrise or sunset.

I think this is beautiful too.  I'm not bragging about my picture taking skills.   All i did was point my Droid camera up at the sky and shoot!  Nature provides the beauty.  But i've no idea what these clouds are named.  I must know.  Must research!  :)  Anyway....

As i mentioned above, i made another trip to Powell's this afternoon.  I like to read three or four books at a time.  Today, while i was perusing the fiction shelves; i found this!

I've read a couple of books by French author and film director Marguerite Duras, but not this particular one.  'The Ravishing of Lol Stein'.  At the beginning, when she is nineteen, Lol Stein's fiance leaves her for an older woman.  Over time, she becomes obsessed with the incident, but she eventually marries and has a family.  In her 30s, Lol moves with her husband back to the town where the betrayal took place.  The book is about love, obsession, disappointment, and finally insanity.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  It was written by Ms. Duras in 1964, when i was one year old.  I adore books from the early to late 60s.  The New York Times said of it.. 'Brilliant... shoots vertical shafts down into the dark morass of human love.'  THIS is my kind of story!  SO looking forward to it.

Well.. i have some sumptuous reading to do!  Goodnight and peace for this Wednesday, the Fifteenth of February, Twenty Twelve.  And every once in awhile when you're spending time out in nature, take a minute to look up at and appreciate the spacious sky!  It's beautiful!  Night.  :)  M...

February 10, 2012

Book Lover's Heaven!

This afternoon, i spent three whole hours in Paradise.  No.  Not Tahiti or Jamaica, or some other lush, tropical island.  But Powell's Books in Portland, OR.  The biggest independent used and new bookstore in the world.  Really.  It's lush all right.  Not with palm trees or huge tropical birds and flowers.  With books!  A veritable treasure trove of books one can find nowhere else.  Many are not available in local libraries.  Often i enter the store i love with an idea of what i want to purchase.  Most of the time i find the specific book i'm searching for.  Also, most of the time; i leave with many more books than i planned on.  As was the case this afternoon.  I came home with not one.  Not two.  But seven books!  Seven, i've heard, is a lucky number.
When i walked into Powell's this afternoon, i had a specific question in mind.  And i asked it right away.  'I'm looking for fiction that is similar to the PBS show 'Downton Abbey?'  She has been asked that question a few dozen times at least, i'm sure.  And yes.  I'm a Downton Head.  I love that show more than i loved 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' back in the day.  She responded they had quite a few books like that, and pointed me toward their display.  I found a couple.  In case you're interested.. one is called, 'House at Riverton', by Kate Morton, and the other is called 'River of Darkness', by Rennie Airth.  Both look like excellent reads.  But as usual, i couldn't just leave Powell's.  I had to peruse every. aisle.  I found a few other jewels in my travels through the 'hallways'.  One in particular i can't wait to begin!  It's called 'Women in Evidence', by Sebastien Japrisot.

And yeah.  The cover is actually blurry.  :)  The picture anyway.  I took the pic before i had a Friday evening glass of Pinot Noir.. not after.  :D  So no tipsy-ness here.  A few years back, i read 'A Very Long Engagement' by the same author, and it was fabulous.  I love historical fiction!  This story takes place during World War II.  In many locations around the world.  It starts with a man dying on a deserted beach at sunset of a gunshot wound.  His story is told by the eight women who loved him.  This man has a different identity in each of the eight stories.  Will have to write a post about it when i'm finished.  I think it will be quite an absorbing read!

Have a wonderful weekend all!  And remember.. Spring is fast approaching.  Season of renewal and love that starts, at least according to my personal calendar, with the holiday of love.  Valentine's Day!  Will say goodnight for this Friday, February Tenth, Twenty Twelve.  M  :)

February 8, 2012

21! Twenty One! :)

Tomorrow..  February the Ninth, Twenty Twelve, my love S and myself will celebrate 21.. (twenty one!) years together!  Wow.  The years have absolutely flown by.  And we met on .. of all things.. a BLIND DATE!  I'd been on countless blind dates before February 9, 1991.  Thanks to many well- intentioned friends who evidently couldn't stand to see me 'alone'.  I'd had a few boyfriends over the years, but at that point, I was happy being single.  I know.  I know.  No one believed me then either.  I think i explained in a post i made here a couple of months ago a few details about how my man and i met.  How the circumstances were quite serendipitous.  I'll go through it quickly here in case it's not new to you.  I worked in a tiny office (cubicle) back then that was adjacent to my good friend Sue's office.  Sue lived in an apartment next door to S.  One early morning, Sue peeked over our shared cubicle wall, and said.. 'Hey Mary.  I know a guy...'  I immediately thought.  Geezzzz!  Here we go again!  Struggled not to let my eyes roll back to my forehead.  I'd sworn to myself, that for the sake of my own good mental health and well-being, that i'd NEVER go out on another blind date.  Ever.  She persuaded me.  I have to admit, i fell in 'love at first sight.'  S and i have been together ever since.  I fell in love with his brilliant mind first.  I mean before i fell in love with his eyes and body.  I know.  I know.  No one believed me then either.  I won't bore you with sappy details about how we were made for each other and all.  We really were made for each other, by the way.  At least that's what i believe.  I'm a romantic at heart.  Valentine's evening was our second date.  Hearts.  Flowers.  Love!  Happy sigh.  But the ninth has always been our special day.  'A Week after Groundhog Day'.. S calls it.  So i'll share a pic with you of one of the anniversary gifts i received from him early.  It's gorgeous.  :)

Beautiful isn't it?  Green Nevada turquoise.  I love it.  Turquoise is one of the first ancient protection amulets.  Brings peace into the home.  He doesn't know any of those things.  He's the hard scientist/mathematician in this household.  He just knew i'd like the ring.    He's always had excellent taste!

Well this is a shortie post.  Just wanted to check in.  We're hanging out together watching OPB.  Reading.  Quiet things.  Our nights were not so quiet and calm 21 years ago.  Not that we were insane, mind you.  But we didn't go to bed by 10:30-11:00.  We went 'out' a lot more.  Now the going out thing is mainly reserved for weekends.  But that's more than fine with us.  I'll see you all on Friday.  Goodnight for this February Eighth, Twenty Twelve.  M.. for Many Hearts & Flowers!  Yeah, sappy sappy sappy.  But i just couldn't help myself...

February 6, 2012

Magnificent Cheese & Scrumptious Chocolate!

Woohoo!  It's Double C day here on MML!  C number 1 for Cheese, and C number 2 for Chocolate.  Or the other way around if you prefer.  My two favorite C things in the world.  What a way to begin a week!  (Yes, i realize that Sunday is officially the first day of the seven day week, but i prefer to 'start' my week on Monday.  Especially after yesterday.  It was a lazy, super duper lazy Sunday in this house.  With the Super Bowl and all.  Too much great TV.  And as i mentioned in last night's post, 'Downton Abbey' was on.  I mean.. i absolutely could NOT miss that.  And believe me, i 'never' sit in front of the TV machine that much.  But wait, i guess i can't say never anymore, can i?  And tonight, another fabulous fav of mine is on.  'Antiques Roadshow'!  Also on PBS.  Seems to me i cannot live without my PBS(OPB).  There i go again.  Must get back to chocolate and cheese!

Last week, i tried a delicious kind of cheese that i think you all would love.  It's called Petit Basque.  Or sometimes, P'tit Basque.  It's a yummy, hard sheep's milk cheese made in France in the Pyrenees Mountains.  The mountains that form the beautiful border between France and its neighbor, Spain.  I've never seen that area but in photographs.  I hope to get there someday relatively soon.  But those i know who've been tell me it's breathtaking.  This is a modern French cheese.  Not a few hundred years old like many French cheeses i adore.  Its year is 1997.  So, VERY new in terms of cheese!  It's a beautiful, buttery yellow, and has a slightly oily feel.  And its scent is divine.  And i hope you won't shy away from it because it's a sheep's milk cheese.  You'll be missing out.  :)  I got S to sample a little, and he loves it.  He crinkled his nose a little, and said... SHEEP'S milk cheese?'  And i said, yes honey.  Try it.  You'll like it!  And voila!  He DOES like it.  And he can be rather little-boyish sometimes when it comes to trying new foods.  Meat and potatoes man that he is.  Petit Basque has a slightly nutty flavor.  Yummy!  I tried a little Sauvignon Blanc with a piece, and i was in Heaven!  The world of cheese is a beautiful place indeed..  Here's a pic.  Today i purchased just a small wedge.  After yesterday's over indulgence in food and sitting on my arse, i figured i'd take the pic and wrap the bugger back up for a later date.  And yep.  That's what i did.  But it was not easy.  It looked so... buttery and delicious.

Mmmmmmmm... Cheese!  I know last time, i, posted about a French cheese also.  And i was going to write about cheese from a different place this time.. but.  Today, this is my fav.  I promise you'll fall in love.  And you know, Valentine's Day is super close!  And i think, and am certain many would agree, that cheese is as yummy a V-Day gift as chocolate.  Really!

And well, speaking of divine chocolate, i sampled a 'new' kind over the weekend.  New to me anyway.  The wrapper is.. pink.  One of my favorite colors.  I know i shouldn't judge a 'book' by its cover.  But this particular time, my instincts were correct.  (as they so often are.)  :)  It's called Theo chocolate, and it's made in Seattle.  Their motto is.. "Theo Chocolate, because chocolate grows on trees."  It's Fair Trade and organic.  I was sold.

See?  Pretty.  And it's just as delicious as it is pretty on the outside.  Salted almond dark.  Wonderful flavor.  And creamy.  Yes!  Super melt-in-your-mouth so.

And there it is in all its chocolatey glory!  I wrapped it up and put it away, because as i said above, i WAY overindulged yesterday.  And i'll NOT undo all my hard work.  You know, getting up those early mornings and walking miles.  I love putting those miles on and taking pounds off, and it will not be for naught!  :D

Wow, i just looked up and it's dark out there!  But the days are slowly getting longer, and the lovely Vernal Equinox is right around the corner.  Have a beautiful rest of your Monday all!  And try to take the time to stop and smell some chocolate or cheese.  Or both if you have a mind.  Sending out peace & love this Monday, February Sixth, Twenty Twelve!  CC.. for.. well, you know..  :D

February 3, 2012

Mysteries, Mysterious Kitties and Blue Sky!

I spent most of this blue sky gorgeous Friday at the local library.  It's one of my favorite places in the Universe in any kind of weather.  A dark rainy winter's day.  A clear scorcher of a summer's day.  Because i love books all the time, and the library has delicious air conditioning.  And on a 90 degree August day; it feels magnificent!  Anyway, i'd love to spend a night at the library by myself with all those books, magazines, etc.  You know.. take a sleeping bag, overnight bag, toothbrush!  Fuzzy kitty slippers maybe.  How dreamy.  Find a comfy chair and read the night away.  Snooze a little between books.  I think murder mysteries would be my choices for this wish-come-true night.  Not psychological thrillers so much as Agatha Christie/ Ngaio Marsh whodunnits.  Perfect.  Not gory, but spooky and fun.  Kind of like ghost stories around a campfire, but stories just for me.  No other humans present.  Only shadows!  Muahahahaha!   I'm on a mystery kick lately!  I love literary fiction, but just am not in the mood for it this chilly February.  The thing with mysteries, is that the bad guy/woman always gets what's coming to him/her in the end.  I adore that.  It may not be realistic, but i'm a sucker for a happy ending now and then!  Just like in an excellent love story, there are obstacles to be overcome, but....  And in a good suspense novel, there is usually a good bit of investigating to be done.  A few wrong turns taken.  Before the culprit is apprehended.  And then the payoff is excellent.  Justice for all!  So, since i can't spend all night at the paradise that is my public library, i borrowed these today.  Great weekend and beyond reading!

Fabulous mysteries all!  I can't wait to get started!  Thing is.. which one to read first?  I'm thinking the P.D. James or Cara Black!  A Ngaio Marsh?  Hers are spectacular.  Much like Ms. Christie's, but Ms. Marsh was very much her own writer.  Sigh.  Decisions decisions.  But this kind of choice makes me smile inside.  Such great reading is one of life's greatest pleasures!  Perhaps i'll read some literary fiction next month...  :D

Another thing that made me supremely happy today was the beautiful blue sky!  What a day this Friday was.  Temperatures in the mid-fifties.  I took my layered winter jacket apart and started the day doing errands in just the fleece!  And ended up in a long sleeved shirt.  (And jeans of course.  I wasn't just clothed on top.)  Fabulous!  What a splendid feeling of freedom.  Not quite like shorts and bare feet.  But we're getting there all!  The time is coming.

See?!  Now how gorgeous is that?!  I think that's my favorite shade of blue right there.  How can one not be filled with happiness to see that sky?

And our kitties.  Well, they always make me happy.  Snickers has a way of 'hiding' on me.  It's adorable.  She finds these spots and watches me walk by.  And she's not up high.  She's down low, and can only see my feet.  She thinks if she can't see me; i can't see her.

Can you see her?  LOL!  And she loves boxes.  To be on top of them.  Inside them.  Beside them!  What is it about felines and boxes?  They're just so darn cute.  (The cats.  Not the boxes.)

Have a fabulous weekend all!  Goodnight this Friday the Third of February, Twenty Twelve.  M for Mysteries Aplenty!  Be back soon.

January 31, 2012

On Thankfulness..

I just watched an hour of 'Nature's Most Amazing Events' on the Green Channel.  It's been a long time since i watched a television show that brought tears to my eyes.  Tears of grateful happiness.  This one did.  It was about the creatures of the Serengeti Plain and their struggle to survive throughout the year.  The program focused a lot on lions and wildebeests.  The scenery took my breath away.  But i was most enthralled with the annual wildebeest migration.  In springtime, thousands of these animals migrate back to the fertile North Serengeti Plain where they live through the dry season.  Many die from starvation, predation, drought, etc.  I watched a female give birth to a calf after surviving all these obstacles.  It reminded me that nature can be cruel, but it's also wonderful.  The entire natural world is miraculous.  And i'm grateful for the beauty of it.  For the fact that we live in a Universe where, though discouraging things happen, there is also much love, stunning beauty, grace, faith in humanity and the natural world.  We are animals, after all, we humans.  I try to count my blessings often, and this show was yet another reminder to be grateful for all i have.   My family, my friends, my community, the roof over my head.  The food i eat, my good health, and that of my family and friends!  The little things.  The opening leaves in springtime; the life giving rain we get. :)  (Sometimes we seem to get more than our share in OR.)  I try not to complain, but sometimes i weaken in that respect.  I love the trees big and small.  The beautiful shade giving ones, and the little growing maples and pines.  I love it all.  Grateful there is medicine to cure many illness and diseases.  Though i know we have a long way to go.  We've also come a long way.

Above on the right is a pic of a little rose in our yard about three weeks ago.  It made a valiant effort to open.  Alas it was not to be.  Too much rain.  Not enough sunshine.  Still beautiful though, and i wanted to capture it while its soft beauty lasted.  Sometimes i wish that all it needed was a few kind words and it would pop open.  Come fully to life.  You see, inside, sometimes, i'm still a little girl.  I hope, and i wish.  But the adult in me is realistic.  But i'll remember it was here.  I have the photo to prove it!  :D

And above is our Calico girl Tortie.  S and i are thankful for her too... and all our four awesome kitty-cats!  It was a year ago this month that she had a piece of one of her lungs removed due to cancer.  She's cancer free now.  Healthier than ever.  We are so very grateful.

As always, i wish you all love and happiness this Thirty First Day of January, Twenty Twelve!  L for Love.  Lots of it!

January 6, 2012

Happiness.. Part II!

So i find myself thinking about happiness again this evening.  I'm in our cozy, warm home while it's cold, drizzly and dark outside writing on the box and waiting for S to return from a work related trip to Tel Aviv.  He'll be home around midnight.  :)  Can't wait to see him.  I love that i feel a little tingly and full of anticipation at his homecoming.   Such a sweet feeling after twenty years together.  It feels the same as when we were dating before we moved in together.  It's as if we haven't aged at all.. when we obviously have.  Lol.  Love makes all people feel young, i guess.  Isn't that fantastic?!  Rhetorical question there.  Anyway, i wanted to post a little more about things that make me happy.  I promise i'll be brief, and won't drone on 'all night'...  :D

Well, one thing that makes me happy is a day of the week.  Monday to be exact!  I think i'm in the minority here.  This picture below is of a note i attached to the fridge the day after Christmas, because i kept forgetting what day of the week it was.  That's what i do when i forget 'stuff.'  I list it and put it on our refrigerator.  It works.  Since i spend lots of time in that part of the house; i can't help but see 'the writing on the wall!'  I happen to think Mondays are fabulous.  Kind of like a brand new year.. except on a much smaller scale.  I love to make plans for the week on Monday.  It's the day i start or finish projects and whatnot.  Fresh and rested from the weekend.  A clean slate every seven days so to speak.  No?  Have many good friends who think i'm bonkers when i tell them i enjoy my Mondays and think they sell that day short.  Give Monday a chance!  I say.  Snort!  The hilarious looks i get...

Another thing that makes me feel vibrant.. lively.. happy.. is blue sky.  Whether in Winter.. ( i especially love it then).. Spring, Summer or Fall.  The other day; i said i love gray sky too, and i was telling the truth.  But there's something about a beautiful, sparkling Wedgewood blue.  Clear. Cloudless.  I take pictures of sky sometimes.. so i can remember what it looked like on a given day.  Like today.. in early January.  The Oregon Winter is full of clouds and rain.  Which i've grown to love.. (and it took years for me to feel that way.  YEARS!)  But an intense blue sky is a gorgeous thing to behold.  Hence the profound happiness.  Like the sky pictured below..  Now who wouldn't LOVE that?  Excuse me while i kiss the sky!  Jimi Hendrix.. wasn't that?  :D

And speaking of colors like vivid blue, the green of an Oregon Winter makes me happy too.  The green of the grass.  Of the evergreens.  The Douglas Firs.  The Sequoias.  The Spruce trees!  Such GREENNESS.  It's wonderful, really.  Every once in awhile i get little pangs of homesickness for a snowy Maine Winter, but i've truly become accustomed to the green.  And the reason things stay so green is... all that rain.  So how bad can rain be?  Not bad at all.  See below.. GREEN!

And while we're on the subject of color.. my favorite of all is... yellow.  The color of Autumn leaves.  Yellow gold.  The color of sunshine.  Lemonade.  Meyer Lemons.  A yummy Lemon-Drop Martini.  Yellow is the color of happiness.  Remember the yellow smiley faces of the early seventies?  I loved those.  Smiles and happiness.  Yes.  Yellow is magnificent.  Yellow leaves.  Aren't they pretty?  Another rhetorical question.  I really should stop asking those.. shouldn't i?  :)

Anyhow.  I said i'd be brief.. so here you are.  It's Friday evening and all.  Hope you're enjoying this end of the week.  And by the way.. Friday is a day that makes me happy too.  Don't think i'm in the minority this time.  Peace and a Splendid Weekend to you all.. this Friday, January Sixth, Twenty Twelve.  M

January 5, 2012


Some things.. objects.. make me happy.  Love and peace make me the happiest, but it's hard to picture those feelings.  The photo below is of two desserts that S and myself shared one day before Christmas when we were out shopping on a beautiful afternoon.  A divine piece of Mexican wedding cake and a peppermint whoopie pie!  :)  Yes!  Powdered sugar, chocolate and butter cream make me feel ecstatic!  And the real reason for the happiness here is that there's so much joy to be had in sharing something delicious with the one you love..  Sharing is joyful!  One of the best things in this Universe of ours!

And here is a scene that made me practically squeal with happiness!  He is not my pup, but he is wonderful, as are all dogs!  Those ears!  Look at them.  How can you not feel 'tons' of love and joy in your heart when you look at him?!  Just sitting in there full of loyalty waiting patiently for his human.  What a sweetheart.  Yes.  Animals make me extraordinarily happy!

Excellent comfort food makes me happy.  And this meal.. eaten on a cold, damp Northwest December day was super yummy and hearty-savory.  Nothing quite like a Reuben and a little corn chowder to warm one's heart!  Two of my favorite things in the world.  I was also able to share this meal (and lots of excellent 'girl talk',) with a beautiful friend of mine!

Seeing a kitty enjoy the sunshine makes me incredibly happy!  This is our Tennessee.  Felines are excellent at finding the sunniest spot in any house or outdoors!  Our boy had such a hard time before we became his.  Hungry, cold, dehydrated, homeless.  Now he has the run of our home.  He'll never be hungry or scared again.  He deserves love as all animals do.  They are our true blue companions, and give us oodles of unconditional love.  :)

And this our young girl kitty Snickers.  She makes me happy.  Especially when she tries to make conversation with me like she is here.  I love to hear her voice in all its variety.  Here she's saying 'i love you M' .. i know she is.  And i'm telling her i love her right back!  Like i do every day.  S and i love sharing our love with her.  Yep.. lots of joy day in and day out 365 days a year!

And last, but certainly not least.. excellent reading makes me happy.  I spend a lot of time with books.  And poring over the awesome shelves in many a bookstore and library.  I feel much love, peace, happiness and contentment when i'm around books.. magazines.. newspapers..  Happy sigh.

So there you have it.  Just a few 'things' that make me feel happiness.  Of course, cats and dogs are not objects.  They're wonderful, extraordinary and magnificent breathing, furry, warm and loving creatures.

Gotta go for this Thursday, January Fifth, Twenty Twelve.  Time for supper.  For myself and our four fabulous felines! See you soon.. B.. for Beautiful Joy!

January 3, 2012

The Many Shades of Gray..

I reflected on many things this afternoon.  Was fortunate to be able to spend a couple of hours in one of my favorite places.  Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon.  Spent my time in that book lover's paradise poring over the shelves with a fine toothed comb.  What a treasure trove!  Brought home quite a few used books to fill many dark winter hours with reading happiness.  While i was in dreamland looking at books; it also occurred to me how much i've come to love these gray Northwest winter days.  The many, subtle.. matte shades of gray have grown on me.  lol.. Both emotionally and physically.  And here.. i'm speaking of the gray in the sky AND the gray hairs growing in on my head.  The gray on my head is no surprise.  And neither is the gray weather.  I am an Oregonian after all.  Though if only temporarily.  (S and i want to move back to Maine one these days after he retires!)  But i will admit that those 'things' growing on my noggin give me a bigger jolt.  Like tasting a piece of sour grapefruit that needs to be sweetened with a little sugar.  I'm trying to decide if i'm 'okay' with the gray up there.  Not the kind in the sky.  Would I rather be a Summer Blonde?  An Autumn Red, perhaps?  Or am i fine with the Winter Gris?  :)  Guess i have some pondering to do.  Going 'that color' is not the end of the world, I know.  And it might grow on me more.. hah!  if you know what i mean!  I'll just say i'm going to take my sweet time making up my mind.  No rush to make a salon appointment.  I'm still more dirty blond than grayish right now.

Lately.. i've been loving the gray, rainy, foggy skies!  I've checked for webbed feet.. and no.  Don't have those.  And i've not grown moldy.  The dark skies are beautiful.  Quiet and kind of cozy.  Of course.. come mid March, i might feel differently.  I'll be grateful by the time Spring comes.  And i adore the intense sunshine of a dry Oregon summer.  The late daylight.  Wait!  I'm getting ahead of myself.  This post is about clouds.. not sun!  I've come a long way baby since S and i moved out this way sixteen years ago.  Since the days i whined a lot.. (and i mean a lot) about the amount of rain we get in Oregon between late October and early April.  I've done a lot of growing up.  I'm an optimist.  Gray is good.  Beautiful in its own way.  The seasons are perfect.  By the time the hot summer is over; i'm anxious for the rains to come.  Hah!  And come they certainly do.  I want to post a picture of some Winter sky i took just this afternoon.  Lovely, i think...

And no.. :).. i won't post a photo of my head with its blossoming grays!  Anyway, i think the matte gray sky to the left is pretty.. in a dark kind of way.. Probably a good thing i think so.. considering we have this weather for about four to five months a year!  :)  The reading material i brought home today will come in handy for these dark, cold, rainy afternoons and evenings!  And when Springtime 'finally' comes; i'll be extra ecstatic to see and feel it.  But, until then, this gray isn't bad.  Not bad at all.  I also realized, today, that you've not yet been introduced to two of our four cats.. Tortie and Otis!  I believe i made a post one day about our magnificent Otis.. part Maine Coon Kitty with the banner tail.  But you've yet to meet Tortie.. our gorgeous Calico girl!  Shall post a picture of our handsome boy, (the older of the two brothers, Tennessee being the younger, ) and our gorgeous girl, (the older sister,) right this minute!

Our sweet Otis!  Isn't he wonderful?  I try to do justice to his emerald eyes when i take a photo, but most of the time.. he closes his eyes on me.  This time, i managed to catch him with eyes open.  I think of him as my Familiar.  He works especially hard Halloween Day and Night finessing his magic tricks!

And below is our wonderful Tortie.  She and her sibling would love to wish you all a belated Happy New Year!

Well.. here it is 8:48 pm here on the lovely (gray) Left Coast, and i've yet to eat dinner.  Quite hungry i am.  Time for a little repast!  And time to slip a classic film into the DVD player.  Tonight's feature is 'The 39 Steps'.. (1935.)  One of my very favorite of Mr. Alfred Hitchcock's greats!

So.. finally.. my brevity seems to have left me again.. i'll let you go for this Tuesday, January Third, Twenty Twelve!  Enjoy what's left of your evening!  Just about January Fourth on the Right Coast.  And.. must feed my hungry furry little kitty bears.  They've become quite vocal while i've been here on the box not being brief.  Tonight, it's F,for Fabulous Winter Gray & Fantastic Kitties!