Winter Afternoon


No wind, stringy high clouds block a bit of blue.

Someone bounces a ball next door,

I hear the intermittent sound.

Suddenly several dogs bark across the golf course green,

Suddenly stop.

Across the turquoise pool water burnt orange leaves waft downward,

some land on the pale gold rocks,

some float at the pool’s terracotta edge,

others lay across the dark green rosemary bushes.

Bird song I cannot identify fills the background.

Two men, voices loud, banter –they’re neighbors, friends.

One of their small children cries, stops, cries again.

A late day golfer strides a ball, shouts.

Breeze arises, quits, more leaves fall,

the pool and birdbath water slightly ripple.

The lemons glow against the dark green leaves,

a painting emerald and bright yellow.

I sit beside the African multi-colored granite table my son made,

admire the colors:

-succulents called fire sticks match the falling leaves.

shades of orange, red, and green.

-the pots that house them match the dark blue of the pool’s old fashioned

Mexican tile.

-roses still display a few blossoms, dark red, pale pink, peach.

Tomorrow the gardener will trim them back to help them bloom lushly n spring.

-the oleander, still green, quit blooming weeks ago.

-rosemary loves this time of year, covers itself with tiny, fragrant, grey-blue flowers.

-in the distance mountains arise, a purple haze.

Now, no sounds, only silence.

I sit in the quiet beauty, write, drink green tea, feel grateful.

Winter Evening


Orange pink shadows ripple across the turquoise pool water.

Pumpkin colored and purple leaves drift across the rosemary,

land, bright little boats floating across the turquoise water.

A phoebe, dressed in his grey tuxedo coat and white tie,

flits along the red tile at water’s edge.

Green, minuscule, a hummingbird hovers among the scarlet salvia.

Fuschia, peach, deep red roses glow in the setting sun.

Suddenly, howls break the evening silence.

Coyotes, joyful, sing to each other,

preparing for the nightly hunt.

An Old Bowl and the Silver Spoon


My Aunt Julia, Mom’s sister, lived to 94. She loved fine antique china, linens, and French furniture. The ordinary bowl in this photo defies those inclinations, its origins a mystery. How did she acquire such a plain bowl and why? I will never know. In spite of its age, cracks, dull finish, I have used it every morning for decades. It is my breakfast bowl, filled with yogurt or cottage cheese with dried blueberries and a handful of walnuts, or, occasionally, oatmeal.

The spoon, on the other hand, is not ordinary, but rather good silver from the set Dad gave Mom on their first wedding anniversary. Unlike Mom, who saved her good silver for holidays and special occasions, I use these spoons daily and think of her unconditional love, strong will, determination, and love for beauty.

A Christmas Tree Story


Decades ago my parents, long deceased, started going to warm Arizona from cold Missouri. They gave me their artificial Douglas fir tree. It was the old fashioned kind of tree where you had to put together a column, add alphabetically labelled limbs one by one, then add the lights of your choice, and finally the rest of the decoration. Every year I unpacked it and went to work. This year was no different except a crucial part of it was missing. I still do not know whether moving was a factor or somehow I did not pack it up correctly. Regardless, it was obvious I would not be using it. What could I salvage? The limbs, the top so I used parts of it to decorate.

I used various limbs and some unbreakable, red Christmas balls to decorate the front of my house.
I stuck the top part into a big pot and added some Christmas balls I have had for years and stuck a star on top.

Then my daughter, Ema, told me I could use her tree which is too wide for her current place. We took it out of the box, she showed me how it works, and I decorated it this afternoon. It is wider and I had to move some furniture but I love the result. I have a tree, but still could salvage parts of the tree I have treasured for all these years since Mom and Dad gave it to me.

Daylight view.
Evening view.

Now it is time to finish the shopping and wrap the gifts.

Moving–6, The End


Finally settled in my new home in San Dimas, CA. I finished hanging all but one piece of art and family photos this morning. In addition I discovered a new rose bush I had previously not noticed since it is among the constantly blooming oleanders. This makes rose bush no. 25 I think. What I thought was a lime tree is a lemon–now that some are turning the color of lemons. What others said was an apple tree is a pear tree. One tree is pomegranate and full. As to when to harvest, I remain clueless. Supposedly, another tree is mandarin orange but not sure yet. Flowers in bloom everywhere make my heart sing.

Because this area is not right next to the mountains, I thought probably no pumas or bears around. While we walked around the large lake in Bonelli Regional Park on Thursday, my neighbor informed me that both are here and related a story about a bear on the golf course–the back of my house adjoins a golf course, and someone watching a puma chase a bunch of coyotes. I have heard the coyotes sing more here than where I lived out in the country in Texas. The weather has been such that I have not used the heat or the AC yet. Next task is to learn the names of the birds I see here all the time. I know the raptors I have seen but not the little ones rapidly consuming something in the grass nearly every morning. Another change from the Panhandle of Texas is the absolute lack of wind. Right now no wind at all and when it is windy, it is like ten miles an hour or so basically a nice little breeze.

There is a rose bush here which just started to bloom. I had not even realized it was there. When I took this photo, it was not blooming.

Moving 4–Bittersweet


Today I made the first leg of my journey from living in the Panhandle of Texas to living in the San Gabriel Valley in LA County, Ca. I have crossed New Mexico many times at various times of the year. I doubt I will ever again drive all the way across it again. One thing was very different this time, green. Usually, by this time toward end of summer, it is dry and hot. Not this time. Emerald green contrasting with the red rock outcrops proved quite lovely and dramatic. The green prevailed all the way to Flagstaff. The hottest temperature today along I-40 was 83 in NM and briefly a bit above 90 for a few miles in Arizona.

Just before I left my daughter’s house in Amarillo, I took a few photos. I have been going to her house for more than 18 years. My 17 year old grandson has spent almost his whole life there until a month ago. Will I ever return? Probably not. Nevertheless, the lovely memories of their life in this house will linger for the rest of my lifetime.

Moving — 1


In case you wonder where I have been, it’s called moving which can be both exciting and stressful especially if you are moving half way across the country. In my last post I posted the last photos of the house I had built and where I lived the last 13 years. In mid June I went house hunting in the San Gabriel Valley in northeastern LA County. Here are some photos I took while there.

This is the backside of Santa Anita Racetrack.
Downtown Monrovia, CA
Every Friday eve they block off this street and have a street fair with vendors and live music.

I did find a house but won’t be moving there until later in August. Meanwhile, here I am still in Amarillo, saying goodbye to friends, hanging out at my daughter’s house until it closes–she has already moved to CA, packing more stuff, reading books, and walking Athena, my standard poodle, to get enough exercise.

A tiny view of part of the yard of my new house. That is a lemon tree.

Barbie Doll– a poem about my mother


Barbara Lewis Duke, pretty, petite, blue-eyed and blond, my

mother, one fearless, controlling woman. Long after Mom’s

death, Dad said, “Barbara was afraid of absolutely no one

and nothing.” They married late, 34 and 38. He adored her

unconditionally. She filled my life with horses, music, love,

cornfields, hayrides, ambition. Whatever she felt she

had missed, my sister and I were going to possess: books,

piano lessons, a college education. Her father, who died long

before I was born, loved fancy, fast horses. So did she. During

my preschool, croupy years, she quieted my hysterical night

coughing with stories of runaway horses pulling her in a wagon.

With less than one hundred pounds and lots of determination,

she stopped them, a tiny Barbie Doll flying across the Missouri

River Bottom, strong, willful, free.

My mother many, many years later with Dad. I took a photo of a photo I have hanging in the hall–the sun reflecting in the windows.

STUFF


One of my fellow elementary school students from decades ago posted a quote on Facebook, the topic of which is STUFF. The gist of this is that STUFF rarely makes your life better, usually costs money, fails to contribute to wonderful memories, and provides little in the way of happiness. The timeliness of this post really hit me. Where have I been lately? Certainly not doing much blogging. In addition to working full time, my recent endeavors focus on getting rid of STUFF as in took 35 pounds of paper documents to the shredder and there is more to come, hauled one load of clothes I no longer wear to the shop for Downtown Women’s Center and another load is stacked up on a desk, gave 20 books to the school library and some to the local bookstore, lined up glassware from flower bouquets sent to me to take to the florist on Tuesday on way home from work, and I just got started. More boxes remain to attack.

How did I acquire all this STUFF, and more importantly why did I keep some of it for decades? Perhaps easier to haul it around than to address the problem. Some of it was so old, it even shocked me why I still had it. Now that I am done for today getting rid of more STUFF, I am going to take a walk in the sunshine and admire the yellow wildflower carpet beautifying my land.