Staying in Focus: Daily Prompt: Autumn Blues: A Bittersweet Transition

Daily Prompt:

As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?

A Bittersweet Transition


Ah, the end of summer. Always a bittersweet time for me as a child.  Until I was in my teens we spent our summers in a cabin near a lake.  It was the mid  1950s to the  early 1960’s, and those were our halcyon days.

On sunny days we went fishing, swimming and hiking. We took walks in the early evening to the clubhouse to watch movies, play bingo and buy penny candy. On rainy days we would color and draw, or lay on the cots on the porch and read the day away. I read everything from the Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, to the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, and the Hardy Boys (the last two compliments of my cousin, Ricky).IMG_3809

We kids, which included me, my sister, Mary Lou, my brother, Steven , and cousins, Ricky and Susan, and our moms stayed at the lake all summer and the dads would come up for their 2 week vacations and every weekend.

Toward the end of August we would make a trip home, to pick up our uniforms, buy our black and white saddle shoes and our school supplies. As much as I loved the easy pace of summer, the warm days, time to just lay in a hammock and rock back and forth, catch fireflies in the evening, and toast marshmallows in the outside fireplace, something inside me would awaken as we walked past aisles full of pencils, erasers, crayons, pencil cases, lunch boxes, and the icon of my school supplies, the black and white composition books. I still have my first three composition books from kindergarten.IMG_3806

To me they epitomize how I felt at the start of a new school year. The  new composition book is fresh and clean, ready and waiting for the school year to begin. On the first day of school, I, too, will be fresh and clean, my black and white saddle shoes shined and my uniform crisp and tidy.  These images spell new beginnings to me, a whole new year of learning and growing, a fresh start, a chance to get off on the right foot and fill that composition book with perfect penmanship.

But not to worry. We would return to the lake for a few precious weeks, which included the celebration of Regatta Days and the Labor Day weekend. Days filled with games, competition and barbeques.  Although at home my uniform hung ready, my books and supplies packed, all I needed was a little more time, time for swimming and fishing and rocking in the hammock, sweet and slow.

Bittersweet, those last precious days of summer, as they marked the end of one thing and heralded the start of another. I miss that transition now, but perhaps I can recapture the feeling with these:




(I don’t have a pair of black and white saddle shoes, but guess what? I looked on the internet and they are now designed by Ralph Lauren and sold at Nordstrom’s!) Anyway, back to the black and white composition book. It sits there ready and waiting for me to make that first entry, forge a new beginning, and write….the first lines of a new poem…


A month of fresh starts… a new school year… new pencil cases and clean lunch boxes…the smell of chalk …the polished sheen on my new black and white saddle shoes…and the blank pages of a composition book beckoning me to record the endless possibilities that lie ahead with the precise point of a newly sharpened pencil…(more to come)


Weekly Photo Challenge: Object:Staying in Focus

Weekly Photo Challenge: Object This week we had a rare event in North Carolina – it snowed. Anxious to see if there was anything interesting to take a picture of, I was up and about just as the sun rose. My gazing globe caught my eye and I thought that maybe it was reflecting the snow. Imagine my delight when it caught the sun just as the clouds parted and the sun appeared amidst bands of pink, orange, and blue. I’ve learned over the years to always have my camera ready because the next great picture  is just over the horizon, or reflected in a gazing globe on a snowy morning in midwinter. IMG_2565

Staying in Focus: Return From the Sea

We just arrived home from our cruise around the British Isles and what a wonderful time we  had. I went in search of inspiration and I was not disappointed. I happened upon some revelations as well. I will not inundate you with my 2000 plus photographs but will instead try to convey the flavor of the British Isles with some photo collages and commentary. My first inspiration came from being aboard ship again. I love waking up to a sun rising over the sparkling water and wrapping myself in the more mellow tones of the sun setting at day’s end. I love waking up and peeking out behind the drapes to see where our adventures for the day will begin’. I decided, therefore, to start  with a simple concept: the sea.  Here are my favorites from the waters  around the British Isles.

IMG_1574IMG_0996 IMG_0995 IMG_1578 IMG_1069IMG_1141 IMG_0999IMG_1019IMG_1111IMG_1754IMG_1125

on a sea of inspiration

cruising round the British Isles

with sailboats as companions

tacking toward the setting sun…

and in coves,  ships find safe harbor

as the captains in their  cabins

dream of voyages  to come…

the sun bids clouds to gather

as rays of gold rain gently down

and  illuminate the sea;  for a

a sunset over Scotland forms

a memory not forgotten


-pc 2013

Focus On: Bubbles

I never know where the inspiration for a new post is going to come from.  Who would have guessed it would come from a small plastic invention I purchased for my grandchildren for Easter? The worth of this little invention is immediately apparent to any grandparent  shanghaied into blowing bubbles for their grandchildren to chase,  for what seems like hours at a time. Now, instead of ordering an oxygen machine, grandparents can sit back, and with the flip of a switch, breathe easy as this little machine spits out a gazillion bubbles at a time.

In addition, as anyone who has ever spent a lazy summer afternoon blowing bubbles as  a child knows, it is one of life’s great de-stressors.  There’s something about watching  these little globes of psychedelic colored soap float effortlessly up into the sky and disappear that has a calming effect on us. And bubble attraction is ageless, as this photo of Gavin and Great- Nana found when playing with bubbles recently.

IMG_5895.jpga   IMG_5894

With this clever little machine, you can become  a part of the show, as it spits bubbles out so fast you are literally surrounded by them, amazed at their delicate beauty. I don’t know why, but I feel the presence of faerie folk when surrounded by bubbles.Something not exactly of this world. Where do those bubbles go when they climb into the sky?

bubbles take to the sky

bubbles take to the sky

Bubbles also have an important lesson to teach. No matter how short an existence, how delicate a nature, how basic a design, one can bring beauty to the world in  ways as simple as a small bubble sitting on a rock wall. You see, as soon as I purchased this wonderful invention, the photographer inside me shook free of its winter stupor and encouraged me to grab my camera and show just how much fun people at any age can enjoy bubbles. Enjoy my bubble adventure!

It's raining bubbles!

It’s raining bubbles!

a bubble armada

a bubble armada

crystal clear view

crystal clear view

Bubbles in the sunBubbles in the sun

Bubble Christmas lights

Bubble Christmas lights

Butterfly bubble

Butterfly bubble

Another thrill seeker on the edge

Another thrill seeker on the edge

bubbles on the edge

bubbles on the edge

bubbles on patiobubbles on patio

bubbles at restbubbles at rest

Staying in Focus: New Beginnings, Resolutions and a Touch of Nostalgia

My kindergarten class of 1959

My kindergarten class of 1959 I’m in the first line, first child on the left

One thing I always associate with the new year is a new journal, filled with empty pages just waiting for me to fill with my thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes and challenges.  I think it hearkens back to the first day of school and a black and white composition book, shiny and new, pages crisp and clean, waiting to be filled with handwriting exercises and homework lessons. By the time the book was filled, the covers were worn around the edges, dog-eared and dog tired.  They had served their purpose, their work done. Or maybe not.  Maybe, they can serve as inspiration for a blog post 55 years later!

For believe it or not, I actually have three of my very first black and white composition books from kindergarten (1958).  These books are more black and sepia-toned now, as they are 55 years old.

my kindergarten composition books

Here they are,  my very first composition books! I actually still use black and whites for my “morning pages”, freewriting exercises to get the creative juices flowing. I’m glad, however, that these exercises are not being graded for either handwriting or content.  One of the challenges i have with Parkinson’s disease is keeping


my handwriting legible. Perhaps if I wrote in letters as large as these , I would be more successful.  My kindergarten teacher obviously had a sense of humor when she chose  quotes for us to copy. She sure needed a sense of humor as there were 65 children in my kindergarten class!IMG_9867

I certainly hope I passed this test! I assume it was a test on writing my name, not on knowing it!

I try to write carefully as I begin a new   journal, to start off with positive thoughts, hoping it will set the tone for the new year.  I wait a few days to spell out my resolutions, trying to be honest, but not set myself up for failure. It’s disconcerting to look back in December at those January resolutions and realize I didn’t accomplish any of them!  Better to start with small, reachable goals and add to them as the year goes on.  When I was in college and taking teaching courses, we learned to write specific, measurable goals when writing lesson plans.  Also a  good plan to follow when listing resolutions.  A resolution to lose 50 pounds this year is far more daunting than to resolve to lose 12 pounds by spring, then 12 by summer, etc. The same goes for writing.  Instead of resolving to write the Great American Novel this year, I can resolve to write a page a day, and have 365 pages complete by the end of the year.  I have to see progress to stick with things, so I try to guarantee that when setting my goals.  So much better to find I’ve exceeded my expectations, than to have failed them!

A new year, like a new pair of shoes, needs to broken in gently.  I tend to take things one day at a time lately, and so I intend to enjoy what January may have to offer.  Cold days can be warmed with a bowl of hot soup, a cup of tea and one of those great books I received for Christmas.  When I get a new book by an author I love, I often put off reading it, savoring the anticipation of reading it.  A cold, dreary winter day may be just the right time.

After New Year’s Day, there are no other big holidays in January.   I find that comforting after the big Christmas rush. Things get  back to normal, time to take a breath and relax .January can be a time to plan – for spring planting, summer vacation, visits with family and friends.  Having something to look forward to keeps the blues away. Here in the south, January can surprise us with a sunny day in the 60s or 70s, and occasionally , but fortunately not often, with some snow..  Both have their positive sides.  A warm day invites a call to a friend for a lunch at an outside cafe, and there’s nothing like a snow day as an excuse to stay home from work,  cook up a pot of chili and enjoy an unexpected holiday.  I love to take snow pictures, especially since we don’t often have the opportunity to do so.  But here in North Carolina, a big snowfall can turn into many snow days  if it doesn’t warm up fast.  And as they say, too much of a good thing…  We’ll see what January has in store for us as we celebrate each day.. which is a gift in itself!


a month of new beginnings
and yet, a time of waiting –
waiting for the cold to ebb
and for the sun to gather strength
and call forth the leaves and flowers,
waiting for the birds to return
and fill the air with song.
but January has its gifts –
a blanket of freshly fallen snow
gently coating the landscape,
an icy wrap on limb and leaves
glistening in the winter sun,
the bright red of berries and cardinals,
and the green tips of crocus
poking through the warming soil,
to see if it’s time to emerge.
a month of waiting,
a month of hope,
a month of new beginnings
and treasured memories…
– pc 2009


Staying in Focus: From Fog to Reflections

I’ve learned that the essence of photography is light. Most likely it is the essence of everything, but this fact is most relevant in taking photos of reflection,especially nature scenes involving, light, water and wind[. To get a special combination of light and a calm wind, so that the surface of the water is like a mirror is the trick to getting a good reflection.  It takes patience but it does pay off.  However, a slight ripple in the water can bring about interesting results. When looking through the lens of the camera, look for interesting lines,  forms and shapes rather than a concrete object  Often the golden hours — the time just before sunset or at sunrise, when the light is soft on the water is a good time to get striking photos. Catch the wisps of fog as they dissipate  Sitting by a mirrored lake, especially in early morning, as a new day dawns, can be a great time for self-reflection as well. A time to just be with yourself and take stock of things. Clear away the fog, so to speak.

A few years back, my husband Bill and I visited Connemara, the family home of Carl Sandburg.  We were able to tour the home,  walk the wooded paths around the lake, and follow  a trail through the woods to a stony knoll where he wrote the poem, “The Fog”.  How I admire the way he used imagery to describe the fog so succinctly: Talk about inspiration!  After our walk we sat gazing at the lake, letting go of stress and relaxing into the lazy sunshine of  a summer afternoon .

Fog (by Carl Sandburg)

The fog comes
on little cat feet
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

A while later we experienced heavy fog as we crossed the mountains of Tennessee. Here is my humble attempt at capturing the image:

the fog, summoned by unseen hand, rises from the treetops
in wisps of ghostly gray
and melts into the waiting sky.

These two poems came out of that reflection/inspiration moment on our visit to Connemara.

Path along the lake at Connemara, home of Carl Sandburg


Beneath the leafy canopy
we stroll one summer’s day
We pause along the woodland path
and watch the shadows play
As sunlight filters through the trees
and gentle breezes kiss my face
We know we’ve found  a refuge here: a woodland home, a sacred   place.                                                                                                  

Reflections on the lake at Connemara

Still Waters

The placid waters of the lake
reflect the leaves of green
my thoughts lie calm, like waters still
my spirit is serene
I let fly loose the tension then
let go the stress and pain

and in my mind and in my soul
I am at peace again.

Here are some of my favorite reflection photos:

A watercolor effect, I like the contrast of the water and the tree branches. See what  a little ripple can do?

These two were taken at the same lake at different seasons.  The sky was crystal clear in the autumn one, and the lake reflects the beauty of that translucent blue.                           
Later in Autumn, different lake, still pretty.

Focus On: Writing in All its Forms


dancing drops of sunlight
 splatter on the ground,
 leaves cast elfin shadows
 scattered all around,
 above the trees, the sky is blue
 nearby a brook runs clean,
 the air is slightly scented       
 with a trace of evergreen,
 the music of a robin
 floats gently on the breeze,
 a doe and fawn stand silent
 to hear the melodies,
 upon the ground, the flowers bloom
the earth holds everything,
as once more we are blessed
with the coming of the spring!  
                             –  pc 1971 

I have been enjoying this opportunity  to share my interests and ideas through this blog.  I have been interested in writing for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I kept diaries, and travel journals of the summer vacations I took with my family. This entry from a travel journal reflects my perceptions of the Rocky Mountains:

the Rockies…ridden with glaciers…washed with waterfalls…rugged peaks covered with snow…decorated with the lace of trickling water…rushing life…(1975)

When not actually writing,  I’d make up stories in my mind, often while walking home from the bus stop in the afternoon, or while riding along with my Aunt Blanche who would take us for a ride in the evenings  before she left for her midnight shift job at the DuPont Company.  Riding along in the car, gazing out the window at the trees slipping by, my mind would inevitably begin to churn tales.

I began writing poetry in my teen years. Nature, then and now, has always been one of my major inspirations for writing poetry.  The earliest poem I have a record of is the one presented above, entitled Spring!

Once I married and had my children, they, and my husband also became the inspiration for my poetry. I began to realize that deep emotion, whether negative or positive, would prompt my muse into sending me poems.  For that is how it feels when I write.  It’s as if an unconscious part of me has something to say to the world, and sends me a poem to express it.  I like this one I wrote about Kevin, my bundle of energy boy:

to Kevin

you race through the day in perpetual motion
approaching life with a zest and a drive
that leaves me quite breathless and often uncertain
as to whether or not I will ever survive
yet you’ve given me back all the joy and the wonder
of splashing in water and climbing  a tree
and in seeing the world through the eyes of my child
I’ve gotten in touch with the child in me;
so it’s off to the beach where we’ll build a sandcastle,
and watch as the waves come and wash it away
then it’s home and to bed, where  I’ll need lots of sleep
to keep up with you for another whole day!

Deep emotion engulfed the nation on 9/11.  I remember going out to the large deck we had  on our house at the time, sweeping the deck and thinking about the terrible events that had just occurred  This poem came to me while I was sweeping::

Freedom’s Light

The towers fell as evil rained
   destruction from the sky,

Our nation roused to anger 
  as we counted those who‘d died,
But the spirit of our people
  would not falter or dissolve
To eliminate this evil would
  become our firm resolve.
So we stand as one, united,
 as we turn to face the night
And dispel the evil shadows
 with the beam of freedom’s light
 We will not forget the fallen
 nor the families left to mourn
  We will heal the cratered cities
 and the symbols, once reborn,
Will illuminate the future with
 the message of our time:
 We stand fast against the darkness,
    let the bells of freedom chime!
                                              –  pc ‘01

So as one can see there is no limit to the words churning around in my mind.  And every now and then they coalesce into thoughts and sentences that convey my unique view of the world.

To that end I am launching a second blog,, which will focus on my fiction writing.  As I have said, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but for many years would not share it with anyone.  I had a teacher in high school who obviously did not know how to nurture and encourage emergent writers and her constant  negative feedback, while it did not stop me from writing, did cause me to doubt myself and my abilities and convince me my writing would never be good enough.

But following my marriage, I did share my writing with my supportive husband who encourage me to continue writing and share it with others.  I took a couple of creative writing classes with a very honest, yet supportive group of classmates, and as a result I have had several articles published in the small press arena.

The other day I was cleaning out some files when I came across several short stories, children’s books and a science fiction novel I had written over the years.  I decided to dust them off and put them in a second blog.  I believe they have merit and will be enjoyed by those who read them.  In doing so, I am silencing forever that inner critic placed in my head by a teacher whose abilities I have probably surpassed a long time ago.

Too many of us are hesitant to pursue our dreams as a result of a traumatic incidence in our youth.  We must work to rid ourselves of these hesitations, to heal what was injured and allow ourselves to enjoy pursuing whatever we want to do.  I say, if you believe in it, if you have poured your heart and soul into it and made it the best it can be,surely someone, somewhere will read it and be affected by it.  And that’s what  a true wordsmith craves — to see his/her words have an impact on someone else. So I am freeing my fiction from its dusty drawer and exposing it to the light of day and the eyes of the world. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have had writing them.

So check out for my first entry, The Storyteller.  Chapter one begins with the line “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

This is my first step.

Focus On: Heaven on Earth

I am a collector of many things, but one of my favorites is my quote collection.  I like to illustrate the quotes with stickers, drawings, etc and I use small journals and notebooks to record them in.  Often, when I need a lift, I’ll sit down and page through them.  Ultimately I come away feeling uplifted and back on course.

The other day, while searching for some quotes to put on a board in Pinterest, I came across one I really liked:

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
–William W. Purkey.

Let’s examine this quote line by line because there is a lot of information here on how we see ourselves, who were are as a people and how we ultimately want to live our lives.

“You gotta dance like there’s nobody looking”.  Okay, I get this one.  It’s pretty simple.  If I dance like nobody’s watching, I can let go and really dance how I feel, expressing joy or pent-up emotions – anger, grief, happiness, ecstasy. We’ll get to me in a moment, but what immediately came to mind as I read this line was Tom Cruise in Risky Business and Hugh Grant in Love Actually.   These two danced as if nobody was watching in front of countless movie audiences, but they gave it their all.  Hugh at least had the good sense to keep his pants on. After all, he was the Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time.! But they embody the spirit of this quote. Don’t censure yourself. If you feel like dancing your shoes off go for it, audience or not.  I’ll have to try this sometime.  Never very coordinated in the dancing milieu to start with, now with Parkinson’s, it’s even more of a challenge.  But, if they bring back some of the dances from the 1960s like the “Hippy, Hippy Shake”, I may fit right in! All kidding aside, I do dance with the grandkids. They’re still at an age where we are about equally coordinated, although my granddaughter is moving to the music quite well lately, not surprising as her parents are both musically inclined. The bottom line on this one: Do not be afraid to express yourself, or deny yourself some fun, but unless you are at home with the drapes drawn, keep your pants on!

“Love like you’ve never been hurt.” Ah, tough one here.  Who among us has reached adulthood without suffering the angst of unrequited love, a broken or failed relationship, or even the loss of a beloved partner to death?  So for most of us, this one is a given, and what is required is a leap of faith – in love, in the inherent goodness in most people, in the belief that one bad experience should not mark us for life, and relegate us to living a lonely life.  It takes a lot of plain old guts to try again, to put ourselves out there where disappointment, heartache and failure lurk in the shadows.  Our work on this one is to  dispel those shadows by embracing the light, enhancing the positive and moving forward with a joyful song in our hearts.  If we project these attributes, we’ll be more likely to draw around us people of a similar mind, thereby increasing our chances of success in our next relationship. As I recently watched a brilliant sunrise take place, the slowly  rising sun pushed back the shadows of night, replacing blues and purples with bright pinks and orange, pushing back the shadows and spreading the light.  So that’s the ticket. Be the sunrise, carry the light and “love like you’ve never been hurt.”

“Sing like there’s nobody listening.”  Easy one here.  Start with singing in the two places we feel safest, the car and the shower. Then move on to karaoke. There is one of these insidious machines in every club, bar and cruise ship on the planet. And from what I hear, we do not seem to have  a problem with singing like no one is listening.  Singing skills rank about equal to dancing skills in my repertoire, and as I no longer drive a car,  I think I have to take many more frequent showers before I reach the karaoke stage.  If you ever see a very shriveled, but exceptionally clean karaoke performer someday, it might be me.  But not likely.

And live like it’s heaven on earth.   This one is my favorite.  It tells me to celebrate each day of my life  and carry the feelings of peace and joy in my heart everywhere I go.  To hold sacred the moment, the here and now, and not to let worry and fear cloud the beauty I see all around me in this beautiful world.  My recent trip to Alaska had a profound effect on me as we approached those majestic mountains and viewed the glaciers, the unbelievable color of the water, the blue icebergs, the waterfalls, the humpback whales, , the bald eagles and the sun rising over the sea, painting that path of gold from it to me.   What wonders we have here on Earth.  I’m ready to pack my bags and go out and discover some more.

Heaven is usually envisioned as a place of beauty and peace,  a place where love rules above all.  Well, here on earth we have the beauty, but our challenge in living like it is heaven on earth requires that we work on the peace and love aspects between peoples.. I recently read an article by Sakyong Mipham in a  Buddhist magazine, and he explained that an enlightened society is an awake society – awake to the basic goodness inherent in people. We are basically good, but many have allowed feelings of fear and selfishness to drive our world. As people accept their basic goodness, kindness  wisdom and strength reverberate and society enters the enlightened state  Meditation can be the vehicle that drives us from being “asleep” to being “awake.  I’ll talk about this more in my next post.  In the meantime, the more we focus on our basic goodness, the more we fill our hearts with positive emotions, the easier it will be to achieve an enlightened society ..A beautiful world filled with peace and love and basic goodness.  Sounds like heaven on earth to me.

South Sawyer Glacier
A small piece of our beautiful world

a path of gold from the sun to me

Focus On: Anticipation

One of the best coping strategies I’ve discovered is anticipation.  Having something to look forward to is the best medicine for the depression often experienced after a diagnosis of a disease like Parkinson’s.  It also works for other causes of sadness and depression, everything from losing your job to losing a loved one.

At first, after receiving life changing news, our inclination is to get home as fast as we can, go to our room,or our snuggery and try to shut out the world, the challenge we must face.and our fear of a future now changed forever.  Slowly we go through the stages of grief, finally arriving at acceptance.  Through this process we  come to realize that we can’t go back, all we can do is go forward.  Not a lot of options here.  But we have a big choice to make.  Do we go forward depressed, dragging through each day, or do we try to live a life filled with  promise and anticipation?

After I spent some time wallowing in self-pity, I decided that if I had to go forward anyway, I might as well make the best of it. So, carefully following my exercise and pill regime, I otherwise pushed the disease to the back of my mind and took that first step forward.

Now here is where anticipation comes  in.  There’s only one way to move forward and find some joy ahead and that is to find things that build anticipation – something to look forward to.  It can be anything from anticipating a trip to the bookstore to buy the latest novel by your favorite writer, to planning a trip or a visit with old friends.  I have done all of these in the five years since my diagnosis and so far I have held my own, managing the disease and  experiencing happiness at the same time.

Just recently I decided to give up driving due to the side effects of my medication.  This was a big decision, but one I felt I had to make.  Talk about a blow to my independence!  But guess what?  A door closed and windows opened, brightening my life in many ways.  My daughter-in-law immediately said not to worry, she and the little ones would be my “wheels”.  And so she has been, taking me to doctor appointments, and as a result, I have had more time to spend with her and my grandchildren.  My husband and I now spend more time with each other – we’re back to grocery shopping together just like we did years ago when we were first married.  I learned about a service my town has for door to door pickups  and drop offs for people with disabilities and I have signed up with them as  a back-up plan. If I decide a trip outside the house is needed, I just give them a 24 hour heads up and I’m good to go.  My friends, too, have offered to give me a lift when needed, and I am grateful to them all.  One important thing I’ve learned is to let people help me.  As much as I appreciate their efforts, they get to feel they are doing something good for someone else – it works both ways.

my mobiles

I have a good friend who also needed to get out more and have some fun, and needed a buddy to share it with.  She has the wheels and I have the time.  We choose a couple of books to read then discuss them over lunch when we get together.  We also take ‘field trips”.  We’ve visited the new wing of our Natural Science museum, we’ve gone to the movies to see Warhorse, and most recently toured an exhibit of the intricate mobiles of Alexander Calder. We learned that the term mobile was coined to give a name to his art..I purchased a book of mobile patterns and have  enjoyed making them with my granddaughter and  by myself, too.  Always something new to learn.  My friend and I share many of the same interests, and we enjoy the conversation and companionship.  I make jewelry and am going to teach her the ropes.  As I said, there’s always something new to learn and I look forward with anticipation to our outings.

A pretty sunset on our way to Alabama

I have a very dear friend (we’ve been friends since 1967) who now lives in Alabama .  She has wanted me to visit for years, but time and distance always seemed to intervene. Until I got my wake up call and decided I’d better get out there and visit her while I was still relatively mobile.  So we have spent the last two Labor Day Weekends visiting her in Alabama, and this year she is coming out to visit us the week of the fourth of July.

Anticipating a trip is always a lot of fun.  My husband and I go up north to visit his family a few times each year, and often we will combine that with a visit to a favorite resort in the mountains, often meeting our friends there.  We always have a great time with this couple, and despite the distances that separate us, we manage to connect whenever we can. As we get older, these tried and true friendships mean a lot.  They are the people who share our past, back when we were young and raising our children, and now we have pictures and stories of our grandchildren to share..  We love sharing memories, but enjoy making new ones. And  so we are anticipating our biggest adventure together  – a cruise to Alaska– only a little over a month to go. We’ve got our passports (for stops in Canada) and if we can figure out how to get that kitchen sink packed, we’ll be all set! We usually travel in a Honda Odyssey, packed to the max.  Meeting the packing requirements for air travel is going to be tough!

But before we embark in Alaska, we have family visiting in June and my friend from Alabama in July.   So much to look forward to in the next few months! So much to add sparkle to my days and joy to my years.  Try a little anticipation – it’s good for the soul.

                 I was cruising right along
                 when this rocky path appeared
                 and I have been its prisoner now
                 for nearly five long years
                 and still it leads me onward
                 toward a future tinged with fear
                 but despite this situation
                 I have no time for tears;
                 each day, despite the path we take,
                 is a precious gift to be treasured
                  and I for one intend to make
                 the best of it I can.
                 so moment by moment
                 I take a step most carefully
                 along this steep and rocky road
                 trying not to stumble
                 I strive to reach the end
                 where from that weary load I’m free
                 I look to hope, my heart is certain
                  a brighter future waits for me
                 – pc 2012