Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Red and Black

I love that song "Red and Black" from Les Miserables, the musical.

It is time for us all
To decide who we are...
Do we fight for the right
To a night at the opera now?
Have you asked of yourselves
What's the price you might pay?
Is it simply a game
For rich young boys to play?
The color of the world
Is changing
Day by day...
Red - the blood of angry men!
Black - the dark of ages past!
Red - a world about to dawn!
Black - the night that ends at last!

Had you been there tonight
You might know how it feels
To be struck to the bone
In a moment of breathless delight!
Had you been there tonight
You might also have known
How the world may be changed
In just one burst of light!
And what was right
Seems wrong
And what was wrong
Seems right...

I feel my soul on fire!

My world if she's not there...

The color of desire!

The color of despair!

Here is more red and black -

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Language of Flowers

Book Share Fridays: The Language of Flowers by Margaret Pickston

This is a flower reference book in the style that the Victorians might have done. Pages and pages of flowers are listed, along with their "meaning," when given to someone. Daffodil means "regard." Wild Grape is "charity." White rose "I am worthy of you." A fun and quaint little book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Roses

New roses that will soon be planted...they were sitting on the lawn and the sprinklers came on. Later saw the droplets on them at dusk - beautiful!

Beauty is everywhere

A profusion of pink roses bending ragged in the rain speaks to me of all gentleness. ~The Collected Later Poems of William Carlos Williams

Blue Skies

Monday, June 21, 2010

British Night

It was British night for dinner tonight - here is our menu (beans on toast; I used 'Bushes Vegetarian Baked Beans' heaped over heavily buttered toast, sweet, huge strawberries / mixed vegetables with butter, and finally delicious homemade scones with strawberry jam and whip topping.
I think beans on toast is a new favorite. Here is the recipe for the scones that I used - very quick and easy.

Basic British Scones

* 1/2 stick/50g butter
* 2 cups /225g all-purpose flour
* 3 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/4 pint / 150 ml milk
* 1 egg beaten with a little milk

Makes 12 scones

* Heat the oven to 450F/230C/Gas 8
* Grease and flour a baking sheet.
* Place the butter, flour, baking powder and salt into a roomy baking bowl. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
* Make a well in the center and stir in enough milk to make a soft dough.
* Turn the mixture on to a floured board and knead lightly, roll out to 2/cm / 3/4 inch thick.
* Cut 12 rounds with a 5cm/2 inch cutter or cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
* Place on the baking tray and brush with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Bake near the top of the hot oven for 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown and well risen.
* Cool on a wire rack before eating.

Serve with butter, or lashings of jam and cream.

(from about dot com)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Box Hill Would Be Nice

The perfect picnic...good friends, good food, beautiful scenery...Box Hill would be nice - unless it's already in use. A good, sturdy basket filled to the brim with delectables, a nice thick blanket, and perhaps a book...and don't invite anyone called Emma.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


"Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair."

Kahlil Gibran
This is one of my favorite quotes and I was reminded of it as I stepped outside a little while ago, and my hair got caught up in the lovely windstorm that was brewing. I will never tire of the wind, be it a cold winter blast that takes me off guard with it's bitterness, or an exhilarating spring or fall tempest that sweeps me away. I get caught up in it every time, ...it's as if the wind is calling my name to come out and play.
The trees become my cohorts, ...those gentle giants that sway back and forth with delight, as they gracefully bend to and fro - they get caught up every time, too, and are surely clapping their hands in mirth.
In these moments, I am a beautiful bird who was made for nothing more than ascending to the heights where the currents await me. Joy.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Childhood Calling

Summer and childhood just go together. I always think back to my own childhood summers and have great memories.

Things like zinnias growing in the backyard in all sorts of colors...seems like even back then I loved nature, and noticed her. I used to cut off stems of purple lilacs from the yard, place them in a cup and set them on the table, then savor their fragrance while it lasted.
Or seeing mom's laundry hanging on the clothesline and blowing, sometimes fiercely, in the summer wind. Later, I'd savor that one-of-a-kind fresh smell of the sheets as I was lying in bed trying to fall asleep, ...my window open and a canyon breeze blowing in my room. I'd wake up nearly freezing early in the morning, and snuggle deep into the covers to get warm from all that cold morning air in the room.
Lazily blowing dandelions every which way to the wind - not a care in the world, ...or staying up late to read in bed, with my parent's blessing most of the time. Books like, "Little Women," "Jane Eyre," and "Nancy Drew," were some of my favorites, and that love of books only increased as I grew older.
So many memories stirred with this season and all the delights that she brings. I still love flowers of all sorts, a cold wind blowing and snuggling to keep warm, and poring over familiar and unfamiliar books alike, to find new favorites. Childhood is calling, and trying to recreate those feelings of childhood works...if only in the summer.

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Scottish Festival

Seen and heard at a local Scottish festival this week:

Stylish Kilts

Highland Dancing that dates back hundreds of years

Traditional Scottish field games

Scottish bands with Scottish kilts

Bangers & Mash

Little scottie dogs wearing their tartans with pride

The sounds of a single bagpipe player - (the song he was playing was very mournful and emotional and you just knew there was deep meaning behind the song by how it spoke with no spoken words)
Old books about Scottish clans
My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Robert Burns

Friday, June 11, 2010

Three Brilliant Circles

Three literary circles I would have loved to have listened in on are the Bronte siblings, the Inklings, and the Transcendentalists. Three very different groups of people, whom I admire for a variety of reasons. Even now, many years and many a hearth and meal shared since they met, I draw my chair up to just catch a glimpse of what they knew and discussed.

The Brontes

The Inklings

The Transcendentalists

Charlotte Bronte: The Self Conceived

Book Share Fridays: Charlotte Bronte: The Self Conceived
I read this book last summer after stumbling on it at a used bookstore. It was brand new and wrapped up in plastic for some reason. Before I opened it, I guessed it to be an unbound book of loose pages, but discovered it was indeed bound as the plastic wrap came off.

The book is a biography of Charlotte Bronte, eldest of the four surviving Bronte family siblings. It was written by Helene Moglen, and I highly recommend it as one of the best biographies of the Brontes that is available.

Details about Charlotte's personal life are intertwined with each of her novels and Moglen shows how Charlotte's personal experiences, thoughts, and spirit are played out in the novels.

If you are interested in the Bronte's like I am, (I confess to being slightly obsessed with them), or even have only a slight interest, I highly recommend this book. I literally could not put it down, and read it in less than two days. It is a fascinating look into the life and psyche of a complicated and brilliant writer, who thought ahead of her time, but felt constrained by her society.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Coffee Table Book Reader

Coffee table books often just sit there on the table like a decoration, simply to be looked at. Not me, no..., I am a coffee table book reader - I actually like to look at, and even sometimes read through what people put out to read, because it's like a book recommendation.

One book that sat on my coffee table for awhile was, "The Art of Bev Doolittle." Doolittle paints beautiful Native American scenes that have hidden pictures in them, in many cases. Here are some examples of her work.

Monday, June 7, 2010


"The roads were dry, the hedgerows full of flowers" (by Hujian)

"A hedge or hedgerow is a line of closely spaced shrubs and tree species, planted and trained in such a way as to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area. Hedges used to separate a road from adjoining fields or one field from another, and of sufficient age to incorporate larger trees, are known as hedgerows. It is also a simple form of topiary.
Many hedgerows separating fields from lanes in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Low Countries are estimated to have been in existence for more than seven hundred years, originating in the medieval period." (wikipedia)

"I found it in the hedgerow..." John Thornton, Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Introvert Calendar

I am thrilled to have author Meg North guest posting this week's Book Share. Recently, I bought her "Introvert Calendar" pdf book and loved it so much, I asked her if she would mind sharing about it here. She also has other excellent books available in her online shop, "Book Kingdom."

Book Share Fridays: Introvert Calendar

"Growing up in a family of Extroverts, it was plain from an early age that I was different. While the rest of my family dabbled in numerous outside activities, I curled up with a book and an apple. When there was a project or problem to tackle, I would use an incredible amount of focus and diligently pursue it until it was finished. In school, I had few but deep friendships. My parents marveled at my concentration, smiled at my good grades, and learned to let me alone ... most of the time.

A job experience truly opened my eyes as to how I tick. After an unproductive time in sales, I was moved to a web-only computer position. I could work alone and in peace. My task completion and overall job satisfaction sky-rocketed. My boss praised me for being quiet, committed, and productive.

I finally realized there was a deep and powerful beauty inherent in being an Introvert. But there was also a great deal of misunderstanding, labeling, name-calling, and loneliness. I was born an Introvert, the same as being born a brunette and a girl. There's nothing wrong with me, but I do not see the world the way an Extrovert does. My time and energy are spent differently. My focus on projects is different, the way I operate as an employee is different, and even lesiure time, traveling, finances, and holidays are different.

That's when I hit upon the idea of an Introvert Calendar. We just can't schedule lots of activities back-to-back, or we burn out. We need to allow for periods of time away, sandwiched between periods of time spent with others. We need to recharge between social obligations with the inner things that feed our personal fires, like resting, painting, reading, writing, music, and meditation.

The Introvert Calendar is a special tool just for Introverts. It provides tailored scheduling so that you feel you're making the most of your personal path to success. Some of the most talented people have been Introverts, and it's really important that you not squirrel yourself away without gifting the world with your unique vision. No matter what your dream, the Introvert Calendar can help you achieve it. All you need to do is recharge!"

~Meg North

Buy the Introvert Calendar

On a related note, here is a link to an article "Caring for Your Introvert," that is also very good reading.