Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Category: Just for Fun

giddy about the sun

I’m giddy about the sun
This strange and brilliant visitor
From another planet

Sitting at the kitchen table
My mind races through the house
Flinging windows and shades open

Shouts of happy recognition
Rise in gratitude for this visitor
Inviting me outside to play

I know warm weather will come—likely bringing unwelcome ultra-warm weather. But so what? Today I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and witness the first bits of spring breaking through slushy mud and still-frozen ground.

This morning’s mail brought a new volume of Mary Oliver’s poems. D is making a multi-bean soup in the slow cooker. Smudge is asleep on our bed, comforted by my pajamas. What more could I ask for?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 26 February 2019
Photo found at kinooze.com

A very good day

This morning’s leftovers
Drop like melting slushies
From weary evergreen bows

Lumpy mounds of snow
Coat driveways and porches
With cold mushy porridge

Like a weary movie score
The sound of water draining
Through gutters drones on and on

A waking dream haunts me
With images of three friends
Just beyond my grasp

I reach for my airplane ticket
Only to discover
I left it in my guest room

My heart is made happy
By half a cold banana
Now somewhere in my gut

This will be a very good day indeed.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy these days. I think it’s about being alive, awake, functioning fairly well, and wondering what this day will bring. I took the photo at the top early this morning.

The cushion cover on the left was made by women refugees living in Nairobi. The cushion behind Smudge was made by a dear friend now gone from this life for many years. The round brown cushions are from D’s aunt who died several years ago. The cord peeking out on the left belongs to my blood pressure monitor.

As you can see, Smudge has taken over my reading sofa and cushions.  But that’s OK, since I still live in the Plaza! Thanks to D for sending this cartoon to remind me how privileged and Eloise-like he seems to think I am. The nerve…..

In case you can’t make out what Eloise is saying:

I am Eloise
I am forty-six
I still live at the Plaza
I don’t give a damn who owns it

I hope your day is filled with strange and unusual sightings that tickle your fancy and/or make you warmly nostalgic.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 February 2019
Photo of Smudge taken by ERF, 21 February 2019; old New Yorker cartoon compliments of DAFraser

Photos and a Poem | Longwood Gardens 2019

After we visited the orchid show, D and I headed over to see what was going on in the meadow. Not much, if you were looking for lush signs of spring. Nonetheless, what I saw inspired a poem. D took the photo from the wooden bridge over the meadow pond.

Floating on the pond
Webs crack through ice
Awake to Spring knocking
On soggy doors

Beneath the surface
Frozen life hibernates
Motionless and chilled –
Fragile beauty
Waiting for release
From Winter’s icy grip

And now this photo — a closeup of something lying on the ice in the photo above. A graceful, beautiful remnant of Fall. This time fragile beauty frozen to the surface, waiting for release.

So…what about that meadow? Though it was open to hikers, there were precious few actually on the trails. The happiest hikers we saw were in motorized wheelchairs! No muddy boots, no slipping and sliding.

This budding tulip tree next to the meadow seems to think spring is just around the corner –

After a look at the slippery, muddy meadow paths, we decided to stay on the paved perimeter and walk over to the pond. I’ve never seen it so full, or so covered with ice.

Still, it was beautiful, peaceful and alive with signs of life, even though nothing was moving below the surface. I love the reflection of tree trunks and limbs in the first photo below. The second photo documents our only live bird sighting on the ground around the pond and meadow. One lonely robin.

This last set of photos is from our walk back to the visitor’s center. I chose several with flashes of color, beauty, or quirky interest.

Shadows and hints of things to come. Even the icy pond shows promise. I can’t wait to go back when Spring has officially arrived.

Thanks for visiting!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019

Orchid Extravaganza at Longwood 2019 | Photos

Thanks to Longwood Gardens for putting on the best annual orchid show in town! Here are some favorites from D’s prolific photos — nearly 300 photos this time.

We’re in the Conservatory’s spacious indoor gardens and hallways. Imagine the best-kept indoor garden you’ve never had, plus the sound of water flowing and/or cascading down in almost every room.

The photo above shows a passage from the main fountain garden to a quieter area. A small fountain at one end keeps the shallow water moving. Potted palms sit in boxes on the pool floor. Chairs and boxes of ivy and small flowering plants line the edge of the pool. Beyond the windows on the far side (above) are water lily ponds still in hibernation.

For special events the pool is drained, and furniture set up for elegant programs, dining, dancing or other celebrations.

Time for more orchids — beginning with this unusual black orchid from Longwood’s collection.

The ‘orchid curtain’ below lines a passageway beyond the orchid room. The second photo shows the same curtain on the reverse side, this time lining a tropical plant garden.

They next two photos remind me of college days and orchid corsages. That would be in the 1960s, when an orchid corsage or even wrist adornment was the mark of a woman spoken for! Or at least hopeful. We’ve come a long way, baby! And yes, the orchids were lovely — the mark of a caring gentleman.

Several more beauties — a random mix of smiling (sort of) faces and the unexpected.




Finally, one last look at three Conservatory paths. First to the orchid room, then through the bromeliad display, and finally around the edge of the main Conservatory entrance. I wish I could capture the sounds and fragrance of this place. Maybe someday….

I hope your day is sunny, filled with fragrant beauty and moments of calm joy.

Thanks for coming along!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 February 2019
Photos taken by DAFraser, 5 February 2019, Longwood Gardens Conservatory

a day unlike any other

It’s bitter cold outside my window
Venus rises in the Southeast
Smudge nuzzles my warm pajamas
The radiator pumps heat

Saturday
A day unlike any other
Quiet and laid back
Nonchalant

No busy imperious horns
Honking impatiently –
No braking trash trucks
Stopping at every other driveway
Tossing garbage into bins and driveways –
No yellow school buses halting traffic
To pick up almost-late scholars –
No buzz of chain saws
Or construction vehicles beeping
Their way backward down one-way lanes
Surrounded by shouts of men
Wearing noise-cancelling earpieces –
No screaming fire trucks, police cars
Or ambulances racing downhill
Toward the latest health emergency
Or freeway accident –
No droning news helicopters
Hungry to document rush-hour madness
At its worst

Only the chill quiet
Of a lazy Saturday morning

The sun is out, the temperature is down and the wind is up. A good day for indoor activities of the not-too-stressful sort. Such as reading, writing, eating, exercising when and where I choose, and maybe a teeny tiny bit of housecleaning. Just enough to feel happy, content and alive.

Cheers!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 9 February 2019
Photo of Venus and Jupiter taken by Dennis Schoenfelder in Alamosa, Colorado on 18 Jan 2019; found at en.es-static.us

The Good Old Days

With thanks to the Polar Vortex, depicted above on the left.

Cold air blankets my body
Seeps through pores
Insinuates its way
Past layers of fleece

Shivering, I opt for
Mind control

I re-mind myself
Of long hot summers
And how I’ll yearn for
These good old days
To soothe my fevered skin
And drooping brows
Long since resigned
To a losing battle against time,
gravity and the elements

With apologies to my friends in Australia, now enduring the opposite side of Polar Vortex weather.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 January 2019
Weather Underground image found at colleenhurley.wordpress.com

Clouds of snowy ermine

Floating on water
Warm and welcoming
I drift through treetops
The color of brown
Graceful they sway
Lifting bare branches
Toward the sky
Elegant in winter
Garb accented with
Clouds of snowy ermine

Bits and pieces of this morning’s waking dream….all but the snowy ermine (stoat), too elegant to omit.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 23 January 2019
Photo found at mymodernmet.com

Making music from my heart

Last November I gave myself a 75th birthday gift – a piano coach! So here’s an update on my progress so far.

  1. I’m totally motivated to play the piano, though not the way I used to play it.
  2. Though I haven’t yet met with my new piano coach, I’ll soon begin working with him once a month.
  3. I’ve gone through most of my piano collections, have chosen five for starters, and am already practicing regularly from them.
  4. I’ve also been reading The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart, by Madeline Bruser. It’s phenomenal. Just what I need right now.
  5. Not surprisingly, my attitude toward life in general is changing, too. More from the heart, less from my to-do lists.
  6. My happiness/contentment quotient is on the rise.

Below are the five collections I chose for starters. I first worked with them in the 1950s when Mrs. Hanks was my piano teacher.

  • J.S. Bach: Two-Part Inventions, and The Well-Tempered Clavichord (Book 1)
  • Frederic Chopin: Preludes for the Piano (Book IX)
  • Felix Mendelssohn: Songs Without Words
  • Pianorama of the World’s Favorite Dances, compiled & arranged by Denes Agay for Piano

Here are three things I’m working on from The Art of Practicing.

  1. Mistakes (when playing the piano) are part of life. They aren’t the end of the world. Get used to them, and get comfortable with other people hearing you make them. I don’t like this, but I’m learning to live with it.
  2. Speed and agility will (or will not) come in time as my fingers are (or are not) ready. Forcing things, or assuming I can do now what I did 60 years ago) only makes things worse. As I already know. Sigh.
  3. Don’t get in a tizzy about speed and dynamics. Slow down. Ignore dynamics for now. Do what you can from your heart. Love the sound of each note and listen for the music within, not for what seems to be on the page in front of you. Trust your fingers to let you know when they’re ready. Magical!

Finally, I’m learning to accept the hands and flexibility I have now. This means some music I used to play is beyond me. No amount of forcing my fingers will guarantee the return of my youthful fingers. On the other hand, I just might be surprised down the road if I’m willing to take it slowly, without super-expectations.

Thanks for visiting, and Happy Wednesday to each of you!

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 16 January 2019
Image found at pinterest.com

My third try at the lottery

10:18am–
Congratulations!
You have now joined
the long line of callers
continuing to hold as
discordant jingle jangles
scream at me through
my miraculous speaker
phone enabling this poem
to birth itself as the
nonsense of this world
spins out of control
one minute after another

My mind wanders to
fairer days when real
people with real not fake
friendly voices answered
whether I wanted to do
business with them or not

At least they were there
on the job and paid enough
perhaps (I do not know)
to earn a living wage
instead of this inane broken
record that has cheerfully
announced the importance
of my call and assured me
that my call is important
to say nothing of reiterated
apologies that do nothing to
reassure me that anyone will
be on this line anytime during
the next hour or so and yet
hanging up means giving up
which I don’t have time to do

So now I’m feeling sorry for
everyone including myself
who is enduring this nonsense
on both ends of the line
wondering how we come to
find ourselves in this fine mess
given all our duly worshiped
electronic devices that are
supposed to be making sure
all is well and in order with
no one left behind or left out
as I now believe I am with
millions on other lines doing
exactly what I’m doing and No,
I do not have the competency
to do two things at once though
to be honest I never thought
I would get this far on a so-called
poem about a so-far nothing call….

10:30am–
Hello! This is Brenda! How may I help you?

Brenda was wonderful. I got my business sorted in the space of 3-4 minutes. Which partially atoned for my first two tries earlier that went on and on and on…..

Yes, it’s the end of the year and I’m back in town. Ready to go and grateful for the last several weeks in which I’ve enjoyed an orgy of family visits around meals and on the phone.

Cheers!
Elouise

©Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 December 2018
Photo of a 1950s/1960s call center found at syntheticzero.net

Winter Garden Photos from Portland

That lovely tub above is the secret sauce for Sherry and Scott’s backyard garden. It’s a worm hatchery. Not the little bucket at the front, but the great big tub. It’s teeming with hungry worms, scraps of food, paper, and anything else worms love to eat. Worm juice collected in the small bucket gets distributed as needed. Right now this is the only worm hatchery needed for the garden. The other two are now elegant planters for japonica and other outdoor plants.

Just beside the worm house are piles of firewood neatly stacked, ready for winter.

Back in the garden, Sherry and Scott are giving me the grand tour while D takes photos. It was bitter cold that day, with a fierce wind from the northwest. The bat boxes are new since we were last there.

So while we’re at it, here’s another garden-friendly house for insects that love to catch garden pests. It’s an old bird house renovated for insects using pieces of bamboo.

At the far end of the garden, under a row of trees and near the side street there’s a virtual habitat for small animals. Not just for winter cover and spring nests, but for food served up 24/7. It’s long, lovely, and barely visible from the street. Those are old apples, discarded bamboo and other ‘throw-away’ stuff in the photo below.

Beginning with the garden gate below, here are three favorites from around the back yard.

The mini-meadow below is in the back yard. It includes a bird house, plus meadow-plants that produce lots of pollen and seeds–to attract birds, bees and butterflies. Even though it’s winter, they’re still loaded with seeds.

And one more–just because I like it! This little oriental-style lantern sits on the ground just below the back porch.

Thanks again for stopping by. In some ways, it feels as though I’ve already had Christmas. Seeing Sherry and Scott is always a big deal. And yes, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. So right now I’m channeling all that fondness into thoughts about our next trip to Portland! And visits with other friends and family members to celebrate Christmas and the gift we are to each other.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 17 December 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser, December 2018

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