Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Memoir for Mother's Day 2021 -

Leaving home and mother . . . . . October 1962

Heathrow Airport suddenly appeared so small. Knowing she was standing down there somewhere, my father at her side, my much loved mother perhaps was looking skyward where the grey clouds soon enveloped every plane going and coming, but having no idea which one was taking her only daughter so far away. She already missed her own mother so dear to her, and must have wondered what on earth was I thinking, leaving her, father, brother, family, friends, home, and even country, even though I had been given her blessing, and she worked hard to help me in my dream to see America.

The airplane food was strange. Different, with lots of caraway seeds. Scared?  Yes definitely as this was my first ever flight. Travel to date had been in cars belonging to friends with wealthier parents for Sunday picnics on Dartmoor; double-decker buses into town; the old Western Lady ferry across Tor Bay; day out motor coach trips to Cornwall or North Devon with maiden aunts; tiny row boats on herring fishing trips along the Torbay coastline; trains now and then for school trips to London followed by a boat up the River Thames in the rain to see where the Magna Carta was signed. Another major school trip was a memorable endless train ride north to Shakespeare country to visit Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, then swooning over a very young Albert Finney in an amazing production of 'Othello' at the Royal Stratford Theatre  . . . . . . but never an airplane.

Coming into New York was exciting. It still is. Breaking through the late October cloud cover, seeing such a huge city from above in shades of dusty grey and misty blue, two thoughts came to mind. How does one ever find the way around a place so huge, and how does the pilot get this huge plane back on the ground! Of course only first time flyers feel that way. When you’ve done it once you know all the answers for ever more . . . . . . . . .

A tribute to my wonderful mother. 

I "crossed the pond" home so many times to see her, and

 she came to visit me many times in the ensuing years.

I miss her and think of her every day.  

A special lady - Gladys Mary 1911 - 2003


Saturday, May 8, 2021

Back to SuzAnna's Antiques!

It was far too long since I last visited SuzAnna's at their new location
 outside of Raleigh. I went once early last year when we were just
 starting to wear masks, and then two weeks ago, still masked, I had a
 wonderful visit there to see old friends. 
Of course couldn't resist doing a little shopping.

I brought home dried lavender and this bird art . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . hanging here now.

Will be heading that way again soon - treasure hunting is so much fun.
Did I hear someone say what happened to "downsizing" - well I'm still 
working on that!

Have a fine Saturday. We're off to the market for fresh eggs and veggies, 
then a walk in full sun and 72 degrees - that's what I call perfect!

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

No journey home yet!

It was to take place this month. 
Now everything is cancelled as International travel
is still not really safe.
It's been two years since I've been able to travel
 to England due to the pandemic situation.  
I don't think I've stayed away that long in the 
 almost 59 years since emigrating to
the USA!

Torquay, Devon - circa 1960's

Torquay - Last visit home - May 2019

Am I homesick?
You bet I am!

We have rescheduled everything and now hope to make it
across the pond in September.
Family and friends over there think this is the best plan
and, sad as it is, we have to agree. Hoping by then life will be
better, perhaps not normal, but safer and more cheery and 
manageable for travel long distances from the comfort of home.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Cabbages and roses -

Changes in one's eating plan can sometimes make amazing differences. 
Many of us have tried diets of all kinds for reasons from wanting to lose
 weight, gain weight (though I admit never had that problem!), treat digestive
 problems etc., and apparently to address issues with food allergies.

The Low Histamine plan is completely new to me and, after doing
 it for four days, I have to say good results are already seen. 
I have dropped 3 pounds of that 6 pound COVID weight gain, don't
 feel hungry, and actually feel quite healthy. It's extremely restricted
 though with no dairy, no fermented foods, no alcohol, no citrus, no
 bread or baked goods, no sugar, limited vegetables and fruits. . . in
 fact limited everything really!
All meals must be freshly prepared at home - which fortunately
 is what I'm used to doing - and leftovers have to be discarded.

I don't advise anyone to follow this diet as a way to lose weight,
 and please remember any new diet you consider following
should always be discussed with your physician.

When this recent Polymyalgia (PMR) flare started, my own physician
 decided I should try this eating plan along with the Prednisone as I was
 possibly having reactions to fresh strawberries which I'd been enjoying for
 a couple of weeks as they are in season here and being sold at roadside
 farm stands! Also, it might help with the inflammation caused by PMR.

See that gorgeous Savoy cabbage waiting on my dining room table.
I used it as a centerpiece with some garden roses for the weekend!
It's one of the vegetables allowed - yes, there are even veggies, and
 fruits high in histamine which I cannot eat now!

The weekend weather was perfect here. Other than picking up fresh eggs
 at the Saturday Farmers' Market and taking a short walk, we stayed home
 enjoying the garden, front porch (above), and suppers in the gazebo while
 watching and listening to many birds now with chirping youngsters in tow. 
We have a nest of four baby Carolina wrens tucked into the urn by our
 front steps, and another with five Black-capped chickadees snuggled in
 the old wooden nesting box hanging in the fig tree. 
The jasmine is now in full bloom along the fences and the perfume 
quite intoxicating in the evening air. Hydrangeas are opening, peonies
 and roses budding, grass thick and green, basil, parsley, dill and sage
seeds all germinating in their sun-kissed pots along the front walkway.

Such a lovely time of year.
Enjoy this first week of May.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Losing my grip!


.........Russian Proverb

Sorry, it was just a tiny lie in my short last post.
 Everything is not really good.

The reason I haven't posted all week is that my hands aren't working
well and it's quite painful to do much on the laptop.
I've been struggling a month or more with really painful arms and
 legs, and then the hands/fingers started hurting and became numb
 and tingling. I dropped several things and Bob has been behind me
 sweeping up shards of glass, lifting heavy bowls, sauce pans etc.

Even prior to going to the doctor for blood work on Wednesday I 
just knew I was most likely having a Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)
 flare having experienced this condition twice before!
So, unfortunately I'm back on the only drug which will bring relief
and help me get out of bed in the morning, Prednisone, which
 usually starts working within a week. 
I've also been put on a Low Histamine diet to help with inflammation. 
If anyone out there has ever had to follow this eating plan and has
 any tips, please share. Many of the foods I enjoy/love are banned
 so it's going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride when it comes to 
mealtimes around here for the next month or so!!!

I'll be back here soon. Meanwhile I'm enjoying your posts which I 
read faithfully, but may not be leaving comments for a little while.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Time Out -

I'll return here soon.
 Life has been, and continues to be, very busy.
All is good though.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Chilly morning in April -

 ........but the sun is shining and there is so much to be thankful for.

A busy day ahead once it warms up. Last night was the second night in a row with close to freezing temperatures - so unexpected this late in April and following that mini heatwave we experienced recently.  I pulled the new pots of hydrangeas awaiting planting, the hanging Boston ferns etc. onto the front porch and covered all with sheets - couldn't do anything with the large growing shrubs so they were left to fend off the chill best they could.  
A quick walk around this morning and all looks saved rather than frost-bitten thankfully. The garden is full of life with many squirrels, Chippy the chipmunk is stuffing his cheeks, Northern flicker showing his long tongue at the suet cake, a  sparrow rests on the snowball bush, and an ever-sweet Mourning dove is enjoying a sunny morning drink. The Spanish bluebells are fading but still standing sturdy and proud. The new plants have been moved out into the sunshine..........tomorrow heavy rain is expected so no watering needed today. Most of my seeds are planted - lots of vining Moonflowers and Morning glories in pots, along with summertime cooking herbs. I may be moving them to the porch tonight so they won't be drowned tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Neighborhood Changes -


It's doubtful one of our favorite local bar/restaurants will return after closing due to COVID right after Christmas 2020. Although a chain, Mia Francesca Trattoria never had that feeling. We started eating there when it first opened in 2011 in a pleasing space on the lobby level of a brand new Renaissance Hotel. We knew many of the staff well. The location is just minutes from the house in the area called Midtown. Just a basic two level shopping mall named North Hills when we moved here in 1977, it has morphed into a small 'town' of its own, north of the downtown city. Not just high end retail shops, boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, hotels, gyms, movie theatre etc., but elegant multi-story apartment buildings, a posh senior living complex. . . . . and mini skyscraper office buildings - the newest of which will reach 35 floors!  Around these buildings more land is being acquired so quickly we can't keep up with the landscape changes and ongoing construction. 
Houses built here on prior farmland in the 1960's to 1980's (when IBM moved so many people from the north to work in their huge facility) are disappearing fast.  Small ranches, split levels, and cottages of that era, are selling like hotcakes for high prices, then being razed and huge homes in the $1-3 million dollar range popping up almost overnight it seems. It's definitely a seller's market, with houses usually selling, some with bidding wars, as soon as a sign goes up. Our neighborhood is a 'hot spot' for real estate listings. Phone calls, cards stuck on the mailbox, letters in the mail, are daily happenings here, all stating a version of. . . . . . . . . .WE WANT TO BUY YOUR HOUSE! 

We will not be enticed easily!  We have a figure which seems somewhat obscene compared to what we purchased the property for new in 1986!  If someone truly wants it and agrees to pay that amount we could perhaps be persuaded to sell. Where would we go?  At this late stage in life it would be hard to make that decision. Right now it looks like we will stay. . . . . . certainly after doing all this gardening lately!!!

MIDTOWN - Raleigh, North Carolina - Spring 2021

'Home Sweet Home'

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

John Howard Payne (1791-1852)

Here at the 'homestead' we planted all these marked trees 
 along with dozens of shrubs and perennials.
The tiny trees each started out in one gallon pots many years
 ago - and I think we'd truly have a hard time moving
and leaving them behind!

Monday, April 19, 2021

My 'Garden Boy' --------

Yesterday was not a day of rest by any means. . . . . . we, and hired help, 
worked together in the garden. In fact we worked outside the entire weekend, 
and included a trip to buy landscape items including wall building stones, 
netting to keep the dastardly squirrels off my newly sown seeds, potting
 soil. . . . . . and of course I managed to sneak in some plants - two pots
 of beautiful Shasta daisies for the now more elegant back bed along
 the fence.

No pool so no 'Pool Boy' required around here!!!
But here you can meet my 'Garden Boy', good 'ole Bob.

He gave up the business suits and polished shoes (other than when the
 occasional wedding or funeral comes along) with retirement, many years
 ago, and now pulls on those old faded jeans and worn out running shoes
 and becomes a version of a Master Gardener!
Thank you Bob for digging holes, trimming branches, mowing grass, 
blowing leaves and on occasion, like yesterday, clambering flat out under
 the Japanese maple to pull out those pesky weeds such as pokeberry
 and Boston ivy.

I have to add though that pokeberry is not all bad as despite the berries
being poisonous to humans, but loved by birds, the plant appears to
 have a good side. . . . . .

Today, pokeberry is being researched as a possible treatment for cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, a chemical found in pokeberry juice has been used to successfully treat cancerous tumors in laboratory mice. The chemical is also being tested to determine if it can protect cells from HIV and AIDS.
Georgia Wildlife Resources

Here Bob is actually in our neighbor's yard as it's easier access under the tree
as we have a wall on our side.  

Side yard of our house where, as you can see, these azaleas and
 the acer have encroached over the split rail fence into our neighbor's 
yard. . . . . . .thankfully he doesn't mind one bit.

Our handyman 'solutions' guy and his assistant are a great pair and
after doing such a super job on the deck restoration, we had them
back to build the low wall along the back bed. They dug out the old
fallen over scalloped edging and placed it in back, then built a simple
low wall. Once the daffodil greenery dies back and can be cut off, we
 will add more soil and compost and replant with a couple more
climbing roses, perennials and hang new bird houses.

Hope your week is off to a good start.
Our temps have dropped quite a bit after the recent
 'heatwave', and I'm not minding at all.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Garden visitor -


It's not all about the flowers and the trees.........sometimes joy
 comes from the visiting wildlife.
Yesterday 'Chippy' the chipmunk was back for an early morning
 visit and seemed to enjoy breakfast under the bird feeders.
We only ever see one of these little guys which is much different
 from the dozen or more squirrels who drive us crazy.

Hope spring has sprung where you live.