Monday, April 26, 2010

Farewell My Love

They met in the dormitory hall of Saint Albert's.  Her boyfriend Tom was heading home for the weekend and she had come up to campus to have some fun.  Afraid he might lose her to another chap he introduced her to his good friend Ivan.  When they shook hands it was like magic, lightening, and nothing else either had known. Tom knew, at that moment he had lost her to another; the very thing he had been afraid would happen.  Why is love at first sight so magical?

True to Tom, Ivan and I just stayed friends for well over a year and nothing more.  Nevertheless, Tom, as well as, Peg knew it was over.  It had been over for six months and they knew they could not "just be friends," it was too difficult.  He called Ivan at home in New Jersey that summer just to let him know that He and Peg had broken up, and that he had seen the magic spark between them on that fateful day that Fall and wished them both much happiness.  

Ivan wrote Peg to let her know that Tom had called him.  He would be returning in the fall, but did not want to start dating right away for fear of a "rebound relationship."  They both agreed to date others for a while.

Then one Saturday Peg was up typing a philosophy paper for one of the people and upon getting ready to leave, she bumped into Ivan in the hallway carrying fish he had caught in a nearby stream.  Excited about the catch they set to cooking the trout.  

Savaging they found a warming plate, a pan, and peanut oil.  Laughing, cleaning, and cooking they were caught up in their own little world and not noticing the smell of the fish and peanut oil.  However, the people on the hall did notice the stench.  The combination was quite an odor and the laughter and merriment carried onto the floor was just too much.    

Next thing Peg knew, she was being carried off and thrown out on the balcony.  Charged with helping to create a stench on the floor she was now a prisoner.  Ivan would have to pay restitution for the smell to rescue his woman in mischief.  Candles were lite and air freshener sprayed.   He now begged for the key to rescue his woman fair.  

Walking her to her car that night they knew it was time to start dating.  Scared, they both knew their relationship was serious and would have to work at working things out.

Working things out was easy.  They rarely fought and when they did, they would sit down facing each other and talk it out.  It was a mature relationship that neither one had invested in before.  Summer was going to be long.  

It was a long summer and letters back and forth seemed to take forever.  Phone calls were expensive then and only happened once a month on the third Sunday of the month.

When the new term began, they were talking marriage and seeing a priest about marriage counseling.  Their sessions were fun and serious.  Ivan was especially afraid for me being young and free spirited.  He was studying to be a doctor and held to his studies with great discipline.  Father Stan seeing the opposites in our personalities helped us learn to work through our differences and turn them into strengths.  He did advise that we buy two tubes of toothpaste to keep the peace.  

Before Thanksgiving break we had decided to introduce our parents at Christmas break.  However, upon Ivan's return from Thanksgiving break things had changed dramatically.   He had been hit with the news that his parents were getting a divorce. 

Ivan changed fundamentally.  He was not the same man I had fallen madly in love with at first sight.  

We broke up.  We said good-bye, still loving each other.     

I once heard it said, 'Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again.'  

We may never meet again, but I know we loved each other.  There is an old saying, “That it is better to have loved and lost then to never love at all." I am grateful to have loved.   

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Use a phrase challenge...nautical phrase..."beam ends."

Copyright free photograph.

No one running a well-tuned sailing ship wants to land on beam-ends.  Storms come out of nowhere and you wonder who disturbed Neptune.  Surely, it was not like this small vessel.  She knows her limits and stays well within her bounds. There are larger ships on the sea and they may be challenging one another.  She moves out of the line of fire to retire a while and repair the damage caused her by those who do not care about her.  They care only for their own agendas.  In dry dock for quite some time and wondering who really is in charge of the weather.  Mother Nature is not so cruel.  It sounds like men at war.  I do not want my small vessel to land on beam-ends.

Spring in Powdermill Nature Reserve


I was introduced to Powdermill Nature Reserve as a child.  It is truly a wonderful place.  Many years ago birds were caught and banded in great numbers.  It was a resting place on the flyway north.  They still band birds.  The numbers are smaller.  There are lectures and outdoor experiences for every age here now.  It is a great place that more people ought to take advantage of to appreciate and understand our natural world.  Check out Powdermill Nature Reserve, you will enjoy it!




A Formal Dinner Invitation

Sending out a formal dinner invitation is a major process.  One has to choose a theme for the occasion, prepare a menu, and arrange seating and research information about the attendees to ensure a successful event.  No one wants to serve a guest something they cannot eat or dislikes too much.  Heaven forbid when making up the seating arrangements one sits two opposing personalities beside one another.  Even worse would be to invite a boorish person who cannot carry on a decent conversation and ruins the entire event by speaking out of turn. After all, a successful dinner can lead to many more labors that are successful.  I hope that when people come to one of my events that they will have a joyous experience and leave feeling well and satisfied in both body and soul.

My theme for this occasion would be "True Blues."  A dinner party for twelve outstanding men and women who make a difference in the communities they serve.  I would be careful to do research on my guests to watch out for those who appear good but are nasty underneath who think they only have to answer to themselves instead of God.  An arrogant personality can ruin a dinner just like serving something that not everyone can eat.

The menu for such a large occasion calls for special considerations.  Remember people may have food allergies and so it is best to stay away from seafood.  Watch out when making sauces that they do not have anything added to them that someone might be allergic too as well.  The soup should be seasonal.  Most guests appreciate clear broth soups.  Salads are best kept simple.  Arugula and bibbed lettuces dressed with a lemon and chive vermouth vinaigrette will do nicely.  Chicken Marcela or Beef Wellington is excellent entrĂ©es that most people would find appealing.  Side dishes could include glazed root vegetables, sweetbread & roasted shallot stuffing, or potato gratin, porcini, and crimini mushrooms.  In addition, for dessert I would offer a wide variety of fruits, lite pastries, and specialty coffees.  Heavy desserts are out of vogue now.  One likes to finish clean.

When making up the seating arrangements be sure not to sit two opposing personalities beside one another.  If the occasion is very formal, remember to follow the two most important rules that the 'most honored guest' sits at the head of the table and that men and women (married couple are not necessarily seated together) are seated in a pattern that ensures that everyone is able to engage in conversation.  Never seat two women or two men together because they may get too cozy and chatty.

The decor for this event would include the following:   Blue and white sheer curtains of silk seamed with silver and gold threads, white linen tablecloths and navy blue napkins.  Silver flatware with cobalt blue and white gold trimmed china plates, crystal glasses and tall alternating candle stands of silver and gold around a large round table with low mini vases of red roses.  To set the atmosphere, a jazz quartet plays quietly in the background.

At the end of the dinner, before the men and women depart, I would have the jazz quartet play a salute to our honor guests by playing the theme from Hill Street Blues.  To all the men and women who serve to protect us, God Speed!

"And hey - let's be careful out there."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dogwood Collage


Completing a piece of artwork is so satisfying.  It turned out to be a great wallpaper piece.
 I am very happy with it!

The Walking Stick

In town the other day, I was shopping for a sweater for my mother.  She tends to feel colder these days and a slight breeze chills her through and through.  She doesn't get out as much as she use to but she uses a silver tipped black onyx walking cane to aid in getting around the house.

The cane was her dads.  He was a miner, gentleman farmer, and student even in his old age.  He used the walking stick a long time.  He had had trouble getting around since working in the mines.  It was intense hard labor in those days.  The air circulation was whatever the breeze brought in, in those days.  The air thick with coal dust and gas was what a miner struggled through daily to put food on the table and shelter over his family.

He died when I arrived.  The long hours of his life had worn him down.  He was no longer himself.  His passing was difficult which only added weight to the sadness of the loss.  He had been most helpful to his neighbors, giving them fruit and vegetables from his garden and countryside.  He loved botany and understood the woods.  Maybe it is where I get my love of nature and understanding science.

When mom passes, I think the walking stick will remain with her.  The wood is getting weaker and cannot support her any longer.  We have encouraged her to use her 'Hugo' a four-wheeled medical device that offers more stability and a place to sit and rest if she tires.  The walking stick is precious.

The memory of ‘the walking stick' is the inspiration for this piece of flash fiction.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wildflowers of Western Pennsylvania

Trout Lily

A collection of Western Pennsylvania Wildflowers

Red Trillium

Virginia Bluebell

 Long-Spurred Blue Violet

Geranium (Spotted Cranesbill)

Monday, April 19, 2010


Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.

Sheer joy is a beautiful thing!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Drawing Positive Space


Positive space is the area of the drawing that contains the illustrated subject while negative space is the remaining area surrounding the subject.  In this illustration the emphasis is on the positive space.  When drawing, one has to look at both the negative space and the positive space to see the whole picture.  Some pictures contain more positive space then negative.

Drawing is lots of fun no matter your age.  For fun this summer you may want to take a drawing class. Check out your local community college or art center.  Most places offer classes for a large range of ages and abilities.   


Opening flowers
New born babes
Dancing partners
Response #211: Sunday Scribbles

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In general, do you prefer the beginning of stories or the end of stories?

Do you prefer beginnings to stories where curiosity is stirred, characters are introduced, and the setting, set.  Depending on the author one may get enough information to start imagining the people, places, and plot.  I appreciate how some authors give just enough detail to help your mind create the rest.  I like complicated characters and twisted plots.  If I can't get into a book within the first fifteen pages, I usually put it down.  Or, if I guess the ending too early, it is a let down and a put down.

Endings can be disappointing.  Reading all the way through a book and being disappointed in the end is a real let down.  I had a wonderful English teacher in my early years who taught me to rewrite ending to stories and which helps, but a bad ending can just ruin a story for a reader.  

One can not read all the books one desires in one’s life time and one has to draw the line some where.  If it doesn't get my attention in the beginning I don't have time to spare trying to read it.

Good beginnings often lead to great reads

Holy Trinity

Holy Trinity
Love, fidelity, and truth,
Trust, love, and faithfulness, 
Father, fulfillment, and love.
The three in one.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Poem: Lines

I am good at meeting deadlines.
I hope to cross the finish line.
And, all would agree laugh lines are the best!

More Cherry Blossoms & Buds




Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Photo by Armando Martinez
Photo By Armando Martinez


I wonder.

I ponder.

Looking into the outstretching desert.

I breathe in.

I exhale out.

Climbing low.

I have found new perspective.

High up.

Oh Sunny Boy


Some flowers just cause your cheeks to rise and your lips to form a smile.  Despite the harsh conditions they may be forced to grow in they manage to put on their best and brighten the space they find themselves in.  With a little tender loving care they blossom all the more.  A joy to come upon as one traverses along the way.  May you find flowers along your path to brighten your day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Coffee House

The Coffee House
It's not the place, nor the people’s faces.
It's the words pronounced in the space.
It's the message conveyed---
      the voices spoken.
Life continuing, living,
breathing in the 'Coffee House.'
     January 2000

April is poetry month.  I wrote this poem to celebrate an occasion shared by a community of artist at a community college in Saint Charles, Missouri.  It was the first time a gathering of writers, artists, and musicians in the area met.  

The organizers liked the 'on the spot inspiration' so much that they asked me to close the event with the reading of the poem. 
I hope you enjoy it as well.