A Bushel and a Peck

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Taking a walk down memory lane today. Music.

I am reminded of watching my mother do a few

dance steps in our kitchen when a particular song

came on the radio.  She taught me some of

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the Charleston when Dixieland jazz played.

During our teen years, my sisters and I went

through song and dance phases.  We played

songs over and over and over.  As teens do.

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My father would sing along while my mother

played the piano. They met at a college dance.

The rest is history. Music played a large role in my

life.  Piano lessons.  Later, church organist.

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My parents made us laugh when they sang funny

lyrics and danced. A Bushel and a Peck or Flat Foot Floogie.

Old fashioned and out of step with the times.  I

Have always appreciated good music and rhythms.

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It was the meaning behind the lyrics I did not

always know.  When I learned the backstory of

many songs, they no longer held the same meaning

to me.  When I showed my parents the “Twist,”

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my father said I could cause some damage to

my back.  More like my knees.  Same dance

floor in our kitchen!  As I researched songs

today, I realized it was more about the music.

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The lyrics are pretty funny too:  “I love you,

a bushel and a peck….”  Bushel and peck were dry measures

and techniques for rhyming words.  The nonsense

lines “A doodle, oodle, ooh, doo” matched the music.

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When my father visited, he taught his grandchildren

how to dance and sing the Flat Foot Floogie as we

filmed their attempts, all the while full of giggles.

Besides hugs and kisses, our two children wanted

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to know how much we loved them.  A bushel and a

peck.  My response was often sung as I danced

just as I had learned.  A bushel and a

peck of love.  On and on for generations!

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Posted in piano, music, memory lane, songs, dances | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

Short and Sweet Haiku

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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To all mothers far and near.

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Sweet hugs and blessings!

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Posted in haiku, Happy Mother's Day | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Hither and Yon

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Friends and neighbors delight me.

They are scattered hither and yon.

My discourse with a blogger friend,

Anne Mehrling continued with her

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mention of a beautiful cherry blossom

tree near her driveway.  She sent photos.

The delicate pink shade was stunning.

Our Upstate New York gardens are only

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Just beginning to display their beauty.

As I walked around this morning, I discovered

remnants of a bird’s eggshell in robin blue.

Odd that they are nesting now I thought.

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I picked up the delicate pieces to examine.

On a positive note, I thought the baby had

finally left the nest saying “look, Ma, I can

fly now.”  I secretly celebrate its flight.

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I have impatiently awaited the tulips

at the base of our witch hazel tree to open.

Only one was brave enough to open.

The rest await the chilly wind to dissipate.

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This week’s snowfall reminded me that

we are not yet done with old man Winter.

At least the snow was less significant

than one year ago.  The tulips are hardy.

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Keeping close contact with family, friends

and neighbors allows us to practice the

Golden Rule.  We humans are very social

creatures. My wanderlust remains but

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has assumed new dimensions these days.

Mostly online when not in person.  But

the heart speaks as I continue my quest of

hither and yon and life’s meaning.  Be well.

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Note:  You may find Anne Mehrling’s blog,

Mehrling Muse, at https://amehrling.com/

Posted in cherry blossom tree, hither and yon, robin's eggshell, tulips, wanderlust | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Did You Hear That?

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Nothing wrong with my hearing, my husband says.

Recently I asked if he heard the high-pitched sound.

He didn’t.  What did it sound like?  Like glasses in

the cupboard hitting one another.  Then he went

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upstairs to change clothes and came down to tell

me that there was nothing wrong with my hearing.

His alarm clock usually wakes him with a light.  When

that doesn’t, the next is an alarm.  For thirty minutes,

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the alarm had been sounding.  Often, I hear motors

of delivery trucks, trash trucks and such and try to

guess if we are getting a package.  Again, my husband

marveled that I had heard a delivery truck, a sliding

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door sound and finally footsteps approaching.  A

package awaited outside.  Spring is elusive; we have

had many false starts.  Snow for Easter.  Par for

the course in Upstate New York.  Birds seem to

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know precisely when the weather changes.  For

some time now, they have been zooming back

and forth and are making nests in the many bird

houses we have.  Meanwhile, on a nicer day today,

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I perused the gardens hoping to find more colors.

Plenty of yellows, whites, and greens but the

tulips are not yet ready to showcase their colors.

Finally, I understand what retirees before me

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had said:  you should retire and enjoy different

scenery.  I swapped 2200 teens for birdsong,

truck motors, and more.  I now look forward to

chatting with the many people passing by or

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making deliveries.  The mail carriers, the trash and

blue bin guys, the delivery people with packages. 

Why not make their day brighter and cheerier?  Engage

In conversation.  Offer a smile.  Chat about the family.

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Life is full of opportunities.  Seize the moments and

enjoy others in your life.  Surprises and rewards

abound.  Blue bins neatly stacked by the door.  Tips on

fly fishing for my husband from Tony, a mail carrier.

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Posted in did you hear that?, Easter snow, sights, sounds,, Upstate New York | Tagged , , , , , | 43 Comments

They’re Here!

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When we watch for visitors and see them coming,

we often say in excited tones They’re here.

Going back to our first Fulbright Year, our two

were quite young at almost three and six years.

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At home in Upstate New York they had plenty of

neighborhood friends and playmates.  Moving to

Germany meant preparing our two for the

upcoming trip.  As a language teacher, I knew

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that younger children have less difficulty acquiring

a second language.  Fortunately, the BBC had just

published a new children’s series called Muzzy.  It

was like Sesame St.  In German!  Our two had daily

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German lessons to learn the basics for attending

German schools once they arrived. Our son was going

into first grade and our daughter into kindergarten

which was for ages 3-5 years.  Total immersion!

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After six months, our two were very comfortable living

in the village of Schweindorf where they had new

playmates for the year.  They learned a new language,

culture, country, and culture.  Child’s play.  Naturally.

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At the end of our year, we again packed up our

belongings for the trip home.  A ticker-tape parade

minus the confetti awaited us in the neighborhood.

It was a hot July day.  My husband drove us with

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open windows from the airport to our home. As

we turned the corner, most of the neighborhood kids

stopped playing and shouted They’re here!  They ran

behind our new green van.  What a homecoming parade!

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Shouts, waving and smiles.   They’re here!   Their friends

spoke English!  They understood no German.  Not

a problem.  Friends are still friends.  Play is still

play.  Smiles are international.  They’re here!

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Note:  It was a magical year for our children.  Yes, they still speak and understand German.

They also learned French.  To all our friends:  Happy Easter, Frohe Ostern and Bonnes Pâques!

Posted in a magical year in Germany, child's play, Fulbright year, learning languages, Muzzy, Schweindorf | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

On a Quest

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Birds busy building nests and

Searching for seeds, worms, and such.

This is the game I play as I wait for

tulips and daffodils to make an appearance.

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No yellows yet.  Behold!  I spy purple!

A square pansy?  Research yields a

wild pansy.  What great enjoyment!

Hope flows from my heart. Edible!

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Not yet Easter but close.  Not yet

spring but close. Dare I mention

the other S-word?  Snow?  Everything

is possible in Upstate New York.

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Foraging in our gardens provides

entertainment.  We hold on to the

promise of vegetables and flowers.

Now is a propitious time to prepare

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the soil for this year’s crops.  I take

my cues from the many birds flying

about and entertaining with their songs.

There is great satisfaction from growing

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our own vegetables, herbs, flowers

and fruit trees. Hope comforts and

reassures that the dreary winter weather

will soon make way for spring sunshine.

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The icicles hanging on the birdhouses

will melt.  The promise of tiny newborns

calling to parents to feed them will

soon be heard.  What a grand life!

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Posted in birds building nests, icicles on birdhouses, on a quest, wild pansy | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

The Big “Round” Birthday

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When I taught in Neresheim, Germany, during my first

Fulbright Year, a bouquet of flowers in a vase awaited me

in the teachers’ room.  I was surprised that anyone knew when

I had a birthday.  The comment to me was that it was

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not a big “round” birthday so only flowers awaited me.

It was then that I learned a new cultural tidbit:  the

“round” referred to the zero at the end of the year. 

They were considered milestones and celebrated accordingly.

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Each year on April 1 when I reflect on living in Germany,

I place a long distance phone call to wish my “twin sister,”

Hilde a Happy Birthday.  We are not actual twins but close

in age.  This is her big “round” birthday, and I heard

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most of her family in the background celebrating.  For

a few moments, I was back with our second family in

Schweindorf sharing in the celebration.  Fond

memories.  Time marches on.  Hard to believe. Nostalgic.

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Odd how I still recall Mr. Heath’s advanced Algebra class.

We had all sorts of jokes to try to play on him since it

was April Fool’s Day.  None of them worked.  So we

simply focused on the one that should have!

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He had turned the tables on us, you see.  Before our

class came into the room after lunch, Mr. Heath had

carefully removed his wall clock and turned it upside

down.  We were a persistent bunch of ninth graders.

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Each of us had tried to tell him the clock was upside down.

But Mr. Heath responded each time with “I know what day

it is.”  He simply refused to look at the clock.  The entire

class!  Just before the bell sounded to end Algebra class,

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Mr. Heath turned to us and said “April Fool’s Day.”  We

were floored that he had played such a great joke on

his class.  Little did he know, this joke remained with me

all these years later.  Good one, Mr. Heath!  Clever.

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And to the birthday child:  Alles Gute zum Geburtstag, liebe Hilde! 

You still hold a very special place in our hearts.  You are our second

family and an integral part of lives.  An ocean apart and

in two countries yet held in love and honored.  Miss you!

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Posted in April Fool's Day, Fulbright year, Hilde, the birthday girl, the BIG Round birthday | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Eat Your Vegetables!

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Vegetables of many hues,

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Assortments from which to choose.

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Chopped, diced, sliced, baked:  you peruse!

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Leeks, eggplant, squash, collards, stews.

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Peppers, onions:  you can’t lose!

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Pot, pan or dish? Plain or bruised?

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Braised, infused, herbed, spicy hot?

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Read recipes!  No excuse!

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Note:

Today’s poem is a Welsh form called cyrch a chwta. Basic guidelines are as follows:

-octave or eight line stanzas

-seven syllables per line

-lines 1-6 and 8 share the same end rhyme

-line7 cross rhymes with line 8 (internally) on the third, fourth, or fifth syllable

Posted in cyrch a chwta, vegetables, Welsh form of poetry | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Enjoy a Simple Walk!

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The temperatures were for the record books. Folks

appeared from out of the cracks down at the lake.

People sported their green for St. Patrick’s Day.

Most folks were very friendly and greeted one another.

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In droves, they balanced on roller blades or whizzed past

on skateboards.  Dogs galore in all shapes and sizes.

My husband and I found a nice picnic table to do

some photography.  The ice has disappeared from the

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lake.  This time of year is an in-between time when

snow has melted to form giant puddles resembling

mini lakes.  Ducks and geese enjoyed the water.  It

was as if we had several lakes.  Winds were calm.

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Reflections of trees and branches were evident

in the photos adding another dimension of

enjoyment to the warm day.  I voiced a “Happy

St. Patrick’s Day” to a lady clad in green.  She smiled

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back and greeted me likewise.  Life’s simple pleasures

are there if we only make an effort to go for that

walk and speak to others along the journey. More

sun and warmth beckon again today.  There is a

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spring in my step.  My heart is full.  Satisfaction

and joy fill my spirit as I strolled. Enjoy a walk in

nature and observe new things.  Listen to the birds.

Smile and speak to others as you enjoy a simple walk.

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Posted in a simple walk, St. Patrick's Day, warm temperatures;, wearing green | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

May I Have This Dance?

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The in-between struggle is here.  Not quite

spring and still winter.  Throw in a very-hot-

day of 75 °F and then you are let down once more.

Mother Nature has a bag full of tricks.

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Look up the weather forecast to see what

clothes to wear; otherwise, a rude awakening

awaits.  At our end of the pond, it is best

to layer clothing.  Wind chills abound in

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these parts.  When I was still teaching, I

was frequently asked what I thought

the weather might be.  As soon as the

snows began, students would ask if we

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were going home early.  I had to remind

them that in some parts of the world,

there was no such thing as a snow day.

I still recall speaking with one of my

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sisters who lived in Alaska for a few

years.  She bemoaned the fact that her

children had to go to school when she

thought it should have been a snow day.

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Why?  Well, it was a -44 °F and schools

were not closed until the temperature

was -45 °F.  The Alaskans plugged car

and truck batteries in overnight.  Imagine!

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Going outside to the mailbox, I perused

our gardens.  Bulbs are pushing up already.

I hope they are hardy because

we are slated for a major snow event.

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Don your dance shoes and join us

for the snowflake dance.  Music for

the event performed by our fine

feathered friends.  See you there!

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Note:  Robin photo courtesy of RJN.

Posted in Alaska, Dance, snow | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments