Amusing Signs

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Just hopping over to say hello once again.

Signs are sometimes amusing to read.  In

Virginia on bridges, there are signs

saying  “no crabbing from the bridges.”

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Word play and word meanings came to

mind.   So, I could “crab” or complain in

another spot?  Just not on the bridges!

On Long Island family visits, we

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have a favorite spot to stay.  Each

time I see the sign “park head in,” my

mind starts to play with the words.  Why

only head in?  Why not head out?  I

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surmised the owners did not want folks

backing into units or signs; hence, head in

so, you can see what you are doing!  Ah ha.

A favorite breakfast treat is grapefruit

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sections with honey topped with a sprig

of fresh mint. The sight and taste of the

mint reminds me of tea I drank in Morocco.

It was served in a tall, clear glass.  In the

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Long Island retreat, we enjoyed several

days of an acai bowl with granola and

garnished with blueberries or blackberries,

coconut and cacao chips.  Topped with mint.

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Healthy, gourmet fare did not have many

calories.  The scoop of acai was a cold

concoction which was almost like a sorbet.

Refreshing and satisfying.  We savor

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our breakfasts while visiting family.

My husband gets his fill of fishing, fly

casting, and boating.  I enjoy sitting

on our deck and reading a good book.

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Quality time.  Beautiful weather. A

nap or two.  The perfect pause to

normal routines.  Change.  Good

conversation.  A walk on the beach.

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Posted in amusing signs, change, family, healthy breakfasts, visits | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Slow and Steady

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 Like the turtle in the road as our daughter jogged,

I recall the saying: slow and steady wins the race.

We took a break from our usual routines these

past two weeks.  We visited our daughter on

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Long Island.  Sights, sounds, and tastes galore.

After our daughter’s wedding last year, we

opted to stay at our beautiful retreat nearby.

Sumptuous breakfasts await us each morning.

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The chef prepared a feast of fresh homegrown figs,

Greek yogurt, and drizzled raspberry puree. House-

prepared granola.  Each morning we enjoyed a

full breakfast which kept us throughout the day.

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As a writer, I make mental notes and take photos

to jog the memory come blog time.  Wanderlust remains.

My husband walked to the bay each morning to

commiserate with the locals.  He crossed paths with

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the wild turkeys.  The pond with frogs and lily pads

was entertaining as we walked to the restaurant.

A lover of nature from my Massachusetts childhood,

I enjoy observing and documenting my encounters.

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Our weather was picture perfect.  Even the ocean

seemed warm as I walked in.  The natives have outdoor

faucets and showers to clean off the sand.  Perfect to

fish and boat with the newly restored wooden boat.

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Just gazing at the ocean and waves is a soothing,

relaxing activity.  Stress leaves.  My breathing changes

to slow to the pace of the water lapping at my feet.

Who doesn’t love a walk on the beach?

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My craving for freshly caught fish was filled

this trip too.  Accompanied with fresh vegetables.

Swordfish, cod fish, flounder, oysters on the half

shell.  Such healthy choices.  Tasty.  Perfectly prepared.

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Posted in beach, freshly caught fish, frogs, Long Island, turtle, wild turkeys | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Mother Nature’s Calendar

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The calendar said it was the first day of Autumn

this week.  Signs abound in our neck of the woods.

Colorful leaves on the neighbor’s sugar maple.

Buds are about to open on our Montauk daisies.

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Apples keep falling off the trees.  The breeze

feels cooler now.  My eyes watch the beautiful

leaves of the red bud trees bend and move.

Hark!  What did we hear overhead just now?

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The Canada geese are flying off.  They know

and felt the cold front which moved in.  Our

temperature has dropped a few degrees.

Time to pull out the colder weather wardrobe.

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Mother Nature will unleash her colorful blankets

on our lawns soon.  Raking noises will be heard

along with the loud drone of mechanical

leaf blowers.  No one seems to have a particular

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schedule to mow lawns and rake leaves.  Some

weekends, it seems, there is constant noise. Certain is,

these activities will cease with the first snow.

I can wait.  Autumn is my favorite time of year.

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So colorful.  So tasty.  So many recipes to try.

Conversations with neighbors out walking their

dogs.  Soon, tiny whirlwinds will swirl the leaves

around our legs.  Our youngest neighbor next

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door took my hand to get me to watch his

very own plastic leaf blower.  Imitation is

the highest form of flattery.  This young man

is well on the way to emulating his father.

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It has been a long time since I held a small

hand.   The earth is preparing to take a snooze.

Falling leaves, rains, winds, and snow.  Spring

will herald renewal as birds return to nest.

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It is enjoyable and gratifying to observed all

these activities in life.  Mother Nature is

a capable source of pleasure to us.  We

strive to be good stewards.  Meanwhile,

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we shall try to make some applesauce,

harvest the herbs and last of the tomatoes.

The collards will be harvested and cooked

all winter.  Smiles of happiness abound.

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Posted in Autumn, Autumn Leaves, baskets of apples, cold front, Montauk daisies, Mother Nature | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Mary Ann Appleseed

 

20210917_104136Growing up, I heard the familiar legend of

Johnny Appleseed.  With two apple trees

of our own now, I am reminded of the

tale.  I don’t recall Johnny speaking of

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apple thieves.  We have the four-legged

and two-legged variety.  The four-legged

thieves are messy.  They take a few bites

of an apple and then simply discard it.

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Perhaps these bushy tails got distracted

by a passing car or neighbor out walking

the dog.   The two-legged variety would

refer to neighbors and assorted friends.

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John, Don, and Isaac picked up the branches

on Tuesdays.  I know this from observing and

finally stopping the very tall truck with

my arm in the air and hand motion to stop.

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This week, even the truck driver Don was

emboldened or hungry at the end of their route.

Driver Don motioned to John to pick an apple

off the tree.  Well, well, I thought.  I must

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stop the truck to chat briefly which I did.

John responded he was from a nearby

town.   I informed him that he had selected

apples from my favorite kind:  Empire.

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Next, I explained the other tree had

red delicious variety.  I expect that they

will continue to pluck apples off the

trees as long as they are there.

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A neighbor told me she had tried one

of the Empire apples.  It was so tasty.

Normally, these ripen toward the end

of September so perhaps they have

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matured earlier this year.  We gave

this neighbor a bushel basket full of

our apple crop.  This year they look

as beautiful as store bought ones.

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I imagine our own John Appleseed will

continue his thefts of tasty apples.

Admittedly, who can really resist these

low-hanging gems.  Do you have a favorite?

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Posted in Empire apples, Johnny Appleseed, Red Delicious apples | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

How Was School Today?

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After sitting down to dinner with my parents

at either head of the table, our Dad would ask

this question after we finished saying Grace

together before our shared meal.  Memories

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flooded my mind as I observed how silent

our neighborhood became because the

children had returned to school.  I envisioned

dinner conversations at their tables.  Exciting.

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I don’t remember who started to answer our

Dad’s question nightly.  Whoever had the most

urgent news I suppose.  Results of a test in one

subject or how strict a teacher was.  News.

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Grumblings.  Happy reports.  Our parents were

genuinely interested in our answers.  Education

was at the top of the list of importance.  If we

had something negative to report, more questions

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resulted until a resolution could be discerned.

Our parents were active participants in the

parent organizations both in Massachusetts

as well as in Colorado.  Our Dad brought a

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German guest to one of our high school

meetings:   Herr (Mr.) Bode.  Our Dad spoke

a little German, but his accent when he

introduced the gentleman was such

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that people around shook the gentleman’s

hand while declaring “Glad to meet you,

Herb.”  Mind you, that was not his first name

but the resulting German pronunciation!

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Today in recalling such events, I am mildly

amused and no longer mortified by our

Dad’s German pronunciation.  Our Dad’s declaration

to us repeated quite often over the years

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was that he wanted to live long enough to

see all his daughters graduate from college.

After obtaining five degrees in German,

I surpassed his expectations.  He passed

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during my first Fulbright Year in Germany

but not before telling me how proud he

was of me and of all his daughters.  His words

are forever engraved in my heart.  Thanks, Dad.

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Our Dad’s love and interest in our

education remains today and has been

passed on to our two children.  My fervent

hope is for all parents to take an interest

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in the education of their children and

to talk about it at the dinner table during

those formative years.  From generation

to generation, the seed is thus planted.

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Posted in dinner table talk, education, saying Grace, school | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Our Valued Friends

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Cedric and David are our friends. On Mondays.

we wave to one another, greet one another and

exchange pleasantries.  If we are perchance not home,

David will bring the blue bins up to the door.  These

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are our sanitation engineers whose task it is to empty

trash cans left curbside.  Tony, Desiree, Alexis and

Andy take turns delivering our mail.  Our route is

the longest at 14 miles.  Fae is the early bird who

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delivers the newspaper three times per week.

Where would we be without such great friends

in our lives?  At school, teachers greeted custodians

and had brief conversations from time to time.

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For holidays, we brought them cookies and other

baked goodies or a pizza.  These friends belong

to the family of man.  We remain grateful for

their services.  To break up an otherwise

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mundane day, I have made it my habit to

wave to the truck drivers as they stop to

pick up trash.  It’s not a glamorous job but

a necessary one.   We look out for one another.

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Last October, young David lost his mother and

was not on our route for a few weeks.  I expressed

my thoughts and offered prayers for him and his

mother.  Walking in another’s shoes makes

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for a more pleasant world.  It is, after all, the

golden rule in action.  How do you feel when

someone looks into your eyes and smiles while

saying a few words?  Having compassion for

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our fellow individuals whom we encounter in

life is as easy as a smile and a wave.  Offering an

apple from our apple trees is a simple gesture.

Sharing our abundance with others.

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The world would be a better place if we

practiced the golden rule.  Doing unto

others as we would have them deal

with us, makes for a happier existence.

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Posted in brief encounters, custodians, golden rule, good habits, sanitation engineers, valued friends | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

A Tribute to a Teacher

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Difficult as it is to recall the names of teachers,

Mrs. Hughes was my ninth grade English teacher.

In her class, I discerned that I wanted to be a teacher.

From her I learned kindness and compassion.

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From her I learned the joy of grammar. 

In her class, I learned to love learning.  She had

the keys to unlock the mystery of grammar.

Still today, I love learning, reading, and writing.

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She taught us the questions to ask when diagramming

sentences.  How, when, where, why, and

to what extent.  Sentence structure took

on new meaning as I diagrammed. And still does.

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Around Thanksgiving, Mrs. Hughes needed

some help changing her bulletin board.  I

volunteered and asked for black and white

construction paper and scissors to cut out Pilgrim

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figures freehand.  Mrs. Hughes was impressed

and told me her teacher daughter would love

my idea.  She asked what pattern I had used for

the figures.  It was my own creativity.

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I didn’t know it then, but I was learning more

than English grammar and diagramming.  The

instincts that Mrs. Hughes nurtured with her students

brought out the best in us.  She valued us. She

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listened to us and was patient.  She smiled.

She had unconditional love for us.  Amazingly. 

I learned to use my creativity and ideas in my

own teaching career years later.  I was

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fortunate to be able to study in Heidelberg,

Germany for about three years.  The icing on the

cake was learning aspects of language, literature,

culture, history, and geography.  While

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I did not diagram sentences in German, I

instinctively understood the grammar thanks

to Mrs. Hughes. This school year, I wish

for teachers to impart their own love of learning.

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Posted in diagramming sentences,, English teacher, grammar, learning to love learning, paying tribute | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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Our weather has been a mixed bag this

growing season.  Abundant sun.  Heavy

rain showers.  Not our normal fare.  But

who knows what is normal with the

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weather?  Now we need to find recipes

to prepare the tomatoes. Lots of recipes.

While we harvest some and give them

to neighbors.  We wonder if the food

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pantry will also accept some.  And

still, they continue to grow.  We

literally picked up branches off the

ground and held them to enter

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the garden.  Once inside, the goal

was to harvest a few of the huge

collard leaves to cook in chicken

broth.  Plans were abruptly

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changed by all the big, red, ripe,

and juicy tomatoes in our path.

I began putting tomatoes in the bag.

Soon the bag overflowed with

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about forty tomatoes.  No end in

sight either.  Too bad we can’t put

some in the mail and send to friends

and family.  Sauces, stews, salads.

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Canning does not interest me at this

point.  Cooking and freezing to use

in soups this winter.  Grilling.  When

I am out of ideas, I’ll research online.

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How does your garden grow?  We

have a jungle now.  This winter I

will look back at our pleasant dilemma.

Meanwhile, who wants some tomatoes?

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Posted in cooking, freezing, garden, tomatoes | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Beauty Before Comfort?

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Sighing at some of my clothing and shoes, my

mother’s mantra was always comfort before

beauty.  What teen or young woman wants

to heed that advice?  Not I when I was young.

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Did I learn my lesson during my student days

In Heidelberg?  Certainly not.  Spike heels.

Unlined leather gloves.  Pencil skirts and

sweaters did nothing for warmth.  But,

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they were stylish at the time.  My Birkenstock

years would come later when I was teaching.

Then cashmere layers and long skirts followed

by warm slacks to teach in.  My mother

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declared during a shopping visit to purchase

a longer skirt for herself that she knew

why I wore longer skirts:  they were warmer!

From that point on, she wore longer skirts

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or long pants.  We laughed as I declared

that comfort before beauty is something

learned later in life.  My mother

always wore beautiful, well-crafted clothing.

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When I returned to the US after my three

years in Heidelberg, I stepped off the plane

in a fashionable tan corduroy pantsuit which

was all the rage in Europe. She adored it.

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She loved it so much that she inherited it from

me after I no longer wanted it.  Ditto for a

quality gray wool coat.  I benefitted from her

artistic eye and chose quality clothes later.

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It was in Heidelberg that I gave up carrying

an umbrella against the rain.  After several

mishaps of umbrellas turning inside out, I

opted for hoods on my topcoats and jackets.

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With fondness I smile at my mother’s sage

advice over the years.  Now I don quality

pantsuits and my trusty Birkenstock

sandals.  Comfort with beauty now.

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Posted in beauty, Birkenstock sandals, comfort, Heidelberg | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Your Preference?

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When it comes to greeting cards and notes,

what do you prefer?  Handwritten in cursive?

An eCard, a blank card or one with verses

inside?   Personalize or simply write your name?

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For me, it depends upon the occasion and

the person or persons involved.  Some subjects

are sensitive in nature so I will compose a

poem for the intended person or select a

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beautiful art card.  Some of my favorite places

to find greeting cards either blank inside or with

a simple verse are gift shops at museums around the

world.  Perhaps you have a favorite artist

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or subject matter.  I always scour places for

cards with music motifs or one with foreign

languages such as a thank you card with

multiple languages included.  I seek out

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greeting cards at drug stores too and

wind up in the humor section perusing

several as I laugh heartily.  My daily dose

of humor and amusement.  When I find

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the perfect card, I am known to purchase

several of the same design and motif for

friends and family.  A poetic love message?

Or perhaps a sympathy or get-well card?

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When my stockpile is low, I find the time

and place to replenish the stash.  Gift shops

await me!  Sometimes, with a friend along,

we will both stand and read cards and laugh.

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I try to make a purchase of some cards so the shop

owner will be pleased I found just the right

one.  So, dear readers, what is your preference?

With or without verses? A special motif?

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Posted in art cards, gift shops, greeting cards, motifs, museums, music, poetry, preference | Tagged , , , , , | 15 Comments