P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

03 September 2018

The Best of What Might Be-Summer Sails Away

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” -Charles Bowden

I cannot quite get my head around this summer-I know, I know, I whine about this every Labor Day weekend, but here it is again-a summer sails away. It is going to feel like 100 degrees out there today but still I just flipped the calendar pages to September,yes I still do real calendars! Didn't  I just turn those same pages to June? Is it growing older that make Summertime fly? How often in the past few days have you heard "Can you believe it is Labor Day?" NO! I CANNOT!  Someone go find me June, July... A blink and suddenly the skies grow dark earlier,  scarecrows and even bags of trick or treat candy are everywhere,leaves start to drop...and suddenly September.


Labor Day weekend of course always feels like an abrupt and an unwelcome end to summer.  For me this year it is particularly unsettling as summer 2018 was just so grumpy.  The weather was grumpy, the news was grumpy and even the gardens of Camp MP were grumpy-growing out of bounds like a jungle or in some spots showing no effort or joyful blooms at all as the critters ruled and burrowed and chomped away...and I was grumpy along with it.  I can count on two fingers when I got to just sit and do a summer day, lazy days with a book-in fact the pile of books that called in May remain unopened.  Can I get a Do-Over on summer 2018??? Mainly I want to slow it down and not have the golden days be a blur and just hold to "the best of what might be."
"Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." -Henry James

Summer after all is supposed to be the time of year that everything slows down, nothing much is scheduled of a serious nature during the summer months- everyone is away, or going away, or just coming back from being away...and in summer it is not only perfectly  acceptable, but also fashionable, to be lazy and just sit with a book.  Nights are slow in coming and have a special air with sounds that open windows welcome in-dogs barking, kids riding by on their bikes, night crickets, and of course baseball on the radio...


 September in New England should not to be dismissed, the skies are glorious and the weather rides the change toward sweater weather.  This weekend, however, is a marker, closing the door on "true summer" the season that gives us permission to Go Play Outside.  With Labor Day we have to come in, toss the flip flops aside and put "practical shoes" on--we have to Go Back to School and back to our desks piled high with all the things we said we would get to "after Labor Day". Just this week there  have been subtle signs of the season changing ...a few dry leaves turned on the trees, Mums filling the nurseries, Halloween cards on the racks and my favorite-the "plunking" of acorns as they fall and hit my neighbor's deck.  Mother Nature is serious about her calendar even if I am not.  I cling to summer well into November!



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Don't get me wrong, I adore  the fall- crisp air, glorious colors, tweeds,and crunchy knits, the scent of cinnamon and  apples, piles of pumpkins, the whole New England bit.  Soon I will start digging out the tired blooms and replace them with  happy faced fall pansies and curly pink flowering kale.  I might even run for the needles and cast on some cables!!

Labor Day, however, means we have to be grown ups again, not such a bad thing but you sort of get used to wearing your summer brain.  The new season also means a new start-every one of us remembers what the day after Labor Day always meant-new shoes, a fresh box of crayons, a new teacher and a brand new year--much more fun than New Year's Day!



 No reason Fall can't welcome in a whole new start-I like the idea!---after this grumpy summer how welcome hitting restart would be-if only!!  but if its OK with everyone I'll delay rowing the boat ashore just yet, and leave my flip flops by the back door for at least a few more weeks.


 “All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.” – Lucy Maud Montgomery

25 August 2018

A Once in a Century Life -Happy 100th Lenny

"...everything my father did, in any aspect of his life, was always in the context of love. If he could have, he would have hugged every person on the planet — and he kind of did, through his music." 
~ Jamie Bernstein on her Father, Leonard Bernstein

 On a Sunday afternoon, November 14 1943, at Carnegie Hall, Leonard Bernstein, at just the age of 25, entered the world's spotlight. He was brought in to conduct the New York Philharmonic at the last moment and with that his magnificent ride began. He was a conductor, composer, teacher, mentor, humanitarian, political activist, and ambassador for the arts to the world. He LIVED with every pore of his being. Larger than life to be sure.

"I'll do it as Bernstein,or not at all."

His own singular complicated, exuberant, passionate, political, Peter Pan-esque existence is legendary.  He could be a "handful" as his daughter describes, but no one lived bigger or left such gifts to the world.  Legend indeed.

"A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future."

 It was as if he had so much to share and had to get it out or he might burst-be it for the ballet, the Broadway stage, the conductor's podium with every major symphony orchestra or the timeless and marvelous Young People's concerts.  

"This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before."

Most lights that shine so intensely burn out and cease. No one remembers too much about them, but Leonard Bernstein's light was so immense that it could never go out-never die. It will always shine, like a beacon of sheer joy,of promise and hope. 



 "It is the artists of the world, the feelers and the thinkers who will ultimately save us; who can articulate, educate, defy, insist, sing and shout the big dreams."
  
Last weekend while sitting at Tanglewood, the place he adored, and where he conducted his last concert, listening to Andris Nelsons conduct the BSO perform, along with Yo-Yo Ma, a new John Williams' piece, "Highland's Ghost", composed in part to celebrate Bernstein's centennial and the "spirit" of Tanglewood, everyone in that huge crowd felt a presence.  The music Williams wrote is "...a little haunted by Lenny." No doubt.  Through his music, and his work,the light that is Bernstein haunts us all, pushing us, moving us, beckoning us to go forward...to create, to heal, to help, to sing, to love, to live! and oh what a light he left us. Happy Birthday Lenny!
  
"We're neither pure, nor wise, nor good We'll do the best we know. We'll build our house and chop our wood And make our garden grow. And make our garden grow!"
~ Leonard Bernstein's Candide



  Bernstein Playlist via NPR

Visit The Bernstein Experience

16 August 2018

R.E.S.P.E.C.T!

Photographed by Wayne Maser, Vogue, March 1988 via

“It’s important for people. Not just me or the civil rights movement or women—it’s important to people. And I was asked what recording of mine I’d put in a time capsule, and it is ‘Respect.’ Because people want respect—even small children, even babies. As people, we deserve respect from one another...” Aretha Franklin on "Respect"

In a world of imitation, knock-offs and banality, there was, and always will be an oasis.  A singular voice that no one can imitate, from a woman who defined Diva, a drop your mink as you go Diva,who could and did, sing any wannabe Diva into the next century. When she sang you stopped, you pulled over, you tuned everything and everyone out because Aretha was singing!  R.E.S.P.E.C.T ...and everyone did.

She would be our soundtrack whenever we needed that voice, the voice that became the anthem for power, strength and pride... and oh what a voice! overflowing Heart and pouring Soul!  Listen-The Queen! is singing.

If you need to smile, if you need to dance, if you need to find strength, if you need to feel like you can rule the world, if you need to put the top down in your car and sing your lungs out, or if you just need to hear the best there ever was, or ever could be...Aretha! 

 I will forever regret that I never saw her perform live but I have four favorite performances:

*Murphy Brown and Aretha sing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" 1991

* "Nessun Dorma" Filling in for Pavoratti at the Grammys in 1998 


 “Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and roll—the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope... American history wells up when Aretha sings." Barack Obama

05 August 2018

What Wilma Wore


"Fashions fade, style is eternal." Yves Saint Laurent

"A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes." Vera Wang

With August came the Triple H threat-Hazy, HOT, and oh my birds nest hair, Humid!  

Since I'm not at the beach and I have to go out there- despite every instinct telling me to stay inside with a book, I dress to fool myself into cool,wearing whatever will hang loosely, not stick to me, and float along with me all day.

As I zip by a mirror and catch a  drop of perspiration, I glance at who I have been dressing like day in and  day out as the thermostat rises...she never was one of my main fashion muses but perhaps she had a bigger impression on my fashion eye than I thought as I come to the surprising conclusion that- Everything I know about how to dress in summer I learned from... Wilma Flintstone! Highly unlikely Audrey and Wilma ever found themselves in the same couturier fitting room, but there it is in my mirror-Wilma style!

1.  Simple, not a lot of fussy fabric
2.  Light colors-No LBD in Wilma's summer closet I guess
3. Show some shoulder
4. Pile your hair high up on top of your head
3. Bare arms-do we think Wilma had a trainer?
4. Bare legs-cannot even imagine what waxing would be like in BC
5. Bare feet-natch no Jack Rogers in the Stone Age
6. Oh and of course a Simple Strand of ...Pearls

Thanks Wilma  Be cool!

01 August 2018

August

Carnation Lily,Lily,Rose-John Singer Sargent 1885-6
"The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color."―Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting

17 June 2018

My Umbrella Policy-Daddy's Gifts Today and Everyday

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 “She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father."
~Harper Lee
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This week has been another horror of headlines. No, I will never get used to watching the world crumble, and I fear we are becoming numb and expectant of each new outrage and accost to decency and humanity.  This week,however, was especially painful because the most innocent are being harmed,perhaps for life, by being torn from their parents who made the egregious error of wanting a better world and future for their children. On this Father's Day may every Father who can make a difference and change a policy of such horrific outcome do it and do it now! 

 Yes, this is yet another Hallmark day, designed for card sellers and tie makers.  Of course we should celebrate Dads beyond a Sunday in June, but to have a day set aside on the calendar to stop and hug the man or the memories is a good thing. There was a time I ran from this day, a day filled with memories so strong that 28 years later I can still feel all those  family Father's Day cook-outs in all types of weather, the piles of gifts left in front of my Papa who preferred to have all his grandchildren around him rather than packages and left the presents for Nana to open, the clumsily wrapped cans of tennis balls and Izod polos that populated Daddy's stack of gifts... 


  No, it does not get easier with time.  Loss leaves craters in your life.  Though they can never be filled, and will never be closed, if you have been enveloped with love the holes are softer to look into and can bring both strength and joy.


 Though this will never be a fun day for me, it is a day that holds my own stash of gifts.   This Father's Day weekend may not be my first without Daddy, but like every year at this time I try to keep the mascara from going by hugging the memories and re-opening his many gifts to me.  Gifts that I carry with me every day and always will.  Gifts that are sewn into the core of my soul and especially my heart. Gifts that have given me an umbrella policy for life.


Being a daddy’s girl is like having a permanent armor for the rest of your life.”
~Marinela Ranka 

 I proudly say I am a "Daddy's Girl" and that is a badge I wear boldly. There are a lot of negative connotations with that phrase...spoiled, Princess, indulged...but for me the phrase symbolizes not only the unbreakable bond between a Father and Daughter but also the foundation upon which I stand... every day. The insurance, and assurance, that believing in myself,as Daddy believed in me, will get me through.


"Run your own race,baby. He could have said it a dozen other ways. “Be independent.” “Don’t be influenced by others.” But it wouldn’t have been the same. The words he chose touched my heart and have remained with me all through my life. Whenever I’m at a crossroads, I ask myself, 
“Am I running my race or somebody else’s?"
What a gift he gave me."

We lost my Dad suddenly. After the shock wore off, and the numbness set in, I felt as if I were living without a safety net, sort of free falling-I still have days I feel that way. It took some time to realize that Daddy had left me many gifts, gifts that would help me realize that a safety net would always be there. My umbrella policy. The most important gift perhaps is the knowledge that I do have solid ground beneath my feet because of the lessons he taught me-be yourself, stand for what you believe, laugh no matter what, show them how it's done!, know you tried your best, believe in who you are!  These lessons helped to build my base, grow the roots that sprout from my feet and created my own terra firma, composed of all  the love that I was graced to be given. 

  How very lucky I am to know that being a “Daddy’s Girl” means that I carry the extraordinary gift of unconditional love with me wherever life takes me. That love has taught me to believe in myself and my strengths, and to know that I CAN “run my own race”- even when I have trouble finding the track. My Father taught me to trust my instincts, believe that there is nothing I can’t accomplish and that the worst thing I could do would be to give up, pass on an opportunity or to sit on the sidelines and never try! I think the only instances that Daddy was upset and angry with me is when I gave up, ran home, didn't try.

Still on the days when I think…”There is NO way I can do this!” I hear Daddy saying “just try”. Happy Father’s Day Daddy…Thank you for my many gifts. Oh how I wish you were here to watch me run my race,especially when I run the other way :) I love you today and everyday!


13 May 2018

Marmee's Girls-Loving Little Women




"My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”

 "I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen"
  
I do not have any sisters, so perhaps that is one reason Little Women was, and remains, one of my "Best Books".  I have many copies-some with broken spines and yellowed pages, others just sit so I know I have them on the shelf.  I have watched and re-watched every film and screen adaptation countless times-my favorite wavers between the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn as Jo and the 1994 with Susan Sarandon as Marmee and Winona Ryder as Jo. Tonight Masterpiece Theatre premiers a new adaption  with Dame Angela Lansbury as Aunt March-I cannot wait!!






“I want to do something splendid… something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all someday.”



Louisa May Alcott wrote her coming of age tale set during the Civil War and based on her own family stories, just up the road in Concord Ma. She was an abolitionist and an early feminist and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord when women were given limited suffrage in 1879.  You can visit The Alcott's Orchard House ,"Home to Little Women".  






"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship"

Like many  readers, I saw myself in each of the March sisters. Amy, who loved her family but was impulsive, jealous, fluffy ambitious and artistic who wanted to be surrounded by beautiful things, and as the youngest, despite knowing better,could be a bit bratty. Meg, responsible, good natured, practical and there for all her sisters yet holding her own longings for her own life.  Beth, painfully shy and so truly good, with a selfless tender heart that seemed always in need of sharing.   Jo, like many of us it is Jo I identify with most-ambitious, dramatic, sharp witted, creative, imaginative, frustrated, willful, stubborn always with her nose in a book, fighting change but longing for it, and never at rest confined to the limitations of being a girl in 19thc New England. She would not marry the "boy next door" dear Laurie, though I know they would always love one another, Jo dreamed big and knew there was more for her than being the wife of a wealthy man.
“Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I've a right to be hurt, I don't intend to show it. (Amy March)”

For a book published in 1869 Little Women remains as relevant,and I would argue perhaps more so, than in the post Civil War age it was written.  Not simply because of its tales of siblings love and jealousy dealing with all the messiness of  growing up,coming of age and finding out who you are entails, but also because the characters remain real-they love, they scheme, they care, they hurt and they dream.  From Jo we learn that being a girl, no matter where you grow, doesn't and shouldn't stop you in place.  Marmee's girls may all be different but at their core is heart and Marmee raises them to be their best selves.  On Mother's Day, and everyday, is there a better way to celebrate Moms and Daughters.  Enjoy!!!



“My Jo, you may say anything to your mother, for it is my greatest happiness and pride to feel that my girls confide in me and know how much I love them.”




“Jo's breath gave out here, and wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears, for to be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of her heart, and this seemed to be the first step toward that happy end.” 

all illustrations from gutenburg.org