Rise and shine

I opened my eyes this morning and saw this outside my window.

Raindrops on maples are one of my new favorite things.

Especially giant Japanese maples already showing the first blush of spring 8 days too soon.

On a Friday.

Of the week I have a brand new great-nephew!

Welcome sweet little Charlie! Your big brother Oliver loves you!

So does your smaller big brother Elliot!

And, as their mouths reveal, Oliver and Elliott both love soy butter on bagels.

Grandma thinks it’s a very authentic look for the pictures.

But I think they’re cuter a little cleaner.

It’s been a good week.

You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that
have passed, there has never been another child like you.
Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move.
You may become a Shakespeare,a Michelangelo, a Beethoven.
You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
~ Pau (Pablo) Casals

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“April is the cruellest month…”?

Who was T.S. Eliot kidding? From where I sit, wrapped in a blanket in front of my computer screen with sleety snow falling a dark windowpane away, April seems like a distant image of heaven — a paradise of popping bulbs and budding forsythia. And the three remaining days of February — one extra this year — an eternity. Only to be followed by more of the same in March — dreary, windy, blustery March.

Boo hoo — such is life north of the Mason-Dixon Line. We’re all sunlight deprived, you know, and SAD is a fact of life. Or maybe it’s depression brought on by sugar deprivation. (I gave up sweets for Lent in my annual nod to my Catholic upbringing. It about kills me every year.)

Every winter I think, “Why the heck do I live here?” And every spring, summer, and fall, I remember why. What’s keeping me going now is the notion that we finally have someone lined up to do our retaining wall project (in theory anyway). After staring at and maneuvering the cars around a mountain of mud for a year, I can almost envision the lovely “hardscape” that I’ll be able to garden around and that will give the back yard a polished “someone loves me” look. And the thought that we’ll actually finish those garage and porte cochére projects that cold weather forced us to abandon last fall. And maybe this will be the year the front porch gets its much-needed overhaul. And those atrocious collapsing railings around the porch roofs will finally disappear. Oh, and we should really get those storm windows we talked about. And those slates on the garage roof need attention, not to mention the rotting eeves. And all those bricks to move somewhere else — the ones we thought it so important to save when we knocked down the old pier in the driveway. And I can take off the back door and refinish that too, and maybe we’ll spring for that new storm door…

On second thought, why am I in such a hurry for spring? Maybe April really is the cruellest month. I wonder if T.S. lived in a fixer-upper too…

Winter is the time of promise because there is
so little to do – or because you can now and then
permit yourself the luxury of thinking so. 
                                        ~ Stanley Crawford