Thursday, July 26, 2012



There is no other hour in the whole of the twenty-four as quiet, as dark, as far removed from the light of day as the hour of three in the morning.  Even nature herself is shuttered and still - the raucous choir of cicadas now hushed, the great-horned owl sitting silent.  No wider than an eyelash, the crescent moon casts a feeble light into the bedroom window, painting shadows too pale, too watery, to be of much interest.  The only glow in the room comes from Edward, whose fur, the colour of ivory, always shines in the darkness.  I hear him sigh in his sleep.  Indeed, the only sounds in the room are the contented breaths of those dreaming beside me.  I alone am awake.
Knowing the dawn is coming, knowing how out of sorts I shall be when it does, I give studious thought to going to sleep.  But that never works, now does it?  Sleep cannot be chased down, nor sternly summoned when it has left y0u alone in the dark.  I turn my pillow over to the cool side, give it a punch or two.  I close my eyes in determination.  But no matter.  My thoughts are at a carnival - flashing lights and music, sweet aromas, gusting wind.  

Known throughout ages as being reliable, I turn to the sheep for help.  Lining them up in a green meadow, I point to the stone wall in the distance and instruct them to jump over, one at a time, in slow rhythmic fashion, as I count each one by wooly one.  But before the first fellow takes even a step, my thoughts have turned to knitting their wool into presents and I think about this new sweater pattern. 
It's free!
 You can find it HERE.  

And then once again I’m off, my imagination unleashed, my mind awhirl. 
I ponder the book I’ve just finished, the one in which the heroine attends a midnight dinner where the dishes are served on mirrors and the host “wears a suit of vibrant purple with a gold paisley waistcoat, and throughout the evening, he smokes specially made cigars that spout matching violet smoke.”  She herself wears an elaborate gown that changes colours, “shifting through a rainbow of hues to compliment whomever she is closest too”.

Then I’m thinking of a plane bound for Vietnam on which sits my dear friend Jeanne, who is moving this very week from London to that strange, unknown city.  What a remarkable adventure for this beautiful, interesting woman.  You should join her on this journey for Jeanne is a fabulous photographer and this promises to be a wonderful, enlightening time for all her blog readers. 
 Find her HERE.

Having recently spent too much time down the enchanted rabbit hole that is Pinterest, 
I recall this wonderful image, and I’m thinking of Christmas, making lists, making plans.  
You can find Edward and me on Pinterest HERE.
 Such beautiful images, sure to set your imagination loose.
But I warn you, it's addictive!

Oh, I think about Scotland and wonder how soon I can get back to this charming place.  I think about the six hundred year old bra recently discovered in Austria.  Who knew?  I wonder who the people are who care about the Kardashians, what the new novel by JK Rowling will be like, if Shirley MacLaine will be a good fit for Downton Abbey and when exactly did pregnancy become saddled with the dreadful moniker of “baby bump”?  
Continuing in this roundabout fashion until the bedroom began to shimmer with the hazy pink of a hot July morning, I finally fell asleep just as The Songwriter’s alarm began to ring, and for someone so wide awake at three in the morning, I am awfully sleepy at noon.  
I hope to do better tonight.
Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside the Museum

Inside the Museum

An azure canvas stretched out above and before me like the peaked and pointed ceiling of a marquee.  Grand enough for the White Queen’s garden, it knitted the edges of the horizon down to the earth in a garter stitch of green trees.  With a watermelon stain on the sleeve of my white linen shirt, I was unsuitably attired for the brick and mortar museum, but this one welcomed me without dress code or ticket, for it recognized me as a regular. My hand lazily draped across the steering wheel of my car, I watched as the famous painting kept changing before my eyes, in thrall to the spell of magic that serves to set this museum far apart from all others. 
 For Whistlejacket cannot gallop.
 Mona Lisa never laughs.
But above me, in swirls of icing white, this masterpiece was at once pirate ships and lions... architectural triumphs of turrets and towers...the thunderous waves of a ill-tempered sea.  One moment it was covered in ivory cream, with only the faintest hints of sky peeking through, but before I could sigh, the white was away, boiling and bubbling in a kettle of blue, tumbling and swirling across the enchanted mural at the bidding of the unseen hand of the Artist.  
I drove along in amazement.
How fortunate we are to have such wondrous works available to us every day of our lives, colours not limited by man’s imagination, textures unearthly, patterns sublime.  They line our pathways, adorn the composition of our days, they encircle our very existence.  How is it we cease to notice? 
 Walk through a forest and count the variations of green.  Run your fingers along the bark of a poplar tree.  Count the stars tossed across a navy blue sky. Watch the lightning slice the darkness.  We, each one of us on planet Earth, spend our days in a museum of grand wonder.  We simply must open our eyes.
It is free.  
It is real. 
It is ours.

Image via Pinterest
Artist unknown

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Hair's Too Long

My Hair's Too Long

Long hair will make thee look dreadfully to thine enemies,
 and manly to thy friends:
 it is, in peace, an ornament;
 in war, a strong helmet; it deadens the leaden thump of a bullet:
 in winter, it is a warm nightcap;
 in summer, a cooling fan of feathers.”
Thomas Dekker, 1609 

Yeah, that may be, but I need a trim”
Edward, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Little Man

The Little Man

They are the tiresome ones, the ones who rely so totally on the effluence from their own grey matter that the thoughts and opinions of others are tossed aside with nothing more than a sneer.  Perhaps you’ve heard them on the radio.  Lord knows they populate TV -  tittering at love, snickering at faith.  With no more than passing consideration, they will tell you your plan has no merit.  They shake their heads in the face of your enthusiasm and gleefully advise you to quit.  They doggedly stick to the path of their choosing, despite whom they may trample upon as they go.  They are the cynics, and I pray to steer clear of their camp.  But as ashamed as I am to say it, one of their number - a spry little man with a jaundiced eye - resides in the shadows at the back of my head and occasionally demands to be heard. 
And I don’t know quite what to do about him.
Leaving a restaurant several years ago I ran into an old colleague, someone I hadn’t seen in ages.  We talked for awhile, catching up on each other’s lives as best as was possible in the middle of the street.  Suddenly, her eyes brightened and she began to share with me a new investment opportunity that she was obviously over the moon about.  I listened, patiently, but all the while that little man in my head, the one I mightily try to refrain from calling a cynic, was muttering away, - rolling his eyes and snapping his fingers to make certain I registered his opinion.  As loathe as I am to admit it, I found myself thinking precisely the same thoughts as he.  Politely turning down her offer to “get in on the ground floor” of this new venture, I got into my car to go home, wondering how much money she was destined to lose and feeling slightly sad about being so certain this scheme was destined to fail.  And fail it did, which made me feel no better.
I consider myself someone who believes in true love just as much as its twin, happily ever after.  But when a friend wants me to be joyous over his new “soulmate” relationship with someone he “met” online only ten days before, I find I turn a bit cold.  Try as I might, I cannot always manage to silence the little man in my head.  Because of him,
  I knew Tom and Katie were destined for doom. 
 I knew John Edwards was lying.
I knew the “mission” was not “accomplished” no matter how big the banner was.
New religions, self-help books, television psychologists, Donald Trump.  The little man in the back of my head pitches a fit over them all. And this being an election year, he seems to be having more conniptions than ever.  
Believe me, I’m not happy about the wretched little chap.  I often glance around at all those happy souls who traipse through life without questions, believing what they’re told, accepting without hesitation - never suspicious, never challenging - and I feel a bit envious.  How clear their skies must be.  How deep their sleep.  But lately I’ve been wondering if perhaps, just perhaps, I have misjudged the wee fellow. After all, to his credit, he has never once sneered at my belief that compassion could change the world.   
He has always stayed silent even though he knows I am utterly convinced there is so much more around me that what my eyes can see. 
 He grants me my trust in the restorative power of Beauty. 
 He allows me my faith. 
 So could it be I am not in as much danger as I think from this creature? 
 Should I perhaps rename him... Discernment?
I’m still working that out.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom
Like most kids, I once tried to run away from home, though for me, I’m afraid it involved a rather poorly hatched plan that seemed to dwindle in importance as the day wore on, so much so that by the time night fell, I was too sleepy to carry it out and completely forgot the desk chair that I had placed beneath my bedroom window to better facilitate my midnight escape.  Over breakfast the next morning I caught a glimpse of my father coming across the back garden with the chair in his arms and a bemused expression on his face.  We never mentioned the incident and I’m afraid I never seriously entertained the idea of running away again.  But for those few brief moments the afternoon I considered it, the whole idea seemed totally within the realm of possibility.  I could, if I chose to, run away to an island where I could eat ice cream, stay up as late as I wished, never have to go to Sunday School and have sheep for pets.  It made perfect sense to me. Such is the wonder of childhood.
There is a simple reason that children love fairy tales.  It is easy for them to believe they are true.  Trolls under bridges, carpets that fly.  Witches that eat you, bears that can talk.  All these plot lines seem perfectly plausible to a child.  If their life feels restricted or too black and white, they can seriously plan their escape.  With an old suitcase packed with essentials - books and records, a stuffed animal, a kitten - they consider their options carefully.  The circus, the fair, the beach or the lake - any of these places could work out just fine.  A child’s sense of grand possibility, limited only by individual imagination, has less to do with innocence than it does with a certain quirk of intelligence, a crinkle of thought that opens the door to fantasy and, for a few fortunate souls, allows it to remain ajar well past adulthood.
I was reminded of my childhood this past week when I watched the new Wes Anderson film, Moonrise Kingdom.  Decidedly quirky, it is a movie best enjoyed by someone who well remembers what it felt like to be a child.  The light is golden, adults are strange, binoculars give you magic powers, and true love is, well, true.  For someone like myself, for whom the door into fantasy has never closed a fraction, it was an utter treat. It is incredibly funny and, with a soundtrack that features Francoise Hardy, Hank Williams and Benjamin Britten, it proved the perfect way to spend two hours on a hot, hot day. 

See the trailer HERE.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

 "Oh, it's home again and home again, America for me!
I want a ship that's westward bound to plough the rolling sea
To the blessed land of Room Enough beyond the ocean bars,
Where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars."
Henry Van Dyke

Happy 4th of July
From All of Us Here In The House of Edward!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Just For July...A List and A Giveaway

Just For July... A List and A Giveaway!
Here in the South, we never know what to make of January. 
 We might awaken to a balmy day worthy of Springtime, or an ice storm of historic proportion.  It is just as likely that snow will cover our rooftops by noon as it is that a warm sun will tease the jonquil bulbs up from their mossy slumber.  
But July is a month we can count on. 
 Possessing neither the volatility of March nor the mystery of October,
 July steps woodenly along, one sweltering day at a time, till her thirty-one day
tenure is done.  The most guileless of months, July is blessed with no magic save fireflies and honeybees and her one concession to theatricality, the thunderstorm, never arrives unannounced - we can see those coming for miles.  
 Yes, she’s predictable and her repertoire wearing, but yes, we do love her still.
   For in her limited box of tricks sits a power few other months can accurately claim. 
 July can force us to relax. 
 When her humidity hangs in the air like glue and her heat can no longer be borne,
 July will command us to sit.  On porches, in gardens, in beach sand or clover - 
she shoves glasses of lemonade in our hot little hands and pushes us down, down, down. 
 We sigh, we close our eyes. 
 We kick off our shoes.  
And slowly we sense the icy weight of every other month melt 
in the rays of her sun, our shoulders getting lighter and lighter with each 
drop of stress that splatters on the ground around us.  
It is July. 
 And we are at ease. 
For July, a new list and a fabulous giveaway.
Don’t forget to leave a comment as your entry!

1. Beach House Ships
Inside every beach house that lives in my dreams - 
on rocky coasts or palm covered shorelines -
 there sits, on a long table by an open window, a ship. 
Handmade and incredibly detailed, this one is a wonder. 
 I think it would be most at home in a cottage in Whitby.
Find it HERE 

2. Beach Towel
My friends tease me when I go to the beach.
Do you only go out at night?”, they laugh, referring to the lightness of my skin.
Yes, well.... at night, at dusk, in early morning light.  
Laugh if you will.
But still, I need a beach towel when I do venture out.
And I adore this one.
Find it HERE.

3. Pink Lemonade Bars
I mean, really.
Are these perfect for summer, or what?
Find the recipe HERE.

4.  Itsy-Bitsy Knitting
With less than six months till Christmas (yes, really), I am already knitting my presents.
  While knitting is a passion of mine, this lady puts me in the shade.
I am totally gobsmacked at her talent. 
Just watch THIS and see what I mean.

5. Lady Mary Scarf
Love Lady Mary.
Love the colours of this scarf.
Imagine a dress of the palest pink, almost the colour of dawn.
And this scarf.
Perhaps it will tide me over till the third season of Downton.
Find it HERE

6. Nora Ephron
Few people can make the truth funny.
Nora Ephron could.
She was never mean, she was always in love with life.
Goodness, how I’ll miss her.

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”
Nora Ephron

7. Paper Lanterns
In the oldest neighbourhood in the oldest part of my city there is 
a beautifully restored Victorian house that I love to pass by at nighttime.  
Hanging from the ceiling of the wrap-around porch, like moons orbiting the windows,
 are large, colourful paper lanterns. 
 In summer, yellow and pink ones sway in the starlight,
 magically changing over to copper and gold
 when the first autumn breezes blow through. 
 In December, iced reds and greens are reflected in the frosted ground. 
The effect is utterly bewitching and it speaks to the delightful whimsy
 of those who live within the old house.  
It’s no secret that I adore chinese lanterns.  Nothing makes a summer dinner party more special than paper lanterns swaying in the trees outside.  Few sights are more enchanting.  So it was with amazement that I read about the recent celebration of the summer solstice that took place in Poland.  People gathered to launch over 17,000 paper lanterns up into the night sky in a staggeringly beautiful display.
Seems they do this every year.  
HERE'S a film of last year’s solstice..
Want some sky lanterns of your own?
Find them HERE.

8. Another Summer Book
Though Gillian Flynn is an excellent writer, and her new novel, Gone Girl, is shaping up to be one of THE books for summer, I’m not sure I’d want to sit next to her at a dinner party.  To be elbow to elbow with the person capable of dreaming up the diabolical happenings in this mystery just might give me the willies.  Gone Girl is a novel that keeps you guessing and one whose characters always manage to go farther that expected.  It grabs your attention from paragraph one and doesn’t let go till the end.  Just don’t you dare read ahead!  And one word of warning, Gone Girl has some fairly rough language, which is probably understandable given the situations in which these characters find themselves.  But if that sort of thing bothers you, I thought I’d let you know.
Find it HERE.

9. Matt and His Videos
See, there is this chap named Matt.  
Matt travels the globe dancing a rather goofy dance. 
 He gets others to dance along with him and he videos these dances. 
 The resulting videos make me cry.
Matt has just released his latest.  And I cried again.
Each one makes me feel so hopeful.
  Each one shows us humanity outside of politics and polarization. 
 I could go on and on... but just go watch them for yourself.
And if you cry, you’re not alone.
2008 is my favourite.
See them all HERE.

10. A Shopping Coupon from Novica
Yes, I do love this company.  I love their artful products.  
And I love that with each product I order,
 I receive a personal note from the artist who created it.
  And I love it that those artists are paid fairly for their beautiful work.
While I am addicted to their shawls, (I just purchased the one above in turquoise and black) you may prefer something else.  My shawl came from the Andes.  
Find one for yourself HERE.   
Or perhaps you'd be interested in silver cufflinks, silver floral bracelets, leather belts, or Alpaca sweaters for men all the way from Peru.
The generous people at Novica have once again provided readers of my blog with the opportunity to win a discount coupon worth $50 to use on whatever they wish. 
Snag something for this summer, or something for fall.
Go shopping HERE.
  To enter, just leave a comment on this post. 
For a second entry, become a follower of this blog if you are not already.  
Edward and I will draw the winning comment at midnight on July 4th! 
Good Luck to All!

Painting at top by Alain Bazard

Congratulations to Sarah S!  
She's the winner!!