Sunday, May 1, 2016

In the garden

Busy weekend. In addition to time with family, I dug the weeds out of a flower bed on Saturday, and today, Sunday, I planted flowers in the bed and also mowed the lawn.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Just a quick note, late at night. I'm back in Lynden. Spring has indeed sprung and the grass has riz. No need to wonder where the birdies is, because I hear them chirping all day.

We had freakishly hot weather last week and I, for one, welcome the cooler, more seasonable temperatures we've been enjoying this week. Next week will be warmer again, but not freakishly so.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Here in Ontario, winter is loosening its grip sloooooooowly. Although my sister-in-law has crocus blooms and daffodil shoots in the yard, we also have had snow flurries most of the days I've been here. A few flakes were in the air just a few minutes ago, but they are gone now. The snow hasn't "stuck" except for a while on Monday morning.

In Lynden, just before I left, we were having unseasonably warm weather--near, at, and over 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Looking online at Lynden's weather, I see it's cooler and rainy again.

Yesterday, sitting near the patio door into my hosts' backyard, I saw a couple robins bob-bob-bobbin' along. Also a squirrel or two. My sister-in-law tells me she has tried putting up a bird feeder, but the squirrels knock it down and eat the contents.

I also saw a black cat in the yard, and that reminded me of my own dear (departed) cat Bagheera. He was so lovable.

This part of my vacation, at my brother's, is intentionally quiet and uneventful. I wanted down time. I have made progress on completing my needlepoint eyeglass case--I'm finishing off the interior--and I also have knitting along.

My brother and his wife have their jobs to do, but when they're available, we sit and visit. Tomorrow, my sister-in-law and I will drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I was just going to look at my previous post to see if I've said all this already, but my computer seems to be confused by being in Canada and wants to redirect to instead of So if I repeat myself, I repeat myself. (See what I did there?)

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Good evening. Tonight this blog comes to you from the great city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I am visiting my dear brother and his good and gentle wife, who live and work here. They are almost empty-nesters; they have a son in college who is still coming home for this summer, but their daughters are out earning their own livings.

They are gone to bed, sleeping the sleep of the just. I am awake. I guess jet lag still makes me feel like it's early evening instead of time to go to sleep. Plus, I slept for an hour or two this afternoon.

I did attend church this morning. My brother is the pastor of Willowdale Christian Reformed Church, so I was able to enjoy his excellent sermon on Revelation 5. I also appreciated the music, especially hearing the organ well-played. A little later in the morning, the three of us attended a Bible study where Professor Calvin Seerveld led is in a discussion of Psalm 73.

Later this week, my sister-in-law and I will drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we will attend the Festival of Faith & Writing at our alma mater, Calvin College. I just went and looked at their English department faculty, and none of the professors who taught me are there anymore. That's because of my age. My great English profs at Calvin were Richard Tiemersma, Henrietta Ten Harmsel, William Vande Kopple, Ed Ericson, Stanley Wiersma, Ken Kuiper, and Henry Baron,

For the next couple days, it's relaxation time for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

And another

Okay, here's one more. Whenever we mentioned our shoes, my dad said, "Put your shoes on, Lucy, don't you know you're in the city?"


In my family we have some ... jokes, I guess we can call them for lack of a better word. Or just reaction-sayings. If someone says X, we say Y. (X and Y are variables, not something we really say--except if someone says "Why?" we might very well say, "Because Y has a tail on it.")

Most of these sayings come from my dad. In passing them on to her children, my sister called them "Grandpa Lou-isms." Most of my dad's sayings come from radio programs and songs of the 1930s and 40s that he and his brothers heard in the barn. Out of context, they make no sense, but we say them anyway because that's how we were brought up.

One of these reaction-sayings is that if anyone mentions a bone, especially at the dinner table, my dad will say, "Save the bones for Henry Jones!" and all his brothers say the same. Sometimes my dad adds, "Cause Henry don't eat no meat," and, less often, a third line, "He's a vegetarian." I've heard that all my life and never thought much about where it came from.

Today I saw something online that was a list of song titles, and one was, "Save the bones for Henry Jones." So I googled it, and I found a video of Nat King Cole and Johnny Mercy singing that very song!

I thought, I wonder how many other of my dad's sayings are out there with some sort of background that helps them make sense? So I googled, "Spit in your shoe, give it to the teacher at half past two." That was something my dad said if anyone said, "What should I do?" But there was no sense to be found, at least via google. I found one or two mentions by people whose own parent said it, but never any explanation of why. (Because Y has a tail on it.)

But I did find this one. It so happens I like bananas, and if I ever said so, my dad said, "Because they have no bones." Voila.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Today is February 28. Normally that would be the last day of February, but this is a Leap Year, so tomorrow is the date that happens only once every four years. It seems like we shouldn't have to work on a day that appears once and then disappears for three years. It's hardly a real day. It's an imaginary day, perhaps even a magic day. Now you see it, now you don't. It shouldn't be a Monday; it should be a none-day.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Old Spinning Wheel

My siblings and I remember that sometimes our mom, while working around the house, would sing:

There's an old spinning wheel in the parlor,
Spinning dreams of the long, long ago.

That was as much of the song as she ever sang, so it's as much as I ever knew. I think she said her mom used to sing it. Tonight it occurred to me to look the song up, both the lyrics and someone singing it. I listened at youtube to a number of big band versions recorded in the 1930s, when my mom was a child, but they either had so much orchestration that they were overblown or they were so jazzy that they did not have that poignancy that I associate with the song. I liked best this very simple version sung by characters on the TV show "The Waltons."

The words are:

There's an old spinning wheel in the parlor,
Spinning dreams of the long, long ago,
Spinning dreams of an old-fashioned garden,
And a maid with her old-fashioned beau.

Sometimes it seems that I can hear her in the twilight,
At the organ softly singing "Old Black Joe."
There's an old spinning wheel in the parlor,
Spinning dreams of the long, long ago.