Sunday, December 28, 2014


We are in for three more days of gloomy weather.
Thank God it was sunny and beautiful on Christmas.
It is so dark in my house I could not dust if I wanted to.
No hiking, no going to the lake, no happy me getting chores done in the garden. Blah inside and out. All the lights went out on the living room tree again. Christmas afternoon, just as we were getting the table set. The family tree in the garden room is still shining :-)

In an effort to combat the glooms I have reverted to a favorite pastime. Getting into the "wishbooks" as my Mother called them. The seed catalogs from Parks or Burpees or Wayside Gardens to dream of gardens to be.

comet white eggplant

parks beauty blend

zephirine  drouhin climbing rose

bright lights swiss chard

queen lime zinnias

black beauty eggplant

4 seasons butter lettuce

heirloom moonflowers

golden egg squash

red stem malabar spinach

purple haze carrots

cocozelle squash

zohar sunflowers

mountain magic tomatoes

Warm Summer Echinacea

Yeah, I'm ready for that now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Keeping Christmas

Our mother was born on Christmas Day.
"Keeping Christmas"  has always been a joy.
I think because "keeping Christmas " did not mean shopping or packages or gifts.

It meant starting with opening the first window on an Advent calendar on December 1st. Actually we started before that tracing with our fingers where each numbered surprise was hiding. The anticipation each day was a wonderment to we children. Also a source of argument over who's turn it was to actually open the window and make the discovery of the images and message  therin.  I still have an advent calendar, Today's image is a colorful drawing of three people in the garb of the time and region looking "afar", the message from the book of Isaiah says. "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light".

Advent wreaths were in most every home, assisting with the countdown to Christmas and keeping us all mindful of the reason for the season. Because  our Mama was a booklover, all our lives she made sure we children had the wonder of books ready to hand, especially at Christmas. The Advent season is the inspiration for children's book  just filled with wonder,  making young hearts soar.

We had lots of Christmas books read to us too. Our mother gave her  time to not just read the words on the page but to fill our hearts and minds with the wonder of a tiny, homeless, infant being sent to save all  mankind. We read The Christmas Story and Twas The Night Before Christmas so often we all had the poem memorized before Kindergarten.  We never tired of  seeing the images on the page or laughing at the idea of a daddy in a "kerchief". I still read my copy every season. Actually reading is maybe one of my primary ways to keep Christmas in my heart. I have a book of Christmas Stories which I read, in it's entirety, every year.

In my youth, and in Mermaid's, the Christmas Miracle plays in school and churches kept us busy with learning the message, contributing to the message and making costumes or sets for the performances or for the Nativity.
This was perhaps my favorite because I love to make things in general but I most especially  love theatre sets.
Truly the first chords of Christmas music makes visions of Christmas dance in my head.

I have attempted over the years to construct gingerbread houses or churches but the truth is I am not a baker. I did for a few years make an effort to create beautiful  painted Christmas cookies.  Alas,  they remained a vision in my head far different from the messy reality distributed to the residents of the duck pond down the street.

Keeping Christmas also meant getting in the car with cups of hot chocolate ,Christmas music playing, to drive around the neighborhoods to admire the  Christmas decorations and lights, the nativities set up on church lawns with lights shining on them. I still do this with the heater on and the windows open no matter how cold it is.

My most favorite part of Christmas has always been "Decking the Halls".  The first year Blowfish was courting me during a Christmas season he offered to "get the tree down for me". I found the offer confusing because I was pretty sure what I did every year was put a tree up, not down.  As it turned out, Blowfish and family favored artificial trees which they  kept stored in the attic,  I was horrified.
He found my reaction befuddling asking this, "You still do that real tree thing?" To which I responded, " It's deck the halls with boughs of holly not plastic" To his credit, Blowfish willingly goes forth every year to fetch and trim and set up as many real trees as I want, usually three.

 At the end of the season he willingly  helps to undecorate them all, pack up the delicate treasures of my childhood and Mermaids, haul numerous boxes up the stairs to the attic and helps with the cleanup of the fallen needles left behind. If ever he wishes for plastic trees past he keeps it to himself.

I have found, over the years, the traditional elements of Christmas celebrations from my own youth, my mother's stories of her dreamed for  Christmas celebrations and most especially the memories of all the Christmases of Mermaid's childhood are still the elements which most raise my awareness of God. I have been so blessed to live my life bracketed by my child and my mother. Both gifts beyond all measure. Every year, when we are home at the Pond, or away "keeping Christmas" in our hearts has always been the core of all  our joy.

May you be so blessed.


Today's window in my advent calendar says:
" Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation"
Luke 2:25-35

Monday, December 15, 2014

Six geese a layin?
How  many eggs are in  nog?
Just drink the brandy!

Friday, December 12, 2014


The message in today's window of my Advent calendar:

An angel of the Lord appeared;
"I bring you good news"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peace Be With You

Peace be with you all.

I will confess,
I have made palm crosses
Palm Sunday palms
every year of my life
since learning how to

Some years
adjacent pews
are focused on how
this happens.
I quietly
take their palms 
make them into crosses
and send them back
to smiling faces

On very blessed years
I spend the majority of the mass
crafting palms
for those
who quietly pass me their palms
smiling hopefully
spreads joy for most
but earns me
glaring disapproval
from others

I will confess 
I do not enjoy 
what I call
the mob mentality masses
I cannot speak
the parts
of the crowd
thirsty for evil
calling out,
"Crucify Him!"

of speaking horrors
I hang my head
 praying  intently
 in human spirits
I craft crosses

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blessings on You!

May you have the hindsight to know where you have been
The foresight to know where you are going, and
The insight to know when you have gone too far!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Haiku Monday: Balance

Good Morning Haiku Contributors.

This week our Haiku mission is to explore the concept of 


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The No Bowl Winner

A note about that OTHER game, congratulations to Seattle's SeaHawks.
They played impressive football.  I think they have ushered in a new era in football
of fleet, fit, finessed gridiron gladiators. About the Broncos....Peyton showed up to play,
I'm not to sure what happened to his teammates.

Our game had some low and high scores as well.
Thanks to all challengers and a special welcome to new to the Pond player Amanda.
Our thanks also to Chickory for giving us all another game to play! Her haiku:

Ten thousand items
eleven ingredients
Mexican kitchen

To quote Karl, Chickory's wit and wisdom have been missed! I loved this for it's wit, humor, syllable count, construction and the game within the haiku . A menu and a game in just 17 cleverly crafted syllables!  Did you select your eleven ingredients? Mine are these:

Chickory expanded our Game Day fun while declining to compete. 
A winning generosity for sure.

Our naturalist Serendipity cleverly wove the GAMES together with her haiku about a Hawk.

House sparrow main course
Sharp shinned Hawk dines well this eve
Warm flesh heats her gut

Serendipity never ducks the realities of nature. In her environs a warm meal is often survival.
As it turns out, Serendipity did not need a TV to know the score. She predicted it.
The HAWKS dined very well.

Amanda showed up with a childhood gaming classic:

Hiding eyes counting
Others running, hiding fast
Shout, "Ready or not!"

What a charming haiku!
I could feel the rush of excitement from here. We all grew up playing hide and seek. Most of us were blessed to repeat the experience through our own children or loaners. Also, in classic Haiku form there are two halves of a whole concept. If you take out the middle line the message is still clear.  Well done Amanda. Alas, the subject was "menu".

Karl  brought home a big score with this recipe:

Embrace principle
Learning Loving Integrity
Fulfillment menu

This is my favorite entry. I love the concept of having a menu for fulfillment of life.
I so agree with him! To organize a life of principles with an eager reach for learning, for loving well, for bringing integrity to efforts large and small IS gourmet living. Remember the game LIFE? Traveling the roads, rolling the dice, filling your car up with pink and blue babies while trying to pay your  bills? In the Karl approach to a life lived well you need not roll the dice. Just take the high road! Unfortunately my favorite haiku is off  count with  8 syllables in the mid line.


I love our Monday Haiku game. I do not love judging.
So I'm taking a cue from the coaches of that other game
I'm sending in a replacement!

Sunday football fun
beer, wings, chips, dips and, more beer!
Cause brown bottle flu

Congratulations KARL, you are our winner.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First February Haiku Monday Game Day

Welcome Haiku-ers to The Game.
Of course there are some who think the Big Game is about  the Super Bowl.
Like that other game, our weekly haiku contest  is eagerly anticipated. I've already received several  foot tapping, harruummppphing  messages reminding me Friday was POST DAY.

After the shock of the Oops win over at Serendipity Do Dah's I spent some time thinking about themes for this week. I finally landed on a subject I thought had not been done and would be fun when  one of my projects went into overtime leaving none for games.

Somewhere, in the midst of this 2880 minute drill, I lost interest in the original theme.

Maybe it got hijacked by all the hype about that other game.
I think the Super Bowl Season is the  Season of Lucre for those in Advertising.
They have reached saturation via every media form possible. Some of that seeped in.
Or, maybe, it was Blowfish  who thinks far more about the food for a big game day than the game.
Or maybe it was his foot tapping, harruummphing impatience over no posted  Game Day Menu for the Pond. It is a well known fact Blowfish  enjoys his food best when he has had time to  anticipate every offering.

Last night I arrived home late. Again. After our normal dinner hour.  Blowfish was so puffed out he looked like one of those WWII mines waiting to explode with minimal contact. Here it was
  Friday Night on Super Bowl Weekend
and there was  no dinner and no menu posted for THE GAME.  Even worse, there was no stocked larder or stuffed refrigerator for him to investigate the mystery of the menu. Alarmingly, he had not been sweetly summoned to fetch in mountains of grocery bags from the Fizz.  Before I got my coat shrugged off he was saying, " Fishy, I've been thinking it sure would be great if you'd make us some of those sweet, juicy, baby back ribs for the Game"

That's so ordinary I thought this year we'd celebrate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches."

So now you know. 
Our theme this week is 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany Blessings!

This year in the deep South, the  twelfth day of Christmas will  be accompanied  by a mammoth Winter storm dropping temperatures into the single digits.

There is much preparing. Folks are stocking up on firewood, kerosene, propane, charcoal, matches and sterno. There is concern ice will down power  lines and leave families at risk with no means for warmth.

Even at the Pond we went out to fetch home some essentials.  We were out of winter suet cakes for the wild birds which spend the cold season with us. It will be too cold for most of them but we hope they will find a good place to survive the freeze.  We are trying to help.

 This morning there was a war with bully squirrels trying to oust a mother bird from her good, dry, tree hole. I came  rushing inside to ask Blowfish to help with bb gun, rocks, whatever was at hand to protect the Dove who was crying out for mercy. A Dove. On Epiphany Eve, trying to find a safe place to nest. Blowfish shook his head at my foolish hope to avert the dark side of nature. One nesting bird against a gang of four determined squirrels? Back outside  I yelled, I threw stones, I shook my fist at the squirrels and then I came inside to grab a bag of trail mix to scatter up the driveway in hopes of luring them away from Dove.


All three of our Christmas trees are still up, lights shining morning and night when we are home. We always leave our halls decked and our trees lighted through Epiphany. We are in the minority as most families now put their trees up earlier and take them down sooner.
I find it odd that a Christian calendar is no longer followed in celebrating Christmas.  We saw several discarded trees along the side of the road this morning on our way to fetch suet. I thought, " It's so close, you could have made it!".  Sometimes the rush to pack away and end the Christmas season seems greater than the rush to prepare for the celebration of Christ.


Once, years ago I rode a camel at the zoo in New Orleans. It was not my favorite experience. I certainly would not want to travel by camel over rough terrain for twelve days and nights. As did the three kings. The wise men. Who prepared  to accept a messiah. Bearing gifts they traversed afar.
They followed a star to guide them to His perfect Light. They prepared and pursued.

 On camels!

I have a cookbook my sister gave me long years ago. It follows the Catholic calendar with traditional recipes for various feast days or  celebrations of saints. The recipes hail from around the globe so there is much diversity of taste and tradition which demonstrates the entire world can get on the same page.
With a little effort. No traversing afar by camel required.

In this book "A Continual Feast" it has a bit of history to accompany the recipes. I was surprised to read the celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, begun in the third century, predates the Feast of Christ's Nativity or Christmas Day, begun in the fourth century. In my childhood, everyone I knew celebrated Epiphany. There were many families who distributed one gift to each child for each of the twelve days  of Christmas. Often with the best gift arriving on Epiphany. Just like the Magi arriving with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  Now? Well let's just say our neighbors joke about how we Fishy's are the last family to take down our traditions. 

Are you  familiar with the tradition of a Kings Cake in honor of the Magi on this 12th day of Christmas?   There are many traditions but most of them include the baking of gifts within the cake. Gold or silver coin or trinkets are incorporated into the batter. The person(s) receiving the gifts in their serving may look forward to an especially blessed year. I wonder if the Southern tradition of adding a lucky dime to the black eyed peas on New Year's Day is borrowed from the King's cake tradition?

No matter.

Whatever the traditions of
 Christmas , 
New Year  
you celebrate.

May you be joyful
May you be healthy
May you be prepared
May you celebrate life's many blessings