Sunday, May 16, 2010


I went to pick up my son from college on Saturday to bring him home for the summer. This is my happy time. It's hard to believe that he has completed two years of college. It is always my favorite time when he comes home for the summer. While I was there, I took some interesting pictures. The first picture is of an American flag hoisted on a crane and flying over the street. I think there was some sort of celebration in the town going on. I know that Saturday was graduation at the university. The second picture is of a blooming hosta that was outside of the house where my son lives. The last two pictures are of the sunset that I took at my home on Thursday night.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Really Cold Week

It has been such a cold week with windy, rainy days and cold, cold nights. It's going down into the 40s again tonight. It's a great evening to drink tea and cuddle up with my cats and my stitching. I took a picture this afternoon of a dove sitting on my back patio, with the wind ruffling his feathers. My yellow-headed male blackbird was still here Sunday on his migration route north.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Birds and Other Critters

One of the greatest advantages about where I live is that I'm ten minutes from great shopping, Starbucks, and Ulta. The other great delight is that I can go outside or look out of one of my windows, and it appears as if I live in the country. There are blue and white herons, many varieties of birds, rabbits, ducks, geese, deer, and then there are the predators, coyotes and hawks. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took around my house this week.

Mr. Bunny was watching me as I took his picture, but he didn't run away. We have so many rabbits. I have to put a fence around my flower garden just so I have some flowers over the summer.

This pair of ducks decided to hang out in my raspberry patch. Hopefully, little ducklings will be around soon. After the ducklings hatch, the duck family lives in the nature area behind my house.

The bird in the feeder was an interesting bird with a yellow face and white on its wings. I have never seen a bird that looks like this around here. The red-winged blackbirds were not too happy and tried to chase him away.

This is another picture of the yellow-faced bird. He is really pretty. I believe he is a yellow-faced blackbird.

I took this picture of a hawk from my dining room window today. He was flying from fence to fence, but the red-winged blackbirds chased him out of the yards. He was quite magnificent. Maybe this is a sign that I should start stitching Autumn at Hawk Run Hollow.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reading with a purpose. . .or not

I always listen with great interest and attention to the titles of books my friends read. When we go around our stitching table and tell what good books we've been reading, I usually have as my bedside book something in the category of an English cozy or Scotland highland mystery by M.C. Beaton or a great mystery or gothic romance. My current book of choice is Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House. It is light and nice and enjoyable. In comparison to the books some people read, it is definitely on the softer side, without serious themes or passions. I sometimes feel like I should read more serious books in my leisure time, but then I realize that I read enough serious books as a part of my job.

Actually, my serious reading comes from the novels I teach to my junior and senior students. My juniors are just finishing The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. It is a brilliant, harrowing insight into the Vietnam War. It is memorable and the themes it embodies I don't think any of us, my students or me, will ever forget. Reading (and in my case re-reading) this book with young people and listening to their wonderful insights into the thematic aspects of this novel make reading and discussing this book even more remarkable to me.

My seniors are reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This is the penultimate descent into the darkness that exists within everyone. It is a book that challenges the reader and is one of the most difficult literary experiences that one will ever undertake. I can never say that I like the book, but I am glad that I have experienced this book. Teaching this book is often an exhausting lesson for teacher and student, but after reading it, I can honestly say that a person never looks at life in the same way again.

I believe that all reading is important, but I suppose that after the novels that I teach, my choice of English cozy, highland mystery, or gothic romance is a balance to the intricate works that I cover each day in my classes. For me, reading for enjoyment is an escape. I cannot imagine what life would be like without reading. Reading is a challenge at times and an escape at other times. The next book on my leisure list to read is The Tale of Halcyon Crane by Wendy Webb.  It should be a great read, and one that I look forward to beginning soon.