April Heat

Believe me, we in NH are very happy that winter is over and the snow is gone. We are thrilled that we can hear the peepers at dusk, the best harbinger of Spring there is. We are over the moon about the resurgence of daffodils, hyacinths, crocus, and lilac buds as well as the chives and mint already coming up in our gardens.

However, this 80 to 85 degree heat is waaaaaay too early. I hate to complain (I feel I have used up my complaint quota during that last snow storm in March), but seriously; it’s just too hot. Even my dad, who is always bundled up, has asked me to turn the overhead fan on over the bed, and he no longer wears his down jacket to breakfast. So you know it’s too hot.

However, the unusual April heat does not last, and Spring is finally here. The air is softer, kinder, and sweet-smelling breezes tussles the tiny leaf buds and branches as gently as a mother rocking her newborn.

The achingly lovely calls of the cardinals are thrilling to hear again, and it won’t be long before the little brown bats will fly out at dusk to feed. I can’t wait until we can put the rockers out on the front porch, enjoy our glass of red, and wave to the cars going by.

The Crankee Yankee already has the garden beds all planned out; red and yellow tomatoes, pickling cukes, purple and golden beets, radishes, peas, lettuce, arugula, sweet onions, corn, leeks, parsnips, broccoli rab, scallions, and, for the back porch; a large bed of catnip and cat grass.

Even though I have lived through and thoroughly enjoyed over 65 springs, it is still thrilling to enjoy this newest spring. Robert Browning says it well in Pippa’s Song in “Pippa Passes:”

“The year’s at the spring,

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven—

All’s right with the world!”


For the Love of Purses

Does anyone else have a special bond with their purse, or is it just me? Call them a purse, pocketbook or a portmanteau, we women love them.

I have a great Baggallini purse in gorgeous purple (with a lime interior) that I love. Here it is in all its splendor:

Baggallini Avenue Travel Tote, Violet, One Size

Seriously, isn’t it gorgeous? It holds an amazing amount of things, it has pockets everywhere, plus a key clasp which I love—no more rooting around for my keys. It has a shoulder strap as well as regular short ones, and the color works with nearly everything I own. As I usually dress in black, purple, turquoise, red, lime, cobalt or orchid anyway, the purple purse works.

Now, that said, I find myself clutching it to me like a life-line. The last time that the Crankee Yankee and I went to see a movie, I kept my purse on my lap the whole time. Since this particular movie had been out for a while, the audience consisted of we two plus two other couples, so I could have just put the bag on the seat next to me.

But it seems I formed a special purse-bond with this amazing bag. Obviously when out in public I don’t want my purse far from me in case of purse-snatching, but in the movies no one was anywhere near us. Purse paranoia, I guess.

When we are driving somewhere, I could certainly put the bag in the back seat, but no—I like to have it in my lap. So there I sit, with it squatting on my lap like a big purple pussycat.

Then there is all the stuff in my purse that I feel I need to have with me at all times:

  • address book and pocket calendar
  • extra pens and a notebook
  • a folding fan
  • Several hankies
  • my cell phone
  • wallet, containing all the requisite wallet-age
  • tissues
  • mini flashlight
  • reading glasses
  • sun glasses
  • small tube of sunscreen
  • small bag of nuts and raisins (just in case)
  • paperback book (in case I get stuck somewhere boring)
  • extra pair of earrings (in case I lose one I’m wearing)
  • a cloth zip bag containing such essentials as:
    • aspirin
    • cough drops
    • lip balm
    • lipstick
    • eyebrow pencil
    • mini Swiss army knife
    • round retracting tape measure
    • extra pen

Is it me, or does anyone else feel the need to carry all this stuff around like a “*bug-out” bag?

*Per Wikipedia, “The term “bug-out bag” is related to, and possibly derived from, the “bail-out bag” emergency kit many military aviators carry. In the United States, the term refers to the Korean War practice of the U.S. Army designating alternative defensive positions, in the event that the units had to displace.

They were directed to “bug out” when being overrun was imminent. The concept passed into wide usage among other military and law enforcement personnel, though the “bail-out bag” is as likely to include emergency gear for going into an emergency situation as for escaping an emergency. 




One Smooth Stone

Just recently, I found a beach stone of Mom’s I hadn’t seen before. It is beautifully worn, about an inch and a half long, and is gray with two bands of black.

It has been handled so much that it is silky and smooth. We always liked finding beach glass and unique stones at the ocean; who doesn’t love finding such treasure?

It showed up some time after Mom’s funeral, and I’ve kept it close ever since. I like to think that it still has some of Mom’s presence within it.

Who knows from what part of the world it came, and why it came to our family. As artists give something of themselves to whatever they make; a glass vase, a necklace, a ceramic bowl, a knitted scarf, etc., it is part and parcel of that artist, and there remains a spark of magic within it.

Whenever I make jewelry for someone, I think of that person while I am making it; who they are and what mean to me. I think of that person, and soon the right colors and design comes to me.

The final product represents my appreciation and love for that person. Often the colors will come to me as clearly as a spoken word.

As for that smooth stone of Mom’s, I believe it was meant for her, then me. I like its smooth and silky texture, and the way it fits my hand. It’s funny what we treasure, and how that treasure seems to come right to us, isn’t it?

Last April, I went to a retreat on Drake’s Island, ME. It was a wonderful and healing two days, and walking on the beach with the warm sun and cool breeze at my back was a true gift. As always, I looked for sea glass and any other gifts from the sea.

I happened to pick up a rectangular stone with a curious design on one side that looked exactly like a sunbeam penetrating a low cloud straight through to the sea. The meaning was immediately clear to me; the sun always breaks through the clouds.

It had been four months prior that my mom had died, and I felt as if that stone was a comforting message to let me know that everything was all right. I later showed the stone to my dad, and he agreed.

Little love notes like this are proof that we are not forgotten, nor are we ever left alone; even when family and friends go on before us. Whatever you want to call it; the universe, the divine, God, angels, whatever—the messages to us are unmistakable and clear: we are loved and cared for all during our earth lives and beyond.

Even if the message is simply one smooth stone.