Monday, October 27, 2014

Octobers End

If ever there was a morning I regretted not having my camera along, this morning was it.  It was not exceptionally early, when we headed out the door.  Around seven o'clock, a gray morning, we were not woken up by the normal light!

Leaving Mister Cat and the photographer, who would NEVER leave without a camera, still sleeping. As we get outside, we are met by a crimson bright and gold sky to the East, heralding an approaching storm.  A fabulous drama in the distance.  Just beautiful!

Another reason for a camera today and this time of year in particular is because our neighborhood is dressed in her October best!  With all the fun corn stalk and bright pumpkin and squash displays on many porches and front steps.  There are scare crows and spiders.  Spider webs and bats.  Gravestones and skeletons.

As we go along, this particular morning and turn to go up Mark's Lane we see a magnificent rainbow,  spanning a bridge from one mountain range to another, across the San Benito Valley.  It was breathtaking!  People coming out of their houses taking pictures with I phones and cameras... while I had left both at home!

Lucky for us, we made it home just before it started raining!  Snug now, Garbo and Mister having eaten their breakfasts, the photographer and myself enjoying a cup of coffee, a bagel with cream cheese, gravlax and slivers of red onion.  A breakfast fit for both kings and queens.

As October is coming to an end our tomato plants are ready to give up the ghost.  We have truly enjoyed those little gems for a long time.  Preparing one of my favorite pasta dishes a couple of days ago, cooking cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, hot red pepper flakes, oregano and calamata olives. Adding a handful of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano before serving.... saying farewell to picking tomatoes on the back deck for a while.

Grateful to have thyme, rosemary and basil still, to stuff into soups, stews and chile con queso during the upcoming cooler season!

There are candles to light, movies to enjoy, hot tea, apple cider and chocolate to pour into our cups, or a glass of red wine to warm us up!

Come on Autumn.....  we are ready!

Monday, October 6, 2014

(some of) Our Dogs

Someone forwarded the following sentiment to us in an email this week.
A few days later I saw these same words posted on social media.
True words!

Words that tug at my and the photographers heart:

"Dogs come into our lives

to teach us

about Love,

they depart

to teach us about loss.

A new dog

never replaces

an old dog,

it merely expands

the heart!

If you have loved

many dogs

your heart




(Not all the dogs that have shared in our life are depicted here, most are.... Blackie (for one) who lived with us for 15 some years, is missing. We will feature him another day. Blackie was a small dog with a BIG life and a LOT of heart. John's best friend!)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Helmi ... A Life of Grace and Generosity

My Mother sitting on the bench and her sister Helmi "my other Mother."

What is it that connects two people in that special way that makes the relationship so strong, so easy, and the love flows strong and natural?  A love that simply IS!

Helmi is far right..
Helmi (far right)
Helmi (third from left)

How many times I have wondered?  Very  many times.  Thinking it might have something to do with the season in which you were born?  Is it connected with the astrological sign?  Chance?  Or simply chemistry?

Helmi and husband Gunnar with their two children Jan-Otto and Gunn

I do not have the answer still.  What I do know is that the persons in my life born in my own birth month, October, or under the same sign Libra, we do have a very special link somehow.

Gunnar and Helmi
My "Other Mother" my Aunt Helmi is on top of that special persons list.  She has had a profound influence in my life, teaching me almost everything I know about goodness, generosity, beauty in it's varying forms, humbleness and appreciation.

Helmi and my Mom

Helmi in her self-effacing way has always given more than she received.  She was never aware of her many amazing talents.  She would sew clothes to order as well as clothes for us, mend for friends and neighbours, let out and take  in seems, she baked the most delectable pastries, cakes and breads using a wood fired stove and oven and cooked and fed multitudes on a dime!  She canned and "apple-sauced" like no other. She the ultimate "caretaker" cared for  her children, her husband, (another special October person), her Mother, her Father, her sister, (my Mother) my sisters and myself.  Helmi tended hers and my Uncles garden.  Never wasting a thing!  She lived, when I was a little girl, in a flat with no warm water, she warmed water on the wood burning stove for those Friday night baths in a tub placed on the living room floor!  She was ALWAYS happy that you came to visit!  When you left  there was apple sauce and cake in your bag and some money in your pocket.

Later property was purchased, a house was built, with the help of family and friends.  There was warm running water and an electric stove. Imagine all the delectable items prepared there.  My cousins were married.  Grandchildren arrived. Great grandchildren too.  Still, in all that, I was somehow given  a special place.  There was always room for me too.

We wrote to each other, year after year!  Once overseas telephone calls became affordable I would call so we could chat, up until the day when it became difficult for Helmi to hear.  The physical distance between us has been far, most of my life, yet Helmi always felt close.  I think she always will feel close!

My beloved Moster Helmi transitioned into another realm today!  Surrounded by her family holding her hands.  It is difficult for me to think of her not physically on this earth.  For me to write to, or visit, or hug, or speak to.  Something I will miss, terribly.

Yet I know she is like a perennial flower, reappearing in all of us who loved her endlessly.

She left us three weeks before turning the 100 year mark.  I don't think she wanted any fuss....

Thank you Moster Helmi for ALL that LOVE!