An interesting post on finding beauty in the aftermath of wildfire.


In the aftermath of a wildfire we are confronted with profound destruction that it leaves in it’s wake.  Occasionally, afterwards there are strange and interesting forms that appear.  This black oak tree was changed into an a new form.  Once is was a beautiful green tree,  now it stands like a statue in it’s monochrome setting.

The rock formation below was there all along, but the brush obscured the view and prevented access to it.  The wildfire revealed it as if someone pulled a cover off of a sculpture.

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Granddaughter’s Note

Grandchildren are purveyors of bliss. In my office, just below the window side of my desk, the backside of a dry-erase board is visible. The dry-erase board is facing the wall to protect it.

Okay, I know, I can take a picture of it, and I have taken a picture. The picture does preserve the memory. But a picture, though it may be worth a thousand words, can never take the place of my granddaughter’s note to her grandpa and me.

Grand Thing One wrote an wonderful “Rainbow Note” to Grandma and Grandpa. Fresh out of Kindergarten and on the way to first grade, here is Grand Thing One’s “Rainbow Note”

During a visit when Grand Thing One had just completed Kindergarten, she spontaneously wrote a note to us on the whiteboard from my office. She changed out color markers as she pleased, and the adorned the note with an illustration of herself with Grandma, Grandpa, and Tom Dog. (Tom Dog is her daddy’s dog.) The lovely note, exactly as written is in the picture. Here is how she read it to us:

“I Love Grandma and Grandpa. Your dogs are cute, I love them too. I love to read with you and they make me laugh. It is funny. I love to stay up with you, it makes me happy to stay up with you. When I see the sunshine it makes me sing about you. You fill my heart with love. I do not want to leave. I want to stay right here. I will not move. It was nice to see you but it was fun with you. Good-bye, I will see you soon. Good-bye, I love you, good-bye.”

 A straight line from her house to ours is 1350 miles. She is in 2nd grade now. I think I will send her some stationary, addressed envelopes and stamps. We Google Hangout often, and we call, but a nice note from little hands is a moment of bliss a grandma cannot resist.

As you see, I have a picture, but I do not, and never will, have the heart to erase her letter. So, all of you people out there in blog land, someone must know how to preserve this dry-erase message.

Is there a spray? Can the surface be laminated? Do I leave it as is and just pray nothing happens? Do I buy multiple dry-erase boards and experiment?

Your suggestions are welcome in this grandma’s desire to preserve bliss.

Her Papa’s Eyes

Bella arrived for her visit on Friday. It is almost 3 months since her sire, Hawk, suddenly died.  Bella’s litter was born shortly thereafter. She is almost 10 weeks old.

When I saw the litter, she caught my attention, she has her papa’s soulful eyes.  The litter owner chose to keep her. I would have made the same choice.  There is something very special about a puppy. Something very healing. A puppy oozes bliss.

When I had a bad day of bone pain, Hawk would lay at my side. It was easier to breath through the ache. I often wondered if he would be big enough the help steady me as the bone disorder destroyed my ability to walk.

Earlier this year when my old girl died at 16½ (very old for a retriever), he spent the better part of two weeks staying by my side. Neither of us knew at that time that death would separate us so soon.

These passing weeks I have been haunted by dreams of his sound as he struggled for breath. In the palm of my hand I can still feel the cessation of his heartbeat. There was nothing we could do to save him. We could only help him pass when the struggle became suffering.

There was a moment, when his gaze held mine and it was clear he knew he was dying. He worried about me to the end.

Our pets are not like children. They are not people. They hold a different place in our hearts, their own place. Some people may not understand what I mean, that’s okay.

So, today, as I see the similarities to Hawk in his daughter, I can’t help but have that ache tug at my heart. I am not ready for another puppy. The time will come, but not now.

Bella is just here for a visit, she goes home tomorrow night. As you can see, she has her papa’s soulful eyes.

Hawk at 7½ weeks on the left. Bella at almost 10 weeks on the right.

Grandma’s Morning Cup

Grandma's Morning Cup

A child’s art is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

My favorite cup features art from our oldest granddaughter. She drew this little row of flowers when she was four. I need to make an updated cup, she is seven now. Perhaps the new one will include refrigerator masterpieces from her younger sister and brother.

For parents looking for something special for Grandma and Grandpa, consider art from grandchildren. Grandchild art can be featured on an everyday item, like my favorite cup, or simply framed or on the front of a card.

I often receive treasured showpieces from our grandchildren. The gift of art from little hands is a moment of bliss that continues to give.

9-11 Birthdays

Tim brings me coffee every morning. Our morning time has developed a routine, we watch the news and like most great friends, our best conversations solve the ills of the world before we set about our day.

The day started as most others; Tim crossed the living room with a steaming cup of hot coffee. His eyes reflected his flirty smile.
As he began to speak, I noticed his distraction to the news feed.

“Happy birthd… the towers are on fire.”

We turned up the volume just as the second plane hit.
Everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing on September 11, 2001.

People are born everyday; odds are we all share our date of birth with an unpleasant event of some sort or another.  For me, for my niece, and for countless others, 9-11 is our birthday.

Life is a balance.  Good things and bad things happen everyday. I hope for those of us with a 9-11 birthday, that we strive for good, that we strive for balance.
As I give thanks for the blessings in my life, I offer prayers for those lost and those who still mourn.

May we all celebrate life and bring a little bliss into the lives we touch.

Repository of Bliss

Local Art Gallery

I was so excited 11 years ago to get our new stainless refrigerator. Until I plopped the first magnet up. Thankfully, one side still allows us to have an open gallery. Hint to refrigerator manufacturers, if you make a magnetic panel on the stainless front, sales to grandmas will increase.

The refrigerator has transformed our world. I am not talking about the obvious benefits of extending the life of fresh foods.
The rich sustenance provided by a refrigerator comes in the form of an art gallery.

I am always fascinated by this local gallery in homes. Grandparents, parents, extended family and friends – they all have one. Oh, yeah people post, pin, like, tweet, blog, and G+, but really their greatest treasures will be found in their personal gallery at home. If you want to know where their heart lies, look at the refrigerator, the obvious repository of the heart of bliss.

Summer’s Dusk

As September begins, many are already calling the season autumn.
It is not fall.
Not yet.
It is still summer. The part when summer and autumn tug a bit. There is a nip in the air, yet some days, the heat of hot wind still parches the skin.
It is a restless time.
Change is coming. We have entered Summer’s Dusk.

Summer’s Dusk
© Mary Livingston
Photo: September moonrise over Millville Plains.
Mamiya RB67