Monday, December 24, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012


     I saw Steven Spielberg's Lincoln a week ago, and it is a masterpiece. Daniel Day Lewis is brilliant as Lincoln, and the rest of the cast is equally good. Two things struck me about the movie which deals with Lincoln's attempts to get the 13th Amendment passed which would end the institution of slavery. The first was a scene of a bitter confrontation between an anguished President and his distraught wife as they tried to grapple with the loss of their young son. Their pain was palpable, and I thought of that scene over and over as the news from Newtown unfolded.
     The second thing about the movie which struck me was the look and feel of the movie. From the bloody battlefields to the streets of Washington to the White House itself,  the viewer was transported to those times and places. It is an amazing film which I encourage you to see. I'd give it an A+.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Spirit

     Though the halls are decked and the trees trimmed,  it has been difficult if not impossible to feel any Christmas spirit after the unspeakable tragedy which took the lives of so many beautiful, innocent children and adults in Newtown, CT last week.
      Yesterday afternoon, I attended a Christmas show at the school of one of my youngest cousins. It was a truly joyful program filled with songs by each of the grades and a Nativity play put on by the eighth graders. All of the children had obviously practiced long and hard, and it brought a smile to the faces of everyone in the audience as we watched and listened to each enthusiastic performance.
    This photo above is of the Portiuncula Chapel  on the grounds of the Cardinal Cushing Center in Hanover, MA. I took this quick shot with my small Canon PowerShot which I always carry with me. Emma had been at the groomers, and so after picking her up I circled around to look at the lights. I hopped out of the car and took this quick shot.
    Here is Emma all spiffed up and ready for Christmas.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

'Tis the Season

     Yesterday morning I finished putting up my outside decorations.  Emma didn't help with the ornaments or lights as she was far too busy being on patrol. My neighbors have a bird feeder which also attracts pesky squirrels that race along the top of the fence separating our yards driving Emma absolutely nuts.
     This tree had been a tiny DPW sapling giveaway about twelve to fifteen years ago. It remained small for a long time but now has grown quite large. Even with a small stepladder and garden tool to pull down some of the higher branches, I'm unable to decorate the top of the tree.
     Next it was time to head off to "Ladies' Lunch" with my cousin and her two adorable little girls. After lunch, we went to mail their letters to Santa. It's always great fun spending time with these precious little girls. Still later, I got together with my quilting buddies. Some of whom showed off some recently completed gorgeous quilts. What a talented bunch they are!
     Speaking of friends, eleven members of the Dancing Queens dined together at Burton's in Hingham on Tuesday evening. It was good to see everyone and to welcome an old friend from our days at East Junior High to the group.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What a Difference a Day Makes

     Yes, these are the same roses from Friday's post. We had snow flurries all day Saturday. There was a good coating of snow on the lawn, but it melted on the roads. Last night when I took Emma out for the last time before bedtime, the snow on the cabbage plants on my porch caught my eye. It was about 11:30 and very cold, but I went inside, grabbed my small camera, and snapped this quick photo.

     Why didn't I wait until this morning to take the photo? Well, that's because by this morning the snow had all melted and the temperature was in the high forties. Tomorrow it will be even warmer in the fifties. You have to love New England weather; the only thing constant about our weather is the inconstancy of it.
     Yesterday, I took Emma to see Santa. It was a fund raiser at a pet stop in Hingham Center, and the money was to be donated to an organization which builds adaptive homes for returning disabled veterans. I was afraid of how Emma might handle sitting on Santa's lap, but I needn't have worried. She was adorable. I can't wait to see the photo that I should receive sometime this week.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Floral Bright Spots

     The weather has been very cold the last few days with the frost having killed off the annuals in my garden. Amazingly, two roses are still in bloom. 

     Inside, the holiday cacti are putting on quite a show. In fact, everyone has been remarking about their cacti also being early and beautiful.

    I brought this hibiscus in from the sunporch when it started getting colder earlier this month. At first, it didn't seem to be adjusting too well, but now . . . Wow! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kaye England

     On Sunday afternoon I attended a talk by Kaye England which was held at Ann's Fabrics in Canton, MA. Kaye is the author of many quilting books and patterns, and besides being a master quilter she is also one very funny and entertaining woman. She showed many of her stunning quilts including some from an upcoming book. I purchased her book, Quilt Inspirations from Africa. The first half is a fascinating exploration of the world of African art and design while the second half provides ideas and patterns for sixteen African inspired quilts. An African safari has always been on my wish list and though I may never get to Africa, I can certainly use this book to create my own African inspired quilt.
     Saturday night I attended a performance of The Wiz at Weymouth High School. It was outstanding, truly a wonderful performance. There were a number of leads whose voices were unbelievable. It's amazing to see the talent that all of these young people have.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pretty in Pink

     I haven't featured Emma in a post for a while, so today I thought I would share some recent photos. She is now ten months old. The photo above was taken last week before she was groomed. Here she is a few days later all spiffed up.

 This pink sweater had belonged to my sweet Katie whom I lost in January, and it made me smile to see Emma wearing it.   

     Emma had a fun time last weekend. Friends came for dinner Saturday night, and Emma, of course,  was sure they had come just to see her. Then on Veterans' Day, my cousin came with her two little girls to see the parade. When we returned to my house, the girls and their mom waited in the backyard while I went inside to let Emma out. Both my cousin and I wished we had thought to film it when Emma saw the girls. Excitement doesn't begin to define Emma's reaction. They have visited her a number of times since she first arrived, and Emma loves the girls, and they love her. There was much kissing, hugging, tail wagging, face licking, and happy dancing going on. The three had races, and they introduced her to the joy of jumping into a huge pile of leaves. Emma was a bit tentative at first, but soon joined in the fun.
     One last photo taken yesterday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Very Busy Day

     Wednesdays are always busy for me, but yesterday was even busier than usual. It started with  breakfast with friends at Stars in Hingham Harbor. Next, I dashed home to let Emma play outside for a little while before I was off to catch the 11:00 commuter boat from Hingham to Boston. A small group of fellow travelers from our Italy trip were headed into the North End for lunch. Along the way, we stopped to take a few pictures.

        Here's a peek into the Old North Church.

     We had a delicious lunch at La Familgia Giogo, and the portions were so large we each left with enough food for another meal.

   The next stop was Bova's Bakery also on Salem Street where I purchased some delicious pistachio cookies.  Here's the really interesting part. A camera crew from a local TV show, Chronicle, was in the bakery filming a piece which is supposed to air this Tuesday evening.
     We strolled around a bit more and then caught the 3:30 commuter boat back to Hingham which allowed me to get home early enough to spend time with Emma before heading back out again to meet my quilting buddies.  See what I mean about it having been a very busy, but also a very fun day? 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting Day 2012

     Today dawned clear, bright and cold here in New England, a perfect day to get out and vote. I just returned from casting my vote, and I was thrilled to see that by 9:10 a.m. 293 votes had already been cast at my precinct. There are many precincts in Weymouth, so this is a good indication that the voting turnout will be high.

     "Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual--or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country. "
Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, Harry Alonzo Cushing, editor (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1907), Vol. IV, p. 256.

     I am, admittedly, a political news junkie and watch the pundits on the major news channels and will spend tonight channel surfing. While my friends are totally tired and fed up with the long campaign, the thousands of commercials, the obscene amount of money being spent, the conventions and the debates, I have to say that I will miss it all!  :-)


Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dancing Queens Do Lunch

     The Dancing Queens met for lunch today at the 99 Restaurant in Hingham. Twelve of us were able to make it this time including two of our newly retired friends. These photos are a bit blurry, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. Our obliging waitress took multiple photos with two different iPhones and after some major tweaking, these are the best of the group.

     For those new to this blog, the Dancing Queens are a group of friends who taught for many years in the Weymouth School System.  Carol, our social secretary, does an excellent job of getting us together each month for some type of fun activity. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Few Fall Scenes

     Early one morning recently, I went with two friends from the South Shore Camera Club in search of  some fall color. The local color this season has not been as bright as one would have hoped. These shots were taken behind the town hall in Hanson. I did like the reflections, so I will definitely return to this spot next year.

     Then we headed to Lelan Farm in Middleboro where the owners allowed us to wander about to take a few photographs.

     Finally, we visited the Soule Homestead where there are nature trails and you may visit the animals in the pasture. Most of the sheep were neutral about our visit, but these two seemed to enjoy our company. (Carol took the photo below.) Nothing like scratching a few noses to make new friends! 

 Just the week before I had been in Siena . . . now I was making friends in a sheep pasture. Life is good!  :-)

     This final shot was taken last weekend while attending a four-day quilt getaway with friends at the Strong House Inn in Vergennes, VT. As always, we had a great time and visited a few quilt shops. I usually go out early each morning and drive around photographing farm scenes, but this time each morning the fog was just too thick. It wouldn't have been safe driving the unfamiliar backroads, but I did manage to make this shot at the falls.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saluti di Montecatini Alto

     On Sunday morning I attended Mass at the beautiful, modern Basilica di S. Maria Assunta (Mary of the Assumption) which was two blocks from our hotel. After Mass, we strolled to an outside market and had lunch at an outdoor cafe. Later that afternoon after packing, I decided to head to the  Funicolare which would bring me up to Montecatini Alto.

     Here's a view of Montecatini from the top.

     The skies were threatening and because the air was quite cold, I only spent a short time there, but these were some of my favorite images.

     What a wonderful way to spend our final day in Italy. The evening ended with a farewell dinner with lots of dancing at our hotel.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saluti da Montecatini

     Our hotel for the entire trip was the Hotel Columbia Wellness and Spa in Montecatini. It was lovely and very centrally located.

       I have posted photos of the carousels in Florence and in Lucca, but Montecatini had a truly special,  two-level carousel. 

     Tomorrow I will post photos from Montecatini Alto.