music makes the world go round

The Keswick Theatre kicked off their 90th Anniversary in Glenside with a concert by In The Pocket.

David Uosikkinen of The Hooters is the founder, genius and heart behind this musical project which captures the sounds of Philadelphia….and a lot of the amazing bands we grew up with.

Tonight’s performance was amazing, and every time you see this amazing ensemble perform it’s a little different. There is a core group and others who cycle in and out depending upon their schedules.

Music is always good for what ails almost everyone and this evening I loved every magical moment.

Happy Birthday Keswick!

gardening reading for the winter

My garden is wearing her winter structure already. Harder angles, the stick shapes of shrubs like my red twig dogwoods. Giant pussy willow boughs naked of leaves and catkins bobbing when a breeze blows. Looking up, the trees and their limb structure look like giant arms outstretched, and everywhere are squirrels’ nests (and even a squirrel box for our Eastern Flying Squirrels!)

Our annual tree work is done and the flower beds are resting comfortably under piles of oak leaves. I pruned the rose bushes a few weeks back, and planted my bulbs. I still spray for deer every few weeks, however.

Now as we enjoy the remainder of the Christmas season and are headed towards New Year’s Eve, I have already started the countdown to spring and wondering what the garden will look like because every year as my garden matures, it’s a little different.

As we head further into winter months, my inner gardener always gets twitchy. It’s hard to dig in the dirt when the ground is frozen, after all.

So how do I bide my gardening time until it’s spring? Gardening and seed catalogs and gardening books.

This winter’s reading list for books will be as follows:

  • Down To Earth by Monty Don
  • The Complete Gardener by Monty Don
  • The New Shade Garden by Ken Druse

Read a review of Down to Earth HERE. You can buy new and used copies on Amazon and eBay.

The Complete Gardener has been out quite a few years now. My edition is 2003. But it is worth the purchase. My copy came from eBay and a British book seller. Also available through many sources including Amazon.

The New Shade Garden by Ken Druse first came out in 2016. I had to do a bit of a search to track down a copy of this book. It’s a little pricey too. But it is an awesome book thus far. The book has suggested plant lists which I love. The author, Ken Druse, also has a website which is terrific.

Anyway, these are the books I am delving into while I wait for spring.

Thanks for stopping by.

ghosts of christmas cards past

This morning I slept much later than usual. So waking up was a slow, slow process from a deep, deep sleep.

As I waited for my French Press coffee to be ready I sat there on the sofa looking at our Christmas tree which sits in front of our bookcases. My eyes caught the glimpse of what looked like forgotten mail on top of books on a lower bookshelf. I got up and walked over to pull the pile out. (I have a habit of stashing mail if it’s lying around and people come over. It looks messy to me to have mail lying around.)

It wasn’t old mail, per se, that I pulled out of the bookshelf. What I pulled out was an old pile of Christmas cards tied up with a Christmas ribbon.

Ah yes, another habit of mine. I hang onto Christmas cards. People put so much effort into their cards. They are pretty, personal, and festive. The photo cards are people’s families caught in a moment in time. Sometimes it’s fun to see how everyone has grown, so I untied the ribbon to look at them once more.

These were the Christmas 2016 Christmas cards received. The first card which caught my eye, was one where the envelope had spidery Catholic school taught cursive of years gone by. It was the last Christmas card I ever received from my Godmother who passed away last Christmas Day.

That card had me in an emotional puddle immediately. Was it really a year almost already? She was one of my mother’s oldest friends. She is missed.

Next up was a Christmas card that was literally an annual production. Family friends whose cards often showed up closer to the New Year. When we were growing up, the cards were of the family in various landmark locations throughout the Philadelphia area. They are among my favorite cards because they were always among my favorite people

As the kids in the family, (who are essentially the age of my sister and I) grew up and started families of their own, the cards changed. The Christmas cards became a story of what everyone was doing via photos. Soon their children were also in the photos. I have saved a lot of their cards here and there over the years, they are among my favorites.

Another card which was in the pile was from a local woman I was friendly with for my first few years of living here. That was a card that sort of hit me with irony today because she was a woman who tossed me out of her community Facebook group over my opinions on development in Chester County. At the time she also sent me a note which sort of contained a play on words of my middle name that I didn’t bring her joy any longer. This person wasn’t terribly important to me in the grand scheme of life, and of course I wish her well in her life, but real friends don’t do things like that to one and other. Today I threw out her old Christmas card. There is no point in keeping it.

Another card is from a friend of mine who is an artist. I love her cards and they are a fun different card every year, created and illustrated by her.

My other favorite Christmas “card” is of course from our family friend Margery Niblock. But her cards are not cards they are woodcuts, and they hang on my wall. They never end up in a pile of Christmas cards wrapped in a ribbon. I wish I could show you this year’s woodcut but I’m not sure everyone has received theirs yet that she sends them to.

The rest of the cards are a kaleidoscope of images from friends and family. Kids, dogs, Christmas trees. With the photos of everyone’s kids, it’s like a journal of how they have grown up from year to year. I find those cards fun and very sweet to look back upon.

I do love all my Christmas cards that I receive, and next year I’m going to have to be a better friend and family member and actually get my act together to get a card out in time.

I have a lot of friends who are very creative and saving and displaying their current an old Christmas cards. I am not so original. Every year they end up with either a ribbon around them or in a Ziploc bag and I tuck them away. And every once in a while, like this morning, they fall out of a shelf or a place for me to look at again.

It’s wonderful to have Christmas memories. Even in the form of the ghosts of Christmas cards past.

Thanks for stopping by.