Monday, June 26, 2017


I recently fell in love with a most imaginative production of James M. Barrie's Peter Pan story called "Peter/Wendy." It was performed outdoors at our university's free summer theatre to an audience of all ages, but at least on the night I saw it, largely adults. (The weekend performances bring in the most children, especially with a kids' show as a lead-in.)

"Peter/Wendy" brought back loads of memories, not the least of which was sitting in front of the television set, raptly engaged in the Mary Martin musical production in the 1950s. As Peter, she flew through the Darling's bedroom hunting for a lost shadow. Peter encounters Wendy Darling who awakens from her bed. "Boy, why are you crying?" she asks. And thus, begins a friendship that takes Wendy (and in the television version and book, her two brothers) to Neverland, where children don't grow up and pirates (albeit comic ones) abound.

After I watched the program, I took my little curly-headed girl self and did as so many others did -- I went to my bedroom and leaped off of it, thinking as many lovely thoughts as I could and hoping to fly.

Some things never get off the ground. I was one of them. At least back then. Now? I'm not so sure.

Seeing "Peter/Wendy" not only brought back memories of my dismal attempts to fly, it also set me thinking of Neverland. In the song from the musical, Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote:

"I have a place where dreams are formed and time is never planned. 
It's not on any chart. You must find it with your heart. Never, Neverland. (Listen here:)

"It might be miles beyond the moon or right there, where you stand. 
Just keep and open mind and then suddenly you find, Never Neverland."

Just think about it. A place to go where you have your own heaven, "right there where you stand." A place where there are fairies and pirates.

And the pirates aren't too scary. They simply want to be loved. They may fight their battles and fight them hard. But perhaps they just need a mother, someone to take care of them, tuck them in.

"You'll have a heaven if you stay there, more precious far than gold. 
For once you have found your way there, you can never, ever grow old."

Have you found your Neverland? Your spot where you feel and yes, even are young at heart forever? Is it in the giggle of a baby or the purr of a cat? The wagging tail of your dog or the first blossoms of spring after a long winter? The touch of someone you love or the sight of something that takes your breath away.

When I saw "Peter/Wendy," I was reminded not only of the joys of flying, of running away from home to new adventures -- but also of the worries of the parents when their children have gone so mysteriously away.  Don't we all worry about the kids who aren't under our watch anymore? Maybe they have grown up -- but have they really? And don't we all want to "leave the nightlights on," hoping for their safe return?

We all have our battles to fight. Some are big ones, some far less dramatic but equally important at the time. Some are internal, some are with other people.

Sometimes we are tied up in knots or feel like a prisoner. And other times, we're finding mermaids and fairies.

And when those fairies are in peril, we clap our hands and believe. And if we believe enough, they return to life.

If we can find our Neverland, those pirates and perils may not seem quite so big. If we can believe and bring fairies back to life, can't we believe in ourselves enough to triumph over the things that seem daunting? And can't we discover how to get there?

"And that's my home where dreams are born and time is never planned. 
Just think of lovely things and your heart will fly on wings forever. In Never Neverland."

My early flying attempts fell flat on the ground. But now, I think I just might have it under control.

If you want to relive a little bit of Mary Martin's Neverland, HERE YOU GO!

(Hats off to Deric McNish and the cast of "Peter/Wendy" at Michigan State's Summer Circle Theatre. When a play sticks with a person and makes them think -- especially one so familiar -- you're doing something very right indeed!)

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Ditch -- A Different View

Usually when I walk the Ditch, I'm looking for Harry the Heron, Gaby the Goose or the Ducksters. But there is more to it all than that. It's also a flower walk and one that begins closer to home as I pass the rose garden of someone who has a passion for pink.

As I draw closer to the ditch I am transported to a different time and place where the sense memory is that of honeysuckle. This large honeysuckle hedge is so fragrant, so full of blooms, I find myself in a spot quite unlike my own -- at least for a block or so.

The tall birches are first to greet me as I enter the Ditch.

But as I start my first round I see loads of flowers.

Some appear to be wild.

I'm not so sure about the others.

But either way, they are lovely.

Even the grasses are filled with wee blossoms. I loved these yellow ones.

And on this first day of summer, I leave you with a sunset.

When this photo was taken, it was nearly ten o'clock. It wasn't fully dark till sometime after.

Oh, keep those long days coming for another month or so!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When It All Seems Dark...

Do you ever feel like you've been spending money like a drunken sailor? This was how I've felt recently.

Well, this squirrel had originally had his eyes closed and was so sacked out in such a dead sleep on the branch that I thought he was dead. When I woke him, he ran to another branch and proceeded to try to get in his nap -- but he was watching me! But that's how I felt -- like I just wanted to sprawl out on a branch, play dead and let the world go on without me for awhile.

The best things in life may indeed be free -- like squirrel watching or enjoying a beautiful evening of free theatre or being with people you love (more on that in a second!).

But lately the essentials have been expensive! A muffler repair, washing machine repair (which turned into "It can't be fixed. You need a new one"), new shower installation (ouch!), basic homeowner stuff, the parts of my surgery-related things that Medicare or insurance didn't cover... it's been that kind of month.

(This, of course, doesn't count the things that should be done or the wish list -- grading of the back yard, a new well for the cottage, new walkway at the cottage after last year's foundation repair... you get the gist.)

Even when the cash wasn't flowing out, the water (as in our big rain storm) was flowing into the basement! It's at this point I give kudos to Rick for going on my roof in a thunder/lightning storm and cleaning out my gutters, which helped stop the flooding in my basement on the night before Father's Day. (It's pretty well dried out now, thanks to soaking it up with towels and flannel sheets, six buckets full!) Of course, how I'll get those towels clean without a washing machine is up for grabs. Laundromat, here I come.

I know we need rain to make things grow (and we needed it desperately) but I didn't need it in the basement!

This clean-up is considerably easier when the washing machine is working -- you can at least spin the sopping wet towels for their next soaking round instead of wringing by hand. Ah well... it's dry for now.

So, in sore need of a good day and a little baby love, we took off for Father's Day celebrations, making a quick stop to Trader Joe's (oh, if only I could find these at home!)...

...and our favorite Italian grocery market. Get a load of the pastry counter -- and this is just the cakes!

And when you need a smile, what could be a better destination than the home of Kevin, Molly and the Baby Grand!

It was a day of male bonding...

Selfies (he looks like he's really seeing it, doesn't he?) ...

Baby Baths...

...Family portraits...

...Really good dinner...

...Baby bench pressing...

...Toe dancing...

...and a crazy lady!

Help me! She's closing in!

For a first time dad...

...and a first time grandpa...

It was indeed the perfect way to celebrate.

Our little guy looked dapper in his bow tie...

...but I think he was glad for us to head home so he could get to bed! (Mom and Dad probably were, too!)

Thanks for a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Three Dads Who Mean a Lot to Me

Loads of bloggers are saluting dads this week and I'm no exception! Here are three who have made a big difference in my life!

First, my own dad. This is how I remember him most -- hanging out at his ham radio set. I learned Morse Code before I learned how to write. I can't remember it now, but it was fun to have this secret language of dots and dashes. I suppose the first time I said "hi" to someone I could never see on ham radio was my first foray into social media! How he would have loved this wild and crazy blog world!

Then there's Rick. I've used this photo before because I love it so much. It may be the first or second Father's Day I was part of their lives and the expressions tell the story. I remember the gloriously easy and fun times and the tough ones, too. I know all the love, the worry, the fears and the joys a dad faces, seeing it through Rick's eyes. (And seeing that helped me to understand my own dad's. You think you do. You don't until you've lived it.)

And then there's this one. He's learning the ropes. The ups and downs of being a parent. And all the love that goes with it. There's just a little bit of us that hopes that our Baby Grand gives as good as his dad gave when he was a teenager! (Huh? Why do you want to know? I have a life, you know. Whatever.) Just enough! And I'm also confident he'll love this little guy and all who come after him, till the cows come home.

That little baby will one day, perhaps, be a dad of his own. Somehow I think he has a lot of legacy to live up to -- and I'm pretty darned sure his parents will prepare him for the challenge.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recipe for a Perfect Weekend

Take six friends and a big, happy dog.

(photo selfie by Mike Smith, reimagined by Judy Winter)
Add bright sun, more than a dash of wind and a great big lake. (Or, a big GREAT Lake!)

Combine one lakeside town that was new ingredient for most of the gang.

Mix in lighthouses and seagulls.

Add one harvest moon.

Stir in one campfire...

... and bake over loads of embers with a beautiful glow.

In a separate bowl mix sunsets.

One at a time.

Season with a beach walk with beautiful views and sparkling blue water.

Oh, add another for good measure! You can't have too many beach walks! Even if they are slow gentle ones! (Sometimes, that's the best kind!)

(photo: Michael Smith)
Let the mixture rest while you take a nap in a wicker chair on a shaded front porch...

...or paint a ladybug...

...go antique shopping...

...or grab an ice cream!

Add a little musical soundtrack. Classical guitar is an option!

And to add a little spice to it all, include a little drama. Try a pinch of renegade bees...

...or a small mechanical issue. (OK, so I left the oil cap off when I added some, drove three hours and it sort of blew up all over the car. And that's never a good thing. Don't do it.)

But we got it cleaned out. There's always a mess somewhere.

But donuts help.

Add lots of smiles (and a selfie or two)...

...and plenty of cameras.

And a dash of relaxation on a quiet Sunday morning.

Garnish with flowers.

Taste for final approval.

And there you have it!

A recipe for perfect weekend with friends!

And dogs.

Life is very good indeed!

Sharing with Pink Saturday!

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