Monday, March 25, 2019

The Simple Woman's Daybook: March

"Spring: the music of open windows."

It's Monday morning and we have no new blog post for you. What with going to an art show with friends and getting on with our Spring ritual of cleaning, which includes rearranging furniture, d├ęcor and dust bunnies, the weekend flew by. Oh yes, and in between all that, I have been working away at my digital-to-print photo albums of our 2016 holiday to England -- oh the memories that flutter up as I sort through the photos. It's such a fun project. 

Today I shall rely on the ready-made prompts from Simple Woman's Daybook and see where that takes me. If I don't linger too long on each point, I might have this ready by late morning.


Outside my window... it's still dark and the neighbourhood is shrouded in deep shadow. It's only six in the morning and no self-respecting sun rises that early at this time of year. Although I can't see it, I know the snow is nearly gone from our yard. Yah! As the ground begins to thaw, soon there will be signs of life. The appearance of those first shoots of greenery always comes as a surprise to me. The earth's been frozen for so long, it feels as if it will take forever for them to poke through, but it only needs a touch of warmth from the sun to encourage them to rise up to new life.

I am thinking... about something I read in a book of essays Calm Things by Shawna Lemay. She talks about the bounty of gifts we receive in our lifetime … smiles, compliments, the joy of watching a robin make a nest in the front tree … offerings of all kinds. She mentions the reproductions of Vincent Van Gogh's bird nest paintings. She says, "Van Gogh took the gift of these nests that he received from nature and later stacked in his cupboard, thirty or so of them, and sent them back into the world in the form of paint -- earthy, muddy, mossy colours, dark and whirling, fragrant and sublime."

That phrase 'sent them back into the world in the form of paint' has been playing on my mind ever since I first read it. It really speaks to me. In what form could the many gifts I have received be sent back into the world? Like Shawna, I think about the thousands of gifts I have been given over my lifetime -- handmade cards, bouquets of flowers, sunsets and rainy days, kind words from readers, compliments on a new top and earrings, proffered plates of muffins and homemade buns, presents in paper and ribbon -- it overwhelms me as I think about the generosity of God and people and nature. And I ask the same question that Shawna asks: "What to do with our riches, but to attempt to send them out again in the form of our work? Words and paint." What form shall I, Brenda, send these gifts back out into the world to bless others ? What form shall your gifts take?

I am thankful... for the arrival of Spring. Truly thankful. And, I'm grateful to have survived the winter. I'm glad for the arrival of the Canada Geese -- they are often one of the first to appear from the south, eager to find their summer homes beside ponds and lakes.

In the kitchen... I made Irish Pub Salad with Creamy Tarragon Dressing for supper the other evening. It was yummy. I found the recipe in the March/April issue of Victoria magazine. As you can see from my photo, the ingredients include Irish cheddar cheese, hard cooked eggs, and a medley of vegetables: bibb lettuce (as the base) and layered over top with shredded red cabbage, pickled beets, sliced cucumbers, sliced tomatoes, and pickled beans.

The creamy tarragon dressing is 1/2 cup of mayo, 1/3 cup malt vinegar, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil. In a bowl, whisk everything except the olive oil. Keep whisking and gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the mixture is smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

I am wearing... a black tank top and capri bottoms, silver bracelets, pink lipstick, and a spritz of British Rose Body Shoppe fragrance.

I am creating... new arrangements in my house this week. My study is upside down today. First, I took the vintage dropleaf desk out to be placed in our bedroom. Because I took out the bookshelf that reminds me of a mantlepiece from the bedroom and now resides in the living room. The new arrangement of one item suddenly opened the door to new possibilities and vignettes. The short shelf that had been mooshed into the corner of the study behind the credenza where the printer sits was now hauled out and set where the dropleaf desk used to be. Oh my, it feels lighter in here already. I think that little shelf is feeling freer too.

I am going... for a walk. It has been so wonderful to step out into the days and feel the warmth of the sun instead of the excruciating bite of the north winds. Ice and snow are mostly gone, so limbs are less at risk of falling.

"In every walk with nature one
receives far more than he seeks."

I am reading... through the collection of souvenir garden guidebooks I bought when we were in England. For such lovely places as Churchill's Chartwell, Ann Boleyn's Hever Castle, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle, and Penshurst Place (one of the filming sites for PBS's mini-series Wolf Hall). Some memories begin to blur together and the guidebooks help sort out forgotten details. We say, oh yes, now I remember.

I am hoping... to lose three to five pounds before my birthday. It might be easier if I were considering losing five pounds of books. But with getting back into the swing of daily walks now that it's warmer, that will certainly help. I've already cut down (but not out) the cookies -- that helps too.

I am looking forward to... a family celebration that is already being planned for my nephew's university convocation coming up in June. My sister's family lives in a very beautiful part of this province, out in the countryside, near enough to see the Rocky Mountains in the distance while sitting on the deck. We always have a wonderful time together when we visit.

I am learning... not much new these days. No new crafts or skills at the moment. I am interested to better my photography skills and work away at it.

Around the house... we've got laundry on the go, the radio is playing classical music, the table is set for lunch when hubby comes home from the gym.

I am pondering... why I have curtains at the windows of my house. For me it's not so much to close out the world. I would not 'need' curtains for that. But I have come to see that I need curtains because they 'so faithfully translate the language of wind.' Yes, yes, that's why! Not sure who to attribute that phrase to -- I saw it online and it leaped out at me.

A favourite quote for today... "Make progress every day on one thing that matters to you." ~ Unknown.

One of my (new) favourite things... is Dvorak's Symphony No 9, Op 95 "New World". I've heard it played numerous times over the years, but this past week, Rick and I listened to one concert we found on YouTube that blew us away at its perfection. I sat almost motionless as we listened, I was so taken by the music, feeling like I was inside the very notes themselves. It was magical to watch the conductor, Sergiu Celibidache, work with the orchestra and bring this beautiful piece of music to life. The concert was recorded in 1991. It's 55 minutes in length, so if you plan to listen, I recommend making it an event for yourself "a concert in a sitting room". And, if you like it, you might become so enraptured that you won't even think you need tea -- we didn't. You can find the link HERE.

A peek into my journal... My journal is usually a stream of consciousness of this and that. And I'm always adding passages from books I'm reading that I want to remember. Most of my journaling happens in the wee hours (either late at night or early in the morning, depending). So it's kinda messy, but I try to add bits of something pretty between the scribblings. For me, sketching is too much effort and I'm not deft at painting, so I include something easier like adding clippings that catch my eye from old magazines. I always feel a jolt of joy when I open my journal to find something lovely to 'fill my well' and colour my world in that moment.

* * *

That's it for prompts for today. I think we've got ourselves a post. Will do an edit and an out-loud proofread and hit Publish. Hope there's something in it worth your visit. 

Here's wishing you a beautiful day
and a week ahead filled with things that are splendid and good.

Sending hugs,


  1. Lots of good thoughts on a Monday morning! I find Shawna's idea of sending our gifts back into the world (in a different form) most intriguing. I shall spend some time pondering on that thought. Your salad looks delicious and seems a very welcome harbinger of meals to come--eaten in the warmth and sunshine on the patio! Altogether, a good way to start the work-week, lovely!

  2. I loved how you jumped from sweater-weather to tank-top weather! I also liked the idea of how smiles, compliments, letters, etc. can be gifts that we send out to the world.

  3. I always like reading these Daybook posts of blog friends, it brings them into clearer focus. Especially when I know what you're wearing. Only women would be interested in that probably! Your journal pages are lovely. For years I kept them and included little things, even the first wildflower of the season that my littlest brought in to me, but I'm afraid I let blog posts take the place of that. You must enjoy all over again your trip to England when you look at your pictures again. And speaking of England, I just had to take time to write down the ingredients in your Pub salad. It's such a pretty picture! And I caught the pleasure that your day of rearranging brought to you because I had a bit of that today also. Only an hour spent rearranging the reading corner of my bedroom but when I turned my chair and hassock and book table sideways, into a corner, it gave me a view out the windows and into my bedroom instead of looking at the doorway. Little discoveries like this bring such satisfaction, don't they?

    A lovely post and I thought of the Canada geese circling over my head the other morning as I stepped out onto the kitchen porch as they prepared to land on the pond. Incredible little miracle to see their white bellies so close overhead!

    Happy Spring to you,

  4. And a fine post! Sounds as if the corner has been turned and that spring has arrived. Stll at the plenty of snow and a wintry wind stage here. I must find this symphony you speak of...

  5. thanks for some good suggestions as spring arises and we regroup for new beginnings...

  6. A lovely post, Brenda, full of interesting tidbits from your corner of the world. Dvorak's New World Symphony is one of my favourites, but I haven't listened to it for a long time. I'll be back tomorrow to put it on while I sew. What fun to rearrange bits and pieces in your house. I'm hoping to get to some of that this week, too, for I'm still on spring break. Alas, the list of things I want to do this week far exceeds what I can do. I'll have to choose.
    Delicious looking salad. I have that same magazine and never really noticed the recipe. Funny how that works sometimes.

  7. many lovely thoughts and ideas!
    Your heart is full of many wonderful things!

  8. Dear Brenda, so many lovely thoughts. I enjoyed every word and will read again and again. I love it when you write a Daybook post. It is always special.

  9. The words you choose (which you have taught me), are well chosen and have a wind chime sound about them.
    Each prompt, is a wonderful word picture, soft and sweet.

  10. Wow! So many lovely thoughts here, Brenda! Sending a form of a gift out into the world is an interesting concept to ponder! I have received so many. I have curtains on the windows because we live in a subdivision. I like my privacy. If Hubby had his way, there wouldn't be any curtains at all. But I have my way in this instance. ;-) I enjoy how you express yourself. It is inspiring. Have a lovely day and Happy Spring, my friend! I am rejoicing because it has arrived finally. Hugs...Sandi

  11. Hello Brenda. I am always elated when I see a post from you. Reading it is always like a wonderful chat with a dear friend or sister. What a great idea to use writing prompts from the day journal. Loved reading every word. And oh, don't you just love Victoria magazine? The creamy tarragon dressing sounds divine. Enjoy the "music of the wind," Brenda. I know you will! You are one of those rare women who find deep pleasure just in being alive. Susan

  12. I am in the middle of a whirlwind right now . . . Bekah's senior year and my 28th and final year of homeschooling, Kati's wedding in 51 days, graduation a few weeks after that. And after all of these changes that are in the midst of the whirlwind, my life will be different. I am going to ponder the thought that you have shared . . . in what form shall I send my gifts back out into the world?

    There are many more jumping off places for conversation in this post, but the hour is late and I need to rest before the whirlwind continues tomorrow. Thank you for another thoughtful and lovely post.

  13. Hello, there!

    I really enjoyed this post, as I very much needed to see something beautiful, since my mood hasn't been.

    ("I'm glad for the arrival of the Canada Geese")

    I see flocks of them flying your way every so often. I'll now think of them flying to the closest lake near you. ;)

  14. I've said it before, dear Brenda, I love your beautiful writing. I enjoyed everything about this post and the line about curtains faithfully translating the language of wind is sure to stay with me.

  15. Your daybook entry was beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Dear Brenda - what a wonderful day post...that salad looks delicious. I just love Victoria Magazine...I think I should subscribe to it...glad to read you are seeing spring arriving too. So enjoyed my visit and there is much to take away and savor...your journal for sure. Hugs!

  17. Brenda, such a good turn I took in bogland to once again read your writings. You bring such encouragement to my days, to my life.


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo