Saturday, February 28, 2009


This little guy is 'Toby'. He's my Mother-in-law's dog.

We spent the afternoon with her today. Tomorrow is her 92nd birthday, and she's doing wonderfully. She's actually in better shape than hubby or me. She has a condo in a gated community in upper Westchester. The sort of place that is in House and Garden, instead of Shed and Backyard. =) She lives close to her daughter, has a car, shops, drives around, goes to needlework club, and has a good live. She got a bunch of plants, and has everything she needs, so we took her some Glenn Miller cds. She was very pleased.

It was a good day.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday - Pancake Day - Mardi Gras - or, as my mother always referred to it, Faschnacht. My mother was raised by a German speaking Pennsylvania Dutch grandmother on a farm in Skippack Pennsylvania. Faschnachts are a big, rich cruller. They are fried, split and eaten with butter and syrup. A good dose of indigestion, but still manna. =)

To celebrate, I'm posting a photo of my mother as a child, in the fields, with her two younger cousins. I love this picture.

Kate as a child
All four of us are sick- hubby, son, me and of course, Pepper. Hubby came home from a concert gig with a tummy ache. He went right to the bathroom and camped out there for an hour. Pepper's guts were rumbling somethign fierce. Son was just listliss, then he got the tummy ache. Today Pep's fine, and we're all recovering.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yesterday, we had snow; not much just an inch or so. During the night the temperature rose. When I let Pepper out into the back yard for a morning romp, I noticed the snow on the wild rose vines had melted into droplets. The morning sun was just at the right angle to turn them into sparkling jewels.
morning jewels

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

There are some things that tie us to our ancestors besides a name. Baking bread, making a pie from scratch, knitting socks are three things I share with my paternal great-greatgrandmother. I know she did these things, because her son kept a little journal the year he was nine. He talks about his mother baking the family's bread from flour he brought home from a mill. He mentions pies on the windowsill, cooling. He paints a picture of the family in mid winter around the fireplace - his father reading aloud to the children while his mother knits socks. The family dog is curled round his mother's feet, under her skirts, warmed by the fire and protected from the drafts.

I have two books that were in my greatgrandfather's childhood home. The family Bible and the family Dictionary. Both are huge old books, the words fading, the paper disintegrating. The books won't last past my son's generation.

There are other things that tie me to these hardy folk from Maine. When my father's uncle died, he inherited a box of deguerreotypes. These early photographs are mirror images of my ancestors. There's one of my Great-greatgrandmother as a child. Here it is. This is Emma when she was a little girl.
Mary Emma Bisbee
I was amazed, but very happy that these old, old images scanned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pepper was in a musical mood tonight. We had songs after dinner.
An aria by Pepper

Monday, February 16, 2009

All last week, our fortepiano was rented out for rehearsals of Haydn's Creation to be performed at Carnegie Hall on Sat the 14th. (Nothing like a good rental fee for Valentines day! LOL) I went along for a rehearsal, knitted while I listened and inwardly singing along (the last time I sang this was at Lincoln Center for Mostly Mozart 20-some years ago) and son Chris helped hubby schlepp the fortepiano on Saturday.

Here's the Fortepiano - a copy of Mozart's last instrument - a 1785 Walter. Ours was made in 1990 by Jacob Kaeser.

The piano behaved beautifully, but the real story was that the tenor soloist got sick and they had to find a replacement at the last minute. The ringer, Nicholas Phen, is a phenomenal young man with quite a career ahead of him. Evidently he had never sung the work in German before and pulled it off so beautifully that THE TIMES even mentioned his diction. (The chorus and especially the soprano really LACKED in diction. I'm only mentioning this because I sang with Robert Shaw and he was a stickler for diction)

ANYWAY, it was a wonderful show, and THE TIMES gave it a positive review.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I've been knitting like a mad old thing. I've knitted five hats since Dec 1st. A cozy hood-like thing for my friend in Indiana, a warm hat winter hat for me, and three hats for three little kids that I know.

Miss Pepper continues well. She is not happy that it's been snowy and icey and we haven't been able to go for many walks. But spring is coming, 47 days away. And we'll have walks then.