Books by the old Leather Chair

  • Snow In The Summer
  • My Bible
  • The Power of Silence
  • What Comes Next and to Like It
  • Encore Provence
  • A Year in Provence

Friday, September 30, 2011

Does Not Take Much To Please Her

Out in the garden
picking the few red and green tomatoes
and another pepper
before the impending frost.
Going to make a couple of jars of salsa.
Never planted turnips before
always liked them
only when very small
Today at market one was purchased
to add to turnip greens
that I just finished eating.
Checking the turnips
in the garden
there they were
just my size
and ready to pick

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You Did Well

Little kitchen garden
you were not a disappointment.
Plenty for One Woman and a little
too share.
Now if it had not rained so much
there would have been more
squash and cucumbers.
At present turnip greens are turning
yellow because of the rain.
A few tomatoes and green peppers
on the vine
Clean up time
and will plant a small row of
Egyptian onions.

The weather is magnificent
cool in the morning and night
Pleasant warm days

"Would you know a simile for life and death?
Compare them then to water and ice.
Water binds together to become ice.
Ice melts and turns back into water.
What has died must live again.
What has been born shall return to death.
Water and ice do no harm to each other.
Life and death are both of them good"

Cold Mountain 100 Poems by Han-shan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wish I Was There

I find my son's letters so interesting
occasionally will share.
This was received several days ago
after I posted about my books...

Hi mama !

I like your new journal entry about re-reading old books !

After reading dozens of Buddhist philosophy books over the years, I now generally just re-read the better ones - it is difficult to improve upon the likes of Ajahn Chah, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Charlotte Joko Beck ( highly recommended - 2 upstairs somewhere... ). Ajahn Sumano ( Question from the City, Answers from the Forest ), and of course Sayadaw U Jotika....I have been very fortunate to attend lectures by the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Sayadaw U Jotika - and have spent the afternoon chatting with Ajahn Sumano outside his cave in rural Thailand - in fact my monk friend who I spent last Sunday with is contemplating another visit to Ajahn Sumano in the near future and I shall tag along....

Sunday with Phra Frank was quite enjoyable - he is in the midst of his 3rd rains retreat - Thai monks spend 90 days in the summer at one location during the rainy season and intensify their practice - for his pre-noon meal he requested I bring tuna fish sandwiches, olives, m & m's , pastries, and cheese - so I made the sandwiches in his hut and we had a good lunch - after lunch 3 young Thai people who spoke English stopped by with meditation questions so he gave them a one hour Dharma talk and then we went and listened to the Abbot give a Dharma talk.

Friday night at the Shangrila in my free room was great as expected - I loved having my sliding glass door to the balcony open and listening to the river taxis chug along til midnite - they have a pool overlooking the river with lounge chairs around the pool or you can face the river - which is where I rested and read a book for a bit before the late Friday rains moved in - Saturday morning a breakfast buffet outdoors - ( I passed on the $120.00 dinner buffet Friday eve - but did enjoy just looking at it - mountains of lobster, oysters, and everything else under the sun in large quantities....)

Today, Monday, I taught 2 classes back to back this morning - the last week of every month we focus on restorative poses and sometimes do some pranayama.

November I go for 3 days to Siem Reap, Cambodia and in February visit Tim in Vietnam - I called him the other day and he is getting ready to head to Nashville in a couple of weeks.

OK all for now - time for dinner...

Love, Jimmy

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Think Of This

Often think of sleeping on my screen porch.
The night sounds would be wonderful
might just try it.
Noticing a lot of small lizzards coming through
the porch floor which is like a deck.
Wonder, would they bite me ?
Also, hopefully Miss Callie would not bark
through the night at the creatures in the woods.

picture from

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Thoughts

I have bought a number of books lately and when I begin to read them - just cannot get into them.
One such book yesterday.   Another donation to the local library..
So I have decided I am not going to buy any more books.
Many on shelves of bookcases, sitting by my chair and on my nightstand that are my favorites.
They are dated and passages underlined.
Many I have not picked up in years.
One in particular, "The Shell Seekers" by Rosamunde Pilcher. It is dated 1987 by me and I made a comment that is was a favorite.
I went through a period where I devoured her books
probably have most of them.   Just pleasant reading that took me to another time and place.
As my son's interest in Buddhism grew I began to read a lot of books about a philosophy that
was totally foreign to me.
If I reread all of my favorite books and special interest that I study that will take a number of years.   So that is my plan.
Also my son has a library here at the cottage.   Recently introduced to Chinese poetry through his books.
I would never have thought this would interest me.
Pleasant surprise, I love it and can relate to those who made a move to the mountains and have a garden.

"I live here quietly and peacefully, but this isn't chance happening
I worked very hard for it.  It's about hard work, not just good karma.
I chose to live quietly and peaceful.  Every day I choose to live quietly and peacefully, it's a constant choice.
Needs a real strong determination, a letting go.  We can't have our cake and eat it too."

Snow in the Summer by Sayadaw U Jotika

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Beauty In The Woods

This quickly caught my eye.
looks like a sculpture
It was sitting on the stump
of the huge tree that was
cut down about a month ago
Sure created at a rapid pace.
The woods are amazing.....

"Our appointment with life
is in the present moment"

Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, September 23, 2011

Morning Smiles

First thing in the morning
I always check my email and
seems that is the time the
 inspiration to write makes
an appearance.

I smile this early morning
at these special notes.

One from my grandson who is
attending local university
He is coming for lunch tomorrow
So I am planning on cooking.

A welcome letter from my son in
Thailand. He tells of a visit to a
riverfront hotel and watching the
river taxis, wooden boats and barges
go by.   Oh how I would like
to visit that beautiful land.  On days
that I feel good - like this morning
I am ready to go.  On other days'
it is a dream that will not materialize.
Wish there was someone to fly
with me.   What a major accomplishment
if I could do this solo.

Another letter from a granddaughter in
New York.  In music school for her
loved French Horn. Is vegan vegetarian
loves to cook and guess what she now
has a job in the morning like 4:00 am
at a bakery. 
I tell her what wonderful
experience even though she shares
she has burns on her arms and is making
mistakes.  Grandma told her if she had to do this
for nothing it is wonderful experience.
Then she goes on to school.  So proud
of her for undertaking this challenge.
She shares of a morning photo shoot with her
woodwind quintet and an upcoming performance
at a wedding for the first time as a group.

My youngest daughter is recovering
from horrible fall where she passed out
so thankful she did not have major

Up at 4:30 and it is still raining
the rest from gardening and outdoor
work is welcome.
Banana bread in the oven
hummingbird sugar water simmering on stove
they will be visiting for a while.

What would I do without my computer.
at this time of life?

Sharing words and the love

A lifeline to the woods.....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Poison Ivy

I should know better
do know better
walking in the woods daily
picking up twigs and small limbs
wearing no gloves.
Every day as I do this
my mind is telling me
put on gloves.
after my daughter left for home
I discovered the rash.
Poison Ivy
I really have taken all the cortisone
I need to for a long time.
But since the rash is spreading
rapidly I am on the dreaded
Sometimes I have to also get a shot.
This is nothing new to me
for years this occurs once or twice
a year.
Today there were errands and
special appointments.
In the morning when I return to
the woods - I will have my favorite
old clothes on and gloves....
Fall is around the corner and I  have
neglected a lot.
A  long to do list.
Besides preparing for winter
outside there much I need  to do
for me - or do I?
Service vehicles, heat and air unit,
Callie, rabbi's shot and nails cut.
Hearing test, eyes check up, physical - these
have not been done in a while as
I have been too busy building houses,
moving, planning
gardens and cleaning the woods.
Flu shot, skin doctor and a lot more
on this list.
I wonder at this time of my life
as the 70,s quickly roll on
if this is simplification.
Maybe I should forget it all.
Put a gate at the end of the road
and rarely leave.
Thought that was what I was doing
but after reading this
changes still need to be made....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Home Again and Turnip Greens

When I left the country
to try the city
I always
 planted a very small patch
of turnip greens.
More seeds sowed in this
kitchen garden
they are beautiful....
My daughter was
even able to take
a bag full and some
sage back to her
home in Florida.
~~Nothing like all the others, even as a child
rooted in such love for the hills and mountains,
I stumbled into their net of dust, that departure
that lasted 13 years.

But a tethered bird longs for its old forest,
and a pond fish its deep waters ... so now,

my southern out lands cleared, I nurture
simplicity among these fields and gardens,

home again

No confusion within these gates, no dust,
my empty home harbors idleness to spare,

Back again, after so long caged in that trap,
I've returned to the occurrence coming of itself ~~

~~Home Again Among Fields and Gardens~~

"Mountain Home"   The wilderness Poetry of Ancient China

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Departure Time

When my children visit
the cottage becomes
a very different home.
Footsteps, voices, laughter,
later to bed and later to rise.
The chairs at the big table
are all filled,
five or six on walks
through the woods,
Callie even becomes a
different little dog.
Departure time arrives
and now the quietness
 is very evident.
Memories of this visit
will remain in the walls
and in my heart.
So pleased the progress
of the garden and grooming
 of the woods is noticed.
Safe travel wishes go forth
for this special daughter.
It will take a few days
for a normal routine
to be in place...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happiness Is

A special time with my 3 daughter's
and two youngest granddaughter's.
roast with all of the special vegetables
mashed potatoes
chicken with rosemary
the apple pie was so good.
Walks in the woods
Times of sharing
and this morning
mom has tears in her eyes
so many memories.....

Friday, September 16, 2011

She Makes Her Mama Smile, Cry and Remember

So surprised when I looked at my youngest daughter's blog this early morning.

You know what it did to this mom's heart

When I read "Where I Come From"........

Now my mind is flooded with memories

Thursday, September 15, 2011

This Is Your Home

A wonderful morning
slight rain through the night
cool now
but warmer later.
The small gnats or
flies that try to attack
my eyes on walks
through the woods
are so irritating.
I wear my sun glasses
but they try to fly
under the glasses.
Wish they would
not do this...
Even with the speed
of the tractor
they keep up with me.
So with the pleasure
of nature
there are some downsides.
But then I remember
I have invaded their home.
Looking forward to one
daughter having breakfast with
me in the morning.
Two other daughters to have
lunch with me Sunday.
One of those will be with me
for a few days.
Visiting from Florida for my
grandson's special time at
Vanderbilt and then on to
visit mom.
So from solitude to a
busy time....
Just finished a blueberry muffin
and tea
so good
looked at the calorie content
390 calories
glad I just ate l/2.....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This post was written 3 years ago.
This journal was a new venture
A conversation with one of my daughters recently reminded me of what I had written
Just looked it up.
My how time is going by so rapidly
These words still are important to me.

"Will you just listen to me"
all of us need this.....
Yes, I do but need to
recognise that my children,
 grandchildren and many I
come in contact with need this.
Me - listening with no

If you can sit and just listen - you are very special and gifted. Do many people listen anymore? When I am talking to someone on the telephone it seems in a few minutes they are saying "someone on another line" oh how I dislike - call waiting. Or someone is at the door or just I gotta go. When you are at the doctors office and you share it seems in a few minutes they are looking at their watch. Or you have the gut feeling that you better make it quick and not forget anything as they are going out the door.

I can remember the years I took my mother to the doctor. She called that her day. A doctor visit, a few special errands and lunch. I remember so well as I drove and she talked. So many times in her later years she would say "please just listen to me". I would be thinking, I have heard this story before. Lately, I think I am repeating my stories.

Surrounded by some children and grandchildren for a few days, it seems this is what I want to say "please just listen to me" let me ramble on about present, future and past. Do not interrupt, just listen. Some of family listen and others need for me to listen. It is a fine line. This early morning do not want to sound critical. I do know that maybe one of the pleasures of having a journal is that you write your thoughts. We do not know who in this universe is listening. Or if anyone is listening, guess what - it really does not matter. Something to think about!!!

I love listening to my young grandchildren share. Smile at the comments they make. They are so observant and honest. I have always cut my granddaughters bangs. They were beginning to look so shabby and I took Amelia to a shop where mom had a coupon for a reduced price. That was 6 weeks ago. When she was visiting last Friday she commented "grandma you need to take me back to Great Clips". I was amazed that she remembered the shop name. Also came up to me and said "grandma do you like boys" I thought for a moment and just said "do you" she replied "no they are mean and I just like girls'. So I listen to her and smile.

I can remember a time when I was deeply involved in church work. For a number of years I did outreach work. Reaching out to home bound and those in the hospital. These were all elderly people. Oh, how happy they were to see me. They would talk and share and I would listen. I always felt loved when I left these special people.

On my recent plane trip to Michigan for my sister's funeral I sat next to a lady and we shared.The flight passed so quickly. I listened to her and she listened to me - endlessly.
We exchanged cards and I am looking forward to having lunch with her in the next week or two.

Again, I wonder does anyone listen anymore? Does anyone take the time to listen?
Is it just me noticing this.
If you do listen, you surely have a special gift.

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. Ralph Nichols

Listening looks easy but it is not simple
Cuban Proverb

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Mind

Have you ever tried to be
very still and not listen
to your mind ?

It will go on and on
and it is difficult to shut off.

Mindfulness is the only way
to still the mind
and begin to hear the
heart speaking.

The mind took me on a
serious trip this past weekend
with the should I and should not.

With the is this the right time,
the wise thing to do.
I was thrown into
serious turmoil

I prayed and mindfulness
was difficult.

It seemed no one was available
then one who never lets me
down was there.

I am so thankful
my center has returned

I do best here at my cottage,
garden and woods.
I am so thankful that in these
last years I can live simply and

My trips to town
are necessary and
I find I am thrown into
another world
and almost
off balance....

fewer trips...

The image is a flower that was shared with me last year.   Forgetting where I placed it in the garden - I kept looking and almost thought this spiky plant that emerged was a weed.
Look at the glorious blooms that are emerging.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beautiful Day

A beautiful day
the sun is shining
for the first time in days
Oldest of clothes
grooming the garden
the air is so fresh and clean.
My kind of day.
The crepe myrtle by my
mailbox looks happy.
Will walk in the woods
after lunch.
Too muddy to drive tractor.
This day
may we all
Happy, Well, Safe and at Peace.....

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Mind

My mind reminds me
It is a good day.
Rain has come
I am at peace
the heart is happy
the body is aging
that is life.
If I could
would I turn back time
No way.....

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It seems like yesterday
these grandchildren were this size
One going to school and working in New York
One working in New York
and my grandson is in his last year
at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
Time you are surely going by so fast......

Saturday, September 3, 2011


It is totally still outside
over 100 degrees on  deck this afternoon
leaves are falling
you and this quiet time
No birds
one lone butterfly spotted
and this huge spider on the deck.

should I move you?
Just opened the front door
many birds
eating my recently
like this morning
turnip green seeds :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not a Typical Day

Up at 4:30
let Callie out
Straightened cottage
check computer
washed load of clothes
hung on line
water turnip greens
and last of flower garden
hang bird feeders out
(take them down each evening because of squirrels)
a special call from granddaughter in New York
pull car out of garage
Clean up and head for funeral home in
small town 25 minutes away
The young woman who has cleaned my teeth for 15 years
father passed away - he was 86 - a terrible accident on their farm.
Since I did not have garden clothes on
headed for local small town.
Stopped at local paper office to renew subscription
and bought 3 bars of handmade soap that was locally made.
Picked up quiche and desert to take home.
Stopped in local office to see someone
past problems and I wanted to smile
and see if I could ever be of help -
they were too busy to see me.
All the way home I said metta
and thought I will not  take this personally...
message my attorney had passed away
56 years old with heart attack.
I am sad..  Saw him 3 weeks ago.
On phone 2 hours with Verizon about new
air card that is suppose to be better then
old one.  Does not work.
Using my old card.
Light meal
phone calls from children
bring Miss Callie inside
Call from special friend who takes care of bed ridden husband.
Get ready for nighttime
reading and meditation.
Did not sleep well.
Much on my mind.....
Today a better day
my mind has cleared
more errands
Visitied local small nursery
to see what was marked down.
Bought a basket of thyme for
herb garden.
I hear gun shots in the distance
do not know what hunting season is open
I think it is Dove
 I do not like it
it makes me sad.
Looking forward to solitude
once again.
Do not like the busyness
of the last 5 days....

I must remember
to slow down - and

Don't take anything personally
Don't make assumptions
Always do your best
Be Impeccable with your word

"The Four Agreements"  by Don Ruiz