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Daffodils and Marshmallows

Posted by mrssmythe on April 25, 2015 in CPT's Lens, Garden, Out & About, Seasons |

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The daffodils are up all over town and especially in the yard of the people on Main Street whose beds are awash with the things every Spring.

Isn’t it wonderful?

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Visiting this yard has become a pilgrimage of sorts for me.

Another pilgrimage (though not an annual one) is driving south into Connecticut to visit our nearest Anthropologie store. I go there whenever I need a lift. I love to see the artsy displays and the unique home items they offer. Also their books. They stock interesting titles that I make note of and then request from the library when I get home.

After Anthropologie, the girls and I usually go to the candy store and each select something. I always choose chocolate covered gummy bears, Pepper picks fudge, and, this time, Ginger wanted almond bark.

Then, we sit down on a park bench and listen to the jazz the mall pipes through its outdoor speaker system. It’s an occasion.

On this occasion, though, I managed to make a spectacle of myself in the candy store. One of the workers offered me a sample of the chocolate dipped marshmallows she’d just made. She had them on a plate and passed them under our noses while I was paying.

I tried to decline politely, but I was digging in my purse for my wallet and was distracted. I’ve never been a good multi-tasker. It was too much for me to manage all at once.

“No, thank you,” I said. “I’ve never been a big marshmallow….”

And then my voice sort of trailed off. My wallet was really buried, and I was having to dig more than usual to find it.

Five seconds later, I realized what I’d just said.

“Not that you thought I was a big marshmallow,” I rushed to clarify. “Because I’m not.”

She looked at me, confused.

“I just said I was a big marshmallow,” I explained. “What I meant to say was, ‘I’m not a big marshmallow fan.'”

She smiled, but it was a nervous smile, and I realized I needed to drop the whole thing. I smiled back, signed my receipt, and we left.

“What was that about?” Pepper asked as the door closed behind us. She was licking her fingers, having just finished one of the sample marshmallows. Unlike me, Pepper is a big marshmallow fan.

“I just told that woman I wasn’t a big marshmallow,” I explained.

Pepper didn’t act surprised at all.

“It’s true,” she said with a shrug. “You aren’t.”

And that was that.

From the dining room table, wanting to leave you with one last look at those daffodils,

Mrs. Smythe

P.S. CPT America took all of these lovely photos.

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What the Dogs Have Been Doing

Posted by mrssmythe on April 23, 2015 in CPT's Lens, Critters, Museums, Photography |

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CPT America took some pictures of the dogs this past week. It’s both wonderful and irritating whenever he does this. Wonderful because he gets such excellent photos of them, and irritating because his photos are so much better than mine. Yes, he has fabulous equipment. And, yes, he’d be happy to loan it to me any time I’d like. But the truth is, I find his camera heavy and cumbersome, and I’m not terribly motivated to learn all of its ins and outs. So, really, I have no one to blame but myself.

But, enough about me. On to the dogs!

Here is Manny, doing what Manny does best – running.

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He is the fastest dog we’ve ever owned and watching him run circles around the yard is always fun. Nobody can keep up with him.

And here is Ursa, doing what Ursa does best – looking fluffy.

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Honestly, if that dog was a person, she’d be a Breck girl. Do you remember those ads?

(Speaking of Breck girls, did you know the Breck Shampoo company was founded in Springfield, Massachusetts? I learned that at the Springfield Museums. The Wood Museum of Springfield History has a nice little display about it.)

Moving on.

Here is Kipper, doing what Kipper does best – looking happy.

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He is the smiling-est dog I’ve ever seen. He even smiles when he runs.

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And, speaking of running…there goes Manny again.

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He looks a little wild. I think it’s those golden eyes of his.

From the dining room table, having just seen a showing of Woman in Gold (which both CPT America and I enjoyed very much),

Mrs. Smythe

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Do I Look Like This Nun?

Posted by mrssmythe on April 22, 2015 in Mrs. Smythe |

I dragged the girls to see The Sound of Music today. I’d never seen it on the big screen, and they’d never seen in at all, so it seemed like the right thing to do. And, something happened during the first fifteen minutes that I hadn’t expected. The girls began insisting I looked just like Sister Berthe – the cranky nun who kept trying to get Maria kicked out of the convent.

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Remember her?

CPT America says I don’t look like her at all. He was very emphatic about that. But, the girls have me wondering.

“I didn’t know you were in this film,” Pepper said when Sister Berthe first appeared on screen.

“Mommy, she looks just like you!” Ginger said, elbowing me.

“Seriously, Mom,” Pepper leaned over to add, “I keep doing double takes.”

I wasn’t sure what to say. Everyone likes to be told they look like a movie star…but the cranky nun in Sound of Music? Really?

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I don’t know. What do you think? Any resemblance?

From the upstairs bedroom, needing to go get my tea, which has been steeping for the last fifteen minutes,

Mrs. Smythe

P.S. That’s Kipper’s nose at the bottom of my photo. He kept trying to bite my wimple.

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The Norman Rockwell Museum

Posted by mrssmythe on April 21, 2015 in Art, Out & About |

The girls and I drove about an hour west today to visit the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. I’ve been meaning to go for years. The drive is pleasant, and the museum sits on 36 acres in the Berkshires. Visitors are encouraged to picnic and hike if so inclined, and in warmer months (May – Oct.), you can also tour Mr. Rockwell’s final studio, moved to the grounds in the 1980’s.

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Photo by Ginger

The museum, itself, looks a bit like a church. You can just make it out in this “artsy” photo Pepper took (she was focusing on the discarded museum badge she found on one of the gravel walkways).

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Photo by Pepper

And, it’s small. But don’t let that discourage you. There is more than enough to keep you busy and interested. Nearly every painting tells a story, and it’s easy to spend a good deal of time just staring at one.

Also, there’s a great deal of Rockwell’s work on display that is unfamiliar. I think that’s what I enjoyed most about the museum. Of course, there are many iconic paintings, too, and they’re wonderful to see, but I appreciated seeing works like this one – Portrait of a Joker (c. 1960) – that showed a side and style of Rockwell I hadn’t seen before.

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And then there was this painting – Strictly a Sharpshooter (1941) – painted to accompany a short story of the same name.

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I wish you could see it in person. It’s striking and large, and the way he’s painted the woman is amazing. Her back, her expression…everything. In the story, she’s a “scheming burlesque performer”. Her boyfriend has just lost the fight, and she’s very displeased. I think this may have been my favorite painting.

This one made me laugh out loud, though it’s not meant to be funny.

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I thought they were taking a selfie.

Of course, they weren’t. The painting show’s a young man holding a watch and was used for an advertisement. Still, it made me smile.

Finally, the girls and I were especially amused by this painting – Spirit of Education –  painted in 1934.

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It sums up perfectly our contrasting emotions regarding school. There I am, rosy cheeked and idealistic. And there’s Pepper, not quite so convinced. I’ve seen that very expression on her face.

Still, I’m hoping that today’s “art lesson” was as enjoyable for them as it was for me. And, in case it wasn’t, I bought them ice cream on the way home.

From the dining room table, wondering if I could find a copy of the short story that went with that painting,

Mrs. Smythe

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First Signs of Spring

Posted by mrssmythe on April 20, 2015 in Garden, Seasons |

Never mind that Spring officially began a month ago. We’re only now beginning to see our first glimmers of green…or, purple, as in the case of the bleeding heart outside my front door. I noticed it coming back to life the other day.

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I think it looks like a sea anemone.

The bleeding heart’s appearance made me curious to see if other things were popping up, and, of course, they were. You just had to dig a bit in the leaves to find them.

The sedum have a good head start on everything else. They’re very far along.

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Though, the catmint is close behind.

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Elsewhere in the neighborhood, I’ve seen daffodils, forsythia, and two magnolia trees, all in bloom. Spring is really and truly here.

From the dining room table, with my list of gardening chores growing daily,

Mrs. Smythe

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