Some more walking observations…

The Saturday morning sky in Deerfield.

The Saturday morning sky in Deerfield.

Forget Me Not!

Forget Me Not!

The weather is frightfully nice and I keep waiting for the shoe to drop. I noticed people walking around this morning and I was kind of surprised to see that they seemed so overdressed. I ended up, around 6:30 AM, walking out in jeans, a t-shirt, and a Pendleton wool shirt as my jacket. I was almost too warm!

The sky and the clouds were like a painting, they were so beautiful.

Before I actually hooked up Stewie to his leash, I grabbed the pruners (I keep them by the front door for this type of emergency) and quickly updated the height on a small bush next to the door. I realized that in my quest for symmetry, that I had been remiss, because its partner on the other side of the bow window was lower. I want to keep them at a height that allows for the total opening of the large windows and well, that was not going to happen with ease. Why, at 6:30 AM or so I would be pruning is beyond me. But then, I was enjoying my wine last night at the patio table as we read our books and in between I was doing crazy things like washing the playhouse floor because the kids were coming over today. What is a crazy Papi to do?

Yesterday, I discovered the wonderful smell of the magnolia blossom, something I had heretofore never noticed. I realized why as I grabbed a flower and sniffed, it is not something that stands out, per se, it is extremely pleasant, but not a scent that is powerful enough to be noticed easily, in my estimate. I am guessing that in the south, that this is not the case, perhaps the northern atmosphere is not the most welcoming to this beautiful tree.

The scent of the magnolia made me think of the scent I look forward to all year round that I discovered less than twenty years ago, that of the linden tree. It is truly my favorite. The current state of the linden tree is that it is not even greened up yet.

The big surprise of the day made me think today is somewhat special as I spied a six inch in diameter planting of ‘Forget me not,’ something I do not see all that often and something I do not seem to be able to keep in my garden. My mom’s garden had it in abundance, but it just doesn’t keep in my yard. There are two varieties, neither of which will stay with me. I wonder what that means.

Seeing all of the beautiful plantings of daffodil varieties makes me think that I absolutely need to find some fall time to plant more. Some of my previous plantings failed, I really do not know why since that is generally a very safe thing to do. I still have some representatives of my grandmother’s garden that came to me via my mother’s garden. We also still have a few tulips that I took from a huge planting I had done at our previous Deerfield home.

The weather is delightful, get out there and check it out if you have not already done so.

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Posted in Family, Horticulture, Life in general, Nature, Pets, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

On walking…



There is nothing better than taking a walk on a spring day and I must thank Stewart for that. I started out my day early as I went to swim and then had coffee with a friend. My friend is someone I met while working for the Language Lab Company, a guy who taught at our local high school. He keeps reappearing in my life, at conferences, and the other day at the Oakton FilmFest. He is interested in pursuing his French and we were talking options.

We had a great moment and then I went north to deal with a kayak rack issue. When I purchased it I had noticed it was a bit bent but thought that perhaps that was just the way it was engineered. I had had it professional done and thought that they would know better the functionality of the item. In any case, I had re-installed it and the ability it formerly had to move in and out was compromised, thus making it harder to work with when installing the kayak for transport. I am so glad I had them do it because they will deal with the Swedish company (Thule) and they assured me that it would be done.

We came home and well, Stewart had not yet been walked.

Thankfully, I had to take him for a walk. The weather is decidedly spring, although maybe a little warmer. The flower display is wonderful and the forsythia is blooming fiercely, telling me that this is a real spring and not a flash of it as we sometimes get.

The magnolia is blooming and the daffodils, myrtle, grape hyacinths, and regular hyacinths are doing well.

The odors were amazingly pleasant, light and seductive in the warm breeze.

I wonder how many have not been out for a short stroll to experience this. For those of you who have not, get out there. It is short-lived, especially in the Midwest, and should be taken advantage of.

Posted in French / français, Friends, Kayaking, Life in general, Meteorology, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Thoughts on reading…


When we decided to go to Savannah for the Book Festival, I thought to myself that it would be interesting, and that no matter what, there was Savannah. I love books but I seriously doubted that this interesting mix of authors and books could possibly be as exciting as it appeared to be. I was wrong.

Every activity goes through a certain ‘ebb and flow’ and cycles from one to the other. At the moment, it is quite exciting as Mary Kay and I have a collection of books to choose from that are to the point of making it hard, decision-wise, to even select one.

Our books are both electronic and paper. I find that an interesting topic, especially considering we are sixty somethings. I find that, more often than not, my age group would settle immediately into the paper book range. I remember years ago, a good friend from the high school where I taught, told me of her love for books. She also said that she could not foresee the electronic mode ever replacing the paper, as “You cannot exactly take a computer with you to bed.” Well, that statement was made before the ‘Kindle-Nook’ reading revolution. I, personally, never got into the Kindle or Nook on their own platform but did get into both on the iPad, iPhone, and now MacBook. So much for the not taking a ‘computer’ to bed with you.

The story that kind of put us right into the electronic book situation was the time we went to the Virgin Islands on an Eco-Trip where we stayed in a wonderful, now defunct, area called Maho Bay on St. John. While traveling, we had to re-disperse our luggage weight, tearing apart the main piece of luggage and adding to the carryon since not doing so would have required a large fee. The cause of the issue was books. Even while there, I remember running out of ‘beach reads’ as the books were so good we could not put them down. Luckily, the Eco-Camp had a book exchange where we could borrow books. We were also fortunate that they were good ones.

I go easily between electronic and paper, it is just that if I am travelling, I prefer to read something on my iPad. It just makes it easier. It is very easy to download a new book and I have even done so from my local library while hundreds of miles away. I have also enjoyed getting e-mails from ‘Book Bub,’ which has very inexpensive electronic downloads. Unfortunately, for Book Bub, most of them are books I would never read but every once and awhile a really good book shows up on their lists. I therefore pretty much check that every day.

So, of late, my reading moments have been nothing short of delicious. Before going to sleep, we always read something and it has even been hard to sit downstairs, all the while wanting to be upstairs in bed with my book. I finished my C.J. Box book (his latest) last night and almost decided on the one I really want to read most by Steve Berry (his latest), but I instead opted for the latest book on George Washington.

I feel bad for those who do not share this love of reading and books but I am sure that that is not necessarily because they don’t want to enjoy it, I am guessing that the way their neurons fire and the ease of which the printed word comes into their brains has a lot to do with it. Everyone has a different way of reading, some of us prefer fiction, some of us prefer non-fiction, some of us use it to read less than great literature, others read comic books, some just use it to research, but it is all good.

So, meanwhile, this is a great reading moment in the village of Deerfield chez les Koerner.

Posted in Culture, Education, Life in general, Literature, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment

Those little fires…

Des Plaines / IL / Etats-Unis - 4/15/15

When you think about it, life is dealing with one small fire after another. The fires are little hurdles or sometimes even larger ones that we encounter and have to deal with in one way or another. Some are due to things we have done, others are totally due to others, some are choices, and some of course are due to a combination of things.

How we deal with them is another issue. Some of us find them easy to deal with as we are so self-assured about ourselves and our abilities that we can easily rationalize them and deal with them with ease. Others, the perfectionists that we are, will take things to heart even though we rationally understand that in some ways we are being victimized by the whims of others. They can thus cause us stress, waking us up in the middle of the night as our minds refuse to shut down and instead hone in on them and interrupt our sleep.

Then there are those fires that are caused by people we work with, that we might just encounter, and others caused by family members.

No matter what, there are few weeks without some fire or hurdle to deal with. Sometimes we have to deal with somewhat stressful or unpleasant things and they become hurdles we want to get by.

At the age of sixty something, I find that it is scary that I want a week to be over with because I would like to be beyond the stress of the things I have to do. That is a dangerous thing as our finite time on earth is being wished away.

All we can really do is do the best absolute job we can and then accept that it is so. That is easier said than done.

Posted in Life in general, People and their characteristics, Thoughts and philosophy, Tolerance, Unfairness | Leave a comment

On being ‘Laskowskied’

Deerfield / IL / Etats-Unis - 4/11/15

Once in a while you realize that you have been placed on another list in a certain social grouping.

I remember a few years ago, in a grouping that we belonged to, I recall that all of a sudden I did not see a certain person and her husband at an annual gathering. I remember talking to her about it and asking what her take on it was. She is the quintessential, gracious individual and stated that she had no clue. She said nothing unkind in regards to the lack of being invited or about the host’s reasons for the lack of invite. The nice person that she is just continued on with her wonderful life, not giving any concern to the reasons for her being placed on the uninvited list, and mysteriously not suffering one iota.

The other day, it occurred to me that I had been ‘Laskowskied’ as was Mary Claire just a few years ago. The annual invite no longer came my way.

Hmm, what to think?

Life goes on; maybe it is a blessing about the non-existence of the yearly invite. It does make me think that perhaps both Mary Claire and I had been useful for a certain amount of time and that usefulness had expired. Such is life.

Posted in Friends, Interpersonal Relations, Life in general, Loss, Odd occurrences, People and their characteristics, Thoughts and philosophy | Leave a comment