Delights: July 22 to July 28

July 22: I didn’t do a single thing today. No, that’s not right. I didn’t do a single fun thing today. No, that’s not right either. Not doing a single fun thing today was the fun. 

Me: “Is this an artichoke or a thistle?” Jeremiah: “It’s an artichoke thistle.” Me: “C’mon. What is it?” Jere: “I saw it too and I looked it up on Seek: it’s an artichoke thistle.” Very cool.

July 23: Today’s mail brought a delightful surprise: a postcard from my blog-friend Manja, who describes herself as “a Slovenian in Italy for love.” She’s also a poem-writing Luka Dončić superfan (the Dallas Mavericks are now my favorite NBA team) and a photo wizard. We became friends through our blogs. How amazing is that? 

And I know, if I ever get to Italy/Slovenia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom or Maine, that I have a few friends in those wonderful places who will let me treat them to coffee. And maybe give me a hug.

July 24: As I meandered through the Luce Foundation Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum a few weeks ago, I was entranced by a painting of a young girl; it seemed familiar to me, but I just couldn’t place the work or the artist’s name. I’ve now solved the mystery. 

Two years ago, Kevin and I spent a few weeks in the small town of Noank, Connecticut, on the Mystic River. Savoring shellfish dinners, sunrise marinas (me) and bike rides (Kevin), we stayed in the airy 90-year old studio of mid-century American artist Robert Brackman. Kevin and I skimmed a book of his life and work. I couldn’t take the book home, so instead I took a few pictures of its pages. 

Today, as I scrolled through my photos, I found a photo I’d taken of Brackman at work in his (our) studio — and a photo of one Brackman painting: Somewhere in America (1934), the very painting I had lingered over at the museum.

Look at the image in the link above to appreciate the painting and its interesting story. Maybe Brackman created the painting in Noank — and left behind a trace for me. 

July 25: Really. All I wanted to do was find a certain postcard, which I thought I’d wedged into the drawer of a 19th century escritoire I’d bought at auction years ago. I upended the entire drawer and didn’t find the postcard. 

But I did find a receipt from 1997, before Jeremiah was born. Chinese currency. Nate’s and Jeremiah’s school photos and youth baseball cards. My Mom’s business card as Mayor of the Borough of Shrewsbury, NJ, and her very old Social Security card. Notes I wrote to myself in 1977, 1978 and 1983. An address book from the 1980s (with the names of friends still dear to me.) Two savings bonds. Stationery from the Mara Safari Club in Kenya. My first work photo ID displaying 1990 hair and 1990 weight.

And a scrap of lined paper, crinkled and jammed into the back, reading:

My Mom

My Mom’s as beautiful as the rising sun,
My Mom’s as clever as [eraser marks] eleven scientists put into one!
My Mom’s the greatest cook the world has ever none [sic],
My Mom’s unlike other mothers, for she never ties up the phone.
My Mom helps me with math problems and makes them correct.
MY MOM’S the greatest [paper torn] EVERY RESPECT!!!!

Sunrise over the Mystic River in Noank, Connecticut (2020).

July 26: A nasty little storm blew through town yesterday at 3:59 pm, exactly when the plane from Des Moines should have landed. Safety first: the flight was cancelled, and with it the first night of our epic family vacation. 

But my sister-in-law Karolina and her children arrived from Iowa today (storm clouds, begone). My sister-in-law Susan, husband and two grandchildren arrive tomorrow. We’re all heading to the beach: eventually totaling seven adults, four children, and so many things to do. Maybe I’ll write my Wednesday and Thursday entries now. Day 1: Fun! Day 2: Even more fun!

Ford’s lobster shop in Noank, Connecticut (2020)

July 27: Instead of doing rainy day jigsaw puzzles, my sister-in-law Karolina and I slathered sunscreen. Instead of natural shyness, my young niece and nephew gleefully joined my adventures. Instead of cooking a big family dinner, Karolina, Nate, the kids and I slurped clams (and wine) on a pier. Instead of having mountains of dishes to wash we had mountains of hugs as my sister-in-law Susan and more family arrived at last from Iowa. Travel woes forgotten, forecasts ignored, our epic family vacation had officially begun.

I found this photo of young Jeremiah in the drawer. I think he’s saying: “I got today’s Wordle in 2.”

July 28: The Atlantic Ocean at Assateague Island welcomes everyone, but it was especially nice to three visitors who had never swum in an ocean before. The ocean provided not one but two sandbars, so that adventurous Iowans could stand knee-deep fifty yards from shore. The ocean provided surf for boogie boards and basic wave management (“jump over the wave, dive through the wave, or drop like a rock”). 

And the ocean beckoned Nate and his surfboard. Nate would eventually launch my great-nephew into a fabulous boogie board ride. But the image I’ll carry is the pair of them, bellies on their boards, paddling out to the distant surf, side by side.

Bonus: As I typed that, I overheard my nephew’s grandfather tell Nate, “He worships the ground you walk on.” Nate smiled, accepted the compliment and replied, “Maybe we’ll be able to get him on the big board tomorrow.”

Assateague ponies also enjoyed the beach today.

Readers, to receive notifications by email each time I make a post, just scroll all the way down this page (next to the “word cloud”), look to the left and click on the black button that says “Join Me!” And if you think a friend might enjoy these, please share the Delight!

If you’d like to browse my past delights, please consult the “word cloud” featured at the very bottom of this post. Find a theme or two that interests you and sift through the sands. Or learn a bit more about my Blog by visiting my Welcome page. You’ll also see links to four essays that were published in print magazines. I’m glad you’re here!

Farmer’s Market bouquet.

20 thoughts on “Delights: July 22 to July 28

  1. Ryan, Anne M - (anneryan) July 28, 2022 — 10:52 pm

    Dear Carol Ann, I LOVE the MOM poem!!!! What a treasure!

    Also, we thought of you yesterday when we were in Madera Canyon. Amazing hike, partly in the fog and clouds. Magical transformation! We had to turn around when the thunder began, but it was a long way back to the car by then. As we walked down in the rain praying for no lightning strikes, we planned to stop at the canyon lodge to get a coffee like we did with you. Ultimately too wet and tired to stop there, but it was fun to remember our coffee that day with you and your visit! I’ll text you a couple photos from my phone so you can see the canyon in the monsoon season. Love, Anne ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I adore the photos! (Readers, you’ll see them soon…) And I am very grateful for the memory of our wonderful hike in Madera Canyon in the dry season, with our coffee and the hummingbirds too. Your adventure brings it all back to me. Love, Carol Ann

      p.s. The poem is fun, isn’t it!


  2. A day of doing nothing, a day looking at art (really like that picture you featured) and a day of discovery – and then seeing family. What a lovely week! And of course, should you ever make it to New Zealand, you would be more than welcome! Enjoy the family holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your cheery words and the invitation. And if I came to New Zealand, I wouldn’t have to imagine what we’d do “If we had a cup of coffee (or a cup of tea).” Maybe we’d eat scones and talk about books!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh and you are spot on about Jeremiah!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a lovely poem about your Mom…but doesn’t it also show what a sensitive, thoughtful and loving daughter you were! And the Smithsonian commentary on Brackman’s picture is fascinating, reminding us that the stories of “ordinary people” are as compelling as those of the so-called elites.

    The greatest and most joyful surprise of my blogging journey has been the “virtual” friends I’ve made along the way. I just never anticipated that it would happen, that I would get so involved in – and care so much about – the lives of people I’ve never met. And by the way, if you do make it to the UK you’re on a promise for that hug!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mr. P., for enjoying the poem and the story behind the painting! Thank you also for recognizing yourself in my shout-out to my blog friends. I agree: it’s been a delightful surprise to make friends in this way. My sons have far-flung, e-based friendships and think nothing of it. In contrast, you and I (and perhaps other bloggers of our age) continue to feel the awe. And gratitude.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was worried that I was being a little presumptuous, but made a pre-emptive bid for the UK hug anyway! All’s well that ends well, as the good Bard once wrote.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Best Mom poem ever. Clever as (eraser marks) ELEVEN scientists? Whoa!! What a compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! Carolyn, you are so right. Had he originally wrote five scientists or perhaps ten? I’m glad you enjoyed it too!


  6. If you come to Maine in either summer or fall, and the weather is good, not only will you get coffee but also Clif’s legendary grilled bread. 😉 Have a wonderful, epic family vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok, that sounds delicious. And if I come in winter, I can cheer Clif as he used your new snow blower! And maybe I’ll bring Big Book of Madness, and — and — and —

      And thanks for your good wishes for our family vacation!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hurrah! I’m so happy that my postcard made you happy, and that you are having a most excellent time with your people by the ocean. Your featured photo made me laugh because recently (in the post for my sister’s birthday) I posted a plant from our garden that made me do the same google search, but with a different result. I got cardoon! I wonder if this is a the same as artichoke thistle… A beautiful poem too. And you are so right, hugs await all over the globe. Us bloggers are lucky this way. May your good times continue!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your beautiful note. Thank you. And thank you for telling me about the Cardoon. I just looked it up, and \ my “artichoke thistle” might indeed be a globe artichoke or a cardoon! And I revisited your post celebrating your sister and saw your “almost artichokes.” How lovely that we share the same wonder! I hope you continue to enjoy your family as I enjoy mine.


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