When Your Name Is Irene

Bodmin Moor (Click to Enlarge)

Even though we are a long way from the threatening fury of Irene’s arrival, it has been the topic of conversation here. Last night at the pub we shared a table with some friends from the village chatting over the week’s events with, Ian and Irene.

You may remember Irene from the photo below. It was taken at the pub back in January and she’s sitting in exactly the same place as she was last night while we talking about the hurricane that has so many Americans now running for cover.

I know Hurricane Irene has been spreading herself around and she’s caused millions of dollars in damages as she’s blown through the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas in her flight plan.

That Irene and our Irene have nothing in common, but she did share a few of the comments and jokes she’s had to endure since Hurricane Irene made the news.

Irene & Elizabeth

John is the weather watcher in the house. Most days, I barely pay attention to what’s happening weather-wise. That seems to have changed since he gave me Dora and I find myself feeling a bit grumpy lately that the weather has made it so uninviting to ride.

Living in Georgia, I took good weather days for granted. In Cornwall, we have a fair amount of rain and it’s usually not an issue for me, but it’s been cool and wet for the last week and I find that despite a long hot summer in Atlanta, I am not ready for summer to be over here.

Summer Flowers - August 2011

We’ve got a break in the clouds so I’m heading out in a few minutes to squeeze in some exercise and move my moodiness out the door. I’ve got loads to do today and no reason to whinge on about weather and inconvenience when so many are in such a scary situation.

Thank goodness we have ways to track deadly storms and prepare for them. I have friends scattered up and down the eastern coast of the US and I’ll be tracking their movement, watching as they hopefully provide updates on Facebook and Twitter or blog about their experiences with Hurricane Irene.

Here’s hoping you stay safe and dry wherever you are today.

When Things Are Exactly What They Seem

John and I skipped off to the picturesque village of Knowle for few days for a family celebration about 48 hours after I arrived home last week. I’ve been to Knowle before, but this was the first time I had a chance to explore it on foot with my camera in hand. This darling cottage caught my eye when we arrived the night before and the next morning I made a point to photograph it. I tried to find out more about it with an online search, but found nothing of interest. It looks as if it was one of several known as The Artillery Cottages.

What was most interesting to me was the milk and juice delivery looking as if it was waiting to be taken inside. I showed John my pictures when I got back to his brother’s house and asked if it was real or a prop designed to add to the look of the cottage. I think he found it funny that I could not decide whether if was really there for drinking or to enhance the image.

I remained slightly skeptical until later that morning when John and I went for a walk together and I took the image above. I couldn’t help thinking that in Atlanta this delivery would have likely been snatched for some stranger’s breakfast. As it was, it sat out there for more than a few hours and while it was cooler outside than the cottage cheese creating temperatures of Atlanta, it was warmer than I’d like my dairy products to linger in for long.

Thanks to all who added their thoughts on my post yesterday regarding the riots we’ve had here in the UK. My blogging friend Sarah at Texpatsabroad had a look at the situation from her London-based expat perspective that you might want to take a moment to read. I’m still thinking about what she had to say and the conversations John and I have had around the unrest.

John and I have distinctly different viewpoints being from two countries, but we disagree respectfully which more than I can say for many of the comments I’ve read in some online forums. 

An Update From The Edge

Where do I begin …

Let me first say how moved I have been by the messages of support and encouragement I have received since my last post. I have had weepy moments reading and rereading your kind words and your suggestions as to how I might find some peace have been a great help to me. As I’ve managed to move through panic and a mix of other palpitation inducing emotions, I find I am learning some unexpected lessons in letting go.

I spent time yesterday with two close friends who have been helping me enormously with some of the logistical issues I’m dealing with now. Their kindness, and generosity of time and resources have been such a gift to me and their support has made it possible me to move away from a temporary ‘ Chicken Little ‘ mentality that made me feel a bit crazy last week.

As important as their physical support has been, I also had two separate conversations with them that were illuminating and likely to be life changing. You know how people can say something over and over and you think you’ve heard it, well bless them both for their tenacity and willingness to keep repeating themselves because it finally got through my filter. By filter, I mean the voice in my head that wants to qualify, justify, or explain, instead of considering a different possibility.

This time, I think got it and I’m not sure that would have been possible with being so wide open emotionally from the unrelated issue I alluded to in my previous post.

Despite being in such a scary place of uncertainty last week I am managing well now day by day and doing what I need to wrap things up so I can go home to Cornwall and John. I have had so many offers of help and support so many that I am deliberately not naming names here for fear I might accidentally leave someone out.

To all of you who’ve left me such kind messages, I thank you. You helped me leap to the next place which turned out to be a better one. Not all the issues are resolved here, but I do feel better about what comes next.


Benjamin Wagner’s Video Has Made Me “Forever Young”

I have been inspired to write about Benjamin Wagner and his passionate pursuits several times in the past. If you have not had a chance to read this post or the one that followed, please click on the links and take a minute to get a bit more background on Benjamin.

In my first post back in July of 2008, I explained how I found Benjamin online through a piece he had written about Fred Rogers who is better known by most people as ” Mister Rogers.”

What I didn’t say was that I actually introduced myself to Benjamin through an email more than a year earlier in May 2007 when I wrote to him and said among other things that I had an image in my mind of him performing one day in front of many children. For a rock and roll artist and MTV executive, this might have seemed alarming on two levels.

I was a little concerned that he might think, ” Who does this crazy woman think she is writing to tell me her vision of my future ” and I also imagined he might think that playing his songs for children was too far removed from the dreams of rock and roll stardom he may have imagined when he was writing for Rolling Stone Magazine online.

That he took the time to send me a gracious and thoughtful response impressed me and reaffirmed that sometimes people are exactly who they seem to be. We had an opportunity to meet in person later that same year when we happened to be in Las Vegas at the same time. He was there preparing for an MTV awards night and when I stopped by without warning, he took the time to come out and say hello in person even though he was just about to begin a big meeting with his team of folks. I was once again impressed by the way he was consistently warm and approachable.

It has been a fun ride to watch as he continued to make and release his own CD’s while moving even further up the ranks at MTV taking on bigger titles and more responsibility. Since I began to follow his words and music, Benjamin has married Abbi and they welcomed their first child a few months ago, a precious daughter they call Maggie.

During all this he also found time along with his brother Christofer, to complete their documentary, ” Mister Rogers and Me,” which has been viewed by audiences at several significant film festivals and is already winning awards.

The reason however for my post today and the explanation for the title above is that Benjamin Wagner has a new CD release aimed directly at the ears of a younger audience while still managing to hold the musical attention of his older fans as well. It was no surprise to me that a little more than three years after I had an intuitive flash of Benjamin with an audience of children gathered around him, he and his band mates played an early show for a group of little ones.

I am so pleased to be a part of his “Forever Young” video. Not long ago Benjamin sent out a call for childhood images from his virtual ” neighborhood ” so I emailed mine and forgot about it until yesterday when I saw the video première.

I was giddily surprised to see myself as the first child in his video showcasing the faces of those who will stay forever young.(at least on the video) You can’t miss me, along with being the first face you see, I’m the one wearing an early look of deep contemplation and a puffy blue dress.

Benjamin tells you why he decided to record his ” Forever Young ” CD in a post over at his place and you can read about it by clicking on this link.

You can purchase ” Forever Young “ one song at a time or all ten songs at once by going to iTunes which exactly what I’ll be doing in a minute. By Monday you will be able to buy it through Authentic Records and CDBaby if you prefer.

I’ve had a chance to hear all the songs and find Benjamin’s version of some of my favorites as enjoyable as the babes who are just beginning their journey will.

I lifted this information which so fits with who Benjamin is directly from his blog,

” Proceeds will be donated to The Fred Rogers Center and The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood. Though neither is affiliated with the project in any way, we believe strongly in supporting their efforts towards advancing early learning and children’s media.”

Since he’s doing his bit to give of himself, I thought I would give a little too.

Today marks my first giveaway!

I will be giving away a copy of ” Forever Young ” to someone who leaves a comment below. If by some miracle I happen to at least get 100 comments, I’ll give away three copies.

My goal is two-fold … to share the work of this kind-hearted and multi-talented man and to help with his efforts to raise money that supports early learning for children and reinforces the deep and simple philosophy of Fred Rogers. You have until this Friday at 2:00 am Eastern Standard Time to comment and enter. Good Luck!

To hear more songs from ” Forever Young ” you can click here to listen to all ten tunes. If you want more chances to win and at the same time do a good thing with little effort, leave me a comment below and forward this post along to your friends and family.

Special thanks to Benjamin for helping this newly turned 50 year-old stay,

” Forever Young.”


Big CONGRATULATIONS to Cindy! Her number came up when I used Random.org to do the hard work for me. Cindy please contact me by email with an address, and I’ll have your copy sent to you directly from New York. Thanks to everyone who took time to comment. If you bought a ” Forever Young ” CD, I would love to hear your thoughts in followup. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

If Cows Could Talk


I spend a fair amount of my time in the company of these great beasts when I’m walking with John on the moor or cutting through a farmers field while out on a run. It never caused me one minute of concern even when they had horns as sharp and pointy as these at least not until I received a comment from Sarah. If you remember, Sarah read this post after searching for information about a coast path walk she was interested in doing in Cornwall. If you scroll down to the last comment on that post, (from Sarah C-S) you can see the comment that marked the beginning of our friendship.

After a series of emails back and forth, along with this post designed to talk more about potential safety issues on the coast path, we arranged a meeting. Being able to meet people in person that you enjoy talking with is one of the best benefits of blogging.  Sarah who lives north of London, came down to camp near here with her sister Suzanne who is so funny she really should consider doing standup comedy. Between the two of them I laughed and smiled so much my jaw actually felt a bit sore by the end of our visit. I spent a delightful afternoon acting as tour guide showing them the area around the village where we live. I took them around to some of my favorite places..we even posed for a picture on a footbridge you may recognize. It’s one where several pictures of both me and John have been taken near the buttercup field.

It’s been about a month or so since they were here and I have to say that whenever I see a cow or bullock that might look as if they’re sizing me up, I think of Sarah and remember that occasionally these gentle animals may charge and trample people passing through their space.  As I said before, it’s usually when a walker has a dog with them that is not on a leash (or lead) and the cows are really after the dog.

Still, I’m not sure Sarah would like to know that whenever I see a cow now, I think of her. It’s kind of funny, but I do appreciate the increased awareness and so far the only direction the cows seem to be running is …away.

"Look Out Bessie, Here Comes That Woman Again."

"Look Out Bessie, Here Comes That Woman Again."

" Shush...Just Pretend You Don't See Her."

" Shush...Just Pretend You Don't See Her."

" Oh Good Grief...Is She Following Us Now!"

" Oh Good Grief...Is She Following Us Now!"

Here is a picture of us near the buttercup field.

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth

Suzanne, Sarah, & Elizabeth