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Things for which I am grateful

10 Jul

Right now, I have a month-long holiday while my mother is in Newport with my sister and her children and grandchildren. It is bliss.

Shedding responsibility fast! It feels like taking off a heavy fur coat which was inexplicably worn on a hot day. The relief is instant. Every fiber of my being is alert to the LACK of pressure. It feels as if the room has been filled with extra oxygen, and it makes me feel euphoric. The entire first couple of days felt as if someone had slipped me an “upper.”

Sisi in my bed

It has been 8 days now, and I am still bubbling over with freedom and unstoppable elation. My days are pretty much empty, except for doing what I want to do. Writing, writing and more writing. I meditate and swim and eat exactly what I wish to. My dogs are with me, and the house is quiet. I spent several days at my daughter’s farm, and that was nice, but the cottage airconditioning was not working. That made it difficult and sticky to write. Also, I cannot make phone calls from that house. I have to go over to the main house and use her kitchen phone. That was awkward because I was trying to give her space. But she spent a LOT of time at her studio, so the house was more or less empty except for occasional help.

Magnus the Magnificent

Back home at Mothers where I sit now, the sun is shining in the garden room. No one is here with me except the dogs. I am going to go swimming in a minute. Probably should do it before the garden service comes. It is delightful to be here. Every moment is cherished. Enjoying the moment is becoming easier and easier for me, as my meditation practice improves. And it is like savoring the last of a jar of peanut butter or something delicious. I might use a spoon or even my fingers to get the last little bit of the deliciousness from the pot. That is the way I feel about my life during this month of July. I savor it, and I appreciate it.

Perhaps that is why it is so much fun. Gratitude makes me feel great! It is good for my soul, and it is nourishing for my body. Thank goodness I learned that years and years ago. Because gratitude can turn your mind around if you can find a handle for it. No matter how horrible or how wonderful your circumstances, gratitude will make you feel better. It is a sort of magic.

Now that it is summer and full-on green with everything growing like crazy due to the rain we keep having our yard is overgrown with good and bad things. The weeds in the garden are fierce. But the Wisteria that is growing up the Oaktree is rampant. And what I must do is find someone who can tame that a bit, tack it to a trellis on the tree, perhaps. I am hoping that someone who knows more about plants can help me tame the vines and see them entangled and encrusting the bare trunk of that ruined tree.

The plethora of wild birds, copious squirrels, and occasional other wildlife, bunnies, deer, and raccoons give me great pleasure and constant entertainment. Watching their antics reminds me of the convoluted human experience. They inspire me to write more.

How lucky I am to be here to see them!

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

Caterers are fun when they want to cater your wedding

4 Jun

The meeting we went to at Occasions Caterer is worth mentioning. It is a huge firm. have around thirty events a day. It is extraordinary when you think of how many things can go wrong at thirty different events. But, for us, nothing went wrong. It was all set up in a Tasting Room: a table with candelabra and flower arrangements and many glasses and chargers on placemats. It looked like a lovely dinner party. And we all sat down, Lilla and Delilah and Alex and Me, and the wedding planner and two women who work at Occasions Caterer. They and the wedding planner were all rather dressed up. The rest of us were dressed casually.


We were served, first, a series of individual hors d’oeuvres. We were given a menu and were encouraged to mark what we liked best, with a private grading system of our own. I used 100%, on down, but, truly, most everything was 100%. The food was delicious. One of the owners sat with us for part of the meal. He told us that he and his twin brother had graduated from college with rather worthless degrees and they had worked for caterers while in college. They decided to start their own company, using their kitchen in their apartment. And the rest is history.

Occasions Caterers really is an amazing operation. We got to inspect the kitchens, which were extensive, with mammoth pots and bowls for mixing and marinating. Stoves and ovens and sinks and countertops were all spacious. Walk- in freezers and fridges and stacks of trays for putting prepared food on to wait its turn. There were photos of the staff hanging overhead, which we thought was a charming touch. Then, there is a separate pastry area and one for making chocolate.

They are a GREEN company, which means they recycle everything, use organic everything, and really try to be ahead of the curve on ways to conserve. We looked at the glassware, china, flatware and tablecloth selections, checked out ballroom chairs and table types and spent almost four hours there. It was the first time I had done anything like that. I guess a lot of people do it when choosing a caterer for a large event.  On past occasions, when I myself have used a caterer, I just called them up and said what I needed, and maybe discussed alternatives, but never anything like this “Show” they put on for us yesterday!


The company sent home sacks of food, too, for dinner for Mother and me, but I could not eat dinner. I was completely stuffed from the tasting.  I did sit with Mother, who also ate almost none of it. She has little appetite in the evening. But she did enjoy her papaya for desert.


What we ate at our “Tasting” was often Asian in flavor, which I loved. The salads served were nice; the first one was sort of a “normal” salad. The second was made from asparagus which was put through a slicer so that it was served in long thin slices, mixed with other greens, somehow. That was extraordinary.  The entrees were beef, cooked perfectly but which had been seasoned with coriander and had an unusual taste. If I am going to have tenderloin, which is expensive, I want it to taste like tenderloin. This did not. The other entree was cod. I have never tasted fish so good. It was just delicious. And then they had also given us wine, both white and red, and non-alcoholic beverages like cucumber water, spiced tea and, finally, a lemon drink and a grapefruit drink, both of which were to die for!


Then they served us a drink with bourbon- and- something. It was real and tasty if you are a bourbon drinker, which I am not. They then brought out a sort of martini glass with a cloudy liquid that turned out to be gin with something added that tasted delicious and with pomegranate seeds sprinkled in it. I actually drank 3/4 of mine over the course of the meal.


The whole thing was over the top, in my opinion. It just did not seem to be very restrained. But I don’t think of Delilah or Alex as the type of people who care about that. They care about the Green part, and each other. That’s it. And Lilla has her own taste, her own style. She does not need to color inside the lines.

I believe that true good taste is lovely, but it is also a reassurance to people, showing that things can be done a certain way. Sort of like the army wearing uniforms. It all has a purpose. Occasions understands this and  play to their audience, depending on who it is.

And for people who would not be able to figure it out any other way, it works great. Good taste is innate in some; others need to be shown what it is. Charley Matheson has an innate sense of this. In fact, he is an arbiter of good taste. He instinctively knows the right thing to do. The right look for a room, the proper way to dress and look dapper without being weird. I have always admired him for that ability. I am much more all over the place with my ideas and my clothes and my rooms.


So, yesterday is over and I’m not sure what today holds. But I shall sally Forth!




Copyright 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

The Oak Tree

12 Jun

The Oak Tree

All of it’s branches reach out.  Stretching skyward, slender or stout, shortened, truncated by man, or extending far from the center, those branches leafed out in June, shade the ground. Within green shaded air, lightly sighing leaf sounds compete with the twitter of  birds who fight for space on the bird feeders placed under the canopy. That tree has anchored the place since 200 years before the birth of my mother. Now, cracks are showing in the bark. New ones, that were not there even a couple of weeks ago. The end is near. The giant oak is completely hollow, though huge and gnarly, it is gently dying. The root structure is gone to the east and south east. Will it last another 3 weeks? NOT sure.

What a legacy. Power in a tree. Magnificent, majestic, mighty this tree calls alliteration to mind, even though trite, the fit is there. There are few like it. And none that grace the yard of a private home in the middle of the capital of the United States of America. This huge, stolid trunk is weakening from the inside. Though we who love it want to believe it will outlive us, we can see that it is almost gone into legend. Though it still stands, reaching to the sky and thick with leaves, the underpinnings of the tree are gone. Where once roots burrowed under the ground and interfered with growing grass, the carpet is thick and green, with fast growing grass.

Overlooking my childhood that Oak Tree stood sentinel. Glancing at it sideways, it was just “there”. Shading our front yard in hot Washington DC summers, we were grateful for the coolness beneath those spreading arms.  Yet, unconsciously the presence as a constant gave stability to my growing years until we left to live in Europe.  Then I missed it.  Then we had a smooth grass circle in front of the Embassy and it seemed naked. I longed for the thick trunk and overreaching green leafed canopy, the acorns in the fall, the bare branches silhouetted  against the winter sky, the spring tassels that preceded the early leafing out.

I loved that tree. We all loved it and we all still do. It frightens us to imagine the space without it. How strange that would/ will be. How unsettling and unusually bright. The entire house would change for the worse, or at least for a very different aspect. But life goes on.  The land will still be there when the tree is gone. Someone will tear down the house once called “Underoak” and build something made of steel and glass. An office building? An embassy? An addition to the American University campus? Will I live to see this change?

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