Tag Archives: flowers

#atozchallenge G is for Garden Party


by Lillian Csernica on April 7, 2018

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One of the key elements of the Kyoto Steampunk series is writing each story from a different character’s point of view. Blown Sky High (Thirty Days Later) features a garden party presided over by Constance. This was an excellent opportunity to let the reader into her mind and see just how Constance is coping with the challenge of navigating through Kyoto’s expatriate society along with all the Japanese diplomats Dr. Harrington encounters.

A Victorian garden party is a lavish affair, held outdoors in a fine English garden full of stately oaks, manicured hedges, and an abundance of flowers. In 1880, did Kyoto provide the necessary landscape? Traditional trees in a Japanese garden included pine, bamboo, and plum. Because they do so well in winter, they symbolize steadfastness, perseverance, and resilience.

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cn.hujiang.com

Springtime flowers in Kyoto include irises, azalea, hydrangea, plum blossoms, and waterlilies. Best of all are the roses. If you’re planning a visit to Kyoto, be sure to see the Kyoto Botanical Garden.

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Blown Sky High is an important story in the series. It’s more lighthearted, and it takes a look at the expectations placed upon “the fairer sex.” When events at the party take a sudden unexpected turn, Constance must look to Madelaine and her bluestocking habits to save the day. To learn more about Victorian women who redefined their roles in society, please read this excellent article.

 

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labibliotecadeseshat.blogspot.com

 

 

 

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Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, Family, family tradition, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, history, Humor, Japan, Kyoto, Lillian Csernica, marriage, mother, nature, parenting, research, steampunk, travel, Writing

#AtoZChallenge C is for Constance


by Lillian Csernica on April 3, 2018

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artfullymusing.blogspot.com

Constance Harrington, nee Dawson, is the wife of Dr. William Harrington. Constance is the epitome of the Victorian “angel in the house,” devoted to being the perfect wife and mother. She does quite well at it, then duty demands she follow her husband all the way to Japan.

Poor Constance. I’ve given her a bad case of culture shock. Through her confusion and distress I can portray the attitudes and values of Victorian England toward the mysteries of the Far East. I can also have Constance ask the questions that will keep the reader informed and understanding the story as it unfolds.

Constance has every intention of raising Madelaine to be a proper Victorian young lady. Madelaine, who takes to Japan like a duck to water, has other priorities. The humor inherent in this battle made Blown Sky High (Thirty Days Later) a lot of fun to write.

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Filed under #atozchallenge, Blog challenges, doctors, fantasy, Fiction, historical fiction, Japan, Kyoto, legend, Lillian Csernica, steampunk, travel, Writing

Family Gardens, Family Trees


by Lillian Csernica on Februart 12, 2018

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“To be one woman, truly, wholly, is to be all women. Tend one garden and you will birth worlds.” –Kate Braverman

Springtime with its new growth of plants and flowers always makes me think of my maternal grandmother’s flower garden. They say inherited traits skip a generation. That means we’re more like our grandparents than our parents. This is certainly true of me and both of my grandmothers.

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My maternal grandmother was a woman who lived large in a time when that just wasn’t done. Her role model was her own mother, my great-grandmother. Back in the ’30s Nana had gotten a divorce then opened her own modeling agency, two actions that were way beyond the social norm for women of her time. My grandmother was raised in that environment of independence and determination. Grandma became a fashion model. The natural companion for a model is a photographer, right? My grandfather was a professional photographer with his own studio and darkroom. I have many of the photos he took of Grandma, showing her devilish smile and the wicked sparkle in her eye.

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Dreamstime.com

Grandma wrote a society column, full of parties and events and the kind of good-natured gossip that makes for lively reading. Not only did her column appear in the paper, but her photo as well, and under amazing circumstances. Once, on a trip to Enseñada, Grandma donned the traditional traje de luces of the bullfighter, complete with hat and cloak, and fought a bull right there in the bullring in front of God and everybody. And she won! I now have that “suit of lights” as a treasured reminder of the wild woman Grandma really was.

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homedepot.com

When I think of Grandma’s house, I think of the garden out in the backyard. It might have been the Hall of Flowers at the county fair or the sales floor of an upscale nursery. When I was three years old, we lived with Grandma for a short time. I was just old enough to start getting into everything, and that included the garden. The roses looked good enough to eat, in sugary pinks, deep golden yellows, and reds even darker than Grandma’s lipstick. Their scents mingled with the delicate fragrance of the night-blooming jasmine and the down-home sweetness of the honeysuckle vines. On hot summer days I liked to sit out there and just breathe.

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There was a lot more to Grandma’s garden than just flowers. A tall tree with drooping branches would blossom with thousands of pale lavender petals. This was a “jacaranda.” I loved that word. It was new and strange and made me think of spicy food in faraway lands. There was the raspberry bramble, a dangerous place for little hands and little tummies. The best berries were always deep in the bramble where the birds couldn’t eat them, which meant I had to stick my hand way in there past all the thorns and spiderwebs and bugs. One day my cousin Kevin ate a bunch of the berries before they were ripe. His stomachache taught me the value of patience, and of letting him go first!

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The garden remains a symbol for all those traits I saw in Grandma. What the child I was saw and remembered the woman I am can now interpret and understand. Grandma was beautiful and exotic and livened up her surroundings. Some days Grandma could be thorny. There were places in her house and in her life that little kids just didn’t go. Boundaries are reassuring to a child, even when they provoke unbearable curiosity.

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Then there’s my father’s mother. She married my grandfather and set up house as a farm wife, giving him three sons and three daughters. She survived the Depression and both World Wars. She lived at the same address all the years I knew her. She made a great mulligan stew, played Yahtzee like a pro, and never once commented on the length of my husband’s hair (At one point he had a ponytail halfway down his back).

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Grandma lived in a trailer park in Ohio. When I think of her garden, I think of the little field beside her trailer, a shaggy patch of weeds and blackberry vines, dandelions and wildflowers, lizards and birds and bumblebees as big as the tip of my thumb. It’s a great big happy organic mess. Mother Nature is left to her own devices there. If anybody understood the importance of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” that’s my Grandma.

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As you can see, my grandmothers are two very different types of women. From Grandma Lownesberry come my sense of adventure, my fondness for costumes, and my love of travel. From Grandma Chamberlain come my cooking skills, my love of board games, and my contentment with less than perfect housekeeping.

From both my grandmothers I’ve inherited the need to locate and preserve photos of every generation of the family back as far as I can find. I want my two sons to at least see the relatives they won’t have the opportunity to meet. These photos have become a garden of memories, one that will show my boys and their children the root stock that we come from, the sturdy vines and delicate blossoms, the everyday ferns and the hothouse roses. I hope that all the babies yet to come will one day know they are the latest buds to blossom in a garden tended with love.

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Filed under Family, family tradition, Food, history, Lillian Csernica, love, mother, nature, Writing

V is for Vases (Art Nouveau – #AtoZChallenge)


by Lillian Csernica on April 26, 2017

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glassartcollectors.com

Ca. 1920, Belgium Beautifully decorated tulip-shaped art nouveau vase with special dripping glaze technique. Design is completely de son temps.

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1stdibs.com

Val St. Lambert Art Nouveau Vase — Circa 1900, Val St. Lambert, Belgium. This delightful turn-of-the-century vase is masterfully cut in an exquisite Art Nouveau motif. Foliate tulips interspersed with butterflies around the collar surmount a bold fluted base, giving it visual balance. The delicate purple color is rare and the combination of clear, frosted, and half-tone lavenders complement it perfectly.

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christies.com

Polished pewter vase with art nouveau figural maiden.

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modernism.com

Monumental art nouveau vase by Emile Galle.

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antiqueswan.com

Majolica Art Nouveau vase by Julius Dresser

Loetz Glace vase.

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etsy.com

An Art Nouveau Charles Rennie Mackintosh pewter bud / flower vase, measuring 6.75 inches high, made in Scotland.

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artdecor24.pl

Antique art nouveau peacock vase.

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LiveAuctioneers

Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Overlay Vase.

 

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P is for Pocket Watch (Art Nouveau – #AtoZChallenge)


by Lillian Csernica on April 19, 2017

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jewelry.ha.com

Swiss Gold Diamond and Pearl Pendant Watch circa 1905.

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damedebeaute.tumblr.com.

Gold, cabochon emerald, diamond and green enamel lapel watch. Marcus & Co., circa 1900.

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1stdibs.com

Museum Quality Enamel and Gem set Lapel Watch by Haas Neveux. 18K Yellow Gold with Fine enamel, gold chasing and accented with numerous Rose cut Diamonds. Stem set Jeweled Nickel lever movement. Porcelain Dial with sunk seconds chapter and Gold hands. Matching case and Movement Numbers and also having the name of Boston Retailer Smith Patterson & co engraved on the movement.

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dupuis.ca

Gold and enamel lapel watch, circa 1900.

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pinterest.com

Art Nouveau 18kt Gold, Enamel, and Diamond Open Face Pendant Watch, the case with enamel flowers and rose-cut diamonds, the cuvette with guilloche enamel, hammered gold accents, the white enamel dial with Arabic numeral indicators and subsidiary seconds dial, stem-wind and stem-set, 27 mm, and suspended from a conforming watch pin, total lg. 2 1/2 in.

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ebay.com

Antique art nouveau Moon Celestial Pocket Watch holder stand. Solid bronze.

 

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Here Comes the Rain Again….


by Lillian Csernica on February 9, 2017

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I live in Santa Cruz County. Right now we’re getting hammered by another storm system. A creek runs along one property line of our land. To say that it’s “swollen” is right up there with saying the Grand Canyon is a big hole in the ground.

At the moment, the creek is sporting various clumps of tree debris, PVC piping from the neighbor’s irrigation system, and other bits and pieces washed away from yards farther up the creek. A bright yellow ball is bobbing in one of the little whirlpools off to one side of the main current.

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Driving is a chancy business right now. In my particular neighborhood there are a number of places where hydroplaning is a real possibility if you don’t keep your speed down. Fishtailing, spinning out, and taking out the neighbor’s trash bins are not happy options.

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Spring promises to be glorious. The ornamental plum trees in my front yard are already showing buds that will soon become blossoms burst out all over the tree limbs like pink popcorn.

Acacia bushes line many of the roads around here. Their lovely yellow flowers spell doom for people with allergies.

The daffodils and pink ladies are already beginning to show. It’s nice to see the green and brown and gray of the mountains enlivened with colors.

School has been closed for two days, which has caused some logistical juggling around here. Word is school will be open, but I won’t believe that until the school bus for Michael shows up. I just heard something crack and splash out back.

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The picnic table in the lower back yard was under water two days ago, which was more than a little alarming. I can’t help thinking about Sir Terry Pratchett’s marvelous Discworld book, SNUFF. Commander Vimes takes on the task of steering a hijacked riverboat ahead of a giant wave roaring down the river known as Old Treachery. The phenomenon called a “dam slam” results in a logjam of debris sweeping away everything before it.

I’m really hoping we don’t get to see one of those live and in person!

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A is for Amsterdam


by Lillian Csernica on April 1, 2016

 

When I was 18 years old, my father sent me to the Netherlands to spend the summer with Jennet, the AFS exchange student who had been my lab partner in Physics and my good friend.  She lived in Enschede, on the east side of the country, so when we decided on a day trip to Amsterdam by train, we were in for quite an adventure.

Amsterdam is one of the greatest cities of the world.  Everywhere I turned, there was something new and fascinating waiting for me.

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For someone used to the concrete vistas of Orange County, I was delighted to travel around the city via the canals.  The private boats hitched off to either side of the canals provided a genuine local charm to the areas I passed through.

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www.holidaycheck.de

 If you like flowers, then you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the floating flower market in Amsterdam.  All the tulips you can imagine, plus a whole lot more!
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 Amsterdam was the first place where I saw police officers patrolling their beats on horseback.  The two officers I spoke to were quite friendly and allowed me to take their photograph.  There’s something very imposing about a police officer looking down at you from that height!

 

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www.world-wide-gifts.com

 There are a lot of sex shops in Amsterdam.  As a know-almost-nothing 18 year old, this freaked me out.  What you see here is a resin refrigerator magnet.  Looks like a cookie, doesn’t it?  This was the only image I could possibly post here that wouldn’t get me busted for Adult Content.  If you care to Google the amazing range of possibilities available to you in such a shop, have a good time.  Just don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😀

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Blog challenges, history, Lillian Csernica, memoirs, travel, Writing

B is for Bouquet


by Lillian Csernica on April 2, 2014

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Today I have for you a bouquet of flowers constructed entirely from Belgian chocolate:

When faced with a choice between flowers and candy, why not go for both?  Better yet, throw another favorite into the mix!

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There is, of course, the more conventional approach that is no less delightful for the chocolate lover:

For your next celebration or “sweet occasion,” a chocolate bouquet might be a fresh new delight!

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Filed under birthday, Blog challenges, chocolate, Family, fantasy, Humor, love, romance