Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The reward of play

(Our car out back at 9:30 Saturday morning of the 23rd)

Outside lately there's been a snowy arctic blast that is beautiful yet frightful. Thankfully indoors safe in our row-home it is warm, embracing and delightful. On Friday evening January 22nd a nor'easter monster snow storm from Virginia up through New England effected 85+ million families leaving stories to tell behind. In our neighborhood of Philadelphia we received blizzard whiteout conditions and a total of 30 inches of snow fell between Friday evening till Saturday night 10:30 PM. Glad we did not experience a power outage but 200,000 homes did. The photo is out back of our home of our car covered by snow at 9:30 AM on Saturday. With 11 more hours left until the storm moved out of our area dumping an additional 8 inches more of snow.

Laying in bed under our antique French petite chandelier we tried to drift off to sleep. As the winds of the blizzard howled and snowfall accumulated a couple inches an hour. I enjoyed the quiet of the silenced city. No sounds of a typical Friday evening at all, just the storm itself.

With the snow drifting and completely covering our skylights upstairs and blocking windows our home looked like a cave. This photo although dark is of our Dining room window and an idea of just how much snow fell.

(Source Philadelphia magazine)
But this post isn't about the monstrous nor'easter we experienced - instead it is about the joy of playing as an adult.

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

In the Art Museum area of Philadelphia both young and old can't wait to sled down the steps of the Art Museum. The same steps made famous by Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in the movie "Rocky".

(Source nprfreshair)
The museum was closed but 100's showed up. Even this adorable fur kid.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing."
~George Bernard Shaw~

Lately I've been playing with White clay, experimenting with many different types. I molded and carved a life size mouse out of White Sculpey 111 Polymer clay over an aluminum armature I made. Afterwards I baked it for 40 minutes in a 275 degrees oven.

Meet Alfred as in Alfred E. Neuman (Mad magazine).
Many years ago John built two elevated stacked fieldstone walled planter beds. Inside we planted FiFi (a 3 ball boxwood topiary) and the Pips (single ball Boxwoods). And to answer your question, yes I name everything! One sunny day this past October while I was trimming my boxwood in preparation of winter I encountered a most amusing experience.

Through the corner of my eye I noticed a little Grey mouse running in and out from under our Green Emerald Arborvitae trees. Watched him as he scurried down our walkway and climbed up onto the stone wall and just laid down like a puppy sunning looking up at me. Still trimming I started talking to him in a softened tone and asked if his name might be Alfred E. Newman because he had large round ears. Eye contact made he was as curious about me as I was towards him.

As I talked Alfred listened intently, cutely cupping his ears as he lowered them down towards his forehead. Enjoying a little bond up until the mailman approached our house to deliver mail and cute Alfred quickly scurried away. Since then I've not seen him, although I look out the window for him and wonder if he's safe and warm. I decided to create a little Alfred for our home and that's the story of my "of Mice and Woman" moment. 

"Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and love of play."
~Henri Matisse~

I leave you with my poetry titled Play. I will admit, I've entered into my own childhood part 2.

"My Childhood may be over, but that does't mean playtime is."
~Ron Olson~

Through the innocent unencumbered imaginations of children that are filled with wonderment and awe each and everyday.
They seek knowledge and guidance from adults who share their own learned experiences to teach and convey.

Lately I've been observing the enthusiasm and exuberance evident while children are unaware of watchful eyes during play
Realizing the importance of recapturing the essence of joy derived from play and having creative empowerment stay.

To partake in an activity that's not for any practical purpose purely only for enjoyment and fun ...
play excites as it helps to invigorate creative thinking and to look for an excuse not to engage, I can find none.

Be it oftentimes just a diversion away from work or tasks play is a welcome distraction from the mundane.
Play becomes a mentally uplifting experience that expands your imagination so please do not abstain.
© Vera

I love reading your comments so please leave one behind.


  1. Vera, I believe play time, for adults, is just as important, if not more so, than play time for children. I love your little mouse, so very cute and your story! Now, I would probably freak if I saw a mouse in my yard, but it sounds like you enjoyed a very special visit! Blessings, Cindy

  2. Welcome to the world, are darling! I had a similar experience last fall when we had a long tailed visitor by the pool. After a few minutes of staring and letting me photograph him, he jumped into the water and we had to grab the net and get him back on solid ground.
    I love snow as we rarely get even a flurry. What fun those people had on the steps of the museum. Was Rocky's theme song playing? I hope so, at least in their minds! LOL
    Hope your back injury is healing. xoxo, T.

  3. What a cutie Alfred is! You did a great job, Vera in bringing him to life. That is also a wonderful poem to go with your thoughts on PLAY! Trying to get a few blogs visited tonight while John is feeling so well. xo Diana
    ps- LOTS of snow there!

  4. We all need a little play time. Alfred is adorable.

  5. Oh Vera, this snow is a beautiful sight! And to think that so many adults are playing in it at the Art Museum area of Philadelphia, that's wonderful. It looks like fun, what a great picture this is. Your art clay is awesome, and I really like your latest fellow, Alfred Neuman. Your poem is delightful, Vera, and play can come in all different kinds, and those who participate are the young and old.

    Stay warm, my friend.


  6. Alfred, you are just too cute! Before your mom even said it, I thought to myself "he is laying just like a dog would!" I'm sure you will be very happy in your home there in Philly:)

  7. Lovely poem, my friend. Play is so important! I so agree. It helps us with our creativity I truly believe. I have another blog friend naked Diane at Lavender Dreams who posts about play all the time. Y'all would get along very well!

    Your little mouse is so cute. I think you've truly taken to this new medium! I love his name. I loved Mad Magazine when I was in middle school…it was very popular with my friends. Do you remember Spy v. Spy???

    Thanks for sharing with us the story of Alfred's inspiration. I like reading your stories!

    I can't get over how much snow y'all got! Wow, your car is buried! And the snow drifts against your window? Crazy!

    Stay warm, my friend!

  8. Hi Vera, oh Alfred is adorable and will love living in your home. He has the curious look of wonder that your creative hands gave to him. Love reading the story that inspired his birth!!

    The snow is beautiful and looks like it was an inspiring time to be inside.
    Love your poetry. Play is so important in our lives. All work and no play makes for a dull life!!
    I hope Alfred has some adventures to share.
    Blessings for a better weekend ahead.

  9. OOO, Alfred is sooo adorable.What an artist you are...he is absolutely perfect...
    and my mother told me often, right up to the time she passed away, "Jeanie, whatever happens in your life, don't you dare forget how to play"......and I never have. xoxo

  10. Another beautiful poem---when are you going to publish?

    I thought of you often during this horrendous blizzard My son was set to fly to Philadelphia and had to cancel. We've and a few of our own blizzards and I sort of like the feeling of being safe and cozy while the storm rages---the same with rain. But I am so fearful of my kids, family and friends having to go to work and drive in the mess. Love/hate.

    So glad you are safe. Love your post! :)


  11. hooollllyy moly!!! that's some whole bunch of snow. love that the fur-baby was romping in the white stuff along with the throngs of those who chose to PLAY! and your alfred e newman .. darling. you are indeed gifted.

  12. Play is crucial and I always felt so badly for my students who grew up in underprivileged households. They didn't have art supplies, the TV deadened their minds and they just zoned out. They came to my classroom and I encouraged them to "play". They knew that they were allowed to use supplies from my room and I would even let them take things home. I loved watching them come alive in play.

    Stay warm and cozy!

  13. Ohhh yesss. Vera, I am hugging you. EVERY WORD is so wonderful and true. And I am playing here, believe me, I know exactly, what you mean, when those creatures suddenly are looking back at you. Suddenly they come to life. Vera, this playing, it is creating as well, opening doors for an energy even so many cildren NOT anymore are creating. The values are different these days. What´s on the bank, numbers, that counts, so they are told. Let´s make them learn again.
    Hearing, I am a loser, just making small money, even though I studied psychology and could make sooo much more money... but then, they see my creations, see my SMILE out of my heart - and there it is. A big "ahhhh, I see"... answers me - and they understand.
    Yes Vera, you stand up for this. A happy mousey day, my WONDERFUL, and... today... last steps are made! Pantouffles, a bit of ivy, a caftan and a dressing gown, a fes... This Salon is so much more... a little tower on top... Oh, Vera, you told me to go wild, hahaha ;)) Wait and see
    Your friend Méa :))))

  14. Dear Vera,
    The photos are just beautiful, and your mouse is so dear..
    I need to come back tomorrow to express myself.. All I can do to keep my eyes open.. See you tomorrow dear friend

  15. I am glad to read that you enjoyed the snow and will have only good stories to tell from it. I loved the photo of the people sledding! The joy says it all - play is good for all of us.
    Your little mouse is adorable. I can see that he is 'listening' for your voice.

  16. I love the quote ""We don't stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing."
    ~George Bernard Shaw~


    There is so much yet to see and do! I LOVE your Alfred. And I love sharing my 2nd childhood with you. :)

    Big hugs,

  17. A delightful post, Vera. I loved the story of Alfred and you, and how he inspired your charming clay mouse. So glad you survived the storm so well. . .no power outage, safe and warm in your darling beautiful rowhouse. Fabulous photo of the couple sledding down the steps and the furry friend accompanying them. Endearing poem, and the quotes you included are perfect. Have fun today! Hugs, Nancy

  18. Dearest Vera,

    I have read this lovely post several times.
    It is a joy to savour your wise words, poetry, and art.
    I do love your little mouse-Alfred, such a charming name and it suites him very well. Alfred is very debonair sort of chap, I know he will be getting into some mischief making and playful moments-which is exactly what we want him to do.

    Thank you for reminding us to cherish and honor our playful nature, it is indeed essential to happiness and longevity.
    Did I mention that I named the 2 Doe's and 2 yearlings that frequent our backyard??

    So thankful you stayed safe and cozy.

  19. Lovely poem Vera, it acknowledges the child within.
    Your little mouse is a handsome fellow and I've no doubt shall be featured soon in one of your delightful theatre productions.
    Enjoy the snow Ground Hog day is only a few days off and your Pennsylvania Puxatawny Phil shall let us know about the coming of Spring...
    Susan x

  20. PS - Sorry I spelled Phil's name wrong thats a big word to wrap your head around!
    Enjoy the day and the weekend...
    Susan x

  21. Play times are important for US. Sometimes the world is bad enough and so we can play with things, which makes US happy.
    Oh my god your car under the snow....holyyyyyyy

  22. I vera! Here I am at school on my lunch break off my phone. I love your mouse and your spirit of play. That is the way I live my life at home and yes, even at work. Play keeps us young! OK gotta go...The kids are coming!

  23. Wow that looks like so much fun in Philly! I love the little mouse he reminds me of Remy from Ratatouille , for which I named my Cat Remy after! xo K

  24. Lovely poem, Vera :)

    The story and the mouse are just wonderful. I often talk to the animals outside... lizards, birds, etc. and sometimes, like your Alfred, they listen. I also name just about everything. It's nice to know there's more of us out there ;)

    I'm glad you were safe and warm during the snowstorm. It really was a doozy! It looked like some people really enjoyed it though. I know I would have.


  25. It's a wonderfully playful piece, Mr. Alfred E. Neuman.
    As for the joy of creating Vera, your poetry said it all, in so many words as to completing my saying as to it just not being a productive day without making time to create.
    Love the poetry, it's so child like yet so adult like at the same time, bring the play out of all.

    I am more excited to see what you add to your family of mice... As for your visiting porch friend, darn that postmaster enter rusting your conversation? Perhaps it might had built a trustful relationship and regular visits would have played out. Maybe on days you are looking for him he to on opposit days are looking for you?
    Are you sure with naming all your little creatures you are not Ms. Potter the greatest storyteller of all children's picture books of little wild wonderments.
    Hannah's friend has a tiny baby hedgehog and she is waiting for it to mate with her male she has had a while, guess what? Hannah wants one.... They dress them in hats and post them on I.G under hash tags that have made them famous:))
    I would love to create a little hedgehog :)

    As for the snow, wow! As beautiful as it is, I know the troubling days it adds to getting out and about. The Museum steps famous to Rocky look amazingly fun, and can imagine you wanting to take a ride down in a big red sled, I know I sure would if it meant no back injury or broken bones :)

    The chandelier haunts me with its beauty, so romantic laying under all your white linen filled with feathers in your duvet of fluff. Almost like feeling snowbound in a castle I'm Europe.
    Hannah's big concern was you having enough food stocked up, and you settled her nerves with yes indeed you were prepaired for your storm.

    I am taking to day to get things done around here.... Between you and Mea now! I am even more inspired to create a mouse of Cartapesta, paper mâché ....
    Yet this will be awhile, I am squeezing in crowns and wire ones for my nieces wedding.

    soon your Row Home will not be know as so.... Yet Vera's Mouse House.

    See you soon dear,
    I am off to get busy.
    Late visit to you here, I was out late hot in late, and read your blog late, but wanted a clear head to read and enjoy it again this morning.



  26. where do I start>? my goodness you are so talented, it puts me to shame, but my arty heart loved reading your posts and pictures and I shall join in and come back again and again because Pictures like that lift the soul you had a lot of snow, but how beautiful it can look. all the best from over the Pond.. j

  27. You just have a way of putting me in the moment as you share your little mouse encounter. Thank you :)
    And yes, I believe we all have to take time for play. I work hard to convince my darling of that. He is very organized and structured and all about hard work. Sometimes I have to remind him that we need our playtime. Thank you again for this lovely post and sharing your amazing talent to dream and create!

  28. WOW, that is a LOT of snow!!! So glad to hear you did not loose your power. The little mouse is just so are VERY talented!!!!!!

  29. I too name whatever creature graces my path, and I do believe Alfred would have been my choice for that debonair fellow.

    Love the poem, as it something to live by.mwe do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.

    Happy to hear you were cozy and safe during the recent storm.


  30. Dear Vera,
    Now that is some snow! Your poor car, cannot even see it.
    You know what I adore most about your blog? You... Your imagination, kindness, creativity and your gentle soul... Your little mouse is beaming with love... I so enjoyed your story about his inspiration..

    I truly enjoyed your poem Vera.. Everyone need to ~play~
    Thank you so much for your visit today...

  31. This is a wonderful piece of poetry dear Vera. How important it is to make play a part of us.

    I love little Alfred! Another darling mouse for your rowhome, my dear. I hope Alfred and the rest of you are snug as a bug in your beautiful snowy wonderland.
    sending hugs your way...

  32. I can't believe the incredible amount of snow surrounding your house Vera! Growing up in Southern California I think I only ever saw snow two or three times and we had to travel for hours up into the mountains just to see a few patches of it, not nearly enough for sledding but we did manage to build a 12 inch snowman! I love the beautiful chandelier in the second photo! I'm glad that Alfred is safe and warm inside your house, he's an adorable little guy. We are sometimes visited by some of Alfred's hungry little cousins who like to come looking for a bite to eat!

  33. Oh my goodness. Love the title. Stay warm

  34. I love how you encourage your readers! I played some this week. I painted a table, made some signs... and it was fun to me. Great therapy. I love your little mouse. I might try my hand at sculpting... what's the worse thing that could happen :)

  35. The snow is beautiful, but you are right, can be frightening. We just never know what damage the weight of it all will cause. So glad you are safe. The hubster and I play all the time. It helps relieve stress and keeps us young. Since I am 10 years older than him, I need it more than he does. .lol. I know those steps. ..we were in Philly a few years ago, We fell in love with the city! It looks like such fun to sled down them. I just love your mouse and poem! ! The quotes you choose are perfect....we are only as old as we feel and if we play, then we will always feel young! Hugs sweet friend!

  36. The snow is beautiful, but you are right, can be frightening. We just never know what damage the weight of it all will cause. So glad you are safe. The hubster and I play all the time. It helps relieve stress and keeps us young. Since I am 10 years older than him, I need it more than he does. .lol. I know those steps. ..we were in Philly a few years ago, We fell in love with the city! It looks like such fun to sled down them. I just love your mouse and poem! ! The quotes you choose are perfect....we are only as old as we feel and if we play, then we will always feel young! Hugs sweet friend!

  37. Oh Vera, thank you so much for your sweet comment about my purses.
    Your suggestion for a flower girls purse is a very good one, but I am going to hold off until I see how well they are received.
    I put them in my shop last night.
    blessings dear friend

  38. Hi Sweet Snowy Friend that adores little mice and poetry. I relate to your snow. We have had snow storm after snow storm, here in Utah. The entrance to my home is completely blocked with snow, so all winter I have used the entrance upstairs. You are right that it is beautiful and frightening at the same time. Thank goodness Utah is use to this, the cities are very ready for removal for the beautiful stuff. I play like a kid and being around children all day I have to stop and ask myself is there and adult in there somewhere? Lol Life is to short to not be. Down the street from my home they built 20 new homes, it was a huge field, the mice and rats didn't where to go after the homes came in so they scouted out our neighborhood and now all of the older home are having trouble with RATS! I've had one sneak in through the dyer vent and take up housing inside the wall in my bedroom. Noisy little thing. Fortunately we caught it, I hate having to do this but they cause so much disease. Stay warm and cozy and keep making those adorable mice creations. Hugs, Jo

  39. "Of Mice and Woman" - love it! I hope you see Alfred again in the spring. Your clay Alfred is a cutie, and I enjoyed your poem. You all got hammered with the snow - we were so lucky to get only a foot!Hope it's mostly melted now!

  40. Love the idea of sliding down the museum steps! So fun! Alfred is a cutie too and I loved reading MAD mag. when I was younger.

  41. That is a huge amount of snow! Growing up in Texas, never had a scene like that! I do love snow, the fun part! Love the mountains and the times that we have gone skiing! Love all of your pictures you've shared today!

  42. Wow, what a bunch of snow! As I type this it's snowing and blowing's been doing this all day and will continue until Wednesday. I must confess that I am enjoying the warmth of the fire and the coziness of home and family.

    Thinking of you and wishing you a beautiful week. Hugs!

  43. WE are getting a big snowstorm here right now--hope it does not travel east your way!

  44. Too much snow for me! :) I'm so happy you didn't lose power! Do you have to shovel it off your roof too? Seems so many areas in the NE have that challenge. We've had some bitterly cold days with wind ~ just miserable. We've also had temps in the 70's too! You never know in Texas...heat in the mornings and A/C in the afternoon. LOL

    You are such a brave soul ~ had I seen that mouse I would have been screaming and running! I would never want to offend you but I just can't take them.

    I hope you're having a good week and the weekend will be even better! I'm still working on a few computer glitches but wanted to say "hello".


  45. Hi vera,,,, i love your house and your blog ,, you have a new follower