challenges, challenges

Every January I sign up with the Goodreads book challenge and Every November and December I find myself frantically reading books to meet the goal.  I was up until very early doing “easy” reading, stories that are sort of romantic mysteries.  I have searched for Kindle singles and have hope that I can get these last 6 –yes, six– books read.   I read from a kindle or a nook, mostly, but since I need to catch up quickly, I’m heading over to the library to find some nice mystery series that will keep me interested…or that’s the plan, anyway.

We didn’t get any snow, though I understand that the State was on alert for flurries.  The rosebushes are ready for anything, though…check it out…

We’re doing some experimenting in the conservatory.  When the sun is up, the temps stay about 10degrees above the outside.  At night, there is little difference between inside and out, so with lows in the 20’s, I want to add some heat.  We have a couple of space heaters for now, but I don’t want to see my electric bill go crazy, so we’re thinking a kerosene heater would be nice.  So far, everything is doing real well out there…

Those low temps bit the leaves right off the trees that were so beautiful just day-before-yesterday…

It feels like a day to make some soup and curl up with a book, or two…  I hope you are warm and cozy this lovely Sunday…

Peace

 

My daughter-in-law’s surgery went fine and she is back home loopy on meds, so I’m still doing the chauffering for her.  It was about 8pm last night that Michael brought her home, so I had Samantha asleep and Olivia at least in her room — I felt like a real Mama.  Samantha gets out of pre-school at noon, so I’ll just say “hey” and get back to work…

I’m glad the election is finally over, but it won’t stop the incessant roar of anger in this country.  I continue to avoid watching cable news, facebook, and twitter, though facebook, for me, seems the mildest of the three.  Facebook just hasn’t been showing me much more than ads until recently when folks (and their cute kids) started popping up–finally a reason to hit the like button..!  Believe me, a person can stay informed without the shrill and shriek of the talking heads manipulating and triggering emotions…

Casey is out putting some cages around the rose bushes.  There are some tall canes that I fear will be destroyed by winter snows.  Our first “snowfall” is predicted for next week…the kind that melts by noon…but we’ll be ready for anything.

Getting up early and getting out of the hou-hou-house seems like such a new/old experience.  Out there in the early morning with the school buses sends me back in time when I had places to go and things to do…and stress out the wazoo.  I’m glad I can help the kids out and take a little of the stress off of them.  Soon enough I’ll be back here with plenty of time to write.

Perfunctory Picture

 

Peace

 

Today

We filled up the birdfeeders and brought in more plants this morning before a cold front blew in.  We have 4 finch and 2 sunflower seed feeders and they are doing great business.  I’ve still got the hummingbird feeder out because I saw a hummer just last week, but haven’t spotted any lately.

I decided to try grilling  in the conservatory.  There wasn’t too much smoke, much, but now it smells quite loudly of chicken…

I’m still enthralled with my genealogy project and have finally started to focus on just one line of the fam…I think.

 It’s just been a day full of moments…one right after the other…

Peace

A Lovely Day in Autumn

I take Olivia to piano lessons every Saturday and her little sister always wants to tag along, which is fine with us.  We go various places for lunch afterward and today we went to the mall. The Christmas decorations are not up yet (thank-you-very-much) but a seasonal toy store has popped up and the the kids were like…uh, kids in a toystore??

This picture was taken at Justice, not a toystore, but filled with goodies…

Back home, the sun shining on the trees beckoned us to walk down the path…  We call our woods Solla Sollew and our little ditch is the River Wahoo.  The dropping temps did quick work of coloring the leaves, but the rains cut short their stay on the branches.  Now they have have covered the path with a mosaic of orange, yellow, and red while the green still peeps out from beneath.

I walk in wonder at the beauty of Autumn.

Don’t forget to change your clocks back tonight…What a delusional idea daylight savings time is…As if we are adding or taking away or moving hours…   I’ve worked third shift on the transition night and I assure you that the hour that is added is an hour, but the hour you take away is not.  Just make all your hours golden and you’re good…

Peace

 

Days of the Dead

Way back, several thousand years ago, there was a civilization in Mexico we know mostly as Aztecs and Toltecs.  To their way of thinking, death was just another phase on the continuum of life and it was disrespectful to mourn the dead.  The dead were still part of the community, their spirits kept alive in the memories of their families and it was on Dia de los Muertos that they temporarily returned to earth.

The tradition survived all these years and has morphed into a 3-day festival in Mexico. I saw pictures of the colorful altars in the cemeteries, adorned with marigolds and family pictures. The parades and celebrations seemed like mardi gras to me, only with a theme of skulls and skeletons.

It wasn’t until I watched the Disney movie “Coco” that I really sat up and listened.

Brief synopsis of the movie Coco, blatantly copied from IMDB:  Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.

According to the movie, you can’t cross back over to earth—you can never again see your loved ones–if you are forgotten. When you are completely forgotten you finally dissolve, disappear, die.  Miguel’s great-great-grandmother tore his great-great-grandfather’s face out of the picture, so he was nearly forgotten, and fading quickly.  Miguel’s trip to the Land of the Dead is filled with music and lush with colors.  There is a scary part and the ending made me cry, but the music made it happy-cry.  (by the way, Coco is his great-grandmother)  (watch the movie)

So, maybe it’s all true.  Maybe there is a time when the veil between the living and the dead thins out and our ancestors are able to visit with us.

I know I’m full of dead people right now, thanks to my genealogy project.  I am lucky enough to remember 2 great-grandmothers who lived until I was 18.  What do you really know about your great-grandmother, though?  I listened to the stories and tried to ask questions when I realized there soon would be no one to ask.  Family histories are notoriously unreliable, if they exist at all,  and I’m finding more questions than I am answers. I stare at the fading pictures of their young faces and wonder.  The census, records of birth, death, marriage, baptism are an outline, but I want to color it in with a flesh and blood human that Lived a Life worth remembering.

The catholic church co-opted the Days of the Dead, turning them into All Saints Day, when you pray for the honest-to-god-saints-in-heaven (like they need it) and All Souls Day, when you pay-to-pray for the rest of the church people who are in purgatory.  The rest of the dead are in hell.   What a bunch of killjoys…

I much prefer to celebrate our Ancestors, showing respect for their lives, and welcoming them with Peace, Love, Food, and lots of Flowers when the veil thins.  I like to think of them living in the colorful Land of the Dead, biding time until I join them in their dancing and singing.  (of course, I believe in Ancient Aliens, too, so what do I know?)

I know this much:  Life is short and Death is long.

So get out there and Be Alive while you still can…and don’t forget to remember the Grateful Dead…

Peace

Distraction

I’m determined to write daily in November, but if I am to judge by this morning, my subconscious is equally determined to not… I’ve cycled through most of these distractions….

Procrastination has always been my m.o. (“if I start writing now, when I’m not really rested, it could upset my thinking, which is no good at all”…Charlie Brown), but modern times have added distractions beyond my ability to ignore.   I open up the computer and I’m like a fly caught up in a Worldwide Web, clicking away at who-knows-what until I forget what I originally started to do.

November is Officially National Novel Writing Month  and I Officially accept The November Writing Challenge.  The Distractions are many and Ours is shaping up to be busy with grandkids, as Jess has a surgery scheduled next week and is going out of town for work week-after-that.  Of course, we’ll vote next Tuesday.  Thanksgiving is just a big blank on the calendar right now, but I’m sure we’ll come up with something festive.

In the meantime, that’s all I’ve got for today, except for this Distraction meant to distract you from the fact that I didn’t really write anything…just told you I’m going to, or will try…

Last night’s Trick-or-Treaters

Peace

 

Long story short…

Oh, my!  I have been so neglectful of my blogging…wondering again whether to quit or jump back in with renewed vigor, writing daily.  For now, I’ll catch you up on recent activities…

Martha called and said she’d be visiting town, so she and Nancy and I had a fine evening chatting and eating…

 

The Master Gardeners Fall Conference was super this year!  Jack Barnwell, manager of the gardens on Mackinac Island, presented a terrific slideshow that really made me want to visit there.  Chef Nathan Lyon did a cooking demonstration for us that was both informative and hilarious.  The after-lunch speakers were Scott Beuerlein from Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and Kerri Ann Mendez from Perennially Yours.

I was also delighted that Sharon and  Charles Sorenson were there, peddling her books.  I’ve been stalking her to buy her latest,

and finally I caught up with her.  This book has me so excited about my Bird Garden project for Spring 2019.  Planning next year’s garden is a great way to get through the winter…

The UE production of Spring Awakening was excellent, though I can’t say I actually like the show…such a bummer.  The theatre always has a full roster of wonderful actors and I’m grateful we have the opportunity right here in Eville to witness their talents.

I’ve fallen down the rabbit-hole of genealogy…  I got out everything I’ve already done and put away about 6 years ago and going through that was a trip into the past, darkly.  In addition to my family tree, I had put together some information on the history of my house and I had forgotten some of the facts I had unearthed.  I’ve gotten it organized and I”m ready to dive into it deeply…

Perhaps I could combine the genealogy research with rejuvenated blogging habits… hmm…

The leaves are beginning to color the trees with splashes of orange, yellow, and red…think I”ll go out to the Thoughtful Spot and figure it all out…

Peace

The Bi-weekly weekly update…

As we watched Hurricane Michael slam into Port St. Joe, I was haunted by these pictures taken just last  March when we were there, staying at Presnell’s Marina…

 

Cape San Blas is the strip of land catching the setting sun…  I read that Hurricane Michael carved some new islands out there.  The beautiful road that we drove from Port St. Joe to Carrabelle is washed out…

We have reservations for this coming March to stay right up the road from Port St. Joe at Indian Pass, a spot called Water’s Edge, and their last facebook post was “Please pray for us”.  I certainly am…

On a brighter note, here’s some photos from a morning at the mall with Olivia and Samantha…

 

 

Though we’ve only been back home a couple of days, it seems like a season ago that we camped up at Brown County,…temps were 80s and humid and it seemed like a last hurrah to summer, though the calendar says it’s October… I didn’t take many pictures, though…

 

Just a few of Brown County State Park (above) and some neat stuff I saw in some shops in Nashville, IN below…

 

I enjoyed getting away…

and came home rejuvenated, ready for Autumn’s changes…

Peace

So long, September…

We seem to have finally crossed into Autumn around these parts and ’tis the season for pumpkins and mums. with some rudbeckia and scarecrows thrown in for good measure.

We spent Mon-Wed doing some babysitting duties, though Saman-THA is quick to let me know she’s not a baby anymore.  That’s okay, because she cuddles and plays, and fully embraces the fact that she will Always be My baby…

But babies aren’t allowed to play with play-doh, so that proves that she is a Big Girl…

We have finished up taking down the pool.  The peas look like they are struggling some, but the green beans are blooming and we should have a big mess of beans by mid-Oct.

Sevin spray on the cauliflower and broccoli has maybe  held off the worms, but I’m not sure what kind of crop we’ll get.  They still look pretty from a distance, though.

We pulled up the travel trailer from its dock in the back to our side yard and plan to keep it there through October.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a window of weather to trip in it, but there’s no definitive plan now.

I did my usual shuffling, pulled out the banquette table,  dragged out a round table I bought 30 years ago and it fits perfectly!  Now I’m going to hit up Joanne’s for fabric and re-do in Blue.  I’m super-excited to have a new sewing project..!

I’m going out to enjoy this beautiful day…walk in the woods, smile a lot, and fix up a super beet salad that I’ve had a hankering for…

I roasted beets and they are in the fridge, ready to be cut.  I’ll add some goat cheese and pecans, perhaps a little spinach, then drizzle it with a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and whatever other magic I come up with.  I’m not real good at recipes, always changing them up to suit myself, so you can bet it will get rave reviews when it’s served—from me, anyway!

Please take some time to send out thoughts of Love and Peace to the World today –and Every Day.  It really needs it.  #MeToo…

 

Peace

 

Follow the worm down the ear…

I love to take my morning coffee out on the front porch swing to Just Be in the present moment.  I brewed some french vanilla the other morning, settled into my attitude of gratitude, but had a song stuck in my head.

90% of people experience such earworms, also know as Involuntary Musical Imagery.  It bothers some people, but I usually just go with it…listening to my memory play like a stereo.

The song in question that day was Eli’s Comin’ by 3 Dog Night…girl, Eli’s comin’ you better hide, girl, Eli’s comin’ you better hide…hide your heart now…  As the jukebox in my head played, I thought…that Laura Nyro was such a great songwriter… what all did she write? …

the music switched to “and when I die…and when I’m dead, dead and gone” …what was the name of that group?  oh, yeah, Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  While the tinny piano and cowbell from that version played in the background, I began to sort through Nyro’s discography…soon the music became a medley of Fifth Dimension songs…come on down to the stone soul picnic… i got the wedding bell blues..ain’t that sweet-eyed blindness good to me… 

I stayed there for a while, letting those songs play in the background while I looked around at the patch of blue sky I could see through the trees, noticed the birds and squirrels were going about their morning rituals.

Suddenly, the songs were back with a nagging question…what’s that one that goes come on people… I brought full focus back to Laura Nyro’s discography… didn’t Barbra Streisand do one of her songs? Yes..going down to stoney end, I never wanted to go…cradle me, mama, cradle me again..  not the song I was looking for, but still worth remembering…  I expanded to come on people, come on children, let’s go down to the ?jordan? river… I could hear the piano…but could get no farther..The not-remembering finally got to me and I came in to the computer and looked it up.

It was covered by the Fifth Dimension and that youtube video is a wonder of 60’s bright bell-bottoms, platform shoes, and awkward dance moves.  But it was the artist herself, Laura Nyro, sitting at the piano and exuding the feeling of this powerful song that most moved me.

Step into the Wayback machine of black-and-white TV, watch this Vietnam war protest song that offers great wisdom…maybe get it stuck in your head.

It’s called Save the Country

Laura Nyro was 49 when she died in 1997.  She was so brilliant and if you don’t know her work, you’ll do yourself some good to listen to her albums.

May all of your earworms be inspiring…

Peace