Late Winter

It is drab outside.  Dark brown, gray, rust with hints of dingy green.  My light-sensitive eyes enjoy not squinting, but my spirit longs for sunlight, growth, something new.

***

Fresh flowers.  Citrus fruit.  Coffee.  These are the items that keep me whole during these last few weeks of winter gloom.

***

Raining and bleak outside.  Late afternoon.  I stop at our local grocery hoping to grab a few essentials.  The place is crowded with shoppers who, to put it politely, are very focused on their objectives.  Chaos.  Unhappiness.

Waiting three deep in front of the milk case I notice an older woman who is completely relaxed in the middle of this madness.  She radiates health, calm– and has excellent posture.

Intrigued, I look more closely and realize who it is.  Lilias Folan.  Of PBS yoga fame.  I quietly congratulate myself for paying attention– and stand up straighter.  Stomach in, shoulders back.  Move forward with grace.

***

I buy a bright yellow and green pillar candle.  At home I put the candle on a plate and set it on the granite counter in the kitchen.  I light the candle and the reflection of the flame on the counter gives me hope.  There is Spring in our kitchen.  For now.  I feel better.

***

Weekend plans keep me focused on doing.  As much as I want to, I can’t sit and stare out the window at nothing.  I must prepare.  Get ready.

***

Purple.  Orange.  Yellow.  Pansies planted in the fall.  Which colors will survive the winter?  Every year it is different.  I wait to see.  Curiosity replaces ennui.

***

The dark green stems of the daffodils are shooting up in the backyard.  Cheery yellow.  A bit of orange.  Color is on its way.  I am revived.

Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay

I know that it is customary in the blogosphere to put a photo of yourself on your blog.  As I understand it, the reasoning goes that by showing the world what you look like, more people will be interested in what you have to say.  You will be legit.

[I have my doubts about the truth of this assumption, but that isn’t what I’m in the mood to talk about today.]

So, not wanting to seem standoffish or out-of-touch, I decided to look for a picture of me.  This project seemed easy enough until I realized that I have very few photos of me.  I think that I must have been Amish in another life because I don’t like to have my photo taken.  Ever.

Still, I persevered and eventually I found this photo of me, age 3 (maybe 4?).

I think that this photo is close enough to what I look like now to qualify as a current photo of me. I still squint when looking into the sun.  I still have short blonde, sometimes curly, not quite straight hair.  I still have a rather casual approach to everyday outfits.

However, there are two important things about me that have changed since this photo was snapped.  First, I wear glasses all the time.

[Feel free to print this photo and draw glasses on me.  Make them kind of rectangular, rimless, with no-line bifocals– and make them very expensive.]

And second, I no longer carry a toy gun with me wherever I go.  I cannot overemphasize this point enough.

You see, this photo was taken during my “Wyatt Earp/Dale Evans” phase when I was convinced that if I dragged this gun around with me all the time, I’d eventually get my parents to buy me a cute little cowgirl outfit.  My tactics failed.  I never got the outfit and at some point a few months after this photo was taken, my little gun mysteriously got broken and was thrown out.

While it’s true that I never achieved my cowgirl dreams, this photo of me and the toy gun remains today.  And because of it I can show the world who I really am.  Or was. And more importantly, I can show the world that I’m a serious blogger with a picture of myself clearly posted for everyone to see.

Our Lawn Has Mange

No act of kindness goes unpunished.  I relearn this lesson all the time.

Last summer when we had the worst drought ever, I decided to save water by not watering our lawn more than once a week.  Unlike most of our neighbors, we don’t have an underground watering system that keeps all the little grass blades bathed in a perfect, almost daily shower of water.

At our house, I’m the watering system [to date still above ground] that drags hoses and water sprinklers around the yard in a somewhat random, well-intentioned manner.  I do my best.  And usually my best is just fine because Mother Nature cooperates with me and provides some addition water to the area.

But not last summer.

Now that spring is almost here and we can see the results of my let’s-be-kind-to-the-planet-by-not-watering-very-much plan, we realize that we are screwed. Unlike most of our neighbors whose lawns look whole and alive, we have a lawn with mange that will cost a bundle– a break the bank sort of bundle— to fix.

Or so says the guy from the landscaper company who came over the other day to talk with me about this situation.  And I believe him because it’s a reputable company.  And I believe him because my online research on the costs of having a professional company reseed a lawn in the spring say the same thing.

Unfortunately I have no pithy conclusion to this story of dead grass woe.   Perhaps something good is yet to come from my save-the-water kindness. I dunno.  Right now all I see is a mess with a big price tag that will keep me snarling for many months to come.

*sigh*

My Kindle Review

Because many people in real life have asked me about it, I decided to post my review of the Kindle here in the blogosphere.  I have received no money or other compensation for this review, so fear not FTC.  Everything is cool here.

On the plus side:

– it is very easy to use.  The buttons make sense and are easy to manipulate.

– it is incredibly easy to read in all light.  The clarity is amazing and puts my iMac laptop to shame.

– it is nice to be able to change the font size.

– it is fun to play games on.  The games are free or about $3, so the price is right.

– the leather case [without the light] that I bought extra is ingenious and makes holding the Kindle very easy.

– it is portable.

– many Shakespeare plays and classic books are free.

On the negative side:

– I don’t envision me ever thinking that this little gadget is a book.  It is lovely for reading in short bursts, but to sit down with this and dawdle over a book– not so much.

– the battery doesn’t last as long as advertised.  I’m recharging once a week, not every 3 weeks.

– all books aren’t available on it.  For instance, the Harry Potter series is not part of the collection.  Nor are all the books in a series of mysteries that I like.  My idea was to have complete collections of certain authors so that I would always be able to read them whenever/wherever I wanted.  This is not going to happen.

– subscriptions to newspapers are expensive and the choice of what is available is very limited.

– subscriptions to magazines are available, but I like to read mags with lots of photos in them so for me the Kindle is useless in this area.

Conclusion:

I like it, but it is different from a book.  I liken the Kindle to instant coffee and a book to brewed coffee.  Each has their place, but they aren’t interchangeable.

The “If I Were…” Meme

[just ‘cuz it seems like something fun to do]

~ ~ • ~~

if i were a month i’d be May

if i were a day i’d be Tuesday

if i were a time of day i’d be 1:00 p.m.

if i were a font i’d be Palatino

if i were a sea animal i’d be an oyster

if i were a direction i’d be left

if i were a piece of furniture i’d be a kitchen table

if i were a liquid i’d be bourbon

if i were a gemstone i’d be a garnet

if i were a tree i’d be a willow

if i were a tool i’d be an allen wrench

if i were a flower i’d be a tulip

if i were an element of weather i’d be a zephyr

if i were a musical instrument i’d be a guitar

if i were a colour i’d be cyan

if i were an emotion i’d be contented

if i were a fruit i’d be an apple

if i were a sound i’d be quiet

if i were an element i’d be air

if i were a car i’d be a Honda Accord coupe

if i were a food i’d be a petite filet

if i were a place i’d be a garden

if i were material i’d be denim

if i were a taste i’d be lemony

if i were a scent i’d be bayberry

if i were a body part i’d be an eye

if i were a song i’d be “Smooth” by Carlos Santana

if i were a bird i’d be a robin

if i were a gift i’d be something for your kitchen

if i were a city i’d be Seattle

if i were a door i’d be a six panel style

if i were a pair of shoes i’d be comfortable

if i were a poem i’d be “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

~ ~ • ~~

[h/t to julochka at moments of perfect clarity]


Pleasantly Surprised

We’re having a wood floor installed in our study this week.  Last June we had the same style of floor, 3.25 inch select white oak with a natural finish, installed in our living room and dining room.  We liked the look so much that we decided to put it in our study, which is across the foyer from the living room.

{At this point I know that it’d be very bloggerly of me to add a photo.  However, seeing as the study is entirely dismantled to allow for the above-mentioned project, I have no access to our desk top computer where all the little photos live.  Let’s just pretend that this side note is a photo, shall we?}

The things that I remember the most about getting wood floors installed are:  1) how noisy it is;  and 2) how smelly it is.  Well, guess what?  This time I’m not experiencing either of these phenomenon even though I am right here in the house with all the chaos going on around me.

How could this be, you wonder?

The answer is really quite simple.  I have a horrendous head cold that has muted my ability to hear much of anything and has clogged my nose to such a degree that I cannot even smell my morning coffee while drinking it.  This is one doozy of a cold which, if I may be so bold as to say, could be the best one I’ve ever had.

Think about it.  Here I sit in my physically diminished state while our house gets prettied up and I’m not inconvenienced one little bit.  Couldn’t of planned it better if I tried.  Which I didn’t.  Because who in their right mind wants a head cold– no matter how helpful it is?

A Winter Vacation

The Spaceship Earth Ride At EPCOT in Walt Disn...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve always heard that Walt Disney World in January and February is more fun than during the summer or at Christmastime.  We’ve been there at those times before;  so for a change of pace we decided to fly down to Orlando last week and spend the end of January park hopping our way through WDW.

And guess what?  The scuttlebutt was right.  It was a whole lot more fun.  Fewer lines.  Calmer restaurants.  Happier guests.  Clearer skies.  And better parking.

Probably the most unanticipated aspect of visiting WDW in January was that American English was the least spoken language around.  We heard French, Hebrew, Spanish, German, Russian (or maybe Lithuanian?  or Romanian?), and a bit of Aussie English.  It was intriguing to be surrounded by people from around the world, who just like us, were laughing, getting sunburnt and looking for the nearest restroom.

We didn’t stay at the WDW properties this time.  We’ve done that before and decided that this time we’d try something different.  Instead, we stayed at and enjoyed the Bonnet Creek Hilton Resort.  The hotel was comfortable, clean, beautiful, and the service was friendly.  The Hilton, while not as swanky as its attached neighbor, the Waldorf-Astoria, was perfect for us, two winter weary Midwesterners looking for some sun and relaxation.

As travel goes, this was the sort of vacation that I like the best.  Lots of walking.  A relaxed itinerary.  Good food and drink.  With a  super comfy bed at the end of the day.  I give it two thumbs up.

[Hello FTC! Just to be clear, I have received no money or other compensation for the above endorsements.  This is just my opinion about my experiences.  You can move on down the road now and bother someone else, FTC.  Bye, bye.]