A Mid-Winter Walk In The Nature Preserve

On Saturday the sun was finally shining, so Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve for a walk. We enjoyed the opportunity to be outside in the fresh air on a brisk winter afternoon when there was no snow around. Here are a few photos I took along the way.

~ ~ • ~ ~

path

We decided to take the flat, relatively mud-free trail. It was less than a mile, and interesting to wander along. Having never been on it before, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw.

~ • ~

rowena

Near the beginning of the trail we noticed this little cutie pie squirrel munching on a seed. I immediately named her Rowena.

~ • ~

bench

A little farther along the trail we saw this bench that had an inscribed plaque on it. The plaque said: “Relax, Don’t Worry, Have Fun.”

~ • ~

pond

We walked beside this partially frozen pond that was reflecting light into the darker forest just beyond it. The scene looked like something out of an animated Disney movie.

~ • ~

cabin

Soon thereafter we walked across a field and came upon this relocated 200-year-old cabin. Much of the cabin’s wood is original.

~ • ~

cabin-door

Entering the cabin through this door, we discovered a table and two benches + a fireplace. Nothing else in there. Very rustic.

~ • ~

pond-2

Then, near the end of the trail we walked beside this small pond surrounded by tall grasses under the blue winter sky, making for a picture perfect photo at the end of our walk.

~ ~ • ~ ~

When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

~ ~ ~ ~

I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

~ ~ ~ ~

III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Meandering Thoughts About Reading Books & The Nature Of Failure

WOULDN’T IT BE WONDERFUL IF I COULD tell you that I succeeded in doing Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2016 reading challenge?  The one I talked about here.

And wouldn’t it be equally wonderful if I were to write brief reviews of the 12 books I read, as I planned to do last January, vis-à-vis this annual challenge?

WELL, I DIDN’T READ ALL THE BOOKS that I thought I would because I got caught up in reading about politics online and in the newspapers, as one does when “fascism,” Merriam-Webster’s presumed word of the year, is knocking on the door.

So yes, I HAVE FAILED in my stated goal. But in the whole scheme of things I AM BETTER INFORMED about what matters now. So have I failed, or have I adapted?  

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

AND IT’S NOT LIKE I DIDN’T READ any books at all, meaning that I can still share with you, my gentle readers, a few books, written by new-to-me authors, whose thoughts and style made for interesting reading.

Thus, without further ado, moving beyond the foregoing flapdoodle and twaddle, what I want to tell you is: here are three books I read in 2016 and enjoyed.

~ ~

#1

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This is a story about identity, the shifting nature of it, and the implications of learning someone is not who they say they are.  The story moves seamlessly among three different eras: present day England, 1960s England, and WWII London.  I found the characters compelling, the plot fascinating, and the settings atmospheric.

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-6-17-25-am

~ ~

#2

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale by Lynda Rutledge

This is a story, that is more charming than it sounds on the surface, about a rich older woman with Alzheimer’s who lives in a small town.  One day she decides to sell her stuff and the town goes bonkers as she unloads her possessions, each of which has a story of its own to tell.  There is drama and familial tension, of course, but the real subject of this novel is: do we own our stuff or does it own us?

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-6-16-23-am

~ ~

#3

Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jourdan

This is a delightful memoir that I couldn’t put down.  In it the author, a lawyer practicing in DC, talks candidly and hilariously about her experiences as a temporary receptionist for her father’s medical practice in rural Tennessee.  She does this to help her family through a difficult time, spending a year working for her father, and in the process learns about true heroes, batshit crazy small town people, and what is important in life.

screen-shot-2016-12-11-at-6-21-47-am

~ ~

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Have you, like me, failed to read all the books that you thought you would read this year? If so, how do you feel about it? If not, please tell us how you accomplished your reading goals. No doubt we all could benefit from your wisdom.

~ ~

When Home Isn’t There Anymore This Is What You’ll See

This is what curiosity, based on nostalgia, will get you.

On a whim, while using Google street view to see what my doctor’s new office building looks like, I entered the address of where I grew up as a young child.

I was only thinking about my early childhood home because my dad’s modest medical office was on the first floor of the building, and we lived in the apartment above the office.

[Different times, eh?]

When I found the photo of where the building used to be I started laughing.  I mean, I haven’t been back to my hometown in over a decade, maybe longer, but when they say you can’t go home again, who knew it’d be literal for me, an English major educated to think figuratively?

However, be that as it may, getting to my point here, as the photo below proves, there is no house to go to anymore.  Of course, considering my family is long gone the loss of the building seems insignificant to me. Funny, even.

No doubt they’d laugh, too, if they saw this photo.

I’m sure that this just goes to show you something, but I’ll be darned if I know what that something is.

All I can tell you is this photo made me smile thinking about how everyone else shares lovely pics of the house they grew up in, but me?  I have a photo of a blank space.

Uh huh.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-11-18-14-am

Question Of The Day:

Have you ever searched online for a photo of where you used to live? If so, what did you find? If you’ve never tried searching, why not?  

Well It Goes Like This, I Shredded My Past. Hallelujah!

dscn7915
Bifocal glasses, not mine, left on a picnic table in the park. Someone is not reading the fine print today.

• • •

SO LAST WEEK while stuck at home because of this, I decided to go through all the writing ditherage I’ve kept over the years.

Much of it was in boxes in the basement.

Lots of it was spiral notebooks from the late 90s to mid-2003 filled with my handwritten Morning Pages a la The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

I was diligent about my daily 3 page writing practice for a while there.

Just about all the notebooks contained a repetitive selection of whiny, self-absorbed, humdrum scribblings that suggest to me now I was stuck and unhappy during those years.

My inner muse had not caught my attention yet.  

• • •

AFTER SAVING THE few good or funny thoughts I’d captured years ago in these notebooks, I had an epiphany.  I thanked the writing practice for guiding me to today, then as a way of making my life lighter I shredded these notebooks.

Every last one of them gone.

Thus I’ve freed myself, literally and spiritually, from a bunch of heavy negativity that I’d been saving in boxes in the basement for over a decade.

I tell ‘ya, if you’re feeling burdened by life I recommend shredding outdated thoughts.  It may sound corny, but doing so has lifted a weight from me.  And I feel free to get on with that which needs to be written now.

Muse, lead the way.

• • •

Charmed By Last Night’s Super-duper Supermoon

dscn8132

“May peace and love from the moon above flow through your heart on the wings of a dove.”

~ Grandma Penny Halliwell, Charmed

 

Zen-Den and I went out last night chasing the moon.

We drove around the area hoping to find a spot where I could photograph the super-duper supermoon juxtaposed against something on earth.

I thought it’d be cool to have a bit of perspective to show how huge the moon appeared to be to us human beings below.

We had no such luck finding a spot like that here in suburbia.  However, I did get this “Hey! Look up at the moon in the sky, isn’t it big?” photo.

Which seems like a pretty darned nice reward for our efforts.

Anyone else go chasing the moon last night?
Or perhaps, you, my gentle readers, decided to stay home and howl at it instead!

Grateful For Smiles, Three Unexpected Things

THING ONE: Looking Up

dscn7930

Our local Kroger is undergoing a remodel that started in April.  Since about day 1 this upside down wheelbarrow has been on the roof, not moving, just sitting up there.  While the unexpected wheelbarrow placement is a charming bit of whimsy, every time I see it I chuckle to myself wondering if anyone doing the remodel remembers that it’s up there.

Care to place a bet as to when [if] it ever comes down?

~ • ~

THING TWO: Looking Forward

img_0047

Shopping in Half Price Books I noticed that the clever employees have quietly moved all the books by and about Hillary Clinton off the “First Ladies” shelves to the nearby “Presidents” shelves.  This might be presumptuous OR it might be prophetic, but it is, if nothing else, an unexpected bit of humor.

Good people in that store. I like how they think.

~ • ~

THING THREE: Looking Around

dscn7729

Fuzzy the Squirrel, who hangs out around our house, has found a new, unexpected way to entertain [annoy?] me.  For the first time he’s leaving nut shells all over any concrete or stone surface in front of the house.  Meaning that when I want to get the mail I have dodge sharp nut shells as I walk to the mailbox OR use a broom to sweep the shells away as I walk along.

Sure, he’s cute, but oh. so. bothersome.

~ • ~

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-8-57-12-am

{ This post, inspired by Nerd in the Brain‘s Three Things Thursday, is part of a weekly blogging event dedicated to the idea that gratitude is awesome and leads to smiles. You can join in too. Go here to learn more. }