Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Circus is Coming!

Last night My Darling came home with something really cool and awesome. I had given up hope of ever becoming a circus performer but the hope has been rekindled.

Many years ago, when I was fifteen, I had a friend named Paul. Paul had a wire wheel and used to walk up and down the street on it. When his family sold their house and moved away, I was given the gift of the wire wheel and I began to walk up and down the street. It was cool.

One day a new kid came to the neighborhood to visit his cousin. He looked out the living room window to see me go by on my wire wheel. He insists it was cute... Well, anyhow, my dad decided to use the wire wheel to prop up his camper or something. Maybe he thought I'd break my neck falling off one day... My circus days were over, until yesterday. I can hardly wait til spring!
:0)

Monday, January 26, 2015

It Was A Good Day

Yesterday I was hunkered down on the couch with a headache. It was one of those headaches that doesn't want to leave no matter what and makes one's head drawn to pillows. At bedtime I took some sleepy medicine along with some ibuprofen and crawled under the covers early. Today was a better day. No headache and no ibuprofen.

Coffee was a good friend this morning. It chased the sleepiness away and made possible my morning accomplishments; laundry, dishes, clothes folding, and sheet changing. On my way out to the bus stop with Emma I filled the bird feeder and tossed a few peanuts on the ground for Little Red.

This afternoon Rachel and I went out to visit Tim again. He is walking even better than two weeks ago and I caught him smiling and making eye contact with Rachel. One of the aides at the house mentioned it likely being due to a change in his medication. Whatever the reason, I am glad to have my brother back again. It was a good day.
:0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tapestries

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Psalm 139:15

This weekend I was reminded once again how beautifully our lives are intertwined with the lives of those around us. I've often been troubled when God "stirred the pot" and moved us to a different church fellowship, but Saturday's service was a beautiful reminder of the tapestry God is weaving as He works in our lives.

I was not well acquainted with the deceased, but her daughter in law is a very dear friend. The officiating church held people from several area churches and I found an all but unnoticed connection to many in attendance. Our lives have touched and twirled together through the years as though God has been knitting a secret masterpiece. Many of those people's lives have touched mine in ways they may not know.

There was the family's former pastor whose brother years ago married my cousin. There was the elderly woman whose grandson I used to babysit. And there were members of both our present congregation and former ones, gathered to pay their respects and give their support to the family.

As he did for my mother's memorial service back in February, the pastor gave a message using the well marked Bible of the departed. In Psalm 139:15 she had made a notation by the word "wrought". "Embroidery" was penned in the margin. Her life was God's embroidery...

I couldn't help but wonder what the finished tapestry looks like to God as He has woven mankind together through the ages. Our lives are wound up and knitted together with not only the lives of those living today, but those who came before us and those who follow. It's a pretty incredible thought.

(Afghans courtesy of Mom.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Hat

It's done. That hat I set out to make. It's finished. It's too big for grand- children, but it fits my fat head. And it's warm and cozy.

Now To do something about that chin I've acquired... Oh, my goodness! How will I ever get rid of these extra pounds? Guess it won't be by baking pies and cookies or drinking coffee!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Final Gift

 If you can stand it, a song. (No video. I left my lens cap on while it played.) It's my son and daughter singing at church the night before their grandpa passed from this world into the next. It was recorded that evening so that they could bring him a CD. He couldn't get out of bed and we knew he wouldn't be back at church to listen to them sing again. He was so proud to see and hear his grandchildren sing those old hymns. This became a final gift, of sorts. I can hear the emotion in their voices as they struggled to say goodbye to one of the most influential men in their young lives. It's my dad's testimony that helps me hang on when I get overwhelmed and discouraged. Although his faith may have wavered in his younger days, it held strong at the end.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Are You Awake?

It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:2

I'm tired today. It's been several days of sleepless nights in a row and it's starting to catch up with me now. I've gone to bed on time and gotten up at a decent hour, but the time between climbing into bed and crawling back out again has been restless. I'm going to blame it on hormones, mostly because it makes sense, but my mind is busy tossing anxious thoughts and making me feel panicky too. Although I know nothing of any value is ever accomplished through worry, I often find myself there regardless. Sometimes I'm not even sure what it is I am all worked up about. (It's reminding me of the poem my uncle quoted me years back, the one about Grandma being off her rocker...) 

A cup of coffee sounds perfect, but I think I'll just close my eyes for a few minutes first....

Monday, January 19, 2015

Me N'eider

My dear daughter had fallen behind on her business paperwork and called for help, so late this morning I headed out to Webster to lend a hand. I wrote out addresses, signed invoices, and stuffed envelopes. I snuggled a small boy named Jacob and enjoyed a visit with my daughter. It was a good morning.

Before heading home I took a detour down to Irondequoit Bay. Nothing too exciting there, but I did stop to snap a few photos. A woman by the pier asked me if I was a photographer.

"I play," I answered with a smile.

"Are you a birder?" she asked.

"Not really, " I said, but I was there to take pictures and this is where the water fowl congregate.  Ducks, geese, swans, and gulls...

"There is a rare bird here this year, " she told me. For a moment she had it in her sight, but when I looked into the glass I saw nothing but water. It was too cold to hang out long and I soon headed back to my vehicle.

"Maybe I'll google it, " I told her.

"It's a King Eider, " she said, "I'm Eider a king or eider I'm not."

I laughed and assured her I wouldn't forget, and I haven't.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Warm Winter Day

It was a "warm" winter day, if one can call 40 degrees Fahrenheit warm. Snowmen think it's warm. It makes them feel soggy. It also helps get them here in the first place. Too bad I didn't take advantage of the opportunity (I thought about putting a couple of drivers in those Cozy Coupe kiddie cars...) but I was in the house attempting to make tamales and entertain company. I even got to wrap my arms around that littlest grandson of mine.

A conversation with my daughter revealed that tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr Day. No school means no Emma tomorrow morning. No Emma = no bus stop, and that means I don't have to drag myself out of bed before the sun rises. :0)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Down to the Lake

I decided to take myself out of the house today. Along the way I made a detour down to Webster Park and the frozen shoreline. Pretty impressive.

The wind and waves ensure a new horizon every day. I've read that the ice formations can be  deceptively fragile and dangerously unstable. I walked only where I knew there was solid ground beneath the ice and snow.

I didn't bother to walk out on the pier this time. I was alone and not feeling terribly adventurous. The light out at the end of the walkway looks like an ice man on his way back to shore.

The concrete walkway along the shore was a sheet of marbled ice and snow sparkling in the afternoon sun. The knobs and craters left by wind and water made walking on it not too treacherous.

Sticks and weeds growing along the breakwater were coated with a thick layer of ice giving them a skeletal appearance, like piles of shimmering white bones. Once I got to the other end of the footpath I was disappointed at the lack of scenery.






I headed back to my vehicle via a concrete staircase built into the side of the hill. It didn't look entirely safe, but not terribly dangerous either. I didn't feel like going back the way I'd come so I started up. My legs and shoulders, already tired from and earlier "workout," and my backside, bruised from a slip on my at home stairway yesterday, begged me to take them home for a cup of coffee. The ominous stairway was the quickest way there.

There was just enough sunshine to make the stairway pretty, ugly old handrails and all. I'm so glad no one bothered to sweep all those fallen leaves away before the snow fell.

James and I settled in with some Chinese food and a movie this evening. We watched Julie & Julia. Last night was a double feature, Everybody's Fine and The Giant Mechanical Man. Last week it was Get Low. I'm getting to be quite the movie watcher.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Exhileration

Exhilarating. That's my bus stop word for today. Rather than being out the expected 5-10 minutes, we waited a full 20.  In the winter, every day is different. Keeps it from getting too awfully boring, or at least that's what I'd like to think. If you don't like what is out there today, perhaps tomorrow will be more to your liking. And then again, maybe not.




On our way outside this morning, I filled up the bird feeder and dumped a few handfuls of peanuts at the base of the birch tree. Last year they were enjoyed by bluejays, and last week they were carried of by great black birds.

I was getting a little hungry this morning and decided to have one of those Crunchy Nut Bars I had stashed away in my crock pot behind Curtain #1 in the kitchen. The glass cover was slightly ajar but I didn't think much of it. I've had those hidden away for a couple weeks now. There was something different about the way the box felt this morning, so rather than just grab an individual bar, I pulled out the box. Thankfully, he only opened and ate one, however, it does appear as though he thoroughly enjoy his feast.

As I washed my hands I glanced out the window and who should I see? One small red squirrel gathering up a meal of his own! The birds really do enjoy a peanut now and then but today they were stashed away in a knothole by Little Red. Apparently he's very concerned about the months ahead.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A is for Apple

Winter weather is funny. Yesterday morning was a knock out, today was so-so. It's all in that white stuff that flutters down from the heavens covering us in either a thick blanket or a lacy coverlet. Or something in between. Nothing new appeared last night and much of yesterday's snow had already been disturbed. Narnia, in real life, doesn't last long. One has to be quick if it is to be thoroughly relished. (Yesterday was no Narnia, by the way, we had that on Monday.)

I caught sight of Little Red this morning as he ran up the tree with a rather large peanut in his mouth. I tried to capture the image but he would have none of it. Instead of sitting still, he took of running down a very narrow branch, hopped into the maple tree and was gone. What I'd really have liked to witness is the tiny creature hauling this apple up from ground level to the tree branch where it's been sitting for most of the day. He probably needed a nap after that workout!

I keep thinking maybe I will get down by the lake or out on a nature trail for a walk, but so far I haven't been that adventurous. Maybe next week... or maybe even tomorrow. You just never know what a day will bring. I can pretty much count on birds and squirrels if I stay home and so far they've been kind of fun.

A is for Apple, ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Frostnippered

"Cold day at the bus stop" is getting kind of redundant, so I'll just say... uh, yeah, it was an especially cold day at the bus stop. Emma even put her mittens on. If she puts her mittens on, you know it's got to be cold!


I almost always wear my mittens in the winter because I am not a big fan of chapped and bleeding hands. Today would have been a day to wear doubled-up mittens, if I had two pairs. I went across the street to find some morning snow shots after the bus left, but in no time at all my thumbs and fingers were aching with cold. I blame that on all the times when, as a child, I stayed out in the cold until my fingers and toes were numb. They itched and burned and turned all red while they struggled to warm up and thaw out. Sometimes we actually cried. I didn't cry today and they didn't need to thaw out because I never stay out that long anymore. Maybe because I outgrew my ice skates...

Squirrel tracks (cool, huh?)


Out my kitchen window this morning I saw Mr. Gray take a bite of an apple I'd left out under the weeping birch. He looked so cute that I grabbed my camera and headed upstairs where I could get a better shot at him, but no sooner had I gotten focused, then he moved. Little Red was on his way down the tree and off across the yard went Mr. Gray. Of course, that red squirrel never ate the apples today, but he couldn't possibly share either. (He doesn't know I could always find more.)

 Food for furry foragers (or big black birds)

 Junco on the woodpile
(They like to leave birdie tracks on my porch.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Today

It was another cold day at the bus stop, but at least the wind wasn't blowing. I took my camera along on my travels today, but didn't take any pictures. I popped in Barnes and Noble on my way home (just a little detour), bought a copy of The Message; (The New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in Contemporary Language) and two small clip-on lights, one for my computer and the other for reading my books. Honestly, my concentration hasn't taken my all the way through the last few books I've started, but I'm hoping to recover some of that soon.

For those who have questions about my brother Tim, I have a few links to old blog posts. You can find them in  these links, My Brother Tim, B is for Big Brothers, and My Brother's Guardian Angel.

I'm still enjoying the activity outside my kitchen and upstairs windows. Yesterday, after my walk around the back of barn 3, I sat on the woodpile to watch and photograph the birds.

Not only does a Red-bellied Woodpecker frequent my feeder, but Downy Woodpecker as well. Pretty cool. I'm not sure where last winter's bluejays went, and I haven't noticed any cardinals around, but there is still much to observe, and of course, there are the squirrels. They're typically pretty entertaining.



Monday, January 12, 2015

The Snowy Day

It was a good day for making snowballs, but somehow I never even thought of it. It was likely a wonderful day for building a snowman, but I didn't. I was too distracted by the nostalgia of the day. In days long past, when I was still a child in school, I would likely have headed for the woods on a day like this, a Narnia kind of day with snow stuck everywhere.





I am getting slightly attached to this longer, fancier lens...

Rachel and I went to visit Tim today. She had a quick phone call to make before going into the house, so I beat her inside this time. Tim was in the dining room sitting on a chair with his coat, hat, and gloves, waiting for our arrival. As soon as he saw me, he hoisted himself out of the chair and started slowly in my direction, hand outstretched. He was walking! He was slow and not quite steady, but I watched him get out of that chair and start walking to me all by himself. I was proud of my brother today.

We took our ride down those old country roads again, past farms, railroad tracks, a winding creek, and a pasture full of buffalo. Rachel was kind enough to pull over so I could moo at the buffalo and snap their photo.




I'm attempting to keep my days relaxed and at least semi-productive. Aside from a visit to  my brother, I cleared out the Grinch Corner, and baked a loaf of banana bread. Tim enjoyed a bit of homemade goodness today. I wonder if he thought it tasted just like Mom's?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Squirrelly

A warmer than normal December, including a balmy, green Christmas, has given us a rather frigid start to January. Wind chill temperatures have been below zero degrees Fahrenheit all week, save Sunday, which was warm and rainy. It's been a good week for staying in and eating soup... and things smothered in red chile sauce, things like enchiladas, scrambled eggs, and chicken Alfredo.

On my way to the shower late yesterday morning, I stopped at the upstairs window with my camera, just in case my little Fairydiddle should chance to be hanging out in the weeping birch where I so often see him. I was surprised to see a gray squirrel instead, perched on a knothole, enjoying a black walnut breakfast.

I wondered where the usual tree resident was hiding, or whether the gray squirrel had taken over and chased the little red squirrel away. I gazed into the upper branches, not really expecting to see anything, but there he was, looking down on us, me, and the gray squirrel on the knothole below still munching his black walnut.

Red squirrels may be small but they are mighty and fearless. He didn't waste much time getting himself down to Mr. Gray's breakfast table. I couldn't keep up with him once he got running. He took off after the intruder, nipping at his heels and chasing him around the tree trunk until Gray gave up, scampered down the trunk, and took off running across the yard to the safety of an entirely different tree.

Once Mr. Gray was thoroughly banished, Little Red climbed back into his tree and out onto the look-out branch just to be sure. It's probably a good thing I don't speak "squirrel" or I might have been embarrassed at his scolding, (Perhaps it was a good thing window was closed and I couldn't hear a thing.)

When he was altogether satisfied that Mr. Gray wouldn't be making a comeback, Little Red climbed up to Gray's previous perch, had a look around, and then settled himself into the open knothole. I'm kind of curious what he's got stashed in there...

Today Little Red was out munching on a black walnut at Mr. Gray's previous breakfast table. I even opened the upstairs window to take his photograph this morning, not because it's any warmer out there, but because my windows are so dirty. He sat there nice while I was quiet, but as soon as I said, "Hello, Little squirrel!" he took off. Ha ha!