Friday, December 18, 2015

Ah, Christmas!

I have always loved Christmas. So much excitement as a child. Visits home to spend the holiday with my parents and family during college and the years we were raising our own family. Christmas at our own home many years and getting to experience all the Christmas wonder with our children. Decorating the Christmas tree every year with my granddaughter. Opening a gift on Christmas Eve after lovely Christmas Eve church services, and the Christmas morning gift opening with a mound of discarded wrapping paper and boxes (which my son-in-law very efficiently takes care of), followed by my daughter's breakfast casserole. And, of course, Christmas music through the season (I've got quite a collection).

Christmas has changed as I move through life, but I still love it. There have been Christmases shadowed by sorrow, Christmases when I had a sick child or was ill myself, but it was still Christmas!

I leave the Christmas decorations up until after New Year's Day, and the house looks very dull and plain till my eyes and brain readjust to the everyday look of things. This year I have put up some decorations, but haven't had Megan here to do the tree with me. I'm saving that for when she gets home.

People are so busy these days, and cards and stamps are increasingly expensive, so fewer and fewer people are actually sending Christmas cards. I still enjoy them, but certainly understand why we are all cutting back.

So, here is my contribution to the Christmas Letter tradition for this year:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Doing Laundry

Yesterday I needed to do some laundry. I know--time for some hard labor. I picked up my super-lightweight mesh hamper from its place on the closet floor and carried it at least 10 feet around the corner to my laundry closet. I started the water in the washer, tossed in a premeasured packet of detergent, pulled clothes out of the hamper, tossed them in the washer, closed the lid, and staggered away to find a chair, wiping the sweat from my brow, totally exhausted from all that hard work.

Okay, that last part isn't true.

What is true is that, this being the season for concentrating on thankfulness, I started thinking about laundry. Not only do I have the conveniences of modern America when my laundry needs done, but I don't even have to cart clothes down to the basement to the laundry room these days. My laundry room is a closet opening off the kitchen, containing a stacked washer and dryer set. It is just a few steps from my bedroom and bathroom, where most of my laundry originates and will be returned to.

I do, however, remember doing laundry in a variety of ways through my life. This is definitely the easiest I have ever had it. I have hand washed all my sweaters in my teens, washed using the old wringer washer and two rinse tubs setup during college and early twenties, and my very first automatic washer was a hand-me-down from my sister Terry when she got a new one. That washer still worked well and was a real blessing for me, but it did have its quirks. I was pregnant with my first child, and it is a wonder that Anne Marie arrived with her brains intact because that machine shook so hard during its spin cycle I had to lean on it or sit on it to keep it from walking across the floor. It was years before we had a dryer, so the clothes dried on the line winter or summer. Winter drying often involved the clothes freezing on the line and gradually giving up their water until a day or two later they were finally ready to bring in. The good side of this was that they smelled wonderful!

There are still places in the world where cleaning clothes involves a river and drying clothes on the bank. If there isn't a river, cleaning clothes is a very difficult problem and the kind of cleanliness we have become accustomed to simply is not possible.

In my mother's brief biographical account of life growing up on a Wyoming homestead she tells about their mother's laundry day:

Monday was the day Mother usually chose to "set bread" (the term used for mixing up and kneading the dough, which was put aside in a warm place to rise), put on a pot of beans, and then do the laundry. This was done with her trusty lye soap and a rub board. The white clothes were then placed in a boiler and boiled for a while--supposedly to keep them white. Everything was then hung out on the clothesline to dry, even in dead of winter. We certainly didn't change clothing as often or as carelessly as is now possible with our modern conveniences. When it was done we could look forward to a delicious meal of hot bread and beans.

Laundry was made even more of a challenge by the fact that, as Mother wrote, "Water was always scarce--all of it had to be carried up from the well over the hill and heated on top of the stove." And this laundry was for a family of nine!

Mother still was doing some laundry with a washboard and the bathtub when I was a small child, and the washboard was still in her possession for many years after. I can even remember using it at the kitchen sink for something I needed to wash when it wasn't laundry day. I was surprised to discover that washboards are still for sale online. Some are used by musicians (!), but there are evidently people still using them for their original purpose.

Every time I do my laundry, I will try to remember to be truly grateful for my wonderful washer and dryer. I am also very thankful I do not have to make my own lye soap!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Autumn Treasure

On Memorial Day this year, Jerry's sister Jean bought two pots of beautiful blooming chrysanthemums to place at his grave. After the holiday we brought the flowers home (if left, they would just be thrown away by the cemetery groundskeepers) and I put them on my deck amidst all my other pots.

Eventually the blooms were finished. I thought about just discarding the plants, but I have a hard time tossing out a living plant. I cut back the plants, gave them a little fertilizer, and kept them watered along with my other flowers. One of the pots flourished, putting out a lot of new foliage, which made an attractive spot of greenery even though the flowers were gone. The other pot did not fare as well. Two of the four plants in the pot simply died. The remaining two struggled on, still showing a few living leaves, so I continued to water them.

As the temps in October cooled and a hard frost could not be far off, I took a close look at the chrysanthemums. The healthy pot was loaded with bloom buds. Even the pitiful pot had a few buds on the stumpy little plants. I brought both pots inside and put them by a south window, added a little fertilizer to their water, and waited for results.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Memories

While scanning some of my old, fading color photos, I found these from 1980. The true colors were beyond saving, but this is the Russells as three vampires and one monster.

Jerry
Michelle
Anne Marie and Jeremy

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just for Laughs

I've been pretty serious in my recent blogs and Facebook postings. I am, in general, a serious person. Just born that way. However, I also love things like fantasy, imagination, and humor.

So. . . when my granddaughter, Megan graduated, we had a post graduation gathering at dinner time. My daughter had somewhere found paper cups printed with various nose/upper lip pictures. So, if you lined your cup up properly as you drank, you got a whole new profile. They were good for some laughs--great ice breakers.

I kept my cup. Today I noticed it and, in a moment of silliness took this photo.


Okay, that's enough nonsense for today!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

My Not-So-Secret Character Flaw

I intended to write this blog yesterday, but. . . .

Yes, that is it. The character flaw.

I am a Procrastinator.

It is not that I never get anything done; it is that I often don't get certain things done in a timely manner. And it is so easy to put things off. At this stage of life I really have very few things I must answer to or meet a timeline on. As a senior citizen, retired, and widowed, who do I have to answer to but myself? And myself is pretty easygoing about some things!

From birth forward, much of life has an imposed structure: parental rules and oversight, school (16 years of it in my case), jobs, marriage, child rearing, involvement in activities and responsibilities such as church or civic activities, and so on and so on. One by one, most of these structured items drop off as time goes by. We grow up and finish schooling. We leave home and become adults no longer under our parents' rule. Our children grow up and leave home. Marriage ends. Age sucks out our energy.

As the external structures drop away, what is left? Self-directed and imposed structure. Which can be very, very simple.

And, so, back to my original statement: I am a procrastinator. I've always been that way by nature, but life had always had those exterior motivators, requirements, and responsibilities that kept me moving. Now, I am my own motivator, and that often means that I am just motivated to do whatever I feel like doing! Here is what that often is:

This is what I spend many wonderful hours doing.

This is what is in my hand. Most of my reading these day is on my Kindle. I love "real"
books, but with my vision problems the Kindle is easier for me. And I can have a whole library on one little device, which is a good thing--my bookshelves are full!
Reading has always been my favorite pastime, indeed, I would say that it is a positive necessity for me. But, sometimes I do need to put down the book and take care of other things! Not that reading is my only pastime, it is just the lifelong passion.

I am happy to report that yesterday I finally finished some things that have been languishing on my desk for months. I had a number of photographic items, both of family history and more recent events, that I had promised to different family members. The projects were mostly done. Why hadn't I finished them? (Shrug.) Can't say; just hadn't sat myself down to get it done. So I finally took myself in hand Thursday, finished printing out the items that needed to be printed, sorted and copied to a flash drive the things I had promised in that format, made up the packets, and got them to the Post Office and mailed on Friday.

And I felt like I had shed a burden. That is the consequence of procrastination--that constant little niggling pressure in the back of the mind because of unfinished business.

The problem is, I have at least four or five other projects I have started and are, as yet, unfinished.

I'm sure I'll get to them one of these days!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thoughts on The Pope's Visit

Well, it is all the Pope, all the time on TV. Although I am not Catholic, I have been watching a lot of it with interest. In this time when an anti-Christian sentiment is growing in our world, our country, and our universities, I am interested when anyone who has faith in Christ is given respect and an opportunity to speak for Christians and Christian values.

I heard one commentator discuss the Pope's address to the U.N. and label it as cautious and non-confrontational. He must have heard a different speech than I did.

The Pope did speak in a quiet and gentle voice. No shouting, no name calling, no arm waving. Remember that old saying that refers to how people react differently to events depending on "whose ox is gored"? Well, in his soft-spoken, half-hour speech to the U.N., the Pope gored just about everyone's ox. I thought he took no prisoners, in, of course, the most loving and considerate way.

At the conclusion of his speech the Pope asked people to pray for him, no matter what their religious beliefs, and, if they had no faith, to wish him well. This is not an arrogant, "I'm right up there with God," man. He clearly stays very well informed about what's going on in the world, and he has very definite opinions about it. And expresses those opinions with love and gentleness.

I am sure that his speech is probably available online somewhere, if you did not hear it. I would say a hearty "Amen" to most of what he said. The pity is that most of the hearts that need to hear it most desperately are already so hardened they will pass it by with a sneer.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Weird Quote From My Brain

This morning, as I was on the edge of waking up, I heard two dream people (at least I hope they were dream people!) having the following conversation: "Remember what our metaphysical parents said, "Fire Aces Art every time." (And, yes, those caps were clearly in that sentence.) Now I do not know what a metaphysical parent is, but I can think of a lot of directions that remark about Fire and Art could go.
 
Fire could be considered as a source of light and heat, the first source of control over those factors that humans had. Without fire, heat and light had to come from the sun, moon, and stars. Although humans have always had that inborn creative urge to make things of beauty, or just to make art as a way to record the facts of their lives and history, light and heat are essential for basic survival. To be able to control or create a source of heat and light whenever and wherever it is wanted or needed, does ace art.
 
The other, vastly different, interpretation of that statement could be that of fire as the great destroyer. Fire burns where there is fuel. It does not matter whether that fuel is a carefully constructed campfire, a forest, dry prairie grass, a house, or a piece of priceless art. It is all just fuel for the flames, and Fire Aces Art.
 
From there one could philosophize about the impermanent nature of the works of man. Many sermons have been preached about this. Jesus said in

Matthew 6:19-20New American Standard Bible (NASB):

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal...."
In the treacherous world of today's Middle East, Muslim groups bent on world domination have blown up (another form of fire) ancient archaeological  artistic treasures, because they picture the "gods" once worshipped in the far distant past. These are no longer objects of worship, but elements of history. This wanton destruction makes me sad and angry. But, once again, Fire Aces Art.
The practical uses of fire actually help promote art. I think about those caves where people long ago left drawings of animals and prints of their own hands. These caves are so deep underground that they have no natural light at all. In my imagination, I see some people as torch bearers who make it possible for the artists to decorate these lightless rooms. These artistic remains are absolutely priceless links to our ancient ancestors. Without fire, they could not have been created in the pitch black of the caves. Without the deep caves, these art works would not have survived the millennia.
In today's world, good lighting of many types is priceless to artists. And painting light and shadow is one of the great artistic talents.
Fire may ace art. Fire, in all its many forms, can aid art. I would hate to live in a world or society that lacked either of these.
Fire a necessity for quality of life. Art a necessity for quality of life. I want both.
I snapped photos of some of the art on my cave walls:
This is a painting by my sister Grace Baker.
 
These pictures are from my granddaughter, Megan, starting about age six. She still draws constantly, and I need to talk her into giving me a new, frame-worthy work.
These paintings were all done by my mother-in-law, Emma Russell Wales. Sorry that it is not a very good photo.
 
This watercolor is by my brother-in-law, Lyle Stewart. I did not notice until I had the photo on the computer that I created an inset reflection of myself taking the picture. I am to lazy to redo the photo!
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Eighteen

Yesterday Chad, Anne Marie, and I met Chad's parents at a steakhouse, where we were soon joined by Megan. She had two hours before her next class, so this was our window to celebrate her birthday.

Eighteen!

And a college student!

She opened birthday gifts, we ate, we visited, we heard some of her first week's living at college experiences, and, all too soon, she had to rush away to make it to her one o'clock class.

Later, after she was out of class, we all visited her dorm to see where she is living. It is a nice new facility and she seems happy there.

We miss her here, but I am so happy for her in her new adventure! (And that she is taking her classes seriously.)

The Birthday Girl
One of her gifts was an empty box from her Birdie grandparents--a symbol
of something yet to come. She had fun coming up with creative ideas for the box,
including wearing the lid for a hat.


 


And, this demonstrates how she gets out of bed. Her desk and
refrigerator are under the bed. There is a small space between her
bed and her roommate's. They certainly manage to cram a lot
into a small dorm room.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Growing Up and Leaving Home

Today is the day.

Megan is leaving home.

Today she moves into the dorm at Sheridan College. Classes begin Monday.



Megan took off her sunglasses for a photo, but couldn't keep her eyes open.

How can this be? Can she really be so grown up?

Next Thursday will be her 18th birthday, so I guess it is true, even if my heart says "No."

So, I am babysitting Trixie the dog while the Birdies are off to move Megan into the college dorm. Tears are not far away.

Trixie
I am happy for Megan. She is setting off on a whole new adventure, and, after all, Sheridan is not so far away. I'll be seeing her again on her birthday; I plan to go with Chad and Anne Marie to take her to birthday lunch. Then she will have to go back to class, and I don't know if we will be staying in Sheridan until after classes to visit more.

I remember when my son left for college in Rapid City. At first, he stayed in Rapid over the weekends. It wasn't too long, however, before he was coming home every Friday night, even in the winter. I liked that! He wasn't so tied to home he couldn't go out into the wider world, but he still liked to spend time with his family. (Of course, he now lives as far from home as he could possibly be without falling into the Atlantic Ocean.)

I have always believed that the job of a parent is to work yourself out of a job. In other words, to raise your children to be capable, independently functioning adults. Doesn't mean there isn't a considerable amount of pain involved in the letting go. And that applies to grandchildren, too. I've lived close to Megan all her life, and she has spent Friday (and often Saturday) nights in our (then my) home since she was about four years old.

Life's big milestones are such a mixture of happy and sad that my emotions are in a tangle!

Monday, August 10, 2015

On Being Reclusive

It has been some time since I last blogged. I haven't even posted on Facebook very often. I have been being reclusive.

Now I'm not deliberately shutting myself away. I haven't decided, "From now on I will be a Recluse." Sometimes I just don't feel communicative. It is part of that whole Introvert thing.

Being retired and widowed really feed into this introverted withdrawal tendency. I don't dislike seeing people and doing things--but it is just so easy not to!

In pre-retirement, pre-widowhood days there was always some exterior necessity stimulating contact with the world outside: family (grew up with four sisters and one brother; in a family of eight people and one bathroom, no one can be too withdrawn), school--sixteen years of it, jobs, husband, children, more jobs, church involvement and activities--always something I needed to do, always someplace I needed to be.

And then it changed. The kids grew up, my husband died, I was retired from the workaday world, and even my church no longer seemed to have a place of service for me. This is not a self-pitying whine. It is just what happened. And I've always needed the restorative of some quiet, alone time and lots of books.

Today various things kept bringing Jerry to mind. I will always miss him. But it is also true that I have grown accustomed to living alone, to having no necessary structure imposed on my days. So, it becomes easy for me as an introvert to slip into a near-hermit type existence. And mostly enjoy it.

I think those religious hermits so regarded as especially holy in the Middle Ages, who dedicated their lives to God and were regarded as having made a great sacrifice of enormous devotion in their isolation, were probably mostly extreme introverts whose very nature craved that peace. The daily close companionship of a monastery or convent would have been nearly intolerable for them.

Well, I am neither a holy woman in a hermitage nor a total isolationist. I just sometimes find it very easy to slip into a world of books and doing my own thing and letting the rest of the world go by. I recognize that too much of this is probably not good for me. I am thinking on this.

In the meantime, here are a few photos taken recently.


Sister Kathleen and most of her family came to town on July 17th for her granddaughter's
swim meet, and we gathered at sister Grace's home for a short, but lovely, visit.
Pictured are Diahann, David, John, and Kathleen.
Grace with a work-in-progress painting of our Mother,
known to many as Grandma Rose.
Diahann and her children: (from left: Kate, Diahann, Eli, and Madie).
 
Tina and I were there, too, but I am behind the camera. Just imagine me. Make me young and beautiful, please!

7-22-15: The Birdies pulling out of the driveway, headed for their Yellowstone
vacation (they had a good time).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Planted

What a beautiful morning we had today! It was perfect for finishing the planting of my deck garden. I had planted most of my pots a few days ago, but needed just a few more things.

Anne Marie and I had another shopping trip at various greenhouses a couple of days ago, and I bought what I needed to finish the project.

And now I have 38 pots of various types and sizes, all planted and ready to grow ever more beautiful as summer progresses.

I mostly have petunias, plus one geranium (its gorgeous blooms caught my eye and I couldn't leave without it), two tomatoes, and two plants with little white blooms that grow into vines that hopefully will drape over the sides of the two big corner pots that I put tomatoes in.

I use petunias because I have found that they are hardier that many of the types of flowers I have used in other years. Petunias can withstand a light frost, and even an early snowfall. They come in so many varieties of colors and blossom patterns that I find I don't really miss having the other kinds of flowers I formerly planted.


After I finished the planting, I swept the deck--which it sorely needed. I removed quite a pile of debris blown in over the winter, leaves blown down from the cottonwood tree in last night's storm, sticky pod shells dropped by the tree, and potting soil. I always try to be neat and tidy while planting, but always end up with soil sprinkled all around the area.

The deck is now a pleasant place to spend time, and that is just what I did when I finished. I sat down with any icy Coke and a book on my Kindle, and relaxed for awhile.

My next outdoor project is to clean and refurbish my deck "people." The sun and weather fade a lot of the colors, so I will repaint the parts that need it and give them a new clear, protective coat. That should keep them looking good for at least a couple of years.



My flowers are just babies now, but with some warm weather they will soon explode with growth and surround my deck with blossoms and beauty.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Party's Over

I am feeling rather sad and exhausted today. The exhaustion is due to lack of sleep following several very busy days. The sad is because our out-of town guests have all departed. We see them seldom and the visits were short.

Jean and Lyle left yesterday morning early from their hotel, so we said goodbye to them on Sunday night. This morning Jeremy and Ruth left by plane. They had to be at the airport by about 5 a.m. and their flight departed shortly after six. They were in Denver an hour later, and arrived back in Rhode Island around 2 p.m. our time.

We were all up shortly after 4 a.m. Jeremy and Ruth were getting ready to leave, I was up to have a few moments of being with them before we had to say goodbye, Megan came up to my house to say goodbye, and Anne Marie was up to take them to the airport. It was a short night and an early morning.

Jean and Lyle at the post-graduation gathering
Jeremy and Ruth, standing by the door ready to leave. I think
we were all feeling a little teary at that point.
The time together always seems too short, but is so very precious.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Special Things

I was thinking this morning about the really special things that happened this week.
  1. Megan's graduation from High School, of course.
  2. Megan's Uncle Jeremy and Aunt Ruth came all the way from Rhode Island for the occasion. Special for Megan, special for me as I had not been with my son and daughter-in-law in person for so very long, and special for Anne Marie to have her brother home. Special for the whole family!
  3. Megan's Great Aunt and Uncle, Jeannie and Lyle, came from southwestern Colorado. We all love them dearly, and add them to Jeremy and Ruth and it was a lovely family reunion.
  4. Megan's paternal grandparents, Chuck and Judy, and her Aunt Misty arrived in time for the after-party, despite flooded roads and a torrential rainstorm between Sheridan, Buffalo, and Gillette. The family reunion broadened. More joy.
  5. Megan's beloved first grade teacher, Bev Sinclair, who became a good friend to Anne Marie, also came. This was remarkable because she now lives in Arizona. What a treat that she was both at the graduation ceremony and came to the house for the dinner and visiting. Amazing!
  6. Megan's Great Aunt Grace, dear friend Gwen, and most excellent neighbor Sheila rounded out the evening gathering. A special time with special people.
  7. Dinner was catered from Qdoba, so we didn't have to cook.
  8. Chad, that most efficient and organized of men, arranged my home so that the food line worked and everyone had a place to sit in the living room. And he cleaned up and restored the rooms to their original configuration after the party. What a blessing he is.
  9. With a large circle of people, it is hard to have one general conversation. It was interesting to pause for a moment and pick up on how many two, three, or four persons conversations were going on at one time. Then, from time to time, everyone would suddenly home in on one remark or story. It was such a congenial atmosphere.
  10. There were presents!
  11. And, finally, Megan's friend Austin arrived to pick her up for the school's post-graduation lock-in party. It was to last until 3 a.m., so it will be later in the day before I get a report on that.
That is Megan in the center of the stage, heading for her diploma. My little camera did not have enough oomph for a better picture.
Time for presents!


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Remembering

Yesterday a group of us, hometowners and visitors, gathered at the Mt. Pisgah cemetery to remember those we love who have moved on.

Anne Marie decorating for her Dad.
Sister Grace, Daughter-in-law Ruth, Sister-in-law Jeannie.
Remembering is precious, but also can be sad.
Ruth, Jeremy, Megan, Jeannie, Lyle, Michelle, Grace
Ruth, Jeremy, Megan, Anne Marie, Jeannie, Lyle, Michelle
The Birdies, Grace, and I have been meeting to decorate for Memorial day for at least seventeen years. Mother was with us at first--she had been doing it for years before. Some years others were able to be with us.

We are under no illusion that it makes a difference to our beloved dead. But it makes a difference to us. It is good to remember those who have gone before us, to take a little time to pause and remember the people and the past that have contributed to our lives.

I am so thankful for them.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Waiting. . . Anticipating...

In yesterday's post I mentioned that my son and daughter-in-law would be arriving by plane shortly after noon. We were all so excited! And, then. . .

Jeremy and Ruth had to be at the airport in Providence, RI, by 6 a.m. (EDT). The first leg of their journey took them only as far as New Jersey, where they changed planes for Denver. The plane in NJ arrived late and left even later.

Aaaargh! That meant they missed their connecting flight from Denver to Gillette and the next one did not leave Denver until 10 p.m. (MDT). Since they did not find spending twelve hours in the airport attractive, they rented a car (after a ridiculously long wait for their baggage). Even with a five-hour drive through Colorado and Wyoming they would still arrive hours before that late flight.

Jeremy kept his sister posted via texting as to where they were in their trek north through
Wyoming. After they passed Wright I kept close watch out my window. I didn't want to
miss seeing them drive in. As they got out of the car I snapped this photo through my window.
So--we missed a half day of our time with them. Grrrr. But I am still so grateful they are here. They arrived very, very tired from their long, long day. We had some supper (Taco John's--always Jeremy's choice for first meal when he gets to Wyoming), a little visiting, and off to bed.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Brain Burps

This morning I awoke very early. I tried to go back to sleep, but was unsuccessful. My head was too full of last minute things I needed to get done before it is time to collect my son and daughter-in-law from the airport shortly after noon. (They are coming for my granddaughter's graduation, and she is very excited. We haven't been with her Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jeremy in person for several years. I am, needless to say, equally excited.)

Anyway, as I was lying there hoping to get a little more sleep, my brain was buzzing with a lot of very mundane list making--what to do first, what was essential to get done, what could wait if necessary.

I tried to relax. More sleep would be of great benefit to me.

Then this sentence suddenly wafted through my mind.

"Give me your ice cream training sword!"

No, I had not been thinking about ice cream. Or training. Or swords.

How do our brains come up with such randomness? It happens every night in dreams, or on the edge of sleep, and sometimes even when awake.

Scientists have done much in gaining an understanding of the mechanics of the brain. However, when I read the simplified explanations put out for us non-scientific lay folk, it sounds wonderfully complicated, but doesn't really explain how these physical processes result in THOUGHT.

Within that not-very-attractive, convoluted mass that inhabits our skulls, lies the essence of our personality, intelligence, character, memory, learned motor skills (we don't have to relearn every day how to brush our teeth), talents, the storehouse of everything we have learned and done, and the management of the rest of our bodies.

I stand in awe of our Creator, who not only thought about and designed this wonder, but made it work.

Even though it sometimes just throws together random words.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Today's Walk

The weather was perfect for a walk this morning, so back to the lake we went. This time Anne Marie brought her dog and her big lens camera.

Anne Marie and Trixie

And the timing was perfect.

A group of freshwater pelicans was in flight, circling around, apparently preparing to move on. The sunlight on them in flight created a wonderful, gorgeous picture. Even with my eyes, it was amazing when they flew right over us.

Anne Marie took lots of photos, and I'm sure some of them at least will be publication worthy. She will share some, and I am anxious to see what she got.

With the photography opportunities, our walk was fast, slow, pause, fast, etc. Trixie the dog would get worried if I walked on ahead too far with her while Anne Marie was taking pictures. Herding variety dogs really, really like their pack to stay together!


Photographer at work.
With the pauses, we spent about ten minutes longer than usual at the lake. Love the sunshine and fresh air.








The geese like to go for a stroll, too.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

An Afternoon Walk--With Geese and More

It was such a lovely afternoon, with clear skies, winds calm, and temperatures cool to mild, that it made a perfect time for a walk. Anne Marie and I walked around Burlington Lake again. This time I carried my little camera. I really should have brought my other camera, but the little one is just so easy to carry that I took it instead.

And then wished for more zoom power.

I handed the camera to Anne Marie for the photography work; she has better vision and a steadier hand than I do.

So here are some of the things we saw (and heard--geese just talk to each other constantly in loud voices).











This meadowlark flew up on the pole to keep and eye on us as we walked by.
This lineup of geese was grazing along the edge of the lake.
They were not in the least worried about us.
Those white things are pelicans having their afternoon nap.
These geese were grazing quite near the path, but began moving off as we neared.
When we returned home we did what my Dad used to call
"looking at the prospects"--in other words, seeing what was
growing in the yard and how it was doing.