Share Your World – 2016 Week 16

Lately I’ve been very “here today, not tomorrow” about sharing my world, but today it seems like a good idea, so here I go.

1. If you had to have your vision corrected would you rather: glasses or contacts? Or what do you use if you need to have your vision corrected? Years ago, I wore contacts for awhile, but, like Cee, I have astigmatism and they weren’t a perfect solution. I could not wear them to drive at night and finally they seemed more nuisance than anything – the removing, cleaning, reinserting, so I went back to glasses. They aren’t a perfect solution either, because they bother the bridge of my nose sometimes, especially when my sinus are misbehaving.

2. If you had to describe your day as a traffic sign, what would it be? Some days, I would be a traffic signal on the fritz, constantly blinking in a series of green, yellow, red, back and forth, up and down. I get started, then I get distracted, then I come to a complete halt. Lately, maybe one of those intersection signs – where it shows crossroads – would be appropriate. I’m feeling the desire for change, for adventure. Yet, I’m not sure I want change or adventure. Hopefully our Girls’ Week at the coast the first week of May will quiet my discontent.

3. Was school easy or difficult for you? How so? School itself was not difficult for me – unless we get into the subject of algebra. What was difficult was so frequently being the new kid on the block, because I was shy and awkward.

4. Would you rather take a 1 or 2 week vaction with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice? This is a tough one. What I would prefer is to take a vacation with a rental car in the British Isles, then maybe wander over into Europe and go where the whim takes me. But – given the choices of an organized tour or a cruise – either of those would be good for starters, because either of those would point out places I’d like to explore more thoroughly. The tour would take me to those places I’d later rent a car and visit on my own – with a friend to share with, of course. The cruise I’d select would be a Mediterranean cruise, which would have to include some of the Greek Isles. Not sure two weeks would be enough, however.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful that spring has arrived, that our one snowy day in this past week proved to me that anymore tantrums Old Man Winter chooses to throw will be short-lived, that the sun shines warmth on my back. I am grateful that I have been awaking and able to get out of bed to enjoy these things. I am looking forward to more of the same.

And because I must, to satisfy me, a couple of pictures – random pictures, taken because I felt like it.
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Inside/Outside

Inside and outside my world, that world in which words have not been flowing through my brain, anxious to escape, to venture out into public view. Inside and outside my world, it has been a period of flurries of activity, followed by periods of minimal activity, those followed by periods of absolutely no activity. Today, outside my world, the seasons are at war.
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Today, outside my window, old man winter is not giving up without a fight. He is spewing his anger across the green grasses, whipping the heads of the daffodils in his fury, shouting what I hope is his last hurrah for this year.

Today, outside my window, the blackbirds have arrived for their traditional spring visit, here to consume every possible morsel from the bird feeders before they head on their way to their summer destination. They believe in strength in numbers, obviously.
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Yesterday, outside my window, I spied the first little chipmunk visitor of this season. I suspect he has scurried back into the safety and warmth of his underground home, letting old man winter and princess spring fight their fights, awaiting the return of calm. And sun. And warmth.
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Last week, outside my window, there was a very persistent white-breasted nuthatch, who seemed entranced by the window. Perhaps he saw his reflection and thought he’d found the perfect mate, the mate that would be his perfect partner. Whatever his obsession was, he spent a few days constantly flying to the window, pecking at it, peering into it, until finally he decided she was playing far too hard to get. He has now moved on.
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Last week, as I wandered outside around my yard, I came upon this leaf skeleton, a remnant from a summer long gone now. Who would know, looking at this leaf when it was dressed in its summer finery, that it was so complex. Well, sure, a botanist would know, but I was not able to see beyond it’s green coat. Until now. I have put it in a book to press, thinking I will frame it one day. If only I can remember which book I put it in. Perhaps there is a similarity between this leaf skeleton and my brain – all those little openings through which memory escapes.
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And that’s how it’s been, inside and outside my window, inside and outside my world. Yard cleanup continues, and will likely continue far into the spring. Again this year, the pine trees seem to have an unending supply of pine cones and pine needles with which to offend my senses and cover my yard.

Gep has talked to me about life in Cuenca, Ecuador – a haven for ex-pats. He has talked to me about how much better I could live on my income, how consistently perfect the weather is, how lovely it is and how many new birds there would be for me to capture with my camera. It is tempting. But it is complicated. There is much to consider about the idea of moving, the uprooting and establishing new roots. First, later, I will visit. For now, I will stay put and enjoy life inside and outside.

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 14

After being AWOL for a couple of weeks, I decided to reenter the world and share some more of my part of that world with Cee and those of you who choose to read my thoughts.

1. If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? Yard work, first and foremost. Although I enjoy some of it, I would like less of it. Then cleaning – just maybe every three months or so, to do the real deep cleaning parts that I tend to ignore. Cooking is not a problem, most of the time, and when I really don’t feel like cooking a large green salad works for me.

2. What makes you laugh the most? Usually something one of my furry girls does, or one of the outside critters does. Sometimes something I see on TV or in a movie. Although I think I would like to laugh more, there is more laughter in my life than tears, and that’s a precious thing.

3. What was your favorite food when you were a child? Mashed potatoes topped with butter and peas. Yum. Even now, that’s something I really enjoy, although I don’t make mashed potatoes very often. Usually only when Gep is home and requests them. From “real potatoes”, he says.

4. List at least five favorite flowers or plants. Oh! Peonies. Lilacs. Daffodils. Heliotrope, because it has the most wonderful scent. Angel wing Begonias. Any flower that is brightly colored and lightly scented. Anything that blooms in the spring helps to wash away the winter doldrums. Anything that blooms in the summer sun, laughing at the heat. Anything that blooms in the fall, prolonging the season, abating the onset of thoughts of winter.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for life. For conversations with loved ones, hugs, wagging puppy tails, the bird song, watching the swallows pick their summer residences. I am looking forward to continued spring weather, more green sprouting from the warming soil, waking each morning to puppy kisses.

The month of March brought bright skies and persistent squirrels, along with the other joys that come with spring.
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Mine is a Quiet World

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted – inspiration has been lacking and there hasn’t seemed to be much to say, in addition to which I haven’t been settling long in one thought process. The attention span has been short. These are not bad things. I have been enjoying the feel and the sights of a new spring, enjoying watching winter fade away, practicing patience with its protests and reluctance to depart. I have spent little time with my camera – that’s that lack of inspiration thing. I need to get back to seeing things with a more creative eye, to recognizing opportunities for photos in odd places.

Life goes on. Things change. Some changes are better than others. Gep is settling in in his new home, however long it may be his home, in Ecuador. He is loving the temperate climate, the culture, the opportunity to begin a new phase in his life. He is with me briefly, a quick trip to the U.S. because his shipment of possessions from Oman have arrived and he needs to gather some items to take back to Ecuador with him. Kat is preparing for her move at the end of this school year to Thailand, preparations that are complicated by her little furry roommates, the cats that come in shades of orange and white, that will accompany her in this new phase in her life.

On the home front, spring yard cleanup continues, slowly by slowly. The daffodils are blooming, the bushes and trees are budding out, the ground is warming. The urge to plant is nagging at me, although I know it is too early, that we will have many more nights of frosts. The muscles I needed to help me move my computer desk and filing cabinet to their new homes in this used-to-be-a-living-room but is now a craft-computer-anything-goes room, became available and I am most happy with the results. The process has begun to offer the old Canon Rebel for sale, since it has become obvious, even to me, that I just am not interested in taking the time to learn the secrets of that camera that is heavier than I care to lug around with me.

I watch my furry girls; the little girl who is eating less and less, showing the signs of her lymphoma, but still cuddling and purring.
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The old bigger girl, whose crippling arthritic joints are making movements more and more difficult, although every once in awhile she shows a few spry signs. She is still my love, even though she is a bit stand-offish. We often discuss the hell getting old can be.
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Then there is my young girl, although in dog years she may well be approaching middle age. The girl who thrives on attention, who never gets enough petting, who cuddles with me in bed at night, who alerts all of us to impending danger – although sometimes the danger exists only in her imagination. The girl who does not believe sleeping on the floor is an option. When I suggest such a thing, her look clearly says “get real, will you!”
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I am turning a deaf ear more often to the broadcast news, being picky about those email headlines I choose to click on, enjoying time with Gep, setting no goals for completion of any projects until after he has flown away again. There is nothing that cannot wait. There is nothing more important than time with my loved ones when they are here. Listening to the news will change nothing – the election will be what it will be. When sanity returns to this country, I will tune in again.

In the meantime, in this life that contains enough, in this quiet world, I am grateful.

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 11

I’m late – again. I’ve spent most of my morning computer time working on an album for 2015, which is finally done and is being printed. So now I can spend some time sharing with Cee.

1. How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? I am the oldest of three. I had two brothers, one of whom has passed on. Although I adore my surviving brother, they were not very nice to me when they were young things and I was babysitting. They told tales – not true – to my mother: “Carol hit us over the head with a frying pan!”. Yeah, sure. But I must admit there were times I wanted to.

2. In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger? It depends upon who the driver would be if not me. There are some I feel comfortable with, others not so much. Usually I am more comfortable with a woman driver, because women are not usually as aggressive as men.

3. When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles or turn on the flashlight? How many of each do you own? I light candles and the two little gas lamps I own. I don’t know how many candles I have right now – probably at least a dozen, not all of which would be lit. They’re scattered about the house and some are in a cabinet to be brought out when others are burned down. When we first moved here we often had power failures that would last a few hours, but in the past few years most of our power failures are just momentary blips. It’s amazing how much there is that can’t be done without power, isn’t it? That’s when I hope my iPad and phone are charged up so I can at least read or play games.

4. List at least five of your favorite types of animals? (any animal to domestic to wild to marine life) Oh gosh. Dogs and cats, obviously. Horses, although I have ridden very little and was not good at it – but they are beautiful. Dolphins/porpoises, so graceful, so gentle. Deer, although I prefer they stay out of my gardens. Wild things that I see in my yard – squirrels and rabbits mainly. Birds, but they aren’t animals, are they?

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I am grateful for, as usual, time with friends, contact with my kids. The nice days we’ve finally had so I could get some work done in my yard. I’m having a hard time remembering the answer to this question must apply to the last week, prior to this one that we are in, because it’s so late in this week. I’m looking forward to more of the same.

Just a couple of pictures this week. I changed the feeder that I have hanging in my bird tree, and the squirrels are not especially happy campers. This one makes getting anything much more difficult for them, but they still try. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – at least they think there should be. Ignore, please, the dirty spots on my window – I haven’t gotten the outsides of the windows washed yet.

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What I Think About That

The skies are gray – again. It’s not that heavy gray with voluminous clouds, the kind of sky that holds some beauty despite its heaviness. It’s an even light gray, which is spitting moisture down upon us. Moisture that is vacillating between snow and rain and a mixture of both. The edges of the major three-day winter storm that is enveloping the mountains around us. What I think about that should not be repeated in public. It is March. March is the month spring arrives. What I think about that is that I need some kitten in my life.
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There was a post on Facebook the other day, a video showing another way to deal with school shooters – where, instead of gathering all of the students in a classroom into one corner, the video suggested they be scattered and if the shooter enters the room, they pellet the intruder with whatever they can pick up and throw at him (the male pronoun only because thus far the shooters have been male). It seemed a good idea to me. Why not go down standing up for oneself? One of the comments on the post was made by a Canadian woman, who said as an outsider to our country she did not understand why, in America, we seem to value guns more than our children. What do I think about that? I think what I replied to her – as an insider of our country, I did not understand either. That’s what I think about that. I do not understand.

I have been getting bits and pieces of campaign news – those bits and pieces reported on the news, or included in the headlines I receive by email – so despite the fact that I have successfully avoided each and every “debate”, I do not think I am uninformed. What I think about that – the campaigns – is that they are creating a layer of fog over what matters. A layer of fog that is shrouding reason, fogging our brains, hiding what is real. What do I think about that? I think the coming election year is scary. My hope for the future of our country is growing dimmer.
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Which leads quite naturally into listening to the news at night, because I feel a need to. I think I have masochistic tendencies sometimes. In the bigger city over the mountains, car break-ins have increased 119% from January to February. There have been a number of shootings lately. Masses die in the fight against terrorists in those far-away countries of Asia, but the terrorists are still there. Israel and Palestine cannot agree on anything. That’s not so strange, really, when we consider how few people/countries/leaders can agree on anything. But this is what I think about all of that:
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It makes me crazy. It makes me yearn for blue skies, walks along the beach in the company of my furry girls and the driftwood piled up by the winds and waves. It makes me wish we could all take the time to smell the roses, give the benefit of the doubt, demonstrate patience and tolerance. While I wait, I will be happy I live where I do, a place that doesn’t have much culture to offer and shopping is limited, but a place where terrorists would have no reason to strike, my furry girls and I can wander down the road no matter the time of day without fear, where the deer and the coyotes play, birds sing their songs and the squirrels chase each other around the tree trunks.
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I play a couple of games on my iPad, and often there will be a level in one or the other of them that just refuses to cooperate and let me get through it. When that happens to both games at the same time – what I think about that is that I’m not too bright that I continue to play these games. I also play a solitaire game, which offers me the option of a random shuffle or a winning deal. I’m not completely stupid, so I always pick the “winning deal”. What I think about that is that I should be winning – all of the time. Why don’t I? What I think is that’s misrepresentation.

What I think about all of this is that some days it’s hard to keep the chin up, shoulders back, and face the world with a smile. What I think about all of that is finding the silver lining is harder some days than others. What I think about living life in these days – it’s better than the alternative.

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Share Your World – 2016 Week 10

I missed last week – let’s blame it on too many trips to town, okay? On this cloudy,frosty morning, before I start washing the insides of some windows (I’m a pro at avoidance), I think I’ll share a little bit more with Cee and the rest of you.

1. What would you ask for if a genie granted you three wishes? Continued good health – can a genie give that? Sure, I think they can do anything, right? A travel budget, doesn’t need to be anything grand or elaborate. I’d ask for peace on earth, but I think that’s probably more than even a genie can do since no one can hear anything reasonable anymore. So, I guess I’ll go for happiness and safety for my Gep and my Kat.

2. What experiences are most meaningful to you? Those shared with loved ones – that glass of wine on the deck with my kids and my friends, listening to birdsong. Visits to new places, walks on the beach. My wake-up calls from Shasta, when she gives me kisses if I rub her belly before we get up. I’m pretty easy to please.

3. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A stewardess, but I grew too tall for the requirements then, so a secretary – because when I was growing up, those were the lofty goals women had. Besides being married and having kids, you know. But if I knew then what I know now. .

Complete this sentence: The best day of my life was…. I don’t think I can narrow it down to one day. There have been many excellent days – the days my kids were born, days I’ve spent with them when they were growing up and as adults – days with friends having new adventures. Quiet days in my warm home with my furry girls. Perhaps the very best day of my life is yet to come, it’s so hard to know. Every day that I awaken and get out of my bed has the potential to be a “best” day.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? Last week? Okay – time spent with friends, of course. Time spent in the yard, cleaning out flower beds. I’m looking forward to more of the same, to getting out of bed and being able to stay upright.

No photos this week, because this time of the year there is not a lot of change in my world. Although the daffodils are growing taller, and the Lenten Rose (Helleborus) is sending up new sprouts to bloom very soon. That’s what I’m looking forward to – spring!

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