Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Boy this year flew by, and now I have to learn to write another date on my check. I wonder how many mistakes I'll make writing '2011' until it flows easily from my pen.

Lately I have learned the culinary joys of ketchup on my home fries. I am a late bloomer, I know.

I learned that my house will never be as clean as a southern lady's, but that's OK.

We collide around in our own little worlds, but we truly have a bigger impact on people around us than we think, and people have a bigger impact on us than we imagine. Be kind, it makes a difference. A small moment of kindness goes a long way, and a smile goes even further.

I hope your 2011 is filled with peace and  prosperity, that your needs will be met and that you spend each day in pursuit of good.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cold outside, it's a two kitten night

The title is a riff on the well-known 'three dog night'. The legend goes, shepherds would sleep outside and curl up next to a dog if it was cold. Two dogs if it was really cold and three dogs if it was freezing.

I've been on vacation this week and in the evenings I spend some time on the couch, something I don't do during the work-week. Then, I usually just read and study at the kitchen table and if I was not too tired, I'd head to the couch at around 9 pm for a half hour or hour before bed. On vacation, I settle over there after supper, around 7. I bring the computer with me and continue to browse, but also watch some tv. My cats love this. They hear the creak of the couch frame and zoom over from wherever they were within a heartbeat. Nosing under the lap blanket, they curl up, veritably pinning me to the spot. With laptop on my lap, a kitten next to me and one on my legs, I am stuck! But happily so. I'm thrilled that they get along with each other, and with me, so well.

It has been cold though. The temps lately have been 5 to 15 degrees below normal. Highs of thirty degrees are supposed to be overnight lows. Nights have been in the teens. Oh, well, we have only warmth in store as the sun climbs ever higher after the solstice.

The Christmas day snow we received here is just about all gone. On the way home yesterday I passed a sweet looking snowman. In the high sun he looked intoxicated in the extreme. Lopped way over, like he was doing aerobics at the waist, he was definitely doomed. I thought about taking a photo but I left the melting guy in peace, his sloshy dignity intact. I suppose by today he was all gone, his all too brief foray in the world of humans but a melted memory. I'm so happy that snow here lasts only a day or two.

I bought a ginormous bag of turnip greens on sale for 99 cents. It is a good deal. I hope I like turnip greens.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm in a new demographic, now!

So the new year is coming and I take stock of the last year. It goes by soooo fast. Faster and faster as you age. There is a mathematical reason for this but I forget its complexities so I'll just say that "time goes fast." Not an original thought, I know. It's even in the bible, with James saying, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14)

I noticed something this week. The television shows I prefer to watch all seem to target a demographic that needs corn remover pads, walk in showers, and nursing home insurance. Where did the Mountain Dew athletes go? Where did the busy mom needs Tide laundry ads go? I get the Clapper and Medicare.

Actually, I noticed something else. I have developed a corn. I had to look up what it was on my toe, but sure enough, it's a corn. So the next time the corn removal pad commercial came on, I listened. I don't need to buy a new tennis racket, I don't need an iPhone with killer apps, I now need Dr. Scholl's medicated pads for actual corns on my feet.

Oh, incidentally, I turned 50 this month. LOL!

I snapped some photos of the snow and icicles on this bright, bright sunny day:

Happy New Year! Love well, trust the Lord, and live large because life goes fast! 2011 here we come!

What a great, great photo!

Tells the story, doesnt it! From Portland Press Herald today, credit and link at bottom.
Portlander Chester Bishop smiles as he snowblows a fire hydrant in front of his Pitt St. home as he and all Mainers start to dig out from the largest snowstorm of this season so far. Portland area is expecting 12 to 18 inches. Credit John Patriquin/Portland Pres Herald Staff Photographer

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day snowstorm 2010

Atlanta Georgia and environs received measurable snow for the first time in 128 years. Our area, 90 miles NE from Atlanta, received several inches as well. It began on Christmas afternoon and continued overnight to noon today. It is still going a good bit even now at noon on the 26th. Here are some photos from my yard:

Christmas night snow

Hay! What's going on?

Where's Waldo?

This snow is for the birds!

Cold feet
This in Georgia...reminds me of...

THIS!!!!!!!! North Yarmouth Maine

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turquoise moons and tasty pizza

Last night I got all excited taking practice shots of the moon in preparation for the big lunar moment when it'd go into an eclipse at 3am. I practiced and practiced and practiced. I finally got one I liked and then called it a night. I set my alarm for 3:15 and laid down to sweet sleep. At 2:30 I awoke of my own volition and debated with myself. Will I get up or won't I get up? Do I want to throw off three blankets and two cats and walk into the freezing night? On the other hand, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity and I can get some really good shots, as well as enjoy the celestial spectacle with minimum effort and perfect weather conditions.

Nah. I turned off the alarm and went back to sleep. Lazy bones!

In my resulting lunar eclipse research, conducted while fully dressed and in daylight comfort, I learned that the turquoise tinge on the moon is the presence of water particles in the air as a fine mist can also cause the moon to appear blue. The light mist above a body of water can have this property. The rising full moon, observed from a point where the moonlight passes through the mist, can cause the moon to appear a light blue color. As the moon continues to rise the color will change to a light green then to the more familiar yellowish hue. The blue color will be observable for less than a minute before it changes. (Wikipedia)

When I arose this morning I sort of regretted not getting up to see it, but oh well, I love my bed time.

It's a cold and drizzly, damp to the bones kind of winter day here in NE Georgia. I was quietly ensconced in my tiny apartment having a nice time with my computer internet surfing when I realized that horror of horrors, I was out of Green Tea!  One comforting thing about heading to the great outdoors is that it is large pizza one topping for $5 day at Jessi's Deli in Danielsville. But to get the tea and the prize of cheap but tasty pizza, I have to dress (ugh) drive in my clattertrap cold car (ugh ugh) and see PEOPLE (triple ugh). Oh well, no worries, I headed out and to my surprise, there was hardly any traffic, no one else was out (I bet they're all in Athens, Christmas shopping) and I got my stuff done and was home in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

Well It's almost time for Judge Judy. Doesn't my staycation sound sophisticated and enviable? Cheap pizza and an irascible old judge television show. Woot! I know how to party!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Rural loveliness on the way to a friend's house

I went over to visit a friend in an area I rarely travel but always love it when I do. It's in a REALLY rural area and it's so beautiful. That day was rainy and overcast, and despite the attractiveness of the rolling hills, well-maintained fences, and animals trotting about, I ended up taking two photos of rural-ness that are typically considered not as attractive. But they are to me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

One horse open sleigh riding

In the course of reporting for my newspaper, in February 2006 I had the opportunity to visit and interview the folks at North Yarmouth Maine's Skyline Farm. The historic farm is well-known for its Carriage Museum and Sleighs. The folks kindly hitched up Dylan the horse and took me for a sleigh ride. Notice the deep snow on the ground in February, and how bundled up we are. That's me behind the horse's ear.

Now, a "one horse open sleigh" is a difficult ride, I discovered. It is very jouncy and actually pretty hard to physically stay in the sleigh. They tipped over easily. They got stuck a lot. And it is cold. Brrr! Imagine it being your only transportation, for hours on end.

But the bells are a charming item to explore. It is the silence of the sleigh without bells that caused owners to install bells in the sleigh. When the snow banks get high, pedestrians and other vehicles cannot hear the sleigh coming. The bells, each type having a different sound, makes the merry jingle that prompted the song, "Jingle Bells." It was explained that there are belly bells, which go around the horse's belly, shaft bells, which are installed atop the sleigh, and saddle chimes, which are attached to the saddle. Owners are partial to the different tones, usually sticking with their favorite kind of bell for their sleigh.

Shaft chimes are solid brass mounted on a steel bar that is attached to the bottom or tongue or shaft. The bell part is open and the clapper makes the sound as it sways back and forth. They make a super sound, not only because they are usually bronze, but because they are mounted in fours, making a strong chime.  Jingle bells were mostly enclosed bells with a small pea-type "jinglet" rolling around inside.  Bells that made the best sounds were made of cast brass. They could be heard over long distances yet they had a variety of sounds. The bells were not only warning signals used in various modes of vehicular transportation, but were a personal brand in the times before cell phones that said Papa was on his way home. For example, when the owner of an estate was coming home, the hounds would recognize the particular bells' sound from a distance, distinguishing it from the others that were resonating all over the hills. The dog would yelp and bark, letting the family know that the lord was on his way. 

Here is a good link to read more about sleigh bells.

I had some really negative adventures being a reporter, but those are balanced by the fun opportunities the work afforded. Riding a sleigh was a huge kick, and something I'll never forget. It also makes me very grateful for my car with comfy heat and a CD player!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Weekend flotsam

This week was a good week, and only 9 more days to go until Christmas vacation. Weekdays that is. And not counting the last Friday half day. LOL. Not that I'm anxious for a vacation or anything.

This week was a good week with the kids. hey crack me up. They teach me. They are unique and interesting people in their own rights. Their perspective is always interesting.

We have a new addition to our church, It is filled with Children's Sunday School rooms from babies up to grade five. The younger kids' rooms all have a gate in front of the door. It allows adults to step into the room but 3 feet into it there is a gate about adult waist-high, that latches. It is a safety feature that is also every convenient. At church this morning, one of the older children who is in sixth grade, said to his friend, also in sixth grade, "You know what I think it weird? I think it's weird that they cage them in." LOL, leave it to a kid to think of the children's rooms as a zoo.

I must be acclimatizing to Georgia. Four years ago the first winter I spent here never seemed like winter. I looked around in March and said, "when's winter coming?" I gave away all my coats. The second and third winters were pretty much the same. I wore two shirts or a shirt and a sweater outside and never felt a thing. This year, though, is different. I feel the cold even when it's 40 degrees. Brrr! A sturdy Mainer would never even blink at 40 degrees. One guy I know in Maine wears shorts in 40 degree weather. Now all I want is a blanket and a huddle up on the couch.

I will be fifty years old next week. I am excited. People wonder why I'm excited. One guy I know said "You actually seem happy about that." I AM! Why? I said to him, "I'm eternal! What difference does it make?" I definitely have aches and pains though. Getting up in the morning is a crazy scene, with the stiffness and backache. But I never complain. What's the point? But my older friends describe in intricate detail their aches and pains and trips to the doctor and pills and costs. I know that topic is of utmost importance to them right now, and it is important. I never say never, because likely I will be like that if I wind up here on earth at age 70, but I really hope that some people could expand their world view to beyond their body edges and converse about something else.

My confession- I like reality tv. Well, some of it. The Apprentice and IRT Deadliest Roads, and Chopped. People tell me that they are rigged, or they are way edited and don't represent life, and for some reality tv shows I would think so. But I think Chopped is simply four people cooking three dishes and one comes out the winner. There's not a lot of fudging you can do on a one-time contest cooking show I wouldn't imagine. As for Deadliest Roads, either they fall off the road or they stay on it. And, I think Donald Trump is sort of an OK guy. Hey, don't judge me.

Why do we have to spend most of Sunday getting ready for Monday? Really aggravating.

Well, the Christmas lights are glowing and the gas stove is crackling and the cup of soup is heating and my couch is waiting, An evening of reality tv awaits, and the...the WEEK. Till next time...