Winter’s bareness

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The calendar says we have about another month before spring officially arrives, but the weather forecast for tomorrow says 90 degrees! We’ve had a very warm winter with a freeze in December and a very cold weekend in January that threw the temperatures down into the teens.  Then it warmed up.

It still looks like winter despite the warm days, but that will be slipping away soon.  The red bud trees burst forth about a week ago and the bluebonnets are slowly popping up, too.

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I’ve enjoyed the bare trees and monochromatic landscape this winter, delighting in the patterns of the branches and the views not seen in warmer months. The earth is sleeping, waiting for that one perfect afternoon when the sun’s warmth reaches it and nudges it to yawn, stretch, and wake up once again.

Wintertime

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Don’t these two over sized, brightly colored chairs give a cheery touch to the landscape? I love the contrast, especially with the faded bench next to them!

I’ve never really liked winter, mainly because I don’t like to be cold.  Give me a hot day anytime, but I can’t stand to be cold!  I love soup, stew, chili, and fireplaces and sweaters and fuzzy socks.  But no snow for this one, please.

I used to chafe at the winter landscape.  So dreary and empty, I thought.  No leaves, dead grass, and a cold, gray sky just made me irritable.  But now I’m older and wiser and see a new beauty in the empty trees and cold air.  I delight in the pattern of those bare branches – you don’t see that when the trees are loaded with leaves.  I see contrast, too, in the shades of gray and white, light and dark on their bark.  The brown grass and lack of plants reminds me that the earth is sleeping and preparing for spring. Shhh!

And, in the cold still air there is a silence like no other.  Even in the heart of the city on a cold day there is a stillness that seems to catch you in it, connecting you with the earth and the cycles of nature.  I find myself loving winter walks, seeing the world a little differently through the winter landscape, and embracing the cold stillness around me.  And, knowing that there is a pot of soup and the comfort of home to warm me after the walk keeps me from shivering and cursing the cold!

 

Try this instead

I should have come home and walked the two boy dogs before it got dark.  I should have trimmed doggie paws and combed little ears.  I should have swept, raked, and dumped leaves and acorns into the organics container.  But instead I took a small glass of wine, some cheese and my writing notebook out to the deck.  I had thirty minutes before it got dark to just enjoy myself.  Not a bad choice, I may have to try it again. Sometimes you just have to try something a little different, treat yourself to something small, and get out of the rut.

What happens every 4 years on January 20th…

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I finally gave up on solving the WordPress Woes and switched to another browser.  Amazingly, all is well. So I’m back in the blogging saddle and very happy!  This post is a little late, but I feel it is something I need to share and, just to note, it is NOT a political post.

Last Friday (January 20 2017) we inaugurated a new President, number 45.  I don’t think in all my years of living that I have ever witnessed a live inauguration.  That seems so odd to me, but I’ve just always watched it in a recap on a news broadcast.  I had caught a few glimpses of the pre-inauguration activities and when the time came for the swearing-in I moved to the television in one of the offices at work to watch.

It wasn’t about who was being sworn into the office of President, what moved me was what was taking place. In just a minute and with a few words the lives of the man and woman holding the Bible changed forever.  I wondered what was in their minds as well as others on the podium.  As he repeated the words spoken by 44 men before him I realized that no matter how bad our government is and no matter what people think about any President that in the large scheme we are America and we live by democratic ideals.  We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights and a checks and balances system. We elect all our officials except for the Supreme Court justices.  The whole American government idea came together on January 20th.

I grabbed a box of tissues to pass around the room as we were all a little misty eyed.  The image of the flag draped Capitol, the crowd, and the words of the swearing-in will be forever ingrained in my mind. I am an American.

 

WordPress Woes

Recently I started having problems with my WordPress reader. Everything was grayed out – just blue boxes where I knew other blogs should be visible.  When I went into view my posts they were the same way.  I could post, but not see it afterward.

I tried everything with no success.  No problems with other sites either.  The nice folks at WordPress suggested several things to try, but I had already tried them. I tried them again, just in case.  No le hace.  So they suggested I change browsers.

So WordPress friends I ask if any of you have ever had problems with IE being incompatible with WordPress?  Fortunately my WiFi Android tablet is compatible, so I can catch up on my reading😊!  But I need normalcy restored! Share any suggestions in comments, please.

General Failure

When I clicked on the scan button immediately a message appeared on the monitor screen:

Could not perform the requested operation. GENERAL FAILURE. 

My first reaction was what does that mean, but almost instantly I also had to laugh. What a great way to say that something went wrong, but offer no explanation. It really does say it all in just 2 words and, yet it is a complex expression – General Failure.

We’ve all experienced a situation where everything just goes wrong for no reason at all, i.e. general failure.   One example that comes to my mind is a batch of chocolate crinkle cookies that my oldest grandson and I included in our Christmas cookie bake. We’ve made these before and they are not complicated, but we both misread the recipe multiple times. He was measuring dry ingredients and added the confectioner’s sugar to the flour and I dumped eggs, oil and everything together instead of adding one ingredient at a time. The dough went out the door in a trash bag! We experienced general failure due to our inattention to details.

Sometimes general failure is simple, like the ruined batch of cookies, and can be easily overcome. It can also be complicated when it affects someone’s life in a negative way. General failure may be a catch-all expression for things that don’t go as planned, but it really should be a way of looking at a situation, accepting that it did not work well, and then moving on without lingering over something that failed.

And if you’re wondering about why the scanner program wasn’t responding…I had failed to turn the scanner on.

‘Til next year

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When I was younger I had the iron clad rule that all Christmas decorations had to be taken down and stored away before the close of January 1st.  No exceptions!   I remember being like a possessed woman to get it all done, too, and to accommodate the other members of the family I would vacuum where the tree had been during the commercials of the New Year’s Day football games. Often I would start on New Year’s Eve because I just had to have it done. It was a mad rush, to say the least.

Now I am older and, hopefully, wiser.  Maybe I’ve mellowed out a bit or maybe I’ve just gotten lazy.  Perhaps I just want the season to linger a wee bit longer.  Now there is no hurry.  I will miss the soft glow of the slowly twinkling colored lights on the tree and the cute little dachshund that made it’s way to my hearth this year.  I will miss the charming smiles of the snow people, too.  The quiet figures of the Nativity scene will be the last things I put in boxes.  Until next year dears, see you in November!

 

 

Relax like a cat

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On Christmas morning Mitzie was curled up on the turned back comforter at the foot of the bed.  Regretfully, I had to ask her to relocate so I could finish making the bed.  Years ago I had another cat that would remain on the bed like this while I dressed for work; I always thought there was something terribly wrong and unfair with that situation!  Mitzie’s brother, Baxter, was the ultimate bed sleeper.  He slept there all night and would sleep there all day with only short “breaks”.  I often came home to find him exactly where he was when I left early that morning and pretty much in the same comfy position.

I find it intriguing that the cats always seem to find a most comfortable spot to sleep.  They don’t worry about what’s around them, they just get into the most comfortable position they can and then totally relax. In fact, it seems like total abandonment of any resemblance to a living creature.  Until, of course they hear the rattle of the food bag, the food hitting the bowl, or the untimely disturbance by one of the dogs.

A Clean Page

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The start of a New Year is much like opening a new notebook and seeing the first, clean page in front of you. In turn, during the year as we change the calendar from month to month it is much like turning the pages of the notebook to show another clean page. The month and the year before us are fresh and waiting for the pen of life to make the permanent marks on the pages.

As we start 2017 our calendars are empty before us. Perhaps today you will fill in upcoming commitments or jot down those pesky resolutions we all feel compelled to make. But first pause for a moment and reflect on the past year. Review the good things you are thankful for and tuck them into your treasure chest of good memories. There have been unpleasant episodes and unhappy days; reflect on them and learn the lessons they taught, but don’t dwell on them. Perhaps you’ve had sadness fill your heart, but remember that the loving Father is near. In the good times and the not so good times, God is with us.

After this review it is time to close the calendar for 2016; it is the past and 2017 waits before us. As your pen hovers over the first day of January pause for a moment and look forward. The page is blank waiting for your pen to begin the writing and a fresh, new year is waiting to unfold.

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. The Book of Common Prayer