Friday, December 28, 2007

The generosity of Strangers!

Ever since we moved to Madison we've been looking for some furniture for the basement family room. I look on Craigslist every few days and have called or e-mailed several people, but nothing has worked out.

We'd gotten it into our heads that we wanted leather. I should mention that we have a minimal budget for this, plus no way of hauling it home once we find it. Still, I look every few days.

One day I had a "feeling" that there would be the perfect furniture posted, so I signed onto Craigslist and looked through several hundred entries. This took awhile, as I had to look at the pix and compare with things I've already looked at. Eventually I had to admit that I couldn't find anything that really spoke to me.

I went to the kitchen to fortify myself, and thought I'd just look just a little longer. I really felt our furniture was out there looking for us. When I signed back into Craigslist, I noticed a category I'd never noticed before. FREE!

Thinking I had nothing to lose, I opened the link and on the 7th entry I read, "Free couch and loveseat. Navy blue leather Natuzzi sofa." I immediately called and was assured by the woman that the furniture would go to whoever spoke for it first. She had 3 people lined up for the next day, but no one for today. Even though it was snowing to beat the band, we decided to go look at it. The woman lives on our side of town, about 8 miles away. In that 8 miles, we saw 2 cars off the road in the ditch and the traffic backed up for miles. We decided to take an alternate route home and within an hour, we were committed to coming back to pick up the furniture on Sunday.

While looking for furniture on Craigslist, I'd noticed an ad for a fellow that advertises he is available to pick up your purchase for a modest fee ($45). I called him, made the arrangements, and now we have leather furniture in the basement!

It's old (14 years) and scratched (she has cats), but it's comfortable and gives us something to sit on.

Thank God for the generosity of Strangers!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Where did the year go? I think it's time to give up my awareness of the actual date. It stresses me. I don't really pay attention to the date, until I have to write it. Then, when I pause to try to get an accurate number to put on the form, I get stressed that the number keeps passing by without me being aware of it.

Being back in a job that happens 7 days a week plays a number on my head too. My Monday may actually be Wednesday. So, when "normal" people are saying "TGIF" I get confused because it's really only Wednesday in my mind. Then, when my schedule has my days off one at a time instead of two together...well, it gets pretty weird. I rarely know what Day it is, much less what Date it is.

I gave up my perception of time a few years ago. I quit wearing a watch. Quit being concerned with minutes. I developed a pretty good sense of timing. I'm rarely late. There are plenty of clocks to peek at without wearing one on my person. But without that watch, I can spend all the time I want when I have the freedom to do so. I tend to have that freedom more and more. Besides, when I absolutely, positively MUST know the time, I ask my husband!

I'm saying goodbye to 2007 now, because I'm sure I'll lose track of the days and the New Year will come and go without my getting to acknowledge it. Bye. I miss you already!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tribute to Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg is/was one of my favorite musicians. His music has provided part of the Soundtrack of my life. I listen to his music often and feel renewed, consoled, inspired, and energized (plus dozens of other emotions) after listening. I am sorry he is gone but blessed that he left behind the gift of his music. Thank you for sharing your talent Dan. I am better for it.

"Along the Road" is one of my favorite songs. Thank you Ted Leib for making this wonderful video.

Here is another video I came across, reading other tributes to Dan. This one is special. So sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy "Go Down Easy"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Whether the Weather...

For a moment, I thought I was through talking about the weather. I was planning to go on to Christmas Lights and other things Christmas. But it snowed again today, so we're back to the weather. In fact, it snowed most of the day. When I went out to get into my car after work, I had at least 6 inches of snow to clean off. The streets are snow packed again. And the main streets were almost cleared! I've come to realize that on snow days, I need to plan an alternate route home. The topography here includes lots of small rises and valleys.In the snow, these small inclines create a problem. I spun out for half a block trying to make it up a very small incline--that was snow packed. What a challenge. Then I get home and can't even think of getting into the driveway. So I parked on the street until someone takes off some of the snow!

Last night I left out food for the squirrels and rabbits. I'm trying to find my bird feeders. I'm worried about what the little critters are finding for food. I want to leave water, but without a heater, the water would just freeze. I'll have to look into it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Slush and Sludge

The weather warmed up considerably today. The snow packed roads became an inch of slush over the remaining ice and snow. This is the kind of slush that collects in the wheel wells until there are monster blocks of dirty slush/sludge that fall off the cars when they get a chance.

I noticed that my wheel wells were full and tried to kick to accumulation loose, but due to the curvature of the mud flap, it couldn't be done. These chunks are so big that it nearly touches the tire! I guess the friction of the wheel turning is all that keeps it from seizing up. It also explains why I feel a slight tug when I turn hard right or left.

After my inability to get rid of the slush/sludge block, I began to notice other cars as I walked along the street. At least half of them look like MY car, so I guess there is no need to panic. I also began to notice dirty blocks of this accumulation on the road, as the various cars gave up their load so they could begin accumulating another. Yes, endlessly fascinating!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh What Fun It Is To Ride....

Guess I'm obsessed with the weather. Could be because this is as much weather as I've encounter in many years. Beginning in September, people kept passing the comment, "Yeah, it's going to be the warmest winter on record." I heard this so often, I'd begun to believe it. NOT!

Today we were back to cold and snow. The temperature at noon was 17 degrees! That's below freezing folks. To put it another way, it's -8 degrees Celsius. Pretty Damn Cold in anybody's book. I took Hot Chocolate (the mint chocolate from Trader Joe's made with whole organic milk) to Loren after I got off work and sat in the car with him while we drank it. With the car running and the heater cranked as high as it will go, it was still cold. My feet were chilled and we were putting some serious fog on the windows. Two people came to buy christmas trees while I was there. They both were pretty quick about selecting the tree, paying and getting back in their car. Can't blame them at all.

Driving to work this morning (6 degrees at 5:30am) I encounter black glacier. Black ice is a thin coat of ice not visible to the eye. The glaciers are big thick sheets of frozen ice and snow that are so dirty they look just like the road. I was driving along when I noticed the car ahead of me do a little jiggle. I'd just begun to wonder what thatwas all about when I felt my car doing the same little jiggle. I'd encountered the Black Glacier. It's like driving the kiddy cars at the amusement park. You think you're driving the car, but then the car begins to steer itself as you come to the corners. These glaciers are so thick and powerful that they push your car along their edge and you hang on and hope you aren't pushed into something/someone. Oh what fun it is to ride....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


It is cold again today, but the sun is shining, so it feels totally different. Sitting in my car I was warmed by the sun and felt quite happy. It wasn't warm enough to melt any of the snow, so the snowplows are doing what they can to push the lumps of frozen ice and snow out of the streets.

Many of the side streets are snow packed. Only the main roads are clear, and you don't want to be on the inside lane. The wall of frozen snow is right on the lane edge, so there is no leeway. When the left turn lane comes along, it is so narrow that you're sticking out into the regular traffic lane. Sometimes the wall of snow blocks the view of the oncoming traffic and it's potentially dangerous to make the turn.

There is so much snow that I see dump trucks filled with snow taking the excess out of town. Got to make room for the snow coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More Snow on the Way...

During my five winters in Wisconsin, these are the worst conditions I've experienced. The heavy, wet snow from Sunday froze in whatever shape is happened to be in and Monday saw icy, snowpacked roads all over the city. I hear cars trying to get into their driveways and spinning out as they try to pull away from the curb. Walking is dangerous as there are big, frozen chunks of ice and snow everywhere. The ground is so uneven it makes walking and driving an adventure (not in the good way!).

There are laws here that the sidewalks MUST be cleared by noon on the day following a snowstorm. Silly me, went to Home Depot to buy a snow shovel. They were sold out! As was Walmart and Ace Hardware. I bought the stuff you throw down to melt the ice. It's something that won't hurt the concrete, animals or the grass. Our landlord cleared our sidewalks, but ice had formed and I didn't want to fall between the car and the front door.

The forecast for today is 2-3 inches of snow this afternoon, followed by 2-4 inches of snow this evening. The snow began, as predicted, about 2pm. New snow on top of the crusty, icy, uneven mess is NOT something to look forward to.

If anyone had told me about the parking situation here, I would have held out for an apartment with underground parking. I looked at a few, but didn't weight my alternatives from my current perspective!

My prediction: It's going to be a long, cold, messy winter. Pray to God I'm wrong!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Digging Out

I love snow, with certain qualifications: 1. I don't have to be outside if I don't want to be outside. 2. I'm not inconvenienced by the presence of said snow.

Today the snow met both qualifications and I'm not enjoying it. In fact, I've cursed and cussed and ranted and raved until I'm blue in the face--under the totally red, cold face that is the result of being outside and inconvenienced.

It took me 30 minutes to dig my car out! Up and down the street people were digging, revving engines, and spinning tires to try to get their cars on the road. The snow was wet and heavy and crusty. Perfect snow for building snowmen, but who has time? I'm afraid that my back is going to ache tomorrow. I'm not used to that type of physical effort. I understand how many people find their way to the ER after a snowstorm. I saw many people outside working up a sweat, if not a heart attack, as they cleared sidewalks and driveways. I'm grateful we have a landlord for such tasks (and he has a machine!).

Madison has a "law" that everyone has to park on one side of the street each night, and we alternate sides so the snowplow can clear the road. Last week, when there was no snow, and no snow in the forecast, we (and several people on our street) got a $20 parking ticket for being on the wrong side of the road.

Last night, even with the heavy snowfall, we were all parked properly. Woke up this morning to find the snowplow didn't come by! So, tonight we have to move our cars to the unplowed side of the street, with the big frozen chunks of snow in hopes that the snowplow will come by tonight to clear the other side. I'm not holding my breath. I'm also NOT paying the $20 ticket. I wrote a letter contesting the ticket. I'll let you know what happens.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Welcome to Wisconsin Winter!

Weather predictions are, well, unpredictable! I think a good weatherman--oops, weatherperson, has a bit better than 50/50 chance of being correct. That said, our current weather prediction has been 100% on target! They predicted 3-5 inches of snow, followed by sleet, then freezing rain. We got more like 6-8 inches of snow, but the sleet came at the prescribed moment and I'm fully expecting it to turn to icy drizzle by midnight.
Loren had to work OUTSIDE in it all day. He came home dripping wet and was sent to take a hot shower while I fixed Hot Chocolate. Not just ANY hot chocolate, but one of those exotic kinds with the hot chili's in it. You get a double glow, which went down just fine on this cold evening. The gingersnap that accompanied this treat was pure pleasure!

Now that we're snug as a bug in a rug, with a whole evening in front of us, I think I'll light a fire (this new fireplace is unknown and untested by me--so I'm hoping not to fill the house with smoke) put on some relaxing music, open a bottle of champagne that has been waiting patiently in the fridge for its moment of consumption, and try to totally relax and unwind.

I can hear that the wind has picked up and is now blowing the sleet into the windows. Thank God we're both home safely and don't have to venture out again tonight. Welcome to Winter---Wisconsin style!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Geese still Migrating

I'd have thought all the geese were well on their way South, if not actually at their final destination. Not so. We've seen large flocks of geese flying South. Guess these are the geese from WAY up North, and are just now making it to Wisconsin. OR, these are the geese that thought it was going to be a mild winter until the Cold began in ernest. Either way, I hope they have better flying weather soon. It must sap their strength to fly in these less than ideal conditions.

Loren, out at the Christmas Tree Lot, says he sees and hears geese all day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Out of the Loop

I've been too busy to post, plus I have no internet connection! I hadn't realized just how dependant I am on the Internet until I can't get to it for days and days. In the process of moving to Madison I knew there would be about 4-5 days when the old service was cut off and the new service wasn't connected. It seemed like a REALLY long time!

Now that we're in Madison, I'm having an extremely difficult time getting our internet connection to work. I spend hours on the phone with the tech people. We've had the installer out to our house 3 times and IT STILL DOESN'T WORK!!! Major frustration. Today I took the computer in to the Apple Store to be sure it wasn't the computer's fault. It checked out A-OK, so we're back to the drawing board.

I'm posting tonight because I needed an internet fix so bad that I'm working off a friend's computer.
Now I have to get back to surfing and bill paying and all those tasks that require internet connections.

Hope to be back soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Whether the Weather

Extremes, that's what we have this week in Wisconsin. Saturday and Sunday were HOT. It was 86-88 degrees, humid and so warm no one could imagine that it's October. Today (Tuesday) the high was 54 degrees. The sky is all dark and gloomy and we're expecting rain and cooler temperatures until the weekend.

I don't know about you, but that's a little extreme for me. Has the weather never heard of moderation?!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Farewell Door County!

Door County was the first "field trip" we took once we arrived in Wisconsin. It became one of our favorite haunts and we went back many, many times. My favorite way to travel was to abandon the map and just drive, turning here and there and just seeing the sights.
We started out on an overcast day, but as my husband always tells me, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes!" Sure enough, the days weather changed many times. The leaves were just starting to change, which is one of my favorite times of the year! Driving up the peninsula, we passed a restaurant that we pass every time we drive up there. We have never stopped, but comment on it regularly. They have a big sign painted on the side of the building that says "Home of the original hash brown sandwich". We would try to guess what a hash brown sandwich was, and had concluded that it was probably a deep fried, frozen hash brown patty, served on white bread. This trip, we decided to give it a try. Boy were we wrong! The "sandwich" weighed nearly 4 pounds!!! The "bread" of the sandwich turned out to be the hash browns, neatly browned on the grill. The filling was eggs, cheese, onions, peppers. We split one between us and could barely eat the whole thing.All that food made me sleepy and I was contemplating pulling over to take a little nap. Just then, we rounded a bend in the road and saw all these geese resting from their migration. I got so excited trying to take their picture that I woke up. We saw several flocks of geese making their way South.

Next stop was for coffee. We have our favorite (of course). This was where we were introduced to Alterra coffee. The first time we stopped we exclaimed over how delicious the coffee was. The owner told us we were drinking a blend called "Punch in the Face" and offered to sell us some beans. After that we were hooked, and eventually I tracked the company down in Milwaukee and ordered coffee every week by fax.

This coffee shop is in a big house, with a large deck and the owner cooks interesting food and bakes good treats. It's nice to sit out on the deck and enjoy the day. Through the trees we caught sight of someone kite surfing, so we walked over to take a picture and be entertained. It is fun to watch! Loren wanted to try this, but I can tell it is WAY beyond my ability!

We decided to keep traveling North, and came to one of our favorite towns, Sister Bay. In the middle of town is one of the major tourist attractions.The little grass roof on the sign is a miniature of the grass roof on the restaurant. They put goats up there to keep the grass trimmed, but in all the times we've gone past, I've only seen a goat once or twice. We had nearly driven by when I realized there was a goat on the roof! "Stop, Stop! I yelled. I have to get a picture!" My husband is generally used to my outbursts and pulled over at the first available space. He didn't give me any static, which I really appreciate. As I got close enough to take a picture, I realized that there was not one goat, but four goats on the roof! Two on each side, and one of them nearly at the top of the roof! I was a happy girl. I had my pictures!

We made many stops, revisiting our favorite spots. We didn't want the day to end, because I think we realized that we won't be back for awhile. From Appleton it is a two hour trip just to get to the bottom of the peninsula. It's another two hours to get near the top of the peninsula. Madison is two hours from Appleton, so that is a long, long trip.

Goodbye Door County. We'll be back!

Where is my camera when I need it?

I'm beginning to remember why I haven't owned a camera for many years. Instead of looking at the world with both my eyes (thank you for the line, John Mayer) I find myself looking through the camera view finder, just waiting for that perfect shot.
That's when I DO have the camera with me. I'm continually frustrated that the camera is NOT with me when I see remarkable things I want to photograph.

For instance, this morning the sky was full of migrating geese. At first there was one flock. We watched them fly overhead. Then we heard more honking. Looking North, we say several flocks of geese. As we watched them fly by, we heard more. Suddenly the sky was full of geese! There must have been hundreds of geese in loose, everchanging lines, crossing the sky. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm always watching the geese.

It was an amazing day for migration. Sunny, clear, cool. I love this time of year!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Paint Me Happy!

Last week my job reuqired a trip North. I left at 3am in a blinding rainstorm and arrived at my destination at 5:30am. Since I'd driven the whole way in the dark, I was thrilled to see color in the trees when the sun came up. On the way home, I nearly ran off the road multiple times as I oohed and aahed over the scenery. Considering that the lady at the Fall Foliage Hot Line said that color was 2-5 weeks away, I wasn't expecting much.

The colors were just coming on most of the trees. I love it when the tree is several colors, as if a giant paintbrush had splashed a little red and orange on the trees. After I'd pulled over the third time, I realized that the camera just can't do justice to the scene. I was driving slow, but as there was no traffic, it was ok. As the sun began to set, I was rewarded with a rainbow. It began on one side, then the other. I kept watching and eventually it was a complete arc. It was soooooo big there was no way I could get it in a single picture. So, you get to see one edge of it. The sunset was glorious! When the drive is beautiful, I really love the driving part of my job. And the day that started so badly, finished really well.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fall Color

A little bird told me that the Fall Color is ON in Utah. I'm impatiently waiting for the color to happen in Wisconsin.
So, I did a Google search and found an interesting link that can benefit everyone! Darren Smith has an article on that lists the hotline number for the Fall Color Report in various States (see link on sidebar)

The hotline listed for the Wisconsin weekly fall color report: Foliage Hotline: 800-432-8747

I called the number. It is 7:25pm on a Friday night. I expected to get a recording. Instead, I got a very friendly woman that read me the report for several areas I was planning to visit this weekend. Unfortunately I have to be patient a little longer. There are NO reports of good color yet, even up North! Most of the areas are predicting 2-5 weeks before we see COLOR.
In the meantime, we'll make a trip to Door County to pick apples, buy fresh pressed Apple Cider and Carmel Apples. Maybe I'll even find some Pumpkin Pie!! (Must stop--I've drooled on the computer!) I bought mums in fall colors, Indian Corn and interesting Gourds to decorate the house. Anything to amuse myself until we can go Leaf Peeping!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bird Migration

I've noticed that the birds are on the move. We see and hear geese daily. I see flocks of something I can't identify gathering for the migration. The red winged blackbirds have been gone for weeks. Yesterday I realized that the egrets are gone. I've seen small flocks of cranes heading South. Guess it is truly Fall. YEAH!

Twice this week I've been driving home as the sun sets. The sky is full of color, and I saw a flock of geese flying over the freeway, getting ready to land. There were 20+ in the flock. Just as I pulled my eyes back to the road, I saw another flock out of the corner of my eye, heading in the same direction. Turning my head to see how big this flock was, I see smudges of color against the sky, and realize it's many flocks of geese, heading in this direction.
My driving became automatic as I kept turning my head to see the sight. The ribbons of geese were undulating across the sky as the lead bird fell back and the flock rearranged itself around a new leader. Some of the flocks were small (6-10 geese) and some were large (20-40 geese). They were all headed for the same pond and field. I wondered just how so many geese knew that dinner and bed were waiting in this very field. Is there a geese equivalent of Motel 6, and somehow they know "we'll leave the light on for you"?

I vacillate between envy and concern when I contemplate geese. I'm envious of their ability to pick up and go without packing, or making reservations, or worrying where they'll eat. They know where and how to travel. I worry when I realize that they ARE traveling without preparation. Will they find food and shelter? And then I remember that geese have been migrating for millions of years without my help. Nature will provide. They will be fine. I get to just enjoy the spectacle!

Friday, September 14, 2007

What I REALLY want!

Several years ago, I was part of a marvelous Women's Group that was dedicated to answering the question: "What would you do if money were no object and you were guaranteed success?"

I've been giving that question a LOT of thought because I'm at a crossroad and feel I have a little time to consider possibility.
So, what is my answer to the question this week?

There are several elements to my answer, and I haven't figured out a way to put them all together in a single package, but I feel it could be done.

I WANT TO WRITE! There, I've said it, owned it, broadcast it to the Universe. I want to write novels, and How-to's, Blogs, and travelogs. I'll write songs, sonnets....hell, I'll even write lists.

I WANT TO TRAVEL! My idea of travel involves a small motorhome (Chinook style) that I aim in a particular direction, but let it (and me) roam wherever the road takes us. The travel is done at a leisurely pace that involves long stayovers whenever I find something interesting, which will be often! I want to see my friends and family with regularity.

I WANT TO COOK! After being a professional cook for many years, I became bored with cooking, but lately I find myself wanting to get back to the kitchen. I'd love to learn new methods, experiment with a variety of ingredients, try new recipees. I enjoy feeding people. It makes me happy.

I WANT TO BLOG! I've found that I can spend HOURS reading and writing on blogs. There is so much talent out there, and so little time to get to most of it. But I love this connection to others.

I WANT TO TAKE PHOTOS! Since we bought the digital camera, I've become aware of what I can do with it. It is my connection (via my blog) to the world. I want to record and share my travels, my cooking experiments, my life.

I WANT TO LEARN TO PAINT! There is an artist hiding somewhere deep inside me. It's time I let her out and gave her paint!

I WANT TO GARDEN! While I love planting and tending a garden, I've realized that this need can be met by visiting gardens. I want to appreciate the lovely spaces created and maintained by others.

Can you see the thread here? Can you see a way for me to string these beads together in a sustainable pattern? It's coming. I truly believe, it's coming!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Frost!

They are expecting frost up North tonight. That means that the fall color will follow. Intense color! Guess we'll be making a trip North this weekend. I love the very first color, when it is a contrast to the remaining green. To drive along and see an especially vivid orange or scarlet or yellow gives me the kind of excitement I crave. I can't wait!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Blasted Computer!

Tonight, after spending hours and hours editing a document, I pushed the wrong button and 50 pages of text vanished!

Why is it that to MAKE it do this, I have to push several buttons and verify that I truly want to delete something? But when editing, you can screw it up without even trying.

I know that it is somewhere on the computer. I looked at all the places I know about, but it's really and truly gone.

The incident did produce one valuable result. From now on, I'll push the SAVE button with regularity!

Frickin, Frackin, Button smacking, Evil Computer......

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Daily Om

This morning, the Daily OM really spoke to me. I've been thinking along these lines, but this essay prompted me to action.

"The first step to getting what you want in life is knowing what you want. This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of us are going through life without really coming to terms with the truth of what we want. There are many reasons for this, and they range from parental influences that curb our imaginations to external factors that curb our ability to take action. We may feel that getting too caught up in exploring our deepest desires is wasted energy when it seems we want things beyond our grasp. This is a very practical attitude and has its benefits, but it can be safely balanced with a more imaginative and unlimited approach to the question of what we want.

You can begin to uncover and discover what you want by doing a simple, timed writing exercise. Set your timer for 15 minutes and write without stopping, starting every sentence with the words “I want.” Writing without stopping for a set period of time enables your inner voice to override your inner censor and helps to unearth buried dreams. It also creates a feeling of relief in the mind, heart, and body. Sometimes the simple act of expressing a want actually releases it, while other yearnings retain their energy, asking us to pay attention. When we pay attention to what we want, we are that much closer to getting it."

(If you want to read the whole article, it is under: August 20, 2007/Knowing Is The Key/Getting What You Want)

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Let's Talk

Last night we watched the movie "The Guardian" with Kevin Costner. It was a good movie about the Coast Guard, particularly their rescue swimmers. It caused me to do a little soul searching. For the past few weeks, I've been evaluating my life, my goals, my talents and abilities, and my determination level.

It has been an uncomfortable few weeks. I've come to realize that I lead a pretty ordinary life, without any real highs and lows. It is exactly what I created, so I can't complain. But it isn't enough anymore. I'm ready for a little more diversity, to get out of my comfort zone, push the envelope.

I've created a time frame for the change and put the events in motion. It's a little uncomfortable just now, because I'm in limbo, waiting for new patterns to emerge, new directions to pursue, and a new set of variables to dictate my behavior.

The part that worries me is whether or not I'll use this opportunity to actually change. Can I overcome years of habit and preference to allow better things to happen? Can I summon and sustain the energy necessary to break out of my inertia? Can I accept more? Can I allow the Universe/Me to create what I really want? Or will I find myself settling, again, for what I can get easily?

Time will tell. I just hope the tale is interesting.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Change is in the Air....

Can you smell it? Fall is in the air. I can smell it in the evening, as the day cools. I can see it in the colors of the trees. They are not an "alive" green anymore. They are still green, but it is not that intense, growing green color. Some of the trees have even begun to change color! I've seen a little yellow and a smattering or orange. I'm excited for the color change. It's my FAVORITE time of year. Since my birthday is the last day of September, when I was young, I always thought that this color display was put on for my benefit. Now that I'm older and more mature, I KNOW IT'S FOR ME!!

Today, one lone yellow leaf fell in front of me while I was driving. I smiled for the next mile.

This year, I'm having all sorts of Fall changes. I've given notice at my job. We've alerted the apartment complex that we're vacating, and I've begun looking for where we'll go and what I'll do. If I allowed it, I could get a little anxious about what's to come, but I try to head that emotion off at the pass. I truly believe that just the right living situation will come along, and the perfect job is just waiting for me to fill it. If we do it right, the move could be easy and stress free, so that by the time Fall is over, we'll be settling into our new lifestyle.

My plan is to allow each day to unfold with only a little manipulation from me. My job is to be aware and present and make each decision when the time is right. There is so much to see and feel and smell and experience. I'm praying for the patience to let it be what it is, to enjoy it as it unfolds, and to not hurry any part of the process. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Please feed Lolly

Call me crazy but Lolly, my Virtual Pet Llama, is becoming REAL to me. In the beginning, I thought she was cute and would play with her if I felt like it. She was on my blog for a few weeks before I learned to "feed" her. I began getting her "food" and "feeding" her a little more regularly. Then one day, I had the headphones on and while I was feeding Lolly I could hear her chewing the hay! And when I accidently clicked on her after feeding her, she Hummmmmmed! She will hum long and loud if I keep the mouse trained on her.

After experiencing her sound ability, I began feeding her often. As I move through my blog, I find her in all sorts of different poses and positions. Lately, I find her looking down at the "more" button as though she is just WAITING for me to feed her.

So, do I have a guilty conscience for neglecting her? or am I well and truly going nuts? or is she real in some sense and I'm developing a relationship with her. Whatever the reason, I find I'm getting quite affectionate about Lolly.

Go visit. Feed her. Pet her. Make her hummmmmm. Maybe you'll understand.

The Moon Rises

Getting off work last night, it was late, I was tired, hungry and a little ornery (combination of tired and hungry?). I'd just parked my work truck and was locking the door when something caught my eye. I could just see a glimmer of bright orange from the corner of my eye. Curious, I crossed the parking lot to get a better view. It was the moon rising! Such a bright, neon orange that I was struck dumb. (Awe struck sounds better, but it was late and I was hungry.)

Suddenly I was no longer tired or hungry. I was energized and elated.

From past experience I know that this color and size will only last a few minutes, until the moon travels a few degrees over the horizon. So I stayed to watch.

What is it that is so facinating about the moon? I can't put it into words just now, but whatever it is, I was in it's spell for 7 glorious minutes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

One Extreme to the Other

For many years, I've not cared, especially, for Summer. It's too hot, too many people on vacation messing up the traffic flow and the line for ice cream. This may have started when summer quit being a carefree respite from school and became just another season to live through.

Then we moved to Wisconsin and suddenly Summer is a gift! I still dislike extreme heat, but prefer the heat to the cold that is coming now that we're nearing the end of August. Part of me is in the panic mode, but I remember surviving FIVE winters, and figure I'll endure another one.

Every year I get the same thought. Wouldn't it be nice to bottle the sunshine, intense heat and smell of summer. Then in January when it seems that the cold will NEVER go away, we could open a bottle and be struck in the face with the essence of Summer? Conversely, we could bottle that mind numbing cold of February to blast us in July. A/C and Central Heat are just not the same experience.

Now, if I could only figure out a way to achieve this, I think my fortune would be secured!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Deer in the Backyard!

Out on the deck, nearing sunset, I see a deer across the way and rush inside to get the camera. When I come back and get the camera focused and the telephoto lens going, I see that the deer is looking at something. I take several pictures before I figure out what the deer is looking at.

Joey the cat is outside saying hello to the deer! Joey belongs to Karen, the leasing agent at our building. He is a curious sort and is let outside to wander the perimeter under Karen's watchful eye. This evening, we all got an eyefull! We watched them "play" for several minutes before they wandered out of the camera's range. Lucky Joey, he got to see the deer up close and personal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Shift

Someone on The Daily Om put the link for a short film called "The Shift" in their post. I'm always interested in the things that are suggested by Om posters, so I clicked and watched.

What a breath of fresh air! Sometimes it's so easy to be swallowed up with the negativity and despair around us. That usually leads to a downward spiral of depression and hoplessness.

Then I'm reminded that what I focus on becomes my reality. So, why go for gloom when there is peace and hope and love out there too?

This six minute film changed my attitude. What had been an average day is suddenly seen in a new light. I'm going to bed with a smile on my face and a happy heart.

Try it. You might just like it. (see direct link on the sidebar)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bats in the Belfry

This morning as I was leaving the apartment I stepped onto the landing before starting down the stairs. I caught a "shadow" off to my left, and being in a hurry, didn't pay much attention. Pausing to get a better hold on the armful of gear I was about to transport down the stairs, the "shadow" came from behind me and flew in a circle around my head. As I watched it fly gracefully up the stairs to the next landing, my cluttered mind registered what it was. A Bat! It was small, about the size of a dessert plate. As it glided past I was reminded of watching the Manta Rays at Sea WorldJames made a comment which made me think. So I looked up BATS as a Spiritual Messenger...Bats navigate through the mysteries of the dark without fear. Since they hang upside down (like a fetus in the womb), they symbolize mastery and the birth of something new. Bats encourage us to welcome change by exiting our protective cave and flying into the unknown with confidence. Food for thought!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Still Complaining...

Guess I just love to complain, because it's all I seem to do about the weather. I really think Wisconsin has odd weather! That is NOT a value judgement. It's neither good or bad, just odd. Last weekend the temperature got up to 58 degrees! The week had been in the high 80's and low 90's. Then 58 degrees on Saturday? Sunday got up to 66 degrees. Oh my. It will warm up again on Monday, and I'm shocked to find I'm looking forward to it. I'm not ready for weather under 75 yet.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

12 foot sunflower

After several days of sporadic rain, then intense sunshine, I went to see how my sunflower was faring. It had grown! Last time I'd checked on it, the flower had barely bloomed. The face was about the size of a baseball and it was following the sun. It was tall then, but I think it has become even taller. The head is already so heavy that it can't hold itself up to follow the sun anymore..
I've been growing it as food for the birds next winter. I think this may last several days. Anyone know how I'll know when it's time to harvest?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Caitlin was going in for the Ultrasound that would possibly tell the sex of the new baby. It's never 100% sure, but it was accurate last time and made it so much easier to make plans for Ellie's arrival.

Shaun was sure it is a girl, but Caity feels so different this time that she wondered if it might be a boy. (They both want a girl.)

When Caitlin called her dad to report the results, he could tell that something was up. "What's wrong? You sound stressed," Loren says. "Is everything all right?" (Caity had a miscarriage with the second pregnancy, and has been a bit worried.) "Could they tell the sex of the baby?"

"Everything is fine," Caity says. "They could tell the sex of the baby. They're girls." Long pause.

"They?" Loren parrots.

"Twin girls. Fraternal twins. They each have their own placenta and sac. One is lying on top of the other one," Caity says in a shaky voice. "Last night I had a dream about a baby with two heads. But I didn't even think about it being twins!"

"Wow!" Now the stunned voice belongs to Loren.

They talk for a few more minutes and hang up, promising to talk again soon when the news has sunk in.

When I get home from running errands, Loren is lit up like a firecracker. He can hardly get the news out because he is literally grinning from ear to ear (try talking with a big smile on your face!). We talk for a long time about the wonder of it all and the changes it will bring. We go to bed with a head full of dreams and big smiles on our faces.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair....

Friday evening, someone mentioned that the State Fair had begun, and I started thinking maybe we should go. I consulted the Daily Schedule, the Weather, and all the omens were good for a Saturday visit to the Fair. We've been having weather in the high 90's. I don't like to be outdoors when it's this hot, but the prediction for Saturday was in the high 70's!!! It was the only day for a week that had a temperature like that, so it was a deciding factor. The people that told us about the Fair suggested several things to see, eat and drink. I had a list of things to accomplish! Sometimes I become a bit obsessed with my lists, so I made a vow to be flexible, to allow for spontaneous experiences, and to have Fun. Good thing I did, because the schedule went out the window the first 15 minutes!
While we were standing in line for something (food, I'm sure) I could hear the announcer for a bunch of children's events. I left my hubby in line and ran over to get a look at the Smile contest. These are the 6-8 year olds. It brought back so many memories of my own childhood and I smiled in response. I stayed to watch the 3-4 year old dance contest. That actually make me laugh, and sigh. It's wonderful to see children before they have learned to be inhibited. Wouldn't it be great to move and act the way we FEEL instead of the way we THINK we should look?

We couldn't leave without visiting the Cream Puff Parlor. The “Original Cream Puffs” are celebrating 83 years of Wisconsin State Fair tradition. This is a BIG deal here.We stood in a line for nearly 10 minutes to get our cream puffs. We paid $3 each, and watched people having them boxed up in dozens! During the fair, you can preorder cream puffs to pick up at a special drive up window to take to work. They sell 100's of Thousands of Cream Puffs!! We saw people eating cream puffs everywhere.

It is suggested that you pull them apart and eat it as two halfs with cream on them rather than trying to squash it together and eat it as a sandwich, in which case the cream would all squeeze out onto the ground! Can't be wasting that cream!!!

Eventually we made our way to the Exposition Hall where the vendors were selling things both expected and novel. Since this IS Wisconsin and these folk are know as Cheese Heads, why not buy a baseball cap or a top hat made to look like cheese? And don't forget all the Green Bay Packer memorabilia. Much of the stuff made me squirm, as I remembered being suckered into buying it in the past.

What impresses me is that it's still around!
There was the waterless cookware (two different versions) and the special knives that never need sharpening. VitaMix is still alive and well and had rather a large audience for the demo. Lots of gadgets to make cleaning easier, take impossible stains out (yeah, right) and shine everything from jewelery to tire rims.
I lost count of the number of hot tub and spa sites. We found some of our favorites, the suspended swing, the redwood gliders, the device that rubs your back while you sit in the chair. We ate more food and watched people. After a while, we looked at each other and said, "We're sure not in California!" Wisconsin has it's own variety of people and most of them were drinking beer!

It began to sprinkle, so we ducked into the Arts & Crafts building. I'm always awed by the handmade items, everything from furniture to quilts, from desserts to flower arrangements.
Someone had won a blue ribbon for a Sunflower head as big as a hubcap and full of seeds. I'm growing one in my garden (it's nearly 12 feet high!) but it has only just developed a small flower. I'm only hoping to get a flower that big by October.
The blue ribbon for Kohlrabi (a vegetable I was unaware of before moving to WI) went to a specimen that was bigger than my head! The kohlrabi in my garden is not quite the size of a tennis ball. I want to know where they are growing this stuff! The Bonsai competition was amazing. Some of the "miniature" trees are 80-100 years old! Unfortunately, the blue ribbon flowers were already in severe wilt. And this was only day 3 of the Fair.

Finally it was time to make our way to the Coliseum to get seats for the National Clydesdale Show. The Budweiser Clydesdales, the famous “gentle giants” that have been the ambassadors of Anheuser-Busch since 1933, were scheduled to start the show, but it was raining and they don't bring the horses out in the rain? (That is what was announced) Some fun loving souls decided we should entertain ourselves and began the process of developing the Wave. It took nearly two dozen false starts before the Wave made it all the way around the hall. We were laughing and cheering and making our own fun (remember that everyone had been drinking beer all day!). It was my first experience of participating in and watching the Wave happen. I loved it!

After what seemed like a long wait, the Show began. The first classification was single horse carts. It was thrilling to see those big horses trot around the ring. They are so graceful, yet have such strength, we could feel the breeze created as they passed by us. First the male horses and drivers competed, then the female horses, some with female drivers, some with male drivers. The male drivers all wore shirts, ties, hats and most wore jackets. There was not a standard "costume" for the women. Most of them had bare arms, and I could see the muscles working as they controlled the cart and horse. The carts were bright and colorful. It looked like fun.
There were a few more categories to watch while we were waiting for the GOOD stuff.
The competition for 6-horse hitch was so large they did it in three sections. Fourteen teams were finally judged and seven ribbons awarded. When all 14 teams were in the ring at the same time it was something to see. I could have watched this all day. However, my butt had other ideas. We had been sitting for nearly two hours on aluminum benches and it was beginning to be rather uncomfortable. But the 8-horse hitch competition was still to come. I wasn't going to leave because my fanny was sore. So we stood during every lull in the proceedings and I took a walk around the building. Eight teams were in the 8-horse hitch competition. It was like watching the Budweiser Clydesdales over and over. I finally realized that the digital camera can film short videos, so I filmed most of the rest of the program. (I'm trying to insert it patient!)
Before the evening was over, it was announced that this was the National Clydesdale Competition. In October the World Competition (500 horses!!!) is being held in Madison, WI. Guess where I'll be in October?

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