Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Hard Habit To Break

Forty years. Forty years, at least, during which I have developed a habit that will be very hard to break, but I think it is about time.
No, it isn't smoking, I quit that forty-six years ago this month. But I think this habit will be almost as hard to break as smoking was. I only smoked on and off for twenty-two years. I've been recycling for at least forty years.

I chart my recycling habit as beginning when we moved back to Adams County in 1978, though I remember some limited recycling while still living near Grimes - for instance saving newspapers for Boy Scout paper drives.

But on an empty lot down on John Street in Corning, there were some dumpsters similar to the one above. At that time, as I recall, the only things that were recyclable were newspapers, cardboard, clear glass bottles and jars, tin and aluminum cans and #1 and #2 plastics, like milk jugs. I already considered myself an environmentalist, so being able to recycle some of what otherwise would have gone to a landfill was something I valued and respected.

More items are now acceptable and curbside recycling is more available which has made it easier for most. Before curbside, in the town where I now live, those large recycling dumpsters were in the parking lots of two of the grocery stores until the store managers got tired of cleaning up after all the people who just couldn't follow the recycling rules.

Because of where I live, I still have to take my recyclables to the Waste Management recycling dumpster on the west edge of town which is not too far from me. I sort the cans, plastics, glass, paper into individual bags as they are accumulated so when I go I can just empty them into the right bins. As you can see, it is about time for me to do so again. And it may be the last time for me.

We have dumpsters throughout our neighborhood, one of which is right across the street. It is picked up (emptied) twice a week. I may, if I can convince myself that the small amounts I recycle aren't going to save our planet, begin putting all our trash in it. Part of the reason will be because of the convenience and my 'creeping up on me' age.

But the other reason will be because of a news story last month about how so much of the nation's recycling goes to the landfill anyway, because of contamination. Even if I carefully rinse out my recyclables they can still end up in the trash because others don't. That coupled with the total disregard by many who don't follow the guidelines for recycling- window glass and mirrors in the glass bin, plastic bags in the paper bin, cardboard boxes not broken down in the cardboard bin, etc. - which ruins the effort of those of us who do follow the rules.

Recycling is going to be a very hard habit for me to break. 😢😠💔

Monday, January 7, 2019

Handsel Monday

Ever hear of Handsel Monday? Me either. But my 'Word of the Day' for New Year's Day last Tuesday was Handsel. The definition: "A gift made as a token of good wishes or luck especially at the beginning of a new year.

Further down was more information - that the word handsel or hansel dates back to the 13th Century, that it was an old Scottish (British Isles) custom to give a small gift or good luck charm on the first Monday after New Year's Day - Handsel Monday.

Money was a favored Handsel Monday gift, as it was supposed to insure a full purse for the rest of the year. If the handsel was a physical object other than money, tradition held that it could not be anything sharp or it would 'cut' the relationship between giver and receiver.
Bud has mentioned that his Dad was superstitious about giving or receiving a knife for that reason. The recipient could negate the severing by 'paying' for the knife with whatever change he had in his pocket. I wonder if his Dad's superstition could be traced back to the tradition of Handsel?

I have the little purse, a coin and a good luck piece to go in it that I *could* give to someone on this Handsel Monday - but would anyone know why I was gifting it?

Monday, December 31, 2018

December Book List

Twelve books read in the twelfth month, for a total of 123 for the year of 2018.

Closed Circle by Robert Goddard is one on this British author's older novels. I picked it up from the rehab room while in the hospital and enjoyed it very much. (And now I know where I can donate some of my books when I've finished them.)

Blindsighted, Kisscut and A Faint Cold Fear by Karin Slaughter are the first three books of her Grant County series.

Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III was rated a 'zero' by a previous reader at our library because it was 'so sad'. Yes, it is sad, but it is a beautifully written book about a father estranged from his daughter for the worst of reasons. Decades later, before he dies, he tries to get in touch with her in order to seek absolution.

Holy Ghost - Finally it was my turn to read John Sandford's (#11) latest Virgil Flowers novel! It didn't disappoint and I 'almost' had the culprit figured out. ☺

Desolation Mountain is #17 of William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor series. This is one of my favorite series, set in the Northern Minnesota wilderness of the Native American Ojibwe's.

Faithless and Beyond Reach are #'s 5 and 6 of Karin Slaughter's Grant County series. (Unfortunately our library doesn't have # 4.)

Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg is a continuation of some of the characters from her previous The Story of Arthur Truluv. Berg is one of my 'adopted authors', so I was the first reader of this one. It is a quick, 'feel good' read.

Where The Crawdads Sing* is Delia Owens first novel. She is the author of three internationally best selling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. This is a part 'coming of age', part love story, part mystery novel - but mostly it is a story of the importance and beauty of North Carolina's marshes - as well as a reminder of how we are shaped by the children we once were. This was my favorite read this month.

Jodi Picoult does not shy from the controversial issues of the day as evidenced in her latest novel, a spark of light, which deals with a distraught gunman shooting several people in the last women's reproductive health services clinic in Mississippi still providing abortions. This was not only a riveting read, it was also thought provoking - whether the reader is pro-choice or pro-life.

*There are a number of poems in this book, all attributed to the author Amanda Hamilton. I liked them so much I made a note to look her up. Then at the end of the book, we find out AH was the nom de plume of the main character. In other words, the poems are those of Ms. Owens. Here is one of 'Amanda Hamilton's' poems I liked:

"Sunsets are never simple.
Twilight is refracted and reflected
But never true.
Eventide is a disguise
Covering tracks,
Covering lies.

We don't care
That dusk deceives.
We see brilliant colors,
And never learn
The sun has dropped
Beneath the earth
By the time we see the burn.

Sunsets are in disguise,
Covering truths, covering lies."

And another:

"Fading moon, follow 
My footsteps
Through light unbroken
By land shadows,
And share my senses
That feel the cool
Shoulders of silence.

Only you know
How one side of a moment
Is stretched by loneliness
For miles
To the other edge, 
And how much sky
Is in one breath

When time slides backward
From the sand."

Here's to another year of good reading in 2019. 💖

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Deep In December

"Deep in December it's nice to remember
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it's nice to remember
Without a hurt the heart will hollow."

You can't get much deeper into December than these final days. Some photos from the past three:

Friday, a close up of the pop up New Year's greeting card from my daughter and her husband. It is from Lovepop cards, "A beautiful keepsake that unfolds like a miniature surprise." And what a nice surprise it was. A blank card slides out for a personalized message.

And on Facebook Friday, this picture of my youngest great-granddaughter, Brynley, and her Christmas puppy, Shadow. Her mom had the photo tagged, "And they called it puppy love...." Those faces.....💕💖💞

After a very nice day Thursday, Friday saw a drop in temps, wind from the North-northwest and snow.

Saturday, the 29th, was even colder. I only took one photo, this one, through the window, trying to show the sunset already moving a little back to the North a week after the Solstice.

Today it has been nice again. I've been entertained by the Red-breasted Nuthatch on the left and the Downey Woodpecker on the right taking turns at the suet feeder.

"Deep in December 
it's nice to remember
The fire of September that made you mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember
and follow...follow..."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Taking Census

Today is my youngest grandson's 21st birthday. That's Devin in front. The photo was taken eight years ago at my brother's 70th birthday party.

Here's a more recent one so you can see how handsomely he has grown up.

I'm very proud of him. I'm proud of all nine of my grandchildren.

I woke up this morning thinking about taking census. I suppose because of the combination of my youngest grandchild officially becoming an adult and the Christmas story.

How do you count your progeny? Only the ones related by blood? Or do you include the steps - children, grands and great grands? And in-laws?

For me to keep track of all the great-grands, I have to write down their names and birthdates as soon as they are born. I'll never have as many as my grandmother Delphia did when she died. We both started out with three children, but she had 16 grandchildren where I had nine. At the time of her death, she had 49 great-grandchildren and 20 great-great grands.

If I had to return to the town of my birth for census taking, as Joseph did, I would not have to travel far. Even though I grew up near Corning and consider it my home town, I retired to Creston where I was born. (No hospital in Corning at the time.)

So, here is my personal census: Three children, Douglas, Kari and Preston and one stepson, Mark and their partners, Shelly, Ken, Shalea and Juliet. Nine grandchildren, Brock, Zachary, Katrina, Alyssa, Ki, Kathryn, Deise, Dominique and Devin. Brock, Katrina and Alyssa partners, Jennifer, Brad and Evan and Kathryn's fiance, Travis. Two step-great-grands, Michael and Nicholas and nine, so far, great-grands, Brock's Ridge, Sawyer and Jack, Katrina's Rodney and Brynley, Alyssa's Lily and Maverick and Ki's Ayden and Greyson.

Why do I always feel like I am forgetting someone? Think my grandma Delphia might have felt the same? As far as I know, I am not expecting any new great-grands in 2019, but that can always change!

Children range in age from 56 down to 44. Grands from 37 down to 21. Great-grands from nine down to eleven months. Two step-great-grands are 17 and 14.

I've said it many times - "I am so glad I had my children when I was young so I have been able to play with my grandchildren and hold my great-grandchildren."

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Spoiling Christmas

It was probably sixty-six years ago today that my sister Betty and I received our coveted doll house. We had been asking for one for weeks, but would Santa answer our wish?

Not only was I old enough to know the truth about Santa, I knew where Mom hid our Christmas presents in her closet. And she was out of the house to do chores often enough that I had no problem snooping.

I remember opening the closet door and finding a big present. Aha! A couple knuckle raps on the top confirmed that it was something made out of metal. It had to be a doll house.

Christmas morning arrived as did our doll house. My faded memories are of it looking like the top on the outside and similar to this on the inside. Funny thing was, it wasn't nearly as much fun playing with as I thought it would be. Did I spoil the fun by snooping and finding the gift ahead of time?

Did I also spoil my little sister's Christmas by telling her I knew we were getting our doll house? She was two years younger than I was and might have still believed in Santa Claus.

Since moving our family Christmas celebrating to July, Christmas Day has become very low key. Decorating for Christmas, baking cookies and making candy, playing Christmas songs, none of these are things I enjoy, so today is just another day.

Yesterday we spent a few hours at my younger son's home. Only he, his wife and one of their five children and his two sons were there along with my daughter-in-law's father and nephew.

With the exception of playing too much with the little ones and being tired out, it was a fairly low-key day. Bud caught Ayden and me in a quiet pose. The rest of the time the two little ones were in constant motion.

Highlight of the day for Greyson and Ayden were their bikes from Great-grandpa Pete.

When we left they were taking the bikes outside to ride - just not enough room in the house.

At least these two did not know ahead of time about their bikes. No spoiled Christmas for them. 😇