Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February Book Report

Eleven books read this month which includes two of the ones I bought at the Friends of the Library Book Sale last fall. I am so guilty of reading the books I check out of the library first and putting off until later the books I actually own!

Here is my February list of books in the order read:

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance - recommended by my son, Douglas. "A memoir of a family and culture in crisis."

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick - Historical Romance

The Amateur Marriage  by Anne Tyler - three generations of mis-matched marriages and their consequences.

The Truest Pleasure by Robert Morgan - one of my truest pleasures, reading books set in North Carolina after the Civil War. Morgan's writing is eloquent. Ties with the next five books as my favorites this month.

Deborah Crombie is my new favorite crime fiction novelist. I love her mystery series set in the United Kingdom and featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James. The five I read this month are:

Now You May Weep - A cooking weekend in Scotland for Gemma and her friend. Enjoyed the background history of whiskey distillary.

Necessary As Blood - Features London's East End and the changes brought by Muslim immigrants.

No Mark Upon Her - Olympic rowing contender trying to make a come back found dead in Thames River.

The Sound Of Broken Glass - Crystal Palace locale of South London.

To Dwell In Darkness - Bombing in train station of London borough.

Nutshell by Ian McEwan - Usually a favorite author but I didn't care for this latest book of his as much. Told by an 8-month fetus whose mother and uncle contrive to murder its father.

Cakewalk by Rita Mae Brown - One of her Runnymede books. Set at end of WWI. Cute, clever, small town petty rivalries. I still like her Sister Jane series the best.

March reading is going to begin with some more of Deborah Crombie's books including her latest.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Time Is Not Measured By Clocks

"Time is very slow for those who wait,
Very fast for those who are scared,
Very long for those who lament,
Very short for those who celebrate.
But for those who love...
  Time is eternal."
     (William Shakespeare)

My Mother had a travel alarm clock like this one. She took it along whenever she was going to be staying somewhere overnight. Seldom was it because she needed to set an alarm to arise at a certain time. It was more because if she awoke during the night she wanted to know what time it was.

I am the same way. I awaken several times in the night and always look to see what time it is. I'm always glad when it is close to five a.m. so I don't have to try to go back to sleep.

I didn't keep Mom's travel clock - I wish now I had. But I did keep the electric clock she kept next to her bed - it now sets next to mine. It's old and sometimes I mistake which hour and minute the hands are on. That wouldn't happen with a newer digital clock but then I wouldn't have the connection I keep.

The watch was her's, too. It is a Timex Indiglo I gave her. I should have kept her old Bulova watch too, for sentimental reasons. It no longer kept time but Dad gave it to her and she valued it highly.

"Time is not measured by clocks but by moments."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winter's Last Hurrah?

Spring is less than a month away. The spate of lovely, warm (70+°'s) days we had made me think it was here. It also made me remember a similar February several years ago when I was so sure it was spring I planted some early garden; never did that again!

But it is Iowa and you know what they say: "If you don't (or in this case, do) like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change."

So yesterday, after the temperature began dropping, the rain changed over to snow.....

..... and the winds blew.

A cardinal and the snowbirds had to scratch for something to eat.

The snow didn't bother the geese - I'm sure the water was warmer than the air temperatures.

Of course the resident squirrel showed up for a bite to eat!

The cardinal flew away to this brushy area. I looked and looked for a flash of red before realizing that post helped make this a lovely, muted, winter tableau.

Things are much calmer this morning. Sunrise turned the pond pink. Temperatures are to start rising again. This snow will soon melt. Perhaps to be seen no more until next fall/winter?

In the meantime, I spotted one more bird in yesterday's snow storm....

..... a sure sign of spring!

Friday, February 24, 2017

A February Day in Maryville

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy the internet and the ease of being in 'instant' contact with friends and family. For me, being on Facebook has added even more to my life - seeing pictures not only of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but also those of cousin's - sometimes distant, not only in miles but lineage, cousins.
And, as unlikely as it may have once seemed, it has put sisters-in-law from first marriages more than fifty years ago in my 'friends' list. A couple of years ago one of those sisters-in-law asked for my snail mail address saying she was going to sort through her photos when she retired and had some she wanted to send me.
They arrived this week. There weren't as many as I had thought she might have, but I'm grateful for them. Most are of one Sunday in February in 1966.
The weather was similar to what it has been here the last few days - very mild. The occasion was one last family dinner before she and my brother moved to Colorado. They were living in Maryville, Missouri at the time.

Almost every farm home had a cave for food storage and storm shelter. Their's made a good perch for picture taking. Our son, Douglas, would have been three and a half as he posed with his father Kenny and me. What strikes me is how dressed up I was - a good dress, hose and heels - times have changed.

Same pose for my sister Betty, her husband Gene and their son, Mike, who had just turned two that month.

Betty, Mike, Doug and me in a less formal pose.

And another of Douglas, Michael and Betty.

These four are the only ones she sent that relate to that day. I have others, some in color, that were taken by my parents that day and include everyone in various groupings.

But I am glad to see these black and white ones as well as being grateful for my Facebook friendships.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Long And The Short Of It

I've always enjoyed idioms, adages and proverbs - most likely because I grew up hearing them. And Mom would usually explain the meanings if I didn't understand them.

The long and the short of it is an idiom meaning the most important point; the summary of the matter.

Today, however, this post's title refers to something I did a couple days ago:

The long:

And the short of it:

I don't know why every year or two I think I want to grow my hair out long enough so I can wear it up in a bun (or top knot) again. I go through the growing (out) pains just to decide I prefer my hair short.

That's it: the long and the short of it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Frosty Morn on the Farm

Fifteen years ago - a picturesque, frosty morning at Orchard Prairie.

Ornamental Fountain Grass

Frosted Weeds

"The friends are all departed,
The hearthstone's black and cold,
And sturdy grows the nettle
On the place beloved of old."
   ("Nettles", Neil Munro)

Other Place framed by Red Cedars


Ruthie's Stove
My sister-in-law, Ruth, and I loved garage sales and auctions. We had been to an auction together where Ruthie bought this old cast iron parlor store for a pittance. We got it back to Mom's and unloaded it behind the chicken house until such time it could be transported to their home near Stanton. I think she planned to make it into some type of flower planter. It was still behind the chicken house when we had the farm sale at Mom's - years after both Mom and Ruthie had left us.

Honeyvine Milkweed on Chicken Pen

'Last Year's' Robin Nest
A frosty winter morning, the quiet, the solitude, was always an invitation to see the everyday in a new way. With the camera as my companion, we recorded some scenes around the farm in 2002.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The White Rose

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.

But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.
   (John Boyle O'Reilly)

To my Valentine, February 17, 1985 - February 14, 2017; 32 years and counting....

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Moon of Ice

How beautiful thy frosty morn, 
When brilliants gem each      
    feathery thorn!

How fair thy cloudless noon!

And through the leafless trees,
     at night,
With more than summer's 
     soften'd light,
Shines thy resplendent moon!
          (Bernard Barton)

(Moon of Ice is the Celtic name for the February full moon usually known as the Full Snow Moon.)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Winter Scenes and Silhouettes

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence."  (From Desiderata)

Keeping up on what's going on in the world these days only makes me sad, angry, anxious and depressed. My solace is what's going on outside my magic window.....

Winter Silhouettes





Red-bellied Woodpecker
Snowbird (Junco) and Female Cardinal

Ring-necked Doves


A Dichotomy

There's something about snow on coal - cold on what keeps us warm?

A Metaphor 

When it literally is impossible to see the way....


A very good day when one of my photos is used by my favorite meteorologist.


When all else fails.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

To Mingle With The Universe

"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is a society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but nature more,

From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal."

(From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage by Lord Byron)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Can You Help Analyze This One?

I so rarely remember my dreams anymore. I blame it on being old - short term memory problems, you know. A few nights ago, in the midst of a nightmare, I was shouting. It woke Bud and he woke me, thank goodness. But all I could remember was it was a bad dream, not a thing about the dream itself.

Last night's dream was a variation on my stolen purse dreams - I had entered a building and put my purse down when someone called me into another room. After being there a few minutes I realized how dumb it was to leave my purse in a public place and went back for it.

I could see that the small coin purse where I keep my money and credit cards had been taken out and then dropped halfway back into my handbag. Immediately upon looking, I knew that a twenty dollar bill was missing.

Looking around I noticed a woman hurriedly scooting down a hallway. I went after her, stopping her progress at the same time I noted both her legs were missing. She was shabbily dressed and I assumed she was homeless. I confronted her about stealing my money. She denied it, but I thought she looked guilty. After browbeating her for several minutes, I forcibly searched her pockets and found a twenty dollar bill.

"This is my money!" I yelled. "It is folded exactly the way I fold my bills when I put them in my purse." She denied it at first but then broke down and admitted she took it.

At that point, I helped her back to her wheel chair at the end of the hallway and tucked the twenty back into her pocket, telling her I knew she needed it more than I. It seemed I only wanted her to admit the wrongdoing, not that I wanted the money back. Only later did it occur to me to see if any of my credit cards were missing but the dream ended before I found out.

I haven't a clue what this dream was about or why I would remember it when I never remember others.  Any ideas???