Monday, February 15, 2021

Thank you, God, for our day. 

It was really cold.  The end of my day was a sunset, -2*,  but! only a small breeze, not a wind.  Lucy German Shepherd and I got in a 2K walk in the snow (no running in this temp.) 

That Spouse o' Mine has got his call that he is on deck to get his Covid-19 Vaccination! 

It's been quite a good day.   

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Hygge Memories, Decades Old

 I follow something somewhere that touts Hygge- "a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)."

I think all cultures have it - be it a cozy fireplace, or candles placed in amazing spots, or that scent of fresh-baked something coming from the kitchen.

The photo shown was this:

Such a pretty photo.  I do love me a bunch of books.  (Ask that Spouse o' Mine.)  What it brought to mind for me was my grandmother Gram's "formal" living room in Blackwell, Oklahoma, ca 1968-1980ish.  

When she and Grandpa moved from "The Farm" into Blackwell, Gram acquired some really lovely pink satin or silk French Provincial  living room furniture - a sofa (or loveseat?  Too many years ago to recollect.) , and two matching chairs.  Gorgeous.  A marble table (which was not a coffee table, because coffee was not allowed on that table.  Rings, you know.)

In addition to this furniture, Gram's living room was stocked, not with books - as this photo, which I love, but with china.  Lots and lots of beautiful china pieces.  And she had hand-painted most of her living room collection.  It was so, so pretty, even to ten-year-old me.  (I grew up and embraced it all along my childhood.)

Gram's house had a scent to it that I adore even now, in my 60th year.  Not fresh-baked cookies, not turkey at Thanksgiving, but: turpentine.  Yes!  My mother would disparage that smell of brushes soaking in turpentine in Gram's house, but I still adore the connection of Gram's house, her beautiful home full of china, and the eau de turpentine scent. 

When I was in single-digits and then, early double-digits, and we were visiting Gram and Grandpa, and then, just Gram, I would find myself drawn to her living room - the one where no one sat (but me, I guess?).  I would find a good book tucked in some bookcase somewhere and lose myself in the rich pink sofa, in the china-filled room.  What a fantastic place for a young mind to read, and to imagine.

Decades later, my Mom and I were reminiscing about all things past, and Gram's living room came up in conversation.  It turns out, according to Mom, that Gram never liked us grandkids going into her living room.  Well, heck, yeah, I can see why!  The same reason I never accepted any of my Dad's original wood sculptures in my home until our kids went to college.  Ha.  I only borrowed his bronzes and marble sculptures. Kids and breakables: nope!  But I adored Gram's china, and her too-gorgeous-for-Blackwell living room.  I am so grateful that she let me sit in that room (for hours and hours, over the years) and let my imagination run wild with my books.



Friday, November 13, 2020

Money Makes the World go Around

That Spouse o' Mine and I were driving on a turnpike a couple of weeks ago.  The end was near, and he turned to me and asked, "Do you have any change?"

Did I have any change?  I haven't carried change or any cash to peak of, in many, many months.

Some years ago, - but less than a decade ago, I was talking to my mother-in-law Louise, over tea in her kitchen in Australia.  She was concerned that she had been told that cash money would soon be a thing of the past in Australia, and that only cards would be available for shopping and banking and such.  I poo-poohed that.  No cash?  No bills?  You Aussies are daft.

A few days ago, as I was cleaning the kitchen counter, I spied a nickel by the teapot.  Hmmm.  I have no idea why or how that coin got there in the last 24 hours.  Interesting, and while I pondered what it was doing in our kitchen, my mind wandered, tripping down memory lane to some two+ decades ago, when we had a young daughter in ... probably First Grade.  It was Parent/Teacher Night.  That Spouse o' Mine and I were sitting in the classroom with daughter Gillian's teacher - someone whom I admired for her teaching methods.  She went through Gillian's "report", and then asked if we had any questions.  My go-to for this bit was always, "What are her strengths?  What is her weakness?"

Well.  Sweet Gillian apparently had trouble, age six or whatever, in counting change.  Money.  Cash.  The teacher pointed out that this kid had trouble with word problems involving $$$.  The teacher mentioned that beyond our home and the elementary school lay a mobile home park.  The teacher explained out that the kids who lived there were frequently sent to the corner shop (read: 7-11, Dara's, whatever), to purchase things for their parents.  Those students were street/money-wise, and our six-year-old was not.  The teacher suggested that we allow Gillian to make purchases in the future, to enable her to improve her coinage skills on her First Grade tests.  (My words, not her teacher's; her teacher was pretty awesome.)  I came away from that Parent-Teacher Night feeling a bit askance.

I like money, cash, coinage.  We have a (small) collection of such from around the world.  We keep it in case we need it for our next journey.  But now begs the question: would anyone take our paper slips of proven money?  I am guessing it may be a thing of the past.  Maybe wallpaper for the basement...

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

November Grey. And White-Headed. White-Tailed, as Well.

Here it is, mid-November.  Grey, with leaves raining down.  I love this season.  The deer are wreaking havoc on our roads.  With rutting season and all, the bucks are fearless in their chase of that perfect doe.  That, and fearful of that bow and rifle.  

All the plants I've hopes to over-winter are now indoors somewhere.  I love that so many rooms in the house are now filled with blooming geraniums.  Lucky me, that they all managed a final big ol' bloom in November.

Yesterday I was driving down the road and a really, REALLY large bird was flying towards my car.  It eclipsed the low afternoon sun, and so I couldn't discern what it was.  It seemed like it could have been a buzzard, but I thought to myself that they have already migrated south for the winter.  (i.e., our roadkill is just...roadkill till April.  No buzzards around to glean dead varmints off our roads this winter.)  Suddenly this seemingly giant bird swooped upwards, and landed on an electrical pole. 




I don't see bald eagles that often, even though we live just a stone's throw from the Kansas River.  So, WOWEE!  I was excited to see one so up-close and wonderful.  

My impulse was to call Dad, and share this experience with him.  He would have thrilled at my report!

But, Dad passed four years ago, and my impulse was just that: 

An impulse, retrieving a wonderful emotion.  A synapse, of neurons communicating with each other.
Call it what we may, I had a moment of joy which I shared with my Dad. 

I can hear his voice, thrilling with my report. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Summer is Signing Off

 We're nearing the end of August.  This is a mark in my calendar which traditionally sees me going for my last, lovely, Twilight Swims at the public pool.  What fun they are!  I swim laps, occasionally looking up to watch kids and not-kids diving off the low dive and high dive.  I catch my breath on the edge of the pool, and eavesdrop on grade school chums playing their games, both swimming and social.  After laps I sit in a chaise and dry off, watching young families frolic in the wading pool and the splash pool. 

I keep those verbs in the present tense, but for this year, those activities are either past tense, or future.  No swimming this summer.  Although the splash parks for toddlers were open, no public pools to swim and dawdle in.

Gardening this summer was a delight, and the reasons were two-fold.  Rural Kansas usually sees winter building up in January, and rearing its blasting head in February, wind coming in March, and by April?  Well.  I have been know to turn on my AC in April.  I am not proud of that confession, but it's true.  There is a point in my body, where, if the heat sets in, it just shuts down activity.  I don't have heat strokes, but I will notice that I will finish a task, and then go sit.  For too long.  But then, I realize the problem, turn on our AC, and soon I am back in productivity.  That. my friends, is my Kansas in April.

This spring, though,was something out of a Pacific Northwest novel.  A long, cool spring with sun which was not too hot, with showers which were not deluges, and with breezes which were not Kansas tornadoes.  It was truly a Spring to embrace.  That, and the pandemic fact that has kept me too close to home for too many months, has made some bang-up gardens in our yard.  The irises, through their own goodwill, set up a great display for weeks.  As did the lilacs.  They were followed by the sunflowers, the mandevilla, the giant hostas (I planted them meany years ago, and finally: they are giant and thriving.)  That Spouse o' Mine and I planted sugar snap peas, tomatoes, corn, okra, patty-pan squash.  And we have been at home, enjoying this toil.  We usually are not home to water or weed, and so our summer gardens are most often meager attempts.   

Our first grandchild - a granddaughter, Anika (rhymes with Monica) arrived the first of this month.  Every day is a new day in her growth and changes.  Each day, we all see some new familiar familial expressions on her slumbering face, her just-nursed smile, her serious studying of whomever is holding her.  What a time to come into the world.  Her Mom & Dad hold her, snuggle her, carry her as any parents do.  We grands, the aunties, the uncles, wash hands and cradle her wearing masks.  Our family is blessed to have a baby and she is blessed to have a home and a family.  All the other is the wake of this year, this pandemic year, and we will look beyond it.

Today is my sweet mother's birthday.  And, too, her mother's birthday.  My grandmother, Gram, passed thirty years ago.  My sweet Mom, three years ago.  So many thoughts.

But those will be notes for another day...         

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