Monthly Archives: January 2014

‘i am two with nature.’ – woody allen

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michigan, united states – shot in january from space

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and on the ground, in michigan, the falls are so cold they have stopped flowing. 

 

 

it hits me like an avalanche on fire – i am in the united states, and talking to my daughter in australia, and i realize, that while we are both sharing this exact same moment in time, on the exact same planet earth, we are simultaneously experiencing extreme weather temperatures that are 100 degrees apart.

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australia – shot in january from space

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and on the ground, in australia. the trees are so hot they have not stopped burning.

as my aussie grandson, m, once said, on his first winter visit to the states, when looking out the window of the cottage –

‘look peaches, there must be a fire!’

‘oh, m, don’t worry, that’s just blowing snow.’

‘oh, then there must be some snow on fire.’

has hell frozen over?, i wondered.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. – William Shakespeare

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image credits:the ann arbor news, andy mcfarlane, http://www.esa.int/, inhabitant.com

 

 

 

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. – Charles M. Schulz

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today, it is national chocolate cake day in the united states. as i am never one to pass up a holiday, or chocolate, for that matter, i will fully embrace the day. stop on by and join in the celebration. and please bring some milk if you would be so kind. 

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When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile. – Regina Brett

 

dreaming of the summer garden, and creatures great and small

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with yet another day of below zero temps and flying snow, i have warm memories of baby v and lewis the cat, as they crossed paths last summer at my favorite garden store, just a beautiful walk away from the cottage. 

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i’m just going to stop over for a minute and tell lewis something.

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okay, we are good. 

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lewis is a well-respected and incredibly tolerant employee. and a very good listener.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. ~John Steinbeck

serendipity

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in this, the month of january, i am reminded of my ex, the father of my children. this is the month when his birthday fell and when we fell away from each other as well. this post, also from the past, is dedicated to him.

I didn't have my glasses on....

 

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       when stopping by my favorite artist’s booth (kana handel), on the last day of the fair, to buy another of her beautiful creations, i shared with her a story of coincidence and connection, and to let her know that she was part of an equation that superseded the elements of both time and space.  as i told her my tale, her face showed surprise, and her eyes opened wide at first, but soon her eyes softened and began to tear, and her look turned to a quiet smile of understanding. 

       i told her about my ex-husband, who i had met when i was just four years old, and i knew instantly when meeting him, (and told him), that i would one day marry him.  he passed away on valentine’s day, 2 years past, while living in another state many miles away, and…

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a gift of mischief and mayhem and love all rolled into one

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found this old book of love that my daughters had given me for my birthday more than a decade ago. i laughed out loud all over again, at their kind and loving and humorous approach to life. no one had much money, but this book was worth everything. they spoiled me with offers of flowers and treats and reluctant shared experiences and pampering (even though they signed up their third sister who was out of the country for this task).  here are some of the coupons found within:

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Children make your life important.   –Erma Bombeck

 

In life as in the dance, grace glides on blistered feet. – Alice Abrams

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Without humility there can be no humanity.  – John Buchan

as i watched the local news last night, and after taking in all of the stories of war, and violence, and crime, and mayhem, i saw this story – of a man’s love for his children, of family, of survival, of a community, who didn’t judge or turn away, but instead, who reached out and gave what they could to help someone who needed helping. this deeply touched me and reminded me of the innate goodness in people. 

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/24534204/anonymous-donor-paying-utility-bills-for-detroit-father-of-four

According to My Fox Detroit on Jan. 23, an anonymous donor will be paying utility bills for Don Epperson, a 53-year-old father of four who walksDetroit’s mean streets looking for salvage firewood to keep his kids from freezing this winter.

“The same fire that keeps us warm, feeds us,” says Don. The family heats water in buckets to wash dishes in and bathe.

Don has worked as a roofer and a butcher. He’s very willing to work, but there are no jobs. So he does the best he can for his four children, the youngest of whom is just 10. Despite it all, Don’s children are performing very well in school and their current lifestyle hasn’t discouraged them.

After hearing the story, a Good Samaritan stepped forward offering to pay Don’s utility bills. Don was emotional and overjoyed.

I’d just like to say thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart and from my children. We thank you all, we love you for what you’ve done for us. I’ve never had anybody do anything to this magnitude for myself, or even for my children,” Don says.

Thousands have been touched by Don’s story and have asked how to help. 

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. –C. S. Lewis

 

‘Good things happen when you meet strangers.’ – Yo-Yo Ma

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it was going to be a sad trip home. i was on via rail, and had boarded in the beautiful city of ottawa, heading back to my home in the states. i’d been to visit my canadian boyfriend, we’d been together 2 years, and had decided to go our separate ways. it was going to be a 13 hour train ride, and i just wanted a chance to think and drift in silence. i sat by myself, purposely, planning to listen to music and not do much else.

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as we were about to leave the station, a man sat down in the seat right next to me. he looked a bit world-weary, and had on a well-worn leather jacket, that looked much like his lived-in face. he introduced himself, had a very deep and gruff voice, and my first thought was, ‘oh no, i really, really don’t feel like talking to anyone, and this is going to be a really, really long trip.’

after a bit of polite banter, we sat, in silence once again, next to each other, and watched the landscape roll by. as i looked out, i began to think about everything, and a tear rolled silently down my face. i knew it was the right thing that had happened, that my boyfriend and i were not meant to be together, but also, how much i would miss him being a part of my life, even if we were in two different countries.

when he saw this, my stranger on the train reached into his jacket and pulled out a flask, and offered to share his whiskey with me. and  he began to tell me his story. he had been on this trip that he was so excited about, but was returning to his hometown a very sad man. he had gone to ask his girlfriend to marry him, had the ring and the speech and the flowers, and she had answered him, ‘no.’

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hours went by as we shared his whiskey and shared our stories. after a while, i began to stop feeling sad for myself, and took on a sadness for him and what he had just been through. we talked and talked, and found that we didn’t have many things in common, other than wounded hearts and our love of people. after a long while, i fell asleep and he continued to sit near me, ever the vigilant soldier, protective, and somehow connected by a break of the heart. i slept for a long while, and woke up to an amazing act of kindness.

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i discovered that he had taken off his beloved coat and covered me with it, had put a granola bar in my hand,  and put the engagement ring on my finger. when i looked at him, wondering why, he told that he worried i would wake up cold, be hungry, or feel unloved. he wanted to make sure that none of that happened.

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he said i had made him feel so much better, just by being there and listening, and that he hoped that i knew someone cared, even if it was a stranger. i told him that i was overwhelmed by his kind heart, that he had helped me in the same way, and as i gave him back his coat and his ring, i wished him the same. when we got to the final station, we hugged and went our separate ways once again. my friends were standing there, waiting to take me home. i told them how i had been engaged for a few hours, not to my boyfriend, but to a stranger i had met on the train. he may never know how much this meant to me, but somehow, i think he does.

Great perils have this beauty, that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers.  – Victor Hugo

 

‘There’s a monster outside my room, can I have a glass of water?’ – M. Night Shyamalan

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my daughter and her aussie family, having decided to take on an easy pet, went the “cute little guinea pigs” route. my grandsons enjoyed playing with them, they were cuddly, and loved to run around in the yard, (grandkids and pigs, both). living in the southern hemisphere, and with a very warm climate, it was not unusual and worked out well for everyone.

until one day, when it got just too hot for them, and the little guys, (the pigs, not the grand babies), decided to make a run for it and head for a cooler location, under the house. they haven’t really seen them since, (the pigs not the babies). i suggested to my daughter that she send the littlest guy, (baby, not pig), under the house on a hunting expedition, with a headlamp and a net. he is the only one who would fit under there, has a huge love of hands-on adventure, and would probably find the mission quite exciting. 

my daughter and i discussed the possibilities if they didn’t find them:

‘are they vegetarians?’ 

‘oh they won’t go hungry, they can eat as much grass as they like out there and always be full.’ 

‘but isn’t everything massive there, you have super races of every animal, who have adapted and are highly developed survivors?’

‘what if they run out of grass? what if they have to eat a bug or something to survive?’

‘yeh, once they have a taste for blood, they could go after bigger things. the neighbor’s cat, a kangaroo, and even us.’

‘we could come home one day and find them to be giants, roaming the yard, looking menacing, making eye-contact with us and hungry!’

‘yes.’

‘it would be like a bad b-movie, with us as the running, shrieking victims.’

‘could you possibly videotape it for me and i could make a fun family movie out of it?’

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soon after, i noticed that she had put up an offer to local friends on Facebook – “looking for a good home for cute guinea pigs, our yard will just not accommodate them since we’ve moved.” following is a very real part of that exchange:

a: Are they child friendly??

 h:  Not really lap guineas, need more handling. I have a leash and everything but don’t think they are quite there yet.

j:  be warned everyone !! they are the guinea pigs from hell !!! they would be perfect extras as pets for the dudes of Sons of Anarchy !!!

 apparently, people have different perspectives about them, clearly divided between those who’ve met them, and those who haven’t. but really, leashes?!

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You can’t create a monster, then whine when it stomps on a few buildings. Yeardley Smith (voice of lisa simpson)

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image credits: freeamigurumipatterns, news.bbc.co.uktheguardian.com 

 

 

blading, gliding – slipping, sliding

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it was a morning spent with the kindergarten on an ice skating adventure. filled with tip-toeing on skates, scooting on boots, giving rides on cones, running on ice, holding hands, tumbling, crashing, laughing, noses running. 

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and all this, as our little hockey playing and figure skating kinders skate on by.

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when it’s time to warm up with hot cocoa and donuts, they find themselves on equal ground, and they are all exhausted and so happy. and then, even our hockey players cry when it is time for moms and dads to leave, and for us to return to the cozy comfort of the circle rug in our classroom once more. and some of us feel newly discovered muscles in their legs the next day, that are apparently never used in this way, and take it real slow when going down the stairs. 

I would say my sense of adventure outweighs my grace – Kathy Ireland

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image credits: freshcardsgifts.co.uk partylistyles.com