Monday, December 31, 2012

Times Gone By


 As I was thinking about my New Year's post, I began to wonder about the origins of the song Auld Lang Syne.  I have always thought of it as such a sad song.  But after reading through the full verse and a little bit about its history, my thoughts have changed.   As we remember friends, both old and new, we should also remember the roads that we have taken, complete with their unexpected curves.  We can file the specifics away as times gone by, yet hold onto the little bits that make us into who we are now as we grow from year to year.  Hanging onto the positive and doing away with the negative so to speak, and moving forward with invigorated energy into the new. 

At least that is what I'll be thinking as I 'take my right good-will draught' and usher in 2013.   

Happy New Year!

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

 We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Focus


While we were in California, Charles got an opportunity to spend a few minutes getting a chess lesson from his Uncle Bill (former competitive chess player).  It was fun to watch how completely both of them could block out an entire, very active, room around them.  Charles came away with a few new moves, and a desire to spend more time learning from Uncle Billy (because really he'll always be Billy to me :)

Yesterday was a long travel day and leading up to it there was very little sleep.  The kind of day that leaves everyone punch drunk, and sleep was a welcome reward.  I had one of those dreams last night, full of nonsensical components that should never go together like bike rides in the snow, tractor repair, and old soothsayers, but somehow it all made total sense.  I was even focused enough on a few words from the soothsayer to have thought, 'Oh!  I need to write down these words of wisdom so that I remember them!'  Too bad that I wrote them down in my dream and not in real life!

This morning we woke up to snow!  That beautiful gentle kind of snow fall that slowly blankets everything and inspires dreamy gazes out the family room window while curled up in a blanket.  Sidney will be thrilled when she wakes up as yesterday in the car she was wondering if she would ever see enough snow to cover the ground this winter.  I believe today they will get to put on their snow pants for the first time this season and enjoy.

Yesterday B said we should sit down and make some goals for the new year.  Not really resolutions, mind you, just priorities for the farm etc.  One such priority will be to re-do the Chicken barn one final time to segregate out laying hens from meat birds, from babies.  It will be the first priority as the snow tore down the netted roof of the outdoor enclosure last night.  Nothing like a sudden reality to bring you quickly into focus, it gets those juices of motivation flowing and a snowy day is the perfect time to start putting priority to paper.  What are you focusing on moving into the new year?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyeux Noël

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas filled with
the warmth of family and friends,
a peaceful and joyous soul,
and moments of that special wonder as you see it reflected in your child's eyes.

Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.” ~ The Conductor, Polar Express

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A #latergram Solstice

While sitting on the airplane yesterday, I composed my winter solstice blog, but between an extraordinarily early morning and hitting the ground running once in sunny California, I was beyond spent and didn't get it posted. Better a little late, than never :)

Other than funny little coincidences , like the fact we stayed on the 13th floor of the hotel in Chicago last night, or light joking with the family that we were traveling home, not for Christmas, but so that we could toast the last day of the world with them, all of this talk of the Mayan calendar really seems to distract from today's true purpose...solstice. Today is the shortest day of the year. Fifteen years ago today, the sun set on my grandfathers life, and only a few short months before the sunrise of my marriage. It is always a special day of remembrance and re-birth for me. Though our long cold evenings full of starlight seemed to peak last week while we watched the meteor shower, today's darkness will be the longest before we slowly creep back toward the light. We are fortunate to be able to spend this solstice with family, warmed by the light of hearth and home. Fitting isn't it that on this shortest day, we spent much of it up above the clouds in pure sunlight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Then and Now



I have spent a lot of time this week trying to think back on my childhood. Searching for moments in my youth that would be similar to today. I remember being in elementary school, and having 'drop drills' these were to prepare us in case of a nuclear attack. It may have just been the innocence of youth, or maybe that I couldn't fathom that this type of thing could truly ever happen, but I don't remember ever being upset or scared by this process. I asked the kids tonight about what type of drills they had. They could, in a very matter of fact way, tell me about lock-down instructions: " the teacher locks the door, turns out the lights, and we all go to a specific corner of the room where no one can see us through the small window in the door. " I was amazed and disheartened by this description, yet at the same time so comforted by the fact that their teachers obviously presented this information in a non-threatening way. Both of the kids are aware and very sad about what happened at Sandy Hook and they asked thoughtful questions. Sidney's school all wore green and white today and celebrated an all school liturgy in remembrance, where they collected donations for the United Way of Western Connecticut.

This afternoon we had our first little smattering of snow. I took a a few moments to sit down and begin this book. The beautiful imagery allowed me to leave the heaviness of the past week even if just for a short time. I had the Christmas trees lit and could hear Sidney on the computer, typing away as she created some new story, and the smell of pine around me was intoxicating. As I looked out the window, I felt as if we were in our own little snow globe, one that I could keep the kids in, and even just for a while longer, protect their innocence.

It appears that our snow drought is about over, as a large storm is heading our way. Wishing everyone a safe week of comfort in their own little snow globes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Star Light, Star Bright


After the sheer awe of watching the meteor shower with the kids the other night, I find myself with a constant lump in my throat and fighting back tears.  As the 6 brave teachers continue to watch over them, may the 20 newest little stars in the heavens shine brightly on their families and our nation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Alliteration



Christmas confections conspire creating central consequence.
Boys burst bubbles buffering bestowals.
Luster lingers lower limiting light.
An amusing association animating an aurora.
12.12.12
:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Snow Withdrawl

I have been in a horrible state of snow withdrawal.  Yes, I love the snow, and like to see some of the white stuff, especially leading up to Christmas.  I have been seeing tons of beautiful winter wonderland shots from all over the globe, and that leaves more than a little envious.  We are in what they are calling a snow drought...it has been 280 days since our last measurable snow.  Even though we have had a damp fall, we had drought conditions this summer, and a very mild winter with below average snow fall last year.  I hope this current 'drought' ends soon, as many of our large old trees could really use the time released watering of a good snow pack this year.  

I am appeased by the gorgeous light that this time of year has to offer.  This weekend at Charles' Boy Scout meeting a Science Teacher from a local high school spoke to the boys.  One of the areas that he covered was showing some illusions, and discussing what your eye sees objects, how your brain interprets them, switching them from upside down to right side up, resulting in the final image.  When I enjoyed those last few minutes of golden light last night, I took this shot and it immediately reminded me of that conversation.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Darkness and Light


 Each morning I look out the window and watch the sunrise.  This morning it was striking the change in location of the sun.  It has happened gradually, but with many mornings of clouds and fog was disguised, and it's now obvious skew now hits me.  It has now taken up residence much further South in our tree line.  In fact, the sun will barely reach above that tree line these days at it progresses much lower across the sphere each day.  We are now almost dark by about 4:20.  I relish that special angled light this time of year as we approach the solstice, and that darkest night before the light slowly returns.  It is almost as if we are watching the sun nap, and she will soon begin to stir and stretch, as she slowly begins her climb back up higher in the sky.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

November In Review

 Three years ago, I began participating in Picture A Day (PAD) projects.  In the first two years I think I missed a total of 10 days, so my goal this year was to make it without missing a day.  So far, so good!  I'm in the home stretch...31 more days!  I have learned so much during this time and now I have a new camera to play with, so I'm sure I've got this one covered!  Here is a little bit of what November looked like through my lens.

November 2012 In Review

1. 11/1/12 Another Beautiful Sunrise, 2. 11/2/12 Daddy Night Camp Out, 3. 11/3/12 Rosehips, 4. 11/4/12 Sleepover Fun, 5. 11/5/12 Canvas, 6. 11/6/12 Capitol Field Trip, 7. 11/7/12 Portobello Burgoinione, 8. 11/8/12 Cinnamon Waffles, 9. 11/9/12 Schnauzer Cut, 10. 11/10/12 Final push on the fall clean-up...me thinks a bonfire is in order!, 11. 11/11/12 Soon to be ham and beans, to be accompanied by garden mustard greens., 12. 11/12/12 Warm!, 13. 11/13/12 Wine Testing, 14. 11/15/12 Sunrise, 15. 11/14/12 Co-Op, 16. 11/16/12 Jet streams, 17. 11/17/2012 Field, 18. 11/18/12 Driving Lesson, 19. 11/19/12 Baby Cows, 20. 11/20/12 Contemplate, 21. 11/21/12 Scaring Aunt Sissy, 22. 11/22/12 Reflections of Yesteryear, 23. 11/23/12 Roadside in Iowa, 24. 11/24/12 In The Garden, 25. 11/25/12 Faces in Flames, 26. 11/26/12 Giving Tree, 27. 11/27/12 Smoothies, 28. 11/28/12 Fresh Gingerbread, 29. 11/29/12 Ina Garten, 30. 11/30/12 It's Here!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hidden In The Flames


Last weekend, we had our final bonfire of the season.  We had to burn lots of fallen branches from around the yard and took it as an opportunity to roast a few marshmallows.  B threw a couple of large logs from a hallowed out tree that had fallen last Spring.  The flames were just dancing inside the carcass of the tree.


Licking the sides in two inward circular motions giving the impression (to me at least) of multiple hearts racing through the log.


We were amazed by the final transformation of the flames once they had raced through the log.  Each of us found different faces in the flames.


 One was haunting, another almost evil, then there was a sweet happy one.  Maybe it was the spirit of the tree being released back to nature.  What faces do you see??

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mid-week Smiles



As we head into mid-week, I thought you might just need a smile and looking at baby cow pictures certainly does that for me.  These babies are still being bottle fed, so they just love to suck on fingers!


Getting back in the routine and catching up at work and school can be a bit of a challenge after vacation, especially since I've been under the weather the last couple of days.  But, I think I'm rounding the bend (not going around the bend ;)  I have a loaf of gingerbread in the oven filling the house with sweet spicy smells, the lights are turned down low as to see the Christmas lights twinkling, and I just made the kids a yummy smoothie as their after school 'linner' (little meal between lunch and dinner) in my fantastic birthday Vitamix!  With quiet contentedness around me and some couch time tonight, hopefully I will be back to 100% tomorrow!

For another smile...a Charlieism:  Yesterday Charles had to go to the dentist for a small filling in one of his baby teeth.  While waiting for the dentist to come in, where other kids may be intimidated, he was inspecting all of the laid out tools with some relish.  Some of the crazy tools looked like something right out of 'Little Shop of Horrors', and he thought that was pretty cool!  Once they numbed the area, he was to sit up and wait a few minutes for it to take full effect...the nurse then asked how he was feeling.  His response "My lip feels like it's getting it's Elvis on."   This and a number of his following observations had the dentist and hygienist in stitches the entire time!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Driving Lessons


I had grand plans of a blog post about our four-wheeling adventures.  I had taken a number of great shots with B and me and the kids, but then it happened;  Mom mentioned that B had been driving a tractor by the time he was Sidney's age, and that was it!  The kids were all over learning to drive the four-wheelers.

 
As with many things, the kids have different approaches to how they attempt new things.  Sidney was confident yet cautious...at the start, and took instructions well.


Charles, had the pedal to the medal before the instructions were fully out of B's mouth.


But we did find early on, that he isn't quite tall enough to negotiate the gas and steering wheel at the same time.  Ultimately, he steered and the adult was in charge of the gas pedal.


Then their confidence soared when it was Aunt sissy's turn to be driven around!



It's great to be able to show off all of your tricks, especially if it involves making your passenger squeal :)


All in all, a great lesson.  Oh, and mom and dad did get a chance to go out and have fun too.


I am so glad that the kids enjoyed this so much, because I now know a couple of kids who will be put in charge of mowing with the tractor next summer!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Thanksgiving


Though the last few days have left me with me with minimal access to post, the days have not lacked Thankful Moments.  They have been full of family, food and fun farm activities that the kids get to experience anew each time as they get older and appreciate them in different ways (more to come on that :).

When looking out onto your horizon be sure to enjoy each moment.  Don't be so focused on that distant line that you forget to slow down and enjoy the beauty as your eye lingers the landscape.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Jet Trails

Thankful Moments Days 16 & 17

Favorite Moments: When driving across country there can be many monotonous hours. We always break the trip in two and sometimes the best sunsets are those watched as they gradually reach their finality. I am eager to load the shots from my camera, but for the time being my iPhone and the cloud will have to do. This weekend of travel, with so many beginning to make their way to family, it seemed appropriate that last night's sky was overwhelmed by jet trails, going in all different directions and gradually spreading from pinpoint lines to soft puffs of clouds. We picked up Aunt Sissy half way and are now stretching our legs and shaking off the numbness that comes with long drives.

Long road trips leave me with many thankful moments: laughter, scenery, are we there yets, hotel pools, long conversations, 'flash back weekends' on the radio, and the endless chatter of my little nuclear family, quite the perfect way to spend my 40th!

Please join me in a month of thankful moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.
**I'm trying out my blogger for iPad and this is my first try...I can't find any of the formatting features, so this post is hyperlink free & I hope my photo shows up...anyone have hints or tips? :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ SOOC


 Thankful Moments ~ Day 15

Favorite Moment:  Things are getting increasingly hectic this week as we wrap things up at work and prepare to head to Kansas for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  As I was settling in and perusing my iPad for what shot I would choose for today's post, I, quite unexpectedly, had my favorite moment.  Apparently, while I was at Charles' parent teacher conference, Sidney found today's sunset to be appealing.  So as I opened iPhoto, I saw these shots....SOOC  made my heart smile.  


Quote of the Day:    "The whole act of creating a photograph is an act of cropping reality."  Errol Morris  (Thanks Julochka for making me put his book on my must read list!)

Please join me in a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

**please be patient with my posts for the next week, they will be primarily through my ipad, and I'm not sure how that will go ;-)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Cute Do


Thankful Moments ~ Day 14

Makes Me Smile:  Farm poodles with schnauzer cuts.

Favorite Moment:  With holiday travel to family fast upon us, making time for lunch with friends full of laughter and lively conversation is the best.  I love that living in a small town, no matter where we go we run into dear friends on the fly.  Always moments to be thankful for and make me smile.

Today's Charlieism:  I am constantly amazed by what goes through my little man's head.  Today on the way home as we're stuck in traffic and he's gazing out the window he says:  "Mom....did you know that grass is the world's chest hair?"

Song of the Day:  Anything But Love ~ The Squirrel Nut Zippers

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Breakfast Treats


Thankful Moments ~ Day 13

Favorite Moment: Many of my favorite family times involve food.  I saw a quick easy breakfast treat on pinterest the other day and had to try it.  I am all for homemade and virtually always pull something out, but this morning was for a fun and tasty novelty.  Easy peasy....take a roll of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, flatten three at a time slightly, pop in the waffle iron, and cook.  I cranked up the heat a bit and put them in for one and a half time rotations and what came out was cinnamon swirled waffles perfect to be eaten with melted oozing frosting.  I can assure you, starting the day off with smiles from breakfast treats and full tummies was a hit!

Makes Me Smile:   Kids voices laughing hysterically at some made up game.  Oh for the light hearted play!

Please join me in a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Thankful Moments ~ Co-Op


Thankful Moments ~ Day 12

Favorite Moment:  Spending the evening at an ownership drive for our town's coming cooperative grocery was inspiring.  The turn out was fantastic and we signed up ten new owners!  There is nothing better than the feeling of making a difference in, and striving to, better your community.

Charlieism:  In the car on the way home, Charles quite conversationally discussed how they had began their 'family life' unit today.  He was struck at how crazy the boys were (they had the boy video)  Charlie: "There were boys covering their eyes and saying ew, gross.  I was like, what?  It's just your body, you live with it everyday, how is that gross?  I don't get it."  I enjoy his matter of fact view of things.  ps.  he probably shouldn't know that I shared this here ;)

Quote of the Day:  "Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."  Margaret Mead

Please join me in a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Silent Sunday




 This slightly less than Silent Sunday, I am thankful for 65 degree temps and the artistic eye of Miss. Sidney.

 Please join me in a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Basking in Sunbeams



Thankful Moments ~ Days 9 & 10

Favorite Moment:  With unseasonably warm weather yesterday and especially today, many of our moments are outside, enjoying the opportunity for fall clean-up without the need for coats. Or as in the photo below, summer attire versus clothing suitable for November 10th!  Something about the weather has been energizing and everyone has chipped in today to get lots of stuff done....with zero complaints!!  Even the bunnies are basking in sunbeams today. 


Most Surprising Moment:  Opening the hutch on the porch this morning to look for a caulk gun, I was surprised by the scurry of a little field mouse.  It made my heart race, and it was with a little (unnecessary)  trepidation that I went back into the cupboard a few minutes later.  However, as it turns out, this little mouse was quite social and came out to see me without scurrying away.  I wonder if he/she is from Nimh?

Taste Treats:  Tonight is taco night!  On top of that comfort, I think I may just whip up some homemade chocolate pudding.  This recipe from Good Houskeeping's 1927 Cookbook is an oldie, but goodie, and simply perfect!

Song of the Day: Heal Yourself by Ruthie Foster

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ How Was Your Day?


Thankful Moments ~ Day 8

Favorite Moment:  Spending the afternoon at parent teacher conferences gave me a little more insight into what daily life is like in middle school.  I am so very proud and excited to watch Sidney grow, learn and develop her own unique views of the world...with a fair amount of good natured sarcasm.  Few moments are better than receiving the answer to the daily question...how was your day??

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Peace



Thankful Moments ~ Day 7

Favorite Moment:  A rich portobello burgoinione (based on Julia's bouef), curled up in a warm blanket on the couch for a little television viewing sans political ads and the phone ringing off the hook. Peace.

Today's Charlieism:  This morning Charles asked me how old the youngest elected president was?  I said about 42 or 43.  He said, I'm going to become president when I am 36!  Now I know the bright future he sees for himself.

Today's Song:  Prophets Song - Queen (some of the most amazing harmony around)

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Through Their Eyes



Thankful Moments ~ Day  6

Favorite Moment:  Spending the day at the State Capitol with the fourth grade class was quite an experience.  Aside from the generalized feeling of herding cats,  I was impressed at how interested they all were.  This is the first field trip where camera devices were encouraged, and I was struck at how different their experiences in this digital age were than mine as a kid.  They all had smart devices, dsi's or cameras and were taking pictures non-stop through the tour. 


Our State Capital is truly a gorgeous building, it reminds me of some palaces that I went through in Europe.  As a transplant to Wisconsin, I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing a state history lesson with Charles on this election day.

Food for Thought:  "Most of us are creatures so comforted by habit, in can take something on the order of religion to invoke new, more conscious behaviors---however glad that we may be afterward that we went to the trouble."  Barbara Kingsolver--Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Sidney's Slant:   "My boredom is building up in me like a fiery chasm of doom."  Yep, not at all a writer in training!

Song of the Day:  Hard Headed Woman ~ Cat Stevens

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Vote


Thankful Moments ~ Day 5

Favorite Moment:  Today I was able to spend a couple of hours with good friends getting out the vote.  It is such a good feeling to participate in the process and make sure that the people of our community know the location of their polling place.  One of the many things that we all have to be thankful for is our right to vote.  If you were not able to do so early, be sure that you get to the poles tomorrow, engage and let your voice be heard, that is what it is all about!

Makes Me Smile:  This 'Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey' Jello in a jar.  What a cute party favor for the Doctor Who lover!

Charlieism of the Day:  "Ah, I see a bright future for myself!"   (yes, honey I see that for you too.)   

Food For Thought: "It's not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy."  unknown :: I found this quote floating around the blogasphere and thought it was quite appropriate for this project.  Are you following along (privately or publically)?  Doesn't just recounting what your grateful for each day, make you smile?

Song of the Day:  One ~ U2 & Mary J Blige

Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments  inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thankful Moments ~ Read a Good Book Lately?


Thankful Moments ~ Day 4

Favorite Moment:  A favorite moment of every Sunday is having friends over for Sunday supper.  Since we live so far from family, it's a gathering time for our surrogate family, and a nice start to and finishing off of the week.

Great Read:  I have been devouring Ken Follett books recently.  I really enjoyed Fall of Giants, it is the first in a trilogy that follows five families from different countries, all interconnected in some way, beginning with Europe's fall into the First World War.  Winter of the World (book 2) picks up during prohibition.  I am two-thirds through this book and Pear Harbor was just bombed.  I cannot put the book down.  They are well researched, and great history lessons are wrapped up into the fiction.  I find that as I am engrossed in one story line, when the segment ends and is interrupted by the next families story, I feel irritated for the segue, that is until I begin reading the next chapter, where I am captivated all over again.  Book three will be released sometime in the next couple of years.  I am thankful that Ken Follett has captivated me into making reading a priority again. 

Food For Thought:  Sometimes you just need comfort food.  I'm getting my Bechemel on with Alton Browns Baked Macaroni and Cheese  a perfect accompaniment to a fresh garden arugula salad.  Finishing off Sunday comfort with homemade chocolate pudding, can't get much better than that!

Sidney's Slant:  As I'm typing Sidney is leaning against me "I'm bored,"  Me:  "Please don't stand over my shoulder."  Sidney:  "Well you're the most interesting person in the house!."  Thanks....I think?!

Today's Song:  Church by: Lyle Lovett

 Please join me for a month of Thankful Moments inspired by Thanksgiving Comes First.

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