Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
Oren Arnold
All good wishes to my bloggy friends for these holidays! Good cheer and happy hearts, my friends.

Monday, December 21, 2009

'His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.'

With so many beautifully decorated homes in the area, this photo I took my first winter in Minnesota remains a favorite. In its simplicity, the smiling gingerbread men seem to send good wishes of the season. Visit Mary's meme Ruby Tuesday to see more seasonal reds.

It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour. from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Sunday, December 20, 2009

all good amaryllis wishes

I took this photo of the reddest amaryllises at the Como Conservatory a spring or two ago. They are bringing my good wishes for the exciting days ahead. Visit Today's Flowers for all things beautiful to start your week.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the whole truth

In 1988 I moved back and forth from my hometown in Idaho for the last time. Dave, our two elementary aged girls and I were moving to Pennsylvania. Our journey would take us on to Chicago and Minnesota, but I never went back to Idaho except for the two funerals of my parents. Despite the years of neglect and abuse in my childhood a quasi-relationship existed with my parents, no spoken apologies on their part and a lot of therapy still to do on my part to live a healthy 'rest of my life.'
In the early hours on the morning we were leaving, my mom and dad were waiting for us when we arrived at the airport to catch our flight. This in itself was an omen because they had to drive the 50 miles in the pre-dawn to see us off. My dad was teary eyed and my mom smoked a lot while we waited. Then she put out her cigarette, reached in her pocket and pulled out a crumpled piece of tissue paper. Unwrapped I found three Christmas ornaments from my childhood in the 1950's. They were my favorites; ones I helped put on that special place on the tree each year and she wanted me to have them. A peace offering?
Only two remain thanks to what seems like endless moving in my life. Knowing that the holidays rearrange our feelings of nostalgia and longing for those weeks in December every year, I still can't help smiling when I find these in the decoration boxes. This year they seem especially dear to me, enough to have their own photo taken. Can you see me in the one where some of the color has rubbed off? A metaphor for the sweetness of life?

The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming,
frightful, sweet, bitter, and that is everything.
Anatole France

Thursday, December 17, 2009

x marks the spot

Another sunrise over Owasso Lake taken last Saturday. The contrail reminded me of one of Thor's lightning rods cutting through the clouds. You can also see how frozen the lake is becoming. Soon the ice-fishing houses will be popping up. Winter begins!
See more seasonal skies at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

not just any pretty face

This is a photo I took a winter ago when these guys were hanging out at the drive-thru of the local Caribou coffee. Looked to me like they were showing off for the two females who were both looking the other way. . .hmmm, some things never change. The gobblers were sporting enough red to be included in today's Ruby Tuesday post. See more red at Mary's meme.

Monday, December 14, 2009

too little time, too many books

Elisabeth Reading / August Macke
It has come to my attention from my dear fellow volunteers at our local library that I don't finish any many of the books I take home with me. I can't deny this fact but it is because I usually have more than one book open at a time, and the laws of attrition and due dates cause me to send some back before I'm done or I find another that catches my interest. Not to mention crossword puzzles. They kindly explained that it makes it hard to discuss a book with someone who hasn't read it all. Bother!

So, I am now making my first and only resolution for the new year: I vow to finish more books (unless they are just too awful). But what about on-line reads like Slate, NY Times and Washington Post? No, that doesn't count. And keeping up with other bloggers? Necessary.

Now I feel better knowing I've made up my list of resolutions(s). . .but there's still that one from last year where I promised to keep on top of the moldy grout in the shower. Sigh.

Forever is composed of nows.
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today's Flowers--the color of winter

I'm pretty sure that spring is the absolute opposite of winter in Minnesota; therefore, it is necessary to keep the memory of spring flowers alive. I took this photo two springs ago in the front of a neighbor's yard where the Columbine were stealing the show. Today we have a windchill advisory so I'll have to be content with this sweet memory.
Visit the virtual flower shop at Today's Flowers for a Monday bouquet.

The color of springtime is in the flowers,
the color of winter is in the imagination.
Ward Elliot Hour

Saturday, December 12, 2009

walk softly

I wish it to be so
To inhabit the world with my heart,
and not my ears. Just knowing.

When the sap loosens and there is a groaning
In the top branches
Does the whole stand reply in silence ?

Her tail flashes and her spotted-one listens.
Their fear is quelled by recollection
of the meadow
and their own salty runestone.

Behind velvet eyes,
Pain and beauty coexist; without my words.
They feast on wild plum trees.
I wish to be
free of my desire to give them a name.

My contribution to Camera Critters during this busy, magical time of year. . .a deer in the brush at Snail Lake on the day after Thanksgiving. The only sounds I heard were of tiny chickadees and then familiar crunching of leaves and sticks under tiny hooves. There she was with the new sun coming up on her winter meadow. I've included a poem from earlier times that filled my heart when I saw 'summer deer' feasting on wild plums.

Visit Misty Dawn's meme Camera Critters for more animal pleasures. Happy December Weekend, my bloggy friends!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

SkyWatch: while the city sleeps

Last Sunday I visited the Cathedral in St. Paul and took this photo of the sunrise from the steps of the church. The Excel Center is in the foreground with a bit of marquee showing.
Above the cathedral the moon was slowly fading; and the air was clear and cold.

See more sky views from all over our planet at SkyWatch Friday.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

of sprigs and berries

The beginnings of the holiday season and the first snow seen in my travels. I loved how festive this topiary dog looked crowned with a sprig of holly. Below some red peeks out amid the spruce tips.
Find more reds to revel in at Mary's meme, Ruby Tuesday.

Monday, December 7, 2009

to every season. . .

I was surprised when I found this leftover color along Como Lake last month. I've held onto this photo because it makes me feel a bit really melancholy. . a gift to see such beauty in the otherwise leafless world but a concrete reminder that a long Minnesota winter is on its way.
Visit Luiz Santilli, Jr.'s virtual flower shop, Today's Flowers for more Monday beauty.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

don't make me come over there!

Why is this tabby sitting surreptitiously in the shadows at the Thanksgiving table? And what is the object of her concentration?
Why, its her new BFF--my Gurley turkey candle! It seems she's a smitten kitten. For more stories with a happy ending, visit Misty Dawn's meme Camera Critters.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dawn--friend of Muses

This is the sunrise I saw over the Twin Cities on Veteran's Day last month. I took this standing in a mundane parking lot but was filled with awe nonetheless for all of the reasons illustrated, layer by layer. See more awesome skies here.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.