Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Creating Memories



A friend's Mom gave me a whole pile of yarn some time ago, and I've been using it to keep myself busy this year at home. This piece has been sitting at my TV chair for months, only picked up in the evenings before bed. It was a way to use up a series of single skeins that weren't enough to complete a project individually, and hence the uneven width of the stripes. It's become a warm, heavy throw, probably good for keeping feet warm at the bottom of the bed (for those whose extremities reach that far). Or a TV or fireside blanket.

I thought I'd finish the border whilst watching figure skating performances on YouTube ... hah! That was impossible. I found myself stopping, with my needle and yarn in mid air, mesmerized and glued to the screen, my heart in my mouth, as the Ice Dancers performed incredible lifts, spectacular spins and graceful glides. That memory is now woven into this blanket.




 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Wild Imaginings (Kudos to Dr. Seuss)

 

I love having fun with weird, off-the-wall ideas - it's stimulating to play with imaginings that are offbeat or initially nonsensical. Dr. Seuss opened his children's book 'Wacky Wednesday' with the idea of a shoe on the wall - something odd, indeed, but it hooks and fascinates the reader from the get-go, simply by being unexpected, and 'out there.'

I recall how much my kids and I loved reading Dr. Seuss' "On Beyond Zebra," where he created an extended alphabet beyond the letter Z. It inspired them to continue creating more of their own alphabet in the same vein, simply because they found it thrilling to imagine new letters that hadn't been discovered. Not dismissing that quirkiness as an adult opens me up to play with new ideas, and gets my creative juices flowing. The wackier, the better - it frees me from habitual, stereotypical thinking ... to where there is no set path or limit.

And sometimes these unusual ponderings can be quite amusing. So here are some of my recent oddball musings:

  • When will they start making flour less powdery? (The pic below shows the reason for this contemplation)





  • How is it that we have less snow on the days it was forecast, than on the day for which it wasn't predicted?
  • How do things only turn up when we find them?
  • Coming up with new words: my own new word this week was opaquens: the act of making something go opaque. I can only find opaque, opaquely, opaquer and opaquest in an online dictionary. Thinking creatively challenged me to discover a new sense of the word that I think works, poetically.
  • Hmm, I wonder if "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is really about the thoughts in our heads?

Do you have any outlandish thoughts or wild imaginings to share that will make others smile? I'm sure I'm not alone! Don't be shy!





Sunday, November 22, 2020

Gold Morning


I never tire of this gorgeous, gold glow on November mornings, but unfortunately I often get up too late to catch it.



 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Friday, November 20, 2020

Slow Growing Book Pile


Four months ago, on day 122 of my COVID seclusion, I posted a pic of the books I'd read (https://vignettes.mixmox.com/2020/07/book-pile.html)

Now on day 255, the completed pile looks like this. I've read some books online, and have placed substitutes of the same length on each pile for my photo. Though the pile has doubled, from one stack to two, I really thought I would have read far more than what this representation shows. I guess I still have to figure out the right ratios of compost (writing) to sunlight (yardwork), to water (crocheting) to get it to grow faster!

Each stack covers roughly 4 months. And I still have loads of unread books on my shelf (not pictured), as well as books acquired subsequently. I'm not making much of a dent in my backlog, and some authors keep bringing out new books to add to my problem!






Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dental Impressions


Have you ever had someone come at you with what looks like a loaded caulk gun, primed to dispense into your mouth? I happened to me yesterday at the dentist's office! Pretty frightening, even when you're expecting to have an impression done of your teeth, but I wasn't anticipating such a modern approach. Despite it seeming, initially, like an inappropriate way to approach a patient, it was nowhere near as unpleasant as my previous experience.

Waaaaay back in the Seventies, I'd had dental impressions done before my first set of braces. That time, a horseshoe-shaped tray of goo was placed in my mouth for me to bite down on. The family dentist, whom we all referred to as the 'butcher,' walked out of the room while he waited for it to 'set.' He seemed to be away for an awfully long time and I began to think he'd forgotten about me.

I could hear him laughing, joking and gossiping with his nurse/secretary and waiting patients in the other room. It sounded like he was having a good time, and was unaware of how much time had passed. I thought the compound had hardened to the point of it being a fixture in my mouth. I kept thinking, and hoping, that every pause or noise I heard, was him returning, but still ... I waited. I was panicking, sure he'd let it set far longer than it needed to, and I was terrified that it would never come off. Thoughts of him pulling all my teeth out to remove the tray began to occupy my mind. The wait, the delay in his return, was a scary time, alone in the chair. But I was obedient, and taught to do as I was told, so I stayed put and waited, alone and in fear.

Turns out, I was right to be worried, because when he finally came back, and attempted to unclamp it, he couldn't get it out. He was concerned, too, and tried various methods to wiggle it and get it to loosen. He got very flustered. I imagined all my teeth being pulled out, painfully, along with the impression tray. My recollection is that finally, he practically sat on the clamp with his whole weight, to remove it. I was petrified. Is it any wonder that one of my worst nightmares is to have my front teeth fall out of my mouth?

By comparison, the caulk-gun approach seems mild!








Wednesday, November 18, 2020

November Notes


November is here -

Oak leaves rub like scritchy rain

Against each other.



Mornings wet with dew -

Drops of moisture hang on leaves

When air is tepid.



The lake is flowing,

Yet the water has frozen

In our wheelbarrow.






Crystalline vapor,

Like cold caterpillar hairs,

Decorates my chair.







Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Disturbing the Peace


Great heron takes off

As I walk through noisy leaves -

Mallards tend to stay.





Monday, November 16, 2020

Green Things

Those green balloons filled with fluid (aka tomatoes that endured a frost on the vine) that I wrote about so disparagingly, have been turned into this: salsa verde. And, we both lived to tell the tale πŸ˜€.




A Green Stinkbug exploring the leaf litter. I love the different colored 'squares' on the leaf it's found.


 


I think these few green aspen leaves look wonderful against the variegated browns of oaks, beeches and maples:






Sunday, November 15, 2020

Indulgences


It's mid November.

It was balmy enough to eat dinner outside at the end of last week (no kidding!)

There were NO bugs, either. 

So we did it.



And for dessert ... want some coffee with your cream? Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, Irish coffee!


 

Wikipedia: Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Juncos



The dark-eyed Juncos

Are flipping leaves like pancakes -

Jittery Snowbirds.


Friday, November 13, 2020

Turkey Encounter


My turkey 'encounter' on Veteran's Day wasn't an interaction, so much as a close sighting. I saw them from a short distance away as I sat amidst leaves on the lawn - it was wonderfully thrilling to be so close to them! 

I heard them scrabbling through the leaves (like me), looked up and saw them coming into our yard. I really didn't want to frighten them off, so I froze in place, only making miniscule, fluid movements when I needed to see them better. I watched them make a loop through our yard, which included a walk through my native blooms and birdfeeder-spoils area, and then they exited again in a line, chit-chatting quietly amongst themselves - a kind of comforting contact sound.

They noticed me, and looked my way, seeming wary, but my immobile state probably convinced them I was a shrub or tree stump! One stretched and spread its wings, generating a small breeze that sent a pile of leaves aflutter - it was quite special.


Of course, this close encounter only happened because I'd left my phone/camera inside, unlike earlier in the day, when it was by my side constantly!

Photo by Dale Schultz

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Biting the Bullet

After much humming and hawing, I was finally persuaded that Invisalign braces, followed by a retainer, would help my jaw ache. I had already spent $$ having all the imaging and modeling done ($$) to determine the extent of the problem, and my dentist felt that I had a 95% chance of it improving my life. OK then. I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with the treatment, and called up to ask what financial aid options, or payment schemes, they offered. 

My options were:

  • I could pay a little every month until the full amount was paid, at which time my treatment could begin.
  • I could apply for a care credit card online, which which give me interest free credit for x months, depending on how much I spent
  • I could pay in full, ahead of treatment.

"Ok," I asked, "if I pay in full, prior to starting treatment, is there any discount for paying up front, or paying in cash?" Nope, not at all, I was told. The price was set at $x,xxx. I said I'd sleep on it and get back to them, having been given a direct number and contact name for the billing of these treatments.

I called back 2 days later to say that I would pay the entire amount on my credit card. "Oh, we have a special on for December right now, where you can get $400.00 off, but I could make it apply to your November purchase. Would you like to do that?" WHAT? This was the exact same person I spoke to about getting discount for paying up front a few days prior. 

Sometimes, I just don't understand real life ... but I'm not complaining - this time around it's gone in my favor. It's just odd that this wasn't offered to me when I specifically queried about discounts available - and if I had decided to pay on the first day I called, I would have been $400 poorer.





Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Leaves



 



November's colors:

Orange, brown, russet and gold,

Ocher, tan, yellow.







Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Wishful Dreams


I'm not one who often remembers their dreams after waking, but today's one was rather odd, so I guess that's why it stuck. I was in a bathroom with another person (unknown), standing on a tile floor, when the other person turned around to me, asking what that sudden loud noise was. "Oh, don't worry," I 'd said, "it was just the water pouring out of my ear onto the floor!" It was a gush as out of a faucet, wetting the entire floor! And I was so relieved!

I've been experiencing what sounds like crackly liquid in my ears for some time, and can feel it move when I lie in certain ways in bed, though it never drains out onto my pillow or earlobe. It shifts, like molasses, and tickles as it moves, but remains inside. Ugh. Nothing in there the experts say, it's the sounds of my jaw and the rumpled cushion between the joint, grating! It's all in my head, I'm told!

I guess that dream was all about wishful thinking ...

Monday, November 9, 2020

Leaf litter

 





Leaves rustle and shake

Blue jays, squirrels and chipmunks.

Crunchy leaf litter.














Sunday, November 8, 2020

Leftovers, .... Again! Or Pizza, .... Again?


What to do with a spoonful of spinach, a few stalks of cooked broccoli, a mushroom looking limp, and some slices of leftover roast beef? I couldn't bring myself to throw them out, but each was a tiny amount, not enough for an individual serving even, but how I wound up with such small amounts that couldn't possibly have been eaten when first cooked, I'll never know.

So, once again, a pizza to the rescue - I added bacon, cheese and garlic to the toppings for this scrumptious result, sprinkled with black pepper:





Saturday, November 7, 2020

Warm Fuzzies

I've recently had a lot of fun making a few extra masks for my family. I ended up making 15! What started off as a routine pattern, turned into personalized and custom adaptations. So, what could have essentially been a 3-4 hour project became a 2 week one - my choice!

So, for someone working in a nursery with young babies, Disney and bright cartoon characters were chosen to feature prominently in the middle of the concertina-style mask.


For someone running their own business, advertising goes a long way ... I printed out the logo, traced the letters through onto the back of the paper, pinned it in place on the back of the mask, and did simple satin stitch along each letter. Boy, was this relaxing! I loved doing it.



And then I tried one using my sewing machine's programmable lettering as well, but that didn't work out as well as expected. When the stitching hit a snag, like a thickened seam, it stalled and ruined the entire line, which had come out perfectly in practice! I redid this version a number of times, finally having to fudge the connections a bit.



Each idea led to something different for the next one. I challenged myself to come up with something different each time. It led to something for somber-bearded men, for a train enthusiast, for a Fearless photographer, and for a beloved cat:




All voluntary! And fulfilling! It gave me the warm fuzzies to do this for my loved ones.








Friday, November 6, 2020

Sunny November

Thank goodness for a November sunny day, and the outdoors. It was great to shake off a bit of that election drama I'd overdosed on. And it wasn't very windy, either, which was a bonus.

Our yard furniture had to be carried off the deck, and stored away for the winter. Turns out, I was overdressed for this physical activity, and was forced to strip down to a pair of leggings and a swim top!




The hammock came down, and the kayak (having been left out hopefully, for a last paddle), got stowed away. We carried the tomato plants off the dock, with a few 'frosted' tomatoes still hanging on - they felt like sacs of pus!



Then we set about taking the dock apart, bit by bit. Green fragments of broken milfoil plants were floating about everywhere and kept taking me off task. When we pulled the dock frame out onto dry land, we found that our suspicions of a broken axle were true. The dock had been incredibly uneven and unstable for most of the summer, despite our attempts to rectify it. We thought that perhaps it kept sinking further into the silty mud. Another job for my handyman!



I busied myself picking up dropped twigs and branches, breaking them into wood-stove sized pieces and collecting them in a tote. Anything, to stay outside and imbibe this fresh air!









Thursday, November 5, 2020

My Version of the 10 Biblical Plagues

These all go hand in hand, symptoms of the same underlying problem: no respect for the planet, and with it humanity. 

This is not science fiction. This is our current reality. We're living it. It's all around us. It's here.


10. Uncontrolled spread of non-native species: beetle infestations, killer wasps, Japanese knotweed

9. Decline and extinction of native species: honeybees, bats

8. Pollution of  our 'nest': contamination of water bodies, air, groundwater, ozone layer: things we depend on to live

7. More frequent, stronger force hurricanes

6. Unmanageable floods, independent of hurricanes

5. Runaway fires: dangerous winds and habitat destruction

4. Famine, and unforeseen drought in temperate climates

3. Extreme temperatures and climate shifts becoming the norm

2. Disease, displacement, civil unrest, migration, pandemics

1. Poverty, Depravity, Corruption (both physical and moral)




Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Feeling Raw


Still too close to call!
I'm embarrassed and ashamed
We did not stand up
In greater numbers -
To restore morality
To our government.

Never did I think
That fascism could take hold,
After lessons learned.
Half of this country
Supports the supremacy
Of class, wealth and race.

Time to examine
Just how this could be our truth
In Twenty Twenty.
Land of liberty?
A moral apocalypse
Has struck our nation.

Americans, all
One people, yet divided
On justice for all!
'Us' and 'them' prevails.
How can we disagree on
Fundamental rights?

I am stunned and shocked,
Land that touts human freedoms,
But doesn't live it.
My adopted land -
How I misunderstood you!
I feel heartbroken.

Till we live as one,
Moral disintegration
Shall be our death knell.
We must find a way
To restore faith, love and hope
To humanity.










Wednesday, November 4, 2020







Monday, November 2, 2020

The 7 Deadly Sins

πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                           πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                              πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                     πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ


I see the following list as replacements (rephrasing) of the original 7 Cardinal Sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, sloth, gluttony, wrath):

1. Voting a known immoral person into high office.

2. Willfully and deliberately ignoring numerous unprincipled decisions, citing one outlier as your excuse.

3. Rejection of science (essentially our ability to see, think and make logical connections in the world).

4. Turning a blind eye to systemic social injustice and pretending it doesn't exist so that it doesn't affect your comfortable life.

5. Labeling inconvenience as hardship and expecting privilege to be your basic human right. 

6. Not acting for the greater good, citing personal freedom (basically, common selfishness) as the 'reason.'

7. Accepting a dogma because it conveniently ensures your prosperity, doesn't challenge your lifestyle, and means you don't have to think for yourself.


πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                            πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                             πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ                      πŸ‘ΏπŸ˜ˆ


Sunday, November 1, 2020

Dancers & Missiles


Eating lunch outside,

Is on my Fall 'to-do' list -

Much to see and hear.

 

Leaves and acorns drop,

Floating, or pummeling down,

Sounding like Fall rain.





Leaves flit and spiral,

Dancing gracefully downwards,

Pirouetting too!

 

Acorns as missiles,

Pelting down, forceful and hard:

Weapons from above.


Photo by Dale Schultz

A Wheelbarrow of Weapons