Monday, February 28, 2022

Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Benefits of Forgetfulness


A new perspective: older people don't need to make a concerted effort to exercise purposefully at a gym. Our brains do it for us! How many times do we have to walk back up the stairs and down again before remembering what it was we went there for in the first place? How many times do we have to go back to the mudroom to remember what it was we were there to fetch? How many times do we have to walk out to the garage and back before we remember what it was we went there for?  How may times? 

For me, if I don't go all the way back to the original location of the thought, I don't manage to retrieve my purpose. So maybe brain blur is nature's sneaky way of keeping us active - being forgetful helps us get our daily exercise in!



 

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Saturday, February 26, 2022

Shadows and Shapes

 


I love the snow dots on the screw/nail heads, the shadow of the railing supports, the grain and lines of the deck panels, and the graduated progress of snowmelt. Oh, and how the nail head lines intersect with the railing shadows. Beautiful!




Friday, February 25, 2022

Mini Lakes


Puddles of snow melt:

Universe of mini lakes

Atop the lake ice




Not mini latkes!-

The diff'rence of one letter

Turns a lake to food!


Thursday, February 24, 2022

March in Feb


Ahhhh, it's gorgeous outside ... for now. We await a plowable snowstorm, but I'll take this in the meanwhile. When did I last enjoy my coffee on the deck? As you can see, I have a semi-frown on my brow - I'm not used to the brightness so early in the day.




Sunshine and warm temps,

Breezes that ruffle my hair.

And steaks on the grill!



Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Rabbit holes, Tangents and Brambles


Writing seems to me to be the perfect autodidact 'sport' - in trying to put my words down authoritatively, I feel the need to investigate, research and absorb the facts of what I'm writing about, so that my 'voice' is authentic, trustworthy and reliable. Writing stories, whether fiction or memoir, requires fact checking, understanding, and expansion of interests. I often find myself going down a rabbit hole and veering off on tangents as I get tangled in the intricacies of delectable information! I feel as if I'm getting snagged on brambles and roots on an ungroomed path, that delay my reaching my destination, but definitely enrich the experience!



It's amazing how much one learns along the way as one writes - it generates its own quest for knowledge.




Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Fractal World

 



Lacy loveliness.

Fragile, icy, fractal world -

Deltas and inlets





Monday, February 21, 2022

Moongazing

 

My recent fraught grocery shopping expedition revived a memory from my college years, in which I had clearly sought solitude amidst a frenzied situation. Without these pockets of peace, I tend to feel battered.

Just over 38 years ago, before Dale and I were married, we traveled to another part of South Africa to participate in the annual students geography conference. There were students from universities all over the country and there was much socializing, and getting-to-know-you group activities over a long weekend. One evening, I wandered off on my own, away from the hubbub, to sit and stare quietly at the moon. I needed some alone time, some time to regroup in the midst of all the socializing and stimulation. It was restorative.

I happily sat against a tree trunk in the dark for some time until Dale appeared, looking for me - he'd noticed I was missing from the crowds, and had come to check that I was feeling okay. He stayed for a bit, and then left me to my peace, allowing me to enjoy my reverie.



Moonlight across Lake Androscoggin, Maine in 2007


It was my salve in the midst of all the bustling activity and opening up to new friends. Recounting this incident has also helped me appreciate the isolation of the COVID pandemic - it has given me 'down' time after a demanding, life-changing move to new continents, raising kids alone, and making new friends and connections from scratch. I'm obviously referring here to a whole different time frame of activity and decompressing. COVID has been my catch up time to 'stare at the moon' during a busy 'weekend' of activities, as it were.




 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Maine Woman to the Rescue

 

Yet another shopping nightmare: I've been spoiled with the Hannaford 'To Go' feature and hadn't ventured into a Market Basket for over 2 months, but there are some things that I can only buy there ... so when I do go, I replenish all the things that have a long shelf life, in multiples. Many of the things I stock up on are very bulky - pickles in enormous jars (in unlimited numbers, as many as I can handle), 2 liter seltzer waters, paper towel packages, a cube of soda cans, 10 lb of potatoes, you get the picture. 

Before I was halfway through the store, my cart was full. I felt frazzled. The store was busy (people were stocking up for Super Bowl Sunday - how dare they?), there were reminders of Valentine's Day chocolates everywhere and the music was loud. Plus I wasn't used to crowds, and this was ... a Friday crowd. It was one of the warmest days we'd had this year and sweat was forming on my upper lip under my mask (which very few others were wearing).

Two carts were needed! I knew that if I paid for one full cart and took my groceries out to the car, I'd be more than tempted not to go back in for the second half of the grocery list, which I'd been compiling on my fridge for more than 2 months. I was already overwhelmed and felt like bailing. To add to my space problems, I bring my own rigid shopping baskets for my purchases (the kind that don't fold down and compress, so take up a LOT of the space under my cart and in the child-seat area.) Oh woe!

I remember using 2 carts whilst shopping with my 2 toddlers back in the day, when I learned how to walk between two carts, pushing the handle of the front one and pulling on the basket of the rear one. It wasn't easy, but could be done. At that time, we had one car in the family, which Dale used for getting to work. I'd assemble a long grocery list, and then on the appointed day, get the "bunnies" up and dressed, drive Dale to work and the 3 of us would do our big shop together. It was what we did to get by; you manage. Shopping like this obviously took a long time, and it required me to keep my toddlers entertained, not fighting, and upbeat for the duration. They knew the drill, and behaved well - it meant we had the car for the rest of the day and could go out and do something exciting, like visit the local lake or a friend, plus they'd get to fetch their Dad at the end of the day.

Ok, back to the more current expedition... when I got to the dairy section, it looked as if there was no buttermilk on the assigned shelf. Argh, we'd wanted to make another batch of scones. There had been many things that were temporarily out of stock that day, or there were just two or three items left on the shelf. My entrenched Catholic guilt crept in each time, and I only took one in that case, when I would normally have bought more. I knelt on the outer edge of the dairy case and peeked up onto the back of the topmost shelf - there, lodged at the very back unreachable corner was the treasure I sought. But how to get it? I stepped back down and looked around, but suddenly there weren't any other people nearby - well, no tall ones anyway. There were also no people stocking shelves or using stepladders either. I wasn't going to let this buttermilk challenge defeat me! I needed this little victory. Hmm, what could I use to reach it?

Aha! My eyes lit on the "Maine Woman" magazine I'd picked up at the store entrance (a friend had written one of the articles in it). Reluctant though I was to wrinkle this copy, I rolled it into a tight tube, knelt back up on the edge of the dairy case, reached in with my Maine woman tube, and nudged, knocked and coerced that bottle onto its side and then forwards towards me until I could reach it with my hands - you just never know when you'll need a Maine woman to help you!



I wonder what the people watching the security cameras must have thought!

I got home hungry, since it was way past lunch time, but was super pleased with myself for having solved my problems, and especially for not having had a meltdown! My kids would be proud of me - I'd had to practice what I'd preached to them in the grocery store for so many years.



Saturday, February 19, 2022

Spring Fling

 

February warmth! Who would ever have dreamed of such a thing? A high of 50°F made me fling my laundry over the railings on my deck to dry. What bliss! I love how my clothes smell when they've dried outdoors - the  atmosphere-crisp smell, from ozone and ultraviolet rays acting on the wet molecules, is so pleasing to me.



But surprisingly the wind was not my friend on this day - unpegged, my clothes blew off the railing and lay in the snow, getting wet again until I noticed and rescued them. When I brought them inside, they were wetter than when they'd come out the spin cycle of the washing machine!






Friday, February 18, 2022

Inspirational Nature

Rachel Carson, wise naturalist and conservationist extraordinaire expressed herself this way 60 years ago:


"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature -- the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter."


It seem as if we haven't received this message in our lives yet, and I fear that one day, there will be no assurance of nature's patterns if we continue as we are.



Furthermore, it feels almost as if I could have written this, for she has expressed exactly what I feel; it is as if we share something that is elusive to many.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

Icy Noises


Behind the curtains

Rice Krispies on my window?

Crinkling on the sill.






Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Audiobook Joke?

What? The Illustrated "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse" by Charlie Mackesy is available as an audiobook ... is this a joke? It's intended as a work of art, a visual storybook.





What next? The illustrated guide to Van Gogh's paintings? I love audiobooks (a new "thing" for me) but seriously, there are limitations to listening only!





Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Dwarfed

 

This is how much bigger other cars are next to mine! Eek - the tires and bumper are the same height as the top on my hood! It's daunting, as if I could get driven over very easily.




Monday, February 14, 2022

Alienation and Exceptionalism


Richard Powers is a powerful writer (yes, I'm aware of the aptronym). He is also a powerful advocate for finding our connection to the natural world.

Through his fiction he nudges us to find a way to rejoin nature, and not regard ourselves as separate and exceptional. In his interviews, he reminds us, 'after all, we are not the only game in town'; that it's time to reframe our place in the natural world.



Most potently, he asserts:

Life is something we need to stop correcting.

and

Life on earth is more resourceful and capable than we think.

 

I'm in awe.


Sunday, February 13, 2022

Outlier

 

Steller's sea eagle

Immense, sturdy, rare, vagrant

Off course? Delib'rate?


Seeking new pastures?

Or a confused misjudgement?

Will others follow?


A range expansion?

A sign of climate changes?

Questions to ponder.


I haven't seen this bird on its amazing journey across the U.S. but I've been intrigued by its appearance and sightings, and it seemed prescient to acknowledge it. This multi stanza haiku came to mind as I lay awake in the early hours of the morning, pondering this historic occurrence.

Since I don't have a picture of my own, here is a pixelated take on my naΓ―ve sketch





The Maine Audubon Society presented a webinar about its journey and natural history here:

Saturday, February 12, 2022

The Big E!

 

Funny things to consider after playing Scrabble:

The only thing separating a hymn from a hymen is an E! Who knew? (He opened the hymen book in the church pew!)

It just shows how critical correct spelling can be. 

And, as in so many things in life and the world - the devil is in the details. This is a very significant E.



Hat with an 'e' would turn to hate

Star with 'e' would be become a stare

I know there are many more such examples, maybe not all as 'critical' as this one - share them in the comments ...


Friday, February 11, 2022

Halo Physics


Winter moon halo:

Ice crystals refracting light

From our sunlit rock



Photo by Dale Schultz

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Lichen Universe

I'm glad I went out onto our deck to get rid of parts of the ice sheet that had been left behind by a previous storm, because this is what I noticed on our wooden cladding.


I think it's SO beautiful - an understated mini universe! Not only are the different lichen arrangements fascinating, but the wood textures and patterns are beautifully varied. There are so many miniature 'worlds' out there that we often overlook, or forget to look at and admire. Don't forget to look ...




Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Scone Theme


I don't know what the soundtrack for a scone-themed post would be; this is a baking, picture theme.


Cranberry with Marmalade



Orange, topped with brown sugar orange zest 



My son and I have been experimenting with different flavors and toppings in a scone dough. We each bake a batch on a Monday, and try to come up with new ideas for flavorings. We've tried cranberry-rosemary, orange and cranberry, orange, and cranberry marmalade. All work and taste pretty good so far; the pure orange was quite delicate in flavor, and seemed to be stronger by the following day. I really love the tart burst of cranberries in the dough.


Cranberry-rosemary in wedges



Cranberry-rosemary in rounds
 Photo by Dale Schultz



Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Fish Bones

 


The patterns made by snow sticking to these hemlocks remind me of fish bones! 





Monday, February 7, 2022

Glass Sandwich

 

Challenging stand-off

Glaring, full of bravado

Glass sandwiched between.




Sunday, February 6, 2022

Hungry Eyes

Do we eat with our eyes? My mise en place for dinner certainly looks appetizing ...



This colorful offering was yummy



Saturday, February 5, 2022

Flinch

I was an emotional and easily scared child growing up. I was afraid of the dark. I was terrified of aquariums. The mosaic dolphin on the bottom of a friend's pool scared me, making me feel as if I was in the dark, vast ocean. Ghosts? The supernatural or paranormal? Too close to my religious fear of the devil and exorcists. I was afraid to not be perfect, afraid I might be arrogant, or unkind, or wilful, in case it would make me too sinful and I'd go to hell - punished, with the threat of fire and brimstone, as is the Catholic way. It made me fearful of imagined demons, of threats, of evil.

I recall a close up photo of a BLACK cat with jade green eyes being used as a full page advert for some innocuous product or other, that I just could not look at as a child. It terrified me! The black cat seemed EVIL. If I was going through a magazine and opened unexpectedly on that page, I'd freak out and SHUT it immediately. Frightened out of my wits! I wouldn't open that issue again. I never saw it long enough to know what product was being advertised!

That was a long time ago, but when I consider it now as an adult, I'm intrigued at how instilling fear was used to control me as a child; how it kept me complacent, disciplined and obedient. I'm happy to say that all these years later, I can now admire and enjoy and revel in a black cat and its green eyes! And I don't think I'm all that obedient!




Friday, February 4, 2022

Likin' Lichen

 


Light snow-crumbles sit

Atop hemlock foliage

Looking like lichen.




Thursday, February 3, 2022

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Mind's Eye

 

When I sliced through this kiwi, I couldn't help but think of an iris! (wait, this should be spelled eyerus, don't you think?)






Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Hot Logs

 A picture to warm us all up!



C'mon, winter! This cold snap has been going on for too long now. Give us a break.