Monday, December 29, 2014

Resolutions to make 2015 a Happier Year

A new year is upon us, the traditional time for New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve been around long enough to have made a lot of resolutions, with mixed results. So instead of resolving to lose weight or get rid of clutter (because they've worked so well in the past) I've decided to focus on three resolutions that will make me a happier person.

I do have specific professional and personal goals in mind for 2015, but while I’m working on those, I resolve …

1) To put my head down and bull through the work that needs doing, but remember to pop up often to touch base with the people in my life.

2) To take time to notice the beauty in nature, big and small.

3) To share my abundance and give thanks for the sun, the rain, and the wind ...

and most of all, for love and laughter.

 Happy 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Christmas is almost here, and I'm almost ready. I've been wrapping the last few gifts and baking cookies, and more cookies, for all the neighbors on our cul-de sac. Raspberry thumbprints, chocolate jam bars, oatmeal Florentines, lemon spritz, and chocolate dipped cranberry slices, plus a few dried fruit/almond chocolate clusters for my gluten free neighbor. Now they're all packed in bags and ready to deliver tomorrow. 

The tree is up. Because of a trip in early December, we were late shopping for a tree, and the one we ended up with shed a lot of needles and looks a little skimpy around the bottom, but it smells wonderful. Besides, it's not the tree but the memories that make the magic. 

So I'm going to take a moment to sit and drink a cup of tea ... 

and admire the tree. 

So many ornaments with so many memories...
The one my husband's grandmother embroidered when our son was born ...
The souvenir ornaments collected on trips  ...
The ones the kids picked out or made over the years ...
And of course, the reason for the celebration.

Here's wishing everyone a Merry Christmas with lots of good memories, and a wonderful 2015!


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Boys Will Be Boys

The sign says:



Young Bull Bison at Caprock Canyon State Park, Texas

So, how do we explain this?

Bull Moose at Windsong Neighborhood Park, Anchorage Alaska


                Or this?

Ah, the things we do for love. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Moral of the Story

I grew up on fairy tales and fables. I loved those stories, of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, the Lion and the Mouse, the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs. But I have to wonder about exactly what some of them were trying to teach.

Everyone knows the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  In the race, the hare takes off and leaves the tortoise in the dust. The hare gets so far ahead, he decides to show off my taking a nap just before the finish line. In the meantime, the tortoise plods along and manages to slip over the line before the hare realizes what’s happened. The moral is supposed to be “slow and steady win the race” but it seems to me the real moral is “don’t get cocky.”

Then there’s the Princess and the Pea. In this story, a girl shows up on the castle doorstep in a foreign kingdom, claiming to be a princess, and catches the prince’s eye. To test her, the queen puts her in a bed with seven mattresses stacked atop one another, but with a pea hidden beneath the lowest mattress. In the morning, the queen asks how she slept. The princess replies that she didn’t sleep a wink, because something poked her through the bed. Ta da, proof she’s a real princess, and the queen gives her blessing for the prince to marry her.

So what lesson do we take away? That truly high-class people are spoiled rotten? That royalty should feel free to impose on others' hospitality and then complain about it? That the queen hated her son and wanted to punish him by sticking him with a whiny wife?

I happen to have my own undercover princess. Roxy certainly doesn't look like a princess, and she’s as tough as an overcooked steak. She once tangled with a porcupine and then ran two miles back to the car for a trip to the vet with nary a whimper. And yet, every chance she gets, she sleeps on pillows. Not just one, but as many pillows as she can scrape together in a pile whenever our backs are turned. So in spite of the fact that she has no pedigree, no history, and no certain breed, I’m pretty sure she’s actually a lost princess in disguise. But at least she doesn’t whine about it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Visit to Tonto Natural Bridge

 On a recent road trip, we stopped by Tonto Natural Bridge. It's hidden deep in a canyon in central Arizona. That's it on the right. It doesn't look too impressive until you realize that those little dots deep inside the arch are people. This shot was taken from an overlook maybe 200 feet above the creek.

The travertine wall formed as a constant spring deposits calcium carbonate onto the trees and roots that grow there, encasing them in rock. It grew until it formed a dam in the creek, but the constant wear of the creek eventually wore a hole through the wall and created the bridge. 

It's still growing. The little spring continues to deposit minerals and drip over the bridge, while down below, Pine Creek keeps flowing. Calcium carbonate is the same stuff that makes white spots on your bathroom fixtures and plugs your pipes, but here, it's creating a miracle.

And it's not the only natural wonder in the canyon. The spring dripping down a canyon wall has created a fern grotto on the edge of a cliff. On the day we were there, icicles hung between the ferns. Up above, prickly pear clung to the rocks. It's an odd mix, but so beautiful.

I think there is a lesson here, maybe two. One is perseverance, to keep on plugging, keep on doing what you were born to do. A drip at a time can eventually build a bridge. The other is that  the odd juxtaposition of ordinary things can create something extraordinary. Each person's life is made up of various experiences, and you are the only person with that particular collection. You are unique.