Month: November 2014

finally

The sound of the black powder rifle is still ringing in my ears even though it has been 20 minutes or so since I heard it. This sound makes me glad that I didn’t choose to go for my usual walk to the stream this afternoon. The stream has other concerns these days as we are one day into hunting season. It is my least favorite time of year…I am on the fence about hunting in general, but I definitely don’t want to be physically anywhere near where it is happening. It could be detrimental to my health.

So I am going to spend the time getting to posts that have been on the back burner. Max, never one to mince words, says “Finally…it’s about damn time. NOW can you write about our walk last week…and don’t forget to put in lots of pictures of me, you know that people find cats way more interesting than the silly nature stuff you usually post.” And I, the dutiful cat owner, say “of course Max…whatever you want”

So here goes.

We met at the prayer flags. They are totally bleached, but I figure that they are still blowing blessings far and wide so it’s not time to change them yet.

the beginning
the beginning

Max asked me where we were going so I turned around and pointed. “There” I said.

the destination
the destination

“Then I should come and protect you against anything scary.” I was glad to have his company.

Our first stop was to check the ribbon piece (which, incidentally, is still waiting for the last two pieces to come home from the painter’s). They are still beautifully pink. In the yellow orange light of the late afternoon sun, they actually glowed.

ribbon

still pink!
still pink!

I took some pictures of ordinary leaves because I was in an ordinary mood.

an ordinary twosome
an ordinary twosome
another ordinary oak leaf
another ordinary oak leaf

And then, because even ordinary things have interesting moments, I got mesmerized by one leaf that was being affected by the wind.

no wind
no wind
wind
wind
no wind
no wind

Max was still with me although he was disgusted at my fascination for something so mundane as a leaf. He has more important things on his mind.

he's still coming
he’s still coming

We made it all the way down to the bottom of the hill before I found more things to take pictures of.

The bittersweet is still there, although it is starting to show its age.

still there
still there

Max made sure that the stream is still there…

checking out the stream
checking out the stream

…and then took a moment to hang out on my shoe, one of his favorite spots.

on my foot
on my foot

Since I couldn’t move, I decided to take a photo of the end of a November day.

goodbye to another day
goodbye to another day

Max, being a cat, must take many breaks.

cats need their rest
cats need their rest

So I went off without him, around the corner to check on the Winterberry and Chokeberry. They are still there and still beautiful and still too far away for me to get close to.

still there
still there

Wondering where Max had gone while I was off on an adventure, I called him. I shouldn’t have wondered. He was right where I left him.

waiting for me
waiting for me

I waited for him to catch up.

I'm walking
I’m walking
very serious
very serious
wait a minute, I hear something
wait a minute, I hear something

Dogs barked in the distance which is always cause for concern.

dogs barking
dogs barking

At this point I found one of the most fun things on the walk. Three water beads on a blade of grass. I realize that this might sound a little insane but for me it was a mini-magical moment that was all mine. I will share it with you because I am that sort of person. Max, of course, was not terribly impressed. He sees them all the time.

my turn to dawdle
my turn to dawdle
I'm not impressed
I’m not impressed

Then I started walking back over some black walnuts that have been on the ground a good long while. My not-so-inner artist came out and I had to play with them.

sculpture
sculpture

Max, knowing it might be a while, went to check out the brambles but didn’t find anything. I continued to play.

there's nothing interesting in there
there’s nothing interesting in there

walnuts walnuts

multiples
multiples

I won’t have this ability for too much longer, most of the walnuts look like this…the squirrels have been busy.

squished
squished

As we came back up the hill towards the house, Max decided he needed one more break.

exhausted
exhausted

The light was waning, the air was growing colder so we parted at the prayer flags and made a date for another walk…some time after hunting season. You are invited too…

buh bye
buh bye

make room

A tree,

still wearing

remnants

and scraps

of its autumn garb,

must make room

for a new layer of

clothing.

adding a layer of snow
adding a layer of snow

Yes, we raked last week and we are shoveling this week. Fortunately, we don’t have to go anywhere, the troops are coming here tomorrow and we have everything we need (and more). Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, even if you live in a different country. I think a moment to give thanks is never wasted time. I am grateful for so many things, I know I am extraordinarily blessed. I am even grateful for the bumps and bruises I have had along the way (okay, wait, I can think of one bump that I’m having a hard time being grateful for…still working on that one).

However, for the most part I am grateful for everything and everyone in my life and all the lessons learned over the years. Even algebra. And I am very conscious that I have it within my power to help other people with their life lessons. I just hope I am up to the challenge.

Cheers…

self esteem

Okay, I’m torn. I have been mulling over a lot of things lately and I want to write about them but today I took a walk in the unusually warm weather with Max and he is insisting that I write about him. Selfish beast. So I will solve it by putting in a picture of him on our walk and tell you that there is more to come another day, it really was a pleasant sort of walk and he was very happy to come with me although you might not tell it from his picture. He is a very serious sort of cat except when he’s not.

very serious
very serious

So as I was saying, I’ve been pondering some stuff which I’m very good at. Being an artist and self-employed and having no kids, just the four legged variety, I have lots of time to ponder. This week’s theme is self-esteem.

You see, somewhere along the way, between childhood and my advanced middle-aged years, I stopped liking myself. If I had to guess, having taken the childhood development class that I did, I would say that it happened along about the time that my hormones kicked in which would make me about 13. Yup. That sounds about right. Somewhere in high school I started to feel like I was falling behind in all sorts of things, the least of which was schoolwork. I just never quite understood the party thing, the boy thing, the make-up and hairdo thing. Up to that point I had happily read Good Housekeeping (it had good stories, what can I say?). All of a sudden I was subscribing to Seventeen magazine in order to educate myself on how to be a beautiful teenager. There was nobody in my family who could help me, my mother was useless in this regard and my sisters were long gone to their own lives by the time it became an issue. So I had no one to ask, and besides, I didn’t know enough to ask someone.

Which brings me to the second point about self-esteem. I have gone through an enormous amount of years thinking that I not only had to be Very Good at things but that I had to do it without Asking Questions. The rule of this game was to show your intelligence, to hide any ineptitude by merely Being Good (read: perfect) and not admitting that you have no idea what the hell you are doing. And that’s the way I lived life. It’s amazing how this affected my life and my self esteem. I never felt like I really had a handle on Life and I was always afraid that Someone would find out that I really knew nothing. Very few people found that out, I was Very Good at Being Good and faking a whole lot of intelligence that I didn’t really possess. What pressure I put on myself, eh?

So, fast forward to my middle age years. I am working on being quite honest with myself. I now ask myself if there is anything I don’t know about a subject and if the answer is “yes”, I find out who knows this information…and I ASK QUESTIONS. This actually does wonders for my self-esteem. It means that I have the correct information in order to do a job correctly, and I can flourish in confidence instead of wallowing in fear.

But, (yup there is a but) I still have miles to go before I like myself. And that is definitely a female thing. What Seventeen magazine did was to show me the difference between myself and the perfect girls on the page. The more I read, the uglier I felt and the uglier I felt, the more I sabotaged myself. And here I am still doing it, still looking at my self in the mirror and knowing that I will never, ever look like Christie Brinkley no matter how hard I try or how much money I spend. And to top it all off, I am at the age where lines on the face turn to wrinkles, age spots take their place in odd places with pride and determination and other things too numerous to mention are happening to my body.

When I was young I said blithely “I’m not going to have plastic surgery, I can’t believe that anyone would want to do that.” I can honestly say that I understand it now. I still won’t get plastic surgery unless I get the family chin wattle…that will NOT be hanging around (pun intended). I am, however, thinking that it’s time to check out the age spot that has taken up residence under my left eye. And I am also thinking about getting braces to fix the crooked teeth that I have lived with forever (thanks mom and dad for not doing anything about that when I was young). Some of what I am trying to change has to do with comfort and ease of life and I am looking forward to being more comfortable for the next 50 years. But some of it is just vanity and vanity, as you know, walks hand in hand with Self Esteem.

So I’m working on liking myself but I still have a long way to go. Maybe I’ll get there, maybe not. But it’s worth the struggle. And if anyone has any suggestions on how to have more self esteem, why, I’ll take any suggestions you might have. I have a feeling there is at least one more post about this writing itself in my head and I would love to add your thoughts to the mix…

a day of curiosities

Take a walk with me and you will see…

1. A nest made from natural and unnatural materials

looking from the top
looking from the top
what's the little fuzzy stuff?
what’s the little fuzzy stuff?
what's the BIG fuzzy stuff?
from below…what’s the BIG fuzzy stuff?

2. A ladybug hanging out on a rotting/drying apple

lady bug on an old apple
lady bug on an old apple

3. What I see when I look through the pine trees.

my neighbor's horse fence
my neighbor’s horse fence

4. The color orange.

stained glass leaf
stained glass leaf

Two squirrels running through the trees battling for a walnut.

It's mine!
It’s mine!
I want it
I want it
hey, wait for me!
hey, wait for me!

All in all, a good day to be out walking around. Of course these were NOT taken today, the temperature has not gotten above freezing and the wind is wicked. I thought I would take the moment and post some pix that were in my files.

 

Monday

It’s Monday and it’s raining and it’s cold and the heat is out in my studio and my plant manager couldn’t fix it (yes, help is on the way) and did I mention that it’s raining (although Ginger doesn’t seem to be bothered by that she’s lying in a pile of wet leaves and I am going to have to dry her off when she comes inside) and I am very stressed about a bunch of somewhat inconsequential first-world problems that currently seem ENORMOUS and yup, it’s still raining and cold and I am still waiting for the heating guy to come cause I have to leave soon but of course there is no telling when a service dude will arrive even though he called and said he was on his way 15 minutes ago but we don’t know where he’s coming from so we don’t know what “on my way” means and Ginger is just too cute when all I can see is her head peeking up over the top of the hill and wow the service dude just showed up and he looks about thirteen but is calmly confident so I suppose I will just have to trust him and this is way too stressful for such a delicate soul such as myself and I think perhaps a bath, a cup of tea and a good book are on the agenda for this evening. Oh wait, the Steelers are playing, cool, now there’s one more stressful thing to add to the mix…

Whaddaya mean it's raining?
Whaddaya mean it’s raining?

Keep your fingers crossed that the heat gets fixed, I so very much want to continue working on the kangaroooooooooo. I went to the Museum of Natural History on Saturday and have all sorts of new information to look at when I work on the armature…

roo armature
roo armature

two dogs, a ball and some leaves

Today was one of the most exciting days of the year at our house. It was the first leaf pile day of the season. While we have lots of trees on the property, most are in areas that we don’t need to rake. But there is one maple tree that dumps an impressive amount of leaves that must get raked, shredded and put on my gardens. But that’s not why it’s exciting.

The excitement is truly unbearable if you happen to be a golden retriever. Ginger, the more lazy of the two, LOVES leaf piles and will plop herself down in one consisting of no more than five leaves. And because this is the beginning of leaf season, that’s about all there is.

ever so happy
ever so happy

The first day of leaf piles is so unbelievably awesome for Ginger. I thought this post was just going to be about her…but I was wrong.

Enter her sister, Lucy. The ball fiend. The happy girl. The energetic one.

together in the leaves
together in the leaves…Ginger in front, Lucy behind.
red ball
chewing on the red ball

Lucy loves leaf piles as well. But only as a place to search for balls. Or a place to rest while chewing one. Today’s ball of choice is red. Lucy owns (as any self-respecting, ball-obsessed dog would) several balls, some of which Ginger covets. Right now she has two red, one black and one blue ball. (The pink one and the rubber tire are currently MIA but will probably show up eventually.)

Ginger covets all of them except the blue ball, it is too lumpy.

So through the course of raking the leaves, Lucy put the ball at my feet about 200 times.

red ball
red ball

Occasionally I threw it down the hill. Sometimes, to mix it up a little, I threw it into a leaf pile. And sometimes, she just THOUGHT I threw it into the pile when it was actually in plain site. I didn’t tell her though, I just let her enjoy the search. She wouldn’t have listened anyway, she’s that sort of dog.

looking for the ball in all the wrong places
looking for the ball in all the wrong places

It is very easy to confuse her when she is super-excited which is to say, any time I have a ball in my hand. Her excitement borders on panic when her sister gets into the act of searching.

competition
competition

But inevitably, Lucy’s nose won the contest and she took the ball away to chew on it for a while.

lucy and ball

lucy lucy and ball lucy and ball

happy
happy

And of course all this ball chasing and chewing and protecting is thirsty work on a warm day…

thirsty work
thirsty work

I shall be honest and say that I’m not sure who is happier with a pile of leaves, the dogs or me. Raking leaves is one of the things I have great memories of, we had two HUGE maple trees when I was growing up. When they dropped their leaves I would rake them and throw the leaves down the hill and then…jump in them (of course). You might still find me hiding in my own pile of leaves in the next couple of days…but I highly doubt that there will be a picture of it, you will just have to use your imagination…

 

sunset

Usually sunset pictures actually have the sun in them. I chose to turn away from the sun and see how it was affecting the simpler things in life. I don’t know about you but I love the feeling I get when I see this picture, it brings a sense of calm and quiet to my mind.

a few leaves left to reflect the orange glow
a few leaves left to reflect the orange glow

Looking further away, I can see the last of the oak trees which are burnished burnt orange and gold on the hillside.

autumn burnishings
autumn burnishings

Photography is so very therapeutic to me, I lose all sense of the world as it should be and just revel in the world as it is. Even the smallest things become amazing. These clematis seeds make me think of Dr. Seuss. I wonder if he got his inspiration from these?

more wild clematis seeds
more wild clematis seeds