All Smiles

Sometimes I get deep and meaningful with my posts and start spewing out stuff about metaphors, nature, and connections. This week, I’m just going to share a few pictures and some good news. First up, congratulations to my friend and fellow writer, Patrice, who this week became a permanent resident of Canada! She jumped through all the right hoops, slashed through mountains of red tape, and no doubt wrung her hands in frustration many a time on this journey from “just visiting” to “I’d like to live in the same country as my husband, please.” She is living proof that perseverance, a positive attitude, and a deep trust in good things happening are not just captions for motivational posters. A devout believer that positive attracts positive, she opened herself up to Life, met its challenges, and reaped its rewards, never losing faith that, no matter what happened, things would be … Continue reading…

Banshees and Drunken Monkeys

This post isn’t about Independence Day revelers, although a case could definitely be made that the mix of alcohol, fire, and things-that-go-boom does bring out certain banshee-like behavior in some people.   No, the banshees and drunken monkeys referred to in the title are from a quote by Anne Lamott in her best-selling book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. In this wonderful little book, Lamott puts her years of experience as a writer down for all to see and learn from. She talks about that demon, procrastination, and its evil sister, perfectionism, about shitty first drafts and how to know when you’re done. Like a conversation with a good friend who really knows us, she writes about quieting that cacophony of voices in our heads that prevent us from hearing what our characters and stories have to say. “The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They … Continue reading…

Be, Still, My Bleeding Hearts

This week in 2014, I considered showing you all a photo of a dead slug. However, in light of last week’s post about slug racing, I thought better of it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to raise suspicions that I had actually killed it or, at the very least, been complicit in its untimely demise.  I’m OK with losing a race to a slug these days. The reason is that, well, the photo didn’t turn out. Dead slugs are about as photogenic as sand-covered Tootsie Rolls. So I’ll show you a photo of Bill instead. Bill is Sam and Sherry’s geriatric kitty. He is blind and his fur is matted beyond repair, but he’s such a sweetheart, despite that he appears to be giving me a raspberry… Turning attention from Bill the kitty to my plant babies, I can see the rhubarb is about to explode… …and the bleeding hearts are going to … Continue reading…

Super Villain Bug and Appreciating Life

This week in 2014, I hosted whatever Super Villain Bug has been making the rounds.  Stress and other factors may have invited this strain of crud into my body but, like a clueless relative, it then proceeded to take up residence without permission or any kind of hospitality on my part.  In fact, I even actively engaged it in pharmaceutical combat. However, this probably did more to prolong the agony than if I’d just sucked up the misery for a few days, but that’s a good lesson, too. I will say that watching my body duke it out with Super Villain Bug for nearly six days has given me a renewed appreciation for my health. Having lost all but six hours of my entire work week to this nasty microscopic life form, I turned a corner on Thursday and decided to give it the boot. I’d just had some of … Continue reading…

Disturbances in the System

The “Brace Yourself, Winter is Coming” internet meme that has been circulating since actor Sean Bean spoke those words in the first season of “Game of Thrones” has surfaced in my mind repeatedly this week, like curious prairie dogs who have been cooped up underground too long. As we all endure weather that seems somewhat bi-polar and the professionals on television tell us to brace for one storm after another, I’m thinking about disturbances in the system that aren’t specifically weather-related.  We’re well into February and by now most of our New Year’s Resolutions (ahem, goals) are either feeling incredibly real or we’re trying to remember what they were.  One thing that hit me is that I’ve set some goals and, dang it, my goals have deadlines. In this case, the end of the year. Twelve months. Three hundred and sixty five days.  This is a good thing, of course. … Continue reading…

Advice from a Moose

If you’ve ever visited a national or state park gift shop, Big R, or a Cabela’s, you may have seen the “Advice from a…” line of cups, mugs, t-shirts, writing pads, and knick-knacks on the glass display shelves within. These cute tourist souvenirs created by the company Your True Nature offer philosophical reminders of the lessons we can learn from nature. For example, “Advice from a Squirrel” might say something like, “Plan ahead” or “Protect your nuts!” (I can’t vouch for that last one but, if you’re a man, it seems reasonable). When I was visiting Glacier National Park last summer, I picked up a mug with “Advice from a Moose.”   As I was sipping from this mug today, I thought about what else I can learn from a moose and then, more specifically, my thoughts meandered to what I can learn from Moose. This is Moose. He’s an … Continue reading…

54 Pumpkins

Last October, Mike bought a pumpkin. He brought it home in hopes that we’d carve a Jack-o’-lantern and make autumn holiday memories with his then twelve-year-old son, Scout. It was never carved, though. Scout chose to draw a silly face on it instead. When the festivities of the season were over and Halloween, Samhain, and All Soul’s Day long past, the snow fell on our valley and the pumpkin was relegated to the garden, first as its king perched on its gate post throne, and then as its servant as we tossed it into the dirt to decompose and nourish the soil. Then we forgot about it. Spring rolled around, far later than we’d like and far shorter than we remember it ever being. As planting season called to us, we began preparing the garden for the annual clean up and seeding. The usual volunteer, non-fruit or vegetable producing plants … Continue reading…