I don’t know how it’s gotten so middle-of-the-summer humid. One benefit of cloudy, sultry weather is that the wildlife is not moving quickly. As I was taking photographs of tulips, this afternoon, I discovered that a short way behind me there was a rabbit, undecided as to whether or not it should leave my vicinity. I walked back to the corner of the house and took photographs from there, and then moved quietly to the tulips again. The rabbit felt, I think, that it could then leave without any notice being taken.
The tulips came up not long after the last of the snow melted away. Soon after the snow disappeared, there were strong, dry winds, and now there are fires in the area. Wind gusts are supposed to be lessening tomorrow: in the neighborhood of 25 miles an hour rather than over 40. I wonder why I never see honey bees in the tulips.
Instead, they settle into the dandelions that have broken out at the front of the house. I am making some progress in getting back into an exercise routine after another exposure to smoke at the beginning of March. Getting on the exercise bike twice a day did not work out after all, but I am trying for five miles once a day, closing with a minute of intense exertion and hoping to increase that over time. The bike is back in the gazebo.
I still haven’t gotten back to writing, however. Although I enjoy chaos in my vicinity, it’s gone far too long. I’ve cleaned and rearranged kitchen counter tops, gotten caught up on washing and drying laundry, and even gone to a piano recital given by the students of one of my clients. All these years, and it’s the first time I’ve gone. I was afraid she would retire before I ever attended one of her recitals.
Too many things to do and not enough time for not doing them.
It occurs to me that I could have brought a camera with me, this afternoon, but the whole point of this is to relax. After shoveling the snow and ice away from the gazebo door! The temperature in the gazebo was nearly 50°F before I turned on the space heater, which has seemingly survived the sub-zero temperatures of previous weeks. Al built the gazebo to be three season; it’s comfortable until the outside temperature is in the high 80s or greater. The floor is deck-like, but accumulated snow mostly blocks the cool breezes. The 360° windows are combination, double paned. The sun has not been out from behind the clouds, today. Frost still coats the higher tree branches.
It’s quiet out here. Samantha came outside with me, but didn’t want to remain in the gazebo, so she is out wandering the maze. The snow has compacted enough that she can stand on her hind feet and gaze over the “wall” to determine where she is in relation to the house. The pet door is open so that she can get inside again. It is so long since I have been out of doors without Al that I had to hunt for the keys to the back yard.
I am still working on the transition from full-time to part-time (retirement level) self-employment, and finding it rough going. I feel fortunate that at this point I have no jobs that need doing, thanks to having found a capable writer to take referrals from me. A couple possible jobs if people get back to me, and an annual one that always is enjoyable—almost a vacation, it’s so much fun! Today I am feeling relaxed, rather than half guilty because I am not doing anything “constructive,” and happy rather than nervous about the work telephone’s not having rung since yesterday. I have been going through this retirement adjustment since last September.
There are things that I want to do differently—callings that I have not been able to follow because of the (admittedly welcome) interruptions of urgent work to be done. It is time to retire again from the external and focus on the internal journey. There is my photographic art, of course, but primarily there are thoughts I want to pursue. Thoughts that need coaxing to come into full view. Patience comes with the awareness that there is indeed enough time to wait, to concentrate on these things rather than run away from them. Waiting doesn’t keep me busy. Busy with activities or courting distractions is not something that I have to be.
This winter has been much better than last, so far, for taking photographs of frost designs on the window panes. Today, most of the 162 photographs turned out to be usable.
I think I mentioned that I handed off the majority of my résumé business to a local writer (who is about half my age). Looking back, it’s hard to remember those first years, more than 28 years ago. Feels like I have been working freelance for most of my life. I have enjoyed it very much, communicating and working with people around the world on their job search work, academic papers, and fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. And, when it comes to decision making, there are a few special customers whose work am not giving up. Not while I can still do good work for them.
With all of this free time, I am not yet operating in a retirement mode. I go through the days feeling uneasy about not working. And while I have longed for a silent telephone, the fact that only two business calls have come in on that line since the sixth of the month unnerves me.
Ah! More later! My husband is home following the amateur radio club meeting, and it was election night. Pretty sure not all are happy with the results…even though it was a long process even getting enough people to volunteer to run opposed.
Snow falling from east
to west across the prairie . . .
winter’s blizzard winds.
Snow arrived with the afternoon, Thanksgiving Day. By the time we started out to the family dinner in the next town, the roads were slippery enough that the car occasionally slid sideways. By the time we left to return home—after dark, of course—there were more than two inches of snow on the ground, and the visibility on the roads was abbreviated.
I am glad that the brother who’s still living in our hometown was able, along with his oldest, to visit our parents. Mother and I check in and exchange notes almost every day, but it’s not the same as face-to-face visits. We would not have made it back to town, if we’d ventured out that far.
I’m glad too that the holiday is over and done with. As much enjoyment as I found in the day’s activities, I’ve still arrived at the end of the day with all energy spent.
All in all, I have so very much that I am grateful for. Life is good, and I offer up prayers of thanksgiving.
Better a late announcement here than none at all: The 2012 SFPA Halloween Poetry Reading is in place at http://www.sfpoetry.com/halloween.html. I received the following MP3 files–SFPA members reading their poems. The spooky pictures on the page were also contributed by SFPA members. (All copyrights are retained by the creators of the poems and pictures.)
“Strange Oblivion” by David Kopaska-Merkel
“Night of the Living Ted” by Dennis M. Lane
“Alone with the Astronomer Ghosts” by David L. Summers
“Nocturne” by Linda D. Addison and Stephen M. Wilson
“Democracia” by Bryan Thao Worra
“Shadows” by Chris Vera
“Escaping the Dawn” by Jacqueline West
“Persian Garden” by F.J. Bergmann
“The Attack of the Bleu Man Group” by Michael A. Arnzen
“Mrs. Winchester” by Maria Alexander
“When Zombies Go Steady” by Elissa Malcohn
“What We Didn’t Read by the Falls” by Kath Abela Wilson
“Ghosts of Purchased Flesh” by Deborah P Kolodji
The Halloween Poetry Reading, Karen Romanko’s brainchild, first appeared on SFPA’s website in 2006 (when I was still the website coder). I’ve been serving as coordinator and editor for the project since its origin.
I contributed some pictures but did not write a poem for the page, this year, but I invite you to read (and listen to) “At Allantide,” written for the 2007 SFPA Halloween poetry page. It’s been long enough that I imagine everyone’s forgotten it by now. Halloween Poetry Reading pages from previous years can be accessed by links on the current reading page.
Mexican Hat (cone flower?)
This is the plant with the small, white flowers. Prostrate — sort of reminds me of bindweed (orchard morning-glory) as far as the way the plant spreads, but of course the flowers are totally different.
Back in 1984 I took advantage of a severance package to leave my corporate job and start my own writing and editing business. I’d been with NCS for more than fifteen years, starting as a computer operator/clerk and advancing to night shift operator, night shift team leader, and then back to the day shift as regional payroll coordinator. (I had come to NCS from a computer programming job with an insurance company.) When NCS was absorbed into the regional parent company as the IT department, the payroll business was sold off, and that provided me with some options and a professional training workshop on how to write letters and résumés and look for work, as well as a year of continued benefits and severance pay.
The drought has introduced me to a nice lot of plants I’ve never seen before, and also brought to my notice some friends from childhood. I am specially fond of the yellow wood sorrel, which we used to eat in quantities when we were kids. Our father’s name for it was “sweet clover,” but it is a member of the genus oxalis.
The drought is having a serious impact on the foundations of houses and on electric service for those with underground connections. Things one had not considered during the wet years. We ourselves are going to have to do some patching, as the PVC pipes are separating from the entry boxes for radio antenna cables and such.
I just did a search on “cone flower” and came up with a photo (Ratibida columnifera var. pulcherimma “Mexican Hat”) that’s a really close match.
These are two of the wildflowers that have appeared in our yard over the time that there has been no grass to mow (because of the drought conditions). The beetle on the bindweed flower (orchid morning-glory) is a Soldier Beetle
: “Soldier beetles are highly desired by gardeners as biological control agents of a number of pest insects.” I have no clue what the white daisy-type flowers are.