Sunday, November 29, 2020

Not Decking the Halls Yet

I think Rick and I would chalk up this year's Thanksgiving to being high at the list of the worst! The night before I got  message from my doc that after only 48 hours, my heart monitor had already started to indicate A-fib, which was distressing. (If anyone reading this has it, I'd love to chat with you.)  After the impacted ear wax, the lung stuff and sinus headaches that never leave, it was just too much.

 But TG morning started out so well. I made stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries; we had rolls and dessert good to go. Rick brought over the turkey breast.

But sometime during cooking my back went into -- what? Spasm? Something pinched?  Pain.

By then I could hardly move. A family phone call was a break in the action, and we watched "The Crown" for a while. But when I tried to move it took 15 minutes to get about six feet. 


Then the turkey got done before everything else was. We thought we might eat in shifts. But after munching on shrimp and cheese while watching more elaborate dinners at Buckingham Palace, neither one of us were hungry. And I was in too much pain to even take a picture of the table.

Eventually Rick got me put to bed and the next day I was able to get into the doc. It seems that it's a muscle spasm and for a while I am grounded, mostly on the sofa. No decorating for this kid.

But soon!

Friday, November 27, 2020

Late November at the Ditch

We had a Thanksgiving to remember and I don't think I mean that in a good way. Please forgive me if I don't answer comments soon or visit as I'd like. (But not Covid!) Meanwhile....

I don't often visit the Ditch at sunset, especially to walk, but sometimes when driving by I can't resist stopping. It's a different place. The ducks begin to fly in and congregate. It's quiet and the reflections dazzle.

It's much different in the daytime when you can see what is going on. Quite a few deer seem to hang out on the island but I'd never seen a buck until this walk.

He was quite far away and my zoom isn't what it used to be, but he seemed very comfortable in his woods.

It's probably the safest place for him to be. It's deer season here in Michigan!

I haven't seen many birds there of late -- until two large flocks of cardinals flew in, landing high in the trees.

It wasn't quite a murmeration, although it might have been if they'd landed at the same time. These berry-laden trees seemed to be quite the popular destination.

There are legends that cardinals are good luck or visits from those who have passed.

I just know they are beautiful.

Ihope a few of them find their way to Lizzie's feeder!

 I leave you as we began, with a different sunset, a different day.

On to December!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Giving Thanks

On Thursday, the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving, honoring the the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies when the Wampanoag Native Americans shared their harvest feast with the colonists. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day in November.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt officially set the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving in 1941.

In most years the holiday is marked with televised parades and football and a massive celebratory dinner with family and/or friends. This year's will be a little different. As Covid rages throughout the country, wise Americans are limiting their celebrations, perhaps only having household members at the table.  It's the right and smart thing to do. But it is different. And for many, a big adjustment.

As we are giving thanks for the blessings of the year, many reflect on the personal or collective issues for which they are grateful. And yet for many, the day will be touched by the grief of loss of a family member, a good friend, or even the family pet. Yes, loss is rampant in our world today, not only through death but through the loss of things we took for granted -- loss of a job or family income, the ability to travel without additional nervousness or being able to hold those little grandchildren in our arms are several of the many losses that come to mind.

Still, there is much for which I have to be grateful this year and I will share a few of those things. At the top of the list is a supportive partner in Rick who has taken great care to protect me in these challenging times. For many months and with few exceptions, he has been my only ongoing human, face-to-face contact. I do not take that for granted.

I am grateful that despite a few nagging issues that will be with me forever, I am still healthy. I guess by that I mean I don't have Covid. So far, at least and each day I pray never. We have heard the stories from friends and neighbors who have had this disease and it has touched Rick's family with two of his relatives who fortunately are still here. Yes, grateful for safety.

I can't leave out how thankful I am for a talkative cat with a big purr who needs me because she doesn't have thumbs. She's a constant companion and yes, we talk to each other.

Grateful for a home that is warm and the resources to buy food and things I might not just need but want. For a cottage where I could hide away and isolate this summer and still feel somewhat normal. And for little things like cable and a computer and telephone. Things that keep me in touch.

Then there are the friends and family. Human contact -- even if it is on Zoom or twelve feet apart in the yard. People who care. I cannot imagine my life without the wonderful friends who have been part of it -- both in "real life" and online -- and that means you!

I am grateful that the administration in our country is turning toward a more mature, responsible leadership next year and one filled with hope as we look toward repairing relationships around the world. This will not be easy and it will not be fast, but I'm confident that things will improve. I am so thankful for developments that promise a vaccine soon, and for the amazing men and women who so selflessly serve in our hospitals, doctor's offices, grocery stores and so very much more. 

I take nothing for granted. We've seen how quickly life can be taken from us, how circumstances out of our control can change a world.

Every day I am grateful simply for the fact that people I love -- and that I am still here.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Just Real Life

 The birds are chowing down at the feeders and in the yard lately. We haven't had snow here yet in mid-Michigan but it has been brisk and they are bulking up! I should have bought more seed!

I'm not seeing a lot of action at the Ditch lately (although someone in our neighborhood posted the most remarkable photo of a buck on the island in the pond). But I did note this most beautiful cardinal.

The cardinals are one of my favorite birds. We have them year round but they are less visible in the foliage. Once the leaves fall (and then snow!), they pop right out.

It's been an expensive month. I had to have a crown (and repeat visits before because the temporary crowns kept falling off!). Then new glasses. And I really am not sure I like them, though I'm getting used to them. They're a little bigger than I thought! (It's hard trying on glasses with a mask!)

I've also been going through what I call for lack of a better term "ear water boarding" for impacted ear wax. I'm hoping the third week will be the charm. I have realized how much I value my hearing. 

I brought out my Campbell Kid dolls. I'm sure there must be loose doll shoes hanging around in the basement but I wasn't about to go digging. No one but Rick and me will see them.

They used to have little hats which might be around here somewhere. They were often used on Stimpy because -- well, it's hard not to put a hat on a cat.

Even harder to keep it on.

 Yup. Just real life these days. And glad to have it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Thanksgiving - Just Around the Corner

Today as I was getting my shopping list together for Rick, I asked him if we were ready to decide what we wanted for Thanksgiving this year. It's just the two of us. No big pilgrim feast this year.

We decided we could wait till next week but it started me thinking about bringing up the turkey plates, planning the dinner, albeit a small one, and just about the holiday in general.

I don't have a lot of cute turkeys or other Thanksgiving-specific decor, just a few bits. But I do have a lot of vintage postcards.

I use them in decorating. Just a touch here and there.  Here are a few ideas and some cards to share for your use.

Just right-click to save the ones you like on your computer. Then print them on card stock and tuck them into a wreath.

 Tuck one or two in your holiday centerpiece.

Or use them as place cards on your table. It doesn't matter if there are ten of you or two of you, or even if you're dining alone.

If you're bringing dinner to a friend or neighbor or some sweet treat, tuck them in as a greeting.

Use them as a "What I'm grateful for" game at your table or on Thanksgiving Day. Just write your gratitudes on the back (and don't forget to save them!)

This Thanksgiving will be hard for those of us who are apart from families or dear friends. And if not hard, different.

Some of us may have had final farewells to people we love in this past year. We may know others who have fought or are still fighting Covid or another possibly terminal disease. We must be grateful for what they brought to the table in years past.

And, if we are well, grateful that we are here. Celebrations matter. So does gratitude, which can help us through really tough times.

So, here's to celebration. Every day matters. And Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to remember the good things, even when the remembering might be  a little hard. Take care and stay well.

Friday, November 13, 2020

On the Home Front

Just a few odds and ends of life these days! We are well into November, a month that is bringing extreme numbers of Covd to states throughout the country. Locking down? You bet -- whether there is a mandate to do so or not.

Birdiferous calendar by Kate McNenly

But I've still had some lovely walks to the ditch and am enjoying the tail end of beautiful color (which is pretty much gone now -- these pix were from last week.)

But I just want to hold onto that magic!  I'm going to miss this beautiful walkway when the branches are all bare.

The squirrels are out in full force!

Lizzie had her vet visit with Dr. Anne and with it a clipping of massive, talon-like nails. (The secret to getting out alive from this is Lizzie's mask. Works wonders.)

She's much better to be around now! No accidental scratches.

I made my apple bread in my Nordic leaf pan. I loved how they turned out.

I leave you with a little more color, a bit more magic.

 Within a few days there may be snow and certainly colder weather.

But life is good and I'll hold onto that for as long as I can!

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Our Happy Day Out!

We needed a day out. I've been so on edge about not seeing the Toddlers and their parents  for such a long while -- especially when it's unlikely we will see them during winter holidays unless it's just a pass-off of gifts. outside.  So, on a gorgeous, 70+-degree day and after a lot of serious thinking, we hit the road.

I had some guidelines -- outside only, we would wear masks, we'd keep distance from the adults and try to keep above or behind the kids.

And there was plenty of sanitizer available. 

Fortunately, with toddlers who love to swing and are very short, that part was pretty easy.

 I think we spent the bulk of the afternoon pushing little guys! And I loved every single second as they went higher and higher!

Well, till Rick invited Little Cam onto his lap for a story. But I couldn't object!

I will say, I was better in the mask department than Rick!

 I had some small lunch boxes and a little red cash box I brought for the boys and they had fun playing with them.

Carson knew that the little thing Rick gave him to go into the box was a coin but he learned a new word -- penny! (the brown one.)

He modeled his mask for us and even kept it on quite awhile. Our little Superguy!

It was an afternoon of fun and of giggle, of smiles! 

And we needed those smiles. We needed that sense of almost-normalcy. 

These little guys are spending their earliest years in a situation no one planned -- parents who now work at home and are scheduled to till next spring, less contact with friends (although they are in daycare a couple of days a week.)

And for us? Too much time without being with others and so much more to come. I missed the hugs. But I got the smiles.


They'll have to hold us for awhile.

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