DST

20161214_170837This past weekend the time changed. We “sprang forward” an hour and all week I’ve felt like my rhythms have been off kilter. I’m one of those people who don’t like daylight savings time. I think we have enough to deal with in the separate time zones.  I wish we could just pick what time it’s supposed to be be, and leave it alone. What would happen if we only moved the clocks ahead 30 minutes? Or 15? Or none?  What happens to airplane schedules in Arizona where they don’t recognize DST?

The thing is, just when my sleep rhythms were starting to synchronize with the sunrise someone changed the clocks and I’ve been struggling to wake up on time for work all week.  I’m sure this will be short-lived and soon either the sunrise or I will settle back into a routine.

I like the light. I like the dark, too. Like many people, I see my energy levels increase in the summer and I always feel like I could get a lot more accomplished in a single day. In the winter I feel energized because of the cooler weather and probably the inclination to go to bed earlier so I get more sleep. It’s kind of a shame that we the people have had to impose our own nine-to-five time structure onto things, don’t you think? But here we are.  In a couple weeks I will have adjusted, the sun will be up just a few minutes earlier and all will be right again.

Until then – Bring on the COFFEE!!!

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Hesitation

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Feels like my brain went on vacation and didn’t want to come back. I don’t think I can blame it on Christmas. I wasn’t particularly busy. In fact, I went out-of-town for Christmas weekend, so I didn’t even cook.  New Years weekend was a lovely 3 days off with no plans or events, so as you can see – I have no excuses. In December I worked. In January, I worked.

In the process of dealing with year-end paperwork the question of vacation time has come up. This was the year I was going to make another journey back to Wyoming. Originally it was just a plan to visit again without letting so much time go by but then my friend there reminded me of the solar eclipse in August. As it turns out, the path of the eclipse goes directly over Jackson Hole (my destination) and we begin thinking about how that could work.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, Jackson is literally the southern entrance to Grand Teton National Park and thereby, Yellowstone. In the best of years the traffic and crowds are intense in the summer but this year it’s going to be something all together “more”.  I’ve been seeing advertisements for months about places to stay and things to do while coming for the eclipse.

Although there are several reasons aside from this, I have been rethinking this trip and I don’t think it’s going to happen this year. Maybe next spring. The thing that struck me though was that the crowds and busyness didn’t even used to be a part of the conversation. But NOW the whole idea of all the people and plane schedules and traffic just sounds extremely stressful and unappealing. My friend reminded me that I would be staying with her and we know Jackson so well that it would be easy to avoid the thousands of people everywhere with eyes turned towards the sky. This is true, but it’s not really the point. Restaurants, stores, roads and especially the parks will be jam-crammed full to the gills.

But why do I hesitate?

I think it’s a combination of age and depleting energy. I see this in myself more and more when I think about a perfect vacation – or even a perfect day. I visualize quiet and peace and space.  Breathing room, not excitement and adventure.

Do our preferences reflect our age, or does our age dictate our preferences?

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed a considerable diminishing of energy. I know that most of this (for me) is related to health issues, but not all. I think my age and my life experience just make some things sound not-so-exciting any more. Overcrowding anywhere doesn’t strike me as a good thing. I haven’t been to the mall in a couple of years.

The whole idea makes me a little sad. I miss the fearlessness of that 30-year-old I used to be. I’m not convinced more energy would bring her back and for now this is how I view the aging process – with sadness.  Maybe if I could gain back some of that missing energy it would be enough to help me approach aging with fierceness instead.

I love reading about young women today who are taking back themselves – becoming wild women – strong and fierce and full of life. I love that they are working in the first half of their lives to be brave.  They are relatively young though, and I can’t help but wonder about the sustainability of that kind of energy. It’s possible, of course. My friend was just telling me about a woman she knows who is climbing mountains at 70, but I think this is the exception. (I hope I’m wrong.)

Is “slowing down” just natural?

There are so many conversations to have about this, but I think it boils down to finding a compromise between acceptance and making a decision to try a little harder to feel a little better.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with my preference to avoid crowds and noise. I’m pretty much of an introvert anyway, but I would like the choice to come from a place of thought rather than exhaustion.

To be clear, I’m not talking about giving up and just laying down to wait for death to find me. I’m talking about the gradual shifting of energy and perception and life-style. Is it OK to slow down? Is it OK to tone down? If not, why not? If not, who says?

What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

No Pressure

20161128_201112Thanksgiving came and went quietly……….. quietly. It drifted in with a thick damp fog and passed with the same stillness. I spent a contented few days at home curled in the warmth of blankets and hot drinks and woolly projects and seasonal movies. I felt very still myself and for that I was thankful.

The past few Thanksgivings have seen the Oldest Child make the trek down from points north. We would fill the days with traditional dinner and movies or football, and the weekend with fun events.  This year, however, she is in a new home and spent a happy weekend with friends and busyness and running here and there, and I was happy for her to be able to do the things she wanted to do.

Long ago I went through a time when obligations took over the holidays. There could never be any variations in the plans, and no matter what may have been going on elsewhere, I was not allowed. There was only one place where I spent holidays. Looking back, I’m glad to have been where I needed to be, but now, with my grown children, I want them to know that they ARE allowed.  They are allowed to make the best holiday plans that they can. If travel comes up – I want them to go. If a binge of parties are offered, I want them to accept.

I’m lucky, because I know I am invited.  I know there is always a place for me if I want to jump in, and for that too I am thankful. I also know that if a time comes that I want to travel, or take advantage of invitations, or, as was the case this year, stay quietly at home and catch up on some much needed rest, that I am allowed.

20161128_200813I love my girls; I love spending time with them and I love spending Holidays with them, but we all live busy lives and the one thing I don’t want is for our special days to be clouded by a cloak of obligation that could easily morph into a burden.  How Blessed are the times we spend together because we truly want to be with one another! How fortunate that as my adult children gain in years and experience that we also grow in friendship!

Living from the heart – living from a place of love is really what I wish for all of us this Holiday Season.  I hope your days were joyful and blessed. I hope that the places you went or the people you were with were met heart to heart. I hope the days to come will be magical.

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Season-ing

20161106_083553The season is upon us. Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is only a week away. The November super moon has had it’s moments and we are moving toward winter and the solstice. Have you ever thought that it’s odd that winter begins only when the days start growing longer?

It’s been an odd Autumn where I live. I’ve talked about the weather this year – from hot to cold and back again. We’ve had our first frost,

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and yet we’re in the middle of another warm spell as I write this – 78 today again before dropping into the 40’s this weekend. The trees, while turning little by little, seem to be really struggling this year and many have just turned brown. Some had color until that first frost a few days ago and some still do but the grass is still green. 20161115_132126

20161107_180457I’ve had this little Christmas Cactus for many years now. It never seems to get much bigger (I probably need to re-pot it) and it has always bloomed for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. It has also never had more than one or two blooms per year. Back in the summer I managed to remember to look up the care and feeding of these little plants and come August, I stopped watering it. I didn’t put it away or do anything unusual with it besides the lack of water. Just before Halloween it suddenly sprouted little buds all over it’s wee self.  Although it is not impressive by many standards, I felt like this year it was a gold metal winner. 20161112_234711_001

There’s not much going on for the holidays here on This Side. Thanksgiving promises to be a quiet and restful long weekend. I have Friday off work, as well as Thursday, and I will be staying close to home. I’m afraid I’m not one of the Black Friday shoppers. Years and years ago I tried it once – but it didn’t take and I’ve avoided it ever since. Good luck, though, to those of you who are brave enough to get out there. I admire your stamina. Christmas will be spent with the Oldest Child in her new home and should also be a lovely time.

Here’s hoping we can all be Grateful and Happy for the Holidays and always. We’ve still got a few weeks to go, so let’s be kind and respectful to one another. Let’s enjoy the sparkle of the lights and the beauty of the carols and the Peace of a peaceful season.

One Horse Open Sleigh

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Approximately 28 years ago my Aunt gave me a sleigh. Not such a strange gift at the time since I had horses and lived in Wyoming where the winters are snowy. This little sleigh, a “cutter,” had belonged to my great-grandfather Koenig, from Freeport, Illinois.  For a few years the sleigh got some use but then there was a move and there were no more horses and it was carefully covered and stored away.20161102_092141 For a brief time I considered trying to sell it, because my children would simply be storing it also and probably selling it anyway. I came up with a better idea.

A few years ago I contacted the Stephenson County Historical Society to see if they wanted it for part of their collection in the local museum in Freeport, and they said, “Yes, thank you.”  My only problem was that I had no way to get it to them. After a bit of back and forth, they were able to find someone willing to make the five hundred mile journey to come pick it up and today my beautiful little cutter sleigh finally went home.

Along with the sleigh, I sent my great-great-grandfather’s bible,20161026_191030

My other great-great-grandfather’s tin plate and fork that he carried on the boat when his family emigrated from Germany in 1842,20161030_101647

My great-grandmother’s silver dresser set,20161102_145058

A copper and wooden nut tray made by my grandfather and a set of his 1916 field guides.

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I had a family who saved things and many of those things have fallen to me. On my mother’s side I can trace roots back at least five generations and I have little bits and bobs from each one. While I don’t still live in the same town or any of the same homes, it’s a comforting thing to know who and where I come from. I have lots of things for my children and I hope that they will appreciate their rich and interesting history as much as I do.

I admit I was a little sad to see the sleigh and the other things go, but how can I be unhappy when ultimately they will be taken care of and cherished for years to come? Years ago my family was a part of Freeport, and these things were a part of them. I have memories of the place and the lifestyle and some of the people that my children will never know. I’d like to think that someday they will make journeys to that lovely little town and learn even more about their history because it won’t be many generations before it is forgotten. Things are just things in so many ways, but some things have stories to tell and are worth preserving.

Do you have cherished items in your life? What do you tell your children about them?

Autumn Signs

20161003_192323October!

A time of quiet moons and baring branches. A transition into the chill months.  Here in the middle the days are pleasant and slowly cooling off. In my beloved mountains in the West, the snow is clinging to the town hill, as you can see in this photo sent by my friend Lorrie:img_26981

At home the white pumpkins have come out of hiding again and the orange cloth has made it’s annual appearance.

 

 

I love Autumn best of all the seasons. It’s full of anticipation.

Flying By

Wow!  This month has gotten away from me. One day turned into two weeks in no time.

I went to visit my grandson who turned 12 this month.  We had planned on dinner and a movie and roller skating, but on my way there the Oldest Child called to inform me that the little guys had just won a football tournament against the “Unbeatable Team!”  All was excitement and plans were changed to an impromptu barbecue at the coach’s house.  Good times while the boys played and ran and hollered all afternoon and into the evening with the boundless energy that defines twelve-year olds. Next morning we were off to church and lunch and then I headed home. A quick turn-around, but always fun.

On a sadder note, on the way home I got word that my ex-husband had passed away. This was sad because although he was an “ex” for very good reasons, I have always thought of him in connection with some of the best parts of my life. Wyoming – ranching – horses – river rafting – golf – good friends and lots of good times. We parted on good terms, and though I never did, I always knew he was someone I could call if I needed anything.  Where do you mourn when you’re an “ex”?  In truth, we haven’t talked in at least 5 years, but it was a very sad moment, none the less.

20160926_181924After that I filled some time with a surprise root canal – always good for a few laughs and a day at home on the couch. I managed a little knitting and put buttons on the reworked red baby sweater, wrote to a friend or two and spent part of another weekend watching the just-released new season of Longmire on Netflix.  Yes. It’s true. I’m a groupie.  I’ve been a fan of Craig Johnson’s Longmire Mysteries for many years now and they have been turned into a TV show, first on A&E and then picked up by Netflix. Let me just put in a plug here – Johnson’s writing style is beyond excellent and I highly recommend the books if you haven’t tried them yet.20160926_182812

20160926_182011On the home front, the bird feeders are not emptying out like they were. See? Late afternoon and not a single bird. Seems we’ve hit the time when many of the little feather people are leaving for their winter homes.  Bye-Bye, Birdies. I haven’t seen a robin in weeks, and even the cardinals have slowed their feeding frenzies. They actually stay for the winter, as do the chickadees and a few others, but where do the robins go on their annual migration? Does anybody know?

 

Last week marked the first official day of Autumn on the 22nd, but to me, Autumn always starts on September 1st. If it’s September, it must be fall, right? Unless you live on the other side – then it’s Spring.  I say let’s get the pumpkins out, light a few candles, and run outside to jump into some leaf piles!   Who’s with me???