Monday, January 26, 2015

Day 26 - Blizzard 2015

I've lived in upstate New York for going on fourteen years. Before then, I lived in North Carolina, Kansas, Georgia, and Washington State. The most snow I've ever seen from one storm is fifteen inches - possibly twenty - which is really nothing to sneeze at.

Although winter is my least favorite season, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly jealous of the predicted "up to three feet of snow" that is supposed to begin falling on Boston, New York City, and Connecticut tonight and tomorrow. Of course, I'll likely be singing a different tune if and when the people in those areas lose power. We've been without heat and electricity during a snowstorm. It's not fun, especially if you happen to have a well that runs on electricity, a limited supply of firewood (or none at all), no generator, and five cold and cranky members of one family huddled under blankets. Now that I think about it . . . the east coast can keep their three feet! I'm satisfied with a lot less.

To all my friends in family in the path of Blizzard 2015, stay safe and warm! For everyone else wishing for snow, here are a few of my favorite photos by which to vicariously freeze.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Day 25 - Duped

It occurred to me the other day, as I was opening the door for the hundredth time in an hour, that I'm possibly being duped . . . by my dogs. During warmer months, we often leave our back door open so Chloe and Carly can come and go as they please. When it's cold, however, they're constantly ringing their bell to go outside. And once outside, they bark. They bark at each other (Chase me!). They bark at the deer in the woods (This is my territory!). They bark at the kids and chickens in the neighboring yards (What are you doing over there, huh?). They bark at sticks and leaves and wind and . . . seemingly nothing at all. 

Chloe is our three-year-old black lab and can appreciate the nip of frigid weather. Although she likes to run and bark and play like any other dog, she also loves belly rubs and napping by the fire. Carly is our one-year-old black lab/boxer mix. Like any little sister, her main focus is playtime. It doesn't matter much to her if it's below 0 degrees outside or that the wind is bending the trees backward. Carly has things to do. C'mon!

So when Chloe barks at the back door on these cold winter days, "wanting to come inside," Carly stands on the other side, refusing to budge. No amount of whistling or "Carly, come!" will get her to actually come, despite the training. So in an effort to get her attention, I have lately resorted to saying the T-word (treat), which in retrospect probably wasn't a good idea. I'm convinced that now the girls are co-conspirators in this game in which Chloe, ever the good dog, minds her commands and comes inside, upon which she gazes at me with hope and longing in her brown eyes as Carly stands stubborn and immobile until I break down and eventually say the magic word: "Treat!"

But now I have figured it out. I'm on to them. Oh, yes . . . I am on to them.    

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Day 24 - George Lucas

Teen: "We should name the rooster George Lucas." 

Me: "George Lucas?" 

Teen: "Yeah." 

Me: "Do you even know who George Lucas is?"

Teen: "George Lucas is a real person?" 

Me: "Um . . . yeah. You've heard of Star Wars, right? He created it."

Teen: "Oh. Well, I just thought George and Lucas were interesting names. So . . ." 

Boy, giggling: "I think we should call him The Metal Cock. Now that's an interesting name." 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Day 23 - TGIF!!


With the setting of the sun, the week is finally over. While it wasn't necessarily a difficult week, it was nevertheless exhausting. But now we have burgers, beer (adults only), and mindless TV to numb our senses to the demands of daily life. Me? I'm looking forward to donning a pair of warm, comfy pajamas and laying my head against a soft pillow. 'Cause that's how I party.   

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day 22 - Cayuga Nature Center

My son and I visited one of his favorite places today, the Cayuga Nature Center. He loves it mostly for the animal room, and to a lesser extent the trails and treehouse (we're both a bit afraid of heights). I enjoy it for its serene and beautiful setting. Although we usually visit during the summer months, there's something especially nice about going on a crisp winter day, especially when you've got the run of the place. 

I took many photos today, but here are some of my favorites. I've posted the first five to my Instagram and Twitter accounts if you care to give them a like or share. Also, all of the following animals pictured here, plus more, can be sponsored. Most of these animals, by the way, were surrenders and are now used strictly to educate the public. 

Foxy Daisy waking up from her nap.

the six-story Tree Tops treehouse

curved steps & bridge

Tree Tops tree house

this turtle was about to get a bath
Dalia and Jobe, and either Groban or Celine
in the background - I love these birds!

Cami the blue-tongue skink

Mort, I believe.

Mort and . . . Jasmine? Or maybe Gui?

Koosh the ball python

snake skeleton

Sherwin, I think.

Jake with one of the Very Nice Staff
and Sherwin




Daisy saying "cheese"

Captain and Padma

requisite photo with
the stuffed bear

Bella the boa

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Day 21 - Lessons (Not) Learned

Pistachios. I love them. Unfortunately, they don't love me. Consuming just a handful gives me a raging headache and abdominal cramps to rival labor pains. And yet I continue to eat them because I think, just maybe, this time will be different. Sadly, I have yet to learn my lesson, even though I know better. 

In fact, I have other bad habits I can't seem to break despite knowing better: 
  • letting laundry pile up as high as Mt. Everest instead of taking time to deal with it daily
  • approaching dinner with a "wing it" attitude instead of formulating a weekly menu
  • allowing my desk to get messy and cluttered instead of investing five minutes to clear it at the end of the day
  • "forgetting" to floss every night instead of flossing on a regular basis 
  • not exercising enough while eating whatever I want (pistachios) instead of treating my 37-year-old body like it's the only one I have
The list could go on, I'm sure, but I think five bullet points is enough!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Day 20 - Unexpected Surprises

While picking up my daughter at school today, I came across this little gem staring back at me from the Bright Red Bookshelf. Showing it to a friend, I explained how it had been one of my favorite books as a child. It was one of a few my grandmother kept stashed away in her kitchen drawer of treasures, along with coloring books, nubby crayons, and various other items of wonderment that only a kid of a certain age would find fascinating. The nostalgia this book provoked upon seeing it this afternoon was visceral: I could feel the paper of the coloring books, worn thin with multiple layers of crayon; I could smell the distinctly mellow and comforting scent of Crayolas; I could hear my grandmother chatting away to me as she rolled out biscuit dough, dabbing the middle of each one with a thumbnail of margarine from a plastic yellow tub. 

I'm not sure exactly what it was about this story that I loved so much. The animals are at a beach party, and much is made about the available cookies, cakes, and pies. I certainly have a sweet tooth, so it's quite possible I was simply living vicariously through these fictitious characters (in much the same way that one of my favorite parts of Harold and the Purple Crayon is when he lays out a picnic of all the nine different pies he likes best). But it was the two pages pictured above that I remember staring at as a child, thinking surely that the cub should be able to get his paw - plus the six cookies - out of that darn jar, if only he tried hard enough. I even found a jar of my grandmother's one time and tried a similar experiment. It couldn't be done. My closed fist was too large for the mouth of the jar. I suppose the bear could have simply removed the cookies one at a time, eh?

I very nearly returned the book to the bookshelf for some other child to enjoy but selfishly kept it for myself at my friend's urging. The book is inscribed: 

"Merry Christmas 1967
From your Sunday School Teacher
Mrs. Berdine Eells
South Riverside Baptist Church"

Coincidentally, South Riverside Baptist Church, if it is, indeed, the same one, is located in Wichita, Kansas . . . which is where my grandmother lives. 

How this book ended up in Ithaca, New York, now forever in my hands, is a mystery.