Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Keeping track of time again…

We will be on the road starting tomorrow to find some warmer weather, but for now, I will finish my year in review.

July was uneventful except that our daughter Carrie had her 30th birthday.  Where does the time go?  Otherwise, we just rambled on like usual. This photo is apropos of nothing except that Carrie and I both like butterflies and it was taken in July.

In August, Greg and I drove north through New Hampshire with a stop to drive up Mount Washington, through Maine, through New Brunswick, Canada and onto Prince Edward Island – a place I’ve wanted to go for a very long time.  Then we came home via Nova Scotia, then Campobello Island and Maine where we stayed a couple of nights with our friends Linda and Brian.  A good trip all around.

Looking out over the lake in Brian and Linda's back yard.
We got lucky with a loon siting right at golden hour.
Aside from the fact that I consider Opening Day of Baseball as the true New Year Day, my year usually really begins in September.  I get busier with meetings and such.  This year was no exception.  But we had some fun, too.  Our neighbors, the McGuires, had a great pool-warming party and that doesn’t mean we all stood in their pool and peed.  It was a beautiful, mild but cool night and a wonderful gathering of neighbors and friends.  But only the kids went in the pool.

This is Walker Pond, not the McGuire's pool.
October was uneventful except for the gorgeous autumn leaves.

I started physical therapy in November for a sciatica problem and though I faithfully attended all sessions and did the exercises, I didn’t get any relief that was long-lasting.  So I was feeling a bit off-centered and old in November.  But we had a very nice Thanksgiving with the kids at a local restaurant and I continue to feel very thankful for so many things in my life with the possible exception of compressed discs in my back that my doctor says is “normal aging.”  Oh, well…

Now, here we are at the end of December and the end of another year.  My mother’s health continues to decline and another good friend has been diagnosed with cancer.  News of the world does its best to try to push me into despair.  But every day, I witness human kindness, small and grand, and it gives me hope.  I’ve been watching out my kitchen window seeing the birds, squirrels and chipmunks going about their daily business.  I think that they know more than I do about the resilience of our Mother, the Earth.  And in our inevitable way, we will join the birds and squirrels and Chip and Dale in going forward into a new year to witness the wonders and splendors of the Earth, small and grand.

My hope for you all as we enter 2015 is that your joys outweigh your sorrows on every count.  Blessed be.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Keeping track of time…

The older I get the harder it has been for me to keep track of what happens when, so a few years ago I began this habit of looking back on my year in pictures as the year ends.  So bear with me please as I go back through the first six months of 2014.

In January, Greg, Olive the pug and I decided to leave the winter weather behind and travel south to Texas.  The Polar Vortex followed us into Alabama but after that we had comfortable weather and truly enjoyed spending two weeks in the great state of Texas.

These photos will tell all there is to tell about our February.  It was cold and snowy.  But isn’t that the way February is supposed to be here in the northeast?

March was a study of contrasts for us, starting the month in the snow of New England and ending up the month in sunny, warm St. John USVI with our good friends Dona and Bob.

Spring came to us in fits and starts in April.  But come it did.

And here's one of Olive the Pug just for good measure.

In May, our son Evan moved out of the house to start a new phase of his life in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Transitions like this are inevitable but it doesn’t make them easier.  We have gotten used to just seeing Evan now and then just as we have with our daughter Carrie.  Greg and I went to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox near the end of the month and received our very own World Series rings.  We watch practically every game, so we felt we deserved them.  But as history has now recorded, we know that the Sox went from Worst (2012) to First (2013) back to Worst in 2014.  Such are the joys and sufferings of the true baseball fan.

In June, daughter Carrie and I took a road trip from Massachusetts to Ohio to visit my family and to see my mother whose health is beginning to fail rather precipitously.  It was good seeing everyone.  I also finished my Flickr 365 Project.  I took and published a photo every day for a year.  Some days it was easy.  Some days it was hard.  But I didn’t miss a day from June 25, 2013 to June 24, 2014.

To be continued...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Blessed be...

The perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of this time of year is a trip to Magic Wings in Deerfield, Massachusetts.  I went yesterday with my daughter Carrie and her friend from her camera club, M. J. to take a few snaps of the butterflies…

M. J. snapped this one of me and a friend.

We enjoyed the cheer of the bright flowers.

When we left, it was golden hour, which this time of year might better be called “golden fifteen minutes.”

This morning we woke to a dusting of snow.

Winter Solstice Chant

Children of the Earth,
we have come to sing to each other,
Sister to Brother,
songs of our Mother Earth.

Children of the Earth,
Autumn soon will breathe her last breath and
quick will her death bear
witness to Winter’s Birth.

Children of the Earth,
can you feel the air getting cold as
darkness takes hold and
sleep covers Mother Earth?

Children of the Earth,
we have come to sit in the darkness,
breathe in the silence,
think of our Mother Earth.
~Phillip Palmer

A peaceful Winter Solstice to all of you.  Blessed be.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good Snowy Fences...

Here are a few fences I snapped while I was driving around in the snow last week...

The snow gives them a little pizzazz, I think.

Linking up with Theresa's Good Fences!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fading back in…

The weather was so abysmal here last week that the whole world looked black and white…

Yes, both of these photos are in color...see what I mean?
One had to look pretty closely to even glimpse a little color.

I’m not really complaining since all the rain we had could have been snow and the snow we had was minimal and very pretty.  But all the dreariness left me in a bit of a funk.

Still, it never lasts forever and by Saturday the sun was shining again and even the squirrels seemed to pause for a minute to enjoy the mild weather.

And as I drove by Quaboag Pond on Sunday, I noticed that the pond was a bit frozen in spite of the beautiful weather and the gulls were lined up on the ice like they tend to do.  I think that’s funny behavior and I always like to stop and chuckle a bit at them and wonder what in the world they are thinking and how they decide who is going to be first in line.  So that's what I did.  Lost in thought as they were, they paid no attention to me, of course.

They did make me think that it’s time for me to get my gulls in a row and start blogging again.  I have some catching up to do and I need to get started!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Good Fall Fences...

"There is no fence nor hedge round time that is gone.  You can go back and have what you like of it if you can remember."
~Philip Dunne

Technically, fall isn't over yet even if it might feel like winter here most days.  And I happened to remember that I have fall fence pictures languishing on my hard drive so that's what I'm going to post today.

Linking to Theresa's GOOD FENCES!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Black and White Inspiration…

My daughter tagged me on Facebook to do a Black and White Photo Challenge a little while ago.  The challenge was to post a black and white photo every day for five days.  When she first tagged me, I simply didn’t have enough time to get it done.  I wasn’t spending much time with my camera or my computer except for mostly “work” related things, but I put it in the back of my mind and determined to get to it.  And I did and will post the five photos today.

When I first saw the tag, I kind of cringed internally because I really didn’t have time for it, but ultimately I was glad for the tag.  It got me out with my camera and thinking about what to do during this kind of difficult time between fall and real winter when things outside are rather dull.  I have found over the years that if you look hard enough, there is always something interesting to be seen.  But the simple practice of inspiration is often not that easy to come by and a little push is appreciated.

So starting in January (or maybe before), I think I might embark on a Fifty-two Week photo project.  Problem is I am not sure what theme I want to go with.  I did one a few years back when I took a Purple Monkey with me everywhere and got him into all sorts of situations.  He’s here on my Flickr site.  But what to do next…  If you have a suggestion, I’m more than willing to consider it.  Meanwhile, I am going to do my best to not let the hype of the Season get me down.

Yes, I'm bad at math, but I do know there are more than five photos here.  There are a couple of rejects amongst them.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Let the craziness begin…

1.  I was sorry to see in the paper this morning that author P.D. James has passed away.  I have been reading her books for years and have found them intelligent and enjoyable.  She was 94 so I guess it is not unexpected, but it’s always sad when the world loses a great mind.

2.  I have been inordinately busy and I’m getting kind of tired of it.  And I’m saying that while heading into the busiest time of the year.  Bah humbug!

3.  We had our first real snow of the season on Wednesday.  The traffic here was so bad on Tuesday that I have to think that people were leaving early to avoid the weather just to get stuck in all that traffic.  It made me feel good to stay put.  We have avoided traveling this time of year as much as possible opting for our small family gatherings and dinner out at a local restaurant.  Works for us.

4.  Our Thanksgiving was quiet and easy.  We went to dinner in town at a place called Avellino.  We went there last year, too.  I smell a tradition in the making.  I like it there.  The service was good but leisurely.  I appreciate not being rushed through a big meal.  And, most importantly, the food was good.  I am truly thankful that I didn’t have to cook yesterday except for breakfast of bacon and eggs.  And the eggs came from a friend who has chickens.  Nothing like the color of farm fresh eggs to brighten the morning.  Another small thing to be thankful for.

5.  Guess it’s time for a vacation one of these days.

Linking to Tanya's Willy-Nilly Friday Five!