Friday 30 December 2016

New Year's Eve, A Day Early.

I've been waiting since I started this blog back in March to write this story.

It happened one New Year's Eve, perhaps four or five years ago. A snowstorm had been forecast, and as the day wore on, the forecast proved to be right. Huge snowflakes began to fall, quickly covering the ground and starting to pile up.

We are not party goers, so New Year's Eve was just like any other evening for us. My husband was snoring in front of the TV, and I was on the computer reading blogs. As the evening wore on, I looked out the window into our back yard to see how the storm was progressing.

And there, in the dimness, I saw a large deer standing at the edge of the yard, her back to the trees, with the soft, heavy snowflakes drifting down around her. It was a scene straight out of a Christmas card.

As I watched, things became more interesting. A much smaller deer materialized from the side of our yard, approached the large one and they touched noses for several seconds. Then the little one ambled off again to graze on our shrubs.

By this time I had become more alert, and noticed a second small deer to one side, and as I watched, it, too, approached the large deer, touched noses, and was sent away to graze some more.

I watched in fascination as these actions were repeated several times over. The large deer, which I have to think was the mother, didn't take a bite for herself. She stood as still as a statue, and was soon covered in snow, barely visible. But she kept sending her babies back to eat more, somehow sensing that the coming weather would make it hard to find food for an extended period, and trying to store up food the only way she knew how - in her babies' bellies.

I left the window for a reason I can no longer recall, and when I returned, all three deer were gone.

I thought of them over the next three days as we experienced one of our more severe snowstorms in the recent past. It took that long for our street to be plowed, and until it was, we could not leave our yard, the snow was so deep. It was undoubtedly hard for all wildlife to get around and find food, and it still hurts my heart to think of that mother's devotion and the struggle she and her little ones must have had for weeks after that storm.

Every time we have a heavy, soft snowfall - and every New Year's Eve - I remember that mama and her two babies.

And that is my New Year's Eve story, a day early.

Okay, people, haul out your sturdy little imaginations, because this is NOT a photo of the three deer in our back yard but with just a few minor changes in your mind's eye it will suffice. First, take out the steps, the lights and the benches. Then add a large deer and two small ones, a few half-eaten rhododendrons, and the distant glow of the streetlight that lives in front of our house. There! Isn't that lovely? Thanks, Pixabay, for coming through for me yet again.

Happy New Year, friends. I hope 2017 treats you well.

Do you have a favourite New Year's Eve memory you'd like to share? I'd love to hear it. 

Monday 26 December 2016

Too Much Pie? Maybe.

Just a quick post to say that I feel like a stuffed

because I ate too much Christmas

among other things.

I'm thinking I'll just chill out and

and when I wake up, it will be time to go buy some new

No no no no no ... not a new dog, new PANTS :)

I hope your celebration was excellent but somehow magically does not require new pants.

Until next time ...

... I'll just stand here - a donkey in a pie-induced fog - until things are clearer.

(All photos courtesy of Pixabay.)


Friday 23 December 2016

The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Only two more sleeps 'til the big day!

There was some pie making and gift wrapping and list making going on here last night, and the long and short of the matter is that I blew in the door later than usual to post this Christmas note to my bloggy friends. And in the interest of full disclosure, there is a dusting of flour on my person, sticky tape on my sock, and yet another visit scheduled for the grocery store.

Fortunately, my sore foot has improved greatly in the past few days. My only problem while shopping was that my socks kept creeping lower and lower in my boots. But after the pain I'd been having, I LAUGHED in the face of ill-behaved, creeping sock lumps in my boots, and smiled happily at my fellow shoppers. They became somewhat wary, and kept their distance, but that wasn't such a bad thing given the time of year.

I'll leave you with a picture of the happiest little tree in our neighbourhood; it positively glows. It's my favourite and I'm so delighted each year when its owners get it all gussied up for another Christmas.

I wonder how many lights are on there?

I hope you all have a happy holiday, whatever name or shape it takes, and I wish you peace and contentment as you slow your life a little, or a lot, to enjoy the season.

Happy Merry Jolly, my friends.

Monday 19 December 2016

Not Reindeer Games, But Fun Anyhow

When our children were growing up, Santa left a game for the family under the tree every Christmas.

Prior to children we had already acquired Scrabble, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit.

After the kids came along, Santa added Bingo, Dominoes, Tri-Ominoes, Yahtzee, Traverse, Scattergories, and Balderdash, and others which I can't name now because they were passed on to other children . I always wanted Sorry and Clue, having played them elsewhere, but they never made the grade with Santa.

There's one children's game I will never forget, though -- Hungry Hungry Hippos, which has to be in the running for the world's noisiest game. Players must depress a lever to make their hippo reach forward and gobble up as many marbles as possible. It was a lot of fun, but it was a terrible game if anyone had a headache or was trying to sleep or just wanted a bit of peace and quiet. It was easy for little players (and maybe bigger players, too) to get carried away smashing and crashing to get the most marbles.

If you haven't heard of it before, here's what you were missing:

Don't be fooled by those well-behaved, firmly seated, dainty-handed children in the ad. That was just a ploy by the manufacturer to get parents to buy it.

I was glad when the kids outgrew HHH, but, strangely, I have fond memories of playing it with them. I'm sure they probably argued over it sometimes, but all I remember now is the laughing and giddiness.

We still play Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit on occasion, but the rest of the games sit untouched in a chest.

Are you now - or have you ever been - a fan of board games? Do you have a favourite, whether it's from childhood, young adulthood, or currently? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday 16 December 2016

Catching Up With P. Donkey

On the menu today is ...... hodgepodge.

Not this:

(Image is taken from the website in the link just below)

... even though it is a delightful late summer vegetarian meal made with fresh vegetables and cream ... (you can find a traditional recipe here) ........

... but, not that kind of Hodge Podge.

I meant a hodgepodge of topics.

Here we go.

1. If Terry Stynes, who wrote The blog of Treey for a few months recently, is reading, or if anyone who knows him in real life is reading, would it be possible to let his fellow bloggers know if he is okay? Just post a comment below.

 Terry took his blog down after suddenly announcing his final post. I know that in one way it is nobody's business but his own what happened to make him take that decision, but in another way we are a social group just as in real life and it is alarming when someone disappears.

 Despite the stroke that left him in a wheelchair and unable to speak, Terry was an articulate person online, and opened more than a few eyes to the challenges of those in his situation.Terry, you were one of us, and I for one miss your observations on the world.

2. The probable cause of my foot issue is severe plantar fasciitis, and after six weeks of exercises, heat, massage and TENS (like electrocution but less deadly) it hadn't noticeably improved. So the physiotherapist suggested shock-wave therapy. It's like a mini-jackhammer, and is used to break up scar tissue and calcification by rapid-fire hammering on the sore spot and inducing "good" inflammation. I now know why it's called "good" - because for the 48 hours after treatment, when the inflammation was present, the pain went away. Unfortunately, after that time it came back. But it will take a series of four or five treatments to see if it's going to help long-term.

 Has anyone out there had this treatment, and if so, how did you get along with it?

3. We've been getting a variety of precipitation here the last week and a half. Snow/rain/snow in wildly fluctuating temperatures is causing slush/snow/ice on everything. The good thing about it is that all the white reflects the light and makes things merry and bright. The bad things, and note that I used the plural there, are bad driving, soggy outerwear, damp feet (I may need new boots), the extra time it takes to clear ice and snow from the car before any attempt to drive, and the shovelling. Other than those, it's fine. Bring it, winter. We laugh in your face. Or we would, if we weren't so tired from all the extra work.

4. My much-anticipated-or-perhaps-more-accurately-much-feared haircut turned out well!!!! Yes, it takes four exclamation points to express my happiness. I should have switched stylists long ago. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. It could really have gone either way. (Actually, it didn't start out very well. I showed up a day early and caused several people, including myself, to sweat out of proportion with the frigid temperature. It was my mistake - I read my calendar wrong - and I'm just terribly happy that I was early, not late.)

5. Only nine days until Christmas, if you celebrate that. The oncoming train of stuff to do that I wrote about in October  is right behind me now. And possibly right behind some of you. To refresh your memory, that train looked like this:

... up close and coming fast ...

 A wise woman I know once said, "Why are we always so surprised that Christmas has arrived? It's not like it's on a different date every year. And yet ..."


6. Steve, who blogs at Shadows & Light posted a link to an article titled Obama Reckons with a Trump Presidency the other day, and I'd like to share it here with anyone who hasn't yet seen it. It's a lengthy piece but well worth the read if you're interested in or worried about the results of the American election. President Obama is an intelligent man, a thinker, a measured speaker and a father, and I was heartened by his views and comments, and by his advice to his own two girls. Thanks for pointing out the article, Steve.

I think I've successfully emptied my brain of all the stuff that's been rabbiting around in there since Monday.

Speaking of rabbits, and who doesn't love an adorable bunny wabbit, here's a picture:

Wait a sec ... this Arctic Hare looks too worried. Not the look I was going for. Let's try another.

That one looks like a donkey! Highly appropriate, but still not what I had in mind. Third time lucky, maybe? ...

 Yikes ... that poor thing appears to be suffering from mumps ... moving right along ...

 Eep! Too much eyeliner!!!

Okay, FINALLY, this is what I was picturing:

 He/she was almost certainly the model for Peter Rabbit in Beatrix Potter's fine stories. All he needs is a little blue coat.

Hope your weekend is a good one.

(Photos and graphic courtesy of Pixabay, except the Hodge Podge photo, whose source is indicated in the caption.)

Monday 12 December 2016

The Guilty Party

Well, that was convenient.

I had decided not to post any more videos from my beginner camera because once they are uploaded here they are so small it's hard to see what's happening in them. And if I use the zoom feature when taking the video, the texture gets grainy.

But (whiny tone) I really, really wanted to share videos without spending a boatload of money on new equipment, which I have no intention of doing.

Then I caught a deer chomping on our rhododendron bush today.

(The same rhododendron bush which hasn't had a bloom on it for years, because the deer eat the leaves and buds off every winter. Rhodies are evergreens that keep their leaves for the winter and set buds for early spring blossoming. They are to deer what cheese-and-cracker packs are to kids (and me) - two compatible foodstuffs conveniently packaged in one container.)

The bush is quite near our house, so it was easy to get a very close-up video without using too much close-up button on the camera. I won't be able to tell until this post goes live if this is an improvement on previous videos, but I hope it is. If not, I'll have to decide if I'm game to use Youtube for my videos instead. (Using my one brain cell for learning new technology - ewww!)

Goodbye rhododendron. I'm sorry, but the deer have to eat something. And our town just passed a bylaw forbidding residents to set out food for wildlife ........ but they never said anything about growing snacks for them .....

If you have the sound turned on, you may hear one of our cats purring, and near the end the clock is chiming ... just so you don't worry that you're hearing things, if you hear things.

Here is another video, even closer:

I don't think this is one of "our" three deer that often visit. While driving through our neighbourhood, I have occasionally seen a single deer making the rounds. The one in the video here has stockier legs and a somewhat shorter face. And he was all alone for over an hour in our back yard, first eating, then settling down for a rest, then eating again. You can see one of "our" deer up close in that post I linked to just above. Our three always travel together; as I've mentioned, I think it's a mama and her two spring babies. Perhaps "our" deer includes a fourth now.

A photo for those who don't like to click on videos:

He looks a bit like a donkey. Hmm. Purely coincidence, I assure you.

Update on my last post ... the sun came out less than twenty-four hours after I posted, and it helped lift my mood, thankfully. I'm taken aback to be so affected by the gray skies after spending my whole life not minding them. Thank you to everyone for your kind comments and helpful suggestions. It must be a very hard thing to deal with depression on an ongoing basis. I've had a glimpse, a mere blink, relatively speaking, and I feel more than ever for all those who struggle.

Friday 9 December 2016

The Post That I Should Not Have Written

Procrastinating Donkey has been doing some pretty good procrastinating lately. Especially when it comes to writing blog posts.

And once it gets within three hours of my regular posting time, any tiny seedlings of ideas that I might have had earlier in the day or week suddenly wither and die from being looked at with a panicky critical eye, or else they shuffle with surprising haste out the doorway of my brain, waving their tiny undeveloped leaves in farewell.

I actually started a post that might turn into something good but I had to reacquaint myself with the facts so that it would be a post I could be happy with, but the facts involved watching two 90-minute videos and reading a huge Wikipedia entry so I ran out of time to finish. 

So then I was going to write about how I'm still not back to walking, because just as my hip and back issues were getting worked out, I started having trouble with one of my feet, and I need to be stingy with how much I use my feet so that I can get through my normal day without disabling pain in that one underperforming, structurally unsound foot, and that leaves no room for walking for either exercise or pleasure. And also I'm re-gaining the weight that I lost last spring. But I don't feel like talking about it, because someone is sure to suggest swimming as an alternative form of exercise, and if there's something I would less rather do to burn calories and get fit I have no idea what it would be.

Then I was going to write about how I'm noticing a drop in my mood, which is very unusual for me, and how I'm vigilant about mood because there's a good bit of depression in my family, although I've escaped it so far, luckily, and so I make sure to try to figure things out, and that the only reason for it that I can come up with is the dreary, gray-brown landscape of early winter, and that I'm also thinking that my reaction to that colourlessness is somehow springing from the same awareness that made me see beauty in the other seasons, caused by taking photos when I started blogging. Which is really unfortunate, and I'm not sure the awareness of beauty can offset the blah feelings caused by awareness of the current drabness. I suppose it will depend on how long and how deep this mood dip turns out to be. But I don't feel like talking about that, either, because it's kind of boring for other people and kind of scary for me.

And then I was going to write about how I feel like I don't have any energy and I'm always rushing but getting further behind and how my videos, which are fine when I view them on the computer, somehow turn puny and grainy when I use them in a post, rendering useless a number of posts that I had planned, and I can't get out to walk to take any more photos  - but those things are also complainy, and, worse than that, they are first world problems, and that makes the complainy-ness even more self-indulgent.

And to be even more self-indulgent, like there's some kind of prize or something for being petty, I was going to write about how my haircut person for the past year has been, shall we say, unacceptably inflexible in her cutting methods and not particularly open to suggestion and on top of that lacking in customer service, so I decided not to return because I was dropping quite a bit of money on those appointments with poor results, and then I had to find a new hairstylist and that process strikes terror into my heart, because of my hair type and my pickiness and the fact that my hair is one of the few features I think works in my favour, appearance-wise, but then I asked a co-worker for a recommendation, so, at least for the moment, that problem is taken care of ... but watch this space for possible meltdowns after my appointment because, yes, I am that dependent on good hair days, and that admission does not make me happy, but I can't seem to be happy with bad hair either.

So I'm just going to stick a picture in here and call it a day, and wish you all a merry weekend, with hopefully some love and some good food and some endorphin-producing exercise (or chocolate, or wine) to go with.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. You've done your good deed for the day, or indeed perhaps for the year. If I was Santa, you would definitely be on my "nice" list. Heck, you're on my "nice" list even though I'm just a donkey.

Three guesses which peg person I do NOT feel like this week - and the first two guesses don't count. Photo by Pixabay, a reliable source of Donkey photos and apparently just about any other photos, too. These peg people, or whatever they are called, are so darn cute I'm trying to figure out if I have the artistic skills to reproduce them for next year's craft sale. I have a hard time drawing faces, a fact I know absolutely but have not yet fully accepted when it comes to crafting. What a ridiculously silly thing to be persistently optimistic about, when there are so many other things I could use that optimism for.

Monday 5 December 2016

Monday Better Be Better

It's been a sort of "blah" weekend, with nary a blog inspiration in sight.

I feel at loose ends, kind of blah myself, and need some distraction.

So, doggone it, I'm resorting to again, this time with ... dogs.

 I hope that once the week gets underway, I'll once again feel that gravity is worth fighting.

Friday 2 December 2016

Goodbye Autumn. I'll Miss You. But I've Got My Art To Keep Me Warm.

Like so many places in the northern hemisphere, we've had our first snow of the season. In fact, we had a couple snow events one after another.

Unlike many of those other places, we did not get an unbearable amount of snow. But it was wet and it was heavy and it made the roads very slippery.

In this photo we had just received a dusting, and it was late, so everything is kind of grey and colourless. But it has its own kind of beauty, I think.

But just before I turn my thoughts too far toward snow and ice and cold, there's something I need to do.

I need to have one last look at autumn.

The reds

The yellows

Sunrise on a cool morning

Birds flocking in the trees (those black dots in the bare branches). If you click on the picture it should get bigger and hopefully make it easier to distinguish the birds from the leaves (the leaves being the brown dots).

Different day, more birds flocking ... they're getting ready to go south.

I just like this picture. Repetitious, I know.

Those birds are a noisy bunch. They swoop down on lawns, peck bugs out of the grass, chatter to each other. I'd love to know what they're saying. These pictures show only a small part of the flock that was around that day.

And last of all, just before I wave goodbye to colour until, say probably April or May, I want to show you one more thing.

I already posted this picture here:

When I took this shot, I had something in mind.

From Grade Primary to Grade Six, I attended a rural two-room school. We had one teacher for Grades Primary to Three, and a different teacher for Grades Four to Six. In the "Little Room," as we called it (Gr. P to 3), we had Art class every Friday afternoon. I looked forward to it so much. It was a break from the 3Rs, and even though my artistic talent was confined to my baby fingernail, I loved to mess around with paint and chalk and collage materials.

Here is one of the pieces we did in Art class. It is a sponge painting of "Woods in Autumn" - the teacher showed us how to take a small square of sponge and different colours of paint to create what we felt were masterpieces. With the advantage of a few decades of experience, I can see mine was not nearly so; nevertheless, I hold this and all the other little pages in my art book close to my heart.

I'm guessing I was about seven or eight at this point in my art career. Penmanship was never my strong point either.

I'm saving a post about our teacher for another day. She was a remarkable lady and deserves her own space.

Here's the cover of my art book, by the way. We used a potato stamp (really) to make the pattern of circles.  You can see how I started every line with a load of paint on the stamp, and kept grimly using the same paint to the other side, growing fainter and fainter!

Apparently, my scissors skills were on par with my painting and penmanship!! Just look at that label :)

This isn't the first thing I would grab if I had to evacuate our house (people and pets would be first, of course) but it's irreplaceable, to me, and would be a serious contender for top five.

How about you? Did any of your childhood creations, in or out of school, survive the years to the current day? Did you create something that you can't bear to give up, that says "I did this, and it makes me happy to look at it"? Or did your abilities tend toward activities and games and such?

As I may have mentioned at some point, I was neither coordinated nor competitive, so my achievements did not run to sports or teams ... but if yours did, please tell me about it. Or maybe you were what we called well-rounded, you lucky devil - good at everything! Tell me that, too :)