Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Ah the quiet! And the sunshine! It is a glorious Christmas morning, like those I remember from childhood, only different....
No eagerness to open gifts...like when we were young, and up at 6am in our pajamas, waiting for Mom and Dad to come down...but eagerness to enjoy the day away from school (work) and obligations. Eagerness to eat a few holiday treats that we never have any other time of year (Pillsbury sweet rolls) and a day to hang out with family, watch movies, go for walks, cuddle on the couch, read...and generally do nothing.

Today I celebrate my love for my husband and our love for each other. He wants to do for me and I want to do for him. Today I celebrate the beauty of the world we live in, and the home we have made together. Today I approve of who we are today, and where we are on our journey...Warts and all.

I started my morning with prayer and meditation. Quiet quiet quiet. Blissful quiet of mind body and spirit; quieting the Monkey Mind, the Hungry Ghost and The Judge...just for today...

Hubby and I do differ in our need for quiet - he likes the TV on in the background, at all times, even when we are talking, or falling asleep...I like silence, or only the sounds that come in through a window from the woods outside. The blue jay call as he steals the peanuts I put out for the squirrels, the drip of melting icicles, even the beating of the wind - and last night it was seriously beating the house and the trees...I wondered if we would lose power, or at least a few limbs...but this morning it seems all the trees came through.

The wind is quiet, the sun is winter low, shining bright and sideways through the naked trees in the woods across the street and into our windows. Murphy and I took a short walk down the end of the driveway, around the front yard and back; Hubby was up early early this morning and has gone back for a nap. I suspect he was wrapping one or two little things for me.

The snow is melting. We have been above freezing for two days now. We had three back to back days of snow and I have drifts of snow in my yard that were up to my thigh, now I can see the grass in some places.
There are projects to do...damage to the screen porch coverings that need to be repaired, but I am giving myself the day off, I am giving myself the gift of Nothing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gratitude

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle,
and the life of the candle will not be shortened.
Happiness never decreases by being shared.
-Buddha

I got a great early Christmas gift! My college roommat and I have reconnected after nearly a decade of radio silence...well, we always sent holiday cards, but now we are writing every day and catching up and finding out we are still deeply connected. What a happy day!

I am also buried in snow and contemplating if I will try to go into the Village for a puppet show...A Christmas Carol with life size puppets....I think I will if I can get out of the driveway.

I was laughing this morning as I shoveled the paths. I have 18" boots and 24" of snow on the ground. I thought I had wasted my money on these boots...HA!

I think we got 12 new inches in the last three days...It is spectacularly beautiful.
If you don't think it is beautiful, then you should NOT live north of Syracuse, that is fo-show.

I will post some pictures later. Right now I am going to go investigate my escape options.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Double Happiness


It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a flying piece of american cheese, it's my friends the flying squirrels!!!!
They came back! I brought peanuts out to the maple tree (also known as Flying Squirrel World) on a night when there was not alot of wind or snow. I was putting them out for the FSqs because I had seen one on the tree earlier this winter, for just a moment - If I had not known of them I would not have known what I saw.
I wanted to encourage them to hang around so I had peanuts prepared. Well, I stood there for ten minutes, playing with peanuts, holding the shells in my hands and cracking them, like I used to my first winter when I met them. And before I knew it, I heard the scritch scritch scritch of microscopic nails on the bark, and saw the tiny dark eyes looking down on me, wondering if it was safe. One had come when I called!!! I couldn't believe it! The first year, he eventually came quickly and happily when I "called" by scrunching peanuts.
I stood still...my heart beating...holding my breath....my eyes wide open so I wouldn't miss anything.
I held a peanut out, leaning my hand against the tree and pointing it around the back so he would not have to come too close to get it, but it was too soon to be hand feeding. (Was able to do it the first year - even touched a tail once)
So I changed tactics, and put out a small pile of peanuts in the crooks of two lower limbs and stood still and waited....and waited....and waited....AND before I knew it there were TWO flying squirrels, not just one!
They scurried in and out, back and forth. They are so fast, it is like they pop in and out. They would stop just close enough to see and smell the peanuts but not close enough for me to grab them (not that I would...just thinking what they might be considering)
There was one that seemed brave - or perhaps was younger and more susceptible to peanuts - who did eventually grab one. He sat still for a moment, contemplating the best way to carry this enormous thing...scratched the shell with his teeth, then opened wide and carried it off like a dog carries off a bone. He ran up, up, up the tree and took a flying leap into the open air...gliding toward the ancient pine tree in the front yard. They are white bellied and the porch light shows off their white tummies as they fly. They are also square when they spread their "wings". I think they look like flying pieces of American cheese.
These wild creatures make me so happy.
When I read about them, it always says how hard it is to see them in the wild. Our local zoo has a Flying Squirrel display - don't think I was ever able to actually see a squirrel in there...but somehow I got my very own FS neighbors to come over and visit.
I wonder if they see me as some kind of benign, peanut hoarding Godzilla.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wiggle Worms

What a wonder! I have been watching the golden retriever puppies, ever since the night they were born. I tune in when I get a chance at work, I tune in when I get home. I just watched their little bodies, sleeping in a pile, twitching, snuggling, wiggling, heads lying on each other, too big for their own bodies, too heavy to hold up for very long.
Just about 48 hours old.
Life - so new - so fresh - so ripe with possibility.

I fantasize about bringing one to live with us. A new life in my home, that I "knew" from its first hours. I wish I had known Murphy when he was that new.


We sit here on the couch together, body parts touching, his warm rump, leaning against my thigh, my hand draped across his belly, breath deep and even, warm and sweet.
He makes going outside in the snow an event.
He puts joy in every walk, every meal, every nap, every road trip, every frozen pine cone and lap around the backyard.
Yes I am in love. Does it show?
This was our first night together - I was wrecked from Teddy dying (our first baby - German Shephard) and he was only 8-9 weeks old and didn't know who we were, or if we were going to eat him...
Look at that warm plump tummy...how could anyone NOT want to nibble on that?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Golden Miracles!

Puppies!
Puppies!
Live Nude Puppies!!!
I am trying and trying to stay up and watch all the babies be born. I picked up the webcast from A Striver for Sanity and here it is almost 1am and I can not go to bed till I know how many puppies Shayla has!!! I am going to have to make a clean break and just go to bed.
I will check on Shayla in the morning. Four beauties so far!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I feel satisfied when I perform some sort of manual labor that is often considered the realm of men. I am not interested in a life of manual labor. I don't lift things that require massive biceps, but I do like to know that I am capable of getting things done if I need to.
Today I awoke late! Much later than normal...not sure why, but I guess I needed the sleep. I followed that up with a cup of coffee in my favorite chair, looking out on the snow world of winter and squirrel olympics and birds gossiping about where to get the best seeds.

I enjoyed my relaxation, watching the doves and juncos pecking at the seeds, patting down the snow under the feeders, doing their little dance to dig up a morsel. The doves would fly up to a branch, they are much too big for the feeders, and they would look down on the feeding frenzy below. It has turned very cold so they were very fluffy and plump and their heads looked even smaller than usual. What really caught my attention was their color. It was like a sunset apricot...warm, pinkish, brownish, orangish...so soft and lovely.
My big activity of the day was sweeping the snow off the screened in porch, and re-stapling the plastic sheeting to the outside of the building, plus taping down edges.
I got the ladder out, and I bundled up and I made a bag of supplies that I could carry on my arm, and I got out there and fixed it on my own! I did it! I made it better, in the snow, in the cold, on a ladder!!!
I must have dropped the tape three times, and the staple gun four times. I had to go in and get dry gloves, but I did it! Without loss of limb, without a drop of blood or a turned ankle, or slipping and landing head first in the snow - I DID IT!
I just wanted to crow a bit about being a capable woman.
Life is not always easy in winter, in Northern New York, and with Hubby ill, it is up to me to make it work for both of us.
I am not ready to make a career out of climbing ladders in the snow, but I am patting myself on the back for doing it without bloodshed or resentment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fear of Falling


November Snow
Originally uploaded by Gertibird
Every once in a while, I have a flash of rapture. A moment when I feel lucky to be living in rural, wintery, Northern New York.
Last night it was cold enough to need my parka, but not so cold that my ears and nose were flash frozen...A warm night for December, in other words.

It was quiet and dark. One of the glorious things about living outside a city, or even a village...quiet and dark. Not a creature was stirring...except me and Murphy who was rolling in what is left of the snow. He just needs a little snow or ice on the ground and he is in rapture...I need to be coaxed into it when it comes to the cold stuff.
Mainly because change makes me cranky....snow and ice change your life and the way you plan and operate. After a summer of light clothes, flip flops, long days of sunshine and gentle breezes, it is hard to go back to wondering if you will have to use the snowblower in the morning....it has been hard for me to get into the winter groove again.

Some moments it is clear as crystal, why I came here. Why I can breath better here, why I can like myself more here, why I can worry less and sing more...
Isn't that all we have? This present moment?

I have become afraid of falling. I have not fallen this year, but I turned my foot when walking across some snow and after taking a step and raising the oppposite foot, the snow gave way a bit and I turned the foot with my weight on it. Not a bad injury - the pain comes and goes - probably more related to arthritis or tendonitis than the snow...but I am afraid of falling.

This present moment I am snug in my bed with my husband finally sleeping soundly beside me. My beloved Golden Retriever is sleeping heavily next to my right calf - I love that he always wants to have contact with me.
This present moment I am warm, full, healthy, loved by friends and family and free to love them back.
This present moment there is very little pain in my body.
This present moment I am right where I am supposed to be.

The culture of fear is going strong in the world, but I do not have to participate. The culture of fear sells advertising...not hope.
I prefer to learn from the seasons...everything changes and it is better to accept the things you can not change than to try and swim upstream when the river is overflowing its banks.