Friday, December 31, 2010

Bloggers Just Have to Change Templates

With so many other bloggers changing the look of their sites this past year, I was beginning to feel left out. It is time to experiment with a new look for 2011. You know females. It is likely that I will change my mind half a dozen times before I settle on something. But, this will do for a beginning. You may see quite a lot of new construction and clean-up in the next few weeks—maybe months. Hey, I'm slow at this stuff. I hope you will bear with me as the dust flies.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy 2011

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May your New Year be filled with undreamed of happiness.

Here's to your health, wealth, and tons of smiles. And, may you be fortunate enough to recognize every blessing, large and small.

More of Life with a Puppy

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Galen is over nine months old now and looks all grown up. But, make no mistake, he remains very much the puppy. Thanks to his peculiar quirks and boundless energy, he fills our house with life and joy.

Some days we feel guilty about his having been stuck with what The Husband refers to as "two old fogeys". We can't help wondering if he would be happier with a couple of energetic youngsters to chase. My surgery appeared to be hard on him—lots of days at doggy day-care along with strange new rules of interaction when we were with him—left him a bit confused. But, he seems to have bounced back none the worse for the ordeal. His resilience and love of life's simple things is inspiring.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Simple Things

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I have always loved mums and daisies. I am taken with their simplicity and down-homeness. (I know there is no such word, but perhaps there should be.) These flowers never fail to make me smile. I love them in any color, but the white ones connote even more of a clean, almost spiritual goodness—like the feeling I got as a child seeing clean white sheets drying on the clothesline behind the little wood frame house where I grew up. Is there anything better than a gentle breeze transforming sparkling clean sheets into fluttering alabaster banners sailing jauntily over a sea of green grass? As I grew older, I thought so. Now, I know better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

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After yesterday morning's gloomy, maudlin piece, something a tad more upbeat seemed to be in order. A few hours after that post, I dusted off the G7 to fiddle with it a bit and this view was too tempting to pass up. Yes, I know that the photo isn't exactly cheery; but, we had already seen sunshine for several hours by the time the clouds showed up. While that much sunshine may not sound like big news, this is not something we have taken for granted the last several weeks. It has been a wet fall and winter, so far. Sunshine is rare enough to be deeply appreciated. By later afternoon, these clouds formed in the west. Promise of another night of rain, perhaps.

Sometime back, Monte Stevens admitted that he is not real big on winter temperatures. Monte, we are cut from the same cloth. Some days I wonder what on God's green earth I am doing living in the mountains, for crying out loud. We have months on end of cold and wet weather that is fit for neither man nor beast.

Of course, the primary explanation for why I live here is that I have a husband. Yes, in marriage compromise is essential—but almost never ideal. The Husband, you see, was born and raised in the frozen northeast. Poor thing doesn't know any better. I, on the other hand, was raised in God's country—central Texas. (Unfortunately, I have to admit that summers there are nothing to write home about. Ahh, nothing is quite perfect. Not even Texas.)

Wet and cold as it may be this year, when the weather begins to get me down, I remember the positive elements of living here and almost always decide that the trade-offs are worthwhile. There are plenty of reasons to love living here and, even in winter, we frequently have some gorgeous days. Just not enough to suit thin-blooded me. I am encouraged by the fact that we are in agreement about putting the old RV to good use, next winter. Even The Husband has had it with gray skies and rain. While I probably won't be up to it this year, I should be travel-ready by 2011 and rarin' to go. Perhaps, we'll spend some time in Arizona and get a break from old man winter. Looking forward to that—even a year away, makes dealing with this mostly gloom a little less onerous.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Good Intentions and Where They Often Lead

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Of course, I intended to post something special with a Merry Christmas wish to all. We can see where those intentions landed me. While I contemplate the sad way I strayed from the better path, I am reminded of another aphorism: "Pride goeth before a fall." I hasten to add there was no literal tumbling to ground or floor involved. This, alone, is reason to be grateful. Instead, I have been forced to reevaluate my capacity for recovery. I recall that in a particularly cheeky mood while in the hospital, I even said to someone: "I have recovered from seven major surgeries in my life. I think I understand this process fairly well." Hah! Lesson learned: never underestimate the toll the passing years take on our strength and resilience. Yes, I know it's been less than two months since I left the hospital, but....

As if these lessons were not enough to digest, I am reexamining my original determination to avoid writing about my recovery. I imagined myself limiting my posts to cheery notes about interesting things going on around me and leaving my feelings about being incapacitated to the imaginations of any interested enough to contemplate my progress. Alas, I lack the energy, imagination, will...whatever. My days are long, yet the weeks fly by. I long for the activities I had come to treasure: long morning or evening walks with camera in hand; hours lost in processing photos and endless experimentation with shooting techniques or immersion in Photoshop tutorials; frequent blogging and a vigorous web conversation.

Instead, long fights with boredom, depression, pain, and hopelessness are punctuated with glimpses of ambition, determination, and optimism. Change isn't always easy. Aren't we peculiar creatures? We long for adventure, resist sameness and repetition yet, all too often, we balk at new developments in our lives and flail about in futile attempts to reconstruct what was when what is proves uncomfortable.

Our Christmas was extremely modest and quiet. It began with the sunrise pictured above, was propelled along with wind gusts of up to 30 mph throughout the day, and ended with a torrential downpour. We had the beef and vegetables in the crock pot by 8:00 AM. Then, before 9, I had the fresh bread in the oven. While the wind roared, I stayed tucked inside where the fireplace cheered the great room. Mostly, I amused myself by alternately watching sticky sweet and predictable Hallmark movies (odd that they they all have almost exactly the same plot) and marveling as backyard and patio items were tossed about by the wind gusts.

All in all, it wasn't the best Christmas I have ever had, but it was a long way from the worst. I hope yours was merry and memorable for all the right reasons and I wish you you the Happiest ever New Year!