Numbah 99!

Holy cannolli, one more day to go!

Today’s post is going to be a short one. The last three days have been uneventful. I’ve continued on with internal purging, done some reading, contemplated signing up for a ‘free’ online workshop that promised to pinpoint my ‘blockers to success’, and done some actual, physical purging, as well.

So, a good three days, in my opinion.

Spring is taking her ever-loving time in arriving in our province this year.  Especially up here in Fort Mac. It’s mid-April and still not a blade of grass is to be seen. The trees are just barely starting to bud. The river is still frozen, though the surface is unstable and you can see  wet patches once the sun is high.

I have never seen Spring break-up, so I am very curious about it. Fort McMurray puts out public service announcements regarding the break up of winter ice on the rivers, warning of the dangers of flooding and how to prepare for an emergency situation. It’s really quite something. Until I witness it for myself, though, I guess I just won’t understand.

I’m planning to take pictures every day as the river changes. I’ll post some of them here. Here’s the first:

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April 13th. From our 7th floor balcony looking out at the Clearwater River.

There are five rivers that run through Fort Mac – the Athabasca, the Clearwater, and Horse, Hangingstone and Christina Rivers.  That’s a lot of water to be surrounded by.

This could get interesting.

Wednesday, August 22nd — a lament for the end of summer

So, this is my last Wednesday of summer holidays.  Tomorrow will be my last Thursday and Friday my last. . .

. . .you get the picture.

I hate that summer and summer holidays have to end.  I live for summer, it’s my time of year.  Spring and Fall are nice, Winter totally sucks (except for the occasional beautiful day), but Summer, when it has been as fabulous as this one has (and even when it hasn’t) is the best season of all.

But it saddens me immensely when it’s over.

I guess it’s the kid in me, not wanting the endless days of sunshine and fun and warm, soft breezes; barbecued hamburgers and corn on the cob; walks to get  ginormous ice-cream cones from the local ice-cream shop; the sound of kids on bikes and frogs in ponds; hawks circling high overhead, their piercing calls cutting through the heat-faded blue of a summer’s afternoon; the bone-shaking rattle of thunder, and lightning so bright it makes you wince in wonder and fear; the soft patter of rain on a sultry summer evening — the sense of relief and joy that bit of cool respite brings;  flowers in the garden; tomatoes fresh and warm off the vine, their juices running sweet down your chin as you bite into them whole; family gathered on the deck laughing, eating, drinking; beer in coolers; wine in fancy plastic glasses; all of this and more — I can’t stand the heartbreak of it ending.

But, end it must.  Like Arthur’s Camelot it is but a brief and shining moment.  A moment that will sustain me through the long wait for its return.

Here’s a sampling of images from summers past and present:

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So, it’s a New Year. . .

. . .  and, as always comes the resolutions.  This year, like last, I’ve resolved to not make any.

There, that’s done.

Now, onward.

As it is a new year, however, I can’t help falling into the trap of looking back and wondering what I can do to improve myself, or make better use of the life I have.  Therefore, I have come up with the following ‘to-do’ list, or perhaps ‘want-to-do’ list, might be a better way of putting it:

1.  Each day, do one thing that makes me happy — this could be to write a poem, take a picture, read a book, help someone in need, write a letter (a dying art, and one that I’ve tried numerous times to revive), post a blog, watch a silly sit-com (How I Met Your Mother; New Girl), visit the art gallery, take a walk in the sunshine, play a game with my grandkids, there are many, many things that make me smile, make me happy — I need only do one a day to keep my balance.

2.  Stay true to my goals — this means WORK on my novel.  I did not spend an entire month of my life writing like a fiend to just let those 50,000 words grow mold.  It also means focus less on work and more on life — at 53 (damn near 54 years of age)  I have come to the realization that work, though necessary, is not the keystone of life.  Life is.

3.  Read a book a month.  I love to read.  Really love it, almost as much as writing.  But, for the past 5 – 10 years I have not been reading as much as I once did.  I have let work, and work-related obligations, my unrealistic expectations of myself and what it means to be ‘successful’ take control of my life and my time and have, sadly, let reading slip away.  I have a small library of books that I’ve been given and that I’ve purchased just sitting collecting dust.  No more!  I will make friends with reading again.

4.  I will waste time looking through home renovation and decorating magazines.  And I will watch HGTV from time to time.  I love reading about ways to make your home beautiful.  Though I may not do any of things I read or watch I can gain excitement and grow enthusiasm from them, and who knows?  Maybe, just maybe I’ll find something that sparks my creativity.  I used to be quite creative  — stencilling tables, walls, furniture, painting old chairs, sewing dolls, making things out of wood — I would love to find that in me again.

5.  Start crocheting again.  Once upon a time I used to crochet all the time.  Over the past 15 years all I’ve done is buy wool and patterns.  Those materials that I haven’t donated or sold at garage sales are sitting in baskets and in cupboards.  The basket of wool makes a nice, ‘homey’ decoration in my living room, but, really, that wool would make a lovely shawl or scarf.  For me.  Ha, ha!

6.  Paint the bedroom my grandkids stay in.  It is such a hideous space right now.  Plain white, ugly grey accordion closet doors, makeshift shelves Tim put up shortly after we moved in.  I envision lovely sky-blue walls with billowy clouds on the ceiling.  I would replace the plastic mini-blinds with a venetian shade and light, cottony curtains.  I would remake the closet into a toy closet and add a small bookshelf for the books I’ve started collecting for them.  It would be a space as delightful as they are.

7.  Become a better, more accomplished cook.  It’s funny.  I’ve always liked cooking, but as I’ve matured I have come to love it.  I’ve always collected cookbooks and recipes — just ask my husband who is constantly telling me there is a better way to organize them than in the one cupboard and two drawers where I have them stashed and stuffed — and I like nothing more than to sit on the floor with recipe books and cut-outs spread all around me reading through them for inspiration.  I invested in a Kitchen-Aid food processor this Christmas — fantastic sale at London Drugs on Boxing Day!  Can’t wait to put it to the test.

8.  Develop a system for keeping my office neat and tidy and actually follow it for more than a week.  ‘Nuff said.

9.  Dream more.  Plan trips I might never get to take.  Fantasize about money I’ll most likely never have (the current Lotto Max commercial?  That’s me and Tim.)  Imagine a bright future for my son and his family in which money, stress and worry is non-existent.  See Tim and I living ‘down east’ temporarily like we’ve talked about ever since our motorcycle trip to visit my brother and his family in Dartmouth, NS.  Actually getting to meet Stephen King and blubber on to him about how great I think he is and how his writing and his life have inspired me.  Be short-listed for a writing prize or award.

10.  Organize my photos!  My lord I’ve got gazillions of them.  Digital cameras are wonderful, but the hundreds of pictures I’ve downloaded that never get erased, shared or printed is ridiculous.  So, I have decided to become ruthless.  And actually take the external hard-drive I bought for storing my pictures on out of its package and use the damn thing!

11.  Exercise regularly.  I walk a lot, but not nearly enough.  Once upon a time I used to walk for at least an hour every day, now it’s a half hour 3 – 4 days a week.  I have a treadmill and free-weights that I barely use.  I will endeavour to use them at least 3 times a week.  Yoga starts again on the 16th.  I bought myself a good mat and am determined to start doing a few exercises each morning before work.  This sounds exhausting.  Don’t know how successful this ‘to-do’ item will be.  Perhaps I’m just getting lazy.

12.  Blog at least once a week, but not more than twice a week.  Trying to blog everyday had become a major source of stress for me.  I was comparing myself to many other bloggers, some of whom post two to three times a day.  In my job I don’t have the time to blog (I’m rarely sitting at a desk) and, even if I did, my employer would not take kindly to me using my work time for personal pursuits.  I’ve tried blogging during my breaks, but that never works because I take my break in the classroom and there are always others in the room and you know what that is like.  No concentration, constant interruptions, etc.   Mornings are too rushed and in the evening, well, if I’m going to work on my novel I need the time for that.  So, once a twice a week it will be.

13.  Visit other bloggers on the days I’m not blogging.  There are so many fine bloggers out there, many whom I’ve subscribed to and yet I can’t seem to keep up with visits.  Currently, my email has over 400 notifications in it, none of which I’ve checked up on.  Two-thirds of these notifications are from bloggers I subscribe to.  I feel terrible that I never get around to reading half of what enters my in-box.  There is a ton of great writing there, I just know it, but I simply don’t have the time.  So, I will read what I can, when I can and comment accordingly.  The blogging world is made up of some of the most amazing, understanding people in the world and I know that this will be fine with them.  And really, it’s only just me.

14.  Worry less.  I used to joke:  If I don’t have something to worry about, then something must be wrong.

15.  Say “I love you” more often.  Such a simple thing, and yet, so often forgotten.  I want the people I care about to know it.  Saying those three little words is all that is needed.

16.  Thumb my nose at 2012 Doomsday predictions.  I read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy a couple of years ago.  It affected me more than I thought.  I have carried a seed of dread in the core of my being ever since finishing it.  I have allowed it to grow and it has spread a noxious weed that has tangled itself throughout my being.  It’s time to yank it out and burn it.  Better to believe in present day examples of the good of humankind when disaster strikes rather than some imagined apocalyptic  horror.

Well, that’s it.  My list of things to do this year and beyond.  I’m printing it off and placing it near my writing station.  On a wall, where it won’t get lost beneath a mountain of paper.  Now wait a minute, what number does that come under?

 

Prairie sky!

Thought I’d share a couple of pictures of a beautiful prairie sky.  I missed it at it’s absolute most beautiful point — the sky was a deep magenta and the air was filled with the most gorgeous light.  I rushed home as quickly as I could and got a few shots off before it started fading to orange and yellow.  Still beautiful. . . but wow you should have seen it before!

Tuesday Evening — well, actually it’s 9 o’clock

Well, I ‘m just about done for the day.  Gonna go watch something saved on the PVR with my husband before calling it a night.  Was a busy day.

I joined Curves today.  Hopefully, paying for exercise will actually motivate me to do it.  I’m finding that walking in the morning just isn’t enough to keep the pounds at bay.  (I suppose if I kept away from ice-cream, that  might help, too.)  Huge sigh.

Right now, I’m so tired I can barely think straight to compose this post.  And yet. . .

. . . I’m going to stay up another hour or so to watch television.

How crazy is that?  Let’s just say it’s our ‘quality’ time.  That’s what happens once you hit your 50’s — you and your partner (I hate that, by the way) sit apart in a large room and stare at a large TV screen (because he had to have the biggest, don’t you know) and then you turn it off and fall into bed without really having said anything at all to one another.  It’s all so middle age-ishy.  Maybe that’s why I’m so tired.

Enough of that.  When I stepped outside this morning I took my camera (my little Sony Cyber shot) because I’ve been visiting this site: Granny1947’sblog and she is amazingly funny and amazingly talented with a camera.  I like that she posts a photo each day, and so have become inspired to do the same.  Call me a copy-cat, I don’t care!

Anyway, here are my early morning shots of Bon Accord, as the sun is just coming up, and then about a half hour later at Lake Bon Accord, or more properly, the slough.

Hope everyone has a good sleep.

ttyl