Weighty Books and Horsey Looks

Clump #179:  Send son list of book titles.  Day four of the 30-day, 30-post Bedroom Blast Challenge. Mission: clear out our son’s bedroom before he returns home and deposits more stuff in there.

I sent our son an email listing all 44 titles from the box below so that he can decide what to keep and what to give away.  I added that I would not mind a bit if he wanted to let go of any I had given him.

Continue reading →

Be Here Now

Clump #115:  Wind down Christmas present list.

I couldn’t do anything right today.  I was reminded of a mom from our neighborhood where I grew up.  She had just come from a tennis game, and my dad asked her how she had played.  She shot back (with a slight southern twang), “I couldn’t hit a pea into the Grand Canyon!”

The photos I took on the way to see my mom today were notable in how many I managed to blur with my finger over the lens in the upper left corner.  What was my problem?!  Here’s the goose with the incredible wardrobe, looking jolly (note the white beard!), and my finger:


A lovely shadow drama played out on the side of a house, marred by sloppy camera handling:


Believe it or not, this pair was part of a cute grouping of snow people making up a happy scene.  The other photos of the group suffered from poor lighting; this one somehow managed to appear sinister:


And the stain on this sidewalk looked like the ghost of a Christmas tree:


Oh dear.  The lack of closure on my Christmas shopping is getting to me.  There were other horses in the field below who looked interested in coming over, but then they turned and walked farther away.  Maybe the horses and I are all suffering from sunlight deprivation.


Here was the same scene last Spring:


Ahh … Spring!  Sometimes savoring the present moment is not easy at all.

I was turning over in my head today the wonderful comment I received about yesterday’s post featuring the Thich Nhat Hanh quote (from his 2014 calendar): “Our practice is always to go back to the present moment, to the here and the now. Only in the here and the now can we touch life deeply.”  The commenter referred to it as a “reminder.”  I usually think of sage wisdom as something to take in.  But I began to realize the best wisdom is truly a Re-Minder.  Something we already know, that we need to bring back to our mind from deep inside.

When you “touch life deeply,” “in the here and now,” amazing things happen.


Like seeing a polar bear leap from a mound of snow.

Horse Sense

Clump #86:  Wrap more presents; make dining room reservations; reconnect with gift list.

Today I reminded myself how easy it is to get a few, or even a big clump of tasks done early for the holidays … and then fall into a false sense of security.  And then … AHH!  The days have dwindled down.  Emails, catalogs, and flyers are blaring the words “There’s Still Time To Order,” but what you had in mind will be more expensive with extra shipping charges, or is no longer in stock and back-ordered into the new year.  I might have to have this little talk with myself a few more times before the end of my 30-day, 30-clump, 30-post: Project Enjoy Christmas challenge is over.

I did get a few more gifts wrapped and written on The List, which was a good memory jog for other things I still need to do/buy.  Remember, remember!


One item on my to-do list that felt checked off was reserving space in a private dining room where my mom lives for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.  I had called the woman — twice — who helped me out last year, but no answer. Was she afraid to tell me someone else had beat us to it? Yikes!  So today while visiting, I made a point of asking in person.  Turns out the woman I spoke with last year is no longer working there.  Finally, the job is done and a big weight is off my mind.

Visiting with my mom is such a delightful experience.  She is compromised in ways common to people her age, but she has the greatest attitude.  Her favorite thing to say, about anything, is “Wonderful, wonderful!”  I really hope I’ll be able to face old age with even half her grace and good cheer.

As usual, when driving through Lancaster County, I got onto a photo-taking binge.  Regular readers will recognize this goose in the town of Strasburg, PA, who has different outfits for every season.  She, let’s call her Lucy Goosey, had broken out her woolens.  Highly appropriate for the cold weather we’ve been experiencing.


No matter the weather, Amish farm wives hang out their laundry to dry:


I was taken by a lawn blanketed with fallen ginkgo leaves and a plastic snowman (upper left corner) holding forth.  To capture the photo, I had to pull into a street quite a distance away.  I was pleasantly surprised by a woman who stopped her car and asked whether I needed a ride.  “What wonderful people out here in the country,” I thought.  My rosy-eyed view of the locals quickly changed when a man (non-Amish) came out of the house next door to this one, shouting, “What’s going on?!” with a threatening tone.  I shouted back, “I was just taking a picture.”  He didn’t look satisfied, so I added, “The leaves are so pretty,”  to which he turned and retreated.  I thought, as I high-tailed it out of there, we say “taking,” not “making” a picture for a reason.  An element of trespass is part of the act.


My mom has a deep, longstanding love of horses.  When I got closer to home I couldn’t help snapping these photos with her in mind:


As I was walking away, I saw this leaf on the sidewalk making a horse-shaped shadow.


Wonderful, wonderful!