31 December, 2013

351/365 Last Sunset - 2013

Pink cotton candy

Wisps surround the setting sun
As the cold day ends.

30 December, 2013

350/365 Insurance

How can a price be

Assigned to value a life

Of interactions?

Monday Evening

It was snowing
- unexpectedly -
this morning as I got ready to
 leave for the gym.
It snowed most of the day.
I ran errands in the snow.
Found some bargains
shoveled the driveway
checked the mail
brought in garbage cans
made granola
did laundry
brought in firewood
created new Pinterest boards
put away the Christmas dishes
surfed for beret patterns
shuffled stuff for the new shelves
and a surprising number of
other things
while it snowed.

29 December, 2013

349/365 This Morning at Saylorville

Tire tracks crisscross the

Frozen lake as howling winds

Redistribute snow.

28 December, 2013

348/365 Hope

At bay we draw our

Truest breath, the touchstone of

Our humanity.

and so it goes...

This was the view on December 5:

Decorating for Christmas had begun. 
Tim decided it was time to tackle a project
that we had been discussing all summer.
I told him he could have 2 weeks.
If it couldn't be finished in
2 weeks - don't start.
He started.
 December 12
 December 16
December 19

December 21
December 22

27 December, 2013

347/365 Changes

Adventure or black

Hole new facets of life come

As they will to all.

26 December, 2013

346/365 Grace

Let’s acknowledge that

To “meet in the middle” both

Poise and pride must bow.

25 December, 2013

345/365 December Dusk

Countryside trees stand

In crisp relief against the

Dark’ning western sky.

24 December, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

Mailbox disaster.

Laughter.  Carols.  Long, slow train.

Snow.  And dear children.

23 December, 2013

343/365 Dog Tired

Poor Charlie, grabbing

Sleep as best he can, between

Holiday visits.

22 December, 2013

342/365 Bittersweet Gatherings

Loved ones far away

Claim a share of the day’s joys

As we celebrate.

21 December, 2013

341/365 Holiday Delights

Treasured faces, found

Once more round my table make

The heart sing with thanks.

20 December, 2013

340/365 Overload

The mind spins as you

Try in vain to subdue wild

Bursts of frenzied thought.

19 December, 2013

339/365 Package for Logan

Hats, mittens, booties;

Small somethings for a small boy

Fighting a big fight.

18 December, 2013

338/365 On Alert

Ears forward, body

Poised, ready to act, bold Charles

Sits at the window.

17 December, 2013

337/365 Overhead

Bellies white against

The pale evening sky, three geese

Streak toward shelter.

16 December, 2013

336/365 Foggy Night

A ghostly gauze hangs

Across the moon, tattered and

Drifting aimlessly.

15 December, 2013

For Valerie...

...because she asked so nicely
and because it's too early to go to bed.

Tunic length sweater, knit pants worn tucked
 into boots and my blazer.
Unless I can work some real magic on that
blazer this winter will be its last.
I can now wear it (buttoned) with both a long sleeve shirt
and my fisherman sweater.
 This is one of the cashmere cardigans we bought during
that long-ago shopping spree.
It is one of my few "old" pieces that still fit
and I love wearing it with this
striped shirt.
Here it is with skirt, tights, boots and pearls
and here with grey jeans, and different shoes and necklace.

These trousers have been versatile
 as the grey jeans are proving themselves to be.

I do love a flannel shirt
and this one is tunic length so it
presents less casual than most.

This worked well before the cold settled in
but we're forecast to hit near 40 this week
so it may make another appearance.
And the red coat continues to delight.
I haven't made straight-line progress
with Christmas shopping
because I keep finding things for myself.
This week  (THIS week)
I came home with new
(well, some of this was thrifted)
yoga pants
a plaid skirt
2 tops
1 sweater
and a wonderful pair of
berry/burgundy jeans.
Oh - and a new pair of
"alligator" booties.
They look so good with the new jeans.
Can you tell I love those jeans!?
I'll include a picture of them soon.
I'm still experimenting to find a reliable way to
take these pictures.  Often it
just doesn't occur to me
until the clothes are in a pile at the end of the day.
I have a haircut scheduled for Tuesday. 
It is truly amazing to see
how much my hair grows in six weeks.
My to-do list is pretty reasonable
for the week before Christmas.
The gym every morning.
Some last minute shopping tomorrow.
Hair on Tuesday.
Baking and cleaning as it fits
 throughout the week.
Charlie has a bath scheduled on Friday
so any last last minute
shopping can happen then, too.
Jacob flies into Minneapolis on Friday night
then he, Naphtali and Aidan will
come down Saturday.
The Jordisons descend on Sunday.
Fort Dodge on Tuesday.
Kids leave Wednesday.
Naps and sanity resume Thursday.
How is your week shaping up?

335/365 Reflection

The mind casts back o’er

Days and feats well-past then scans

Forward with wisdom.

14 December, 2013

334/365 Nocturne

A long day’s end draws

Within reach its hectic pace
Replaced by repose

13 December, 2013

333/365 Flight

Startled pigeons lift

Off turning to quicksilver

In the morning sun.

12 December, 2013

332/365 Review

Good, bad, in-between;

Memories chronicle our

Defining moments.

11 December, 2013

331/365 Wednesday's Readers

Shedding mittens and
Coats, they linger, choosing books
In warm denial.

10 December, 2013

330/365 As Time Goes By

Rick and Ilsa’s tale

Resounds with timeless truths: love

And humanity.

09 December, 2013

329/365 Undaunted

Single digit temps

Proved insufficient to stop

Intrepid shoppers.

08 December, 2013

328/365 Gentle Snowfall

Soft flakes drift earthward

Creating a lustrous glow

Everywhere you look.

It's Beginning to look a Lot Like Christmas






07 December, 2013

327/365 Christmas Lights

Twinkling lights conjure

The ghost of Christmas past and

Mem’ries bittersweet.

06 December, 2013

326/365 Flight Interrupted

Poised, with eyes bright and

Ears erect, the fox waits to

Spring into the lane.

05 December, 2013

325/365 Contentment

Cozy day at home

Spent with busy hands and warm

Thoughts of cherished friends.

04 December, 2013

324/365 Wintery Bluster

Chill December winds

Howl past my windows making

Even warm bones ache.

03 December, 2013

323/365 Carols

Familiar comfort

Set to catchy tunes prompts us

To smile with strangers.

02 December, 2013

322/365 Migration

Undulating vees

Stretch southward across the sky

As days grow shorter.

01 December, 2013

321/365 The Lake this December Morning

Winding lines mark loose

Edges as encroaching ice

Meets open water.

30 November, 2013

320/365 Bookmarked?

Memory confirms

I’ve seen it but can’t pinpoint

The title or page.

29 November, 2013

319/365 On the Hunt

Wings out-stretched to ride

The wind, a hawk glides o’erhead

With swift elegance.

28 November, 2013

318/365 Tradition

Honored customs can

Benefit from a new frame

Of mind as we grow.

27 November, 2013


Tomorrow holds so much expectation.
while supplying a context
for our observations and
can sometimes benefit from an
occasional update.
For many of us, of a certain generation, 
Thanksgiving traditionally marked
the beginning of the
 "holiday season."
In recent years we've seemed to carom from
one event to the next
with barely a pause for breath,
let alone time
to actually enjoy or reflect
on our holiday traditions.
can become lost in the holiday
shuffle fueled by
magazine spreads, Pinterest and other
media options that bring images,
 wish lists, and DIY projects to our
attention with dizzying speed.
There is no shortage of blessings
 in my life that
prompt my thankfulness.
will be a day of celebration.
 Norman Rockwell's
universe rarely
-if ever -
aligns with mine
but it doesn't make my family
any less special
or my thanks
any less sincere.
I hope your day will be spent in
the company of those you
hold dear.

317/365 Thrilled

Each item crossed through,

The finished list marks the day

A complete success!

26 November, 2013

316/365 The View from my Window

Dazzling sunshine tells

Only half the story as

Frigid north winds howl.

25 November, 2013

315/365 Options

The pause between plans

A and B gives a heartbeat’s

Chance to change your day.

24 November, 2013

314/365 Echoes

The mem’ry of a

Newborn’s mewl reverberates

Deep within the heart.

23 November, 2013

313/365 Distraction

Things necessary
Vie for attention amid
Bright lights and glitter.

22 November, 2013

312/365 Stretch

Doubt gives way to glad

Relief as one last effort

Satisfies our reach.

21 November, 2013

311/365 Snowfall

Streetlights obscured by

Falling snow create spectral

Pools of dampened light.

20 November, 2013

310/365 Relief

Questions addressed can

Ease the worry created

By tacit concerns.

19 November, 2013

309/365 Cold Determination

Swirling winds nip as

Shoppers bustle in and out

Under sunny skies.

18 November, 2013

308/365 Starry Night

Lightly frosted roofs

Reflect  the subtle glow from

A star-speckled sky.

17 November, 2013

307/365 November Rain

Drumming rain coaxes

The wakeful to linger in

Drowsy contentment.

16 November, 2013

306/365 Moonlight

Radiance fills the

Eastern sky casting shadows

Deep in the still night.

15 November, 2013

305/365 Family

Blood ties or chosen

Bonds – the heart lays claim to those

Who enrich our lives.

14 November, 2013

304/365 Days' End

Tasks completed, plans

Reviewed and talk winds down as

Thoughts turn toward rest.   

Change of Plans

Charlie and I are waiting for it to warm up a bit
before we take a walk
and as my run to Webster City has
been cancelled,
I have what amounts to a free day.
What to do!?
As with any free time - it will fill
much too quickly
and seem much too short.
It struck me, yesterday, that we
are half-way through November.  How that
happened is a mystery, but it
means that I need to get started
on Aidan's advent calendar which is
traditionally delivered
at Thanksgiving.
A tradition that started when we lived hours
 and hours away
as a way for me to share the
holiday anticipation with him.
One year he received fancy envelopes
containing a carol for each day.  His dad
sang them at bedtime.
Another year it was the pages
of a lovely story of a pine tree
 rewarded for its
kindness to other forest creatures.
His own tree and ornaments one year.
Last year his reading skills
allowed me to mark off
pages for him to read everyday
from a schmaltzy cute paperback
about a homeless dog looking
for a family during the holidays.
Other years have been a combination
of whatever
school supplies
will fit in the chosen container.
It's time to choose a container and theme -
a task that gets harder as he grows older.
If I want to keep the containers manageable
the content is pretty limited.
He doesn't like chocolate
which eliminates an easy default.
He's a boy - cute stuff only goes so far.
So today will be dedicated to strategy.
Making plans and lists.
Sorting through materials on hand.
Necessary groundwork
for productivity
if this Christmas project
 is actually going to happen.

13 November, 2013

303/365 November Moon

Mottled moon, high in
A pale blue sky, waits with me,
For the sun to set.

12 November, 2013

302/365 Bright Spots

Small victories lift
The spirit, instilling hope
When life seems mundane.

11 November, 2013

Monday Night

I find myself at the end of a busy weekend
looking forward to a busy week.
So a short recap of the trip to
Minneapolis is in order.
Naphtali took good care of us.
We're all still speaking so we can
call the weekend A Success.
The weather was mild so the red coat
didn't make it's debut
but tomorrow's walk to work will remedy
that situation.
This morning it snowed and
though it is that time of year and you know
that snow can fall at
any time, the first
snowfall always seems so unexpected.
Little more than a
light dusting, it still
packs a psychological punch.
My calendar actually looks rather full this week.
My work week starts tomorrow.
A lunch date Wednesday.
Quick trip to Webster City and back on Thursday.
An open house that evening.
Friday night I'll help serve
Thanksgiving dinner at Kennybrook. 
 They're expecting 360 guests
- three dining rooms, three seatings -
I'll be at the library all day Saturday,
 partying that night
and finish the weekend by
working Sunday afternoon.
I think it's time to set my clothes out for the gym
in the morning and
head to bed!

301/365 First Snowfall

Driven by fierce winds

Flakes flew past leaving a few

To dust the rooftops.

10 November, 2013

300/365 On Waking

Sunlight filters through

Matchstick blinds lending rosy

Charm to cozy rooms.

09 November, 2013

299/365 Gloomy Day

Low-flying clouds on

The horizon foretell the

Advent of winter.

08 November, 2013

298/365 Perseverance

Ears pinned flat against

His head by savage winds the
Dog ambled onward.

Road Trip

Heading North this weekend.
My mother and sister want to see
my daughter's new house.
Tonight will find me at their place
- a ninety minute drive -
and in the morning we'll point the car
in the direction of the Twin Cities and see what
the day brings.
They had snow in the cities earlier this week
and, even though Naphtali
assures me it will be gone before we
arrive, the weather provides a good excuse to
debut a recent thrift store find.
I rediscovered a forgotten fact about
vintage wool coats:
They are wool.
With a satin lining.
No thermo-tek engineering here. 
It should be well-suited for
the predicted mid-40s this weekend
but probably won't stand up
to the frigid extremes we'll experience
later this winter. 
For some women it's all about the
shoes, jewelry or purses.
Me?  It's coats. 
This one was just too fun, and
- even with the dry cleaning -
 too cheap, to leave hanging. 
It will require a certain attitude as
its main accessory
and, as I've pretty much been in a
damn-the-torpedoes mood lately,
it should be perfect.

07 November, 2013

297/365 Bravado

Saucy squirrels taunt

Neighborhood dogs enjoying

A safe, fencepost perch.

06 November, 2013

296/365 Laughter

Disbelief becomes
comic relief as friends share
outlandish stories.

05 November, 2013

295/365 Rainy Day

Shimmering mists wrap
the countryside in a thick
cloak of mystery.

Rainy Day

It's raining today so outside activities and
projects have been postponed.
There are a couple things calling for my attention
before work but they can wait
a few more minutes.
I baked gingerbread cookies yesterday
using a maple leaf cutter.
I love the mellow combination of molasses
and spices.  We enjoyed our portion and the rest
will go to work with me today.
This is the view outside my bedroom window.
It creates a gentle rosy glow throughout the room
but the leaves are thinning quickly
and soon we'll be surrounded by bare branches.

Hard to believe from this shot, but Charlie
seems to be having some anxiety issues.

I'm working to incorporate more exercise into his day,
hoping it will have the same positive effect
for him that it does for me.
This is the new bracelet. 
It's going to work with me today, too.

04 November, 2013

294/365 Kitchen Magic

The aroma of

 Fresh-baked gingerbread fends off

The chilliest winds.

03 November, 2013

293/365 Tricks of the Trade

Morning’s shifted light

Has the last laugh as vigor

Fades with setting sun.

02 November, 2013

Killing Time

It's too late to start anything new
before bedtime
but I have too much time to do nothing
so here I am.
Pictures will be added another time
because I'm already at my desk.
You'll have to come back.
Tim sent me shopping for my birthday.
(He also came home with flowers,
 and fixed his signature shrimp pizza for supper.)
He acknowledged my
thrift store purchases
and alterations
 and said it was time to have
some new things.
Hard to argue with that.
We agreed on a price range and
thanks to a great sale
and some coupons
I was able to spend almost twice
the allotted monies.
I came home with a mixture of
and utility pieces.
I'm normally a careful
and almost reluctant shopper
(and this is where the promised picture comes in)
 my way out of the store
passes the jewelry counter.
Something caught my eye and I
made an instant decision
- and I do mean instant -
that a particular
bracelet was going home with me.
(Well outside the allotment but hey - it was my birthday)
It's going to be so much fun to wear
and the c/w will factor out to pennies in no time!

292/365 Holiday Onslaught

Glitter and sparkles

Whisper insistently that

Festivity reigns.  

01 November, 2013

291/365 Voice Over

My son’s voice echoes,

For tonight, the clearing piping

Notes from his childhood.

31 October, 2013

Reflections on a Lazy Night

It's Beggar's Night in Grimes.
Answering the door falls to me, so
tonight's tasks can't be anything that needs
undivided attention.
With knitting and reading out of the question
this seemed like a good way
to occupy my time.
I've been enjoying the rhythms of the season.
Harvest has ended for many local farmers.
One has begun planting posts for
snow fencing.
The trees have been lovely.
Over the weekend we drove past a
fairly new tract of homes
and I was encouraged to see how many
new trees had been planted.
For some reason those spindly trunks topped by
their brilliant scarlet leaves
made a statement about young
(presumably young) homeowners
investing in the future
when a new patio set may 
have had a more immediate payoff.
I'm also feeling a certain
squirrel-like urgency in these last
 few days before daylight savings ends.
Darkness late into the morning  and
falling early in the evening
makes the day too short and too busy 
when there are projects to tackle!!

290/365 Lost Time

Darkness crowding both

Ends of day makes each minute

As precious as light.

30 October, 2013

289/365 Vagaries

Laugh, cry.  Black, white, red!
Short, long.  Together, alone.
Today, tomorrow.

29 October, 2013

288/365 Secrets

Shining eyes disclose

The excitement that careful

Wording seeks to hide.

28 October, 2013

287/365 Mixed Reactions

Joy and sorrow, at

Times, sit too closely making

Our tears bittersweet.

27 October, 2013

286/365 October Morn

Scarlet leaves atop

Thin branches quiver, touched by

Autumn’s frosty air.

26 October, 2013

285/365 October Outing

Sunshine, reflected

In smiling faces, warms a

Lovely afternoon.

25 October, 2013


Did your week pass as quickly as mine?
Two days were spent sitting in
the dark as training sessions introduced 
the staff to a new cataloging/records
system for the library.
That kind of disruption in normal routines
always challenges my sense of
You know that feeling, right?
It has been a productive week, though.
Furniture has been re-arranged.
Closets and cupboards addressed.
And with the onset of colder days my
kitchen has seen some action.
These two ideas/recipes were from
 These pumpkin muffins contain just a dab
of molasses which makes them so
moist and mellow.

The apple chips - easy and oh, so tasty -
were a hit at work.
So I started thinking...
why wouldn't this work with potatoes?
Guess what's in my oven?
I used our garden potatoes - flavorful! -
 tried different thicknesses
sprinkled salt
and added cayenne to a small sample.
The very thin slices took hardly any time
to crisp and were so delicious!
Yes, that past tense is correct. 
My mantra for the rest of the day is

24 October, 2013

284/365 Refuge

From low‘ring clouds and

Spitting rain throughout the day

The warmth of home calls.

23 October, 2013

283/365 For Pops

Certain events will

Prompt remembrances of those

Dear to us.  Go Cards!

22 October, 2013

282/365 Tuesday

Warm scents of baking
Fill the house holding biting
Winds and sleet at bay.

Ya Gotta love it!

For as long as I can remember
any occasion involving gifts
generally includes  a conversation
with Naphtali along these lines:
N - I got your present today.  Do you want to open it?
Me - No, I'll wait.
N - I found it at a little shop downtown,
it's gorgeous.  Do you want to open it?
Me - It's only a week - I'll wait.
N -You're really going to like it. 
Do you want me to tell you what it is?
Me - Really, I'm happy to wait.
Honestly, that routine is aired
several times each year.
When I arrived on Thursday afternoon
one of the first things she said to me was that
she had put my birthday present in my room.
With that in mind I should be excused
for taking a peek, right?
I did peek - it was only a bag - and
found four beautiful fabric bundles with
tags that didn't help me identify them.
So I commented on the beautiful fabric
- said thank you -
and asked if they are bath towels.
You guessed it:
Mom!  Those are for your birthday!
You weren't supposed to look yet!
Naphtali is a very generous gift-giver.
She loves to give, and
she loves the search for something special.
I think she scored, again,
with lovely foutas for my bathroom.


21 October, 2013

281/365 Family

Bound by durable,
Proven ties we take delight
 In shared memories

Tea Time

Several weeks ago,
while I was sick,
I drank copious amounts of
hot water with lemon and honey.
It made me think that maybe it was time to revisit
my quest to learn to drink tea.
After all, how much different would tea be?
So, I have been trying.
google images

I've worked my way
through a box of Lemon Zinger
-which in some minds may not even qualify as tea -
but it was progress.
Polite company would doubtless
look askance at the amount
of honey added to my cup, but it was progress.

More helpful, though, was that
I finally understood my difficulty with tea.
It's not the sweetness, but the lack of saturated flavor
that I miss.  Maybe double bagging would help.

Today, I've brought home a
 lemon-based green tea. 
Fresh lemon has been added, as has
and honey.
Less honey than I've been using.
Progress, I tell you, progress.