Class Act

Let’s add this to Mary’s “Embrace the Fall and Winter” list. I believe this will be number three. It’s definitely not a ranking of importance. Just a numbering system of what pops into my head at any given moment.

Take a class.

It doesn’t have to be a big commitment like night school. Check to see what is available in your area. There might be cooking, soap making, painting, music and other classes going on near you.

As my faithful readers know, I live near the beach and as a result of my daily beach combing have amassed quite the collection of sea glass.

Over the summer, I noticed that our local Audubon Society was offering classes at their Nature Center. It was a jewelry making course. With sea glass. Well, that just called out my name. But unfortunately, after consulting my calendar, I had another commitment and wouldn’t be able to attend.

Drats!

But I figured it couldn’t hurt to give them a quick buzz. I called them and asked if there would be any future classes. They advised me that there would be additional offerings. In the Fall.

Perfect!

My friend and I signed up, paid and marked our calendars.

It was just a couple of hours on a Saturday. We walked to the center on the East Bay bike path. And thoroughly enjoyed the morning.

It was time with my friend. Also met and chatted with new people. Had a couple of laughs. Learned something new. Got out of the house. Communed with nature.

Here is the result. Mine is the lavender one-top left.

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The thing is this. You never know what will ignite your passion.

My cousin, Elizabeth, learned how to knit awhile ago and now she’s a freaking yarn junkie. She had no clue that it would hit her like that.

Maybe sea glass jewelry making won’t be your thing. Or knitting. Or painting. But there might be something out there that could end up being a match made in heaven. Your new passion.

Or it might just be a nice couple of hours out of the house in autumn or winter. A respite from cabin fever.

Expanding your horizons. Being in adult company. Maybe meeting a new best friend. Adding to your skill set.

Check the community board at your library. Grocery stores usually have these types of notices taped to their windows. Locally owned  businesses are always happy to share fun events. If all else fails search Google. 🙂

Go seek fun and cheer.

 

 

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Pumpkins

I missed Autumn in New England when I was away.

Leaf peepers visit from all over the country and the world to experience the changing foliage. It’s so beautiful.

And who doesn’t love bright orange pumpkins?

I remember, when we lived in Kuala Lumpur, my neighbor Jean’s husband got very creative one Halloween night. There weren’t any orange pumpkins available in our tropical environs so he got his hands on a watermelon and carved it accordingly. Made me chuckle but also realize how humans acclimate.

When our children were young it was always fun to visit the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect pumpkin. We’d bring it home to decorate and/or carve it. Scooped out the innards, rinsed the stringy seeds, dried them and later roasted them in the oven.

Here is an old photo of Hannie and her carved pumpkin when we lived in California. 25 was our house number at the time. Placed by the front door to greet trick or treaters. Snagged the idea from my old friend, Betsy. Visit her site Farmhouse Wares for cool home and garden items.

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Hannie is a bit older now and in her second year of university. She came home for a weekend in October to celebrate my birthday. So appreciated! Of course, we went to find the perfect pumpkins.

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Some things have changed since then. Like the number of our house. But some things remain the same. Like our happiness while decorating pumpkins.

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Consider this as #2 on my previously mentioned “cheerful list.” The things that add a bit of brightness to my day once the days of summer have passed. Even though it really is more than just pumpkins. It is time spent outdoors. Togetherness. Creativity. And yes, eating pumpkin seeds.

 

Geraniums

The geraniums did quite well on our back deck this past summer. Always so cheerful looking with their bright reddish-orange blooms against a back drop of dark green leaves.

I’ve always thought they had staying power even while surrounded by upstarts.

When it was time for the summer farewell I wasn’t quite prepared to let them go. To do what many folks do. I did not buy into their “annual” tag.  Did not let the geraniums die a natural death in their potted state. Did not watch them be reduced to brown stalks and allow the soil to be repurposed as an ashtray for a shivering smoker. Did not leave them to the elements. Did not rip them from the dirt and throw into the compost bin. Did not allow the blooms to just disappear like tourists after Labor Day.

I treated the geranium like a perennial plant. I kept it alive.

It wasn’t that I wanted to play God.  It wasn’t about trying to save money on new plants in the spring. It wasn’t that I wanted one more thing to care for in the house.

I just really enjoyed looking at them. Each and every day. So cheerful. That’s it.

Why couldn’t I invite a last vestige of summer into our home? It’s not a rejection of autumn but merely a symbol of past and future joy.

They were still blooming and perky looking so I brought the pot inside and found a perfect spot in the sunroom.

It’s now February and they continue to thrive. And I still love looking at them. A bigger pot is definitely on the horizon.

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In my last posting I stated that I would share the things that enhanced or added cheer to my autumn and winter days. This geranium totally made my list of cheer.

Stay tuned for more.

 

The Osprey Left

I have said it more than once.

Autumn came so quickly.

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Seemed like I was just sitting on the shore, drink in hand and watching the evening sunset.

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Then this. Wham! My youngest was heading back to university.

Once the kid left it seemed there were changes every place I looked. Of course, I found some sadness in this. It was like a scorecard I was keeping. Yup, check off one more not-so-happy thing.

Keep in mind, I was also experiencing a New England autumn after being away twenty-four years during this very season. Lot of transitioning. On many different levels.

Leaves on the trees turned glorious, riotous shades and then fluttered to the ground. Skeletons in their wake.

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The ice cream shops were now sporting signs like “Closed For The Season” and “See You In The Spring!”

Del’s, an extremely popular Rhode Island frozen lemonade business, shuttered their stands and trucks instantly went into hibernation.

The birds, who were annoyingly loud outside our bedroom window in the wee hours of the morning, silenced overnight.

All of the neat little nests dotting our yard and stuffed under the eaves had “vacancy” signs on them.

No more pleasure boats zipping down the bay. Now they are white, shrink wrapped objects perched on steel stands and peppering boatyards all over the state.

The sun setting just minutes after my afternoon tea. Okay, I don’t have an afternoon tea but it sounded so good. My point is the sunset was no longer an evening thing.

Even our compost bin eventually went quiet. Crickets. Anyone who composts food and plant scraps knows you practically need a pair of goggles or a gas mask when you open the lid in the summer. Especially if it wasn’t recently turned. Smells and a million, billion fruit flies make a fruit-line to your face. No activity, at all, once temperatures drop.

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But there was one thing that really made me realize the wonderful summer season came to an end and it sort of made me sad. Not as sad as the youngest leaving or as sad as losing and missing our loved ones. But still. Like it was the last and final straw of summer.

The osprey left.

Ospreys are magnificent birds of prey. Huge raptors. Looks like a big hawk or eagle. Moonlight as fishermen. Has a few young ones in the Spring. And then once autumn arrives it quickly flies off in the direction of South America. The ginormous nests, a convenient five minute walk from our house, are in the marshland and built on tall wooden roosts. Now totally empty.

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When I saw the empty nest my eyes filled up. Silly really. Because I know they are coming back in the Spring. I also realize it was some type of temporary Mommy transference phenomenon.

Summer was truly gone.

So, what to do?

The only thing is to shake if off and approach autumn with gusto. Enjoy every minute. Be glad of the different seasons because it is a continual promise. When one ends another beautiful season begins.

Sometimes that is easier said than done. Especially when the afternoon sky is dark and it gets cold. Autumn quickly becomes winter.

In the coming days I will share things that have enhanced and cheered my autumn and winter. I’m normally a happy sort and have been enjoying it. It does not have to be gloomy. It’s all up to me. It’s all up to you.

While we sit and wait for the osprey’s return.

 

 

 

Turn It Around

My youngest daughter, home for the holidays, walked out of our pantry and commented, “Really, Mom?”

She had a glass jar in her hand. In black print was a single word.

Flour.

Wait. That’s not unusual for a pantry staple, is it???

flour

Except, to her dismay, it didn’t actually contain flour.

I glanced over and said, “Ah. Never mind. Just turn it around.”

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She turned the container around and it now displayed, “Light Brown Sugar.”

All was right in the world again.

Got me thinking. What a great piece of advice for this new year. For you and me.

Just turn it around. 

It might be about making small changes. Or big!  Could be our attitude or how we are dealing with something.

Just turn it around.

It’s not just for pantry items anymore.

 

Happy New Year 2019!

Wishing you all a new year filled with promise and good health.

Out with the old and in with the new!

I’ve always adored the holidays but I am perfectly fine when they have passed. Perfectly fine.

I love the clearing out, organizing, nesting and looking forward to the stagnant months ahead. When I once again own my schedule! No more pressure. Totally enjoy ripping up the store receipts, recycling Xmas cards, dumping last year’s calendar and making plans to positively pass the winter.

Reflecting on the last twelve months, taking stock and thinking about how I can be a better me.

Hoping the holidays were gentle on you all and wishing you the absolute best in 2019.

 

 

Proper Goodbye

I was reading an article about 2,000 Nebraskans attending the funeral of a Vietnam veteran. The report said he had no known family. And asked the public to attend. Lovely gesture.

This fellow served our country and deserved a proper goodbye.

Drumroll. Marching in my little girl idealism. Hope I never get too old for it.

Wouldn’t it be so beautiful if everyone had a proper goodbye?

Maybe it’s religion, culture and tradition that warps my thinking. We (my people) have wakes, funerals, month’s minds, annual and memorial Masses. All a part of the farewell.

But that is providing that one actually has family and friends who organize the wake and funeral with the mortuary. Will attend the gatherings. Visit the graveside. Remember to contact the church to have Masses said in the decedent’s memory.

What if those people don’t exist?

Not everyone has family. But for those who don’t have family one hopes that there are, at least, friends.

This past Spring, an old work chum named Peter, posted a message, “No one should go alone.”

He wrote, “Don’t put all of your eggs in the “family basket” or you might find yourself alone at the end of the journey. Make sure to put half of your eggs in the “friend basket.” Said it was important to have one person that you can trust. Even if a neighbor or a landlord.

A couple of weeks later, Peter mentioned that it was his tenant, Bob, he was referring to in the previous post. Said that Bob earned his wings. He had been renting from Peter for three years. Bob became an instant friend and the family soon called him, “Uncle Bob.” Peter’s grandchildren would check on him, send up the mail or newspaper to him.

Uncle Bob was a bachelor and eighty-nine years old when he died. Only survivor was an elderly sister in Delaware.

Peter said that he and his wife would be attending a memorial service for Bob the following week. Wanted to make sure there were at least two people attending Bob’s funeral. 😦

He immediately got lots of comments from his Facebook friends saying how sorry they were for his loss. No one noted or seemed to pick up on the fact that Peter would be the only person attending this man’s funeral.

I was in Delhi preparing to come back home for the summer. I also chimed in and told Peter I was sorry for his loss and if I were back in the U.S.A. I would surely join him at the memorial service. He said, as of that moment, the only attendees would be the undertaker, the lawyer (will), Peter and his wife.

That made me so very sad. He told me the date of the service. I would have some jet lag, for sure, but I thought I could make it.

I showed up at the cemetery that morning. Joined Peter, his wife, the undertaker and the lawyer in saying goodbye to a stranger. Who also happened to be a fellow human being.

Wouldn’t it be so beautiful if everyone had a proper goodbye?

We’re all just walking each other home.