Sunday, October 04, 2009
October is my second favourite month of the year (a close second behind that bright green fuzzy new leaves period in May!). I never want to go on holidays somewhere else during either October or May; the change of seasons is best here, at home.
Of course our fall foliage is spectacular: I love the range of colour on the golf course, from saffron beech and yellow birch to coral orange sugar maple. The silvery fountain of sound from the row of paler yellow poplars rustling in the wind up the 18th fairway is a particular pleasure.
At home there is the deep gold of the ginkgo on my front lawn and the absolutely brilliant scarlet of the enormous red maple outside my bedroom window. Our tiny red squirrels and their bigger black and grey cousins have been busy with our chestnuts and walnuts, burying some in the flowerboxes on my verandah where the red geraniums are still holding on. I do hope the little varmints will leave my new tulip and snowdrop and bluebell bulbs alone! For fall I've added several purple and yellow chrysanthemums in the flower beds. Chrysanthemums smell so spicy-good in autumn, mingling perfectly with the perfume of crunchy leaves under foot!
All this is deeply famliar after 30 years playing on the same golf course, 23 years living in the same house. But several times in the last week we've had simultaneous rain and sunshine -- sun from the west, rain in the east -- creating complete rainbows planted in the earth at both ends with unusually intense spectrums of colour. While admiring the rainbows, I've noticed once again that fall rain has a distinctive and special earthy grassy smell -- a smell I've stopped to inhale because I know it will quite soon be gone, along with the sound of the rustling leaves; the deep freeze is coming!
Many of our song birds have headed south: in mid-September there were still flocks of robins drunk on mountain ash berries and goldfinches exploding out of the Scotch thistle seedheads, but I've seen none in the past week. Huge Vs of Canada geese circle the golf course ponds and fly so close over my house that despite their constant honking I can hear the rhythmic squeaking of their wing feathers. Charlie has a new Canada goose toy with a wonderfully authentic honker which he carries from room to room, wagging his tail each time he makes it speak.
How glad I am that the blue jays and chickadees and cardinals will be with us all winter. They've stepped up their activity, fluttering around the pine trees and making much more racket now than while they were raising their young last summer: perhaps to remind me to fill the feeders! I'll have to get some niger seed and some of the sunflower mix with the chopped peanuts they like best. And some apple cider from the orchard for me to heat with cinnamon!
One small regret -- although I've looked and looked, so far I've seen none of the striped brown and black wooly bear caterpillars at all this fall. It is always fun to see them racing across a country road on a sunny autumn day as if their rubbery black feet were individually laced into multiple pairs of running shoes. I'll keep on the lookout -- wooly bears are sometimes still not cocooned as late as December -- since without checking the relative length of the brown middle band I can't possibly estimate how long the winter is going to be.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
What a lovely mix of activities this past weekend!
Our ballroom class met for the first time Friday night: my husand and I aren't very good, but it's a lot of fun and a great way to spend time together. Rumba (we'ver forgotten so much) and merengue (just an intro) this week.
Then there is a local music festival which I look forward to every fall: excellent musicians, a wonderful range of instruments and periods and performers. So I enjoyed several concerts in the festival, two with my husband and one with my daughter, who as a fine musician herself can help me clue in better to what I'm hearing.
I spent most of Saturday with my sister, who is doing amazingly well after a six week cycle of radation and chemotherapy: we met midway between our homes, had coffee, caught up on the news, shared war stories, did a little shopping, had lunch. We laughed a lot. It is reassuring to see her resiliency and I admire her courage. When she is well enough to travel, we are planning a sisters holiday together. The drive to meet her took several hours coming and going, through a fall landscape of golden rod and purple asters and distant vistas with reddening maples; there were periods of driving rain alternating with brilliant blue sky. All exhilarating!
Today it was nine holes of shirtsleeves warm golf with my husband; Scrabble with my son (lost decisively yet again); and more of the music.
Not much work got done -- laundry, yes, even a bit of ironing: but groceries, no. The fridge is empty! There is a salad prepared for my lunch tomorrow, but I haven't made my soup for the week yet. I'll have to squeeze that in after work tomorrow.
Charlie has leapt up on the bed, ready to curl up beside me for sleep. Life is good.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
It's been sunny but getting chilly and over the past couple of weeks I've been shifting the pastel/flowery/sleeveless summer cottons and linens out of my closet, slowly moving the fall stuff in. One last wearing for the tan cotton suit -- bye bye for now. One last wearing for the fitted black cotton blazer and light black and grey houndstooth pants -- TTYL.
Last June, after almost 2 months at SP, I blogged about how happy I was to be able to put some of these summer weight items on. And now it's every bit as heartening to see that the winter stuff I had stopped wearing last February (20 extra pounds ago) is going to fit me fine again as we segue into the cooler seasons ahead.
A grey blue skirt suit; a navy tweed skirt suit; a camel tweed skirt suit; all eights, all "greats". Ditto black suede jeans. A dark green pant suit -- size 6 -- pretty good! Black leather pencil skirt size 6: excellent! A navy pant suit, size 6: wearable, but it wouldn't hurt to take off those pesky last three pounds or so . . . . so, I'll soldier on to get to my "adjusted" goal weight. Woman's reach must exceed her grasp or what's a nutrition tracker for???
Do I need anything, clothes-wise, for fall? Not at all! I've never spent a lot on clothes -- thrift shops and hand-me-downs from girlfriends account for the bulk of the inventory: my favourite price point is definitely zero.
Did, however, decide to treat myself to one fall trend -- a leather motorcycle jacket to go with the tattoos (tiny little dots, from the radiation treatments, but I don't much like them -- a permanent reminder of what I'd rather put behind me: except that they're on my front!!). So my thought, if I've got the tatts, may as well rock the motorcycle chick! Went for red as a bit less hard-edge than black: and not too many zips/belts/studs etc. which would be over the top for an aging motorcycle chick like myself. And I've dug out a pair of black leather over-the-knee boots, for when things get a bit cooler -- can't believe that I've had them for about 30 years, but they're in great shape and the fashion magazines seem to indicate, also back on-trend this year.
Promise I'll limit myself to one silly/trendy item a day, not even every day -- just enough to relieve the stodgy "uniform" sadly appropriate to my line of work. Clothes are fun -- maybe not of earth-shattering importance, but fun!
And: no question that clothes are way more fun when they fit, they're mostly free (because I already own them) and frisky enough to reflect the way I'm beginning to feel!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Charlie (my golden retriever) was pretty muddy this morning. He had been for a long walk with our son yesterday, with a swim, and although completely dried off his long, magnificent coat was tangled and matted a little, especially on his chest and leggings.
I pulled out his brush and called him to me. He does not like being brushed very much, but he wants to be cooperative. I spoke to him conversationally while fluffing up his plumage and gently removing the matts, telling him what a fine dog he is: his tail moved back and forth on the floor. There were a couple of small matts behind his ears, too, and some mud on top of his head which came out with a light brushing. It's easy for goldens to get ear infections so I took out his special ear cleanser which smells minty and fresh, and followed up with the medicated ear lotion.
Charlie looked up at me hopefully; he knows that grooming sessions are followed by freeze dried liver treats! I reached for the bag on top of the fridge and put Charlie through his paces: he loves the tricks as much as the treats!
"On your mat", "come", "sit", "stay", "wait", "about", "leave it", "down" and finally "all gone" (that's the one where he gets to finish up all the crumbs). Charlie beamed up at me, and my husband watched it all with a fond expression on his face.
Taking care of Charlie is such a pleasure. He flopped down beside my kitchen chair while I sipped my coffee and read the paper. What a great start to my day.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
1. Husband -- 30 years later, what I still know for sure is that the smartest, luckiest thing I ever did was marrying Mike.
2. Kids -- works in progress (as all we are) but both terrific human beings who make me proud. And of course number one above had quite a bit to do with this item as well!
3. Sister: would never never have survived without her. What an amazing woman, and my admiration for her has only increased as I've watched her dealing with recent serious health problems with grace, dignity, courage.
4. Dog Charlie -- what a sweetie! I've loved all my dogs, heaven will be the place where I'm reunited with every one of them eventually; Fritz, Pepper, Skippy, Kabul, Ambrose, Sabrina and Rufus will also be just inside the Pearly Gates, wagging and smiling! But Charlie is the Platonic Ideal of dogs; loving, companionable, never obsequious, just understanding there is no loss of self in wanting to please others. I have learned a lot from Charlie about how to get along with people! "What would Charlie do?" Greet everyone at the door wagging and with a carefully selected toy!! Wonder what he'll have for me at those Pearly Gates?? (And nope, this isn't irreverent at all).
4. Friends. Understanding, kind, supportive and delivering kicks in the rear end as required!
5. Work colleagues. What a great group of people to share a big chunk of time with every day! And the work itself: keeps the brain ticking over and some days feels like I've been useful to someone . . .
6. Nature: sunshine in its ever-changing manifestations from sunrise to sunset throughout all of the seasons; big skies and distant vistas; birds; flowers; trees; forests; rippling fields of grass; oceans; beaches; tiny northern lakes ringed by white pines; dewy mornings; hoar frost sparkling after sleet storms . . . all of these sights plus the scents of lilac and mown lawn; the sounds of cicadas and howling winds; the textures of bark, fur, powder sand, squishy spring mud. The world is an infinitely beautiful place with the power to sustain and to console us through its sheer loveliness.
7. Food! especially fresh fruits, vegetables -- yup, really really do like these best -- and oatmeal. And dark 85% cocoa chocolate! Which is or should be a food group all its own.
8. Exercise: it makes me feel great right then, and the cumulative effect of exercise keeps me feeling great all day long. Can't buy that feeling, can't achieve it any other way than by sweating it out -- may never want to roll out of bed at 5 a.m. to go to the gym but I'm always glad that I did when it's over and I'm heading for the showers.
9. Anticipation. What's coming next? What am I planning -- what treats are on the horizon to give zest to my days? What great things will happen that I never even dreamed of? Postive anticipation is the reverse of negative worry . . . worry about stuff that may never happen -- and when it doesn't happen I never wish that I'd worried more! So the deliberate cultivation of anticipation helps me manage worry.
10. SparkPeople. This is an amazing site with remarkable resources. Yup, I really really like this virtual community of like minded people!
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