Earth and Sky

Hello! It seems I am turning into a weekly blogger. It was a mix of lovely and not-so-lovely moments this week. The lovely moments included a visit with a friend at the park on a breezy morning, a hot bath with a few drops of lavender and eucalyptus oil, reading the fifth Isabel Dalhousie novel on the sofa with my dog napping nearby, some new goodies from Central Market (8-grain hot cereal, anyone?), our first visits to a local arboretum and a local plant nursery. The not-so-lovely moments were mostly my feeling crabby at the warm temps and returning allergy season, mental exhaustion after having an essay critiqued, a return of restless sleep, feeling overwhelmed at the mere thought of trying to change my eating habits (and that’s not even considering that Lent is nearly upon us!) But really, I suppose the good outweigh the bad in this case, don’t they?

I was so excited to spot these turtles sunbathing at the arboretum. I imagine them as good friends or extended family, pulling up onto the log for some turtle gossip and camaraderie. I almost feel a bit lonely looking at their cozy little community here! A frog also jumped right into my path and patiently posed for a photo.

Also at the arboretum: These purple shamrocks are all over town at the moment, and I’ve spotted the orange berries in a few places. I couldn’t resist adding a few more leaf shots to my 100 Leaves Project. My next post will likely include a few more arboretum shots.

How about you? Lovely moments this week? Not so lovely? Please do share.


A Week of Delights

I had a delightful visit with my sister and little nephew. Some of our highlights:

Smiles at how well my nephew (almost two) and my young dog played together and hung out. They were well matched, although the dog did gnaw up my nephew’s little shoes when we left them in the kitchen. Fetch, tug of war, even bedtime kisses for each other.

Cooking coconut Indian chicken, trying a great new Greek chicken recipe, making cream of asparagus soup from the Moosewood Cookbook, and other food. Delicious Valentine’s Day cookies made by my sister.

Taking a crash course in Elmo’s World.

Smiling at seeing my nephew’s reactions to the animals on his first trip to a zoo.

A wonderfully lazy day walking to the park, playing at the playground, and relaxing in the backyard drinking vanilla jasmine tea and eating sonpapdi, a sweet and flaky Indian dessert.

Attending my first Weight Watchers meeting. I am still trying to get my head around learning to eat in a healthier manner. My sister has done so well that I’m inspired.

Finally getting a chance to shoot photos of the elusive turtles at the pond (above.)

Chatting and hanging out with my sister! My husband kindly babysat so we could go shopping and to a movie, in addition to our time at home.

Witnessing my nephew’s cute little personality, hearing his cute little voice, seeing him learn new words, and teaching him funny things to say. (“I’m sooo cute!”) Seeing what a great job my sister and BIL are doing with their son.

I felt so blessed to have them come down, as well as refreshed and inspired.

How was your week?


Happy Valentine's Day; Memory Eternal

Great Aunt Marion

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Here’s a peek at some of my crafting, as well as at a little bouquet for my sister’s arrival. Our redbuds are just beginning to bloom; these are the only branches I could reach to snip. I’m so excited for her visit with my little nephew. We’ve had more out-of-town visitors than usual the last few months, and we’re really enjoying it. Of course, it does mean that I’m fairly absent on my own blog, as well as yours! I do miss keeping up with all of you.

This little bouquet is also serving as a small memorial of sorts. Late last night we found out that my Great Aunt Marion passed away (sister of my grandma and Uncle Louis). She became rather reclusive in the last decade or so, but I have very fond memories of visiting her in the tiny North Dakota town where she lived. She had a large old house; mourning doves were always cooing in the cottonwoods and elms outside. We didn’t have mourning doves in western South Dakota, so their sound was novel and new to me. It is a sound I will forever associate with peaceful visits to my family. Like her siblings, she was a character. Also like her siblings, she didn’t talk much about things that happened in the family many years ago, leaving many of us in the dark about things we’d really like to know more about. I’m mourning her passing. I can still hear her sweet voice with its heavy northern accent, see her sitting on her porch with a cigarette. I’m also mourning the family history that was lost with her. Lives are such mysteries to me. For how complex and rich our lives are, so often what I know about my older relatives can be summarized into a single paragraph. This seems like such an injustice to who they must have been. I wish there was a better way to hold onto the essence of who our loved ones were. For all the photographs and memories we have, they still fall short of capturing who the person completely was. No doubt this is at least a small reason for the pain of death.


Birthday Visitors

We were blessed by a visit from some old dear friends and our three little godchildren this last week. We celebrated all of the kids' birthdays. To their delight, they had a chance to decorate their own cakes. Blowing up balloons also proved to be quite entertaining - or rather, blowing them up and then letting them fly around the room as the air escaped! We were able to attend Liturgy together, play at the park a few times, make parachutes out of garbage bags to toss off the landing (Transformers in tow), play silly games, and make block towers. I always have a renewed appreciation for mothers after our visits and their daily disciplines of feeding, cleaning, and caring for their kiddos. And of course, our gratitude to be these children's godparents is even more strengthened by our time with them. They have blessed and charmed us with their little ways.

We also visited a railroad museum, where a friendly, grandmotherly guide made our visit just perfect for little boys.

A trip to the zoo was also in order, although most of us were recovering from stomach bugs! My favorite part was visiting the goats and scratching their necks. They were pretty sleepy!
Any birthday memories? Zoo memories?