Monday, February 28, 2011

I see spring on the horizon!

Tomorrow when I wake up, it will be March. Hooray! January is my 12th favorite month of the year, and February is my 11th favorite. Once March is here, there will be no stopping spring from coming. Delays, possibly, but the demise of winter is inevitable.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar night

Well, I didn't watch the Academy Awards straight through, but I had them on while I pottered, doing dishes and laundry. Now: (1) I want to see The King's Speech, and (2) that kids' choir at the end was so sweet; I loved it.

Snow Day

I feel this is sufficient reason not to leave the house today (except for necessary dog-walking).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fuzziness

An occupational hazard of being furry is getting leaves and other detritus caught in the fur.


On our afternoon walk, this is my dog next to the moss-covered tree in our cul-de-sac, where snow is starting to accumulate.

Accumulating snow

Tiny flakes of snow on the stove on the back patio.


As the late afternoon became dark, snow started to accumulate.


The deck late this afternoon.


I do believe in spring. I do believe in spring.

Sufficient ice

I took a picture this morning of Wiser Lake, frozen.



Here is a drip of water from hose, frozen. It must just be water that was in the hose because the hose has not been connected to the faucet since winter started.


Here is the frozen tiny pond in my deck.


The moving water of Fishtrap Creek does not freeze as easily as Wiser Lake, but there is ice on some of the twigs hanging into the water.


These twigs or branches in mid-stream also have ice.

Saturday morning

I'm so thankful for a slow morning, when I can sleep as long as I want, get up slowly, potter around. I still have to walk the dog on Saturday mornings; he won't let me forget that duty.

So I'm sitting at my computer, blogging. A gardening show is on, the most soothing form of TV there is. An interviewer is talking to a man who owns a nursery about "multi-season" plants--flowers, leaves, fruit or berries, and general form, so that all year something pretty is happening. Words like foliage and soil recur frequently. That's on my right side, then I can look to the left and look out the window at the birds and squirrels at the bird feeder.

This picture of Wiser Lake comes from a local real estate
company's website.
Today the air temperature is still cold--my little porch pond is quite frozen--but it's not windy. Yesterday when I drove to work, I saw that Wiser Lake was frozen over. That doesn't happen often. The previous day, the wind was making white caps on Wiser Lake, which also doesn't happen much. People who went to school locally say their science teacher told them that Wiser Lake is not a lake; it is a pond. There apparently are specific definitions for different types of bodies of water. More recently I learned from a local that Wiser Lake is "spring-fed pond." Good to know. However, when I googled "Wiser Lake pond," I did not find any confirmation of this information.

Now that gardening show ended, but I switched to a station where Gardening with Ciscoe will start next.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hear the Wind Blow

It's been so windy by where I live that yesterday I hunted up this song on the internet:

Down in the valley,
Valley so low,
Hang your head over,
Hear the wind blow.

Hear the wind blow, love,
Hear the wind blow.
Hang your head over,
Hear the wind blow.

If you don't love me,
Love whom you please.
Throw your arms round me;
Give my heart ease.

Give my heart ease, dear;
Give my heart ease.
Throw your arms round me;
Give my heart ease.

Roses love sunshine.
Violets love dew.
Angels in heaven
Know I love you.

Know I love you, dear,
Know I love you.
Angels in heaven
Know I love you.

Here's a nice version of that song. A pretty song, simply sung:



The first verse is quoted in the front pages of the novel Christy, by Catherine Marshall.



It's been many, many years since I read Christy, although it was a novel I read frequently in my teen years, along with Catherine Marshall's other famous book, A Man Called Peter, about her husband Peter Marshall.



Again, it's been a long time since I read it. I have very positive memories of both books. I'll have to look them up again.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two books

In light of my most recent post, may I recommend the book that taught me (what little) I know about the Jesus prayer:



And the book that made me aware of that book:

Frozen face land

My face is still waking up from the Novocaine received this afternoon at the dentist. I was fitted with a temporary crown. Being fitted with a crown sounds like princess time, but it's more like dungeon time, even torture chamber time.

Not that it was really torturous today. I did receive nitrous oxide to alleviate any anxiety I might be feeling during the procedure, and of course the Novocaine makes the process painless if not pleasant. It was the first time I took nitrous oxide, and it came to me via a tube and device that fit over my nose. The assistant said it is easy to self-regulate nitrous because if you feel you're getting too much, you can breathe through your mouth more, but if you need more you can take more frequent, shallow breaths through your nose. Well, I am by nature a mouth-breather. Big time. So I concentrated on inhaling through my nose for all I was worth. Quite aside from the effects of the laughing gas itself, I was distracted from the activity in my mouth by focusing my mind on breathing through my nose.

I tried to breathe to the Jesus prayer, which is actually a recommended technique for that prayer:

Breathe in: Lord Jesus Christ
Breathe out: Have mercy on me

I also thanked God in my heart for modern techniques and drugs that do so much to alleviate pain.

When the procedure was over and I was able to think about the numbness, I felt that the left side of my face was numb up to the cheek bone and in the nose area. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw that I smiled like a stroke victim. As I was driving home, I thought, At least I'm not drooling. Then I thought, As far as I know.

But now almost all the numbness is worn off.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Whether the weather should be a bellwether of my mood

Are weather reports really worthwhile? Last week I was bummed out because I read a prediction for four days of freezing rain or frozen mix, but it never happened. Perhaps the bumming out was compensated for by the extra level of happiness that the weather was better than expected. Or would I have been happy with the weather anyway, had I been spared bummerdom?

Now, people at work said we're supposed to get snow tonight. I looked at a weather forecast and it said so too. I wondered if it was snowing even now, but I didn't want to get up to look at the window because my dog is sleeping on my foot. That is so precious that I won't disturb him. So I checked the Lynden webcam, and as of this blogging there is no snow on the roads or sidewalks at the corner of Sixth and Front.

If it's going to snow, there's nothing I can do to stop it. If it's not going to snow, why should I spend time thinking about it?

My dog still sleeps peacefully on my foot. Sufficient unto this day is both the good and the evil thereof.

Monday, February 21, 2011

On a clear day

This was a busy weekend. Friday night, we ate out for my dad's birthday. Saturday, I had coffee with my folks and got my hair done. Sunday the family got together for cake and ice cream, again in honor of my dad's birthday.



Sunday was cold and clear. I drove out of my way to photograph Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wrong weather predictions

Well, the good news is, the weather was not nearly as dreary today as predicted. Nary a frozen drop. Hooray. When you're expecting freezing rain and it doesn't happen, that's a better day than it could have been.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Relapse into winter

Ugh. The forecast for the next few days is: freezing rain, freezing rain, frozen mix, frozen mix. Blech. O Spring where art thou?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Busy girls

On Sunday afternoon, I visited at my sister-in-law's where some mighty cute little kids hang out, aka my great-nieces and great-nephew. Here, two little girls are "decorating" their mommy, my niece, and their grandma, my sister-in-law, using grandma's quilting scraps.


Later, this little girl is busy on the computer playing a game. Three years old and manipulating a mouse. My mom said that her mom and an aunt were talking once, in the 1930s, and one said, "Kids are so smart these days," and the other one replied, "It must be all those vitamins they take."


And this little girl was busy cutting up the Sunday paper. She is "a big pre-school girl," as she will proudly inform you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Needlework update

Don't know how clearly you can see it, but this is how far I am. The yellow flowers are done and part of a red flower, and a little bit of the leaves. I work on it every Sunday afternoon while I'm visiting my sister-in-law.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tired out

It has been a busy weekend. On Tuesday, I was called to preach this Sunday--today--at Hope in Christ Church because the pastor had to travel out of town at short notice. I did not have much energy to work on a sermon in the evenings after work, so I did wrote my whole message yesterday, making for a long Saturday. Right now, I am almost falling asleep as I type.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Importance

Today I left as many minutes early as I worked late last night, even though in general I've been trying to save my comp time for an upcoming dentist visit. (Please pass the nitrous oxide.)

Last night I worked late to get some documents ready for a meeting this morning. It seemed important at the time, but then driving home I felt extra tired and wondered why I stole that time from my evening. I asked myself, Are these people's divorces more important than my time with my family? And by my family I mean my dog.

Perhaps in the cosmic scheme of things, our clients' family issues are more important than my dog's dinner and walk. Perhaps. But in my personal accounting system, my dog is far more important than any client who comes to the office.

He loves me more.


And I love him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

One-fifth

I am 20% of the way to the weekend. One-fifth. What a fifth good for?

Henry V won the Battle of Agincourt with his lucky few.

Remember, remember the fifth of November.

A fifth of Scotch . . . is a lot of booze.

I have no need to plead the Fifth.

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony has an impressive opening.

Fifth Avenue is the place to wear your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Welcome duck

Another happy milestone today. Every spring for the past few years, we have a duck couple that comes and eats the seed that falls off our bird feeders, and today I saw the mallard. I wanted to get a closer picture, but first I took a picture through the window from inside the house, in case he flew away when I opened the door and went outside--and that's what he did.


It was fine weather for ducks, as the saying goes, but I dug in my garden anyway to finish a project I started yesterday, which was planting a whole lot of iris bulbs or, more correctly, rhizomes, that a co-worker gave me late last fall. I received them just before Thanksgiving, rattling around in a large cardboard box, and they spent December and January in the trunk of my car. But spring is getting ready to spring around here, so I thought I simply could not wait any longer to plant them. Yesterday was good weather for it, but I didn't get done, then today it was colder and rainy. But I planted anyway, and now they're planted. We'll see if they come up, or how they do.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Today

This is today's sky. It was cloudy today, but not cold. I sat outside on my deck in an Adirondack chair. If the air is mild enough and the chair is dry enough, I will sit. I had just come back from my walk with my dog. I would have liked to sit longer but, in a strange reversion of how it would seem things should be, I had to go indoors to answer the call of nature.


This afternoon, I enjoyed a happy milestone, which was my first purchase of flowers this year. I bought pansies in three colors. This yellow-purple combination.


This mauve flower.


And a purple pansy. This plant had a large, beautiful, open purple bloom, but as I was driving home, I braked at a stoplight and my purse, which weighed approximately six tons (it contained not only my Kindle but a paperback copy of Jane Eyre), rolled off the passenger seat and onto the flowers, breaking the stem of the purple bloom.


Although there are these signs of spring, my dog is still wearing his shaggy winter coat.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sad song

A cousin of mine posted a link on FaceBook to a video of Peter, Paul, and Mary singing "Puff, the Magic Dragon." I commented that the end of the song is so sad:

A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys.
Painted wings and giant's rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened: Jackie Paper came no more,
And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain.
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff, that mighty dragon, sadly slipped into his cave.

I actually cried listening to it. I can't remember whether that always happens, or if it was just tonight. I know the song always makes me sad. I reflected that it's again that common poetic theme: the brevity of life, the brevity of life. And then I asked myself if the tears had anything to do with yesterday being my dead brother's birthday, and I knew the answer was yes because the tears increased immediately.


I commented on my cousin's post that I wished "Puff" ended more like The Velveteen Rabbit, where he goes on to a new life at the end. My brother, who was once the little boy in this picture, has gone, and I don't know where, but I must and do believe that:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (I Corinthians 2:9).

Marana tha. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Remembrance

Today, if my oldest brother were alive, he would have turned 57. We miss him.

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance: pray,
love, remember . . .
. . . and there is pansies. That's for thoughts.
(Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5; Shakespeare)

Mr. Rochester's dog

Re-reading Jane Eyre. Why not? I read Jane Eyre for the first time in 9th grade, which is just about the perfect age for it. Let's say I've read it a mere twice per year since then, which is a conservative estimate. In that case, I've read it about 70 times. Yet this is the first time I really noticed that Mr. Rochester's dog, Pilot, is a long-haired dog.

It was very near, but not yet in sight; when, in addition to the tramp, tramp, I heard a rush under the hedge, and close down by the hazel stems glided a great dog, whose black and white colour made him a distinct object against the trees. It was exactly one form of Bessie's Gytrash--a lion-like creature with long hair and a huge head: it passed me, however, quietly enough; not staying to look up, with strange pretercanine eyes, in my face, as I half expected.

She even names the breed:

When I came to the stile, I stopped a minute, looked round and listened, with an idea that a horse's hoofs might ring on the causeway again, and that a rider in a cloak, and a Gytrash-like Newfoundland dog, might be again apparent: I saw only the hedge and a pollard willow before me, rising up still and straight to meet the moonbeams; I heard only the faintest waft of wind roaming fitful among the trees round Thornfield, a mile distant; and when I glanced down in the direction of the murmur, my eye, traversing the hall-front, caught a light kindling in a window: it reminded me that I was late, and I hurried on.

Well, how should I know what a Newfoundland dog looks like? I always just pictured some kind of pointer.

German Shorthaired Pointer
Perhaps I read past the long hair and pictured a dog like this because when I was reading Jane Eyre for the first time, we had a dog that somewhat resembled a pointer. I don't have a scanned picture of him handy.

Anyway, tonight I caught: long hair, black and white, Newfoundland dog, And I looked it up online:


Newfoundland dog
I hastened to Mrs. Fairfax's room; there was a fire there too, but no candle, and no Mrs. Fairfax. Instead, all alone, sitting upright on the rug, and gazing with gravity at the blaze, I beheld a great black and white long-haired dog, just like the Gytrash of the lane. It was so like it that I went forward and said--"Pilot" and the thing got up and came to me and snuffed me. I caressed him, and he wagged his great tail; but he looked an eerie creature to be alone with, and I could not tell whence he had come.

Now I have a whole new picture of these scenes in the story I've read so many times.