Monday, February 29, 2016

Spring Equinox is Flexing Early Muscles

The spring equinox, also known as the vernal equinox, officially starts March 20, 2016. I guess because of the way the earth tips and turns, Canada gets in shortly before midnight on March 19th. The weather is so crazy this year that we have to believe the common sense we're born with. Spring is here when plants can bloom and leaf out without having everything freeze off or blow away in the fierce wind.

Just look at the growth from the yarrow. I choose not to yank out the natural cover from last fall, because it provides warmth and safety to the new leaves. I really enjoy the tall stalks that hold the tight clusters dainty yellow flowers!

This is a wonderful Leap Year Day gift from Mother Nature. I've been swindled out of spring flowers like this beautiful daffodil more times than I care to remember. This morning I walked outside and saw this brilliant yellow bloom. The Iris may not bloom this year, as it's still dropping to the low 20s overnight.

It doesn't matter. I am thrilled with just one flower of any type! Yes, I enjoy dandelions and cherry blossoms and roses. It's sort of like a reaffirmation that survival is something the whole earth works toward.

Have you noticed any signs of spring in the last week or so? It's a wonderful time to celebrate life!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Different Kind of Hostage

Poor Goblin is being held hostage!

Several shoppers, including me, stood looking out the windows of the local supermarket. We discussed the concept of being hostages by our own lack of willpower. Yikes! It's true.

There is a person who hangs around the shopping center from before daylight until after sundown. The individual's memory is not good. The person's been known to approach others several times within an hour to ask for a ride, money, cigarettes, and work. I gave up some food one day and within 15 minutes was chased down and asked for food again.

The result is that once the person's spotted, people feel as though they are hostages because they don't dare go outside to be a target. Thus, we waited and mentioned that we feel guilty for avoiding the person. It's hard to say "no" even when we aren't able to comply with the request.

The person isn't threatening and doesn't get upset when told "no". This individual told me Social Security pays about $850 every month. Rent is free, but cigarettes take up a lot of the money. The person sees nothing wrong with asking for money to support the habit.

Is there an easier way to say no without feeling guilty? Am I subject to hiding out in the various stores at the center until the coast is clear? How would you handle this situation?


Friday, February 12, 2016

Minions Add Fun to Valentine’s Day

Disclaimer: I received no compensation for the following post. I’m just pleased with the product and idea.

Two things hit me like a locomotive the other day. One is that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. The other is that I am nowhere as prepared as I usually am. 

I’m perfectly happy to blame the snow and the extra hours needed to find and cut up wood so the front room would stay warm. That doesn’t stop the guilt from lingering over my head like a dark little snow cloud. Criminy!

 I drove over to Wal-Mart for a few grocery items and passed the special section in the frozen food area where they always stash specials. With a Minion fan in the family, I noticed the unmistakable picture on the box right away! Bob was grinning at me, showing the cuteness of Pillsbury’s Ready to Bake shaped sugar cookies. 


The 24 round cookies have a colorful Minion picture all the way through. No cutting was required. I just lifted them off and put them on the cookie sheet about two inches apart. Once the oven hit 350 F, I popped the pan into the oven and baked them for 12 minutes. We’re in a higher zone, so it took the 12 to get the golden edge around the outside of each cookie. If you’re at a lower sea level, they may be ready in 10!

The cookies are were perfect. The family suggests I call it a trial batch and bake more. 

The back of the box has a fun game. It reminded me of my childhood, when one of my brothers or sisters would draw a line along the path of a maze to reach the goal. Such a clever challenge spoiled for everyone else. I cut the game out and put it into a clear plastic notebook insert. Now anyone can use a washable crayon to find their way through the challenge and wipe off the lines when they’re done. 

There’s still enough time for Valentine’s baking. It was really nice to find a tasty option in case I don’t get around to it.

Lots of good wishes are being sent from our house to yours for a wonderful Presidents’ and Valentine’s Day weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2016

NASCAR is Just Around the Corner

I'm ready for NASCAR!

Oh. My. Gosh! It’s February, Super Bowl 50 is officially completed, and NASCAR arrives with a bang on the 13th. Daytona International Speedway has a fresh new look and fans have booked far ahead to be part of the annual kickoff to fantastic driving! It’s speed week as drivers and teams shake the kinks out of their vehicles while preparing for the Daytona 500.

The West Coast round of races is much easier for me to drive to. Las Vegas greets the powerful engines on March 6. The action moves to Phoenix on the 13th and on to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on February 20th. Sonoma sees the action on June 26, and Phoenix gets a return visit on the 13th of November.

The excitement around the track is a thrilling experience! NASCAR celebrities like drivers, crew chiefs, and team owners move among the fans and sign autographs as much as they can. There are racing games for the kids. Vendors hawk shirts, jewelry and other racing memorabilia. Rent a set of headphones and listen to the chatter between driver, crew, spotter, and team manager during the race. Your heart will be thumping as an alert about debris ahead comes over the airways and the driver attempts to move safely through a cloud of dust.

Sonoma 2016 has my attention this year. It’s a perfect time of year for a drive over Donner Pass, through Sacramento, and into Northern California’s beautiful wine country.

Have you been to a NASCAR race? Do you have a favorite driver?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why I Like Taking Pictures

I started taking pictures before I was old enough to start school. It's just a lot of fun. Even better, it's proof that something actually happened or that you were in a particular spot. I am still amazed at how many times I'm asked to take a picture of strangers at a special event or in front of a scenic view, just so everyone in the group is visible when friends look at the visual memories.

 Just a week ago it looked like a good time to clean up around the yard and plan the garden spots. On Saturday we awoke half of foot of this:

The snow continued all day yesterday and stopped near midnight. A walk down the driveway yesterday afternoon provided some wonderful scenery of a foot or more of soft snow and a quiet world.

 The view down the lane seemed to be a sea of white fluff for miles and miles.

Rabbits and quail tucked themselves gently into their nests under bushes and trees that provide shelter.

A big reason I enjoy taking pictures is the opportunity to get a shot like this. It reminds me of the Courier & Ives plate that my Grandma treasured. The wintry scene details snow clinging to branches and twigs, defying gravity while defining the white and gray colors of the pasture.

What are some of the reasons you enjoy taking pictures?