Archive for December, 2010

The Very End

Friday, December 31st, 2010

This is the end – the very end of the year 2010. Only a day, the same as any other except as we mortals mark the time, we tear off the last page for the year and put up a new calendar with pretty photographs of various objects or countries. My choices this year are widespread. Seems more non-profit organizations are sending out their calendars with the expectations that the receiver will return at least the amount that would pay the expense of postage. I received 12 calendars for 2011. Three were from organizations that whose work I actually support from year to year. From the introductory letter on each I am told this is a free calendar. However I am asked to acknowledge that I received it by sending in my check. If I am so inclined I can send anywhere from ten dollars to five hundred dollars to help their “worthy” cause. I support World Wildlife Fund, World Federation of Wildlife and EarthWatch. Even if the other nine groups do admirable work for the environment I do not intend to join their membership nor support them at all. The bottom line is my income. To distribute that money is fine but I must have operating money to live on. Some items are fixed expenses although I could eat less and use less electricity and water. I could quit driving and save associated expenses. I could just hunker down and shrivel up. But I will not. I will continue to participate in activities with friends and live it up. I do not need one calendar, let alone twelve, to mark the days. Good Bye to the old. Bring on the new.

Home Alone

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

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Tom and family left 58 th St SE at 4 AM planning to be at the Seattle International Air Terminal Departure gate within the four hours required to board the flight to London. Annually Thomas planned some special adventure for his holiday down time and the family expressed the desire to go to England. He had been to London and a visit there appeared to please, even excite, all members of the family. When he researched the cost he found that airfare on December 25 to New Year’s day was quite inexpensive and so the trip was set with those days in mind. And they are on their way. The long flight will be no picnic, to that I can attest. I’m sure Dr Wilson will have sedatives on hand if required. I assume they are in flight even as I write, on board an airbus manufactured by Boeing. The point is that I am home alone, feeding two Serval cats, spayed females quite contented with their run of the house. Google if you want to know more about wild cats that are probably not in the feline family at all. In the past I lived at this address to baby sit two children. This year the children are spending the holiday in London. My kids will have to produce more babies for me to ever get back into the baby sitting game. I should have out grown that distinction – so no more babies please.

Tune In

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

In December I expect the weather to be cold and I really like to see snow on the ground. Imagine my surprise when I awoke on December 14 in the northland to thunder and lightening! Rain of all things! Nothing like a change of venue, I always say. And there is no help in singing the song: “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.” Sorry Bing, but singing it just doesn’t make it so.

Snow Too Late

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Our event for December Second Saturday was tracking. Ranger Jaynee Levy and volunteer Deb Jennings led visitors along the paths to identify animals that had walked upon the cement when it was first poured. The pads of many animals were on display in the Center and kids spent time with tongues held thoughtfully between their teeth while drawing their favorite animals. There were games to identify tracks of local animals and stories told about the tracks. Why did the goose tracks disappear? It flew away. Where did the animal go when the tracks stopped at the base of the pole? The porcupine climbed the post. All this speculation took place in a quiet rain which continued while I drove home. Then within the time it took to nuke a spinach soufflé the precipitation turned into ice crystals and snow soon covered everything in sight. Winter wonderland. The kid’s were playing at home in the snow, no one was left at the Refuge. But that’s OK because each romp is a personal adventure for the kid anyway. No audience needed.

Winter Rain

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Dark clouds haunted the western horizon when I looked out the kitchen window this morning. The forecast of rain again was surely looming. Rain was falling at the time of sunrise and the wetness all but obliterated the white snow patches left over from the twelve inch snowfall of last weekend. Clouds played tag across the sky most of the day and at sundown another storm front rose in the west. The temperature did get above fifty degrees but the weak winter sun had little warming effect. As cheery as my sun porch is, cozy it is not. I had the garbage bin at the curb and brought it in after it was emptied but that was the extent of fresh air intake for the day. I limit myself to three simple meals and will need much more exercise to keep those few calories from slipping into more fat. My writing is limited also – to the blogs – nothing more. So much for the 50,000 word novel I wanted to do for NaNoWriMo. Rain fell again from those clouds between times. Usually precipitation in December is in snowflakes but the forecast still insists there will be rain right up through the time I will drive to Everett. Maybe when I decide to drive the pass, snow will fall. I had my Hyundai in for checkup today and the tires have adequate tread meaning I do not need new ones. Anyway the car checks out for winter driving. And I do. Drive, that is.

Altogether Great

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

As I sit altogether enjoying a mixed drink of vodka and orange juice, I guess properly called a screwdriver, I look back on a thoroughly enjoyable day. I didn’t jump enthusiastically out of bed, no reason, except that I wanted to get an appointment to have my Hyundai serviced before I took off across the pass to Everette. Turns out I could get in today, as soon as I could get there. I knew I needed at least a half hour but the maintenance man said that was no problem, I would be taken care of as soon as I arrived. Well I did arrive within the hour and read Dawkin’s book while I waited. Turned out I only needed the various stuff topped off except for the brakes. I had never had the system flushed so I agreed to have that done. My tire pressure was ok . Otherwise the tire tread is very good and I am now set for my trip. It is still a week away so I have time to arrange for other things. The temperature got up to 52 F which sounds pleasant but I assure you that 52 degrees is still very chilly. Besides that I stopped at the liquor store and brought home necessary brandy, vodka, and schnapps to last the season. Although I will be at Tom’s from December 22 until January 1 or so there will be no liquor there so I can celebrate the new year when I get back home. Good thing I have spellcheck because my typing is not too good under the influence. Nevertheless the day is really great.

Mark Time

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

No one can be more prepared for the next year if the number of calendars is any indication. I have received fourteen calendars. Some are more helpful in regards to important days to be aware of. I can be ready for months to celebrate well known days like Flag Day or Mother’s Day etc. Many religions have significant days added from year to year. Now we celebrate the anniversary of September 11, 2001, when the twin towers in New York were destroyed. They should not be labeled celebrations for they really commemorate tragedies. Reminders of lives lost, which is what we do in our own personal lives. Although I am reminded of lost family more often by the little “things” prompted by some unlikely occurrence totally unrelated but a moment that hits like a flash in my synapses. Should these be noted on calendars? I wouldn’t want yours. Calendars have become handy “gifts” that will fit in everyone’s lives. None of this will change with the coming of a new year. I know that if I stop sending money to those organizations, the calendars will not stop. What can I do? Mark my own.

Miniatures

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

If you think of making changes in your life as a way to greet a new year, consider an activity that brings together science, literature and nature. Stamp collecting. Those miniatures expand my knowledge of art, history, literature, and every endeavor humankind has ever invented. I started my collection in countries I visited. I found that stamps pack easier than thimbles, magnets and agates (although I do have limited collections of those also). Stamp collecting can be expensive but doesn’t have to be. Join a stamp club and find others who trade or sell the gems you like. My albums are not at all fancy but give me the flexibility to arrange my stamps in sequence according to Scott and the United States numbering systems. To encourage the hobby, several big companies offer used stamps in grab bags. Go Internet to find those sources. Official annual albums with new stamps can be purchased from the post office that include all the designs for the year and interesting biographies of the artists. My shelf space is limited but I do like to collect. Since I don’t have space for a real Rembrandt or Rodin and my ceilings are too low for Michelangelo, I make do with reproductions in miniatures that fit nicely in my dust-proof three-ring notebooks.