Friday, October 25, 2013

Why Don't You Be More Careful When You Know You Are So Sloppy?

Thanksgiving was a total success.  All the kids came from out west.  I was completely organized.  I had lists and timelines, which I followed meticulously.  The turkey was delicious, the stuffing superb, the Pumpkin Pie and Whipped Cream didn't last more than one day!  Everything was perfect...

...until...after the feast.

Everyone lent a helping hand.  Clean-up went smoothly, in a timely fashion.  That's when it happened.  A two cup bowl of turkey grease fell down my front.  The bib apron I was wearing took most of it, but the skirt of my brand new dress was longer than the apron.  Thankfully I had ditched my high heels hours before.  Squeals and shrieks amid the laughter and tears.  What a colossal mess!  The apron and stockings went into the trash with the paper towels.  The dress went for professional attention.

And so, I needed a new apron.  Maybe three, just in case.

When I broke my toe running bare foot, Dad asked me, in a very condescending tone, "Why don't you be more careful when you know you are so sloppy?"  It has become the go-to-line for every similar event.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Frost Is On The Pumpkin has finally happened;  we have relented and put on the heat.  When Hubby came into my office to find me fully clothed, boots and hand warmers on, hoody up over my head and my fleece bathrobe over top of it all, it was a no-brainer.  Autumn has made its annual appearance.  Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Halloween is not far off.

I remember having to choose Halloween costumes that would fit over snow suits when I was little, but that was a long time ago and I have moved since then, a number of times, and always in a southerly/warmer direction.  In the twilight of my years, (64 and counting) it behooves me to keep track of the thermal gradient in my neighbourhood, taking all necessary precautions to ward off frostbite and death by hypothermia.  And so....we have put on the heat, cranked it up big time.

As I am warmer now, I would like to share the beautiful autumn of Southern Ontario with my blogging buddies.

 Last Sunday, Hubby and I found a country road we had never driven before.  A total delight! It was like hiking in the woods - 4 wheel driving.

I was surprised to see this pair of shoes nailed to the tree beside the road, in the middle of nowhere.  Maybe they belonged to a gentleman who liked to hike there.  They looked like they still had some wear left in them.  I am postulating that said gentleman no longer has use for them and they have been put up to remember him by.  hmmmmm.....

Queen Anne's Lacy in the middle of a field of soy beans.

I had to use my zoom lens to capture this alpaca.  He was busy munching windfalls under the apple tree and would not be enticed to come closer.

This was a beautiful barn in the distance.   When I got close enough to capture these wild grapes, it appeared the barn was a derelict.  

See how pretty the barn looked from far away?  You probably have to click on the image to enlarge it to fully appreciate...

My Granddaughter from Alberta was enthralled with the Maple leaves when she came to visit for Thanksgiving.  Maple trees do not grow where she lives.  She sees lots of yellow during autumn, but not reds like we have here.

 Two things I have been planning to cook up in the kitchen this fall were Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Butter.  For that, I needed cooking pumpkins.  They sold out before Thanksgiving in our local grocery stores.  A trip to the Howell Family Pumpkin Farm was in order.

Who knew there were sooooo many different kinds of Pumpkins?

The stripped Mexican Pumpkin.

The Cinderella Pumpkin.

The creepy Peanut Pumpkins.

The Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkins and the Pie/cooking Pumpkins and things that are not pumpkins, but closely related.....

This time of year in the Niagara Peninsula is all about the grape harvest.  

This cool split-rail fence just begged to be photographed and shared.

Here's to the last glorious days before the clocks go back for daylight savings and we live in the gloom of winter for the next many moons.  Enjoy the change of seasons, Everyone.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Photo Shop...who knew?

I have been using PhotoShop Elements for years now, mostly to crop, highlight, label and maybe adjust lighting.  Today, as I was looking for a way to adjust the horizontal in a photo, I discovered "filters".    Look at some of the many ways one photo can be rendered....

I never did find a way (short of using the Mac Iphoto) to straighten the horizon, but I had fun playing with these filters.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eternity Now

Is it impossible, seeing eternity in today?

The human mind is rooted in the present, geared to live now.  The psyche takes license and worries over past wrongs, refusing to let go...or...worries over the future, struggling to see the ground ahead before taking the next step.  A swing in either direction is an aberration from our human design.  If groundedness is being at peace in the now, how is seeing eternity a good thing?

In moments of panicked hysteria, dear friend Donna asks me,

-What difference will this make in 100 years?

Good question, but one I usually sloughed off with,

-I don't care!  I'm hysterical right now!!

It has taken 60+ years for me to see that I "like" to feel anxious, worried, agitated, angry over the past or the imagined future.  I revel in my emotions, ignoring reality of solid facts.

A view of eternity, from where I stand today, gives me the perspective of history's hindsight and the promise of something to look forward to, if I allow it.  When I see today's issues in light of eternity, I can take time to breath, refocus and reconsider. light of eternity, or at least the next generation or two....we made some memories this weekend.  It has been a splendid celebration of Thanksgiving, with the whole family in attendance.  There were cousins bonding, dogs barking, children screaming, adults sighing, bellies bulging, friends rolling their eyes and so much love and blessings.  Here's hoping your weekend was a wonderful as ours was.

This was the only one of 15 shots where no one was moving, crying or had their eyes closed!

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

You Signed In Blood

Howie and Gail were over 60 by then.  Married for the first time at 56, they were living large, a life of excited exploration--everything old was new again for them.  I was offering a two year biblical literacy programme (The Bethel Series) at our church and they signed up.

-You do realize this is the "intensive phase", right?  There will be lots of homework.

-Yes, we know.

-There will be memory work, essays, projects, presentations....


-...and EXAMS!

-Are you saying you don't think we can do this, he asked leaning forward in his seat, his hands on his knees?

I gulped in embarrassment.  That was exactly what I thought, but I was too cowardly to say so to their faces.

-Let's give it a go and see how it works out.  Just remember, once we begin, you can not quit on me.

Gail took it upon herself to bring cakes and cards each time a class member had a birthday.  I never saw her without a smile and a tender heart.  Howie was the class clown.  He made us all laugh by making himself the but of his own jokes.  For Gail's devotional, early in our first year, she self-consciously read a page from "Our Daily Bread".  Nothing original, but she did fulfill her obligation.  Howie declined every time his turn came around.

-No thanks.  That's not my thing.

As the first year came to a close, we were all still standing, a little bent under the strain, ready for the summer holiday, but ready to soldier on in the fall.  All of us that is, except Howie.

-We want to quit, he told me, flushing to his hairline.

-You can't quit.  You signed in blood, remember?

At the outset, I had purposely painted a bleak picture of the course requirements.  Drop-out rates had been high in the past.  I'd jokingly told prospective students they'd have to sign in blood to commit for a full two years.

Our second year flew by.  We had reached our stride and we had the end in sight.  We steam rolled over the assignments week by week, exam after exam.  Howie, bless his heart, never achieved a passing grade on a single exam in the two years, but he never missed a single class.  His wife, his classmates and his teacher loved him dearly and were all so proud of him for sticking it out.  Precious man.

Gail flourished that second year.  She found her rhythm and truly enjoyed what she was learning.  That spring, it was again her turn to lead the devotional.  No two minutes from a magazine this time.  The class sat spell-bound as she took a passage of scripture she loved and gave us a 15 minute exposition.   She finished with a personal testimony that had more than one of us wiping tears from our cheeks.  Her childlike faith had been there all along, but by now she had learned what she believed and why she believed it.  She had blossomed in the loving acceptance of her fellow classmates and dared to be vulnerable before us.

Not too many years later, Gail faced the untimely death of her beloved Howie and a couple of years after that, her own terminal illness.  Her solid faith in Jesus as her Loving Lord never failed her.  She clung to the scriptures with dignity and surety to the very end.  In all my years of teaching, Gail has been the most gratifying student to date.  She began as a timid person offering cakes in friendship.  She graduated as a strong woman of faith, leading others to Jesus in love, still feeding them cake.

RIP Gail and Howie.  I smile as I remember you.