October 2008

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That’s how many pennies I just found dumped in the street in front of my house.  Sixty-seven!  There was tobacco, cigarette butts, and some industrial staples in the mix too, but sixty-seven cents.  Holy smokes, Mr. or Mrs. Hepped-Up-On-Nicotine, you could have bought a candy bar with that money, savoring every sweet bite, or given it to a child and watched her count each coppery one, staring in wonder to see if she put them into neat piles, long rows, or groups of five or ten (like I did below – after washing them off).  Gobs of entertainment potential for that sixty-seven cents and you chose to dump it on the asphalt.

Well, as my dear Byron Katie would say, “There are no mistakes,” and, “This is happening for you,” so rather than remain miffed at this dump, I enjoyed it. I really did, here’s how:

First off, as you may recall, I’ve kind of got a thing for pennies, especially found ones.  So when I gazed out the window and saw them shimmering in the afternoon light, you bet I got excited.  To think that God sent me sixty-seven of them at once is nothing short of fantastic!

Second, as I was crouched in the street, hair wild and my husband’s rather large winter coat about my shoulders, filling my hands with the precious metal, my letter carrier, Karl, happened to come along and said, “Hey, you know, I could pay you for the chutney you gave me, no need to get money off the street!”  We both had a good laugh.

Third, I most certainly had to call my dear hubby to tell him, not only about my find, but about Karl finding me in the midst of my find.  More laughter!

Fourth, I documented the story with this post and a photo to boot.

So, I guess the only thing left to say is, thank you Smoker – you made my day!

I had some friends over last night and this was one of our musical selections.   It is such a great soundtrack for fall, though I don’t quite know why I make this association.  Which reminds me of a funny story.

When I was in high school and college, I listened to a lot of Van Morrison, because, well, that is what one does isn’t it?  Golly, he was everywhere I went back then.  Anyway, there is this song, “Jackie Wilson Said,” one that I always associated with Christmas.  I was with my friend Mitch and we were singing along to it, and I mentioned that fact to him, when suddenly the answer came.  He smiled and said, “It wouldn’t be that would it?”  Sure enough, it was, “ding-a-ling-a-ling…”  I just about peed my pants with laughter.  Darn Christmas bells hiding in plain sight like that.

So there may be something that I’m missing with The Hour of Bewilderbeast, but here’s what I do know.  The CD is nice and long (no feeling cheated – I paid that much for thirty minutes?!) and, musically, it goes all over the map.  There are some ethereal themes, rockin’ tunes, quirky sounds (think underwater), and down right sweet lyrics.  If you are a fan of the film About a Boy (Hugh Grant’s best, I think), this is the man in charge of that sound track.  Good listening!

Hip hip hooray!  Our bedroom is complete, well, mostly.  I may make some tie backs for the curtains.  Close enough anyway.  Unfortunately, you cannot see what started the whole process in the photo – the windows.  I don’t suppose it would matter if you could, though.  They look pretty much identical to the other windows, but these aren’t seventy-seven years old, have cracks in the panes, or let in drafts when closed.  My home heating bill will soon say thank you.

Additionally, adding to the warmth factor, we got rid of the cheap and not terribly attractive plastic mini-blinds that came with the house and put up the gorgeous curtains.  They are heavy velvet and ever so lovely.  Additionally, when closed, they make the room super dark, even when it is light out, so we sleep better too.

Oops, I forgot about the cat chair.  The photo hides it pretty well, but in person, you can see the work the Little Man and Paris have done on it.  Oy, great lines, but not so pretty.  This will get some new upholstery in the near future.  I’ve got a dark grey (like the curtains) microsuede for it.  Hopefully their little paws won’t find it as appealing as the current fabric.

Something I love about decorating is filling the room with special memories.  Top to bottom:

The bedside table has a little Moomin plate that we bought in Finland on our honeymoon.  So very cute, it has a boy and a girl Moomin looking at a sailing ship.  It’s about love and seeing the world together.

The gold-framed painting is the first we ever bought at an art gallery (Saks in Denver).  By John Lencicki, it is of a Citroen Deux Chevaux (two horses), my absolute favorite French car.

Above the cat chair, the frame on the left has a neat old map of Paris in it – Jeff, do you remember giving that to us?

The neat mirrored chest was my mom’s growing up; it’s my favorite piece of furniture in the room.

Now you know where I sleep.  Sweet dreams to us all…


I’ve had my share of chores and running around to do as of late – canning, making curtains, raking leaves, putting the garden beds to rest.  I enjoy the work, seeing the fruits of my labor come to fruition.  Since I bring no money into our household, it also gives me a sense of purpose.  However, so busy have I been in my doings, I’ve not noticed how lovely everything is.  I’ve not really seen the world.

So upon rising this morning, when I gazed out the window on my way to get dressed, I saw this sky and remembered – the world is beautiful.  There is a certain light beyond my window, and crimson leaves on the ground, the scent of fall in the air.  Take a moment and enjoy it.

As I followed my own advice, even taking a photo of the lovely light, I thought of poetry and felt certain someone else had said what I am thinking.  Here it is:


What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, and watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.

– W. H. Davies

When I was younger, I looked on in wild wonder at a certain breed of older ladies.  While they looked normal – well groomed, no nervous tics to speak of –  they had habits that set them apart from the crowd – kooky habits.  Despite saying, “I will never ever be one of them,”  I’ve somehow, over the past couple of years, turned into one and am now likely the focus of some other young person’s mocking.  Though there are many facets to my kookiness, here is the most glaring example of my transformation:  I feed animals.

To be fair, Gregory started it! Oh, listen to me, blaming it on him.  Seriously, he did though.  We were at the coast a few years ago and he saw some hummingbirds darting around a feeder.  I was so tickled at his excitement, “Buddy, did you see that one?  How about that one?  They’re so neat!”, that I bought him a feeder.  Placed just outside our kitchen window, we’ve had many a tiny visitor.

Then there were the Bushtits, literally the cutest birds, and aside from the hummingbird, the smallest in North America.  They twitter around in flocks, and despite their rather drab color, they bring so much cheer, bobbing and darting through the trees.  Anyway, I kept seeing them in our yard, and then I saw them en masse at a suet feeder at my neighbor’s house and, well, you can see the giant snowball forming, can’t you?

So, we started with one suet feeder outside the bedroom window, and got lots of traffic from the Bushtits, as well as Warblers, Flickers, Jays, Starlings, Chickadees, and Juncos.  As you can imagine, I got excited about all these birds, and thought, well, wouldn’t it be neat if we could watch them in the dining room, too?  Feeder count: three.

Then I noticed all the house finches on the wire and wondered why they weren’t gobbling up the goodies at the suet feeders.  As I later learned, at the Backyard Bird Shop, they’re not big on suet, but boy do they love sunflower seeds.  Feeder count: four.  Additional birds: House Finches, Purple Finches, Song Sparrows, Pine Siskins, Golden Crowned Sparrows, Gold Finches, and Lesser Gold Finches.

At this point, I could see the kooky transformation happening in a big way, yet, rather than stop right there, I asked Laura (yeah, I’m on a first name basis with the bird shop manager) what kind of birds eat at the flat feeders they have in the shop.  Well, gentle readers, a whole new crop that wasn’t visiting before, and since I had already crossed the threshold there was no going back.  Feeder count: five.  Additional birds: Black Headed Gros Beak and Evening Grosbeak, plus a Hawk (not sure what kind) that came to munch on these fellas (he missed – this time).

But, you may remember, I said animals.  I feed animals.  Well, as those in my situation already know, feeders don’t just attract birds, but squirrels, too.  They are tenacious, I might add.  So, as the package of squirrel food says, “Don’t fight ’em, feed ’em!”  Feeder count: six.  Kooky lady transformation: done and done!

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