Spring Cleaning…Email? Cleaning up my Computer.

I don’t know about you, but I get hundreds of emails. And a lot of them just need to be deleted. I don’t even know how I ended up on their subscribers list.

And they clog up my inbox, even though it is a virtual space on a computer and/or telephone screen.

Most of the time I just go down the list and check their boxes before hitting the delete button. But why? Day after day I go through this.

So my spring cleaning chore is to clean up my computer.

It only takes a few seconds to go to the sites and unsubscribe. And it makes it so much easier to find the ‘real’ emails you want and need. For those who don’t know how to achieve this, the place for unsubscribing is normally at the bottom of the email and you can click on it. Another window will usually pop up asking if you’re sure, or why you have to leave them. And if you click on whatever the appropriate answer it, it will usually confirm your new unsubscribed status.

You can do this with facebook too. Do you have a lot of friends playing games? Are they continuously begging for farm animals and jewels. That’s great if you play too. But if you don’t, go to your settings and hit the button for no game notifications.

So long, Barilla and Gilt, we are breaking up. Farewell, Living Social Deals, I can’t possibly keep up with them all. Au revoir to all of the advertising sites sending out mass emails. I’m sweeping out the cobwebs and making room for the guests I really want to spend time with.

Are you spring cleaning? Does this include your cyber space?

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Let me Take a Selfie!!

I’m not a fan of the selfie. Lately they’ve been all the rage. There’s even a song dedicated to it.

But I’ve had a few moments when I couldn’t resist. Usually they involve more than just myself – friends, a place, a moment in time. So in celebration of the Selfie here is one of my favorites.

renee-and-paula-with-gondolier-in-venice-italy

And here’s the link to The Chainsmokers version of “Let me Take a Selfie“! Enjoy and share your favorite selfie moment.

Posted in Entertainment, friends, humor, photography, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Go Away Winter!

We’re being jerked around…by Mother Nature.

A couple of weeks ago we had around eighteen inches of snow.

snow covered cypress 2014

snow covered deck and chairs

snow covered front yard

Then the temperatures shot skyward; fifties, sixties, even seventies. Yay! We were all so happy, especially the wildlife. A few deer came out into the front yard and nibbled at whatever they could find from the evergreens to patches of grass.

“Under the giving snow, blossoms a daring spring.” – Terri Guillemets

deer eating cypress tree 2014

deer fuzzy and ruffled 2014

deer nibbling grass 2014

deer sneaking a peek

My knee was improving and I was able to go outside and walk around the yard. I saw them then. The most welcomed sight as if God had sent me a ‘get well bouquet’ of crocuses.

“First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus —
Crocus.”
~Lilja Rogers

crocus later afternoon 2014

Yesterday it began to chill again, by noon it was freezing and soon we were being pelted by sleet and snow. My poor crocuses. I checked on them as soon as I got home from work. They were there, closed up against the cold and the blanket of snow.

crocus snow covered

March can be like that; unpredictable, cranky, tempestuous. I expect foul weather from November through February, but once I turn the calendar to March, anticipation takes over. I am no longer content to wear heavy layers of clothing and big boots.

Sunshine, blue skies, a few spring blossoms – is that too much to ask from March? Go away winter; I’m ready for spring.

Are you getting spring fever too? Have you been affected by the severe storms? Is Mother Nature having a temper tantrum in your backyard? What’s going on where you live?

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A Run on Food During the Snowstorm

It’s a running joke. The first mention of the slightest possibility of a snow flurry and people raid the grocery store shelves. There won’t be a loaf of bread or a jug of milk within twenty minutes of the prediction.

I am not laughing anymore. This must be our animal intuition.

Early yesterday morning my husband took extra hay and grain to the horses and filled the bird feeder. Snow had been predicted, coming in mid-to-late afternoon. He said one of our horses actually rolled in the grain.

And the squirrels jumped out of the tree limbs and assaulted the fresh supply of seeds.

Squirrels filling their tanks.

Squirrels filling their tanks.

It wasn’t long before the birds began to flock to it as well.

Birds on feeder 1

Birds on feeder - fat

Birds on feeder 4

Birds feeding

I watched as they bounced off and on, grabbing a bite before flying off to make room for another to swoop in. Then the snow began. Large flakes blew in sideways. It covered me as I sat with the door open, camera pointed at the feeder. A gorgeous cardinal had been popping on the backside of the feeder and since I couldn’t walk around the house, I had to just wait for him to position himself front and center.

Is there anything lovelier than a cardinal in the snow?

Is there anything lovelier than a cardinal in the snow?

birds with cardinal favorite

His significant other waited patiently on him in the branches of the crepe myrtle.

Striking, isn't she?

Striking, isn’t she?

Then she took a turn along with others.

birds on feeder female cardinal

bird bevy at feeder

I suppose you can tell by the pictures that we love our birds. They are well-fed and my son asked me if they were all pregnant since their bellies looked so big. I’m just glad to serve the role of food supplier to the wild kingdom.

Our doves mostly migrated a mile up the road where my son and husband planted a couple of corn fields. One didn’t produce enough to combine so he left it until recently and bush-hogged the entire field, leaving it for the deer, doves, and turkeys. They were practically following the tractor to get food, which made us feel good about our decision to just let it go and take the loss – (we didn’t have crop insurance, yikes!) There isn’t much in the forest for them to eat this time of year, and with the snow we’ve had – (it’s still snowing!) – I’m happy they’ve had a good source of food for the days building up to this wintery event.

snow fog

You all know the other critter enjoying the snow – Miss Gretel.

snow covered gretel 1

snow playing gretel 1

snow covered trees

Stay warm and well-fed throughout this blizzard! I’ll post more pictures when it stops snowing. Maybe I can talk hubby into taking the camera to the horse pasture and snapping a few of them running and playing. He’s stranded at the farm right now. Drifts have covered the road and the snow plows haven’t made it up the mountain yet.

So how is it where you are? Getting any snow or is it sunny and seventy?

Posted in family, Farming, food, landscape, photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 39 Comments

What Grief Can Do

Grief does things to you – to your mind, to your body, to your soul.

Some people talk these things through.  After my mother died, I found it difficult to talk for the first time in my life.

I must have turned the pain inward and the result is a ‘sprained’ or ‘torn’ MCL and hamstring.  There’s really no other explanation except the one we have been reaching for – one overcompensating for the other.  I wasn’t even moving when the hamstring separated.

My sister and I had been working at Mother’s house every Saturday since she passed away.  There were documents to find, bills to pay, accounts to cancel.  We made a list of those things which had to be done during normal weekday hours and met after work when we had short days.

Last Saturday, after finally summoning the courage to take down her Christmas tree, I was standing at the kitchen bar in my mother’s house dividing pictures of my childhood with my sister.

“Here, you are holding her hand in this one.  You should keep it.”

“And this one has Daddy crouched down, smiling at you as if he adored you more than anything in the world.  You take that one.”

“This is Mother in her prom dress; and over there is the one in her cap and gown.”

001

The inside of my knee had been ‘sore’ for a while.  I simply got a little elasticized knee brace and went on about my life.  I knew it had been swelling from time to time because there were often the waffle-like imprints of the fabric on my knee when I took it off.  Ibuprofen before bed and first thing in the morning seemed to ease it.

But on this day, it was really starting to throb.

“Why are we squinting in every picture?”

“They always made us face the sun!”

“And the old brownie camera…”

“Still intact with the flash…”

“Is in the treasures drawer.”

We were suddenly finishing each other’s sentences.  The things we only had one of were being stored in a place we referred to as the ‘treasures drawer.’

Our plan was to get to that ‘drawer’ by afternoon.  We would each get half of the treasures, which meant we would also be giving up half of them as well.

These aren’t the things you might imagine.  There was nothing inside a thief would want.  But they were bits and pieces of our childhood; family Bible, the clock radio which had belonged to our grandparents, the old Brownie camera, the surgical bowl and sutures removal set the doctor gave our father after his second painful surgery.  You get the picture.

Priceless to us, valueless to others.

I pointed at a picture.  “There’s Daddy and the bear!” 

Daddy and bear

It was faded from all of the years it had hung on the wall.  He must have made it face the sun as well, content to see the reflection of it across his brave face as he reached out to pet the wild bear during one of our many trips to the Smoky Mountains.

Pressure built for a second behind my knee and then it released, as if the entire muscular structure in the crease of the knee turned loose.  It didn’t hurt at first.  It took about a minute – maybe two – before the pain shot through my knee.

“I’ve got to sit down,” I said.

A few minutes later I reached for my purse and yanked out the brace, pulling it on.  I followed it with some Ibuprofen and suggested we sit while we combed through recipe books.

We made piles and I kept forgetting which pile was mine and which needed going through.  My leg throbbed, but we had so much to do.

The next morning my husband drove me to Urgent Care as soon as they opened.  I left with crutches, leg stabilizer, anti-inflammatories, and a recommendation for orthopedic attention.

Medical professionals at every level kept asking how I had injured my knee.  Did I fall?  Did I feel it pop?  Was there a noise when it ruptured?

It just turned loose.  I knew no other way to explain it.  I was standing at the bar, not even moving, and it turned loose, as though the tight muscular band around my knee lost all of its elastic.

Even my orthopedic specialist jokingly laughed, saying I needed a better story.  You’d think I could come up with one wouldn’t you?

But I like this doctor.  He has confidence in my ability to heal without surgery.  He also has a few tricks up his sleeve, he said with a wink, should they become necessary.

On the bright side, my bone structure looks good – no arthritis and it is still stable.  I’ve been prescribed rest.  The old knee needs time to calm down; for the swelling to subside.

The heart needs time to heal as well.  Maybe one will aid the other and I’ll come back on the other side of this as a whole person again.

Fingers crossed – but not ankles.  That hurts my knee.

 

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Mother…February1923 – December 2013

mother's 90th birthday 019

Blanche Canter, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, friend, and neighbor, whose door was always open for anyone to share a cup of coffee, delicious meal, or sympathetic ear, has shut the door behind on this life and embarked on a journey one must take alone.

We are heartbroken, devastated, sad, grief-stricken, and lost.  Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as we mourn her passing.

Posted in family, home, remembrance, spiritual | Tagged , , | 31 Comments

Happy Christmas

To all of my friends and family, blogging and otherwise, I wish you the happiest and merriest of seasons.

“What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?” – Salmon Rushdie

My Christmas Tree

My Christmas Tree

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.”  – Roy L. Smith

I put something different on my tree this year – hydrangeas from my garden.

hydrangea dried

They bloomed late, probably due to all of the early spring and summer rains.  Many large heads were still on the shrub when a frost was pending, so I brought a bouquet indoors.  It made a massive collection and I wondered what to do with them.

As we were bringing in the tree and trying to set it up, we must have knocked into the shelf holding the arrangement.  I thought, why not add them to the tree?

At first my husband thought I was a bit nuts.  But after he saw the nice effect, he was quickly won over.  So hydrangeas have a new place on my tree, along with the routine shiny bulbs, sugared fruit, and a few things picked up from travels like a Venetian mask.

Christmas 2013 tree ornaments hydrangea

“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Hamilton Wright Mabie

Did I mention dolls?

Christmas tree 2013 victorian doll

“The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect!”  
― Charles N. Barnard   

But what to do with the leftover ornaments?  Put them on the mantle of course.Christmas 2013 mantle“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!”  
―    Charles Dickens

The teddy bear isn’t complaining.Christmas 2013 teddy bear in chair

Perhaps he’s enjoying the music.

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
―    Agnes M. Pahro

May all your Christmas dreams come true.

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Wildlife…and Gretel

We are blessed with wildlife in North Carolina and Virginia.  I recently captured a few deer in the yard through the window.

Deer two closeup

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
―   George Gordon Byron 

Deer staring at me

Deer pawing ground

If you’ll look at her front leg, you’ll see her pawing at the ground.  She’s seen me too.

Deer eating grass

This one is unconcerned by it all.  However, there is another who has spotted them.

Gretel!  Deer with gretel in window

She took a barking fit about then, so they ventured back into the woods.  But aren’t they cute!

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The Sun Also Rises

Lately I’ve posted a few sunset pictures.  On a recent trip to our farm in Bland, Virginia, I also captured a few rather nice sunrises.  One in particular sparked my interest.

Sunrise behind trees bland 2

It fanned out slowly from a small stand of trees on the facing hilltop.

Sunrise behind trees bland 4

Growing brighter until it was hard to stare in its direction.

 

Sunrise behind trees bland 7

 

Sunrise behind trees bland 8

It even spread across the adjoining peaks, the forest floor still dotted with snow.

Bland snow and sun and fog

The sun itself is to the left of this particular view.  Nice, no?

We don’t have internet in Bland.  I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  Mostly it is nice to have a place to go and completely unplug.  Of course, we are usually so busy working when we are there that there is little time for missing the web.

But I can’t update posts or comment on your sites, although I have used my blackberry at times in the past.  It takes soooo lonnnng though.

I think its worth it for shots like these.  And the bonus is in the unique location that gives us access to both the rising and the setting sun.

Now I must get to work decorating for Christmas.  How about you?

Do you celebrate?  Is your tree up?  Presents bought and wrapped?

It is only seventeen days away.  Yikes!  Better hurry.

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Spectacular Sunset

As much as I’m addicted to photographing the moon, the sun is demanding its share of my attention.  Our cabin in Bland, Virginia has spectacular long range views, making it prime for both sunrises and sunsets.

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” Mahatma Gandhi

Recently, I captured a sunset banked against clouds.  I thought I’d share it with you.

Autumn Sunset

Autumn Sunset

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”  - Rabindranath Tagore

Sunset Spectacular 2

Literally, a fire blazing in the sky.  Little Mattie Stepanek, the wise child who lit up our hearts with his poetry, wisdom, and calls for peace, gave me a favorite quote.  He said, “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second.” 

Sunset Spectacular 3

Back glow behind the dark clouds edged them with pink.

Sunset Spectacular

“How strange this fear of death is!  We are never frightened at a sunset.” – George McDonald

As most of you know, I am participating in Nanowrimo – the great novel writing challenge that occurs in November.  For more on how that is coming along – or not – visit my writing site, reneejohnsonwrites.  There is a meter there, measuring my progress and holding my feet to the fire.

But I’ll always take time to admire such a spectacular sunset.  How about you?

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