Monthly Archives: January 2013

“Baby it’s Cold Outside” and I’ve Got the Frost on My Windows to Prove it

We tend to talk a lot about the weather here in Minnesota and yesterday was no exception.  It was downright frigid!  I saw one local weather news headline that called us Minn-Arctica.  That’s exaggerating a bit, but it made a point, the temperatures here yesterday were the lowest they have been in two years.

Here in the Twin Cities, I woke up to minus 11 degrees and farther north they had morning wind chills of minus FIFTY.  Yikes!  But we are hardy folk and take it all in stride.  😉

But as much as we like to discuss the weather in Minnesota, I’m not here to give you a weather report, I want to share some photos that I snapped yesterday of the frosty ice crystals that I discovered having a lovely little winter party on my bedroom windows.

On these first couple of photos, the sun wasn’t quite up yet and I was so tickled with the way the lighting of the sky set off the frost so beautifully.

(Click on individual images for larger viewing)

This one is my favorite…DSCF0280b


But I also love the spiked edges on this one, they remind me of pine.DSCF0281b


Then my stupid batteries died so I went to put them in the charger and snatched my daughter’s camera out of her room while she was sleeping.  The sun had risen a bit more by then so it was shining brightly into my windows for these next few.  I wasn’t as pleased with how these turned out, but they are still very pretty and I do love the way the light catches.







Of course, I realize that having this frost on my windows indicates poor insulation, but it sure is pretty to look at and there’s only a slight breeze coming in.  😉  Plus it’s always nice to look at the bright side of things ~ if it’s gonna be so dang cold outside, we may as well enjoy what beauty of it we can find, right?

And if all else fails… we can always go lay on the floor of the bathroom in front of the heating vent.  Wha?

Look what I found when I walked into the bathroom the other day.  My silly cat!  She may be keeping warm, but this doesn’t look very comfortable to me…DSCN6703


Well, try and stay warm people!

And be sure to watch for the beauty that is most certainly all around you if you only look, even when it’s freezing cold.  😉


Among My Branches

In the mornings I like to sit and look out the windows of my room while drinking my coffee.  I have a huge Sycamore tree right outside that my Grandpa planted way back in the 1940’s, and its branches basically cover the span of all three of my bedroom windows.  It’s an odd shaped, but interesting looking tree, they are not commonly grown here in Minnesota so I feel special to have one.  The branches are barren right now in the winter, well except for when they are  covered with snow, 😉 but when I moved back home here this past fall its branches were filled with gigantic leaves that filtered the light in through my windows so beautifully.

Aside from the tree itself, one of the other things I really enjoy about it is watching the little creatures that sometimes occupy its branches.  Two of my favorite species of birds, the Cardinal and the Chickadee often come to visit and it’s always such a delight to watch them flit about.  I wish they’d sit still long enough for me to snap a picture of them, but they are busy little things and always on a mission.

However, I did manage to catch this shot of a huge crow cawing the other day…CrowSeriously, the size of this thing was massive!

Crows are not a favorite bird of mine, but they are really cool and also quite intelligent.  My daughter says she is going to try “befriending” one this summer, but not if I have anything to say about that, I don’t need crows coming around bothering my vegetable garden this summer.  I had enough trouble with squirrels!

And speaking of squirrels, those of you who have been following my blog for a while may remember some of the trouble I had with a certain particular squirrel, an evil, diabolical, and thieving little creature who really gave me a hard time in my garden.  First it was just digging holes in “Adventures in Gardening Part 11 ~ Darn Squirrels!”  and then once harvest time came it got downright ugly in “Adventures in Gardening Part 31 ~ That Thieving Squirrel: the Epic Battle Continues…”

I recommend reading both of those posts to give you some background on what I’m going to say next here because the funny thing is…  I grew to become quite fond of that naughty little squirrel.  Seems impossible, I know, after joking around about ways in which to dispose of the little thief and sharing about my recurring nightmares about squirrels, but once I put my garden to bed for the winter, and began spending my mornings in front of my bedroom windows with my coffee, I became fondly attached to him in watching him prepare his home for the winter in the trunk of my tree.  Scurrying among the branches, gathering those giant Sycamore leaves in his tiny little paws, and rushing off to stuff them into his hole = sooo cute!  Those grubby, thieving, little paws that once made me so angry became so adorable and so much fun to watch.  You know, I really do love all little creatures, even the ones that make me mad.

Well, the other day, the day that I caught that photo of the crow, I think my squirrel got run over by a car.  😦  I can’t be for sure that it was him, but for days and days now while I’ve been sitting in front of my windows having my morning coffee, I haven’t seen hide nor hair of him.  I joked around about wishing he’d get run over back when he was stealing my vegetables, but now I am so sad at the thought of it.  RIP “Little Thief” (as he has now has been named), I will miss your cute little antics.  Well, not your vegetable stealing ones, of course.  😉

So now, after many days since Little Thief’s untimely death, I think someone new is considering moving in because look what I just saw…DSCF0210bMr. Opportunity, no doubt.  And that is as he shall now be named.


He’s not as cute as Little Thief (not that I can really tell the difference ;)) and I have resolved that I will not become attached to him, other than for practicing my photography skills on him as he dwells among my branches.DSCF0216bAnd I must say, I am quite proud of this shot.  😀


Hope 2013

Ahhh, so here it finally is!  What I’ve been waiting for ~ the New Years’ inspiration to kick in.

I’ve been really sick for the past week.  In fact, my entire family has been too, and it has hit us all pretty hard.  Other than just the general sense of feeling like absolute crap, the biggest issue for me through it all has been the complete lack of energy I’ve had, just sitting upright for more than a little while at a time has been a challenge.  Laying around being bored, with a million thoughts running through your mind, and feeling too sick to do anything else is certainly not a good way to start off the new year with a positive attitude.  And when you’re sick, there is a tendency to feel negative about everything anyway so many of those ‘million thoughts’ were mostly gloomy.

I feel like a broken record constantly mentioning how difficult the past few years have been for me, and I’m just so done with it all.  I want my happy, joyful, positive attitude back, and I want it naow!

There is such a fine line between acknowledging and giving validation to all of the struggles, hurts, and sorrows you’ve gone through and just getting over it and getting on with things.  On one hand, you can’t just skim right over it all and pretend like everything is all peachy because stuffing your problems never fixes them, they only build up, lurking just beneath the surface, and if they’re not dealt with they eventually pop up and affect other areas of your life.  I’d rather give them the required attention now so that I can truly move on and be done with it.  But on the other hand, geez how long does it take for crying out loud?!

In contemplating the new year, my thoughts and feelings have been all over the place ~ anywhere between hope and excitement to fear and trepidation.  My natural tendency is usually to be optimistic and positive, but when I look at a few of the cold hard facts of the ‘reality’ of my situation, that optimism fades a bit.

I feel like I’m constantly at war with myself, wanting to be realistic and practical, but at the same time wanting to dream, wanting to imagine, wanting to believe in “happily ever after.”  But I don’t like pretending.  Keeping things real and being authentic is very important to me.  If I’m not ‘feeling’ it, I’m not faking it.

I’ve mentioned many times before how thankfulness and gratitude are key to finding true happiness and I really believe that with all my heart.  Of course it’s easy to live in an “attitude of gratitude” when things are going well, but it’s much more of a challenge when things are difficult.  But it is possible to do, and to be authentic about it, because there is always something to find to be thankful for.  Always.

I used to live in a sort of bubble.  It was a wonderful bubble.  I miss my bubble.  I walked around every day and I was just… happy.  The birds were always singing, the sun was always shining, I met each day with hopeful anticipation, deeply grateful for all of my blessings, always expecting good and wonderful things for my life, and do you know what?  That’s exactly what I got.  Not that everything was perfect, not by any means, but I was happy, it was all about my attitude, and it was about my faith and trust in God that no matter what happened everything was always working for my good.  I want my bubble back.

So, yesterday was the first day I was finally feeling a tiny bit better and after being sick for a week I was really feeling the need to change my bedding.  I have a bit of OCD about my bedding always needing to be fresh and clean so when I’ve been sick it’s even more of an issue.  While I was doing the laundry, I sat with my sick daughter and my sick mother and watched a movie.  The movie was called “Enchanted.”  It’s just a silly little movie, I’ve seen it before, but as I sat there and watched it, I saw something new.  It wasn’t the movie itself really, it was the thoughts it provoked.  I hope I’m able to articulate those thoughts here…

Movies, or stories in general, have a way of getting inside of us and producing certain thoughts and feelings.  I think what happens is, there are common or universal ideas that go deep down somewhere and we relate to them on some certain level.  A particular story resonates with us, provokes feelings.  Ah it’s wonderful.  But then, then… reality.  Oh reality.  Sorry people, no dreaming, real life isn’t like this.  This is just make believe, real life doesn’t work that way.  Well why the heck not?!  Seriously, why not?  Why can’t real life be that way?  Obviously the reasons that stories touch us the way they do is because deep inside of us we know that life is meant to be more than it is.  There’s more to it than this ‘reality’ that we’ve been given.

Ya know… if there hadn’t been dreamers we wouldn’t have even half of what we do in the world today.  Inventors, crazy people they are, dreamers.  What if they let ‘reality’ hold them back?  What if they had listened to all the naysayers telling them “that’s not realistic.”  Why do we have to be realistic?  Lets dream!  Lets wish and imagine and hope and do what it is that we really long for!

A fellow blogger posted a TED video the other day of a young girl speaking on “What adults can learn from kids” and maybe it was the combination of that video mixed with the silly Enchanted movie that sparked all these thoughts.  One of the things that I really loved that the little gal said was  “In order to make anything a reality, you have to dream about it first.  In many ways, our audacity to imagine helps push the boundaries of possibility.”  Gosh, that’s good stuff right there!  What an extraordinary kid!  What is that quote… “out of the mouths of babes.”  We lose something when we grow up.  Something important.  I want to be just like this little gal when I grow up.

Forget about resolutions, for New Years I want grab hold of my dreams and not be afraid to pursue them.  I sort of have to figure them out first though, 😉 but then…

The future