A Walk In The Park

pathAfter a week or two of rainy days, we finally had a brief few days of sunshine. They didn’t come all at the same time but were welcome none the less. Yesterday was one of those. Well, it wasn’t raining anyway. The sky was cloudy and overcast but there was no precipitation falling from the sky and I could go without a coat.  So I decided to put on a light sweater and make the most of the afternoon after my morning errands were run. I took my camera and I went to the park.

We have several parks in my town and a long walking path called the Greenway where fletcher park1.JPGyou can pretty much walk through two-thirds of the city. I chose Fletcher Park because it usually isn’t as crowded and there are more wild spots left. If I wanted to drive further I could have gone to one of the nearby National Parks, but yesterday was just about relaxing for a few hours. I didn’t have time for a full-blown exploratory adventure. I just wanted some down time with nature.

Today the chill is back in the air and the overcast skies are pelting the world with cold rain once again. The brief respite has allowed some of the flood waters in the area to recede just a little but I am afraid that won’t last long the way the rain is falling today. The forecast for the rest of the week looks just as gloomy. The squirrels and other animals will once again be safe from my amateur paparazzi attempts for some time.squirrel4

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Cookies, Coffee, and Contentment

There is something about baking cookies just because that brings me a sense of peace. It has been a tough week. My son has been sick since last Thursday. First, he had a stomach virus. That lasted Thursday and Friday. By Saturday he seemed to be over losing the contents of his stomach but he still wasn’t feeling well.

cold-1947995_1920.jpgOn Sunday he started running a fever. By the wee hours of Monday morning, the fever was up to 102 and he was laying in the floor crying because his ear hurt. He wouldn’t say much else. (Toby has ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.) Not sure what else to do and with hours until the doctor opened I took him down to the emergency room of the children’s hospital.

The doctors there were fantastic as always. They took their time with him and explained everything they were doing. He was diagnosed with an ear infection, we were given a prescription for antibiotics, and released. I continued to alternate ibuprofen and Tylenol to help with the pain and the fever.

Fast forward to this Thursday. The fever still hadn’t gone away and despite three days of antibiotics, his ear was still hurting. So we went to the doctor to follow up and found out he had both an outer and an inner ear infection. The Doc prescribed some ear drops to go along with the antibiotics. The fever is finally gone and my son is on the mend.

Friday a sweet friend gave me a tub of cookie dough he had bought to support a fundraiser. Today, with Toby feeling better and with the sun shining after a week of rain, it seemed like the perfect time to bake some cookies. I didn’t even have to tell my son I was baking. The cookies had been in the oven less than two minutes before he followed his nose into the kitchen. Now the discs of deliciousness are cooling and I have a fresh cup of coffee in hand. Soon Toby will have a glass of milk and we will sit down with a couple of chocolate chocolate-chip cookies. For this moment, life is good. cookies-933191_1920.jpg

Baking Failures and Family Reunions

granny and papaw
Papaw, Granny, and Aunt Dixie

Today was my family reunion. I still feel drained from the interaction. Don’t get me wrong, my family is awesome and I love them, but I am an introvert by nature and being around a lot of people can be fatiguing.

My lack of coffee probably hasn’t helped. I haven’t had a single cup today, by accident not by plan. I woke up early around 4 A.M. for no apparent reason. Unable to go back to sleep, I read a book for a while, then it was time to get up. I had pumpkin bread to make and brownies to bake.

Normally I am good at baking. It is my thing. I usually stress back over the holidays. Today baking was not my thing. I tried. I really did. I also forgot to add one of the key ingredients to the bread, dropped an egg down the sink, splattered brownie batter all over my face, and then mixed the ingredients for the type of brownie I was trying to make in the wrong order; effectively making them look unedible. They actually tasted okay, they just looked bad. And I forgot to grease the pan so they stuck to the bottom and I ended up with brownie crumbs while trying to get them out.

I ended up taking store-bought lemon aid and a big bowl of grapes. I thought it was probably safer for all involved, considering I also absent-mindedly sat an oven mitt down on a hot stove burner and nearly caused a fire. Honestly, I am not usually so bad in the kitchen.

I did get to see many of my cousins and my Aunt Patsy. I have a ton of cousins. Some I haven’t seen in over a decade, others it has been a month or two. I enjoyed getting a chance to visit with them. I wish I could have stayed longer. However, my son decided to brave the reunion as well and quickly used up all of his socializing reserves. (He is high functioning autistic so his reserves run out even faster than mine.) Still, I had a good time. I hope to be able to visit with everyone again next year.

 

LibertyCon 31, 2018

Day 1 of LibertyCon 31:

We arrived at the convention a little later than originally planned but our timing worked to our advantage. My sister-in-law and I got our badges and checked into the hotel without issue. We’ve been to a few awesome panels and bought probably our weight in books. I’ve met some new people and was able to reconnect with old friends. So far we have had a good time.

The only problems that have shown their warty heads were the internet connection and the fact that we went left when we should have gone right (or the reverse) after getting off the elevator a few minutes ago. This meant we spent ten minutes trying to open a door that was to the wrong room. It took a handy passerby to point this out to us. In our defense, we were tired and just about ready for bed.  I am looking forward to tomorrow.

libertycon 31 no shit there I was

Unplanned

black and white house under thick clouds
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. Take this weekend for example. I had planned to get a ton of writing done. I was going to work on this short story I want to finish and send out before the end of June. I was going also work on this other thing that looks like it might be part two of something I’ve already completed. I was also hoping to plot some of a series I’ve been planning, then write a blog post.

None of that happened. Well, this is the blog post but not the one I originally planned on. Yesterday the sky was overcast and the wind was shouting nature’s fury through the trees. Then the storm began and the power went out. No power, no internet.

It was fine at first. All the people in my neighborhood opened their curtains and doors. People stood on their porches and watched the storm rage. When it the weather cleared the power was still out, so my son and I went to visit family, run a few errands, and grab some lunch. We passed downed trees and broken limbs everywhere; evidence that the storm had been worse than I thought. Traffic lights were down and a lot of places were without power.

It took us longer than expected but we returned home by seven in the evening to a dark house. The power rarely goes off where I live so I had expected it to be repaired by the time we made it home. It wasn’t a big deal to me. We have candles and lanterns if we need to see and I have a camp stove if we needed something warm to eat. I also have a reading list that never seems to get any smaller.

My son, however, thought the apocalypse had come. The battery in his game console was almost dead and so was his phone. He couldn’t turn on the tv or his computer and we had to use a tap light to see in the bathroom. I told him to read a book. He pouted for a bit but finally started a series he received for Christmas.

The power was back on by 10PM but it was kind of nice to unplug from technology for a bit. I managed to read three books and my son focused on something that wasn’t Minecraft for a few hours. So, even though things didn’t go as planned and I didn’t get the writing done that I wanted, it was still a pretty good day. (The power went off for a while today too but only for a few hours.)

Morning Magic

dandelion
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This morning I let the dog out into our fenced in backyard and turned my attention to feeding my demanding felines when I heard him bark. It was different from the bark he uses when the neighbors are out and about. It was just a single bark with a couple of seconds pause before he did it again. Curious, I stepped out on to the back porch to see what he was barking at.

By this time he was back to sniffing clover and his normal routine. However, as I stepped out onto the back porch a big gust of wind ripped through the yard, disturbing the fluff from some dandelions. The fluff took flight into the air as a big cloud that slowly dissipated into individual seeds dancing on the wind. It was amazing. It was like dozens of tiny white fairies swirling around the sky.

So while I still don’t know exactly what caught the dog’s attention, I am glad he barked so that nature could attract mine. The cats, on the other hand, were unimpressed about the delay in serving breakfast.

Blue Skies and Green Leaves

IMG_20160424_130541480I am currently in my front yard stretched out in a hammock. It is strung between a branchy Bradford Pear tree and a tall straight Walnut. Part of me doesn’t trust the ropes or the knots that keep it in place, so I tense whenever my movement sends it swinging. I am too comfortable to find a safer lounging spot though.

It is a sunny day with a stereotypical clear blue sky. My view of it is in bare patches between leaves. A moment ago a bird flew over my head, so quick it seemed only a shadow but so close I could hear the beat of its wings. A moment before that I watch a tiny lady bug crawl all over the leaves on the branch above my head. I’m not sure what the lady bug was searching for but she checked both sides of the leaves before flying away.

A boy just rode by on his bike. The wheels or the gears buzzed as he passed but didn’t disturb the birds and the squirrel looking for snacks in the grass.IMG_20160424_133737566

This is one of those peaceful moments I wish I could bottle up and save for later. It would take a special magic sort of a bottle to capture it all. A bottle that could hold the smell of the earth and the trees, the feel of the wind, the sighing to the branches and the happy songs of the birds, and the view of the blue sky through green branches. Since I don’t have such a magic bottle, I will have to make do with the memory, a few written words, and a picture.