Friday, December 25, 2020

12.25.2020 Merry Christmas

 It is my sincere wish that you all enjoyed a happy, healthy and wonderful Christmas holiday.

We had a busy Christmas. It starts with Christmas which is my favorite evening of the year. I think I enjoy it so much as it extends the Christmas Day celebrations. There was no midnight Mass this year nearby because of the pandemic, so I went to a local Church for an early afternoon Mass. I just pretended it was Midnight and that I still had a lot of time to prepare for Christmas Day! Christmas Eve was enjoyed with close friends and we had a lovely dinner together. Then back home for a little quiet time with the boys.

What a day they had. A friend mailed them presents - lots of presents, mostly the kind that they can eat. Gunnarr sniffed out his present and promptly set to very neatly taking of the wrapping paper and opening the barbeque sticks. He did share. Fionnegan was a little overwhelmed and retired to watch from the couch. Shorty enjoyed the gifts and even opened one up for me. A special dinner was made for us and they all promptly took a long nap. What a peaceful day. Did not really mind the rain as I was grateful I would not have to shovel snow today. Water in the basement, but not a flood.

All gone. No more treats or toys. But Gunnarr and Fionnegan keep checking.

Time for another nap, Shorty settling in on the couch.

Gunnarr and Fionnegan wait for me at the door.

May you all enjoy the peace and joy and blessings of this beautiful Christmas season. May you and your families stay safe and healthy. And do keep hope for a better future. 

Merry Christmas.

If you would like to see see pictures of the boys enjoying their presents, visit Shorty's website: Is that your dog?  

Thursday, December 17, 2020

12.17 2020. Life happens ......

Most likely you have heard the saying that "Life happens while you are making other plans". That could sum up this year for me and many others. I know that I am not alone in this. The pandemic had a way of taking care of most plans. 

My plans this year included a trip to Rome to see the holy sites, a birding trip, my volunteer trip to Honduras and to spend my birthday in a European Christmas market. I have always wanted to do that - visit a European Christmas market. The city did not really matter except that I was thinking of visiting a country where I have never traveled. That would satisfy two goals - a new country and a new experience. I had almost confirmed  the travel plans last year before the coronavirus took hold of our lives. I was that certain that I would be traveling in December. O such plans! Every birthday is a big one at this stage in life, but this one was really a milestone. I wanted to celebrate in style.

So if I cannot go to Europe, then I thought I would go to Maine for my birthday - closer but safe. All set, reservations made. Looking forward to walking along one of my favorite coves and towns in Maine. In November the new travel restrictions were placed on us and I guess that I just do not feel comfortable traveling when we are supposed to stay home and safe. We are not supposed to travel to a red covid state, and with the exception of Hawaii, they are all red states. OK, so no European Christmas market, no quaint Maine bed and breakfast, what about a lovely dinner in a local restaurant. Stay local and support our own. Sounded good to me. Reservations made. Plans made in my head. Finish work, feed the boys, then a nice quiet but special dinner. Sounded great. O what plans.

First we had a snowstorm and instead of sleeping in, I was outside shoveling snow 18 inches deep. OK, no problem, still have dinner plans. Happy birthday to me. Will get the car shoveled out, the walkway is clear. I am all set.  Will make it to dinner.

Working remotely has never been a problem and today should not have been a problem. We had no power outage, so what could go wrong? Well, I'll tell you what went wrong. No internet connection on the computer that I use for work that allows access to the larger files and programs. I had an internet connection on a small computer (my Microsoft surface that I love but less capacity and not used for work) but none on my work computer. How can that be? They were sitting right next to each other! Talk to each other - please. But to no avail. The work computer did not recognize any internet site anywhere. Not the neighbors and certainly not mine in my house! Are you kidding me????? I had to download new programs and access special websites on the small computer. And the computer phone was not working either. What a day. Finally caught up at the end of the day. We always catch up at the end of the day! That is why it is the end of the day!

Now I could really use that dinner! Called the restaurant to make sure they were open and not closed because of the snowstorm. O, what was I thinking. They closed yesterday because of a "covid incident". Are you kidding me? So I bundled myself and the boys in our warm clothes and went back outside and finished shoveling another porch and more of the driveway. More to clear off the car as well. It is good exercise. But what about dinner? Wasn't this a special birthday? Wasn't a celebration in order?

Well, my options for dinner were leftovers, a frozen dinner or pizza. Pizza it is. The boys like the crusts and I enjoy the store - bought pizza. So I pulled out my good china and stemware (why not?), had a nice glass of wine and a wonderful pizza dinner and salad as my special birthday treat. The boys were good, I called my Mom and it was a wonderful night afterall. I didn't need to travel to Europe or Maine to have a nice birthday - but I would have liked to see if it made it feel more special. That is what next year is all about. It is good to have dreams and goals and plan for next year. Never lose hope! 

We had fun outside early in the morning. Shorty, my Yapese dog from that tropical island, loves the snow. While Fionnegan and Gunnarr had second thoughts about going out in the snow, Shorty plowed ahead and made a trail for them. Once the little ones had a path, they did much better and all three were sniffing through the snow for most likely mice or moles or some little creature. They are a delight to watch and that in itself is a nice birthday present.

Here is my Shorty under the bushes and trees, having fun. He is really good at allowing me to dress him in a sweater and coat.

Fionnegan is very reluctant to play in the snow. He seems to like it the least. Gunnarr is trying to coax him to come and play. Fionn was outside all of two minutes and already his front leg is out of one PJ suit and sweater.

Snow on the hemlocks, causing the bows to touch the ground.

Lots of snow. This is a birdbath.

Shorty leads the way. Good boy.

Fionnegan and Gunnarr

Fionnegan. He just wasn't that into it. Clothes falling off, snow bunnies on his hair, he probably just wanted us all to come inside and play with him. And play he did when we went inside the house.

Gunnarr with a snow covered face and nose will follow me anywhere. I need to keep an eye on him as he would like to go through the gate if I am going going out. Sit, stay. Please.

My dear Shorty. Loves the snow. He is so much fun - we can run through the snow and he likes to play chasing games with his brothers and me!

Not the best photograph but they are probably feeling like - glad we are dry and inside the house! They love to sit on the landing. It is a good perch for them and they can see everything inside the house from that vantage point.

All in all, a good birthday. 

My best wishes are with all of you to stay safe and healthy and have a little fun. Even if you are confined to your house. We can find joy if we chose to find it wherever we are.

Stay well..

Thursday, November 26, 2020

11.26.2020 Happy Thanksgiving

 May you all be blessed with a good day today. And please remember to give thanks for the good things in your life and to share your blessings with friends and family. I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Please stay safe if you are travelling.

As unbelievable as this is, they lined  up for a photograph on request! They just had some turkey so were quite happy with dinner. And now it is nap time for them!

Left to right - Shorty, Fionnegan, Gunnarr. My three happy boys.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

11.06.2020 Fall in New England

New England is a beautiful part of the world. And we are blessed with four seasons that arrive with a variety of color and temperatures.  Autumn is a favorite of locals and tourists as well and this year was no different.

We had some spectacular color as the trees prepared for their winter slumber. The colorful leaves against a blue sky backdrop is simply gorgeous.

Gardens remain full of bright color with pretty purple and yellow mums.

And I even had a few of my favorite monk's hood in bloom for the Fall gardens.

And - one stella d'ora day lily was still continuing to bloom despite being in the running pathway of my three boys.

And then it happened - snow! Yes it snowed while the trees were still covered in leaves and flowers were abloom in the gardens. 

My pretty monk's hoods were weighed down by the heavy wet snow and no longer stood tall - typically over 5 feet tall. Now they were all bent and snow covered.

This snow ended the blooming season for the hearty stell d'ora as well.

A winter wonderland in October.

But the snow was short lived and the next morning out came the sun and warmed us all. Damage was done to several trees and an ancient white lilac plant. But just like the colored leaves are brilliant against a blue sky backdrop - so is snow.

Fionnegan, Gunnarr and Shorty like to sniff out buried treasures in the snow.  And keep an eye out for those chipmunks!

Before we knew it the weather was back to sunny and warm and we were all enjoying a little more of mild temperatures before the inevitable winter storms arrive.

The best thing to do on a wintery day - take a nap!

Or keep an eye on Momma while she works! Even when she dresses you up with a bandana.

Please stay well during this continued coronavirus pandemic. Please be safe.

Until next time please enjoy this bouquet of beautiful flowers with a lovely fragrance to cheer you.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

10.18.2020 Being a local tourist

 There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has clipped our wings, so to speak.  But there is still plenty to do and see locally. So on goes the mask and off we go for some nature walks and fresh air.

One of my favorite places to visit is Plum Island and the Parker National Wildlife Refuge. It is a long span of beautiful sand and sea and sand dunes, lots of birds and even a few deer. 

The board walk through the dunes. The sea is just beyond the dunes.

The ocean is magnificent. Nothing better than strolling along the beach listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

Here I enjoy the sea with a few sea gulls who were just sitting and watching the waves, too.

Some local artwork on the beach.

And those cute little plovers. In the spring and summer beach access is closed in some areas for breeding. Looks like it is a success because they are a lot of plovers here! They are fun to watch as they run up and down the beach on those little legs.

Another local favorite is Gloucester, especially the causeway and Stage Fort. I would like to have a bench there in the park to perpetually observe the sea. I have a favorite spot there and visit it as often as I can.

Memorial to the fishermen lost at sea.

And a memorial to those who are left at home waiting for their husband, father, son and loved one to return.

This is my favorite spot. A bit overgrown but better than overdeveloped. The rocks are largely covered by vegetation - Fionnegan and Gunnarr used to run on them when they were puppies.

A perfect spot to rest and watch the sea.

An old canon at the old Stage Fort.

A drawbridge for taller boats - this one was able to go through without any problem.

Rockport is a cute little touristy town on Cape Ann. Love the teddy bear getting a little sun!

A sea gull watching me watching him. 

It is great to get outside for a stretch and some fresh air. With the days getting shorter and the weather cooler, must take advantage of every opportunity to be outside.  The boys and I walk every week on the trails in town, so they get to stretch those little legs too!

Nice color in the backyard.

Hairy woodpecker at the feeder.

Still some pretty flowers in the garden.

 Fionnegan, Shorty, Gunnarr pose for the camera. Yes, they were asked to line up and they did!

Shorty, my Yapese dog, just as happy as ever.

I hope you all are well and safe. And I hope you enjoy the pictures. Until next time be well ......