Friday, December 13, 2019

Long Branch Lake - December 13, 2019

When my husband asked me to go fishing with him today, I said yes. The weather forecast predicted a high of 50 degrees and mostly sunny skies. After packing a picnic lunch of mini-subs (ham, turkey, Colby jack cheese and hard salami piled on hot dog buns slathered with Miracle Whip) and potato chips, we were off in our old red fishing Jeep.

I actually didn’t fish. I wandered down the walkway to the fishing dock and onto the point. On my way back, I went down to the beach and walked along the water’s edge. Mine were the only human footprints in the sand. Looking closely, I saw tiny little branch-like lines where sea gulls hopped. They also left behind a sprinkling of white feathers. I noticed the larger track of a goose and the hand/paw print of a coon. I followed a deer trail, wondering why it followed that particular route on the beach.

The water reflected the blue and white sky in places, but around the edge of the lake it mirrored the brown grass and bare trees. Does water have color? 

A gaggle of Canadian geese glide atop the cool water. Do their feet get cold?

For those of you who are wondering about the fish, after a slow start, they did start biting. Blaine caught enough fish to keep our traditional "Fresh Fish for Sunday Supper" streak going. Life is good.

Monday, November 18, 2019

My Birthday Month of October


  Lately I have been listening to podcasts. Last summer I discovered Women in the Middle, in which Suzie Rosenstein (a life coach) urges women in their fifties (or older) to make the most of their lives. This really struck a chord with me. I had been starting to slump down into “senior citizen” mode and thinking about what I could not do rather than what I could do. In a couple of episodes, Suzie talks about planning a special birthday celebration.
     Since my birthday was coming up, I thought about some possible activities for my birthday. Then my sisters mentioned they wanted to celebrate with me, so I thought, I’ll plan a birthday week. The idea mushroomed into a birthday month, and I announced my plan on Facebook. I actually printed out the calendar month of October and began jotting down my plans. When I saw friends during the month of October, they asked me what I was doing that day to celebrate. I thought you all might be interested in what I did during the month.

Here is a list of my birthday celebrations:

1.     I walked in the woods and went fishing at Long Branch with Blaine.
2.     I went to Columbia with my daughter Vanita. She took me out to lunch and bought me some beautiful mums and a pumpkin.
3.     I walked down to the river, wrote a blog, and rode along with Blaine in the Ranger to the Wildlife Area.
4.     This morning I served as leader of my book club discussion about Where the Crawdads Sing. I also took a picnic lunch to Blaine where he was fishing.
5.     Blaine and I went to Lancaster to watch Madison in a softball tournament. We ate lunch at the ballfield, and enjoyed spending time with Valerie and our friends, the Garnetts.
6.     My daughter Valerie and grandson Jaron came over for a visit. My friend Ellen brought over a beautiful plate on which she had painted a saying I told her that Grandma Jane says: “Many of life’s problems are solved while washing dishes together.” I hung it by my sink.
7.     Sister Day! My sisters Dianna and Janie and I drove around the Barnsville neighborhood where we grew up and stopped our childhood home. An Amish family purchased the land was building a big house and barn on it. As we drove by the “Allen” place, Dianna told me my middle name Coleen was from Mrs. Allen! I never knew that! Then we went to the Hopewell Cemetery where our grandparents and other relatives are buried and had a picnic lunch. We reminisced past Memorial Days, when we helped Mom and Aunt Rosene tend to the graves and placed aluminum foil wrapped tin cans full of fragrant peonies near the headstones. Dianna made ham salad and Janie brought lemon bars, two of my favorite foods! It was a beautiful day. 
8.     Another beautiful day. I spent it with Blaine. We went to watch Madison and Jaron play ball in the evening and ate supper at the ballpark.
9.     We worked on a culvert at our lake property. Our son Blaine helped during his lunch hour as we installed a new pipe. I actually enjoy wading in ditches with my boots on!
10.  Happy birthday to me! It was a cold, rainy day, so all I wanted to do was stay home and read and write. I worked on my blog and read Grandma’s Attic. Blaine grilled me a special dinner of smoked pork chops.
11.  I took a walk in the rain in the morning. In the afternoon, Blaine and I soaked up the sunshine as we gathered veggies from the garden because it is supposed to frost tonight.
12.  It frosted last night! My son Blaine brought me presents from him and Kristy including a pumpkin soufflĂ© candle that smells amazing and soup mixes. Vanita and I went to Koch’s for a craft fair and got a sandwich, which we took to the lake house and ate. Then we ushered at the theater and watched the performance of Rise Up, O Men. It was another great day!
13.  I went to see Downton Abbey at the theater by myself. I enjoyed it very much! Our son Blaine brought little great-granddaughter Lahna over for a visit. She loves to play my piano.
14.  Blaine and I had a picnic under a shade tree at our lake house in Macon. In the evening we went to a softball game. It was Senior Night for Madison.
15.  I went for a walk in the woods and noticed the leaves changing colors. We went to a ballgame where the girls won the conference title.
16.  I explored some of our property at Crystal Lake that I had not been on before. I also drove the little utility tractor for the first time and learned how to operate the bucket.
17.  We worked in the garden to remove tomato cages, pull pepper plants, etc. That may not sound like fun, but Blaine and I usually do manage to enjoy our time together, no matter what the chore. In the evening we went to Laplata where our softball girls advanced to the District Championship game. Blaine and I split a tenderloin and cheesy fries at the game. Yum!
18.  We worked more at our lake property. It was a beautiful day to be outside. My treat was I ate a McRib from McDonalds. Then we picked up a rack of ribs from C&R. I really like ribsJ.
19.  Son Blaine helped us cut down some trees at our Macon property. Later, we watched Madison’s team win the District title. Madison hit a home run over the fence and made a good catch to end the game.
20.  Blaine and I worked together to cut, split and haul some wood. It was a nice day to be in the woods. I also worked on getting my book ready for publication on Amazon.
21.  I worked on my blog and listened to an audiobook (not at the same time). I made beef stew and homemade sourdough wheat rolls for supper. The house smelled so good and felt cozy.
22.  Blaine grilled T-bone steaks for supper tonight.
23.  We drove to Kirksville, then through the country to Canton. The fall foliage was gorgeous. The girls did not pull out a win, so it was Madison’s last softball game. They had an excellent season, though.
24.  We worked outside all day. Madison stopped by for a short visit after school. I made grilled tenderloins, spaetzle, (a German noodle dish) and cooked the last of the green beans I picked yesterday.
25.  I ushered at the theater with my sister Janie.
26.  We bought some grass carp and our son helped us dump them in the lake. We burned brush piles and spent the night at Crystal Lake.
27.  We worked outside again today. Our son came over for a visit and helped his dad work on his truck, so I didn’t have to.
28.  I worked on my novel.
29.  Valerie came over for a visit.
30.  Blaine and I worked on a home improvement project.
31.  Blaine and I worked on the home improvement project some more. As I mentioned before, we like to work together on projects, unless I have to hold the flashlight, which is a whole different story! In the evening, the cutest little lumberjack (great-grandson Landon) came by with his parents to Trick or Treat.

     There you have it – that is how I celebrated my birthday month, during which I was blessed to turn 64 years young. I enjoyed each day and highly recommend planning a birthday month. Better yet, find a little joy in every day all year long!