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Archive for the ‘Just for fun’ Category

 

img_2225The first Amaryllis bulb came home with me in early December. It was just a bulb with instructions to place it in a container (a pot, a bowl, a plate) and to let it be. No water – or just a small amount if I really felt it was needed.  I placed the bulb in a shallow dish, added a few tablespoons worth of water, and proceeded to let it be.

The very next day I could see the emergence of a bud. It was small, looked different from the thick leaves and I was armed with just enough gardensense to know it was the start of a flower.

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A week or so later, I brought home another bulb. By now the first bulb was pushing up at least a half-inch worth of stem each day, the bud was holding on tight and reaching strongly for daylight coming through the window. I turned it daily with care so it would not become top-heavy.

Both Amaryllis bulbs came from grocery store, a local chain, that I frequent. Bulb #2 found another dish and proceeded to try to follow to the first bulb in growth.

Yet another week and another Amaryllis bulb followed me home. I felt the need (OK, the urge) to buy it. It was one of the last bulbs in the store’s barrel. How could I leave it behind? Each bulb was $8.00 and the first two were so rapid in their growth, that, well . . .  you know me and flowers.

These exotic bulbs put on a spectacular performance throughout the month of December and well into January, showing off with amazing blossoms that seemed to be perfectly timed so that new blooms opened up as old ones faded away.

img_2227As the flowers died back, I gently snipped them off, amazed at the amount of liquid that secreted out of the stems, especially since I had not watered them! I eventually cut them all back, with just one bloom left on one of the stems. She did not disappoint. This  weekend, now mid-January, there was this amazing blossom (above).

I have displayed these bulbs along my center countertop, right behind the kitchen sink. They have been a bright spot in what has been a predominately gloomy winter. They have performed quite spectacularly. At the moment, there is the one last bloom, but, much to my delight, the other two Amaryllis bulbs, which I thought were dormant, have sent up new shoots which look like they will be opening by week’s end.

How wondrous our world is and what a joy these small little pleasures in life can be. It looks like there will be enough Amaryllis blossoms to take me through at least the month of January, and now I am wondering if I can facilitate dormancy for next December.

Have you had any experiences with Amaryllis bulbs?

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when the bee stings,

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when I’m feeling sad

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I simply remember my favorite things

 

and then I don’t feel so bad.

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Just a few of my favorite things.

img_2151What things make you happy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Facebook has a little feature where one can click on a link and your profile image is superimposed (or whatever they do) into a Christmas scene. Just for fun, I clicked, and this is what appeared. Can you find me?

I’m the ghost of Christmas past. 🙂

It is really a photo of me, when I was a young lass – none other than the Angel of the Lord at my church’s Christmas pageant. You can find my story of being a fallen angel here. In the photo below, there I am, in all my angelic glory, on the night of the Christmas Pageant, oh-so-many years ago, and from whence the apparition appears – now rising from a couch!

Good tidings!

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1 9 5

mccook-libraryIt was my first time behind the wheel after “The Fall”. Apprehensive, I mentally mapped out a route along roads less traveled with destinations that didn’t require me to get in and out of the car.

Bank – ATM – ✔️

Drive-up postal box ✔️

Coffee – ✔️

Library – ???

My library card had expired a month ago. I needed to renew it. To do so, meant going into the library.

I live in a city that does not have a library. Sad, I know, BUT, it is a very nice city that tries to treat her residents well, and does so in what I feel is a rather nice way. To own a library card, we must buy one from another municipality. My city, however, will pay half of the charge, up to $100. That means, if a neighboring library sells you a card for $200, the city will reimburse for half of that. Not a bad deal at all.

For many years, I have purchased my card from a small library with a healthy tax base in the next town over. It is the library where I was ‘mullioned” a few years ago. They are such nice folks, recognize me, and are part of a very large library system, which allows me library privileges in a very large inter-library loan system.

Most of you know my love of libraries, and how I often frequent them.

I have a “library habit”.

The librarian told me she could renew my card, but, the fee had gone up. She suggested another library, equidistant from our house, that was offering my city and another a card for $100. (which means it would end up costing me $50).

Of I went, down the road, to a charming library, nestled in a small but established residential area that was surrounded by thriving industries and major expressways. I parked on the street, closer to the entry than my own back door. Doors automatically opened and I was greeted by non-other than the head librarian, who asked if she could help me. I assured her I was fine, in spite of my very fat boot, and said that I was interested in getting a library card.

This library, dear reader, and this librarian are everything a library should be! Not only was I welcomed with open arms (and a handshake), but, I was introduced to another library patron, Betty, who lived in my own city, and invited to come to a once-a-month coffee hour at the library.

My maiden voyage, after The Fall, was going pretty well – until . . .

. . . no, I stayed on my feet. It was while one of the librarians was entering my information from my expired card. The head librarian had just handed me a welcoming tote bag, and filled it with all sorts of useful items and the library’s brochure, as she offered me a chair to sit on. The registrar asked a few questions, then, casually said “it looks like you have some outstanding fines“.  I could not imagine what fines they might be, but,  I did remember returning a few items last month a day late.  I asked how much I owed.

One ninety-five!

How could that be? Surely I would have received a notice for such an outstanding fine, either via email, phone call, or, gasp, the U.S. Postal Service. I was flummoxed, fretting, and forlorn, for sure!

The registrar kept entering information on her keypad. I wondered if she was tapping out code for “felon in library – owes bigly” (sorry, I couldn’t resist that).

I endorsed a personal check for the library card fee, handed it to the registrar, and asked who I should make the check out to for the fine, calculating how I was going to square such an unexpected deduction in my checkbook. There HAD to be a mistake, but, one should not leave such outstanding debt dangling like a hanging chad (sorry, again). If I didn’t ante-up, would I be arrested? abandoned from libraries for a millennium? book lice sent to monitor my every page turned?

Oh, don’t worry. You can pay it anytime?“.

Are you sure? That’s a big fine. Can you check again and tell me which library I owe the money to?

She noted the items: two books, an audio, and I could remit payment another day.

Just that for $195.00?

We stared at each other, for a moment, maybe two, and then the registrar replied, aghast, “Oh, no! I wasn’t clear. That is $1.95!“.

It is good, is it not, to have a good laugh, even at one’s own expense, on a maiden voyage in a medical boot while renewing a library card?

Dewey Decimal is still used in libraries, or adapted for modern-day usage, but, that one distinctive decimal point is the one that can cause chaos.

Off I hobbled,  with all of my goodies, a new book, and a smile over my faux pas . I’ve needed a bit of an adventure, and I had one, once again while in a library.

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It is, officially, Autumn; and so begins the long, slow goodbye . . .

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 . . . as the days shorten and the shadows grow longer, the leaves begin their free fall and many of us in a northerly climate begin to turn our thoughts inward as we relish the harvest of the cold crops, the gourds and pumpkins, especially the pumpkins.

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img_0650Illinois is the top producer of pumpkins. Last year was a sad year for pumpkins here in the Prairie State, but, this year – ah, this year looks to be a a good one for those glorious orbs that are traditionally orange, but, appearing in other colors and shapes as well.

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We stopped at a local farm stand, The Farm, where I often visit for fresh, local vegetables as well as the flowers they grow and sell. The zinnias have been particularly spectacular this year, and this bouquet caught my eye, but, it was organic tomatoes and pickles that I was after this day. I’ll be back soon for a bouquet – and I think I will try one of these pumpkins. Goosebumps. Their unique bumps are rather wart-like and the color and name are intriguing. I’m sure one will lighten up our little corner of earth here along the Cutoff.

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p Martha Walter (American Impressionist, 1875–1976) Town Meeting, Brittany

Ah . . .

. . .  those conversations in the checkout lane of the grocery store, whilst crossing paths in a parking lot, picking up clothes at the cleaners, sitting on a bench in a park, checking out a library book. These random conversations brighten my days and give me pause to ponder.

Take Thursday, for instance; a red-letter day for off-the-cuff conversations.

It started at the doctor’s office in the large center for health I go to for medical care, with easy access to labs, physical therapy, procedures, etc. I have happily graduated from a B12 shot every week to once a month. I am grateful for my doctor who dug a little deeper and found a deficiency. I am  even more grateful for the remedy, not to mention my friend, Marilyn, who recommended this internist. The medical center is connected to a hospital that wraps around a substantial campus. I usually take a brisk walk when I’m there. It is amazing how many steps can be accrued, for those of us who count steps, and especially nice in winter or inclement weather.

I digress.

After my appointment, I found a chair in the hallway and sat down to turn on my cell phone and check messages. As I sat there, a man turned the corner, a big smile on his face He looked at me. He had tears in his eyes along with that big smile as he blurted out “I just have to tell someone. I am so blessed. I just found out I don’t have prostate cancer!”  He was overwhelmed with relief, an emotion I know well enough.  I got up, acknowledged his news and feelings, and we headed to the elevator, where he had kind things to say to all of the passengers riding down to the main floor. He thanked me for listening as we parted ways.

We are sometimes put in just the right place to accept others good news.

I embarked on my hospital corridor walk-about, and then stopped in the gift shop. A rather robust woman, colorfully attired, caught my eye and she said “You really look good today. Very modernly dressed. Good color on you.” Well, now, how about that! I stood a little taller, edged my shoulders back, and thanked her profusely. Such kindness from a stranger gave me a bigger boost than a B12 shot!

We are sometimes put in just the right place to accept the generosity of others.

Heading home, I needed a few things from the grocer; fruit, greens, a can of tomatoes for the evening meal; items I thought I had in the pantry, but, discovered that I did not. I pushed my cart, picking up some coffee and a loaf of Italian bread as well as the items I came for and walked to the cashiers. A young man was standing at his register with no one waiting in line, so, I altered that scene, placing my purchases on the conveyor belt. As I wrote my check (I know. I’m a dinosaur. I still write checks) I asked the young man what the date was. He told me then said he couldn’t wait until Sunday. “A special day for you?”  “Yes. My birthday and now I won’t have to bother anyone anymore“. I thought, by his looks, that he was turning 21 and looking forward to a celebratory night out. “Happy Birthday, enjoy – and you be careful” to which he retorted “Oh, I have to work on Sunday. I’m just happy I won’t have to call for a legal aged checker to ring up liquor anymore“.

We are sometimes put in just the right place to be reminded to not jump to conclusions.

How about that?

Have you had a chance conversation lately over a cup of coffee, waiting in line,

Image. Town Meeting by Martha Walter

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I picked up my keys and called out to Tom.

 “I am leaving” but, he did not hear – understand me.

“What?”

“I said I’m leaving”, and commenced laughing. Poor Tom didn’t think it was funny, but, there I was, laughing; suddenly remembering the movie,  Roxanne – and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Hav you ever had one of these silly moments?

(from YouTube)

 

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