Tree Skirt

In January of 2019, St. Louis received snowfall. This was not the half an inch that is deposited several times a winter. This was SNOWFALL!

Children were happy for a snow day — or two, or three.

Parents scrambled to make childcare arrangements because school cancels much quicker than work.

Teachers took a deep breath and checked the schedule for the revised school end date.

Meanwhile: Snowplow operators worked almost around-the-clock. Phone calls between friends and neighbors were frequent. Grocery stores kept tabs on deliveries — would the dairy truck make it? When could they get re-stocked on all the bread, milk, and eggs?

This is the time I give thanks for being retired. I’m allowed to stay quiet, snug, and cozy in my home. Will I venture out? Yes, but at the time I choose — think daylight and away from rush hour — lunch?

It’s a good time to collect some photos.

Look at that! The oak tree is wearing a white skirt!


I Love a Parade

When I moved up from Junior to Senior band in eighth grade — this was one of the first marches we practiced. The first time, as with most pieces the rest of the band was familiar with, I sort of watched the notes for third coronet zip past.

The situation improved. Each time I managed to actually play more notes — even at the correct time. In other words, I caught the end of the learning curve and climbed.

Parades are intended to be fun — for participates and observers. Marching in straight rows. Keeping step. Playing from memory. Catching beads or candy or favors tossed from a colorful float.

And then there are other sorts of parades — not as organized or scheduled.

Pelicans parading on a sunny afternoon.

Breakfast Visitor

He arrived twice within a week. Haven’t seen him since.

It’s a bit of a surprise to glance up from my cereal to see a still, watchful creature in the pine tree. Will he stay long enough to get my camera?

And then he moved closer — tried out the grip on my plastic fence.

Guess who I don’t see when this proud fellow visits?

No chipmunks dashing across the patio. Are they avoiding the menu?

Resting on Thin Ice

Winter in the Midwest brings days below freezing. Depending on how North you are in the region — the number of days in a row and how far below freezing varies.

St. Louis is far enough South that you should not trust the ice. (Except for purposely flooded skating rinks.) No matter how smooth and secure it may look — the depth and strength with vary. Is it firmly attached to the shore? Does this pond or lake have open water in another area?

There are animals however, which will ignore this human advice and walk, rest, and sleep on ice unable to support the smallest human.

Canada Geese rest mere yards from open water.


New Year — New Newsletter

Happy New Year!

Today is Friday — just in case two weeks with holidays in the middle have you confused.

My author persona is starting a newsletter this year. The first issue will be released later this month. Second issue will be in the summer. The intent of the newsletter is to keep readers, and potential readers, up to date on the writing side of my life. No clogging of email boxes by this author.

Interested?  Sign up is simple — make the comment “yes” to this blog post.

You’ll get the first look at the cover of my next book. Want a hint???

The St. Louis Zoo is a great spot to take a date.


All Done!

The year 2019 is rushing to an end.

Has it gone past in a flash for you?

Or did it drag on forever — with one problem barely solved before the next arrived?

Like most years — I’ll have to give 2019 mixed reviews. Some fun times were contained within it’s boundaries. And also some problems — some I caused for myself, others got an assist from either Mother Nature or others.

But they’re done!  As soon as the clock sweeps past midnight! Welcome 2020. May you stay shiny and bright and full of promise — for more than one minute.

Final 2019 vacation photo.

I hope my luggage gets to the right place.

Just like the Song

Dashing….. in a one horse….

Gather your friends. This one horse open sleigh has plenty of room for two couples. Drive on over to the relatives and make it a party. Hot chocolate for all!

This year this vehicle is on display for photo ops. Can you picture yourself driving? Bundle up in your winter coat. Remember hat, scarf, and gloves.


O Holy Night

Shepherds watched.

Angels sang.

The babe was born in a stable.

Keeping Christ in Christmas.

Built for Winter Use

The museum had dozens. I’d estimate a quarter of the large, two-level, U-shaped barn was filled with them.

These were not built for show. They were designed and used for transportation in New England. I imagine some of them are rather delicate due to age — but can you imagine — hitching your horse to his Country Sleigh and driving off to Christmas Services?

Cuddle up to your Sweetie. Set the baby on your lap.

Top it all off with a warm blanket.

We’re going for a sleigh ride!!!

Have you Heard From…

It’s a common question between people in my circles at this time of year.

Unlike my relatives of previous generations, my correspondence is sparse. As recently as my mother, she stayed in touch with her out-of-town friends and relatives with letters.

Yes, snail mail. A handwritten letter, in an envelope, with a stamp. She sent it on a one, two, or three day journey (occasionally longer). Family news, a note on the weather, travel plans all found their way onto the page.

Often, we actually received a snail mail reply. It kept us up-to-date on births, deaths, moves, and employment changes.

Phone calls were considered expensive and saved more important times. There’s something special about a letter — especially a hand written one. My mother and I exchanged letters until her final illness. And I treasure a few saved over the years — a handwriting sample of a favorite aunt or cousin. I offer thanks to my mother’s cousin who saved a letter from my grandmother written at New Years 1922.

All set to send my holiday cards and letters.

(Yes, I cheat with a computer letter. I’m one of THOSE people.)

Do you send holiday cards and letters?