Friday, March 27, 2009

Two Sunday walks

The past two Sundays have been nice here--clear skies, temp.s not too chilly, and schedules pretty open. :) So we decided to enjoy our local parks and take a hike!

Actually, calling what we do "hiking" is probably a bit of an overstatement. We walk, sometimes briskly but sometimes meanderingly. We look at stuff along the way, trying to notice what's around us.

Two Sundays ago, we went to a park near our town--kind of a county park. We LOVE this place because it has both a forest trail and a meadow trail, each just over a mile long. They're expanding the park into another area; it will eventually have a community garden and buildings where they'll demonstrate an endangered species: the small midwestern farm.

Dexter found a friend he tried talking to:

Can you see it? We never did get an answer about why he/she was there without the rest of the flock.

We thought these trees looked interesting--two different kinds growing together:

And here's one of Patrick's favorite trees in the park, a huge old oak (I think):

Isn't it beautiful?

Last Sunday we headed to a park toward Columbus. Instead of heading toward the platform overlooking the river, our usual destination, we went to the duck blind next to a little pond.

Here's one of the windows in the blind:

Luckily, Patrick remembered to bring the binoculars. It was GREAT to be able not only to see the ducks, but to be able to see them well enough to identify different kinds.

We saw lots of mallards, some wood ducks, and even a pair of loons (we think).

On the way back to the parking lot, we found a swing!

We also saw an orange butterfly with dark spots, but my camera just wasn't up to the task of getting a good shot of it. A butterfly!

I hope you are able to enjoy a pavement-free area where you live.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy new year!

Hi, everyone.

Does it feel like spring where you are?

I've been thinking about when different groups of we humans consider the beginning of the year...

When I was working at my first post-college full-time job, I remember feeling sad in the fall because I was missing a new year--the start of the academic year. While I was plugging away at work at the same office doing the same kinds of things, there were people starting new projects, making new friends, embarking on new fields of knowledge. I guess it was only a matter of time before I got back into school. (And kept going back, again and again!)

There are some cultures that celebrate the new year around Groundhog Day--the date halfway between winter solstice and vernal equinox. The one that comes to mind immediately is Chinese New Year, but I know I've read about others... (maybe Tibet?) This makes sense to me as the beginning of the year because this is when I can actually tell that the light is coming back; I can really see that winter is waning. (I think this might be why I make a point, each year, to really notice this day.)

And it's not totally unreasonable for us to celebrate the new year when we do in western/Anglo culture, just after winter solstice. It seems to me that this is a way of reminding us that the sun *will* come back, that we've made it through the darkest part of the year even if it doesn't particularly seem like it yet.

But springtime seems like an especially good time to celebrate the beginning of a new year. The birds are coming back and singing up a storm, the trees are budding, plants are sending up new shoots. There are fewer days when you wake up to ice on the ground.

The Lakota celebrate new year's day on the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. They travel to Harney Peak (as ironically named as Custer State Park) in the Black Hills and do a ceremony to begin the year. I hope they're having good weather out there--dry, and not too cold.

Here are some photos, from our front yard, that tell us spring has begun in Ohio...

I bet I'll be showing you photos of our daffodils and tulips before too long!

How is spring coming along where you are?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Hi, everyone!

Wow, it's been a while. Being back home is more of an adjustment than I'd bargained for. It's WONDERFUL to be with my guys; I missed them so much! (I absolutely RAN the last 50 yards between the plane and the meet-your-loved-ones area, and then broke into sobs when I was hugging the two of them. I'm sure I embarrassed myself, but I really don't care.) And I'm having fun re-connecting with friends; I know some pretty awesome people! :)

At the same time, it's hard to be here as well, hard to be away from the reservation. I'm trying to figure out the reasons for that... and hoping it won't be too long before I can go back.

Anyhoo... I wanted to post some photos and observations from my travel day home. So here they are!

I had a few hours before I had to get to the airport, so I decided to go see the falls for which Sioux Falls is named. It was especially exciting because I'd never seen them in winter before, and it was a mighty cold day and I wasn't sure what they'd look like. They did not disappoint!

Sioux Falls, mostly frozen:

The froth was turning into frozen froth, something I'd never seen before (look on the bottom left):

The rocks somehow seemed even more dramatically geometric with snow on them:

It was pretty darn cool. And it was bitterly cold! I took some photos, said a prayer of thanks to the spirits there, and hurried into the warm building nearby, where, wonder of wonders, I got an egg-bagel-sandwich thing to fortify myself with before the day of flying (because you KNOW they don't feed people on flights anymore).

As you may remember, I had a headcold on the day I flew home--in fact, was a week into it and experiencing the usual symptoms. JUST as I was waiting to board my first of two flights, I got that tickle-in-the-throat feeling that comes with some colds, and that won't be calmed by anything. I tried water, a throat drop, a cough drop, and still was coughing incessantly for at least eight minutes. I even tried suppressing the cough with willpower, to the point where I had tears running down my face! Nothing worked. People started looking at me--sideways at first, but then really looking at me, turning around in their seats. Giving me The Look--you know the one: "Good god, do NOT let her get on my flight." I'm sure they were afraid I was TB-infested.

And from then on out, the theme of my flights seemed to be: srsly??? No, really, SRSLY???

My seatmate for flight #1 was a knitter (yay!) who was incredulous that I was knitting socks. Too hard! she said. I tried to convince her otherwise. Since it was a short flight, the flight attendants just brought a drink: o.j. or water. But by the time they got to me, they were out of o.j. And here, I s**t you not, is the water:

That's THREE FULL OUNCES, my friends, of water-y goodness. (srsly??? 3 ounces???)

On flight #2, the drinks were more generous (a whole can of soda! whee!), but my seatmate not nearly as charming. As he was getting on the plane, I wondered why he was carrying his trash in with him (a McDonald's cup, sans lid or straw). Right as the door closed, he got up to visit the restroom... and then came back with a FAT lower lip. Not fat as in punched, fat as in concealing something in it (like a chipmunk's cheek). I'd seen that look before, and suddenly knew what the cup was for: he's got a wad of chaw in there! BLEAH! (Srsly??? No, really: SRSLY????)

Sure enough, he was spitting black gunk into the cup periodically throughout the flight, and had the cup wedged in between the seat in front of him & the window (which I thought was a bit precarious, given the importance of NOT spilling that vile stuff!). And people had been giving ME a look! I spent that flight trying not to feel nauseated, and massaging my right ear (which closed itself by the time we landed). Hoo-wee.

I have other stuff to catch up on, which I will do soon. I hope to post more frequently, now that I seem to be getting my feet under me again...

Be well,

Thursday, March 5, 2009

All your snot are belong to us**

Posting from the house of yuck... All three of us are sick!

I have a sinus infection, lingering goopy cough, and apparently blood behind my eardrum (from flying). But I am on antibiotics, so should be getting better soon. Dexter has a persistent/reoccurring headache and fever and occasional goopy cough; Motrin Jr. is our friend. Patrick has congestion & fatigue (sleeping a LOT); he's been alternating between Alka Seltzer cold & Nyquil. All three of us have been shuffling around in our pjs for a couple days. I managed to summon the energy to get showered & dressed & go to the dr. on Tuesday, and when I was getting my Rx filled stocked up on sickie-poo supplies--kleenex, juice, soup, applesauce, jello. We are pitiful but looking forward to being more bright & social in a day or two (we hope!!!).

I feel like I'm in suspended animation, not really processing my departure from South Dakota, or my adjustment back to life in Ohio--I guess mostly because this really isn't life in Ohio, it's life in sickie-poo-land. I'm looking forward to having more energy so I can write, think, plan...

I have some photos to post, but will do that when I can write more. For now, wish us healing thoughts!

Ciao from the house of yuck,

**This is a reference to a gaming phrase, and I don't play electronic games, but I really liked when it morphed its way into the knitting world in a t-shirt that says "All your yarn are belong to us." Mwah ha ha!! Here's an explanation... (And may I not be struck by lightning for linking to wikipedia!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hard landing

Hello, everyone.

I will post some photos & an update soon, but this is just a note to say I'm home and safe. My travel home was uneventful EXCEPT for the fact that the cold I caught last week did NOT exit gracefully before I had to fly. It was pretty painful, but I made it through. I couldn't hear anything out of my right ear on Friday, but it's better now. I may end up going to the dr. this week if the cough & gunk doesn't go away. (My body is making mucus like it's my job...)

More soon,