Thursday, March 22, 2018


“Go ahead — make my day.” 

Never mind Dirty Harry, there are lovely things that can make your day.

Here are some of mine:

February 22nd--Outside my writing room window I watched birds arrive for the early morning meal at my suet and seed feeders. One was an Eastern Bluebird. I'd never seen one in the flesh before. My photos were shot through a window covered by a screen, so they weren't very clear. But this picture from the Internet shows exactly what I saw:

It really was that blue.

Last week--I added a package of white no-show socks to my shopping cart. Yesterday I ran them through the laundry. When I folded the dry clothes, I had 28 socks! Twelve of them were the new white no-shows. Made my day!

Any day, any year--getting a letter or note or card from a relative or friend can make my day brighter. It's like having a visit without having to straighten up the living room or bake a batch of cookies. I usually make a cup of tea to drink while I read what I received in the mail. (Checks arriving in the mail are welcome also; they seldom come with a hand-written note, but they can make my day just as they are.)

This is Day 3 of Spring! Morning skies are beginning to get light by the time I have my coffee brewed and sit down at my desk with my journal and pen, raise the mini-blind, and wait for birds to come by for the AM feed. The air may be chilly for a few more days, and I know rain is coming next week (several days in a row), but it's Spring here in the northeast corner of Indiana. What's not to love?

Hope good things come to you to make your day . . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2018


10. I don't like walking in the rain. It's not romantic, for Pete's sake, it's wet!

 9. I prefer Mexican food to Chinese. Either one, nothing too high on the spicy scale.

 8. Horror movies either (a) scare me witless or (b) make me laugh at how stupid they are.

 7. I love beautiful gardens! I just don't like having to make them or maintain them. Beautiful gardens are for looking at.

 6. Too-friendly neighbors send my paranoia antennae twirling. Same goes for flaming extraverts at social gatherings. I itch all over.

 5. My favorite car is at least 8 years old, low mileage, looks like several hundred others on the road, and always starts.

 4. My favorite writing instrument is a not-too-wet gel pen; next favorite is a Uniball or Bic stick pen--definitely not wet.

 3. Currently I am reading 8 books . . . one fiction, seven non-fiction (mostly collections of essays).

 2. In the year 2017, I lost 14 lbs. And have kept it off.

 1. Every painting, photograph, and print hanging on my walls is a water scene, including a batik my oldest daughter made for me in high school.

None of the above things is unique to me--but they make me different from other people you know. The amazing thing is this: There's a universal something that connects every one of us to the others. Some people say it's our species' use of language. Others say it's our innate goodness, or sense of community, or the gift of creativity.

Celebrate your differences! And then celebrate our likenesses.

Thursday, March 8, 2018


Three little words . . . "wait and see" . . . .

When I was a little kid, "wait and see" meant, very likely, "no." But it was a softer let-down than the absolute "no" to a question I asked.

As I got older, say, into the teen years, I realized "wait and see" had some value.

--Take a test--wait for the results and see if I've passed.
--Audition for a part in one of the school dramas--wait to see if I was chosen for the part I wanted most.
--Big dance coming up--Christmas formal, prom--wait and see if I get asked to go. (And then wait and see if my parents would let me go. Or if I had enough money to get a nice dress.)

Then there were the young adult years: lots of waiting and seeing during courtship, marriage, birth of children. But this period of time had a different flavor--no more just anticipating an event and then assessing how it turned out. This was more in the line of having multiple possible results. And making more decisions, rather than waiting for things "to work out" by themselves.

If you opted not to go the marriage and kiddies route, you might have considered these:

--Go to college, enroll in a course that will (one hopes) lead to a job. Study, get good grades, if possible; graduate. Look for a job. Keep looking. Possibly take any available employment to have income for a family. 

--Or, take another path, perhaps the military; employment opportunity, educational opportunity, travel. Then get deployed--wait and see where you'll be going. Family left in the states continue the waiting and seeing--keeping the positive view that you will return home.

--Find a cause you want to help with, make your life count by working in the Peace Corps, or work with church missions in faraway places; you don't even have to leave home--look for any size city or town where homeless shelters and other types of facilities work with folks whose lives have taken a turn for the worse.

The older I grew, the less certain, the less clear-cut, were the possible outcomes of my choices and decisions.

I knew I would retire one day. Retirement was something to look forward to because I had many enjoyable activities that had been put on hold while I worked. So I waited for retirement . . . and what came was a lot of time to fill up. No problem there--I could do many of those activities I'd put on hold: work with a daytime group at the church; do my shopping early in the morning, instead of after work or on Saturday; spend most of a day cooking--results to be frozen for later use; or, spend most of a day putting a quilt together. There's almost nothing you can't finish if you can devote a whole day to it from time to time.

Now I'm less goal driven. My choice of activities doesn't have to lead to a job or a relationship or a path to follow. This blog, for instance, isn't slotted into any particular niche; thinking up possible topics and exploring them keeps my writing muscles working. But I'm not working toward an award or publication in some other medium.

I don't like exploring the downside of topics here at Thursday's Child, but sometimes we have to acknowledge the less-than-positive in our lives.

Medical tests--very, very few tests can be done in one day and the results known a few hours later. What to do with the waiting time?

Well, there's always panic. Or ranting and pulling our hair. Or complete meltdown. 

These might help us relieve some of the tension and stress of not-knowing, but that's about all that comes out of kicking the furniture or hurling dishes against the wall.

You'll never find me on a list of gardeners--enthusiastic or otherwise--but I can attest that kneeling on the ground with a potted plant and a trowel to add a growing bush to my landscaping came close to being an other-worldly experience. Time ceased to be of any significance. Sun on my shoulders, breeze blowing through my hair, newly turned earth smelling pungent . . . the whole experience was sensory. No room for feeling of any kind.

You can lose yourself in a book, a movie, a walk in the park. Temporary, yes, but helpful.

You can find a friend to help you wait out the time until results come in. There's nothing so lonely as waiting alone for results you're afraid to get.

Do I still wait and see? Of course. We all do at times. Not everything has a definite outcome right this minute.

But I find not knowing can be a good thing. I'm not crazy about surprises, but I do like a little suspense in my life. Beyond the suspense, though, there's a strengthening that comes when we've successfully navigated a "wait and see" journey. The next one may not be so hard.

Thursday, March 1, 2018


New month . . . new expectations . . . .

On March 20th, we'll celebrate the first day of spring, 2018. A one-time thing--there won't be another first day of spring this year. Make the most of it.

Before that, though, we live with all the old sayings:

If March comes in like a lion, it'll go out like a lamb.

Or, if March comes in like a lamb . . . you got it, out like a lion.

In my neck of the woods, there's a little of both--the lion roaring around, trees swaying, rain pelting down, temp dropping. Then the little lamb gambols across the landscape bringing sunshine, a soft breeze, the illusion of a warm spring day. What's up with that?

This year, March is the last gasp of Lent--Easter Sunday is April 1st. And if the weather doesn't show up dressed in sunshine and fluffy clouds--if we get a freezing rain before the sunrise service (happened to us about 40 years ago here in my neighborhood)--well, that's what we get that day. It'll still be Easter Sunday.

In Anne Hillerman's book Rock with Wings, police officer Jim Chee reflects on weather:

He never minded summer, even at its peak. What was the point of calling anything in nature “bad”? Weather was weather, hot was hot, cold was cold. He didn’t see the need to attach judgment.

But Chee is a native of the desert Southwest, and he's a traditional Navajo, which means he's close to nature, and the above attitude is just right for his character.

I won't say I'll be nonchalant about the weather on Easter Sunday. If it's a cold, rainy day, I'll feel cold, and I'll wear a raincoat and hope my fingers don't freeze while I drive to church.

What do you look forward to in March? Gardening? Working outside? Building a gazebo? Taking the dog for longer walks? Not shoveling snow? 

We had an almost-spring day or two this week. My job was to clear the fallen limbs, branches, and sticks that wind had torn from my four big old trees. There's a good-sized pile at the curb for the City trucks to pick up later on. And the trash bin is filling up nicely with the small stuff--it's naturally biodegradable so it's okay for the landfill.

When we get a warmish day without wind, my patio will get some attention--last year's leaves got tangled up in some of the bushes nearby, so that'll require a rake and a bushel basket for hauling debris to the bin out front. Best of all, I may get to see some buds on flowering bushes. If not, I'll keep checking.

Last night, my Ohio daughter told me her daffodils and tulips are already about three inches out of the ground. Go Spring!

March is a month that wears many hats--a sunbonnet for the bright days--a poplin rainhat for the precursor to April showers--a tied-on scarf to keep hair out of our eyes when we walk or run on the snow-free walks and streets.

It's a month of green beer and wild weather, sunshine and rain. Whatever--celebrate March!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

26 DAYS . . .

In 26 days, the calendar will read March 20. And my calendar reports March 20th as the First Day of Spring.

I'm ready.

We had plenty of snow this winter in the northern hemisphere. Now we're having the January thaw (a little late) and creeks and rivers in our corner of Indiana are overflowing. Add to that, early seasonal rain. River Floor Warnings come up on The Weather Channel every day.

So I bought some cute boots to wear and ditched my old umbrella with the bent ribs for a nicer one (still black, but at least the ribs are straight). My last year's raincoat is again doing duty to keep me dry when I have to dash from car to store and store back to car.

If I complain about the rain, I get the usual response, "Rain makes the flowers grow!"

Yes, yes, of course it does. So does sunshine!

All right, I'm ahead of myself--26 days ahead--but I can't help it. I've been indoors too long this year. There are no new movies to watch except on Netflix. There are no new books to read, especially when I don't want to go out in the rain to pick them up at the library. And my budget stretches only so far when ordering books or movie to arrive at my door.

I'm more than ready to sit on my patio with a mug of coffee and just watch the world open up. No need to stick my nose in a book--I can watch kids trying out bikes they got for Christmas. Listen to birds I can't identify (though I suspect a lot of the songs are from cardinals--did you know cardinals have 28 distinct songs?). If I'm careful and don't move much, smaller birds come to the feeders for breakfast, brunch, lunch, midafternoon snack, dinner, bedtime treat . . . . (I wonder--is this their version of catching up on the news at the water cooler?)

Spring opens up time. No need to keep doing things. Just sit--listen--watch--sniff. Pay attention to what Nature brings back to us each spring. And give thanks.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Four weeks and five days--Spring arrives March 20th!

In the meantime, Thursday's Child is taking time off to shovel snow and melting ice off the driveway and patio; fill a shopping cart at the local Walmart with all the things she's used over the past two and a half months (pantry shelves, like Mother Hubbard's cupboard, are bare-bare-bare); set the alarm a little earlier to start the day at the Y with a walk on the track; and come back next week with something to say.

Have a blessed week!

Thursday, February 8, 2018


School has been back in session for a few weeks, and I've heard that some students had books to read over their holiday break. So, in keeping with the school spirit, here's my book report for the last quarter of 2017.

8 mysteries
2 romances
2 never-before-read books!! (More on these later)
Total - 12

7 mysteries
5 Christmas stories
Total - 12

3 mysteries
3 Christmas stories
1 non-fiction
Total - 7

The new reads for me were:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Shaffer and Barrows
The Woman Who Smashed Codes, by Jason Fagone

(These were discussed in detail in the November 2 post.)

Books are among my favor gifts to give. This past Christmas I learned one of my greatgrands is reading The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer. I gave her Book 3, A Grimm Warning; and I heard later that she was discovered reading it instead of eating her Christmas dinner.

My Ohio daughter works with healing herbs, so I got her a huge encyclopedia of herbal information that she refers to often. Her other gift was The Pioneer Woman Cookbook--she's already used recipes out of that one.

Books are also favorites to receive. Before my birthday arrived in January I'd already received All My Relations: Living with Animals as Teachers and Healers, by Susan Chernak McElroy.

Not all experiences come from books. Yes, I love reading and owning books. But they'll never take the place of interacting with people in my town, my church, my family.

Once the weather settles down--I've had more than one week of staying in the house for five straight days--I'll get back to the Y for exercise; my sewing group for our joint projects of making blankets, hats, and pillow cases for the NICU; and my church for Sunday services.

If you were stuck inside for days on end, I hope you had enjoyable times to share with others. Or a good book to read. Or a movie or two to make you chuckle or think a little.

My reading tally for 2017 was 163 books. Many, many re-reads, because those books were like comfort food, without the calories. 

And I have to say--I'm thrilled to quit writing down every single title I've read! That takes time away from, um, reading.

P.S.--I thought about telling you the dog/cat/hamster ate my homework, which is why my book report is late. But unfortunately you already know I no longer have a dog or cat or hamster. I'll have to think of a new excuse.

Have a lovely week--read if you want to--shovel snow if you live up here in the snow belt--or enjoy your snow-free climate.

Mesa, AZ Arts Center