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A Bit of Snow in the Summer

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Muscovy Duck

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Walking Pleasures

Our changing times has prompted a re-awakening. It has allowed us the opportunity to return to the simpler life. Despite the inconveniences, and forgetting the isolation, the sidewalks are becoming more populated with walkies.

When I was growing up, I’d walk from early in the morning until dark. I’d go as far as I could imagine, in every direction. Sometimes the concrete would be hot on my bare feet. I’d get a sunburn. I explored roads too narrow for a car, and find pastures I never noticed otherwise.

In the past few months, I have returned to taking long walks. Each outing reveals unexpected treats. This hawk created delight in walkers when he was spotted perched above a pond. Noticing the beautiful anomalies in nature trains our minds to think creatively.

The fresh air clears the sinuses and lungs, as well as the head. It’s good to get outside, especially when germs are brooding indoors.

If you ever feel overwhelmed, or bored, or restless, consider the exercise that treats the body, mind and spirit. Go for a walkie, and note which treats you discover.

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Sunbathing Santa

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Cranes at Tennis

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Sunrise on Jekyll Island

+ Adorable Pooches need grooming by Jan Bill

COVID IMPACTS POOCHES

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Kathy’s Banana Split Cake

Two things were significant in my family: sweets and horse events.

When my mother wasn’t baking, she was serving as Treasurer for a club or President of a charity. A fundraiser that got her excited every year the Pegasus horse show and cook book.

As a nod to all moms enjoying extra baking time this spring, I am sharing my mother’s famed Banana Split Cake, which has the consistency of a banana pudding with a crumbly crust.

Enjoy! There are lots of happy memories included with the recipe.

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Chipping Sparrows Strengthen Beliefs

Each spring, a chipping sparrow arrives at my door. She builds a nest in our mail basket. Having our loggia selected as prime real estate by nature makes me feel like blessings are sent to our home, as if angels are reminding us to enjoy nature’s miracles.

Our chipping sparrow becomes a member of our family during the time she sits on her eggs. Our busy lifestyle doesn’t interfere with her tranquil setting. When my family and I go in and out of our home, she pokes her head up from her leafy cave to greet us. We each slow down and take a moment to make sure she’s satisfied with her bed. From behind her black mask, she watches us admire her russet coloring. In the late afternoons, she stands at the lip of the basket and sings a short song like a call for nature to give her nourishment. Then she hops to the ground and forages for seeds and insects.

Eventually, instead of finding her sleek head peeking from her cozy home, there will be four pale blue eggs with chocolate specks dashed on them. They are always the same size and leaning on each other. It’s as if we worked together to create the right setting. A sense of accomplishment and satisfaction fills us.

Finally, the serene mood is replaced with chirping. Four hungry mouths branch out from the nest every time we walk by. I worry about the little fellows. Their mother spends most of her time nearby, singing lullabies at the Venetian wall fountain and gathering snacks for her newborns. She leaves for such long periods, I start searching the yard to make sure she hasn’t been killed. Certain the chicks will starve to death, I wonder if I’m capable of feeding their beaks.

But then, the chirping moves to the ground. When I turn quickly as I step outside, I’ll glimpse the chicks racing through the ground cover. Are they happy? Is their mother close by?

The first several years, our mailman ignored the sacred place and stuffed letters on her nest. Once the eggs hatched and the darlings moved out, I’d throw away the tangle of Spanish moss, Laurel oak leaves, and palm tree netting.

But every year, a new nest would be built in our basket mailbox. We bought a copper mailbox and leave the basket for our extended family to enjoy.

Waking each day to such a magical expression of nature excites my family and joins us together as we gather to check on the chipping sparrows’ progress. Look around you.

How has nature blessed your home?

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Chipping Sparrows
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Breakfast during an Apocalypse

It’s fun the wake up for breakfast during the mandatory quarantine.

Please join me in making our theme song for this tying time –

Yummy, yummy, yummy, I’ve got love in my tummy and I feel like loving you.

Love is such a sweet thing, a good enough to eat thing, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Ooh, love to kiss ya. Ooh love to hug ya. Ooh love, I won’t let you go.

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The Lockdown Motivator

During spring break, I bought this bikini as an inspiration. Boy, do I need it now.

During this quarantine season, I rely on its powerful motivation to assist me in making wise decisions.

I don’t know about you, but when I wake in the morning, more casually than before, one song plays in my mind.

C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me.

Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C.

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Corona Virus – Coping with Bored Husbands

Across the globe, families are self quarantining. Isolation is recommended for those who traveled abroad, for those who know someone who traveled abroad, and for those who stayed at home and might possibly pass by a person who traveled abroad if they go outside. 

What seemed like a simple fourteen days of school closings has stretched into thirty. Theme parks are closed until the May. Restaurants and bars are take out only, and stores are all online. 

Yes, we can function perfectly fine, thanks to visionary computer programmers beginning back in the 1960s. However, the items deemed valuable have changed now that socializing is viewed as unethical. That isn’t much need for a sequin purse if the gala has been cancelled. Based on my personal investigation, grocery stores are out of the staples: toilet paper, milk, cookie dough. The gyms are closed. And some of your best friends are too scared to get closer than ten feet from you.

While kids and teens can cope just fine with electronic devices, music downloads and movie rentals, dads are experiencing a crisis. Banished from entering the office, sentenced to working from home, they are officially bored out of their minds. 

The crisis is in how we handle non-stop family time. After all, an idle mind is the devil’s playground. This translates into potentially controversial interactions. 

We might find family members standing their ground over trivial issues just to make something interesting come about. When we are stuck indoors with no end in sight, a logical remedy is to get the mind in motion. 

Use this mandatory freedom as time to go back to the basics. 

  1. Sprinkler Fun – remember the old days when a hot afternoon meant it would be a fun day. Mom would set up the sprinkler in the yard, and freeze fruit juice on sticks. Today’s irrigation systems put a damper on this concept, but you can still rig a garden hose by hanging it on a tree and spaying water across the deck.
  2. Walk the Dog – Dog walking is calming to the soul and it forms a bond with the fluffy fellow. Having a purpose when you set outside gives you the satisfaction of having a purpose.
  3. Paint the Front Door – it seems we could always use a touch up here or there at our 100 year old home. Men thrive on having a sense of accomplishment, and perking up the focal point of the house does wonders. 
  4. Nap – yep, it is not a sign of weakness to take a nap. Somewhere along the way over the yeas, naps have become viewed as a habit for dullards. But, back in the old days, naps were considered therapeutic. A subsection of napping is meditating. Add focused efforts to clear your mind to your nap time.  
  5. Make it from Scratch – time is now your friend. Get out those mixers and choppers and sifters you inherited from grandma and whip up your favorite childhood goodies. 
  6. Tree Swing – tie a rope to a tree branch and let the joy begin. 
  7. Clean Out – empty your closets, and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Next, tackle those drawers. Next step, climb a tree. You get to enjoy the view, work those muscles, and get close with nature. 
  8. Make Christmas Decorations – old-fashioned ornaments were made of fabric scraps, pearls, sequins, and ribbons. Consider using items you rediscovered while cleaning out your closets. Finishing touches can be added with a marker and glitter glue.
  9. Oil Equipment – now is a perfect time to take apart a lawnmower, an oscillating fan, and any other gadget that doesn’t work perfectly. 
  10. Kick the Can – add a variation by giving a prize to the last man standing. Include ribbons to pull off each other’s belts to increase the interactions. Set up treats at stations to space out levels of completing the chase. 
  11. Polish – Glossy doorknobs and knockers make a home shine. Shiny silver is the centerpiece of a room. Modern kitchen appliances crave an extra glow. Your favorite jewelry loves to sparkle. 
  12. Plan a Vacay – the quarantine won’t last forever. Putting together a vacation package can take months when you are also juggling life. 

When we need a break, we tend to keep going at the same pace. A primitive fear gives us the belief we will fall off the path and never return. Life has a way of forcing us to take a break. It seems to know our thresholds. 

What I’ve noticed with the change is that people have slowed down. A gentler side is resurfacing. The world seems more civilized. Driver’s are polite and patient, instead of rolling their eyes and honking. Men are holding doors open, once again, as opposed to speeding through before you. Clerks are voluntarily packaging foods and giving an extra service you used to have to ask for. 

Just keep in mind that family time includes being together while doing your own thing. True relationships don’t require activities or conversations in order to form a connection. Embrace this old fashioned sense of freedom our global society truly needs. Meanwhile, follow my mom’s failproof coping skill by making several flavors of homemade fudge. 

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