The sideways rainbow

sideways rainbow across blue sky

As I missed posting one day in April and I promised to post every day this month, I’m writing two today to make up for it.

I visited my mom’s house this morning to catch up with her and enjoy relaxing for a while in her lovely sunroom. It was another gorgeous day with sunshine and temperatures in the 60’s and that sunroom is the perfect place for talking, reading, beading or all of the above.

I headed home after lunch and shortly after I got on the road, I saw a breathtaking sideways rainbow across the clouds! I’ve seen small “brush strokes” of rainbows across the sky several times before, but this was the first time I saw one that wide and well-pronounced. The rainbow stretched across the wispy clouds and looked like flames through the sky. I was able to see it the entire drive home and as I watched, the colors kept changing to more blues and greens and then back to fiery red.

I was extremely happy that it was still partially visible in the sky when I got home even though by then it had split up into two separate rainbows. I quickly snapped some pictures of it with my Canon camera hoping to capture its colors. It no longer had the fiery appearance I’d seen originally, but it was still beautiful and I took it as a very positive sign for a colorful future!

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The eastern segment of the sideways rainbow

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Close up of eastern segment

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Close up of western segment (same segment as featured image)

The power to keep going

looking down farmers road

My day started at 5:45 a.m. as it usually does with my Pandora alarm playing whatever random song it came up with. These days, Pandora is far less random than it used to be and it tends to play one of the same five songs every morning, but it accomplishes the task of waking me up anyway.

Now that it’s spring, the birds usually start chirping at around 4:30 a.m. and it’s actually getting light by the time my alarm goes off, so eventually I’ll probably start climbing out of bed sooner. I hate wasting the nice weather days because they’re far less numerous than the miserable, cold winter days and I’m more of a morning person than a night owl so come summer, I’m often up long before the sun!

Once I got both girls up, fed and off to school, I ate my own breakfast and then settled at my desk to work. By lunchtime, I’d accomplished enough to make me feel like I deserved a break in the fresh air so after eating, I took Jazzmin on a walk up the farmer’s access road. He has an iron swing gate across it to keep unwanted vehicles out, but he knows me and I’ve seen him on his tractors along the road many times and he’s smiled and waved so he doesn’t seem to mind Jazz and I walking it.

The farmer keeps that access road mowed and maintained for his tractors and trucks and I was happy to discover today that it had dried out after the recent rain. Jazzmin loves that road because it’s full of deer, squirrels, chipmunks, birds and things that rustle in the brush that we never see. I love that road because it’s safe from cars (even when the farmer’s on it he doesn’t drive very fast) and I don’t have to worry about encountering other people’s less than well-behaved dogs on leash or (worse) off.

There still aren’t any leaves on the trees so the sun was quite warm without shade, but I’d dressed appropriately in walking shorts and a tank top so I was quite comfortable. The fields at the end of that access road appear to stretch forever and the views are breathtaking. I always feel like I’m in another world out there when really it’s not that far from my house.

Jazzmin and I explored the fields a bit and enjoyed the feeling of peacefulness among the blue sky, puffy clouds, and surrounding hills. The only sounds were birds, bugs, the wind and our footsteps and it’s where I go when I need to center myself and restore my spirit. When the weather warms up more, the fields will be full of dragonflies, monarchs and other butterflies and I’m looking forward to watching them.

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The small pond in one of the farmer’s fields

After our walk, I decided it was past time I tackle the yard work. I live on 1.4 acres and that might sound large or small depending on your perspective, but for a single, 5’5” chick, it’s a substantial amount of work keeping it up. By now I know what order to tackle projects in so I don’t get too tired to finish so I started by trimming the bushes in front of the house. I had them hacked down considerably last year, but I call them “demon” bushes because they grow really tall, really fast and they live to scratch me.

Once I’d accomplished that task with my scissor style clippers, I wondered if I had the power to keep going. I briefly considered calling it a day, but instead grabbed my wheelbarrow and started going around the yard picking up the seemingly endless assortment of fallen branches from my numerous trees. I don’t know how some of the trees are still standing with all the branches they lose every year! I filled the wheelbarrow four times with branches (I’ve learned from experience that overfilling it to make fewer trips doesn’t work because I leave a trail of branches I have to go back and clean up) and dumped them all in my burn pit in the back yard. The pile isn’t overly huge now, but it will be substantial by mid-summer when I decide to light it.

With all the sticks removed from the yard, I again considered stopping for the day and continuing another day but again I found the power to keep going. I then cut several grape vines out of my hedgerow trees in an attempt to stop their invasion. Grape vines give off a distinctive smell when they’re hacked and pulled and there are some types of wine that I can’t stand because they taste too “viney” to me. Maybe other people who have fought with vines know what I’m talking about or maybe I’m just nuts…

I couldn’t get all the vines down out of the trees because they were wrapped so tightly around them, but I certainly tried my hardest! Nothing like yard work to make me feel like I’m too light at 150 pounds! I think I could’ve hung from those vines for days without them ever giving way.

Exhausted from that task, I figured I’d gotten that far and definitely had the power to keep going so I decided it was time to plunk down on the mower and tackle the unruly grass. It’s still rather early in the season so the grass is really long in spots and still half dormant in others, but I knew if I waited too long, it would grow too tall and bog down the mower. Getting to my mower involved taking my large deck swing out of the shed, but I’ll save that tale for another day.

I’d hooked my mower up to the charger at the start of my yard work just in case the battery had gone dead (as if it seems to do every year). While it took some cranking to get the engine to turn fire up, eventually it did and I was able to run the mower without the charger for the rest of the afternoon.

Mowing my lawn took the usual 2.5 hours and went relatively smoothly, but it’s still a long process and my lawn hasn’t been rolled in years so it’s a bit bumpy. I was so very proud of myself when I was all done though! Just like I always am!

View of my mowed front yard from the road.

View of my mowed front yard from the road.

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View of half of my back yard from my deck.

Everything I accomplished today reminded me (for the zillionth time) that I’m stronger than I think and that I always have the power to keep going if I just believe in myself enough and refuse to quit. It’s up to me to be my own cheerleader so I can get things done on my own just like I have since I moved out of my ex’s house in April of 2011. I’m quite capable of handling my house solo and I will continue to do so with stubbornness, tenacity, and a splash of sass.

Fences, flowers, furry pups and feathered friends

Reading spring posts from last year helps me put things in perspective. It sounds like I should see the return of my hummingbirds very soon!

Lidancie Arts

Fruit tree blossoms down the road from my house Fruit tree blossoms down the road from my house

It was another beautiful day today that felt more like summer than spring. I happily enjoyed it because 80  and humid is infinitely better than -25 and three feet of snow!

Morning thunderstorms cleared out rather quickly and have only recently started up again now that it’s dark. I don’t mind thunderstorms at night except when I have the girls. I don’t blame them for being scared when lightning flashes and thunder shakes the house. I think they’ve finally settled though so I’ll continue my rambling.

I took Jazzmin for a short walk in the early afternoon and the heat off the pavement was intense enough to make her pant by the first turn. Even on that short walk though we saw an abundance of spring beauty and I took some pictures with my phone camera. Only after returning home and…

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Touching Spring

This reminded me that Spring always starts later than I think it should. Although this year my lilacs aren’t nearly as far along as they were when I wrote this two year’s ago…

Lidancie Arts

One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds! One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds!

This past winter was rough. Never ending snow and cold and misery. I looked hopefully forward to spring and warmth and when it finally seemed to arrive I was ecstatic! Alas then the cold returned and just this past Saturday it snowed. I had a lot of writing work to do this weekend so staying inside was fine but I didn’t enjoy seeing flakes blowing past my windows the third week of April. I know there have been winter storms in May before where I live and I remember them less than fondly. I have no desire or energy for that.

When it has warmed up periodically this “spring” I’ve rejoiced in the golden sunshine and bright blue skies. All the trees are budded out eager to release leaves and my beloved lilacs will have a bumper crop this year! If only…

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Do one thing

Tonight’s post is a reblog from last April, but it still applies to my current life. How handy!

Lidancie Arts

A little bit of everything on my craft table

Do one thing and do it well. That’s one way to live but what fun is that?? I’ve never been able to focus on just one thing and find enjoyment in that. I worked in retail and as a secretary for 20 years, doing the same tasks every day. I did my jobs exceptionally well and was loved by my bosses but I wasn’t happy. Everything I did outside of my paid jobs is what made me happy.

Now that I’m a paid writer, I love my job and feel fortunate and blessed. My life was already very fulfilling with my family and friends and being able to work at a task that makes me happy is wonderful! At the end of a day of freelance work though my writing abilities are tapped out and the only writing for pleasure I can muster is this blog and some emails.

As…

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Making space

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One of the first posts I saw on social media this morning was about how removing clutter (both physical and mental) can free up space for new and better things to come into your life. I took that as a sign and decided to tackle cleaning out my wardrobe today.

It took me a few hours to clear out clothes I no longer where or want, put away clean clothes, fix the broken drawers on my dresser, and put away winter clothing to bring out spring clothing, but the time and effort was definitely worth it! I have a large bag of clothing to donate, my drawers work again and my room and life feel less cluttered.

Tidying a few areas of my room made a decent dent in spring cleaning and I’m hopeful that eliminating stuff that no longer serves a purpose in my life opens up space for new, positive additions. 

The Power of Music

On my drive back from my latest trip to New England, I heard a song played on one of the many radio stations I scanned through when my smartphone didn’t have a strong enough signal to stream Spotify. It was new to me, but probably not new to the radio and I instantly loved it. It reminded me of the late 80’s and early 90’s pop music I grew up with and it was upbeat and perky, just like me!

After listening to the song a few times on different stations, I finally learned that it was Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon. I’d never heard of Walk the Moon, but then there’s a lot of current artists I don’t know because I rarely listen to actual radio stations. When I went on YouTube to watch the video for the song I was extremely happy to see that it went along perfectly with the song. So many music videos these days are weird or totally ruin the meaning of the song, but the video for Shut Up and Dance was spot on with a very 80’s look and feel. Having grown up during that era, it’s rather odd to see it all coming back, but odd in a good way.

I finally remembered to get the Walk the Moon album with the song I liked on it yesterday and I’ve been listening to a handful of the songs on repeat ever since. Overall, there’s only 3-4 songs off the album that mesh with my tastes, but the ones I do like, I REALLY like! How can you tell when I really like a new song? Well, it makes me dance in my car, dance around my kitchen while cleaning it and dance while painting.

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I hadn’t painted a new picture in several months but the new music was exactly what I needed to kick my inspiration into gear. It felt so wonderful putting brush to canvas and smearing acrylic colors all over the place! Painting is a very freeing experience for me and I always listen to upbeat music while doing it. As I already said, I dance to the music when I paint and I also have my living room curtains open so anyone driving by can see me if they look in. I don’t particularly care though as I imagine I’m already known as the “peculiar single woman who walks her yellow dog a lot” by most of the people in my neighborhood.

All that matters to me is that the power of music can lift my spirit and my feet and spark my creativity in the best way!

Whirlwind days

tornado in Italy

Late last night, the latest weather system arrived and I was awakened by heavy rain and wind beating against my back bedroom window. The wind was coming mainly from the south and it picks up a lot of speed across the large open field behind my house before it starts battering the back windows. My daughters are fortunate that neither of their shared bedroom windows face south, but I’m not so lucky and I’m often “treated” to the sounds of wind and rain.

The rain had mostly stopped when I got up this morning, but the wind persisted through the day and only recently calmed down a bit. Once I got my daughters on their respective buses, I sat down at my desk and got started on this week’s writing work. I made great progress and by 11 a.m., I was ready to work out with Zumba.

Not wanting to jump back into working out too fast after having bronchitis, I kept my exercise regimine to walks with Jazzmin. As that went well and didn’t leave me any more exhausted than before I became sick, I decided this week was the right time to start Zumba again. Now that the weather is turning nicer, I can do Zumba and walk Jazzmin daily, which makes both of us very happy!

I smiled through the entire 20 minute Zumba aerobic workout (I figured starting small/short was best) because it felt SO good to have energy again! I don’t mind working up a sweat during physical exertion and after the aerobic and ab workouts, I was ready for my shower.

It’s wonderful to be back to my usual routine and finally getting ahead with work instead of just keeping up with assignments. When I fill my days with work and working out they tend to move with whirlwind speed, but I’m okay with that because being sick and slow was anything but fun!

Mistress of Mowing

I’m less fond of mowing than I was when I originally wrote this post, but it’s still a good time to be outside in the fresh air with my thoughts.

Lidancie Arts

Mistress of Mowing's Front Lawn Mistress of Mowing’s Front Lawn

I’d never driven a riding lawn mower until I mowed the acreage of my new home in the summer of 2011. It took me 3.5 hours that first time and when I finished I’d made such odd-looking circular patterns the lawn resembled a golf course. I was tempted to stick some flags into the center of the various circles but I resisted. Regardless, I was proud of myself and enjoyed the experience. Almost two years later, I still like mowing my lawn.

Yes, I said I like mowing my lawn. Even on day’s like today when the battery was giving me trouble and the shed doors closed just after I started the mower which left me coughing in exhaust fumes. I then had a stern talking to the doors (hooked them open) plugged my battery into the charger and set about my morning, all the…

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Powerful pairs

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The trees are starting to green up.

Spring is a time when creatures start pairing off. This was very evident on our afternoon walk when just a few steps down the road I saw a pair of large dragonflies flying through the air.

As we continued on our walk I saw all sorts of animals paired off including birds, squirrels, bunnies and deer. It reminded me a bit of a Disney movie except that not all the pairs were friendly. Some bird pairs were two males flying at each other in the air, locked in a battle to see who would pair off with the available female. Eventually they get it all figured out and start working on nests, but until then it’s rather dramatic.

Since I’m not part of a pair, I decided to take a pair of walks today to honor the pairings of spring. I took a nice long walk with Jazzmin in the afternoon during a break from work and once I finished the day’s work this evening, we went on a second, shorter walk. Jazzmin was extremely happy to get two walks in one day and while it’s not possible every day, today was just too beautiful to pass up!

Kittens in the window

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Daisy enjoying the view

Spring is my favorite time of year. The world is renewing and coming back to life and the last of the winter cold leaves the air.

It’s amazing to think how much has changed in a year. Last spring my oldest cat Aviendha was still going pretty strong despite being deaf and starting to go blind. Now she’s been gone almost seven months and I have two kittens running around that will be a year old next month. They’ve started sitting in the kitchen window when I open it and it’s quite an interesting experience doing dishes with a kitten or two in the window.

Daisy and Angel are as unique as all the cats I’ve had before them. My eight year old cat Owl has grown used to them and they all play together, but they always maintain their particular personalities. The one unifying factor among all my animals is their love for me and it’s something I’m always grateful for. When I don’t have my girls, I have my animals and when I have them all, it’s quite a circus!

Back on track

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The hill is bigger in person

Today was a beautiful day and a busy one! I visited my mom, ran errands, took Jazzmin on a nice long walk up the big hill…and by the time I was done with all that, it was dinner time. After dinner I did my college assignment and writing work and best of all, I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the day! It feels so good to be back on track and physically able to do all the things I need to do and enjoy doing.

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The country gang that Jazzmin and I walk by regularly

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Caterpillar I rescued today

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Flowers I saw in someone's yard today

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View from the top of the big hill today