October Already?!

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Evening sky during our walk yesterday.

My oldest daughter went through the house last night flipping all the calendars to October because I hadn’t yet. I’m still trying to adjust to the fact that October is here already. September went by very fast and while it started out fall-like, there was a lot of summer heat in the middle and end of the month that made everything seasonally confusing. The poor trees that had started to change colors during the first bout of cool weather didn’t know what to do once summer heat returned. A lot of them just seemed to give up and start dropping leaves without much color change and I fear it won’t be a very colorful autumn this year. Nonetheless, leaves are still changing and falling and autumn is tied for spring with my favorite season.

As I wrote in last year’s blog post at the start of October, I’m finally able to welcome October again. Losing my father in October of 2009 made it difficult for me to truly embrace what had until that point been my favorite month and season. On the 21st of this month it will have been eight years since his passing and that doesn’t even seem possible to me. While I still miss him every single day and there will always be a void inside me without him here, I’ve healed enough to understand that his spirit wants me to be happy. I’m sure there will be the usual random bouts of crying and sadness throughout the month, but I know it won’t be as overwhelming as it’s been in the past. Life is about moving forward and not allowing yourself to be stuck in a moment that can’t be changed.

I don’t know what this October will bring, but I’m looking forward to it. I never really know what each day will bring. I have a plan for the day and most of the time it follows a predictable routine. But honestly, every single day is full of amazing new experiences and gifts and I make sure I take the time to notice them and feel grateful for them. I’m sure October will be full of new adventures and of course my favorite holiday of Halloween. Maybe I’ll make it to a Halloween party of some type this year, one never knows! Whatever comes this October and beyond, I know that I’ll get through it just like I always do, with strength, determination, optimism, and hope.

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Winter, Spring, Winter, Spring? 

Despite my eagerness for spring to arrive and stay, it doesn’t want to cooperate with my wishes. In the area of Upstate NY where I live we keep having nice, spring days, then winter days then spring again. It’s a constant yoyo of weather and difficult to keep up with.

This past weekend I took a little road trip to a different part of my state and on my drive out and for the first day, the weather was cold and winter-like. Then on my drive home Sunday the sun was shining and it was warm and spring-like. It was also March when I left and April when I came back so the weather coordinated with that.

Yesterday and today’s weather has been decidedly spring-like with sun, clouds and periodic rain. The temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s and the birds and peeper frogs are singing with increased excitement for warmer weather. Unfortunately, temperatures are supposed to drop again the next few days as winter tries to hold on.

I took Jazzmin for a nice long walk this morning when the sun came out on what was supposed to be a rain-filled day and it was so warm I didn’t need a jacket. A few hours later though the weather changed again, rain returned and now there’s a chill in the air. The forecast for next week looks promising with 50s and 60s but we have to endure the last remnants of winter just a bit longer. One thing is for certain, I’ll be savoring every moment of spring once it finally arrives for good!

Marching Into March 

Yesterday was the first day of March and it started off overcast but pleasantly mild. Hoping to avoid the predicted rain showers, I took Jazzmin on the short hilly walk right after breakfast. Although the clouds were thick, it was warm enough to walk without a coat and it didn’t start sprinkling until we were almost home. On our walk we were treated to the sight and sounds of a large group of turkeys in a field. I always enjoy seeing the males all puffed up as they try to attract the females.

Once back home and freshly showered, I expected to hunker down inside for the rest of the day and work while it rained outside. Mother Nature had other plans though as the rain stopped and the sun broke through the clouds. Not one to waste such beautiful weather in the midst of winter, I took Jazz for a second walk, much to her delight! 

I spent a bit more time outside taking care of other important tasks because I knew the forecast was calling for a drastic drop in temperature the next day. Sure enough, this morning dawned with temperatures in the teens even though it had been 50s with I went to bed the night before. Such extreme temperature changes ushered in by ridiculously high winds seem unfortunately normal these days.

It was too cold to walk Jazzmin even once today and I ventured outside as little as possible but I know the weather will rebound eventually. March is a temperamental month as if it knows that everyone is eager for spring and it wants to hang onto winter a bit longer. Regardless, the world around me is starting to reawaken as spring nears and I’ll take it one day at a time while looking forward to warmth and new beginnings. 

Love is a Year-Round Thing

 

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Although I’ve had my issues getting a handle on romantic love, I do have a great grasp of non-romantic love. The love I feel for my daughters, my family, my friends, nature, the world and the universe is as strong as ever. While marketing companies want people to believe that love is stronger and/or more important on certain dates, love is a year-round, lifetime thing.

When I was in romantic relationships, I always made the extra effort to make sure my partner knew how much I cared about them. Alas, such effort was rarely returned in kind. Regardless, if I am ever in a romantic relationship again I will continue to give better than I get because that’s how I am. Even without being in a romantic relationship, that’s how I am. I’m kind, caring and loving because it feels good and right to be so. I don’t do it for attention or rewards; I do it because it’s me.

Every year I’m amused when I see men and women crowding grocery stores at the last minute trying to find that perfect February 14th gift for their sweetheart. They snatch up chocolates, stuffed animals and flowers because Hallmark says they should and that if they don’t, they’re somehow failing in their relationship.

I realize there are men and women that fully expect certain gifts every year around this time and I used to be one of them many moons ago. Nowadays I’ve realized that if someone truly loves me then they show it year-round in how they treat me. A smile, a nice word, a text or email that shows they’re thinking about me are all things that indicate caring, at least in my book. I’ve learned to recognize the more subtle signs of caring and I think that’s an important thing in a world where holidays are sometimes taken way over the top.

So today, while many couples go out or stay in for romantic dinners, shower each other with gifts and indulge in other such things, I’m going to spend the day working on a gift for a dear friend, beading, writing and then enjoying time with my girls when they get home from school. The sun is shining and it’s supposed to get warm enough to melt some of the current snow so I have a lot to be grateful for and a lot to love.

Making the Most of a Warm November Day

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A sunny, 70 degree day in November in Upstate NY must be appreciated for the wonder that it is so I spent yesterday appreciating the unseasonably warm autumn day in many ways. Considering that the forecast is calling for snow starting Sunday, I’m sure I’ll wish I could bottle yesterday and open it in the midst of winter cold.

My original plan for the morning was to mow some of my back yard after the girls got on their busses and the grass dried out a bit. To that end, I hooked my mower battery up to the charger and let it sit charging for a while as I tidied up the deck, put plants away, emptied water out of my deck storage totes and so on. For whatever reason, mower batteries don’t seem to last for more than a year so I just hook mine up to the charger before I mow, give it time and it usually starts. Well yesterday, it didn’t want to start.

Not one to waste the amazingly warm morning, I left the mower hooked to the charger and finished putting my deck and yard furniture away in my sheds. I then decided to string up the colored icicle lights on my front bushes since it’s never a fun job when my hands are frozen. My bushes still have leaves on them but that didn’t hamper my lighting efforts and now the lights are all set and ready to be turned on whenever I so desire. I’m not one to wait until after turkey day to decorate for Christmas so they’ll probably be on at night rather soon.

By the time I was done tidying up my outside areas, there wasn’t enough time left to mow before I had to pick up my youngest daughter from school. She had half days this week and I babysat her Wednesday and yesterday until her father could pick her up. I always love more time with my girls so it’s never a problem taking them. Although there wasn’t time to mow, there was time for a short walk with Jazzmin so she and I set out.

It was shortly before 11 a.m. when we headed out for our walk and it was so nice out that I was wearing shorts and a tank top! It’s a rare treat indeed for it to be warm enough for that in an Upstate NY November. Jazzmin loved the walk as usual and when we got back, I packaged up my latest order of earrings to ship to their new owner. I’m always happy when someone else loves my jewelry as much as I do! It inspires me and motivates me to create more lovelies, which is extremely helpful since I need to build up more inventory after a run of successful sales.

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After picking my youngest daughter up from school, we stopped at the post office to mail the earrings and then headed home to enjoy the afternoon. She spent quite a while swinging in the warm sunshine and was happy to be done with school for the week. It was lovely having her for some bonus Friday time. I finally managed to get the mower running and did the section of the back yard that was especially long but left the rest unmowed and covered with leaves.

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When Jaycie’s father picked her up, it was 3 p.m. and still just too nice to stay inside so I decided to take Jazzmin for a second, longer walk. We went up the big hill and relished in the sunshine and warmth. There were grasshoppers jumping across the road, crickets chirping in the fields, peeper frogs in the ponds and streams and I even saw a small yellow butterfly fluttering by.

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Once we got back home, I gave Jazzmin her post walk treat and headed out into my back yard in bare feet. I walked back to the small crop of milkweed plants growing by the southeast corner of my property and smiled at the abundance of white fluffy seeds bursting free of the plant pods.
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I grabbed a few handfuls of seeds that were trying to work free of the pods and sent them into the air to carry my wishes and gratitude through the breeze.
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If the calendar didn’t say November, I would’ve sworn yesterday was an early spring day and not a late autumn day. It certainly made me feel that November had given all the nice days it could and wanted to go out on a high note. I think it accomplished that perfectly.

Water is Life. I Stand with Standing Rock.

Water is life. I stand with Standing Rock. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I suggest you check out the following websites and Facebook pages. From these you can find others and a lot more information that you’ll ever see on the nightly news.

Indigenous Environmental Network: Facebook Page, Website

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: Facebook Page, Website

Standing Rock Protectors – Pipeline Protest Facebook Page

Sacred Stone Camp: Facebook Page, Website

Indigenous Life Movement Facebook Page

http://billmoyers.com/story/need-know-dakota-access-pipeline-protest/

I am usually a quiet person who tries not to make waves and looks for the positive in all things. I’m still that person, but recent events in North Dakota involving my Native American relations have brought the warrior out in me. I am Onondagan but we-all humans, all living things-are all related, no matter our ancestry. What’s happening in North Dakota right now saddens, angers, confuses and astounds me. I already knew that Big Oil ran the world, but this horrible violation of the human rights of peaceful unarmed Water Protectors sickens me even more. There are multiple sides to every story and I’m not there to see firsthand what’s happening, but I support the Water Protectors and in my heart I know they are right to protest the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There is no Planet B and unfortunately, we humans continue to do a wonderful job of destroying the Earth. I am not innocent of such destruction as I drive a gas-powered car, use propane as a heating source and buy all sorts of products that wouldn’t be possible without Big Oil. However, I do my best to help protect and preserve the planet by recycling, supporting Native American organizations and limiting my energy consumption wherever possible.

For anyone thinking this is just a Native American issue, you’re wrong. This is everyone’s issue. We need water to survive and the more we pollute, poison and deplete that water, the worse it gets for every living creature on this planet. I have a deep understanding of how important and precious water is because I get my home water supply from a well. That well periodically flows with sulfur water due to the slate and shale ground where I live. Although research indicates that sulfur water is more nuisance than actual health hazard, I don’t drink my house water unless it goes through a filter.

The water from my faucets comes out black sometimes and when I shower in it, I don’t exactly feel clean. I get a majority of my drinking water by refilling plastic gallon jugs at my mother’s house. I don’t buy flats of bottles water because I feel that’s extremely wasteful and I only replace the gallon jugs when they start to leak. To water my outside plants, I gather rainwater because it’s a natural resource that should never be wasted or taken for granted.

The Dakota Access Pipeline and all existing underground pipelines can leak without anyone knowing and seep into the underground water supply. I highly doubt there’s any sort of Brita or Pur water filter that’s going to effectively remove such poison from the water. The proposed last stretch of DAPL is set to go directly under the Missouri River. There are already several gas and oil lines running under water sources across the country and the companies who build them insist that they make them “as safe as possible.” How about not making them at all? There have already been numerous pipeline leaks over the years and a very recent one in the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. I fully understand and stand with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock as they fight the completion of another “Black Snake.”

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Although I fear that it may be impossible to win against Big Oil until there is no more oil left and the planet is nearly destroyed, I will always fight the good fight for myself, my daughters, future generations and every living creature on this planet.

I ask you to Stand with Standing Rock and help the Water Protectors in any way you can. Visit the following websites for information on how you can help!

Indigenous Environmental Network: Facebook Page, Website

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe: Facebook Page, Website

Standing Rock Protectors – Pipeline Protest Facebook Page

Sacred Stone Camp: Facebook Page, Website

Indigenous Life Movement Facebook Page

Welcoming October

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I don’t know about you, but I love October and the autumn changes it brings. The weather turns cooler, the leaves become vibrant in shades of red, orange and yellow and it’s time to bring out the warm blankets and hot drinks.

A couple of year’s ago, I wouldn’t have said, let alone felt, that I love October but much has changed. October has been a difficult month since my father died in October of 2009 but now, 7 years later, I can finally say that I love October again. I loved it before my father died because I enjoy Halloween with its magical time of glowing moons, black cats and flying bats. Although I’ll always miss my father’s physical presence, I know his spirit is always with me. His spirit and my own soul want me to embrace October and banish the sadness that’s overshadowed it for so many years.

This past summer proved far more challenging than I expected with everything that happened with my youngest daughter. Along with that, my circle of friends became smaller for various reasons, but the close friends I still have will always have my back like I have theirs. That’s how friendship works.

Overall, I’m as optimistic as I always am and I have faith that the universe has great things in store for me this October and for all the months to come. So I hope you join me in welcoming October and all the amazing changes it brings!