Thursday, January 29, 2015


I heard something the other day that has given me a lot of food for thought. It came from my sister-in-law who has been battling an aggressive, rare form of cancer. When she was first diagnosed the doctors measured her survival time in days to months. A year was an outside chance. And she has outlived every prediction as she will soon be coming upon two years since her diagnosis. The cancer has been brutal, but she manages to keep going and "Enjoy the Heck out of Life" or Ethool as she has abbreviated it. She inspires everyone not only because she makes the most out of her life daily, but also because she is very open with her discussions on the difficult subject of life and death. Here is something that she shared recently.

  "Last year I was celebrating survival. This year I am celebrating life."

A seemingly simple statement, but one which I found complex upon a second look. I have no great words of wisdom for you about what she said because I think this is something that each one of us has to interpret in our own way. However, I just noticed that I used an important phrase for me at the beginning of this paragraph--Second Look. I enjoy doing my Second Looks and I think they are a good place to start as I learn how I will do more than survive life. I will celebrate it.

What little things do you do in your life that make you happy? How do you celebrate life?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Second Look--January 28, 2015

Snow, more snow, and again more snow. That's what the weather's been like for a couple of weeks now. We're not having more snow like some of my relatives in New England--measured in the double digits, but it seems like every couple of days we have some kind of frozen precipitation. Because of that, I haven't gotten out much to see what's been going on in my yard. However, I did have some drama today right outside my window.

Recently, I've started to see a few starlings at the feeders and saw another one today. While the starling was eating, a hawk swooped down trying to catch it. The starling immediately flew into our glass door trying to get away, but quickly recovered and flew away from the hawk. The hawk returned to the sky and circled again. And that's all I saw. I don't know the fate of the starling or the hawk. I'm not sure I want to know. While I totally understand the natural balance of predators and prey, I don't really like to watch this action happen. Another time I'll tell you about a hawk after a young rabbit in our yard. I'm not sure how that one turned out either. I stopped watching after the first time the rabbit escaped.

Here a few things I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

I don't know the fate of this starling.

Stream from a hike we took last weekend.

The backyard during one of the snows.

White-breasted Nuthatch

After a morning snow, we had blue skies yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Getaway, Part 2

Friday I told you that my husband and I were going away to a mountain cabin for the weekend. I was really looking forward to it and had romanticized what it was going to be like while at the same time was worried that it might be like another National Lampoon vacation movie.

Well, as with most things, it was somewhere in the middle. Yes, we actually did forget our box of food, but remembered it when we were within a couple of miles of our house. And yes, it did snow, but not as much as anticipated and we were not trapped in our cabin. But all the same, we had a good time on a much needed getaway.

Here are some snapshots from our weekend.

On the way there we did a little sight seeing. The first stop was a religious shrine. It had many outdoor statues and mosaics to see. And as with most religious works of art, they were beautiful.

Next, we took a short hike to some waterfalls. Although the fast moving stream below them was not frozen, the falls were.

Our goal was to arrive before dark and we did.

It snowed that night and the next morning we took a walk to check on the roads. We found them in pretty good shape.

The temperatures had warmed by afternoon, so we went out to find three covered bridges in the area. We found all three and had fun exploring while we were looking for them.

As the sun went down, we headed back to the cabin...

to eat, drink, be merry, and work puzzles.

This afternoon, we're back home to find the cats taking turns sleeping on my coat that I left behind. I'm going to have to snatch it away before the next snow comes tonight. They aren't going to be happy.

Friday, January 23, 2015


Excitement is in the air. Ward and I are off today to spend the weekend in a mountain cabin to celebrate our anniversary. And a snow storm is coming. It's exciting to get away, but even more exciting to think we might be snowed in in our hideaway. We've got boardgames, a flashlight, and snow shovel all packed and ready to go. I can't wait.

But first back to reality. We have to work part of a day, go to a doctor's appointment, and pay some bills before we can leave. However I am imagining that soon we'll be in our romantic hide away surrounded by beautiful falling snow and gazing into the dancing flames in a fireplace. (I'm getting a bit goofy with anticipation.)

It sounds like a scene from a movie, doesn't it? I hope we don't experience a scene from another movie. Like being stuck in the mud and freezing rain trying to get to there and fretting that we forgot our box of food and then look up to see a tree has fallen on the cabin. National Lampoons Vacation in the Woods, anyone? I'll let you know when we get back what really happens. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Second Look--January 21, 2015

When Aunt Martha was in college, she was studying to be a naturalist. One day I overheard her talking to a classmate about identifying trees in the winter and using the feel and look of their bark to help with that. My ears perked up because that was a new concept for me. I thought that all bark looked basically the same--gray/brown and rough. At least it did until I took a Second Look. And by golly, there were a lot of differences. However over the years, I still haven't paid much any attention to trees and their bark.  So decades later during these gray days, I thought it was time to take a Second Look at some of the trees in my yard.

Here are some trees and their bark that 
I saw this week  during a Second Look.





Silver Maple


Theodore did the bark investigation with me and took some of the pictures.