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Just Added

A Great Day

For me, a great day starts out with a chuckle and ends with a hearty laugh.  I had that day yesterday.  It started when I went out to fill the bird feeders.  The thermometer read a nice chilly 40 degrees.  My cold hands caused me to spaz out (when’s the last time you used that phrase) and I dropped the cover to the Tupperware container of bird seed.

Well, that isn’t that big of a deal except the bird feeders are on the edge of a hill.  A very steep hill.  A hill with 75 stairs each way type of hill.  I’ve started a new exercise regimen that involves going up and down them multiple times — so I know the exact number.

As I watched the plastic lid slide down the green groundcover to a place I couldn’t reach, I had to chuckle.   My book club just finished reading “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  There is a scene in her memoir where she takes off her hiking boots to rest her weary feet.  One of the boots tips over and slides down into a ravine.  Knowing that she cannot retrieve the lost boot, she heaves the other down the ravine as well.   I’m not quite Cheryl Strayed, but I could relate.

Later that day, I attended a holiday party of old work friends.  While I was eating dinner, this conversation happened:

“So Val, have you ever thought of working part-time.  My son could use someone like you in his business.”

“Oh no.” I replied.  “If I go back to work, I would like to do something philanthropic.”

“Well then, this is perfect, because my son has no money to pay you.”

If you know me, you know my laugh can be quite “out there.”  If you can howl while you laugh, I think I was doing so.

Wishing you all a holiday season full of smiles, chuckles and howling laughter.

Just Added

An Early Gift

Earlier this week, I walked through the morning fog towards my bird feeders.  Perched on a nearby fence were four beautiful doves patiently waiting for the feeders to be filled.  I approached them very slowly.  When I got too close, they scattered to safer viewing points.

A lovely Christmas thought crossed my mind.  I knew there were four “something” birds in the Twelve Days of Christmas.  So I looked it up.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Well, I didn’t have four calling birds.  And what exactly is a calling bird?  I found out from a great bird website called  The word “calling” morphed from the word “colly” which means black as coal or black birds.  (It is disputed whether the Twelve Days of Christmas is of English or French origin).

Well, I did have turtle doves.  They were waiting for me again the next morning, and I was able to snap a photo of three of them before they flew away. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

So I guess my empty nest is not so empty after all.  It is filled with doves, finches, sparrows and an occasional blue jay.

Speaking of the French, do you know where the word denim originated?  I was watching a Rick Steves’ program on Provence and learned that the word denim is a contraction of “de Nimes” or “from Nimes.” Nimes is city in southern France that made the fabric prior to the seventeenth century.  The Levi Strauss website has an interesting article about it if you are interested.