Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Robin Signals It Is Time

A puffy red-breasted American Robin on my magnolia tree, the first of the season, alerted me last Wednesday (February 17) that it was time.

Mostly the robin, along with the mockingbird singing on Saturday morning, the crocus blooming in my yard (starting Wednesday), the south-side daffodils already in full bloom when I sought them out on Wednesday, the allergies, and the first Iris reticulata which opened Sunday (Feb. 21), was declaring that it is time for spring.

I also thought the robin might be reminding me that it is time to post about Bird Year beginning, and a sermon Sunday about being protected under the wing of God, the mother hen, made that message very clear.  Some get messages of hope and comfort out of Luke 13:34; I see reminders to blog about birds.


I will be bird watching, eating birds, listening to birds, reading "bird" books, making duck charcuterie, cheering as the Jayhawks play basketball,  watching bird movies and making all sorts of puns about feathers and flocks and who knows what else.

Of course I'm taking suggestions.

I need to go to bed so I will post more on bird year later (perhaps after you make the suggestions), but think that I should try and articulate the last message I received from seeing a solitary robin on my way to the Convenient Care Clinic to be diagnosed with strep throat, and that is that it is time.

February 17 is too early for spring, even in Western Oklahoma. The robin is here.  We couldn't round up any friends to go to adult prom with us, the order for the Mister's gold vest was unwittingly cancelled and surely there is a better time to wear a sparkly dress.  But I'd been waiting for two years for a sparkly dress occasion-- how much longer am I going to wait?  It was time to wear gold with big hair.  A week later I followed up saffron pudding on Valentine's day with a saffron creme patisserie on baklava because the Mister had given me saffron, I've been watching The Great British Baking Show, and a preacher just reminded me that Sundays are feast days during Lent.  It was time for silly dessert.  It's a year I am presenting at three conferences because they are all when I can go.  That's never happened before and is unlikely to happen again. We're going to both the ballet and the Chinese acrobats in the next week because, well, because we can.  It is time.

The US Women the Royals and the Broncos are all champions.  What are we waiting for? It is time.

Friends are dealing with parents and spouses dying, with scary diagnoses, with changing jobs.  What are we waiting for?  It is time.

Again, I'm back to cliche, and again, I think the cliche is right.  Life is uncertain.  The time for living is now.

The robin wasn't looking at the calendar.  The robin decided to enjoy a glorious spring day, mid-February or not.
The time,

The next morning
Yep, it is all my own hair.

it's now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love and the Glowing End

Finishing the Advent series has stalled, because, what, really, am I going to say about love?

I've long ago abandoned novelty ("Hey! it turns out that I wasn't first person to use "roots" figuratively and literally at the same time!") but I still kept wanting to avoid off-puttingly sappy and plain stupid.  And love is just so . . . well, what am I going to say about love?

Joyful in the short day darkness
The actual fourth Sunday of advent was a dark day in Colorado and I felt overbrimming with joy as I went sledding with Dianthus, Aster, and the Mister.  Two days later I introduced my sons to the wonders of twirling fire as we celebrated friendship and the returning of the sun after the solstice. I thought about writing, "I love sharing my fun side with my family," which would reveal nothing beyond stating the obvious, and then realized I didn't even take pictures of the fire for glowing documentation.

December 20, 2016
So I stalled on writing about love.  Which led me to stall on ending glow year, even though I selected the new theme back at the end of December, because somehow I've committed to finishing something before I finish something else before I start something new (oh, how I wish I could do that in my professional life!).

Then, this past weekend, I decided that glow year must end, as the lunar new year started Monday and it is high time to start bird year.

At church  Sunday (Transfiguration Sunday, in addition to Superbowl Sunday and Scout Sunday), the Mister read a passage from Exodus about the radiant face of Moses.  And our pastor read from Luke about Jesus's face becoming as bright as lightning.  "Radiant", to the point of causing pain to others, was used many times. God apparently makes people SHINE.  Which I took as a sign.  Except I didn't know for what.
Jacket $4 thrift store find 11 years after
dress purchased used on e-bay

Then the 5K on campus that I've "run" the last four years, the one that kicked off my glowing for health resolution is support of my friend radiant with chemotherapy, announced a new name.  This year it is a "Glow 5K"  I'm not sure what that means, either, except that I am meant to be running it.  And I found a designer silk suit at the thrift store so I have enough fabric to alter my old ball gown, so the Mister and I are off to sparkle (which, you may recall, I resolved [and failed] to do in 2014) at adult prom on Saturday night.  And as we were receiving our ashes this evening, thinking about death and ends and all the ways that we have gone astray, our pastor was preaching about hope and joy and increasing light.

And it occurred to me that that's what I have to say: that the glowing never ends.

Darkness is real.  If you are stuck in the darkness, please tell me how to help you light a candle.  Because the light of love is real as well.

Love makes us glow.  God makes us glow.  God is love.

We are made of ashes and to ashes we will return.  As ashes we are stardust.  And when we treat each other with love, the star shines through.  And it is enough.  Let's glow in God's love and love of each other.  Let us be stars in the our time between dust piles.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not quite a multi-layer cake . . .

But apparently two-toned Jell-o (based on instructions from a book given to me by my brother to celebrate the life of one of our grandmothers made in a mold that belonged to the other grandmother), a blue and orange vase of magnatiles and a great defense worked.

With the US Women winning the World Cup, the Royals winning the World Series, and now the Broncos, well, I could get used to being for the winning team.  Thunder up! Rock Chalk!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

When Passions Collide

So, there is this big football game this afternoon.  And my new obsession with the Great British Baking Show.  And vegetable evangelism.

Which is probably how I come, on a lovely Sunday afternoon in which I have a very large pile of things to be graded, to be neither grading nor playing outside, but rather fretting over menu planning.

The United by Orange Soup* is simmering.   I'm off to buy blue corn chips.  And I am seriously considering a 4 layer masterpiece: 2 dark chocolate and 2 orange, with an orange marmalade filling between the chocolate layers and an orange white chocolate cream piped around the top, but then I might stick with the original plan of chocolate "self-saucing puddings" and Orange Crush Sorbet.

Oh nerves of baking desires. And it's still four hours until game time.

Go Broncos!**

*United by Orange Soup contains butternut squash, orange lentils, carrots, sweet potatoes, turmeric, paprika, puri-puri, a third of an orange habanero and a dash of kalamansi orange vinegar for the oranges that have been united.  It also has onion, ginger, cumin, coriander, celery, leek and the Mister's homemade chicken stock.  It will be pureed later, with some saffron and pumpkin if the color is lacking, and possibly some coconut milk to make it more curry like.  It's wholesome deliciousness will offset any brie, nachos, or jalepeno poppers that make have been promised to Dianthus.  It will not be enough to off-set anything with dark chocolate and orange.

**I am well aware that this post will be moot by the time that most of you are reading it,  I am sharing the timely spiciness of orange-colored-vegetable-soup in my house right now.  What can I say, go Broncos!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Rodent in the Sun

Prairie Dog (a fairly close relative of groundhogs) popping up in Jasper National Park (where the glacier was not that long ago) to wish you and yours a happy groundhog day. 

Metaphorical sunshine and warmth are always good, but for many
organisms literal cold and snow are necessary.