Three Thoughts for Thursday

Unusual color combinations, seeding grass, and monsoon autumn rains in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. An unusual combination: Brightly colored autumn leaves landing on spring green grass. That’s what happens when September in Iowa includes monsoon rain one day and chilly temperatures the next.
  2. A reason to be thankful: All the recent rain means the grass seed planted two weeks ago is coming up without much extra watering.
  3. A reason to cheer: The monsoon moisture has stayed in the ground and out of the basement. Which means the Man of Steel’s basement project is a success. (Insert crowd cheering noises here.)

What are you thankful for this week? Leave a comment.

Three Thoughts for Thursday

NASA's concept of a bargain basement, a new vision of magic words, and the beauty of autumn in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. In an interview, a aerospace engineer suggested the US explore Mars with a satellite for the bargain basement price of 75 million dollars. That was, perhaps, the first time the phrases “bargain basement price” and “75 million dollars” were used in the same sentence.
  2. My 3-year-old grandson is learning to use magic words like “please” and “thank you.” But because he’s only 3, he calls them “maggot words.” Such a word picture.
  3. Sometimes, the beauty that is October brings tears to my eyes. What brings tears to your eyes in October?

Top Ten Things About the End of Daylight Savings Time

daylight savings time breakfast for supper

10. It’s the closest thing to time travel most of us will ever get.

9.  There’s more time to turn the lights down low for a romantic evening and not notice the need to dust the furniture.

8.  When it’s dark by suppertime, jammies are perfectly acceptable dining attire.

7.  Once everyone’s wearing jammies to the table, serving breakfast for supper is also perfectly acceptable.

6.   So is going to bed early after meal clean up. Which is incredibly easy when cereal bowls and spoons are the only things that need washing.

5.  School children who wear jammies to the table, eat breakfast for supper, and wake up early because they went to bed early the night before no longer have to wait for the bus in the dark on school days.

4.  Writers and bloggers who wear jammies to the table, eat breakfast for supper, and wake up early because they went to bed early no longer have to take their morning walk in the dark either.

3.  On evenings when people don’t hit the hay immediately after wearing jammies to the table and eating breakfast for supper, it’s too dark to do anything but binge watch the Modern Family Season 5 DVD, which you have on loan from the library for 1 short week after waiting months for your turn to check it out.

2.  Fall back in the fall means an extra hour of sleep this weekend. Heavenly!

1.  The end of Daylight Savings Time means only 4 short months until March 9 when it and spring make their glorious re-appearance.

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!

Top Ten Reasons to Take a Fall Road Trip

fall colors

10.  Gas prices are hovering around the $3.00 mark.

9.   The weather’s comfortable during the day and not too cool at night, so you can turn off both the AC and heat while you’re gone.

8.   You’ll be gone on those warm fall days when the Asian soy beetles and box elder bugs swarm the south side of the house. That means you won’t be letting critters in whenever you go in and out.

7.   Pumpkin spice lattes are available at every pit stop.

6.   You can sleep with the windows open when you arrive at your night time digs.

5.   Watching farmers bring in the harvest makes for an captivating drive.

4.   So does viewing the fall colors along the way, especially along the Mississippi River valley.

3.   Good weather makes it possible to stop and walk around a prairie lake that’s too windy, too cold, or too hot most of the year.

2.  You might be present when a two-year-old is enthralled by the first fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillar he’s ever seen.

1.   Driving west on your way home, watching a magnificent sunset can move you to tears.

What do you love about fall road trips? Leave a comment.

Top Ten Reasons to Appreciate Shrinking Daylight Hours

Shrinking daylight hoursThe September equinox left the building two days ago. That means shrinking daylight hours and increasing hours of darkness for the next several months. Not my favorite time of year. But in an effort to think positive, I came up with ten things to appreciate this season of darkness.

10.  Unemployment will go down as work hours expand for burglars and peeping toms.

9.   It gets dark soon enough to take kids outside to play with sparklers before bedtime. Yes, toes and fingers and bums will freeze. But we are thinking positive, remember?

8.  Burned out lightbulbs are more obvious and therefore are replaced sooner.

7.  Sunscreen bills go way, way down. No need to mention that heat and lighting bills go up because that wouldn’t be positive. At. All.

6.  Less daylight means people won’t notice dirt in the corners of my car/bathroom/kitchen/closets. You get the idea.

5.  Those who wait to binge watch TV series on DVDs and Netflix don’t have to wait so long.

4.  Putting on jammies right after supper is perfectly acceptable when it’s dark outside.

3.  Long, cozy, dark nights + reading lamp = more hours to read!

2.  Long, dark nights + cold + nasty weather = a perfect reason to stay home and write.

1.  Once each day’s minutes of darkness overtake the minutes of daylight, only three months remain until the December solstice when daylight hours start increasing again!

Top Ten Things about Fall

Does and Fawns

Being a spring kind of girl, I am always surprised by people who say fall is their favorite season. But with summer turning to autumn, I’m focusing on what’s good about this new season. It didn’t take long to come up with this top ten list:

10.  Longer nights mean my morning walk begins by moon and starlight. Beautiful!

9.    Acorn squash, Hiram’s favorite side dish, is in season. Menu planning is easy this time of year.

8.    Earlier sunsets make it perfectly acceptable to put on jammies after supper and curl up in bed with a good book.

7.    Early fall=perfect sleeping weather

6.    The does and summer fawns are less skittish and easier to photograph.

5.    Apple season is here!

4.   Deal’s apple cider is in the grocery store.

3.   The dry, spicy scent of fall leaves and crops drying in the fields.

2.    This time of year feels like the world’s being tucked into bed for a good night’s sleep.

1.    Our grandson’s birthday and the opportunity to celebrate his young life.

What do you like about fall? Leave a comment.

Top Ten Signs of an Early Fall

What comes after an early spring and a summer of drought? An early fall, of course. My morning walks have been full of signs that autumn is right around the corner, and here are the top ten in my book.

10.  The begonias on the north side of the garage are lush and full.

9.    The leaves of the burning bush outside the kitchen are tinged with red.

8.    Sunrise comes later each morning and sunset comes earlier.

7.    The sumac is starting to turn.

6.     We’re planning menus for the Labor Day Extraveganza.

5.    The goldenrod’s got the Man of Steel sneezing.

4.    Rain doesn’t make the pond scum disappear.

3.    The spots are fading on this summer’s fawns.

2.    The parks department drained the swimming pool.

1.    The trees,

the trees,

the trees.

What signs of fall are appearing where you live?

My Golden Day – Recycled

Hiram and I have been living the west central Nebraska cowboy life since Sunday afternoon.  Limited internet availability is as common to the out west experience as beyond-our-comfort-zone proximity to cattle. Hence no blog post yesterday, though I promise to tell you more about my cow-hating man’s  day spent gettin’ along with those little doggies later this week. But for today, you’ll have to make do with this recycled post from two years ago about a golden fall day and the blessings to be savored in autumn.

My Golden Fall Day – Recycled

Fall is not my most favorite season, mostly because I’m the kind of person who’s always looking ahead and planning for the future rather than enjoying the present. So instead of relishing cool nights and pleasant days, the beautiful colors and signs of God’s faithfulness in another bountiful harvest, I view fall as the precursor of winter, my least favorite season.

But a goodly number of people who I love and respect think fall is the best thing since sliced bread. And last week, as I drove through the Iowa countryside on my way to some speaking engagements, I found myself agreeing with them. The corn was firing in the fields. The leaves on the trees displayed the faintest hints of yellow and orange when they waved from the roadsides. The cloudless, brilliant blue sky glimmered from one horizon to the other.

But most eye catching of all were the golden soybeans, halfway through their swift turning from green to brown. Field after field shimmered in the sunlight, a vast pirate’s treasure of glittering doubloons, piled acre upon acre, field upon field. mile upon mile.

Finally, on my way home, I pulled onto a gravel side road and photographed the scene. How could I not recored this annual flash of beauty which would soon tarnish and fade away? For once, I ignored the approach of winter, shoved aside the tasks waiting in my office, and relished the moment.

Then, I climbed into the car slowly and drove onto the highway. Winter grew closer, my tasks multiplied in my head, but nothing could steal the treasure stored in my heart. The dry smell of autumn, the crackle of leaves, the soft breeze and warm sun, the haze in the distance. My golden, fall day.

Soy Beetles & Culture Shock

Though I’ve been back in Iowa for more than a week now, I’m still wrestling with culture shock. The rudest reminders that I’m no longer in sunny Califorian, but back in the Midwest, are the soy beetles.

These tiny critters first made their presence known around these parts in the fall of 2000. (I know this because they showed up the year Allen was a senior and our foreign exchange student, Adrian, lived with us.) The nasty little insects look like lady bugs, though they’re more orange than red and stinkier than all get out. They don’t do any harm, but they don’t do any good either.

Most of the year they stay outdoors, until the farmers harvest the soybeans and obliterate the soy beetles’ summer homes. The homeless, stinky bugs stay in the fields, shivering and immobile, as long as the weather stays cold. But give ‘em a sunny day to warm up their innards, and they become heat-seeking missiles, swarming the southern walls of every house on the outskirts of town, including ours.

But when the sun goes down and the temperature plummets, the bugs drop to the ground in small, orange drifts. The orange drift on the threshold of our kitchen door was my rude, culture shock reminder.

At the sight, I sprang into action, grabbing the broom and sweeping away the nasty proof of my return from paradise. Every sunny day, I sweep another drift away, humming while I work…I’m California dreaming on an autumn day.


Ordinary Blessings

In the last seven days I’ve seen so many beautiful things: California sunrises and sunsets, rolling desert mountains, palatial homes, the Pacific Ocean, the posh resort where the classic movie Some Like It Hot was filmed, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, the Coronado Bridge.

But yesterday, between trips, I was home for 24 hours and spent one of them walking through the park. The leaves on the trees were brilliant, and I took picture after picture, trying to capture their beauty without much success. But when I left the park for home, walking on an ordinary small town sidewalk, I looked up at a tree so richly yellow it gleamed.

My heart skipped a beat, then I walked on. Seconds later, I retraced my steps, unwilling to abandon the shining moment. Ignoring the cars passing by, I aimed my camera up until the viewfinder was a solid mass of gold, and clicked. When I reviewed my pictures later, this one – the one I almost didn’t take, contained all the beauty of an Iowa fall morning.

In the past few days I’ve seen oceans and mountains, great cities and marvelous feats of engineering. But nothing has been more lovely than the pure gold I saw on an ordinary tree on an ordinary street in my ordinary little town.

The ordinary blessings, if I take time to see and appreciate them, are the greatest blessings of all.