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?

Three Thoughts for Thursday

Yogi Berra, author mathematics, and Little House in the Big Woods cozy in this week's 3 thoughts.

  1. I’m taking the death of Yogi Berra pretty hard. Not because I’m a Yankee fan. But because the media tributes have revealed that at least half of my dad best one liners were plagiarized from the great ball player.
  2. After double-checking the math, I can confidently say that having 3 books published in 1 year + completing a mystery novel = almost 2 much.
  3. With a winter’s worth of jugs full of rain water for the house plants in the basement, as well as several apple pies and bags of basil pesto in the freezer, our home has that Little House in the Big Woods cozy feeling.

What makes your house feel Little House in the Big Woods cozy?

Pick a Little, Talk a Little this Fantastic Friday

A gathering of goldfinches and their similarity to the Pick a Little, Talk a Little crew from the Music Man is this Fantastic Friday's look at the past.Today’s Fantastic Friday post first appeared on Down the Gravel Road in September of 2008. Considering the popularity of a recent listing of ten reasons to watch The Music Man, this article about some very noisy birds in our neighborhood seemed to be a logical choice.

Pick a Little, Talk a Little

Yesterday morning, I was walking along our gravel road at top speed, oblivious to the scenery around me, when the noise from the ditch awakened me from whatever inner thoughts consumed me. The chirping along the fence was deafening.

For a few seconds, I couldn’t see a thing. Then, I noticed the grass waving and saw a bit off fluff pulled from a seed pod. Finally the noisemakers, a small flock of female goldfinches, came into view. Their dusky gold coats so perfectly matched the browning fall grasses, they were barely visible. One by one, their movement and their chirping, gave their positions away. By the time my camera was out of, some of them had flown away, but a few remained.

While I snapped their pictures, I thought of the song from The Music Man, the one when all the town gossips are busy spreading rumors. The music makes them sound like a flock of old bitty hens. That’s exactly what the goldfinches sounded like, scolding and flapping their wings at each other. I half expected Robert Preston and Shirley Jones to march by, followed by the 76 trombones and the rest of the band.

Instead, I saw a sure sign of fall, the goldfinches flocking together as they do at this time of year, stocking up on provisions before they journey south for the winter. What I wouldn’t give to be going with them, I think as I face the prospect of winter.

But if I do that, I won’t be here to welcome them next spring on the day they return. No matter how hard the coming winter will be, the joy I feel when the birds come home melts my aversion to snow. Their return beats Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, the 76 trombones, and the town gossips, hands down. I can hardly wait.

Top Ten Reasons to Love November

pieNovember is such an awkward, unlovely child with it’s chilly days and long nights. Even so, here are ten reasons to love this hard-to-love month.

10. The chances of being bitten by a rattlesnake are low.

9.   It’s a good time to rearrange the living room and sweep the insect corpses that have been hiding under the furniture since the Man of Steel discovered the bee hive in the AC unit a while back.

8.  Turkey prices go way down. Good for humans. Bad for turkeys.

7.  The trees that still have leaves look so courageous, hanging onto their foliage with all their woody might.

6.  Morning walks are lighter for a few weeks once Daylight Savings Time kicks in.

5.  Outdoor plants moved inside to winter over give the house a safely-tucked-in-bed feeling.

4.  Every once in a while God offers up a gloriously warm, calm, and sunny day.

3.  In case you haven’t yet heard, The Caregiver’s Notebook released this November. What’s not to love about that?

2.  It’s time to make pie.

1.  Thanksgiving with the family, eating great food, playing board games, and hugging our grandson!

What do you like best about November? Leave a comment.

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!

Three Thoughts for Thursday

  1. Encouragement = 1 day when 2 nieces from different sides of the family ask for advice. They have no idea how much that means to their old auntie.
  2. Tuesday was the last day to pick up produce through our CSA. Oh, fresh melons, tomatoes, sweet corn and much more, you will be dearly missed!
  3. Could there be a correlation between this year’s early frost and the early appearance of pumpkin spice lattes in coffee shops? What do you think?

Photo Source

Top Ten Signs Summer Will Soon End

pool10.  The temperature soared as soon as the municipal pool was drained.

9.   Our property tax bill, due at the end of September, arrived.

8.   My waking hours are spent trying to think of a gift Mom would like for her birthday in September. The only idea so far is to put a big bow on our property tax bill and give it to her. But I have a feeling she’ll just give that back.

7.   Despite all the rain we’ve had lately, the leaves on the trees are now more yellow-green than vibrant green.

6.   The cricket that found its way into our bedroom likes to sing. At night. We are not amused.

5.   For the past week or so, the daylight’s been pretty dim when I leave for my morning walk.

4.   Unless you arrive at Hickory Park the minute they open, there’s a 5 to 15 minute wait for a booth, now that the college kids are moving back to ISU.

3.   My to do list includes trips to Walmart and Target to check the back to school aisles for clearance bargains.

2.   Every once in a while, soup and other cold weather comfort foods like Balkan Meatballs sound like a good idea for supper…even though it’s still way too hot to enjoy them.

1.  Every time I walk by the empty Boone Municipal Pool, I feel sad. How much longer until spring?

Three Thoughts for Thursday


  1. The government shutdown has been averted for the time being. But those who taught any member of the legislative or executive branch in elementary school can’t take it easy yet. Now’s the time to call those former students and give them an earful about how to work nicely with others.
  2. Personal experience has taught me that the temperature of Kodiak, Alaska on July 5 is the same as the temperature in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 17. Now I have a burning desire to personally discover if the same is true of the temperature in Hawaii in January.
  3. A writer’s life doesn’t get much better than breakfast with a co-author, lunch with an agent, and an afternoon meeting with the publisher of a new book. As my co-author says…Doesn’t it feel grown up to say that?