Closing Ceremony

The Winter Olympics of 2014 are complete.

They ended with a flourish. Flags. Music. Athletes marching and waving at the crowd.

The participants have scattered now. They packed up skates, skis, and bobsleds along with personal possessions. And a few shiny new medals. Now they are back in their everyday world. Some are practicing their sport. A few announced retirements and will now do sports for pleasure. Another portion will return to balancing that “day job” with training for the next event.

May I propose another closing ceremony?

I’d like to wish WINTER a fond farewell. Please don’t return until you’re scheduled in late December.

This opinion is brought to you by a person that usually enjoys cold sunny days and a little snow more than most. I like the variety of weather in the American Midwest. But really…. isn’t your three months up yet? Please yield the stage to spring before the vernal equinox. Please. Pretty please.

I’ll step back now. I’ll be good — dress in coat, boots, hat, and gloves — when I go for my next walk. I’ll try to be patient. And quiet. But it’s difficult.

Today – Feb 28 – is the final day to purchase Starr Tree Farm and many other Crimson Romance titles from Amazon at the reduced price of $1.99.


Winter Bear Tale

Why? Why? Why?  The favorite word of toddlers. Today we answer one of those why questions prompted by pictures of animals.

Why do bears have short tails?

Long ago, before humans moved into the Great North Woods, bears had long, slender tails covered in fur. Come with me on a winter’s day when Mr. Bear is hankering after one more good meal before hibernation.

Mr. Bear is walking in the woods, looking for a fresh, filling treat when he meets Mr. Fox. Now Mr. Fox is carrying several nice big fish.

“I say, Mr. Fox. Where did you get such nice fish?”

“In the lake, Mr. Bear. I’ve been ice fishing.”

“Ice fishing? Tell me how it’s done.”

Mr. Fox gave one of his smiles and started how to describe the procedure. “You dig a hole in the ice. Not too large. Then you dangle your tail in the water. You must sit very still waiting for the fish to come by and nibble on your tail. When the fish has a good hold — you stand up real quick and flip the fish out of the water.”

“And this works?” Mr. Bear suspected Mr Fox left something out of the directions.

“The proof is right here.” Mr. Fox held up the fish he carried.

“I’ll try it.” Mr. Bear rubbed his empty stomach. “Today.”

A little later, Mr. Bear dug a hole in the ice, sat down, and let his long, slender tail dip into the water. He sat very still, for he was a patient bear. He watched geese fly high above and the sun move across three treetops before he felt a fish nibble at his tail. He waited for the fish to gain a firm hold.

Up he jumped. Owwww! He turned around to discover the hole he’d so carefully dug was frozen over and held tight to his long, slender tail.

To this day bears have short tails. (And they don’t follow fishing tips from foxes.)



Winter Tracking

Birds. Squirrels. Canines. Humans large and small.

The mechanical treads of automobiles and the maintenance tractor.

The variety of tracks in our snow grows geometrically every day.

It’s something in the air this year. Or lack of something. (Temperatures above freezing.) The fresh white blanket draped over the city by Mother Nature has lingered. It picked up dirt which snowplows exposed when pushing it aside. Trees have shed late leaves and pine needles into its depths. Then, as if doing a little housekeeping — another layer arrives. Parents complain as they make arrangements for another “snow day”. Business owners grumble when customers stay home.

Dogs and children go out to play. They leave their tracks as they practice skills – running, jumping, sliding. Someone has discovered the thrill of using shaped plastic and gravity together. Future bobsledder?


In honor of Olympic athletes — past, present, and future.

One more week. Starr Tree Farm and other Crimson Romance titles for reduced price of $1.99 at Amazon for only one more week. Click on over and pick up a winter romance.


Staying Ahead?

Will I need that again? Better save it “just in case”.

A case of too much “just in case” can swell until the closet is full, the storage area stacked to the ceiling, and it’s a major project to find the flower pot I know I had. I used it…that long ago?

Remember your resolution for January? The one to de-clutter one corner. Reduce books on the shelf to make room for new ones. I hate to tell you this — January has come and gone.

Do not despair. If your inanimate objects are like mine they are waiting for the day when a moment of ambition strikes.  I’m prompted twice a year when our church holds an “attic treasure” sale. In an rare organized minute I pulled out a couple of containers and started filling them for the next sale.

I get a few bags of room. The church gets a few pennies. The new owner gets a bargain. Win. Win. Win.



Sweetheart Sports

Olympics on Valentine’s Day!

What could be better than enjoying sports with your sweetheart?

Consider age, physical condition, and inclination — and since this is 2014 Weather!

Will you start the celebration with some participation? Your own pair skating at an indoor or outdoor rink? Hit the slopes together on skis or snowboards? Find a toboggan and snowy slope for two person sledding?

Television gives options as spectators. Over hot chocolate (or adult beverages) you’ll be able to see young men leap, twirl, and spin in the figure skating finals. Or hold your breath as women’s Skeleton finals are broadcast.

Remember to exchange cards. Flowers and chocolate are nice. Also suggested — the gift of time together – whether it’s physical sport together, dinner and conversation, holding hands watching the Olympics, or a sport of your own devising.

New Folder


Entering the Fifth Season

Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter.

Yes, there they are — four meteorological seasons that we’ve known and anticipated with either longing or dread since childhood. (It’s February. Like 99.44% of Midwest residents I’m longing for spring.)

We’ve forgotten a season on our list. The sort of deletion that could get a person into serious trouble – expensive trouble – with the government.

I’m speaking of Tax Season. It’s a day (or days) where you gather all of those papers that arrived in envelopes printed “important tax information inside”, additional forms from your employer and receipts that you put in a “Safe” place. (Sometimes these places are so safe I can’t find them.)

So whether you’re the brave sort to do your own taxes. Purchase the software to help with the math. Or need to get “stuff” together for a professional I’ve a tip.

Coffee. Calculator. Coffee. Pencil. Coffee. Paper. Coffee.

Getting Prepared
Getting Prepared

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Snow and Ice — Very, very nice.

They’re here! The Winter Olympics 2014 Edition.

So much to follow. So much to learn as new events are added. Did you know the ladies ski jumping is new this time? Watch the men (and women) fly.

Ice, ice, ice enables figure skating, speed skating,hockey, and curling. Winter sports moved indoors, away from the threat of wind, snow, or sleet. Watch the contestants glide and turn and race and sweep.

Outdoor sports are not neglected. Bobsled teams compete with two and four athletes per sled. Down the run, up on the outside curves, settling back on the straight and across the finish before the spectators can draw a deep breath. I don’t want to look at luge and skeleton contestants whiz past. Skiing exhilarates and thrills in downhill, slalom, giant slalom. Snowboarders twist and flip on a single small platform. While jumpers soar with perfect form.

And then we come to one of my favorites. A sport with practical, military roots.  This is the biathlon, the melding of Nordic skiing and shooting.  Strength, endurance and accuracy required to perform in this contest that’s difficult to view on television.

Which one is your favorite?  Will a new hero/heroine emerge to garner world-wide acclaim?

Tools of a Future Olympian?
Tools of a Future Olympian?



Not Seasonal

Charity:  an act or feeling of generosity; giving aid to the poor.

Once or twice a year the media brings charity toward the top of the agenda. I notice it the most from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Coat drives and food drives pop up with malls and businesses serving as collection points.

This is good. Sharing and giving are two important lessons that should be learned early in life. Please don’t limit the time or make it only during the end of year holidays.

Empty cupboards and closets persist year round. Food banks and thrift stores appreciate donations any month or week of the year.

Welcome at Food Banks year round.
Welcome at Food Banks year round.