I could write about my February but since we were snowed or iced in for almost the entirety of it, it would be pretty boring so I thought I would recap the month in photos instead.
This intro is a re-share from part of my Sunday Bookends post.
When we moved to this rural Pennsylvania county last year, I told my husband how it was like living in an entirely different world. I grew up two miles from the county line and we could drive from our house to this town and it would be dry with green grass in our little village and a foot of snow in this town. I’d said it before and I don’t think he believed me until we moved here. Honestly, I don’t think I believed me until we moved here. It shouldn’t be any surprise to me that there has been snow on the ground here since Christmas Day (the week before 24 inches was dropped on us) but when my husband said the other day that the town he works in, which is only about 20 minutes away, doesn’t have any snow, reality hit me hard. I knew winters here would be a challenge and they are, but, hey, at least the snow is pretty. I don’t actually mind the snow that much, but the ice and the bitter cold temperatures? I could do without them. On Thursday of last week, the high was 16, the low 3. On Friday the high was 19, the low 3. Temperatures warmed up some for Saturday, with a high of 27 but Saturday also came with a Winter Storm Warning for Sunday through Tuesday. And here we are now: under several inches of snow and ice (the ice from last week) — again.
But, hey, I could live in Manitoba. Or I could be in the Northern Territory of Canada and never see green again! Winter will soon pass and while we won’t miss the cold, we will miss the pretty snow.
Snow has been the name of the game for the last two weeks in our neck of the woods.
First, we were hit with 22 to 24 inches a few days before Christmas.
Then it rained for 40 days and 40 nights — wait, no – it only rained for a full day and night on Christmas Eve. It just felt like 40 days. We had threats of flash floods, but in the end there was no significant flooding.
On Christmas morning we had a dusting of snow so we got our white Christmas and that night we had a flash freeze with some more snow.
Then we had an ice storm on New Year’s Day. The ice encased the trees and roads and everything in its path but I didn’t take any photos of it because I didn’t want to fall on my rear trying to get the photos.
Two days after the ice storm, we had a wet, heavy snowfall that was only supposed to bring us about four inches but ended up dumping up to 14 inches on part of our area, but not at our house. We got hit with about six inches that piled mainly on our trees and electric lines.
The snow that came on Sunday was wet and heavy and clung to the lines and trees. We were certain the lights would go out and they flickered and went off for less than 30 seconds in spurts a couple of times, but never went all the way out.
When it started the snow flakes that fell were as big as fifty cent pieces and my cat tried to catch them through the window, which was pretty funny to watch.
After we were originally told 2-4 inches, the storm stalled over our neighboring county, where my parents live. The next county’s border is literally a mile from our house, but somehow we ended up with less, which was the same with the bigger storm the week of Christmas. My parents received about eight inches when all was said and done and we probably had about six.
Apparently I have become The Lorax this winter.
During the heavier snow this past weekend and the Christmas week storm I became worried about the trees around our house because the snow was so heavy on their limbs.
On the week of Christmas the lower limbs of the pine tree that is on our neighbor’s property but is right by our driveway looked like they were about to break off.
“Should I go out there and clean that snow off?” I asked no one in particular.
And no one in particular answered me either.
“I think that snow is breaking the lower limbs.”
“Hey, Mom, look at this meme,” my son said.
So Sunday night before bed I saw ten inches of heavy snow on my little cherry tree (I actually don’t know what it is), bending it’s branches over and I said “Oh my gosh! Should I go out there and clean that off? It’s going to break it’s little branches.”
“Mom,” my son said. “It’s a tree. It’ll be fine.”
So while I felt the need to rescue the trees I didn’t (it was cold and wet, okay?) and the morning after the storm I saw one of the branches on the cherry tree had broke. I felt like I had failed my little tree. The Lorax – I mean — I, was sad, but I think the tree will make it. I think the lower limbs of the pine tree might make it as well, luckily.
On Monday morning the snow fell off the tree limbs in clumps that dissipated into a fine mist on the way down and some of that mist fell down on me when I was taking photos.
I made myself get up earlier than I might would have to try to capture photographs of the snow still on the limbs and lines, but a lot of it had fallen off already.
Luckily my husband grabbed a few photos on the way to work.
I was still able to grab a few shots before all the snow fell off.
Zooma The Wonder Dog enjoyed running along behind me as I took photos. She loves the snow and sleeps hard after a day of playing in it.
The kids also enjoyed building a snowman and a snow fort with the wet snow since the snow from two weeks ago was more like fluff.
I honestly didn’t take very many photos at all on Christmas Day, instead just enjoying the moments of our first Christmas in our new house and with my parents.
By the way, the photo below is the real life photo of the above capture of my dad reading a Christmas story about the making of ‘Silent Night’ to Little Miss. The first photo is the cute, sweet, “blog worthy” photo. The one below is the real photo of how my daughter looked much of the time during the reading because she had been too excited to sleep the night before and was super tired Christmas morning.
When the forecasters said we could get anywhere from 8 to 20 inches (the huge gap was because they apparently had no confidence in their forecasting skills. I can’t blame them.) our area hoped to see that prediction at the lower end of the scale. Sadly, the actual number was not only at the higher end, but four inches over the worst case scenerio.
So, Thursday morning the people in most of our county, and the counties surrounding us, woke up to two feet of snow. This left a lot of people stuck in their homes or digging out. It left my children excited to sled down the hill behind our house. Sadly, the snow was too soft so the sled sank in the snow. That didn’t stop my son. He decided to use the driveway instead. The sled went into the street, but no one was driving on the road anyhow and we were out with him to watch for cars.
Our animals decided they would all try going out in it. Even though, they disappeared in the drifts. We had to rescue the kitten about six times. Watching my son chase a six month kitten through the snow while I watched from the window in the kitchen was entertaining. It was less entertaining the four other times I had to chase after her, three times without a coat or shoes.
The Boy didn’t only sled. He also helped his dad dig out the car to get to work the next morning, considering the only thing visible of the car in the morning was the passenger side mirror. I have a feeling we will still be digging out over the weekend. I told the kids that this snow fall might have to count for our white Christmas, even though it came a week early.
We had a little bit of snow this past week, more snow than we have so far this winter. Little Miss and Zooma the Wonder Dog had a lot of fun trapesing through it.
We haven’t been out a ton lately so I didn’t have enough photos last week for a Photos of the Week post. This week I am combining two weeks worth of photos
Maybe I will have more in future weeks.
It was so cold and dreary here last week that we didn’t really leave the house much, which means I didn’t take a lot of photographs.
I took a few, though, and thought I would share them. Hopefully I’ll have more next week.
I decided to also add some photos I found in my Lightroom that I hadn’t edited yet. I guess you would call them some “lost gems” from the last six months. I also seem to have a black and white theme going on this week. Sometimes black and white helps me to focus on moments, as well as light and dark, more than other aspects of photography.
Also, from these photos it looks like I only have one child. I assure you that I have two, but one is 14. I think that’s all I need to say about that.
Photos from This Week
Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments.
The plan to walk among books, touching them, looking at them, choosing some to take home was thwarted Saturday by the memorial service of a sweet 90-year old man who had attended the church I grew up in. He and his tough-talking Bronx-born wife were both piano players who often performed together for local senior groups and others. I last saw them play together about a year ago at my husband’s great-aunt’s 90th birthday party.
It was delightful and mesmorizing to watch them perform, no music in front of them, playing by memory and for Ernie, the husband, by ear. Saying ‘good-bye’ to Ernie here on earth was more important than going to the local library’s fundraising book sale and I’ll have to wait for another time when I can walk among books again. (As we all know, that could be a very long time.)
The memorial service, combined with a week where I didn’t feel particularly motivated to write blog posts, kept me from drafting a Sunday Bookends post for yesterday.
It seemed like every time my mom would call the last couple of weeks, she would tell me someone had died. As soon as she would deliver the bad news, my husband would deliver more bad news with some tragedy or one night the death of a man who was a cornerstone of the community we lived in for 18 years. It’s gotten to the point I’m almost afraid to answer the phone because I figure it’s Mom telling me about someone else’s death.
Despite the depressing news, I was able to drag myself out of depression most days by working on The Farmer’s Daughter, reading a couple of different books, and watching and making fun of some really stupid Hallmark movies.
What I’m Reading
I finished Courtney Walsh’s Just Like Home. So, yeah. I finished it. I should stop there, but I’ll share a couple thoughts instead. First, Courtney is a really good writer, but second, I’ve never seen one romance book use every single romance book trope imaginable not only throughout the entire book, but especially in the last five chapters. Despite not enjoying the use of all those tropes and what felt like a very predictable, rushed ending, the book was a nice distraction from, well, life.
I have not yet finished Silas Marner — again, I should keep my mouth shut, but I won’t because I seriously am baffled how George Elliott is considered an amazing writer. Her run-on sentences make me have vivid flashbacks to the year I had to reach John Steinbeck in high school.
This week I continued reading Down Where My Love Lives, which includes two books (The Dead Don’t Dance and Maggie) by Charles Martin. I’m curious who published this collection because on Kindle the book cover reads The Dead Don’t Dance, but the index reads “The Death Don’t Dance.” It was the second typo I’d seen in a book published by a big name publisher in a week. Despite that odd typo, the book is very good, although slightly depressing and heavy at this point.
Here is a description of the first for those who might be interested:
A sleepy rural town in South Carolina. The end of summer and a baby about to be born. But in the midst of hope and celebration comes unexpected tragedy, and Dylan Styles must come to terms with how much he’s lost. Will the music of his heart be stilled forever—or will he choose to dance with life once more, in spite of sorrow and heartbreak?
The Dead Don’t Dance is a bittersweet yet triumphant love story—a tale of one man’s journey through the darkness of despair and into the light of hope.
Maggie, is the sequel to The Dead Don’t Dance, but I won’t add the description because it’s a major spoiler for the first book. These are Charles Martin’s first two books and he is now a multiple-time New York Times Bestselling author (which my husband says really doesn’t matter anymore considering how far down the NYT has fallen in the journalism world.).
I’m also reading a hardcover of Fannie Flagg’s The All Girl’s Filling Station’s Last Reunion that I reserved at the library, and am enjoying it so far. My mom warned me the book might be “dirty” because she said one she’d read by her before had had something “dirty” in it, but so far the book has had no dirt and only one swear word and I’m half way through it. I did find a typo in it, which made me feel better about my typos, considering this was edited was by a large publishing firm.
For those who might be interested, here is a description:
The one and only Fannie Flagg, beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven, and I Still Dream About You, is at her hilarious and superb best in this new comic mystery novel about two women who are forced to reimagine who they are.
Mrs. Sookie Poole of Point Clear, Alabama, has just married off the last of her daughters and is looking forward to relaxing and perhaps traveling with her husband, Earle. The only thing left to contend with is her mother, the formidable Lenore Simmons Krackenberry. Lenore may be a lot of fun for other people, but is, for the most part, an overbearing presence for her daughter. Then one day, quite by accident, Sookie discovers a secret about her mother’s past that knocks her for a loop and suddenly calls into question everything she ever thought she knew about herself, her family, and her future.
Sookie begins a search for answers that takes her to California, the Midwest, and back in time, to the 1940s, when an irrepressible woman named Fritzi takes on the job of running her family’s filling station. Soon truck drivers are changing their routes to fill up at the All-Girl Filling Station. Then, Fritzi sees an opportunity for an even more groundbreaking adventure. As Sookie learns about the adventures of the girls at the All-Girl Filling Station, she finds herself with new inspiration for her own life.
What I’ve Been Watching
Last week I watched The Outsider with Tim Daly and Naomi Watts. It’s classified as a Western/Romance by Google. Filmed in 2002, it was fairly clean but also pretty unbelievable in some parts. It’s a movie, though, so we’ll let those parts slide. Daly was — quite honestly — hot in this movie. It completely erased my memories of him on Wings and made me wonder why he didn’t do more acting in movies. After I saw some clips about it YouTube, I discovered Hallmark had edited the sex scene out on the Amazon app. Yes, I signed up for the Hallmark channel on Amazon for a month and I’m somewhat regretting it at his point. I regret it when I watch movies made from about 2010 on because they are so cheesy, predictable and horribly acted. Luckily The Outsider featured some strong acting and I was able to stomach it enough to not fast forward the majority of it.
My husband and I are continuing to watch Murdoch Mysteries and we were also thrilled they are adding episodes of Shakespeare and Hathaway’s third season on Britbox (another Amazon offer). There are two up and they are apparently adding a new one every Tuesday. Both of these shows are fairly clean, simple, formulaic mystery/crime shows. We’ve been finding these types of shows are about all our brains can handle with all the weirdness of the world going on around us.
What I’ve Been Writing
I finished making changes in Quarantined so that I can publish it on Kindle on October 20 and continued writing The Farmer’s Daughter, sharing another chapter on the blog this week. Thursday I answered a question if Quarantined was a horror book or a romance.
- Last week I also shared a piece of short fiction, The Sacrifice, and Randomly Thinking: The school papers are multiplying like rabbits and other random tidbits that spilled out of my head this week
So what have you been doing, reading, or watching? Let me know in the comments.
Photos of the Week:
I have less photos this week. I didn’t take as many. There is one in here of a chipmunk that was watching us from a hole in a tree in my parent’s yard while we played in the leaves Sunday. It cracked me up how he just sat there, acting like we couldn’t see him while he hid from our dog and watched us. He eventually escaped to hide under a storage shed.
Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to, and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in the comments
What I’ve Been Reading
I finished the Longmire book and I probably won’t read another one of those for a while, not because it wasn’t good, but because it was heavy. Heavy and dense and somewhat, no, a lot depressing. The writing is outstanding. Very detailed, very well done and I fell for the characters hard, but I fell too hard because it hurt too much to see Sheriff Longmire hurt. I won’t say I’ll never read one again but I am going to take a long break from those books, to cleanse my pallet, so to speak.
For lighter fare, I picked up The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenback by Bethany Turner again, forgetting I’d never finished it. I got distracted from it when I was reading a book to review for Christy Distler. I also have a Becky Wade book in the Kindle I need to read and a book by Chris Martin that has intrigued me. And for comfort reading, I have downloaded another “The Cat Who . . .” book.
What’s Been Occurring
WordPress is driving me nuts with this block thing. I have been using it for a while now but it doesn’t work well in the mobile version on my phone, which I usually only use when I want to fix an error in a post. When I got to make the change the app freezes and often kicks me out or I’ll type a sentence and it won’t show up in the block for several seconds or even minutes so it looks like I didn’t type anything. Now, on the laptop version the entire screen is filled with my post instead of a small part like it was before which is distracting for me because I feel like I’m typing on a never-ending page. I just wish they would stop making changes and leave things the way they were. It’s extremely annoying and making me consider jumping to another platform. The one reason I don’t is that I have met more people on WordPress through the reader than I have on any other platform. I’m not willing to give up that community feel, which is the main reason I blog in the first place.
As I’m writing this post I am trying to italicize, bold, or link, and the pop-up thing that is supposed to do that isn’t showing up when I highlight. I also can’t use Grammarly with the new blocks and that means I have a lot more typos and missing commas (more about my comma problems below). You know what, WordPress, sometimes it is better just to keep things the way they are. For now, they are letting us switch to the old editor but I believe I read that is going to be fazed out soon.
We started homeschooling this week by easing into it. My son and I are both getting used to his new curriculum, which includes a Literature curriculum that could double as his history curriculum and his history curriculum, which could be used for writing and English and Bible all at the same time. We didn’t start Science yet and he’s only reviewing Math at this point. We will be doing some grammar this year but I prefer he learn grammar while he works on his writing instead of lessons on nominative nouns, whatever that is. Honestly, I don’t remember ever getting this detailed with grammar when I was in school and definitely not in eighth grade so we will save that for ninth and tenth. I guess I don’t get the whole idea of teaching all these terms for different parts of speech. When I write I don’t sit and ask myself if I used the right possessive noun (which I had never heard of before now) or prepositional phrase. I just write.
One thing I really need to work on is commas so I can see the purpose of learning where to put a comma. Other than that, I feel like some aspects of grammar are taught in school so students can show college professors they know it but in the real world, it really isn’t going to matter that much. Right now some grammar Nazi is ripping apart every word I’ve written and thinking, “Yeah, well, you definitely need some grammar lessons so I hope your kid gets some.”
Grammar Nazis drive me nuts because they focus so much on grammar, spelling, and punctuation they completely dismiss a person’s intent and who a person really is. I know a person like this and she judges people based on their grammar. Good at grammar? You’re worth her time. Awful at it? You are beneath her. It’s a shame because she’s missing out on some really awesome people with that snobby attitude.
What do you mean I overthink? No, I don’t. Do I?
What I’m Watching
We started watching Kobra Kai (the Karate Kid spin-off show that was first on YouTube and now on Netflix) as a family since I had watched it when I first came out, but apparently, I blocked out part of it because we stumbled into some really inappropriate material for even the almost 14-year old. We are going to decide if we will watch the rest of it together or not. Probably not. My husband and I will watch it alone because it is well done but *prude alert* some of the sex references really aren’t necessary in my
I watched the movie Finding Your Feet by myself because no one in my family would have liked this movie about an older, high-society British woman who finds out her husband has been having an affair and moves in with her poorer, less refined sister while she tries to get her feet back under her. The less-refined sister (Bif) reminded me of my former neighbor, but in a good way because she was a lot more fun than her uptight sister (Sandra). In Sandra’s defense, she was thrown for quite a loop when her husband of 40 some years was caught in a 5-year affair with her best friend. My
favorite quote from the movie: “You know, it’s one thing to be afraid of dying, Sandra, but it’s another thing to be afraid of living.” Good advice for many of us these days, I’d say.
What I’m Writing
On the blog this week I shared:
Photos of the Week