Lord Love a Duck

IMG_1500.JPG (2)Yes, this is a picture of a big ass chocolate bar.  It was the most exciting thing that happened to me yesterday.  I had adjusted and dispensed glasses to a little old lady (she was way older than me, by at least 10 years) and as she got up to leave she asked me if I liked chocolate.  I said yes.  Dark chocolate?  Yes.  She whipped this monstrous thing out of her bag and told me to enjoy it with the rest of the girls who helped her pick out her glasses and to have a nice day.  Just being called a ‘girl’ would have been enough to make the day nice.

But look at that thing.  It is for sure my kind of gratuity.  Normally we get nothing (which is what we expect even though we’re awesome) and sometimes we get coffee or a handful of change to put in our coffee fund.  This is the equivalent amount of chocolate found in about a dozen normal size bars.  I ate four squares of it and felt sick.

As interesting as all this is, hang on, because I’ve got something even better.

In my backyard this morning in the rain I spied a creature.  That’s about as specific as I could be without my glasses.  It looked like a bird, maybe a young Canada Goose.

008I really need to clean this window before I take any more pictures through it.  This is the last of our dirty snow pile still refusing to give up.  And with glasses on and the zoom on my phone, look at this!

005It’s a mallard duck with his very-hard-to-see mate just behind him.  Both of them mucking about in the rain, like this is the wetlands or something.  I was going to wake W up so he could get all excited about my remarkable avian identification skills involving a bird that wasn’t a blue jay or a cardinal, but then I remembered he used to be a migratory birds expert and seeing a duck might not be the highlight of his morning.  I imagined him being grumpy and unimpressed, or worse, spewing out a hundred duck related facts off the top of his head.  I let him sleep.

The ducks may have been attracted to all the spilled birdseed under our tree, or the gigantic puddle in our neighbor’s backyard caused from all the run off of the melting snow.  He’s been pumping it periodically to keep it from turning into a big mud hole, and now all the rain makes it look like he hasn’t done a thing.  I watched the ducks putter around for a bit, and then they waddled under the fence to the other side to play in the water.  It was such a simple thing, and yet so odd and unexpected that it felt amazing.  What an excellent way to start the day.

Just when you think it’s all about chocolate, life gives you ducks.

Knocked Over By A Feather

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This badge may call itself silly but it’s something I am now very proudly displaying on my sidebar.  Because silly rules.  After my best stretch of procrastination ever I finally put together a silly picture collage for Merry at KNOCKED OVER BY A FEATHER so that I could be FEATURED there.  OMG, I have never been featured anywhere, so this is a really big deal.

It was a labor of love, because if you know Merry, you love her too.  If you don’t know her, poor you.  Time to find out what you’ve been missing.

Tell Me Something

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Once I believed life was all uphill.

Every day made for gaining ground,

Chasing dreams,

Pressing on to reach the top.

Can you imagine that?

The battle nearly killed me.

What’s so different there?

It looks a lot like here, to me.

 “Tell me something, old friend: why are you fighting?”

 

The Last Minute

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Easter weekend is winding down and so am I.

I’m happy to report that things improved greatly since I posted that Good Friday picture from the freezing depths of wintry hell.  Yesterday and today were both warm enough to sit outside in the afternoon sun.  We still have the remains of our snow mountain in the backyard because W likes to blow all the driveway snow into the same place and it gets hard packed and icy and stubborn about disappearing.

My annual battle with Turbo Tax has been fought and won at last, taking up the better part of Saturday.  What a strange expression.  As if answering all those questions was the best part of my day.   Every year I vow to get that job out of the way early and every year I don’t.  Although I guess you could call this sort of early since we were given an extension to the 5th of May, and look at me, all done almost two weeks ahead of the deadline.

Our Easter Sunday dinner this year was beautiful in its simplicity.  I made my famous roasted chicken breasts covered in BBQ sauce and crispy bacon strips and melted cheese with roasted potatoes and carrots on the side.  We really need to think up a shorter name for that.  But the best part was my daughters quinoa salad.

Its kind of amazing how I’ve lived this long and heard so much about quinoa and until yesterday had never actually eaten it.  So I’m certainly no expert when it comes to quinoa recipes, but I think hers is an excellent one.  Cooked and cooled quinoa mixed with red, yellow and green peppers, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, feta cheese, red onion if you have it (we didn’t) and tossed in an olive oil and vinegar dressing.   Season to taste.  I believe some epicure spices made their way into the vinaigrette.  Add anything else your little wine drenched brain comes up with.  I think I’ve named everything that was in this particular batch.  It was delicious.

Today I picked up my Euros from the bank, wandered around in a drug store for a bit and then went to Staples for printer ink and paper.  And suddenly the day is gone.  Why don’t days at work go winging by like this one?

Anyway, if that was Easter, we’ve had it.  I love my daughter, and her daughter, and all daughters everywhere.  Sons too, even when they’re far away with their own sons and daughters.  I could have just said family for all that,  but my head is still in tax mode spewing out endless details that may or may not be relevant in the grand scheme of things.

If you celebrate Easter, I hope it was awesome.  If you don’t, I hope you had a delightfully springlike weekend wherever you are.

Now I’m going to curl up on my couch with a good book and use up the last minutes of my Monday putting off all the things that I’ve decided I can leave until some other distant future productive last minute.   Because really, life is full of them.

This Is My Backyard on Good Friday

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This is a direct W quote – “Lord Thunderin’ Jesus”.  As for me, I have uttered a couple of phrases beginning with the word “Holy…”   It is a religious holiday after all.

Not even going to wonder how long this snow will continue to fall.  The good news is – we can see the Easter Bunny’s tracks!  Really!  They look suspiciously like the footprints of a jack-rabbit!  Sneaky bunny.

Happy Winterspring.  Hope you all have a thunderin’ awesome day.

Leaving

boarding the train

 

Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.  There was nothing green yet anywhere I looked, and the air stayed cold until well past mid day.  Sometimes the sun would break through the grey mist with a half-hearted attempt at cheering up the sad and dismal countryside , but all that brown was discouraging,  and day after day it seemed to simply give up without a fight.

No, come back!  I wanted to shout at it.  Try harder.  Winter is an asshole, you can make it go away.  But the sun doesn’t listen to anyone.

Those last few bleak days I spent hesitantly preparing to leave, because I was reluctant too.  Remiss to walk away from a life that had become impossible, but which remained, in spite of everything, still strangely comforting in its familiarity.   Afraid, wary, hanging back,  I kept searching for one good reason not to go.  There were reasons, but in the end,  none of them were good enough.

A shrill whistle sounded in the distance and the tracks grumbled and shook as a numbing north wind whipped stray locks of hair across my face and into my eyes, some of the long strands sticking to the tears that kept stubbornly falling no matter how many times I brushed them away.  My ticket to freedom was crushed and broken in one clenched fist.   The other one dragged my heavy bag across the platform.   And then I boarded the southbound train.  With all my might and resolve I resisted the backward pull and in my head I wiped the slate clean.

I felt as stubborn as the sun.  Strong and steady and enduring.   Soon I’d be ready to shine again.

The Speakeasy at Yeah Write # 157 - include the following sentence as the FIRST line in your submission: “Winter seemed reluctant to release its hold.”