Thoughtful Thursday – Good Enough Days

photo from pixabay

How are you on this cool autumn morning? Are you gazing at your perfectly pegged fresh laundered linens wafting in the gentle breeze while putting the final touches on that handmade card for next month’s birthdays? Will you be settling down to a breakfast table, prettily laid for one and savor a slice of homemade quiche with a dollop of Summer tomato chutney, followed by a perfectly frothed cappuccino? Yeah, me neither.

For while I have known those perfect days, and I will know them again, today is not that day. Today is a drinking bagged black tea brewed in a giant Halloween mug while scarfing down a bowl of raisin bran day. And that’s OK. Today is a low-spoons day, when I do the bare minimum to see us through the week ahead. To make sure we have clean clothes to wear, enough food to feed us and a kitchen floor clean enough to keep my sweet Mommy from rolling over in her grave, or smacking me upside the head in the dream world. Today is not the day I will be making performance art out of brewing coffee or turning my mantle into something worthy of artistic enshrinement.

While I want to live that perfectly decorated, elegantly cottage, shabby chic life twenty-four seven, it’s not something I’m striving for today. All of the frilly, yummy nonsense of cottage living can wait for another day and I can let everything be enough. Today, I’ll take care of myself. I shall relax and let the warm sun shine through my streaky windows while I enjoy a cup of instant coffee and a pumpkin biscuit, just because. Because my body and soul need a little nurturing today and the laundry will still be there tomorrow.

Dust if you Must – by Rose Milligan

Dust if you must, but wouldn’t it be better
To paint a picture, or write a letter,
Bake a cake, or plant a seed;
Ponder the difference between want and need?

Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead.

Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
With the sun in your eyes, and the wind in your hair;
A flutter of snow, a shower of rain,
This day will not come around again.

Dust if you must, but bear in mind,
Old age will come and it’s not kind.
And when you go (and go you must)
You, yourself, will make more dust.

Til next time ~stay trippy hippies ~JP

Thoughtful Thursday – May Activities

from my polyvore collection

I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself an so there’s a flurry of activity here at Castle Serenity. I have finally admitted that after 2:30 pm I might just as well pack it in and do crafts or something else not strenuous as the afternoon fatigue bogey zaps me. I had this idea to get myself a surprise box subscription. One of my grandpuppies gets a bark box, the daughter gets a human bark box from FabFitFun and it seemed like a really cool idea. BUT, the thing is I’m not at all sure I’m willing to spend $20 – $75 per month on “stuff” no matter how cool the “stuff” is. I mean, really, I have enough “stuff” more than enough truth be told. So, I have began curating my own activities box where I pick a theme and toss stuff in from my craft stash, my “I’m gonna use this someday” stash and other various “stuff” that I want/need to use up. My challenge is to find something to do with all the items in the box by the end of the month. A peek at May’s activity box:

May color focus – Turquoise/Teal thanks to Terri’s Sunday Stills color challenge for this inspiration.

Floral rubber stamp
coloring pages, flowers and swirls
dream box from mint tin craft, lots of stickers and “Legend of the Dreambox” card
Self love card
“I am Beautiful” sigil card
Mountable photo print
misc. small scrapbook papers
lots of ephemera for journaling
culinary – dried thyme
breathwork exercise card
hair product samples
May treat – Candied Hibiscus Flowers
MP3 album Llewellyn – Moon Spells, several other MP3 songs courtesy of my local library via Freegal
E-books – The Vintage Housekeeper’s Circle by Alison May — from my Kindle Collection

So those are the goodies I’m working with this month. I’ll be working on my reading list, playlist, menu plans, outings and nature based activities soon. So what are your big plans for May? Do you post regular monthly activities? If so leave me a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check them out.

Til next time ~May your spoons be plentiful ~JP

Tuesday Tangents – I Need Winter

“The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.”
~Lewis Carroll

My lake is frozen solid today. One tiny portion thawed for a time this afternoon then promptly glazed back over. It is smooth with crystalline textures. Leaves lie in stasis, captured in the glassy layer like silk garlands. It is frigid and beautiful and perfect. A reminder of all that Winter holds, the warmth of a cup of tea in my hands as I gaze out my window at the sun reflecting on the ice. Winter is a time for rest and reflection. A time to come to grips with all the changes we’ve been through this past three years. Oh yes, I need this Winter.

Feelings shift like oceans
beneath the frozen ice
glaciers of emotions
pain too long denied
struggle against the cold
mind closed against the truth
pressures build, exploding in
a single tear of crystal blue

OK enough tangent talk for now, I’m going to “google” how best to prepare monkfish.

Til next time ~Cold never bothered me anyway ~JP

Monday Mundanities – Home

“She was an adventurer at heart; but oh how she loved drinking this tea, from this mug, in this chair. Oh how she loved to be home.” ~Unknown

Misty fog on the lake today. Ethereal whisps, chirpping birds as I open the windows and let the fresh air and moisture cleanse my home and my spirit. A few score starlings alight on the tree outside my window, picking winter berries. I see clearly for the first time their backs and wings spotted in patterns of black, brown and white. Nature’s artistry camoflaging their small bodies. Something startles them and they are suddenly in flight joining hundreds of others in a small murmuration. A thousand dark shapes dance across the misty air. Intricate choreography on wings. The sun has lightened the world but I can not see the sky for the low clouds, just the reflections on the still water disturbed only by the leisurely paddling of ducks.

All those days hiding in the shadows
all those years living in the past
all that time never understanding
what was meant to last

Now I’m here on a misty morning
standing here I am not alone
by your side at last I know
I’ve finally come home

Til next time ~Stay trippy hippies ~JP

The Story Begins

Deep in the heart of Bluegrass Suburbia, in a little house alongside a tiny lake, there lived a Witch and a Knight of the Old Code…

For the first time in a long time, maybe in my entire life, I have neighbors who introduced themselves, whose names I know, with whom I have had dinner. I’ve become almost … sociable (YIKES where did THAT come from). I have room for sacred space, I have windows with views, a fireplace mantle, I have a BATHTUB! We’ve been here a few weeks and I find I’m more at peace with the world and with myself.

There are no Christmas stockings to hang and I’ve done what little holiday decorating I do. A tiny poinsettia, a little lemon cyprus with a gnome. It’s simple, small, and me. This weekend we make our first trip to the northern part of the state to visit with family. Multiple holiday meals await, long drives, lots of laughter and love. I find that once again, I am feeling the joy of Christmas. Solstice has passed, the days grow longer each day now and my life is filled with more light. I begin, slowly, to lose the fears of the past and find the joy of today. Merry Christmas my friends.

Ghost of Christmas Past

On a dark and chilly winter’s night
when sleep had come at last
I had a dream of memories
the ghost of Christmas past

She placed her spectral hand in mine
and bade me come along
for I had naught to fear she said
from ancient memories and song

I heard the choir singing
their songs of love and light
I heard Christmas bell a’ringing,
over a landscape frosted white

“This isn’t how it was” I said
“This is not my memory”
“No, this is what you dreamed of”
the spirit said to me

“For memories are often dreams
wished for in our darkest hours
We tint them rose and decorate
with fragile tissue-paper flowers.”

“Remember darling girl,” she said,
“there are few answers in the past
so celebrate the dawning day
and treasure it while it lasts.”

When I woke, I found more happiness
than I had known in recent hours
A new day stood before me, tinted rose
and hung with tissue-paper flowers

Till next time ~Peace ~JP

Witchy Wonderings — Holidays and Covid Boosters


Welcome back to the mishmash life of a couple of Spoonies navigating retirement in Bluegrass Suburbia. It’s been a month since we made the “big move” from a South Dakota RV park to a Townhouse in Central Kentucky. Our relatives say things like “well, you had a good long run.” Hey! We’re not DEAD, just retired and homeowners *insert shudder*. I admit it was the end of an era but the next chapter is just beginning.

We’re still dealing with a bit of culture shock. There are STORES and RESTAURANTS and ENTERTAINMENT, oh my. We ate lunch out every day last week. Yikes! And enjoyed every one of them. Double YIKES! OK, OK, my waistline can’t handle much more of this. Time to back off the pizza and apple pie!

I got my COVID booster shot yesterday. Once I actually got it scheduled it all went pretty smoothly. I got both booster and flu at the same time, no cost for either. I was in and out in about 30 minutes (most of which was spent filling out paperwork). My arm is pretty sore and I am slightly fatigued but over all I’m doing OK with it. My KOC (Knight of the Old Code) gets his on Monday. We decided to get them before we head up to the northern part of the state for Christmas holidays with kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. We’ll be spending 3 days 2 nights in order to get ’round to visit the families. I am looking forward to spending a holiday with the kids for the first time in 15 years. But oh my I am exhausted just thinking about it.

With the winter holiday season in full swing, many Spoonies, myself included, suffer from lack. Lack of sunlight, lack of energy, lack of funds, lack of joy. It’s easy to get caught up in all that we can no longer do. To look at the neighbor’s perfectly decorated tree shining through a picture window and feel something less than happy. It’s been hard this year. I’m in serious spoon deficit (exhaustion) from weeks of over-extending myself with the move. I’m easily overwhelmed by the glitz and hubbub that surrounds the season. But, with a few meltdowns, and several reminders that happiness is a choice, I’m content with my evergreen swag on the entryway, my wee lemon cedar “tree,” a tiny poinsettia and cards from prior years strung as a garland. It is enough.

As I prepare to celebrate Yule, the coming of the light, the return of the sun, I remember the words of that Zen Master of Magic – Albus Dumbledore “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

The sky wears a shroud
as the Sun hides his face
beneath a cloak of grey
Where is the blue
to brighten my day
A squirrel runs along a branch
outside my kitchen window
I watch as he scurries,
his long tail twitching
and quivvering with excitement
and I smile, I laugh
today I choose happiness

Til next time ~Choose to be happy ~JP

Magical Mundanities and Spoonie Retirement Episode 5 — And then the storm came

the yard two hours after the storm

And then the storm came …

It’s been a crazy summer. Summer arrived early and with tsunami-like intensity. The temperature rose, the heat became unbearable and stayed that way. We traveled to Oregon for a brief respite but were soon run off by fires, smoke and declining air quality. We diverted to Utah only to run into more air quality problems and a bad wheel bearing. We started slowly making our way home when we contracted some sort of flu. We arrived “home” travel worn and haggard, to discover that through a snafu our RV was not in it’s assigned spot (where we planned to stay the winter). Once that was straightened out, we unpacked, settled in … and then the storm came.

part of a hailstone a couple hours after the storm

It came like a round of mortar fire, as scores of fist sized hailstones accompanied by thousands of smaller stones, pummeled our home. We’re OK. Car is totaled, we’re waiting on the adjuster to determine if the damage to the roof of the RV is repairable. Funny how your world can change in 15 minutes. For 15 years we’ve been full-time RVers. We’ve been through two floods, two fires, three “catastrophic” hail storms. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

living room floor, yes those are hailstones

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re very thankful that we’re all OK, nobody was injured. Glass repair will be out to replace the windshield on Friday, the RV repair guys will be out later today to patch the roof enough to keep rain from falling straight into the living room ;-), I got groceries delivered and everything will be alright, eventually.

Til next time, stay safe ~JP

Spoonie Retirement and Magical Mundanities Episode 4 — Beauty and the Bootleg Fire

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where a couple of retired Spoonies seek to find the magic in a mundane world.

We continued our stay in Oregon alongside the Willamette River. I did my daily yoga practice outside our Bungalow shortly after sunrise, while the air was still cool and dew-covered grass tickled my toes. Breakfast of oats with yogurt and fruit, followed by a walk along the river. I became enchanted by the antics of some garden snails and spent probably more time than I should have perched on the front step, tea in hand, watching their escapades.

This guy got his shell stuck for a few minutes but eventually wiggled his way down between the boards to cooler, shaded ground.

We took a trip out to the fish hatchery to watch the fingerling salmon practice fall jumping against the flow of the aerators. I find it so amazing that even at this tiny size (the fingerlings are less than two inches long at this point) they have that instinct to leap against the flow. Even though they are certainly not in a natural environment, natural instincts are definitely at play and I delight in their antics. Much of the rest of the hatchery is still closed to the public but all in all it was an entertaining afternoon.

Fingerling Salmon practicing

In the afternoons, after the sun slid west enough to cast shade from the privacy fence, I went back outside to lay in the shade on a beach towel and listen to some vlogs I follow. While there I watched the progress of a “bleeding tooth” mushroom. So named for it’s white cap dotted with red spots. It reminds me of something Alice might have found in wonderland. Although not toxic, the mushroom is too bitter to be considered edible and, so far as I can tell, has no medicinal value. It was interesting to watch the red dots slowly grow and dissolve the entire cap in a matter of days.

Bleeding tooth mushrooms are beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful.

Impending smoke mixed with low cloud cover leads to declining air quality.

Alas, our relaxing three week idle was not to be. Lightning strikes ignited several more forest fires in the area and between the Bootleg and local minor fires, air quality began to plummet. Once it reached 150, we packed up and resumed our travels, rerouting as best we could. The Bootleg fire alone has already consumed over 413,000 acres of forest. It breaks my tree-hugging heart and I fear for the animals and birds. I fear for us all. It seems the entire western half of the US is on fire right now. Ah but that is a story for another time. Right now, there are still tiny moments of magic and beauty to be found along the way.

Give a listen to the Cottage Fairy, a fellow Oregonian, who relays the terror and hope of our current situation.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 — Spoonie Travel in a Pandemic World

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.

After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.

Butterfly on a purple coneflower bids me farewell in South Dakota

We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.

Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).

Independence Rock — along the Oregon Trail — Alcova, WY

We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.

The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.

Penny Wall, Mountain Home, Idaho

Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.

Hand Mural – Penny Alley — Mountain Home, Idaho

For now, if we were having coffee at the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d tell you that our travels have been full of tiny steps and beautiful moments, and some fairly huge stumbling blocks as well. I’d remind you that you have but to open your eyes to see the beauty around you, and “those who do not believe in magic will never find it.”

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP