Thursday, 28 April 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 28, 2016

Spring has Sprung?

Well sort of - she's really having trouble getting a foothold isn't she? There have been a couple of stellar days, days that have warmed our hearts and fertilised our garden dreams, followed by many more days of chill and frost and ice pellets. But fear not my friends, a sure sign of warmth and contentment, real heat and blazing light rumbled onto our street this morning and right up our driveway:

Yes indeed, the annual truckload of next winter's firewood arrived this morning, all 5+ tons of it. With air brakes sighing, the familiar white truck rolled in from the highway, right on time.

John, from John's Firewood has the routine down pat. In one fluid movement he backs his rig in from the road, lines it up with the woodshed, then tips the bucket.

With a mighty roar 3 bush cords of split hardwood tumble out. He pulls the rig forward, gives the bucket a good thump or three to shake any last bits out and pulls back onto the driveway.

Here's the video: Firewood Delivery 2016 

Job Done in under three minutes!

All that remains to be done is 20+ hours of stacking 384 cubic feet of firewood. Easy peasy - especially when compared to what my love and I used to do back in our "pioneer" days.

with the first of furry four-pawed children

Thirty years ago, in the land before children, full length logs were dumped in front of the woodshed. We cut, split and stacked. There was even one summer (and only ONE!) when we helped clear a government woodlot. We felled the trees and hauled them out to the tractor, which then delivered them to be cut, split and stacked.

Ahh, those were the days ... then again, maybe these are the days...

Well I've got just twelve days to get stacking done before surgery will sideline me from any heavy lifting for at least six weeks. I really don't want to be spending my recuperative time looking out the window watching my love do the job alone, a job we've always done together. Besides, I do love making order out of chaos, so I'd best get out there.

The frost is out of the ground and the birds are singing.
Spring - the 2016 version -  has sprung!

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 21, 2016

Spring Thaw 2016 - An Escape to Write

It's a busy day - a good, busy day for me. I'm getting my stuff together to head off on a writing retreat. A weekend of open space, as structured or unstructured as I need; in the company of other writers or on my own, maybe even in my jammies; no meals to plan, prepare or clean up after; and all under the "care-full" wings of two very capable writers, Ruth Walker and Gwynn Scheltema.

from Spring Thaw 2012

I have a somewhat muted optimism about this escape to write. In past years I've taken full advantage of the "Extend Your Pen" option and luxuriated in five days of good company, good food and some really good writing. Due to hospital appointments, I've had to cut it down to just the weekend. Added to that, another infection has insinuated itself upon me.

BUT,  I'm going on this retreat! 
Have antibiotics - will travel!

The Clydesdales of Elmhirst's Resort

What do I want from this escape? I want to hang out with some great people, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers and soothing embrace of a lakeside cottage. The tedious cycle of urinary tract and kidney infections that have plagued me for too many months, has turned me into a recluse of sorts - too afraid of bladder or brain (thinking is somewhat fogged mid-infection) accidents to venture out. And YES, I want to write, to feel the joyful glide of fountain pen on crisp white paper.

It would be utterly glorious to come out pens blazing and papers filling but also perhaps a tad unreasonable, though not impossible...

SO I am going on this retreat!

Catch up with you all, later.

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 18 April 2016

Monday Moanings - April 18, 2016

Oh What a Beautiful Morning

On a morning such as this, when the world news is filled with stories and pictures of the terror of earthquakes - loss and fear carved deeply into hearts and faces, and heard in cries of anguish - on a morning such as this when I arise to sunshine, safety and love following a weekend resplendent in Spring's best attributes, any lament I may have, any complaint, affliction or gripe, seems utterly unworthy of words.

Amidst my embarrassment of riches this day, I celebrate a new day, a new week in humble gratitude. I am so very lucky and privileged to be able to sing with joy, Oh what a beautiful morning!

Just look at all those buds...

And the rhubarb? Well it has doubled in height since Thursday!

I would be seriously remiss if I did not acknowledge Spring's whole-hearted response to my letter. Thank you dear Lady of Radiant Joy. It matters not how you got your act in gear, whether it was good therapy, better meds or a kick in the backside. It matters only that you are now here and we are thrilled by your presence.

And so help me Hannah, if I hear one person complaining about the heat (23°C) - well just don't!

Have a great week everybody. Make it sing.

©2016 April Hoeller

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 14, 2016

Brain Fog

I began the morning by gleefully sending off several emails. Each one included "Happy Friday" wishes. It was almost noon before I 'caught' my error. Brain fog strikes again!

Perhaps it was just wishful thinking? Well maybe, but I'm retired so one day is just as good as another. No, it's brain fog and its clouds have descended far too often of late. I'm told I can legitimately blame it on my current health issues (I wrote a bit about that earlier) which in addition to fouling up the kidney filtration system, messes with thinking skills.

Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Surgery is May 10 and it can't come soon enough. In the mean time and particularly on this Thursday, when I truly am more "Thereabouts" than usual, I'll leave you pictures of a few places I have been on this day in other years.

April 14, 2011 - Cochin India; cruising the backwaters of  Kerala
April 14, 2012 - Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York
April 15, 2013 with Sophie in the York Regional Forest Hollidge Tract
April 14, 2014 aboard Celebrity Millenium cruising from Hong Kong to Keelung, Taiwan
April 15, 2015: cruising the garden, checking out the rhubarb.

TGIF? Well almost.
Either way you slice it, a lovely warm weekend sits on the doorstep - see you out there.

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 11 April 2016

Monday Moanings - April 11, 2016

A Letter to Spring

My dear Lady of Radiant Joy,

I do so love your annual visits - your soft fingers of brightness empower my post-winter days, stirring me to new hopes, new dreams, coaxing new life out of my hibernating soul. Your fresh greens and blossoms full of promise are the delight of my days.

And oh how I thrill to the solar system's announcement of your opening day - this year in particular, no doubt due to Winter's less than stellar sojourn in the land. BUT it has now been over three weeks since the Sun's proclamation and you have yet to grace my doorstep.

There is much grumbling in the realm, my dear. People are rather upset about your absence, so much so that some have filed "Missing Person" reports, while others have declared an "Error 404" condition (file or directory not found). There have also been a few notices of termination issued, pink slips with your name on them and the words, "You're FIRED!"

Can you blame them? Just look at this morning's offering:

I prefer a more conciliatory approach to address this issue with you, a kinder, gentler therapy. I understand how hard it is to face down a blustering winter windbag. I understand your reluctance to stand your ground against a bully who has overstayed his seasonal booking. So I forgive your meandering March missteps. I forgive your awkward April absence.

Now, how can I help you overcome the obstacles in your way? May I suggest some assertiveness exercises, along with a twelve step confidence building and self-esteem enhancement program?

All of which will be fast-tracked, I assure you.
Together we can do this.

Come along now dear.
Take my hand and let's get this done.
It's time.

Hugs & kisses

P.S. --

(just in case all you need is a swift kick)

©2016 April Hoeller

Monday, 4 April 2016

Monday Moanings - April 4, 2016

On this day in 1953

It was Saturday of the Easter Weekend. According the weather archive, in the wee hours it was 5°C, and cloudy with a few showers, but by 7am the skies had cleared. By noon the temperture neared a very pleasant 12°C.  Not quite what I'm seeing outside my window today!

Nor on my computer screen...

But the Google Doodle® on my homepage got it right!

So here's where you will find me today - not on the deck in warm sunshine, not moaning, but settled in the over 60 niche.

Do I wish I was twenty years younger, still with more years ahead than behind?

Of course I do, but so what?
I'm here today and life is good.

©2016 April Hoeller

Friday, 1 April 2016

Thursday, or Thereabouts - April 1, 2016

April Fools!

I loathed this day when I was a child. There was no fun in having my name, April, associated with 'fool'. No matter how hard I tried, how brave a face I began the day with, I always ended up feeling every bit a despicable fool.

Every year in primary school, the day brought me only tears which then evoked more teasing - "Cry baby!"

The only escape from this annual day of dread came when April 1st fell on the weekend, and those even less frequent years when the date was eclipsed by Good Friday or Easter Monday. I survived of course. I'm happy to report that except for the briefest of stings in my depths, gone is the great anxiety that used to accompany the day. Now when April Fools' Day comes around, a smile creases my face and I owe that to my sister Cathy.

I was 11 on April Fools' Day 1965 and though the teasing of the early school years had ceased, the day still filled me with apprehension. But for my little sister it was a fabulous day of laughter and fun.

At the supper table that night the chirpy five year old regaled the family with jokes half-remembered from her kindergarten class. Grinning from ear to ear, eager anticipation bouncing through her body, she asked, "When is Cathy Fools' Day?"

There was silence for a moment before snorts of derision erupted around the table. Her little face went blank then a giggle emerged, but only because we were laughing.

I recall Mom was the exception to the laughter.  A smile creased her face but it was quickly covered by a paper napkin into which she coughed. Composure regained, she put her hand on Cathy's, "You know dear, April Fool's Day is not about your sister at all."

All the gentleness and sincerity was lost on Cathy. How could it not be about her sister April? No amount of explanation satisfied the little one. And so it came to pass that the First Monday in May 1965 was proclaimed "Cathy Fools' Day" by Mom's authority. Cathy skipped off to school that day full of tricks, homemade jokes - as only a five year old can make them - and a note from Mom explaining the holiday.

Giggles trump tears.

                      Happy memories soothe bruises.

Love conquers all.

Oh and it really is Friday
       - a good day to check on my spaghetti trees...

©2016 April Hoeller