Thursday, December 24, 2015


Christmas Eve. It's sunny here today and warm. The river is up a bit from last night's heavy rains—the first rise in at least a couple of months. The ground is saturated, the brown leaves a soggy carpet. Nothing like the snowy scene above.

As a district manager, Myladylove had to go in for a half-day's work. After all, those desperate folks out doing last-minute gift and grocery shopping must be able to get into their bank and withdraw extra cash. She'll be home sometime after noon.

There are non-stop carols and Christmas classics on the stereo. I've been wrapping a couple of items and am getting ready to assemble a tricycle for Granddaughter Anya. She's 18 months old so this will be her first Christmas that she's big enough to enjoy—and of course I'm doing the grandpa thing and giving her a proper sackful! 

After trike assembly I'm making a quick run to the nearby grocery for two or three items. Then late this afternoon we'll head over to join the daughter, son-in-law, and Anya for a Christmas Eve service at their church—with a chicken-and-dumplin's supper back at their house to follow.

In spite of all this, I'm having a hard time mustering up any real Christmas spirit and don't know why. It isn't the mild weather. And not for lack of anything that I can discern. There's an abundance of gifts to go around. Great meals ahead. Family and friends to share everything. Everyone's health is good. I have love and loved ones. Nothing is amiss.

By any standards we're mightily blessed. I'm mightily blessed! Rich in life, and I don't mean monetarily. But I have all I need and more—way more. And I have nothing to complain about, and really, no complaints.

Yet…the usual seasonal excitement is missing. Which probably says something about me, about my lack of, well, whatever. God knows I'm grateful for all I have. I adore Christmas, for what it is and what it represents—a season of hope and joy and celebration of that long-ago birth which forms the basis of my faith. And I don't want to be this way, feel so uncharacteristically empty. Not depressed, just, um, flat, a bah-humbug sorta nagging, niggling mood.

Guess I need another cup or two—or six—of Christmas cheer!

Peace, joy, and blessings! Merry Christmas from Riverdaze!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Believe it or not, I took this forsythia shot with my iPhone a few days ago. Our weather has been mild so far, though not unseasonably so for this time of a year. Yet apparently it's warm enough to fool several of my hillside forsythias into thinking spring has arrived already—and therefore high time to put forth a few bright and cheery blooms!   

Things are getting pretty frantic around here. I'm still cutting wood, or trying to, when weather and time permits. But I've pretty much given up on doing anything more re. a number of unfinished details on the kitchen remodel for the next couple of months. 

This is due not merely to the holidays, but the fact I have to go in for eye surgery in January and will be out of commission, sightwise, pretty much through February. Which means I have to get two months's worth of columns written and stockpiled before New Year's Day…and with Christmas and all, that's going to be really tough. I still have almost none of my shopping done. Plus Myladylove's birthday, and our anniversary, are both this coming Saturday.

I could really use an extra three months!

Yup, frantic is the word…    

Saturday, December 5, 2015


A foggy morning here along the river—as several mornings this past week have been. Some arrived with fog so dense and thick I could see neither the trees on the island across from the cottage, nor even the riffle a few yards upstream from the bottom of the front deck's steps.

I'm now in woodcutting rather than remodeling mode—a fear of freezing during the coming winter being the deciding factor. By my best calculations, we currently have only enough wood cut and split to get us into early-January. At least two additional cords are needed, and I'd feel better knowing I had three or four at the ready. Luckily I probably have that much in ash logs on the ground, just needing to be sawed into firewood lengths and split to manageable size. That's what I'll be doing for much of today…and tomorrow…and however many days beyond that it takes to work up the logs and stockpile the reserves we need. 

For those of you wondering about the seemingly forever-ongoing kitchen redo, I'm happy to report I got the all the cabinets in, the sink plumbed, and the water turned on the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving…so we made it with more than 24 hours to spare before starting to cook the big feast. No more bathtub dishwashing! While there's still a number of things to install and do before the kitchen can be pronounced finished, it's now useable—and with any luck, most of the lacking details will be taken care of by Christmas.