peripheral perceptions

a look at life from the corners of my mind

tanner-Nov 2014


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Snow? NOOOO!!!

tanner-Nov 2014
Textures by Kim Klassen: Minus 43, 65% soft light; Chase, 60% overlay

A dog owns nothing yet is seldom dissatisfied. ~Irish Proverb

They both waited in anticipation. The snow….in mid-November….arrived to mixed reviews. The child in me was super excited to see the flakes fall. The rational adult said, NOOOOOOO! Before Thanksgiving is entirely too early for winter to begin.

Nov snow

But start is has. Temps in the 20sF with single digit wind chills. Way. Too. Early.

But Tanner and Peanut would hear none of these rational reasons. There were snowballs to make…and snowballs to catch. So Peanut and I found our boots, gloves, hats and coats…ventured outside. In the snow. In the cold.

And Tanner was waiting for us.

 peanut Nov snow

 Simple pleasures.

Peanut Tanner Nov snow

Linking up with Texture Tuesday and Texture Twist
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seedhead puff72


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Hello sweet November

seedhead puff72Texture by Kim Klassen: Friday, 100% multiply with selective masking

Silent beauty in multi-hues but ominous in a sense;
for though today be delightful, darkness soon gains precedence.
~Ray, Psychology of Seasons

I’ve been caught up this week with reading posts about November….the transition month between knock-’em-dead October color and the sparkle of the December holidays. It seems like, aside from the stuff-yourself-into-a-food-coma Thanksgiving weekend, November tends to become just a speed bump on the road to the gift-giving season. But it doesn’t need to be that way. True, November doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of some of the other seasons, but it does have an earthy beauty all its own. And, perhaps in many ways, that mirrors our lives as well.

pine needles

As the year ages, it seems to become more introspective. Gone are the narcissistic seasons of spring, summer and autumn with their look at me; see how fantastic I am attitudes. After the leaves fall, the season’s beauty shifts to the more overlooked aspects of nature. We notice more of what’s underneath those gorgeous blooms and awesome foliage colors.

redbud fringe

Likewise, as we age, we become more focused on reflection and assessment of the framework of our lives. With much of life’s superficial splendor gone, priorities begin shift. Just as November drives us inside to be more focused around hearth and home, priorities in the November mentality begin to focus inward as well. We begin to notice the small details in life that might have been overlooked in earlier years. We focus less on what others should be doing for us and more on what we can do for others. I suppose maturity plays into this mindset….it’s less about “me” and more about “we.” We quietly take stock of our lives, how we’ve lived and how we’ve responded to others.

berries72

For the most part, November is quiet and still. Days are colder and shorter. With less time to accomplish tasks, we prioritize what needs to be done…both in the physical world as well as in our hearts and minds. I hope you all take time and notice everything about November…enjoying it’s unique beauty and reflection.

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two teeth


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October collage

October 2014 collage72

Fall has always been my favorite season.
The time when everything bursts with its last beauty,
as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
~Lauren DeStefano

And a grand finale it was. Twix turned 8 months old the first of the month and it was a month of first for her as well. She’s figuring out how to crawl and nothing escapes her attention…or her grasp. The cats are more than a little concerned and give her a wide berth. The  months are flying by. Twix is growing like a weed and seems to be changing hourly. She’s no longer that little sack of sand that just lays there. Her personality is emerging and she loves to interact with familiar people. There’s a little stranger anxiety  showing up but as long as Mama, Peanut, Papa or I am nearby, she seems to be okay with people she doesn’t know well.

Teeth! Twix has two teeth! See them on the bottom?! Seems like we’ve been suffering through teething for months.

two teeth

Peanut continues to be a pocket rocket and her six-year-old, independent attitude is on display all the time. Kindergarten is in full swing and she has a love/hate relationship with it. Hates to get up and get moving in the morning; loves to see her friends once she’s there. I believe she is a little bored with the classroom academics at this level, so we may need to start challenging her more at home. She asked the other day, how do I do an eye roll? Um. No. You don’t.

peanut attitude

How can it be Thursday already? How can it be November already? The entire clan is descending invading coming to our house for Thanksgiving. And it’s only a month and a half until Christmas?! Yikes! Guess I better start planning that turkey day menu and gift shopping soon.

What’s on the schedule at your house for the holidays?

jack-web


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Halloween post-redux

A repeat of my post in 2009. Still relevant 5 years later…maybe more so.

Many elementary schools have banned the traditional Halloween school party for a watered-down version called the “Fall Party” or “Harvest Party.” Evidently, this quasi-religious holiday continues to receive its share of objections from a number of fronts, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Throw in the atheists, who don’t like anything resembling religion anywhere, and you have a holiday without a home.

I contend there isn’t another holiday that embraces multiculturalism as much as a good, old-fashioned Halloween party. And since we should all be about embracing diversity and multiculturalism, Halloween should be a required event in every school.

What other holiday represents as many traditions, cultures and history than Halloween? Celtic, Roman, English, Irish, Scottish,  American…heck, Halloween should be a world history and sociology teacher’s dream.

Ancient origins date “Halloween” back to the Celtic Druids. The harvest festival was called Samhein (sow-in). To celebrate the event, the Celts built bonfires. Townspeople gathered around these fires to say goodbye to the harvest season and usher in the dark days of winter. Celtic priests dressed up in animal skins to predict the year’s future.

bonfire-web

It was thought that the night before the new year, the realm between the living and the deceased was opened and spirits could return to make mischief. On that night, people were afraid of the deceased spirits and dressed in costume to avoid being recognized by an unfriendly ghost. They would put food out to distract them from entering homes. Hmmm, that sounds familiar.

Rome conquered the Celts in 29 AD and introduced Pomona, the goddess of fruit and (nut?) trees. Her symbol is…the apple. Now, we dip apples in caramel, bob for apples, make apple pies etc.

In 800 AD Christianity established All Saints Day (All-Hallows) on Nov 1st to honor saints and martyrs (and to combat the Celts pagan celebration). The night before was All-Hallows Eve. All Souls Day, another day to honor the dead, was set for Nov 2nd. The three celebrations became known as Hallowmas…now called, Halloween.

Traditions brought across the pond with the colonials were fall parties, celebrated with bonfires, costumes and story-telling. It was more social than anything else. Trick-or-treating is an English tradition of poor people begging for “soul-cakes’ … food in exchange for praying for dead relatives.

jack-webThe Jack O’Lantern is an Irish legend about Stingy Jack who tricked the Devil. To read the complete legend, go to http://bit.ly/3k2PV4 . It’s a fun legend about how NOT to cross God or Satan and expect to have a home in the afterlife!

It wasn’t until the 1400s that witches, demons and satanic worship was associated with the holiday. And that was largely due to the Roman Catholic Church fueling of the fear of witchcraft in Europe. Their fear of wicca (literally meaning “wise woman”), made up mainly of women, was unacceptable to the male-dominated religion of the day.

So, you see, Halloween is a plethora of diverse cultural traditions, all melded together into one delicious holiday. So let us all embrace diversity, dress up and go begging for candy!

candy bar web


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October Photo Challenge: My choice

photo blog challenge

PJ over at A ‘lil hoohaa gave us a lot of leeway with October’s photo blogging challenge (PBC) topic…Photographer’s Choice. Might have been a cop out, but I’m sure it will return very interesting results!

So, I’ve decided to go with the Five Senses of Fall (Autumn). You all know the five senses, right? Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch. Here we go……..

1. Sights of Autumn. Most everywhere in the northern hemisphere there are colorful eye-candy sightings of Autumn. Peanut, Twix and I spent a few hours at a local park where I enjoyed the beautiful sights of Autumn. And the leaves were pretty too! :-)
Peanut & Twix
Autumn '14 4

2. Sounds of Autumn. Who can deny the rustling of leaves is definitely a sound of Fall? One of the warmer Indian summer afternoons, Peanut raked and raked leaves into a pile just so she could run and jump into them. Rake. Jump. Repeat. This is a looonnggg photo, so just keep scrolling.
Autumn jump

3. Smells of Autumn. Fresh-baked bread and pies. Cinnamon and cloves. Apple cider. Add to those wonderful aromas a fire in the fire pit on a chilly October evening. You may think this would be better suited for Sounds of Autumn with the crackling fire, but we burn fallen/trimmed cedar branches that have a wonderful cedar-smokey aroma. Couple that with the aroma of a nice red wine, and life seems rather grand. Apple pie optional.
fire pit 1

4. Tastes of Autumn. Closely aligned with Smells of Autumn, cider, bread and pie rank right up at the top for Tastes of Autumn. But we all know that Autumn is soup season! We luuuvvvv soup at our house. Stroganoff stew, chicken corn chowder, beef and barley w/veggies, chili, gumbo. You name it…we’ve probably had it.
soup

5. Touch/Feel of Autumn. Cozy sweaters; soft blankets; bumpy gourds and pumpkins; the nippy chill in the air while the sun warms your face. Autumn feels homey and comforting.
gourd

Fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.
~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.
~Lee Maynard

So there are my five for October. Please make time to visit PJ’s site to see what others chose to do this month.

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Wake up and live!

Autumn living
Textures by Kim Klassen: 1402 Magic; 50% soft light; Let Go, 50% hard light

There’s something about Autumn that wakes up our senses and reminds us to live.
~Unknown

It was one of those Autumn days where you knew you just had to be outside. The warm sun teased our senses into thinking it was late summer with not a care in the world. But the leaves rained down from the trees with every breeze, reminding us the days are short.

With all of Autumn’s beauty, what it most reminds us of is that nothing is permanent. While the Autumn trees entice us with their eye candy for a while, eventually we’ll watch them release their leaves, letting them cascade to the ground…completing their life cycle. We are so excited at the sight of new buds in the springtime..full of hope and anticipation. We relish the lushness of summer…the season of productivity and growth. But Autumn is the interim season that reminds us that life is fleeting…and we should probably appreciate what we have in our lives because it may not be around forever.

The climax of Autumn color reminds us to live each day to its fullest potential, celebrating the good, releasing the bad and appreciating all of it as part of the cycle of living. But do we really live each day to its fullest potential? I don’t. I take for granted I’ll always have another day to accomplish tasks, connect with friends and family, make a difference in a life. I tend to think I have lots of time to change my thoughts/words/actions. I have so many excuses for not changing anything today….because there’s always tomorrow. But, although Annie thought the sun will come out tomorrow, that’s not necessarily the case. Like Autumn’s splendidly colorful leaves, one day they will be gone.

We can learn a lot from Autumn. One is to drink in the beauty of the moment…every day…and appreciate the opportunities in life we’ve been given. The other is hidden in the season’s cycle. Instead of holding on tightly to bitterness, resentment, anger and worry, we need to learn how to release them to the wind. Our fears need to drop like the leaves. The need for these things to have permanence in our lives needs to die. Learning how to let go of detrimental areas that de-focus our attitude is a necessary step to healing and living life to the fullest.

For it’s only in the realization of dying, that we can truly start living.

Linking up with Texture Twist and Texture Tuesday
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Walktober and the Main Event

This past week, Peanut, Twix and I went on a walkabout to a local park to see the Autumn Splendor….and to play on the playground. After bribing blackmailing coercing requesting we take just a few photos of the trees, Peanut reluctantly agreed to humor me. You don’t even want to know the lengths it took to get her to agree to let me snap a few photos of her with her sister.

But snap I did. Oh my…….luv.

PeanutTwixAutumn2014

It’s  not New England, but our town did merit a mention in an article on architectureanddesign.net. about the Top 27 Exquisite Places Around The World To See Brilliant Fall Colors…granted, it was towards the end of the list, but who’s complaining!

I didn’t add any textures to these….didn’t think they really needed any enhancements over what Mom Nature already provided! I will probably play with them a little down the road…because that’s how I roll.

This Grandaddy Maple tree stands very stately. There are a lot of Grandaddy Maples in this park. Middle Missouri has had about 9 inches of rain this month. Can you believe how green the grass still looks?!

Autumn '14 3

It wasn’t easy getting my entourage ready, in the car, up to the park, out of the car and Twix into the stroller. But the trees won’t wait until it’s convenient. Most years I have to make time to purposely go, camera in hand, to try and capture the changing season. A few days can make all the difference in catching or missing peak color.

I love this shot.

Autumn '14 2

This year I discovered it’s not at all easy to shoot really creative shots while corralling a whiney six year old and keeping an 8 month old happy in the stroller. So most of these shots are quick snaps without much thought to positioning or the best lighting. [Sigh], maybe next year….yeah, next year I’ll have a toddler in tow…that will be soooo better! Or not.

Autumn '14 1

Saved the best for last. Usually by Halloween, the trees have most of their leaves ripped off by the late Autumn winds. In a couple of weeks this color will be just a memory.

Autumn '14 4

But for now, it lives gloriously for us to enjoy!

Autumn '14 5

 

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