Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jingle Some Sleigh Bells Christmas Eve

Mary Muncil of White Feather Farm had a wonderful link to a story by Alan Boyle of Vermont Public Radio.  I posted the story below.
It speaks of the possibility that each and everyone of us have the ability to instill a bit of magic Christmas Eve night...just by ringing some sleigh bells.
Merry Christmas.
Go out and ring some sleigh bells.

(HOST) Some holiday traditions are cultural, involving many people. Others are more individual. Commentator Alan Boye has a Christmas Eve tradition that falls into the personal category.

(BOYE) Tonight I'm going for a walk. I'm going for a walk in order to fulfill a silly kind of tradition. You see I have taken a Christmas Evening's walk every Christmas Eve of my adult life. No matter where I have found myself, I've walked out into the winter's night so that - well - I go walking each Christmas Eve so that I can listen to Santa's sleigh bells. Don't laugh, because on every single Christmas Eve I've heard those sleigh bells!

So tonight, I'll step from my warm, love-filled house into the silent dark. The streetlights will turn the snow into a deep, mystical blue. All over town children will be fast asleep - or will be at the edge of sleep - their firm resolve to stay awake being melted by the sleepy blanket of a mother's warm embrace.

I know about such nights, for on a Christmas Eve long ago a young boy sat on the edge of his own bed, sleepless. I was six years old, and I had discovered doubt. Yes, I pondered the existence of a jolly old elf, but also the recent passing of my grandfather had taught me about death. On that Christmas Eve, I was wide awake with the emptiness of forever.

It was at that precise moment, nearly a half-century ago, that the sound of sleigh bells jingled in the night air. Someone on that long-passed Christmas Eve must have been going for a walk. I collapsed back into the cradle of innocence, and I drifted into perhaps the most peaceful sleep of my life, for it was a sleep where I believed dreams could come true.

Since then there have been countless nights where doubt and despair have left me sleepless. During those times I try to remember the sound of those bells I heard as a child, for they remind me that - despite the blackest of nights - there is love in the world.

So when I walk tonight I'll carry an old set of sleigh bells with me. Call me a shameless sower of the seeds of mystery, but what else is there in our lives - no matter what our beliefs - what else is there but hope that the young shall go forth with love in their hearts?

Tonight, as I walk through these Vermont village streets I'll lean back my head and shout "Ho Ho Ho," and shake those old bells.O, ring, ring bells of love and hope and belief in the great mysteries of life!

This is jolly old Alan Boye just walking the hills of Vermont.

Alan Boye teaches at Lyndon State College. He spoke from our studio at the Fairbanks Museum in Saint Johnsbury.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Save a Bunny Rescue

I do give to a local animal shelter.  I found my Fitz on the side of the road, and I have found others, including a bunny abandoned in a local 100 acre park, most likely by some idiot thinking that domesticated bunnies could just fend for themselves out in the middle of nowhere after their cuteness diminished. I can not keep them, so I take them to the shelter and hope they find a forever home.
Rescue groups usually use cute photos in their ads or photos of sad, neglected looking animals that pull on the heart strings of donors.

....But this ad I found in the local paper ?...well, is it just me? 

Back away slowly.....

But I have to caught my eye!

Addendum:  I heard from Marcy who is part of this foundation who said that the bunny was yawning in this photo. 
Now of course, every time I look at this photo, I will want to start to yawn! 
Well, the ad caught my eye and also made me laugh, which in this day and age and great.  So if your New Year's Resolution is to help out a rescue, here's one for you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Week Before Christmas

                                                                                                   copyright Stepka 2011

New Piglets at Tara Firma

Was driving past the old haunt where I always saw pigs and low and behold....all gone.  I am afraid, that just like the turkeys, the hogs continued on their life cycle, right onto the Christmas platter.

Then my eye saw movement on the other side of the road.  A piglet shot out by the brush in the pasture across the way.  I stopped the car and sure enough, one, then two, then 3.  I got out of the car and it seemed piglets descended amass out of the brush up to the fence to root.

They all were rooting by the fence for awhile, then all, one by one disappeared back into the brush.

Easter Piglets.

                                                                                             copyright 2011 Stepka

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wisconsin Christmas Memories

Going thru one of my favorite thrift shops today, and what do my wondering eyes a spy?....

Flashback to mom getting a similiar copy from the electric company one year. She had just paid the bill... Remember being in the car and the road we were on when she showed it to me.

Look at those tans on all their faces!  Boy, definitely not middle of the winter, pasty white faced children of the Midwest on this cover!
....and Santa looks absolutely glowing ...with pancake makeup that is!

Still, what memories this stirred up!
And look what I found inside...

Beer Fruitcake.
Only in Wisconsin!!!
Nice and moist, I bet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Sense of Wonder.

I usually gift myself one new Christmas ornament a year.

This year I stepped into a local Home Goods shop called I Leoni in downtown Petaluma and was enchanted by a tree full of ornaments that flash you back to childhood.  To simpler times, full of possibilities, a sense of wonder, and a glint of magic.

They had a small glittering silver tree with a silver spaceship base...Yes, I said a spaceship base...that flashed lights around its rim. On the tree were robots and spaceships with astronauts, Santa, and yes, even a Reindeer with a helmet on, all fitted out with a rocket backpack.



Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas.

                                                             copyright 2011 Stepka

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Just enjoying some Christmas music and noticed how suited this song is to this photo of Fitz.
My Happiness Echo for today.
He is a lucky boy that he has meals inside, can avoid all the chilly weather and watch all the little birdies comfortably and contented from inside these days.
Good to be able to choose.
(Notice the reflection of his eyes in the window)

P.S. I came in after dark last night.  Fitz was actually outside on the fence.  And what do I find nesting inside the house, but my neighbor's Siamese. 
Fitz was NOT a happy camper.
The Siamese skedadled right out the kitty door, but maybe this is another reason why Fitz does not go out much anymore...he is defending the kitty door? 

                                                                                     copyright 2011 Stepka

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spread Your Happy Thoughts! "Ten Secrets of Happy Women"

Blandet...with a wonderful smile on his face.  A friend's kitty in Denmark.

I was watching Hoda and Kathy Lee on the last hour of the Today Show yesterday and absolutely loved a segment called "Ten Secrets of Happy Women"

Just some bullet points:
*Wallow in Happiness. -Just enjoy it.
*Avoid Half Glass Empty Syndrome. - Pay attention to what does make you happy.
*Spread Your Happy Thoughts. - Yes, we need more happy videos and beautiful photos and wonderful stories to spread joy and optimism to chase away that doom and gloom out there.  They suggest to post and tweet happiness so all can share. Spread a "happiness echo" they say and keep it echoing into as many lives as possible.
*Happiness is a Choice. - Well, that one is a yes/no for me.  There is alot of struggling people out there right now, including most of us, but put a camera in my hand and time to shoot and I am in happiness heaven.  So I guess I choose to take more photos! Which leads into the next point...
*Get Absorbed in Something. - In my case, photography and nature and this blog.  Your case?  Gardening, Kung Fu???
*Pat yourself on the Back.-  Hard to do, but a must do sometimes, even if it is ...."Whoo Hoo! I made it thru another day of work!"  Some out there would love to have a job to go to.
*Afirm Yourself and Others Around You.
*Compare Downward.- Strange sounding but true. A tree falls on your garage. Yes, terrible, but no one was hurt, you have insurance, you now have sun shining thru your window where the tree just cast shadows...something like that.
Being in the retail industry for so much of my life, I would have loved to have been able to look straight into the eye of someone complaining (if not cursing), that in the grand perspective of life, a botched delivery of a piece of furniture does not constitue a mental breakdown and the end of the world!
*Find Something that creates a Sense of Meaning in Your Life.
*Be Aware and Participate in Nourishing Your Mind, Body and Spirit.

Ok, well that's just a few points I pulled out of the video, but here is the link for you to watch it yourself.

Your mission today everyone is to go out and post and tweet something to make someone smile!

Warning:  They make you sit thru a Target ad before the segment starts...but the ad is kinda sweet too.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gosh Darn Cuteness to the Max! Brooks Brothers Ad.

If you love Lambs and the Holidays, then this is the video for you!

Then be sure to view this next one also....the making of the video.


Love how they hand clip their wool to look like they are covered with cotton balls.  I would love to know how they made their wool so very, very white.  ????