Blue plums, almond stove, needle in eyelid, Charley Brown tree

Tomfoolery of our Santas and Snowmen

Tomfoolery of our Santas and Snowmen

Pale weak limpid sun rises lower and lower in December’s horizon.  It rarely shines through gray clouds, although today stratus clouds allow its orb to deck the skies with sunny cheer.

We’re buying a new almond stove, our first stove in thirty years.  They’re discontinuing the color “almond”.  It’s a gas stove, it has to be, due to our regular power outages when trees blow down over electrical wires.  We bought locally this time.

I wonder what makes some of us want to share our lives, while others prefer anonymity, silence.  What makes some of us want to share words about pale suns and almond ovens, while others don’t?

A moon by any other name...

A moon by any other name…

Almost all our snow melted in the warm spell.  Now it’s near freezing again and bare branches sway slightly in the afternoon breeze.

We’ll soon dig in our basement closet for Christmas lights, garland, snowmen and Santas.  We’re not putting up a real tree this year, although our daughter is coming home in 20-some days, thank all the stars twinkling in the holiday skies.  Maybe we’ll find a Charley Brown tree and tenderly place in a pot after she arrives.  Maybe we’ll string popcorn and cranberries upon its branches.  Maybe we’ll find her favorite little snowman ornament and gently place it on the greenery.  Maybe.  I can’t predict much these days.

So often I still want to share daily.  You shouldn’t start your blogging career writing a daily blog or you’ll be hooked on the rhythms and joy of sharing small things.  Sharing about sunlight.  About possible Christmas trees.  About branches swaying in afternoon breezes.

You won’t care so much about writing a “big essay” or an “important article” because you’ll realize that it’s the small joys that count, the little things, the precious ordinariness of daily ovens and blue plums–and even frightening needles which glimmer sharp toward your wild and irreplaceable eyes.

Does anyone really want to hear about a new stove?  Does it matter?  I love this moment of sitting down at the computer and seeing what the Universe has to say through Kathy.  Some days it’s Presence-filled and thoughtful, other days it’s just plain funny, other days it’s photos, other days it’s just what it is and no one can predict a fathom what the Universe might share.

Candle for the world

Candle for the world

Friday a doctor in the big city of Marquette will peer at the sty on my eyelid from back in September.  It never really healed.  It still gleams a bit red, like a tiny eyelid Christmas ornament.  (How’s THAT for a metaphor?)  If it’s like last time–maybe six years ago–he’ll take a long sharp silver needle and lance it.  It won’t hurt because the area is suitably numb, but afterwards…well, my memory doesn’t like the pain which burned afterwards for maybe an hour or so.

Here is a poem by Mary Oliver which might make your hummingbird heart flutter.  Thank you, Colleen, for posting it on Facebook.

Santa pauses in an evergreen

Santa pauses in an evergreen

Messenger By Mary Oliver:

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.

Here the clam deep in the speckled sand. Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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89 Responses to Blue plums, almond stove, needle in eyelid, Charley Brown tree

  1. Annie Ritter says:

    Well… I love talking and hearing about new stoves. It’s a major purchase that must be given the proper attention and almond sounds like a lovely choice. My laundry appliances are close to 20 years old and it will be a monumentous occasion when they are replaced.
    I’m so very glad that you don’t really have a needle in your eyelid-the title of the post scared me a bit…

    Thanks for the tomfoolery photo-just what I needed on a very intense brain draining day!

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    I always forget, maybe on purpose, about the snowmen and the santas, so that I get to be excited again every year and look out for them! I’m sitting here thinking about feeling shoved to influence you, when I simply wish to feel intimate, or not, with what you write. Hold on one moment while a loud one expresses, “I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHAT I LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT YOUR BLOG!!! I DON’T LIKE DOING THAT!!” (did you see how I did it anyway in there?–hopefully you grinned and laughed, or swatted at me)

    It is inconsistently odd the things that make intimacy, that keep intimacy, and foster it. Maybe sometimes there is an invisible goal present, like collecting enough bricks of intimacy to make a house, the exact house in my head. The exact house in a pair of friends’ heads. Some architect somewhere is bound to alter the plan, and then you can feel like you lost your familiar snowmen or santas, or be excited for them popping out unexpectedly, or a new something instead!

    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, I long to feel consistent to myself. I also long not to be consistent. Both arise a lot. I try to let both of them arise without judgment, but then judgment happens –or it doesn’t. Sometimes I can feel that excitement leaping out with the newness and unexpectedness. Other times it’s just wanting to be consistent. I am trying to express them both, allowing them both to be, letting each arise. Glad you love the snowmen and Santas, yes, I am.

  3. OM says:

    You love to share, we love to read. All is in perfect balance.
    Hey, I will email you about persistent styes.
    I was given a remarkable thought the other day which is the obverse of Mary Oliver’s thought, both of them really the same thought:

    The thought I received is: Perhaps the ultimate purpose of the illusion of separateness is so that those who venture into it, when they come out, can experience all of existence and the ongoing process of creation, as blissful, whereas otherwise, it is the invisible backgreound. We are the fish who volunteered to jump out of the water for awhile, so we can know being in the water as blissful, not just “the way it is.”

    I know I’ve READ that idea before, but this came as an “of course” which my cells affirmed!

    I rejoice in you, I rejoice in Mary Oliver. And almond stoves. But not needles in the eye. EWWWWWW!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh my, OM, how lovely. I wish I felt it with such simplicity. As I just told Elisa I have two impulses which arise regularly. One, to be more consistent. The second, just to watch the inconsistency that arises. The readers are simply dear reflections of this.

      I will ponder your remarkable thought, thank you for sharing it, and thank you for cells that affirm with a resounding “of course!”

      As for ongoing sties, mine seem to appear at five to ten year intervals. 😦

  4. Annie Ritter says:

    When I read the title, I jumped to a ‘oh my god, there’s been a horrible cranberry stringing accident’ scenario. So I’m sorry you have to have the sty attended to but I’m very glad you didn’t have what I pictured in my head…

  5. Lori DiNardi says:

    Hey Kathy, We just got a new stove this year and couldn’t find any in almond. So, now we have a stainless steel stove and almond fridge. Go figure. I so wish we could have a gas stove, as it’s much easier to cook on. In Florida they don’t have gas, although new homes can have natural gas piped in. We have an old home, which wasn’t old when we bought it 25 years ago. Enjoy your new stove and I hope your sty heals asap.
    P.S. Winning recipe is up at my blog. Perhaps you can use the new stove/oven to bake it in?

    • Kathy says:

      It is very very hard to find that elusive almond, Lori. Darn them. We still need to match our old frig, don’t we? We have propane for our stove. Funny how new homes get old, isn’t it? I shall peek over at the winning recipe right now!

  6. “It’s the small joys that count, the little things, the precious ordinariness of daily ovens and blue plums–and even frightening needles which glimmer sharp toward your wild and irreplaceable eyes.”

    And so it is.

    P.S. I’m a HUGE Mary Oliver fan! We got to see/hear her in Chicago at a reading of her own work a few years ago in Chicago.

  7. lisaspiral says:

    I love the line of snowmen and santas in the snow. Getting a new stove is awesome. Mine isn’t quite a year old and I still love it like new. Hope it’s installed in time for your holiday cooking!

    • Kathy says:

      We have rather wild and crazy renegade Santas and Snowmen, Lisa. Sometimes they do the oddest things, especially when we let them out of the closet at holiday season! P.S. The people installing the stove are here now, as we speak. They’ve been installing it for an hour. I hope they get in done before dinner or we’ll have to go out to a restaurant!

  8. john says:

    Almond stoves are of high interest. Especially when I went to our local vendor of toilets and stoves I only saw white. I must say that they very efficiently and professionally installed not only the stove, but a gas line to the kitchen. If you do start writing about the physical cliff or how far the protesters in Egypt moved towards the Presidential Palace, I would not run to your blog as joyfully as I do each day. I hope the remedy for your eye lid is much less painful than anticipated.

    • Kathy says:

      John, that’s where we bought our stove! They had to order almond. I am hoping they equally efficiently install our stove. They are here now and I am staying out of their way, attempting to look busy on the computer. I am glad you don’t want to hear about our economy’s woes or the world’s woes here in Kathy world. I am trying to decide whether to give you all step-by-step needle proceduring.

  9. Brenda Hardie says:

    Kathy, I LOVE hearing about everything in your life…from the big, important issues to the tiniest of details in your everyday life. It is all interesting to me. I’m glad you’re getting a new stove…please share a picture of it when it’s installed and warming your little house in the woods. So, when you said you weren’t putting a real tree up this year, does that mean no tree at all? With the exception of a small Charlie Brown tree for your daughter perhaps? I would be very sad to not have a tree up at Christmas. But I have noticed that there has been a shift in how I decorate…it’s much more simple now. And that pleases me. Is this how you are feeling about the Christmas tree? The need for simplicity?
    I’m so sorry about the sty in your eye! Hopefully the doctor can fix it without too much pain for you! My Dad has had them off and on over the years and I know how much they bothered him.
    Kathy…you are a gifted writer and photographer and everything you share is interesting to me. Your life interests me….and YOU matter to me. So, whatever you feel like sharing is okie dokie with me! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Why, then, Brenda, it’s people like you that apparently this blog is written for! (The previously read sentence should not end in a preposition, but I like how it sounds.) As for our Christmas tree…no, we’re not putting up a big one this year. We’re aiming to simplify. We used to have BIG 14 foot trees up to the ceiling. Then we down-sized to ordinary trees. I am now hoping to downsize to a Charley Brown tree (plus our ceramic tree) but that is yet to be seen. Thank you.

  10. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Love the pictures especially the moon by any other name.
    I have a wood burning stove, brown not almond, and my chimney is blocked to I can’t light the fire without filling the kitchen with smoke 😦 I will have to adimit that I forgot to call the chimney sweep at the end of last year when OH comes back at the weekend.
    Stys are horrid things. Hope you manage to get it sorted out. I am pathetic when it comes to putting drops and cream in my eyes. I need to be held down and even when trying to be brave I blink at the wrong moment.

  11. I like your everyday thoughts–you make even an almond stove sound poetic–good luck with the needle–hope it does not burn like last time–good luck with it. Kathy, I enjoy your blog–it is a lovely respite in my day.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for respiting (I just made up a new word, ha ha) here on my blog. I am hoping for positive needle action, too. Or maybe the doc will say none is needed!

  12. Karma says:

    I wish I knew how to make a blog post flow like you do, Kathy. Your writing delights, even when speaking of the simple things. My blog lies lonely right now waiting for its author to invigorate it.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, I like that your blog flows with YOUR spirit. I like reading about YOUR life. It’s you. Comparison kills us. I am trying very hard not to compare anything, anywhere, ever again. You go tell your author to just share what’s in her mind, thoughts, and life. It will be what some of us need to hear.

  13. lucindalines says:

    By the way, I would like to compare you to one of my all time favorite authors. If Jane Austen had not written of boring everyday events like getting a stove, how would we ever have known about life in her times. There is no more important writing than about everyday life. Keep remembering that.

  14. P.j. grath says:

    A new stove doesn’t sound like a “small thing” to me: I would be doing somersaults of excitement! Almond sounds like a very pretty color, too. Discontinuing it, are they? It will come back someday. Thanks for the Mary Oliver poem, too. In the car with David the other day, while he was driving I kept looking from one side to the other, trying not to miss anything, and told him, “I’m doing my work. I’m paying attention.” We both take appreciating the world as important work–not always deadly serious, either, but sometimes funny, as you note. Good luck with the sty. (Ouch! Hate to think about it!)

    • Kathy says:

      Pamela, I love that you know what your work is. What a delightful way to express it! I feel that should be a Facebook status or something, shouldn’t it? (By the way, I think the color of the new stove may have been updated to “bisque”. Fancier than almond, you know.)

  15. Lest I waste your time- let me get this “over with” quickly. Some people write well and others pretty good and some just so-so. Since you fall into the category of one who writes very well ( and deep, too “puny pun”) I must say that it matters not what you write about. Just keep those posts coming and I’ll be at my computer to read what ever was deep ,shallow, mind boggling, inane, or what ever.

    Now about that almond stove- I think you are quite wise to buy a color that is being discontinued since it should be “on sale.” I use gas as well- it is cheaper and always dependable. And, I like that your daughter is coming home for it seems that seeing her is really going to make your Christmas a good one.


    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, Yvonne, people keep saying what you’ve written here. That’s amazing to me. I think I care more about what I write (and don’t write) than any of you! Unfortunately, sorry to say, the gas stove was not on sale. Apparently propane stoves are not cheaper to buy, although they are cheaper to use, maybe. Can’t wait until Christmas! Regards to you, too, Kathy

  16. Christina says:

    I don’t always get the chance to read your posts, Kathy, but when I do whatever it is that’s on your mind and you choose to share with the world that day is always so thoughtfully put together and a pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing even the small, seemingly mundane things in life. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you like even those small *seemingly* mundane things in life, Christina. And it always makes me smile when you come around because your beauty shines through your words and spirit.

  17. gentlepup says:

    “What makes some of us want to share words about….while others don’t?” Fill in the blank, yes? I think it is about trust, really. I don’t seem to trust that others will be interested in what I have to say. And the “sharing” doesn’t happen alone. So….some of us trust that what we have to give will be received. I’m glad that you share your thoughts with the world, even if they seem hum-drum. It encourages me to share my own thoughts, even if they are not always profound. And…almond is a very nice color. Good luck with the eye-stye event.

    Warm wishes from sunny Kansas!

    • Kathy says:

      gentlepup, from sunny Kansas, I thank you for your words and that you trusted enough to share them here. I think you’ve hit something important with your words. We do have to trust that others will be interested in what we’re sharing. And, if we can’t find that trust, perhaps we simply have to trust that we ourselves need to share the words even if no one reads them… Please do share!

  18. Heather says:

    But it is your everyday thoughts and precious moments and your big essays that keep me coming? Which is to say all of it 😉 The blogging world is a funny one. I can’t decide who I am on my blog, and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m not sure it matters.
    I hope the needle doesn’t cause too much pain, and in the end leads to relief.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Heather, I know exactly what you mean. I can’t figure out who I am at my blog. Part of me wants to figure it out…and (shhhh) the other part doesn’t care. As always! Maybe we’re not always as predicable as we like to pretend. 🙂 And we can’t be categorized.

  19. emaclean says:

    Me too! Me too! I want to hear all about the new stove! The stove is the heart of the kitchen. One reason we bought our house was for the old O’Keefe and Merritt gas stove with the center grill. An antique for sure. But so is the house.

    • Kathy says:

      Erin, that is so cool how you put it. “The heart of the kitchen”. Isn’t that so? Your old stove sounds wonderful. Antiques are ofttimes the best.

  20. me2013 says:

    OUCH needle in the eye, my eyes are watering just thinking about it. Good luck

  21. pearlz says:

    That’s so true the little lessons and joys of everyday, the tiny things that happen – can mean so much. There’s a meditative quality to many of your blogs Kathy

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, June. I would love to hear your thoughts about my most recent blog about Santa, Merlot and whatever else is in the title. Perhaps you would like this one.

  22. Carol says:

    Kathy, I know I have said similar before – the inconsistency is the consistent. I love when you ramble, perhaps because I most often ramble myself. But it also feels like I’m there with you, sharing coffee/tea, perhaps sitting beside your wood stove keeping warm, or in the nice weather, on the deck, watching what nature has to offer. And when you do other than ramble, that is good too. Isn’t that how visits with friends go?

    • Kathy says:

      Hmmm, perhaps I never really HEARD your words before, Carol. About inconsistency being consistent. Hmmmm…. that feels good. It’s interesting, though, that so many of the commenters thought I perhaps needed reassurance about my blogging/rambling. I wasn’t even thinking that when letting the words flow through. But maybe apparently I did because so many interpreted it that way!!

  23. Yes, yes, it’s the small little ordinary things in our lives that make up our large loving world. You write about it beautifully.

    • Kathy says:

      Pam (Pamela? oh gosh I can’t remember if you’re Pam or Pamela, please forgive sincerely) although I do remember you live in California and write most delicious blogs which I like to read. You should read today’s blog and offer your two cents if you have two spare minutes. OK, you’ll need ten minutes, I’m sorry to say, depending on how fast you read and if you decide to listen to the video, which you really should. *grin*

  24. sybil says:

    I wonder if Blogs are the new “pen pals” ? It’s fun to hear about people living in exotic parts of the world like “Yopper” (have I got that right?) . You read a post put up by a stranger and something “clicks”. You feel a connection and come back to get to know the person better. And then you start thinking “I wonder what Kathy’s up to today?”.

    • Kathy says:

      Wow, Syb, (now that we’re such fast friends I’ll just call you “Syb”) I don’t think I even received a notice that you had commented! I know I never read this until now. Now I’m wondering what Syb is up to and if she’s carrying around any Kathys. lol!

  25. Susan Blake says:

    Hi Kathy,
    I remember when our stove quit, also almond, I think I found the only replacement left! Then we “redid” the kitchen two years ago and all the almond went to my daughter. I thought my life would be over having two kitchens (incl. the lake house) with stainless steel til I discovered Spiff cloths. You know me, I hate cleaning products. This spiff cloth does windows, glass, stainless – you name it, no streaks or smears, just water on a spiff cloth – done – sparkling!

    I don’t sell them, tho I probably should! So this is non-profit commercial here 🙂 Enjoy your new stove! I know you will give it a good workout!

    • Kathy says:

      Like Sybil’s comment up above, SuZen, your comment didn’t come into my email either. Hmmm… Well, my goodness, you are a Spiffy teacher! I have never heard of Spiff cloths. Yes, you should work for them. I know you’ve got me tempted to try them out!

  26. I like these newsy, almost daily sharings, Kathy, though I’m glad I haven’t set my sights on a daily blog. I’m so sorry that sty is still giving you trouble! Good luck at the doctor’s!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh good, Cindy, you’re a fan of almost-daily sharings. Some people get all roiled about them! They have too many notices coming in their in-box and they get heart palpitations and disapprove and everything. Seriously. I thank you for your kind words and so does my sty.

  27. sonali says:

    I appreciate your daily sharing of thoughts about the ordinary things of life, coz they make our day, they make our life though we sometimes fail to notice the small things. As for your sty, it will be alright 🙂 I love the first picture 😀

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Sonali! Do you remember the snowmen and Santas from previous years? We’re almost ready to go downstairs and take them out of their box so they can play silly jokes on us at Christmastime. I am glad that you are another appreciator of the small things.

  28. Stacy says:

    I don’t know why some of us share our thoughts. I find it easier to write what’s in my head than to say it. And I feel that throwing my thoughts out into the universe gives me a brief respite from the chatter in my head.

    I’m not only looking for a new (used) stove, I’m looking for a new (used) house. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, as they say. I’ve always felt like it was easier to write than the say it. It so often feels like opening to magic when writing,almost like it’s not me, like it’s the Universe just sharing and I am honored to be the typist. (Only later do I go back and decide that I wrote it.)

  29. Munira says:

    I love the seasonal snowflakes drifting down on all WordPress blogs , but I find that they suit your blog the best 🙂
    Lovely post Kathy…..have I ever told you how much I love your writing style? Your musings resonate somewhere deep, especially when you muse about the little things….like stoves. I love stoves! 🙂
    They say seven styes in quick succession bring good luck. When I was a wee lass I exceeded my ‘luck’ quotient by one more stye. It was horrible, and my eyelashes were the casualty. If you look into my eyes you will be distracted by missing lashes 😐 But I do feel very lucky, so it’s all good now. I hope your Friday appointment goes okay. Hugs!
    And I loved the poem.

    • Kathy says:

      You are so right, Munira, and that’s why I keep those snowflakes flying. Do you really like my writing style? Oh thank you. I guess I wondered about writing about stoves because I wasn’t sure I would like reading about stoves. You will be happy to know that the new eye doctor said it wasn’t a sty, it was a chalazion. Of course it sounds to me like a sty = a chalazion. He didn’t want to put a needle in it this time. He said the body *usually* re-absorbs them within a year. He said the hot compress routine might work. At this point it’s just cosmetic, I guess. He said the needle treatment actually has some side effects, including dry eyes in our old age and that it only has a 50/50 chance of working. I guess this is good news…isn’t it?….

  30. Georgia Mom says:

    Thinking of you today, Kathy. Good news from Kiah made my day yesterday! Where do you get those Spif-cloths?

  31. I hope by now the needle in the eye is over. As usual, coming late to the party, I have never thought that your blog was inconsistent. I really never thought about it. While I was writing my dissertation one of my committee members said “You are a sporadic thinker/writer.” In looking back, yes I was and am that. Perhaps you fall into that category of sporadic thinker which would drive those consistent folk a little daffy :).

    The Universe needs sporadic to get some of the most beautiful thoughts across the flat screens of life, sometimes.

    • Kathy says:

      Hmmm, Linda, for some reason part of me wishes for more consistency in my life. However, the other part doesn’t want it at all. It’s kind of hard to live between the differing likes and dislikes of self sometimes, isn’t it? In my financial jobs, I am absolutely consistent. In my writing side, I adore trying to express and tie together concepts and thoughts that usually wouldn’t be related like blue plums and ovens. And then to add in a needle which makes one shudder…yes, I do love doing that.

  32. Robin says:

    I can’t think of a thing to add. This all seems complete already. I hope all went well today. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, it’s interesting that in the wider perspective Life is completely complete in its completeness. I tried to express that in my more recent blog about Santa and holiness, but it seems like many of us equate holiness with morality. My view of holiness is more of wholeness. Of good/bad black/white sunrise/sunset together. You understand this, don’t you?

  33. Connie T says:

    I like hearing about your new stove. You have a wonderful way of writing. I got a new artifical Christmas tree this year. I bought some beautiful glittery ornaments. I turn on the lights and just look at the pretty lights and ornaments. It makes me happy, I don’t know why. I am like a crow, I like shiny things.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad you enjoyed hearing about our new stove, Connie. I so enjoyed reading your last sentence, especially. Smiling thinking about you as a crow enjoying shiny things.

  34. Wow as popular as cream colored cabinets are, you’d think that there would be a market for almond. Love your line of Santas and Snowmen!

  35. Dana says:

    Needles and eyes don’t make a great combination, Kathy. Ever since I moved to Victoria, I have suffered from seasonal allergies for about 2 months every year. The only thing that helps is acupuncture, which involves tiny needles in and around my eyelids. At first, I was mortified by the thought, but now, I CRAVE those needles whenever May comes around. I hope the sty issue resolves itself and that you won’t have to re-live any pain or discomfort.

    • Kathy says:

      REALLY, Dana? You CRAVE the needles? How could that happen? I am so glad that you have found something that helps with your seasonal allergies, though. How very fortunate. My sty, now properly known as a chalazion, will hopefully be absorbed by the body within (are you ready for this?) one year. We shall hopefully see this is true.

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