Two bright faces were staring me down from a shop window early this morning.

I like to think they were smiling.

Though I’m not quite sure as those faces belong to the felines residing in an animal friendly children’s bookstore down the road.

Still the title of the book behind them shouted out the word “Hooray” enthusiastically.

I did too, though luckily no one was within ear shot.

It was 7am and I’d made the short trip to a neighborhood by the lake for a quick walk and to practice driving the black car that now sits in my driveway every evening.

My red Subaru is currently in a body shop as I was hit from behind on the freeway two nights ago.

And though I was stunned and a bit speechless at the time, today I celebrate that all is well.

I’m substituting yoga poses this Saturday for yellow parrot roses found while walking past ivy covered homes.

One place catches my attention with wind chimes dancing on the upper porch creating duets with the meditation music blooming within.

Once I arrive at the bird sanctuary right next to the lake, I discover something new.

But as I turn, I realize it’s really something quite old.

And appropriately labeled a “Garden of Peace”.

I notice that just beyond there are hundreds of tulips and a scattering of ornate fountains.

You can’t buy a gift as beautiful, I mumble in awe.

I linger a little longer and consider even if the days ahead might be costly ones, I’m so rich with the gift of good health this day.

“Hooray!” I say again as a young jogger turns her head, and laughs running by.

Before I leave my visit to the garden and the lake, I receive one final gift.

It’s the words I see carved into a sun dial that read: “Count only the sunny days”.

Sounds like my optimistic mother, I’m thinking as I look up at the blue sky smiling back down on me this Mother’s Day Eve.

“Oh, you can count on it”, I whisper and nod before skipping on back to the car.

Lessons in Change

Strains of Ave Maria fill a busy co-op where I have found internet connectivity this morning.

I see and continue to smell change in the air.

And it’s beautiful.

Gold and burgundy sweaters, along with striped wool caps have been pulled out from storage.

And so have the recipes for stews and chilies.

It’s the rebirth of a glorious and colorful season.

And the debut of a new one for me.

I downsized into a new home this last month.

And I also retired from a corporate job one Friday afternoon and transitioned to a new job with a non profit on a Monday morning

So far I’ve learned so far that my 806 square feet ‘Grandma’ house is all that I need to make a grand home.

And actually much more.

Paring down 24 years of possessions, and those of four generations of other family members, has been no minor feat.

But I survived.

At least I think I have.

My furniture is still in storage, including the beds.

But I’ve been purposely taking my time.

Though I think this little guy in the picture is looking for a sleep over, so I’ll add a call to the storage facility to this week’s ‘to do’ list.

In the meantime, I’ll pick up root vegetables for a pot of heart warming stew in celebration of this new season of autumn.

And a pair of cozy pumpkin colored socks for me to celebrate my season of change as well.

Oh, what a great gift change is for us all.

And it seems for me, especially.

Crazy Days

It’s our annual Crazy Days celebration in town this weekend.

Every year shop owners set off their own brand of fireworks to get locals excited about their bargain goods and festivities.

It seems the shop owners have once again outdone themselves.

It started with the shrill sounds of tornado sirens at midnight on Friday.

One loud wake up call for sure.

I quickly grabbed chi-doxie Grandma Greta in one arm and my lame corgi Maddie in the other. And in spite of the 20 pound weight imbalance, we traveled down the basement stairs in record time.

We’ve got this routine down.

Except for Tucker the terrier who kept running back up to view the light show.

Lucky for us, we dodged a bullet. My troop of 100 foot oaks and elms held their salutes proudly in this latest battle.

Though my neighbor took a hit.

And so went the power for me and the rest of the area.

Those retailers are sure clever.

All the parking spots in town were full extra early Saturday as the weary and powerless stumbled up and down main street in search of caffeine and cake donuts.

I was one of them.

Eventually I found on a spot with the super fuel I desperately needed. Then climbing the hill up to the library with my steaming tumbler, I settled in on a bench to ponder next steps on my to do list:

1. Contact insurance agent about hail damage on roof and siding from storm attack two weeks ago.
2. Get in line for additional tree trimming before next battle.
2. Research post traumatic tree disorder from previous battles lost.
3. Look at local realtor’s cozy condo/fortress listings just for fun.
3. Conduct full risk assessment on how to successfully weather life’s future twists and twisters.

Savoring each sip of brew and smelling sweet scents of flowers surrounding me, I finally relaxed after finishing my list.

Then I looked up and admired the lone sailboat peacefully sailing in the lake down below.

I smiled.

Sure, these may be crazy days.

And I’m no lumberjack, but I’ll always be ok.