Sunday, February 16, 2014

If We Weren't Snowed In ….

The latest snowstorm, which kept the kids home from school for the umpteenth day, has given me much family time. Rarely can I appreciate such interesting observations that happen only when we are snowbound. In the spirit of an OBXer who began the thread,"If We Weren't Snowed In …." I realized that without these snow days, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to:

  • play Bananagrams with the kids, who used their letter tiles to construct such words as "twerk", "pot", "weed", "fart", and "burp".
  • go sledding with my middle-school-aged daughters (who usually are aghast to be with me in public) and bruise my tailbone by sailing over a tiny ice ramp and landing on my rump.
  • open the chimney damper (thus letting in cold air) to build a fire for the girls, only to see them abandon it after a few minutes … and then feel compelled sit by the fire so it does not go to waste.
  • watch my husband and other male neighbors bond over a toy -- the snowblower.
  • see these same men stand forlornly with shovels at the ends of their respective driveways, inciting the pity and compassion of the snowplow operator to haul snow away from (instead of block in) each driveway.
So although the kids have lost numerous school days recently, I have gained many educational insights during these snow days. How much longer is winter and how much more can I learn?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

If only....Also known as "Closet Detente"

I often wonder, what if people with evil in their hearts could redirect their passion towards good. How many problems could be solved? How many people could be helped? There are so many natural disasters and human tragedies already in the world. Do we really have to add more that are man-made?
That leads me to my husband's closet...
We just adopted a new kitten - currently named Kitty unless someone has a better name. Kitty joins Cocoa the dog and Pizza the cat (we have a food name theme going). The integration has been tenuous. Cocoa has come to tolerate the kitty pretty well though she doesn't understand why Kitty can't play tug of war with her. Pizza has been a lot less welcoming. Have you ever heard a cat growl? It's spooky! We've been on pins and needles waiting for these cats to either maul each other or become best buds. It seems Kitty is doing her share trying to get Pizza to engage. Pizza, a mature male, is keeping his distance. Until today.
My husband's walk-in closet has been a favorite hangout for Pizza and has become one for Kitty as well. Today, both cats are sleeping in the closet. I wouldn't call that interacting or acceptance necessarily, but I do think it's progress.
That got me thinking about other world problems. What if we locked adversaries in a messy closet and told them they couldn't come out until they were friends or at least would stop trying to kill each other. Would it work? Can we try it? I'm sure my husband would offer his closet for the experiment. Perhaps we can start with our own local bullying problem, then maybe we can move on to Syria. If only...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Biking in Olney: Up Close and Personal

This fall's mild temperatures have been a boon for my transportation in Olney. Although I've lived here more than a decade, I never dared to bike on Bowie Mill or Cashell Roads (the two major streets outside of my neighborhood) for fear of being hit by a car. Now that Cashell Road has a sidewalk running its entire length (unlike Bowie Mill Road), I feel connected to the outside world without even having to climb into a car.

Errands into town are a pleasant 15-minute bike ride from the corner of Bowie Mill and Cashell Roads to Morningwood Drive, along Morningwood and then out to Route 108 in any spot, depending on my destination. No need to worry about speed cameras, since I pedal at a brisk but leisurely pace (hence the 15 minutes into town). What I enjoy about biking is seeing people, places and scenes up close and at a slow speed (relative to driving). I may spot a vaguely familiar figure jogging in the distance only to realize as I ride closer that yes, I do know the person! Then I'll ride by, greeting the jogger with a friendly "Hey [name of person]! How's it going?" If I yelled this while driving by in a car, I would just seem like an anonymous stalker.

My up close viewpoint has afforded me glimpses into the Olney library construction site (gorgeous and coming along ... and hopefully worth the wait and future bike trips), the post office's mailboxes for cars (convenient!) and even the stalwart sign man in a wheelchair.  Everything is magnified to the senses, from the loud vacuum cleaners at Fletcher's car wash to the large, fast and sometimes scary cars at the Georgia Avenue/Route 108 intersection.

Hopefully the fine weather will last a bit longer so I can try the drive-through windows at the bank and CVS pharmacy. Technically, I am "driving" through on a bike, so I hope I'll be allowed to use these lanes. I don't think I'll try hauling home groceries (especially eggs and other perishables) by bike, though.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Onley in Olney

When I first moved to Olney, my puzzled friends asked, "You live in a town called ... Only?" I quickly learned to over-enunciate the first syllable and state  "Oll-ney, not Only." To drive the point home further, I'd automatically spell "O-l-n-e-y" to prevent any confusion with "Only." Now when asked where I live, I compulsively (and probably irritatingly to the listener) reply in a single breath "Oooolll-ney, O-l-n-e-y!"

Perhaps the sign maker for The Winemaker at Olney could had used my annoying delivery of "Oooolll-ney, O-l-n-e-y!"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nesting and Launching

As I came into contact with one of nature's gifts this weekend, I am torn about whether this blog post should be a message about building a nest or leaving the nest.

On Saturday morning, my husband and I were on the side of our house looking at our little blueberries and little strawberries when some birds started screeching and dive bombing us. What the heck! Kamikaze Birds? We were under attack! My husband got curious as to the cause for the ruckus so he started looking around. Sure enough he found this precious little fledgling on the ground, recently launched or dropped from its nest.

The birds were protecting her and trying to distract us. The next day, she successfully made it up in the tree. Good girl!

As my daughter approaches her senior year of high school it won't be long before she is off to college (g-d willing), and then off to her new independent life. She will be the first to leave the nest we have built for her. What a  transition this will be for all of us! She can hardly wait. I thought I would be excited too but I don't think I'm ready for my little fledgling to take flight!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Old Fish in the Creek

Today while hiking through Olney Mill Park I came across two treats. One was the return of what my husband and daughter lovingly call, the "ghost fish" or as I like to call him the "old man in the sea." It's the same orange and silver carp type fish that we see season after season swimming in the "pond" in this park. Against my wishes, my husband and daughter have tried to hook this old guy numerous times but he has always alluded them. Ergo the name, "ghost fish." Even though there's barely any water in there and he's alone, he always seems to endure. Good for him!

The second treat was all of the new landscaping that the MC Park Service has presumably done to sustain and beautify that park area. There's a new trail and lots of new plantings. It's quite a pleasant surprise so go check it out!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Where were you when the tornado hit?

There's nothing like a tornado in the evening and a serene white puffy cloud in the morning to remind you of the power of mother nature.

Olney-ites experienced a rare treat last night - a tornado touched down nearby. You heard me. A tornado.

My friend called me, "Hey you're in the know in Olney, where did the tornado touch down?"
"Huh?" A tornado hit Olney?"

Another friend wrote, "This isn't Kansas!"

As I was trying to make my way home from Rockville, my husband corralled my daughters, dog, and cat into a utility closet in the basement (aka "Mommy's closet") to wait out the warning. Apparently Pizza the cat did not like that much. Nor did the 15 year old who kept yelling, "We're going to die, we're going to die!"

Thursday, June 13, 2013 will forever be known in Olney as, "Where were you when the tornado hit?"

Luckily Olney didn't experience any damage (except for those 30 trees that were knocked down by the tornado). And today, we got to experience the most beautiful, cool and breezy day, and white puffy cloud-filled sky.  What a gift!

Go figure.