Yesterday we saw the hair ice, today it’s needle ice. I had never seen that before either, and Mr still didn’t because he stomped past it without noticing. But I made sure he saw it the next day.
The year is almost at an end, and thank goodness for that, amirite? 2019 should be so… much… ummm… well, let’s enjoy the end of 2018 at least, okay?
One of the biggest events for me this year was the passing of Caine, as a(n internet) friend, as an inspiration, as a teacher, as an emotional support. Amongst all the other changes, this was huge, so it was a very emotional moment when I recently received a package from Germany, which included not only life-saving cookies, but also a very special envelope with a very special letter and a huge reminder of what we all miss so much, embodied in a perfect shiny little pendant:
And everything was blurry for a while.
Thus, before the closing of the year, I would like to say a big thank you to my fellow bloggers, my fellow readers and commenters, and most of all, to Caine (and Rick) for being the beginning and support of this whole blogging project.
Today’s song choice is one that always, always reminds me of Caine – strangely, the song is about a person who would, most likely, be the ultimate opposite. The chorus reads something like “You – don’t like [the taste of] dandelions, / You – don’t like me; / Where others have a raging rapid, / You have built an H[ydro] E[lectric] S[tation]”. It’s my favourite new song by a local artist this year (the video isn’t), and I hope at least some of you enjoy it, too.
Also, I want to apologize for sparse contribution lately. I’m never good with the end of the year, which is a long and melodramatic story, but I hate New Year’s even more than I don’t like Christmas, and things don’t seem to get better with time (except the idea of not attending peopled activities or large fireworks events), but I will improve with the new year and the lengthening of days. Thanks for reading!
A little star, caught on an invisible strand of spider silk.
These images show hair ice, a phenomenon that happens when very wet wood, usually colonised by fungi, freezes. I have never seen this before and man is it gorgeous. It can happen on wood lying on the ground, but also on dead twigs still attached to the tree.
This is going to be picture heavy and more than one post, but they’re all so magical.
We didn’t get snow, but some serious hoarfrost which created the most wonderful things.
First shot is what happens when you forget to switch your camera from “artificial indoor light” to “natural light”, though I do like the blue tint it produced.
Erica blooming in pink and white
I occasionally put a triangle scarf on Jack to accentuate his rugged good looks. Sometimes I even put him in a coat if the weather is seriously cold or heavily raining. What I don’t do, however, is dress him up in outfits or costumes. Jack thinks such things are unnecessary and undignified. His sister, Lucy, used to love being dressed up. She’d pout when it was time to take off her coat or her scarf after an outing and on Hallowe’en she’d prance around in her costume and pose for pictures. Lucy was a comedian and she loved anything that made people oooh, aaah or laugh. Not my Jack, though. Jack is a straight man and he does not like to look silly so when I recently attempted to take a few photos of him in a Santa hat he made his displeasure known. I gave it my best try, but Jack was having none of it. Click-through if you’d like to see a few shots of Jack’s increasing frustration. (Sorry, Bubba. I won’t do it again.)
Hooray, it’s snowing! It’s a light snow, but it seems to be sticking so we may get a white Christmas after all. I don’t know why that matters to me, but it does. I love waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a blanket of white outside my window. Perhaps because it brings back so many happy memories of my childhood like slogging through the snow with my dad looking for the perfect tree to chop down and bring home. We’d struggle to tie the tree to the top of the car and when we got home mom would have hot chocolate waiting with homemade cookies of all sorts that we’d been forbidden to eat until now. We’d decorate the tree and sing Christmas songs and mom would tell the story of each ornament as is went on the tree. Christmas snow meant getting all bundled up to go tobogganing or build a snowman or falling backwards again and again to make angels on the lawn. Snow meant the long drive to my grandparents house in a wee Volkswagon Beetle packed to the rafters with gifts was fraught with adventure and a few German curses along the way that always made me laugh. Snow was an essential part of this Canadian girl’s Christmas season and when I was young a green Christmas was almost unheard of. That’s changed now thanks to climate change, so much so that having snow on Christmas is exceptional. That’s why I’m hoping the snow will stick. Please.
Nightjar has sent in some exceptional photos of the flowers that have persisted until December in her garden. We saw a few of those flowers last week, but I saved some for today because everyone should have flowers on a busy Monday.
So, I did go out! I made new colleague-friends and took some time for quiet walking around the city, and yes, I took some photos!
Christmas isn’t as big a deal here as elsewhere in Europe (because most of the christian population is orthodox, and the muslim population obviously doesn’t celebrate as such), but the one thing that is a big deal here? Lights! Strings of lights! Everywhere, and in large amounts. To the point where walking down some of the pedestrian streets feels like walking through a galaxy though not like us, out on the edge of the Milky Way, but in a far more densely starred area. You’d think it would be garish, but it is quite lovely.
The sun is trying to shine today, but it’s weak and can’t quite overcome the gloomy clouds that fill the sky. Nonetheless, we had a pleasant walk down by the river this morning. We saw a few ducks, heard a lot of crows, found some mud and even saw a few shards of blueish sky. Jack really wanted to go swimming, but I didn’t think it was a good idea so soon after surgery so I kept him on dry(ish) land with the help of a few liver treats. He’s a good boy and does what he’s told, but he really wanted to get wet. Oh well, I did let him hunt for mice (he won’t ever catch one) and get some mud between his toes (fun!) so he was happy enough.
We saw them in sunlight, but after some of you mentioned a love of fog, I give you these same rooftops on that same day – this is reasonably early in the morning (it did get lighter, as the last picture shows), but the drama is only deepened by the looming darkness.
The fog lasted all through the day.
And here’s a creepy winter song, too.
At this time of year the days are almost at their shortest and the world can seem gloomy and dull. Nightjar has found some light, though, and she’s used it to create magic.
Still playing around with light! For me December isn’t just Christmas lights, nature can put on quite a show too and there is nothing like getting up early on a dewy December morning to fully appreciate all the magic of December light. The last photo of the ruins and olive tree is just to illustrate how lush the fields look right now, it’s not a morning shot but I liked the light in that one as well. We don’t get snow here, so that is exactly what my concept of winter is like: green.
I know the perspective is wonky is this photo, but it was taken with my phone camera which I really don’t know how to use. Unfortunately, it’s the only camera I have right now because I’ve lost the charger for my real camera, making it more of a paperweight than a camera. The charger is a biggish thing that should be easy to find, but it’s hiding somewhere in the chaos that is my house right now. I’ve been scatter-brained lately so it could be anywhere and my short-term memory sucks at the best of times so it may be a few days before I find it, but find it I will. Predictably, it will be in the last place I look.
There was a bit of bad news when Jack saw the vet yesterday. It turns out that Larry the Lump™ was not a lipoma (fatty cyst), but instead is something called a spindle cell tumor. It’s a benign type of tumor so there’s no chance it will spread, but it will regrow. How fast it will regrow is anyone’s guess. It took about 5 years to reach its removal size of 10 cm. so we may need to deal with it again in a few years. I hope not. Jack is 10 now and is already a young senior citizen even though he thinks he’s still a puppy.
There was good news too, though. The incision has healed perfectly and the Dr. removed exactly the right amount of skin to allow totally free movement of the joint and not sag. She says that Jack and I may resume our adventures. Hooray! Here is the boy blissfully scenting the air at our local park.