Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Welcome, Fall

The winds are cooler, the rains no longer soft. Bird feeders empty faster and the flowers look defiant rather than content.

I love summer, of course, but there’s something special about a hot bowl of soup and a warm blanket and crisp blue days and brightly colored leaves.

It’s a wonderful time of year for just about anything, but especially for taking stock and making plans.

Welcome to Fall.

Autumn equinox is the first day of fall. How is that different from a solstice? : NPR

Fall starts at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, a day officially known as the autumn equinox.

* * *

Twilight Surprise

The sky burns down,
A rim of coals glowing gold and red,
Limned with orange again
And kissed with hints of pink.
The clouds reflect tangerine and plum,
Overshadowing the silent glory.
Darkness and light,
Balanced upon this equinox,
Dance together like old lovers …
… and beget beauty.

― Elizabeth Barrette, From Nature’s Patient Hands

* * *

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

Watch the Stars

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”

― Marcus Aurelius

* * *

Photo by Josh Gordon on Unsplash

Exposure Therapy 101

Are you a writer? Afraid of rejection? Wish you had a thicker skin? Practice getting rejected with the Journal of Universal Rejection!

The founding principle of the Journal of Universal Rejection (JofUR) is rejection. Universal rejection. That is to say, all submissions, regardless of quality, will be rejected. Despite that apparent drawback, here are a number of reasons you may choose to submit to the JofUR:

• You can send your manuscript here without suffering waves of anxiety regarding the eventual fate of your submission. You know with 100% certainty that it will not be accepted for publication.

• There are no page-fees.

• You may claim to have submitted to the most prestigious journal (judged by acceptance rate).

• The JofUR is one-of-a-kind. Merely submitting work to it may be considered a badge of honor.

• You retain complete rights to your work, and are free to resubmit to other journals even before our review process is complete.

• Decisions are often (though not always) rendered within hours of submission.

Folks, I conducted my exposure therapy the old-fashioned way, submitting story after story to multiple venues until my skin grew hard as nails. If only I’d known about the JoUR sooner!*

* Seriously though, it’s worth getting past this particular hurdle. Whatever works for you!

* * *

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

* * *

Just keep going. Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

As the world says goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II, here’s an interesting story I’d never heard before, starring the British queen and an American duke.

When Duke Ellington Made a Record for Just One Person—Queen Elizabeth

By early 1959, the finished work was ready for performance. The Queen’s Suite was now a 20-minute work in six movements. The band recorded it over the course of three sessions in February and April 1959. A single golden disc was made, and sent to Buckingham Palace.

Now we can listen to it, too.

* * *

Photo by Ryan Johns on Unsplash

Cuteness, Thy Name Is

Ok, fine, we still don’t 100% have a name for the cat but Chewbacca a.k.a. Chewy is currently in final trials. He’s extra large, very furry, talks a lot in a language most don’t understand, and his nickname is appropriate for a lover of food.

He is also an excellent hunter and downright adorable.

* * *

Raawwwrrr!

Worth It

Mr Man: “What do you say we go for a bike ride?”

Me: “Good plan. Let’s head over to that ice cream shop that’s just a little too far away for a walk.”

Mr Man: “Wouldn’t that undermine the point of exercise?”

Me: “It’ll be great, we’ll earn our calories!” (Secretly thinking, “It will be great, we won’t have to earn these calories!”)

/delightful interlude involving a low-key afternoon ride, a dipped hazelnut praline cone (his), a very large cotton candy milkshake (mine, they were out of strawberry), and a complete lack of guilt despite the fact that we consumed much too much sugar. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to summer.

Me, leaving the ice cream place: “Um, pretty sure your front tire is flat. How far do we have to go?”

Mr Man: “Walking? About an hour.”

And that, folks, is how we paid for that ice cream.

* * *

Photo by Svitlana on Unsplash

Beavers Do It Better

And now, a brief promo for Canada’s national animal.

An unlikely ally in the face of wildfires and droughts: the humble beaver

In the face of increasing wildfires and droughts, scientists are looking to a highly skilled “environmental engineer” to help fight climate change: the industrious beaver.

* * *

Photo by Tim Umphreys on Unsplash

The Rise of Fat Alberts

I’ve always enjoyed Mary Roach’s science writing (especially Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void and Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal). I also have family in Colorado, spent many of my formative mountain-biking and blueberry-picking years trying not to encounter bears*, and passed a conservation truck with a (reassuringly sturdy) bear cage in the back just the other day. 

All of this means that Roach’s essay caught my attention, and so today’s fun bit of reading is about the perils, and promise, of life with bears. It’s an excerpt from her latest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law.

Black bears are back and in your back yard | New Scientist

With a growing percentage of Fat Alberts, will coexistence eventually become a possibility? Or even a policy? Could we live with bears in the backyard the way we live with raccoons and skunks?

* I grew up around black bears like those in this article. Large and potentially dangerous, sure (the rule was never get between a bear and her cub, because yeah, just no), but they’re not grizzlies or polar bears. They can be a very different kind of story. (One that starts with “nom” and ends with… you may not be around for the end.)

* * *

Would you be this chill with all those mosquitoes on you? I would not. Photo by John Thomas on Unsplash

Quote and Pretty Picture

Ever had one of those days? We all have, and today it was my turn, some days are just like that. And that, friends, is why today is quote and a pretty picture day!

“Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.”

― Susan B. Anthony

* * *

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

Funny Bone

It’s Tuesday, so you almost got an encouraging quote and pretty picture, but this short story appeared in my inbox. 

I was never a philosophy student but the message still tickles my funny bone (I probably would have taken that job, though).

You might like it too.

Recipe by Tina S. Zhu

Makes one reluctant vampire hunter.

Ingredients:

     1 desperate jobseeker

     4 YouTube videos on cooking with tomato sauce

     2 fire alarms, batteries not included

     1 friend willing to smuggle blood

     4 cloves garlic

     1 gallon expired holy water

* * *

Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash