Monday, February 13, 2017

A Glimpse of Hoar Frost

Last week we awoke to a thick heavy fog that blanketed the brown grasses and trees. The cool air kept me inside looking out.  The forecast the next day was for more fog along with colder temperatures, and I kept my fingers crossed that Mother Nature would delight us with a glistening morning of Hoar Frost.  However, we were lacking the key ingredient to form Hoar Frost--moisture. When it's cold enough outside and the air is filled with water vapor then Hoar frost can form. It is more often found near unfrozen lakes and streams on a cold morning when temperatures are fluctuating.

Several years ago we awoke one morning at our home on Quivira to see the grasses, bushes, and evergreens covered in ice crystals, sparkling in a light fog.  I threw on a heavy robe, grabbed my camera and ran out to take photos.  Even the grasses collected the ice crystals and crunched under my feet, but my camera could not capture the glistening grasses.

The ice crystals reminded me of why the Inuit Indians in Alaska have over a hundred names for snow, for these crystals could have each been knitted in various patterns by nature fairies. 

The term "hoar" come from the Old English word "har" meaning "gray, venerable, old. Hoar frost is found in O.E. c1290 expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard."
Hoar frost etimology

I wish my photos could have spoken a 1,000 words, and since they didn't I thought perhaps the poets might describe it best:

"The Valentine Wreath" by James Montgomery

For thy locks of raven hue,
Flowers of hoar-frost pearly,
Crocus-cups of gold and blue,
Snow-drops drooping early,
With Mezereon sprigs combine
Rise, my love, my Valentine.

"Legend" by Stephen Vincent Benet

The trees were sugared like wedding-cake
With a bright hoar frost, with a very cold snow,
When we went begging for Jesus' sake,
Penniless children, years ago. 

Nature may have disappointed me this week by not encasing us in silvered crystals, but I have faith that we will someday see these angelic dainty crystals on our bushes. Staying alert to natures' changes offers such delights, nearly as much as a touch of love at Valentines. 

Frost Flowers are another surprise beauty of nature. This story was posted last year. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Glorious Secret and other Burts

Johnie Stapp, the man who coined the word burts. 

Genetics certainly colors our lives from the inside out. We accept what can’t be changed, but strive to correct our ills. However, my sister, Jonya, and I have both inherited a flaw in our tongue that causes us to tangle words and sometimes tinkle! There’s a connection, just keep reading.

When we were quite young my father, a golf pro, was already suffering pain in his shoulders and elbows from years of swinging a golf club, hammering, building, and repairing cars.  One evening after dinner he stood up to reach for another glass of water, and dropped the glass as he reached toward the sink.  Three sets of eyes turned to see the calamity and then heard, “Dammit, my shoulder burts!”

His two daughters and wife sat in silence, afraid to laugh or giggle, but what we heard and what we saw eventually caused a total eruption of hysterics. As much as my dad wanted to scream at us for our rude behavior, he could only join us in the laughter. When the broken glass was cleaned up, a sigh of relief waffled across our shoulders and at last dad explained, “What I meant to say was that my shoulder hurts really bad.”  Burts may not be in the dictionary, but it certainly has held a place in our vocabulary for over fifty years.

One day while shopping and beginning to feel tired on our feet, my sister attempted to explain our feeling, “There’s always a side down to any saturation.” Being tired only added to our uncontrollable laughter, and then one of us felt a warm trickle down a leg. Oh, my. 

Not long ago, a friend asked me about my houseplants that were so strangely shaped. I tried to explain that my grandmother called them “Never Dies”, but the proper term is cacculent.” She looked at me strangely, and my eyes searched my brain back in forth questioning the words I uttered. I continued, “Cacculent, yes, that’s either a cactus or a succulent. You decide.” I appeared as innocent as possible with the newly coined word.

Driving somewhere one day with my comical sister she began to chatter about shopping and what she needed. “I need some new underwear that gives me some support."  Since we were in Tulsa I suggested Zach’s Fifth Avenue. She thought about it a moment and replied, “No I’d rather go to Gloria’s place?” She sat in thoughtful silence, “No, it's not Gloria's," still sighing and thinking, "It's Glorious Secret, for women like us."

"Yes," I laughed, "We'll keep it a secret."

She often makes driving difficult for me, especially in new cities when I’m not sure where places are. Needless to say, our GPS had never heard of A Glorious Secret nor Gloria’s Secret, but we did manage to find Victoria’s Secret, and Victoria's Tea room.

Now the weather spins its own vocabulary and on winter days when the temperatures reach the 70's it is merely "twing" time, in between winter and spring.  

My fit bit just buzzed which means it's time to gualk, or go for a quick walk with the dog on a twing day. 

Please share your own funny word combinations in the comment box below. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What? ……. Where’s my Brain?

With three teenagers at home and I the only taxi before and after school often created a very hectic schedule. Katy called from gymnastics, “Mom,” In a whisper of embarrassment I heard her dramatic voice, “Where are you? All of the other kids are gone, and I’m still here.”

“I can’t find the keys. I came in with the groceries and turned around to run back out the door and pick you up but I can’t find my keys.” My voice rose in frustration with each syllable I uttered. Without cell phones we depended on landlines, time limits, and neighbors.  “Call me back in five minutes, and I’ll see if I can find someone to pick you up.” Promptly hanging up, I turned to rummage through the groceries on the counter one more time.  Quietly, a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I swished to turn toward the touch only to face our youngest son, Matthew, who dangled a set of car keys in his hand.

In a monotone voice he spoke, “Is this what you are looking for?”

“Yes,” I screaked like a breathless actress trying out for a role, “Where did you find them?”

Soberly his large eyes looked at me with concern, “In the refrigerator.”

I paused for a moment to think! “Thank you.” I cried, then grabbed the keys and tore out for the door, “Oh, Matthew, please tell Katy when she calls that I’m on the way to pick her up.” I left him standing alone in that tiny kitchen, and felt like the worst mother in the world for abandoning our nine year old son, who had saved me once again.

So when I feel my age playing tricks on me, I remember how forgetful and chaotic life felt in my thirties…and forties.

The other day, I turned on the computer to finish a blog about a woman who sculpts ceramic hands, but I walked away to do something and forgot to go back to the computer.

This afternoon I came into to my playful room to color and draw and noticed my computer set up to work:  my notes about the lady sculptress were spread out over the Word 2013 Level 1 book showing my class assignment. Then my brain kicked on. I not only forgot to write the blog, I never did finish my class assignment from the day before. Now I was faced with three choices: draw, write, or study the technical reading step-by-step and finish the one class assignment.

I love my brain.  We (my brain and I) sat down without chaos and  doodled, colored, and piddled until at last the brain waves floated like clouds and I could think.

“Now let’s have some fun.” Whispered my brain.  So I put the lease on the peacefully sleeping dog and out the door we trotted. 

Guess I only have my brain to blame, or the disease CRS!

Oh, I’ve got to remember to buy cheese….