Happy New Year

In just a little over a day, depending on when and where you're reading this, we can kiss ol' 2008 goodbye. The year will get tucked safely into the anals of history, and like most things historical, forgotten. Hey, don't let the screen door hit you!

But, I'm perplexed. Why does one year end and a new one start dead in the middle of the coldest, yuckiest time of the year? If you've ever been to New England during December and January, you'd know what I was talking about.

I don't much understand the fascination with traveling to New York City to celebrate New Year's Eve either. You get a much better view of the ball dropping from the comfort and warmth of your own living room if you just watch it on TV! Why would you want to stand outside in the freezing cold for hours in a crowd of thousands all waiting for that split second in time that marks the change of years? It's sure not likely you'd find a public restroom if you needed it.

Wouldn't it be so much more enjoyable if the new year started on, say, April 1? You'd have April Fool's Day and New Year wrapped into one with the perfect excuse to be the idiot you'll become when you drink too much anyway. At least it would be a bit warmer, and that means you'd drink more.

Better yet would be if the New Year fell on July 4. Yeah. We could celebrate our freedom from one heck of a nasty year. And, we'd drink even more due to the heat-induced thirst.

I'd even settle for a time of year when both the northern and southern hemispheres had nice weather. That would be OK with me. Just not in the dead of winter during the coldest, rottenest time of year.

Whoever decided the new year starts on January 1 really blew it. It doesn't make any sense to me. What was the excuse for it? I'd like it to be in the spring when the gray starts turning green and everything looks new again.

Then again, it just might not be such a bad idea after all. Lately, it appears as though everyone needs a pick-me-up and a major change to feel hopeful again. January 1 is a good time of year for that, and not a minute too soon. Just leave the blues in 2008. That'll work.

Happy New Year!


The World is Ending

What would you say if I told you that the world is going to end? It seems logical to me: If it begins, it must end. You know, it's like a "what goes up, must come down" sort of thing.

Let me put a different spin on it. What would you say if I told you that the world as we know it is going to end?

Firstly, I insist that you forget about saying things like, "oh well," "it's God's will," or "life's a bitch and then you die." That's a cop out, and you know it. That's passive-resistance, and that just doesn't cut it. It's not an option.

Secondly, I insist that you forget about looking elsewhere, looking for someone else to give you the answer, or at the very least, to give you a hint. This is something that only you can answer for you.

The world as we know it is coming to an end. It's happening right now.

While you're thinking about that, consider this: Darwin may have hit the nail on the head with his "survival of the fittest" theory when it comes to the various life forms sharing this Earth with us, but that theory does not apply to humanity. Why? I'll answer with another question: What good would it do to eliminate everyone else so that you could live? People are social. We need and want others around us so that we can survive. We also need and want all the Earth's life forms too. Nothing survives without everything else. It's a finite, closed system.

If your house was burning down around you while you slept, or a raging bear was coming at you, you'd want and need someone to step up and help you out. Both of you would survive the situation, but one alone wouldn't.

'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' This isn't something that applies only to the things you shouldn't do, but the things that you should. Proactively. When you see a house burning down or a bear hell-bent to kill, you step up to the plate and do what needs doing. You see, if the person in the house or at the receiving end of that bear's wrath dies, you end up alone, all by your lonesome, and far less likely to survive much longer as a result. Unless everyone survives, you don't either.

The sticking point is that if you help others only so you survive, it won't work. This can't be a selfish thing.

The cool point about it all is that it is instinctual to help others. If you weren't a thinking animal, you'd be helping without a second thought, immediately, without reserve, without qualm. You would be inherently selfless and altruistic.

Yes, the world as we know it is ending. Will you remain the same, or will you become true to your nature and survive?


Holiday Wishes

There are times when I love so much that it hurts to breathe. More often are the times I want to give that love, to sing it out, to shout it out. Christmas seems like the perfect time to give it all, to release the pent up love without constraint, to bring a smile to a worry-creased brow and a light to a dulled and tired eye.

But, retreat is what I do. It's a melancholic, pensive sadness that I feel as I experience the various emotions that others unknowingly radiate and project. Too often, what touches me is far more instances of loneliness, sorrow and fear than joy and happiness. It's a heavy weight, and I retreat further so that what I feel doesn't add to what others may feel.

There are many alone in their loneliness. The elderly, the single, the orphaned, the bereaved. The lines are long at food banks and for free meals. Cupboards are bare and homes colder, teeth chatter and stomachs growl. Hope is thinning. Hope for tomorrow may be all that's left.

My retreat is temporary. It's not right to deny giving, sharing, being there for others. No bright colored wrapping, no bows or glitter; just me. All of me.

There is a peaceful calm that comes from returning naked to the true nature of giving. May you share your love in the same way.

Welcome home.

*Image: "Maitreya 2" by Nicholas Roerich.


I'm Going as Fast as I Can!

I've got my little advertising card running on four blogs right now. How did I do that? Well, I know how; I just click that little green button with the check mark on it as I visit blogs and like what I see. I just don't pay attention to the calendar and actually plan when ads run, fool that I am. Now I have an overflowing Inbox and way too many good things to read!

Thanks to Jean's Musings, who is lamenting the loss of time to blog what with all the Christmas stuff going on;  Uncommon Photographers, who is also lamenting, but this time it's because he's now looking at snow instead of bikini beaches; Functional Shmunctional, who put me on the floor right away with "'Tis the season to lose reason! Fa-la-la La-la la-la La La Pass the drinks and screw the season! Fa-la-la La-la la-la La La;" and the All Arkie Army, who is trumpetting on about a new football coach. Yes, thanks for my very flat ass today!

Did I tell you I like these blogs? Yes, I do. They are great. I do my best to visit them every day to see what they are up to.

Well, these days, I do very little fast. About the only time I can remotely be accused of going fast is when Mother Nature is screaming while I'm driving home. (There's a roll of toilet paper with my name on it! Get there now!) Needless to say, I don't even try to visit 300 blogs a day. Um, not in this lifetime. I get caught up in reading, leaving comments, enjoying the photos and forget that I'm supposed to be doing this quickly. Nah, it wouldn't be fun that way.

I about fell off my chair once again when I ran into a Crotchety Old Man ranting about blogs with so many ads and widgets that no one cares about only to find very little else there (I'm being kinder than he was, heh). Let me add to that those huge snow flakes that fall and crash my browser at most or prevent the Entrecard widget from responding at best. And, that's when I lose my focus altogether and completely forget about getting to all the blogs that visited me today.

So, yep, I started dropping last night at 11 p.m. when the day rolled over to the new one, and yep, I'm still sitting here at 6:30 p.m. today. I'll be here until the day rolls over to a new one too. Hey, you can't accuse me of blowing your pagerank!

Thanks for stopping by today and for visiting some my favorite blogs that brought you here. Take a second or two to notice that the widgets I have here are ones that promote people who read and leave comments and widgets that link to my favorite blogs. Visit some of those blogs and the one on my E widget if you're also not worried about dropping cards and running off. You'll enjoy them all!

Time to take a break and let my cheeks return to their natural form a bit. I'll be back in a little while.

7:45 p.m. - I just had to laugh once again! I was just on a blog reading away when I looked over at the sidebar to see "Click my fish tank." No way! It didn't look like fish - it looked like swimming sperm! No thank you!


First Lady of Star Trek

Majel Barrett Roddenberry passed away on December 18. Her son is quoted at Roddenberry.com: "My mother truly acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Star Trek fans played a vital role in keeping the Roddenberry dream alive for the past 42 years. It was her love for the fans, and their love in return, that kept her going for so long after my father passed away." - Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry, Jr.

Star Trek was one of those shows that had me glued to the TV every week as a child. I'd lay on my belly on the floor right in front of the TV, chin in my hands, trying my best to peer through the snow because the station didn't quite come in all the way. I idolized Spock, made my fingers do the Vulcan "V" and worked to make my left eyebrow go up when I found something "fascinating." I idolized the logic in the character, and imitating it gave my very emotional, sensitive, creative brain an anchor. I still watch reruns of any of the Star Trek shows, and of the original series, I've seen each episode, oh, about 25 times, if not more.

Majel Barrett played the sickbay nurse, and she suited the part well. She did her job. I never knew until many years later that she was the wife of Gene Roddenberry. When she played Deanna Troi's mother on ST:TNG, she expanded her acting and let loose a bit of eccentricity. The small parts that she played always stood out.

The Roddenberrys took us 'where no man has gone before' and it will be awhile before we catch up to them. They kept our eyes ahead and on the future.


It's That Time of Year

Oh, the joys of Christmas shopping. It's bumper-car shopping carts, bruised ankles, endless lines and everyone's bad breath. It's hoping upon hope that there will be one left on the shelf by the time you get there and spending way more because there wasn't and you had to come up with a Plan B so no one would be disappointed. Once the fight for the last one on the shelf is over, you head to wait in line, a very long line that is even slower because someone decides to argue about the price the register rang up.

OK, so you knew how bad the stores would be. You've been there before. It's just that lately, you've been feeling a little 'off.' You wear a smile, but it's not what you're feeling inside. You don't want to bake and cook and wrap or go visiting, come up with a dish for the office party, fill out a pile of Christmas cards... There's a cup of hot cocoa and a comforter with your name on it, and you plan to shut off the phone too.
SAD: What it is and What to Do 
On top of all this, you are worried about a close friend who seems to be struggling through the holiday bustle worse than you.  What do you do?  What can you do?
How to Help Someone Who is Depressed 
Just how much help would you be to someone who is depressed when you feel stressed out and close to depressions yourself? What if you can't help because you're stressing yourself out?
How to Keep Stress Positive
Too Much Stress
Well, that's all fine and dandy. You feel a little better now, but you wonder just how long it will last. Tomorrow is another day with a long list of things to do, and you know the stress will mount again.
Life is Loudly Knocking: How to Open the Door
There, that should do it.  That cup of cocoa and that warm comforter will be just the thing at the end of the day. Everything's wrapped and under the tree, the baking is done, and the guests will arrive in the morning. It will be fun. It will be relaxing.


Iced In!

This is the view from my front window. Arkansas was blasted with ice across most of the state last night. Yes, that's ice on the driveway, not snow!

It's so cold! The furnace has been running non stop for hours now, and even though I have on two pairs of sweats, a heavy sweater under a sweatshirt and, heaven forbid, socks on my feet, I'm still cold. I don't like wearing socks, but I like cold feet even less.

Odin crunches on the ice when he walks by my window, his mane a mass of ice strands. He's made a few runs around the pasture, bucking and rearing and running like his pants were on fire. Awesome sight to see. The two little dogs, who have never seen ice or snow before, tip toed quite awhile before trusting what they were walking on, then romped around as usual. The two older dogs went out and came right back in; too cold for them to want to be out.

And me, I just watch from the door or window, not even sure I could layer any more on to stay warm enough to be outside. The schools are closed and just about everything else too, and the only vehicles I've seen go by are kids on ATVs.

I had to drive in that ice last night, and hope I don't have to tonight. But, you know I will if I have to cover a story. Right now, I don't think I'd trade my four-wheel drive truck for anything!

I could use more milk for hot chocolate. I was resisting it, but now I think it's time to just hole up and hibernate. I'll get more milk when it warms up again. Brrrr...


Think for Yourself Already!

For the umpteen-millionth time, the world is going to end. So says Leeland Freeborn, known as the Parowan Prophet in Utah.

Freeborn predicts that major riots will prevent Obama from taking office. The old Soviet guard will take advantage of the disturbances and launch nuclear missiles, killing over 100 million people in the US.

The nuclear destruction will be the "Lord's wrath."

Here, my dear readers, is where I blow a ballistic gasket.

I'm not talking about the prophecy. I'm talking about the "Lord's wrath" statement.

Why? Because this is the sort of irrational, illogical conclusion that results from swallowing whole someone else's interpretation of God. This is the same dogmatic, literal, dead-letter interpretation of religion that resulted in planes crashing into the World Trade Center and Pentagon!

You can fill libraries with prophecies that have come true and many more that didn't. Prophesies are only warnings of would 'could' happen. You can take the gamble and ignore them and hope external factors won't fall into place, or you can proactively intervene. Even hearing a prophecy could be enough to divert the prediction. In the end, a prophecy is no different than any other forecast, outlook or projection. Would you call a weatherman a prophet?

My impatience, indignation and ire comes from a lifetime of witnessing people proclaiming "God's wrath," "a vengeful God" and even "a forgiving God" instead of placing the responsibility where it belongs: with themselves.

Look within, confront your gigantic leaps of faith and find the answers to your questions, because you will have questions as soon as you start to think. No one can define God for you. You have to do it yourself. Do it!


Random Burning Questions of Mine

There have been a few burning questions running through my brain of late. They're the kind of questions that, you know, you wish you had someone to ask about. Oh, don't worry. I'm way past the "birds and the bees" kinda questions. You're safe.

Here goes. My latest gadget is an iPhone. I love the thing! Question #1 is how ever did I get along without it? It has everything I need for what I do. Email, text messaging, Web access, synced calendar and contacts, mapping/GPS... I use the iPhone to set an alarm instead of my alarm clock because it's easier. Question #2 is why do they think everyone who buys an iPhone monitors stocks? I sure don't, and for those that do play the stock market and own an iPhone, I can almost bet they've thrown the thing a few times already.

Staying on the techie side of things for just a minute more, I have to ponder this one. I use an aircard on AT&T's EDGE network to access the Internet, the fastest connection I can get out here in the middle of nowhere. Question #3 is why in the world should wind affect the connection stability? I'll throw it out the window if it disconnects me one more time!

Now, please don't shoot me for asking the next question. I really want to know, and am certainly not trying to be insensitive. Question #4 is what is Pinoy/Pinay, and why are some certified and what exactly does that mean? And Bisdak? What is that?

This one is political. Question #5 is how in the world can the government so blatantly ignore the people by going ahead with bailouts of both the financial and the auto industries? The power of the whole capitalist economy lies in the hands of the consumer. If the economy would be shored up, wouldn't it be logical to protect the masses that purchase instead of the idiots that squander the people's money? I just don't understand this. If there is logic in all this, I sure can't see it.

Another piece of logic is slipping through the cracks too. Question #6 is how many people in the US own a computer and are Internet connected? If it's not everyone, 100% across the board, then any flack about switching print media to online delivery is moot. That's one thing that everyone needs to get into their heads and fast.

Shifting gears yet again is, I think, my last question. Question #7 is what do you think about nostalgia? Do you look back at days gone by and feel better or worse about things now?

Answer any one of my random, burning questions, or all of them if you've a mind to. Help me broaden my understanding of things, ok?


A Cure for Swiss Cheese for Brains

Swiss cheese for brains. Yep. It had been getting bad lately, more so than usual. I could lose my train of thought in the middle of a sentence. It made writing a bit ...interesting... and time consuming. Somewhere along the way, someone must've hit my head with scatter shot to turn my brain into Swiss cheese like that.

I finally remembered - at the right place and at the right time - that I was having difficulty with my memory. No, it's more than that. It's concentration and focus too. Yep, I was in Walmart in the Pharmacy department, standing there immobile for I don't know how long, when it clicked. Vitamins! It worked before, so I'd better grab some now and fast ...before I forget again.

Just think about what it's like for a minute. Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in the shower... Wait! Don't close your eyes. You won't be able to read if you close your eyes. Um, picture yourself standing the shower and doing nothing because you can't remember where in your routine you are. Do I soap next? Did I shampoo yet? I even forget that I'm in a hurry and need to take a quick shower, not a long and relaxing one. Driving had become rather interesting too. Heh.

I really need to get some of the good vitamins, the real things, not this Walmart generic excuse for a nutritional supplement. I'm already frightened about buying generic since I found out they are imported and not regulated by the FDA. But, the bank account balance rules, no matter how much I might need the good stuff. So I grabbed a bottle of the One Daily Enhances Memory version of Equate.

I popped one of those horse pills just as soon as I got home. A half hour later, wow. I was zinging along like someone laced my drink with funny stuff. My typing speed increased. I wrote whole sentences at once. Even the next morning's shower happened quick like it was supposed to. What the heck is in this stuff? What happened to all the fluffy wool that's been covering my eyes for so long?

Like, for instance, the sliding glass door had been a bear to open. It became so difficult to wrangle with that the handle broke off. I had bought a can of WD-40 months ago and forgot why I needed it by the time I made it home. I finally remembered and sprayed the door's tracks. That puppy slides with a finger tip now. Duh.

I can see so much better now too, and that's pretty handy. My eyes felt like they were carved out of stone for the longest time. Night before last, I was driving back roads, and I got to thinking I'd better be really careful. I drove slower than usual, remembered to keep my focus on the road, and thought I had made it without incident. About a mile from home, a deer jumped out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes with both feet, locked up the anti-lock brakes and managed to not hit that deer. Prior to the vitamins, my vision and reaction time would've been down, and that deer would be toast.

I have round hay bales for the winter, and they are on the highest point of my flat land, down the driveway a bit. The last time Tim and I moved one into the pasture for the horse, we pushed it; and though the things are round, 1,000 pounds of hay doesn't roll easy enough for it not to be a major undertaking. I had to move the truck out of the way to move a round bale, and sitting there behind the wheel, it hit me. Why not push the round bale with the truck? The only thing Tim could say was, "How stupid." He said the same thing after I sprayed the door tracks too. How stupid indeed. That big ol' bale just, nice and neat, rolled right into place. Duh.

It's so good to have my mind back! Oh how I missed my brain! Now, keep your fingers crossed for me that all the pills in my bottle of cheap vitamins actually contain vitamins. Heh.

Quick Tip: Use Name/URL When Commenting

One of the best ways to increase your page rank, which in turn increases your search standing, is increasing the number of links back to your blog. The best way to easily do that is by commenting on other blogs.

But, Blogger makes that a little difficult to do. The default templates are "nofollow" and if you leave a comment, the default is a link back to your profile instead of your blog.

I followed Blogger Buster's tutorial on getting rid of the "nofollow" parts of the templates on both of my blogs to allow 'linklove' for everyone that chooses to comment. It's easy to do.

How to do it. When you leave a comment on my blogs and any other Blogger blog, choose the "Name/URL" option instead of accepting the default Google ID. The name you leave will be what shows up as the linked text. The URL you leave is the address to your blog, and it needs to be a complete URL. You have to include the "http://" part of it. For instance, this blog's complete address/URL is http://bumpypath.blogspot.com, and that is what I enter whenever I leave comments on other blogs.

The other thing I've done is add a Top Commenters widget. The most frequent commenters during the last 30 days will show on the list and it also includes a link back to the address you used to sign your comments. If you use the default Google ID, it will only link back to your profile and not your blog.

So, go ahead and take advantage of all the linklove/backlink opportunities and use the Name/URL option when leaving comments on Blogger blogs!

Hope this helps.


Doing What You Love Isn't Work

The oft heard thread during the Industrial Revolution declared that innovation and technological advancement would free up time for everybody. The ideal was a three day work week with leisure time dedicated to learning and creativity. Humanity would evolve and grow beyond the mundane. No one would starve, everyone would have what they needed to survive... Ah, utopia. The dream was possible, just not probable.

Perhaps the disappointment surrounding the loss of such an idealistic future led to work as a drudgery, a discouragement, a necessary evil, or at the least, a mind-numbing daily experience. That it's attached to a paycheck and the only means of survival seals the deal. Work is a four-letter word. Work sucks.

When idle hands are an idle mind didn't work, the next bit of wisdom opined that doing what you love isn't work. The motivational intent dwindles during a mind-numbing education and responsibility shrinks under repetitive, isolated tasks. People become as inanimate as mop handles and staplers. Potential is neutralized.

The simple act of identifying this sinkhole frees you from it. How's that? Creativity. Anything that you do can be done creatively. Even looking for the creativity in a mundane task is creative.

Meaning, satisfaction, potential, possibility, responsibility replace the mundane with life. Light the fire and be creative.


Lighting the Night

This has always been a tough time of the year for me, and melancholy prevails. Yet, there is no denying the splendor of a 60,000 strand illumination (above) of a college campus, or the fun and funny lighting of a park on a town's Main St. (below).
Someone said today that his faith in humanity and people was restored after witnessing help and time and work given from so many people to help one family. I documented that story, and that gentleman was correct. Though we are always hearing of the bad, there is as much, if not more, good happening, and it's all around us. While the neighbor on the corner decorates his home, he offers the beauty to everyone that passes by, and every "wow" is a moment of relief, pleasure, and joy at the sight. The good is there. We just have to choose to see it.

I'm determined. This year, I will not burrow down deep to huddle in my little life with the blankets over my head. Like on Thanksgiving, I will be available to the paper to document the events of giving that happens around here.That will be my contribution.

I will not let this holiday season be a tough one.


Arkansas' Fallen Heroes

After visiting two holiday events last night, what took my breath away was not all the splendor and cheer of beautiful Christmas lights, but this sobering sight. It is called "Arkansas' Fallen Heroes" memorial, and it travels throughout the state. It commemorates the soldiers from Arkansas that gave the ultimate sacrifice for me and my country during Operation Iraqi Freedom. There are about 100 flags in this display of thanks, and a reminder to all as the Christmas lights shine through in the background, to remember these soldiers and their families today, tomorrow and always.


We're in the Homestretch Now

November was such a tumultuous month that I'm glad we all get to sit back and enjoy the crazy holiday preparation season now. I can say that since I don't shop. Heh.

November was so intense with the election of not everybody's desired candidate, the recession-maybe-depression-maybe not economic fluctuations, the government bailout of the idiots that caused it saturating the national headlines so totally that things locally spiraled almost as much, which had an impact on the stories I covered for the newspaper. Talk about getting caught up in it all!

The things I wrote about here reflect that vortex of chaos, but you have to read between the lines and consider where my newspaper stories have led me to figure out the "why" behind what I wrote. Witnessing how adroitly politicians backstab is one of those that drove me to write about duality.

In an attempt to break away from it all, I took the opportunity to write about breaking a colt that hit three birds with one stone: a meme, another warning about the dangers of following TV cowboys, and a safe way to live through a colt's first ride.

I read quite a few blogs, as do you, so with my already lowered tolerance for chaos, I wrote about the common mistakes in English that I see way too often. I think it goes along with my sudden ... discomfort, shall we say ... about growing old. Time marches on, so no sense in kicking that particular dog yet.

I told you about a few great finds in new blogs. One is English Conversation Online, which I learned about right after writing about English mistakes. It's written by Mike over at My Thai Friend. Not only does Mike talk about the English language, but fills it out quite a bit by talking about the experiences that go along with learning a new language. He's opened my eyes a few times already. Another new blog I'd like to point out is my friend Karen's at The Princess's Carriage. She owns a horse and carriage company here in Arkansas, and is getting her feet wet with blogging. I'd say she's done a good job so far!

As a member of the All Arkie Army, we've nominated and elected our first two rounds of honorary captains. I'm pleased to say that the friends I nominated at pamibe and Functional Shmunctional both got badges pinned into their chests. They are nicely done badges designed by The Hawg himself, the leader of our little Army of bloggers. Congratulations again, Pam and Grandy, you've both earned the captainship because of your fantastic, top-notch blogs!

Thanks to the bloggers that dropped here 31 times this month: My Thai Friend, Symphony of Love, Technically Easy and Turnip of Power! You're the best of the best, and I read you every day! Turnip, thanks for your help this month. You're great!

Oh, one last thing. I finally found a Blogger template that I really like for eyebald and made the change two days ago. The theme is made by DJ Yano over at Online-Quest, a fellow Entrecarder. Hats off to you, DJ for the super fast response and help with the embedded contact form! I had tried other themes, had problems and the authors didn't bother to respond to distressed pleas for help. I'm no dummy when it comes to diving into the code behind the template, but the things I want to accomplish are sometimes beyond my HTML/CSS knowledge. When I learn XML, I'll be doing my own templates. Um, that won't be any time soon. Therefore, I recommend DJ highly for not only his great templates, but for his willingness to stand behind his work.

One more month and the year will be over. Time marches on. I suppose that means it's time to start thinking about New Year's resolutions. December always seems to fly by, so grab onto your hats with both hands!

Cold Feet

Even though it's questionable what was on the end of his nose, Jiggers was sure a cute puppy. From the get-go, when he looked at me, the intelligence just poured out of him. He's very aware and vigilant.

Do you see that stuff on the ground? OK, I admit, the very first flakes falling to collect on whatever they fall on is one of those things that I love to see ... as long as it's gone the next day. In upstate NY, in an area known as "the armpit of America," the last winter I was there, it started snowing in October and kept snowing until April, and the snow never melted during that winter.

Since I grew up there, snow was just another one of those things that came with life. I had it down: Leggings under jeans, thermal socks in insulated riding boots, t-shirt under sweater under sweatshirt under jacket, two pairs of gloves and a scarf around my neck if I remembered it. All this took about 10 minutes to put on, just to go out to feed the horse. First the nose would freeze, sometimes freezing nose hairs together, then the feet would follow. Heading back into the house, I'd look at my watch only to see that I had been outside 10 minutes. And I thought I had it down. The bitch of it is, once my feet get cold, they won't warm up again until the spring. I'm never truly warm when my feet are cold, and it makes me truly bitchy.

That's the reason why I took the plunge, packed everything up and moved south. Arkansas is where the dart landed on the map, and I haven't looked back. It looks the same here with the rolling hills and how green it gets in the summer. Much of the flora and fauna is the same. It gets hotter in the summer, but not by a whole lot. The weather itself is just far more pleasant than it ever was in NY. Lots more sun; sometimes too much sun, if that's possible. The best thing is that the summer lasts from the end of March all the way up to December.

For the most part, the only cold month has been January. There are times when it's difficult to decide what to wear for the day. It may be cold in the morning, but it could be in the 60s by lunch. You could have the car heater on going to work, and the air conditioning on for the drive home. Hey, I'm not complaining! It beats having cold feet for half a year!

But, this year is starting out differently. Sure, it's December and it should be cold this time of year. My NY blood tells me that it's expected. Only, I'm in Arkansas now, and it's not supposed to be this cold. I'm sitting here with a tank top under a sweatshirt under another sweatshirt on! I haven't had socks on my feet in over two years and would rather not go digging through everything to try to find any. Even though it hasn't snowed at all for the last three years, I saw a few flakes last night. Brrr.

Jiggers isn't so fond of the cold anymore either. He will go outside long enough to do his business, then he's waiting at the door to go back inside. I'm right behind you, Jigs.

Right now, my feet are cold and I'm getting bitchy. Sorry, Odin. Your breakfast is postponed until it warms up!