Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Weather and Music

Ok, so today is November 30th and tomorrow is December. Generally, rain at this time of year is more like cold drizzle that makes the rest of the world look gray and dreary. So, needless to say, I was not expecting a torrential downpour that looks more like a summer thunderstorm to happen this afternoon. Not only that, but apparently there was a tornado in neighboring town earlier today as well. And it's fairly cold outside, on top of that. I guess it continues to prove my point: Georgia weather is just darn weird.

Oh, and update about the howling monkeys that happened last week. I did a little research and discovered that our nightly friends are barred owls and what I heard was not a fighting breaking out between them. So, I was relieved to know that there is no violence going on outside in the early morning. I haven't heard the owls since that incident, but I hope they don't leave for the winter, as I like hearing them hoot.

Well, now that December is almost here, Christmas music has been playing in the house. I'm alternating between several artists like Enya (just discovered her "White Is in the Winter's Night" today and am completely hooked), Orla Fallon's new "Celtic Christmas" and Cadence Spaulding's "Holiday High". Enya's song, in particular, inspired me to write my first holiday/ winter-themed song this afternoon, and there is a slight possibility that more might come out of it.

Well, got to get back to history. My final paper is due next Friday, and I've had to do more research for it before giving it a complete re-write.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Angry Monkeys

Yes, I know; it is a very weird title for a blog post, but bear with me.

Within the last six months or so, we have had the pleasure of having at least two owls living in our area, and we can hear them hooting to each other at night (or, sometimes in the late afternoon, which is odd). Well, very early this morning, I woke up and was waiting for sleep to claim me again before the alarm went off, when I realized one of the owls was in our dogwood tree less than ten feet from my window and was calling to his partner (who was probably across the street, possibly closer to the neighborhood behind us, from the sound of it). It is a little creepy to hear the owl that close, but they are cool birds. Anyway, the calling went on, and I was about to drift back to sleep when something broke lose. What had started off as gentle calls suddenly erupted into frenzied screams and barking that sounded like I had stumbled into a forest filled with angry monkeys at each other's throats. And all of this was less than ten feet away from my head. And then, as suddenly as it had begun, it stopped after a moment. A bit hair-raising, to say the least. I have absolutely no clue what was going on, but perhaps the owls were having a lovers' quarrel or one of them got too close to a nest. Still, it was an interesting thing that happened this morning.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Still Here...

No, I have not disappeared from the face of the earth. Rather, I have been caught in the tidal wave of the college semester mixed in with the thrills of National November Writing Month (nanowrimo, for short).

As for school, I passed that rough spot a week or so ago and made it out all right. Things have still not slowed down yet, as this history paper is very fiendish and my sources are very poor. I am very much looking forward to the end of this semester. A few weeks ago I signed up for spring classes; I have advanced composition (a writing class that I'm totally stoked about), a history class about the Atlantic (in short, interactions between Europe, the Americas, and Africa), world literature, and modern poetry/drama (Blair and Christie will be in this class, and I suspect we will be quite the merry gang).

When I am not working on my classes, nanowrimo has caught my attention. I am a bit ahead of everyone, as I am currently around 27,000 words (a little over halfway). It is my first venture into the murder-mystery genre, and plus it functions as a way for me to rant about the political and moral state of America at this time.

Recently we have had to deal with a hurt cat, which has been a real joyous pain. It started a few weeks ago when our extremely fat cat Claws went outside for the evening. When she came back the next morning, she was shaking and had half of the fur on her back gone. We had no idea what had happened, as the wounds looked too clean to have come from an animal, but we guessed that maybe some neighborhood punks decided to try an early Halloween prank. We thought Claws would be ok, but that changed when we discovered a wound on her leg, which was bleeding onto everything including our comforters and bed sheets (a good reason to make your beds in the morning, I have discovered). We took her in to the vet a little over a week ago, and he told us that she was attacked by a dog who probably picked her up and, as a defense mechanism, she lost her fur. We were thankful, though, that Claws was not feverish and was eating normally. He put some things (the actual name escapes me at the moment)into her back to let the blood and stuff drain, and it has been a real joy to watch that gross stuff come out, especially when it ends up on you. I think it is a good reminder that I do not have the stomach to be a veterinarian (though I think history class sometimes is an even better reminder). Besides occasionally acting freaked out, Claws has calmed down somewhat and is acting more like her lovable self.

Well, enough of gross things. Otherwise life has been fairly hectic around here. Seth and Mandy have begun practicing for the Christmas performance at church in late December, and the choir's version of "Carol of the Bells" sounds absolutely beautiful; if we go, I will certainly record the entire thing and part of the show, much like I did for the talent show last September. The Friday before Halloween, the church had a fall dance at the Howland farm, and we had a blast; I did not dance as much, but I captured pictures and videos, though sadly neither are of the best quality. The weather that night was good, and the bonfire and dancing helped keep everyone warm. The first weekend in November was the church's annual ladies' retreat. It was a wonderful time, and I enjoyed having Christie come up with us and the Bowman girls; it certainly made the "slumber party" later that night very interesting when you have silly teenage girls mixed with coca cola at 11 PM. When we took a walk the next day, I discovered that fall in northern Georgia is absolutely stunning, especially when you pass near small farms with animals and walk under the colored trees.

And so, November has crept upon us. I cannot believe that the year is almost over and that Christmas is a month away. The weather has begun to cool slightly, but it is still pretty warm during the day. It has been a dry fall, which is probably why the leaves are so brightly colored this year. I am still hoping for snow.