My Favorite Things

Right Now - March 2016

March came in like a lion . . . but it's (pretty much) going out like a lamb.

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I know spring -- and especially early spring (like . . . March) is fickle.  But I'm sure ready for the Real Deal to begin!

Here's what's happing for me . . . Right Now.

Watching  Well.  Nothing on television.  Because I've decided to move into a cave until the ugliness of the presidential campaign is behind us.  (I do come out to vote.)  (And watch movies.)

Reading  In my ears: The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (the 4th in this excellent quartet; I'm going to miss this series after I read this one);  in print: The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (good; compelling; but . . . well.  Confusing Bible names throw me off.)

Knitting  An adorable little toddler pullover for a great-niece-in-law (Tom's brother's son's daughter).  I missed making her a baby sweater (because timing) -- so need to hurry and get this toddler sweater off the needles before she grows some more!

Listening to  Bruce Hornsby.  (We'll be seeing him in concert as part of the Gilmore Piano Festival next month.)

 

Dreading  Taxes.  This weekend.  They WILL be done.  (And that is all I'm gonna say about that.)

Drinking  Chocolate milk.  Red wine.  Whisky.  (But not together.)

Planning  I'm creating my "Plant Watch List" of things I want for my garden this year.  I do this each year -- and it's a great way for me to stay loyal to my garden plan.  (Because it's so tempting to just start buying every pretty bloom I see.  And especially in the spring, when I'm starved for blooms.)

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Looking Forward to  Riding my new birthday bike.  Something new . . . a bit of a risk . . . but certainly - adventures ahead!

Humming  Bennie and the Jets.  (Yeah.  Still.)  (I tried to embed a video, but they're all restricted.  You'll have to sing it on your own.)  (I'm sure you already are. . . )  

Itching to  Do some sewing.  A copy of Merchant & Mills new Workbook (long ago pre-ordered) arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

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Delighted by  Tea Drops.  My sister sent me a box for my birthday.  Tasty.  Cool.  And they work just the way they say they will!

Organizing  I continue chipping away at organizing my digital photos.  It's a giant task -- and may never be truly complete.  But I'm working at it.  (It's made me just put my "real" camera aside for the time being.  Because, really.  I don't want more photos to organize right now.)

Enjoying Thunderstorms!  When they aren't violent, I just love a good thunderstorm.  

Celebrating  The end of an era and the beginning of something new.  ;-)

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . right now?

 


A Few of My Favorite (Random) Things

When I heard about this week's Ten on Tuesday topic from Carole, a certain song from a certain musical popped into my head.  I'll spare you the ear worm, though, and get right down to business with a few of my favorite things, random style.

(And in case that ear worm snuck in anyhow, lets counter it with this fun performance.)

 

1 - Favorite Time to Wake Up - 7:00 am.  Left to my own devices, I almost always wake up at 7:00 am.  I doesn't always work out that way, though.  (Because life.)

2 - Favorite Thing to Wear - Yoga pants.  (Oh, yeah, baby.  Every. Day.)

3 - Favorite Orchestra Instrument - Cello.  (And Smooth Criminal is my favorite Michael Jackson tune.  So . . . bonus.)

4 - Favorite Font - Calibri.  (Unless page-limited.  Then it's Arial Narrow for the win!)

5 - Favorite Fitness Activity - Swimming.  (A good, long swim pretty much "re-sets" everything - and that's another win.)

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6 - Favorite Lotion - Lavender Body Butter by Kalamazoo's own Opulent Blends.  (This stuff is great -- especially with winter dryness exacerbated by my frequent swimming.)

7 - Favorite Condiment - Mustard.  Almost every day, I make a little turkey-and-swiss sandwich for lunch.  And I always blast it with mustard.  (Yum.)

8 - Favorite NPR Program - The Moth.  (Love The Moth.)

9 - Favorite Beverage - Wine.  (A nice cab, please.)

 

10 - Favorite Music - Deathcab for Cutie. (For today, at least.)

How about YOU?  What are your favorite things . . . right now?

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Join the fun!  See what everyone else has to say . . . here.

 

 


Somewhat Nuts V

Saturdays are for . . . 

Looking up.

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There was a lovely, rosy glow in the sky this morning when I woke up to let the dogs out.  It's cold - and clear.

Show and Tell.

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I bought this cheery bird painting many years ago, when we first moved into our current house.  (We're in our 12th year here, so it's been awhile.)  It hangs in my front entryway, over a little knick-knack shelf next to the front door.

The painting just charmed me from the first time I saw it!

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I used to think of it as a "family portrait."  I was the bird with the long legs, firmly planted on the ground.  Erin was the little one, hovering above the ground, and Brian was the little, squat bird.  Tom was the one coming in for a landing . . . meeting us after work!  It makes me smile every day.

Puppies.

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When my kids come home, the first thing they do is get down on the floor for Proper Dog Greetings.  They love coming home to for a little Dog Time.

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And, trust me . . . it's mutual!  The dogs are awfully lonely when their far-away-pack-members leave them behind once again.  (For us AND the dogs, that will be later today as Erin and Keith head back to Pittsburgh.)

Enjoy your Saturday (this last in November . . . and last in NaBloPoMo!).

 


Right Now . . . November 2014

November . . . You've just gone whizzing past.  Leaving a trail of . . . weather . . . in your path!  

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Here's what's happening for me. . . Right Now! 

Watching . . . Snow come. Snow go. Not much on the ground at the moment (it's really amazing how quickly 19 inches of snow can melt in the crazy-weather days of November), but I hear more is on the way.

Reading . . . I'm reading Small Blessings (Martha Woodroof) on my iPad, and I've just started listening to Some Luck (the new one by Jane Smiley).  It's too early for me to have an opinion on either of them.  But I just finished We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - and loved it. WARNING:  If you're thinking about reading that last one, don't click the link and don't bother to read ABOUT the book before you begin.  This is one that is best approached without any fore-knowledge. (And that's coming from someone who has no qualms about reading the ending first.)

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Knitting . . . You guessed it!  Still working on this shawl.  But.  I'm so close to finishing that I can taste it!  A couple of good hours this weekend and I'll be done!!

Listening to . . . The new Foo Fighters album.  (Of course.)

 

Planning . . .  I am in FULL Holiday Planning Mode.  I kind of hate this part of the holidays, but once I get myself completely organized, I'll be ready to sit back and just let it all unwind.

Feeling . . . Better now.  But I've been struggling with a nasty attack of diverticulitis this week.  (It happens.)  I'm hoping to be back on solid food in time for Thanksgiving dinner. . .

Humming . . . Papa was a Rolling Stone.  Temptations.  (Don't ask.  I never know why these songs pop into my head.)

 

Wondering . . . How folks DO the Black Friday thing.  Because I just . . . can't. 

Drinking . . . Liquids.  (See above.)

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Itching to . . . Just sit.  And knit.  (But not until the weekend.)

Needing to . . . Get to the grocery store for One.Last.Thing.  (Before the CRAZY really begins.)

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Organizing . . .  All Holiday All the Time!

Delighted by . . . My new fridge!  (Our old one died . . . thankfully, in the midst of the polar vortex.  So we could just use the garage as our ice box.)  (I'm so excited because a matching new stove/oven is coming, too.  But not until after Thanksgiving.)

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Inspired by . . .  Craft Friday!  I heard about it first on Beverly's blog, and I am so excited to participate.  I have my materials ready.  (Now I just need to dig out my sewing machine. . .)

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Celebrating . . . Thanksgiving!  With both kids, their significant others, and my parents.  It's going to be a great day!

How about YOU?  What's going on for you . . . Right Now?


Somewhat Nuts IV

Saturdays are for . . .

Looking Up.

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The snow has finally stopped, and we were greeted by a lovely sunrise on Friday morning.  Today, however . . . freezing rain.  (You can't win 'em all.)

Show-and-Tell.

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This painting . . . is the last thing I see every time I leave the house (placed right at the back door and all).  It makes me smile every time I see it.  The artist?  Brian.  Third grade.  Apparently, he didn't "follow directions" in art class that day.  His was a little different than all the other third grade art students.  His teacher (NOT one of my favorites) pointed this out to me.  

But.  Isn't that what ART CLASS should be about?  NOT following directions?  Making it your own?  Being a litte different?  Why should an elementary school art class be promoting cookie-cutter crafting projects?  I was highly annoyed.  But delighted with the painting.

So I framed it.

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Puppies.

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This is Jake, our dog-before-Jenny . . . and the dog of my children's childhoods.  (That's also high-school-Erin; she was a sophomore.)  Jake was a white German Shepherd, most likely mixed with a bit of lab.  His instincts, though, were pure Shepherd - protect and defend!  He was an incredible dog -- and we still miss him every day!

Jake was a "herder."  He was very clear about his boundaries -- and he never stepped outside of them without our permission.  He kept the kids inside the borders, too!  When Erin and Brian were in elementary school, their bus stop was directly across the street from our house.  Jake would wait for them every day.  He knew when it was time for them to come home (of course), and he would position himself at the very corner of our yard.  (Really.  He couldn't be any closer to the boundary and still be in it!)  And then he would wait.  He'd get a little fidgety when the bus was close.  But he would never step outside the boundary.  He'd wait as the bus pulled up to the stop.  He'd wait while they got off the bus.  He'd wait while they crossed the street.  And then . . . but not until they stepped into the yard . . . he'd go CRAZY with welcoming them home!  And, of course, he would herd them all the way into the house!  

Happy Saturday!


Bright Spot in the Snow

So.  It's been doing this . . . 

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All. Week. Long.

(Nothing like they got in Buffalo, mind you!  But still . . . lots of snow.)

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(I took the photos above on Tuesday.  It snowed for 2 more days.)

When winter makes such an early appearance, you really need to dig deep and find your own bright spots.  Here's mine:

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Lovely red Italian leather gloves, full of memories of sunny Rome.

Take THAT snow and ice!

 


Somewhat Nuts III

Saturdays are for . . .

Looking Up.

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It was 12 degrees F when I woke up this morning.  (Seriously?  Already?)

Show-and-Tell.

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When I was a little girl, my mom had pilgrim candles just like these.  I loved them!  I thought they were just the cutest things.  Sometimes, I would sneak them in to play with my Liddle Kiddles, and sometimes my mom let me get away with it.  Over the years, the pilgrim candles took a bit of a beating (those Kiddles being a rough crowd and all), and I'm pretty sure my mom just tossed them at some point.  A few years ago, I found these reproduction pilgrim candles in some catalog, and the Nostalgia Wave washed over me.  Now, I'm really excited to get them out each November.  (No one else in my household is enamored of them.  But for me, they just bring a warm, cozy feeling.)

Puppies.

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There is MUCH Dog Joy in our back yard.  (Jenny and JoJo love frolicking in the snow, so they're having a grand time out there!)

Happy Saturday!


Somewhat Nuts II

Saturdays are for . . .

Looking Up.

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It's November.  The forecast is for cold and wet.  And the sky shows the truth in both of those statements.

Show-and-Tell.

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We have this globe in our library.  It's just a cheapy, made of cardboard on a faux-wood and plastic base (with a dent just off the coast of South Africa), but it's a great and oft-used globe.  It spins and tilts and comes in surprisingly handy!  It's so nice to have such a low-tech item in our high-tech world!

Puppies.

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These two look so well-behaved and attentive, don't they?  Waiting for my every command?  HAH!  They are just eagerly awaiting their dehydrated sweet potato snack that I'm reaching for in the cupboard behind me . . . after a lovely walk on a crisp fall afternoon!

Happy Saturday!


Somewhat Nuts

If someone were to ask me . . . 

On a scale of 1 to 10 ... just how nuts are you? 

I'd probably have to give myself a 7.  I'd call that . . . Somewhat Nuts.

Which is why I've committed to blogging every day in November.  (Along with several other partners in crime.)  It's kind of an overwhelming challenge -- coming up with something to say every day.  So we came up with a few "theme" ideas to get us through the overwhelming parts.

Margene is going to look up on Saturdays.

Carole is going to "show and tell" by sharing stories about things in her home on Saturdays.

Patty is going to talk about her dog, Boone, on Saturdays.

(I'm not sure, exactly, what Vicki will be doing on Saturdays quite yet.)

As for me?  I'm leaving it wide open.  

It's a beautiful (but cold) day here.  When I look up, this is what I see. . .

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And I'll "show and tell" you about this . . . 

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It's one of my pottery roses that I "collect" each year from a Michigan artist.  I have 4 of them, scattered around my bookshelves.  They are beautiful and make me smile -- and especially during the Bleak Months when there are no real blooms to be found in my garden.

And, of course, I can always highlight these two!

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They love to play together -- especially when they can work at destroying one of their new "indestructible" toys.  (Ha!)  (In human language, they have "ripped" and "shredded" and "made a mess."  In dog language, they have "killed" and "disemboweled" and "brought glory to the pack.")

So.  Somewhat nuts.  Sure.

But always open to a challenge!

 

 


Color Box(es)

When I was a little girl, I loved to color.  I would occupy myself for hours with a coloring book and my big box of "colors."  (I never called them "crayons.")  I'm not sure exactly what it was about coloring that was so satisfying, but it was.

Maybe it was using my fine motor skills.

Maybe it was the visual nature of seeing the colors on the page.

Maybe it was that my mind could wander and I could dream while I was engaged in a simple activity.

But I think . . . it was choosing the colors!

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling particularly stressed out from too much activity (and, truth be told, from the cold, monocolor world around me), I decided that what I really needed to do . . .

was color!

So I bought myself a new box of colors.

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And a new color book.

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And discovered the same pleasure from coloring that I had when I was a little girl.

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So much pleasure . . . that I decided . . . why stop there?

I decided to get out my "color box" of yarn and color with that!

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The knitting is slow - because color work often is - but I'm enjoying all the same elements that come from coloring with colors on paper:  

Practicing my fine motor skills.

Enjoying the visual nature of seeing the project unfolding in front of me.

Letting my mind wander and drift.

Choosing the colors!

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When it comes right down to it, what I really needed during this cold and drab (and never-ending) winter . . . was playing with my color box(es)!