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February 2015

Friday Mailbag


Dear Trusty Subaru Outback:

I just want to thank you for your faithful service thus far this winter.  Your all-wheel drive simply cannot be beat!  And I don't know what I'd do without your heated seats.  Even your back-up camera has proven useful as I negotiate the wall of snow at the end of my driveway (especially on garbage pick-up day).  But there's one thing I really want from you . . . that you just can't give me right now.  Yeah.  You know it, baby.  I want to open up your sunroof again!


Dear Achilles:

I am sorry that I didn't listen to you when you gave me early warning signs of your stress.  And I'm even sorrier that I tried to push you when I knew you were down.  I promise that I'll rest you for a few more days.  I'll apply ice regularly.  I'll keep doing my eccentric heel drops.  I'll even wear shoes in the house (even though it causes my entire being to shrivel just a little).  Is that good enough for you?  Can we move beyond this now?  


Dear Mark Torregrossa, MLive Chief Meteorologist:

Yeah, I saw your latest post over on MLive.  You said the words "hint of Spring" in your weather forecast.  I heard you.  You said "warming trend."  You mentioned "temperatures above the freezing mark."  I hope you're not just teasing, Mark.  Because I couldn't bear it.


Dear Mackinac Bridge Drivers:

I don't know how you do it.  The lakes are frozen over up there.  It's windy.  (Really windy.)  The snow is blowing hard.  The bridge is 5 miles long.  (A scary 5 miles in even the best of weather.)  Whenever I think the driving down here is bad, I'm just going to remember y'all . . . driving over that bridge . . . and be happy that I don't have to do it.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Right Now - February 2015

February . . . For such a short month, you're such a drag.  Really.  So much snow.  So much cold.  I am overwhelmed by the winter BLAHs, and I would just like it to be done now.  (Disclaimer:  This post contains quite a bit of whining.)

 That said, here's what's going on . . . Right Now.

WATCHING . . . I'm sort of in movie-withdrawal.  After seeing all Oscar-nominated movies, it just becomes what do I watch NOW???  So I count down the days (1) until Season 3 of House of Cards and turn to PBS for Grantchester.  (I'm also looking forward to seeing Cinderella and Man from U.N.C.L.E. when they hit the theatre.)  (The eye-candy in Man from U.N.C.L.E. is especially welcome on another cold winter day.  Just sayin.)

READING . . . My winter funk has wandered over into my reading list, where nothing sounds appealing to me.  (Really.  Winter is taking away my will to read.)  So I've turned to re-reading a book I already love (Plainsong) and then to a genre that never lets me down (classics) by diving into the Forsyte Saga (which has been on my to-read list for decades).

KNITTING . . . My winter funk spills over into my knitting, where I am somewhat uninspired and seemingly unable to make a decision.  What's a knitter to do?  I've cast on for my second Deep End, while I continue to contemplate the merits of various pullover sweaters.  (Someday I'll probably even cast on for one or the other of them.)

LISTENING TO . . . Diana Krall's new album, Wallflower.  (Perfect to wallow in the winter BLAHs, actually.)


DREADING . . . Another day without cardio.  Because, as if the winter BLAHs weren't enough to bring me down, I am also suffering from a flare of my Achilles tendinitis and can't jump, spin, run, or even walk right now.  So Pilates it is.  And if it doesn't clear up in a couple more days, I'll have to resort to the dreaded elliptical machine.  Or hit the pool again.  (Which is much preferable to the elliptical.)

DRINKING . . . More wine, please.  (And that's all I have to say about that.)

PLANNING . . . Where my Purge Project will take me next.  I've just gone through every closet, cupboard, shelf, and cubbyhole on the first floor of my house.  I've purged 30 boxes of books (the library thanks me), boxes and boxes and bags of things for Goodwill and other nonprofit organizations, and - sadly - many bags of trash.  (I'm recycling what I can, but some things must be thrown out.)  Anyway . . . where next?  I think to the bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs!

HUMMING . . . This.  (Ever since I watched Boyhood.  Can't get it out of my head.)


WONDERING . . . Why -40ºF and -40ºC are THE SAME!!!  Tom has tried to explain many, (many) times.  I just can't get it.  My head explodes every time.

ITCHING TO . . . I can't even with this one.  

ORGANIZING . . . Not much, actually.  While I've purged the heck out of 50% of my closets, I haven't organized any of the things I've kept.  It's part of the whole KonMari thing . . . organize AFTER purging.  (So my cupboards and shelves look like disaster victims right now.  Only the survivors remain. . .)

DELIGHTED BY . . . Seeing a sundog last week!  So glad I was at a good place to pull over and take this photo with my phone.

INSPIRED BY . . . Well.  Not much right now, actually.  I think I'd like to hibernate until this everlasting winter is OVER.

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . RIGHT NOW?

Hot Tub Time Machine


Right now, when we're busy setting coldest-temperature-ever-in-recorded-history records (day after ever-lovin' day) here in Michigan, ANY kind of hot tub sounds pretty darn good.


But a Hot Tub Time Machine?  Now that might get interesting!

Here are some events or time periods I'd like to visit . . . if I happened to have access to a Hot Tub Time Machine of my own.  I'd like to . . .

  1. Take part in a Women's Suffrage march.  (Votes for Women!)
  2. See Roger Bannister break the four-minute mile.
  3. Be in the audience for a Lincoln-Douglas debate.
  4. Share a bottle of wine with Ernest Hemingway and his friends at Les Deux Magots in Paris.
  5. Get high at Woodstock.
  6. Take a seat at Shakespeare's first-ever production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  7. Go to school with my mom when she was a little girl and play together at recess.
  8. Hang out and knit with Elizabeth Zimmermann.
  9. Pan for gold in the California gold rush -- and hit it BIG.
  10. Be in the stands for the Miracle on Ice.

How about YOU?  Where would you want to visit . . . in the Hot Tub Time Machine?


Join the fun!  Sign up to recieve Ten on Tuesday prompts here - or read other lists here!





One Little Vision

One of my favorite "prompts" from Ali Edwards' One Little Word program is always making a vision board.


The project is simple and "old school":  look in magazines for images and groups of words that inspire, and put them together as a vision board.

Although you won't find me creating a OLW scrapbook, I am all over the vision board!  I've always loved collecting images and words from magazines and catalogs -- ever since I was a little girl.  In the days before Pinterest, I used to keep files and notebooks full of stuff I'd clipped . . . for inspiration.  So this project is right up my alley.

Over the course of the month, I've looked through random magazines and clipped out things that just resonated for me.  This past weekend, I sorted through everything, and started grouping them together on a 16x20 inch canvas board.

It's always pretty fascinating to see how it all comes together - because themes and messages emerge.  This year, I was surprised by the uniformity of color in my images, and "action" words I found.  Here's a closer look at my board.

The upper left corner . . . 


The upper right corner . . . 


The lower left corner . . . 


 And the lower right corner (my favorite). . .  


I love making vision boards -- and I'm pretty sure this one will inspire me all year long!


Friday Mailbag


 Dear Mr. Frost:

You do create a lovely landscape.  There is something almost magical about watching the sun hit your handiwork on the hills and trees and rooftops of my neighborhood.  Brilliant!  And the patterns you create on my garage windows?  Nothing short of stupendous.  Really.  Each pane is a little miracle.  Still, despite the beauty you create, I have this to say to you:  Hit the road, Jack!  (And don't you come back no more. . .)


Dear Ryka Shoe Company:

We've had a long relationship, you and I.  Oh, I know it's been a bit rocky for the last two years -- but for the previous ten years, we were constant companions.  How I loved your old studio dance shoes!  The support was perfect for my every leap and spin.  The quality was excellent, and I could count on getting 6 solid months of wear out of each pair.  And the fit?  Why, Cinderella's glass slipper comes to mind.  Sure, your shoes weren't particularly attractive in a "fashion forward" kind of way, but who cared?  You were so consistently perfect for so long.  But then . . . you changed!  First, your quality slipped.  Odd seams were splitting.  Soles cracked.  Problems you never used to have.  And then, well . . . your standard studio shoes disappeared completely . . . and you replaced them with pretty faces.  Suddenly, you were all about being "on trend," playing with colors and patterns and such -- like you were Nike or something.  I didn't want hot teal shoes that fell apart and made my knees hurt.  I wanted my plain, old, ugly, black studio shoes!  I'll admit it . . . I started looking around.  I had flings with Capezio and New Balance.  Where did it get me?  Metatarsal issues and a flare-up of my Achilles tendinitis.  So I'm back.  But I'm still not happy with you.  At all.


Dear Jenny and JoJo:

I know you're used to a walk every morning when I return from the gym.  But really, we can't go right now.  Because the temperature is -15ºF before the wind chill.  Too cold.  Just too friggin' cold.  You'll have to trust me.  STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH THE SAD DOG EYES.  Maybe next week. . . For today, I'll make it up to you by giving you a ride in the car.


Dear Garden Buddha:

I haven't forgotten you.  Please continue to hold down the fort until the thaw comes.  



Happy Friday!  (Stay warm.)




Always With Me

As I explained last week, I'm letting my "inner artist" come to the surface this year as I explore my creative self with Carla Sonheim and Lynn Whipple's online Spark class.  So far, I've had a lot of fun trying some new things . . . and letting myself go WAY out of my usual "box."

But it has been a little more challenging than I thought.  And not because of the art-making.

Right off the bat, I encountered inner resistance.

You can't draw.
These people are REAL artists.
Who do you think you are?

I like to think of myself as a fairly confident woman.  I pretty much do what I want, say what I think, and step boldly.  I don't like to think of myself as . . . someone who can't.  

When that Inner Critic whispers in my ear, it makes me feel like . . . Junior High.

So I decided to . . . go there . . . into the belly-of-the-beast.  I decided to explore this Inner Critic of mine and see just what all the fuss is about.

First, I decided to just draw it.

  Inner Critic

Turns out . . .

It's a She.
And she looks like a cardboard cut-out.

Next, I used words to describe her.

"My Inner Critic . . . is blonde and has blue eyes.  She looks perfect.  But she is Not Nice.  (She judges.)"

"She might look pretty, but it's only on the outside.  (Inside, she's rotten.)"

"Her hands are behind her back.  (So she can cross her fingers while she lies to your face.)"

"You might think she's your friend, but then, when you've made yourself vulnerable, she'll laugh behind your back and make you feel stupid for every trying.  Or trusting."

"So then, you start to doubt yourself.  And maybe . . . you even leave yourself and become cardboard.  (Just like her.)"


Turns out I know just who my Inner Critic IS . . . and she goes right back to Junior High.

Discovering where this particular voice comes from helps me move forward.  

(In this case, drawing without judging myself so harshly.)


This simple exercise has been quite cathartic for me, actually.  My Inner Critic will probably always live there, deep in my soul.  But I can deliver some counter punches of my own now!

And that feels really good.




Getting Through It . . .


The forecast is in.

More snow.
More frigid.
Maybe a little tease.
And then more frigid.

So. Sick. Of. It.

Once the Winter BLAHs set in, there is only one way to Get Through It.

Look forward to . . . something else.


Right now, I'm looking forward to:

  1. Heading south.  (Belize Countdown = 31 Days)
  2. Time in my garden.  (Heck.  I'll be happy when Garden Buddha shows his shoulders again.)
  3. Sitting on the dock.  (And maybe even dipping my toes in the lake.)
  4. Cooking on the grill.  (Just getting to the grill would make me happy.)
  5. Sitting on my patio and sipping a glass of something.  (Without a coat.)
  6. Taking the dogs for a walk without YakTrax on my shoes.  (And sans wool layers and long underwear, too.  Thankyouverymuch.)
  7. Hearing lawn sprinklers pop out of the ground.  (Seeing grass.  That would be nice.)
  8. Being about to run outside.  (Sure.  It's a treat to have access to an indoor track for running all winter.  But it is the epitome of tedium.  I crave . . . scenery.)
  9. Fireflies, flip-flops, a bit of a tan, and pedicures that matter.  (Really dreaming now.)
  10. Who am I kidding???  I'm looking forward to temperatures in the 30s (F) and not having to use the seat heater every time I get in the car.

How about YOU?  What are you looking forward to right now?


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The Winter BLAHs Have Set In

It's that time of year.  Mid-February.  And I am. . .


The snow.
The ice.
The below-zero temperatures.


Just ready to move on.

I can't seem to muster a cohesive blog post today, so bear with me for a bit of this and that.

Big news . . . Brian and his lovely Lauren have adopted a rescue cat.


Meet Chandler . . . a Very Lucky Fellow!  


My "Christmas" cactus has decided to bloom for Valentine's Day this year.


A bloom AND evidence of sunshine in the same photo.  
(Of course, it WAS -6˚F at the time.  So there is that.)


I gave Tom a chocolate heart for Valentine's Day.


Now, it looks like this.


(Only the icky-cremes are left.)

(He gave me a lovely bottle of wine.)

(It is similarly . . . depleted.)


Kalamazoo is hosting the U.S. National Curling Championships this week.  We went to watch the opening games on Valentine's Day.


Tom was excited, because his Friday night league got to play on the "official" ice to "break it in."


I love this photo that one of his teammates took on Friday night.  It makes it look like Tom is playing in the National Championships!  (Such fun.)


And that's it for this freezing cold morning.  Stay warm.