Just a Riff

My Kind of Fall


It's been My Kind of Fall.

Warm, sunny days.  (Flip-flops?  No problem.)

Cool nights.  (Great sleeping-weather.)

For days on end.  

Warm, sunny day.  
Cool night.  

Our leaves haven't really started turning yet.  They're actually behind "normal" schedule.  (Apparently all that rain we had early in the summer has made our Michigan trees healthy and resilient and unstressed.  So the color will happen -- just later.)  (This according to Mark Torgerossa, Official Weather Person of MLive.)

I'm spending as much time as I can outdoors these days.  Soaking up the sun and enjoying just being outside.  (Without a jacket.)  (Or socks.)

I'm drinking coffee with friends at the outside tables at the coffee shop.

I'm eating lunch al fresco, too, every day.  (Even if it's just yogurt on my patio.)  (With the dogs.)

I'm enjoying before-dinner drinks with Tom on the patio.

I'm writing grants outside.

I'm getting to all sorts of garden chores.

It's fabulous!

I continue to ignore the more pesky signs of "fall," though.  (Like pumpkin spice flavored everything.)  (And "pink ribbon" products everywhere.)  (Yesterday I almost tripped over a display of "pink ribbon" solar garden lights at my grocery store.)  (Really.)

So, yeah.  This is a perfect fall for me.  Summer is getting some bonus extension time.  And I can ease into the best parts of fall unfolding around me slowly.

I hope it lasts a long time more!

(Except not the goofy "pink ribbon" products.)  (I wonder how much money from the sale of the "pink ribbon" solar garden lights makes it to breast cancer research?)  (I wonder . . . wouldn't it be better to just make a direct donation?)

(Don't get me started.)

I think I'll take my coffee out on the patio this morning. . . to watch the sun rise.


Things Fall Apart . . . A Riff


I remember, back in March, I would have been delighted with a day where the temperature reached 55ºF.  

Thrilled, in fact.  

(Now, in May, I feel chilled to the bone.)  

(Because in May, a high of 55ºF is just Not Good Enough.)

We've had a lot of rain here in Kalamazoo over the past couple of days.  I heard 2.5 inches.  Which is quite a lot.

(I should be excited about that.  And I suppose I am.  It's very good for my garden.  It certainly makes pulling weeds a whole lot easier.)  

(And rainbows.)

(But cold AND wet are never a winning combination for me.)

Sets the tone, though.  Because I've got a lot of . . . well, cold-and-wet crap . . . to deal with these days.

(Appropriate weather, I guess.)

Nothing too awfully terrible.  Just . . . crap.

Like, Things Fall Apart crap.

Things around the house.

(Dishwasher.  Microwave.  Leaking shower.  Broken sink.  Mysteriously severed irrigation line. An on-their-last-legs 27 year old washer and dryer pair.)

(Plus we need new windows.)

(Oh.  And some birds made a nest IN MY WALL.)  

(I can hear them chirping right now.)

And the people I love are falling apart a little right now.

(My dad had a bug.  Now my mom has the bug.  Brian had surgery last week.  Erin had a "procedure" yesterday.)

And me.

(Ankle WAY better.  But I still can't run at all.)

(And I found out today at my 6-month dental check-up that I need YET ANOTHER crown.)

What I'm really, MOST annoyed about, though, are corporate activists.

(They do an awfully lot of damage.  They MAKE working things fall apart.)

(In the name of short-term profits.)

(For themselves, of course.)

(Greedy bastards.)  

(Did I say that OUT LOUD?)

(Does NO ONE think about the long term anymore????)

I wish Tom were just a teensy-tiny bit closer to retirement.

(Just sayin.)

I wish it would stop raining.  

(So I could begin putting things back together again.)




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.


Knitting as a Metaphor for Life


Sometimes, I get sucked into knitting something . . . that I really don't want to knit.




Usually, I can tell right away that the "fit" isn't quite right with my mood or my mindset.

The colors aren't working.

The yarn doesn't feel right.

Knitting is a chore. . . rather than a pleasant release.

Sometimes a little change or tweak will make the situation better.

A different color.

Better needles.

Sometimes a whole new pattern.

But sometimes, even with tweaks, I can tell that things are not right.

Bad juju.

Not fully buying-in.

Unresolved underlying issues.

Now, other people might take a look at my project and think I'm nuts.  They might even think that I've got a perfect project going.

Why would she not want to finish?

What is she complaining about?

I'd take that in a minute!

But, you see, knitting projects get complicated sometimes.  (And I'm not talking about the instructions!)  Sometimes there is just more to it than . . . knits and purls.

Sometimes, you have to realize that the project just ain't right!

Sometimes, you have to walk away.

Even if you've made a commitment to the project.  And even if you've already spent much of your precious time working on it.

Because . . . life . . . is too short . . . to knit bad projects.

Or to get yourself stuck in a bad situation, for that matter.

Because Knitting . . . is a lot like Life. 

The trick is to know when to rip.






Adventure Hangover: A Riff


  • We had a Most Excellent Viewing Situation for the lunar eclipse yesterday morning.
  • (I snapped this photo from my driveway.  Before my shower - but after my first cup of coffee.)
  • (There were several others.  Each more awful than the last.)
  • (So I'm really happy to get this one.)
  • (Because the red moon was pretty awesome.)
  • You know, when you have a blog, the "content" seems to wax and wane.
  • (Sometimes you have a bunch to say.)
  • (Sometimes you have nothing to say.)
  • (It usually goes in streaks.)
  • Right now, I have So Very Much to Say.
  • (But no time to say it.)
  • (Because.  Way too much Adventure lately.)
  • I still owe you all several Postcards from Italy.
  • (I haven't told you about Florence yet.)
  • (Or Venice.)
  • (And, my god.  I haven't told you about the wacky elevator.)
  • (Or the streets signs.)
  • (Or the bidets.)
  • (Or. . . lest I forget. . . the Inventive Beggar Outside the Train Station.  The one actually strapping on his fake double-amputee legs.  Over his working-perfectly-fine legs.  While we walked past.)
  • (Really.)
  • (I'm not kidding.)
  • And then there's my trip to Utah.
  • (So much fun.)
  • (Such a beautiful place.)
  • (Did you know they have Whisky Wednesdays in SLC?)
  • (Really.  Whisky Wednesdays!)
  • And now . . .  I'm going to meet Vicki this weekend!
  • (Very exciting!)
  • (And, again, so much Adventure!)
  • (Can't wait!)
  • And I have Other Things to Say, besides.
  • (Just ideas.  Percolating in my brain.)
  • (Haven't really had a chance to sort them all out yet.)
  • (But closets, and journals, and poetry, and possibility.)
  • (For starters.)
  • Also news.
  • (Like . . . Brian just got an exciting - and REAL - full time job.)
  • (And he's moved back home for awhile until he settles.)
  • Or that we had 3 tall Austrian Pines removed from our backyard.
  • (But I didn't notice.)
  • (For 2 days.)
  • (The trees were dead.)  
  • (Remember last summer when I thought we had a pine borer problem?  That wasn't it.)
  • (Thankfully.)
  • (It was diplodia tip blight.  And it can be treated.)
  • (Except for 3 trees that were just too far gone.)
  • But this will all Just Have To Wait.
  • Because I'm still trying to catch up with myself.
  • Too much Adventure.
  • (If such a thing is possible.)
  • (And I doubt that.)
  • Work is busy.
  • Life is full.
  • Winter is coming.
  • I have an Adventure Hangover.
  • (And it's all good!)

Storm Before the Calm: A Riff


Six months ago, it sounded like such a perfect idea.

(The winter of our discontent.)

(Desperate for escape from the Polar Vortex of Eternal Doom.)

Let's go to sunny Italy, we said.

(Rome.) (Tuscany.) (Florence.) (Venice.)

(The words "cooking class in Tuscany" got me through many a sub-zero day.)

And, really, it is a perfect idea.

The vacation will be incredible.

(I can't wait.)

The getting ready, though?

(Killing. Me.)

I always knew it would be a tough time to get away.

(Just before the concert season begins.)

(Nine major grant applications and/or grant reports due on or near September 1.)

But I didn't anticipate other complications.

(A new ticketing system apparently installed and managed by idiots.)

(A team member who struggles with planning and managing her own deadlines.)

Let's just say Perfect Storm.

I'm down to the last two work days now.

(My list is growing shorter.  I AM getting things done.)

But, man!  It is going to feel So Good to turn off my phone and unplug my laptop.

(And just get on the plane!)


Tom got me the oh-so-perfect magnet, pictured above.  (And some wine, too.)


It's been a busy week here.

Crazy busy.

And not in that full-filled kind of way.

No time to read.

No time to blog.

No time to garden.

No time to knit lace.  (Really.  I should've known better . . .)


Enjoy these views of my garden today.

(And know it's killin' me not be out there in it.)




It's Five O'Clock Somewhere


This has been a tough week . . . 

Taxes.  (Filed.)

Heartbleed.* (Ei-yi-yi!)

Work angst.  (Retirement?)

Printer jams. (Plural)

Recalls.** (Mom-worry.)

Lost contact lens. (Pain in the ass.)

At least it's not snowing.  (There is that.)

It must be five o'clock somewhere . . .


* Check this website or this one for up-to-date lists of passwords you need to change now.   (Total hassle.  But who's counting?)

** Brian drives a Cobalt.


Adjusting: A Riff


  • I'm having a hard time.
  • I am feeling a bit . . . cranky.
  • Out of sorts.  
  • Definitely tired.  
  • Not really engaged.  With anything.
  • But I have So. Much. Work. to do.  
  • (So. Much.)
  • You know how some people indulge themselves with treats and food over the holiday season?
  • I indulged myself with . . . laziness.  Blowing off work around me.  Letting things pile up.  Going to movies.  Napping.  Reading for hours at a time.
  • And that felt pretty darn good.
  • Actually, it felt great.
  • Really great.
  • But now.  
  • Now I'm having a hard time adjusting.  
  • I don't want to have to Get Things Done right now.  I want to blow things off.  
  • All the things.  
  • Still.
  • (I also indulged myself with treats and food over the holiday season.)
  • What am I cranky about, you ask?  Let me count the ways . . .
  • January people.
  • Especially the ones cramming the locker room with their children taking swimming lessons. 
  • (It's just swimming lessons, people.  Not the Olympics.  Not . . . An Event.  Really.  Six-week session. Leave the Grandparents at home.)
  • And new running shoes that turn out to be defective.  Especially because they gave me a blister.
  • Because now I need to shop again.  And I have to do a Zappos return.  
  • (Free and easy, I know.  But hassle.)
  • Plus blister.
  • And Tabata Boot Camp.  
  • Yeah.  You get what you get when you try a fitness-related activity with the words "boot" and "camp" in the name.  
  • I know that.
  • It wasn't bad, actually. 
  • I even kind of liked it.
  • But whole new muscle groups are in agony and my legs feel like wood blocks.  
  • (It was the jumping intervals, I'm pretty sure.)
  • So now it hurts to walk.
  • And stand up.
  • And go up and down the stairs.
  • And reach over my head.  
  • (That must have been the tricep pushups.)
  • And budgets.
  • Actually, I like budgets.  
  • (It's the CPA in me.)
  • What I don't like is budgets right now.
  • And winter.
  • I generally like snow. 
  • I even like it best when it snows inches and inches (and feet).  All at once.
  • But I'm tiring of the cold.  And the ice.  And the dark.
  • What I'd really like to do . . . is curl up with a book . . . and some knitting.  Maybe a garden catalog or two.  And a drink of . . . something.
  • That would certainly help.
  • But it would probably be best if I just . . . suck it up.  
  • And adjust.

A Sunday Lament on Monday Morning: A Riff

  • Ahhhhhh.  Sunday.  The whole day lays ahead.  Unstructured.
  • (She said upon awakening.)
  • Coffee.
  • Dogs.
  • Let's make a list of all the things we want to do today.
  • (She said outloud.  To the dogs.) 
  • (Because the other human in the house was still asleep.)
  • Plan the week's menus.
  • Make a grocery list.
  • Start the laundry.
  • Shopping.
  • Get next week . . .
  • (a really busy one, she remembered)
  • Under control and planned out on the calendar.
  • (And it's not even 10:00 yet!)
  • Plan the week's blog posts.
  • Heck.  Plan the month's blog posts.
  • (Why stop there?  Let's plan out the YEAR!!!)
  • Organize the desk.
  • Catch up the filing.
  • Pay the bills.
  • (3:30?  Already?)
  • Organize the photos!
  • Plan the Thanksgiving menu!
  • (Why stop there?  Let's plan out CHRISTMAS!!!)
  • Renew the license plates.
  • Chop the vegetables.
  • Hold the ladder for Tom.
  • (Why stop there?  Let's renew our passport!)
  • Pack away the Halloween that's still sitting there on the dining room table.
  • And fill the empty spaces with turkeys and cornucopias and fresh squash.
  • (DEFINITELY toss the rotting squash in the centerpiece.  Gross.)
  • Go for a run.
  • (Hurry!  Before it gets dark!)
  • Walk the dogs.
  • (Dark now.  Don't forget the headlamp!)
  • Dinner.
  • Last of the laundry.
  • Load the dishwasher.
  • (Where did the day go????)
  • (It's dark.)
  • (It's late.)
  • (I didn't get to HALF the things on my list!!!)
  • (Maybe because I planned 48 hours worth of activity . . . for a 16 hour day?)
  • And now. 
  • Monday.
  • (Maybe next week I'll create a more realistic list.)
  • (But . . . probably not.)