Just a Riff

Attitude Adjustment: A Riff About the Weather

The weather has taken a turn for the crappy.

It was just a few weeks ago that the weather-folk were going on (and on) about some sort of "Bermuda Ridge" (apparently the opposite of the "Polar Vortex;" obscure weather phenomena only recently "named") and the promise of an early and warm spring.

Now, I don't usually pay overmuch attention to the weather-folk.  (Because biggest hype-machines ever.)  But I do tend to get a little excited when they start to throw around terms like . . . 

early spring


get ready for a hot one


We've got snow.  Frigid temperatures.  And no end in sight.

(Bermuda Ridge my a$$.)

I'm trying to adjust my attitude.  But, man.  It is hard.  Because March . . . was warm and pleasant.

I started working in my garden here and there - preparing.

I got my bike all ready to go.

Shoot . . . I even got my flip-flops out.

(Really, though.  I should know better by now.)

Lucky for me, these guys are hanging in there . . . and giving me something to smile about.


Hope abounds.

Not Superstitious . . . Just a Bit Grumpy

Today's Ten on Tuesday - Ten Superstitions We Believe In - doesn't quite work for me.  Because I'm not superstitious, and I couldn't think of ONE . . . let alone ten . . . superstitions I believe in.  Really.  I even step on cracks without the least bit of guilt.


So.  Not superstitious. 

But borderline irritated; sort of . . . grumpy, I guess.

How about I list my grumps instead (just for fun)?

  • Last night, as I walked the dogs, I saw this very cool sundog as the sun was going down.  By the time I stopped, took out my camera, and tried to take a picture, the cloud cover had changed ever-so-slightly and I couldn't get a good shot.  (The photo above is NOT it, by the way.  It's just a regular old sunset.)
  • The simple- and straightforward-looking online "letter of intent" I was working on yesterday (with a deadline today) turned out to have "trapdoors."  Click an answer from a drop-down list (yes or no, for example) . . . and whole new sets of questions (requiring detailed answers) appear.  Man, that made me grumpy.
  • I stopped at the post office yesterday afternoon to mail a couple of packages -- and was surprised to find the line out the door.  Like it was Christmas -- without the jolly.  The line was so very long and so very slow that I left after 10 minutes.  (Now I get to try again today.)
  • Yesterday I got an estimate from a painter for removing the wallpaper (the last of it; my entire house was wallpapered when we bought it almost 14 years ago) and painting two rooms.  I was expecting one price range -- but was quoted more than double.  (Looks like I'll be doing that nasty job myself.)
  • Snow and ice is in the forecast.  (I can't even.)
  • And there were a few other things . . . that have no business on the blog.  (Y'know?)

Just one of those days.  Minor, silly grumps.  First world problems.  I'm feeling better today.  So far.  
(Until I hit that post office again.)


Be sure to check out what this week's Ten on Tuesday Gang has to say here.  (Bet they're not grumpy at all.)



Does this happen to you?  Because it happens to me every year, beginning just before Thanksgiving.

Meet a friend for lunch?

Let's get together after the holidays.

Negotiable deadline for work?

Let's set it for after the holidays.

Pick up my knitting/sewing/drawing for fun?

No time now; it'll have to wait for after the holidays.

Committee meeting?

Let's skip December and meet right after the holidays.

Committment for a friend?

After the holidays.

Follow-up doctor appointment?

After the holidays.

FullSizeRender 48

Basically, then, to get through the tradition and fun and celebration that is The Holidays, I push All The Normal Things into my After the Holidays closet.

And now . . . now that it IS after the holidays . . . it's time to pay the piper!

I opened the closet door.  Everything has tumbled out.

I call it Holiday Backlash . . .

and I am So There.

(Happy weekend.  I'll be dealing with the mess all around me.)



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.)