Just Life

Going With the Flow

Sometimes . . . you wake up to thunder and rain and gloom.
And dire forecasts for more and worse and later.


And your plans just kinda need to change.

Which means . . . well, this isn't the post I planned for today.
But we all need to be flexible sometimes.
And go with the flow.

See you tomorrow.


The Thing About Summer

As far as summers go, I've had a Really Great Summer.  Lots of fun.  Plenty of adventure.  Definitely a change from the Ordinary of Life.


But.  Change is comng.

I was re-connecting with a friend earlier this week (both of us had been out of touch all summer) and I explained it this way:  It's like a went into a tunnel marked "Summer Fun" at the end of May . . . and I'm just now seeing the end of that tunnel.  

I let go of a lot of Ordinary Life things this summer.

(A lot.)

And now, with the end of that tunnel in clear view, it's time for me to Deal With That.


There are some commitments I just sort of . . .  let slide . . . while I was in the tunnel.  And now I'm coaxing those elements back into existence.  And that ain't easy.

There are other things I . . . put aside . . . during the summer.  And I've missed them.  It's time to bring them back into my life.

And then there are the things I . . . let go of.  Temporarily, I thought.  But now that I've been in the tunnel, I don't think I need to pick them up again.

There you have it.

Even though I don't have kids going back to school anymore, or need to get back to a teaching position, or any other seasonal or official "mark" for the end of the summer . . . I'm feeling the pull of Ordinary Life calling me back to routine and commitment and connections.

That's the thing about summer -- and especially a good summer.  It brings perspective.  A pause.  A bit of a re-set.

And I needed that.
(How about you?)

Because Why Not?

We've been up north all week . . . 


where I start every morning pretty much just like this.

I think we'll stay for ANOTHER week.
Because . . . why not?

(Summer will be gone before long, and I want to soak in every moment while it lasts.)

Happy weekend, everyone!


It's a Bonus Day

When you visit the jury duty reporting website and find this message . . . 


it means Bonus Day!

I woke up this morning filled with gratitude.  I have a day in front of me that has been blocked out in my calendar for 6 weeks.  And now that day is . . .
Completely MINE.



What am I going to do with this wide-open, fresh-and-clear day?

  1. I'm heading to the gym for an early class that I thought I'd have to miss.
  2. I'm running a couple of errands.  (Hello new print cartridges!)
  3. I'm catching up on a big chunk of paperwork for a volunteer commitment.

And I'll probably putter around in the garden, too.  
Because where else would I want to be on a Bonus Day!


What are YOU doing today?


Over the Top on the Fun-O-Meter and a Garden Surprise



The days are long and the pace is slow.


Except . . . when it's not!

For me, this has been a non-stop kind of summer.  High on the Good-Things-and-Fun-O-Meter, for sure!  But the pace has been relentless.  (Someday, maybe I'll have a chance to actually sit and rest in this lovely corner of my garden.)

I have nothing to complain about here, truly.  I've enjoyed a long visit with my sister, visited Mackinac Island and Chicago, co-hosted a super successful fundraising wine tasting event . . . and a summer solstice party (in the same week), (finally) spent a week up north, helped Brian and Lauren move into their new digs in Grand Rapids (on the hottest and muggiest day of the summer).  And now?  Well . . . I'm headed to Alaska with Tom later this week.  So.  Really . . . nothing but fun.

Still.  Constant activity - even when it is the fun kind - is always tiring, y'know?  

Okay.  Enough whining.  
Let's have a cool garden story instead, shall we?  

I have this WILD butterfly garden. 


I do my best to keep the path clear, and I try to keep the weeds down.  But, mostly . . . I let it do it's own thing.  It's an . . . organic, flowing, constantly-changing kind of garden.  Easy care.  Friendly to pollinators.  Always packed with bees and butterflies.  (It looks pretty good, too.)

There is lots of milkweed in my butterfly garden -- common milkweed, swamp milkweed, and butterfly weed.  (Plants in the milkweed family are the ONLY plants Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on -- and the only plants Monarch caterpillars will eat.)

butterfly weed

Over the weekend, I happened to be checking out one of the milkweed plants to see if I could find any Monarch eggs -- and was thrilled to find this instead. . . 

common milkweed

See him down there?  Near the bottom of the photo?

Here's a close up . . . 


A Monarch caterpillar . . . just munching away on my milkweed.

I love a good garden surprise!


How about you?  How's your summer coming along?

Caught Between Worlds

I've returned from my time up north . . . and find myself caught between two worlds.  
Or something.


Today I seem to be zigging . . . when I should be zagging.  

I went to a haircut appointment.  
Right day.  
Wrong time.  
(Luckily, I was early and just returned at the right time later.)

I went into the grocery store after the haircut, but couldn't find my glasses.  
Because they were on my head.  
Along with a pair of sunglasses.  
(Uh huh.)

I thought I wrote a blog post for today.
And published it.
But . . . I didn't.
(I don't think I even had a topic, actually.)

There you have it:  I think I'm not quite "here" yet . . . but I'm certainly not still "there" either.

Be sure to stop by tomorrow.  
If all goes well (and it might not) (because caught between worlds), there will be a new Asking Questions interview here! 

(And if not, well.  I'll think of something.)




The Truth of It

There was probably a time in my life . . . before I had cancer, surely . . . when I might've been upset at the thought of turning 60.  Or, at least, felt melancholy and pensive about it.

But now?


IMG_2391 2

Tomorrow, when I wake up to my first day as a 60-year-old, I don't anticipate feeling any different or looking any different or acting any different than I do today -- my last day as a 59-year-old.

I plan to fling my arms wide to embrace the day . . . and enjoy every moment that comes my way.

Because living to celebrate another birthday is a gift.
And I am so happy to be here.

"I decided if you're lucky enough to be alive, you should use each birthday to celebrate what your life is about."
                    ---Mary Steenburgen


Winter Solstice

Happy Solstice!


Our party last night was a great success.  Good food.  Good friends.  Plenty to drink.  Lots of laughter.


(Plus . . . my cocktail napkin game was strong!)


Today, I'm happy to have it all (including the clean-up) behind me.  It's time to just sit back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season.


And - by special request - click here for the Songs for Winter Solstice playlist Tom and I created for our annual party.  Remember, you won't find any Christmas songs on this playlist, but you will find an assortment of songs sharing the loose themes of light, dark, stars, the sun (including both the setting and the rising), and seasons.  (There is also one birthday-ish song in there, for obvious reasons).  Listen and enjoy!  


I wish you all a lovely Solstice, and a happy weekend -- full of light!


(Note:  After many annoying minutes of trying to get the actual playlist to embed correctly in this blog post, I have given up.  You have to click the link (in red, above) to get the playlist.  The "list" is just a photo and will not play directly.  Sorry.)



Unpacking . . . My Desk

I often write about the state of my desk.  Which is rarely tidy.  Or, if it is tidy, it doesn't seem to take very long before it reverts to its . . . angle of repose.  Which is definitely not tidy.  In fact, often, I feel like I'm working in a canyon -- with walls of stuff surrounding my computer!

At some point, I get to feeling claustrophobic enough that I straighten it all up.  
And then I swear that I'll keep things tidy.  
This time. 
But then . . . angle of repose.  
(Rinse.  Repeat.)

In fact, I tidied up my desk and organized everything on Sunday.  This morning, though, I can feel the canyon walls creeping in.  (And this photo doesn't show the other side of my desk.)  (Or the surrounding floor.)  (Or the cart within easy reach.)


I thought . . . let's analyze this.  Break it down.  Unpack the situation.  
What's going on with my desk?  Why do I let these canyon walls build up?  
So I took a quick photo.  Just for assessment purposes.  And do you see what I see?

1 - Behind my desk (not terribly clear, probably, in this photo) is a stack of papers for a project I'm working on right now.  I have segregated them out from my in-box, and they are neatly stacked.  But on top of them, I've placed a metal "book hug" that I use for my iPad so I can see it when I'm knitting (I use KnitCompanion for all my patterns, and need my iPad nearby).  A set of size 3 double-points are resting in it (because I need them for my next project).  And there are two sets of headphones, a pair of cheaters, a party invitation, and some checks I need to deposit.  All things I need to keep in ready-reach today.  (Except, probably for the "book hug" and the needles.)  (But they fell off the couch while I was on a phone call last night and I needed to put them somewhere in a hurry.)

2 - I keep an in-box on the corner of my desk.  It's even organized with marked file folders -- so I can neatly file away the papers that come my way!  (They remain . . . empty.)  The in-box is really just a "corral" for stacks of paperwork that is not immediately necessary (but I always know what's in the "corral", y'know?).  The in-box is usually the first canyon wall.  Because I can continue to stack stuff in it.  Even stuff that has nothing to do with paperwork!  Like . . . library books.  My iPad.  A stretchy flip belt that I can use for my phone when I don't have pockets.  And another pair of cheaters.  (Uh huh.)  My in-box really serves as a repository for things I don't want to lose track of , but that I don't need now.  I know where things are; I know what's in there . . . for later.  (Except for the stuff on top.  That's just . . . convenient.)

3 - And then . . . there's all the stuff that just winds up ON my desk.  A coaster for my tea.  Pretty cards and notes I've received in the mail.  Three or four ongoing pads for jotting ideas and random thoughts and figures (because, you know . . . I probably can't find one when I need it, so I grab another from the basket on the cart. . . ).  A tape measure (I'm buying new throw rugs, and I've been using it a lot the last few days as I finalize my decisions).  Lovely yarn (from Vicki) that I received this week. (I like to keep it near -- for inspiration - as I try to figure out what to do with it.)  (I'm thinking maybe socks.)  My planner.  My phone.  Another pair of cheaters.  (Hmmm.) (I always have ALL the cheaters - or NONE of the cheaters  - when I need them.) Random post-it notes for myself everywhere.  Business cards.  Yarn labels.  

(And that, my friends . . . is How Happen!)

Going through this exercise will NOT help me keep my desk neat and tidy.  Really, it won't change a thing.  But it does help me understand  what's going on.  Because my desk . . . is kind of an extension of my brain.  And this is how my brain works.  I like to keep my immediate projects close at hand -- where I can SEE them.  I also like to keep my not-immediate projects "corralled" in a safe space.  And I seem to have no problem working with a lot of inspiration nearby.  (And, well . . . I'm also kind of lazy and drop things where the land.)  (You might get an eye-twitch if you could see how many open tabs I have on my browser. . .)

So.  This is the official news of the day:  I am not going to worry about my desk anymore.  Now that I'm "almost 60", I think it's time for me to stop apologizing for the state my desk (which is representative, I guess, of how I think).  It's time to just accept that I'm good with canyon walls.  That I will stop to control the piles when I need to.  And that . . . while I may be a bit messy, I'm also effective.  And creative.  And I don't tend to lose things ever.

(But perhaps I really do need to get the cheaters situation under control.)

How about you?  What's your workspace like?


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