Just Life

It's All About Adaptation

According to various websites, hibernation is . . .

  • "a way for many creatures – from butterflies to bats – to survive cold, dark winters without having to forage for food or migrate to somewhere warmer. Instead, they turn down their metabolisms to save energy." (Discover Wildlife)
  • "a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in endotherms." (Wikipedia)
  • "a state of greatly reduced metabolic activity and lowered body temperature adopted by certain mammals as an adaptation to adverse winter conditions." (Britanica.com)

Why this little lesson on . . . hibernation?

Well.

It has suddenly become winter here in my corner of the world.  Like . . . January-winter in early November.  Very. Cold.   Couple that with the ever-increasing darkness, and  . . . well . . . I feel like it's time to hibernate!  Or at least to hunker down inside.

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My life changes a good deal when the cold settles in.  My entire diet changes, for example. My food cravings are different.  I cook and prepare meals I would never even dream of making in the warm months.  I sleep more.  I go to bed earlier and I'm much more inclined to take a nap now and again.  I wear shoes -- and socks (!) -- and so many layers.  I bring out the twinkle lights and the candles.  I have more frequent tea-breaks.  I escape to the movies.

I definitely adapt!  
(It may not - technically speaking - be hibernation.  But it's pretty darn close!)

How about YOU?  What do you do . . . to get through the cold, dark winter?  

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And Knitters?  If you haven't already seen it (and already ordered it. . . ), be sure to visit Ann and Kay today and check out their newest Field Guide.  Because . . . it's a Stunner!  (And, well . . . I can clearly see that there will be more Not-A-Gray-Cardigans in my near knitting future.)

Enjoy your weekend.
See you on Monday!


Circling Way Back

Most of you reading this blog know that I have two kids.  And now two kids-in-law.  But . . . for a 10-month period in 2008-2009, I actually had a third kid!  (Four . . . if you count Tom.)

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(And we often count Tom.)

For the 2008-2009 school year, we were the host family for Dominik, a young man from the Czech Republic.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us, and Dominik was a great fit for our family.  Erin was away at college in Ohio, so she floated in and out back then, but Brian (who was a junior in high school that year) and Dominik got along famously.  Dominik was eager to experience life in an American high school with an American family, and we were eager to share it with him.  

Dominik played hockey on the high school hockey team with Brian.  (There he is, number 21.)

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He and Brian had a great time together (sometimes maybe . . . a little too great. . . ).  There was a lot of laughter and a lot of joking around that year -- a real sense of adventure for all of us.

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We did a bit of traveling -- to show Dominik as much of America as we could.  We went to Chicago and Washington DC and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

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There was a skiing adventure in Colorado for spring break.

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In the end, Dominik had a full American high school experience here:  football games and pep rallies, the hockey team, exam week, prom, graduation.  All of it.  He even dated an American girl while he was here!

A girl he stayed connected with . . . after he returned home to the Czech Republic.  And all through college.  And then through graduate school.  And even after he moved to Prague to begin his career.

And you know what's happening now?  Dominik . . . and that same girl he met and dated here in high school . . . are getting married!  (Talk about circling back!)  We're so excited!

Brian and Tom and I met Dominik last Saturday for dinner, which was wonderful.  (Here they are together last Saturday at Bells . . . all grown up and everything!)

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And today . . . is the wedding!  
(I feel sort of like . . . cupid.)
(But mostly . .I can't wait to meet Dominik's real mom.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 


Spinning in Circles With Options

For the past several months, I've been driven by deadlines.  We're not talking Big Scary Deadlines here . . . just an ongoing steam of things I needed to do by a certain day.  Setting up my daily task list was simple and clear -- because there were these deadlines to meet!  

Now that doesn't mean I always got everything done that I intended to do, of course (because I didn't).  But I did have a structure and an overarching plan of attack to keep me moving.  

Because . . . deadlines.

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Now, at least for a few days, I've reached a (temporary) lull in the action.  No immediate deadlines.  Nothing pressing or urgent.  Just a few open days . . . with (pretty much) nothing scheduled.  This doesn't mean I don't have anything to do.  (Because HA!)  It just means . . . I'm not feeling immediately pressured to do A Thing because of a deadline.  

Which is . . . kind of a weird feeling.

What to do first?
Where to begin?
So. Many. Options.
(As in . . . spinning in circles with options.)

So.  That's my weekend.  How about yours?

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And, if you're not going to Rhinebeck this weekend, consider celebrating Rhinebeck at home!  Check out Bridget's plan for going to Rhinebeck by staying home.  (One thing on my for-sure to do list today . . . is buying some Rhinebeck-ish donuts!!!)

 

 

 


A Gentle Reminder

Yesterday was a cool and rainy day here in my corner of the world.  I was running from one thing to another, and generally grumbly about having to get a cavity filled at the dentist.  I was feeling . . . put out.  Wishing I could work in my garden.  Really not wanting to go to the dentist.  Overwhelmed by the news (as usual).  And angst-ing about this and that (as one does).

And, sitting in my car in the garage, I noticed this out the window . . . 

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There was a giant spider web hanging between one of my hydrangeas and my viburnum . . . just outside the garage window.  I got out of the car and into the garden to look closer.  My photo just doesn't do it justice because the background was simply "too busy."  You'll just have to imagine a delicate spider web about 2 feet across . . . covered in water droplets.  It was magnificent!

I still had to get back in the car to go my dentist appointment.  
There was still the news-overwhelm.  
And I remained vexed about a few other (very minor in the grand scheme of things) issues.  

But . . . magic!  

It was a perfect, gentle reminder for me . . . to pay attention.  To look for the good and the beautiful.
Because it's there.

Have a great weekend, everyone.


Early Hours

I get up early every morning.  On purpose . . . with no purpose.  The house is quiet.  It's dark these days.  I grab a cup of coffee.  And my knitting.

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I start each morning this way . . . with just a little bit of knitting.  Enough for me to center myself.  It's a kind of meditation, really.  Just stitch after stitch, one at a time.  Not much thinking.  Just the doing.

And then, after my coffee and this bit of knitting, I'm ready to move on with the rest of my day.

How about you?  How do you begin . . . in the morning?


Wise Words on a Friday

"The bad news is time flies.  The good news is you're the pilot"
  ---Michael Altshuler

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Some weeks feel like they just kinda spin out of control before your very eyes, y'know?  I've had one.  Actually, two in a row . . . but this particular week included an unexpected spin.  Which feels a lot worse, I think, than a week you knew was out of control from the get-go.

Anyway.

I need to remember . . . I'm the pilot.
(And today I'm letting Garden Buddha be my co-pilot.)

Looking for calm.
Thinking zen.
Finding my foundation.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 


Going With the Flow

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

So.
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 . . . 

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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!