Just Life

Trying Not to Whine

So.  I'm working hard right now on . . . 

Not whining.
Being grateful for incremental improvement.
Accepting a slow recuperation with grace and dignity.


But I gotta tell you . . . having the flu (because surely that's what this is) (and, yes, I did have a flu shot) is just a bummer.  I'm reading a lot, knitting a little.  Napping.  And rescheduling every single blasted thing on my calendar this week.

Getting better.  Slowly.
Still being watched over by these two.  (Although as you can see, they're sleeping on the job right now.)

IMG_1482 2

Since my life is rather dull at present, let me show you something more interesting!  

Tom left last Friday for a fishing adventure in Argentina.  
Again? you ask.  Didn't he do that already?
Yes.  Twice.
But this time, he went to a new and different place to fish in Argentina.  And he's fishing for other kinds of fish.


The other 2 times he's gone to Argentina, he went to Patagonia -- where the yellow arrow is pointing (thereabouts) -- and he fished for giant rainbow trout that live in a big lake in a very cold and windy remote part of Argentina.

This time, he's up near Bueno Aires -- where the bright green arrow is pointing -- and he is on the Paraná River on the Mothership (so called because that's where they sleep and eat, and then they take smaller boats to fish on the river each day).  Now, he is fishing for golden dorado, and the weather is very, very hot.


He is having a VERY good time.  (And is not at all sick.)


He even caught a piranha!  YIKES!


So.  I guess we could say . . . My husband went to Argentina, and all I got was this lousy flu!

Watch Out, Everyone: It's 2020 Tom

Okay.  In describing my husband, Tom, I'd use words like . . . adventurous, curious, adaptable, fun-loving, and open.

IMG_4615 3

I'd also use words like . . . smart, thoughtful, prudent, reasonable, and steady.

(He's a good guy, all around.)

He doesn't make knee-jerk decisions.  He considers options and thinks through scenarios.  He does his homework.  He takes his time.  But once he decides, well . . . he decides!  (If you are familiar with Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies, Tom is the ultimate Questioner.  With a capital Q.)

When we're going to make Major Decision (buying a new car, for example, or booking a cruise to Alaska), we talk about it and think about it and "look into it" and generally let the decision simmer for awhile.  Usually we know that - ultimately we'll do . .  whatever . . . but we want to make sure.  Think it over some more.  Weigh things out.  Agonize.  Feel GOOD about our decision. (Because I'm a Questioner, too, you see.)

So.  See if this discussion fits the profile. . . 

(Scene:  Brushing teeth together on the evening of New Year's Day.)

Tom:  I think we should go to Italy.
Kym:  Okay.

(Scene:  Next day, over lunch.)

Kym:  I found a couple of trip options for Italy.
Tom:  Let's see them.

(Scene:  Minutes later, staring at laptop.)

Tom:  I like that one.
Kym:  Me, too.
Tom:  Book it.
Kym: (stunned silence)

(I know, right???)


We're off to Italy next September.  And we didn't agonize over it for a month before deciding to do it!  (So unlike us.)  When I mentioned to Tom at dinner time that I still couldn't believe we had done that, he looked at me with the biggest of his big Tom-grins and said . . . 

"This is 2020 Tom!"

(I think I may need a safety helmet.)


Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday!



"Begin as you mean to go on."
 --- Charles H. Spurgeon

Openin 2 copy

I had never heard that quote above until I started reading blogs many years ago.  New Year's Day was never a big deal in my family growing up, and I continued that not-a-tradition as I grew up and established my own family.  New Year's Day was simply . . . an ending . . . for me. The end of the "holiday cycle."  The day we took down the Christmas decorations.  The time to get ready to go back to school or back to work.  Usually, by the time New Year's Day rolled around, I was exhausted and often sick with a cold -- and just ready for the whole "thing" to be over!

But as I grew older and my kids grew up and "the holidays" didn't feel so much like a burden, I decided to change my thinking - and start some new traditions for myself.  I embraced New Year's Day as . . . a quiet day -- but a quiet day with purpose!  I took on the concept of beginning-as-I-meant-to-go-on.

And so my day yesterday was a good start to a new year.

  1. I took care of myself . . . with rest and exercise; stretching and meditating; good foods and fresh air.
  2. I got myself organized . . . by updating my calendar, clearing my work spaces, and taking care of some nagging paperwork.
  3. I did some dabbling . . . with pencils and sketchbook and thread and yarn.

Great ways to begin.
And definitely ways I mean to go on.

And maybe you can even guess what project I (finally) cast on. . .  if I show you the yarn!


(Because . . . it's time.)


The top photo above?  It's dog footprints in the snow . . . melting-and-refreezing on my patio.



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?


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.


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?  


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.)

Graduation 2009 013

(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.)


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.

2009 chicago trip 6

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.

Wash DC May 09 154

There was a skiing adventure in Colorado for spring break.

Spring break and dominik prom 020

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!)


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.


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?


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 . . . 


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.


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


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.


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!