Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Early Beauty

Just a little something to brighten your day.

This little beauty opened up on MLK Day.
The first on the block.
Year after year, I have the first daffodils blooming that I ever see around town.
They beat out the crocus hands down.
It has since been joined by four others, two of which are shown here.
The plan was to post these images earlier and counter the gloom and drear of rain, rain, rain.
But we all seem to be competing for the same computer these days, and school and work get priority.
Go figure!

The witch hazel is also blooming where I work so I know that

SPRING is just around the corner!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Finally grounded

Our contemporary house has its series of design challenges.  Among them are tall cathedral ceilings and a bay window with the mouldings about 1 inch from the soffitt.  As I consider various decorating options, I keep running into obstacles and make little to no progress.  As a result our house looks like we just moved in.  And that was over 15 years ago.  Now my decorating budget is very limited and I prefer to do things myself because I am not quite sure how I want things.  Decisive I am not!  Our dining room is coming along, but the living room is another matter.  It has taken on a variety of functions.  Storage unit.  Playground.  Toy box.  Sick room.  Its current incarnation is more of a music room with projects regularly filling the floor space.  It didn't even have furniture for years!  And some would argue that it still doesn't because the sofas that were hand-me-downs over 20 years ago need to go!

Now I can't very well just go out and buy furniture for sitting on because someone around here has a bad back (and it's not me).  I keep hoping.  But I think I stumbled upon a solution, a way to nudge someone to bite the bullet and go shopping.
Buy a rug.

We stopped by Costco on Saturday and their area rugs that I have been eyeing for years were on sale!  We have a smaller, Costco rug in our dining room (it should be bigger for the size of the table, but the heater vent limits how big one can be) and we loved how much it did for that space.  For about a tenth of the cost of a true oriental carpet, we were able to be able to afford something that also looks rich and it is even made in the USA.

So ignore the sofas (yes, I know the patterns clash!).  The rug is the new focal point for this room.  The ceiling no longer looks so lofty, the room feels full and warm, and we love the pattern.  The pattern is bolder than I originally thought about getting, but we both really liked it.  And now it will be much easier to pick out a color to paint that barn of a room.  I must admit that I didn't really think about how big the rug was when I bought it and it is bigger than I thought.  It really fills the room.  But I think it will give us more flexibility and let us add additional chairs to define the space.


It is so nice to finally have the front of the house more welcoming.  But somehow we always end up in the kitchen!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Everyone seems to make resolutions for the new year.  And I kind of do, too.  But I don't write them down or even tell anyone.  Well, I've just read that that is just the wrong way to do it!  That is, if you want to stick to them.

So you get to be my auditors.  Too many Y chromosomes for this to work around here without you.

My to-do list:
  • Get exercise (notice that I did not say "more")
  • Get more sleep
  • Clean up clutter
  • Finish projects (craft, home, work)
So today I am proud to show you my clean kitchen counter!
(Don't you love my cobalt blue wine bottle plastic bag drying racks?!!!)

I promise not to bore you with daily or even weekly updates.  And I might even choose to do one of the above resolutions instead of blogging since my time is limited.

But I must admit that I do love the clutter-free look.  And usually things are not clutter-free.  Why?  Because I am a multi-tasking, part-time working, mom.  And that means that I don't usually get to finish what I start.  And I don't have dedicated spaces for anything.  And that means that my multi-tasking spaces mean "get out project", "clear project out of the way", "get out project", "move project to a different room".  (Yeah, that sounds like a lot of excuses to me, too, but it is true!)  So I am trying a new tack.

Papers are my biggest enemy.  I just do not have time deal with them.  I am getting better and finding systems that work for me, but the backlog (more than 14 years worth!) is daunting.

So...I need to
  • keep up with what comes in
  • deal with each item completely instead of sorting first (perhaps inefficient but at least it will be done
  • deal with one project at a time
I also want to report that I have met seven, count them, 7! deadlines for the week.       Ahead of time.       No procrastinating (no, that did not make the list of resolutions, as that is not realistic; at least, not yet).

While I am still falling short on the sleep front (remember those 7 deadlines?), I have been getting exercise.  Moving more.....like walking up and down the stairs while chatting on the phone, jogging in place at school pick-up, wearing ankle weights while working in the house, doing jumping jacks while I cook dinner.  I've even gone on 2 walks since the first of the year.  Now, that may not seem like progress to you.  No health club is involved and it is not sustained exercise.  But I need to start small and let my body get reacquainted with more formal exercise.  Too many weeks of being sick have taken a toll on this aging body and I just do not bounce back as quickly or as easily.  Now if I can just find a way to move more while on the computer....

With the decks cleared of immediate deadlines and the kitchen clutter (not including the table!) tamed temporarily, I get to reward myself with working on a sewing project!  I need to get as many things completed before I start teaching again, so start counting!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


On this feast of the Epiphany, I am glad that I am like my French cousins and enjoy Christmas until now.  I have never been one of those people that chucks the Christmas tree out the day after Christmas.  That's probably why I do not start decorating immediately after Thanksgiving...the tree does not dry out quite so much.

At this time of year, I also always think back to being very pregnant at Christmas time and wonder how a woman could travel on a donkey when about to give birth!  And labor to give birth in the cold!
So what wise men (or women) have visited you today?  What gift(s) did he/she bring?  And what gifts have you brought to this day?  As I try to answer that myself, I wonder if I underestimate my own gifts.  What do I have to offer the baby in the manger?  How many moms undervalue "feeding the hungry" when they cook dinner or "comforting the sorrowing" as their children lament the last day of Christmas vacation?  To all the moms who quietly take care of the tasks of daily life, value your contributions.  Just think of what life would be like for your family without all those little things and know that you do far more in the big scheme of things than the most overpaid CEO.  Your children and significant other are proof of that.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Beginnings

Happy New Year!
 Year 2010 is behind us now.  I would have to say that the year was all about family.  As this drawing depicts the ties between family members are special and unique to each pairing. 

For us it is always about family, but 2010 was unique because of.....
  • A true family vacation to Yellowstone.
  • Rescuing family photos, but only thanks to other family members who respected my genealogical addiction enough to wade through over 37 large bags of garbage to find photos over 100 years old. 
  • Spending Father's Day with my father-in-law
  • Celebrating my mom's birthday with her for the first time in many years
  • Christmas with more than just one other family member.

Now is a time for new beginnings.  Yes, this year's resolutions are the same as last year's.  But at least I am starting out the year with a clean house, less clutter, a new roof, and the laundry all caught up.  And while we didn't get snow this holiday (the drawing above is about as close as we came....the snow having arrived just after we left the biggest little city in the world) and the birdbath is currently a solid block of ice, we have something some of you might not have.

 Yes, my primroses are starting to bloom.  The hope of spring.  And a reminder that it is time to weed as soon as the weather cooperates (it is kind of hard to pull roots out of frozen soil).

More than anything I want to wish all of you good health.  Because if the last year taught me nothing else, it is that good health allows you to make the most of all the other wonderful gifts that surround us.  And there are so many wonderful gifts if we but open our eyes.  So take a moment and look in the eyes of a family member at the first opportunity.  See only the good, only the gift, only the beauty, and realize that Christmas comes 24/7/365.  We are gifts for one another which means we have to give and receive.