Squeezing Lemons Hard

I feel like winter is suck swallowing the life out of me.  Maybe more like January is.  And then the thought that February still looms in our future is too.  I swear every year I will figure out a way to not let January and February win.  I try hard.  I try hard to enjoy that every single day is spent doing basically the same thing.  Gym, work, work, home...with an extracurricular thrown in here and there.  It's dark when I leave and dark when I get home and quite frankly, it's all the same it feels.  But I give it a try. 
To embrace the feeling of cozy and stuck.  To pretend it's nice to constantly have the fire roasting my toes.  To create the illusion of loving beanies and scarves and sweaters.   
But I'm over it. 
I find I lack inspiration when I can't get my bones outside in the sun.  I need air.  Real air.  The kind which makes you stick your nose up and throw your arms out wide. 
An enormously strong indicator about just how out of inspiration I am is the fact that I have only taken about thirty-seven pictures this entire month. 
It's hard to find joy in the mundane.  Dang I wish I was immune to that statement.  So here's my rendition of I am kicking the suck swallowing winter by declaring a few mundane things down right fabulous. 
A unicorn shirt found while on a girls weekend to see Pink in concert.  That weekend breathed me back to life too, it was so so good.  But yeah, wearing a unicorn shirt.  Take that January. 

Green tea.  Hot green tea all the time.  Take that looming February. 
Couch sitting is not really my friend.  I'd much rather be moving and shaking and making up things to do but maybe the forced relax is okay for these air lacking bones.  We watched Captain Phillips early Saturday morning and I cried so freaking hard at the end when they are pulling Phillips to the Navy boat.  Tom Hanks nailed it.  My tears were streaming into pools on my shirt.  Inspiration from not only someone who is using their gift for such goodness, but from the real Captain Phillips because he is a straight up hero.  Take that suck swallowing winter. 
I'm doing my best over here.  It's not all doom and gloom and the gray color of the sky is not truly eating me alive.  It's simply trying damn hard is all.
But hey!  Did I mention I now own a unicorn shirt? 
How about having a braid in my hair.  That's a kick ass mundane right?  I'm grasping at straws here.  Find the pretty.  Find the joy. 
Pretty bird.  Pretty bird.  That line is from a movie but I can't tell you which one because movie quoting is not in my repertoire. 
A cup of green tea has been made to start this evening off and I suppose I should will myself into thinking it's fine that I can't stick my nose in the air outside and breathe in.  Well, I could.  But my nostril hairs would freeze. 


Reading, Writing, and Hiney Kicking

"Readers, writers, and thinkers...we are going to learn something that you can use today and every single day for the rest of your life."
I had to do some presenting on nonfiction writing yesterday to our district with a wonderful coworker and ended up with marker all over my face and hands and went over time by a solid 20 minutes each session. I guess I can get a bit passionate about the difference between teaching writing and assigning writing. Either that or I really need to lay off the coffee. I think I'll just stick with that writing needs to be a part of the air breathed in every classroom. Because coffee isn't going anywhere.
In another life, I want to open a school.  Anyone know any big investors who'd want to help with that?  Send them my way.  I say that flippantly, but seriously.   
I finished up my day with blue marker still all over my hands but wiped off my face.  I was the first one to muscle pump and couldn't help but enjoy the sunshine streaming in.  Class was taught by the one and only Sara.  She is a hiney kicker but I love her smiling face so it makes it okay.  We work together too and we have matching sores right now.  Too many sit-ups will cause a sore at the exact hiney area I was referring to earlier.  In case you wanted to know. 



I write to myself all day long.  Most things I see, I put a narrative to.  And then I wish I could remember them all at the end of every day to actually get to paper.  But then I think maybe that's the best about having this narrate style of brain, everything becomes a story.  A way of thinking things through.  Noticing.  Taking in.  Connecting.  Maybe those words are never supposed to see paper.  Maybe they are just my manual for living.  

Like when I see my neighbor about six houses down in the morning on my way to work.  Me with my coffee cup in one hand and the wheel in the other.  Him with his broom sweeping the tiniest flecks of snow from his driveway with his ear flap hat and khaki pants and white tennis shoes.  Every time he's there, I smile.  Raise my coffee cup to him as I drive by and we exchange a moment. 

Someday I'll be there.  To the place in my life where my morning consists of sweeping the tiniest of flecks of snow from my driveway, instead of my current place of running to catch the eight ball all the time. 

I'm not wishing away this running time, because I'm sure when he looks at me in my car hurriedly getting to work with that coffee cup in my hand he becomes nostalgic for a time long passed.  For a time when his mornings were much more. 

But here's what I think.  My mornings are not much more than his.  His aren't much more than mine.  It's not a greater or less than but a different.  We are in opposite stages.  There is honor in both and in everything in between. 

If we all did each different chapter with grace and to the very best of our abilities-taking pride in every task, the world would be a beautiful place.  Wait, the world is a beautiful place.  My neighbor six houses down with his ear flapped hat and broom remind me of that several times a week.   

Each chapter is a gift, a different story to put a narrative to. 


Not Jealous at All

I could get irritated that it is easier for her.  Yes, it could give me some green envy.  That she can just pick up yarn and look at directions and make anything.  Flowers for your hair!  Winter headbands!  Coffee cozies!  Cowls!  Beanie hats!  Chevron blankets!  

While I have to do one project over and over again until I basically memorize it, for written directions are like a maze to this brain of mine.  Here's where I will admit I still can not to this day, hook up a DVD player or a computer or anything which requires that form of thinking.    

But I don't.  I don't get irritated and I'm not green with envy.  Rather I just keep asking her for help instead.  Grateful for the time with my little sister on the morning after Chrismas.  Still wearing our kind of jammies and sitting on opposite ends of the couch chatting about life in between my pleas of, "Okay now what does a double crochet stitch mean again?  Like tell me in loop and pull or loop and pull through two or what?"  

Maybe if we were closer in age, there would be more sister competition and general pissed off-ness at her ability to pick all things up so easily.  But because I'm an entire decade older, I simply feel proud of that nugget.  She is smart.  She is kind.  And she is one mean little crocheter.  

However, I'm not sure if she has surpassed this one yet.  Momma Debi has it going on when it comes to anything involving thread or yarn and stitches.  

I'll always be in last place in this category, but I'm entirely at peace with it.  I really am.  Meager memorizing crocheting is my style.  

It's not like to get some revenge, I'd share a really unattractive picture of us in the morning having a laugh over her random blurt, "The train.  I heard the train in Hartland."  A really unattractive picture of the two of us.  No, I would never do that.    


Wagon Riding Again

Recently, self-sweetening plain Greek yogurt has been my mode of operation.  I would like to say I enjoy a bowl of plain Greek yogurt in the morning but that would be real akin to saying I enjoy a bowl of sour cream in the morning.  They are synonymous.  I don't even use sour cream on tacos anymore.  Greek yogurt all the way.  

Also, say tacos with a long a instead of short a.  It makes things more interesting. 

Back to the yogurt.  One must have a little something something in with the plain.  But of course, when one goes to the store to buy such a thing those versions are full of junk.  Why can't vanilla yogurt ingredients read something like this: rotten milk and vanilla.  Simple right?  But not the case.  

One day I had this like holy smokes I have an idea moment in the grocery store.  I'll just add a wee tiny bit of real maple syrup to the plain yogurt and that should be mighty tasty.  

And it is.  Really tasty.  Of course, when one buys real maple syrup they must be careful it only contains maple syrup, not sugar and all kinds of other business for this to be a healthy way to add.  I know maple syrup is full of natural sugar but it's from a tree and therefore I'm okay with it.  If it came from the ground or had a mother, I will eat it.  

I'm really working hard on being fully back on that mantra because I ate like seven Christmas cookies...a day.  For the entire week and a half of break.  Caramel puffcorn.  That was a problem too.   

Say hello to needing to be back on the wagon!  In a serious fashion.  

Enter self-sweetened plain Greek yogurt in the morning because the thought of sour cream in the morning isn't quite right.   

On a side note, I just love how what took a week and a half to put on takes forever to take back off.  Damn tricksters that junk food is.  

Here's to being back to the person who actually has some self control.  Not the person who eats seven cookies at one time and thinks a handful of caramel puffcorn is a steady breakfast.   

On another side note, happy weekend from my hanging next to bathroom mirror reminder to yours.  May it be exactly what you need it to be.   


Like a Bee

When there are twelve things going on at one time is when I am the most productive. 

I don't know what it says about my personality but I'm sure it's hidden jargon for something. 

Given a day like Monday, an unexpected day off from work, I get nothing done.  

It was cold here.  Really cold.  Twenty below actual temperature with a whipping wind, working together to cause a dangerous situation for bare skin.  Which resulted in many events were cancelled, including school.  

A day off.  All by myself.  Unplanned.  

You'd think I would work on getting ahead at my second job so deadline in February wouldn't be so breath catching.  You'd think I would work on the couple of nonfiction writing presentations I've been asked to do later this month.  Yes, you'd think.  

But instead I did nothing.  

First, I did work out with Karen early in the morning and then I did go to Brittany's for a cup of coffee.  But then, nothing. 

Other than cleaning the house, doing the laundry, getting all caught up on picture organizing, writing thank you cards, making good clean food, enjoying the sun spots in the house, wearing wool socks, and reading.

The stuff of a heart happy for me. 

The majority of the time, I was snuggled in a fuzzy blanket in the corner of the couch closest to the fire devour style reading.  I read an entire book and got half way through the second one before calling it a night.  Do yourself a favor and pick up Brain on Fire and read it, absolutely captivating.  Orphan Train is what I'm now on and it's also a win.

Monday was a soul rejuvenation affair of nothing and I liked it.  

I will also say this.  I feel recharged.  My head is clear again and currently it's Wednesday night and there are eleven things going on around here and getting crossed off the to-do list besides this writing, so there you have it.  My personality glitch.  Whatever it says about me, it says. 


The Reality of Editing

When I was on my return flight from Thanksgiving, I was told by the lady at the counter that the pilot was missing and we were delayed until 11:30 in the morning which happened to be five hours later than scheduled.  Followed by a you better not leave because if he shows up, we will take off immediately.  Followed by a mildly teary eyed call to Momma Debi telling her she and my dad could drive away, back to the house where the rest of my family were rising and eating breakfast.  

I walked through the outdoor portion of the airport and sat at my gate, reading.  Determined to make the extra wait something of worthy status.  Not a whine fest.  

Once the sun rose, I moved to the outside bench to continue reading.

The cactuses and flowers were pretty, the sun was out, the sky was clear, it was the end of November and I was out in just a light sweater.  Making good.

And here's where I share something I believe in, a nugget of truth.  The eye edits for beauty.  I heard this somewhere along my journey because I have it as a note in my phone and I think of it often.  

The reality of the situation was this...I was in an airport walk through.  Where pets had a place to do their business and planes were behind tall fences and there was a missing pilot who caused us all to wait an extra five hours.  Where I was secretly hoping he'd come running in with a wrinkled shirt and a bedraggled hairstyle.  Because being a disorganized normal person who missed their calendar reminder of flight would be entirely too boring.   

The eye edits for beauty.  

I've been thinking a lot about the struggles of loved ones and about perspective and in general, people going through the trenches.  Why seasons of life are tougher for some than others and thinking about how things ebb and flow. 

There's always a smudge of beauty.  Always.  Because we edit for it, we can make the choice of what to crop in and out.

Today as I sit in my house on this ridiculously cold cancelled school Monday, I am doing some editing of my own.  The sun shining in towards the wood floor and the fire fake crackling next to me is where I'm at so far.  I'll keep puttering around and embracing the afternoon inside my home because... 

The eye edits for beauty.  


A Really Great Book

One of my happies...  

Pulling the old rocker over the fire.  
Making a cup of tee.  
And reading.  
Until my feet become so freaking hot I can't stand it anymore.  
This time it was in the afternoon sun on a December vacation day.  
But the time doesn't matter, as long as all elements are present.

And may I say this.  If you haven't read The Fault in Our Stars, do it now.  Like this weekend.  It's perfect really because if you live here, we will be buried under a layer of ice and snow and butt numbing cold.     

I read the book in one day over break.  Tears ran down my face.  It's one I will read again, the words and message are hauntingly beautiful.

"I am," he said.  He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling.  "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things.  I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun wills wallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you." 

'Sometimes the universe wants to be noticed.'  "That's what I believe.  I believe the universe wants to be noticed.  I think the universe is improbably biased toward consciousness, that it rewards intelligence in part because the universe enjoys its elegance being observed.  And who am I, living in the middle of history, to tell the universe that it-my observation of it-is temporary?"  "You are fairly smart," I said after awhile.  "You are fairly good at compliments," he answered. 

"You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are."


Up Up Time

Today was back to work day and now that it's evening, I think I feel alright with it.  Well, I have to be in compliance since the money tree for the backyard hasn't been delivered yet.  That Amazon Prime two day shipping isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Anyways back to what I was saying, I tend to take the week and a half or so of Christmas break to really fall off the routine and structure bandwagon.  I do things like eat coffee ice cream after having cinnamon sugar toast and I sleep until seven and don't do any running or really much of any activity other than sitting cross legged with a crochet hook or lifting a coffee mug to my face while visiting.  
And I have decided I need those days of no rules with wearing leggings with fuzzy socks and nights of baths with wine and a book.  It actually makes me itch and want the structure.  The down time makes me want the up time back.  I was excited last night to set my alarm for 4:42 to hit the gym and I felt back in control while packing my lunch with real food like carrots.  The novelty will wear off again and then force of habit will take over but for now, I'm enjoying it all feeling like new resolve.   

It's up time again.  Go time.   

But that's not to take away from the magic that was Christmas break this year.        

I am fairly certain I could have really handled a few more days off but like I said previously, I think I'm alright with being back in the game.  Days of playing with helicopters and enjoying homemade tomato soup with ridiculous grilled cheese and never taking off glorified pajamas can't last forever.  Right?  Money tree where are you?