Friday, January 31, 2014

I Thought I Had A Bad Case Of Bronco Fever, But It Turned Out To Be A Sinus Infection. Now, With The Benefit Of Modern Medicine, Those Around Me Can Enjoy The Big Game Without The Sound Of Constant Sniffling. TMI?

Well, Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching and, at the High House, we are ready for a big Bronco victory!!  We'll be having a few people over to watch and I'm already working on a some menu ideas.  I think I'll serve pot roast in honor of Terrance Knighton, the fabulous Bronco defensive tackle, who's nickname is Pot Roast.  I'm using the Pioneer Woman's recipe and her recipe for Mashed Potatoes as well.  I'm also going to whip up a lovely 7-layer dip for the pre-game cocktail hour because who doesn't like a 7-layer dip?  And, as a family of Bronco fans, the Number 7 holds a very special place in our hearts.  I'm considering making it into a Snackadium.   Like these I found on TheKitchn website.

Certainly a Bronco beverage is in order for the big event.  I figure any wheat beer with a slice of orange (Bronco orange) would work, as would a mimosa with a couple blueberries floating atop.  When is champagne ever a bad idea?  Of course, we'll certainly offer up some Orange Crush soda to the younger set and those choosing not to imbibe although we don't know any of those people.

I purchased some additional Bronco garb for the family this week.  I haven't had any Bronco specific gear since the Orange Crush t-shirt I wore in 6th grade.  I just never felt the need.  I actually like to wear orange from time to time, so I always have a few shirts in my closet that I can throw on if I need to show some team support.  But since this is the Super Bowl I felt like it was time to put some skin in the game and invest in a little something more.

It took some effort to find things that weren't too over-the-top. The door is wide open out there for some kooky getups.  Team support is great and it's fun to be a part of something as big as a Super  Bowl, but unless it's Halloween, I just don't think your goal in getting dressed should be to look like you're crazy. To each his own.  If you are into that kind of expression, I highly recommend the orange, satin jacket paired with the blue and orange tiger stripe pajamas.  Throw on a Bronco horse-head hat and you'll be practically guaranteed some on-air camera time.

Yesterday I saw a woman walking out of the grocery store decked out in jeans with bedazzled Bronco logos, an orange shirt, a Bronco jacket (also bedazzled in orange and blue bling), and big, orange dangly pom-pom earrings.  It was a sight to behold, but it made me wonder.  If this is how she looks on the Thursday before the game, what is she going to be wearing when Sunday comes around?

This is what I'm going to wear:

While there is no bedazzling, I do have a few accessories I'm considering.  The orange necklace gives me a subtle tone-on-tone look, the turquoise necklace adds an unusual twist to standard Bronco blue, and the scarf is a cozy option that's seasonally appropriate.  Edge of your seat excitement, right?

I'm also looking forward to the Super Bowl commercials.  I'm really glad I've already seen the Budweiser commercial with the puppy and the clydesdales so I'm prepared to brace myself emotionally.  Last year I welled up for two weeks every time I thought about the Budweiser ad.  Since I know what's coming I may excuse myself when they air the spot - I don't want to risk a breakdown.  Uncontrollable weeping kills a party vibe pretty fast.

Go Broncos!!

gratitude:  a Bronco Super Bowl, antibiotics, animals, snowy days

thanks and love.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Focus On Minutiae Proves That Each Moment In Life Holds Value And Interest. And That I Can Fill A Page With Lots Of Words About Absolutely Nothing.

I go grocery shopping about 75 times a week.  That may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much.  It seems the natural and organic products we prefer have a shelf life barely longer than the drive home from Whole Foods.

So when you're grocery shopping, have you ever had that experience where you run into the same person over and over again?  That happened to me this week.  It wasn't even like we were following the same path through the store.  I was totally unorganized, having left my massive shopping list at home (of course), and I was wildly bouncing from aisle to aisle, department to department without so much as a tidbit of logic.  And everywhere I went, there she was.

It got weird after a while.  The first time we connected was in the produce aisle.  We were both going for the lemons (non-Meyer).  We laughed, excused ourselves, and carried on.  Then we found each other in the pasta aisle, the tea section, and Frozen Foods.  Each time we'd do that little dance with our carts - working our way around each other - 'you go right, I'll go left'.  By the time we'd had our fourth contact it wasn't funny or coincidental anymore - we exchanged nothing more than stiff, slightly sarcastic smiles.  It had become irritating.

So when I was headed for the meat department and saw her eyeing the prepackaged steaks, I circled the Soups and Stews island for awhile making every effort possible to end our oddly uncomfortable relationship.  I tried to appear fascinated by the bison chili while using my peripheral vision to see when the coast was clear so I could get my chicken breasts and be on my way.

I also struggle a bit with the sample people.  I like my alone time while I gather supplies, so I usually avoid having to interact with anyone asking me if I want a lukewarm piece of grilled chicken or some room-temperature hummus.  I feel bad saying 'no' if I don't want the product, and I'm not a fan of eating whatever happens to be on a table at the end of a grocery aisle.  One time, I did step out of my comfort zone and engaged with a sample person because they were offering ice cream and my interest was understandably piqued, but I lived to regret it.

I jostled for position around the ice cream sample table and the person manning it handed me a freshly scooped wooden spoonful which I eagerly popped into my mouth.  Seconds later I nearly blacked out when he uttered the words, "smoked salmon", and my taste buds confirmed what I'd just heard.  I had a mouthful of smoked salmon ice cream and I had to swallow it because there were people watching.  I forced it down as my eyes filled with tears and my scalp started sweating, but the experience only proved that keeping to myself while I shop is the best approach for me.

I also learned that smoked salmon and ice cream are a disturbing combo.  And that once you've had smoked salmon ice cream you can force your gag reflex into action simply by thinking about it. Even almost a year later.  Fascinating.

I'm wearing this.

This is a fun shot because it's up to you to guess whether or not I was watching someone come down the stairs or telling Geoff there is no way in the world I'll look at the camera.  Discuss.

gratitude:  pink clouds, salads, suede booties, the Stella & Dot Joy candle

thanks and love.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Rarely Do Appliances Break On A Weekday Before Five O'Clock In The Evening. Weekends And Pre-Dawn Are The Prime Time For Appliance Failure. These Are Also The Most Popular Times For Your Pets To Eat Something They Shouldn't. Truly One Of Life's Great Ironies.

Has anyone heard the chirping of a smoke detector warning during daylight hours?  I doubt it.  That's because they only warn you about a low battery in the middle of the night.  And so it was at the High Household this AM.  Early, early, early this morning one of the 4,000 smoke detectors in our house began producing a brain-piercing beep every 30 seconds.  At first, I worked it into a dream which was getting a little weird anyway so I was grateful to see it come to an end.  But, once I came to my senses, I realized the failing device was far-enough away that a well-placed pillow might sufficiently block the noise, allowing me to enjoy the remaining few precious hours of sleep.

The pillow worked surprisingly well.  I've become a master of sound muffling with bed linens lately -we have a bit of a snoring issue to address (ahem).  I thought I'd make it to 6:00, but I heard Geoff get up and realized his sound-proofing skills obviously aren't quite as well honed as my own.  I figured he'd manage the battery switcharoo on his own until I heard something I'd been dreading since we moved into our house.  Geoff was in the garage getting The Big Ladder.  That could only mean one thing.

The faulty detector was on the highest ceiling in our house.

A ceiling so high, I'd convinced myself that the detector I saw up there was only decorative - no one would expect your average homeowner to have access to a ladder tall enough to reach it unless they were a fireman or a tree trimmer.  We worried someday this would happen, but we'd clearly been lulled into a sense of complacency because this detector hadn't made a sound in four years.

I offered to crawl up The Big Ladder to replace the battery because Geoff is still dealing with some vertigo issues.  I mean, how often does a former cheerleader get the opportunity to put those pyramid climbing skills to good use, right?  The battery replacement was a success.  I even got it in the right way on my first try, which is quite an achievement since my motor and logic skills at 4:00 in the morning are almost non-existent.

And that was how we started our day.

I'm wearing this:

I'm sure the staff at Whole Foods appreciates a nice statement necklace.

It's Meatless Monday.  I've decided to make an organic green bean casserole - like the one you eat on Thanksgiving - for our main course.  A little baguette alongside, and we're good.

gratitude:  ski weekends, sweet onion on sandwiches, my own bed, mountain house fantasies

thanks and love.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You Know How It Is When You Eat A Piece Of Cake And It's So Delicious That You Go Back For Another? The Second Piece Confirms That This Is The Greatest Cake You've Ever Eaten, So You Have A Third Because This Kind Of Baked Good Perfection Doesn't Happen Every Day? But Now You Don't Feel Happy, Just Barfy? That's How I Feel Only Substitute 'Inspirational Reading' For 'Cake'.

I have been on an over two year binge of inspirational readings and practices and I simply don't have any more room left in my head for this kind of information, so I'm going on a bit of a cleanse.  It seems weird to have to purge my life of so many wonderful words and lessons and rituals, but I've overdone it and now what started out as a beautiful bit of daily enrichment has become an arduous task of overwhelming, and frankly, crippling proportions.

It started as a simple, but regular yoga and meditation practice that I began during a particularly sensitive time in my life.  It felt great and I knew I was gaining a lot of insight, strength, and wisdom from it.  I added the task of reading a certain inspirational website on a daily basis to fortify all I was learning.  To that I included more websites offering multiple articles on insight, productivity, wellness, spirituality, motivation and the like.  Books on the subject filled my Kindle.  There were daily email alerts I felt compelled to read, Facebook posts, Pinterest pins, YouTube videos, and a slew of yoga practices to strengthen my doshas, chakras, and immune system.  I added recorded meditations, journaling, I focused on my core desired feelings, worked to establish a miracle mindset and always, always strove to release fear and ego.  It just got to be too much.

I felt I needed to start my day with all this so I'd be a more joyful, more centered, and more productive person.  But eventually I came to resent it all.  It took me so long to slog through everything and I worried, if I didn't, I'd miss The One Thing that would bring it all together for me.  It started to get in the way of actually living life.  It became a bit of an addiction.  And I was moving farther and farther away from actually being joyful, centered, and productive.

You can, indeed, have too much of a good thing.

So I've decided to eliminate the vast majority of my current spiritual, inspirational, and self-help intake for now.  I've unsubscribed from all the reminders and updates.  I'm sure I'll come back to some of these resources once I've given myself a chance to put my learned knowledge into practical action, but for now, the act of just being is my priority.  I feel lighter already.

I'm wearing this:

Nothing says "I'm ready to be my best me" like a grey t-shirt and white jeans.  Practically a cliche, right?

* We will be leaving tomorrow for a long weekend in the mountains.  I don't think I'll post on Friday, as I expect I'll be bravely chasing my family down the slopes and very much looking forward to an apres ski glass of wine.  Happy weekends, all!

gratitude:  birthdays (Happy Birthday, Geoff!!), manicures, sunrises, coffee

thanks and love.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I Believe We Need To Treat Ourselves To Little Things Every Day That Make Us Feel Good. That Is Not To Say That The Occasional Big Treat Is Off The Table. In No Way Does A Daily Use Of Luxurious Lotion Replace A Trip To Paris. It Just Keeps Us In A Better Mood While We're Waiting.

So last night I used my 'Limited Edition' Method cleanser for the first time.  Yeah, you heard right.  Limited. Edition.  The scent is called 'Beach Sage' and this particular fragrance is simply not offered year round.  You snooze, you lose, people.  I don't know what Beach Sage is supposed to smell like, but my kitchen is bordering on an aromatherapeutic paradise right now.

It occurred to me when I bought this that my visceral reaction to a limited edition cleanser scent is nothing of which to be proud.  I am not.  And yet, I can't deny that when I was at Target picking up my standard 'Cucumber' scented spray, I got a little excited when I found this special run on the Method Countertop Cleanser.  I mean, 'Limited Edition'!  Right?

As silly as it sounds, I felt kinda snazzy while I spritzed it here and there cleaning up chili spills and dried milk from JD's after school bowl bowls of cereal.  The scent was so lovely I even went the extra mile and wiped under the toaster too.  Hey, spending less than $5 to get something that makes a daily task slightly more tolerable is a good deal, in my opinion.  And, as utilitarian as it is, even a new cleanser can add a little something nice to our daily life.

When we amp up those things we do everyday, it feels good.  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day that we forget to toss in something new or something a little special for ourselves and end up in ruts and routines.  We don't notice things as much and we risk becoming less present to the moment.  Special treats don't always have to be big, although a spontaneous trip to a beach is always welcome, but smaller luxuries enjoyed on a frequent basis can actually give us a more consistent rise in our overall joy.  And who doesn't want that after all?

I'm a candle girl.  So I'm trying lately to always have one or two really nice candles burning at home - something from Diptyque downstairs and an Anthropologie candle upstairs.   It's not a huge expense to buy these, but they are considerably more expensive than my standard Target candles I have strewn all over the house.  When I light one though, and my house fills up with the scent, it feels nice.  A little special.  And having bits of special tossed into our days is a good thing.  It could be a new skin care product, a nicer wine, an extra book, a new accessory - just anything that doesn't cost a fortune and is used on a regular basis, can give us a little daily zshuzsh.

You may already do this, but if not, try it.  Find something small and pamper yourself a little.  I think you'll like the results - it's simple, but makes a difference.  And keep your eyes peeled for those Limited Edition cleanser scents.  Don't squeal when you see them (you'll draw a crowd), just act cool and toss it into your basket.  The next time you clean your kitchen you'll feel it - every squeeze of the bottle trigger  will remind you that you're living a quality of life that only those with Limited Edition cleanser scents can understand.

I'm wearing this.

 Today is filled with multiple trips to Goodwill.   A sensible shoe is in order.  Converse fills the bill every time (another wardrobe Must Have).

gratitude:  mechanical pencils, no wind, chocolate chip cookies, clean closets

thanks and love.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Last Night I Referred To The Original Charlie's Angels In A Conversation. It Made Me Feel Old. And Conjured Up Memories Of Recesses Spent Hoping I Wouldn't Have To Play Sabrina.

Parenting teens has its inherent challenges and risks - we walk a fine line between heartwarming times of bonding and unexpected moments of ego damage.  Late last night the kids and I were chatting in the kitchen.  I had just finished the end-of-day countertop wipe down when we started talking and was slightly disturbed when the kids both sat on the island (on the island, not on the stools available around the island) in the same clothes they'd worn to school.  But, as parents of teens we know when an unplanned conversation starts up with our kids, we need to push out any fear of cooties or schedules and give ourselves fully to the discussion because we don't know when the next window of opportunity will arise.

We were talking about looks - a typical teen topic.  Actually, we'd segued into looks after yet another back and forth over piercings and tattoos.  I don't know where it comes from but, Eliza is on a constant quest to pierce her nose and JD has planned a series of Colorado based tattoos that would make you wonder if he is being sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.  I, of course, say no to all of them because I'm not sure if their desire for this kind thing is a true expression of who they are and who they want to be, or something that just looks cool on Instagram.  This conversation predictably ended with the run down of how quickly these things will happen after they turn 18.  Fine.

Anyway, I asked the kids to name two features they liked most about themselves and one they liked least (I thought it would be interesting to see how they perceived themselves).  They had no problem with either subject and I, in a strategic parenting move, made a point to list a third feature that was great about each of them so they could see how nice it is when someone compliments you and to let them I know I find them amazing.  Of course, my children don't always take the bait in such lessons.

When it was my turn, I listed my pros and cons and instead of boosting me up with another pro, JD asked, "What about your chin?".  And Eliza followed up with, "Yeah, what about it?".  I hadn't listed my chin as a negative even though it was certainly on my list and has been my entire life.  So, I had to  tamp down the latent middle school angst and demonstrate how to laugh about our flaws.  I made a joke about how long my list could be, considered singing a little "Mac the Knife", and added that some of the most interesting people to look at actually have a unique feature that adds to their appeal.

I shared with them that Farrah Fawcett, the ultimate Charlie's Angel and 1970s icon, had one eye that was a full quarter inch higher than the other - this may have been a rumor, but kind of looks true in photos.  We also discussed the fact that Adam Levine, People's most recent 'Sexiest Man Alive', has battled acne since he was a teen (a fact lifted from the People Magazine I read at the orthodontist and heard in a Proactiv commercial during the Golden Globes).  Our conversation quickly moved onto other topics, but I hope I at least reinforced the fact with them that we shouldn't focus too much on our perceived negatives.  Everyone has them.  The key is to understand and accept our weak spots and capitalize on our strengths.  This works in fashion, business, decor and a whole host of other lifestyle areas.

I know what I said was nothing new.  I truly cherish those spontaneous chats with the kids though, regardless of topic.  And it made me happy to put a little something more than, "Clean up the bathroom!", "Do you know we have plates?", or "Where are all the water bottles?" into the conversation.  It felt good.  Except for the part about my chin.

I'm wearing this.

I dig a dress over jeans - I think it gives you more bang for your buck.  This particular ensemble is kind of a nod to the 1970s.  A wrap dress over flared jeans - hello Rhoda!

gratitude:  new pens, scented candles, the smell of pancakes, today's sunrise

thanks and love.

Monday, January 13, 2014

On This Monday, I Find Myself Wondering Why Is It Always Windy On Trash Day? And, If I Don't Immediately Bring In The Empty Recycling Bins, Will They Reach The New Mexico Border By Nightfall?

Last night I had the weirdest Golden Globe themed dream.  I was at a house party after the show.  And not like the kind of house party one might attend if invited back to Tom Hanks' abode after the event.  It was more like a house party in suburban Denver in the 1970's.   This, I think, was a nod to the American Hustle win and subconscious memories of a childhood spent growing up with a father in the music and entertainment industry.

Anyway, I was there with my dearest friend, Tracy.  I get the sense we may have hosted the show like Amy and Tina (a clear friendship reference).  I don't know what I was wearing, but Tracy was in a very edgy, red and black gown (she noted this morning that red is not a good choice for her, but she was rocking it in the dream).  I get the sense my dress was white and a little poufy, which seems an off choice for me (it even felt a little Disney princess, egad).  We were mixing and mingling in the kitchen of this home and ended up having a great conversation with Seth Meyers.  At one point we were approached by a red, long-haired, miniature dachshund and I had to push my big dress out of the way in order to bend down and give the dog scratches and kisses.  I woke up when someone at the house started playing 'Get Lucky' by Daft Punk and I had to start dancing.  Because you cannot avoid dancing when you hear that song.  At least I can't.

So, you can see my life is pretty exciting.

I attribute the dream to a lack of wine in the evening - Geoff is traveling and sometimes wine alone just feels weird - plus I had a very strong herbal tea before bed.  I like the Yogi Tea Kava Stress Relief tea - it has served me well over the years.  I had a cup steeping while we were all getting ready for bed, but the kids were being so funny/strange/goofy that I forgot all about it.  By the time I drank the tea it had probably been brewing for three times as long as they recommend.  I think this may be what shamans drink before they conjure up visions and the like.  Anyway, it made for an interesting sleep.  I highly recommend it.

I'm wearing this:

I bought new shelf liners for my pantry so I'm diving into a massive re-do.   I'll be sporting my cozy slippers while in the pantry, then I'll throw on the booties when I'm required to venture out into the public.  The necklace remains throughout the day.  One must always accessorize.  Always.

It's Meatless Monday and we'll be having egg salad sandwiches.  I like my egg salad with lots of mustard and a little celery for crunch.  It's a very personal dish.

gratitude:  a Bronco victory, watching the Golden Globes with the kids, very stretchy trash bags, ottomans

thanks and love.

Friday, January 10, 2014

It's Amazing What You Can Accomplish When You're Avoiding Something Else. I Spent Two Hours In The Container Store Yesterday And I'll Bet 90% Of The People There Had Something Else They Should Have Been Doing.

I've blogged often about my love of fresh starts.  The beginning of the school year, the first day of a month, a new moon, Monday, New Year's Day - you get the drift.  But for some reason, as I contemplate my business moves for 2014, I'm feeling a little drained by facing yet another beginning.

It seems like for almost the last 10 years or so, I've consistently been starting some kind of new business effort.  At times it would just be a class or two investigating possible professional directions.  Of course, it didn't take long for me to realize I had no future at all as a Master Gardener - thankfully that fantasy was nipped in the bud (pun, not intended.  Just a happy accident!).  Mostly, though, I've focused on different iterations of decorating and staging.  And some fashion.  And a little writing.  I love all these subjects and when my businesses have been thriving, it's been a blast.  But that thriving period never seems to last for long.

I wish I could generate just a little more energy to contemplate the moves I want to make professionally in this New Year, but it feels like the movie Groundhog Day.  I've been here before.  So, I'm taking a few days to mull over my next steps and tie up a few loose ends.  I do my best thinking when I'm distracted by other tasks.  And besides knowing I'll have a totally organized house by next week, I hope I'll also develop some vigor and confidence when it comes to plotting my 2014 professional direction.

One thing that is especially challenging and I think plays a big role in motivation, is having a vision.  That's where I think my problems may lie.  I'm not totally clear on what I want IT to look like.  I have a lot of areas I'm interested in pursuing, but no clear picture on how it all comes together.  Or if it should all come together.  I do a lot of reading about visualizing success and have discovered conflicting views.  Often you hear you need to have a vivid picture of what you want, to manifest that as an end result.  Others say you just need to start and by starting you'll get clear about what you want.  Sometimes a sweat lodge is recommended.  What's a girl to do?

I suppose, like anything else, the answer lies somewhere in between.  We need a vision to give us some direction, but we also need to be willing to make adjustments.  That said, I'm going to allow myself the freedom to think BIG - sometimes a big idea is easier (and more exciting) to come up with than a realistic one.  Then, I'm going to commit to just taking The. Next. Step.  And I'm going to stay open to possibilities because most of the roads in life are pretty curvy.  It's kind of a Pragmatic Dreamer approach to business success. I hope it works.

I'm wearing this while I'm cleaning the junk drawer and contemplating my future.

I chose jeans and a t-shirt because they symbolize a firm foundation onto which many great things may be created.  Plus, they were clean.

gratitude:  a cozy house when it's windy, Parks and Rec, an organized closet, shelf liners

thanks and love.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I Think Fears Can Sometimes Be Healthy And Can Actually Keep Us Alive. I'm Afraid Of Poisonous Snakes And Avoid Them Because I Want To Stay Alive. So Far So Good. Thank You, Fear.

Facing Fear.  We get told all the time that we're just not living life fully if we're not regularly facing and defeating Fear.  I disagree.  While I love Eleanor Roosevelt, I think she was waaaay off base when she said, "You must do the thing you fear the most." 

I think pushing ourselves out of a comfort zone is a healthy thing to do and playing only when you have a guaranteed win isn't going to give you much in return, but constantly making yourself do something that sucks the life out of you is missing the point completely.   Fears are very individual and we need to understand that choosing which fears to face requires a finer touch.

Take for instance cold calling customers.  A lot of people can do this without any struggle - it's a major part of a lot of job descriptions.  Most people, I imagine, don't particularly enjoy it but do it anyway as it's a means to an end.  When they've done it though, they feel accomplished and invigorated.  However, when I'm faced with this task, I teeter on the verge of an anxiety attack.  I'm talking gut wrenching fear that seriously makes me consider having a few tequila shots even if it's only 9 o'clock in the morning.   When I face this particular fear, I don't feel victorious.  I feel drained and not myself.

However, writing blog posts and putting them out there for all to see could cause someone to want to dip into the Jose Cuervo before lunch.  But for me, that's not the case.  Writing and sharing what I've written is scary, but fun.  And I feel braver and stronger after I've written and posted something (some things I'm more proud of than others, of course). 

Fear facing is not one size fits all.  The fears we, as individuals, should face are the ones that give us a positively energized feeling after conquering them - that make us want to do it again because we learned things during the process and like the end result.

If a particular fear makes us feel sick before, during and after facing it head on, then perhaps we need to take the burden of that battle off the table. That kind of struggle diminishes us and takes us backward in our development. It's not helping us become the person we want to be and that, I believe, is more the point in addressing our fears.  

Facing fear is more about a willingness to do the hard stuff that brings us closer to our goals or to what our individual ideal is.  It's personal.  And we need to be selective in what challenges we bring into our lives.  Life is hard sometimes just as it is, and the additional fears we choose to face need to be ones that help us thrive and grow, not that add an unbearable weight to our psyche.

And that's my humble opinion.  Today.

I'm wearing this:

I will be replacing light bulbs throughout the house today.  I live a very exciting life and I must dress accordingly.

gratitude:  nail polish that stays on, champagne, everyone making it off to school on-time and in pleasant moods, Amazon

thanks and love.

Monday, January 6, 2014

So Many Fun Projects To Start At Home. My Pantry Should Be Especially Exciting To Reorganize. The Other Day I Found A Dijon Mustard That Expired Two Years Ago And I Know I Have A Couple Cans Of Soup In There That Aren't Sold In Stores Anymore. It's A Little Like Opening A Culinary Time Capsule.

I just can't get into the swing of things until the kids go back to school and it feels a little weird that their first day back will be on a Wednesday.  Monday does make more sense, right?  Not that I would ever want to shorten the time I have with my kids here at home - trust me, if there was any way I could homeschool them without causing intellectual damage to them or to myself, I'd be all over it.  But it's best they're educated by professionals rather than someone like me who would have them calculate 20% off the sale price at Nordstrom as a math lesson.  They need school.

But it's a little anti-climactic to see the rest of the world off and running today - the first Monday after the New Year - while I'm at home rethinking every goal I set and attitude I hoped to cultivate in 2014.  I feel like I'm the last guy to jump on a skydiving trip.  I'm sitting in the back of the plane watching everyone else leap out the door and begin their adventure - while I start second guessing myself, my decisions, and quietly fearing that I may have incorrectly loaded the parachute in my pack.

I know this is a temporary setback - once we get back into the swing of things, I'll be better able to navigate myself and my plans and my mind's clever way of making me feel insecure.  If 2014 goes as planned, my mind better just enjoy these last moments of power, because I have every intention to tame my inner voice into submission making it a friendly asset for me rather than a middle school Mean Girl. So I'll wait and trust that when it's time for me to jump, I'll go.  I may have to ask the pilot to circle around again, but I'll do it.  I'd just like to apologize in advance for any screaming or crying that may occur in the process.

I'm wearing this.

A totally at home day in which I'll be diving into a closet overhaul - my seasons are colliding and if I don't get things organized, I will end up in a sundress and Sorels.

For Meatless Monday we're having my favorite decadent pasta dish.  It's pasta with sauteed veggies of any sort - we're doing cherry tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash - held together with leftover Gorgonzola cream sauce from dinner last night.  Delish!

gratitude:  blue sky and snow, Geoff's listening skills and patience, gas fireplaces, pillows

thanks and love.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Geoff Bought Me A Beautiful Painting Of A Cow For Christmas. I Love Cows. Sometimes I Wonder If They Are My Spirit Animal. Is That Weird?

I have returned.  Almost.  I'm sort of using this post as a warm up lap.  I had a hard time deciding when to make my blogging return - do I start on New Year's Day?  What about on Monday - everything starts on a Monday, right?  Or maybe I should start when the kids go back to school since vacation time isn't real time.  Obviously I established my start date today.  It's the first day of a New Year in a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule that isn't an actual holiday.  So there's that.

I hope you've all had wonderful holiday seasons.  We had a great time here.  Lots of activity and noise. I'm so grateful to be able to spend holidays like that with our families and friends, but I'm also incredibly appreciative of the quiet that follows.  Relative quiet, of course.  And this year, I also appreciated my restraint when it came holiday decorating.  Once the tree came down, the rest of the house was successfully cleared of all things Christmas related with just two small trips to our basement storage.  We are now officially a home of 2014.

I learned a few things during this holiday season:

Ski boots are terrible to walk in, but they do make it easier to perform a hover maneuver in public restrooms.

When you first start using a Neti pot, it feels like you are waterboarding yourself.  I'm still not convinced about its effectiveness and I'm really tired of blowing my nose.

The Pioneer Woman's spinach artichoke dip recipe is delicious, but if you reheat it too long, it becomes hotter than the sun.

If you put something really hot in your mouth, spit it out.  Don't hold in in there just because you remember how delicious it was the night before and you're all alone in the kitchen and no one can see the huge amount you scooped up on the pita crisp.   I had an incident like this thanks to the aforementioned dip and I am still recovering from what may have been third degree burns on the roof of my mouth.  I'm talking a two inch long blister because I wanted to eat a dip.  Not my proudest moment.

I'm wearing these.

They are my new Christmas slippers.  I love them so.  Ever since the kids were babies I bought us all new jammies to wear on Christmas Eve, but this year the family informed me that they just couldn't stomach another pair of Christmas jammies - clearly not all traditions are meant to continue forever.  So I bought everyone slippers instead and now we have warm feet and maybe in 2014 we can find some sleepwear that doesn't have reindeers on them.

gratitude:  washing machines, family movie nights, Tocca perfumes, rest

thanks and love.