Friday, February 12, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Lent.  I feel ready for it this year. 

Ash Wednesday services and a sermon that will stay with me.  I'd rather be an eagle than a dodo bird.

Also my friend Candace for coming to church with me.

I almost skipped out because I was so engrossed in The Silent Wife.  It's been awhile since I've been able to lose myself like that in a book.  It was such an entertaining page turner that I finished it in 24 hours and I felt zero guilt over all the things (art museum, unpacking the kitchen, laundry, writing) that didn't get done.

A new reading lamp from Candace.

These singing nuns and my friend Candace (see the theme here? And she doesn't even read my blog) for turning me onto them.  Whether you are religious or not, these hymns are beautiful and uplifting.

The hard work Lily is putting into being a good student and classmate.  I attended her mid-year conferences last night and not one teacher had anything but glowing things to say about my girl, and her grades...they speak for themselves.

Mike is at home recovering from a procedure he had yesterday that went well. The only thing he could have eaten was ice cream, but he gave up sweets for Lent.  I almost stopped at Kopps to get him a shake, but I couldn't bring myself to derail him that way.

Squirreling.  It never gets tired.

Walks along the lakefront.  They never get old either.  I never take for granted where I live.

After school naps.  I love when these two are at rest.  They are the loudest in the family.  Teddy has so much energy.  He's always singing and shouting and slamming.  Peanut is our resident meower.  He literally carries on conversations.  Sometimes I ask them to be quiet because I like peace, but I also love them.

Prayers answered. I talked to my cousin this week and she sounds better physically and emotionally.

Getting up a little earlier in the morning so I am able to ease into the day.

A new habit of starting the day with a workout 2-3 times a week.  I have more energy and a better attitude throughout the day.

A long weekend ahead and snow in Sunday's forecast.

Double happiness. Valentine's plans to make homemade pizzas and watch movies as a family Sunday.  Mike and I will enjoy a night out alone together next week.

The kids and I will enjoy a day off Monday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

two day pass

i love friday nights.
we seldom make plans other than pizza.
we come home and decompress in any number of ways.
this week mike and i headed out for a walk.
it was seasonably chilly, but the same air sunday morning strongly hinted at spring.
teddy skipped saturday's ski trip and slept in.
i was still up early and unprovoked.
i enjoy being able to ease into the day with books and a warm beverage.
it's the calm before the saturday storm of chores and errands and projects.
truthfully, no matter when i wake on saturday, the day always expires before i can fit it all in.
lily enjoyed an early afternoon skate with her cousin downtown.
mike and i planned an impromptu spicy superbowl fiesta.
we met in the kitchen an hour before mass, and i knew we'd have to give up on hopes to attend saturday instead of sunday.
instead of being annoyed or inconvenienced, we were flexible and accommodating.
it was its own revelation.
he made a fan favorite chicken fajita soup for game day.
i made salsa and poppers and choriqueso.
then we cleaned up the kitchen and went out for a family dinner as planned.
the jackson blue ribbon never disappoints.
the food was good and the night was fun.
the games were all occupied, which turned out to be a blessing.
we made our own fun.
i woke early and unprovoked again sunday, but perhaps a little possessed.
i abruptly woke the whole house just after 7:00 for 9:00 mass thinking it was 8:00 mass.
i finished gratitude with a big cuppa.
the rest of my family went back to bed grateful for another hour of sleep.
we made it to church in time to sneak into the first row of the balcony as planned.
sometimes i like the bird's eye view, and especially when we are dressed to walk while the kids have sunday school.
the snow was melting as we made our way to the lake front where the chilly wind whipped off the lake.
the weather is a bit confused, but the sky was spectacular almost like van gogh's starry night.
mike made us chocolate chip pancakes and we had our first family meeting.
lily was scared and ted was amused.
there was nothing scary or funny about what will be our weekly ritual.
family arrived with wings and wienies and wine a little before game time.
i didn't watch a single play or care one way or another who won.
i was impressed by lady gaga, underwhelmed by the commercials and disgusted by beyonce.
i also was happy because it was a good and full weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2016

On My Mind Monday

There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever.  When people die, they cannot be replaced.  They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate - the genetic and neural fate - of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

I cannot pretend I am without fear.  But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.  I have loved and been loved, I have been given much and I have given something in return, I have read and traveled and thought and written.  I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

My Own Life
Oliver Sacks

Friday, February 5, 2016

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Feeling compelled to approach this day with gratitude.  I've been in a down yo for a stretch.  This rut is characterized by apathy and world weariness.  I know the malaise is lifting when I start feeling grateful without prompt or prod.  Things are looking up.

My subtle change in mood may also be in part due to how I started my day.  I read the first essay in Gratitude. Mercury was beautifully written by Oliver Sacks at the end of his life when he was still very much celebrating living. I read his inspiring words aloud so that I could take my time and feel them, and I think I also embraced them.

A working kitchen.  Our stools even arrived this week and we all love them especially Peanut and Tigger. I've been taking my time unpacking.  The essentials have been unearthed and put away, but the periphery objects are still in boxes in the basement.  This is deliberate.  I'm being conscious about what we truly need and love, and than donating or tossing things that serve no functional or joyful purpose.  It's a draining task, but the results are liberating, and every time I see my kitchen, I smile.  And I didn't even finish Marie Kondo's books yet.

Jess for offering to help pick up the stools. It would have taken Mike two trips with our van.  They both loaded up and did it in one.  Then she stayed for our first "official" dinner: meatball subs served with a killer salad.

Last night Lily took first place in all three of her events.  It must have been that new swim suit.  She was proudest of herself.

My cousin is home after two stays in the hospital.  She still needs prayers and good juju, but she is feeling and sounding better.

Dave's Killer Bread especially toasted and served with avocado and sliced tomato.

Ted sailed through his first high school exam week.

Staying warm.

Feeling hopeful.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Cloudy Day

I didn't sleep much last night.  I fell asleep on the couch for a stretch.  When I woke, I got sucked down the Tivo rabbit hole into the wee hours.  It was a waste of time that I don't feel good about, but the good thing is that I still have some energy today and I'm only on cup of coffee #1.  

I'm almost never the last one up.  Last night I was so sure I heard someone breathing outside the closed den door that I had to go to the bottom of the stairs to make sure the rest of the family was sound asleep.  They were.  Not a peep.  I sat back down and then I heard it again.  Tigger heard it too.  His ears perked up and his eyes opened wide as saucers.  He started to rise, but instead cuddled back in to the nest of afghans that he's recently claimed.  I followed his lead.

I purchased tickets this week for a psychic reading.  I've been reading about this medium the past couple days and thinking about the event that prompted this purchase.  It's the kind of story that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and my limbs tingle, but it's not my story to tell so I won't.  It confirms what I believe about loved ones lost.  Namely, that they're not.  Jessica suggested we do this, and for her this is a great big giant step in a long road of grief. Again...not my story.  The reason I even mention this is because I've been talking and thinking about it...I've been open, and when we are, they often come through.  I don't believe in coincidence.

Speaking of through, on the news this morning several anchors mentioned it's only 45 days until spring.  That proximity doesn't satisfy me.  The big blizzard we were supposed to get turned out to be the big one that got away.  I didn't see any snowflakes.  Only rain.  Today the world outside is a miasma.  Not the kind of white out I was hoping for.

Peanut is in the back hall caterwauling.  I think he thinks he wants to go outside. The bird chorus outside his favorite perch certainly sounds like spring too so I understand his confusion.  

Do you notice the birds singing louder at the start of day?  Do you observe the day growing longer...lighter?  Does this make you heavy?  Do you consider the thin veil between life and death, the relationship between then and now, and the possibility that we're not always that adept at noticing things?

Poof Monday becomes Friday.  Voila winter eases into spring, our toddlers are teenagers and we are looking back more than we are looking forward.  Day after week after month after year, as David Foster Wallace pointed out.  And what's the alternative? as my mom liked to opine.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

two day pass

friday night i took lily and a friend ice skating.
on our way, the evening sky gifted us with the most stellar of sunsets.
i really wanted to stay home, but i quickly realized that sitting in the warming house beside the roaring fire was not asking too much.
and if i'd holed up at home, i would have missed the sky on fire.
i happily read while the girls skated circles around the rink.
i watched other parents with young children and didn't feel nostalgic over what a production gearing up can be.
i helped lace and tighten skates, but they are mostly independent and that is to be celebrated.
we cooked pizzas for dinner and i settled in under both my cats for a movie.
we watched the constant gardener.
it was not until the second to last scene of the movie that i realized i'd seen this film before.
not sure what that says about my memory or the movie.
saturday ted headed out for a long day of skiing, and mike was out of town for a funeral.
lily and i headed to brady street to stock up at our favorite italian market and bakery.
these are the kind of neighborhood stores that make shopping fun.
lily's friend came over for the afternoon and i made the girls a pesto pasta lunch inspired by our bounty.
then i got to work assembling a lasagna for sunday dinner with all the fresh herbs, cheese and pasta.
the secret ingredient was goat cheese.
at ina's suggestion, i added 4 ounces to the ricotta.
it added a creamy richness and a tangy dimension that was perfect.
lily joined me in the kitchen to help with saturday dinner only she made the entire meal.
more blossoming independence,
the only thing i was allowed to do was the dishes.
go figure.
she made roasted lemon garlic chicken with baby red potatoes and green beans.
it was a tasty one pot meal, and very much appreciated by the boys when they returned home.
sunday i was up early, but lazy to get motivated.
we all chipped in to clean the house.
then my brother and sil joined us for games and dinner.
we're still loving fish bowl and the lasagna was a hit.
after dessert of assorted tarts, the cassata cake being the stand out, we lingered planning our webb lake vacation.
even at the tail end of summer, it's only 7 months out.

Monday, February 1, 2016

On My Mind Monday

Midnight, Talking About Our Exes

The sun is still down and maybe even downer.

Two owls, one white and one large-eared,
dive into nothingness that is a field, night-beast
in the swoop-down, (the way we all have to
make a living).  Let's be owls tonight, stay up
in the branches of ourselves, wide-eyed,
perched on the edge of euphoric plummet.
All your excellences are making me mouse,
but I will shush and remain the quiet flyer,
the one warm beast still coming to you in the dark
despite all those old, cold, claustrophobic stars.

Bright Dead Things

~Ada Limon