Friday, January 31, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Aunt Jess for taking Miss Bit on a date to the movies so Coach and I could bowl in our league Saturday.  It was a fun night of good music and scores.  Turns out that it's much more fun racking up strikes and spares than throwing gutter balls.

A lazy Sunday.  They're becoming a pattern, or rather a much loved tradition.  I watched two movies, read two books, and made two new of which was a tres leches cake that T. Bone requested a month ago for his birthday.  I think he thought it was worth waiting for. Miss Bit and I made salsa together.  It was a little spicy so she decided we needed a side of guacamole to temper it.  She was right. Then Coach and I made dinner together: chicken Marsala and roasted asparagus.

Arctic sea smoke covering the lake.  Everyday I want to take a picture, but it's so cold that I don't want to get out of my car.

A new pair of black leggings and brown topaz earrings.

T. Bone is enjoying a winter adventure with his classmates.  They are camping (in cabins) for a few days and partaking in activities like orienteering, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and such.  I cannot wait to hear about it when I pick him up this afternoon.

Mid-week dinner out with Coach and Miss Bit.  It was a nice little treat for her while her brother was away.

Miss Bit got in the car after an audition prep session for Annie and said, "I want to be Molly and that's that!  I want a major role.  I'm ready!"  Crossing my fingers.

I was having one of my charming  idiopathic, systematic histamine responses this week.  Translated to: no idea the cause any part of the body is game allergic reactions.  This time it was my face and my leg.  But then this morning I ate a banana and immediately my lips started to swell and my mouth went numb.  Of course, my epipen was at home, but I took some Benadryl (4 years expired and still mostly effective) and got busy on Google. Apparently, people allergic to bananas are also allergic to avocados and almonds. I've eaten these three foods multiple times this week.  I have diagnosed myself for the time being with what is known as the Latex Fruit Allergy.  I am sad to have to give up these foods I love, but relieved that I may regain control over annoying allergic reactions in the future.  Once again crossing my fingers.

I made progress with my pictures this week.  I still have a lot of uploading, organizing and editing to go, but in beginning I can see the end.

Fresh powder.  We're supposed to get snow tomorrow.

Miss Bit has her first ski lesson tomorrow and she's very excited.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January Hope

It's another bone cold kind of day.  I don't have many druthers with the weather.  It is winter, after all. Winter in Wisconsin. I have warm clothes and a toasty house, and also the desire to stay in.  Except yesterday Miss Bit and I ventured out to witness the arctic sea smoke.  The steamy fog hovering over Lake Michigan is hauntingly beautiful.  We walked down to the beach to admire this winter phenomenon that has overtaken our inland sea.  The photographs I took failed to capture it, but still I tried.  As I stood there soaking in the sun, I realized it was the first time I've been outside for any length of time in over a week.  My fingertips and cheeks were chilled, but my heart was warmed.  There's hope for me.

The kids didn't have school yesterday, and Miss Bit won't have ice skating today.  She doesn't appreciate that fact and wanted to bring her skates just in case.  If it were up to me, I'd bundle them up and send them on the ice.  There's no wind, it's sunny and there is a giant fire pit in the warming house to unthaw beside. Alas there's always next week.  There's hope for her.

T. Bone is on his way to camp with his classmates.  They'll spend the next three days enjoying outdoor experiences like orienteering, ice fishing, snowshoeing and tabaggoning.  He was super stoked for this seventh grade excursion, and I was too given the fact that there is only so much Mine Craft one can play and Castle one can watch. There's hope for him.

It's a three caffeine day for me.  I'm on my third cup of coffee right now.  My list of all that I should do is staring at me, but I think when I'm done here I'll watch last week's episode of Parenthood and then finish my book.  If you must know, neither of these tasks is on my list.  I'm getting really good at this hunkering in, battening down gig.  So good it's starting to scare me.  I fear that I'm becoming too comfortable being home and alone. The truth is that I'm feeling a little under the weather both physically and emotionally.  I feel like the weight of the world is upon me so what do I do?  I ignore the world.  La la la la I can't hear you! I'm not in the best place so I'm giving myself space.  I'm treating myself with kid gloves until I turn the corner. I'm also believing that I will. There's hope for me...I know there's hope for me.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Allowing cooler heads to prevail.  Sunday after T. Bone's incident on the basketball court, I wanted to pick up the phone and call 2 out of the 3 mothers.  They are friends who I can call, but something made me decide to sleep on it.  I felt that inserting myself as revved up as I was would add fuel to the fire.  By the end of the week, there was peace.  As the mama bear, I wanted to step in and fix things, but the lessons are better learned when he mends his conflicts on his own.  I'm proud of him, and I'm proud of myself too because it was really really hard not to address the situation. T. Bone knows that the instigator is a bully, and he is just steering clear of him going forward.   There is no peace to restore with him.

Unsent letters.  I wrote one to my friend who I feel treated me like a doormat last week. I feel like a load has been lifted by expressing my feelings even in this one sided way.  This is a pattern in our relationship so I want to remember exactly how I feel abused lest I end up in this same situation with her again down the road.

Heat.  Baby it's cold outside again.

Also Bill Buford's Heat.  I intended to read a page or 2 last night, but I couldn't put it down. My bad habit...reading multiple books at back.

The kids say that now my Chicken Pastina is better than Glorioso's.  It must be that 2 chicken stock.

A short week.

A slow weekend.

Happy hour tonight with my brother.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursday Inventory

Reading...not nearly enough.  I finally picked up a book for the first time this year the other day.  I'm a little embarrassed to identify the memoir as it's not exactly quality material, but Amanda Knox's story is an easy, entertaining read. I have stacks of what I know to be good reads stashed around the house so I have no excuse except that I usually read one tawdry, tell all every year.

Wondering...Did she do it?  First I thought absolutely, then no way and now possibly.

Noticing...that it is staying lighter a little longer into every day.

Watching...too much television and none of it particularly provocative.  Bad movies like last year's slasher film You're Next, lousy reality television and cooking competition after cooking competition.  I am looking forward to binge watching the first 3 seasons of Downton Abbey, which are in my possession and the second season of Homeland, which I hope to soon procure.

Listening to...Captain & Tennille's Muskrat Love compelled by news of their divorce.  It takes me straight back to the backseat of my Mom's orange Honda Civic circa 1975.  And they whirled and they twirled and the tangoed...singin' and jinglin' a jangle...floatin' like the heavens above...looks like muskrat looooo-oooove.  Not listening to Aladdin.

Eating...simply but soulfully.  Lemon and garlic stuffed roast chicken one night.  Making stock with the carcass another night for bowls of chicken pastina soup.  Plates of an almost authentic pasta carbonara another night: a recipe that is truly about the quality of the few ingredients involved.

Drinking...lots of hot coffee and tea, some wine and not nearly enough water.  Why is it so hard for me to get my daily 8?

Dreaming...of my Mom when I am asleep and of how to live a better, more balanced life when I am awake.

Feeling...cozy and lazy and quiet.  Introspective too.

Wanting...more snowstorms and snow days.

Wearing...warm sweaters with leggings and boots.  I just got a new sweater last week.  I loved it and then knew I had to have it when I saw it was called the Storyteller Sweater.

Hoping...that I can figure out what to do with my hair...cut, color, cut & color?  I feel like I need to do something, but I am stuck.

Thinking...that you couldn't pay me to travel to Sochi Olympics or not.

Enjoying...a shopping free month.  No holidays or birthdays or season changes to shop for.

Loving...Miss Bit's penchant for the stage, T. Bone's affinity for the rink, Peanut and Tigger's attraction to any and every lap, $5 Tuesdays at the theater, workouts on the elliptical, painting and writing,, Instagram and the my_365 daily challenge, when all the laundry is clean, folded and put away, feeding the birds, and the dailiness of life.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Post From My Soap Box

The long weekend has come to end.  Well, for most of us.  The kids had off yesterday.  It irks me that they call it teacher in service despite the fact that it is MLK day.  Personally, I think the kids should be in school learning about MLK, but they were much happier to be playing hockey and rollerskating with friends.  I spent much of the day playing busy chauffeur. But then I did nothing on Sunday except watch movies and roast a chicken.  I needed the downtime after the wrap of Aladdin.  I finally got to be in the audience Saturday night, and I was impressed how wonderfully it all came together.  I'm still belting out random lines throughout the day and singing in my dreams.  Miss Bit just rolls her eyes...Aladdin was so yesterday!

I have much on my mind after the busy week.  The play experience taught me many things about myself, others and human nature in general.  One of the most obvious is that there are givers and takers.  I very much admire those who are able to give and give without eventually begrudging the takers.  I admit I am not that selfless. Takers have an air of entitlement.  In my book, entitlement is the eighth deadly sin.  It is in fact, a product of greed, sloth, pride and gluttony.  I am over the takers.

In that same vein, acts of kindness should be performed without any expectation of reciprocation, but if they are never or very rarely reciprocated, that isn't right either.  Especially in a friendship where the acts of kindness are anything but random.  No one wants to be a doormat.  I have become the doormat.  I was the doormat.  Time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and spread my kindness elsewhere.

I also learned that I am so not ready for girl drama.  Lily wasn't involved directly, but it impacts everyone.  I have no time for mean girls.  You know the type right?  They think they are better than everyone else, they need constant validation and attention, they are always excluding someone else to evoke that feeling of fear that it could be you next, they have moms who behave the exact same way.  Behind their sweet smiles, are snarky smirks and sly snipes.  They are subversive bullies who will ice you out when and if they feel like it. Some of the behavior over the weekend set the stage for good mother daughter conversation about friendship, self worth and not just doing what is right, but sticking up for it too.

And it's not just girls.  T. Bone had an incident over the weekend that was along the same lines. A pick up basketball game left his teammate in tears.  T. Bone defended him and then caught the brunt of anger from a boy I am glad he rarely hangs out with.  Anger I overheard when T. Bone called home in tears asking for a ride. The language would make a drunken sailor sound poetic.  He's a charmer who will have a mug shot one day.  I overheard another boy who is, or perhaps was, a good friend of T. Bone's egging the situation on, laughing, being every bit of the bully that the raging, swearing boy was.   A third friend -the closest of the bunch -said nothing. He's afraid of being iced out of a group he's already on the fringe of.  I get it because he's been shunned before, but I don't like it.  And who stood up for him when he was on the outs?  Yep, Ted. Coach and I used the opportunity to talk to Ted about making good choices on the court and in life...about not letting small minded, too cool for school people get to him.  We talked to him about choosing friends who treat him well, and who don't judge, bully or bring him down.  It was a good lesson.  Yesterday, he spent time with just those kind of friends and had a great day.

I keep reminding anyone who will listen : we rise by lifting others, and we become like the 5 people we spend the most time with.  Choose wisely, and reach for the sky.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

My friend Kristen, her daughter Cate, NSAA and my Bit.

Cate was a brilliant Flounder in NSAA's production of the Little Mermaid last January.  I invited my friend Susan and her daughter to the production with Lily and me.  Susan was so impressed that she looked into the programs and told me when auditions were for this year's musical performance.  Lily was excited to try out and now all three girls are in Aladdin together. I've been having such fun helping out during this week of long rehearsals. The bonus has been getting to spend more time with my old friend than we've had together since high school. She has been showing me the ropes, literally, and helping me pull them (#15 "applause") too. She has been generous with her backstage knowledge, and I'm starting to feel like I'm actually helping and not just getting in the way. Cate has been a sweet and encouraging role model for Lily.  She looks up to Cate and she should.  I've always believed that someday I will proudly say I knew her when.  For the record, when she was hours old and already a little performer.

The cast and crew have been hard at work on this performance all set to debut today since September.  I didn't realize how hard until this week.  It makes me proud to see what they are capable of creating out of a script on paper.  Every dress rehearsal the stage and actors come more alive with color and charisma.  It's really a humbling experience to see the transformation.

I'm thankful for the time that everyone involved puts in: the directors, managers, the costume designer, the school and parent volunteers and also for the kids who come to sing and shine on stage for all to see.  I'm grateful that Lily had the gumption to do this.  I love that she loves it and takes her roles as little girl and towns person seriously.  She's not a star of the show unless, of course, you ask me, but it's not all about that. Without the ensemble roles, the show would be flat and boring. I have observed, though, that she is a huge fan of Jafar.  I've heard her practicing his lines and acting his part.  Her favorite song is his: Why Me? And I'm grateful that she dreams of being the villain instead of the heroine because the villain has more dimension and also more fun.  She's maturing, seeing the big picture, figuring out how she can fit in, and where she wants to.

I am grateful that she plans to try out for her school's upcoming production of Annie.  She wants to be Molly, Pepper, Duffy, July, Tessie or Kate not just an orphan boy or girl.  She wants to be cast as a character with a name.  She wants to speak and she will even sing a solo.  I'm trying to check my excitement and act all nonchalant about it.  She's unto me though cuz' I ain't no actress.

So thank you Kristen for so many years of friendship.  It really is like old times...the two of us getting into trouble at school.  Only now we're exchanging episodes of Downton Abbey and Homeland instead of Esprit sweaters and gossip. Well, there's still some of that. We have opinions...right?  And what I wouldn't give for an Esprit sweater now.  This week...It's made me realize how much I miss just hanging out, and also that we make a good team whether we're working on the year book without any help from Mr. McGinnis, outfitting all the White children in every Polo to be found in Mansfield's, or tag teaming babies born one month to the day apart.  You, frister, are a gift.

Cate, I want to thank you for being so patient and encouraging with Lily.  I forgive you for not always being patient with Aladdin.  Wink.  Wink. You are more patient than I could ever be with that stage rat him.  Lily looks up to you.  You are the big sister she doesn't have, and I appreciate how you never make her feel small.  You are a talented and lovely young woman (a very funny Geenie too), and I just hope that you always possess the confidence and celebrate the presence that you embody today.  It is a gift.

I thank you NSAA for giving kids this opportunity to be a part of a different kind of team.  One that values all contributions whether large or small.  One that lets everyone have a voice and be heard.  One that wins each and every time the audience laughs, connects, applauds. Gifts galore!  

Miss Bit I thank you for giving this your all, for letting me ply you with make-up before each show, and rock out with you to every song on the soundtrack in the car except Whole New World, which makes you gag.  I get're a tomboy with no time for eye shadow or romance. I thank you for not being one of those kids who runs wild when you're not on stage or forgets why you are here in the first place. I thank you for trying something that seemed a little scary and then sticking with it even though it did push the limits of your comfort zone.  I think you recognize that this is how you grow and soar. And most of all I thank you for letting me bask in a little of your light.  I owe you Bit!  You are the gift that keeps giving.

It's been a fun week of long hours and laughs.  I know almost every line.  I could be a one woman Aladdin show, but I promise I won't. Kristen told me I'd be sad when it was all over.  I knew she was right because she's wise like that, but I'm just now fully grasping it.

So as we set off this morning for "our" first show, I just want to put it out there that I sure hope this isn't "our" last show.  Break a leg, Godspeed and all that jazz too girls.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


I feel like I have more posts with this title than any other, but still I'm going with it because I am here to do just confess.  It's not something I'm ashamed of or embarrassed by that I have to tell you. It is something I want to let you in on.  Now some of you are likely more experienced and already onto this, but others may still feel funny or strange about what I'm about to admit to...I went to the movies by myself today.  I went to the movies by myself today and I am totally OK with that.  It was fine.  It was fun.  It was oddly empowering.  Well, aside from the fact that it does feel just a little awkward to be crying and not have a companion to offer you Kleenex, but the scratchy concession napkin worked just fine.  And I may have been the only person under 65 at the theater.  For the record, those senior citizens are louder than any theater filled with children.

Sure there are people I could have called to join me, but the only person I really wanted to see August Osage County with was my Mom so I opted to go solo.  And if you know me at all, you will know here is where I tell you that I wasn't really alone, but that's the truth...I wasn't.  I felt my Mom's presence and it was so strong I never wanted the movie to end.  My Mom loved her some Meryl Streep as much as I do. Perhaps, even more.  I thought she was absolutely brilliant in this movie.

I laughed a lot and I cried even more.  It was painfully heartwarming and I just appreciated how messy it was because that is life.  Not perfect and painless and rosy all the time, and definitely often too long just as T.S. Eliot observed.   Critics have been harsh with reviews and some viewers have been disappointed by the ending, which I will not spoil.  Just know that it may have been what I consider the perfect ending because it was honest and true. We love the people who share our genes and we hurt them. We come from them, but must not live of them.  We live. We die. For some, life is too short and for others it is too long.   The end.

Monday, January 13, 2014

On My Mind Monday

I don't know if I will have the time to write any more letters because I might be too busy trying to participate. So if this does end up being the last letter I just want you to know that I was in a bad place before I started high school and you helped me. Even if you didn't know what I was talking about or know someone who's gone through it, you made me not feel alone. Because I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. And there are people who forget what it's like to be 16 when they turn 17. I know these will all be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We'll all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening. I am here and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky 

I sang, laughed and cried during this movie over the weekend.  It was a gem.  I appreciated the cast (Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd), the soundtrack (Smiths, Dexys Midnight Runners, David Bowie, New Order), the story and also the way the movie reminded me of the hope and despair that defined my own teenage years. I cannot recall the last time I felt infinite.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

On Skiing and Performing and Legacies

I just saw T. Bone off for a day of skiing with friends.  They are going to what is probably the best resort in the state and snow is in the forecast.  I think he's going to have a stellar day.  I remember coming here after sending him on this same trip last winter.  I was worried and nostalgic and a tad verklempt.  What a difference a year can make.  He's grown up so much in the past year, and I've accepted it.  I may have even welcomed it.  That being said, I was the one blow drying his soaked ski boots at 6:30 a.m., handing him a wad of cash and a banana, kissing the top of his head and sending him off with a Be safe and have fun.  Still the mother...always the mother.

I didn't learn to ski until I was a teenager.  I babysat for a family who took me to Colorado with them a couple times.  Although I was there to care for the baby, they hired another babysitter and sent me to ski school.  What a job!  I have fond memories of the H. family and those trips to Steamboat Springs.  I can still see the girls fearlessly flying down the mountain sans poles in their bright colored parkas making it look so easy. Now they are young women who may take their own children skiing.  My own girl is going to learn to ski in Colorado this winter, and I plan to reacquaint myself with a sport I haven't enjoyed since before T. Bone was born.  I don't love to ski, and I don't like heights, but I love the mountains and snow and family time.  T. Bone is a die-hard and I suspect Miss Bit will be too so I'll do it for them because that's what moms do.  Always the mother.

Miss Bit has play practice for most of the afternoon.  The big show (Aladdin) debuts in less than a week so we are in the home stretch.  I am excited to see her on stage although at this point I'll likely be backstage for all the performances because of a lack of parent volunteers. Sigh.  Last night over a slice of Milky Way Pie she decided that she will try out for her school's spring musical because it is Annie. I think it's a good choice. This acting thing is good for her confidence and character, and I just adore Annie too..

I never mustered up the chutzpah to try out for any school performances despite the fact that I always dreamed of being on stage.  I joined the stage crew instead.  It was a better fit for me to be behind the scenes hammering and painting and such.  I don't like the limelight.  I never have.

My Mom always said that when she retired she was going to get into community theater.  I know she would have truly found a calling in performance art.  She was always the entertainer: smart, witty, quick and confident.  Maybe that's why I love the idea of Miss Bit on stage.  In a round about way she's fulfilling her Nanny's dream...sharing it.  We all have our legacies -bequests and traditions so powerful simply because of the meaning behind them. Gifts because of how they came to be.  Heirlooms because of who they connect us with.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Hot soup on cold nights.  I made my roasted tomato soup this week and topped it with Coach's 13 year aged white cheddar.  Miss Bit opted for a mug of tomato over chicken pastina.  I love how her palette is becoming more adventurous.

A cat who knows what he wants.  Peanut just tried to curl up on my computer which happens to be on my lap.

A dinner date tonight with Miss Bit and Coach.  Don't know where we're going yet, but I do know it'll be some place that serves chicken tenders.

T. Bone's been getting in lots of skiing. Three times this week.  Tonight and all day tomorrow.

Painting sessions with Miss Bit at the kitchen table.  I love that kind of together time.

Tomorrow will be a nice day to take a walk.  I need a break from the elliptical.  Coach and I logged three miles last Sunday.  It was in the teens and my poor cheeks had wind burn for days.

T. Bone is motoring through the Pitticus Lore series.  I secretly love when I have to sneak into his room to turn of his lamp because he falls asleep reading.

I'm in the process (with Coach's very patient help) of getting the hundreds of pictures off my old cell phone onto my new computer so I can edit them.  I also have to get the photos off my Nikon.  Then I have to get my Mine Craft junkies off my new computer so I can get to work.  I feel like my photos have been held hostage.  My computer too.

Mindy Kaling and Alyssa Milano.  Strong, successful women who are beautiful role models for other women.

The ethereal steam rising off the frozen shores of Lake Michigan this week.  It was otherworldly.

A home.  Heat too.

Tomorrow I'm taking down the trees.  All three of them.  Now it's time and I'm ready.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Days slowly getting longer, but not warmer.
High energy bills.
Low energy levels.
Furnaces going out on the coldest day of Miss Bit's life.
Coach and then nice repairmen to the rescue.
80 degree temperature swings in less than a week.
Freeze thaw freeze thaw.
Arctic air, blowing snow and bitter wind chills.
Fuzzy boots and socks.
Wool hats and sweaters.
Afghans: one for each member of the family including the cats.
Christmas clean up and store returns.
Sales, but who wants to shop?, lessons, practices.
Hot soups.
Warm breads.
Hearty pastas.
Comfort food.
One last drink in festive glasses to almost finish the Irish Cream.
Purge of leftovers and snacks and sweets.
Time to be healthy, but that comfort food is calling and it's too cold to exercise outside.
Arts and crafts in the afternoon.
Movies in the evening...2 1/2 yesterday alone.
Some get stir crazy.
Skiing and hockey and skating.
Others I channel my inner Oblomov.
Flannel sheets.
Cuddly cats.
Curling up with a book.
Two more months of hibernation.

Monday, January 6, 2014

2 day pass

it may be monday, but the polar vortex extended our weekend.
i'm lounging beside miss bit in my bed under lots of warm blankets.
she never changed out of her pjs today.
we are on our lap tops and watching the bachelor.
i may have to change my mind on how long this viewing continues.
i know this is not exactly appropriate, but she promised to close her eyes when there's kissing.
t. bone just joined us too.
at this point in 2014, i'm a rather unlikely candidate for mother of the year.
school is cancelled again tomorrow.
i guess i'll go to the movies next week now that the kids will be home.
that's ok because august osage county will be out by then.
the relative quietness of the last few days will continue.
we stayed close to home for the duration.
except for t. bone who hit the slopes on saturday.
and miss bit who went to see frozen with friends.
coach and i were happy to order takeout chinese and watch snl.
sunday we went to church.
i really wanted to stay in bed,
father t.'s sermon was especially poignant and the music so beautiful.
it was the epiphany.
he said we are all gifts so shine (gold), we should all be priestly and aim to lift up everyone we encounter (frankincense) and we should feel the joy even in adversity (myrrh).
we sang what child is this and joy to the world.
i cried.
and felt so grateful that we didn't stay in bed.
while the kids had sunday school, we stopped at our favorite italian deli and stocked up on pizza fixings.
my brother and sil joined us for the packer play off game.
we all made pies.
this time i made a thai chicken pizza that was quite tasty.
i also perfected my caesar salad dressing...less dijon and more parmesan.
sadly the packers lost  and now the season is over for us.
but the weekend isn't over...yet.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

being back here.  My blogging has been hit or miss, and I am starting to miss it.  There are so many beautiful moments that I wanted to capture over the holiday season, and also some painful, hurtful ones that I did capture (in my private journal).  But I've been otherwise occupied, and I'm grateful for that too.

Back to life...back to reality.  The break from normal routines and commitments was a welcome one, but I am happy to have more structure and responsibility once again defining our days.

We had a quiet New Years Eve and New Years Day.  I didn't miss the revelry or rousing a single bit.  It was perfect.  We did homemade pizzas NYE and watched a movie of Miss Bit's choosing before tuning in for the ball drop.  The next day we sat by the fire cheering on the Badgers.  T. Bone came home from a friend's late afternoon, and we had a nice, but simple family dinner to celebrate the holiday.  Coach grilled a steak for sandwiches and I made a Caesar salad.  At Miss Bit's request, we sat in the dining room and lit the candles.


Jalapeno Popper Pizza.  It was my NYE to be recreated, I think.

Harney & Sons Cinnamon Sunset tea.

No resolutions this year.  I confess, I never keep them.  In 2014, I'm making intentions.  What's the difference?  Resolutions have a negative air, and suggest that in some way you are bad or wrong and need to change to be adequate.  Intentions are like permission to take care of yourself.  They say that you are deserving and worthy just the way you are.  I've also learned over the years that there's less of an impact if I focus on the minutiae like read 25 books.  I am more motivated if I set my sights on the big picture like read more because you love it, and go from there.

No Facebook.  I never was active or very connected there, but it started to become clear to me that the whole notion lacked authenticity.  It is a public forum often for what I believe should be kept private.  Once the allure of reconnecting with old friends and classmates wears off (because let's be does), it is often nothing more than a timeline (Facebook's own lingo) for where you are and who you are with.  When we over-share, we are being inclusive with our exclusivity.  Translated to say: I want you all to know that I am here (insert restaurant, resort, or party) with him or her and you are not.  Hmmm?  Now I realize that not all Facebookers use the site this way, and if you have a business or group like a school group, there are definite benefits to the exposure, but I also realize it is no longer for me.

The realization that the validation I seek is my very own.

Homeland.  We finished the first season over break and now we are 148 of 148 holds for the second.  I LOVE Saul and I'm trying to resist the urge to breakdown and buy it.

Our tree is still drinking.  I'm not ready to take it down just yet.  We are still enjoying it.  I feel sad when I see trees on the curb before the Epiphany.

I received Magical Journey for Christmas.  It couldn't have come at a better time.  I need a dose of Katrina Kenison to get me into the right frame of mind and heart as I enter 2014.  Her words have a way of making my heart tender and open.  Her writing has the tendency to make me look back and then forward so rather apropos.

A short week.  While it was good to get back to it, I am giddy over the fact that ahead lies a weekend with very little to do.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Happy 2014!

We woke up to snow today.  The pretty kind of flakes that dance and twirl their way to the frozen ground. Everything white and peaceful and purified.  Truthfully, it is just the kind of scene that warms my heart on a cold January day.  I am happy to welcome the new year fireside with my little family.  These are the kind of moments that remind me that I really don't need much, and also that I have all I need.  So it is with a heart full of harmony that I say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.

We went to an matinee showing of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty yesterday afternoon, and all six of us gave it rave reviews.  We stopped by my aunt and uncle's for a little holiday cheer before dropping Ted at a friend's for the night.  He hemmed and hawed at whether or not to go.  Coach and I mused that it would be our first New Year's without our son as we remembered our first with him.  He was just five days old.  He went.

Our 13 year old called home at midnight.  Miss Bit was snuggled between Coach and me as we watched the ball drop with money in our hands.  (No herring this year sorry Dad.)  The phone rang right at 4-3-2.  It was T. Bone a little homesick after all.  So we all shouted Happy New Year as the clock ran out.  Together even though apart.