Friday, February 28, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Christmas music even in February.  I cranked O' Come O' Come Emmanuel in the car the other day and I sang from so deep within that I didn't care who could see me or what I looked like.  I was feeling it.

Also Al Jarreau.  He reminds me of a couple people who have been on my mind this week so it was no surprise when I chose one of his cds for my morning commute.

My Mom's tuna casserole.  I made it this week, and a bowl of it is like a long lost hug.  It lasts a long time too since I am the only fan in the house.

Jess came for dinner this week.  It was an excuse reason to get a nice Montepulciano, make chicken cordon bleu, buy cupcakes and watch the Bachelor.  It was by all familial accounts the best cordon bleu to date.  The cupcakes were delicious.  Especially the chocolate cherry.  And the coconut. And the salted caramel too.  Juan Pablo is as icky as ever, but reliable for some laughs.

Lunch with a friend this week at a little French place that reminds us both of my Mom.  We toasted her over passable Cote du Rhone, but the croque madame more than made up for it.  It was the best I've had....anywhere...ever.

Aveda Shampure Pure-Fume.  Don't tell me I smell good unless you want a bottle.  Just ask Jess.  And watch the mail Carol.

Also the Aveda Comfort Tea.  I love how it is herby, yet light.

Back to the elliptical.  My knee is finally right enough to exercise after the ski crash I was involved in last week.

I did not break my phone this week when I dropped and stepped on it.

I finally have figured out how to upload my pictures from my new phone to my new computer.  Not difficult, but different.  Change is hard for me.  I'm so happy to be able to catalog and share my photos again.  The hiatus from capturing my life in pictures made me realize that I am...a photographer.  Not a professional, but it is something I do and love and own.  This blurry image of Miss Bit was taken at the Irish Pub after a day of skiing.  She is fighting sleep as she waits for her chicken wings all snuggled in her shawl.  It's a warm and fond memory captured in time.

Coach for coming and sitting next to me during the scary movie we watched last night.  The Conjuring was not for the faint of heart so he held my hand.  We should hold hands more often.

Our summer sitter is coming back to his job again this year.  He's so great!  He's dependable and positive and lots of fun! The kids are both excited, but especially Miss Bit.  Hmmmm.

A quiet house.  Being the first one up in the morning.
The boys are so happy that things are back to normal around here.  And this is normal.

Vacation memories.  When I go through my photos, I feel like I'm still there.

Plans for spring cleaning...major and deep.  And also some home improvement projects.

A date with Coach tonight.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some Sun

Some's all we need.  A few rays breaking free of cloud cover, a little warmth to ease and thaw, a light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark or long. A glimpse, a glimmer, a  gander.  If you can feel can believe it.

Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

One sees clearly only with the heart.  Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.
Antoine de Saint Exupery
Isn't that the beautiful humbling truth?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Reading Thomas Moore's The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life.  Also Lynn Darling's Into the Woods: A Memoir of Wayfinding.  Both thought provoking, and hence slow.  I read Claire Bidwell Smith's The Rules of Inheritance while on vacation and I found the story rather whiney and overly self-indulgent even for a memoir instead of moving and introspective.  Most memoirs move me.  I feel a connection even if my experience varies vastly from that of the author.  I didn't experience that with this novel, and I've cared for a terminally ill parent.

Wondering if maybe I have tired of the memoir all together.  It seems like every blogger is writing or has written one so there is an endless supply.  Perhaps, I am just tapped out of the genre, but I really don't think so.

Noticing that the heat is on less even though the temperatures are still bellow average.  The sun is inching higher and getting hotter. It actually smelled like spring this morning despite the fact it was in the teens. 

Watching Homeland.  We are almost through the second season.  Also the Bachelor although I'm not sure why.  Juan Pablo is a dud.  A creep.  Even his accent is annoying, but in case you haven't heard...he's a really awesome Dad.

Listening to Rickie Lee Jones in the car, Ella Fitzgerald radio by day and Big Audio Dynamite radio by night.

Eating out of the well-stocked freezer.  Trying to use up what we have.   Cottage cheese with everything.  I'm on a serious kick and it makes my family gag.  Lots of eggs.  Whatever can be thrown on the Panini press a machine I adore.

Drinking coffee, water and wine in that order.

Dreaming of skiing down mountains when I sleep, and of climbing them when I'm awake.

Feeling closer to center then I have for a long while. Thankful for my circle too...small, but fiercely loyal.

Wanting to commit to a kitchen redo, hire a financial adviser, and make monthly date night a priority.  We've been talking about this kitchen for almost a decade, trying to find a financial adviser for years, and have already missed January and February's night out.

Wearing boots and leggings and winter uniform, but I just ordered a skirt I wanted last summer that was sold out by the time I pulled the trigger.  They have it again.  I am thinking of and planning for warmer weather attire now.  And most importantly I'm not wearing my heart on my sleeve

Hoping that my kids feel how blessed and loved they are.

Thinking that when we retire, we'll move to the north woods to live on a lake. A year round cabin big enough for the whole family, but also quaint for just two.

Enjoying the quiet season.

Loving this quote from Out of the Woods: Experts in the field of direction talk about the difference between way keeping, which is simply the ability to stick to a certain path, following well-marked landmarks and signposts, and wayfinding, what you do when you must rely on yourself, your reading of the landscape and the decisions only you can make.  We start out in life learning the first; with luck we end up knowing something of the latter, to the extent that accident and blessing give us choice.  Perhaps, in the end that is what wayfinding amounts to: learning how to allow for accident, and make way for blessing.  How I want that.

Monday, February 24, 2014

2 day pass

it was a quiet couple of days.
we're still settling back into reality after a vacation that was out of this world.
so the down time was a good and much needed respite.
turns out that traveling takes as much out of you as it restores within you.
it giveth and it taketh away.
it was back to basics like errands and chores and church and practice.
invigorating walks and home cooked meals instead of skiing and eating out.
watching the olympics instead of feeling like we were in them.
naps and homemade banana bread and loads and loads of laundry.
some screens and a few pages.
plenty of cat cuddles.
they still don't trust that we're here to stay.
we all enjoyed date night saturday.
coach and i had our monthly bowling league.
somehow we are in third place.
the kids went with aunt jess for wings and a movie.
sunday night we sat down for family dinner reminiscing about where we had been one week ago, and also happy to be home.
i fell asleep before brownies and during the closing ceremonies.
and just like that the olympics are over, the weekend is over and february is coming to a close.
time is such a terrible tease.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Yea Sigh

"Yea Sigh," she said as we walked through the door home from our travels.  She threw her arms around my waist and continued, "being home is a yea (toothy grin) and a sigh (heavy, exaggerated exhale). Do you know what I'm saying Mom?  Do you?"

Yes, I know what you're saying Bit.  I know it perfectly and exactly with every fabric of my being.  Bittersweet is a fact of most of life and a constant in my every day.  It is a plant, a taste and a feeling. Truthfully, it's a feeling I have more than any other.  I aim to be. here. now, but it's a constant struggle to stay in this moment without looking back longingly.  Without missing or pining.  Without languishing or lamenting.   It's simply the way we're wired.

I too felt melancholy that our family vacation was coming to an end, but I also felt peace wash over me in warm waves the closer we got to home.  There are stresses that come with traveling that children are immune to, and comforts of home that children have not yet grown to appreciate.  I missed my cats, my bed even though it is a queen and not a king, and my quiet life.  I am grateful for any opportunity to meet new people and places and experiences, but at the end of the day, weekend or week, I am happy to come home.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A wonderful family vacation spent skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek, and my brother and sil for planning it and pulling it off seamlessly.  Everything was sublime.

The majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  We were in God's country.

Miss Bit took 2 days of lessons and progressed from a level 1 to a level 4.  She loved being on skis, and cannot wait to get to a level 5 so she can get some poles.  She was fast and fearless just like her brother.

Ski school.  Specifically, Brian and Jason, her knowledgeable instructors.

T. Bone was a snowboarder until this season.  He switched to skis this year, and he kept up with his Dad and even his Uncle on many a black diamond run.  He is also a big fan of terrain parks, back bowls and tree skiing, which he captured thanks to his GoPro.  I nearly had a heart attack watching some of the footage.  It is not for mothers or the faint of heart.

Helmets. And goggles.

I gravitated to the greens.  I prefer runs with names like Cinch, Solitude and Dally to Ripsaw and Fool's Gold. I hadn't skied in 15 years.  In some respects it's like riding a bike, but I was never on the road to the Tour de France so I embraced my limited abilities and managed to stay mostly upright and moving forward. Without a need for speed, I was able to enjoy the scenery and clear my head. Still exhilarating in my opinion.

Coach for his patience as I worked to get my ski legs back.

Ski patrol.  Bill came to my rescue when an out of control teenager careened into me and lodged his skis beneath and between mine.  As he pulled to free his skis, he forced my legs further and further apart until I was doing the splits and praying not to break my leg or dislocate my knee.  Screaming too.  Like a banshee actually.  I asked him to release my boot with his pole, but by the look he gave me, I doubt he understood English, or else I scared him bad.  Bill lifted me up as the kid raced to catch up with his friends, but not before Miss Bit gave him a real mean face.

Advil and daughters who have your back.

Overcoming fears.  My first ride on the chair lift in over a decade is sure to be a family legend for generations to come.  I'll let someone else tell it, but suffice it to say it may be the only time I've been called Wonder Woman!

Apres ski, or happy hour whether it consists of champagne toasts at the foot of the mountain on a spring-like afternoon sans jackets, Colorado Wildflowers as a sudden squall blows in and we huddle under blankets beside fire pits, homemade cookies hot out of the oven delivered by a team of chefs as we ski off the mountain, or rockin' loud music, IPAs and a family reunion at the packed from wall to wall Red Lion.

Hot tubbing before and after dinner.  Soaking in the suds under stars or snowfall after skiing.

Russian showers.  My brother and my daughter went from snowbank to steaming tub time after time.  Also not for the faint of heart.

Bearcat Stables and dinner in their magical little clapboard cabin after a sleigh ride at gloaming.  Twinkling lights can make anything cozy and quaint, and the comfort food was so delicious....the chicken, beef and gnocci, and especially the mixed berry cobbler.

Cinnamon tequila and's numbingly good.  Hot cocoa too.

Frank and Jessie (James) our Percheron, strong and so so beautiful, and a toast to Doc who passed on one year to the very day of our visit.  RIP old fella.

Elk camouflaged throughout the landscape, but almost always outside the horse corral after dawn acting all nonchalant and trying to sneak some hay.

Early to bed and early to rise.  Waking up to the sunrise over the mountains every morning.  That jolt of Mother Nature lovin' energy is better than any cup of caffeine.  Going to bed bone tired every evening after a day of working hard and playing hard.

Taking off my ski boots at the end of the day.  Feet that hurt so good.  Calves and quads too.

 Smart Wool socks.  Cute and warm and most importantly...dry.

A wardrobe of hats is all one needs.  T. Bone got lots of high 5s for his Packer hat, and Coach was comped a drink or 2 for his Badger hat.

The best of both worlds.  The hustle and bustle of Vail and BC are palpable and intoxicating, but so is the peace and serenity of the out of the way lodge we return to each night.  The Cordillera Club is such a welcome remote retreat.

Our Suburban and my brother who was a most accommodating, accomplished chauffeur pot holes, back seat drivers, gate keepers and all.

Christys.  If you go there, rent from them.  They are a class act of down to earth employees who treat you like friends of the family.

Finally getting to dine at the infamous Irish Pub aka Grouse on the Green, T. Bone's favorite restaurant in the whole wide world.  The wings were every bit as good as he's promised, and we all enjoyed the Scotch eggs too.

A ladies lunch at Sweet Basil with my sil.  It was swanky sheek and so good. I enjoyed every drop of the roasted red pepper with goat cheese soup, and every bite of my kale salad with chicken, dried cherries, crispy onions, pancetta, Parmesan and a Dijon vinaigrette.  The olive bread and savignon blanc perfectly completed the meal.

Kismet.  Ogling a baby out and about in the village, and then realizing it was my cousin and his mama who made it from stormy Atlanta.  I was so delighted to finally meet baby Wilder in all his cuteness.  The kids were quite smitten as well.

Ice rinks in the middle of town and fire pits here, there and everywhere.  Racks for skis instead of bikes. Ski-wear appropriate at all times and in all places.

Little altitude sickness, only 1 24 hour bug and 2 colds.  I was mostly plagued, but able to almost keep up with the unafflicted.

Being under the weather, afforded me the time to curl up with my book and relax within mountain view.  It was some of my favorite time while on vacation.

Few screens for the duration.  Unplugging was good for the mind, body and soul.

Time to think and ponder and grow.  Time to listen and to see.  Time to laugh and smile and share.  Time to cry and heal.  Time to be real.

Thunder snow, and the way squalls pop up out of thin air..very thin air.

The way the big mountains make me feel so small and so much closer to God.

How it can be sunny and warm near the base of the mountain and like a blizzard at the top.  I am grateful for a world that continues to awe, inspire and delight me.

My sweet, funny Valentines.  The best gift of all was the making of memories.  Also the exchange of copious amounts of candy.

Dinner at the big table in the lounge with the fire behind us and the music around us.  The singer reminded me of a male Diana Krall as he belted out Van Morrison, Frank and Nat King Cole.  It was quintessential cozy.

The way it all worked out so we could meet our Colorado cousins for lunch in Golden on our way out of town.  We talked fast while the kids played a quick few games of pool making the most of what little time we had.

We made it home on time despite the fact there was a winter storm warning at home and most other flights were delayed or cancelled.

Luck and angels smiling down upon us for the entire trip.