Sunday, January 27, 2013

Top TEN Things to do to Beat the Winter Blahs

Forgive me.  My typing will be slow and weak this morning.  I just walked a half mile carrying a jug of milk and my fingers are frozen.  But while I walked I was writing...

Top ____ Things to do to Beat the Winter Blahs: all for free!

1.  Go for a walk.  It is a beautiful sunny day despite the 20 degree temperatures.  It made me feel better.

2.  Buy milk while you're out on your walk.  It will make you feel productive.

3.  Write something.  Write a poem or a blog or a Valentine to someone you would never send it to.  Or someone who is due a Valentine from you.

4.  Light a fire.  Especially when your husband, who doesn't like fires, is out.  It will warm your soul.  Or at least light a candle, especially if your husband, who is out, is on his way home.  It almost works the same way.

5.  Read a book.  Or collect a bunch of books you have no intention of reading.  It will make you feel less lonely.  There are others out there who spent countless hours alone writing these books.  Here is my current booklist:
Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff
Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson
The Lazy Couponer, by Jamie Chase
Grocery Gardening, by JeanAnn VanKrevelen
Kitchen Gardens, by Cathy Wilkinson Barash
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, because I'm trying to convince Annie of the pleasures of the classics
Eggs, by Jerry Spinelli, because I'm trying to convince Matt of the pleasures of reading in general
Sugar Changed the World, by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos
The Architecture of Happiness, by Alain deBotton    (This is a book that makes me say, Why didn't anyone tell me about this sooner?  This book is so cool and just what I've always been looking for!  He says, "Where we are heavily influences who we can be, and it is architecture's task to stand as a neloquent reminder of our full potential."  Wow, cool, huh?)

If these don't appeal to you, try Blue Pyramid Book Quizzes.  Really cool!

6.  Make cookies.  You don't need fancy ingredients.  A cookie is just butter, sugar, eggs and flour, practically in that order.  You have oatmeal, put that in.  You have cocoa powder, put that in.  You have chocolates left from Christmas, put those in.  Maybe not all of the above, but maybe?  If you don't feel like baking, find a Girl Scout.  It's Girl Scout Cookie Season. 

7.  Eat cookies, preferably with a hot beverage, like tea, or a latte, or hot chocolate.  Eat the whole tray/box if you want. You have plenty of time to work it off before Memorial Day and swimsuit season. 

8.  Go out at night.  Last night we almost went for a ride to find the full-moon-glistening-somewhere- on-a-snowy-field.  Then life happened and we didn't go. But it was still a good idea.  Maybe tonight?

9.  Plan a garden.  See my garden books?  I'm planning for spring.  Cut out pictures or find them on the internet, or on pinterest.  But be careful, that site is addictive.

10.  If all else fails take a nap with a warm, soft, heavy blanket.   This is hibernation season. 

I made it to ten.  Make your own list, maybe of things you like about spring! :)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christmas Lite

Somehow we can't let go of Christmas.  Despite the fact that over the last three weekends I cleaned and put away a lot of stuff, there is still a small pile of bags in the dining room that is untouched and I really don't know what to do with it.  There are old gift tags and maybe a return in there that I just can't bring myself to do right now.  There is a stack of Christmas cards on the piano that I carefully punched and put on a binder ring but now they sit.  (Hanging them on garland with clothespins was a great thing I found this year, too!)

There are four ornaments whose rightful box is nowhere to be found.  But even when I drive home at night I see so many lit trees still standing in the windows, wreaths on doors, and Santa flags hanging outside.  The dull days of January are here, but we don't want to let go of Christmas. 
In our house we are doing Christmas lite.  We still have snowflake lights hanging in the window of the kitchen and the new Nativity I got for Christmas now sits on the mantle. 

I left the snow-covered plastic-flake covered trees on the mantle in the family room with my Winter sign. 

I moved the poinsettia under the hall table, but I really wish I had left the lights on it.  That was my big idea this year - to wrap a small strand of lights around the poinsettia.

 Next year I have to figure out what to wrap around the pot besides that florists' foil, which is not very attractive.  So I am holding on instead of moving on and it's a little comforting.  By next weekend I'm sure it will all be gone but for now it is small comfort.  When Annie realized I was leaving the manger up, she said, "Well really, that should probably be up all year, right?"  Right.  Annie, you are always right.  So we'll keep a little Christmas lite and our days will be merrier and brighter.

 I don't like this picture, but one of my Christmas moments was when my mother showed me a letter written by my Grandfather Hatch in which he described his Christmas.  He says that the only centerpiece on the table was an old lantern, which "cast a mellow glow on the guests and the food."  Ever since I read that I wanted to try to replicate it.  I brought the lanterns inside from the front step and put them in the center of the table.  So here it is, a little after Christmas. 


This Moment

So many blogs I wish I had written, so little time.

So what have I been doing?  Well mostly wishing I kept in touch.  But every blog I read mentions the fact that the author has been away from blogging and is sorry.  I am sorry too.  It's not hard to wonder why this is.  January days seem made for sleeping in, wrapped up in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate.  It is hibernation season.  At the same time, it is rather depressing.  The sun isn't out much, everyone is sick or knows someone who is, and spring seems so far away.  New Year's resolutions, broken or forgotten, seem to have failed us.  The days drag on diligently but we've lost our spirit, we've fallen behind in the race.  It's the Christmas hangover, the gifting-coma.  It makes me want to pack my bags and move to Massachusetts, and start a maple syrup farm.  But then the report about toxic sugar surfaced, and maybe it's not a good time to get into that business!  So here we are.  Stuck.  Rhymes with...

But then on a cold Monday morning earlier this week a new President strolled down the streets of Washington with a new First Family and took an oath.  And he said something that I can't get out of my head, "We were made for this moment..."    I can't stop thinking about that line.  We were made for this moment.   No matter the crisis, we have the tools to handle it, the knowledge to do what is right, and the experience to do it well to step up today to do what needs to be done this moment.  And it doesn't have to be grand.

Poet Richard Blanco followed President Obama and said these words:
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.

Some days... I am tired from work, from everything that haunts us.  But we lift our eyes.  We lift someone.  We lift our words and our spirits follow and everything will come together.  We were made for this moment.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There is a children's book that I read to all my students called Frederick, by Leo Lionni.  It is the tale of a mouse who does not seem to be preparing for winter like all his other mice friends and it becomes rather frustrating for them.  However, just when the winter has gotten to its worst point, when the bitter winds blow, and the food is almost gone, and summer is a distant memory, Frederick shares his supplies, the words and poetry and COLORS he has collected while basking in the sun.  I love this story.  Well, just when we need it most we have Pantone, who is sharing with us the color of the year and this year's color is... Emerald Green.  Ireland, here I come!
So I've begun a collection of color:
 LG Trend Alert: Kelly Green #laylagrayce #lgblog #trend

Kelly Green. by cora

I want to sit here every winter day!

Kelly green door

What a wonderful way to welcome winter.

The funny thing is that I was talking to JJ about high school anxiety (he'll be a freshman next year, or this year!) and I told him the story of what a nerd I was on the first day of high school.  Our uniforms hadn't come in yet, so we were allowed to wear our own clothes.  I chose to wear a Kelly green skirt. This is in the age of Madonna, who did not wear anything Kelly green and neither did any of the other 270 girls in my freshman class.   Think Jersey Shore circa 1980.  I stuck out like a Green-Preppy-monster loser!  But hey, here it is the color of the year!  Maybe I was ahead of my time.  In the long run it was ok, I was voted Most Preppy senior year and proud of it! 

So I've been dreaming all night of how I can use green in my house.  Like Frederick it reminds me of summer.  The blue of the sea and sky, the green of the grass, the gray of the mountains, the pink of the sunset.  That would be a great decorating motif.  I'm going to be busy when I get home collecting all things green and gathering them in little vignettes around the house.  I may add pink too, just for fun!  So, here's to Kelly Green and High School and being Preppy! And the color of the year.  Hello 2013 and Green.