February 26, 2013

Coming full circle

It seems that my inspiration tank is running low. I'm suspecting that someone is siphoning from my supply while I'm sleeping. Either that, or it's February, which is usually a bit of a flimsy, banal month for me.

I've been searching all week for something happy to photograph but simply could not find the beauty in crusty, dirt-peppered snow or endless gray skies. Thank goodness for the full moon, making her appearance among the trees behind my house the other night. The Snow Moon is the name for February's full moon, and she was a beauty. Could you see her from where you were too?


March is waiting in the wings. She's nervously tugging on her rain boots, amassing a variety of winds (I hope her entourage includes a few warm breezes) and finalizing her agenda — hmmm, a little snow, some gusts, a sunny day, then a drizzle or two, some balmy wind, a warm spell, a sneaky overnight snowfall, followed by one delightfully warmer day (suited for putting car windows down).

I've become suddenly aware of the seasons of this blog and as I enter into March I will be coming into a full year of blogging. What a great year it's been! More on that later.

For now, wishing you good things.

February 19, 2013

In my neck of the woods

. . . I am thankful for red berries to brighten our drab landscapes

 . . . it's still cold, but there are more and more songbirds flitting around, singing and gathering on branches and power lines.

. . . I am thoroughly engrossed in The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

. . . it seems that Emma inadvertently touched the flu beads. Phooey. Poor thing is in bed as I type this.

. . . I've been on a classical music binge the last several days.

. . . we had a refreshing cucumber salad for dinner last night:
~ slice cucumbers
~ mix in a bowl with white wine vinegar, lots of dill, a few dashes of salt and a shake or two of sugar.

The whole family loved it. It felt summery.

. . . everyone is dreaming of Spring.

Dear Spring,
The groundhog said you were arriving early this year. Are you on your way? What's your estimated arrival date?

We are all so looking forward to seeing you!


February 14, 2013

Love always

Spread love everywhere you go.
Let no one ever come to you
without leaving happier.
- Mother Teresa

Of all the stories I've read about love this week, this one is probably my favorite: My Touchstone and a Heart of Gold by Caroline Leavitt.

Happy Valentine's Day.

February 13, 2013

Acoustic Lennon

Listening to this song about 100 times a day.

50 x John singing it.

50 x Gary learning to play it on the guitar (usually around 11 p.m., but that's okay. When he plays guitar he's in his happy place).

February 12, 2013


Cold and dreary here. Thank goodness for books, little reading lights, the new green growth on the rosemary plant in the kitchen window, and Izzy's little face, always looking up at me with such anticipation. "Where are you going? Can I come? Mind if I sleep under your desk while you work? Is it time for bed yet?"

I finished the book by Tammy Strobel on simplifying and it was wonderful. So much inspiration, good insight and encouragement. I recommend reading it if you're interested in decluttering, downsizing or possibly moving in to a "tiny house." She lives in an 8' x 16' house with her husband and loves the life they share in their itty-bitty home.

Along with reading Tammy's book I happened to watch an excellent documentary on Netflix called "Happy." It was AWESOME! You know how sometimes you feel like something comes along at the perfect time in your life? Like you were waiting to find it? That's how I feel about this movie. I loved it and it's made me think about a lot of things . . . yes, I think a lot. You can watch the trailer and read about the movie here.

Lots of work to do this week. Have I ever mentioned that I'm a freelance graphic designer? Maybe not? Well, that's what I do when I'm not rambling here or reading or crocheting or spending time with my girlies. I'm designing brochures and newsletters and book covers and event posters and logos . . . or annual reports, which is the case this week. Did you know that February is annual report season? Well it is, and I'm knee deep in it.

As always, many thanks for reading. Wherever you are — sitting in a coffee shop in New York, watching the rain fall in the UK, or relaxing on your patio in Austin, Texas — I wish you a happy week.

* I made the star in my kitchen window: directions here.

February 11, 2013

the flu beads

This morning I took Emma in to get a sports physical at the walk-in clinic. The waiting room was full of sick people and I imagined the air thick as honey with bacteria and virus particles. I turned to Em and said "Do not touch anything while we're in here." We've avoided the nasty flu bug all Winter and I was not in the mood to join the ranks of the fallen.

We sat, our hands in our laps, not daring to touch the chair arms or leaf through the inviting magazines on the table. In the center of the waiting area was a large toy for kids — a table with a series of built-in wires crisscrossing the top. Colored wooden beads were strung along the wires for kids to move and play with. As we waited a mother and her toddler walked in. They checked in at the desk then promptly sat down on the floor and the mother began showing the little guy how to make the wooden beads twist and move along the wires.

I cringed to myself, imagining all of the feverish, coughing, spewing people who had touched those beads. I turned to Emma and whispered "Here Jimmy, come play with the flu beads." We started to giggle. The more we tried not to smile or laugh the harder we laughed. Thankfully, Emma was called in to see the physician so we jumped up and followed the nurse down the hall. Afterward, as I drove her back to school, Emma and I laughed about it all over again. Oh dear, I'm so easily amused.

February 7, 2013

My writing life

"Why can't I write?!" I asked the air
When I've finally found a day to spare
Me thinks the house may silence my pen
too much laundry, dust and lack of zen

I packed my bag and sought a chair
at the local Barnes & Noble, where
I thought the words would flow like wine
in the tapas bar on 3rd and Pine

But, hark! I found it worse than home
Distractions lurked like night in Nome
Poetry, classics, mags by the ton
I'd stopped writing before I'd even begun

Then spent the day with nose in book
Browsing covers for a Nook
Reading Oliver's latest poems
And pondering purchasing several tomes

At days end, I'd nothing to show
No letters written in a tiny row
Just a messy house, dishes in the sink
And a caffeine crash (from the latte, I think)

I called the day "a piece of crap"
My writing life is a lot like that.

~ Jenny Scheuch ©

February 5, 2013

I won!

I've never been a winner. I enter drawings and giveaways, put my name in a box for a free dinner, etc., but nope . . . I never win. And then zing! a few weeks ago Claire on Just a Little Less announced that I was the winner of her book giveaway and she would be sending me a copy of You Can Buy Happiness (and it's Cheap) all the way from her home in Staffordshire, ENGLAND. Yippee, I won! A new book, wrapped, packaged and sent from ENGLAND! How fun is that. The book is written by Tammy Strobel who blogs about living in her tiny home on her blog Rowdy Kittens.

I rung in 2013 with an oath to try simplify my life, so this book couldn't be arriving at a better time. I'm pining to declutter, downsize and cast away excess. I'm excited to delve in and see how I can move toward a life of less.

So far I have made some decent strides on my own. I've donated three bags of clothes to Goodwill, tossed a boat load of old papers and the biggest thing — we got rid of cable television. I don't know why but this feels HUGE. Getting rid of all those crazypointlesstrashyboring channels is something I've been dying to do for a long time. We just don't watch much television and despite all the channels (seriously, we had something like 300 channels), there truly was never anything on worth watching. The shows we did watch (Downton Abbey, The Middle, Modern Family) were all on PBS or one of the main networks. We were basically paying for a service we weren't using.

Now we are down to the basics, PBS, NBC, CBS, FOX and Netflix for streaming movies. All those cable boxes are gone and all the "mind clutter" with it. Plus we now have an extra chunk of change in our pockets every month. I feel lighter.

February 1, 2013

Hello February

Here we go — officially immersed in the new year now. There's no turning back. Month two. And so soon? How time flies!

It snowed with a fierce force on Tuesday and Wednesday, then warmed to 40 degrees. Suddenly, as if they flew in with the turn of the calendar page, lots of little fluffy birds began flitting through the tree branches. I can't tell what type they are, but I know they weren't here last week, unless they were hibernating or something. I'm so glad to see them. They sing a little, mostly short chirps and seem to travel in groups. Their feathers are so flouncy, all puffed up to block out the wind and cold. Flying puffs of feathery song. I love it.

Izzy is putting on a little too much weight. I'm not helping her cause. I feed her way too many tasty morsels of human food. I know it's not good, but I just can't help myself. That face! She stares at you and makes a little squeaky sound or sometimes gives you a quick tap on the shin. "Hey, hi. That looks super tasty. . . and look how cute I am, all fuzzy and cuddly with my big brown eyes. May I try a bite? Pretty please with sugar on top." So of course I say "Oh sweetie, do you need a bit of cheese? Yes, you do!" She's starting to resemble a short foot stool.

See these stuffed animals? These are a few of Izzy's toys. She seems to have an obsession with tearing off their noses and giving them a slow death by removing their stuffing through their nostrils. Eeek. And poor duck, though he still has his beak, is suffering from a torn, stringy eye. Ouch.

Tomorrow the fam is going skiing. I, however, plan to start on a huge granny square blanket I hope will eventually grace our bed at the cabin. Snuggly. Plus I hope to read a little on this book and maybe write a poem, if inspiration hits.

Oh, and have you seen these? Classic literature turned into board books for toddlers. The needle felted illustrations are what got me. Brilliant!

Happy weekending!