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One in the hand

I like my pets warm and fuzzy, ready to curl up with you and adore you. I guess it’s why I never really appreciated lizards, birds and snakes as pets. I am not sure I will ever get having a pet that doesn’t take naps with you, but I do understand the love for a different kind of critter.

In the same way, I never understood bird watching. Really? Small tiny, feathered things that kinda, well, messed up your car, meant rewashing line-dried laundry or were killed cats and left to be cleaned up by their owners.

I confess that perhaps I was looking at birds all wrong. At our current home, where there’s a little window above the sink where I spend a lot of time and I have become intrigued by our feathered friends. Outside that window is my garden. As I gaze out at my garden, my eye often finds tiny birds hovering around our empty bird feeder, or making a home in one of the brightly painted houses I’ve hung in the trees. Soon hopefully I will see them play happily in the newly gifted bird bath.

I watch them as they move from spot to spot. I watch as they carry tiny pieces of yarn that I’ve left out for them. They are so very busy, so very busy.

Some of them I can identify. Robins. Cardinals. Bluebirds. Beyond that, I just call them finches and blackbirds. However, it makes me happy to see them, working away, creating a life, moving about as if no one is watching.

I realize as I spy on them, that I probably haven’t taken the time to watch, observe and appreciate many other things.

I’m not suggesting that we’ll adopt an iguana or cage a parakeet, but I am going to consider the fact that perhaps I have been looking at some things all wrong.

The lavender dress

Maybe it’s because Easter is near. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing a bit purging, but for whatever reason, the lavender dress has haunted me over the past several weeks. When I found her, tucked safely in a box of clothes too small to wear, I knew it was time. . . time to end that ghost of a dress. And I did.

Let’s go back a bit. But, before we do, let me say this: I’m not sharing this as any sort of a pity party. That party ended long ago and I finally finished cleaning up after it. This is more about moving on and letting go.

For as long as I can remember my mother wanted me to be blonde, very blonde, and slim, very slim. Otherwise, what use was I? I’m neither of these things. Even at my lowest dress size and brightest blonde, I never quite made it to the finish line with her.

At one point, I had come back from some weight gain. . . moving two dress sizes down and as a treat, I bought a new lavender floral Easter dress. I’d be wearing said dress, along with a lovely complimentary jacket and cute, cute white Mary Janes while we attended Easter services with my grandmother just outside of Louisville, about two hours away.

Easter morning, I stood there, literally in my finest, ready to go when I asked a simple question. It’s a question I knew better than to pose. I still can’t believe I did. I said simply, “How do I look?” It was a general question, a few words would have sufficed. Simple isn’t always simple, is it?

My mother, who felt the question was directed to her, took ownership and said, “I don’t like it, not at all.” There I stood, in my finest, two hours from any of my other suitable clothing, sad, rejected and now slouching. It’s odd that I remember it so clearly, but I do.

I was crushed. I was rejected. I was sad. I’ll admit all of those things.

And I carried that scene with me each and every time I shopped, dressed or even contemplated a special occasion.

Then, suddenly, I didn’t. Somehow, I just let it go. Not that I don’t recall it. Not that I don’t share it from time to time. But I let the power it had over me go. Suddenly, it was powering me in a way I didn’t expect.

I felt ok in my body. I didn’t feel perfect or “done”, but I felt ok. I was wonderful made, right? I can’t help that the one who “made me” didn’t get that. It was her baggage, not mine.

And, try as I might, I’m not going to lug that suitcase of disappointment around with me.

By the way, this year I’m wearing a black dress on Easter, several sizes bigger than the lavender one.

The lavender one, you might be wondering, was donated with the hopes that someone will see in her what I initially did and understand her true worth.



We’d complained that this had been such a mild winter. I know that sounds odd. Most dread the cold months, but as I’ve said, I look forward the pace of winter and the opportunity to slow down.

Winter finally came, in full force, but not until February, when we were least expecting it. Ten inches of snow. Beautifully coated trees. Glistening views. It slowed us down a bit, hampered our travel and caused us some concern. However, it was truly beautiful. I am grateful for the view from my office. Glad to be inside safe and warm. Happy to have safe transportation and plenty of hearty food awaiting me each night.

As much as I am looking forward to a warm impending vacation, I’ll be sad to miss some of this, most of this.



Whenever I first met her, I thought to myself that I needed to get to know that girl. I don’t know if it was the fact that I knew she was cooler than I’d ever be, that I instantly learned that she likes to make stuff or that I could just tell she was a source of inspiration.

I did get to know her and before I knew it, I had weaseled my way into a full-fledged invitation to craft at her home. Such a welcoming soul. Such a great opportunity. I leapt at the idea.

Saturday, amidst some tough family drama, I made my way to her house, where I was literally welcomed so openly that I nearly hugged every member of the family, including the sweet, doe-eyed Great Dane.

And we crafted. And we sewed. And we shared. And we talked. And she fed me, both literally and figuratively. It was just what my latent creative heart needed.

A bunting for the mantle. A rag garland for the bedroom. An intent jar.

And for a little while, all of the drama fell away and I was knee-deep in good stuff, good creative releases.

After I got home I was still swimming with ideas. I had an itch to glue my fingers together and spill paint on the floor.

The creative energy she shared with me will go a long way. The background on my phone says to surround yourself with inspiring people. Did she know she’d be one of them?



Instead, I’m moving slowly, with small changes, small ideas and even smaller resolutions. They are all habits, really. Tiny things that need my attention and my energy.

I am hoping they’ll all add up to bigger and better things. I’ll let you know in a few months.


photoOddly there was enough daylight for a short walk last night after work. I have learned that I like to walk in the cold. The air feels fresh and crisp.

I took such a walk on New Year’s morning as well, a little fresh step into 2015, if you will.

We’re changing all the time, aren’t we? Finding new things we like. Owning up to the things we don’t. Realizing more and more who we are.

Cold weather walks do that for me.



A few days away sounded like heaven when he mentioned it. I latched onto the idea immediately. I didn’t care what we did or even where we went, the fact that it was to a cabin in the mountains was just gravy for me. I would have gone almost anywhere just to have a little break from my current reality.

Our short trip began in Nashville, with a trip to the Ryman to see Chrissie Hynde. A disappointing show featuring a grumpy icon was not how we wanted to kick off this impromptu break, but we recovered the next day with Jeni’s ice cream, thrift shopping and Trader Joe’s. It takes so very little to flip our attitudes.

We meandered along the rest of our trek to the mountains, stopping for a little shopping, again for a little dinner and lastly for provisions before tucking ourselves away into our home-away-from-home for the next few days.

A gas fireplace, a comfy bed and a hot tub greeted us. What more could this respite-seeking soul want?

We reluctantly peeled ourselves away from the cabin the next morning, driving around a bit, perusing some other cabin rental possibilities, shopping in downtown Gatlinburg, hitting a yarn shop, snacking a little and pondering the rest of our trip. I spent too much time and money in our favorite pottery shop before we finally made our way to an evening show.

Thursday was less fruitful for us. We spent a good deal of the day in the cabin, venturing out for lunch and such. I was grateful for the quiet time. Time for reading. Time for knitting. Time for the hot tub.

On Friday we snuggled ourselves in deep. I wrote. I read. I enjoyed the fire.

In between we managed to find some moonshine, hit a few shops and track down some hot chocolate.

Saturday we bid a sweet goodbye to our cozy nest and started on the road home. A stop at my favorite bookstore was, of course, fruitful. We came home in the late afternoon to some very needy and welcoming cats.

It was exactly what we needed. A plan with no real plan. No guilty over mid-morning naps. Nothing calling our name, except the warm fire and the gorgeous view.


photo 2

I can tell that fall is here just by watching the light in our house. The different slant illuminates the main living area as I walk through the door each evening, welcoming me home.

My knitting mojo is in full swing as I find myself drawn to accessories, primarily hats. . . but I’m always game for cowls too. Soon we’ll be using the handknits, adding a blanket to the bed and wrapping ourselves up in layers.


This week is a busy one. So busy in fact that I actually stopped to catch my breath yesterday. It’s all work-related. It’s nothing I haven’t tackled before. But it’s still a little overwhelming.

Last night Cynical worked and I was left to my own devices. We’d spent most of the weekend at home, relaxing and getting the “little stuff” done, so there wasn’t much for me to do other than wrangle the cats for medicine administration, fold a little laundry and clean-up after dinner.

It was rainy and stormy, so I spent the first part of my evening watching the weather and wondering which part of this massive storm would come our way. Luckily it was just rain and wind, we escaped unscathed. At some point the pitter-patter of the heavy rain just became soothing, once it was far less threatening and disconcerting.

In the midst of my stressful week, there were these few quiet hours where I sat, knitted, listened to the rain. I read a little, rubbed on my little striped cat, watched a little tv and even went to bed a tad early. We often get what we least realize we need. For me, it was respite.



The thing about goodbyes is that most of the time you know they are coming. But that doesn’t mean you are prepared. As much as you’d like to tell yourself that it’s inevitable, it’s just not helpful.

And that’s where I am right now. My youngest brother has been staying with my parents for the past few weeks as he transitions from North Carolina to California. As I mentioned, he’s my youngest brother and somewhere along the way, to use a very Southern expression, I took him to raise.

Most of my family lives away, the majority are about 7 hours away, in fact. So, I’ve never had the blessing of just dropping in for a visit, or hosting them spontaneously. We’ve never been in close enough proximity to help each other out with the day-to-day parts of life. I crave that. I covet that casual time where you just hang out, help each other complete a project, join up for a little dinner and a chat.

The last few weeks have afforded me that. He drops in. We meet up. We have impromptu meals and take last-minute trips. We have unexpected conversations and I’ve come to know him even better in those little moments in between. I appreciate his humor. I understand his kind heart. I see his creative nature.

He’s leaving this week and I’d like to say I’m prepared. This day has been coming for a while, but I’m not.

Last night he “came by” to clean out his car and start packing it with the items he’d stored in our garage. I watched out the kitchen window as he organized and prepared. I watched as he packed up his entire life for a move across country. And my heart broke.

As excited as I am for him to be moving closer to his own family, I’m just as filled with angst over the journey ahead of him and his landing spot once he gets there. There’s that selfish part of me that also wants him close enough to invite over for leftovers, ask him to assess a painting project or simply hang out and watch “Orange Is the New Black”. I’ve been spoiled to his company. I’m not ready.