February 5, 2009
With spring, you sometimes get a fleeting glimpse of blossoms and robins and then the world turns hotter than hades, here in Michigan. This year, I do believe, we will get the kind of spring that 'holds'. The kind that promises cerulean blue skies day after day...you know, the color blue that every old church has painted behind it's altar...the color blue that excites the heart of children when they stumble upon a robin's nest full of little eggs in the spring...the kind of blue that says, "relax, there's lots of time time to dream/prepare/relax/get ready for summer or whatever we need to be getting our lives ready for".
I have always loved this color and this word, Cerulean. It even rolls off the tongue as though it were some obscure European recipe that you just returned home with from a trip abroad. Say it to others and the conversation turns from mundane to one of creative possibility. Cerulean.
Have a cerulean blue day.
The Name For Those Ice Chunk Blocks Under The Tires
January 28, 9009
Eternal Winter! I've come up with a name for those ice chunk block things that 'lodge' themselves under the front and backs of our car tires during long cold spells here in the midwest...Chunkagles! Chunkagles...Ice chunks that we carry around for weeks on end because they hurt our toes to kick them off, because we are too cold, too hunched over to go to the carwash...because the temperature hasn't risen above 0 for what seems like 600 years. Chunk (they're blocky) + Triangle (they're somewhat triangular in shape) + Icicle (definitely hard and frozen).
I've been pondering them for several weeks now and thinking "Do these things have a name?". They dislodge themselves in the most awkward places such as, the middle of the road, the place you park in your driveway or garage, etc. They are blackish brown and a harbinger of the deepest sect of winter. If you see a chunkagle, it's cold, you've eaten way too many carbs for weeks on end just to stop your toes from freezing in your boots, and the sun is a foreign word reserved only for people who inhabit the equator or the southern hemisphere.
I've glimpsed some really fantastic and huge chunkagles lately, but unfortunately at times that I've not had my camera. I'll try and shoot some chunkagle pics today and tomorrow so those of you in the warmer climes can see what they are.
Chunkagle contest! Everyone out there who sees a great chunkagle, take a pic and send it to me!
I'll post the most hideous one to remind us all of the joys of January!
Have a warm and cozy day and look out for those icy things!
Saving The Written Word (or, the end of the letter as we know it)
January 26, 2009
I've just heard and read that the United States Postal Service is considering cutting out one day of mail delivery. I'll skip all the mumbo jumbo and just get to my point, as it is late...THE WRITTEN WORD IS SERIOUSLY THREATENED! You may be laughing as you read this, thinking, "well, of course, here you are writing on a blog for goodness sake!" But, really...when is the last time you actually got out a piece of stationary and an envelope and wrote a letter? Letters are/were so beautiful...(and my current theme is beauty, is it not?). Please, everyone who reads this, sit down and even for just 3 minutes, write a letter or drop a card in the mail to someone. Your mother, your sister, your godchild, a neighbor, someone far away. Write, write letters, and write them soon. If not, our written history stands to die to make way for the life of the unwritten word, the unrecorded word, the unbeautful. I'm writing 10 letters tomorrow (including a handwritten return address). Please, do join me in saving the written word! Forward this paragraph, copy this paragraph, but please...write.
As Snug As A Mouse In A Nest
January 25, 2009
As we all sat down around the worn oak table in the kitchen, the stove was as hot as I could get it. The chill of the dark January night seemed to wrap around our house and all four of us anticipated the hot home cooked meal of pasta and sauce from the canned tomatoes of last summer's garden. The steam from the pasta as I drained it had fogged all the windows, lending to an even warmer atmosphere in the old farm kitchen.
While we slept, the sky broke loose with a soft, but steady, snowfall. Grey skies and cold sparkling snows greeted us as we welcomed another day of hard work on the farm. It occured to me while I was waiting for the bus with Amanda, that this is just the kind of day that we wish for in busy and hot August! One grey skied, cozy snow filled freezing cold day (complete with harsh North wind!) to make a huge pot of scalding black tea and set to the day's work.
And so, instead of begrudging another day of cold winter, I faced the day with the anticipation and enthusiasm. Cold grey skies bring a chance to nurture our inside jobs (and some outside, such as cutting firewood and shoveling snow). The picture here shows 20 below zero...taken last week during a cold snap!
I hope this day brings you reasons to be thankful and to anticipate your own winter treasures, whatever they may be. And, if you find you have none...just glance out your window and see the diamonds that God has placed for you in the snow.
January 14, 2009
I've decided to work for a while here, and provide all of us with some resources, and at the very least, some creative inspiration. We all need more warmth, comfort, tradition and hospitality in our homes and lives. It seems with the advent of cellular phones that the world has sped up, never to slow down again. I am going to investigate and uncover some ways we can all slow down and erase some of the self imposed 'have-to's' and anxieties of the world.
A good portion of our anxieties, I've realized, are coming from our perceived notions of what we are 'supposed' to be doing. Hello direct marketing! Hello glitzy advertisements and the way things are labeled lately. Really. Think about it. Do you really desire that $7.00 bar of imported Organic Italian chocolate? Remember how good a simple Hersey bar tasted when you were a kid?
I'm not saying you have to give up your espresso machine, or live like a college freshman (though wasn't it nice way back then when all we owned was a futon and a milk crate for our books?). Just try and reach back in your memory for the wholeness of the way we used to live. I can't remember my parents ever rushing us out the door, yet today I think we all live in a state of perpetual fast forward rushing. Why? What are we rushing towards?
We are losing the moment of now, which is the most beautiful and important, and once gone, becomes a regretful missed past moment.
The beautiful: warm, welcoming, secure, comfortable, familiar. What has happened to our homes and what we are socializing our children with?
Let's regain a world of simplistic beauty and whole, slow actions.
Care to join me?
January 12, 2009
One of the most beautiful sounds in the world is the peaceful quiet sound of snow falling out of heavy laden clouds above - gently blanketing the trees, rooftops and ground.
A dear friend and neighbor of ours sent the poem below on her Christmas card just weeks after discovering she had breast cancer. She is cancer free now and I keep the poem as a reminder of the power of positive, and beautiful, thinking
"Maybe snowflakes are letters God uses to write upon the winter sky - A graceful script of peace, hope, and love..."
Janvier Morning (or anything is possible)
January 11, 2009
I don't know why, but I consistently pronounce the months of the year, both verbally and mentally, in French. Thank you to my 8th grade French teacher. She would be proud, I suppose. Maybe it's the way the French months roll off the tongue, with a certain panache...making them easier to blend into our daily hassle of scheduled appointments and 'to do's. Or, maybe it is because they are quick to say. Nonetheless, Janvier or January is upon us.
Years ago I would dread the darkest and dampest three months of the year, looking forward instead to April and May and June. But, I have discovered that there is a gift in January, February and March, and that is the gift of time. Time to dream of the perfect spring and summer to come...time to organize all those myriad stacks of papers and clippings.
In January, anything is possible; the world is your oyster and it's all downhill. With a bleak landscape outside and lots of inside time, we create lists and color code our business files. There isn't the hurried rush off to June weddings or insistent days of weeding the garden. January, Janvier...she is white, like a canvas waiting to be painted. Like a gift of freshwater pearls on an antique ivory French dressing table. The old and the new, mixed together in one glorious empty plan of our own making.
As the small flakes of snow fall from the sky outside my window as I type, and the little brown winter birds line up to take turns eating seed from the feeder, I rise with my now chilled cup of green tea, and head back to the kitchen to stoke the old stove and to gloriously dive into my self-imposed pleasant task of creating my own art. The masterpiece of the year ahead.