September 23, 2014

Autumn's First Blush

Autumn is dawning. Everywhere I look, the first tinges of color where before there was none. The oaks are starting to turn and I know the maples won't be far behind. The last of the flowers are hanging on to their color and cozy mornings are bathed in golden light.

The squirrels and chipmunks are busy foraging for food, providing constant entertainment for the cats and constant nose prints on the windows for me. I know as soon as I decorate my porch with cornstalks, they will strip all of the cobs. I'm fine with this. We have an arrangement. At this time of year, more than any other, this place resembles a Disney movie, resplendent with woodland creatures. The squirrels stand above me in the tree eating as much of the fruit on the tree as they can, and throwing their discards down at me. They know what they are doing. The other day I was driving down Walnut St. and a squirrel stood in the road playing chicken with me. He won. My lovely, enchanted Village.

In the mornings I drive Emma to school, coming home on the back roads so that I can drive slower and my constant companion, Millie, can hang her head out the window the whole way. If we get really lucky, there will be nobody behind us and we can drive 10 mph under the speed limit making the trip that much better (and longer) for each of us. We pass large, round bales of hay and cows grazing. We pass a tractor sitting idle in a field, appearing to glow from the sun rising around it. We pass field after field of golden, spiky corn stalks.

At home things are quiet, the corners still shadowy this early in the morning. The dog wants to lay on the back porch breathing in the brisk air. The cat is more demanding of some love and I am happy to give it.

The day's demands are calling: laundry, cleaning, errands and appointments. All I really want to do is knit, read, write, bake and make soup. Pursuits that feed my soul. It feels like the right time for feeding my soul, like it came just when I needed it.

I know that October is the main event but I'm just realizing how magical September's build up is. Welcome, Autumn! I've been waiting for you.

September 11, 2014

Here and There, but Mostly Here

I'm feeling more introspective and introverted than I can ever remember being in my life. These days I'm enjoying living my life in a small, quiet way. I actually got overwhelmed just looking at pinterest last night. So I stopped. Because there's no space for that right now. And then I felt happy again.

I've been busy in my own way. Nesting a bit to get ready for Autumn. How many throws is enough? I don't really want to know, but I imagine my Sweet Man does. He is probably also wondering the same thing about throw pillows but it didn't keep me from making some for the front porch.

Speaking of the porch, if someone invites you over to their house for a beer on the porch, don't turn to their wife and say what's with those plates? Because I'm sure she wouldn't have hung those plates if she didn't love them. So just smile and drink your beer and keep your mouth closed. ;) In other related news, if you visit some family members, and they have a framed fabric background with a ceramic deer head hung in the middle, don't say "I don't get it." Just smile and drink your beer and keep your mouth closed. ;)

I've been trying to do better about taking care of me. Yoga is making a regular appearance again and boy do I need it. I'm trying to remember what it's like to not be in pain every day. I long to get there again.

Last night severe weather swept through our area. So severe, that I ate my dinner in the closet under the stairs with my little one, a dog and three cats. The good news is that it brought with it a cold front and it definitely feels like Autumn today. I'm making this soup for dinner tonight and this cake this weekend. I'm burning this candle right now.

We've had a fair amount of visitors lately, including a lovely visit from a favorite blog reader (hey Michelle!) and her family, who I've been trying to meet up with for years! I just have to say, I love when our guests spontaneously leave behind a souvenir of their visit on our dining room chalkboard.

Visitors often lead to projects. Of course our major project, the porch is still not quite done, but as God is my witness, this will be the month. I have managed to do a couple of small things that have been on my to do list forever like turning some old Rifle Paper Co. calendar pages into artwork for the downstairs bathroom, as well as some painting projects.

Other than that, I've read a few books, made friends with my knitting needles after a year long break up, done some gardening, planned a long awaited weekend getaway to Michigan with my love (it's been 7 1/2 years since we've managed that) and have been generally cozy and content. I hope you have been as well and I'd love to hear how you've been spending your days.

August 20, 2014


Today I need some comfort. I am writing this from my studio surrounded by loveliness, where I have the curtains drawn, a cozy cup of chai, my favorite candle burning and a little Michael Buble, affectionately referred to as The Boob in these parts. While I sit here in my happy place, there are plumbers outside doing all manor of loud, destructive and expensive things to my pipes and my neighbors yard. Let me just say that I was upset when I got a water bill that was 6 times the normal amount so when the plumbers gave us a $2300 bill for this job, I was less than excited. Old house living. I still wouldn't trade it! Looking on the bright side (because that's what I do) we are going to have a hose spigot on the side of the house now so I can easily water the front beds and they say our water pressure will be outstanding now. Laundry and a shower at the same time? I'm there!

As the disasters pile up, our nickname for this summer changes. We are now calling it the $10,000 summer. And we won't even talk about the cat that needs dental surgery. The dog already had hers. So, you can maybe see why comfort is in demand right now. But you know what's really important here? Perspective. We are all healthy and have a roof over our heads. Get over it girl. Life goes on. Though hopefully less expensively after this. There we go. I needed that pep talk. It's easy to choose joy when times are good, much harder when you are down 10 grand, right? Doing it anyway!

Chai tea is a new comfort habit of mine that Maddie got me hooked on. Trust me, I am NOT a tea person. At all. But I love chai. It's like a hug in a mug. It's like sipping Christmas. I'm quickly becoming unable to get through a day without my fix of it. Plus it's cheap. Which obviously appeals to me right now. And the best part? I finally have a real excuse to use these lovely mugs. Don't be fooled, the ugly ones with guns and maps on them that my guy insists on using, are hiding in the back.

Maddie's Chai

-Heat milk for 2 minutes in microwave
-Steep Trader Joe's Chai tea bag for 5 minutes
-Squeeze and wring every ounce of flavor and life out of tea bag, dunking as necessary until milk begins to darken
-Add a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar (dark because light is for amateurs)
-Add a dash of cinnamon (or more if you are heavy handed like me)

Stir and warm for another minute in the microwave.
Feel instantly comforted.

How do you like yours?