Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Snow day. Starting with teleworking for Travis and myself. And coffee, of course.

 The kids are already absorbed in various Minecraft-related endeavors on the iPads. I swear,sometimes I think we should skip over buying them their own handheld gaming systems and go straight to iPads for both of them. It's a thought. An expensive thought, but a decent one, nonetheless.

No snowfall in Virginia escapes my morning-after snow photography. It's been a long time since I had proper snow boots. Maybe fifteen years or so. I think it might be time to invest in a pair of good, insulated snow boots, like the L.L. Bean boots I wore in college. My rain boots do not cut it when the temps are low.

It's really cold, maybe 15* at the most, which for this part of the south, is pretty chilly. It's four inches of "sweeping snow", the kind you can get off the cars with a broom. For those of us who are transplants from harsher winter climates, it's not that big a deal, but around here, it's cause for school closure, stay-off-the-roads warnings, and the opportunity for teleworking.

It will likely all be melted, or rained, away by the weekend, but it's nice while it lasts, and makes me feel like I have at least a little bit of winter each year.

I love the way our house looks in the winter with a coat of snow.

Even the backyard, fairly utilitarian-looking in the winter, is pretty with a frosting of snow. The dogs love it,but the kids, astonishingly, have not been outside yet.

But I have been outside already; the sunshine is bright, but cold, and everything sparkles.

Monday, January 27, 2014


ONE - the number of scheduled days off of school last week, due to a holiday.

TWO - the number of inches of snow we got last Tuesday evening/overnight.

THREE - the number of appeals on my desk at the moment. That will change soon.

FOUR - the age of this really really 'OMG-I-want-him' cute OTTB (Off the Track ThoroughBred) gelding I found on a rescue site in Suffolk,VA.

FIVE - the number of school days missed last week due to a combination of Federal holiday/snow anticipation/actual snowfall.

SIX - the number of days since my last run (again).

EIGHT THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-TWO - ideas I have had for art-making.

ZERO - the number of ideas I have actually done something with in the last few weeks.

A MILLION - the number of horse-for-sale ads I have looked at and found nothing for me.

I'm having a hard time enjoying things. Maybe it's the seasonal blahs, although I love winter, or maybe it's because of a seemingly-constant stream of chaos, conflict, and conundrum since, oh, October. I feel like every time I get the psychic desk cleared off, there's just more piling up in the inbox. Good grief, does it ever end? Is this what 'your forties' is all about? The constant managing of crap you wish you didn't have to deal with, while you tell yourself over and over that you have to "put your big girl pants on" and "get it together, someone out there has it worse than you", or "you'll look back on this and laugh", or my personal favorite, "you should be grateful/happy/whatever that this is all you have to deal with". I want to punch those helpful advice-givers right in the nose. Screw you, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to deal with. Making those kind of comparisons is something I have been trying to stop myself from doing for years. Oh, and since the kids just had an unexpected week off because of (what really is a teeny amount of) snow? The ever-helpful Perspective Offerer: "I know people who have lost their kid who would be thrilled to have this time to spend with their children. You should not complain!" Shut it. You have no idea what my life is like, or how much I love my children, just like I have no idea what it's like to lose a child. And I hope I never do.

I struggle to want to run, to want to make stuff, to ride, to do anything besides waste time on the internet. Heck, I don't really want to do that. Granted, it's been insanely cold the last few weeks, and that is enough to cause anyone except the most die-hard winter people to want to snuggle up on the couch. I know it will get better, but it seems like each hurdle successfully leapt just gains me yet another one to jump.

I guess I'll just keep jumping. Otherwise, I'll bang my shins and fall on my face.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 21

I think I may have to avoid Facebook today so I don't feel the need to punch all the people who are complaining and whining about the lack of snow at the moment. No matter WHAT happens with the weather, SOMEone is going to get their panties in a wad about it, and about what the schools do or do not do.

Chill out, people.

It's not the damn end of the world if you have to take a day off!! Relax, and enjoy the unexpected gift. Or don't, but I promise you, complaining about it isn't going to change a thing at this point.

I really, really, really, REALLY hope we get some serious snow. I am all set to be home for a couple of days.

So far, this is the view from my kitchen window (ignore the fact that the window is dirty):

And this is the sky over my backyard:

Kids are happy, though. They are playing Minecraft like their lives depend on it:

I am working for a little while, then running various kids to appointments this afternoon.I'm hoping the university cancels Travis' night class tonight.

Maybe I will sew or work on some of the various ideas lurking in my brain. I have been making a lot of starts on ideas and projects, but then the Well dries up, or my Muse goes out for coffee or something, because I can't get past the beginning stages. I *was* getting frustrated by that, but in considering it, I'm not, anymore. My art-making is a continuum which exists as a stream or river in my life right now, and there's no real deadline on anything.Sometimes I wish I could get back into doing art shows and making work for sale, but it's just not possible right now, and I can accept that. Although I have committed myself to working at the torch this week sometime, while it is really cold and the kiln can warm the laundry room, because it's been FAR too long--months and months-- since I played with fire.

I admit to thoughts of selling my equipment, to add to the horse fund, and also because I'm just not using it. But it took me so long, and so much effort to buy that caliber of kiln, I don't want to let it go. I really need to buy the O2 concentrator I need to power the new torch, but that will have to wait a bit til I can figure out a revenue stream for that.

Anyway, I'm sitting here, enjoying a little bit of relative peace, and waiting for the snow. I know several of my friends are wishing as hard as their minds will let them for it to go away, but wishing won't make it so. Just like wishing for the snow won't bring it here. Sad, but true, bit of information about life. Real magic is out there, but it doesn't control the weather.

I hope you have an enjoyable day, anyway, whether it snows or not, whether you think the school systems are stupid to close before snow is on the ground or not, whether you like the snow, or irrationally hate it with the fire of a thousand suns.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Good morning.

Start of the week, quiet in the house, and I should be working, but instead I am thoroughly basking in the silence. And the distinct possibility of finishing my cup of hot coffee while it's still warm.

That almost never happens.

Travis is still in NC with his mom, who is having back surgery today (get well, soon, Joan!). I'm already doing the juggling for the next couple of days to get everyone where they need to be, and meet the obligations I need to meet. Can't wait til he gets home. Everything is better when he's here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Some days when I run, I feel almost invincible. Strong, athletic, powerful. Other days, no matter what I do, all I feel is brittle. Like every step is painful, risks shattering the whole of me into tiny pieces on the road.

Today I was brittle. Like the ice hiding in creases in the ground, along the ditches and in the birdbaths and dog bowls. Sure, the temperature was just below freezing, but the sun was out, and there wasn't as much wind as yesterday, and I needed to get some air for sure. I thought about just going for a walk, but why walk when you can burn more calories and "work out" with a run?

A walk would have likely been more pleasant, and more conducive to a clearing of the mind, but I know I would have felt guilty for walking when I could have run. Isn't it terrible, the things the mind does? Can't take it easy, that's not the way you should do things if you want to excel.

I don't like doing this to myself, the guilt for not measuring up, or for wanting to relax and slow down, or for choosing what feels the most right at the time, even though it isn't what I "should" do. Discipline is a hard mistress sometimes, and acceptance a virtue I don't often keep about myself. But I need to, and I will take a few quiet moments now and realign my attitude and take a deep breath and move on. Some days, you do what you can do, and that's it. And that's today. I am grateful I could even get out there, and proud of myself for doing it, cold as it is.

But I am hoping it's the cold weather that makes getting off a piece of furniture an exercise in stiff unfolding of body parts, and a feeling like I need all my moving parts oiled.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year

It certainly has been a while since I posted. Of course, the holidays meant quite a lot going on, but I was hoping to post something daily, to get in the groove of writing not for appeal to government agencies, but for entertainment and contemplation and information. Ah, well. The important thing is to do what you can, when you can, right?

I love the start of a new year. Everything seems new, seems like a giant reset button was pushed, and even though the school year is in medias res, the morning of January 1 always feels like standing at the horizon of something fresh.

Our holidays were pretty good, marred only (and significantly) by my brother's emergency appendectomy on the Monday before Christmas. He was very ill, and all the parameters of that illness were unknown at the time of the original surgery. Consequently, he spent Christmas in the hospital, along with his fortieth birthday (four days after Christmas), and just when things were looking up, it was necessary for him to spend New Year's in the hospital, too. Two surgeries, a couple of procedures, and one very frightening day later, and he is now home and recovering. I am so glad. My brother and I don't always get along, and I wouldn't say we are particularly close (in that we don't really hang out with each other), but I love him, and it was painful to watch him have to go through this. Thankfully, my parents were, and are, available to help him and to be there to support him.

Christmas was the usual family chaos and joy on Christmas morning. Wren was thrilled to get the doll she wanted, and Kira received her own target archery bow, so now she can get serious. Noah happily played the life out of the new Skylanders game on the Wii. We all ate way too much and enjoyed each other's company. This was the first year I did not bake my usual family "heirloom" cookie recipes. I just wasn't feeling it, so I chose to make my grandmother's date squares (which I can eat by the pound), and some other recipes that were equally yummy, and a nice change of pace.

My Dad made the olive salad. I love that he makes it for me.

We didn't do a whole lot of anything over the break, since my brother was in the hospital, and so was our riding instructor. I helped orchestrate people to fill in at the barn to do chores while she was hospitalized, and we took a couple of turns cleaning stalls and feeding the horses. It worked out pretty well, and I have to admit, I do miss doing the daily work.

I almost bought a horse. I thought I had found the guy who fit not only me, but my budget and immediate aspirations, but he is probably not going to be The One for me. Horse buying is such a difficult thing when you have a low budget, particular needs/wants, and an inability to safely take on a "project" horse. I keep telling myself that MY horse is out there, somewhere, waiting for me to find him, waiting for the right confluence of factors to bring us together, but it's hard to be hopeful sometimes.

Travis and Wren ran in the First Day 5K again. Well, Wren did the kids' one-miler, and she ruled it. Even got her picture in the paper! I'm really proud of her, and of Travis, too, who cut several minutes off his time from last year.

I may make her into a runner, yet. She seems to enjoy it, and it would be fun to be able to run together

The kids are back to school, and Travis has gone back to work. I have some quiet during the day again, and although my work schedule and inbox is full to overflowing, I am hoping to carve out time to create. Sewing the holiday gifts I made reminded me how much I love my sewing machine.