Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Weekending

This weekend was for...

...old friends and new. Recently an old friend from college found me through Fitbit. He and I had lost touch, as he is one of those rare people who refuses to join Facebook. It had been as much as 15 years since we last saw each other (I was still living in Florida!). He and his wife came to town this weekend to celebrate their 5th anniversary by attending a lacrosse game at the university. On Friday night we met them downtown for dinner and drinks. Eventually we were joined by another classmate who I had not seen since graduation. It was really great to see them and catch up. It was also lovely to meet my friend's delightful wife. I hope we can manage to get together somewhat more frequently now that we've reconnected!

...volunteering. My sister's company participated in a clean up effort of the downtown area where they have their office. I joined her and my nephew to help pick up trash. With so many volunteers on the job, we really had to search hard to find anything to pick up besides cigarette butts. We finally made our way towards the highway where we were able to find the usual assortment of discarded beer bottles and drug paraphernalia. We were given t-shirts and free lunch for our efforts, but by far the best part was my nephews enthusiasm for the task. He was so proud of his new shirt!

...dining with friends. Saturday night we went out to dinner with another couple, the woman who performed our wedding ceremony and her husband. We talked about boats, dogs, yoga, green smoothies, and lots more. They are such genuinely good people and always leave me feeling refreshed and somehow lifted up.

...being outside. We spent hours outside on Saturday picking up trash, eating lunch on an outdoor patio, and walking to get ice cream after. Sunday was even warmer. I walked for almost an hour in my neighborhood and spent a couple hours sitting on the front steps reading Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry. I wore shorts! It was fantastic (less fantastic is the snow that will be falling later today, ugh). I definitely have spring (summer) fever.

Picking up trash with my nephew.
Linking up with Amanda.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring Walking

Yesterday I took advantage of the mild weather and headed out to the woods to one of my favorite spring hiking spots. None of the spring wildflowers were up yet, but I'll go back over the next couple weeks and keep an eye on their progress. One of the best things about hiking at this time of year is the bugs aren't out yet. No mosquitoes! No blackflies! No deer flies!

The disadvantage of where I went walking is the gunfire. I had to modify my intended route because someone was training their hunting dog, and at one point guns were being fired on both sides of me. Needless to say, I hightailed it in the opposite direction.

Later in my hike I was turned back by trail closed signs, presumably for nesting Canada geese. I prefer loops whenever possible, but even with having to double-back along the same section of trail it was still a lovely day for a walk.

I heard peepers and wood frogs and saw a painted turtle and a garter snake. It felt blissfully good to be in the woods again without wearing a coat!





Monday, April 07, 2014

Weekending

This weekend was for... a surprise 60th birthday party for my mother-in-law... a visit to the mall with my sister and nephew, complete with carousel ride and soft pretzels and Cold Stone Creamery... checking out our friends' new house... getting the camper out of winter storage and dropping it off at the marina until our yard firms up enough to bring it home... trimming the bush that scrapes the siding near our bedroom window and keeps us awake at night... sunshine and blue skies on Sunday, a particular relief after the snow/rain/grey on Saturday... homemade Sunday sauce simmering on the stove top... the solar panels cranking out my beloved warmth... getting in two sessions on the elliptical... bottling some of our homemade wine... finishing The Maze Runner by James Dashner...




Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I've never been one to get behind the concept of spring cleaning. It's just not my thing. So this year I'm trying something new (to me)... an April Purge.

I have way too much stuff. I have whole rooms devoted solely to storage of STUFF. Boxes and bins and piles of stuff. The majority of which never get opened, and certainly never get used. So the obvious question is why? Why do I have all of this stuff?

So for my April Purge, I will get rid of ONE item EVERY day in April.

It doesn't have to be monumental. The idea is to make this task manageable. I don't want to get burned out by setting this goal too high. The item of the day can be thrown away in the garbage or set aside to be donated and at the end of the month I will take whatever I have amassed to the Salvation Army. The goal is to get it out of my house.

One piece at a time.

If you are anything like me and could stand to get rid of some stuff, please feel free to join me in my April Purge. I will post updates as the month progresses.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Small Town Friday Night

Last night my husband and I went to see our niece in her elementary school play. She is a 5th grader at a school my sister attended (I was bused to another school due to over-crowding).

The play itself was marginally interesting, but I loved seeing the kids (mostly girls) singing and dancing their hearts out. They were so pleased with themselves and had every right to be proud of their hard work.

Naturally it brought me back to the plays I participated in as a kid. In 4th grade I was a skeleton* in The Wizard of Oz and in 5th grade I was a cat in The Pale Pink Dragon. Both were small speaking parts with just one or two lines. I also ran a spotlight and did some set work. It still amuses me to recall how my white skeleton gloves stood out against the dark-colored tree I was holding, showing clearly on the recorded video. Although I never participated in drama productions after 5th grade, I'm glad for the experience of those two plays. I'm also glad that plays haven't been cut because of budget woes, at least in this one school district.

I was flipping through the program before the play started and recognized a head shot of one of the 3rd graders from pictures her aunt posts on Facebook. A quick look around the audience confirmed that my Facebook friend (and my father's former employee) was sitting across the aisle in the same row as us. Further browsing revealed that the daughter of two former high school classmates was also in the cast. Sometimes it really does feel like a small town.


*Obviously they added characters in order to have more kids involved. My skeleton character was the assistant to the Assistant Wicked Witch.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fears

I've been thinking a lot about fear landscapes lately. If you've read (or watched) Divergent you will understand the significance of this. If you have not, the main idea is that fear landscapes are made up of your worst fears broken into separate and specific scenarios.

Some of mine were easy to identify:
  • Spiders. This could be extended to include ticks, so maybe arachnids would be a better label. My fear landscape would involve an unimaginable number of these creatures crawling all over me. 
  • Confined spaces. I suffer from a bit of self-diagnosed claustrophobia. This has prevented me from going caving, but otherwise seems fairly irrelevant in my day-to-day life. However, it would not be irrelevant in a fear landscape.
  • Rape. This probably doesn't require any explanation.
Others took further reflection:
  • Mockery. This would take the form of everyone around me, especially my friends, whispering and talking and pointing and generally just making fun of and belittling me.
  • Bridges collapsing. When I am driving and am forced to come to a stop on a bridge I like to calculate the point at which I might have a chance of survival if the bridge were to collapse. Although it's more of an idle curiosity than a fear, it might make for an interesting fear landscape.
  • Being restrained. This is perhaps too closely related to confined spaces/claustrophobia, but I think its own fear landscape could be imagined much differently than tight spaces. I can't stand tight clothing, turtle necks are a big no-no, and pull-over hoodies can be a challenge if I get stuck while trying to get them on or off. I have been known to freak out just a little. 
  • Complete and total darkness. I am not afraid of the dark. I don't need a nightlight. However, absolute darkness tends to overwhelm me. Keep in mind, complete and total darkness is not something most people encounter on a regular basis. There is almost always some sort of light pollution creeping in, even when people think they are in the dark. When I worked in a theater years ago, I would let the door close behind me and walk down the hall to the light panel without using my flashlight. It was kind of fun to feel the rising panic, while knowing exactly how far I had to go and how long it would take for the lights to turn on. It's possible that this is also somehow related to my dislike of tight spaces and being restrained.
And still others are less serious:
  • Clowns. Seriously, what is the appeal? Scary, icky, and creepy.
I've probably over-looked some or am altogether unaware of ones that would crop up on their own. What would your fear landscapes look like?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Currently...

Obsessed with... the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. As in, I can't stop thinking about the books all day (and all night). When I'm not actually reading, all I want to do is be reading. At this moment, I'm just over halfway through the second book, Insurgent. I'm struggling with my desire to read the books as quickly as possible (because I love them so much, obviously) while also wanting them to last as long as possible. I'm not really excited about life after Divergent. Fortunately, on a related subject...

Looking forward to... the Divergent movie! Bet you saw that coming a mile away. I saw the movie trailer before I started the books (it was the kick in the pants I needed to start reading the series) and mistakenly thought the actor that plays Eric was playing Four, so I read the whole first book picturing the wrong person in my head. I realized my mistake after I saw the actor who actually plays Four on the Today Show and have been fighting my own stupid brain ever since. It makes me wonder what I would've pictured if I hadn't had any preconceived notions about what he looked like (the actor that plays Eric is the only one that stuck in my mind after I saw the trailer because I'd recently seen him in two other movies). Anyway, I'm not going to do anything crazy like go to a midnight showing or buy advance sale tickets. In fact, I may wait to go see the movie until the crowds die down a little. I am not a fan of packed movie theaters and people invading my personal space. And don't get me started on the food-related sounds.

Trying not to... stress over money. I know, it's hardly an original concern. Who the heck isn't stressed over money? Enough about that.

Feeling thankful that... people share their books with me. My mom recently mailed me two of her books to read and my sister selected a whole bagful of books from her shelves to lend me (including, you guessed it, the Divergent Series).

Loving... the sound of the solar heat running. It instantly makes me feel happy, warm, and content. Almost free heat! Yay! I love being toasty, but I don't like paying any more than is necessary, so I am very rarely as warm as I'd like to be during the winter months. Today the sun was out in full force and the house got up to 72 degrees briefly. Delightful, just delightful.