transitions

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It was a beautiful Supermoon last weekend and it seemed like people took more notice of it than other Supermoons. Facebook was full of its golden visage and on Monday morning, I said hello to a conservative coworker in his office; he had the day’s business newspaper folded on his desk and there the Supermoon was again, beaming at me from the front page.

Unfortunately, metro Detroit was hit by a crazy rainstorm on Monday which resulted in massive flooding throughout several counties. I was blissfully ignorant of anything except feeling annoyed at backed-up traffic and wet feet. I got to the back side of my neighborhood and saw a Buick stranded in a rush of muddy water overflowing the drainage ditch. This seemed somewhat unusual and when I got home, I turned on the TV to see ‘TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN” as the local news slogan. The pictures of the stranded drivers and rushing brown floodwaters on the highways were astonishing; I was gobsmacked to see the junction of I-75 and 696 under 14 feet of water.

My basement stayed fortunately dry, and I thanked my stars that I didn’t have to cope with backed-up sewage and a house full of brown water like many of my Michigan neighbors did.

After the big storm, the week turned cool and Octoberish. Even the sky over the Matthei Botanical Gardens looks Octoberish, a shade of blue, the light slanting in that particular way. On Instagram my friend noted that the birds seem to be gathering and I noticed it too, throngs of them on the feeders, the hummingbirds darting in flashes of needle beak and emerald green. I’ve heard that this winter is going to be just as vicious as last winter.

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The summer is waning and several big shifts feel complete and closed out, leaving me with new avenues to wander down and explore.  It has been a long and slow evolution to get to this point of independence. I’m excited for what comes next, happy to re-establish old friendships and relationships that went into dormancy while I dealt with the more overwhelming emotional issues at hand. And happy to start new relationships and friendships, although this has always been a challenge for me, tough to overcome shyness and anxiety. My little brave daughter is so much better at meeting new people and making new friends and going bravely into the world than I am, I need to learn from her optimism and self-confidence and her ability to be open to new things.

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I finally had to admit that the Mizuno Wave Rider 17’s that I got to replace my old beloved 15’s were just not the shoe for me. Constant leg pain and shin splint issues. I tried to find a replacement pair of 15’s but they must be discontinued. So it was back to Running Fit for a consult.  I was sold on the Brooks Ghost 7. These will be my first pair of Brooks; I started running in Nikes, switched to Mizunos, and can hopefully settle here with Brooks and find a model that won’t be changed and tweaked and replaced and discontinued every year. I tried them out on a 2.5 mile interval treadmill run yesterday at lunchtime and feel cautiously optimistic.

This weekend we begin a couple of weeks of Miss L’s birthday extravaganza – GB & I will take her out to dinner tonight at an appropriately loud and chaotic kid-friendly restaurant and do her mommy / daddy presents and cake afterwards.  Next weekend my extended family will celebrate at my brother’s house, with a little Frozen-themed party. My sister-in-law loves entertaining, hosting, and parties, and is making her a very special Elsa-themed birthday cake which promises to be pretty awesome. Pictures, I am quite sure, to follow.

xoxo friends. :)

homesteadin’

I know at some point the thrill of home ownership will wear off, but right now it’s still a mix of apprehension and terror and excitement and pride. My favorite days are those when I can wake up (even with a summer cold like yesterday) and tumble out into the yard and just putter around. There are always weeds to pull or tomatoes to examine or plants to water or birdfeeders to fill. I also am lucky to have an ex-husband who is still one of my closest friends and doesn’t mind coming over to remind me where the weed whacker is hung or supervise a Major Undertaking.

IMG_20140809_131145I’d intended to use the ‘chainsaw on a stick’ (!!) to remove several large dead branches from one of our pines, so GB came over to make sure I didn’t cut an appendage off. My male friends at work had also expressed a lot of skepticism about my ability to do this on my own without maiming myself. Needless to say, I was determined.

Unfortunately, the awesomeness that is ‘chainsaw on a stick’ ran out of fuel midway through the cut of the first and biggest branch. I couldn’t leave it half-cut as it hangs over the back door and I had a terrible image of it giving way and falling on Miss L as she dashed out someday. GB said dubiously, “There’s always the hand saw” so out it came, along with the stepladder. I think at this point he was deeply regretting being involved in this venture and since he’s recovering from a minor injury, he couldn’t just do it himself.

I climbed up on the ladder and worked away on it and laughed at how weak my arms are while he shouted encouragement and then it was done! It came down nicely and I went on to do three other smaller ones on the same tree. I was covered in wood chips and had a glow of pride.

“I feel like a homesteader,” I told him, which made him laugh as I live in the city, but hey, homesteading can even take place in a backyard, I think.

I have a big pile of pine branches in the back that I am excited to cut up and stack for the winter wood stove. I might wait to refuel the ‘chainsaw on a stick’ for that, though.

Reminder: Full supermoon in Aquarius tonight. Mystic Mamma astrologer Kelley Rosano has a wonderful and inspiring commentary on this event and a great message. “Love you more than the need for approval; love you more than the need for others to support you.” I love that message of self-care and internal balance and acceptance, it fits in nicely with my August goals.

xoxo friends!

IMG_20140806_163307Summer colds are the worst. Miss L has been slogging through a particularly bad one that settled in her chest. The doc says it’s a common virus going around lately and let it run it’s course…yep. There were several sleepless nights due to nonstop coughing and the doc gave me the same advice I’ve been getting since Miss L was an infant – prop her up, lots of fluids, etc. This time we were told to give her a spoonful of honey before bedtime to help coat her throat and even Miss L rolled her eyes at that one.

Emmett tried to help out with nursing but it just tired him out and he took himself to a quiet corner to rest.

My yard is not looking too good and I need to get out and do some mowing and trimming and weeding today, but I seem to have woken up with a stuffy nose and a cough…ugh. Looks like the summer cold germ has not quite finished with us.

Hope everyone has a beautiful weekend.

 

oh my, heirlooms

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Oh my gosh, I know my July recap was a bit glum, but if our first tomato harvest is any indication, August is going to be wonderful.  After the earwig disappointment in the first ripe JD Special C-Tex, I was so excited to bring these beauties in, sun warmed and almost pulsing with summer light and good health, still smelling green and fuzzy (I don’t know how else to describe fresh tomato smell). The Cherokee Purples are the big ones and the so-called Paul Robesons (I am still skeptical) are the smaller, pear-shaped ones. I made GB and Miss L close their eyes and taste test slices of each before I mixed them with fresh, creamy buffalo mozzarella, olive oil and a dash of balsamic, sea salt, and fresh basil from the garden.

The general assessment was that the so-called Paul Robesons were just crazy amazing. Such a dark, complicated flavor, almost a smoky finish; but the Cherokee Purples were excellent, too. I am sooo pleased with the first crop and I feel that the effort I’ve put into our plants this year has been very worth it. STAKE and PRUNE, people, STAKE and PRUNE, my new mantra.

Miss L said about her birth month; “Whenever I hear about August it feels like it is already fall.”  This is true. But because my July was comparatively somber, I am pledging that my August is going to be full of optimism and contentment. I am going to declare this a self-care month, a month of identifying happinesses and pleasures, and a month of enjoying my life.

july recap

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So July is over and not to complain, but except for our beautiful Up North vacation, it just wasn’t the best month. Maybe my expectations were set too high by the rapturous astrological predictions of all planets finally out of retrograde and a full moon in Leo and whatnot.

Maybe those things were just offset by a variety of personal issues currently unraveling slowly toward some sort of resolution after many, many months, and not getting much easier along the way.

Whatever it was, for most of the month I felt a lot like that baby bunny that I snapped a pic of last night. (One of three currently using our yard as a buffet slash crash pad. Emmett hates them and I thought they were adorably cute until I started finding sheared-off coneflower stalks missing their big berry-colored flowers…)

I felt disconnected and listless. Lots of Travis McGee novels kept my mind occupied. I didn’t want to do anything except sleep and retreat, but when I indulged in those things, the lack of routine and accomplishment was depressing. Floors went unvacuumed and clutter crept back. Work was exasperating and joyless, the first ripe heirloom tomato off my JD Special C-Tex plant got chomped by an earwig, I wanted little to do with interpersonal relationships outside of my daughter and my cats, and my fitness went to hell.

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During the now-infamous tubing trip, I strained a muscle in my back and missed about two weeks of running. Now, let’s be honest. I don’t tend to run much in the hot weeks of late June / most of July anyway. I am not a good hot weather runner and most of my favorite runs are in the late summer and fall. Also, my favorite running partner has been out of commission all year due to a knee injury, and I could always count on him to push me; without him yelling at me I just haven’t kept up.

But now that my needle has edged past the big 4-0, if I miss a couple of weeks of activity and still eat at my normal rate, things can get nasty. My workplace does a health incentive with our medical insurance and every summer we get screened – blood tests, weight, BMI, etc. It’s kinda neat because you can see how you measure up against past years. Now, over the past 2 years I was very active and last year I was quite underweight, but according to my health screening last week I have MORE THAN bounced back from that low point and then some and then some more, and now it is time for me to start getting serious about my running, not just running for a mile and getting winded and walking for two and running the last quarter mile in and calling that a run.

Emmett agrees and has signed on to be my personal coach.

Lastly, after a summer spent punishing my hair for my feelings of unrelated dissatisfaction, I finally had to admit that although I like to do things myself, doing my own hair is not something I can do well. My college roommate once said that spending money on your hair is a necessity, since, as she logically pointed out, you have to look at it every day.

I went to the salon, and put myself in the capable hands of a professional, and caught up on the celebrity gossip magazines. When I was released into the humid air of the summer evening, with the overly sprayed coif that the stylists are fond of, smelling expensive, I wandered across the parking lot and thought that August will be a much better month.

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