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Rest In Peace, Tom Petty. I remember this song and these lyrics as being a mantra in my head during a couple of very difficult periods of my life when I just had to grit my teeth and push through; “you could stand me up at the gates of Hell / but I / won’t back down.”

I think, well and truly, this American life has gone crazy. Our society, led by an egomaniacal narcissist and sponsored by the NRA, angry white men, and rape culture, has reached a boiling point. Here’s a clue – why don’t we stop worrying about peaceful immigrants and monuments and the NFL and start worrying about white men carrying automatic assault weapons? I’m beyond sickened by the enormity of this tragedy and yes, I’m a libtard, but I think the GOP and the politicians currently in power are willingly sacrificing human life for their own glorification and political agendas and that’s inexcusable. I hope all of these Christians have to speak to this when they stand before their proverbial pearly gates. 

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early autumn

We’ve lived through a blazing hot stretch of weather, quite unseasonable. Last week, L & I retreated up north to try to escape it; we were largely unsuccessful. However, we did manage to find cool breezes at the mouth of the Platte River where it flows into Lake Michigan, although the dunes across the water were obscured in heat haze.

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Gradually, over the course of this week, the heat has loosened its grip, but not before we experienced record temps and the hottest day of 2017 in Detroit. Who says climate change is fake news.

With the weather change came an enervating sinus headache that confined me to my bed for a day. It was a day that I needed, hidden away from the world in clouds of diffused Thieves Oil, knitting and watching old PBS dramas about Queens Elizabeth and Mary Stuart, gunpowder plots and treason. Work has been especially tiring lately due to hopefully temporary atmosphere of toxicity and politics that leaves me rageful and completely apathetic by turns. Having been in the corporate world for now fully half of my life, I understand that these times ebb and flow and it’s best to just lay low and ride them out. But it can be a bit taxing to live through.

The bright spot of the week was, unexpectedly, a visit from colleagues from China. There was a striking moment at dinner when one half of the table was talking about social media, how difficult it is to be exposed to so many headlines and clickbait and opinions at the speed of light, how difficult it is to stop and read and research and think and formulate opinions for oneself rather than simply reacting. The other half of the table was discussing how they have to switch VPN’s constantly to obtain access to Google and other Western Internet sites. We find a VPN, the government shuts it down, and we find another, one of my colleagues shrugged.

Now,  finally, my front yard is full of leaves. The grocery stores have big piles of pumpkins and cornstalks. Miss L and her neighborhood friends run and laugh in that particular early-autumn gold light and it’s time to plan her Halloween costume.

I hope you are enjoying your early autumn (or spring for my Southern Hemisphere friends) wherever you are.

xo.

 

 

hello, it’s been awhile

Hello friends. If I haven’t been here in awhile, it’s because I’ve had a really nice summer. I grew wildflowers instead of vegetables, except for a couple of tomato plants that seem listless in their containers. I’ve added more birdfeeders which the deer love, regularly emptying them at night – Sarge and I caught them once, in the first light of dawn, capering and kicking with ghostly grace through my backyard. I got back to running, although I am much slower than I ever have been, and don’t really care much being competitive.

It’s been a summer in which I made a new friend and said ‘yes’ to almost every invitation. I went to a baseball game and watched fireworks on the rooftop of the Detroit Athletic Club. My friend and I enjoyed drinks and small plates in trendy metro Detroit spots. We listened to live music in town squares and had a picnic on the lovely grounds of Cranbrook and watched classic cars on Woodward Ave.

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I spent time with Miss L and my brother and his family, riding rollercoasters at Cedar Point and our traditional trip to the Hudsonville carnival just this past weekend. L and I also went to Mackinaw Island with her Girl Scout troop and she got to spend a few days with my parents up north, beach time and freighters and lighthouses. My brother and father and grandfather and I fished for trout and salmon on Lake Michigan, just in sight of the Point Betsie light.

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Unfortunately summer draws to a close and there are already hints of scarlet in my front-yard maples. My summer friend has a new job and will be moving on in a few weeks and neither of us are certain what will happen next.

Labor Day approaches and I need firewood, I have knitting projects lined up and a long Netflix queue. Miss L has piles of school supplies and a new backpack for her fourth-grade year and every time I look at her she seems taller, with feet and hands the same size as mine, almost.

I hope that you and yours have had an equally wonderful summer and are growing ready for the hibernation time.  xoxo

 

spring break part II

Miss L’s Spring Break was mostly rained out but hopefully between a Painting with a Twist activity, roller skating, and a couple of movies at the downtown second-run theater (Rogue One and Lego Batman), she wasn’t too bored.

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We kicked things off with Mexican.

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We love board games. And by “we” I mean all of us.

There was, however, a LOT of time spent in pajamas.

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The swans are nesting at Kensington and the rookery is full of cranes. I can watch their nests all day – they’re like something from another time, enormous shaggy piles of sticks and twigs, with prehistoric birds rising from them and circling.

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We went to the library and I always end up reading her books as well as mine.

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She has, of course, already requested another Disney trip for our Spring Break next year, so I guess I will start saving my pennies again.  🙂

 

spring break part 1

It rained all week. On Thursday, I went through the drive-thru of one of my fave local coffee shops for a dozen donuts for a colleague’s birthday, and I watched the “regulars” through the rain-splattered glass and felt that it must be a nice way to start the morning. It’s one of those places where you walk out smelling of coffee and baking.  Alas, there was no time for me to linger, the rain-soggy box was thrown into the passenger seat and I was off, although I did extricate the blueberry cake donut at a stoplight as a consolation (blueberry cake donuts 4-ever).
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We have no spring trips planned. This coming week’s Spring Break for Miss L will be an exercise in “staycation”. She won’t be thrilled about this, but we’ve done fun vacations for the past few years (Chicago, Disney, and North Carolina beach trip) so it’s time for mama’s bank account to recover a bit.

Yesterday the sun came out long enough for me to start raking and begin some basic yard cleanup, but after filling five lawn and leaf bags I feel as though I am making the situation worse. There appears to be no grass whatsoever in my backyard.
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Note the clear and humiliating line of demarcation between my yard and the dentist’s. His is sod!!! It’s not fair.

Today I will spread some grass seed and attend to a couple of other tasks, including the somewhat nasty one of trying to figure out what to do about my infestation of horrible house sparrows in all my nesting boxes. I don’t want to stoop to killing them but I think I need to block the entrance holes with something.
It was a big week at Miss L’s elementary school, with Book Fair and conferences. Miss L had a great conference and one of the funnier moments was finding out from her third grade teacher that one of Miss L’s self-stated goals is “to get into a good college”. I think we actually LOL’ed at this.
I volunteered for two nights at the Book Fair and realized that I probably should have been a cashier in real life. It’s incredibly satisfying for me to have short, well-defined tasks with a beginning, middle, and end. Greet the customer. Scan the books. Take their money. Give them change. Hand them their books and receipt with a huge smile because that task is over, they will walk away, and everyone will be happy. I ended up working way past my shift end on both nights because they weren’t fully stocked with volunteers. The first night was fine, but the second night I was actually bleary-eyed by the time we started closing the registers and counting money. Still, I really love being at the school and I always wish I had more free time during the day to do more things there. However, Widget Central (and my mortgage, car payment, our health insurance, and bills) has me inexorably in a firm grasp.
Still, it’s now the weekend, with a couple of days off next week with Miss L, and I plan on baking, sleeping, and watching another 30 episodes of Forensic Files. I leave you with a screenshot of the My Favorite Murder podcast’s Instagram account, which after their recent live show in Portland managed to combine three highly topical themes – donuts, cats, and murder, with their personalized Elvis the Siamese donut (fellow listeners will recognize Elvis as the show’s mascot). I wish someone would make me an Emmett donut.
Happy Spring Break for those of you celebrating! xo
03.2017_elvis

balance

Although I feel like I’ve been doing a good job staying on top of things at work, and even managing to do some creative things on the side that keep me contented, there’s always something in my life that feels a little out of balance. Sometimes it’s just a little thing like realizing I haven’t had a proper haircut in over a year. (Cutting it myself and going to Great Clips for bang trims twice don’t count.) Sometimes I feel like my self-care gets a little sidetracked. I have a uniform for work of heels-dress pants-cardigans in the winter, and I get my haircolor delivered from an e-salon every few weeks, so I manage to keep my greys from showing, but honestly, other than that, I’m pretty low-maintenance. I don’t get manicures, and I never use lipstick. So I made an appointment at my salon and got a haircut.

Before / after:

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I’m not one of those people who think that women of a certain age should have short hair – I think all ages of women look fine with whatever hair length they feel pretty in. However, for me, the shorter length definitely feels like it’s shaved a few years off my middle-aged  skin (although the more flattering lighting & filter help a lot, too, lol). I love the length, it is so much easier and more flattering, and feels healthier. My stylist is also a master at selling me additional products. After my cut, she always whips me over to the makeup table and dusts me with fairy glitter powder and touches up my brows and puts lipstick on me so I can see what I look like when I take a modicum of care with my  appearance. She said the salon owner is one of those women who think lipstick should be worn EVERY DAY and so all the stylists make sure to have it on. I had a friend like this at my old job – she said her mother had drummed into her head that lipstick was a MUST and when she was in the delivery room after giving birth to her twins, her mom bustled in and extracted a lipstick from her handbag and surreptitiously touched her up. “Just a little color, dear, you look so pale.”

She sold me on the lipstick and I’ve made a vow that it won’t just dry out in my drawer, I’ll actually use it every day.

Running and meditating have also fallen a bit by the wayside, and I feel their lack. I can easily get back on track with meditating, but running is taking a bit more effort. I think I finally just hit a wall with the treadmill at lunchtime – I am SO SICK of treadmill miles and so I have to start getting outside. The red-winged blackbirds are singing in the swaying reeds and that’s my signal. So today I woke up early and put on my running shoes; it was drizzling out and the temptation to just crawl back into bed with coffee, Emmett, and my laptop was strong. But I laced up and went out, just for a quick one, and came back exhilarated and wet to the skin. Just as I locked the door behind me and kicked off my wet shoes, the heavens opened up and it poured.

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It was a good start to the weekend, which holds not much more than a trip to the vet for the unsuspecting felines to get their happy pill prescriptions refilled. I’m sure I’ll need a nap after that. I hope you are all staying balanced and getting everything done that keeps you on track and happy and fulfilled.

good kitty.

2015.03 emmett leash 2

This picture came up in my “one year ago today” feature in Facebook and it was timely because Emmett just got a brand-new Kitty Holster and can (hopefully) enjoy going outside a bit more, with safe supervision. He’s always loved going outside – he’s the type of indoor cat that, if I make a move to the front door, will rush for it with crazy yowls and be out on the front porch in a flash. He doesn’t go far (because we’re always there to grab him) but he does love to chew on a stick or two. (Sarge could care less – he likes his nice comfy house and will watch, nonplussed, from the front hall as Emmett rolls around ecstatically on the brick walk.) Unfortunately, although his pet-store harness was cute – it had a little skull & crossbones on it – it was also no match for him. He quickly learned how to sunfish out of it and lead us on a merry dash (once into the neighbor’s garage).

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I bought the Kitty Holster from Amazon and although we’ve only used it a couple of times, I see a big difference. It’s much more substantial – more like a wrap. It firmly fastens with wide Velcro strips around his tummy and chest, and although he doesn’t like being so contained, I can tell he won’t be able to wriggle out of it very easily.

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We have to be very careful with his outings, as the neighbor has a dog and there are two horrible neighbor cats who frequent our yard, but I am hoping that at some point Emmett can enjoy being out with us on the front porch or back patio, maybe with a long leash. We shall see.
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