“I think daily life is the most beautiful and wonderful thing that anyone can have.” – Ana Tijoux
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Week 2 with A Month of Multiples (Kim Klassen) had several assignments, including documenting everyday life and real (raw) life. I combined them together to a week in my life.
Walking at the local park – I love going here. It has paved paths which is nice when it’s rainy or I’m tired. The dirt paths give my feet and ankles a great workout, although I have to be careful not to trip. Best of all, it’s only a 5 minute drive from the house!
A day trip to do some photography – We drove to the western edge of Virginia to a town called Dayton. It was cute, we had a nice lunch at a local restaurant, chatted with a number of locals (our cameras and tripods created a lot of curiosity), and got some nice pictures. In this picture, the Blue Ridge Mountains are in the background.
Reading on the deck with a clingy old dog – He’s getting even more tumors and instead of being squishy, they’re rock hard. He’s not breathing right either. But when I go outside to read on the deck, he wants to be there with me. I’m loving him as much as possible while I still have him.
Trimming nails for the same old dog – Since he doesn’t go outside much anymore, his nails grow long really fast. I think it’s easier for him to walk if they’re short, but since he hates getting them cut, I’ve let them get longer. It’s not ideal, but I don’t want to argue with him over it anymore. It’s not fun for either one of us.
Taking a walk around the neighborhood – Between our subdivision and the sidewalks on the main roads, I can go a good long ways. I usually turn around at this corner, but I always enjoy taking a minute to enjoy how pretty it is.
Our crepe myrtle came in bloom a second time! – All the crepe myrtles came back in bloom recently and they’re even more lush than they were in July. We’ve never had that happen before, but they must be liking the cooler weather and rain.
Walking an old beagle twice a day – His walks are mostly sniffing for cats in the storm sewers these days, so he gets his own walk separate from mine. On the days it’s super hot or he’s limping, our walks consist of checking out the side and front yard. It makes him happy and helps him sleep better.
So that’s my raw and real life! Thanks for coming along and having a chuckle at how awesome my days are.
The men and women of the labor force, who work hard to make a living and support their families (today is Labor Day, a holiday in the United States).
My parents and grandparents, without whom I would not be here. While I didn’t agree with everything, they all influenced me and made me what I began with to become who I am today.
Warm, humid and overcast weather. It seems that this day off is often accompanied by bad weather for some reason (the afternoon cleared out to gorgeous skies, a brisk wind, and very hot – triple digit heat index, so still no trip to the botanical gardens, even in the afternoon).
A day off to rest and relax. Now I whether I do either one remains to be seen!
A sense of sadness that summer is winding down, the pace is picking up, and things / places will become busy again.
In fact three weeks ago, I noted how much the pace had slowed down everywhere, both at work and in my personal life. I wrote in my Moleskine journal:
I’ve been enjoying this summer, especially this week. It’s been much slower at work – people are on vacation and things are less frantic, more measured. I wish it could be like this all the time, but of course that wouldn’t be good – for business, my job security, even the economy.
The weekends are good too – so much less personal E-mail, less blogs being updated, and most of our subdivision seems to be gone somewhere else.
It’s been nice taking a little longer lunches, leaving a little earlier than usual, having less news and updates to skim and delete.
And everywhere we go, we can get good parking (even at work) and wait in less lines. Everything is emptier than usual and I am just enjoying – reveling in – this slowdown of the world and some time to decompress a little.
School starts tomorrow here in Virginia, so our neighbors will be flooding home shortly. The roads will be crowded tomorrow as people head back to work. But it was nice for a brief time to slow it down, sniff the breeze, and just relax for a few days. Here’s a post from several years ago, that also commented on the end of summer and how I enjoyed the slowing down that came shortly before Labor Day.
As a side note – today’s prompt is from a challenge I’m doing this month, 30 Days of Lists. It’s to encourage journalers and scrapbookers. Some people are doing paper, others are doing it digitally. I’m doing it in my regular spiral bound notebook that I use for all my jottings. That way I can scribble out, add things, clarify, and not worry about how it looks.
The other morning, I came downstairs and let da’ boyz out in the yard, only to find a hard frost. The deck was slick, not that it stopped three dogs from slipping and sliding their way out the door in their eagerness to bark at little boys walking to get the school bus.
It was so pretty! I love the shimmer and sparkle of the ice crystals when it’s all fresh and unspoiled. The parsley looked pretty wilted, but once it thawed, I knew it would perk back up again.
It was quiet though – a prequel to the first snow that will come sooner than I expect. The sun was pale as it is this time of the year. The maple tree lost its leaves a few weeks back, but what was surprising was the oak tree dropping its leaves every few minutes as I stood there watching. Usually it hangs onto its leaves for the winter, but not today.
I was surprised to see a rabbit run out of the yard. The beagle never once howled as he often does when he finds a bunny trail. And none of the dogs saw the rabbit run through the fence, another surprise.
I went to Panera for a bowl of oatmeal before going to work, walking in behind a woman in a maroon coat over her black pants and black spiked heels. She looked so Christmasy! As we stood waiting, we commented on how good it smelled in Panera this morning. They must have just taken some bread out of the oven – what a yummy smell! And how nice to chat for a few minutes with a stranger and share some pleasantries.
The quiet moments like this are a wonderful beginning to the day. When I came down the stairs, I didn’t expect anything more than letting the dogs out, getting some breakfast and going into work. Instead, it had that hint of magic to it, something to savor even if years from now I wouldn’t remember it except for having written it down. I went to work relaxed, ready for my day, and in a wonderful mood.
The days don’t start any better than that, do they? And the more I look for them, the more likely they are to happen.
There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it
and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself.
Henry David Thoreau
This week’s Six Word Friday uses the word “stuff”. My six words describes how I am NOT spending Black Friday.
Too much advertising stuffs my E-mail.
My favorite boy toy and I took our vacation that was delayed by Hurricane Sandy and spent this last week wandering our way down to Atlanta to see our daughter for Thanksgiving. It was only sort of fun – we didn’t like our hotel in Charleston, South Carolina. Along with the rain and cold, taking pictures wasn’t overly enjoyable although we got some nice photos in the end. The weather was beautiful in Savannah, Georgia. It’s a lovely town, but we did not find it overly photogenic.
All week though, each time I looked at my personal E-mail, the advertising just kept coming and coming. I’m not talking about random ads from companies I don’t buy from – it’s advertising from companies that I’ve bought from all year. They’re good sales, what I’ve seen of them. But ya’ know what? I don’t have time this week to look at them.
I’m traveling, spending time with my boy toy, and visiting with my daughter. Sitting at the computer to see what’s on sale and whether I want to purchase it is NOT part of my plans for this weekend. That’s why this Black Friday is going to look pretty similar to last year, in which we laid around all day, visiting, eating and watching movies on the television.
There’s even a puppy still around (want to buy one?). We let her up last night for a while. What a little snapper! I didn’t take any pictures of her as I was pretty tired by then. She’s chewing everything and rushing fast as she can from one end of the living room to the other, complete with an unscheduled pee on the floor too – such a puppy.
So to my vendors – thanks for the sales. I appreciate that you have sales throughout the year, although not as good as some of what I’m seeing. But no, I’m not taking time away from this weekend to check them out. I’m having too much fun to shop, whether at the stores or on-line.
Our weather continues to be unseasonably moderate. It’s been reasonable temperatures – only in the upper 70’s – and low humidity for the most part. It’s been wonderful and this weekend, we couldn’t stay home and do chores.
Off we went to Williamsburg – have to use those passes! – for food and photos.
We left the house early (having arranged for the dogsitter to come during lunch and let the boys out), arriving at the Trellis Restaurant for breakfast.
They’ve redecorated to a more updated and eclectic atmosphere of earth tones, with mood lighting. The new menu is also very improved over the old one and is better prepared as well. We both ordered a hearty breakfast that included homemade biscuits, Virginia ham, eggs and potatoes.
The farmer’s market was in full swing right outside the window and we had a wonderful opportunity to people watch as we ate and listen to live music in Market Square.
After breakfast, we split up. It’s so much less frustrating for my favorite boy toy to set up his tripod and fuss over his pictures if I’m not there. He carefully takes selected pictures, while I click away merrily at whatever catches my fancy, whether it works or not. It’s also less frustrating for me to be able to dawdle over what appeals to me without him wanting me to get moving so he can find somewhere else to set up his tripod.
Although Williamsburg started out empty, that changed quickly as buses of tourists arrived. Even so, I had a few minutes to sit by the pond in the Governor’s Palace and just unwind. I did this for the first time in May when I went by myself for my birthday. It’s quiet and peaceful as it’s way in the back and there’s usually no mosquitoes to chase me away. Both in May and yesterday, I had my iPhone with. I read some of your blogs and a few chapters from an e-Book, then just sat and watched the water ripple.
This was to my right. I kept turning to look at it – it was so peaceful there – and finally took a number of pictures, trying to capture the moment. This is now the new header on my blog.
Over a month ago, I wrote of my frustrations with blogging, lack of time, lack of energy, and lack of enthusiasm. I got a number of wonderful comments back from you, which I have distilled down and added more comments of my own. One of the really big ones though was to not have such high expectations of myself and stop being so perfectionistic. I’m still working on what that means for me, but it’s advice I’ve taken to heart.
That’s what this weekend was about. My husband and I enjoyed the wonderful weather. We ate out a nice breakfast and lunch (going back to the tea room) and checked out some museums that our pass allows us into. We didn’t get home until late in the afternoon, then sat on the deck and enjoyed a late afternoon breeze as we read and chatted about the day.
Sunday was more of the same. We made a run out to Home Depot for garden supplies to work outside in the cool morning. We broke for a nice lunch at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, then wandered around the museum for several hours to see the new exhibits. A Confederacy Chapel is at the edge of the ground and was open today. We walked over there and looked at the beautiful stained glass windows, read the placards of some outside exhibits, and finally headed home for a nap and a relaxing evening.
It’s a pretty lengthy list of what didn’t get done this weekend – laundry, bills, cooking, freezing some excess food before it goes bad. We did dishes. . . grudgingly. We didn’t declutter and the only cleaning was some animal body functions involving target practice at the garbage can.
But wow. We had fun, we relaxed and laughed, and for Monday, we are both ready to go back to work and be productive.
. . . I am enjoying having spent the day with my husband. He got back late last night from visiting our daughter and we’ve spent today just visiting and getting a few things done. He enjoyed his visit and she enjoyed seeing her Dad. I enjoyed a few days by myself and got things done around the house.
. . . the dogs are clean. I got them washed today, so they don’t smell for now and their coats are soft and silky. We’ve decided to replace their beds, but didn’t get around to it today. The beds are dirty and too big for the washing machine. The stuffing has flattened out and is probably not warm enough when they have to sleep in the kitchen at night. Of course, if the beagle didn’t feel the need to pee the carpet during the night, they could stay in the warmer family room. Nah.
. . . I’m looking forward to bed. I have an early meeting tomorrow at work for the quarterly financial update. It’s usually a good meeting, but I don’t go into the office that early. I’ve enjoyed having a few days off and being on my more normal schedule – a productive morning, lunch, read for several hours, take a long nap, then a productive evening and bed. I’m sleeping about six hours at night plus a two hour nap and am really feeling good.
. . . I’m feeling very pleased with with my blogging. Responses to both blogs have been very positive, I’m seeing an increase in subscribers, and I’ve had some really good content to share. My readers are the greatest (thanks all of you!) – I may not have a huge number of subscribers, but all of you are so faithful to leave me comments and feedback. It really makes my day that you click on “like” or let me know that you’ve liked what I did.
. . . I’m eager to get back to the new J.D. Robb book that came out today, “Celebrity In Death“. I started it before my nap this afternoon but was too tired to get very far into it. I love her books for the most part, although the last one wasn’t as good. Nora Roberts wrote it, not J.D. Robb. You do know that J.D. Robb is Nora Roberts alter ego? Nora’s books are feel good romances with some sizzle. J.D. Robb is edgy, aggressive, and takes no prisoners.
. . . I’m enjoying the sweet taste of a couple of Clementine oranges as I write. They’re less messy than a regular orange and are peak right now. Besides, I can always wipe my hands off on my jeans :)
How about you? Do you have four “Right Now” things to share in the comments? What are you up to at this moment?
Outside my window. . . dawn is breaking and I hear the birds singing. It’s a rainy, gray, dreary day, but the birds are out! I’d have loved to watch more of the light breaking, but there were dogs to let out, a mess to clean up (which is why they’re locked in the kitchen at night) and of course, the morning ritual of the giving of the treats. That ritual has made a big difference in getting a beagle to come in willingly when I’m trying to get out of the house in the morning.
I am thinking. . . about all the things I need and want to do. Before starting this, I opened up a new page in Evernote and listed out everything I could think of to help clear my mind. I have some things to follow up on at work, ideas for both my blogs, things I need to order this weekend, and some photography equipment to learn.
I am thankful. . . for my husband. He’s still upstairs sleeping, so I have this time to concentrate on my writing. We’ve been going out for breakfast each day before work and I love having quality time with him before the day becomes chaotic. Love is not about flowers on Valentine’s Day. It’s about him making me supper each night, helping clean the house, and encouraging me to write even though there’s a gazillion other things that should be more urgent.
In the kitchen. . . two dirty dogs have gone back to bed in their fragrant dog beds. The beds are too big to run through our washer. We haven’t decided yet if we want to take them to a laundromat or just replace them. Otherwise, the kitchen is clean from last night’s supper and waiting for today’s meals to happen.
I am wearing. . . ratty pajamas. I’ve had them since my daughter was in high school nearly a decade ago. I love them though because they’re warm when the house is cold. I turned up the heat, but it’s still cold here by the windows.
I am creating. . . photographs using special effects filters. One of my blogging friends suggested it. I don’t do it very often. I take pictures to record my life and am not sufficiently interested in spending hours tweaking them. My favorite boy toy does that and he creates truly stunning fine art photography. If I spent several days working on a single picture, I’d never have a record of my life.
I am going. . . to have a few days off next weekend. Monday is a company holiday (President’s Day) and I’m taking off an extra day as well. I’m not sure yet what, if anything, I’ll do. I have a nice stack of books from the library so I might just lay around and read for an entire day. Of course, I might do that this afternoon too!.
I am wondering. . . what else I can remove from my schedule to have time to do the things I want to do. I’ve removed much already, but I still have too little time. We haven’t decided whether to jettison the garden or convert it to something less frustrating than vegetables, such as my herbs. Nothing has grown well or tasted very good, we’ve yet to get consistently good tomatoes from it, and to be honest, it would be less time and money to go to the Farmer’s Market than keep struggling with this.
I am reading. . . The Secret Staircase by Melanie Jackson (A Wendover House Mystery). I can’t remember if this came up on Amazon’s Daily Deal or if it was a recommendation based on my reading. I’m enjoying it quite a bit. It’s written in first person, but Louisa, the main character, does not live in her head – i.e., the word “I” does not figure overly much in the narration. Louisa observes her environment and the people around her as she solves the mystery of her grandmother’s childhood and genealogy.
I am hoping. . . that tax season goes well this year, everyone stays healthy, and we get our work done without a lot of drama or stress.
I am looking forward to. . . doing some exploring as the weather gets nicer. I really enjoyed all the pictures last year from our field trips.
I am learning. . . some new Photoshop skills. The Topaz Labs filters are really cool, but way more powerful than I currently am able to do. I’m also not sure I’m observant enough to see when a filter looks good vs when it looks faked. On the other hand, some of the stuff that comes straight out of my camera looks fake when the colors are so bright and the sharpness so defined. So maybe it doesn’t matter as long as I like it.
Around the house. . . the dog gates from last night are still up, keeping the dogs in the kitchen. The miniature pinscher is still in his crate. On cold days like this, he thinks the term “hibernate” was meant for him. Of course, if the beagle starts barking at our neighbor, just watch that sign on his crate whip from “Leave Me Alone” to “Let Me Out NOW”.
I am pondering. . . whether I want to go out for breakfast by myself. My boy toy is still upstairs sleeping and I’m getting hungry. I could fix some yogurt and granola, but what’s the fun of that?
A favorite quote for today. . . I just found this one! I’m not sure what book or diary it’s from, but I really liked it:
You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau
One of my favorite things. . . is reading. I could read all the time. I realized years ago that part of our budget for money was shopping at the bookstore each week to see what was new and that my time budget also had to allow for trips to the library.
A few plans for the rest of the week. . . we have reservations for Valentine’s Day at Maggiano’s. In past years, we stayed home and cooked a nice meal rather than go out. The last few years, I made a note of it to get reservations right after New Year’s Day and it’s been nice. Maggiano’s uses their regular menu, so we know we can have a moderately priced meal.
A peek into my workday. . . I usually am up shortly before my alarm. I shower, get dressed, let the dogs out and in (plus the giving of the treats). My favorite boy toy and I leave in separate cars for Cracker Barrel, where we have a nice breakfast together. I go to work and he heads back to his home office. At work, it’s meetings, phone calls, time spent training employees, and administrative things to be done.
The legislatures are back in session around the country, so I’m tracking new tax bills and coordinating with various industry groups to promote or defeat legislation. I enjoy that part of my job, but it takes time away from other things that need to be done. I work out during lunch on most days; if I wait until I get home, I’m usually too tired.
And that’s my day so far on this Saturday, February 11, 2012 (finished after breakfast out with my favorite boy toy).
One of my realizations a while back was my need for downtime. Time to read, relax, and stare at the walls. Or if it’s nice out, watch the grass grow.
I told this to my cousin shortly after, telling him that while I probably had the time to do it all, I didn’t have the mental or physical energy to do it all. He laughed and said he had the same problem. We just couldn’t go and go anymore.
This was one of those weekends. It had been coming on all week. While I was productive at work, I struggled with it. I wasn’t productive at night after work, although I managed to get a few posts onto my blog.
So this was a weekend off. My favorite boy toy and I did a few errands yesterday, then I spent the afternoon reading and napping. Last night, more reading. Today, more reading. It was fun and I enjoyed going through some new books and some unread magazines. I didn’t exercise, clean, or write. I didn’t go to the botanical gardens to walk and the only pictures I took were from my back deck.
Downtime is so undervalued in our culture. I particularly feel for parents who still have children at home (that do not drive). The activities with school, sports, and band are fierce. There’s never free time and what free time exists is taken up with groceries, homework, and mowing the yard.
I found it hard to keep that all up when my daughter was little and I had only one child! I also think it’s gotten worse over the years with traveling teams and non-stop practices. Everything got more competitive and family time got left behind.
I’m ready to go back to work on Monday. My resting and relaxing has helped me feel more energized and more willing to be productive.
David was married five years when he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. This diagnosis explained a lot of problems and behaviors he had. David didn’t use it as an excuse, but rather as a way of understanding what he needed to change to be a better husband and father. It was difficult and David doesn’t gloss over his shortcomings, but he did eventually turn his life around along with his relationships.I highly recommend this book.
“As the new owners of Pettistone’s Fine Books, Darla Pettistone is determined to prove herself a worthy successor to her late great-aunt Dee…and equally determined to outwit Hamlet, the smarter-than-thou cat she inherited along with the shop. Darla’s first store event is a real coup: the hottest bestselling author of the moment is holding a signing there. But when the author meets an untimely end during the event, it’s ruled an accident-until Hamlet digs up a clue that seems to indicate otherwise…” This book was okay, but after reading the first 100 pages and the last 50, I didn’t bother reading anything in-between. I didn’t really care about the steps to the solution.
The Happiness Manifesto by Nic Marks. I’d accidentally bought this (clicked the wrong button), but kept it to read. It was okay, but not what I was looking for. Nic writes about the need for nations and people to work together to nurture well-being. He goes over the history of how our culture has declined in well-being and how the gross national product, a measurement of money, did not tell enough of the story.
I also started reading Emotional Equations by Chip Conley. I’m not real far into it, but am liking it so far. Although using equations might seem simplistic for explaining life to ourselves, it has a real appeal in being easy to use and remember. The chapters go into different aspects of happiness and emotional behavior.
One dog in particular made it clear that I should have been on the couch with him and not at sitting at the table:
My sweetie and I woke up Saturday to a gray and dreary day. Although it was icy on the trees, the deck and the windshield, the roads were warm enough to be safe.
After breakfast at Cracker Barrel (my favorite place for breakfast!), we decided to do some errands. My sweetie has been doing most of our cooking this last year and lately has decided I was right about the better flavor from fresh ground pepper.
Not only that, I discovered that we were out of most of our Italian seasonings that I buy bulk at Penzey’s. I don’t know how it got used up from the freezer without me making a note to replace it, but it was gone.
When I first started shopping at the local Penzey’s, they asked if I’d shopped there before. No, I replied, but I have mail ordered from you for years. They said a number of their customers said that and they were pleasantly surprised at how many former catalog customers now came in to buy. The last time I’d referred to Penzey’s, KittyHere mentioned that she was a mail order customer of theirs also. They really are good.
Don’t you love the old brickwork in this building? It’s a nice complement to the wooden shelving.
It was so gray and dreary out that we took our time to look at each type of peppercorn, read the labels, and decide what we felt like bringing home. We checked out most of the shelves, opening the jars and smelling all the herbs and spices. It was a fun and lazy way to spend Saturday morning.
At this point, my sweetie discovered he didn’t have his wallet. Rather than stay downtown to grab lunch, we headed home to make sure it was on the counter and let the dogs out for a few minutes. Shortly after bringing them back in again, my sweetie noticed that the big oak tree outside our fence had a new batch of dead leaves – yep, the hawk was back again, blending into the scenery.
It was positioned in the tree in such a way that from our back door, its head was behind some branches. From the window there was a screen, which made the resolution poor. Plus it was still gray and raining out.
Although I thought the weather was a bit nasty for the hawk to be hunting, the prey was out. The squirrels ran along the back fence, sideways on the crossbeams. I thought they were trying to hide, but my sweetie thought there was some . . . ummm. . . nookie involved and that they oblivious to the hawk. The hawk didn’t react to them either.
When I stepped onto the deck, being careful to not make eye contact, the hawk silently slid away and I got no further shots.
So we went out, got some lunch and did a few more errands. A few years back, I’d bought some Bose headphones which recently a) broke and b) quit transmitting sound in the one ear. The Bose shop gave me a very good trade-in towards a new set of headphones. I was glad I found out they did this before I threw out the broken pair.
We finally got home late in the afternoon. I ran the fire for a while (no dogs cuddled with me on the couch!) and took a nap. We decided to skip being productive and spent the evening watching our favorite BBC detectives in Midsomer Murders.
Have a good week! I hope you enjoyed spending some time with us.
Have you visited A Daily Life recently? It has a new look to give it more color and make it more visually appealing. The categories are across the top and make it easier to find something.