And just like that…

it's winter. Well, maybe not the real winter - at least my calendar says it's not really winter - yet and yet... The holiday season is upon us; holiday music and decorations, everywhere. It always takes me by surprise - I'm never quite ready. I am looking forward to the holidays, though, bidding adieu to 2018. And as the holidays approach, I've begun thinking about 2019, changes and transitions for the year ahead - planning and dreaming... and pondering a new journal - an art journal. When I last posted photos of my journal, I received a few comments mentioning art journals - to which my immediate reaction was, "Oh no - no, no, no, no - this is not art. But wait - what is an art journal?" And so, in my usual way over over-think--- uh hmmmm - I mean - diligently researching that which captures my interest, I am coming to the conclusion that this is a world I desperately want to explore. And back to my original journal, I am gathering ideas and inspiration. With no clue how to even begin art journaling - and feeling undeterred by the simple fact that I'm not terribly artistic - I signed up for a workshop called "Dear Jane". It feels like the ideal blend of my love for literature and my desire to learn about art journaling. I have no idea what I am doing or how I will do it, but it's and adventure I am excited to begin. Currently reading Persuasion, Jane Austen - gathering a little more inspiration. Besides, it really is a page-turner. Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown - I highly recommend this one. It's a fairly quick read which speaks of the importance of being your authentic self; the road to belonging begins with belonging to yourself. But first The holidays. I'm hosting thanksgiving - planning the menu - turkey, of course. I receive lots of help from my guests, but still find I'm in need of a little more creativity. Do you have thanksgiving favorites? Ideas for side dishes, table settings - anything - are most welcome! I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving!

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Simple Truths

"Life is simple, but we insist on making it complicated." Confucius I can't finish what I don't start I enjoy writing posts - I do. My downfall seems to be getting started. I am always - always -  thinking of new ideas, my mind working in overdrive. But - I can't post what I don't sit down to write. Frustration is... frustrating - and exhausting Yeah... there has been a lot of this lately - the main reason I haven't made much time for blogging. What little time I have in the evenings, has been reserved for couch potatoing (pretty sure that's a verb.) I truly wish I could say that I see a light at the end of this never-ending tunnel, but - well - I don't. It's long past time that I light my own torch. Autumn in Vermont is beautiful The reds didn't seem spectacular to me, this year, and the weather has been rather gray. And yet... Autumn takes my breath away. It will always be my favorite season. Simplifying soothes my soul You may remember that I've been simplifying my home - decluttering - purging belongings. But - how do you know when you're taking it too far? Maybe when you receive texts like this one... Ummmm - oops - I guess that wine rack wasn't bringing me joy(?) Yeah, well - it must have been empty - I mean, really. If we can't store wine without a rack, I guess we'll have to drink it. It's hard to beat that for joy :-) Besides - I'm far from done. Much more to do. This green barn never fails to make me smile And that's a simple truth. Soooo - I would love to catch up. Your turn; what are some of your simple truths?

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Procrastination

"There's no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this." Running behind - again. It's not that I have been putting off writing this post, or that I didn't want to do the things I haven't been doing - I did, and I do. Someday, maybe, I will learn how to fit it all in - ummmm, maybe... Our trip to the upper peninsula was fantastic! Beautiful weather and cycling through beautiful farmland, along the shore of Lake Superior, and wow - the western edge of our time zone - where the sun rises and sets an hour later... watching as day broke over the misty lakes and fields, savoring the slowness of morning while warming myself with a cup of coffee. Traveling to new places always brings new sights, new experiences, and new people. We cycled with a wonderful, eclectic group of cyclists from all parts of this country. As touring cyclists, these trips are all about enjoying the outdoors, camaraderie and lots of laughs. We also had a lot of fun meeting local residents, excited and proud to show off their neck of the woods. This pair of construction workers on their lunch break, teased us from the window of their truck as we struggled up the hill - but then, enthusiastically pointed out all there was to see from the vista at the top. I was so happy to be carrying my new point and shoot in my pocket - making frequent stops to click - mostly leaving it in "auto" mode. I will learn more about its other features another day. Happy, also, to be unplugged from the outside world - although I did post on instagram a few times :-) Our last day took us to Mackinac Island. Which is quaint in a touristy sort of way, but then, this is only to be expected from an island whose natural beauty speaks for itself. I'm pretty sure the main industry in northern Michigan is fudge. But don't quote me on that one... And not that we minded this - at all. If you have never tasted Mackinac Island fudge ice cream, I strongly suggest you click on over to  expedia.com - asap. I kid you not - it is that good! So yes - I am back at home and back at work, vacation ending all too quickly. But during this stressful time in my office, this trip was exactly what I needed to gain some perspective - take a step back and allow my thoughts to sort themselves out. And now I am catching up - so many things I know I have missed during my little respite from the "real world". I hope you have all been well - I'm slowly making my way through my blog feed; enjoying your photos, your stories - and excited to…

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Journal #1 – for my inner over-thinker

I overthink things - it's what I do... Except - apparently -  when I unpacked my camera after our vacation, and forgot to unpack my batteries and battery charger, leaving them behind - in Vermont... So - anyway - all those thoughts that I overthought about photos I planned to take... well, time to overthink plan b which is to not overthink and use what I already have. Except, well, I couldn't find any photos I liked, so back to plan a - or maybe plan c - I think... And this brings me to my Journal #1 - which is my own little place for overthinking. In a previous post, I wrote about my morning pages journal - (journal #2). But journal #1 is just for fun - it is whatever and whenever I want it to be. No rules I loosely follow a bullet journal format, except much less organized and much, much less pretty. Some months, I seek a little inspiration to get me going - a reminder to myself to keep it real. And then there are my craftier moments - when a list isn't a list if I don't enjoy looking at it. But most of the time, I record whatever grabs my interest or enters my minds - lists, reminders, organizers, weekend plans, kitchen remodel ideas, a family tree, capsule wardrobe must-haves, writing prompts, websites, blog ideas, party menus... Always - always - just for fun. A man on my train noticed my bunch of colorful pens and commented "Well I guess you plan to never run out of ink." I responded with a somewhat embarrassed "yeah, I like to doodle" - ummm - not really. So there you have it - a sneak peek into my journal. It's not really the "Dear Diary" type of journal - but can be if and when I want it to be - an empty notebook just waiting to be filled. On another note - Greg and I are heading to Michigan's upper peninsula next month for a week-long bike trip. We're belatedly trying to train a little bit - ummmm, yeah, I'm a teensy bit worried. And - I've been experimenting with my own version of a "capsule" wardrobe. More on that another time. So that's it for me. How about you - do you have a place for organizing or recording... life? I love to hear your ideas! "Don't overthink. Just let go."

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Vermont summertime

My little corner of Vermont is a popular, busy place in the fall and winter. Camera-clad leaf peepers swarm our area from late September through mid-October, hoping to capture the riot of colors. Winter brings a rowdier crew, as our world is blanketed in snow and winter sports lure crowds away from their city lives. And while I, too, love Vermont during these seasons, it is the summertime that I enjoy most. A time when my flower garden is a profusion of blooms and I putter leisurely outdoors. A time when exploring takes us to a beautiful vineyard and winery, where wine tasting makes for the perfect lazy summer afternoon. A time for kayaking on a nearby pond, listening to the quiet stillness that surrounds us. On this particular morning, a bald eagle soared above the pond, settling high in a tree along the shore. A time for meandering through our local farmer's market - preparing farm-to-table dinners and finding that perfect pasta bowl from one of our favorite potters. We received a pasta bowl as a wedding gift - and after 37 years of frequent use, it finally gave up on us and split down the middle. This one will make for a happy replacement - it makes me smile every time I see it. Summer in Vermont A time for flinging the windows wide open, enjoying the cool fresh air flowing through our home, waking to the sound of birdsong, gazing at the mountains while relaxing on the deck, hiking along the river as Chessie runs ahead, doing her little happy prance while sniffing everything there is to sniff along the forest trails Even on a rainy day like today, I am happy to be here. I listen as the rain falls in the forest, watch the tree tops swaying and the slow movement of the misty clouds which shroud the mountain top. I've been busy with a little of this and a little of that Work is still...work - although it, too, has slowed a bit during these summer months. I am back to reading fiction during my daily commutes, which is not to say that I have given up on my "minimalist kick". I have moved from reading to doing - as I tear through closets and cabinets, as well as grabbing just about anything in open sight that I deem to be neither useful nor "beautiful". I recently finished reading The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own - another minimizing motivator. Also on my reading list Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day  Destination Simple: Everyday Rituals for a Slower Life Driving Miss Norma: One Family's Journey Saying "Yes" to Living And a little fictional fun: The Last Time I Lied The Leavers I've been neglecting my blog, instagram, facebook... but hope…

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Finding space to slow the pace

Well - I am back from vacation, returning to what seems to be a blissfully slow week at work - thank goodness for that! Needless to say, vacation was wonderful. Greg and I spent several days in Colorado, visiting family, adding a side trip to Wyoming - just because. Words cannot express how much I absolutely love this area of our country - all those wide open spaces... and ranches... and mountains... and prairie dogs - hmmm strange little animals, those prairie dogs. I've always known that I crave a lot of personal space - explaining why my daily subway commute leaves me feeling spent. But this - it's like finding my own personal sense of calm. As we drove over miles of the Snowy Range Scenic Byway - towards our planned hike in the Medicine Bow National Forest and feeling just a tad nervous about all the snow I was seeing - I found myself humming "never fear those mountains in the distance..." (thank you, Lee Ann Womack) But - I don't think I've ever had a more stunning lunch stop. As sea level dwellers, we were duly challenged by the altitude - 10,000+ feet. The need to make frequent stops to breathe - just breathe - served to enhance our hike. This East Coast city girl seriously needs to learn to sllloooowwww down. Follow where the path leads... Back in Colorado - we enjoyed a beautiful hike in Rocky Mountain National Park - can you tell these two are cousins :-) And while this park may not be the path less taken, we could not have asked for a more beautiful hike. Every turn brought increasingly jaw-dropping scenery. After making one last stop to take in the beauty of the wildflowers (and a little twirl while singing "the hills are alive" - ummmm, but only in my imagination) - time to head back home. Sigh... A new book awaited my return home. Yeah - I know - that simplicity-minimalist thing, again. While reading, I found myself thinking - is this what our society has come to - that we need books advising us to focus on the things that are most important to us? We don't already know this? And then - yes - I know this to be true. It is all to easy to get trapped in the rat race. So - I am back to my closet purging and minimizing, a jumble of thoughts coming together. And maybe it is a bit ironic that after years of purchasing - purchasing things to wear and things to fill my home, that what I'm seeking is just a bit of space. Space to breathe - space to slow down - even if just a little bit. I don't need to relocate to Wyoming to do this. I would like to thank Greg's cousin, Helen,…

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