Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Midweek reminder: You've traveled this far on the back of every mistake

I had the ridiculous notion, once upon a youthful time, that I could (and should) live a life without regret. Lo,* these many mistakes later, I have thankfully disabused myself of that idea. And though I'm not a fan of the 3 a.m. wide-awake-and-pondering-the-past moments, they are useful from both a learning perspective as well as a gratitude perspective. For me, this poem has just the right amount of grit for 3 a.m., and just enough hope for when the sun comes up.

Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering any of it.
Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.
-Dorianne Laux

If you'd like to listen to the poem, go here.

*Lo does not get used enough in common language, in my opinion. I am a fan of lo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

Here's Monday! (Say that like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Go on, I dare you. Your family will think you're as nuts as mine thinks I am!)

This weekend we had one day of fog, one day of mixed (gray-sun-gray); some rest, some work, some joy, some ho-hum. Usual weekendness... nothing too out of the ordinary. Just what I needed!

And while we all scurry off to another week, I thought I'd share few lovely odds and ends I collected over the weekend. It seems to be a new tradition with me; since I did it last Monday, I'm rolling with it for week 2. (Remember, Seth and I both come from the school of "once is a habit, and twice is so ingrained you couldn't possibly NOT do it.")

When I saw the video below, I was a little dumbstruck by the talent in the room. I can honestly say that the chances of our family and friends--much as we love them--singing thusly at a wedding, well, it just wouldn't be possible. But if you happen to be so blessed, I say go for it! So very very fun.


I have followed the blog of Jay and Katherine Wolf for some years now, always inspired by their strength and courage in the face of obstacles to Katherine's complete recovery. Katherine had an undiagnosed AVM burst about five years ago, and her resulting stroke changed their lives completely (understatement alert). I found this new PSA that Katherine is a part of, which warns of the signs of a stroke, quite engaging.

This blog from an Australian writer is one that consistently causes me to pause and reflect on all things leadership and "inner life." Her post this weekend about an individual who " her giant kaleidoscope a quarter-turn and sees possibility" was no exception. Loved it.

I spent some time in Pinterest this weekend and naturally came away with 16 new craft ideas, 33 new recipes and a bundle of pretty outfits to pine for. Such is the life of a pinner. But here were a few pins in the "just because" category, that made me smile or sigh.

For this week: If you haven't been feeling well, I hope you beat whatever bug's been ailing you. If you aren't especially energetic, I hope you find that perfect cup of coffee with an extra shot (or a nap)! And if you need a word of encouragement, my tip of the day is to offer a kind word to to someone else and see if that does the trick of coming back around to you too; it often does for me. Not rocket science, but it's amazing how often I forget that...

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Four cheese mac-n-cheese

Mac-and-cheese, made right, checks all the right boxes for a great meal: flavorful, rich, creamy and cheesey. The "healthy" box doesn't get checked as often (see the original inspiration recipe from Emeril Lagasse here), but after I went through and "lightened" the recipe a bit, I felt like I was able to bring it out of a coronary-alert category and closer to a "make occasionally on a cold winter's day" realm.

This weekend presented an ideal scenario for such a dish. The picture below shows you what surrounded our warm abode: Fog fog fog. The sweet owl (we call Owen) on the eaves was a lovely distraction from the fog, for the five minutes he graced us with his presence.

Four-cheese mac-and-cheese
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Dash or two of Tabasco sauce, to taste
1 pound elbow macaroni
8 1/2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, or other good-quality parmesan cheese (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese
4 ounces grated chevre cheese
4 ounces grated monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

In a heavy, medium saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and whisk in the milk little by little. Cook until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat, season with the salt, pepper, hot sauce and add the cheeses, bit by bit (all but a handful of the parmesan cheese). Stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth (but thick). Cover and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to taste and, while stirring, add the macaroni. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for about 5 minutes, or until macaroni is very al dente (slightly undercooked). Drain in a colander and return the macaroni to the pot. Add the bechamel sauce and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Spray a 3-quart baking dish or casserole with baking spray and scoop the sauced pasta into the dish, smoothing the surface as necessary.

In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs and the remaining handful of grated parmesan and toss to combine. Sprinkle this over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and hot and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

One of my favorite ways to eat a rich dish like homemade mac-and-cheese is to accompany it with a roasted vegetable. With this batch of mac-and-cheese, I roasted both butternut squash and brussels sprouts and spooned the cheesey pasta on top. It was quite delightful.

And in a happy happenstance, as I dished up and munched away on this Emeril-inspired dish, I watched the most recent episode of Top Chef, and there he was! I have to say I am pleased to see that this chef, who has at times been shown less respect by his food compatriots, seems to have gained in reputation since the early "Bam!" Food Network days. He was judging a fried chicken elimination challenge along with Wolfgang Puck and the usual Top Chef judging crew, and joy of joys, Josie got sent home! Whew. Sometimes it takes a while, but the kitchen karma comes home to roost!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday night grateful moment (and a little rant)

Here's the deal. (And I'm not speaking to anyone in particular, really, though if it somehow pokes you, it might be wise to pay attention. Just saying...) When someone appears tired, with tired eyes and puffy skin, don't say anything. "You look tired" is quite possibly the least helpful sentence in existence. Do you think the person is unaware of their sad-sack appearance? Is that somehow supposed to be sympathetic? It's not, really, it's not. I have felt this way for years, and finally decided it's time to just put it out there.

I decided this week that if a superpower could exist for me, it would be to appear rested and refreshed, no matter how I actually feel. I would love that. I love BEING rested and refreshed, but if that's not possible, I'll take just looking the part. I know, how terribly shallow of me. Alas.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful for people who DON'T say "You look tired." See, you knew I'd find a way to segue to the gratitude.

I'm also grateful for the one day of sunshine this week. It was quite cold (and very very icy on the roads), but it was glorious to see blue skies and remember what a sunny day feels like.

I'm grateful that I navigated some very icy roads (two mornings of them) and didn't smash into stuff. I heard tales of bumping and smashing and saw evidence on Facebook too. I'm glad for friends who were in accidents that no injuries (other than to vehicles) were sustained.

So far, no flu. I feel wary in even typing that, but the handwashing and sanitizing around here is epic. I have a feeling that if it were possible, husband would get a sanitizing shower--you know, kind of a hazmat shower situation from a disaster movie, where you go in and get doused with the stuff. Mark my words, I could get one of those for Valentine's and not be surprised. (And not object either, if it keeps me from the sickness stuff. Word is, it's nasty.) I am grateful that even with the so-so sleep, we're all still well. 

Husband is a thoughtful one, and I'm grateful for him. He went out of his way to do something this week because he thought I would appreciate it, not because he wanted to do it... It was very sweet of him. I'm lucky like that.

Seth's home, and first semester finals are behind him. I'm grateful for his presence, his hugs, his humor. 

We have a stocked fridge, the fire is on, and I have nowhere to be for at least 24 hours. What's not to be grateful for in that sentence? Weekends themselves are always a source of gratitude.

I'm grateful for coworkers who care about their work product, and their work environment. It makes a difference, for sure. But doesn't Dilbert make you laugh, sometimes? I can't help myself, even if it doesn't resemble anyone I know. Really.

When the cold seems unrelenting, as it did this week, I am grateful I can run across an image like this on my computer and be instantly transported to a hot July afternoon, when all I want is a little relief from the heat. Can't wait! Look at that green grass! Wild and unruly dahlias! Painted toes! Come on, summer, let's go. Well, that may be just asking to be impatient... how about just a quick, early spring?

I am grateful for promises about my life; that it matters, that my Creator cares more than I can imagine or deserve.

What are you grateful for, as this week draws to an end? I hope there is joy and rest in the days ahead, and that no one tells you "You look tired!" (P.S. In case you are feeling defensive on my behalf--bless you, sweet reader--no one actually told me that this week, but it certainly *could* have happened!)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Midweek reminder: Push right back

The quote below is well-known. However, how often do you see the *whole* quote? I thought not; me neither. But in reading and rereading it, I like the subsequent sentences at least as much, if not more, than the first:

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger--something better, pushing right back."-Albert Camus, The Stranger

I am banking on the invincible summer being within me today, how about you? Push back, people! Spring will come. Eventually.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Monday morning inspiration

There goes the weekend, here comes another week! A few of the things that passed my way this weekend, that brought me inspiration in starting a new week:


I was rather captivated by the penguins, but it wasn't lost on me that he was trying to surf in ANTARCTICA. Crazy cold. Crazy guy.

I also saw this paragraph by Pema Chodron, from her book Awakening Loving-Kindness. It really resonated:

"Our life's work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people exactly the same--same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same--one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn't matter what you are given, whether it's a physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a mad house or life in the middle of a peaceful silent desert. Whatever you're given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That's the challenge of now: what are you going to do with what you have already--your body, your speech, your mind?"

My last little piece of inspiration came in the form of my favorite chef being booted from Top Chef. I am no longer an AVID Top Chef watcher--meaning, live TV on the night that it airs. No, the only show that gets such adoration from me currently is Downton Abbey.

But, I did do a little catching up on Top Chef Seattle this weekend, and watched, slack-jawed, as one of the best chefs of the season got axed. In many ways, it was the "right" thing to do, but boy was it hard to watch. Reading Tom Colicchio's blog about it, later, was helpful, and echoed what I'd been thinking about Kristen's character and willingness to have the buck stop with her and her restaurant, both in concept and execution.

Here's my short version (in case you're not a watcher): Kristen (on the left in the somewhat editorialized photo above) had an overly ambition restaurant concept. She had three team members to assist her, and she assigned them dishes. Josie (who should have gone home, in my humble opinion) didn't make her dish (bouillabaisse) on the day she should have (giving it time to deepen in flavor and make any necessary adjustments before service), didn't make it the way she should have and didn't taste it until it was going out. Lucky for her, the sauce was apparently very good, there just wasn't enough of it on the plate. (There were, however, issues with her seafood--some being undercooked, other pieces overcooked, so I was hopeful *that* would do her in). Kristen plated the judges' servings, Josie didn't speak up and say "More sauce!" So, Kristen goes home: her restaurant, her concept, dish goes wrong, it's on her. (If you'd like a longer, more  strident recap, here's one I enjoyed from the LA Times.)

And where exactly was I was inspired? Well, in a setting where throwing other contestants "under the bus" is de rigueur, Kristen’s ownership and refusal spell out in detail the goings-on in the kitchen (Josie is a slacker with a bad attitude) when she so easily could have showed a lot of character. And according to Tom: "It shows, further, that she truly understands what it means to run a restaurant kitchen and be responsible for every plate that leaves it." She didn't whine, didn't pout, didn't cry, but left with her head held high. I can't help but think we'll be seeing her again.

What inspired you this weekend to get out there and have a great week? I'd love to hear it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday night grateful moment

So my Thursday 13 yesterday wasn't that far off of a typical grateful list, I'm sure you noticed. Most of what makes the winter chill disappear are items for which I am indeed very thankful. And will be, for the foreseeable future.

To think a little further afoot, then, on this quiet and peaceful evening, beyond the warmth of the Uggs and the glow of the fireplace...

I have been reflecting lately on pieces of modern life that make my life easier. Things we all so often take for granted. And I'm not talking apps here, people. I'm thinking the basics of a clothes washer and dryer--imagine doing laundry in this weather without either of those things? How about a refrigerator in the summer? A microwave, in every season? What, you don't have to stoke the fire to make a hot pot of soup? Me neither, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that.

I am grateful for my outlook. When I think of all the dispositions in the world to be born with, the fact that I got *mine* is something I don't take for granted. I really do appreciate that my natural tendency is to see glasses as half full, situations as being fixable, people as being worth my effort. I know there is a vast spectrum between insane optimism and extreme pessimism. I'm grateful to be what I call a "hopeful optimist." (Remind me of that on days when I'm grumping around, OK?)

My guys. They didn't make the list yesterday for helping me beat the winter chill, but they do! Hugs galore. I am so glad that my teen boy still gives me a hug any old time I want, and EVEN initiates them, too. The bigger guy is great with the warm affection too, as well as many other things, from work support to home support to laughing with me (never at me, right?) and giving good counsel to Seth on everything from college choices to girls to.

Music. I mentioned this yesterday... but not a particular brand of music--nostalgic. (Which means that I get a complete pass on whether it's "good" music or not.) Seth and I listened to some Eels on the way to school this morning--a song that is nostalgic for both of us (a much better brand of nostalgia for him than for me). Later, I saw a post on Facebook that triggered a memory of an old Bread song that I used to like, and I went hunting it up. There are whole albums (yes, albums) from middle school and high school that bring up huge waves of memory; I know that's the case for most people, and I just love it.

Does anyone else remember this song? Yes, I am a child of the '80s, I admit.

I am grateful to have so many things that interest me. Sometimes I feel a little pulled, scattered, and hectic, not knowing how I'm going to "get to it all." Especially with work. But then I pause and have a little reality check and think how lucky I am to have to choose between quilting and crocheting and cooking and baking and all the many other things that make my spare time enjoyable.

A few items that piqued my interest this week:

I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead, filled with all the things you need it to be filled with... for me that means rest, good food, the fireplace, taking down the Christmas tree (finally!), a little craftiness, a little catching up on the dvr, maybe a nap or two, some quiet time of reflection and meditation, a haircut, more good food, cleaning out a few drawers, definitely cleaning my office (continuing with the LIGHT(en) up mode...), and maybe another nap. All of a sudden the next 48 hours seem busy. Nuts. Better cut back on the activity and ramp up the naps! 

Anyway, whatever your weekend holds, may it be all good.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday 13: So cold. So so cold

I keep my scarf on, in the house. I grocery shop with my mittens on. The car never warms up enough on the drive to and from work. Yesterday was foggy all day, with these teensie little snowflakes... or was that freezing fog? I'm grumpy.

Yes, it's January. Well and truly past the holidays, but spring feels so so far away. Time to dream of tropical vacations, short sleeves, skirts without tights, open-toe shoes. At the very least, have lunch with a friend who just returned from a tropical vacation and (not) think stabby jealous thoughts the whole time you're with her. I may be grumpy, but I'm evolved. Evolved grumpy.

I am also needing, desperately, to break my blogging slump. I'm feeling caught in these busy weeks with the only must-write posts being the Friday gratefulness moments. Somehow I have a deal with myself regarding those. Must. Happen. Seriously. I don't want to overstate it, but if you don't see a post when you wake up Saturday morning (because I know you, you look, yes you do, thank you very much dear reader), give husband a call. Order flowers. Come visit the hospital. Well, check visiting hours first, but do order the flowers.

So here's my stab at a not-Friday-night post, whooo! Thirteen things that help cut my winter chill.

1. Seed catalogs! The promise of spring, and sprouting little plants and warm earth makes me very happy. I don't think about August and the weeds, just the happy spring planting times!

2. Looking at my Instagram feed from summer months. Color and warmth.

3. Pinterest. Run a search for "sunshine" or "yellow" or "babies." You will smile with the results.

4. Laughter. Just a big old gut bust. Get it where you can. Tonight for me there was a line from Modern Family: "Please don't turn my marrying my daughter into something ugly." Hilarious. (I know, you need context. Trust me.)

5. Music. The Christmas music is long gone; I'm usually done with that by the day of Christmas, easily. Now is the time to get on the upbeat new music, and luckily my dear music friend Jen has provided a lovely sampling for the new year, which I'm able to listen to as I come and go in the car. Happy music is a great way to cut the fog.

6. Pomegranates and grapefruit (not necessarily together, but that can work too). Two winter fruits that I only get to enjoy for a short season, so I REALLY enjoy them. As in, most days I will have one or the other. And my favorite method for hacking a pom? Check it out:

7. Lights. OK, here's where I confess that the Christmas tree is still up. (Husband is embarrassed, a bit, by this turn of events, but I just haven't been very motivated to take it down. I have a feeling this coming weekend will be the golden moment...) Aside from Christmas lights, I'm a big fan of all lights (more or less--flourescent, well, they're not on anyone's love list, are they?)--candles, SAD lights, a little strand of twinkle lights to cut the cold...

8. My Uggy boots. Soft and white and I always warm up when I'm wearing them.

9. Hot chocolate. I have not made nearly enough hot chocolate so far this winter... must work on this!

10. Read recipe books with summer recipes, and fantasize about summer cooking. I can't wait to make summer salads and cobblers and fresh vegetables sautes, straight from the garden.

11. Hot baths. There are times when only a hot bath will warm me all the way up. Glorious!

12. My house uniform... I guess the Uggs could fall under this, but they are truly their own separate warmth generator. For me, coming home and getting into my comfy pants, long-sleeved T shirt and '70s-style tie-wrap sweater is just so rejuvenating at the end of the day. I know, odd to use the word rejuvenating when talking about the end of the day, and relaxing, but it really does give me a second wind to change my clothes and make the transition into the evening. On those rare occasions where I hop right into making dinner and don't take the time to change, my whole evening is less relaxing.

13. Color. Anywhere, anytime. Wandering a fabric store, popping into the flower shop, even browsing spring clothing--though that can be somewhat depressing if I then have to go back and warm my car up to get home... maybe that one should be online only!

What helps you break the winter chill? Tell me. I'm always up for new ideas!

For more Thursday 13s, go here!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday night grateful moment

Friday night, home with my guys after a few days away and oh how lovely it is. There is NOTHING like one's own space, bed, pillow... but it's the people who make coming home so entirely exquisite.

I'm' grateful for my One Little Word, for the reminders of Light that I see everywhere, even on dark and gloomy days (there were a couple of really overcast days in Seattle this week, and then a day filled with sunshine!).

I saw these words posted on a friend's FB wall this week:
"It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them."
-Aldous Huxley

Exactly what I've been thinking about--how to handle the heavy stuff, lightly. It's going to be a good year to explore that concept, I can tell already.

I'm grateful that the two-year search for gray boots is over. (Famous last words, but I do believe them to be true. At this moment, anyway.) And no, that's not one set above. Those were the latest choices (I am not willing to confess how many pairs of boots have been sent back. Somewhere more than two and less than 8, how about that?) I went with the ones on the right, the taller, darker ones. But I have been wanting and looking and coming up empty on gray boots, lo these two years. I believe my mother's words to me at some point in the search were: "Sher, maybe gray boots just aren't in fashion." Scandalous words. Challenging words! Ha.

I was fortunate enough to have dinner with my brother and SIL and nieces in Seattle this week. Indian food, no less. We had a lovely visit and catch up, with lots of hugs and laughter. It was wonderful to see them. Won. Der. Ful. I am a lucky girl to have such a beautiful family.

My time away was split between learning and sharing with community foundations and United Ways from across Washington (at the Gates Foundation) and trustee time at Children's Home Society. It happened to fall on the same week, so I just rode the wave of thinking in the nonprofit space, and played catch up on work emails on my phone! Such an amazing organization, those Gates people. Listening to what they are trying to accomplish, and aiming for--in both a global and a local way--is humbling. I am so grateful for that opportunity. Then my time with CHS was full of much of the same, but in a more tangible and concrete way--nuts and bolts of the operations of a statewide nonprofit. After the 30,000-foot-view of Gates, it was a nice "back to reality" today, complete with a carpool moment with a long-time trustee that reminded me what a true lifetime of giving back looks like. Grateful. Me.

What's a little time in Seattle without some glassybabies all over the place? The dinner last night in the atrium at the Gates Foundation had these sweet votives scattered on every table. I am always grateful for the glow of the glassybaby.

In the lobby at the hotel I stayed at, the picture above, and the two below. Color! I am always grateful for splashes of color in my day, in my week. And if it's green, well... so much the better.

Mosaic on the floor. Pineapples = symbol of hospitality. Love!

Glass bouquet. Color! Love!


Wishing you a path to peace (and gratitude) this weekend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday night grateful moment

Right on schedule, the minute I pick Light as my word for 2013... and the darkness descends. Ha ha ha. Not really. But, there were a number of moments when I had little "a-ha" light bulbs going off over my head as we wrapped up the holiday-ing and headed back to work. "See," my little a-ha light bulb would chirp, "You want to focus on Light? Well, little Miss Sweet Tea&Sunshine, look at all the darkness--the sadness, the death, the loss, the anguish, the loneliness, the death, the bitterness, the grief--it's all around us, everywhere. What are you going to do about that?"

Well, my Friday night grateful moment is my chirp back at the darkness. Indeed, there's sadness and anguish and grief, some days in double dose. Not going to gloss that over. Awful horrible things happen, to perfectly nice people. But rather than curse the darkness (though there was a bit of that at o-dark-thirty Wednesday morning), I will choose to light a candle.

This week I am grateful for many things...

A truly lovely holiday break with my guys. It was relaxing, from start to blessed finish. I didn't do a lick of work-related stuff, for which I admit I paid a small price in re-entry. But oh, such a wonderful time it was.

Our fireplace. I have been firing up that beast every night when I get home, and just loving the glow, the warmth, the sound. A fireplace makes winter so much more bearable. I wish I could take it with me everywhere. A pocket fireplace... Isn't that a fun (and a little bit dangerous...) image?

Winter flavors. I have no problem finding yummy things to eat, apparently, no matter the season. Right now I'm in love with the pomegranate, with grapefruits and squashes and artichokes, soups and casseroles and comfort and cheesiness. Oh wait, the last couple there aren't exactly New Year's flavors, are they? Oh well. I'm easing into clean eating; that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Not a couple of times this week I looked around work for the holiday goody platter. Withdrawal. Pangs. Are. Real.

The Christmas tree. Speaking of withdrawal... not sure when that beauty is coming down.

Hulu+ and Netflix. Who needs TV, really? I know, such a fluffy thing to be grateful for, but entertainment is important. Especially on vacation. And, it's fabulous being able to watch episode after episode of something--I discovered a funny sitcom over the break, "Guys With Kids," which is produced by Jimmy Fallon, who I find immensely amusing. Laughed out loud a few times, even. Speaking of which...

Laughter, which does a great deal to help with the post-holiday doldrums. I love laughter. Laughter is right up there with Light.

My prayer book. I have not always been one to write down what and who I'm praying for, it has seemed a little contrived (to me). But then the list at times gets a little long, and I will remember things or situations or people in the middle of the day and think, "Nuts, I forgot about that." And while I'm certainly not opposed to offering up a quick prayer at the moment, it just gets a little scattered. In more recent times I've attempted a little notebook with a list... and then I forget THAT, and well... So, I'm back on the bandwagon. I am grateful for the book itself, with its little green leather cover, so nicely put in my Christmas stocking by dear husband. And I'm grateful for the mindfulness it brings to my day, to begin by putting people and issues and problems and praise down in a tangible way and offering it all to God.

Color. So so grateful for color, in the midst of all this winter weather monotony. I even broke out The Scarf this week, that's how much I was looking to bust the gray! And I made deviled eggs last night, too; Seth and I devoured them, all yummy and yellow and beautiful.

My winter comfort attire. You'll notice I'm not posting a picture of it, but it's my go-to evening get-up: comfy "George Costanza" pants, Ugg boots, long sleeved T, and house sweater (think old, ratty, green, '70s, with a tie belt, even). It makes me happy. And, if you don't know the Costanza reference:

Wishing you a peaceful, relaxing weekend!
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