:: Sparkling moments ::

Well, this week hasn't been one of them. I know during winter, it is much easier to get
a little down, let life kind of stress you out a little more. Friends at work being very ill
with the flu and what-not, eating, and snacking all day at work - with very little
movement going on at all besides the occasional sneezing and coughing. Sad.
That is what it is. How am I supposed to maneuver around all this joy and happiness?

I find that I stress-bake. I just turn off my mind, begin using my hands, and in the
end I have a delicious, but good for you treat as well. It is the ultimate relaxation.

Lately, I have also found some other ways to keep myself occupied as well.
First, I have been playing a game with everyone called "just the opposite"
what does it mean? I am doing the exact opposite of what I would normally do.
For instance, a co-worker asked if I would like to join her and some other co-
workers for a drink and some shopping after work. Instead of the usual 
"no thanks" that I have given over 500 times, I said yes. Honestly,
I thought she was going to have a stroke. But, the night was great!
We had tons of fun, and no doubt, I will say yes again.

Have you done that? Just out of the blue decided to do the exact opposite
of what you normally do....for no reason at all? Rather fun isn't it?  : )


:: I see Sunshine! ::

Sunshine! Even though its freezing outside, it's toasty warm and bright in here...
I'm trying to sleep in, staying in bed for almost 2 hours now since waking up.
I'm playing on the laptop and ordering a couple of new books.

I just finished reading a book... which I loved.. I need to read more... daily,
but I've been slowly getting back into the groove of it-maybe I'll join a book club.

I think I might spend the day watching movies and snacking away on everything
but, I haven't decided yet. This week I'm looking forward to yoga classes, and
poetry readings, and a dinner date with some friends - sounds fun to me!


:: Project Life ::

Pick something. Anything that sounds fun, creative or challenging. Then, decide to do it every single day for a year. It's called a 365 project, and whether you take a photo, knit or write, a daily practice can have a big emotional payoff. A friend of mine sketches one picture a day. I have been taking a photo each day, and some people blog every day. I think Flickr has groups and also Instagram. But whatever project it is that you choose, 

I promise it will be super rewarding when it's complete! Try it, you'll love it!


:: What I'm doing now ::

What am I doing now?
baking pie{peach}
layering extra blankets
eating tangerines
wearing my ugg boots
stretching yoga
walking briskly
drinking warm green tea latte with whipped cream
sitting at the computer

I am really appreciating the coziness of being home after such a full day of travel yesterday.
The popcorn is popping, a movie is ready to be watched, Buddy and I are snuggling, it's so
very cold outside here, time to hibernate with Buddy like a wooly bear and her bear cub,
we need time to replenish, find new inspiration and catch up on all the sleep that I've
missed so far this year. {I brought some fresh peaches home with me-had to bake a pie!}

What kind of weather are you having?


:: Amy's Art ::

It's cold


:: Exhausted ::


Jacob Christian Poen de Wijs 1948 | Netherlands

It's Thursday and I am totally EXHAUSTED! Typically,  when I'm feeling this 
drained it's either because I've stayed up all night - or, I just couldn't sleep
because my mind was just too active planning and thinking. And I am leaning 
towards the latter simply because of all the problems I have had to deal with here 
both for and with my daughter. But, I am also worried about all of the things not 

getting done at home in my absence as well. 

So.  what do I do now? Well, understanding what's wrong does help of 
course, first -  I will allow myself to take a short nap, no longer than an hour. 
Enjoying a midday rest, can drastically boost ones energy levels and when
I awake, I will perform a simple meditation along with a few stretching exercises 
to help bring my mind and body back in balance. Finally, I will have to just keep
in mind  that when I get home, I will handle all matters that need to be handled 
one thing at a time.  This will remove the stress that feeling so tired has put on 
my mind and body as well and allow me to be more productive going forward.

Are you feeling exhausted or a bit off your center?

Just follow these simple guidelines:

1. Recognize that you are feeling this way. 
If you do not take the responsibility for your well-being, who will? 
Don't just overlook these feelings. Neglecting your emotions and 
physical reactions is not the answer. You will only become more 
drained by the energy it takes to fight it.

2. Tackle the feeling. 

If you are tired, rest. If you are depressed, talk to someone or pray. 
Pay attention to your mind and body & give it what it needs to refocus.

3. Remove the source of chaos.

Most negative feelings are directly caused by some sort of in-completion. 
Find what is not complete and complete it. 

4. Set up a routine 

And make a conscious effort to keep balance in your life. 
You must continue working at this on a daily basis until it becomes habit.

So whether you are fatigued, depressed or just having an off day, remember 
to take the time to examine yourself often, and give your body what it needs 
to feel back in balance. 


:: Things I miss from the past- a list ::

Let's Bring Back ...

Train restaurants. Good ones, obviously, in wood-paneled cars, with white linen-covered tables. And crystal, china.
Double-features. Perfect for long, rainy November afternoons, and for prolonging first-date make-out sessions. Let's also bring back pre-feature cartoon shorts!
Dressing nicely for travel and dinner. Because these days, going to restaurants and airports is an aesthetic nightmare.
Hobbies. And collections. Book collecting. Butterfly collecting. Bee keeping. Whatever. Hobbies are quaint, and it's nice to do something in which the process is the pleasure.
Foreign languages. Learning French used to be an absolute prerequisite for cultured American women. Jackie Kennedy campaigned and entertained for her husband in both French and Spanish. Ask for Rosetta Stone for Christmas. Your popularity will skyrocket.
Game night. Scrabble, bridge, poker, whatever. A friend of mine points out that game nights used to serve as wonderful occasions to get soused and gossip and argue. And it does get pretty boring going to yet another couples dinner.
Old-fashioned Frigidaires. They are just so damn stylish. You just expect to open that heavy door and find ice-cold bottles of beer and yummy Betty Crocker icebox cakes inside.
Vintage cocktails. Today's far-fetched confection cocktails suck. I don't know about you, but I find the idea of a watermelon martini to be rather sickening. There's nothing like a good, manly Manhattan, or a crisp gin and tonic. I'm partial to Shirley Temples myself.
Lovely, leisurely evening walks. After dinner, just a stroll around the neighborhood. Because window-peeping is always better at night. 

Hats on men. A man in a hat just looks so cool. Not to mention polished and confident.  
Record players. Preferably one in a leather case. There is something truly wonderful and evocative about a record popping on an old player.
And ... discreet voices. Oh, how we love to shriek into our cellphones, and make sure that everyone in a restaurant knows every detail of our fevered little lives.
Lipstick. I'm bored to sobs of that ubiquitous sticky gloss. Let's bring back old glamor. Old Hollywood knew what it was doing. Red, please.
Sunday roasts. In which you invite your family and friends late in the afternoon. This is a particularly nice ritual if you happen to like your family and friends.
Supper clubs. Think El Morocco and the Stork Club. With those discreet curved leather booths, palm trees, and a wonderful old-fashioned ebony telephone on each table.
And on that note, let's bring back dancing. "Whatever happened to going out dancing for an evening?" a friend of mine recently lamented. "As in, it's Friday night. Let's go out dancing."
Lockets. With pictures inside, of course. They're just so endearing and personal.
Discussion societies. Polite ones or impolite ones. It doesn't matter. Let's move away from the chat room and message boards and into real rooms with three-dimensional people. Anonymous internet postings try to pass for discussion societies but they are absolutely not the same thing. Too often they breed animosity instead of constructive discourse. Talking is good. Real debate is a dying art.
Picnics. And picnic baskets. They're hard to carry but in the end they are worth it. Wear linen clothing, set up shop under a tree, bring (and read) books, take black and white pictures.
The Carol Burnett Show. Because she was so unbelievably, diabolically hilarious.
Fondue. There's nothing like sharing a melting pot of cheese to break the ice at a dinner party.
Aging naturally. Nothing else needs to be said on this one.
Ice skating. And ice-skating culture. First dates, mittens, hot chocolate, the works. 
Banana combs. I love them.
Letter writing. It is almost a lost art isn't it? In fact penmanship is practically unheard of these days, and I'm not even sure they teach kids to spell correctly anymore. 
Hats. On both men and on women. I used to love wearing hats as a child. Especially on special    occasions, Easter especially. It made an outfit quite elegant I think.
Full service gas stations. There are times I sorely miss having someone else fill up my gas tank     and check under the hood-just to make sure everything is alright. And wash my windshield. Sigh.
Beautiful hand held fans. They used to come in all shapes and sizes.
Wonderful old movie theaters. with large marquees with little yellow light bulbs. Big letters      that announce the movie and the people starring in the show.
The milkman. I wish I could have my dairy products delivered every few days again. Sigh.
Charm School. Boy, could the children of today use this.
Dumbwaiters. Sure beats carrying things up and down the steps!
Typewriters. I loved using a typewriter, I loved the sound of the very old vintage manual ones,       and, I also enjoyed the hum of the newer electric ones too.

What would you bring back if you could?


:: Ice Bottles::

Surprise guests at your next party! Put a bottle of alcohol in a carton, add some decor, fill about 1/3rd of the way with water then freeze. Repeat this step a few times until you freeze the entire carton. What to use for decoration? Anything! Lemon slices, cranberries, spruce twigs, flower petals. The options are endless. Just before serving, take your ice bottles out of the freezer, cut off the carton, 
put a sweatband around the bottle {to hold on to it with} - and serve!


:: A word on flying ::

Flying: I really don't like it. But, I put up with it, because I'd never get anywhere if I didn't,
and, I love wandering through airports, and seeing new cities - but it's a real phobia of mine.
I immediately fall into a state of intense awareness - you know the kind - where you begin to
notice every dip, every subtle noise; I honestly feel that if I notice something wrong happening
then I'll be able to do something about it. In fact, I find it very difficult to believe they could even
handle the problem without me.

To top it all off,  someone once told me that really, there's no exact explanation for what
keeps that huge thing off the ground. Oh, okay. So, that's supposed to make me feel better?
Now I find myself thinking as we take off  "There's nothing that keeps this plane in the air",
I usually combine this with a montage of scenes depicting plane crashes and I'm good to go.
{And I have seen a lot of plane crash movies - so my imagination is really good.}

It doesn't help that I'm always seated next to a ridiculous person. I've been flying quite
a bit lately and I'm starting to think someone is playing some kind of a joke on me.
A few weeks ago I sat next to a man who cried the whole time. Cried. That was fun.
Then, on my next flight, my seating partner was a Vietnamese woman who did not speak
any English, but somehow, between lots of arm waving and a complicated dance and finger
wagging, assured the clueless flight attendant they she could, without any problem at all,
operate the emergency exit. I quickly added pushing her out of my way into my montage.
{Does that sound terrible? Too bad}

As soon as the engines started, the woman covered her nose
and mouth with a breathing mask and began to sing. I turned and faced her,
 fixing her with my best angry/judgmental/crazy woman stare, but she didn't budge.
In fact, I think she just got louder.
I eventually gave up and continued my vigilant watch until we landed.

I'm sure there's some sort of book or pill out there that could help me with this problem,
 so, if anyone has any tips or prescription ideas please let me know before I leave again.
I have two flights yet to go just to get home.

In closing, If you want me to like something,  or go somewhere, or, like somebody,
it's really in your best interest not to oversell its awesomeness to me. While I certainly appreciate
hearing it from a trusted source, if you shove a cup of Kool-Aid in my face and make me drink it,
I'll spit it back in your eyes, kick you in the nuts, and hit the road.

In summary,  I really need to have a day to myself. Does it show?


:: It's gray ::

Today, the whole world seems gray: the sky, the ground, even the very air between our mouths. 
The wind gusts and gasps whips and whines and the leaves crackle and snap from the trees; 
it's cold and it's drizzling and somehow, I find that I've left my umbrella in some other life.
Not a good way to start the day...


:: A Fine Friday ::

How are you on this fine Friday!?!?! I was thankful to enjoy a day or two of sunshine!!! It's amazing just how much you appreciate the sunshine when you don't get to see it for months on end:) I am just so ready for warm spring days filled with sunshine and happiness! I just know it's coming Winters in the Midwest really test one's endurance. Do you have what it takes to keep yourself going when it's dark and dreary for weeks at a time?

This is the best time for creating new things. And, since today is Friday (yeah!) I find that I am suddenly in the best of moods! I am so ready to go home, get warm, and simply relax. And, who knows where there weekend will take me?

Where will it take you?