Archive for November, 2011

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve picked up my knitting needles and rummaged through my yarn bin for the perfect skein of wool or cotton, but as of late, I’m feeling inspired.  Maybe it’s the cold weather, or the store displays of chunky, textured cowls, or maybe it’s just the desire to keep my hands busy as I plow through my usual line-up of holiday movies, but I’m ready for a project.  I’m also feeling the need to justify the yarn-buying binge I found myself caught up in a couple of years ago…

I spent a couple of hours online yesterday prowling for ideas and could easily bust out a super-simple loop scarf  (think Anthro minus the high price tag), but Lord knows I’ve knitted my fair share of scarves, so perhaps I’ll try something new (maybe a variation on this necklace/scarf thingy?).  Whatever I pick, I can assure you that I’ll be spending Sunday afternoon with a pile of yarn in my lap and Little Women playing on the TV.  ‘Tis the season.

Due to all the traveling we’ve done this year, Shane and I decided to forego our usual Thanksgiving trip to Minnesota and instead spend the holiday closer to home, in Portland with my brother’s family.  We arrived on Thursday morning, and from the moment we set foot inside Mitch and Kathryn’s cozy home, the blessings of family were lavished upon us.  Morgan looked up at me with her big brown eyes and I scooped her up in my arms; Elise giggled her three year-old giggle and we quickly started making our play plans.  Mitch put the turkey in the oven and Kathryn and I got caught up with each other’s latest goings-on.  Goodness, these people are special to me – and their home has become a place full of so much comfort and joy for Shane and I.

Since we won’t see the girls at Christmas, and since Elise saw the gifts we’d brought and couldn’t contain her excitement, we opened presents that afternoon.  The blocks we bought for Morgan were a huge hit with both kids – Elise is an expert tower-builder, and Morgan is the queen of destruction (you can guess what happened about three seconds after I snapped this photo).

Post-presents, we put the finishing touches on the big Thanksgiving feast.  Elise has taken after her parents and loves to cook – she was eager to help with meal preparations and whipped up an extra-special soup for Uncle Shane with a few miscellaneous cupboard finds: oregano, raisins, and dried chili peppers in warm water.  Shane is smiling on the outside, but inside, he’s thinking, “How do I get out of having to eat this?!”

Morgan also loves being a part of the cooking action – she excels at: trying to climb in the dishwasher, finding anything that fell off the cutting board, and opening cupboard doors and drawers.  But seriously, how you not want this face in your kitchen?

We ate until our stomachs couldn’t hold a single bite more, and after the dishes were washed and the kids were tucked into bed, I stretched out on the sofa and thanked my lucky stars for apple pie and baby girls.

We all went out together on Friday morning to do a little shopping, and then spent the rest of the afternoon cozied up indoors.  Living room tea parties, rounds of Candyland, and snuggle time with little Morgan.  Lovely.

We spent this morning at Cathedral Park before hitting the long dusty trail back to Seattle.  After spending the previous 48 hours lounging and eating, it felt good to get out for a walk.  Elise skipped among the leaves and Morgan enjoyed the view from her stroller.

As I reflect this weekend on things that I am thankful for, family both near and far, is at the top of my list.

Loving on this chilly Fall weekend…

Classical music:  We’ve visited the two different symphonies over the past two weekends, and for the first time in recent memory, I heard the music, and I really, really dug it.  Maybe Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky are acquired tastes, like wine or coffee – and as was the case after countless glasses of Cabernet and mugs of hot lattes, I think I’m making progress in appreciating the finer things in life.

Boots:  I’ve officially tucked anything sandal-like back into the deep recesses of my closet, and my new black riding boots are getting lots of play these days.  At the risk of sounding much more practical than fashionable, I’ll admit that what I love more than anything is the fact that I can wear my thick, cozy socks with them.  It’s amazing when comfort and style converge in a perfect pair of shoes, isn’t it?

Art books:  I’ve recently added a few new ones to my bookshelf and am really, really loving this collection of works by Yves Klein.  Shane and I saw a big exhibit of his work when we were in Minneapolis last winter, and I haven’t been able to get the image of his ‘fire paintings‘ out of my head since.

Big pots of hearty soup:  Sunday has become soup day in our house.  Which means Monday, and Tuesday, and sometimes Wednesday are soup days as well (which means less ‘cereal days’, which is a good thing)…

Adios, weekend…  And hello, three-day work week – woot!

Yes, it’s been awhile since I gave this old blog some love – work has been pretty all-consuming for the past couple weeks, which meant that many of my favorite pastimes have fallen by the wayside.  I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks, I haven’t read anything other than emails and excerpts from the building code, and I’m in danger of completely forgetting the combination to my gym lock.  But finally, the drawings are out the door, the deadline has been met, and after a day-long, crazy-good stress detox, I am back.  I set yesterday aside as a me-day (kind of a ‘Treat Yo-Self 2011’ for all you Parks and Rec fans) – no work, no chores, just true R and R.  I woke up late, I spent awhile reading at a cozy little table while enjoying a buttermilk biscuit and latte from Macrina, I booked a massage and simultaneously cringed and sighed as the masseuse worked the knots out of my shoulders, and I spent an hour wandering through the mall, enjoying the Holiday displays and running my fingers over stacks of thick, cozy sweaters.  I had moments where I thought, “I should check my work email”, or “I shouldn’t spend money on a massage when I have Christmas gifts to buy”, but ultimately decided that I had earned the right to be completely self-indulgent, so I shrugged my jello-y shoulders, dug into the box of chocolate-peanut butter goodies that Shane’s mom sent us, and reveled in the feeling of guilt-free relaxation.  I remember the first time I heard the words “mental health” day – I laughed a little, because it just sounded so…subjective, and kinda hippy-dippy.  But after seeing what a day off can do to take away the crazy, I’m a believer.  I lived life in the slow lane, and let me tell you, I’ll be keeping the pedal off the metal for as long as humanly possible.

I really, really love Fall.  The anticipation of the soon-to-arrive holidays, steaming hot bowls of homemade soup for dinner, evenings spent cozied up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book or a new episode of Parenthood, and the leaves…O.M.G., the leaves.  Shane and I took a walk through Washington Park Arboretum yesterday and were blown away by the intense hues of golden yellow, bright coral, deep red, and translucent green.  I bet I say this every year, but dang, these trees are more stunning than I’ve ever seen them before.


I remember sitting around a table with a group of friends from church during the holiday season several years ago, and as we took turns sharing about things that made us particularly thankful, one of the ladies at the table quickly piped up and said, ‘Color.  God is so incredible for giving us color.’

Amen, sister.