Oh Happy (early) Holidays!

I love presents.
I love finding, wrapping, and giving presents.

And I love getting presents!

I love the “this made me think of you, I thought you’d like it” thing!

I love the hinting and the surprising. I love the directness, too – “I really really like this thing – it would make a great present!”

So when a package arrives full of presents, it is my favorite time ever!

Like yesterday afternoon. I package from pappa arrived!

Early Christmas
Inside, a paper sack from the regional history museum. Filled with…

Early Christmas

Early Christmas
Oh! It says ‘Open before Christmas’ What could it be???!!!

Early Christmas
Hurray!!! I love this! I’ve wished for this book of simple Swedish Christmas crafts since I first saw the announcement of its launch.

Early Christmas
The insides of the front and back pages are covered with these awesome line drawings.

Early Christmas
The photos are so funa nd inspiring. All I want to do now is make Christmas crafts all day.

Early Christmas
Just my cup of tea. Or bottle of wine…. To make crafty things that are meant to be gifts to give. Perfect circle!

Early Christmas
I love this star. I love the simplicity.

Early Christmas
And this Christmas edition of a popular magazine. More holiday goo-goo-eyeing!

Early Christmas
A page filled with ‘classic’ Christmas things. Heart. Heart. Heart.

Early Christmas
Yepp — gonna have to make some of these!

You can see there were a couple of Christmas-y small trays, too. I use these melamine trays a lot, and I love that I now have some red ones with Christmas designs.
Perfect for fika. When are you coming over for coffee and cookies?



The weeks and the days the weeks and the days.  This time of year the sky, the air, the end of the day, they are darker and shorter and maybe I’m just old  (yawn?) but after work nothing sounds more enjoyable than heading home, and changing into soft clothes and going straight to bed.

Since that sort of behavior isn’t popular I instead go home and start cooking dinner.  Last night I baked fresh salmon and threw together a green salad with spring greens, steamed green beans, English peas, some dark red kidney beans, and diced butternut squash that was steamed in a bag.  Steaming vegetables in bags is probably not a super great idea according to many.  To those who feel this way I say, don’t steam your veggies in a bag.

Fun things I’ve done lately:

  • I spent all day in a class (yay!) learning even more about Adobe Creative Cloud applications like Illustrator, InDesign and some Photoshop.  (I pretty much already knew all the Photoshop stuff they covered so I just leaned back and sipped my hot spiced tea during that part of the class.)  I love working with graphic design and learning more about the tools of the trade.
  • Last weekend I went to the Kansas City area with my friend Kaye and we shopped at IKEA. It was her first trip to an IKEA.  I love IKEA.  I love the showrooms and the shopping format and the Swedish snacks you can get in the restaurant and in the grocery section.  I stocked up on squeeze tube Kalle’s Kaviar.  So good on boiled eggs.
  • Went to a maker reunion party and met new creative people and ate some dadgum delicious pot luck foods.  I brought some fresh baked Swedish cinnamon rolls, and there were only crumbs left at the end of the night so I think they were a hit!
  • And then there was a small crafting night party, too.  Fun but in a size “mini” sort of way.  Gonna do this again with some of my favorite people next month.

Now I’m finishing up some work and non-work stuff before the week of Thanksgiving.  I have so many things on my “To Do Before Christmas” list and I’ll be working like mad to get most of it done this weekend.  So much, too much?

With long lists and so many things To Do, where do I begin?

I begin with daydreaming.

I daydream about those sweet moments when sunlight molds on the contours of the end of the bed falling onto that spot on the floor… it only happens this time of year and I’m rarely at home during the day when it happens.

I daydream about taking my time and not rushing through things I enjoy, like reading a good book, or listening to Storytelling, or maybe listening to a record from the first song through to the last.

I daydream about how nice it would be to spend Christmas with my whole family for once.  Pappa. My brother & family. My aunt & cousins.  I wish my house was big enough for everyone to come and visit and spend the holidays.  Big long table set for dinner. Fun games, good food, and laughing.

And then it’s time to stop daydreaming and get started on the ToDo list that seems to go on and on.



There are 8 current post-starts in my “drafts” folder.  I haven’t published a post since….. October 11.  (Was that one supposed to be some kind of Fresh Start declaration of something? Wasn’t it?  Was it?

When I ask myself, ‘Why don’t I write as much as I did back in the day?’ a list of theories begin to scroll on the projector screen in my mind.  (I also notice that I wrote the phrase ‘back in the day’ in the context of blogging… and I think, wait, isn’t blogging a new thing?) There are all kinds of reasons I think, for the sparsity of posts, from NotEnoughTime to Laziness to Relevance. I used to read a more blogs ‘back in the day’ too and now, like me, many of my old favorites have gone dormant or they have disappeared altogether.  Others are still there but they have transformed into something nothing like what they once were and I am no longer… … and I think about those blogs now and then and wonder, ‘I wonder how they are doing.’  (Answer:  just check Instagram.)

I just checked and it looks like I started this blog in December 2005.  So, about 10 years ago.  Ten Years.  TEN.  How does this happen?  I’m sure I can “google” that.

Do I have anything relevant to say here?  Who am I writing to?  Who is reading this?  What do you want me to write about?

Day one.

For the last several years birthdays have come and gone and I’ve ignored the number because age is just a number.  One year I had my age wrong all year!  One year on my birthday someone asked me how old I was, and I caught myself doing actual math to calculate which one I was having!

This year, I am looking at my birthday more as a Good Place To Begin A New Year!  And the coming next year is like a fresh blank-paged journal, just waiting to be filled with stories.  And, instead of taking “New Year’s Day” as a kind of fresh start, I decided to take my birthday, yesterday, as the point in time to begin a new year.  Am I over-thinking this?  Nonetheless,  I woke up this morning feeling especially good – like, let’s bring it, Blank Page!

So how did I spend Day One?  Today I took to the yard and cleaned out the dead dry dormant garden boxes.   Then I washed all the loads of laundry.  And finally, I took care of some grocery shopping.  At one point I took a little nap on the couch.  Somewhere in there I also drew a little in my sketchbook, watched last night’s Saturday Night Live, and made egg sandwiches for the boys.

The evening waits now, and I have a pile of clothes that need to be ironed.  The Last Year Me wants to say, “Oh, just do it tomorrow….”  But, the New Year Me says, “Don’t listen to Last Year.  Get the ironing done – just think how glad you will be that it’s done tomorrow!”

So, I’m off to iron a pile of clothes.  I will probably listen to podcasts, or maybe an audiobook to help the time pass faster.  There are a couple of memoirs in my cue that I’d like to get started on. I’m still listening to The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt) which I enjoy when I listen, but it is a very long book, so I sometimes put it down for a week or two and then get back to it.

The other day I went to the library to listen to an author.  Zadie Smith, most known for White Teeth.  She read to us – about 7 chapters from her new novel that will be published sometime next year.  Can I just say something right now?  I love listening to storytelling.  I love how listening to a story read aloud somehow adds even more dimensions and layers…. and my thoughts unfold like an origami page, taking me on short trips outside the narrative, like looking out the window of a train, and suddenly I’m thinking about a warm balmy night in a Sanger Harris parking lot illuminated by orange street lights after another performance of Grease at the community theater.  I was 14, and I helped with the lights up in the balcony that summer.

I love so much that I can occasionally find such inspiration when I just listen.  When I hear stories, or songs, or sometimes a moment of quiet.  (Because, in the moments of quiet my mind sort of stops, and allows the narrative to soak in. If that makes any sense.)

The pile of ironing is waiting.  Here’s to today, a good Day One of this New Year.  I count it as Beautiful.

DC without me

One day.  One day, perhaps, I will get to visit Washington DC too.

If you don’t have Facebook (and you know who you are!) here is a link to the Photo Album taken by the professor who hosted the group of 10 students.

Weylin is in several of the photos, many of them solo, which I thought was neat.  When he shared some of the stories, he said when they were at the Vietnam Memorial wall that morning, they could hear President Obama begin speaking in the distance, introducing pope Francis.

I miss me when I’m gone

I don’t know how many times I’ve started writing and then stopped, and then started over.  Know what I mean?

There are snippets of life that happen and they kind of build a picture of me.  You know.  Little vignettes.  The daily routines that fill most of the hours.  And some stories in between.

This morning:  Woke up at 6:15 and staggered to kitchen to make Zane’s sandwich.  He is already dressed and has the coffee going.  (This is a nice “perk” to having a 16yo who gets up when his alarm clock goes off,  likes morning coffee, and is motivated to brew a pot of coffee in the mornings.  He leaves at 6:30 in order to get to school early enough to get a parking spot.  I sip some coffee then get ready and finally leave at 7:15.  Weylin rode with me today since he and his Design class are flying out this evening to Washington DC.  (I’m so jealous!  I’ve never been to DC.)  Coincidentally, their architecture tour trip to DC coincides with the very days that the pope is also going to be there… so they are not sure how much that will affect their experience, in terms of wait times at landmarks, transportation, crowds. They are planning to go all the way up to the top of the Washington Monument.  I hope they do!  And, golly gees!  I’m so jealous!

I can’t wait to hear his stories when he returns.

Little stories are my favorite stories. When the routines are disrupted.  The little stories are found in between the routines.

Not that there’s anything wrong with routines.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this.  I have a Fitbit activity tracker, and I track my sleep now.  Tracking my sleep is part entertainment and part nerdy love for charts and graphs.  I am getting an average 8.06 hours of sleep, if I include weekends. This is interesting to me, I am a geek who finds weird love for statistics.  For example, I know I feel better after 8 hours of sleep than I do if I get less than 6.  This is groundbreaking information.  The data speaks for itself.  You can’t argue with the numbers.

What was I talking about?

Saturday oasis

Whew. What a week. Busy at work + a few days of some fever affliction (all better now) = one depleted human (me.)

It’s now Saturday morning and I’m the only one awake. Waking at 5:45 am on a Saturday??! Makes no sense, but here I am.

While the coffee brewed I played with a new “toy” called “transfer copied image onto things” using an ad market blender pen and photocopies (not print outs, must be toner based not ink). 

Oh the possibilities. 

Here’s a black and white of Frank Lloyd Wright transferred into my sketchbook and then colored with pencils.

I’m going to have some coffee now. Saturday morning coffee on the patio. 68°F. 

An oasis.