The Slow Life

I have found myself relaxing a lot this week.  I haven’t made any new recipes (just a favorite–Roast Salmon with Lentils).

It looks kind of like this, but this is Martha's version (photo from marthastewart.com)

It looks kind of like this, but this is Martha’s version (photo from marthastewart.com)

I’ve been reading snippets of books I got part-way through ages ago (Seabiscuit and Brat Farrar).  Did you know that to calm Seabiscuit down, they got him an older, wiser horse stall-mate?  And a monkey.  And a dog.  Supposedly (according to Hillenbrand’s excellent book), you could often find the monkey sleeping on Seabiscuit’s stomach and the dog sleeping on Seabiscuit’s neck.  Or maybe the monkey was on the neck.  Either way, I like that Seabiscuit just needed some calming friends to become a great race horse.  Okay, and some training and practice and food and lots of smart people around him.  But also some friends.

I’ve also watched the entire first season of Call the Midwife.  I like it a lot.

photo from Amazon.com

photo from Amazon.com

And I’ve been working.  It has been slow, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot.  I’m sorry I haven’t written much.

Sea of Thoughts

Okay, I’ll admit that today’s blog post is pretty random.  It happened like this…

We went to a friend’s baby shower this weekend, so of course we looked at their baby registry before that.  And of course I got a catalog from one of those companies last night–Land of Nod.  They have plenty of practical products, but true to form, I fell in love with one of the less essential baby items.  It made me wish that Peanut was in need of some baby toys right now, which he’s not, since he’s a dog.

be-on-the-sea-activity-floor-mat

photo from landofnod.com

It’s the “Be on the Sea Activity Floor Mat.”  I’m not a mom, so I don’t know a lot about child development, etc.  I know next to nothing about that, actually.  So I’m wondering, would this be all that useful?  Would it be useful for three months and then never touched again?  Would you want to cry if your baby puked on it?  I might.

After that train of thought (the semi-logical one), I started thinking about whether Peanut would enjoy this in his dotage.  Maybe he would like being surrounded by stuffed buddies when he can’t walk too well.  Maybe it would be comforting.  And that’s when I realized I needed to put down the baby catalog.

Snowventures

Okay, so we’re no Boston right now, but we did get some snow that’s been around for lots o’ days.  Virginia snow doesn’t usually last more than a few days, which makes that kind of a big deal.

On the first post-snow morning (and the second), I got a Scott and Peanut escort to and from work.  It was pretty nice.

photo-10There were also walks and snow angels.

photo-12That’s my favorite cow pasture.  The cows are in another pasture up the road, and they seem cold.  Shocking.

photo-16That’s my not awesome snow angel.  I wasn’t willing to commit to a true head-in-snow experience, so the proportions are kind of wonky.  Scott’s snow angel is better (this one):

photo-13I really like the snow gnomes in our back yard best of all.  They are in fact pieces of the wood pile that never got chopped, but I think they look like gnomes in the snow.

photo-11And this is what the other side of that cow pasture looks like at night:

photo-14Or that’s what it looks like when your car is stuck in the snow on the side of the road because it slid backwards when it was close to the top of the hill.  I got so close to the top!  The picture was taken when I had given up on any kind of forwards or backwards motion.  Right before I turned the car off and walked the rest of the way home (0.4 miles?).  I’m pretty grateful for the snow boots I got for Christmas and for neighbors with backhoes and a husband with excellent snow driving skills.

After the car incident, I had to remind myself how much I love that cow pasture.  And snow.  It sure is pretty when the sun sets over snow.

photo-15And anything that helps Peanut look majestic is probably okay in my book.

photo-17That’s where we’ll stop for today.  Majestic Peanut, facing the semi-wilderness of Virginia.

Adrenaline Day

Yesterday was a bit of an adventure for us.  It was a two-part adventure, actually.  It started with a job interview for Scott and then moved on to some brief public speaking for me.

I figured that Scott should be finished with the interview and sharing news about how it went by 11 AM.  Noon rolled around, and I started wondering what was going on.  Then one o’clock and two, and then I headed off to my very brief but very scary (to me) public speaking jaunt.  The crowd was nice, but it’s tough to beat my typical public speaking audience–5-ish people in a computer lab who are super excited about learning anything at all about computers.  Computer class students at the library are probably the most forgiving audience I’ve ever encountered.

Anyway, public speaking isn’t my favorite.  During my first presentation in college, my vision blacked out for a considerable portion of the presentation.  The internet tells me that temporary blindness can be a symptom of panic attacks.  So… public speaking has been known to lead to panic attacks in blog writers named Hannah.

This particular instance (yesterday) was a great opportunity to share something that the library is doing with a related organization.  So I was in.  In and full of feelings like these guys might be experiencing:

photo from Pinterest.com

photo from Pinterest.com

That sums up my day until about 3:20, when my short little introduction to certain library services was complete.  Whew.  No temporary blindness, no horrible gaffes.

When I got out of that meeting, Scott had emailed news about the interview, and all was well in the world again.  Double whew.

The only problem at that point was that the end of all that adrenaline left me feeling like this:

photo from Pinterest.com

photo from Pinterest.com

Fortunately, there were legitimate work things that I could get done with almost zero brainpower.  I love hoarding a few of those low-brainpower projects so that I can still be productive if I find myself in a mental slush for an hour or so.  I did not take a nap at work.  But I did transform into a giant lump of mush when I got home.  Poor Scott.  Hanging out with a big lump probably isn’t very exciting.

The end.  I’m now living an adrenaline-free Wednesday and loving it.

Reasons to Watch Nashville

Before I even tell you why I like the television show Nashville, I’ll hedge a bit.  This show is a soap opera.  Definitely.  There are car accidents and comas (or close), children who don’t know who their real father is, etc.

I’m not proud of liking a soap opera.

But.

The show does have some pretty strong pluses on its side.  For one thing, there are some truly lovable characters mixed in with all of the mess and drama.  Why would you care about someone spiraling down in drama if they didn’t start out as truly lovable?

Secondly, the music is fantastic.  It’s a show about the music industry, but it’s even better than I thought it would be.  You’ll just have to listen to some of it yourself.

Those could be my two reasons to watch Nashville, but I’m going to show you two bonus reasons on top of those:

http://youtu.be/X6f1yACIoNY

Real life sisters who are super duper talented.  They’re not a new phenomenon, so I’m probably not introducing you to anything.  I just saw them on my Facebook feed today and couldn’t resist sharing the fun.

New Stuff Day

Yesterday was like Christmas Junior, mostly because we started putting Christmas presents away and enjoying said presents.  It was pretty fun.  I don’t even mind washing dishes when they’re new glasses and things that need to find a spot in the kitchen.

One of the happy post-Christmas changes included a bathroom cabinet face-lift thanks to some new hardware.

Old hardware:

IMG_3358 New hardware: IMG_3363And of course, there had to be some celebratory cooking.  We went with our new-found Chinese Dumplings recipe.  Turns out we still have some practice to do with that recipe.  I’ll adjust it just as soon as I know where we went wrong.  But at this point (the point of ingredients on the island), everything was right in the world:IMG_3366And here at the “put stuff in the dumpling wrappers” step, things were still going well:IMG_3375 Then things fell apart somewhere in the pan-frying phase.  Hmm.  On the bright side, our second batch was about 10 times better than the first batch.  So we’re learning.  That’s a happy way to start the year, right?  I thought so.

New Year Shine

Doesn’t the new year feel a little bit exciting to you?  It’s a great time to pretend that the last year has been put away and the new year will be all kinds of different–I’ll eat right this time and work out more and everything will be wonderful.

Right.  I get that it never works that way.  But every day, I have an opportunity to behave more kindly, to understand things just a little bit more, and to make better choices.

This morning, there was a beautiful, thick layer of frost over everything, and it made the whole world outside of our house (or what I could see) this pretty, sparkly wonderland.  I was a fan!  It made me think about the freshness of the new year, and I couldn’t imagine a better way to start the year than with natural sparkle.

If I’m tempted to take a picture of the trash cans because they’re so pretty, something miraculous is going on.  It happened.  (This picture is not of our trash cans, as I couldn’t capture the sparkle adequately this morning.)

photo from seasonbytheriver.ofaolain.com

photo from seasonbytheriver.ofaolain.com

Wait?  The new year doesn’t start until tomorrow?  Well, just go with it.  There will be frost tomorrow, and it will be sparkly.  And it will make me think about a fresh new year again.

And so with that, I say an official farewell to 2014.  I will try and fail to do things right in 2015, but there’s some beauty in trying and getting another chance.  I hope you enjoy the fresh year, too.