I am, I am, I am.
The Dude has been gone for a week and we will not lay eyes on him again until late Friday. During prolonged business trips such as this, I become keenly aware of how much I like seeing his face and hearing his laugh. Though separation can have its lonely moments, those sort of realizations are good for a marriage, I think. In the meantime, I've been living a rather third person existence. Like I'm sitting in front of a projector screen watching a reel of my life. The old kind of film with the brownish tone of a Polaroid picture and the lines that dance across the screen. And it's not unpleasant. I feel a slight distance from the world around me, looking back on the past few days, much like I was simply going through the motions of daily life. Nothing has set these days apart from others, which is likely the root of this whole thing. No melancholy here; just peace. Acceptance. Reflection. A quiet calm.
// I can't remember where, but I heard about this Secret Garden coloring book a short while back. It's grown up coloring. While at our favorite bookstore the weekend before last, I inquired about it and took its in-stock status as a sign I should buy it. // A couple days later I met Mario for lunch and he showed up with a set of gel pens for me. Because he remembered that crayons and colored pencils would be too imprecise and markers would bleed into one another. Gosh I'm a lucky girl. // As I got started I realized I'd need more colors, so I sprung for a bigger set with more variety. But the smaller set is far superior, in my opinion, for the obvious reasons. // Kiddo was feeling a bit envious of my new creative endeavor, so now we both have our own coloring outlets. // Buying a coloring book is so unlike me, but I really love it. Sometimes I'll walk by and color in a leaf or a flower. Other times I'll sit and finish a page. If I'm not feeling it, I'll abandon an unfinished page in favor of another. Because you can do that with grown up coloring books.//
// We got an email late Thursday night informing us that a couple wanted to look at our house first thing Saturday morning. Because we have 4 feet of snow in our front yard and it is most certainly not house-hunting weather (among a zillion other reasons), we haven't been keeping our abode staged for buyers. I had a momentary melt-down on the phone with Mario, who can do nothing but listen to my rant from 3000 miles away, then I pulled it together. Kiddo and I put on some tunes and moved our way through the house together, room by room. Upon reflecting on our cleaning session later, Kiddo said "Dare I say that was enjoyable?". He was right. // The lookers did not turn into buyers, but our house is sparkling clean and we had a nice mother-son breakfast because of it. I'm also feeling a little more optimistic that the spring season will incite more interest. If and when spring ever comes. //
// Speaking of spring, we've had a couple lovely days nestled between the bitterly cold norm. I sat outside and soaked up the sun at Kiddo's ski lesson last week; staying until the very last of the sun had set behind the mountain. // Vista has also been sunning more, opting to sleep in windowsills instead of his usual place on our bed. // Fresh heirloom tomatoes at the co-op made me feel so very cheerful. // As did a bright bouquet from the boys. No special occasion, just a sweet gesture. I've never been one to keep fresh flowers around, but I think I'm changing my tune. A colorful bouquet of flowers on the kitchen counter has served to brighten my mood on more than one occasion. (Plus it was a nice touch for the house showing.) //
// I set a new personal record on my deadlift last week: 265 pounds. That's 25 pounds more than my last record set in early January. Although I am never set on a particular number, nor do I get competitive about it, seeing regular improvement is so darn important. I went 5 days last week and was feeling sore and run down, so this couldn't have come at a better time. // On Saturday night we went to a dear friend's house for her yearly maple sugar boiling/Christmas tree burning party. She has one of those cozy houses where you instantly feel at home. And she's the best kind of person. // I've become a bit obsessed with moccasins. Especially the ankle booties. Mario thinks I've lost my mind and does nothing to hide it. I am undeterred. (Has anyone noticed how narrow the Minnetonka ones are? Or maybe it's just the style I tried on above? I have normal feet and felt like I was putting on children's shoes.) // On impulse I picked up this Alex and Ani compass bracelet while we were in Portland, Maine. It symbolizes a new direction and I thought it entirely appropriate. I've worn it every day since. // I finished The Night Circus on Saturday morning after starting it over a month ago on our Brazil trip. It was unlike anything I've ever read. I had a few more chapters to go, so I sat on the couch after we got home from breakfast and read it through to the end. I'm so glad to have rediscovered reading for pleasure. I put down a book last month in favor of this one, and I'm now about a hundred pages from completing it as well. Sarah's got her groove back. // February was a crazy month and we were gone more than we were home. Feeling bad that I hadn't visited a grocery store in weeks (yes, weeks plural), I went on a produce-buying bonanza. It seems so obvious, but I do eat better when the first thing I see upon walking into the kitchen is food that grew in the ground or on a tree (or a bush or a vine...). Plus, I was afraid Kiddo had forgotten what an apple looked like. //
I tried a new cookie recipe. And while I don't turn to chocolate often, nor do I crave it with any frequency, I thought I'd give them a go. Geez were they good. We used Earth Balance sticks instead of butter since we are dairy-free 'round these parts, and I opted to use two of our favorite dark chocolate bars with mint which turned out to be a sound decision indeed. I first saw them on Siri's blog, but you can find the original recipe for these Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies (say that three times fast) on Averie Cooks. They were super easy and you won't be sorry (guilty, maybe, but not sorry).
I'm going to round up this hodge podge post with one final tidbit: I went full-on Photoshop. I've been using Elements for over a year (another kind gift from Mario), and only for the most rudimentary projects. I've started learning about Photoshop Actions which allow you to tweak your photos with less effort and more consistency. I tend to like vivid colors and occasionally an ethereal feel. These allow me to do it without spending hours editing photo by photo. I've found photo editing to be the most cumbersome part of a photo-heavy post. By the time I finished editing and sorting through images, I have often burned through my blogging window for that day.
After a little research, I learned that Actions can typically only be downloaded to Photoshop, not Lightroom or Elements. Lucky for me, Adobe is currently offering Photoshop CC and Lightroom for $9.99/month (which includes Bridge, which will help me organize my photos). After getting Mario's opinion (he uses Photoshop for work), I pulled the trigger. I'm eager to streamline my photo editing while taking things to the next level, but I have a lot of learning to do. Ebooks, YouTube videos... I'm going back to school. Because this time around I'm aiming for proficiency. Wish me luck! (P.S. Adobe has never heard of me. Or my blog. I thought I'd do you a solid and share... in the event you're in the same photo-editing boat as I am.)