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Experience...

One of my favorite things do when when we lived in a college town in the Ozark mountains (and still do when we visit family there) is to plan a morning or afternoon which allows me to see all of my favorite local businesses and people.
The whole experience is carefully mapped out and carefully timed. For a Saturday morning, it begins with breakfast and coffee (from two different vendors, to maximize enjoyment) at the farmers market, exploring the old downtown area on foot, then lunch and dessert at two more local locations. One of my favorite birthday presents involved an out of town friend writing clues for a scavenger hunt and leaving treats for me at various favorite places (like a cup of tea and one each of our favorite macarons at a cafe we enjoy visiting together). 
It's a process which results in the most possible delight on my end, and can be equally enjoyable alone or with a friend.
When we moved to our state's capital, which is a very different vibe than our mountai…

Talent...

Teaching Juniper how to splash pebbles in the creek
I have (if I do say so myself) a wide array of talents. They are not all apparently useful, but that has not stopped me collecting them (after all, William Morris said "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful - emphasis mine).
But two traits stand out as dominant. One is a sense of wonder. For you enneagram peeps, I have a 7 wing, and that manifests as a childlike delight in tiny marvels. A sunset. A heart shaped rock. Teaching a child one of the weird things that I know. Spotting unusual wildlife - or saying hello to the neighbor's cat, whose favorite napping spot is on our back deck. Spontaneous adventures of all shapes and sizes.
The other is a sense of justice (yes, I'm an enneagram 8w7). So strong that I was forming committees and standing up for the oppressed at the age of five, my heart still aches for refugees and systemically oppressed minorities, and grasps at every…

On a Brioche Roll

I mentioned last month that I was learning something new, with a brioche mystery knit along. I found some pretty yarn, finished up my outstanding projects (at least the ones that I'm acknowledging at the moment) and got started.

It went surprisingly quickly. I made a few errors - as one is wont to do, when learning new things - but learned how to fix them well enough, and managed to knit several rows of it in a movie theater without messing it up. The pattern was straightforward and easy to memorize, and I'm pleased with the finished piece. Sometimes mystery knits feel the need to keep you guessing and therefore end up strange almost-unwearable shapes, but this one is very nice and I plan to wear it often.

I also made (and corrected) a commission. Someone asked for a wool running hat, so I ad-libbed a broken rib one using their measurements and yarn of choice. Because it's tricky knitting for a head you don't have handy, it came out a little shorter than he wanted it,…

Life...

I was never much interested in plants, growing up. Gardening was too much weeding and watering and bug-battling and general dirtiness; my attempted pond was a disaster (for the fish - the local raccoons, on the other hand, considered it a great success) that had a leak so slow that it waited until the whole surface was covered in duckweed to drain completely, at which point even that hardy pond staple perished; in short, it was a lot of work for little to no return.
If someone else brought a plant to the brink of death, I had a knack for bringing it back - because I found the visible progress rewarding. But what joy is there in keeping a green plant green?
But a few years ago, I caught a houseplant bug. It started with a small snake plant/sansevieria/ mother-in-law's-tongue that liked its home on our deep front windowsill so much that it has sent up regular leaves and blooms, and is now a vibrant bouquet of mighty green swords in a blue vase.
Then my daughter got a tiny spider pl…

Relief...

With the neighbor cats I knit in the spot where sunlight hits the soothing balm of warming calm Winter morning's perfect fit
By a conflagration bright of candles' flickering light til overcast this day is past quilts against snow blankets white
My hands clasp a mug of tea Earl Grey sips to comfort me the kettle steams my smile beams the creeping chill must flee
When loneliness invades my heart I turn to outer warming arts I find relief that honors grief but also sparks new starts.
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. 
For more info, more posts, and/or to join in, head here. [You're invited to join the conversation on Facebook,
or follow along daily on Instagram]

Cookery

Every year, for about the first three weeks of January, I'm pretty motivated about cooking. Unfortunately, for the rest of the year, I am decidedly not. This usually presents itself as making a grand and exciting plan at the beginning of the year... and then abandoning said plan mid February.

This year, rather than my usual route of denial and attempting to muscle through, I made a plan that matched the data. First, I've been watching/reading my way through Samin Nosrat's Salt Fat Acid Heat, one section each week, to stay motivated. I've learned lots of useful things that I've already been able to apply, like matching the salt/fat in a recipe to its country of origin and making better fried rice, and preemptively salvaging a recipe that, as written, did not have nearly enough salt.

Another thing that has helped is having access to a Trader Joe's (the first one in our overlooked and underestimated state). Besides having a lovely selection of produce and flowers…

Sacrifice...

Thank you for your sacrifice. It's a phrase my husband hears often. He works for the military full-time so he spends most of his time in a recognizable uniform. People buy his lunch, shake his hand, extend gratitude and grace. Sometimes, when we're together, they repeat their comment to me. I smile graciously and say thank you, but it bothers me for the rest of the day.
I don't wear a uniform - at least, not one anyone would recognize. But I do put on my hiking boots and a nursing-friendly top, strap on a baby and grab two more little hands, and carry on with life when he's gone (out of the country, out of state, out of town, or just working late - again). 
We get groceries. Go on walks. To the library. To church. To Bible study. To the post office to mail the thank you notes we made together after Christmas. To do fun extras like the zoo, the Museum of Discovery, the nature center, special events at local businesses. We cook and learn and explore and create. We follow…