I love so many parts of the year, all of them in fact, for different reasons and different moods. They're always the most glorious when they are happening, no matter which they are, because of the sparkle in the air or the smell hovering around or because of a feeling that can't quite be explained. Still, I have some favorites, and the false spring at the end of January is one of them.It was this time of the year, you see, when I was in the seventh grade, that I first read The Lord of the Rings. That was the experience that changed my life, the way I wanted to write, and taught me that the world of storytelling got even more rich, beyond the realms of the Blue and Brown Fairy Books. False spring is also when I feel a quickening and anticipation for the future. It's when my biggest nesting impulses come to the fore. Last year, there were so many other things that I needed to focus on, I buried those impulses. This year, I'm embracing them and making changes throughout the house. So far, I've brought in two cowhide rugs, and I love them. Their organic shapes play off of the squareness of our house and slate tiles, softening the feel of the space. We also found a lovely dresser on Craigslist for $75 that fits perfectly in the space I had planned for it. I used Morgan's tutorial, as I do with all of my new/old pieces, to bring it back to its former glory. And I still have so many plans! There are so many exciting things to accomplish this year. This is just the beginning. Spring hasn't even started yet, after all, just its promise.
I had this amazing idea in my mind -- writing this awesome tutorial for turning an IKEA dresser into a bench. I thought it would be, well, epic. It was maybe an epic fail, but not a very good tutorial. I purchased a RAST. The idea of a $35 converted bench was so exciting. I ended up managing to make a seat -- for a little kid. It's small. It's cheap pine. It tried to split each time I waved the drill in its general direction. It didn't work. It is now destined for the thrift store Dinner tonight was a definite win. Cypress Grove's dill chevre, PsycheDillic, spread on Breadnik's Bread of the Month, Sunshine Bread -- basically a savory sweet potato bread -- and topped with fresh blueberries, walnuts, and local honey. I served it with a Navarro Gewurztraminer and a green salad... amazing doesn't even cover the awesomeness of the meal. Seriously, try it with comparable ingredients in your area. You'll thank me. You will. I'll accept gifts inspired by your gratitude.
I was getting quite the case of cabin fever after being sick for so long, so my first venture out for exercise was prerequisite-ly memorable. My Charles and I drove to Donner State Park and were surprised by a light dusting of snow in this very dry year. The news hadn't said anything about the chance for any pretty powder, so our snow puppy was quite pleased. So were we. It was a balmy 25 degrees for most of our hike, but the vistas made up for it.
We have two cats and a dog. What does that have to do with resolutions and goals? Well, I'll tell you. You see that kitty on the left? That's Jazz. She hasn't been completely happy with us since we moved from our rental (a converted barn with a sunroom -- kitty bliss) into the house that we own. She was not pleased and showed it on the carpet. (Mabel, our other cat, is a lot more laid back and would probably be horrified if she made a mess.) Then we added a dog to the list, and Jazzy REALLY wasn't pleased. She ruined the carpet. So the first thing on our 2012 home goals is:1. Replace the carpeting in the house. We're saving our final call until we go look at flooring, but at this point, we're focusing on bamboo.2. Paint the outside of the house.3. Fix and/or replace the deck.4. Create a garden.5. Finally build that clothesline.6. Build a railing for our new, beautiful concrete steps.7. Finally build a pergola over the front door (and maybe a second one for the deck).8. Finish the bathroom (sink vanity, flooring, medicine cabinet, toilet).9. Organize the laundry room.10. Replace the kitchen countertops with white quartz, change faucet, add backsplash.11. Extend Bodie's yard.12. Get a Tough Shed garage.Plus there are lots of little projects including trimming out the bookcases and adding baseboards to my office. I'm optimistic about getting this laundry list done because we only have one house to focus on this year. And buckle-up because I'm going to share my personal resolutions, too. 1. Nurture an Open Heart
.2. Write more (freelancing, blogging, etc.)
.3. Be healthier. (I started the year off with pneumonia, so I'm hoping to only improve from here on.)4. Let the blog's readers get to know me better. (Have some more diverse posts.)5. Embrace Nevada County more, seek to make it home.6. Explore and hike in Tahoe -- it's only 45 minutes away!7. Take more overnight camping trips with the pup.8. Keep painting, even if I don't have any upcoming shows.There you have it -- two very full lists. As always, I'll share the processes, and since I'm hoping my camera will become another appendage, there should be lots of photos.
A photo of Badwater, Death Valley I took in 2010.
One of my goals for the year -- something I began to focus on a few weeks ago, in fact -- is to have an open heart. There are many ways of interpreting this. One of them is by being more accepting of others' belief systems. My own beliefs and experiences, and therefore my prejudices, don't have anything to do with how others interact with the world. While I may see things with a more scientific bent, that's not how everyone sees it. If the way a person views the world makes them more kind, giving, and accepting of others, that's wonderful. The way isn't important. The result is.So imagine my chagrin -- and anticipation -- when I was asked to write an article about Mormons. My dad's side of the family is Mormon. I have a lot of experience with the church. Many of those experiences were painful and scarring. BUT those experiences had nothing to do with the (very, very nice) people that I interviewed for the piece. They were trying to help others in the ways they knew how. I'm grateful I got to talk with them. I enjoyed my conversations and felt good that my interactions with them were nothing but positive. So far, I'm delighting in my journey of an open heart.Next week, I'll be back with the blogging tradition of goals and resolutions for 2012. How's the year treating all of you so far?.