Wednesday, February 10, 2016

To the North

I love watching the change of seasons as I pass through the Skagit Valley.  Fields that are flooded this week will give way to thousands of snow geese and then to daffodils in a month and potatoes in five months.

I'm still unearthing bulbs that have been smothered by mulch and fallen leaves. I am hesitant to remove all the protection that the leaves provide, but it really does feel we've turned a corner.  President's Day is the start of the seed planting at Casa Ernest.  Sweet peas and lettuce will be sown next week followed by other cool weather crops.  I'll put in seedlings as well. I know that is cheating to some, but I'll take anything that looks like it is living.

It makes me hopeful.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Goals and giving up

���������� #nmnm2016 #theyearthatis2016 #2016yip #2016.017

A photo posted by Nazila (@nazilam) on

I wish I could tell you have a slew of goals for the month. I'm just going to be delighted by making it through with healthy parents and a few nights of decent sleep.

I have been tracking my food.
I have been keeping better track of what I have accomplished.
I have been feeling much better because I am tracking my food and realizing that I do accomplish quite a bit each day.

I'm not Catholic, but in the past I've given up something I liked or spent too much time doing during Lent. I guess I could do it anytime of the year, but we talk about making these changes or sacrifices either at the beginning of the year when we're loathe to repeat old habits or patterns, or this time of year, when some believe we should suffer.

A friend posted something about the things we should really consider giving up - for Lent, for life, for whatever.  A few things that struck home for me were the following.

  • Fear of failure (trust me, everything fails, get over it)
  • impatience (learning this the hard way with my parents)
  • people pleasing (I'm learning this from the dog)
  • distraction (what? No, listen, really listen)
  • bitterness (see no. 1)
  • busyness (Say YES to No)
  • resistance to change (be the change, and I don't mean that in a Bernie Sanders way)

I believe these things are much harder to give up than chocolate or Facebook.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Monday Inspiration

How I wish I could be this organized - Purl Soho, May 2015. 

Getting more productive is my goal.  I look to leaders like Nir Eyal to keep me motivated.

This is a great post to help you become more productive by just changing a few things in how you work and organize your information. Less stuff to see on your desktop, tablet, physical desk, phone - the less likely you'll be distracted and hopefully more productive.

I'm afraid to show you my desk, but I might just have to tomorrow.

Sunday, February 07, 2016


There is something about the first day you realize that 5 pm has passed and it is still light out.  That day where you decide at 4 pm that you'll go outside and rake and weed for a bit before you start making dinner.

Then there comes a time when you can barely stand being inside to make dinner let alone eat it. It is that time when all you do is look around the garden and see a hundred things that need to be taken care of NOW.

Today was one of those days.  The bulbs are going crazy in the lawn, perennials all need be cut back and every leaf needs to be carefully removed from the beds.  It is a slow process bringing the garden back to life in the Spring.

There are a lot of big projects that need tending to in the garden, just like with life, but I'm taking it slowly and savoring the stolen moments with my secateurs, the trowel and the millions of dog tooth violets emerging from the ground.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The New Normal

Somewhere in the 11th. 

We skipped our usual November trip to Paris in 2015.  We ended up eating in the Bastille - very near where the horrific events at the Bataclan and the cafes happened. It was heartbreaking to walk by the cafe and see the flowers and cards piled up in front of the barricades.

I remember the terrorist attacks of the 80s that resulted in lots of the measures that are just part of today's Paris - the gendarmes policing the streets, the clear garbage bags in public places and the tacit understanding that everyone needs to be vigilant in crowds.  I also remember queuing up in the French embassy in London to get a visa in order to visit France.  I was traveling by myself from London to Germany via Paris.  The hassle of having my bag searched everywhere I went along with the humidity and heat of August made it a no-brainer for me - I was going to Germany sooner than I had anticipated.

Paris in December felt different. It was quieter than usual.  The shops were emptier. The streets were not as hectic.  The shopkeepers we talked to said that the bombings scared Parisians from going out. Acts of violence have a long tail.  It is not just the sharp shock of the event, but how it plays out - in the media and in our psyches.

Do we feel safe? Can things be the same? Is this the new normal?

The new normal is not something I ever expected to have to experience.

Friday, February 05, 2016


I'm not sure I believe this to be true, but I'm willing to consider it.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Oh the places you will go!

Campo de Fiori - Sunset

I miss Rome. I miss it a lot. My friend Jennifer, who lived there for many years calls it Romesick. We had plans to go this winter, but it hasn't panned out.

There are few places on my list for this year that I've never visited that are on my list for 2016.

In no particular order:
St. Louis
Little Rock

They are all in the U.S.

Why? Some of these places are important in terms of development of the U.S., others because they are just intriguing to me.

Places I'm likely to visit this year that I go to on a regular basis (heavy rotation):
Santa Fe/Albuquerque
Salt Lake City
Washington D.C.

I'm not even going to stray from the familiar when it comes to international travel - it is a well worn path these days for various and sundry reasons.  I'm okay with that too.

For now, I'll live vicariously through friends and acquaintances gorgeous images and make plans for another day.