Monday, January 26, 2015

Longing for a hot summer day

As I was watching the news tonight they reminisced about the blizzard of 1967 that hit here in the Chicago area.  Funny that I've lived most of my life in Chicago and the area and have endured so many cold, snowy winters but that particular 1967 storm I was just a wee lass still living in Scotland.  We emigrated in 1967 but not to Chicago.  I wonder if my parents watched the news that year and saw Chicago getting blanketed in snow.  I bet my mother didn't even think that one day she would be raising her children in Chicago. 

As I watched the newscast about the blizzard about to pour down on the East Coast I started to long for some hot Summer days.   I'm picturing the warm days at my friends summer house, floating in the lake, feeling that hot sun beating down on us and jumping in the water to cool off.  Family fun at my brother's pool, a baseball game or two.

Pontoons and Jet Ski's
Baseball games
Swimming Pool fun
Summer Concerts
Summer Flowers
I have to remind myself Summer is only a few months away.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five On Friday

I am joining fellow bloggers for Five On Friday this week.   A different group of bloggers taking five  minutes from their day to enjoy five things.  At the bottom of this post you will see who else is joining in this week. My post is very late on Friday this week because my work schedule is crazy busy but I didn't want to miss thinking about 5 things today.

Since we're in a deep freeze here in the Chicagoland area I decided to focus my Five On Friday on five things I love about Winter.  I could probably come up with at least 5 things I hate about winter but to get me through this time of the year I thought I'd focus on the positive.  Wintertime is a magical time of year, it's cold and snowy, sometimes brutal and cruel and yet can be beautiful and serene.  I thought the best way to face the harshness of winter is to embrace the positive!

What five things do I love about Winter?

The best part about winter is that it doesn't last forever.  When we are facing temperatures 15 degrees below zero we know that it's only for a little while.  We know that in a few short months the temperatures will be rising and the snow will be melting.  The promise of spring is always there.  In winter things go dormant, trees stand tall and brace themselves against the cold brutal winds.  They signify strength and the promise that better days lie ahead.  Soon the sun will shine warmly, their leaves will begin to bud and they will flourish.  I think that's a great metaphor for all of us when we are facing challenges in our lives.  We can look at a cold spindly wintertime tree and know that someday soon that tree will be full of life again. 

The cold harsh winters remind us of just how resilient we can be.  I can remember walking to school in the city as a little girl along with my two brothers.   We used to tease him and if he cried little ice crystals would form on his eyelashes.  Looking back now I think how cruel we were but we were just kids.  The fact is we never missed school on those days and our schools rarely closed.  Today the schools close all the time when we have sub zero temps or heavy snows.  I suppose it's a good thing but what is it teaching the next generation about commitment?  I made it to school every day in the cold and I grew up into an adult who doesn't miss work due to weather.  The newer generations are different.  I will admit however that there was nothing more exciting than a "snow day"!  It was so rare back then, today the kids expect it!
The first snow falls are beautiful.  Our worlds are covered in a blanket of pure white that glistens in the sunlight.  We know that the snow signifies the holidays are near and our worlds become a Christmas card.  I love that time of winter but after the holidays is the time when I start to hate the snow.  Then a big snowfall comes through and it's beautiful all over again.
After months of cold weather and snow my anticipation for Spring starts to happen.  Things slow down in the later part of winter.  I can't do much outside and so I start my spring planning.  I order some special seeds for the garden and start to make plans for what and where to plant.  I love to go into the stores and see the Valentine's day décor and spring gardening merchandise starts to pop up and the winter seems to get that much easier.  I start to anticipate the first signs of new life.  The snow puts everything to sleep and when it melts it nourishes the plant life waiting below the ground.  The first sign of spring bulbs popping through the ground is exciting and rejuvenating. 
The cold winter sends us all indoors for the season.  As I write this post the temperature outside is 5 degrees.  The wind is cold and chills you through to the bone but there is nothing more comforting than to come inside our warm house and snuggle under a blanket like a bear in a cave with a cup of hot chocolate.  What's comical is that in the spring all our neighbors start to come out of their homes and it's as if we haven't spoken for months.  It's just it's so darn cold during the winter that we run from our cars into the house.  I love it when the weather breaks and the neighbors kids come out to play. It's amazing to see how much they have grown in the winter.  It really is like we're all a bunch of hibernating bears coming out of our caves. 
I hope my Five on Friday helps you get through the winter if you're feeling the cold weather like we are here in the Chicagoland area!
I am joining in Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.  Please go and visit the other people who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.
Amy from Love Made My Home
Helen from Woollybluebells
Gina from Fan My Flame
Joanne from A Whole Plot of Love 
Rosie from Corners Of My Mind
Lil from House With Hearts 

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Frosty Start to 2015

It always amazes me how some Midwesterners react to the frosty temps.  I can never understand why the local media sends a frenzied message about the falling temperatures as if we've never experienced cold weather before.  I can certainly understand why a big freeze would cripple the likes of Texas, Georgia or Florida but come on people we live in a part of the country that experiences freezing temperatures every year somewhere between November and April.  Tonight on the way home from the office I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some milk.  They are predicting frigid temps and snow tonight anywhere between 3" - 6".  You would have thought the world was ending judging by the people climbing all over each other in the store.  The cars were all lined up in the parking lot, people everywhere stocking up for the arctic blast we're about to get.  Really?  3" is going to stop us from getting to the store that's an average of one mile from our homes?  It's crazy and happens every year.  Why do people act as if this will be the end of the world?  Mindboggling. 

Stop the presses, it's January in Chicagoland and we're going to be cold?!  Who knew, right?!  The news media will all freak out, people will drive as if it's a new concept to them, trains will be stuck on their tracks, busses will break down, schools will close because their furnaces break (yes, there is already a school in Chicago that just announced a school closing this evening) and before we know it the weather will break and next year at this time the same process will happen again. 

Forgive me for being sarcastic but I've lived in this area since I was 11 years old and every winter is the same.  So why do people get CRAZY when the weather drops?  I'll never figure it out and it is quite laughable.  Judging from the weather app on my phone Wednesday is the day to watch.  While I can laugh at the weather as I sit here in my warm home, I will say a little prayer for the people who have to work in the outdoors and an extra prayer for the homeless people and animals who have no shelter on these cold days and nights. 

All this weather ranting started because as I said I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some milk.   I had such a craving for a good cup of hot chocolate. I was going to skip the stop when I saw the mayhem in the parking lot but I decided to go for it anyway.  In the end, I'm glad I did.  It was worth the aggravation.

As the snow began to fall I took a look outside my window and saw our lovely tree covered in snow and gleaming with lights.  This tree was a castoff from a friend who owns a landscaping business.  He dug it out of a clients yard but didn't want to just throw it in the dump.  They called me to see if I wanted it and of course I said yes.  That was several years ago and it has since grown into a lovely little tree.   The look of it in the falling snow was magical and a nice way to close the holiday season. 
My son is home from school for the holidays and he came in the kitchen yesterday and said "Mom, I didn't leave the heat on in my apartment, do you think it will be okay?" Since the area where his school is will be below zero even before we factor in the wind chill I told him he should probably have left the heat on even at a low setting.  Luckily he is only an hour away from here and we decided to take the ride out to turn on the heat and drop off some of his stuff.  His school is in DeKalb, IL and there are some lovely little shops in the area.  The deal was I would  take a ride with him and then he would have to let me stop in at a couple of those shops.  I just love looking at the farms along the way. 
It was a successful trip for me because one of the shops is an Annie Sloan stockist.  I picked up a can to try as I have been hesitant because it's so expensive.  I can't wait to try it on a couple of pieces in my house.  I'm going to start small and see how I like it.  I've got some small projects I want to work on first.  Keeping my fingers crossed I'll like the outcome.  I might as well start some painting projects since we can't do much outside.  Uh oh, did I just admit that the cold weather is going to keep me inside?! Yes I did, I'm just as crazy as the rest of 'em!
Until next time,

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

I didn't have a tough time finding my word for 2015.  This year I decided on two words and a quote to base my 2015 year upon. I like the idea of focusing on words instead of big lists of resolutions.  I never ever keep my resolutions.  I have a much easier time focusing on a word(s) that encompass many things.  So here goes.  My words for 2015 are:

In 2014 I started my weight loss journey with weight watchers.  I was successful in taking off 30 pounds.  2015 will be my transformation year.  I plan to finish my weight loss goal and transform myself into living a healthier lifestyle. 
At the end of 2014 I was given a promotion to a new position at work.  This will definitely be a transformation for my work life. I've got so much to learn and many challenges ahead.  In 2015 I'm transforming my career.
Mr. Saylor and I have decided to start fixing up our home in preparation to sell.  We probably won't sell for a couple of years yet but I want to have it ready just in case the opportunity pops up.  We've lived in this house for ten years and have some larger projects to tackle.  Over the past year we've noticed our upstairs shower starting to break down.  We have a leak in the roof that is coming from around the chimney and we need to replace some of the tile on our floors.  We don't have an extra $20K to do all the projects at once so we'll be DIY'ing and transforming the rooms one at a time. 
My second word for 2015 is Laughter.  My transformation in so many areas of my life for 2015 will mean I need to keep my sense of humor.  Laughter always makes everything better so I think that if I can incorporate a lot of laughter into my transformations for 2015 it should make them easier to tackle and more successful. 
"Do small things with great love." —Mother Teresa
I think this quote sums up exactly how I want to attack my transformation and laughter goals for 2015.  If I break each goal, each thought, each action into a small step and do each thing with great love I will be successful and at the end of 2015 I can look back and be content with my accomplishments. 
"content" I see my 2016 word taking form?
Happy New Year.  My your 2015 be a successful year!