Sunday, March 31, 2013

an amazing message.

On this glorious Easter morning I wanted to pass along my testimony and knowledge of the life, sacrifice and resurrection of my Savior, Jesus Christ.  Here are two messages that convey it in words much better than I could.

He is Risen, a short video clip recounting some of the events written in the Gospels
He is Risen-Elder Eyring a brief written message by one of the modern day Twelve Apostles

No matter what you believe, I hope that you will find peace and solace this day in the beginnings of Spring, nature's rebirth, and feel a draw to become re-born yourselves in some small way, to be a little kinder or a little more hopeful, and spread good news to those around you where ever you may be.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

a good book (part 2)

Ooops, I just realized I completely skipped over book club this week!

We (appropriately and accidentally) ushered in Passover with a discussion on The Chosen, Judaism, father/son and family relationships, communication, the pluses and perils of small protected communities, religion, beliefs vs knowledge, and more.  It was a thought provoking read (and who knew there was a sequel?)

Up next month:
The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

What are you reading?

a good book.

I realize this post should have come at the beginning of the month but it's been stewing in my drafts folder for weeks, unforgotten until now.  So, apologies for tardiness but better late than never (and there should never really be a timeline for celebrating women, right?)

March is Women's History month so I've pulled a few of my favorite biographies (all picture book versions this time around) of women. Many of these are the unsung/relatively unknown variety which is one of the reasons I love picture book so much.  You can get a great glimpse of someone's life in just a few pages and be introduced to people and concepts you might never have discovered had they been buried within mass volumes or hundreds of pages. If you need a bit of inspiration or a new hero to admire, look no further than these tales of courage and strength.

Red Bird Sings

The story of an 1800s Native American renaissance woman who was caught between cultures and grew up to advocate for equal rights.

The Librarian of Basra

When war comes to Iraq, one librarian will stand against all odds to save the books in her care and use them to provide opportunities for other women and children in her community.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda

It's 1934 and Mrs. Harkness is on her way to explore China with her husband. When he passes away she is determined to carry on his expedition and bring back a rarely seen panda to inspire generations of wildlife conservationists.

The Daring Miss Quimby

Before Amelia Earhart there was Harriet Quimby, the first woman in the United States to earn her pilot's license.

Art From Her Heart

In the 1950s, artist Clementine Hunter wasn't allowed to attend her own art shows because of segregation laws.

Vinnie and Abraham

A teenage sculptor is given a commission to carve Lincoln's likeness after his assassination.  Her work still stands in the Capital rotunda.

Fearless: the Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith

Back when most women weren't even allowed to drive Louise threw caution to the wind and became the first female race car driver inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame.

Here are a few others, some familiar names and some lesser known:

Harlem's Little Blackbird (Florence Mills)
Ballet for Martha (Martha Graham)
Talkin' About Bessie (Bessie Coleman)
Sarah Emma Edmonds Was a Great Pretender (Sarah Emma Edmonds)
Bon Appetit! (Julia Child)
Ballots For Belva (Belva Lockwood)
Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? (Elizabeth Blackwell)
Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World (various)
Lives of Extraordinary Women (various)
Women Daredevils (various)
Women Explorers (various)

Who are some of your favorite female characters throughout history?  Who should I discover next?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

coming to a realization.

My life has not always gone the way I’d imagined. I’m a fairly old-fashioned person and while I have a subtle feminist streak in some regards, most of me would be perfectly content to live a 1950s ideal as a stay-at-home mom ala Leave It To Beaver (string of pearls optional.) And yet here I am, nearing 40 and still single. I’ve had to re-imagine my life many times over and while I’ve never been able to get things quite right I’ve had some great adventures along the way. However, that hasn’t stopped me from wishing for that ‘perfect’ relationship and the opportunities for motherhood.

Some days I’m okay with my singlehood and can power through basking in my never having to share my closet and being able to pee without an audience. Some days I’d give anything just to have someone want to take me on a date. And some days I feel like I don’t care who or how but, darnit, I just really want to make out!
And so, against my better judgement, I started online dating. There’s something safe in the pseudo-anonymity of putting things out in the electric ether. (Just ask the billions who share their every move, mood and meltdown on Facebook and Twitter every second.) Plus, there's the hope that the tiny matchmaking fairies who live in the dating database will be able to screen out the bulk of the crazies and use all the information you spent hours filling out to find your perfect match (or at least someone worth going to dinner with!) *sigh* and alas. Not so!  

And that is why I spent 2 hours fighting off, well, let's call him Handy McGroperson*, a guy who had seemed nice enough through the safe distance of cyber space and phone waves. (And yes, I'm ashamed to admit that it took me 2 hours to finally finish it.) We'd had quite a few email interactions and a couple of nice phone chats before deciding to meet for drinks (freshly squeezed oj, in my world.) So, I drove into town (something I hate to do), circled frantically looking for a parking space (which is why I hate to drive!) before I finally made my way into a garage only to be told that they were closing in 20 minutes so I'd have to find another one. Garage two was $15 an hour (again, why I hate driving!) but I was already half an hour late so I handed my keys to the valet guy and took off.  I should have recognized this whole messy process as a sign from the gods, but I'm not very observant sometimes.  Oh, and did I mention it was raining?

Well, after the apologies and waiting while I bought my drink (yep, he didn't even offer!) he lead me down the street to a hotel lobby where he figured we'd have a better chance to get comfortable. The conversation started out nice enough though after the preliminary "tell me about yourself" he wasn't too interested in anything other than existential gobbeldy gook and "seizing the moment" (both fine and good if you know a bit more about a person than their jobs and where they're from!) And then out of nowhere he lunges at my face saying "I've never kissed a Mormon" (when one is from Utah that inevitably gets brought up) while I'm forced to do a back bend to get out of his way and put a hand up to chest telling him "and you're not going to tonight!" He laughed and said he had to take the chance and I figured we were good, but then his hands were in my lap, on my waist, caressing my arm while I'm sitting as far away from him as I can, moving his hands myself and telling him he's going to have to find somewhere else to put them. He'd stop for a bit and we'd chat a bit longer before the process started all over again.  Seriously, it was the most exhausting couple of hours I'd ever spent.

Finally I just stood up and told him I had to get home but it was good to meet him (and cross him off the list....this was just said in my head, of course, I'm obviously too nice!) He asked for a kiss goodbye and I flat out told him 'no' but gave him a conciliatory pat on the arm as I started walking away.  "We'll be in touch," he called. "Sure," I responded, not even turning around.  "We've got each others' numbers!" "Oh, I've got your number, alright!" (This I did say out loud, but under my breath as I raised a hand in triumphant farewell.)

As I collected my keys and my wits I shook my head in disgust at myself and the state of the world in general. Tallies for the evening: Time wasted, 3 hours; parking, $30; orange juice, $8; a moment of realization, priceless!

Conclusion: sometimes I'd just rather be single!

*names have been changed to reflect true character  protect the guilty!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a day wandering the town.

I don't know about the rest of you but I've got Spring fever. And the weather these days just isn't cooperating. In an effort to pretend that I'm not going stir crazy and channeling my inner Jack Nicholson I've forced myself to leave my cocoon of blankets, hot water bottles and peppermint tea and get out on the town.

Stop one was the Kennedy Center for their Nordic Cool festival highlighting various arts and performances from Scandinavia.
an art installation using hundreds of shirts to form the hull of a ship  
simulation of the Northern Lights 
 Then there was a trip to the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria for some information on the Masons, and some fabulous views from the top of the tower.

And this past weekend I spent the better part of an afternoon wandering through the Mansion on O Street.  Five row houses joined together through a series of cobbled together passages, stairways and hidden doors, it is a truly strange place. The owners are affiliated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame somehow and use the Mansion as a sort of artist's retreat/school though it's also open for tours, treasure hunts, brunch, and more. There's live music (often a drag show) and various events throughout the year.  Everything that decorates the building has been donated and is for sale. It's a wild mish mosh of antiques and collectibles and junk, sort of like a ginormous yard sale. 

I read about it in this book and thought it sounded like such a fun and crazy place, I was sure it had been made up.  But no! If you've got a few hours to kill, I highly recommend a visit.

yes, that's John Lennon's face---projected on the bathroom floor!

1 of 20+ hidden doorways connecting the units, we sort of felt like Nancy Drew! Great fun! (plus, they don't tell you where they are so you have to discover them all for yourselves.  We found 6 or 7)
just a tiny sample of some of the stuff for sale/decor   
And finally we stopped in for a quick tour of the headquarters of The Society of the Cincinnati a few blocks over. The oldest patriotic organization in the country, it's a hereditary society committed to promoting the education of and appreciation for the nation's struggle for independence. One of the original founding families bequeathed their home which is now used for events and contains vast collections of art and decor from around the world.  It was quite the contrast to the yard sale decor we saw on O Street!
What have you been doing to keep busy? Or should we send out the snowplows?!

Monday, March 25, 2013

a winter wonderland.

This morning I woke up to this view.

Granted, it would have made me a lot happier had this come in oh, January.  Or if it had been 75 degrees and a day off.  But still, there's something magical about a pristine snowfall and the potential perfection of the day to come.

How was your Monday?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a good book.

The Lions of Little Rock
Author: Kristin Levine
Pages: 298
Age Range: 9-12
Published: 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Cover Score: ***  (the image on the left isn't the same as the cover I had, but I like this one even less, it's far too generic)
Overall Score: *****
Rating: PG (violence, intense situations)

Marlee's world is changing. Her older brother is off to college, her sister is being shipped off to their grandmother's because the high schools are all closed in protest of integration and she's not sure she’ll be able to handle things on her own. She's basically a selective mute speaking only to her family (mostly her sister) and providing one word answers at school when forced. And then Elizabeth shows up. Liz has a way of pulling the words out of Marlee and making her do things she never thought possible. But when it's discovered that Liz is actually a light-skinned Negro their friendship becomes forbidden. Their world is volatile and the racial tensions in the city are real and life threatening.

When Liz goes back to her school she enlists Marlee to help her learn to be quiet and ignore the comments and slams she receives. The girls sneak around in an effort to see each other and call each other on the phone using fake names. Their efforts lead to more and more trouble until it escalates into an older white boy’s violent actions against Liz’s family and neighbors. But the girls won’t be deterred.

Listening to the lions in the nearby Little Rock zoo roar each night Marlee bolsters her courage (much as the lion in the Wizard of Oz, a movie the girls see together, does as well.) She decides to do what she can to keep the first friend she’s ever had.

Marlee and Liz deal with realistic portrayals of racism, ignorance and bigotry even from members of their own families. There’s a lot of history here with some background information on the NAACP, Emmitt Till, John Carter, the KKK, the Little Rock Nine, lynchings, bombings and more. There’s enough info given to explain the gravity of the situation without dwelling on it all, as befits the target audience.

Marlee is a fantastic character with a great voice and insight into the people around her. Because so much of her dialogue (at least at the beginning of the book) is internal we see her growth and evolution in a very direct way through her thoughts but also the words she chooses to say aloud and those she chooses to say them to.

Here’s a sampling:
You see, to me, people are like things you drink. Some are like a pot of black coffee, no cream, no sugar. They make me so nervous I start to tremble. Others calm me down enough that I can sort through the words in my head and find something to say.

My brother, David, is a glass of sweet iced tea on a hot summer day, when you’ve put your feet up in a hammock and haven’t got a care in the world… (pg 5)

Each new person she comes to interact with is labeled in this way; bubbly sodas, wholesome milk, shots of whiskey. Eventually it all leads to this conclusion near the end of the book:

Summing people up as a cola or a coffee wasn’t really fair. Most people were a whole refrigerator full of different drinks. Trying to force them into one cup or one glass meant I never really got to know them. (pg 271)

Not only does little Marlee find her voice but through her influence the people around her find their voices as well and slowly change begins to come. This is a quietly powerful fictionalization of 'the lost year,' 1958 (the year following the events of the Little Rock Nine) and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in history, the Civil Rights movement, equality or just plain great stories.

Monday, March 18, 2013

new music.

Lest you think only 2 friends bellied up in the latest swap I wanted to share my favorite (for now) tunes from the additional 3 mixes I've received the last few weeks.

Two are a bit bluesy though in completely different ways. First up:

This isn't the best quality and it doesn't sound quite as earthy as the version I got but you get the idea.

Have I mentioned that banjos make me swoon? And his voice doesn't really help that condition. I pretty much have to sit down when I listen to this.

And finally, this guy. He's shown up before and my dear friend K has sung his praises profusely. I've loved this song since the moment I first heard it but as is my pathetic habit these days I didn't bother to see what else he's done. (My ADD tendencies don't cooperate with this new musical technology of having so many choices in so many places. I tend to flit from song to song rather than absorbing an album or artist like I used to.)  Lesson learned. I love him. The end.

Can't wait to see what our June swap brings!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

a fun list.

3.14 Reasons to be happy you got up today!

1-To watch this video:

In honor of the Irish flavored holiday celebration coming up later this week.

2-To watch this video:

2.14-Followed by this news:
It's a go!    Because it's Veronica Mars. And Logan Echolls.  Does it really get any better than that?! (The correct answer here is: no!)

3.14-Happy Pi(e) Day!!

Thanks to various and sundry friends on the interwebs for sharing the above news and links and for sharing my love of pie.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

the best news.

I became an aunt for the third time over earlier this week. I have a 3 year-old nephew and a 2 year-old nephew (thanks to two different brothers and their incredible wives) who have added light and life to our family. And now we've added a beautiful niece to the mix and I am overjoyed.

It amazes me how fiercely I can love these little beings who share really only the smallest part of my blood and soul, who live thousands of miles away and who I only get to see maybe twice a year. And it amazes me how fiercely they can love me back!

I want to protect them and shelter them from all of the horrible things that they'll undoubtedly face as they grow up in this ever-changing and often cruel world. But I long to share with them and introduce them to so many of the fabulous things that this same world has to offer.  To watch them learn and discover the things around them, who they are and what they are capable of as they grow into their own. I want to cheer them on as they succeed and wipe their tears when they fall, to assure them that while life is hard it's also very, very good.

I want to share late night movies and treats their parents have forbidden them to eat. To sneak them away for day trips and date nights. To be the voice of reason when they have that teenage-induced loss of respect for their parents.

And, nothing against the boys, but I want to buy dresses and pink and play dress-up and tea party. Thanks, baby P for bringing me a little bit closer to that dream!

Welcome to our family, baby girl. And welcome to the world!

Monday, March 11, 2013

being existential.

I've tried several times to take up yoga. I've checked books and DVDs out of the library and done my darndest to twist and pretzel myself into various poses while trying to simultaneously pause the video or prop open the page in an effort to get it right and find my zen. All to no avail.

But several of my doctors have 'prescribed' it as a means of improving my sleep and posture, lowering stress and increasing my overall well-being so I decided I needed to give it another go.  This time I sucked it up and paid money for a class. An early class before work no less. So, now I get to pretend to balance and bend and breathe (BREATHE!) at an unearthly hour in the company of well-practiced strangers.  But you know what? I kind of love it.

I've never been particularly strong or graceful. I had to drop out of gymnastics at the age of 5 because I wasn't flexible enough to do the moves. No lie. And I'm not the most coordinated soul around. So, all of this slow moving inhaling, exhaling, rotating to find equilibrium is a challenge, especially in my no-longer-five-year-old body. But if it's done only one thing it's made me more aware of where I am and what I'm doing at a given moment.

I notice when I'm holding my breath and make myself breathe more deeply. I notice when I've tensed my muscles and make myself relax. And sometimes I just notice when I'm in desperate need of a pedicure and make myself re-focus! But most of all I notice when I'm not noticing (which happens a lot) and I'm learning to slow down, relax and just be.

Have you ever done yoga? Anyone ever given the hot yoga a try? What are other methods of centering and relaxation I should add to my regimen?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

new music!

It's that time of year again. Time to whip out the blank CDs and favorite tunes and make some playlists for our music swap. We've recruited a few more contributors this time around so I'm looking forward to getting 5 different mixes in the mail over the next few weeks.

March tends to be the ushering in of springtime and a change in scenery for me both physically and emotionally. February drags on and on and by the end the winter blues and ennui have settled in pretty deep. But once March is underway I've shaken the cobwebs from my brain, kicked up my heels and am ready to throw open the windows and let the sunshine in. This list isn't quite the perfect representation of that transformation but it comes as close as I could get while sticking to the song/time limit parameter. Here's what I sent:

1. Winter in My Heart        The Avett Brothers
2. A Hazy Shade of Winter        Simon and Garfunkel
3. Why Does It Always Rain on Me?        Travis
4. Stop This World        Diana Krall
5. Into the Ocean        Blue October
6. Hunted by Ghosts        The Local Strangers
7. Up the Road        Blackberry Smoke
8. Cold Wind        Among Savages
9. Boston        Augustana
10. Things Will Change        Treetop Flyers
11. Here Comes the Sun        The Beatles
And of the two I've gotten in the mail so far these are the tracks that I just can't stop listening to!

This tune is one I came across a couple of months ago in some of my musical wanderings but then had failed to write down what it was and where I found it.  I was so tickled that it crossed my path again! Musical fate, it's a magical thing!

And this one just sort of gets in your brain and doesn't let go!

What's featuring in the soundtrack of your life lately?

Friday, March 8, 2013

a good book.

Gravediggers: Mountain of Bones
Author: Christopher Krovatin
Pages: 323
Age Range: 10-14
Published: 2012
Genre: Sci-fi/Horror
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ***
Rating: PG

Beware of the zombie apocalypse! Zombies are taking over the world and a tiny part of me is content to be along for the ride. I think my real foray into the genre started when I read The Forest of Hands and Teeth when it first came out a few years ago. (Though I may or may not have participated in a few late night viewings of The Evil Dead movies in college.) I saw this movie a couple of weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it (though it's obviously not your traditional zombie tale.) And I'm more than a little excited to watch Brad Pitt take on the masses in this movie this summer. But I'm not a giant fan of gore so I much prefer to read about the undead than to watch them writhe and stumble about on screen.

Kids of course want to jump on the bandwagon of whatever trend happens to be enticing their older brothers and sisters but there are very few true paranormal and quality (sorry RL Stine) horror books for middle readers (and obviously even less for the young crowd.)  So I was thrilled to come across this book in our library's new orders recently.

A school group is headed to the wilds of Montana for their Homeroom Earth experience, learning all about wilderness and survival. Little do they know that in a few short hours they'll be literally running for their lives.

Three of the kids are lured into the forest following a huge buck and are soon lost. At first they don't panic. Kendra, the brain, has a map and compass and knows she can figure out a way back. PJ has a backpack full of food and other supplies thanks to his paranoid parents while Ian has more than enough confidence for the three of them. But the woods hold a deadly secret. Groups of campers and wanderers have been disappearing for years. Last year's Homeroom Earth was cancelled because the Pine City Dancers vanished the year before...or so the urban legend says.

First they hear noises, then the compass stops working and then there's the feeling of being watched. They seek shelter in an abandoned cabin only to find that the basement is filled with bones and a diary belonging to one of the lost dancers. It's no legend after all and their paranoia in the woods wasn't their imagination. The forest is 'alive' with the un-dead!

Things get even stranger when they run into an old woman who claims to be the Warden set to protect the land and keep the zombies in check but the kids have unwittingly broken her charms and she can no longer do it alone. They band together to survive and protect the rest of their friends who are still at camp and oblivious.  There is a satisfying, and age appropriately positive ending but we also have the kids being marked as 'gravediggers', zombie killers who help keep the balance but were disbanded years ago, which foreshadows the promise of a sequel.

This is exactly the kind of book that would have had me reading under the covers with a flashlight as a kid.  And the the kind of book that would have had me sleeping with that flashlight for the next week in an effort to keep the nightmares at bay. It's creepy and atmospheric. There's gore (I mean there is rotting flesh and walking dead and all) but it's not too over the top and while there's a good deal of peril there's not much in the way of actual violence so you can feel pretty comfortable in handing it off to most kids.

Looking for more kid-friendly zombie fare?  Try ZombiekinsZombie in Love, or Paranorman.  Have a slightly older crowd? Give Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,  Rot and Ruin  or  I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It a go. (I can't vouch for the quality of these last two as I haven't read them myself, but they are on my TBR list so if anyone else has read them let me know if I should bump them up to the top!)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

dispelled loneliness.

One of the perks of not being able to sleep (if it can be thought of as a perk) is that you get the house, and often the world, to yourself at odd hours of the night. A few nights ago I was up wandering around 3 am or so, reheating a heat pack and making me some chamomile tea. The house was silent aside from the sounds of settling that seem to happen only when it thinks no one is listening. There was a hint of horizontal light peeking through the blinds from the streetlamps out front and the odd glow of an alarm clock and charging laptop, enough to light my way downstairs without having to turn on an overhead light.

As I was waiting for my water to heat I looked out the back window and realized I wasn't alone. Across the bridle path and through the trees I could see not one, not two but three windows illuminated in the darkness. I wondered at the circumstances behind the too-early-morning shine. Did my neighbors have jobs that forced them to be up at this hour? Were there new babies in the house that needed feeding or comforting? Perhaps they'd received bad news, a late night phone call that forced all sleep from them? Or, like me, did they simply have nights when sleep, no matter how welcome and wished for, wouldn't come?

I leaned my forehead against the cool pane and let the steam from my mug fog the glass as one by one the lights winked out and I was alone again with the night. Misery, no matter how brief, loves company and it was a comfort to share my insomnia with strangers. And with that feeling of unknown of alliance and companionship I headed back upstairs to cuddle under the blankets and drift off to sleep.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

a good book.

Bloom: Finding Beauty in the Unexpected
Author: Kelle Hampton
Pages: 278
Age Range: adult
Published: 2012
Genre: non-fiction, memoir
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
Rating: PG-13 (some language)

Ms. Hampton writes her story of dealing with the first year of her daughter's life. After years of waiting for marriage and a family she's finally living her ultimate dream. Her first daughter, Lainey, is a darling two-year-old blond and mom has so many plans for the girls when she finds out a younger sister is on the way. Late night giggling, boy talk, weddings, all of the things Kelle had shared with her own sister. But at delivery, she knows instantly that something isn't right and is devastated to learn that little Nella has Down syndrome.

What unfolds is a journey through the ups and downs of new motherhood, for though she already has a child she is navigating all new waters and circumstances complete with blood tests, therapy, additional health risks, support groups, conventions, awareness, hormones, and so much more.

She talks about her dreams of a white picket fence and all that went with it and having to re-imagine her future and dreams when that fence was leveled. She finally came to the realization that her fence, when it was re-built, was multi-colored, brightly painted and far more joyous and amazing than her plain old white one had ever been.

I'm impressed with her give 'em hell/kick ass attitude. She felt pain and ran the gamut of emotions from guilt to sorrow to fear to doubt and everything in between and she allowed herself to feel all of them, But she didn't dwell. She basically decided it was up to her to create a new life, a mosaic with the shattered pieces she'd been left with.

I can't relate to her circumstances but I found myself relating very strongly to nearly all of her emotions. We've all had dreams go up in smoke, been devastated by an outcome that was different than one we'd planned, been afraid of the unknown and what the future might hold and felt frustrated and helpless when faced with things outside of our control.

I think this quote nicely sums up the overarching theme of the book:

Pain has a way of pulling you forward to a surprising place of "I didn't know I had it in me," and while you think there is no way you will ever make it through in the beginning, you do. pg 237

This was one of those books I hadn't planned on reading. As I walked past the new books shelf at the library the other day it practically jumped off the shelf and into my hands. (I have a huge testimony of this phenomenon but have yet to give it a name...suggestions?!) I firmly believe it was what I needed to read this week. I cried through most of it and ached for her. And I ached for myself almost as much. My life has not turned out the way I had planned and hoped. I'm struggling to come to terms with this new reality and realize the potential of the pieces I've been given, to figure out how to win the game I didn't plan on playing. I'm hoping to take a piece of her attitude and determination, put it in my pocket and carve a place for it in my heart so I can learn to face my challenges with the same courage she's used to face hers.

She opened with this quote by Mary Oliver:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

I think I will be taking this on as a personal mantra.

I highly recommend this inspirational read to mothers and women in particular but really to anyone who is going through challenges of any kind. You'll be touched by her story, I promise.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

a hint of spring.

I spent a good part of my day in Philadelphia today viewing the famous flower show exhibition.  Not only was it a much needed respite from the grind of daily life (it's amazing what a change of scenery will do) but it was refreshing to be surrounded by works of art incorporating the smells and textures of countless blooms. The air outside was brisk but inside spring had sprung.

This year's theme was "Brilliant" and everything tied in somehow to Great Britain. The Beatles featured prominently, the royal family made a few appearances, and floral literary figures abounded.  (The lighting in the building was horrendous, btw so the photos aren't great. Sorry!)

Jane Austen's front door
The green/White Rabbit 
The Dowager Countess of Grantham
one of the beautiful blooms
the entrance gate
Underground pep talks
Big Ben
We sandwiched our visit in between trips to Reading Terminal Market for breakfast pretzels, mile high sandwiches and Amish baked goods. It was a great escape and fed my spring fever.

And on top of that I came home to find this fabulous surprise waiting for me in my stack of mail.
In case you can't tell, that is a USB disguised as a cassette tape and it contains my first mix in this round of long distance music swaps. Is that not the cutest thing you've ever seen? It made my fantastic day even more amazing! Thanks, M! Can't wait to listen to the tunes!

March is already better than February and it's only 2 days in. Bring it!