Tea On Tuesday

a few thoughts while I drink my tea…

::  I didn’t wake up this morning until 8:30 a.m.  I’m usually up around 6:00 a.m. but somehow I slept in this morning.  We had a very busy weekend so maybe I’m catching up on my sleep.  For the first time in weeks, I feel refreshed + focused.

::  It’s wet & overcast gray here today.  The temps are about what I’d expect for Spring– in the 60s.  Tomorrow’s weather prediction is for sunshine, but today I’m sitting inside the house in semi darkness while enjoying the sound of spring rain tapping on the windows.  Peaceful.

::  Looking outside I’m reminded of how most of my days looked when I was studying at the University of Exeter in Devon, England.  Lush + green + ever so gray.  There was something wonderful & reckless about the flora around that university.  Beautiful, really.

::  I made myself a pot of tea this morning.  I’m usually a coffee in the morning girl.  But once in a while when the weather gets a certain way, I pull my little blue teapot off the shelf and make myself a proper cuppa reminiscent of my adventures in the UK.  With milk + sugar, of course.

::  I have nothing planned for this week.  Not. one. thing.  Even for me, an introvert who likes to spend hours on end by myself, that’s unusual.  If the past is any clue about how this week will go, I’ll be writing & reading & researching my hours away.  There are worse ways to spend your time.

Pretty Flowers, Itchy Eyes

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I’m feeling tired this week.

No energy for writing posts– or doing much of anything else.

While I admit that it is pretty outside now, there’s too much pollen in the air for my liking.

My eyes itch.  My sinuses hurt.  And I’m grumpy.

So I’ll be taking some allergy meds to manage my symptoms and lying low for the next week or two.

Take care everyone.  See ‘ya later.

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It Was Quite An Experience, But The Results Are Wonderful

Here’s a photo update of our landscape project that I named, The Big Dig.  Simply put: late last summer & early fall we had a portion of our wooded backyard transformed into a terraced sitting area.  This project was messy + stressful + expensive.

[Want to know more about The Big Dig?  For a bit of background information, start here: Talking Dirt.  For photos and explanation of the process, go here: We’re Investing In Dirt.  Then here: A Garden Wall Worthy Of Fred & Wilma.  And then finally, here: We Have A Backyard.]

Because the weather last fall was so wet and ridiculous, the landscapers were never able to completely finish the project.  So last week they returned for 3 days to finish edging and mulching around The Big Dig.  And, damn, does it look wonderful.

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{ view from deck }

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{ steps from the deck to the yard }

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{ new backyard area under trees }

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{ standing in new backyard area looking over toward terraced area }

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{ standing in the yard looking at the new terraced area }

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{ signs of things to come }

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‘Tis A Gift To Be Mellow

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Last night our midwestern sunset was unique.

Purple and pink and fuchsia filled the sky.  Those bold colors made a perfect backdrop behind the dark brown tree trunks and leafless branches.  Looking out my kitchen window the jumble of trees and color seemed like one unified whole.

The view was more like a watercolor painting than a glimpse into my mundane backyard.

February has been comfortable this year.  The temperatures have been in the 50’s instead of the 20’s.  The sun has shone more days than not.  Snowfall has been negligible.

As a result of this unusual weather, I find myself much more light-hearted than I usually am at this time of year.  More hopeful.  More focused on dreams and plans and doing.

It’s a gift, this winter of mellowness.  A gift that is difficult to ignore.

Pieces Of Winter

~  We awakened to snow this morning.  Just a dusting.  Falling softly, no malicious intent.  Unlike last year when we had 30″ of snow by February, today’s snowfall brings our yearly total to just under three inches.  I can live happily– angst-free during a winter like the one we’re having this year.  Hallelujah!

~  I read Leo Babauta’s book, The Power of LESS, while on vacation.  It’s a fast read that I recommend to anyone who is trying to figure out how to live a simpler, more meaningful life.  After reading the book I made a few notes and began contemplating my life.  Consequently, this week I’ve decided what I value, what I love, what my goals are.  I can live happily– focused on what means the most to me.  Yes!

~  We finished the puzzle.  Even though it had 1000 pieces it went together quickly.  With that many pieces I thought that we’d be fussing with it until March.  But it turned out to be easy-peasy mac & cheesy.  I can live happily– satisfied with something going better than planned.  Yeah!

~  I sent away for some business cards for this blog!  I’ve always wanted to share my blog with people in real life– not depending on them to scribble down this blog’s name & address on a scrap of paper.  This will allow me to easily and smoothly introduce people to The Spectacled Bean.  I can live happily– contented with the knowledge that I’m doing my best to promote this sweet little bloggy.  Ever onward!

I’m Dreaming Of A Gray Christmas

random thoughts on a very dreary December morning… 

~ We decorated the outside of our house this year.  We don’t always do that, but this year we decided to put some lights on the bushes out front, a few wreaths on a few windows, and one long strand of lights wrapped around the deck railing out back.  So far the decorations are surviving our record-breaking rainy weather without any prob.  They’re all on pre-set timers, so they know what to do and when to do it.  Wetness be damned.

~ After we decorated the outside of the house, we decided to put up a Christmas tree in our TV room.  We don’t always do this every year either.  Naturally the old lights that we had weren’t working, so Z-D drove over to Lowe’s and then Home Depot to buy a total of four boxes of the same GE multicolored lights to put on the tree.  All of our ornaments from past years were in good shape, so we used them without buying anything new.  The tree is pretty and colorful– the perfect antithesis to the bleak weather outside.

~ Most people who know me know that I’m not a fan of the holiday season.  I tolerate it with gritted teeth and a quiet grace.  I dislike the phoniness of it all.  Too many people telling me too many ways in which they’re overwhelmed– by decisions that they freely made.  Commitments they accepted for reasons they can’t explain, but will whine endlessly about fulfilling.  To me, it seems like a time of faux friendship and forced frivolity.  Not centering and joyful at all.

~ Zen-Den may be taking some vacation days at the end of the month.  This will depend upon whether problems develop at work.  We’ve made no formal plans to go anywhere, so if he does take the days off I think that we’ll be taking a staycation.  Lunches out at some upscale restaurants that we like;  a visit to the zoo to see the lights;  a few rounds at our fav English pub.  Nothing elaborate, just doing some fun things– because we want to.

[Hello FTC!  As you may recall, I do not accept money or any other sort of graft for writing about any product.  So you need not worry yourself about anything nefarious happening here on my sweet little bloggy.   I like what I like– and I write about it because I want to write about it.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just my opinion.]