Color me Happy

1013304_968049943248254_1796943573890512076_nI’m so excited to see the early spring flowers blooming!! If you’ve followed me for long, you know I am no friend of Old Man Winter. Ice, sleet, snow, cold . . . not a fan. So when the crocus and daffodils start poking up through the ground, I start a happy dance. I have to say, it honestly does affect my mood. What could be cheerier than bright yellow daffodils smiling at you?

Today is gray and dreary, and the entire week promises to be cloudy and rainy. But the patches of yellow dotting my yard and the neighborhood remind me that it’s spring, and soon, there will be no need for jackets and socks. I can trade my boots for flip-flops and my jeans for capris. I say, Bring. It. On!!!

As I’m typing, I can see the magnolia buds swaying in the breeze, perhaps only a few days from bursting with color. Now that is an amazing sight. They are the first to explode around here – which also means they often get nipped. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen, that this early spring is the real thing. Color the landscape, and color me happy!

What is the first sign of spring in your area? Are you seeing it already?

Giddy Gratitude for my Garage

snow saabToday, both of my kids are likely to experience snow and/or freezing rain. Both have cars. Neither one has a garage. So I’m appreciating the little luxuries . . . like a garage.

When my husband and I first got married, we lived in an apartment complex. No garage or carport. When we moved to our first house, the one-car garage came with a heavy wooden door that I couldn’t lift — and no remote. My husband’s car was only a year old. Mine was probably 10. Guess who got the garage?

Living in the Midwest, that means I have had many years of experience in the miserable task of de-icing, scraping and clearing snow from one’s vehicle. I, unfortunately, am experienced in the qualities and pros and cons of a variety of scraping techniques and tools. For example, a long-handled scraper with brush on one side is, of course, essential for a small person who cannot reach the middle of the windshield without leaning into the snow and ice covering the hood of the car. For solid ice, I’ve found that a metal scraper is more effective than a hard plastic scraper. I know that the trash bag or cardboard windshield covering will only work if there is no wind. There were those years when I must’ve had four or five different scraping tools of various materials and quality rattling around in my car during the winter months. At the time there was no such thing as a heated scraper. The most newfangled, techie tool I ever had was a scraper sewn into a glove-like bag that was designed to help keep the working hand a little warmer.

I know the frustration of leaving work to find my car covered in ice or snow, adding many minutes to an already tedious commute. I know the agony of standing in the bitter cold attempting to open a car door so that I could start the car, hoping to pump a little warm air onto the windshield, only to find said door frozen shut. Oh, the misery that winter can bring!

So today while I’m feeling sorry for my kids, I’m feeling a giddy kind of gratitude for my garage. (A little adversity builds, character, right?!) It’s now been almost 25 years since I’ve had to park my car outside on a regular basis! Ah, the glee of waking on a snowy morning and not being faced with task of digging out. The blessing of driving down the street with a perfectly clear windshield and brake lights that can be seen, in a car that’s not spewing snow at others drivers!

In our current home, we have a two-car garage. And two cars. We also have a bunch of other junk in the garage – garden clippers, gas cans, rakes, shovels, bicycles, etc. It’s a tight squeeze. I have to warn guests getting into my car on the passenger side to be careful that they don’t end up with a hatchet in their head. But until I move to Palm Springs, any or all of these implements will be kicked to the curb before I give up my space in the garage. There’s no going back!!

Sending good wishes to everyone dealing with snow and ice this week. Stay safe!

Is your car sheltered? Any tips or tricks for clearing snow and ice?

Give me sun, not snow!

snowmanWell, it’s January, it’s freezing cold, there’s snow covering the yard, and I haven’t written about winter yet. I guess it’s time.

I hate winter. I seriously despise snow. I don’t like to be cold. The cold immobilizes me. All I want to do is curl up inside a blanket and stay warm. That’s not conducive to writing, to getting the housework or laundry done, or anything, except maybe reading. I like to read. But, somehow, it doesn’t work out for me to curl up and read all day on every cold day of the winter!

Sure, the snow can be pretty. I have indeed taken pictures of snow and ice glistening from trees, a bright red cardinal against the white wonderland, the buried patio furniture, etc. I know it’s great for sledding and skiing, fun activities for kids and adults. Yes, I have pictures to prove that I was a good mom – we built snowmen in the yard, and I took my kids to a local slope for this wintry exhilaration when they were young.

But I’ve also seen injuries occur from people shoveling snow and falling on slippery sidewalks. Last year two young adults died at two different universities (that I know of) from exposure on frigid winter nights. People die in car accidents on slick roads. Property ruined and lives ravaged. Because of snow and cold. That makes me sad. Of course there are dangers lurking everywhere, but winter adds another element of worry. Yesterday one of my kids flew through a snow storm in New York. Two days ago I drove to Ohio with the other one so that he could have his car at college — his first winter there with his car. Why did both of them end up in cold, snowy climates?! Those brochures from Florida schools and the University of Hawaii are looking awfully sweet right about now.

These days I find myself dreaming of a winter home in Palm Springs. I’m pinning and posting photos of summer on social media. Counting the weeks until spring break. Looking forward to warm temps and sunny days!

On a positive note, I had stocked the freezer/fridge this week in preparation for “Restaurant” week around here. We eat out a lot, and this week is actually a huge inconvenience. Too many people, long waits, “special” menus, etc. So, we’d planned to eat at home as much as possible. The timing is good. It’s bitterly cold, and I don’t want to leave the house! Hopefully, by the time Restaurant week is over, it will be warmer, and we can venture out again.

I’ve been typing for a while now. So my exposed fingers are chilled, and my cup of tea has turned tepid. Time for a warm-up. For the next couple of minutes my hands are going under the keyboard — thawing in the warmth of the computer!

Hope you all are staying warm and cozy. But if snow is your thing – enjoy! And stay safe!

So . . . snow. Love it or hate it?

 

 

 

 

Spring and summer will bloom again!

P1010686 P1010696 P1020186 P1030046 P1030050

P1030777Well, I’ve survived the first full week of January. Whew. Winter is half over. Yay, yay, yay. I really, seriously hate winter. The cold, the travel issues, the dirt and snow mess. Ugh. This morning there’s a light dusting of the white stuff on the driveway, and pretty much no chance of it melting today. Driveway on the north side of a house. Not a good idea.

But as I look out at the leafless trees and brown grass, I remind myself, that this, too, shall pass. It always does. And one of these days, the view will improve, and the yard will look like this again! 🙂

Stay warm and safe out there!