Notes From the Road

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There’s always a camera on the passenger seat during my road trips and it isn’t uncommon for me to circle back to snap a quick picture of something along the way.

This isn’t a problem in town as there’s almost always somewhere to park. It’s a little more challenging in rural areas, especially along state routes and other busy highways. I can’t tell you how many pictures I’ve missed simply because there’s no safe way to get off the road.

The other problem is that the best angle frequently isn’t from the road. But venturing onto private property isn’t an option so I just make do with available circumstances. Case in point: the above barn picture. It sits at the intersection of a state route and a country lane. I was able to pull off the berm of that country lane and grab this picture but I was dying to see it from another angle. Especially after catching a glimpse of this truck.

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Look at the patina on that truck! I was dying to see the headlights and grill but they faced away from the road and I didn’t want to go knock on the door and ask to take pictures. If I were a more serious photographer or if I had more time that day, maybe.

But that’s ok because the barn and the truck are pretty great anyway. And I can use my imagination for the rest.

My Guide To Surviving Winter

It’s still fall but we are flirting with winter weather here in southern Ohio. Please don’t stop reading when I say this but winter makes my heart happy.

Here’s why.

Winter feels like Nature’s way of telling me to slow down, to rest and to appreciate the small joys of my home. I’ve been unwittingly practicing the Norwegian art of Hygge for years!

For the other three seasons, if the weather is tolerable I feel compelled to be active from dawn to dusk. Whether it be on a hike or an adventure or just an errand, it feels like time spent at home could be better used.

Since the time change, I’ve begun to nest here in my house on the ridge. It started as decluttering, finally taking cardboard and plastic to recycling and then taking quick glances around each room for unneeded things.

The next thing I knew, each kitchen cabinet was being emptied and boxes and bags filled up to give away. Coats for a drive at work, tops my mother might like, dvds and a big meat cleaver for my dad (it seemed a bit much for the vegetable eater here)

Now attention has turned to making things cozy. First I dropped new wax melts into all my scent burners. Winter means a mix of cinnamon, citrus and pine. Then I began putting out heavier throws for winter couch cuddling and the flannel sheets were washed and put on the bed.

Winter means more movies on the couch and books in bed so I’ve begun a new stack of books I really want to read this winter. I also pulled out some new jigsaw puzzles. There’s nothing better than sitting by the window on a snowy day to work on a puzzle. Although Scout likely won’t allow this to happen this year. Kittens have other uses for small items like puzzle pieces.

There will still be adventures on weekends when weather permits. There’s nothing better than a fast hike in the cold unless it’s a slow hike in the snow where you can look for animal tracks and enjoy the shimmering beauty of a world blanketed in snow.

There will be more time spent in local antique malls. Winter is when I allow myself to shop for records so I’ll rush home to clean and listen to my treasures. Maybe this is the year I’ll find that mid century console record player I’ve been looking for. It has to work and has to have great mid century lines. I’ll find the one someday.

This winter I’m planning a jaunt to Cincinnati to the Freedom Center and maybe another to Dayton for the Packard Museum. There are some terrific antique malls in both cities as well as other museums to make me wonder if I shouldn’t make these overnights rather than a quick out and back. I will appreciate these adventures more because they will be less common and will prevent cabin fever from setting in.

While there will still be adventures this winter, the focus will be at home. I want to find a vegan hot chocolate recipe and work on some soups. I want to curl up with my cat to watch a movie or catch up on my magazine reading. I want to take hot baths and listen to food music.

For me, winter is about being cozy and making things beautiful. Since I live in the country, it’s also about making do and being happy with what you have, an exercise in gratitude if I’ve ever heard of one.

I am grateful for this period of rest and quiet. It’s what I need to recharge from months of busyness and to prepare me for months more of adventure and exploration.

So while everyone is miserable because of the cold, snow and dark, I will be as happy as if it were 75 degrees and sunny. And I think that’s petty cool.

Scout and the Art of Compromise

Scout and I are working on our relationship.

He likes to chew on artificial pine, climb to the highest point in any room and knock off of every surface anything not nailed down. I like going home to find things where I left them and love the idea of not having a cat that swings from light fixtures like a little monkey.

So we’re going to compromise. We’ll do things his way.

For real guys, there is no compromise with a cat, especially an eight month old kitten with the playfulness of a baby and the strength of a small tiger.

He’s my little panther.

I lost him the other night. Searched the entire house until making it to the laundry room where I heard a faint jingle. And then up popped his little head!

Like a jack–in-the-box!

He’s cute, right? Of course, I didn’t think he was so cute the previous night when he was knocking vintage items off the top of my kitchen cabinets like a little maniac.

But he is a cat and cats weren’t designed to be down low. They are tiny little killing machines meant to climb high, hide stealthily, sharpen their claws and do as they please.

So instead of trying to stop what I call bad behavior, the new goal is to provide alternate opportunities.

Can you tell I work in marketing? I’m pretty good with a positive spin if you give me a minute to think it through.

So he wants to be up high? I’ve made the top of the linen closet comfortable for him. It’s the highest structure in the bathroom so he can survey his kingdom any time he likes.

If I’m foolish enough to leave a remote control or book on the coffee table, there’s no reason to believe it will be there when I come home. That’s just silly on my part as it is a cat’s duty to knock these things on the floor.

Those top shelf red containers in the laundry room will never have anything inside then because they provide a comfortable, warm and high place for a catnap and this seems to prevent him from trying to wiggle into an old wardrobe in that room or from climbing onto the clean towels in the linen closet. If he wants to roll around in my dirty clothes basket, who am I to argue? He’s not hurting anything.

However, we do have real and serious issues. For example, he chews on and tries to eat every bit of artificial pine in the house and most of the silk vines and flowers. All along, I’ve been scheming to design a Christmas tree situation that he can’t destroy but there’s little I can do about him trying to eat something he cannot digest.

Goodbye Christmas tree! Maybe we can revisit this next year…..

Anyway, the compromising seems to be going well. As long as Scout continues to get everything he wants, we should be fine!

Have a cat story to share? I would love to hear! Have you ever tried giving them a pot of fresh grass to distract them from eating artificial pine? This is my last resort.

The Right Place at the Right Time

Occasionally, you find yourself standing in exactly the right place at precisely the right moment and with a camera in your hand.

That’s what happened to me the day I made this picture which I happen to really like.

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The picture was made at Wright Patterson Air Force Base the day I visited with my dad to see the Memphis Belle. Torrential rain had really dampened most of the planned outdoor activities but a few hearty souls were out with their planes, Jeeps and food trucks between showers.

I wanted to see the bombers but dad and I had stopped to look at this Jeep when this reenactor came into view in the mirror.

It was like seeing a ghost in the mirror.

Here’s the full Jeep in case you’re interested.

fb3Want to read more about that day? I’ll write more about the museum this winter but you can read about seeing the Memphis Belle by clicking here.

Before Sunrise

Before sunrise

This is Pittsburgh, just an hour before the city came to life one September morning last year. My friend Nichola gave me the insider’s tour of her city over Labor Day weekend and this was one of my absolute favorite moments.

We watched the sun rise from the Duquesne Incline and this is the first picture from that morning.

I purposefully waited to write about our Pittsburgh adventures, thinking they would make great winter blogging material. I wrote a few things about visiting the Phipps,  breakfast at Pamela’s Dinera magical moment in a cathedral on a hilland about the power of saying yes. 

And then stopped writing.

There are so many things to tell you about this trip that I’m appalled I haven’t done it yet! We had grand adventures all weekend long.  So stay tuned, kids. I’ll start trotting out some of these stories and pictures soon!

Here’s a similar view, different light.

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Happiness Is….

Happiness is homemade granola, fresh from the oven. The recipe was simple and it didn’t get as crispy as the blogger promised but the flavor is amazing.

Next time I’ll bake it a smidge longer to take care of that crispy issue.

What’s making you happy today?

A Hard Lesson

It’s a hard lesson and one that life seems to teach me repeatedly. In case no one has told you, I will say it today.

You deserve better.

Treat yourself like a priority, especially when no one else does. If someone truly wants you in their life, they won’t make you feel like you’re last on their list.

That’s all. Now go do something kind for yourself. And no matter what, enjoy your day!