beautiful leprechaun

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Seventy and sunny feels like opening the mailbox to find ‘just-because’ and ‘thinking of you’ gifts waiting to be opened.  I just opened all the windows in the apartment, and I may be typing with my fingers, but my mind is planning a day of exploration and adventure with two of my favorite girls.  
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It doesn’t take much more than sunshine to get me excited about an otherwise ordinary day.  How’s that for easy to please, huh? It’s not that the other seasons don’t have their charms, because they do, but there’s something about putting the top down and blasting music and knowing that you can go go go go and not worry about rain or snow or catching a chill.  If we get too hot, well, it’s a good thing Minnesota is ‘The Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ right?  Pull over, grab a bikini and jump in the water.  No problems here.
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We had our first BBQ of summer last night, and I painted my nails bright teal for the occasion.  I was feeling pretty stylish until Jon walked in the door and told me I looked like a leprechaun.  A leprechaun?  Is it common for men to describe their wives that way?  I questioned Jon about his word choice and he quickly corrected, “you’re a very beautiful leprechaun sweetheart.”  
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what matters most

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Isn’t it lovely when everything comes together?  I’m not talking about toasting your nearest and dearest because years of hard work is finally paying off.  Nor am I referring to popping champagne because a troubling situation has finally been resolved.  

All of that is nice, of course, but lately I’ve find myself grateful when the smallest things align: sunshine on a Saturday, the sun setting on my drive home, or meeting friends for a happy hour than turns into dinner that turns into gelato under the stars.
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You might know that I’ve been visiting the hospital every Monday at 2pm to have my blood monitored.  My doctor recently informed me that I’m cleared to start doing monthly visits, and, if my blood stays infection-free, I’ll be entirely done with monitoring by July.  

My diagnosis makes me incredibly grateful for how my treatment has progressed, and I find my gratitude spilling over for the most simple and ordinary pleasures (bright skies, warm cookies, fresh sheets).
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The surgery and the healing process inspired a period of uncertainty and confusion in my life.  I spent a lot of time considering why everything happened, what it meant for the future, and how best to proceed.  Now, however, I’m beginning see how my struggle helped me refocus on what matters most.  

gazillion zinnias

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You know that expression about letting a guy/girl eat crackers in bed if you really like them?  It makes little sense to me.  Shouldn’t the expression change to cookies or cake or ice cream or Pringles?  I mean, who eats crackers in bed?  Same thing when it comes the popular green thumb — not even the best gardener has a green thumb.  But you know what a garden does have?  Black fingers.
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I’m the opposite of a gardener, and I already know that green thumbs have nothing to do with soil and seeds and vegetation.  I mean, if anything, the plant will sprout green.  But my thumb?  That remains black:
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Can you believe I’ve lived 27 years without ever planting a thing?  Sometimes I sit and think about all the action packed years behind me, and I marvel at how there are still 100 million gazillion things left on my bucket list.  And plant something? I mean, c’mon, that’s almost too natural of a process to leave undone, right?
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Long before I could run a mile, I used to daydream about being the type of person that put on earbuds and run run run.  Guess what? Now I do 5ks on the regular (not a biggie for you marathoners, but hey!), and my earbud goal has changed.  The new plan is to become a gardener.  Should I be concerned that I don’t own a plot of land?
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Not when I have everything I need: a coffee mug, some soil, and a couple of seeds.  I’m a little skeptical that this Zinnia of mine will flower, but I’m watering with care and providing lots of sunlight.  Kind of exciting hoping that something will sprout, right?  And if worst comes to worst and nothing blossoms, well, I’ll just have to get my fingers black again.
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milk and honey

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Jon’s dad has told me the story of how he got engaged not once, not twice, but perhaps five or six times.  I know his wife took 24 hours to say yes and that he borrowed money from his brother for her ring.  
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Lately, Jon keeps telling me that his softball team begins playing on Friday, April 25th — he reminded me last Monday, last Friday, and just before he fell asleep tonight.  His face lights up with 7 different kinds of joy each time he talks about his team’s inevitable victory.
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I’ve never told Jon’s dad that I already know how he got engaged, and I never remind Jon that the softball information is on the calendar. Thing is, I like seeing their faces light up when they talk about something that gets them 7 kinds of excited.
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You know what gets me excited?  Are the pictures giving it away?  Spring.  It’s probably not necessary to tell everyone that my favorite season has arrived, but I’m busying enjoying walks and bike-rides and blooming flowers and feeling the plain-old-goodness of 50 and sunny.
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Do you have a story that never gets old?  Something that makes you smile every time you tell the tale?

roll my dice

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What do internet dating, gambling and spring 2014 have in common?  Hehe, you probably already know, but if not, I’m about to let you in on a little secret: ya never know what you’re going to get.  Seriously, y’all — I had just about packed up my winter gear when I woke up to swirling snow and biting winds that made me grab my book and warm some tea and crawl back into bed.
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And by the time I got out of bed?  You guessed it- so sunny that I ran out-of-doors to soak up the blue skies and fresh air before the next blast of snow.  All the focus on the ‘here and now’ and ‘enjoy it while you can’ inspired me to design a spring photo challenge to make sure I capture the best moments of the season. One thing led to another, and wah-lah-tee-dah, my challenge:
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Truly possible or too ambitious?  Not sure yet, but I’m definitely going to give it a try –  I even got started  today.   Two cupcakes for me: I’m now 1/9 of the way done 🙂
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coffee sunrise

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A long line at the supermarket makes me twiddle my thumbs and wish for a fast-forward button.  I have similar feelings about stop-and-go traffic.  All the wait, wait, waiting takes time away from the people I love and the activities I hold dear.
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And that kind of waiting is the easiest – you can see the finish-line and you know that if you hang in there, just a few minutes more, the line will end and the traffic will part.  But what about the longer kind of waiting – the kind that entails transitioning to a new life stage?
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The ‘stage of life’ wait is more abstract, and the blurry outline provides room for all sorts of what-if questions and worst-case scenarios.  What if I don’t get into college?  Can l find a job with an art major?  Will I like working as a marketing associate?  Image
Surely you’re familiar with these questions – we’ve all had them.  I woke up with ‘what if’ questions on mind, mused about them while I sipped my coffee, and then tossed them aside to go hiking with my husband.Image
I remind myself that it’s impossible to control the future, but I can work diligently, here and now, to enjoy the present.

my two lips are zipped

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Cheers to the makers.  A toast to the inspired creators that know that process is just as important as people and product.  Today marks the beginning of spring, and with all the excitement about warmer weather, I started thinking about daily trips to the farmer’s market for fresh fruits and veggies.  
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All the daydreaming convinced me that I needed a market tote with leather handles.  Not a second later and  I was venturing around town buying fabric and leather and rivets.  It didn’t occur to me until I got home, nearly three hours later, that I could have bought something similar at the market.
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But as I started hammering rivets into the leather, I thought about how much I enjoy the process of making something with my hands.  Sure it costs as much and takes well, way longer, but there’s something primal and wholesome and just plain good about being part of the process. 
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My passion for creation stems from the same reason I prefer walking to driving or cooking to dining-out: it feels good to watch unqiue components come together to create something new.  And, to be honest, it also feels pretty good to get your hands dirty once in a while.
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What do you think? Is it worth the time and effort to make when you could just as easily purchase?  
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Oh, and just as important – welcome to spring!

fire the imagination

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“The city is melting away.”  Promising words coming from anyone besides a fire chief, right?  I’m keeping the windows open to hear the pit pat of snow melting off roofs, and my rain boots are a necessity for navigating the puddles that are here there and everywhere.  The melting makes everything feel clean and fresh and hopeful.  
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For some reason, my thoughts crossed and I realized that firemen probably aren’t too keen on the word ‘melt.’  And then, what do you know, I remembered that my friends at the fire station needed new pillowcases.  
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The last time I was there, they told me that they don’t have a budget for linens, and that the 21 pillowcases inside the station are older than me.  A call to action or a simple statement?  For me, it inspired a random act of happiness — pillowcases for Station 8. 
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bikini in the streets

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Spring forward, step right up, and splish-splash into the puddles debuting all over Minneapolis.  At long last, the coldest winter in 37 years is stepping aside for blooming flowers, warm light, and sun-kissed cheeks. 

We live in an itsy-bitsy apartment on a teeny-tiny street in Minneapolis, and a steady stream of blizzards has kept snowdrifts lining our block for the past four months.   Not just any snowdrifts, mind you, but mounds rising nearly 5ft on both sides of the street.  A winter wonderland or, if you don’t have gloves, a bitter frozen tundra.
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Temps reached nearly 45 degrees today, and I tingled with excitement as I watched the streets fill with water.  I considered grabbing my bikini and going for a swim to celebrate the start of spring. 

Imagine my excitement when I stepped into a puddle and sank to my knees.  It was glorious and grand and made me all kinds of giddy.  Before long, I was daydreaming about roadtrips and softball games and bike rides to the farmer’s market. 

To get prepared for spring adventures, I made a picnic blanket out of scrap fabric.  I took five colorful scraps of fabric, sewed them together, and then lined the back with a similar pattern.
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How are you preparing for spring?

secret stash

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Flowers make everything a bit nicer.  Is it the color?  Or perhaps the transience?  Whatever it is, winter finds me longing for fresh buds: I simultaneously wish for the return of autumn leaves and the blossoming of spring stems.
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Never one to wish away my days, I decided to make a floral wreath that would allow winter blooms into the apartment.  We had a group of friends over for the Packers game last Sunday, and while the men munched and groaned and cheered over the game, the girls pasted and cut and twirled bits of paper.
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At the end of the day, the Packers lost the game but we had a new wreath for the front door.  Win some & lose some, right?  Either way, I now have flowers long before spring arrives — a win in my book.
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