take me with you

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All day long I’ve been thinking about home.  And not in a ‘home is wherever I’m with you’ sort of way. Oh no, today I’m thinking about getting away from home and going somewhere far, far away – all because Twitter told me to.

Would you do whatever Twitter told you to? Or is that the modern day equivalent of ‘following your friends right off a cliff?’

Thing is, Twitter seems to have all sorts of research and science and statistics to support the theory that people get happier the further away from home they travel.   Are we tweeting while visiting the Coliseum and climbing the Eiffel and swimming with the dolphins?  Or do we really just get all sorts of happy when jaunting somewhere new?
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Or, we could spin it all around and say that we’re more likely to be tweeting about our dislike for work and snow and traffic when we’re at home – and so, by comparison, we’re much happier on vacation?  What do you think?

Now, a blessing for my blog and a problem for my close friends: I love reading newspapers and magazines just as much as I love reading books and, in the thick of all that reading, I like asking people “did you know?” and “what do you think?” and “if this article says this and that book says that then can it be possible…?’
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And on that note, I just read a report by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that lists the US as the only developed country that doesn’t legally require paid vacation.  If you’re lucky enough to get 2 weeks vacay from your job, well, you’re just that – lucky! It’s not required, which is unfortunate, because according to Twitter – we’re going be much, much happier if we get away for a fortnight or two (or three if you’re me).

But, then again, my little cousin made the happiest little igloo, and she seems pretty content in her home.  Maybe, like most things, it’s about perspective? I suppose some people are happier at home in their warm igloo than traveling here and there and everywhere.
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Side note:  Denmark pays employees more while they’re on vacation to cover travel expenses.  I might leave my igloo and move to Denmark for that kind of pay.

mind your mittens

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Too much of a good thing is… well… impossible.  Thing is, if you have lots and lots of something good, that means you have the opportunity to double-up and pass it around and do all sorts of sharing.
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 That’s exactly the position I found myself in after buying 3yards of this navy & tribal & gotta-have-every-bit-left-in-the-barrel fabric to make a scarf.  3yards to make a scarf? Like I said, it was lots & lots of a good thing. 
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So much goodness, in fact, that I was able to double up (make two) and try to share with someone that might need an extra bit of clothing to keep warm.  I’m volunteering as a home interviewer for Habitat for Humanity (assessing the needs of people who apply for housing), and so I brought the scarf along as a donation tonight.
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Except, and I guess I should have known this, Habitat doesn’t take clothing donations. Oops.  What to do with the second scarf? Any suggestions?

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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winter sweet

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Nothing brings people together like subzero temperatures.  When the weather drips and drops and dances into negative temperatures, the majority are brought together indoors for warmth and companionship.  This makes winter a wonderful time for intimate gatherings focused on loved ones rather than the hullabaloo outside your door.

Knowing that we’re all experiencing the same freezing temperatures and snow piles and icy roads helps build camaraderie.  What’s more, when the spring comes, everyone feels an almost overwhelming gratitude for the simple pleasures of sunshine and warmth.
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A friend called yesterday to see how I was coping with the -20 daily temperatures.  Honestly? It makes walking Kinzie a little difficult, but I busy myself with small gatherings and crafting and reading and yoga and baking and cleaning and try to keep warm.  I wear Long Johns and sip hot coffee/tea/anything with steam.  To be honest, it doesn’t seem as much like coping as it does going through the season.

Minneapolis schools have been closed the past few days, and a handful of businesses have followed suit.  For the most part, my friends and I are reveling in the joys of good old-fashioned snow days.  Perhaps this has something to do with my affection for winter?  I love myself a snow day or three or seven.
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Now, winter wouldn’t be quite as nice without snow days, and so I decided my first rah rah rah project of the year would help brighten the day of someone who works year round, despite the whims of weather.  Dog walkers, snow shovelers, mailmen, and trash collectors are all eligible under this category, so perhaps this project continues through the season.  Either way, today I left a small gift for my mailman:
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all is bright

My family spent Christmas in DC two years ago, and when it started snowing just after breakfast, my little sister’s eyes grew wide and she ran to the windows: “EVERYONE – get outside, it’s s-n-o-w-i-n-g!!”  My parents shunned the cold, raised our family in Arizona, and refused to take trips to anywhere the temperature dropped below 32F.  For me and my siblings, however, snow is a somewhat magical thing that makes everything glisten and gets everyone a little more cozy.

Today was the first ‘snow-emergency’ of the 2013-2013 Minneapolis winter, and it was such a lovely day that I’ve dedicated this post to it.
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The loveliness kicked off when my grandma sent me thermal socks in the mail (she was watching QVC in Arizona and saw something that her Minnesota granddaughter could use):
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I tucked them into my waterproof boots and set about my daily walk as usual:
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My feet stayed warm, but my hair got a fresh sprinkling of snow..
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Since I don’t have a fireplace, I put a little sizzle on the TV to get the mood right in my apartment:Image
Then I hopped in my tub to warm up:Image
Okay, okay, that part is only 50% true.  I did take a bath, but not in anything quite as extraordinary as that tub.  I’m a little jealous of the person washing their hair and soaping their arms in that gem.  My tub is a little less glam, but I used my tub time to read the new Vogue, and, well, it felt pretty perfect to me:
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Recognize the cover?  It’s a remake of the painting Flaming June by Sir Frederick Leighton:Image
Gorgeous, right? The actress Jessica Chastain modeled as women from some of history’s most famous paintings for the issue, and it got me thinking: which painting would I want to recreate?  Not that Vogue is likely to call me up or anything, but, ya know,  I want to have my answer ready just in case.  I decided on a Renoir, either a portrait with my little sister or my husband:
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What do you think of the cold? Is there a painting that you would want to recreate with a photograph?