Sunday, March 11, 2012

Underneath the snow...

One lives with so many bad deeds on one's conscience and some good intentions in one's heart. -John Dewey

I will be completely honest, my intention to reflect on daily moments of gratitude was a difficult task to accomplish in the past two weeks. So far March has been over-scheduled and a complete mire of professional and personal affairs- some affecting me directly, others affecting people that I earnestly care about. Children being bullied by adults, adults behaving like children, unapologetic bigotry, and the grief of a young child finding out that her mother's cancer cannot be cured were just some of the events that occurred. By the end of last week I was feeling so low I had lost the energy to even cry, and I was struggling to be grateful for anything. Gratitude can be hard to summon up when the world around you feels so callous.

Last Sunday Ler thought some fresh air would do us some good. It was mild outside and it was snowing like it does in a snow globe. Big, fat wet flakes fell from the sky and floated in zig-zagging paths before coming to rest on the ground. It was so beautiful, fresh, and still. Then came a gleaming little moment of joy- daffodil greens poking up from underneath the snow.

Dispite the bleak winter coldness this little plant pushed its way up through the snow with the promise of better things to come. Life may be cold and bitter at times, but hope is always just below the surface.

My incomplete list of gratitudes for February 27- March 10
1. Beautiful wet, heavy snow that covered everything in a glittery blanket. It made driving home a nightmare, but it was a pretty looking nightmare.
2. Despite the 6 inches of snow the Robins returned- spring is nearly here.
3. Ler did my laundry for me. He hates laundry like no other beast, but loves me enough to tackle the laundry monster.
4. It was 60 degrees outside! Then it snowed again. Oddly enough, this is one of the things I enjoy about living in Wisconsin. The weather makes me feel like a stable and decisive person.
5. Daffodils sprouting!
6. Tulips blooming. Sort of. Tulips that I bought and put in a vase, but they make me smile.
7. Curling up on the couch with a giant bag of Cheetos and watching (and singing along with) Beauty and the Beast with my sister. Gaston is a bastard.
8. A snowy walk with my Ler.
9. The sand hill cranes have returned.
10. Coming home to a freshly cleaned apartment. The best part is that I did none of the cleaning.
11. My pudgy cat required some serious snuggling. She wanted to hold onto me like a koala and gave little sand-papery kisses on my nose. Squee!
12. Fabulous food, family and friends on a Sunday afternoon. Chorizo, Kaluha in coffee and funny stories are a wonderful way to wrap up the weekend.

I can only believe that this week will be less disparaging. There is hope springing forth.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Gratitudes: Weekend Edition

The weekend was filled with so many wonderful things it was easy to collect a list of all the small moments that brought me joy and contentment.

1. Snow! Pretty, heavy, wet snow blanketed the ground overnight. Just enough to make it pretty, but not enough to make travel painful.
2. Making music with some of my favorite people at McAullife's.
3. My sister loves me enough to endure the shame of ordering a Shirley Temple. The combination of a late night gig and an early morning full of high-strung middle school students at Solo & Ensemble just made ordering Scotch seem like a poor choice.
1.Solo & Ensemble went rather smoothly, minus being a marimba short. Fortunately, I was in a position to remedy the problem. I am so proud of my students!
2. My fortune cookie read: "You deserve a good time after a hard days work." Fortune cookie, you amaze me with your insight.
3. Having my pj's on by 7:00, snuggling onto the couch to with my Ler and kitties to watch Puss in Boots.

1. Walking up to a sunny sky. No alarm clock set. A rarity.
2. Ler made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. His pancakes are super buttery, fluffy, and the man does not skimp of the blueberries.
2. It was warm enough to crack open the windows and let some fresh air into our apartment. Felt good to have a breeze moving throughout the home.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

3 Gratitudes Thursday Edition

1. The thick, glittery frost that coated every single branch, leaf and blade of dried grass this morning. Under the creamy pink sky the world sparkled.

2. Getting to spend time with two fantastic students who are working very hard in the final stretch before Solo & Ensemble. Their combination of dedication and quirky humor almost always results in a great lesson.

3. My kitty Simandl "helping" my yoga practice. I will interpret her weaving between my legs as making sure I was properly centered and balanced.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Not giving it up...

I call myself a secular person. I am not anti-religion in any sense, but I do not exclusively align myself with any particular group. However, the Lenten season speaks to me. Six weeks of focused prayer, reflection and alms-giving is a beautiful thing. Some groups perform penance and others include self-denial during Lent. In the past I have given up some thing or another for the season, usually something benign like chocolate or ice cream. This year I will not give up a thing, but I will commit to two practices during Lent.

#1. I am committing to a daily practice of yoga and meditation. The practice of yoga restores my energy through flowing movement and intentional, focused breathing. I find that Shavasana feels like a prayer.

#2. A few weeks ago I saw this. Go ahead, watch it. I'll wait. Happy people are grateful in the little things found in each day. I tend to loose those moments in the blur of my checklist lifestyle. During Lent I am going to slow down and find 3 things, no matter how trivial, that brought happiness to my day. For my first installment:
1. I woke up this morning actually feeling refreshed. I usually feel like a corpse in the
morning, so this was a welcomed start.

2. 2nd Grade. The class I had today just sang their little hearts out today and it was wonderful.

3. The giant mug of hot cocoa awaiting me. It has whipped cream. Nom nom.

Monday, February 20, 2012

About Refeathered


In May of 2011 my husband, Tyler, and I left our cozy city apartment to become caretakers for my grandparent's suburban home. I was super excited to get my hands dirty and turn my grandparent's nest into our own. Our goal was to make the most of what the house had to offer- recycle, revamp and reuse whatever we could. I had intended for Refeathered
to be a real-time documentation of our projects and updates. Well, less than 4 months later the house was sold, we were on the move again, and I had completely pushed Refeathered out of my mind. As the end of September rolled around we packed up all of our belongings and moved to a nearby apartment complex.

As a teacher, moving during the first month of the school year is an insane thing to do. I was too busy to really notice the surrounding insanity, until the lull between Christmas and the new year. I paused and noticed the senseless habits I had yet again fallen into. I had promised myself that this year would be different. This year I would not work myself into a state of exhaustion where I all want to do when I get home is collapse on the couch and mindlessly troll the internet. This year I would not focus so acutely on my students that I neglect my own musical artistry. This year I would remember how to read books for fun, go for exhilarating runs, meet friends for coffee, see the visiting art exhibits, and paint my fingernails pretty colors more than once in a 12 month cycle. This year I had failed (to be technical, this semester I had failed). I was once again a brain-dead potato.

On that still, cool December day I sat and analyzed my habits. I had so sincerely wanted to create a balanced life. How was I allowing equilibrium to slip out of sight? I believe my greatest error was approaching each day as only a massive checklist of things to accomplish, not a sequence of things to experience. At the top of this list was anything work related. At the bottom? Anything me related. For some reason I had convinced myself that being ahead in my work was more valuable than anything else. I was sucking the potential out of each day with bullet points and making myself my lowest priority.

Once intended to be a home design blog, Refeathered will now be about my personal journey toward equilibrium. My goal is to make the most of where I am, what I have, find the true potential in each day, and find balance in my life. I am re-feathering my personal nest.

Thanks for reading. Please drop in soon!