Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Reading: Into the Wild

I finished my first book of the year with mixed feelings. I had difficulty getting beyond my disdain for the poor choices made by the real life central character Chris McCandless.  Jon Krakauer made a sympathetic case for his choices and did a good job filling in the gaps of what McCandless may have been thinking.

Krakauer wisely asks the reader to consider the passionate mindset of youth and young men in particular. I tried to go there in my mind but remained more than a bit stuck in the head of an adult who finds the everyday challenge enough. I also struggled with the place of privilege McCandless was coming from, it is not every college graduate who can finish school scott free and then give away a trust fund before hitting the road.

Much of McCandless's adventure could of have been undertaken without causing pain to his family or losing his life. But then maybe his disappearance was to a great deal more about escaping his family and society than about taking on the wilderness. 

I followed the book by watching Sean Penn's film adaption which left me far more sympathetic to this young man. Penn managed to successfully portray a family dynamic that might lead a young person to feel their only way out was to abandon their life. 

Watching the film I was able to suddenly remember the extremes that go through the mind of teenagers. The all or nothing thinking and the hyper dramatic cast that colors young thoughts. McCandless was not a teenager but a college graduate. In many ways though he seemed stuck in a younger view point. The four years spent in college are for many an uncoupling from their parents. An experience that allows a young person to put time and space between themselves and their parents and start on the path to an independent life. 

And that is where the film allowed me to find sympathy for Chris McCandless in the way the book hadn't. While Krakauer describes in some detail the family dynamic, Penn and his actors created in a few scenes a sense of the unhappiness that lay beneath the shiny upper middle class surface. 

The overbearing quality of the adults and the nastiness of their interactions had me wanting to run. I could understand the appeal of leaving that behind to tramp around the country with other wanderers. What I still can't imagine is hiking alone into the Alaskan Wild. That is where say farewell and God Bless to Chris McCandless. 

The Weather Outside

These blurry photos taken from the train during the storm on Tuesday, capture just how it feels outside. Cold, barren and stark. January is almost over but February could turn out to be a very long month.

Monday, January 20, 2014

More Snow on the Way

If the weather report is to be believed, more snow is on the way. I wished it had come during the long weekend instead of the beginning of the work week. It would have been nice to be tucked in for the storm.

Photo via Climbing on a Tree.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Little Treats, Big Love

Sometimes after I've left the iPad sitting around, little treats turn up like this photo of our grumpy fat cat Lola. The little one would chastise me for saying that about her cat. Lola was my cat but she has definitely become her cat. 

The two of them have, despite some jealousy and a less then perfect feline disposition on the part of Miss Lola, forged a close friendship. Scratches have been forgiven, imperfections overlooked and space on the bed negotiated. 

Every time I hear the little one tell Lola (or Whowa as she pronounces it) "you are the most beautiful cat I the world", I want to laugh. It makes me smile that she finds her pet perfect and beautiful. The power of love at work. The world as seen through the eyes of a six year old is full of superlative beauty. 

So here she is the most beautiful cat in the world, as photographed by the little one. Feel the love.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Happy Place for the Week: A Sunny Window

Wow, how French is this? I'd like to be a cat curled up in this window. Winter makes the sun shining through the windows seem like a treat. I can almost feel the warmth looking at this photo. This week finds me seeking the warm spots.

Photo via This Ivy House.

Affordable Luxuries #14 : Sunday at Home

We did the perfect thing this Sunday, we spent all day at home. Not very exciting? Exactly. Not exciting but no trip to the grocery market or errands run is my kind of boring. A lazy day? Not exactly. A lot of laundry got folded, some  bills got paid, a pot roast got made, lunches were packed and the to do list was whittled down.

Add in providing lunch, snacks and dinner and it was actually a pretty busy day. But busy at home versus busy out in the busy world. Capping the day off with a glass of wine and the Golden Globe Awards left me feeling connected enough to the world outside. 

Next time we do an all day at home Sunday, my goal is to have the laundry done ahead of time, meals ready to reheat and to hide the to do list. Then we will try and enjoy a truly lazy Sunday at home. 

On the affordable front, no money was spent until I went ahead and bought the circus tickets I've been meaning to buy. For our next all day at home, I'll see if we bring it in at zero dollars spent. 

Photo via Moods of the Moon.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Scooting Home

A break in the cold and working remotely gave me a chance to pick the little on up at the bus stop the other day. It also gave mommy a chance to take a decent walk and for the little one to scoot home.

She was thrilled to forgo the car and make her way home using her own horse power. I think these snaps capture the simple joy we found in this break from the norm. Here's to small scale adventures.

Zoom. Zoom.

Spring Tease

After frigid cold, the coldest weather in the thirty years on the east coast, today felt like a spring day. It was as if we had fast forwarded through the rest of January, the whole month of February, to the last weeks of March. It was lovely to feel the promise of Spring. I thought how nice it will be to start our garden, to not worry about getting around in the snow, to start living outdoors more.

But it's not Spring. We are deep in Winter with plenty still to go. If the Polar Vortex holds off global warming there should be lots of cold days ahead. That's fine with me. A little bit of Spring was nice but Winter should be Winter and Spring should be Spring. Besides, I still have plenty of cold weather activities to squeeze in. There's knitting to finish, books to read and we still need to get some sledding and a snowman in. 

Image via Remodelista.

The Night Sky

The night sky seems most beautiful to me in the winter. Maybe against the starkness of the winter landscape it seems extra rich and beautiful. I'm always glad when I take time to look up and see what is going on up there. 

Image via Limilee.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Color of Winter

Everything's black and white and grey and that's okay. In the lack of color there is color. Embracing the snow and the cold and psyching myself up to dig a pathway in the snow.

Photos via A Well Traveled Woman, Skillshare, This Ivy House and maison21.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Waiting for the Snow

Photo via the poetry of material things.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


A new year ahead. Here goes.

Image via pinterest.