Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Live, LAUGH, love

Yesterday was my 13th wedding anniversary, so I've been thinking about what it takes to keep a marriage strong. You need lots of communication, compromise, compassion and forgiveness. This video involves what I think is one of the most important aspects of a marriage - a sense of humor. This couple sure seems to have started off on the right foot:

If you haven't shared a good laugh with your spouse lately, there's no time like the present. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A glimpse of Spring in January

I don't know about you, but January is such a blah month for me. My house seems so empty and plain after I've taken down all the Christmas decorations, and my yard is barren, too, with most trees and plants still in their dormant stage. It's about this time every year I get the itch to plant and get some color and liveliness back into my house. I started buying fresh flowers each week, but that can get a bit pricey. After wandering through the nursery dreaming of spring, I decided to pick up some bulbs and try my hand at forcing them indoors. There are several types of bulbs conducive to forcing: crocuses, daffodils and paperwhites (Narcissus), hyacinths and tulips. The process is very simple: choose your bulbs, chill them for about a week or two (place them in your refrigerator or store them outside if cold enough), then plant. Smaller pots, around 6" in diameter are best, and you can use either potting soil or rocks to cover the bulbs (for tulips and daffodils, leave the tops of the bulbs exposed). Water after planting, then keep the soil moist until growth is visible. If plants get tall and top-heavy, cut some tree branches and poke in the soil around the bulbs for support.

Forcing bulbs is an easy and satisfying way to have beautiful flowers indoors during the blah winter months. Your spirits will be lifted when you're surrounded by bright floral displays and fragrant aromas, another wonderful gift from nature!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh Cedar Tree, Oh Cedar Tree

It's that time of year again here in central Texas. The one time of year I kind of wish I lived somewhere else: Cedar season. For those of you not familiar with this, every year, starting in December, the Mountain Cedar trees begin their mating ritual. The male trees put on tiny cones that eventually burst, sending brownish pollen into the air in search of the small green cones of the female tree, or the inside of your nose. By mid-January cedar season is in full swing, and for many of us here this means nasty bad allergies. The symptoms are harsh enough to warrant being called, "Cedar Fever."

How can some fairly small, pretty harmless looking trees cause so much misery? I don't know, and I don't care. What I do care about is feeling better and being able to peacefully co-exist with the outdoors right now. Seriously, it's not like we live in some snow covered, frigid place where being outdoors in winter is just silly. I am developing a strong dislike for these trees because they keep me from enjoying the outdoors for almost two months during winter. My cedar allergies laugh at OTC antihistamines, and my allergist says I'm not severe enough to warrant the shots (oh, I beg to differ). So here I sit today, INDOORS on a very nice day, googling remedies for Cedar Fever. NOT my idea of a good time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I must admit, I'm not big on making New Year's resolutions. The main reason is that I don't want make promises to myself that I can't (or won't) keep; it's a drag to let myself down. I have never made a resolution that I have followed through with, so to avoid further disappointment, I stopped making them. My resolutions go unresolved not because I set unrealistic expectations, but because I give up so easy. I'm not letting others down, just myself, and that's not such a big deal right? After getting through this holiday season, however, letting myself down is suddenly a big deal. I feel a strong urge to set some goals for myself in 2009 and beyond, and I can't seem to kick this overwhelming sense of needing a fresh start. If you think about it, each new year is like a free clean slate. A no questions asked ticket to start over. I'm not passing this up any more.

What are my resolutions this year? Nothing spectacular or unique I'm afraid, but good personal goals none the less. I'm tired of being tired; I'm done wishing for a more physically fit self and ready to be one; I want to finish my teaching degree, and I desperately need to become a more patient parent (does desperation equate impatience?) I have no concrete plan to make these resolutions happen, but maybe that's a good thing. If I put too much planning into the mix, it's a given things will fall through the cracks, so this year I'm winging it. I'm keeping in mind the things about my life I want to change, and then haphazardly changing them.

Right now I have the chance to get some exercise and take my dog for a nice long walk, so I'm going to take it. Before I go, I want to wish a Happy New Year to you and yours and encourage you to cash in your ticket for a fresh start!