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snowcake and lemonade. [d.r. thursday]

david, wearing his birthday tiara, waiting to have birthday cake

he said that he stood at the back door and thought, “i’m going to like this time of life best.” out the door, surfing through piles and piles of snow, dogdog ran the yard, bowing to the snow and snacking on it, his chin and face covered. a snowglobe day, david stood and watched our dog in his glee while the coffee brewed. moments later, he brought a steaming mug of strong black coffee to me, lounging in my flannel pjs in bed, sleepy eyes and a warm cat by my side. we clinked mugs and sipped while we talked of birthdays and time.

our day was simple. we ate, we wrote, we ate again. dogdog and babycat were by our sides, not eager to be anywhere else on this frigid day. negative temperatures in the minus-twenties weren’t at all encouraging for hikes outside, or even walks, and i made a mental note to start asking around about a treadmill. we unwrapped a winter-scene jigsaw that had been in the hall closet for years, called people, answered texts, opened a surprise gift that arrived on our frozen doorstep and puzzled at the dining room table. a late dinner and a couple of glasses of red and dogdog was begging to go sleepynightnight. he led the way to the end of the day, a valentine’s-day-birthday, a day of marveling at how dear people are, how fast time goes, how vested we are in adjectives like ‘peaceful’ and ‘promising’ and ‘content’ to describe our next. ‘euphoric’ and ‘carefree’ would be lovely too; so many adjectives, so little time.

on the deck right out the sunroom window, the wrought iron table and chairs were laden with the accumulation of days of snow. i could not help but see the round snowpile on the table as a giant birthday cake; i could not help but see the snow-shape in the chair as a little alien snowman, waiting patiently for a piece of cake. it was just too tempting and david was out front shoveling. with a couple silver christmas balls, a tiara found upstairs in my girl’s room, a tall white taper and some vintage pink-plastic-cake-numbers-that-hold-tiny-birthday-candles, i made myself laugh. sinking well over my knees in snow as i inadvertently stepped off the side of the deck into a drift, i collapsed into the snow, cracking up, just too excited for david to come around the corner of the house, shovel in hand. lemonade, i thought. this is lemonade.

and that, i believe, is what he meant by, “i’m going to like this time best.” a time when you know that lemonade – and the making of it with or without lemons – is most rewarding.

*****

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one does not have to look like a snowman. [flawed wednesday]

“so, what do you really do?”

were that question to be paid by frequency, i wouldn’t have to answer it ever again. i’d be a rich chick with a h-o-b-b-y of music. or a h-o-b-b-y of writing. but alas, it is not frequency-paid and so i have to just lightheartedly laugh and, with a touch of demure-yet-playful, explain that this artist thing IS what i do. here i am, a pile of snow with stick-arms, a soul of magical-frosty can-do attitude and someone wants to know what i really do? i may not look like a snowman, but i am a snowman.

“don’t judge a book by its cover,” my sweet momma would admonish anyone who would listen. one day, at 93, she texted out, “don’t underestimate me. i know more than i say, think more than i speak, notice more than you realize.” and she meant it. her spirit – to the end – was strong and she was a five foot powerhouse. whether she looked like a snowman or not, she was a snowman.

we live in a culture that is beleaguered with judgement based on appearances. it’s in no one’s best interest. but it is pervasive and the injustice that stems from quick assumptions is rampant. we have pre-formed opinions for most everything; we have images in our mind’s eye before we do any research, ask any questions, have any conversation. we assume. we presume. we surmise. all before we actually take a second look at the snowman.

it is ‘interesting’ (please note this is tongue-in-cheek) to be looking for new positions. at just-shy-of-62 and just-shy-of-60, it is more age-typical to be celebrating an upcoming or recent retirement than to be passing out resumes. the wrinkles around our eyes, the few grey hairs sprinkled on our heads belie who we are inside. experience and education and boots-on-the-ground knowledge come with a price – and that price is age. in real life, that doesn’t have to be a detriment for an employer. it is a quieter wisdom, a less-intense slower-striding competition with others, a recognition of the collective embrace of gleaning from each other. but the looking-a-tad-bit-older-thing, in person or on paper, rears its head and, too often, the what-we-could-bring is tossed off the table.

here we are, two sedulous snowmen, measured simply by whether we have three round balls stacked on each other, a carrot nose, two button eyes and a scarf wrapped around an undefined neck. we may not look like judge-a-book-only-by-its-cover-snowmen, but snowmen we are.

perseverance picks it all up off the floor and tries again.

goodness. i reckon my sweet momma would have loved the t-shirt i recently saw, “underestimate me. that’ll be fun.”

*****

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snowflake possibilities. [d.r. thursday]

Snowman BIGcopy copy

“one minute you’re a snowflake with possibilities and the next you’re wearing a scarf and goofy hat.”  that sounds like a statement of judgement.  a measurement of sorts.  and i suppose it is.  possibilities of profound impact on the world, on science or art, in music or film, medicine or education.  we measure ourselves in this society by our success; our merit based on what we reap financially, what we individually or collaboratively have contributed to the furthering of humankind, this good earth, the animal kingdom, worlds unknown.

but pay attention to the next snowman you see.  does his sweet nose make you smile?  does his crooked grin make you stop?  does his hat make you think of your dad, your brother, your best friend?  does the snowman make you happy – and do you carry that happiness with you after you pass him by?  of what value is that?

never underestimate the power of who you are.  your impact on the world will spread in concentric circles rippling outward.  whether nobel-prize-worthy or under-the-refrigerator-magnet-fame, your scarf-and-goofy-hat-ness counts.  your kindness is contagious. your good intentions affect the one closest and, in turn, and with a sureness of the way things truly do work in this world despite all efforts for the opposite, they will land in the heart of someone you may never meet but who will have been impacted by you, from way back in the middle of the concentric circles.  right in the possibility-filled-snowflake-heart of the snowman.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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transience. [k.s. friday]

TRANSIENCE songbox copy

“…dawn turns to daylight. to dusk. to full darkness. always to dawn again…” (liner notes)

brad's snowman

brad built a snowman in the woods while we were snowshoeing.  with a nod to our wit and creative pet-names, he cleverly named it “snowman-snowman”.  he was a charming snowman and we lingered by him for a bit, all chatting in the quiet woods.  because he is, well, a snowman, we left him behind as we continued on the trails.

yesterday we went back to the woods.  there was still snow, even more in some places.  but when we got to the spot where the trails split off, i, sadly, saw that snowman-snowman was no longer there.  i didn’t talk about it.  the magic of snowman-snowman was still in the air despite his absence on the trail.

we hiked a bit farther into the woods and when we stopped for a moment, i started packing together some snow.  it was that really-good-packing-snow, so “valentino” came together easily.  we searched for his eyes and the perfect nose, tucked a feather-leaf in his ‘cap’ and fell in love with our little snowman.  his magic was instant.

our snowman

transient.  all daylight.  all snowmen.  all of us.  life.  it’s a minor key.  all-consumingly-beautiful.  gut-wrenchingly-fleeting.  every reason to revel in every ray of sun, build a snowman, embrace those you love, bravely live every moment.  even if our footprints aren’t still visible, our magic stays in the air.

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take every opportunity. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

snowman copy

there is something magically sweet about a snowman.  you know, without a doubt, that it won’t last forever, but it makes you smile every time you see one.

weeks ago when it had snowed packing-snow-to-just-cover-the-grass, the little boy a couple doors down went outside and built this snowman.  his silly grin made me stop the car and back up; i had to take a picture of him, preserve him for gloomy days, days of no snow, days when it’s dark at 4:30.

little-kid relationship with snow is good wisdom to remember.  embrace every chance to be in the moment.  cherish the snow falling, the feeling of flakes gently landing on your face.  treasure the slow-down of time, the chance to be with each other.  be mindful that the time is fleeting; it won’t last forever.  in this busy time, i think i will try to take every opportunity to build a snowman.

k and c in snow

read DAVID’S thoughts on this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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flawed cartoon wednesday #3

SNOWMAN BIG COPY Master copyi just asked david if he would illustrate a children’s book i wrote a long, long (did i mention long?) time ago.  naturally, he said yes, because, uhh, what else is he going to say?  so maybe one of these days you’ll see my snowflake-is-as-raindrop-does story in book form.  in the meanwhile, i’ll tell you the story…hopefully succinctly.

once upon a time (because all great stories start like that) there was a little raindrop.  after it had fallen out of the sky with a gajillion other raindrops it had a choice.  whether to drop-and-roll quickly down the street and be transported through evaporation back up into the sky to reform and do it all over again or – and yes, i am definitely personifying this raindrop – it could choose to roll over to a small plant or tree or blade of grass that needed sustenance.  the raindrop believed (had been taught by others?) that this sacrifice would end its journey…there would be no more going-up-into-the-sky-coming-down-as-a-raindrop-all-over-again if it made this choice.  but the little raindrop rolled over to a little flower anyway, curled up beside its stem and sighed.  what it didn’t realize would happen was this – that it still evaporated.  it still went back up into the sky.  it still reformed.  but this time it was chosen to reform into a beautiful, unique snowflake, an honor bestowed only on those raindrops who had made a difference, who had yielded to a different choice.

so you’re thinking, ok, what does this have to do with snowflakes and snowmen?  well, we just never know how our choices will impact our possibility or how we might be surprised by something different than what we perceive to be our intended possibility.  you have to admit, being a snowflake in a snowman with a scarf and goofy hat that makes people smile and children dance would seem way more satisfying than being a snowflake in a dirty pile of snow in a parking lot.  we learn to go with the flow.  sometimes the unanswered prayers -loss of the UNlimited possibilities- turn out to be the best.

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