What I'm Into (March & April 2017)

Welcome to Spring, y'all! Storms are popping, pollen is invading (trust me, I can't breathe) and it's time for another edition of What I'm Into this month -- a special double issue since I lost the March version and found it again... March 31. Oops! Off we go! 

Roomba

Last year, after a terrible kitchen leak, we put hardwoods throughout our house. I soon had a crick in my back from trying to keep them clean. Did I mention we did *dark * hardwood? It’s absolutely gorgeous, but the upkeep is incredibly rigorous. My folks gave us a Roomba for Christmas, and I have never been so happy with a gadget in my life. A remarkably clever device, it has our floors looking just mopped all the time now.
 


Happy Tales Humane

A little over three years ago, when we were looking for a kitten to adopt, we were divinely led to Happy Tales Humane in Franklin, Tennessee. They are a wonderful no-kill shelter, doing an amazing job of helping homeless animals in Middle Tennessee. When we lost both my brother’s cat Miraj, and my parents' cat Jamocha, in a four-day span last month, I had to do something, so I made donations in both of their memories to this great organization. I’ll tell you, when Jade passed, a reader of mine made a donation in her name to their shelter, and I can not begin to tell you how touched I was by the gesture. It opened the door to a beautiful friendship, too, so win-win for everyone.

I wish I could donate to every shelter, everywhere. Drop a few dollars at your local one this week—or even take them some old blankets, towels, newspapers. Anything helps.


Colorado is the best

Mountains

I spent part of the month out west on a writing retreat. I was hoping for some major snow: the brisk air, snow-capped peaks, evergreens and frozen lakes are always a true balm for my soul. It was not to be, though. It was warm, really warm, like take a wander in the woods in shorts and hope the bears aren't waking up warm. Even my research trip to Viail was done in short sleeves. But, it didn't matter. It was gorgeous out, and I locked away, and just the mere thought of snow possibilities helped me write a TON––and the first draft of this book will be done next week!


Grahams 20 Year Tawny Port

I’ve always used sworn that I don’t like anything but Vintage port, and boy, was I wrong. We had dinner at Flemings Steak House a few weeks ago and our server, who was exceptionally knowledgeable, even for a decent wine restaurant, talked me into it. I am so glad she did. It’s sheer perfection—and to be honest, I think I like it better than the Vintage. Old cat, new tricks…


Reading Glasses from Zenni Optical

Don’t laugh. A few years ago I switched to progressive lenses for my full-time glasses, and I have to say, it’s been lovely not to have to remove my glasses every time I need to read a book or a label. The thing is, I still have a little trouble reading in them for prolonged periods, most especially print books, so I get straight readers from Zenni and use them if I’m settling in for a few hours reading.


Nordstrom NYDJ Jeans

Soft. Stretchy. LONG ENOUGH (a problem I have with everyone’s jeans—hello, 34” inseam). Tons of colors and styles. I am in love with these jeans. I’m trying—trying—to get “dressed” to go to work each day, as part of my home streamlining. In order to empty my closet, my new rule is—if I can’t leave the house in it, it’s time for it to go. But… I refuse to sacrifice the comfort of my yoga pants for daily wear. These jeans fit the bill, and I don’t feel weird running around town in them. 

 


Newton

I have a new email program. Part of my personal workflow is a commitment to digital minimalism, and that means I don’t introduce new apps unless they are going to solve a need I have, not one I might have in the future. Last year, Gmail suddenly started sending all my website email to trash, so I missed a bunch of fan letters. Not good. I moved everything to Outlook, which, while powerful, I hated, because it’s just so busy. So Apple Mail became the default, and it works great except for two things: the font on the sidebar is about 8, which is ridiculously small (see reading glasses above), and you can’t hit Undo once the message is sent. I have a tendency to write and hit Send, then proof as the message goes out, which means, yep, you guessed it, errors everywhere. In Gmail I could click undo and fix, but in Apple Mail, I can’t.

Welcome to Newton. It’s like the Sparrow of old looks-wise, but even more minimalist. It has Undo Send. It has Snooze. It’s integrated into everything I do, so it lessens my work time. It’s freaking brilliant. And so elegant, and easy. It’s a solution I’m happily PAYING for — yes, instead of a free email program, I actually forked out some cash for this puppy because it’s so powerful and clean. A big win for us zen minimalist emailers! 


What are you guys into these days?

On Getting Older

I went to get my eyes checked the other day because I was having a hard time reading small print while I had my regular distance glasses on. My optometrist smiled and nodded and said, yes, this is normal with people your age. So in translation, what he was really saying was this: Guess what, chickie? You need bifocals. Or readers. Or progressive lenses. 

Dear God, I have hit middle age.

Aside from the vanity issue, the reality of the situation freaks me out. The changes to my life and body have been gradual, so subtle that I barely noticed the grinning beast sneaking up on me. It's been little things, quiet things, practically unnoticed until the dreaded B word entered my lexicon. Preferring a Saturday night at home reading with music playing gently in the background. Not wanting to drink more than two glasses of wine in a sitting. The slight spreading around my middle. A sudden desire to stop coloring my hair, just to see what color exactly I am.* Less makeup, more sunscreen, and oodles of Crème de la Mer. Cholesterol checks and mammograms and inside jokes about hot flashes and colonoscopies.

When my new reading glasses arrived yesterday, I put them on and modeled them for my husband, who raised an eyebrow and said I looked a bit like Carrie Donovan. Not exactly the response I was looking for. Alas.

I can trace this now obviously cataclysmic change back to a single moment, a few years ago, when a friend's husband passed away. Her loss hit me in a way I coudn't have predicted, or even understood. It brought about a sudden recognition of my own mortality, and that of those I love, the first I've ever really felt. That led to a surprisingly deep depression, one of which I came out of with a new outlook on life. I wanted to be more authentic. To be true to myself, instead of what people expected of me. To focus on what matters to the internal me rather than worrying about buffing and polishing the surface. 

And I changed accordingly. And for the better, I believe. I do yoga now. I meditate. I feel a new creative freedom that I'd never felt before. I don't concern myself with what people think about me. I am infinitely more empathetic. I appreciate the things I have more, and feel losses more keenly.

I guess I shouldn't say I'm growing old. I am simply growing up.

Interesting....

 

*9 months in, it's dark blond with copious natural highlights. Rather pretty, actually.