Here I Go Again

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I’ve always loved getting in the car with my husband and just wandering around for a little while.  Sometimes it turns into a big adventure, other times we just grab a coffee or make a quick trip to the grocery store while taking our time to get there.  It’s sort of a way to unwind, connect in conversation, and take in scenery other than the interior walls of our house.  Our kids enjoy these rides as much as we do, especially when we let them select their own favorite music for everyone to listen to while we’re driving.  Fortunately, we’ve done well as parents and taught them the value of good music and most of the time they make choices we’re more than happy to oblige.  We have many theme songs for our family.  My older daughter seems to really love the classic 80’s rock song “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake.  Did you know that the version you probably are hearing in your head right now after reading that song title isn’t the original?  The song was first written with the phrase: “Like a hobo I was born to walk alone.”  Really?  Hobo?  As in a homeless person aimlessly wandering about?  I prefer taking the time to navigate to the remastered version when we listen.  A drifter walking alone paints a better picture, at least in my mind.  

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Days Gone By

Last week our Christmas decorations came down and the kids keep commenting on how “empty” our living room seems now.  I feel you kiddos, it’s festive and magical having everything adorned for the holidays.  This year we enjoyed a somewhat slower and quieter holiday season.  I still went overboard with cooking and baking (who doesn’t love a variety of Christmas cookies?), but with half of our extended family many miles away we found we weren’t rushing to more than one celebration.  By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around I was feeling like we’d mastered the art of lazy, impromptu festivities.  Even though it was bitterly cold here in Minnesota, we all bundled up and took a walk on our frozen lake enjoying the bright moonlight and a neighbor’s celebratory fireworks.  It’s customary to sing “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, and it makes sense why it became tradition.  As I stood there looking at the sky I felt excited for the many things to come in the new year, but also grateful for the experiences of the previous year, even though many had not been exactly uplifting.  The song is also a poem, while it doesn’t exactly translate into English, the title and key phrase “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long since” and essentially means “days gone by”.

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Wind of Change

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Here in Minnesota we just had another beautiful fall season share its magnificence.  It lasted about four days.  If you’re not from the northland it might be hard to comprehend how the weather can be pleasantly in the upper 60’s and low 70’s for a week (always with one day that tops out in the 80’s) while the trees work their magic to transform everything around you into an incredible and brilliant blaze of color.  It’s seriously beautiful.  Then very suddenly the temperatures drop to almost the point of freezing, colors fade to muted shades of brown and rust, and one night you realize you are buried under five inches of snow.  Is it fall?  Is it winter?  For most people it’s still too early to break out the holiday decorations and for everyone it means figuring out how to fit that adorable short sleeved Halloween costume that turns your child into their favorite character over top of a snowsuit.  This year fall came and went super fast and now winter is here to stay.  It’s no wonder that the changing of our seasons has so many times metaphorically been linked with the changes in general life.

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Lost in Translation

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My birthday was last week.  I don’t place a ton of emphasis on celebrating my own birthday, though maybe I should, it is after all a day to celebrate my existence.  I know some people have a tendency to view their birthday as a gloomy reminder that youth fades quickly.  I prefer to think about the years as making you not older, but more experienced.  I guess I just see it as an opportunity to find adventure in my journey around the sun, not a race to the finish line.  Birthdays were always a big deal when I was a kid.  My mom would let me choose the menu for dinner and she would make whatever kind of cake I wanted (usually meatloaf and rainbow sprinkled angel food cake).  Hearing the words “happy birthday” made me feel special, as if for that one day I was important enough for the world (or least what I viewed as the world) around me to stop and celebrate the fact that I was a part of it.   

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A River Runs Through It

When I was a kid I spent a vast amount of time exercising my imagination.  My earliest memories include huge adventures in faraway places such as the basement laundry room and the space under my grandmother’s coffee table.  I could turn any spot I found myself playing into a fantasy land filled with colorful characters, amazing landscapes, and endless opportunities for exploration.  I don’t play pretend with my kids as much as I probably should, but they all share that same love of adventure in imagination.  There is something purely magical about watching them create a scene and have an entire world come to life just by picking up a random everyday object.  The imagination muscle is probably the most important one to prioritize in life.

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Living in a Material World

I have this couch that I really love.  I’m not one of those people who picks a color palette and then carefully arranges furniture and decorations to fit with a specific design trend.  But, this particular piece of furniture was purchased just for how it looks.  I’m pretty sure my mom thinks my couch is somewhat hideous, which means that it is exactly my style.  She prefers a more refined look whereas I’m all for anything retro, mid-century, or eclectic; and if it’s a shade of yellow or green all the better.  A few years back my husband and I were moving into a rented upper duplex that was built sometime in the 1920’s.  After packing up all of our possessions and traveling across state lines we were tired and a little frustrated by the fact that our puffy leather sofa and love seat physically couldn’t fit up the old, narrow stairwell to be placed in our new living room.  We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new furniture, so we went to a local thrift store.  The place was huge and filled with all sorts of awesome things waiting to become someone’s new treasure.  We walked amongst the many cushioned seats in the large room of furniture and there it was.  It called to us in all of its 1960’s gold and olive striped glory.  It must have sat in some little old lady’s home covered in protective vinyl for how pristine it looked.  The fact that it was especially comfortable to sit on was just an added bonus.  Continue reading