Let the sunshine in

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I had not realized I was suffering from the winter blahs until this past Saturday. I have successfully maneuvered myself through many winters and this one, although highly unpredictable, seemed no different. How wrong I was.

Saturday morning, I awoke to the sun beaming through my bedroom window. I was initially confused by the brightness in my room as I had become so used to the monochromatic mornings of December and January. I had not registered what the beautiful light represented.

The mercury reminded me the morning was frigid so I accomplished all of my needed tasks as the sun continued to warm the day. When I got home in the middle of the afternoon, the temperature was much more comfortable than the morning and all I wanted to do was sit in the sun. It was at that moment I realized I had nothing to sit on. I had sold my patio set last fall and had not thought about my winter sun tanning until now. I raced to the local hardware store and bought what seemed to be the only folding chair in stock in February.

I opened up my new purchase and set it to directly face that glowing ball of goodness in the sky, I closed the gate so I wouldn’t have to be concerned about my dog, I poured a glass of wine and I sat. And I sat. And I absorbed ninety minutes of glorious sunshine.

The warmth of the sun was welcomed like an old friend we spent some time getting reacquainted. It is a long-standing tradition in our family to cover ourselves in layers in the middle of winter and soak up some much-needed Vitamin D. I’m sure my parents were smiling as I carried on that tradition. The photo below is circa 1975 ish.

As the sun sank into the horizon, I reluctantly folded my chair and went inside. Besides the noticeable pink hue in my cheeks, there was an immediate change in my demeanor. I was invigorated. I felt happy, effervescent even. I went from feeling like I had been sleep-walking through the last few months to feeling recharged. My mood was elevated and I spent the rest of the day smiling for no reason.  At least now, I have the chair ready and the next time that sun is out all inside tasks take a back seat. You’ll know where to find me.

 

Ahhh….the profanity comes flooding back….

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I don’t have children but my countdown to the beginning of the school season is just as exciting.  There are no giant red X’s on any calendars but the anticipation for the first week of September is palpable.   While the teachers prepare their rooms with the letters of the alphabet strung across the top of the chalk boards, I am only concerned with three of those letters.  N-F-L

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(one of my favorite pics of my dad)

 

My child-like excitement for the sport is well-known throughout my friends and family and especially by many others who are members of my football pool.  My incessant emails begin during pre-season and escalate substantially as the NFL ramps up to the first kick off of the regular season.

I prepare my dog for the blast of profanities (my sports-related Tourette’s syndrome) that will inevitably be passed from my lips only to fall on the deaf ears of the referees.  This is a beloved family tradition passed down from my grandparents and who am I to argue with tradition?  They were masters of the verbal barrage of expletives and were not selective when it came to yelling at referees  – hockey, football, baseball umpires, nobody was safe.  I reserve my assassination of the English language specifically for the line judges, field judges, side judges and back judges of the NFL.  There are also a few well-placed curse words expelled during fumbles, sacks and interceptions.  (I don’t discriminate.)

I have been busy over the last few days preparing my three pages of football sheets for the over 60 participants in my football pool.   Let the games begin and let my grasp of the English language be slightly marred.  Hell hath no fury like a woman watching football!!

Rabbits and lions and lambs….oh my

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As it is with every first day of the month I will have awoken, most likely at 3:45 am because that is a new and inescapable routine, and hopefully remembered to repeat the phrase “white rabbit” three times before I uttered any other words.  It is a long-standing family tradition and one that is meant to bring luck for the following month.

Today is not only the first of the month, but it is the first of March which brings Spring closer to reality.  After the winter we have just experienced, and still are experiencing,  Spring will be a very welcome companion.  The mercury is predicted to begin rising and the sun will have some warmth in its shine.   I have already begun preparations for my tanning session on the deck and, even if I am fully covered in snow gear, I am going to enjoy every ounce of Vitamin D I can extract from that fire-ball during the high temperature of -5C.

Tanning in the early months of February and March is a family tradition I cannot seem to part with.  When I was a child, we would spend hours in lawn chairs on the frozen lake and absorb all of the goodness from the sun.  There is no better feeling than the first real heat of a Spring day and having those rays welcomed by an eager face.

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This year, I am unsure as to whether the arrival of Spring will be classified as coming in like a lamb, or coming in like a lion.  After the harsh winter and bitter winds we have experienced, it will certainly feel like a lamb, but having March temperatures still hovering around -15 C may classify the entrance into this new month as coming in like a lion.

Groundhog’s shadow or not, Spring is coming.  I just hope it gets here before the rabbits, the lion and the lamb all freeze their asses off!

White rabbits and birthday wishes

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It is the first day of the month and, like every beginning of the month, the first words uttered in my waking moments were “white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit”. I’m certainly not a superstitious person but this string of language is a long-standing family tradition.  My great cousin Agnes, a delightful lady with a thick Scottish brogue, introduced me to this tradition when I was still in single digits.  She was in her 80’s and she will be an influence in my life that I will never forget.

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The idiom is meant to bring luck for the remaining days of the month but reciting that phrase gives me pause to remember cousin Agnes and the other family members and friends who are no longer with me.  When my dad was still with us, my phone would ring in the wee hours on the first of the month and, before even saying hello, we would say our white rabbits on the phone together.  Call display eventually helped to avoid the confusion of people on the other end of the phone if they happened to call before my dad. He was a very early riser and, as unlikely as that was, it happened once or twice and left a few bewildered callers wondering why I was shouting about albino bunnies.

Those simple words this morning were more important because today would have been my dad’s 77th birthday.  Saying those words on the first of this month was like my phone call to Heaven and I could hear his voice in my head saying them back to me at the same time. Though the distance that separates us is immeasurable, he is still never far from my heart.

In those brief moments when darkness still envelops the morning I find a sense of peace in those words.  Those two words, repeated three times in the haze of my waking moments, weave new threads into the blanket of my history.  That phrase warms my heart with memories of people and places that have been etched into my past.  That simple string of words uttered three times in a row will be with me paving the way into my future.

May the next thirty-one days be filled with good things for all of us.

Happy birthday Dad.  xo