Turn to dust with style

Last week was a bit of a study in contrast, which is always welcome. I traveled to New York for work and returned home in time to unpack my heels and take advantage of the warm weather to knock out some much needed and welcome yard work. I love brushing elbows with the city, with any new place really, but more and more I’m always chomping at the bit to return home to the quiet hills and my fellas.

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On Sunday it was gloriously warm (Old Man Winter must have known that we all needed a break) and Drew and I woke up reaching for our work clothes. We decided to tackle the compost bin that we’ve been wanting to build, despite the impractical nature of starting a compost pile in January. You hush. A friend had suggested that we wire pallets together for a quick (and free) bin, but Drew felt pretty strongly that since the bin will be in a pretty visible part of our yard, it needed to look a little more polished. Nothing like having something polished looking to let your banana peels turn to dirt in! So we combined the two ideas, building the majority of the body out of salvaged pallets, but Drew put his trim carpenter’s background to work to frame it out and put some ‘finished’ looking sides on it. He also built some pretty sassy doors for both bays so that we’ll be able to access the pile for turning/soil as it’s ready. This shows the pallet back (which will eventually butt up against the garden fence and won’t be visible) and the start of Drew’s frame work. It has two bays so that we can eventually have a pile going and one to grow on, quite literally. Gardening puns, anyone?

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While Drew was hammering away, I worked on cleaning out a long neglected flower bed and raked up a pretty hefty pile of leaves. As I ripped out the remnants of last summer from the flower bed I was surprised to see various bulbs making their way through the soil. Also, just to keep things real, I’ll tell you that I stayed with my family tradition of taking down Christmas for the New Year, but had left the tree on the porch because the woods seemed awfully far away the day that I was doing all of that. Compelled by the fear that it might really be Spring, I took a turn at the Highland Games and did my very best to haul it and then pitch it far into the woods. If you’re wondering if I looked graceful in this moment, the answer is a resounding no. No, I did not. But it was oddly cathartic to pitch the tree, and I did wish it well.

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Proof that it was a good day:

Adventuring

I haven’t said much about this and I likely won’t say too much more about it because what I’m about to say pretty well sums it all up: I started a new job in September and I Love My Job. The day in and day out is great, and one of the new things that is brought back into my life is doing a bit of work-related travel.

We went to NYC week before last for work, and I was able to extend my trip through the weekend to stay with one of my oldest besties from growing up, my friend Lisa.

Here’s a quick summary of Lisa and me: She moved ‘next door’ (you have to use your imagination with that one as we lived in the country, but having a friend that didn’t require a car to see was as next door as things could get and it was divine) from Germany when I was in 5th grade. At first we fought. A lot. In fact, I’m almost certain that we didn’t think that there was a chance in the world that we would ever be friends, but that shows you what we know. We were only in school together for 2 years–when I was in 5th grade and she was in 4th, and then again when I was in 11th and she was in 10th–but in a way I think our relationship is what it is because our time together was always ours. We moved seamlessly between each other’s houses, kept a drawer in each other’s dressers, we fought like sisters and made up like best friends. Lisa was with me the day that I picked out Grace at the SPCA, the day that Drew and I got married, and the day that we saw Asher on the ultrasound screen for the very first time. We always pick up where we left off and although I was 10 when we met, I can’t really can’t think of a time in my life when it feels like she wasn’t there. It’s a quiet and steadfast friendship, and one of the most essential in my life.

Anyone know which church this is in Midtown? It was ominous and lovely at night. Instantly made me think of Gotham City.

It was high time that I visited her as she has always been so good and kind about coming to us and I’ve not been as good about that. She’s currently getting her MFA from SUNY Purchase, so once my business in the city was done, I took the train to Greenwich, CT and we had a wonderful weekend.

We walked along Todd’s Point which gives a unique (though geographically boggling) view of the Manhattan skyline at sunset. It was without a doubt the coldest walk that I have ever taken in my life, but it was so beautiful and I loved that Lisa wanted to show it to me. Instead of taking away from the experience, the sub zero temperature gave our walk a little air of adventure and I have to say that it was pretty invigorating. The sunset over Manhattan was gorgeous and once the wind was at our backs we were almost skipping along with it’s assistance.

On Saturday we went into the city and walked around the galleries in Chelsea for most of the afternoon before making our way to Brooklyn to scope out some of the goods in Park Slope and eat at one of Lisa’s favorite sushi restaurants. We went to the movies both nights which was such a luxury for this mama, and after spending a day outside in the cold, it was kind of the perfect way to settle down for a bit and reconnect with the feeling in my toes.

Walking the Highline in Chelsea

Lisa is focusing on sculpture in the expanded field and particularly how we as humans connect and disconnect with our natural environment. To that end, I loved that my weekend with her was in an obviously very urban setting, that it was bitterly cold, and that we were outside the entire time. We walked for miles without ever breaking pace in our conversation, and as I was flying home on Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I am to her for helping me let go of the notion that the ‘outside’ dies during the winter unless there’s snow on the ground. As I mentioned the other day, we’ve spent more time outside this winter than in any winter past, but I think I have been doing it on autopilot, just waiting for the Spring to come and the days to warm. I really am starting to see the demure beauty of the winter pallet, and although I’m always going to love open windows and lush trees more than just about anything, I’m really thankful that Lisa kind of gave winter back to me on our trip.

I’m really trying to make my peace with you, winter. I really really am.

Thank you Lisa for being such a divine hostess and sharing your tour guiding talents with me, and also for letting me drink all of your tea. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. xo