Category Archives: Winter

A Valentine’s Day Blizzard Weekend

What a weekend. Cold temps, much chocolate, giggling cousins (!), a magnificent play, a photography class, and coughing fits, all made Valentine’s extra special.

At this time I’d like to pay my yearly homage to the mailbox. Despite previous blizzards this year, piled up snow, and multiple plow drive-bys…it stands proud and free:mailbox

And now for your weekend report:IMG_3598After months of rehearsal, Cope transformed into feisty Ms. Jean Louise aka Scout Finch for her school’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird. I love it so. When interviewed, Cope said, “One of the main themes of this play is that two children learn the world isn’t what they thought it was…and that is something we all have to face at some point in our lives.”

Scott Allenby, Communications Director wrote: While the performance is powerful, the impact of the journey for this group of young actors is perhaps even more impactful. On-going conversations around race, equality, and civil rights in today’s world have been an important part of the community this year. Proctor’s student organized Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration set the stage for open, honest conversations about where our society is, and where we need to be, and this play has allowed those conversations to continue in a productive way on campus.

So proud of these kids.

mooOn Friday, the kiddies came home from school with loads of valentine’s. Paige and I had made these valentine cows. She said some of the boys in her class laughed. Hold on to these moments, mamas, cause there’s only so long you can make valentine cows with your wee ones!

This weekend we also did our annual heart attacking of the house. Some of ours were…interesting…as usual:snow  The “not” was written after Cope annoyed her sister. Charming children, aren’t they?brynne paige  tennyEven doggy got heart attacked. momMy kids are extremely observant when it comes to my hair color and I’m just sayin’ that getting it right is not easy! They just think they’re so funny. 🙂paigeOh, melt my heart, darlin’!birthmark Nelson has a small birthmark above his lip. He would not have found this funny a few years ago. Now he rolls his eyes, chases and catches his prey (sisters), and wrestles them to the ground. Win-win.beard coldThe morning of Valentine’s began as early my sister-in-law and I trotted to the little local library for a 4-hour photography class. It was excellent. My head is spinning with words like “F-stop, aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.” Exciting times!boy That night it snowed and snowed and snowed. The temperature dipped into the negatives, -30 with windchill.  After multiple attempts to get up our steep hill, we finally did (whew) and were snowed in for the rest of the weekend! I pretty much stayed in bed trying not to cough while sweet cherubs fetched me food. It was quite blissful and since we had a sweet cousin in the house, there was minimal fighting! Company is good for a family that way, isn’t it?girls These girls couldn’t be kept from the snow for long!girls2 But they didn’t last long either, coming in with red cheeks and begging for hot cocoa.mailbox2And I had such high hopes that this would be the year the mailbox stayed put…

How was your weekend? Warmer than mine???


Protecting Your Beautiful Skin and Hair During Winter Months

The east was hit with an arctic blast this week. I can’t complain since December was quite lovely, with the temperature hovering in the 40’s and 50’s, and making the outdoor run unusually pleasant for this time of year.

Alas, it couldn’t last. And didn’t.

It’s been so cold in New Hampshire that the entire state had a two-hour school delay this week so little ones wouldn’t have to stand in the dangerously cold temperatures. It could be worse. The midwest (Minnesota!) was purportedly -50 below during the night.  We got by with a mere -30 with windshield. Frostbite can occur in minutes. Wet hair can freeze in seconds. I live in thermal underwear.

So far, our chickens are hanging in there, even laying an egg or two every few days (such good girls). A bird took shelter in the coop, but sadly, perished during the night. Baby, it’s cold outside!

Might I suggest? Hat, face scarf, mittens, coat. Obvious, no? Yet I find myself harping at my children (and the husband!) on a daily basis to wear these essential items.

I’d like to share some other small pleasures in life. Here’s what I use to save my face and hair during the very dry and very cold winter months. Very basic, yet very wonderful.

IMG_72951. Paul Mitchell Fast Form Cream Gel. I don’t have a lot of time to do my hair, darlings. I’m guessing you don’t either. “Fast form” means this product helps your hair dry quickly, saving you blow-dry or cold-weather drying time. And for a girl with curl, the cream gel gives moisture but also a little style. It’s nourishing, but light. It smells like heaven. Love it. $16 at salons.

2. Coconut Oil. Trader Joe’s is a good hour away, so I stock up. Not just for cooking, my friends! I keep a jar of coconut oil in the kitchen and one in the shower. No more chemicals delivered straight through the skin and into the bloodstream. Coconut oil is free of chemical and dyes, and is my favorite moisturizer. Great for legs (after shaving,) arms, whole body, and the ends of wet hair. I also put it on my face. Since it’s anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, it cleans without clogging pores (no more zits!.) It’s also incredibly moisturizing. The smell? Delicious. $6-10.

3. Garnier Skin Renew. A “skin perfecter” and man, I love this stuff. I don’t wear a lot of make-up; base has always felt too heavy. But when I’m tired (always?), and my pale, winter skin needs a little pick-me-up, this tinted moisturizer with an SPF 15 really is perfect. After wearing this year-round, I’m as happy as pie. Grocery store find $9.

4. Blistex Complete Moisturizer.  I’ve tried a lot of chapsticks. I like this creamy, soft feel. During winter it’s kept in my coat pocket at all times. Beware the child who “borrows” it and does not return. Grocery store find $3.

5. Vaseline with Cocoa Butter. Vaseline is pretty much the best facial product ever invented. After consulting with my dermatologist cousin, he agrees with me. In fact, he said it first. I’ve used vaseline my whole life. My mother supplied it in my Christmas stocking and always had a jar on her bedside table. I’ve continued the tradition. Oh the many uses! Lips, eye make-up remover, dry nose lubricator. But now, there’s a COCOA BUTTER variety and I practically eat the stuff. Oh, the smell! Oh, the dry lip relief! I even use it on my face when I go running, especially on my lips, around the nose, and around my eyes. Leftover? Rub it on the hands. Grocery store find $5.

I’ll add two more:

6. Water. We need more than we think, and often don’t get enough during the winter months because we don’t move as much. Drink more. Our bodies are 70%+ water. Our skin needs moisturizer and will dry out if not watered. Guess what? You can afford it.

7. A good book. Yes, in winter months, stay indoors and read a good book. Save the skin, feed the mind 🙂

Got any skin-saving favorites? I’d love to hear.


Running West and East

In 10 days I will be running with Marathon Glenn. Finally. It’s been the longest, coldest, and darkest four months of winter running. Ever.

We are wicked excited. We say “wicked” a lot in New Hampshuh’.

Wicked takes Excited to a whole new level, don’t you think?

This is where we can look back and remember the cold winter mornings.road

Oh how fondly I remember this day. When the running program said “Run 15 miles.” But the roads apparently ignored the memo and were covered with ice and snow. Um, hello?? I showed up and this is what you’re giving me to work with??


The most oft-asked question: “Why did we decide to train during the coldest part of the year?” When we had to wear two layers – long johns and running tights – and were still cold the entire run.

This was always the answer: It will be worth it in April!

I wasn’t always so sure, like that time I came home and cried, when my hands hurt so much I thought they would have to be amputated.

Or that time last weekend when my poor little baby toe swelled up to the size of an orange and I was performing emergency surgery at 2:45 in the morning, cursing those things called BLISTERS.

There were chapped lips, black toenails, lost toenails, less sleep, less writing time, unidentifiable aches and pains, weird dietary changes.

When our conversations consisted of chafing, fuel, VO2 max, pit stops, shoes, wicking socks, and whether the altitude change will kill me or not.

There were other conversations too, ones that only happen out there on the road; conversations of family, children, grief, God, turning another year older, and whether or not we should go gray naturally. A firm no has been decided 🙂

These are the moments that bond women together for life.

There were days when the only time we could fit in a run was before the sun was up.buddies

We had to wear fluorescent running vests so we wouldn’t be mistaken for deer, so cars driving in the dark could see us. We had to wear hats, mittens, face masks. We often had to wear head lamps to even see the road, and then it became so cold and slippery, that the run had to wait for the sun.

Why do we look so happy in this picture? Oh yeah…it was…fun.

I’ve said it before: I couldn’t have done it without the buddies.


Yes, there were times we questioned our sanity.


And because it was winter, sometimes the run had to be done on the dreaded treadmill, a psychological weapon which I have already spoken about and won’t go into until next December. Oh spring, I love you!

Now, two roads diverge in a barren wood…we will part ways and each run our own race.slc

Headed west. In 10 days I will run at the base of the mighty Rockies.

Running buddy will go east and run in the famed Boston which, after last year’s tragedy, is going to be the greatest marathon the city has ever seen, with the fastest qualifying times ever recorded. Where American runner and Boston runner, Shalane Flanagan, will seek redemption. She wants to win it bad. For all of us.

We’re all looking to prove something to ourselves, that all the training over four long winter months was worth it. It’s a funny thing, this hard thing. You can run your guts out, throw up at the finish line, and say, “that was awesome.”

Now, as the weather is finally starting to warm, as the mountains of snow are mere hills, when we are in the best shape of our lives, and all the training that can be done, is done…I can look back fondly at how hard it was to get from there to here.

Anyone can run. But it won’t always come easy. And that’s what makes it so great.


The Dog Days of Winter

We are bundled up in the house today – It’s a snow day! It’s like Christmas, the children bouncing out of bed in the wee hours of the morning. snow

There was a dart fight, polly pockets, barbies, Pinterest browsing, a rowdy game of tag – all before 9 a.m. Then I made them feed the chickens, clean up the one million darts and polly pieces, and practice the piano because it’s not really Christmas and I’m mean like that.

I like snow, but I’m sorry, winter…it’s time we spend some time apart. Thankfully we have the Olympics. Shaun White, Nick!, Julia Mancuso, the Russians pairs last night! Heartbreak and Jubilation. I love it all, stay up way too late, and often fall asleep on the couch.


I do have to say, it’s breathtakingly beautiful after a snowfall.


Tenny does not think it’s too cold. He could frolic with his friend, Reubens, all day long.


It’s so cold the hens don’t want to leave their coop. I don’t fault them for this as I try to never leave the house. They also stop laying as much unless they have light. Even a regular lightbulb will encourage laying. I find that fascinating!


Cope took this picture of me. Hauling hay out of the barn for chicken and bunny warmth. I tell you, the roles we play in life…


Here’s my girl getting her basketball on. This is really her first time playing on a team except one short stint in elementary. She is proud of the eight points she has scored this season! Sadly, she got a concussion two weeks ago and is out of play for a bit. This also means I haul the hay.


Nelson is also a baller. My heart jumps and sinks with every swoosh in the net, and near-basket that only almost goes in. I watch his face light up when coach puts him in. I tell you, small moments mean so much. They can live for months on a game-changing play, when all their buddies slap them on the back. The reverse is true, too. Oh, the emotion of the game!


Here Nellie boy tries out for a summer AAU team. My heart was pounding, both of us sweating with anticipation…please don’t cut my boy! Oh, it’s hard for a middle school boy who lives for sports. He’s small, but runs his guts out. He made the team 🙂 Thank you, Coach!


When it’s too cold to go outside, we pay money to give our mother multiple heart attacks. Here Brynne flips at a local gym. I hate this. I just do. 


Paige finds a quiet place to read. In the closet. Sometimes you just have to carve out your own space, don’t you?


Valentine making for the big day tomorrow. However, another storm in coming, followed by freezing rain, followed by another winter storm. Pounding! The girls are very sad not to go for their valentine party 🙁 And I can’t make my fruit heart. Wah!

Knowing the storm was coming, I had to get my long run in this morning. Thankfully my running buddy is back! Our run went from cold to enjoyable to grueling as the storm began to chase us down the road.

The snow under our feet made the miles feel like we were running in sand, making our hamstrings and calves burn with lactic acid. At 15 degrees, it was so cold, that my left hand went numb by mile 11. I knew I was going to pay dearly for it. Even with a hat and a face warmer, our hair and faces were covered with frost. So grueling.dead

“Mother, are you alive?”

I wasn’t so sure, walking into the house and collapsing on a pile of polly pocket pieces and Lala Loopsies. My hand was hurting so badly I thought I had frostbite and it was going to fall off. Remember being a little kid and your hands were so cold they hurt? Cope has no memory of this ever happening to her. Gloves must be made better these days. The thawing out process produced many painful sounds and noises from my mouth as I rolled around on the carpet, finally finding solace parked in front of the fireplace until I could feel my fingers. The children stared at me, eyes wide, wondering what their mother had turned into. They scurried to procure chocolate milk and peanut butter.


Rendered useless. Though it was hard, I’m grateful I have legs to run down winter roads. It seems like just yesterday that I was nursing babies or terribly sleep-deprived from changing wet beds in the middle of the night, and all I needed was a little break to walk down the road, some fresh air and sunshine. Now, my babes are old enough to take care of each other while I go traverse country roads in the snow. If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry. Enjoy your stage. Shawni reminds me that Life is Long. There is a season for everything. It does occur to me that perhaps you will never look forward to running in snow…


I begged Cope to give me this wrist band. I wear it at all times, to remind me that spring will be here soon, and I will be glad for the miles run when I meet the Rocky Mountains in April. Sometimes, to feel inspired, I listen to Martin Luther King’s last speech, I Have Been to the Mountain Top. I have been to the mountaintop…and I have seen the promised land!


Come back tomorrow – I have a cookie recipe that will get you through the winter. It has a special ingredient that will knock your Sorel boots right off your feet!



When in New Hampshuh’

Miles Run:  5.3
Icicles hanging from eyelashes:  10
It was so so cold this morning.  My face hurt, my hands hurt.  Good thing my running buddy was back from Florida.  She had a tan.  
New Hampshuh’ is a place of extreme weather and frost heaves (the very bumpy roads in March due to freezing and thawing of roads) that prompt immediate labor.  It’s no wonder Nelson was born so quickly the Dr. still had shampoo in his hair and Paige was born in the triage room.  April and March babies!

We are expecting another monster storm tonight.  Aren’t you jealous?
I should not be excited, but I am so happy to sleep in, tucked away under covers while snow falls.  Early morning, freezing-cold runs make sleeping in delicious.   That’s Paige up there.  In the blizzard.

Even doggie has a hard time getting out.  That’s snow that drifted up to the door.

Isn’t it fun playing outside????

Nelson does his duty

Cope does her duty…wait a minute…
When the snow finally stops it’s mighty pretty

Though snow fall creates havoc with the gutters

When in New Hampshuh’, you look for New Hampshuh’ adventures.  Especially when Grandma is visiting.  We love putting stupid hats on Grandma.  It’s the New Hampshuh’ way.  We went exploring in Narnia and got lost and were scared by a herd of cattle and one angry bull.  It wouldn’t have been a bad way to go.

In New Hampshuh’ ice fishin’ is practically a religion.  This is on the lake we swim at all summer.  Isn’t that a cute little ice house?  No one seemed to be home.

What’s inside an ice house?  Coffee, of course.  When you’re getting up at 5 a.m. in the pitch black with freezing temps, to go fishin’, you might need that pick-me-up.  I wonder if they’ve heard of green smoothies?


This guy was out drilling holes so he could fish.

Inside the little ice houses are holes in the floor.  Then you can sit in your little house with your fishing pole submerged in water, chawin’ with your buddies.
Two children were good children and continued on with the adventure.  Hoping the ice really was frozen all the way across.  We trudged out to blueberry island, an island we swim to in the summer for a super work-out.  Trudging was a super work-out as well.

Fishin’ poles

This is my favorite ice house.

Which way does the wind blow?

I’m exhausted, mom!

Amazing what can still grow in freezing temperatures.

What were those other children doing during the adventure?  Don’t they look excited?

At least they were reading, right?
And then I walked home so I could check on the maple sugar taps.  They’re not really my taps. They’re Eric’s, the sugar man’s.  I just like to see them working.

Getting sophisticated with these lines.  When the temps go up, the sap will flow.  And we shall have our pure maple syrup.

Mother earth, can you please hurry up?  It’s pancake time!
Classic New Hampshuh’

Nice, friendly welcome sign.  

Just know if you ever want to come visit me, I won’t shoot.  I’ll say, “Welcome to New Hampshuh’.”

We’ll talk about the Red Sox.  And the pitchuh’ and the catchuh’.

If you’re a teachuh’, your students will ask if they can go get a drink at the bubbluh’.

And kids go to kindahgahwten, not kindergarten.

Our honeymoon was driving across the country so Gregor (Greguh’) could start his new job at Hogwarts.  I cried all the way from Des  Moines :).  He anxiously patted my hand and drove into our future at the same time.

My first time at church the Sunday school teachuh’ talked about manner from heaven.  “Manner?” I asked Gregor.  “Manna,” he said, pinching me.  I found it greatly disturbing.
I’ve been here (he’uh) almost 16(!) years (ye’uhs) and the phonetical occurrence still cracks me up.  Wicked bad.  Thank you, Greguh’ for explaining what “phonetical occurrence” is.  Love my English major boy.

Good night – hope you get to sleep in tomorrow, too!


A Winter Walk That Renders Her Useless

Sometimes it takes awhile for our country boys to plow our rural roads.  And sometimes this renders husband stranded at the bottom of a very long hill. Come home early, I always say.  But he pays no mind.  And after many attempts (it’s a man thing) the car has to stay at the bottom of the hill and mama has to drive down with the van to rescue husband (it’s a girl thing.)

Then in the morning daddy goes to work and mama goes to get the car.  He offered to drop me off, but Paige and I decided we wanted a winter walk adventure.  In reality, I really needed to move and get out of the house.
We admired the hearty forsythia

And mighty pines
With very little snow last year, it makes me happy to see the white fluffy stuff.  Even though, for the sixth year in a row our mailbox has been hit by the snow plow and is now, once again, bungee-corded on.  It’s classy, I tell you.  Mailboxes in New Hampshire could be a post by itself.

And we were off…
But first we had to go back and get a shovel when daddy called and apologetically said, “you’re going to need a shovel to get the car out.”

We were up for the job!  I use nothing but a baby shovel as the biggun’s have it out to ruin my back.

When was the last time you watched the sun come up?  Here it just peeks out…good morning…

And in mere minutes it was all the way up…GOOD MORNING! it sang. It was quite miraculous to me,how fast it came

Paige took the hardest route possible – by walking in the deep and heavy snowbanks whereas I played it safe and walked on the road.  I think she had more fun.

Though before we were even half-way there she was exhausted. Plus, she really wasn’t feeling well.  A terrible fever has been making the rounds.  

She begged to be carried, but holding a shovel (and a camera) rendered the mother quite exhausted in seconds.  Five-year-olds are rather heavy.

I admire the leaves that hang on

I kept making sure the sun was still there…it was…peeking, scattered through trees
Carrying large boulders of snow seemed like a good idea

This doesn’t look like a big dig-out, but I tell you I was sweating by the time I was done.  
By the time we arrived back home, Paige threw herself into a snowbank.  Exhausted!  But mama smiled, feeling good to have walked in the winter with her girl.


How to Keep Daddy Young: Go Sledding

Miles Run:  3
How that feels on a treadmill: 6
Temp: -10 with windchill
Whine Factor:  Do you have to ask?

This arctic blast is killing me.  That is such hyperbole, but I’m suffering.  Suffering, I tell you.  I do not want to leave my house for any reason.  Not even for a free dinner at the dining hall.  We made fried fish for dinner.  It was gross.  I refused to bring Cope to a school event b/c it was too cold.  She is still mad at me.  I’m dreaming of cancun.  Or even 20 degrees.  How can we bear such trials?

Let’s think on happier times.  Like when Daddy turned into a 10-year-old.

It was Christmas break.  The cousins had arrived!  And it snowed!

Sledding was the only answer.
Someone wasn’t so sure this was going to be fun

But the boy was ready!

Cope carefully manuevered down the hill

And then Daddy hopped on his sled and went flyin’ like he was in the Grand Prix!

My mouth sometimes drops open at the pure glee…you know those times when husband says, “I’m 10 again!”  It sparks happiness inside me.
“I’m 11 for the first time and this is awesome!”
Now all it takes for Dad to get a little more wild is to add another dad or two

There were lots of collisions and crashing

And it’s all good!

Brynne brings out the daredevil in us all.
But I’m telling you now, the days of me flying down a hill face-first?  Over.

Those days aren’t over for Daddy!

Not for this guy either

Daddy?  I’m still not so sure about this

Wild woman

Let’s both be 10!

Are you talking to me?

Then pregnant mama gets into the action.  No, this is not me.

There was some questionable behavior

Hold on, small child!  It will soon be over.

And for the grand finale?  Daddy takes Paige down for the ride of her life.

Faster and faster they fly. Isn’t this fun, baby?  Yes, you can hold on to my leg for dear life.

We’ll go faster and faster and faster!  Maybe go over a some bumps.

Bail out, bail out!  Wasn’t that a blast, Paige?

Yep, you were right Daddy, that was the best!
You can make it up to me by burning the Christmas tree
And we all danced around the fire in our…coats and boots.  It may have been a little Lord of the Flyish.  But no one wore a loin cloth or put a pig on a stick.  That already happened this summer.  And come to think of it, that also involved Daddy.

Let it snow!  And go sled.  Be young.  And make sure to laugh.  Doesn’t that fire look warm?

Monday Fit Tip: Inexpensive Running Gloves

I know it’s cold, but you still gotta get out there. Before we know it, spring will be here and you will be happy your were faithful! 
As much as I love running gear, here’s a little secret:  You can get away with just a little.
This is a 2-pack from Old Navy for $2.50.  

When I run in the winter, my hands start out tucked into little balls underneath the arm sleeve of my thumbed running shirt.

Eventually my hands begin to emerge until they are all the way out of my thumb tabs.  Sometimes the gloves get peeled half-way off, sometimes all the way off.

You sweat when you run.  Your body warms you up.  Gloves are necessary for a winter run, but cheap, cotton gloves usually work just fine unless it’s super-duper cold.  Like in Alaska.  Then I’d opt for a running mitten with a removable top.

But don’t wait until you have the perfect glove.  Your body knows what to do.  

I know it’s cold.  Block that thought out.  That winter run is going to release happy endorphins for a cold and dreary winter’s day.  I’m writing this to psych myself up for tomorrow when the cold Canada wind is swooping down.  Down.  Down.  Which reminds me, Downton Abby anyone?  We taped it to watch for tonight!  Wahoo…hey, that can be your run reward.  Deal.

p.s.  I suggest polka-dot.  If the run doesn’t make you happy, the dots will.

p.p.s.  Cope says that I never write about her.  Honey, this one’s for you:  The $100 Dollar Allowance.


A Winter Walk and Some Flirting

I grew up in a busy, Omaha suburb.  But now I live miles and miles away from grocery stores, traffic, the mall, and, well, just about everything.  I’ve grown to love the quiet.  Now, when we drive into Boston, I inhale and look around like a wide-eyed holstein.  Man, things change quickly.

When I can’t (or don’t) run, I take walks with whoever I can wrangle outside with me.  The air is getting cold and every morning there is frost on the ground.  It snowed the other day but has almost melted.  

The forsythia are taking the frost like champs.  Hearty things.  Lack of snow and freezing rain make it much easier to run, and much easier to take morning walks with Paige.

We anxiously looked in the mailbox for Christmas cards.  I love cards.

I’m loving these mornings with Paige so much.   

Paige likes to feed carrots to the horse up the road.

This is…Bob.  Seriously.  Bob?  That would not be the name of my midnight black horse.  But Bob is friendly and likes our carrots.

We walked to an almost-frozen pond with ice just skimming the surface.  And because I’m a mom I have to give the speech about ice.

We talked to big, tall trees

One would think it’s still fall around here.

Then we visited our neighborhood cows.  I really like cows.  Once I used a whole roll of film on cows and my mother was very annoyed.

And then as my camera is in shooting mode, the biggun’ made his move.

It just happened right then and there so I pushed the button.

What is he doing!? Paige yelled.  

“Uh…Flirting…” I said.  It was the first thing that came to mind.

What’s that?  

“They…like each other.”

You don’t think badly of me now, do you?  I tell you, it’s a whole other world out here in the sticks.  This was our entertainment for the morning.  Well, yee-haw.
This is a Holstein. My father taught me how to identify cows when I was a teenager.  He grew up on a farm in Bear Lake, Idaho.  He’s so proud I know my cows.

I’m scared of that big boy, Paige said, suspiciously.  Yeah, me too. 

Don’t even think about it.

So we left the cows to do whatever they do.

And walked home at a slow pace, me and my five-year-old, on a perfectly ordinary and quiet morning walk.  

I reached down and took her hand and she looked up at me, and smiled.  
And then we skipped.  

Isn’t it often the ordinary that makes up the best of days?


It Always Comes

A few years ago my mother-in-law (I think she needs a new name.  I don’t like writing, “mother-in-law.  Maybe MiL or Milly? I think that’s much better) So, Milly told me to go cut some sticks from the forsythia bushes that bloom like crazy out-of-control balls of yellow every Spring.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at them.  Right now they look like giant clumps of dead sticks.
“Go cut the sticks and bring me some too.  They’ll bloom inside, you’ll see.”
Really?  So I did because I’m a dutiful daughter-in-law (DiL or Dilly?)
She was right.  And now, in the cold of every February and March, I go out and cut sticks because Milly told Dilly to do it.
I put sticks in water and wait for a few weeks.  Just the sight of them makes my mood lift.  The sun shines through my window, on the little ducks in a row.

And finally the sticks start to do something.

They begin to burst into color.
Slowly.  But it always comes.  Every time.
By now I have a giant bouquet of bursting yellow forsythia by my sink.  Every time I’m feeling blah about the winter, unmotivated by the cold, needing more sun, I look at my bursting sticks.
They make me happy.  The blooms will fall within the week and then I will go back outside and cut a new bouquet and watch the process all over again until finally, spring really will be here and that bursting yellow will surround me as soon as I open the front door.

But for now, the sticks bloom just for me on the counter, by the sink.

Now taking orders for sticks:  Small, medium, or large.  Shipped free.