Lizzard Loves Blue Sky Snow Covered Vail

Monday, January 18, 2016

Random lovely things

Lizzard Loves random lovely things.

Here they are in no particular order:

~ These beautiful flowers. Sunny & pretty & bright. Thanks Tara!
Lizzard Loves fresh flowers
~A phenomenal dance show Chris & I went to on Friday. "Still Inspired (?) A Series of F.O.U.R." was put on at Constellation at Links Hall, a cool spot with a great beer list. Bonus - we had no idea what to expect - so where there is excellent beer available - we feel like we're winning. This show was a pairing between dance & painting. The choreographers (including the 2 producers of the show) selected a painter to approach about this collaboration. The artist was excited, flattered, & on board. Each choreographer created 1 dance based on a different painting by the same artist. I should state for the record that Chris & I don't go to a ton of dance shows of any kind. As much as we try to make room in our lives for these moments of culture - days & weeks & months go by without us finding the time or making the effort. All that being said, I am graced with the friendship of Christina who is a passionate, incredibly talented professional dancer. When she is dancing in a show; I make a point to go (assuming we are in town; which is a big assume as of late). This show was inspiring. To watch people do their job in such a thoughtful, graceful, powerful way was awe inspiring. Most people have jobs that aren't particularly "watchable"; I'm not going to watch Chris on his computer and feel awe struck by his abilities (though I know he is incredibly talented & accomplished in his field). Dance combined with viewing the paintings projected onto the wall gave me the chance to see people at work, to see the end product of countless hours of hard work and be wowed. I won't soon forget the beauty! Still Inspired has a Facebook page, its here if you want more info!
Felt good for supporting the show's crowdfunding
campaign too, double lovely.
~This weekend was chock full of cultural activities! Thank goodness I have artistic friends :) Our Saturday evening was kicked off at Firecat Projects where my friend (from volunteering) Jane Sloss was giving a talk/guided tour of her show "This Is Home". The collection is her brainchild - do yourself a favor & check out her website about this project and view her paintings! She interviewed 15 Chicagoans who had lived in their homes for 10+ years about their experience of home. She made beautiful paintings based on photos she took and the subjects which came up in the interviews. It was lovely to hear her explain the art, describe her interactions with the residents, hear clips from her interviews - all while looking at these beautiful paintings! Again I was struck by the talents of those I know. Jane is an architect by trade; but also an incredibly gifted painter! Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Check out her work for sale on Etsy; Chris & I both love it.
Jane guiding us through her paintings
~The Lincoln Park Zoo on a frigid, sunny MLK Day. I stopped in (using my lovely membership card to breeze into the parking lot) and even though it was 10:15am, it was deserted! I saw so few other people, it felt like I had the whole zoo to myself. Being that it is frigid today (-20ish with the wind chill) I walked from building to building to keep relatively warm. I was impressed by the camels- they seemed utterly unfazed by this extreme cold. The tiger was fazed. He/she (not sure which I found lounging inside & which was outside) was walking outside and then quickly back inside and doing it again. Maybe wished he/she could switch to the indoor enclosure.....The highlight of the day was visiting the Regenstein Center for African Apes and having the building to myself (I am not delusional - I know the zookeepers are working behind the scenes all the time; but there were no other zoo visitors nor volunteers in the viewing area). It was quiet and lovely. I enjoyed unobstructed views of the Zoo's youngest gorilla eating breakfast and well as the bachelor gorillas chowing down on their food. It was so quiet I sat in a sunny corner & read my book for awhile. Double lovely. 
Mmmm, delicious lettuce.
~Donuts. Delicious, perfect, ridiculous good donuts. Do-Rite Donuts. If you've never had them & you live in/near Chicago - go try them. You will not be disappointed!!
Do-Rite; YUM!
Old fashion, chocolate, cinnamon crunch, apple fritter,
pistachio lemon, maple bacon....yes, yes, & yes!!
~Free lunch at Chipotle because  the stranger in line behind me had a "Buy 1 Burrito, Get 1 Free" coupon & he never goes to Chipotle with someone who wants a burrito (its a sad day when you don't have anyone in your network who loves delicious Chipotle.......Chris, Amber & Camilla all share my love of Chipotle. I am grateful I have people to share in the deliciousness). Back to the free lunch - how great is that? Just a random person wanting to share!

So that's that. A roundup of a few random, lovely things that I've been into lately. What has been lovely in your life lately? I'd love to know in the comments!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winter, especially the cozy parts

 Lizzard Loves winter (you knew this already) but especially the cozy parts of winter.

We went on a beautiful snowy walk Sunday afternoon with Willa the dog. The trees were all shimmery/sparkly because the gross rain finally froze and turned into snow. The beauty of the woods almost made up for the utter nastiness of rain in the winter.

We were cold when we got home and had plans to work (Chris) and finish Christmas thank you cards (me). It seemed like the perfect opportunity to bust out the peppermint hot chocolate my sister put in our stocking this year! Honestly, it was one of the best cups of hot chocolate I've ever had. The line from the Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg ran through my mind more than once while enjoying it; "We drank hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars." I topped each mug with a marshmallow and dunked a candy cane in each one for good measure.

While enjoying the hot chocolate, we had our lighted wreath plugged in - calling attention to the festive Christmas cards on the wall. We also lit our pine scented candle to up the Christmas-y ante even more. For me anyway, winter coziness is almost akin to Christmas-y. I am not alone in this feeling, in fact, Norwegians have a word for it; koselig. This article in Fast Company is a great read for more ways to love winter; maybe I am secretly part Norwegian? My favorite passage from the article is near the end when they discuss the concept of koselig: "It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress. People light candles, light fires, drink warm beverages, and sit under fuzzy blankets."

I am not among those who love to bitch and moan about winter.

 I love it. 
I love how the biting cold hits my face, it makes me feel a tad bit more alive. I love tilting my head all the way back and looking up into the sky as the snow falls down - it is a beautiful way to watch snow fall (though - you will get a neckache if you stand that way too long :). I love bundling up for a walk, or a skate on my brother & sister in law's backyard rink. I love cross country skiing near home and far away too. I love downhill skiing, especially in Colorado, but here in the Midwest too (I will never be too good for the Midwest skiing that made me fall in love with the sport). Though I've mentioned it before; it bears repeating: I love the coziness.; fires in the fireplace, hot mulled wine, hot cocoa, soft blankets and people I love. 
These are the makings of a wonderful winter!
First batch of Christmas cards
A Happy New Year to us! We are
thankful for all the family & friends
who sent us cards this Christmas season!
I would love to hear what your love about winter!
Tell me in the comments if the mood strikes.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Resolutions

Lizzard Loves New Year's Resolutions.

Yes, they fail a bunch. Yes, people get frustrated with them & even by me wanting to talk about them. Yes, they are work. Buuuuuuuuuuut, they are SO worth it. As I get older, I find it difficult to keep learning, growing & improving. I sometimes yearn for my college years when there were activity fairs - magical places you could wander around & find groups to join. I am, by my very nature, a joiner. I love to be with people; to talk, do an activity, volunteer, play a game, learn something new, whatever! I wish there were activity fairs for adults. I wish there were easy ways to join a club to learn a new skill or try a new hobby on for size.

Alas & alack, no such fairs exist for adults, at least not to the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge.

So, in the meantime, I use things like bucket lists & New Year's resolutions to continue to grow, learn, meet new people & maybe most importantly - stay connected to the loves in my life.

Drum roll 2016 I resolve to:
1. Write. This means letters, in my journal, on this blog & my other one.
2. Bake. Belle Plaine Bread (of course) but also to connect with friends & family. This will involve trying new things. First up? This recipe for pretzel bites.
3. Think, act, and be kind. This resolution was inspired by reading this post on Father James Martin, SJ's Facebook page (This post encapsulates much of what I think it means to be a good human being. I strive to be a good human being & hope that I am a touch better in 2016 than I was in 2015): 
"1.) Be Kind. That means...
2.) Always give everyone the benefit of the doubt. After all, why not? Everyone is carrying around some sort of burden. Usually one that you don't even know about. So give them a break. Even if they're being unreasonable....
3.) Especially when you're talking about them with someone else. Honor the absent, as the saying goes. Spiritually speaking, it's essential. It's part of charity. Practically speaking, it makes sense too. Why? First, because you'll feel crummy about yourself afterwards. Second, because the person you're complaining to will probably see you as negative. Finally, it will inevitably get back to them. More to the point, it's mean.
4.) Don't be a jerk. There is simply no need to be. At all. Zero. Just because you're having a rotten day doesn't mean you have to pass it along your misery to someone else. It's important to share your struggles with friends. Essential. But being in a bad mood is no excuse to be a jerk. If you feel your moving into that territory, ask yourself a simple question, "Am I being a jerk?" If you're somehow unable to discern that, the look on other people's faces will tell you.
5.) Give a call, pay a visit, or send a note to someone who is sick, lonely, struggling. It will cost you nothing, but will mean everything to them. Think of how you feel when someone reaches out.
6.) Release yourself from that grudge. In other words, forgive. It's ridiculous to hold onto things for so long. It eats away at you like a cancer, and it poisons the other person's life. It also, most likely, serves to turn them against you even more. You think you are justified in being mad? You probably are. People can be jerks. But there are probably people justified in holding a grudge against you, too. So just let it go.
7.) Stop being so sarcastic. A little of that goes too far. You may think you're being Oscar Wilde, but you're often just being mean. Sarcasm can be an effective antidote to pomposity, but sometimes it's just cruel.
8.) Listen patiently to someone who is long-winded, or boring, or, especially. complaining. They're usually insecure, lonely or in pain. Your listening is a gift to them. It may mean that you're the only person they have to talk to. Yes, it's hard. But God sees what you're doing. And, after all, people have to listen to you.
9.) Help someone who is really needy. A homeless person. A poor person. A refugee. A sick person. A grieving person. It's not hard to figure out how to do it. And if you don't know anyone like that, write a check. That's not so hard either. Helping doesn't require an advanced degree. 
10.) Be kind. Did I mention that? It bears repeating, because if you are kind, then you'll make a lot of people happy in the New Year. Yourself too. And God. "

So, what are you resolving to do this year? Would love to know! Happy New Year all!