Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Come On In!

Hello again!  Welcome to my home!
Would you care to come in for a cuppa?  Let me show you around, we can start in the kitchen so we can fix our drinks.

My kitchen is open and airy, with windows looking out over the greens of the jungle, letting the sunlight stream in and alight on marble countertops which appear to have a life of their own in the glistening swirls and lines of the surface.  Everything is clean and shining; the stainless steel surfaces of the sink look polished, the appliances are all lined up, spotless and gleaming, along one counter.  The room is filled with calming whites and blues, warmed up by the golden rays of the sun, and the scent of freshly baked cookies is emanating from a rack of oatmeal raisin morsels in the center of the island.  Would you like one?  Everything has a place to belong, and that is where you will find it.  My favourite part of the room (aside from the warm, happy feeling I get when I walk in) is my magnificent spice rack.  I love herbs and spices, and I have collected an impressive variety, which now resides on a large section of wall like a piece of art.  Fresh parsley, cilantro and basil are growing in the window box above the sink.  We could sit here at the island in the middle of the kitchen looking out the window and talking for hours, but then you wouldn't be able to see the rest of the house!

Through the kitchen lies the small, but elegant dining room.  I think you enjoy your food more when you are eating in a beautiful place.  The dining room is darker than the kitchen; the room is centered around a rich hardwood  table, surrounded by plush, comfortable, high backed chairs, and the windows are dressed in dark, royal purple velvet.  A chandelier hanging over the table reflects rainbows around the room from the silver candlesticks along the center of the table.  There are enough places set with polished silverware, white plates, and crystal goblets for an intimate family dinner.

Moving through to the living room, we are greeted with comfortable sofas, large windows, and a large, stone fireplace.  This is a cozy place to snuggle up and relax.  Feel free to have a seat and put your feet up.  The walls are lined with bookshelves, showcasing my collections of books, nick nacks and shells.  There is a coffee table between the couches made of driftwood from the beach.  The high ceilings in this room make it feel grand, highlighting the magnificent stone chimney.  The floors are hardwood, covered with simple area rugs.  I could sit here all day.  In the corner is a wooden toy box, filled with my daughter's favourite things.  There is a toy monkey peeking out the top of the box, and a series of colourful blocks scattered on the floor in front.

This is the main living space.  In the back of the house are the bedrooms, all relaxing retreats with warm, simple furnishings, clean, tidy and peaceful.  All with windows opening out to the breezes and birdsong of the jungle.  Feel free to stay as long as you like.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dreaming of a Warm, Sunny Beach

Hello again!
I know it's been a while.  I got a kindle for Christmas and it turned into a portable rock for me to hide under for a while.  More on that later.  Right now I want to share with you a dream of mine.

What I would like, more than anything in the world, is a spot on a lovely, warm, tropical beach.  Surrounded by soft, white sand to dig my toes into, looking out over clear, blue water watching waves with white caps breaking over a reef in the middle distance.  I can see this beach clearly in my mind.  The sky is a beautiful, bright blue, with white puffy clouds.  The kinds of clouds that you can lie back and find shapes in; that look like bunny rabbits that morph into dragons as they travel across the sky.  The sun wraps its warm arms around me in a soothing, gentle embrace that lifts all the stresses and cares from my shoulders.  There are green coconut palms swaying in the breeze behind me, dancing to the rhythm of the ocean and the melody of the sea birds.  Somewhere behind those trees is my little house.  One day I'll invite you inside, but for today I'm sitting on the sand.  It is the most peaceful, calming beach on earth.

Maybe I'll go for a swim in the cool, calm water.  I can feel the buoyant salt water supporting me, gently lifting and lowering me with every swell.  The ocean is so cleansing.  I can feel it washing away the fogginess from my head, the aches from my body, refreshing and revitalizing me.  Each stroke of my arms and kick of my legs awakens my muscles and energizes my soul.  Later, we will eat fresh coconuts, mangoes and papaya from the trees.  We will build sandcastles and collect shells.  I will chase my daughter up the beach and listen to her delighted giggles.  My husband and I will watch the deepening crimsons and golds of the sunset as our baby girl falls asleep beside us.  And we will sleep, with the night breeze and the insects song, knowing that tomorrow we will enjoy another perfectly relaxing, beautiful day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Coziness


Hello everybody!  Sorry I've been gone so long, it's taken longer than I thought to recover from my trip with the Cuddlebug.  So, now that we're back I thought we should talk about something Christmassy.  Christmas is one of my most favourite and least favourite times of year at the same time.  So in order to maintain our sanity through the last minute stress, planning and organization that envelopes us around this magical holiday, let's focus on the comforting, and cozy things that we (or at least I) love about Christmas.

First, one of the greatest things about this time of year here in the USA is the abundance of beautiful Christmas lights decorating people's homes.  Driving around after dark can be a truly magical experience if you take the time to enjoy the beauty lining the streets.  If you're out doing last minute shopping after work, you might even use the time in your car to recover from the madness of the stores.  Just soak in the twinkling.  Let the lights in the trees and hanging from the eaves help to brighten the light in your soul.

Speaking of trees, I am a huge fan of Christmas trees.  Especially big, real, freshly cut trees that make the whole house smell like Christmas.  I have a few scents that bring happiness and joy to my soul, and that fir tree smell is a big one.  Another smell is cinnamon (maybe that's just me), but when the kitchen starts smelling like cinnamon and spice I get a cozy, warm feeling down deep inside.  Peppermint too.  It's definitely the right time of year for hot chocolate with candy canes poking out the top.

The next thing I love about this time of year is the music.  Christmas music makes me happy, and there are so many different styles of Christmas songs to listen to!  There are jolly, jaunty songs full of energy to pep you up, like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer; and slow, snuggly songs that are perfect for sitting on the couch with your honey and melting into the moment, like White Christmas.  There are traditional carols, full of nostalgia, and contemporary songs, full of fun.  There are instrumental pieces, choral pieces, children's songs and rock songs.  Songs that remind you of Christmases past, and others that excite you about this one.

Feel free to combine any combination of the above sense experiences over your holiday, and add your own.  What parts of Christmas remind you of your childhood?  When do you get that wonderful feeling of love and warmth inside?  The sights, sounds, smells and flavours of Christmas are truly magical for me, and I hope they are for you too.  Now, I think I need to put on some upbeat sing-a-long Christmas music and make some Christmas desserts!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Venturing Beyond the Rock

Yesterday was a lovely day!  There was beautiful sunshine, and autumn coloured leaves, and a wonderful warmth outside.  It was so lovely that I even ventured out from under my Cozy Rock and went for a walk with my little Cuddlebug.  We stayed away from any madness, I assure you, and quite enjoyed our little adventure.

I think a change of scenery (and watching the scenery change, as it does), can be a wonderfully recharging activity.  There's nothing quite like watching golden leaves drift gracefully down from the trees, seeing squirrels foraging and frolicking, and getting some cleansing fresh air to clear out the cobwebs.

Now, I must admit that I had to give myself a little push to venture out.  I could see the warm, inviting glow of the sun from beyond the shadows.  It beckoned to me until I finally got us both in shoes and socks and out the door.  Today is looking quite pleasant too.  I'm thinking I will take advantage of as much sunshine and beauty outside as I can before I am confined to the warm coziness of my rock for the winter.  Oh, but before that arrives, we have an exciting adventure!  I will tell you all about it, I promise.  The Cuddlebug and I will be traveling around the world to visit my family in New Zealand next week.  I'm sure there will be madness, but I will share all the fun with you while I'm there.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When I Grow Up . . .

I am a bit of a dreamer.  I love new projects, and I love spinning an idea out into a huge plan to take over the world.  I'm not so good with the follow through, so I end up having a lot of ideas, and a lot of plans.  I'm now officially an adult, and I still think about what I want to be when I grow up.

I think a lot of people (myself included) spend too much time thinking about what we are "supposed" to do, and not enough time thinking about what would be really cool.  So lets focus on some dreaming.  When I was little I secretly really wanted to be a detective like Nancy Drew.  Don't get me wrong, I also went through the standard set of young girl dreams:  moviestar, equestrienne, rockstar.  I made lemonade and had grand designs for the best lemonade stand ever (rather like the current Verizon ads).  But no matter what else I've thought about doing, I always come back to that detective / private eye dream.  Maybe one day that's what I'll do.  Wouldn't that be cool?

Today I had a completely different dream.  You see, being a displaced Kiwi on the East Coast of the USA, I frequently crave the little New Zealand things that I can't get here.  Thanks to my brother, today the craving was a hearty meat pie.  Not the American pot pie that you have to eat with a fork on a plate and is filled with far too many vegetables.  A proper kiwi Steak and Cheese pie I could eat with my hands and would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Suffice it to say that today's dream is opening a pie shop.  And not just any pie shop!  My pie shop would provide fabulous, economical, hearty, nutritious, hand held meals to the millions of cold, hungry and generally broke people of this country who have no idea what they are missing!

This isn't the first time I've had this dream.  Pretty much every time I crave a decent pie and can't get one I start thinking about baking them myself.  We'll ignore that "real world" issues that usually squash the idea.  Maybe I will bake some pies.  But I think I'll sit here under my rock for a little longer dreaming about the possibilities.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Staying Warm and Dry

Aah the Cozy Rock: warm, dry, and comforting.  The real world's not being so nice, so let's soak up some extra warmth hiding under here.  I think it's a hot chocolate kind of a day.  I'm thinking steaming hot, rich, liquid heaven topped with fluffy, gooey, giant marshmallows and sweet whipped cream.  Mmmm, makes me warm and happy just thinking about it.  Well that's got the warm and comforting bit down already!  I think we also need a little campfire here under our rock.  I love cuddling up under a blanket by the fire.  I think it's one of the most serene, relaxing things ever.  It's also one of those things that you can do all by yourself with your thoughts and your hot chocolate, but has a new dimension when you have someone (or a few people) to share it with.  That special someone, or your group of friends can bring that warm, comforting feeling deeper inside than your hot chocolate can; past your bones and into your soul.  Even if we're all just sitting, huddled around our fire, sipping our perfect beverages, and not saying a thing.  That sense of belonging, of companionship, of Love, helps us to keep our spirit warm, dry, and comforted too.

Now, maybe you are in the mood for a little campfire singalong, instead of the quiet reflection of my reverie.  Well, the awesome thing about this Cozy Rock that we share, is that we can all have exactly what we need!  What makes you warm and comfortable?  What drys out the cold, damp patches of your day?  A hug?  A smile from your baby?  Maybe a bright and bubbly conversation over dinner with friends?  Ooh, maybe we could set that up under here too, a little away from the campfire.  What we need is one of those big, long, solid wood dining tables from an ancient castle.  Big enough to seat at least 50 people, with magnificent candelabras down the center of the table, beautiful bouquets of flowers, fine china, shining, polished silverware, goblets of wine, and platters filled with fragrant, exotic delicacies.  Could you please pass the gravy?  Of course just because we're having a wonderfully opulent feast, doesn't mean we have to talk about things that aren't interesting.  What fantastic and exciting things are going on in your friends' lives?  Or yours?  Did you see the All Blacks win the Rugby World Cup?  Did you go to the parade?  Have you read anything good recently?  Planning any exciting adventures?  Oh what fun!  What a way to recharge!

Is there anything else you think we need under our Cozy Rock?  I'm sure we have room. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome!

Welcome to The Cozy Rock!  I've been looking for a cozy rock to hide under for a while now (on and off), and it looks like I've found one.  It's nice and warm under here, and the outside world can't come in and interrupt.  I'm hoping to make this a friendly place to hang out, maybe share a glass of wine, and completely ignore the madness of the "real world" for a while.  Feel free to come and join me whenever you like!

If you're a parent, a student, a working professional, or someone trying to be one or any combination of these things you have probably been looking for a rock to hide under too.  If you have small children you might have made your own rock out of cardboard boxes as a "creative exercise" and refused to come out (and I really don't blame you).  I myself have contemplated hiding under my desk on occasion.  So since the madness does nasty things to my blood pressure, lets not talk about it 'kay?  We'll just hide here for a while and pretend that it doesn't exist until we have the energy to return to the trenches and restore order to the chaos (for the 100th time this week).

So, my plan is to focus on amusing anecdotes from my life, maybe throw in some funny pictures, let you know about things that make my life easier that you might like, and mostly dream.  I think dreaming is the best way to relax and unwind.  It helps recharge my batteries and restore some motivation.  I'll tell you about some of my dreams, and I'd love to hear about yours!

So grab yourself a glass of Riesling and lets get started shall we?