Weekend Coffee Share 4/15/17

If we were having coffee, you would find me curled up in a cozy sweatshirt staring absentmindedly out the window.  The weather is dreary and wet–perfect for staying indoors.  (Of course… this picture is a wishful fantasy.  In reality, I got up before dawn to go to work.)

I’ve been away from the coffee share for a while again… it’s been a busy month!  Thankfully, things will be setting down a bit soon.

It’s Easter this weekend and I do not feel at all prepared.  Because it’s so late, the holiday really snuck up on me this year.  I feel bad, because Easter is the most important Christian holiday of the year, and I haven’t been paying attention.  My brothers are home for the weekend and my parents are getting home from their road trip at some point.  We all plan on going to church together tomorrow… but that’s the extent of our celebrations.  Continue reading

Weekend Coffee Share 2/18/17

If we were having coffee, we’d be lounging in the sunshine with our drinks of choice.  I’d be in a light flannel and we’d be watching the crusty piles of snow turn slowly to puddles.  We’re in a remarkably warm stretch of weather–unusual for Minnesota this time of year.

Good weather like this reminds me of a scene in the film Lars and the Real Girl.  After going bowling, Lars and Margo linger outside chatting about the weather like good Midwesterners.  Lars comments that it’s been warm lately and spring is on the way.  Margo replies, “It’s just a thaw.  Spring doesn’t come until Easter.”

So, while the sunshine and warmth is amazing, I’m not getting my hopes up.  It’s just a thaw.  We’ll probably have a new foot of snow by next week. Continue reading

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers!

It’s that time of year again!  Although the retail world has been celebrating Christmas for a month already, the arrival of December means that the holidays are just around the corner.

This year, I’m excited to announce the return of what is becoming one of my favorite holiday traditions: Tis the Season.

Every year on my blog, I do a week-long series in the days leading up to Christmas.  In it, I share family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discuss what the holidays mean to me.  I did most of the writing in year one and, last year, I was joined by some wonderful guest bloggers.

This will be year three of Tis the Season and I am really looking forward to what the series has in store.

I would like to invite you, reader, to join me!  This time of year is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than by bringing in guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 19-25.  My vision for the series is to have a post for each day.  Ideally, I will write one post and guests (yes, you!) will write the others.  If interest is high, I am all for making the series longer or putting up mulitple posts in one day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is send me an email or leave a comment on this post.  Then, it’s up to you to write your guest post.  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday-themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

 

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog and any other social media in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your site out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday traditions?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

Tis the Season: Holding On to Memories

Growing up can be a jarring experience.  You move out into the world and, suddenly, everything you’ve ever known is different.  After a while, you get used to it.  Life is fluid.  That’s just the way the world works.

Some things, though, never change.  Like Christmas.

Although we’re not exactly warm and cuddly, my family has always been close.  We push each other’s buttons and drive each other crazy, but have always enjoyed spending time together.

Christmas has definitely been different this year, with Grandpa in the hospital.  But, in many ways, it’s still the same.  As I said in yesterday’s post, no matter what happens, Christmas is still Christmas.

Many years ago, before college, I had a moment one Christmas when I realized that it wouldn’t always be like this.  There will hit a point when we’re all grown up and have families of our own.  We’ll be too far away to come together like we always have.

I’m thankful that this hasn’t happened yet.

But don’t know what the future holds.  I don’t know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing a year from now.  I don’t know if I’ll be home for Christmas.  So I’m bound and determined to make the most out of this year’s holiday.  I’m going to soak it all in, from the decorations to the carols to the time spent with family, and make memories that will last.

Merry Christmas, dear readers!  I’m very thankful for each and every one of you.  I wish you joy and blessings this holiday season.

christmas-ornaments


Tis the Season is a yearly holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

Tis the Season: No Matter What Comes, Christmas is Still Christmas

Christmas Eve is usually my favorite day of the year, but we’re running a bit low on holiday cheer in my house.  Over the past few days, my family has been thrown one curveball after another–from our power going out to my grandpa ending up in the hospital.

Initially, I had something VERY different planned for today’s Tis the Season.  This wasn’t a post I expected, but it needed to be written.

I’ll start with Grandpa.  Early on Monday, he checked himself into the Emergency Room with pain in his abdomen.  He thought it was food poisoning.  It turned out to be much worse.  On Tuesday, he had emergency surgery.  Removing a gallbladder is usually a short procedure (or so I’ve been told), but Grandpa’s took hours.  The surgery didn’t go well at all–due to a poor diet, his gallbladder was completely dead.  Taking it out set off several complications.

The thing about Grandpa is that it’s very hard for him to give up control.  I love him very much, but he can be domineering at times.  He likes his independence.  When I visited him on Monday, he looked exhausted from the pain and irritable for not being able to do things on his own.  He doesn’t like to be a burden to others.  The fact that various extended family have driven hours to help care for him makes him feel guilty.  Of course, post-surgery, I don’t know how lucid he is.  Mom’s been there every day and says he looks awful.

Because of this, Christmas plans have been shuffled around quite a bit.  We haven’t watched our normal movies or made our holiday yum-yums.  Mom hasn’t even wrapped presents yet.

On to the power outage.  Yesterday brought a mix of rain, sleet, and snow, resulting in hazardous driving conditions.  As I headed home from work, I noticed a car in the ditch.  Its hood had been completely ripped off and little bits of mechanical parts littered the ditch.  It turns out, the car ran straight into an electrical pole, tearing the power line in several places.

So… no electricity, no running water, no wifi.

Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal.  However, my brother and I planned on catching up on holiday baking.  It’s hard to bake cookies without a working oven.  Also, I hadn’t eaten lunch and couldn’t open the refrigerator, lest I let all the cold out.

We solved the no-power problem by taking our supplies to Grandpa’s now-vacant house and using his kitchen under the supervision of our sassy Southern aunt.

Things aren’t all bad, though.  My family still made it to church last night and then went to see the new Star Wars.  The power is on again, so we’re able to watch Christmas movies and decorate all the cookies we baked.  We’re still having steak dinner, followed by opening gifts around the Christmas tree.

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns.  I often idealize the holiday season as a never-changing remnant of my childhood, but it’s so much more than that.  Traditions may fall by the wayside and plans may be changed last minute, but Christmas is still Christmas.  My family is still here and there are still a thousand reasons to be thankful.

photo-1445462195935-9bf593d52c84 (1)


Tis the Season is an annual holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

Tis the Season Guest Post: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

Today’s Tis the Season post comes from a special guest! Join me in welcoming Shannon from If You Captured Your Life in Snapshots, What Would it Look Like?.  She was kind enough to share her favorite holiday traditions.  I love her list and hope you do to!  Thank you so much, Shannon, for contributing!


 

ae75dd56-5953-42b4-a3aa-1615c5f496cb

Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. There’s just something so magical about the season that no matter what part of the world you live in, the goodwill is infectious.

From the moment you spot that first snowflake or that first piece of tinsel, you’re grinning like a kid on Christmas Day. The first Christmas carol in December has you humming under your breath all day and the moment Advent starts, you start begging your mom and favorite aunt to sneak you some sweets. Christmas cheer is all around and you can’t help but pass it on.

For me, the best part of Christmas has always been the traditions. There are those that have been observed in your family for generations (like Midnight Mass or making boxes of sweets to send to your neighbors), those that seem more habit than tradition (like not hanging your decorations until the last weekend of Advent) and then there are those that you decide to adopt for one Christmas.

No matter what traditions you decide to follow, each of those little traditions adds something to the festive magic of the season. Each tradition makes the season infinitely more special and unique to you.

Some of my favorite Christmas traditions are:

  1. Decorating my house on 23rd – That one day when everyone steps out of their bustling lives and gathers together to decide how the house should look
  2. Advent Calendar – This is one tradition my Mom drummed into me when I was younger. Our calendar didn’t just count down the days to Christmas but worked as a Good Deed checklist as well. We got to choose what image we wanted to draw for calendar – stockings, candles, holly etc. If you did a good deed for that day, you got to color that day’s image in. Two good deeds equaled two colors for that day and so on and so forth.
  3. Cuddling up in front of the TV to watch Home Alone 2 – This is one of my Dad’s favorite Christmas movies
  4. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to admire the decorations, the lights, the community cribs etc.
  5. Last minute shopping – Even though I finish my Christmas shopping months before, I love browsing through the shops for last minute small gifts. You never know what treasures you may spot through the bustle 🙂
  6. Getting ready for Midnight Mass – If you have any siblings, you’d probably understand the attraction. There’s something about the craziness of that moment when everyone’s scrambling to get presentable that endears itself to me. It’s a moment for excitement, for confusion, for gossip, for resolutions and for good cheer.
  7. Sleeping under the Christmas tree – This one needs no explanation. There’s nothing better than watching those vibrant hues dance above you as you slowly drift off, comfy cozy under a warm blanket.

What are some of you favorite Christmas traditions?


Tis the Season is an annual holiday-themed series on Keep Your Feet.  The goal is to bring the blogging community together to celebrate holiday memories and traditions.

Calling Holiday Guest Bloggers

Last year in the week leading up to Christmas, I did a short series of posts titled Tis the Season.  I shared family traditions, stories, favorite songs, and discussed what the holidays mean to me.

I’d like to make this an annual tradition, but there’s a catch: I can’t do it alone.

The planning, organizing, and writing for Tis the Season took a lot more work than I was expecting.  The whole series was done on a whim, with me making things up on the spot.  I didn’t mind the work–besides hanging out with family, I didn’t have anything better to do with my holiday break.

But, this year, I just don’t have time.  In addition to all the holiday decorating, baking, and family time, I have a job, am going to a week-long conference in St. Louis the day after Christmas, and am leaving the country on January 8.  When Tis the Season time comes around, my hands are pretty much full.

That’s where you come in.  I’d love to see Tis the Season grow into something bigger than Keep Your Feet.  The holiday season is all about togetherness, so what better way to celebrate than bring in a bunch of guest bloggers?

Tis the Season this year will go from December 18-24.  I’d love to have a post for each day, which means I need at least 7 contributors.  If more people are interested, I’m all for making the series longer or putting up multiple posts a day.

It’s really easy to get involved!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting me know you want to participate.  Then, it’s up to you to write a guest post!  Possibilities are limitless, but keep it holiday themed.  I’ve got a list of prompts/ideas at the end of this post to help get your brain churning.

Please email me your post with a link to your blog by December 15.  This leaves me plenty of time to organize and format everything.  If you want any photos included, send those along as well.  Send emails to keepyourfeetblog@gmail.com.  I’ll include a link to your blog in the final post, so if you’re looking to get your blog out there, this is a great opportunity!

Post Ideas:

  • What holiday do you celebrate?
  • What does the holiday season mean to you?
  • What are some of your favorite holiday memories?
  • What are your favorite holiday songs, movies, etc.?
  • What is the best gift you’ve ever given/received?

Again, comment if you want to be involved!  I’m so excited to see what you all come up with and share the holiday season with you!

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is like the middle child of holidays.  It lives between Halloween and Christmas, not as flashy as its spooky elder and doesn’t make as much money as its younger.  People enjoy it when it comes, but don’t seem to remember it exists.  When they do, it’s only significant because it comes right before the biggest shopping day of the year.  One cell phone provider’s tagline for their sales this year is “Thanks-getting”.  Which, honestly, pisses me off.

Despite the fact that Thanksgiving is based on a mythic story of Native Americans and their soon-to-be white oppressors coming together over turkey and corn, I actually really enjoy this holiday.

To me, Thanksgiving isn’t a stepping stone on the way to Christmas.  It’s not a precursor to Black Friday, although I do enjoy shopping.  It’s a day to gather with the people you love and reflect on all the things you’re thankful for.

This year, my family is spending the holiday at my great aunt and uncle’s house in the cities.  We usually spend it with my entire extended family and I’m really excited for something more low-key.  We also don’t have to cook, which is amazing.

So, dear readers, time for a list.  This year, I am thankful for:

  • The opportunity to live and work at home for the past six months, which has enabled me to spend lots of time with my family.
  • My job.  I know that I complain about it a lot, but having a job is better than unemployment.
  • All my friends, near and far.
  • Being done with college, which means I have a lifetime of pleasure reading that I’m still giddy about.
  • My cats.  Because it’s gotten cold, they’ve all been super cuddly lately, which I love.
  • Direction.  Even if it’s only until the end of March, I love knowing where I’m going to be.
  • The fact that I’m going back to England in a little over a month.
  • This blog and all the lovely people who read it (including you!)

What are some of the things you’re thankful for?

thanksgiving-cat-pictures-18
I found this Thanksgiving theme photo on Google and kind of fell in love with it’s awkwardness

Being ironic on Valentines Day

On Valentines Day, it’s really easy to slip into being mopey when your relationship status is single.  However, I’ve gone through the routine enough times that I just ignore all the “Single Awareness Day” hate.  Yes, I’m single.  But I’m happily single.  I have no reason to be miserable on Valentines Day.

So, I’ve started playing a game:  How can I celebrate this romantic holiday in the most strange/ironic way possible?

Over the years, I’ve had some great moments.

During my junior year of high school, February 14th landed on a Sunday.  My parents were away for the weekend, so it was just my little brother and I in the house.  We skipped church and I spent the entire day reading the unabridged version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.  The best part is I spent the majority of the afternoon plowing through the fifty page tangent where Hugo describes all the details of convent life.  Because there’s nothing more romantic than soaking in all there is to know about nuns!

Then there’s my sophomore year of college.  Valentines was on a Thursday.  After class, I spent my afternoon and evening judging a speech meet for the local high school.  The categories I had to judge were Serious Prose and Serious Drama.  This meant three hours of high schoolers describing suicide, abuse, rape, death, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, eating disorders, etc.  Talk about getting you in the romantic mood!

Last year, Valentines was on a Friday.  Virginia Woolf was my Valentine and I spent the afternoon in the library reading Mrs. Dalloway.  (As you can see by this post, our relationship didn’t really work out in the long run.)

This year, I am determined to live up to its ironic potential.  Once again, I’m spending the day judging speech.  This time, I’ll be at a massive meet in the cities.  Most of my day will be spent on a cold school bus and the rest will be spent sitting rounds filling out critique sheets.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get a handful of depressing categories.

Also, because I don’t have a significant other, I’ve chosen  William Shakespeare as my Valentine.  We’re covering Titus Andronicus at the moment in class, which is absolutely perfect.  Warm fuzzies abound.

So, readers.  Now you know about my weird Valentines Day traditions.  Please remember this is all in good fun.  I’m not actually obsessed with depressing stories.  I also don’t use these as coping mechanisms.  It’s true that I really, really look forward to the day I actually have a significant other to spent the holiday with.  Until then, I’ll remain happily single and will continue to find weird, quirky ways to celebrate February 14.

How are you celebrating Valentines Day?

Tis the Season Day 6: Be Still

I’ll let you in on a secret, readers.  This Christmas series has been exhausting.  After school ended, I thought life would settle down.  I thought things would be smooth.  And I thought a week-long blogging Christmas blitz was a fantastic idea.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved writing the Tis the Season posts every day.  It’s been a big challenge, planning and writing what I hope have been fun, insightful themed posts every day.  I definitely feel like I accomplished something that I’m incredibly proud of.  But, outside the world of blogging and Christmas, the world goes on.

In the past week, I finished my semester, had my wisdom teeth removed, attended a terribly awkward family gathering, and spent two days traipsing around Duluth, MN in the rain.  I’ve had one day of true vacation, three days of mouth pain in pajama land on the couch, a day of socializing with people I really don’t care about, and two days on the road.  It’s been fun, don’t get me wrong.  But boy… blogging on top of all of this has me plumb worn out.

So, in the spirit of the holiday season, I encourage you to take some time in rest.  As crazy as the past week has been, I find myself in these little quiet moments reflecting on all the blessings in my life.  There is so much to be thankful for.  So today, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I encourage you to take a minute to be still.

Also, the Oh Hello’s “Family Christmas Album” is one of the most spectacular holiday arrangements I have ever listened to.  Get comfortable, press play, close your eyes, and let the music flood over you.