Cough, sneeze, watch movies, make Jambalaya

Here is what we do in 2013:

Some of us cough, sneeze and blow our noses.

We fill the wood room.  It’s cold outside, brisk, sharp, face-freezing cold.  We’re lucky to have a visiting daughter to help us fill our wood room.  We shovel off snow from the top of the wood pile and carry logs, two by two, or three by three, into Barry’s waiting arms in the wood room.  He stacks them in a big pile and tells us jokes as we deliver the wood.  He rejects the moldy wood and we toss it into the forest.  Our breath blows misty halos.  We will continue this tomorrow.

What the wood pile looked like last January.  OK, it looks about the same today, maybe a tad less snow.

What the wood pile looked like last January. OK, it looks about the same today, maybe a tad less snow.

We watch endless movies during these holiday breaks.  We watch violence and chick-flicks.  We watch Snow White and the Huntsmen.  We all–even Barry, who never ever would admit this before–like the little fairies who lead Snow White to the magic creature just outside the Evil Woods who bows his majestic antlers to Snow White, recognizing Who She Is.

Who knows what we’ll watch tonight?

Tango of life...

Tango of life…

We’ll eat Jambalaya first.  Healthy Jambalaya.  I’m pressure cooking rice now.  Pttttttttt goes the pressure cooker.  Loudly.  The brown rice cooks for ten minutes, then sits patiently, softening up, for an hour.  I’ll add tomatoes and green pepper and garlic and onions and vegan sausages and shrimp and who-knows-what-else.

Focaccia bread dough also rises next to the heating vents.  We’ll dine on rosemary focaccia along with our spicy Jambalaya.

Are you reciting New Year’s resolutions?  I am not.  Yet, deep within my heart, I am silently attempting to turn in the direction of the deepest longing.  It is a longing deeper than words, deeper than resolutions, deeper than what thoughts can wish.

I’ve been sleeping down, down in the basement in Christopher’s bedroom these past five or six days.  Away from the sneezing, coughing Ones.  I bring the cell phone down the spiral stairway tiptoeing past the woodstove into the chilly bedroom and opening the heating vent to warm the closed-up room.

We don’t get predictable cell phone coverage here in the woods, but I press the cell phone light in the middle of the night to guide the way back upstairs, or to check the time.

Near 1 or 2 a.m. last night the cell phone sang a texting song.

It was my brother from 550 miles south.

“Happy New Year, Sissy!” he texted.

I felt so much love zinging from that cell phone.

Personality of Snow.

Personality of Snow.

One of the previous nights–the first night I slept in Christopher’s bed–I lay there and thought, “Tomorrow I should tell Chris I’m sleeping down in his room.”  Within five minutes of that thought, the cell phone texted!  It was our son, far far away in San Diego, who had texted a Merry Christmas two days ago on  Christmas Day.  We had not received the text, because our cell was off, and because we do not get reliable service in the woods.

But, two minutes after settling in his bed, and thinking about our #1 child, the cell phone texted his message.

Life can be miraculous.

I wish you a miraculous 2013.  Not miraculous because Big and Bold and Wonderful things happen (although they may).  I wish you a miraculous 2013 because you’ll realize the amazing nature of small things, simple acts, little smiles, gifts of the present moment.

I wish that you realize the desire of your deepest heart.  How I wish that–for all of us.

Poinsettia leaf on snow

Poinsettia leaf on snow

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in January 2013 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Cough, sneeze, watch movies, make Jambalaya

  1. Kathy – I love the serendipitiousness of the texts you received. I appreciate that you don’t do resolutions (neither do I. I’m simply my personal best each day. period. end of story). My mouth is watering over the description of your jambalaya. JOYFUL new year to you and yours!

    • Kathy says:

      Now THAT is a wonderful sentence, Laurie. “I’m simply my personal best each day.” What would the world be like if we could all say that? Happiest of New Year wishes back atcha!

  2. susan says:

    Kathy, The BEST wishes for your health among the sickies – and all throughout 2013! Put plenty of garlic in the jambalya, drink the witches brew (one tablespoon each of apple cider vinegar and honey in a cup of hot water) cuz no virus can live in that pH. Hubs brings home colds worse than the kids ever did – drinking that helps me not get it! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      SuZen, thank you for that Witches Brew recipe. Kiah has been drinking the honey with lemon (versus apple cider vinegar). I will remember that recipe. Thank goodness I haven’t–thus far–caught the nasty bug. The other two are getting better but still cough at times. I moved back upstairs in my bed last night. 🙂

  3. Brenda Hardie says:

    Happy New Year Kathy! I do hope 2013 brings you and your family, good health, safety, happy memories, satisfaction from hard work, peace and contentment deep in your soul and love overflowing and coloring your world with happiness ♥ Your jambalaya sounds delicious and so does the focaccia! yummm yummm 🙂 Sure hope everyone gets better soon!

    • Kathy says:

      Happiest of New Year wishes to YOU! What a lovely blessing you wrote. We have had some good food during the visit with the young’un but she’s soon headed back to NYC. We’ll miss her, but will see her in late May or early June because she’s in a wedding back her. YES!

  4. Happy New Year. Great Snow photos. Sorry about the sniffles at your home; aren’t cell phones just the best when you receive a message at just the right time and place.

    • Kathy says:

      Happiest of New Years to you, Linda, as well. I am still quite enamoured of cell phones, probably because we don’t get reliable service here in the woods and can’t actually TALK on ours from the house. You’ll see people pulled over on the side of roads in auspicious spots chatting away. 🙂

  5. sandiwhite says:

    Kathy, I am wishing a you and your family the Happiest, Healthiest New Year ever! January is a laid back reflective time for me as well, a time to sort. reorganize, and reduce. After Christmas comes the Clean-Sweep that makes way for the way for the New Year.

    • Kathy says:

      Sandi, I am always so delighted when you stop by here! Wishing you the Happiest of New Years, as well. Enjoy your reflective January. It’s going to get quiet around here soon when our daughter goes back to her home. Blessings to you.

  6. lucindalines says:

    I love this post, and I especially love how that text came through just as you were thinking of your son. It is super neat when those things happen. It makes you think about how we are all so connected.

    • Kathy says:

      Lucinda, I love it when these miraculous things happen! I believe we are really connected. It’s just that we don’t always see that so easily.

  7. Dawn says:

    Happy New Year Kathy and sniffling family. I hope they are feeling a bit better this evening. I love how stuff like your texting phone works. I should tell you (maybe I already) did about the last phone call my sister had with my Mom…because of something odd. I can’t remember the whole story right now..but stuff does work out the way it’s supposed to. Of that I’m sure.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, they are feeling better each day, thank you, although the coughing hasn’t completely abated. Not recalling your cell phone story about your mom right now. If you remember it, would love to hear it. (Or you could blog about it, hint, hint, although you probably already did and I probably already read it…)

  8. Joanne says:

    Kathy, I wish you and Barry a miraculous 2013 also. What a lovely story of messages reaching you during the night and meals and movies enjoyed with your family. Your 2013 miracles have already begun. Sending you love…. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Happy 2013, Joanne! I love that this will be a year full of miracles, just like 2012. (OK, OK, there may be those challenging moments, too, but I’m looking forward to being awake enough to recognize the ordinary miracles as they arise.)

  9. john says:

    Oh Kathy, how I was thinking of you yesterday. Jenny and I drove to Illinois leaving about 10:00 AM. What amazing snow we drove through that continued to Amasa. From a little past Covington for at least 20 miles we followed an MDOT plow. Jenny so wished we had a hot tub to stay in as you did in Marquette, Your jambalaya sounds so mouth-wateringly delicious. God only knows what 2013 will bring; I hope for you it includes good health and happiness!

    • Kathy says:

      Hope you continue to have SAFE trips, John, as you go back and forth between the City and the little Town on the Bay. Jenny would have liked that hot tub in Marquette (the Cedar Motor Inn) so you’ll have to bring her there next time. Your magazine is still in the back seat of my car–when are you coming back?

  10. Heather says:

    I cannot think of a better way to bless the New Year than with the ability to see the miraculous in the mundane. I made bean soup which we did not like, and so reverted to the healthy southwest quinoa chili I had made last night, which is not so bad today 🙂 Tony and I are enjoying an umpteenth rewatching of The Holy Grail (Monty Python) and are celebrating the miracle of our immune systems. And heated blankets. Happy 2013! Happy tomorrow! and Happy Today!

    • Kathy says:

      Are you 100% better now, Heather? I surely hope so! Do you really have heated blankets? We don’t have any, but that’s because the woodstove keeps the house so toasty. Liking the sound of your southwest quinoa chili, mmmm! We’ve been watching so many movies these past couple of weeks that I can’t even remember the names of all of them! Happy Today!

      • Heather says:

        We really do have heated blankets, and they have been such a great investment. Even though we work from home, we can keep the daytime temp at 65 and nighttime at 55 – and I still stay warm under my blankies. Plus it pacifies the kitties 🙂 And yes – almost 100% better!

  11. dearrosie says:

    It sounds as though there’s a really nasty flu going around – several of my friends in Canada have been sick since before Xmas so you’re wise to sleep away from the sick ones. The most important thing I learned to keep well when everyone else in the house is ill – DO NOT share towels with sick folks and wash your hands constantly.

    We just saw the movie “Anna Karenina”. Neither of us have read the book so we can’t comment on the story – the costumes were beautiful but gosh it was a long movie.

    • Kathy says:

      Rosie, that is very good advice about the towels and hand washing. (I am washing a load of towels and sheets right now.) Have read the book Anna Karenina, but never saw the movie. Will have to put that down for a future movie-watching marathon!

  12. I could feel the cold as I looked at that pile of wood- out in the snow. Then you wrote about coughing sneezing, blowing of noses, etc. Tis the season of holly, jolly, and hot toddy. That’s toddy for a cold. Loved your post- and it made me sad. I had the toddy receipe written but then decided that you would think I am totally bonkers.

    • Kathy says:

      Yvonne, the first night we filled the wood room we were really cold. It was about 10 degrees. The second day it was 22 degrees and we felt toasty. A hot toddy sounds good. So very warming! (And I probably wouldn’t have thought you were bonkers, not me.)

  13. Barb says:

    I loved this post, Kathy – things do sometimes “just” happen, don’t they? Don’t get the big bad cold. You and Barry should rent Hope Springs – hilarious – Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones (what a curmudgeon he plays). Bob and I laughed and laughed.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Barb, so far have avoided the big bad cold and keeping the fingers crossed. We WILL watch Hope Springs. I decided it would be better to watch it after Kiah departs. Sounds like Barry & I might relate more than her…thanks for the tip.

  14. Really enjoyed this post–this snapshot of your life and your inspiration and good wishes–happy 2013 and I wish you miracles of all shapes and sizes

  15. Synchronicity…I love the way the phone message arrived right at the best time. Best wishes for the New Year, Kathy!

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Cindy. I do adore synchronicity. It makes the Universe suddenly feel much more friendly and intimate in these moments, doesn’t it?

  16. Lori DiNardi says:

    The fairies who led Snow White were nice, but I’m still smiling thinking of the huntsman. 😉 Love the leaf on the snow. Happy and blessed New Year to you and the family. May you remain sneeze-free.

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling back atcha thinking about the huntsman, Lori. I was going to type something about the huntsman, but didn’t want to give anything away in case someone was reading the comments and it might give the plot away. Glad you liked the red leaf!

  17. Marianne says:

    Happy 2013, Kathy! It’s so nice to kick back and watch movies during the holidays. I cherish those memories with my son in Christmas’s past.

    Here’s to realizing the miraculous in 2013! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Marianne, we’ve had a really relaxed holiday, thanks in part to this sickness. We’ve watched so many movies I couldn’t begin to name them. And–yes–let’s realize lots of miracles in 2013!

  18. flandrumhill says:

    Kathy, you have so much snow compared to us. We have yet to take out a shovel this year yet we feel Winter’s grasp around us. It makes that ‘deep longing’ ever more difficult to shrug off. I am feeling it too.
    Happy New Year to you and yours in your little home in the woods from mine here in Nova Scotia.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Amy-Lynne, old friend, buddy, how kind of you to wish me Happy New Year considering the circumstances! As for the snow, alas, the photo up above is from last January. We have about two to three inches on the ground right now. Kiah did enjoy shoveling the deck though. She said it was a cardio-workout. Perhaps she’ll come back home later on this winter?

  19. me2013 says:

    I have already had my new year smile, yesterday we went walking and saw deer, I took it as a sign that this year is going to be a good one.

  20. Sara says:

    Jambalaya and movies…sounds excellent to me! Have a lovely 2013 and I hope you can avoid those sick germs!

    • Kathy says:

      So far so good avoiding the sick germs, Sara. Both of my patients just left the house for a while tonight so I have the whole house to myself! Now what to do…? Thanks for the well wishes. Same to you!

  21. that firewood pile is impressive!!! Jambalaya sounds DELISH!!!!! Stay Healthy!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Isn’t that a healthy firewood pile, Jasmine? It’s such a good feeling just looking at it and thinking of all the hard work we’ve accomplished getting it ready for the winter. I am trying my hardest to stay healthy. Keep your fingers crossed–it may be working.

  22. Stacy says:

    Miracles come in many forms, don’t they, Kathy? Happy new year! ❤

  23. jeff v says:

    Happy New Year! hope you can avoid the cold, i just got over it myself. what a pain. I highly recomend the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, we just watched it the other night. it will go good with your left over jumbalaya and i think you will appreciate it. best of luck for the new year .

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, thanks for the movie suggestion. Will write it down and hope to see it soon. However, our leftover jambalaya is now gone so maybe it’s time for some yellow split pea soup? Hope you get up north lots this year!

  24. Val says:

    The best thing I think I can give you for 2012, Kathy, is hugs. Happy new year.

  25. What a lovely way to transition the new year (we’re big fire, good food, fun movie people too)!

  26. dorannrule says:

    Happy New Year Kathy – and may you escape the germs in-house. How beautifully you describe “home” and keeping traditions. Your jumbalaya and homemade bread must be wonderful tonics for the sick ones for sure and you are surely surrounded by extraordinary beauty in a winter wonderland.

    • Kathy says:

      Doranrule, I think you are right about the good food being tonic for the sick ones. And there is beauty all around. This morning went for a brisk walk up the road. It was cold at 22 degrees and the wind was blowing but it felt so healthy. Wishing you the Happiest of New Years, too!

  27. lisaspiral says:

    I hope everyone is feeling better soon!

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, thank you so much. I think the patients are much improving. They have both left the house tonight–the first time they’ve both gone off for an evening to various functions–and I am completely enjoying the silent house with our Christmas lights still up. Happy New Year to you!

  28. Happy New Year, Kathy! I hope all the sick ones in your little house in the woods are well on their way to recovery. Love watching movies in the winter – don’t forget to see Life of Pi when it comes out on DVD. Especially love your personality of the snow photo.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I can’t wait to see the Life of Pi when it’s out on DVD. Sure enjoyed that book and can NOT imagine how they made a movie of it. Glad you liked the snow photo. Happiest of New Years to you and your family, too.

  29. “Personality of Snow” should be a character in an animated Christmas movie. This post is so full of warm, fuzzy family moments. It makes me happy.

    • Kathy says:

      Awww, Lunar, you’re the best. I hope you don’t get a bad cold this winter. I hope you have many warm, fuzzy family moments, you and the Devil. (Anyone randomly reading my comment will be taken aback!)

  30. sybil says:

    Consider yourself texted.

  31. Robin says:

    Wishing the same for you, Kathy! I am now craving Jambalaya. I can’t remember the last time I made my vegetarian version of Jambalaya so that must mean it’s time to make some. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      My made-up vegetarian version is quite easy. As long as one already has the rice made up. And has a bag of shrimp and some vegan sausages in the freezer. It just involves sauteeing onions and peppers and then–oh, yes, you need some really good veggie stock–and a can of tomatoes and wa-la-la you’re eating. OK, add some spices. How’s that for a recipe? 😉

      • Robin says:

        LOL! That’s how I cook, too. Sounds perfect. 🙂 Mine starts with onions, peppers, garlic, and celery. Throw in some carrots and tomatoes and veggie stock. And spices. Make a roux (if you’re not going gluten-free). Put that in (and delight in the way it bubbles and sizzles as you add it). Serve over brown rice with freshly chopped parsley and green onions, and a little smoked cheese (I like Gouda) if you’re not going vegan. The smoked cheese imparts that sort of ham/sausage flavor, and it doesn’t take much to do it. Oh, and serve with some Louisiana hot sauce and a side of greens. Now I’m hungry… lol!

  32. I liked your anecdote regarding your recent phone calls. It really amazes me at the strength of the parent-child bond. So many times I’d pick up the phone to call my mom and the phone would ring, and vice versa. Now, the same thing is happening between Daughter and me. I emailed her the other day and she said she was just about to contact me, too!

    Your Jambalaya sounds really good. I had it once when we went to Minot to visit my college roommates parents. It was delicious!

    I love finding faces in inanimate objects. That snow drift looked like an evil ice queen! 🙂

    The contrast of the bright red poinsettia leaf on the pure white snow makes quite a beautiful photo. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dear withershins, thank you so much. It’s been so long since writing this post that I completely forgot what it was about! So had to go back & read. To think this was at the beginning of January and now it’s the end. And you are so right. The strength of the parent-child bond is precious. So glad that you’ve been on the receiving end of that, too.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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