A New Default

I knew that I was pretty good at solving problems. At least, I'm pretty good at coming up with possible, plausible solutions to try. 

For many years now, I have been building my identity and my work life around this skill. It became my habit to look around me all the time for those things that required attention: to anticipate problems before they happened, to correct existing issues and make positive progress.

So what to do when there are no major problems to solve?

I am learning how to sit.

Be still.


Don't analyze, speculate, hypothesize or quantify.

Live now, in this moment, without having to be concerned about how this can be fixed. 

And I am not struggling to know what to DO with myself and my energies. I am merely resetting my drive to a new default state: the one I had years ago. The state of mind I enjoyed when my children were small and I could sit on the floor and play with them and simply enjoy the wonder of them. 

Wine to Try -- 14 Hands Hot to Trot

Not only do I encourage you to try Hot to Trot, by 14 Hands, I encourage you to try it exactly this way: Sitting outside on a crisp fall evening, by a nice fire, with someone you love, while two dogs try to stare you into giving them some of your dinner.

We had grilled chicken thighs, homemade macaroni and cheese and some pinto beans in some crazy sauce I made up. Since I do not believe that you only drink red wine with red meat (I'm a change it up kind of gal, after all), I thought this was delicious with the smoky flavor of the grilled chicken and tangy, crazy beans. And of course, what DOESN'T go with homemade macaroni and cheese? Oh, yeah. Lactose intolerance doesn't go with it. But that's for another post. I baked the mac and cheese with a buttered bread crumb topping so that added another layer of flavor and the whole dinner was pretty freakin' awesome, if I do say so myself. 

On a cool fall evening, a rich, warm red is a lovely treat and Hot to Trot totally fits that bill. Being somewhat shorter than average, I also appreciate it that the winery is 14 Hands, which is a bit shorter than average for a horse. You have to look for these meaninglessful connections in life, you know? 

I would rate this one something between a Sip and a Guzzle. A Suzzle? It's too rich to guzzle, in my opinion, but too nice to merely sip. It would be just as wonderful to enjoy this sitting around listening to bluesy music and discussing literature as it was to drink around an open fire and watch the colors of the lake deepen as night approached.


My disclaimer:
Bear in mind that no one connected with any of the wineries I might mention here knows who I am. Of course, if they appreciate what I have to say and want to forward along cases of wine, I won't mind. I won't hold my breath, waiting for that day, either. :-)

My rating system:
Sip: a nice wine, goes deliciously with (or IN) food. I enjoyed it.
Guzzle: my idea of a nice sociable wine. The kind of thing I am happy to drink out of cheap plastic cups, sitting around the campfire, or out of a cool stemless glass while enjoying the company of someone I care about.
White Elephant: it isn't like drinking kerosene, exactly, but does not suit my taste. I'll pass it along to someone who might like it. This rating will mean more to you if you agree with my Sip and Guzzle ratings!
Drain-O: this stuff could hurt someone, so I'll send it to the wastewater treatment plant, via the kitchen drain. Maybe it will disinfect the p-trap, while it's in there

Unexpected Adjustments

It's been right around 5 months now since I moved to my little dream spot in Montana. I moved from a small town in Arizona, and now I live about 6 miles from a town that could be more aptly described as a wide spot in the road.

Being a country girl with an antisocial streak, I was ready for and excited by this big change. It is important to note, however, that this was the first time I had made such a major move as an adult. I was a teenager when we moved from Colorado to Arizona, and I wasn't even in school yet when we moved from New Jersey to Colorado. It occurs to me now that my previous life experience prepared me for some things and left me utterly ignorant about others.

I was used to wildlife. We mainly encountered elk and javelina in our area, plus skunks and the occasional coyote and you would see a fair number of road kills any time you left town. I've hunted and helped butcher animals and so on, but I am astonished at myself for how disturbed I feel by the sheer number of  deer killed on the road. A big blood smear, legs sticking up in the air, off to the side of the road. I realize that the coyotes, buzzards, crows and eagles all have to eat, too, but it really is sad.

No more stilettos. Flats and boots. Aside from the fashion adjustment that was, I have to admit that my legs H.U.R.T. for the first few flat-footed months of my life here. I didn't realize what 40+ hours a week in 4" heels was doing to my Achilles tendon.

We used to come here on vacation. Yes, it was a working vacation, but it was time off from work and a getaway and we loved what were doing here. I thought that living here would ruin that and prepared myself for losing the vacation feel of the place. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, it is actually an adjustment to still feel like I live on vacation. I go to work and clean the house and do the laundry, but for some reason it all feels like a simpler, relaxed, slower, vacation-mode life now. How is this possible?

For me, this might be the biggest adjustment of all: I am minimizing my makeup down to being nearly bare-faced. I have been wearing foundation every. single. day. since forever. 100% of the time. Even camping! Softer water and lower stress here has led to better skin. A little bit of coconut oil and a quick pat with Coty Airspun loose powder is all, now. Mascara for sure, and maybe a bit of eye shadow, or maybe not. WHO is that woman in the mirror??? I've been preaching about living simpler for a while, now even my makeup is getting simpler. Wow.

And the honeymoon with our new home, the time of discoveries and the unfolding of a new life, continues.

Simple Living

We had a simple dinner of grilled smoked pork chops, baked potatoes and baby greens.

We had a simple dinner outside, at a little bistro table next to the fire bowl in the back yard.

We had a simple dinner, overlooking the lake and the deer.

We had a simple dinner under the hopeful gaze of two dogs who thought they were very hungry.

We had some white wine.

No TV.

No music, except the soft notes of a wind chime and whisper of breeze high in the treetops.

We talked. We talked about nothing and about everything, but no mention of crime, politics, drama, turmoil, illnesses or any other unpleasant topic.

It was a no-pan dinner, so cleanup was almost nothing.

The sun went down, the fire crackled, we sipped our wine and basked in the pure pleasure of a simple life.