Hello, my chickadees! I'm not gonna lie. This winter is turning out to be one for the books. Any of you who live here in the Northeastern corner of the US know exactly what I'm talking about. This photo is one I took of the banks of the Fore River on a day when the temperatures were below zero degrees Fahrenheit and we had fifty mph wind gusts. I processed the shot after the fact to make it feel more like a painting than a photo, but the blustery snow was very real. Today, Mr. Magpie is down at his job in Lowell, Massachusetts, a place which currently bears the dubious honor of being the snowiest city in America, with 111" so far this year. Here in Portland we're expecting a few more inches tonight. I think we could deal with the snowbanks over our heads if it weren't for the bitter cold.
For kicks, you can compare this photo of our house with the one a couple of posts ago. We've had more snow since this shot, but we've raked as much of it as possible off the roof and broken as many of the icicle-daggers as we could. When I look back over my gardening calendar of the last two years, I realize that we had our first crocuses in the back yard by mid March both years. I highly doubt that will be the case this year, a fact which, if I were a pessimist, would make me very bitter, indeed. Instead, I've decided to look on the bright side. All this snow means my perennials are under a thick blanket of warm insulation during all this cold weather, so even my roses and lavender should be fine when spring finally does arrive in July. Just kidding. June. It will be here in June.
|Our backyard during a storm|
As usual when the weather is this intense and we're all feeling a little stir crazy, I've been seeking inspiration everywhere I can. I thought I'd share with you a few recent glimmers of beauty, inspiration, and/or joy. My brother Mark once posed the following questions to me about the things we encounter in life: "Is it beautiful? Is it delicious? Does it make me laugh?" he asked. He then went on to say that if it doesn't meet one or more of those three criteria, he didn't want or need it. Mark is one of the smartest and funniest people I know, and I've used his three questions many times since to help myself decide about making purchases, selecting films to watch, books to read, or even to make bigger life choices. Somehow, many choices do boil down to these categories for me, especially since I think beauty can be found in a well-told story, a smart turn of phrase, a kind gesture, or the accomplishment of even the smallest of goals.
So, in true magpie fashion, I offer this list, in no particular order, of a few beautiful, delicious, and funny things:
~ This story told by Bill Murray about Gilda Radner.
~ This recipe for Dorie Greenspan's chocolate World Peace Cookies
~ This bike trainer, which I truly believe is the only thing that is keeping Mr. Magpie and me at all fit or at all sane this winter--and sanity is a very beautiful thing, indeed . . . as are muscles. :)
~ This baking show, which satisfies my love of baking, my Anglophile tendencies, and, since its a competition, is the closest thing to watching sports on TV that I will ever willingly do. In fact, I don't have TV. I watch this on my MacBook. I also watch The Great Allotment Challenge on YouTube, for all of the above reasons except baking. Just replace that with gardening, and there you have it.
~This mystery show. More Anglophile tendencies catered to quite happily. Plus mysteries to solve--yes! Plus there's Robson Green and James Norton to watch. A beautiful addiction.
~This book by Nancy Marie Brown about a Viking woman who sailed off the edge of the known world five hundred years before Columbus. Fascinating and well written.
And finally, just thought I'd add the latest issue of Artful Blogging to the list. I have a little bit of writing and a photo featured in the Blogging Buzz section this time around, but I'd say take a peek for all the other gorgeous inspiration inside.
I hope you are faring well, my friends. As always, you can find me on Instagram and Pinterest, as well as those other crazy social media platforms listed along the right side of the blog. Just click on the icons to pop over for a visit. I'm now on Twitter, too, so if you are as well, please be sure to connect with me. I love staying in touch with you.