Love.

Dear friends,

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You know what I love in January?

I love a national holiday that gives me a Monday off.

I love easy craft projects like Valentine’s pennant banners strung with heart-shaped twinkly lights.

I love afternoon naps under wool blankets when it’s 20 degrees outside.

I love being home all day with my boys.

I love chicken thighs cooked in wine and butter and then braised for several hours with mushrooms and leeks and brussel sprouts for supper.

And, I love a workweek that’s 20% complete before it ever begins.

With gratitude {for all of these things on a bright January day},

Joan, who can’t seem to reconcile her love for homespun pennant banners with her modern house and has given up trying

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Dear friends,

Wouldn’t it be nice to spend a quiet Sunday at home?

The kind of Sunday that starts with a run (because you’re determined to stay on track)?

The kind that is spent mostly in the kitchen, cooking up a roast beef with mushroom gravy and a potato cake with tart apple and Jarlsberg cheese, both of which make you thank your lucky stars for leftovers?

The kind where you write sappy sentiments on Valentines cards and wrap gifts and then tell your teenagers to open them today, because who needs to wait until Tuesday?

The kind where your favorite guy says Wow when he sees the dinner table and Oh My God when he eats your lemon-coconut cake, then eats another piece immediately?

The kind where you and your peeps — after stuffing yourselves silly — gather ’round the television to watch the Grammys so that your children rave about some group you’ve never heard of and you rave about the Beach Boys and remind the youngsters that Brian Wilson is a musical genius you listened to on vinyl?

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray . . . it might come true.

With gratitude {for Sundays at home that remind me life is even better than a love song},

Joan, who went to bed Sunday night with a mile-wide smile on her face but was too exhausted to blog about her Valentine’s supper until another day

Getting busy getting blissy.

Dear friends,

For me, Saturday equals bliss. And this Saturday was as blissy as they get. And it was full. It was blissy-full, to coin a term that will never catch on but I’m going to put it out there anyway.

I started my day with . . . wait for it . . . a RUN! I’ve been such a couch potato for the last 60 days, which probably explains why a blue moon has been orbiting my world. So, inspired by Phoo-D’s comment on yesterday’s post, I conveniently selected the coldest day of winter so far (11 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind) to get off my butt and hit the road for 4 1/2 miles. My dogs Ed (Golden Retriever) and Frito (Chihuahua) went with me. Frito, with his short legs and meager coat, said to-heck-with-it about a mile in and went home. But Ed, who’s kind of a show-off, stuck with me the whole way. I’m pretty sure when we got home he teased Frito unmercifully.

Next I had a phone conference about work matters. We’ll just pretend that didn’t happen, okay, because discussing budget problems on a Saturday morning is not really blissy, now is it? And, honestly, it should be outlawed in the name of all that’s good and right for the world.

Then I drove to town to pick up a few things, including a pit-stop for craft items. I’m in the midst of unpacking my paper crafting supplies and setting up a work space. I’ve got a little idea percolating in my brain that’s part art (read: joy) and part friendship (read: gratitude) and I needed a few more things to get it kicked off. I also grocery shopped for a special Valentine’s dinner tomorrow night.

I came home and spent an hour or so puttering in my dish pantry, trying out various table settings for tomorrow night’s dinner. I think I settled on this one.

I wrote a long letter to an old friend back home. I’m going to enclose it in a Valentine and hope it gives her a much-needed boost. She’s been having a hard time the last few weeks and I wish I could give her a hug.

I read a decorating magazine that came in the mail, but I fell asleep before I finished it. I napped for two hours because, well, probably because I ran for the first time in a month. I slept so hard I woke up not knowing what day it was. Fortunately, I quickly remembered it was Saturday and immediately got my bliss back on.

I made lemon curd for two cakes I’m planning to bake on Sunday — one for my family and one for my colleagues who deserve a celebration for reaching a goal. Go team!

I watched a television special about Soul Train with Mr. Mom and Parker. I told Parker I used to dress and dance exactly like the Soul Train dancers but he didn’t believe me. Then I told him I’m still in love with Tina Turner and he left the room.

I perused a few more of my rescued computer files and found two things that made my heart sing: a recipe for something so inredibly good I’m making it tomorrow (and can’t wait to tell you about it next week), and this photo of my daughter and her (at the time) brand new puppy, Sweatpea.

Sweatpea was Kate’s 13th birthday present. Kate turns 19 next month.  Notice I’m keeping my blissy face on. Your advice after this post really helped.

Your advice always helps. Which is why I got busy getting blissy. Hey! There’s a new phrase that could change your world: get busy getting blissy. You’re welcome.

With gratitude {for friends who actually show up to read about my Saturday silliness},

Joan, who, in all seriousness, wanted to be an etymologist until she realized it was against union rules to make up new words

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