Thursday, January 22, 2015

Building Appreciation for January

Let's just say January is my 12th favorite month.  One of my new year's resolutions was to be more positive.  I think there is a fine line between sarcastic wit and cynical asshole, and I'm often ending up on the wrong side of the tracks.  Do you know what does not make you feel more positive? Cutting sugar and carbs from your diet.  I'm snarky on a good day, take away pasta and wine--well, I can be downright venomous.  But I am coming out of that part of sugar withdrawl and feeling much better.  So rather than complain, I thought I would share some things I like about January. I intended to write ten things...but...settled with five. 
#3, vivid sunsets abound in January






































5. Work.  It is particularly fun to be a hairstylist this time of year.  January seems to invigorate people and inspire them to change.  This means lots of radical makeovers.  I love this.  I think hair should evolve and change with us, and that a shift in haircolor or style can be incredibly uplifting.  Formulating color is genuinely fun for me and I love the challenge of a reinvention.  By the way, I've always felt anyone can have any haircolor.  It's merely a matter of finding a stylist capable of translating color to you and your complexion and lifestyle.  And I think if you've always wanted to try something different with your hair, you should.
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4. As I mentioned in my last post, I am so so so so glad reruns of  The Golden Girls are finally back on.  I would like to include the return of Downton Abbey but it's so bad now I feel like it's almost a parody of itself.  Doesn't really matter to me though.  As long as it's still filmed on location and Maggie Smith is there, I'll keep watching. It has become a ritual to text my best friend my reactions in real time to Downton
























3. The sunsets in January are exceptionally beautiful. 
2.  I love the grocery store at Christmas, it's very festive.  The dark side is the onslaught of people who have apparently never been to a grocery store before.  You know the type--husbands sent by their wives who are holding everything up looking for one ingredient they've never heard of and they wrote down incorrectly.  With the holidays over, the grocery is empty once more. ahhhh...





















1.  Although makeovers are plentiful at work, January slows way down.  The great thing about seasonality in a business is that your busiest times are usually balanced right away by a lull.  So this time of year, I have a lot more time off.  Most of which is spent with Barbie nearby.  I can't believe the 28th marks two years since I drove to Amish Country and adopted her.  I'm sure a lot of my friends think it's weird that I act like Barbie is my child, but I don't care (plus-the qualities that would make me an awful parent to a child make me a great parent to a dog).  The fact of the matter is that I got Barbie at a time when I needed stability and something to love.  Barbie forces me to come outside my head and see every little thing. 
She knows how to work a pose

Do you think Barbie remembers life before her memory foam mattress? 






























































Since I'm already being dramatic, I'll go ahead and share what I think sums up life with a dog best: In all our contacts it is probably the sense of being really needed and wanted which gives us the greatest satisfaction and creates the most lasting bond. -Eleanor Roosevelt
So...since I told you what I love about January, I want to know what you love about January? Maybe I can expand my list. By the way, cutting sugar and carbs is vanity/vacation related and not because I'm a good person like Janet, in solidarity with a sick friend. 

49 comments:

  1. Barbie is such a beauty! Love this positive take on January. I've gone low carb as well and I've had way less headaches, that combined with no gluten really restricts me but I do feel much better, though I haven't given up wine, I just track the carbs... I need one treat for pity's sake. Also it's football season and I do like watching football with my husband but only if I can drink wine and search Pinterest at the same time. That's the best thing about January for me.
    I bet if you hosted Superbowl the feast would be fantastic! xox

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    1. I had awful headaches when for about two weeks! They finally stopped a few days ago. Don't quit the wine unless you must!
      I've never been able to bond with football. But I would say IF I had a team, it would be the oft reviled Patriots. 1) I love cheating in sports and 2) a former Patriots player (from here in Columbus) is a big fan of my Key Lime Pie and was always nice and generous when he bought them from me. He was active a few years that they won the Super Bowl and it was kinda fun to actually know someone playing. Even if I had no idea what was going on. Good luck with your low carbing!

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  2. I love how everyone is so tired that there is no pressure to be overly social and there is a time to catch one's breath after the holiday season. I like looking forward to spring. I like wearing coats that cover up lumps and bumps. I like dumplings in stew. and I like all the doggie sweaters and think it's funny that most canines dress better than humans. But January in Australia is the best - cuz it's summer!! ;)

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    1. Oh this is a good one. I love that too! It feels like everything is informal and easy again. I'm a little our muddy weather, but I don't know if I can handle an Australian summer!

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  3. Ahh, life with dogs is pure bliss, give sweet Barbie a hug from us! I've been no sugar, virtually no carbs for over a year, it will get better I promise! ;) And I like having an empty calendar for the most part in January, hot cups of tea, and the swans in the creek. Have a wonderful weekend!

    xo Kat

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    1. A whole year?! I'm terribly impressed! Oh I do hope you post swan photos! You may remember how much I admire them! I am already feeling sooo much better.

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  4. I hate grocery stores at christmas, I also used to work at one. A few holidays in Dairy too. On dec 26th you'd hear "you'll got anymore eggnog?" with the answer being "no".

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    1. Oh I can imagine how annoying it must be to work the grocery during the holidays! Wonder if the Dec 26ers were holding out to get their nog on sale!

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  5. I have a sick cat so I ate two chocolates...I needed the kick.
    Barbie could be in a Ralph Lauren advert or hang out with Isis in Downton Abbey. The English aristocrats love their Labradors.
    I have had a quiet month so far and curiously I postponed my cut this month as I am indeed looking to grow my current short style. Now that I have embraced grey in a big way I feel I can branch out and grow it longer...the shorter cut was to allow the natural colour to grow in and not look too tacky.

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    1. As far as taking the edge off goes, there are far far worse ways than with a few bites of chocolate! Hope you enjoyed them and they helped you calm down! Hope there's been good news for Pepper. Growing a short cut out is hard, but you'll be glad you saw it through and tried it!

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  6. Ugh I have cut back on carbs too..its much harder than I thought! Bread it one thing that I am learning to live without but the wine.. thats another story! Cheers to being lean and mean.. and I do mean Mean because without carbs that is what I tend to be sometimes!!!

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    1. Haha you are so right about that. It really does add a sharp edge, doesn't it?! I make bread all the time to serve with dinner or bring friends, and it's awful to not have any!

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  7. stephen i'm really not that good of a person but i'll do anything for a friend so sugar free i am. and pretty much booze free too.

    i just read the other day the best quote about dog lovers.it goes something like this...whoever said it's just a dog, has never loved a dog.

    what i like best about january is the fresh start. i still feel that and hope it lasts a few more months because fresh is good.

    x



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    1. well I think it's remarkable! That is so true about dogs! I do like the fresh start aspect of January as well. For the most part :)

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  8. Laughed out loud at the photo of Barbie living the memory foam dream! She is lucky to find you. And you her.

    January for me is the beach, decluttering and stealing myself emotionally for the work year ahead. I also have the drama of getting my kid settled into a new year at kindy with a new teacher which is always a challenge.

    I am eating sugar and carbs and throwing back wine like there is no tomorrow, but I want you to know that I support your quest for svelteness 155%. Plus as soon as the rain stops I will be in the sun perpetrating a tan just like Young MC in 1990 (are you too young to remember?)

    Am there for you in spirit. Diet hard. x

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    1. Haha living the memory foam dream might be the name of Barbie's autobiography. Your holiday sounds so lovely and oh how I wish to be tanning and enjoying carbs and wine! Haha of course I know who Young MC is!
      Tan all you can and then tan more!

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  9. Oh, I just love the languid pose of Barbie on your white couch!! Touche' Barbs!! My sister would positively faint at the site... :) You'll get no argument from me about January being the doldrums, but I'll give it a go. I love that the holidays are over and everything is relaxed again, and no more incessant Christmas commercials! I love how EVERYBODY is on the health and fitness kick! I don't ever give anything up, because if I did, that would be the only thing I ever thought about, so moderation is my friend. My bday is in January, and gives me pause for reflection. Oh and a big, fat YES to those amazing skies - sunsets, sunrises, clouds, storms etc...they are the best! And the quiet, peaceful times spent indoors lounging around, watching movies, taking naps and not feeling guilty about doing, doing, doing all the things outside that spring and summer demand. There, there's a few good things about January for me. Good luck on the no carbs thing...chocolate and wine are among my best friends. :) Kisses for Barbie for me?

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    1. Hello! Haha I know I'm sure the black dog + white furniture would upset a lot of people. The beauty of slipcovers! Plus she bathes more frequently than a lot of people I know. Chocolate and wine are a match made in heaven and I hope you're enjoying them for me!

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  10. The first week of the sugar/ carb thing is total hell. I feel for you and did it 2 years ago. I'm trying to cut out the sugar too, this is day 1. Yesterday would have been day 1, but I made a chocolate cake for the kids, and had a teeny tiny slice, so it wasn't the official day 1 after all. I know that I'll start feeling faint in another day or two though (and cranky), so there's that to look forward to!
    Barbie is a lucky dog. Our dog, scruffy, was also a lucky dog when we first got him. He was walked twice a day, would have special hand made dog biscuits, wore little coats when it was cold, and when my husband and I would go out to dinner we'd talk about him half the night, and fret about him if we went away for a holiday. Then we had our first child, and I'm afraid Scruff went down the pecking order. He still leads a pretty good life, but it's a dogs life for him now, rather than a person type life….
    My hair has blondish highlights. I tried going dark brown when I was 21, and I looked like Morticia Adams (and not in a good way at all) as I'm very fair skinned and haven't tanned since I was 15 (although I do go brown easily, but I'm fearful of freckles and skin cancer). The colour was horrible, and I've never repeated it. I remember reading that your best colour is the one you had when you were 4 years old so I stick to that faithfully.

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    1. I would say I felt pretty awful for two weeks! Pissy with headaches and a serious fog. So glad that part is over! It is hard to not sample your own cooking! I'm cooking a little bit of everything this weekend and think I may need to tape my mouth shut.
      I'm sure Scruff is just fine with the trade off as I have no doubt he loves having the children so much!
      I do agree with you that everyone has a "best" color. But there is a lot to be said for trying other things too, if they're always on your mind! I understand on the tanning. I used to be crazy tan and worked in the indoor tanning industry! Haha which was so fun. Crazy people! But I quit cold turkey in 2010 because so just know that someone as naturally fair as I am has no business in a tanning bed. I miss it constantly!

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  11. Barbie is so photogenic! I had a chocolate lab, and could never keep anything white, or hair free; she loved our pond until it froze over.
    I like January for two reasons. 1, it forces me to clean my pantry and toss the oldest Christmas goodies from previous years; making room for the newest Christmas goodies, I will toss out next year.
    2, I go to Florida, where I can't hear the box of Black Magic, or Turtles, calling my name.

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    1. Oh I love Chocolate labs! Barbie is half Lab and half Border Collie. Before her I had a beautiful purebred yellow lab. It's funny because Barbie's hair is nothing like a purebred lab. Not oily at all and very smooth. It's like a short haired version of a border collie's coat. Best of both worlds. So her hair doesn't stick to things like lab hair. I need to organize my pantry! It is a post-holiday apocalypse. Enjoy Florida! Wish I was there!

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  12. Barbie is a great beauty and I wish I had the lifestyle that would allow a pup into my life again. My mother's cocker spaniel Dolly is such a treat to pamper during my too infrequent visits.
    January is my 11th favorite month but easily beats out the depressing February despite the charming Punxsutawny Phil.

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    1. Yes February can really drag considering it's the shortest of them all! I have grown to love February because at least the weather is consistently wintry. The fluctuation and mud of January irks me! Especially because it means a very muddy Barbie! It is a huge change in lifestyle having a dog. But it did my wallet a world of good because I no longer had endless amounts of time to peruse antique stores! Hopefully sometime soon your schedule will cool down and you can get a dog!

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  13. For me, January is only a good month because it's a great time to organize, deep clean, and do things I've been putting off since before the holidays (because there is NOTHING going on in January so I've lost my excuses). As for giving up sugar and carbs, I don't think I could, although I eat a lot less sugar than I used to; it just doesn't agree with me anymore. But I commend you for your willingness to give them up! Just don't give up wine. : )

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    1. You are so right! Here in the Midwest, we have a January Thaw and I think a strong metaphor is to be made for all the crap pushed off for after Christmas that goes along with the thaw. So many things I put on the back burner! I'll get my wine back soon. But I do seem to be dropping weight so easily without it...not fair!

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  14. BARBIE is a DELIGHT!
    AS you can see I found my way here..........
    I know if I gave up the wine pounds would DROP!Just NOT there yet!The sugar thing I tired, it is HARD as sugar is EVERYWHERE!Even in YOGURT and CARROTS.....
    This January is flying by.........which is a good thing as it normally pokes by.It is a depressing month for some reason......COLD for us CALIFORNIANS!However,I spend my weekends pruning all 264 ROSES in my garden which makes me PRETTY HAPPY!Then I go back and feed each and EVERY ONE!HANG IN THERE.......it will be over soon.

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    1. Oh I would love to help with that! I am so missing gardening right now and find rose pruning to be especially relaxing and artful. I would love for you to post on your rose care regime! And Barbie says thank you! She might give your Boxers a run for their money in manic energy! Although she doesn't have the pogo effect the Boxers I've known do! Enjoy your weekend!

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    2. OUR girl BOXER is in surgery NOW.........we are already at 3200.00!Bleeding internally!This would be my SONS dog.........she would LOVE A GIRLFRIEND as the rest are BOYS!!!How high will the Bill GO!

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    3. Oh no!!! Poor baby! How is she? Oh I know the bills add up so quickly. Though I've never had one north of $1000! I think my worst with Barbie was $400 for the day she got a fishing hook caught in her leg! She was with my brother that day and he had to call me at work and break the news. He was worried it might be the last call he ever made!

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  15. I have no good things to say about January. My birthday is in January and I seriously think I may switch to celebrating my half birthday instead. July 22 would be so much more fun. Plus I'd probably get gifts that weren't straight off the post-holiday sale rack. :) I love Barbie. She is a doll!

    You don't like Downton this season? What? Other than Cora. Did she have like bad botox or something? Why does she only have one facial expression?

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    1. If you were to CELEBRATE on JULY 22 then WE could do it tOGETHER along with that ADORABLE PRINCE GEORGE over yonder in ENGLAND!

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    2. Haha I know it's just bleak for us in the Midwest, isn't it?! I think celebrating in July would be wonderful! A g&t on the deck is much more pleasant in July than January. And happy birthday!
      Oh Downton is driving me crazy. I just want to see Lady Mary and Violet drinking tea and making fun of Edith. With the occasional Turkish guy popping in for a visit. I also think Branson and Thomas should hook up.

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  16. My daughter had to read a paper and it said if you crave sugary foods you need more protein. That's what they teach 4th graders anyhow.

    Barbie is stunning beautiful, vibrant, healthy and obviously well-loved.

    I wish you could give me a make-over. Long curly wire hair dyed to cover the silver almost to my waist is b-o-r-i-n-g. I would think there has to be a different hair style that looks good on old and over-weight. I know you could fix me up. :)

    If I were to like something about January I would say it is the month for me to plan my gardens and order my seeds, but the truth is it is when the kids go back to school, life gets crazy and I don't make my order so they come late and mess things up. Maybe I'll just be happy I survived the holidays.

    Nice to see you again. ;)

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    1. Oh I'm always so impressed with your mass seed starting! I absolutely love working with curly hair. It's far more art than science and you really have to ask it what it wants to do. And the layering must be so deliberate and flowing or it gets so bulky.

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    2. I'm coming to OHIO so you can cut my curly hair!
      Karen

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  17. Hi Stephen! I know you from your comments on faux fuchsia and have some decorum and then I read your piece on ' going grey' . My dog and yours could be twins . They looks so alike! Enjoy your blog and your comments on other blogs so I thought I'd send you hi from India!

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    1. Hello! Thanks so much! I'd love to see a photo of Barbie's Indian twin! Where in India do you live?

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  18. Oops.
    I sat down to finnnnaaally write my blog. But I saw that Ellie had her post up. And so I had to read it and all of her comments. And in doing so, I saw that you had a new post up. And so I had to read yours and all of your comments too. And oh, I had to respond to your comment on your previous post which took me down Memory Lane for a while. Now, wait, what was that I was going to write about? ;)

    I love the way you write, Stephen. And let's hear it for positive perspective...in January no less! I did have one nice little hopeful moment when I was out walking the dogs this morning when I could see that the light was getting a tiny bit better already. But there are plenty of things to like at this time of year: fires in the fireplace, all of those crazily fattening French winter dishes like cassoulet and choucroute. Sweaters and pashminas...indoors! And a sense of possibility still lingering. But as GSL mentioned: February? As Scooby-Doo once wisely opined: "Ruh-Roh."

    Barbie is such a beauty. It was meant to be.

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    1. You are so right! It was definitely meant to be. I looked at so many other dogs and wanted the total opposite of Barbie. But the stars aligned that day and Barbie is so perfect. Thank you so much! I actually rather like February. We get consistent snow, which I love.

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  19. Your dog is gorgeous...as of course I'm sure you already know. oddly enough going to the grocery store is one of my favorite things to do,, even during holiday time, when the not so regulars show up. I sometimes use my increased wait time to make new grocery store friends.

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    1. Thank you! How have you been?! I like grocery shopping too. But I have a pretty specific window as to when I go. Aimless shoppers drive me nuts! So I avoid the store after 10AM or so. I've found that everything moves quicker before then.

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  20. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

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  21. I completely understand how you feel about January, it just isn't a happy month. I also know how you feel about Barbie. I don't have a dog but my cat gives me much love and friendship. Pets are wonderful!

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! Aww I miss having a cat so much! So sweet.

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  22. There is nothing I like about January or February! And my birthday is in February. I know what you mean about Downton. Gosh, I need to catch up on Golden Girls.....it was one of my favorites. Dorothy and Blanche were my favs :) Also Designing Women - remember that? BTW, you should watch the Great British Baking Show - sooo addictive.
    Stay fabulous :)

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