August 30, 2015

Last F**kable Day

This week's post is a humorous video from comedian Amy Schumer with the best of the funny girls. If you haven't seen her movie, Trainwreck, it's very entertaining.

Thanks to Ronnie Citron-Fink at Econesting for posting.

More later! I traveled the long journey between Boston and Pittsburgh this week to drop our 2nd born at college and am getting my legs back beneath me.


August 22, 2015

Respecting Our Core

I enjoyed a conversation recently with author Sylvia Resnick whose 8th book, The Evolution of the Hollywood Heartthrob, was recently published. At the age of 88, she is currently under contract to write an erotic historical romance.
Keep on keeping on girl!

So what might a woman who has written about Hollywood since 1964, who loves Pinterest, tea and dancing have to share about aging?
Sylvia began by saying that women need to stop worrying about getting older and just enjoy life! Be yourself she says. Really be yourself. Look into your heart and ask, "Who am I really?" and be that person. Don't let others take you away from what you want to do.

Sylvia suggests that we reach inside of ourselves and respect what is in our core, as everyone is an individual.

She also suggests we do not watch the news before going to sleep as it tends to put negative images in our mind. I so agree. Instead she likes to watch reruns of her favorite comedy series before nodding off.
Lastly, Sylvia says to have fun and be VERY good to ourselves. She doesn't believe in denying herself at this stage. This includes enjoying some spa pampering and indulging in her favorite vice, an occasional hot fudge sundae. I told her I love them as well.

I wish you lived closer Sylvia. We could have a sundae and then some tea.

Thank you for stopping into Lines of Beauty, dear heart.


August 17, 2015

Human Being

I may have said before that I love following Humans of New York on Instagram each day. It's far more interesting and way more inspiring than the news- and what a wealth of insight it provides into what it is to be a human being and not just in New York. Right now he is traveling through Pakistan.

This is one of my all time favorite posts from a few years ago:

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“Try your best to deal with life without medicating yourself.”

“You mean drugs?”

“I mean drugs, food, shopping, money, whatever. I ain’t judging anybody, either. I was hooked on heroin for years. But now I’ve learned that every feeling will pass if you give it time. And if you learn to deal with your feelings, they’ll pass by faster each time. So don’t rush to cover them up by medicating them. You’ve got to deal with them.”

August 08, 2015

My Mama

It seems like it takes forever and a day sometimes to get to certain tasks. Especially technical ones for me. It's so much easier and more fun to just cut flowers from the garden :-) My longtime childhood friend, author, speaker and therapist Cynthia Weintraub Brennen visited a few months back and gratefully filmed a clip of my mom and me while she was here.

So here it finally is-  a conversation with my 93-year-old mama about health and life.

July 31, 2015

3 Tools to Unpoison

Goop, the brainchild of actress Gwyneth Paltrow, has posted one of the best articles that I've ever read on creating a healthy relationship and the 3 things that can poison it. After riding on the roller coaster of marriage with Mister Fix-It for almost 32 years, I am forever interested in finding better ways to communicate and create greater intimacy together.

There have been lulls however over the years when I haven't been interested of course.

Part of a long relationship's ebb and flow I guess.

Okay here goes:

(The great thing is that these pertain to all kinds of relationships- romantic unions, friendships and family connections etc)

Poison #1:

When we have negative thoughts about someone that we are in a relationship with it creates a poison. Even if we don't express these thoughts ( judgements) it disrupts the good energy and creates a field of negative energy because people can very easily read the body language that comes with negative thoughts.

The goal is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Sometimes easier said than done omg.

Poison #2:

The second poison occurs when we fail to validate the person that we are in a relationship with. The basic human need isn't so much to be loved but rather to be acknowledged and seen in a positive light.

The goal is to be able to recognize and fulfill our partner's basic human needs. They describe it as giving a doggie treat to our partner.

Poison #3: 

The third poison is relationship over-dependency. Every time we ask too much of our partner, in terms of  meeting our needs/solving our problems, we ask too much of the relationship.

The goal is to have a life outside of our relationship. When we do, we find fresh energy and come back to the relationship with something new to enrich it.

Numerous times when I've felt bored in our marriage I've realized that I'm actually just bored with MYSELF and as soon as I go out and find personal enrichment, it magically enriches us.

It's crazy how well it works.

The author says this about his wife's grandparents:

"When they looked at one another, you could see in their eyes, that they put their bond with each other above their own selfish interests. Just take a moment right now and imagine how great it would be to be in a relationship that had that kind of all-for-one and one-for-all spirit."

Love this.

July 26, 2015


There is an interesting article in a recent Time Magazine called "Nip. Tuck. Or Else: Why You'll Be Getting Cosmetic Procedures Even If You May Not Really Want To"  that contends that women are going to eventually have cosmetic procedures done for the same reason they wear makeup-

because every other woman does.

Not because we hate ourselves, fear aging or are vain, the article explains.


But this won't be me.

Too much weirdness.

I fear that if I had one injection of botox or restylane that I'd never leave the mirror again :-).

My life plan is to go au naturel

from here-

to the very end.

July 18, 2015

On Being

How often do you ask someone how they are and the first sentence or two that comes out of their mouth is "I am so busy."

Sound familiar?

This is frequently me unfortunately. It's something that I am working on and I think the first step is leaving my phone turned off.

Omid Safi has written a good article in which he explains that in many Muslim cultures it is asked, "How is your haal?" He explains that, "Haal is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know."

Perhaps we are a culture that is getting so busy with beeping iphones, information overload and everyone trying to keep up with everyone else that we don't even know the answer to this question.

Or we fear knowing.

Perhaps people have the need to brag about how busy they are. Perhaps it's the 21st century form of "keeping up with the Jones".

I like to hear about people's haal because it is usually honest and of substance.

Unless they are perpetual complainers or have verbal diarrhea, of course.

As Omid says, "Tell me something about your heart and awaken my heart."

I think amidst my "to-do list" this is what I am yearning for the very most. Simply connecting with people on a deeper level.

It's okay

to be happy

with a calm life.

July 11, 2015

Perfect Age

 If you haven't yet seen 69-year-old actress Helen Mirren's L'Oreal commercial it's really quite good in celebrating an aging face, instead of trying to erase it. I've always loved Helen because she is so down-to -earth and I praise L'Oreal for supporting what women really look like as we grow older.

Thank you for showing that wrinkles and aging hands ARE beautiful.

Now for some of Helen's beauty tips ( how I love beauty tips):

  •  "I wear makeup every day. I love putting it on, and I get really into it: a little bit of this here, a little bit of that there… But then I stand back and look in the mirror and it's awful! So I take it all off because I've gotten too anal about it. It's absolutely true that as you get older, you have to wear less and less makeup." 

  • "My biggest beauty advice is just to make sure you clean your skin really well and don't smoke. I also have to have my eight hours of sleep a night."  

  • "Be bold! Be bold with your cut, really look what young people are doing and copy them- don't copy what old people are doing." 

  • " I'm not obsessive when it comes to looking after my skin. I have always used moisturizer at night and in the morning- it makes me feel better and to me that's what I want from it. It doesn't have to make me look ten years younger: it's all about how it makes me feel better every day." 

  • "Everybody has moments of massive insecurity and I think anything that makes you feel more confident and more secure in yourself is a great thing. It's tough for a lot of women with busy schedules or limited resources: they are incredibly busy and have difficult lives. To stop for a few seconds to say: "You know what, I can sit down, have a breather, a cup of tea or a bath and think "Yes, I'm worth it, my life is worth it" is so important." 
  • For more on Helen- click here.

    June 27, 2015

    Something Wonderful Always Happens

    Nebo Lodge, North Haven Island
    After too many weekends away I am home, guarding my alone time- like a H A W K.

    I'm finally getting to all the little things around the house that have been calling my name- like the pepper and cucumber plants that hadn't yet made their way into their summer home in the garden.

    Uninterrupted time.

    So B L I S S F U L, I can't even explain.

    It doesn't take much to make me happy 
    and I am so grateful for this.

    This morning, as I was out for a run,  I ran past a very very old woman who, very very very slowly, was making her way down the sidewalk in the sun, without a cane. She smiled at me as I ran past. Her radiant eyes, silver hair and periwinkle sweater, breathing me in.

    I ran for another block and thought, "I have to tell her how beautiful she is."

    So I turned around and went back.

    She replied, "Oh thank you, Oh oh thank you."
    Nebo Lodge, North Haven Island

    I touched her shoulder and went on my way but I so wanted to return and say:

    "Can we have tea? Can you tell me about your life and how it is that you are so old, and so frail, but are still out for a walk taking the smallest baby steps I've ever seen?"

    She reminded me of the 93-year-old woman on Instagram this week who explained as her photo was being taken, "If you force yourself to go outside, something wonderful always happens."

    New life motto.

    Perhaps she is what made me stop.

    June 19, 2015

    Turning the Boat Around

    I’ve wanted to share a story for a while about Denise Donnarumma and her journey back to health.

    Denise is 55 and we were colleagues together for ten years at Susan Bristol Inc, a traditional sportswear company in Boston.

    As Denise explains, her petite frame weighed about 103 pounds in high school but over the years she became more sedentary and ballooned up to 186 lbs. with her love of fast food, carbs and sugar. As I once was, Denise was also an emotional eater.

    As her story goes, she went to Weight Watchers where she would lose weight, feel good, go back to her old eating habits, gain the weight back and more, return to Weight Watchers and repeat the process.

    Growing up relatively thin, she had now become the heaviest of her four siblings. Denise carried her extra weight mostly in her hips and felt uncomfortable in her own skin. She had difficulty purchasing well- fitting clothing, traveling on airplanes and enjoying sporting events because of her discomfort in the seats.

    Eventually, she was diagnosed with high cholesterol and had to go on medication. Denise’s exercise efforts had not been enough to keep her at a healthy weight. Bad habits coupled with watching both her parents suffer from artery disease and her dad dying at age 75, from poor self-care, encouraged her to turn her boat around.

    As she says, “I wanted to take control of my health after watching my parents not live a good quality of life in their retirement years because they didn’t follow proper diet and activity.” Her parents suffered with chronic health issues and frequent hospital stays. Denise wanted to enjoy her retirement years.

    So in January 2011, she joined Core Cardio Fitness in Malden, Massachusetts. She met with a fitness coach who reviewed her fitness goals. Denise discussed her activities and eating habits. She was provided with a nutritional plan along with a weekly exercise routine to follow until she reached her goal to lose 56 lbs. Her workouts included indoor cycling, TRX (total body resistance exercise), kickboxing, Zumba, and yoga. She began to lose the weight steadily and at a healthy rate. Then Denise added running to her workout routine and completed her first 5K road race at 150 lbs. Within 9 months Denise reached her goal weight of 130 lbs., became a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and continued to compete in 5K and 10K road races finishing in the top 3 of her 50+ age group. By 2013 she was able to run and complete two half-marathons.

    I was interested however to learn how her life has changed in other ways as well.

    For starters, Denise said she feels better in her fifties than she ever did in her thirties. She has amazing strength and energy. She also loves the social camaraderie at Core Cardio Fitness that has helped her become a health and fitness enthusiast. Within a year of her success, Denise has become a qualified TRX instructor there. She is an inspiration to so many people as she is able to share her personal success story.

    The other great news is that she is off her meds!

    Thanks Denise for sharing your story. You are such an inspiration and I have loved watching your transformation back to good health.

    June 14, 2015


    Tent Cabin, Omega Institute
    Sun kissed shoulders.

    Radiant skies.

    Sugar snap peas.

    The warmer weather feels like a blanket of happiness.

    Mister Fix-It and I returned to Omega Institute last weekend to revisit Tantra Intimacy.

    It had been two years since our first course and as with its siblings, meditation and yoga, Tantra can slither away without discipline in a partnership.

    Plus I wanted to address my fear of the energy found from waking up my kundalini.

    Which I did.

    I think.

    Not 100% sure about this actually.

    Anyway, I once again highly recommend Tantra to expand intimacy, spice-up a relationship and garner a natural body high. 

    Just the breathing technique alone, without a partner, is a great sleep-aid.

    And now I bring you Carly.

    Because I can't get this song out of my mind.

    And because-

    These are the good old days.

    June 04, 2015

    To Love & Be Loved

    Alex is a very creative guy and he clearly loves his mom Eva.

    He has been wanting to find her a boyfriend so he took it upon himself to create this video for her in hope of finding her one.

    Luckily for Eva he showed it to her before he posted it.

    As Alex says, "Deep inside, we all want pretty much the same thing- to love and be loved."

    But oh my god....can you imagine the task of having to sort through all the suitors who must be writing hoping to meet her?

    The romantic in me can't wait to hear how this all turns out...

    May 31, 2015


    Through crystal clear stillness
    Nothing matters 
    but breath and light
    Limbs slice through atoms of hydrogen and oxygen
    Weightless, impression-less
    I am at home here. 
    Alone here
    I remain 
    In my oasis of flight

    May 16, 2015

    Pull Out Your Hankies

    This posted on Youtube on Thursday and understandably already has over 2 million hits.

    Clearly one of my favorites ever.

    Many thanks to Jules for sending it in.
    Sniffle sniffle...

    P.S. If you'd like, please share to social media on my buttons 2 lines below.

    May 13, 2015

    All You Need

    There's nothing you can do that can't be done
    Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
    Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
    It's easy

    Nothing you can make that can't be made
    No one you can save that can't be saved
    Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
    It's easy

    Nothing you can know that isn't known
    Nothing you can see that isn't shown
    Nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
    It's easy

     All you need is love
     All you need is love
    All you need is love, love
     Love is all you need

      ~The Beatles

    Photo by Julia Fernandes

    May 08, 2015

    But What Will I Wear?

    As buds start popping on trees and we stroll in honey coated sunlight, it's finally time to shed sweaters and thick wool socks here in the Boston area.


    At last there is a bit of humidity in our hair, and our skin is no longer dry and weather beaten. We're all looking a bit rosier and yummier I must say.

    But then begins the age-old, Grinchy question of "But what would I wear?"

    Each season I look in my closet to see if there is something that I can resurrect from 20-30 years ago that is currently trendy. To feel just a mite bit hipper.

    Please. Anything.

    However, I am not always successful...

    What follows are the Spring/Summer fashion trends for 2015:

    Shirt dresses
    Funky Boho prints
    Gingham patterns
    Omg no way
    Sheer fabrics that make you feel like you aren't wearing anything
    Midi skirt lengths from the 60s
    Fresh florals- big, bold and feminine
    Roomy, cropped, baggy denim jeans
    Military greens
    Sounds like the wrong season
    Kimono style jackets and coats
    Mesh fabrics
    Can't imagine myself in a jumpsuit
    White lace
    They always say this
    Mixing/stitching contrasting fabrics together
    Flats, slides and sneakers
    My poor back
    Polo shirts
    Too preppy
    Blue & white color combinations (as well as timeless black & white)
    White on white
    Apparently there is a shade of yellow for everyone.

    Happy dressing :-)
    And Happy Mother's Day to all you hard-working mamacitas out there.
    Let's put our feet up.

    April 30, 2015

    Riding with the Wind

    Isn't it the truth. I think however, or at least I hope, that part of the reason why we forget is that there are more and more things to remember- and because we have so much coming at us at once, like technology.

    The thing I worry about with aging is my memory. Once in awhile as I am writing a post I won't be able to think of a word for the life of me. To the point that sometimes I almost break into a sweat from the anxiety of not being able to remember. 

    I think I may have mentioned this before.

    Then there are other more soulful moments that I think, "Memory? Who needs memory! Just live life through my senses and that's all I really need (not...). Sight, sound, taste, touch and scent...our senses don't need to remember anything. Tra-la-la.

    I think I may have also mentioned this before! Omg.

    I don't know where this photo came from but perhaps it's from a campaign to encourage people to wear helmets when they bike ride :-)

    Oh yes and there's also the sense of humor that I so miserably fail at...

    Anyway, for our sense of hearing this week, there is a great website where they play the #1 song from your birthday, or the day you got married ( or divorced..), or any day you'd like to look up: Pretty coolio.

    Thank you to Chrissy for sending this in.


    April 26, 2015


    Sometimes there is something mightily beautiful 

    about flowers that have seen their day. 

    Roses, peonies and dahlias come to mind especially,

    as their beauty turns a new leaf.

    I hope I will parallel my life this way.  

    April 19, 2015

    More Like Ourselves

    I've shifted into a slower lane and it feels like I've cut the engine a bit more. Aside from doing something like taking a long trek into the woods or knitting, I have to say that being on the computer is a very relaxing thing for me.

    It's like reading a book but the beauty of it is that the storyline keeps changing.

    I've had this lovely quote for awhile that I keep meaning to share:

    We grow neither better nor worse
    as we get old,
    but more like ourselves. 

    ~May Lamberton Becker

    I guess maybe the question to ask ourselves, whether we are young or old, is if we are continuing to thrive, and grow emotionally and continuing to spread our wings.

    But even more important, as the quote says, is to become more like ourselves.

    Thank you to Lizbeth for sending in this week's photo.


    April 07, 2015

    The List of Honesty

    I've been feeling out of sorts lately with not enough down time or time to be creative. Feeling like I am on a bit of a treadmill and putting out too many little fires. Not a lot of substance. I imagine you know what I mean. It's felt kind of like the holiday hustle but it's April...


    So I stopped myself the other night and pondered what I'm yearning for besides more downtime and creativity and it prompted me to make a list that I have never made before or have even thought to make.

    A list I was kind of afraid to make it turns out.

    The list of honesty.

    I thought I could make a list of things that make me happy. Like dancing, going to the beach, holding babies, reading a good book...knitting...chocolate...swimming. Blah blah blah. That's easy to do. But what I was trying to uncover was a list of experiences that I've had throughout my lifetime that were truly rich and made me feel alive.

    And connected.

    That had real substance.

    Experiences that made me feel like I am in love but don't necessarily have anything to do with another person.

    This took some time. It prompted me to slow down and remember moments that have been golden.

    Not storybook golden, or anyone else golden, but just me golden.

    It turned out that many of the things that showed up on my list were experiences that involved discomfort in terms of doing something that I was afraid to do. Experiences that made me feel vulnerable but I was able to get to the other side of and stretch beyond my comfort zone.

    Some of the other things on the list I would put in the "self-help" category. Times when I have stumbled and needed guidance.

    Interestingly, some very sad times are also on the list. Like losing my Dad/celebrating his life and cleaning out/selling my childhood home.

    The other interesting thing is that only one of the vacations that I have ever taken is on the list.

    This was a big ah-ha.

    Lines of Beauty is also of course on the list.

    So thank you for continuing to stop in and read what is on my sometimes wacko little mind :-)


    April 01, 2015

    Happy April Fools

    Photo by Stephanie Hofschlager, www.djk.deon

    For long time readers this is a repeat story:

    As some of you may know, my husband Tom (Mr. Fix-It) loves games and especially likes to play a good April Fools prank.

    I have gotten use to this over the years and every April Fools day I tread very cautiously so that he can’t be successful in fooling me again.

    One year Tom woke me up at the crack of dawn on April Fools Day and said that his big toe was killing him. He told me that it had started to bother him the day before and was throbbing so horribly throughout the night that he couldn’t sleep.

    “Maybe you have an ingrown toe nail honey,” I responded, half asleep. “Maybe you should see the doctor today.”

    Tom agreed that this was a good idea.

    During the day I called his cell phone to check in to see how he was doing and if he had seen the doctor. He didn’t call back. I tried him again awhile later. Still he didn’t call.

    At dinnertime I was in the kitchen cooking. The kids were busy making chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Tom was running late but finally we heard him at the back door. He came limping into the kitchen with the look of horrible pain on his face. On his right foot was a white plastic grocery bag. You could see blood on the inside of the bag.

    “Oh my god what happened?” I asked very concerned.

    “The doctor had to take my whole toenail off,” Tom winced.

    “And then he put your foot in a GROCERY BAG ??? I exclaimed. “Is there even a band-aid on your toe?” I asked very concerned.

    “No,” said Tom, “It was so late in the day that they were rushing to close the doctor’s office and told me to just put a band-aid on it when I got home.”

    “Are you KIDDING ME?” I yelled. “This is HORRIBLE! We are never going back to that doctor again!”

    I told him to sit down in the other room and went to get him some aspirin for the pain.

    “Let me see your toe,” I said returning with the aspirin.

    Tom removed his bloody foot from the bloody bag. I inspected it. “Oh my god-I hate to tell you this- but your toenail is still on there Tom…”

    “No it isn’t. You just can’t see under all the blood,” he replied.

    At this our younger daughter yelled from the kitchen “Nice April Fools joke Dad!!!”

    I shot back “ This is serious!!! Dad is in PAIN. This is NOT an April Fools joke!”

    At this Tom limped into the kitchen and stuck his foot into the kitchen sink to wash the blood off. Our kids, still skeptical, and horrified by his actions, hastily moved the chocolate chips cookies out of the way that were cooling next to the sink.

    At which point Tom started laughing and said “Happy April Fools you guys!”

    Realizing that I had been taken ONCE again, I hit Tom over the head with the kitchen towel and very slowly, finally started to laugh.

    Tom hadn’t stopped at the doctor on his way home. He had stopped at the local pizzeria and asked for a white plastic grocery bag and several packets of ketchup :-)

    And for a bit more humor this week:

    How many of us can relate to this?


    March 24, 2015


    I've felt kind of like a bulldozer lately pushing through several projects.

    It's never good when everything seems kind of like an emergency,

    when it isn't.

    I leave you with this quote this week

    because it's oh so true.


    March 17, 2015

    Full Circle

    My mama has been doing a little painting. It's something that she has dabbled in over the years and always delights me to see. Especially now that she has chronic macular degeneration and is in her 90's.

    We begin life as such sensuous little beings, exploring all that is around us by touch, taste, smell, sight and sound. It's kind of wonderful actually that as life carries on, as we grow old and memories get foggy, that what we are left with, if we are lucky, are our senses, still.

    Her 93rd birthday at Sofra.

    Life really does come full circle.

    In so many ways.

    The other day, I can't remember what we were talking about, but my mom made reference to a quote that she has tucked away somewhere. She said, "it says something about the beauty of an older person's smile".

    I said, "What??? You never told me about this!"

    But she actually has I realized,

    just by being who she is.

    March 07, 2015


    Ain't it the truth.

    Thank goodness for the beauty of wisdom as some things that we use to get our knickers twisted over have seemed to quietly faded into the background.

    Kind of like finally shaking a nagging cold actually.

    Is part of wisdom about getting more conscious about what swirls around us and addressing it in a different way?

    I think it is.

    I'm suppose to be doing our taxes right now but the blog is such a great way to procrastinate. This and going on Pinterest where I can be swept away into dreamland abyss like nothing else. Pinterest is such a visual, inspirational delight.

    Kind of makes me feel like I am in love.

    Along with chocolate I must say.

    Mr. Fix-It is working tirelessly downstairs reconstructing the layout of our very, very old kitchen. It's almost done. Not a complete renovation, but just a little low-cost sprucing up to get us through a few more years of paying college tuition...

    Last night I began replacing the shelf paper in the cabinets and you'd think I had died and gone to heaven.

    How much I love repetitive tasks.

    And the hint-of-spring sunshine that is gleaming through my windows today.

    If you haven't seen this video of the dog singing, it's so adorable. I especially love how his master kisses him.
    ( you can X out of all the annoying stuff on the video).


    February 28, 2015

    In The Winter

    Sander's Beach, Bahamas
    I realize that my intention as I grow older is to have as much fun as I can. Many times this means being alone unfortunately. I guess this is good however for growing old as I like to putter around the house by myself especially. Perhaps my love of aloneness is partly supported by the fact that I can still choose at this point in my life when to be sociable...

    On the plane back from the Bahamas I read an article about Julianne Moore. She is one actress whom I really respect and feel a kindred spirit towards. Not just as an actress, or in the way she is choosing to age in Hollywood, but as a person in general. She said that what is most important to her in life are "people and relationships and language and feelings."

    BINGO! Me too. Perhaps this rings true with you as well.

    She went on to say that, " What you need in life is love and work. My mother used to say this to me all the time. Those are two really important things. And I don't mean work has to to be paid or love has to be a romantic relationship, but if you have people to love and stuff that you want to do, you're usually in pretty good shape."

    It's similar to what my Dad use to say-

    That it's important to have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to.

    Especially during such a long, FREAKING cold winter such as this one.


    It's interesting how comfortable 15 degrees can grow to feel when it's been -15.

    Stay warm chickies,

    it's only 20 more days till spring :-)