Surround yourself

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life28 Comments


It's Monday. A new week. A new day. And it appears that with 70 whole degrees in the forecast, Spring has finally decided to visit Minnesota.

Had a great weekend. No, really. It was great. Saturday found the Zielske's at an all-day volleyball tournament, where although Aidan's team didn't take the top prize, Aidan managed to serve four consecutive points to win one of their matches. That was very cool to see.

We cleaned the house a little. Kids had play dates. I walked Chippie a few times. Went for a bike ride with Aidan. Cooked food. Hung out with friends in the neighborhood. Laughed. Slept. Lived a simple and ordinary existence that I would not trade for anything.

And I think I mean that. That I wouldn't trade it for anything. The only thing I find myself sometimes wishing for is not having to work. I imagine waking up, getting the kids off to school…taking a walk with Chip, coming back, taking a hot shower, checking email, cleaning a little here and there. Creating some scrapbook-related stuff. Possibly. Doing single-meal grocery shopping for the freshest ingredients. Going to a yoga class. Spending time thinking of myself, and how I could best spend the rest of the day. Taking a nap. Having a hot meal that every one loves, to be eaten in a sparkling kitchen, surrounded by the people I love.

But see…the crux of what I wish for is already there, every day. I am surrounded by the people I love.

Which is what I mean by I wouldn't trade a thing.

I mean, who says yoga is all that. Really.

I wanted to thank those of you who made a contribution of any size to the Jen Gallacher Family Benefit. It is such a kind gesture of support, to this family, in this time of need.

I thought about  the Gallacher family a lot over the weekend, even though I've never met them. And today, I have this line in my head, from an Everything But the Girl song on the Idlewild album, from "The Night I Heard Caruso Sing."

The part that goes…

It's time to hold your loved ones while the chains are loose,
and the world runs wild.

Just a reminder, that in the midst of the daily mucky-muck, or when you find yourself wishing for all the things that aren't quite right, like pants that fit or money to burn or houses that are clean…just that reminder to surround yourself with those you love, and hold them as close as you can for as long as you're given.

And I know I have no rights to play this song on my blog, but if you've never heard it, it really is a lovely song. Even though I think it's more of an anti-nuclear weapon kind of song from back in the day…it still makes me sentimental, every time.

(To stay more on the legal side, just play it through your browser, rather than download the file, if you can.)

And, enjoy.

Download the_night_i_heard_caruso_sing.mp3

Cathy ZielskeSurround yourself

28 Comments on “Surround yourself”

  1. #1
    Heather Ferris

    Cathy, good song! At the risk of sounding sappy it really does come down to family & loved ones being the most important thing in our lives as well as living for today. In other words, keeping it simple and “real”.
    It’s a pleasure reading your blog each day – I like the way you think – it seems that we look at things in a similar fashion.
    Glad to hear you had some warmer weather to enjoy with the family and of course Chip. Please give her a hug and some good ear rubs from me. All the best to you and yours.

  2. #2
    EE K

    Cathy – you don’t know me from Eve, but I love your blog, your scrapping and life philosophy. I’m so glad you’re back online! And I LOVE Everything But the Girl! The Language of Life is one of my favorite albums, but all of their music is amazing. Thanks so much for the inspiration 🙂

  3. #3

    love. love. love. the handknit dishcloth!!! Great job. Did you know there is a yahoo group that does 2 monthly dishcloth knit-a-longs. Twice a month, each day for a week you get a few rows/day to knit. At the end you have a new dishcloth. Beware! It’s addicting and great fun. Btw, I’m a mom who doesn’t work, and my days are not like your description at all! My house sure could use a good spring cleaning (heck, any cleaning). I did go to a yoga class once, though. Does that count?

  4. #4

    Love that song also, and your philosophy is SO right on. We need to count our blessings and remember that life isn’t complete because we have THINGS, but because we have EACH OTHER.

  5. #5

    I’m a mom who doesn’t work and actually, my days are pretty much exactly what you described–minus the yoga-part. I still have issues with sticking my butt up in the air.

    Anyway, I had no idea I was living someone else’s dream life! And here I thought YOU were living MY dream life!

    Well, if that don’t beat all.

  6. #6

    This is an odd request, I’m sure.
    However I am looking for how to contact you personally for some much needed “expert” opinion regarding a business idea.

    Definitely not looking for investors, capital or anything financial — just some solid industry advice/opinion from someone (you) whose opinion I would value since following your career in the scrapbooking industry. Please be in touch if you would happen to have the time to provide said desired opinion:

    I love this page too! 🙂 Thanks for all the sharing you do.

    Sincerely —

    Imagineer Extraordinaire
    Creative Emotions, Inc.

  7. #9

    I’m a SAHM and don’t have a paying job. Although I always ‘think’ i’m going to do the things you listed, instead I spend most days running around doing everyone else’s errands because i ‘don’t work therefore I have time’… 🙁

    we always want what we don’t have don’t we?

  8. #11

    good vibes for a Monday afternoon. Love it!I have lived both lives (the working & non-working) and the grass is always greener, y’know! I wish I could work only when i want to…
    I have a red dishcloth just like that on my sink!

  9. #12
    Rebecca Foxworth

    CZ, seriously. Are you reading my mind today? Are you? THIS is exactly what I’ve been thinking after this hometown weekend I had. Pesky day job gets in the way, doesn’t it? And yet…after watching the shootings on TV I realized how incredibly blessed I am when all my people actually make it home at the end of the day. My prayers to those who had loved ones who didn’t. And no, yoga is not ALL THAT…I’m way too impatient/bored to do yoga. You?

  10. #13

    You forgot to mention the ‘other crux’ in that makes you love your ordinary life…you have a friend named Jason. I was hoping he’d be popping up more in your posts, like say, Dave Grohl used to. Still, your message is right on here today. Especially struck me as the news is unfolding of the deadly Virginia Tech shootings today. Unbelievable and scary, that we have no clue in our lives (no matter where we are in this world at any given moment) when our fate may be lurking. Truly there is no greater time than to love and appreicate your life and the people near you whom you adore.
    Now I am off to ‘create dinner’ out of next to nothing in my fridge and cupboards. I’m just hoping that it won’t be peanut butter and dry spaghetti sandwiches tonight. Wish me luck!

  11. #14

    I love your blog and check it everyday.
    I am just wondering where you are in Minnesota. I am a midwest girl from the Chicago area. We are moving to Minn. the beginning of June. I am looking at houses in Burnsville-south east of Minneapolis. Are you familiar with this area? We need to be within 30 miles of Chanhassen for my husbands job. Any suggestions.
    Thanks, Kelly G

  12. #15

    Thank you for posting this, Cathy. The song says so much, especially today. After coming home from a day of teaching, I listened in horror to the news coming out of Virginia Tech. Then I clicked on the song on your blog and I heard the line, “It’s hard enough to watch the news let alone explain it to a child…” and just wanted to weep. Hugging my loved ones harder today.

  13. #16
    natalia dexter

    Hey Cathy,
    thank you for this post. It reminds me to enjoy my life warts and all. I’m constantly in battle with myself to have a cleaner house, tidier kitchen, organised office, a 4 1/2 year old son that would just listen and a husband that would sweep me off my feet everyday! How selfish of me! When I have a tidish house, a son I adore who is only being a child learning about his environment and a husband that makes my heart skip a beat. Thanks for making me take a step back and appreciate what I have.

  14. #17

    you must be one awesome lady Cathy. I just love coming to your blog and reading what you have to say. It is always so profound and yet so simple, the way life should be I guess. Great song, thanks for sharing.

    I wish I could meet you someday.

  15. #18


    Thanks for the reminder. You said it so well. I love Everything but the Girl. Just heard she is doing a solo album with a new sound.

    Recently discovered your blog (heck-the whole blogging world-I’m a little behind!) and I check it everyday. Love the way you think.

    Thanks for the chili recipe, too. Can’t wait to try it. Keep the recipes coming.

    Hugs to Chippie!

  16. #19

    thanks for the warm thoughts. you are a good person.
    i love it when their is that one line in a song that just says somethning — something important, something touching, somethind thought provoking — just something.
    hugs to you

  17. #21
    Madeline R

    Cathy, I recently read both of your books and then found your blog last week. I had stopped blogging last Dec. and reading here inspired me to start again (as well as to start reading the inspirational women like you again). You are my kind of woman. I so relate to the obsessions (mine was Train at 40 and the past few years I’ve been rediscovering old faves like JJ Cale). Thanks for the Crowded House news. I love them too. keeping it clean and simple is a good mantra for me; not just in design. Thanks

  18. #23
    katie scott


    I don’t want another opportunity to learn & grow, she said. I just want to eat crackers & watch Oprah & pet my cat.


  19. #24

    You are RIGHT ON, sister. I remember one Thanksgiving with family when we went around the table saying what we were thankful for. At my turn I said, “For everyone in our family to be healthy.” My brother chortled and said that’s like saying “World Peace,” duh! At that moment, I (for some ungodly reason) had to remind him that my 2 boys, he and I all have cystic fibrosis. We are so incredibly luckly not only to be alive, but to have beat the odds as to our longevity!
    So, I say, “Let’s hear it to hugging your loved ones, living with intent, and not missing a single opportunity to tell them of your love for them.” Nuf said.

  20. #25

    I want to download some Neil Finn music and am wondering which one I should start with. I looked for him on itunes a while back and could not find him. Today I see that all of his albums are there. Which is the best? Thanks!

  21. #26
    Jen Gallacher

    Hi, Cathy!

    This is Jen Gallacher. Tania pointed me to your blog. What can I say?! I’m so grateful to you for helping my family through this tragic time. Your post today is especially poignant as my son no longer likes to be hugged, in fact, he has a hard time even being touched. I am learning that there is no time to waste when it comes to loving your children. Thank you again. I am amazed by good people like you!!

    Love to you and yours!

  22. #27
    Pam in TN

    Gosh, I haven’t heard that song in so long, but if we had had iPods back then, it would totally have been on mine. Have you heard the Neil Finn covers album? I found it on Wish there was a way to download that amanda loree cover of “just like heaven” – LOVE that! Speaking of old albums (and I mean vinyl) – have you seen the cool recycled album cover bags at Carol Duvall has instructions to make one at…easy to make with grommets, vinyl, and a couple of old Crowded House albums…

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