Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What's Ahead As Opposed to What I'm Looking Forward To

All last week and the week before I felt I was in a state of suspended animation, like a numbered ball in the lottery drawing machine rolling around in a perpetual flow of air, not able to go anywhere and yet not able to fall to rest.

I just scanned a blog post I began and saved without publishing two weeks ago and I could have written it this morning, except that now a decision's been made, an airline ticket reserved...and I am soooooo NOT happy.

In this time of war I know they have deployment counseling for our military but what about folks like myself? I'm about to embark on indefinite period of 'service' as an adult caregiver of my mother in another state. My 'barracks' will be the guest room in my brother and sister in law's house.

INSTEAD of preparing my 'studio' this week for the new year to create and work in, I'm rushing at boxing it up for storage and my heart is aching.

My WORD for 2010 was to have been 'heart' and was to have been my jump off point for quilt journaling and an attempt at something similar to Jude Hill's 'Spirit Cloth' and possibly some art quilting. Now I'm wondering how I'll be able to quilt and/or stitch at all.

INSTEAD I expect to be wading through alot of muck and debris trying to make a dent in the massive mess and restore the hoarder's home of my mother, pretty much against her will, to an acceptable level of livability. I'm filled with dread, over my head in old wounds and hurts I'd thought I'd let go years ago and consumed by their resultant bitterness.

I'm thinking now my WORD for 2010 needs to be 'mercy'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Party's Over

It's approaching mid-day. Early NFL games are nearly to half time. Nearly everywhere according to the Weather Channel winter is here already, despite the fact the calendar shows it's still more than a week off. Here, in the Sierra Foothills, it's coldly raining and has been all night and morning. The lake out back is filling and looking more and more with each hour like a bathtub about to overflow. I just switched the control to 'on' hoping a bit of heat takes the 'chill' off the air and brings my fingers back from relative numbness. I'm 'writing' weak narrative about time and weather as the opening for this blog post, lamely attempting to avoid spilling my 'news' of the day, thinking I ought to have a hot breakfast, take my meds, put on warmer clothes, clean my kitchen, do some laundry, put away some Christmas decoration cartons and get out a couple more. Anything, really, but post my 'ugly' ornies and confess my 'perfectionist recovery' exercise experience.

Ok - an attack of responsibility at that stream of thought DID prompt me to get up from the computer and take my BP/heart meds.

The 'first wave' of steady rain started yesterday with only a brief rest in the middle of the night so it was a cold, dark, rainy night to travel through to the site of the ugly ornament party. My driver was a brave and stubborn soul to come for me and convey me to the gathering. Few others braved the weather, choosing instead I'm sure to stay cozy and dry under the roofs of their toasty warm shelters, thereby reducing the sense of 'competition' I'd anticipated for the night. Good thing for me because my confidence needed 'life support'. After much anxiety about purposely making something UGLY, lack of ideas and frustration at the do-ability of ideas that finally came to me I was then surprisingly slammed into obstacles of equipment and tool malfunctions, shortage, lack and just plain poor quality materials. The only glue sticks I could put my hands on were producing abundantly string-y bonds, colors of 'craft' chennille pipe cleaners were inappropriate (where did THOSE come from?), I had NO actual glitter, 'glitter paint' (what WAS I doing with THAT anyway?) that looked gold in the container was merely pastel yellow on white plastic no matter how many coats applied and then the multiple coats remained 'tacky' and just would NOT dry. HOW was I going to 'save' ANYTHING worthy of even GOING to the party at all?????

I mean, REALLY!

My sarcastic, smart aleck, defiant 'self' started bending chenille sticks into letters spelling out u-g-l-y. I did it in all four colors - red, purple, school bus yellow and baby blue (again, where DID those COME from?) - I'd found and carefully spaced them in the shape of a circle on my table, hoping while my hands were busy my brain would come up with a better idea. It didn't. The string-y hot glue frustrated me enough that I stopped at two.
I thought I'd make them EVEN TACKIER with glitter but found none. (what craft-y gal has NO glitter? Later, relaying my disappointment by phone to Dearest Darlin', HE tells me there are vials of glitter in HIS toolbox. HOW'S THAT?! Who'd have thunk it?)

I did however find 'glitter paint' I remember having gotten for my girlfriend and neighbor's kids to use at my house eons ago. AHA! My daughter who was kicking off a short term career with some semi-homemade food/goodies company as a home party distributor when she visited last summer had left behind a baggie of some taster spoons I had no use for but hadn't yet tossed out. Those might make some kind of snowflake, I thought, and so arranged them for gluing. My resulting white plastic snowflake made of spoons and a water bottle cap I thought MIGHT be made UGLY enough to be a 'contender' by over-embellishing with the glitter paint, sequins and glass/plastic jewels. It really did LOOK gold in the bottle, so when it was only pale baby yellow when applied I thought just putting on MORE would be better. UGH! It never REALLY adhered and didn't get fully dry. But I was out of time. Further deliberation kept begging the question, WHAT does one DO with a YELLOW snowflake?????
Aaaaaargh! One. Yellow. Snowflake. I couldn't see making some joke of it relative to the warning about never eatting yellow snow. BUT...and this was when I realized the same God who made us in His image to create, has a fabulous sense of humor. And I took up a pen and wrote out the message I felt was imparted to me in the midst of my frustration. If you're one of the sentimentally religious folk who think of rain as 'God's' or 'Heaven's Tears' I warn you, stop reading now - you're liable to be offended.

The tag I strung on the yellow snowflake said: "This Yellow Snowflake is your sign: Hell HAS frozen over, and God is PISSED!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Party Season

Exercise in 'perfectionist recovery' is on the calendar for tomorrow. Well, the 'exercise' part of it comes today. I've been procrastinating and was actually intending on totally avoiding the exercise altogether until a message from a friend quite forcefully manipulated me into it. Tomorrow is the ONE holiday 'party' of the season totally accessible to me - it's free, no bar tab or meal to buy because it's at a friend's home instead of a bar/restaurant and no live music I'd be susceptible to the urge I can't respond to to dance. And this manipulative friend of mine said she's coming to pick me up so the lack of current registration on my vehicle that keeps me house bound isn't an issue. The event? My friend, Tammi's, 2nd Annual UGLY Ornament party.

I didn't go last year despite the fact that everyone in my circle of friends did. I may have had other plans, or company...I don't remember. I think though, it was simply the requirement that everyone attending was to bring a handmade, UGLY ornament, to exchange with prizes for the 3 ugliest. I just couldn't get into the idea of making something UGLY on purpose.

And I didn't even yet know THEN that my 'word for the year' for 2009 was going to be 'Beauty'! But I wonder now if the thoughts seeded into my soul regarding the resistance to purposefully creating something UGLY helped crystalize the 2009 word of the year choice. Hmmmmm...ya think?

I'm completely amused that in this week that I'm mulling on my choice of word for the new year (and have, in fact, mentally chosen already unless 'life' - which as John Lennon said is what happens while you're making OTHER plans - somehow causes me to change my mind before 12:59 pm December 31st) that I get assaulted with a circumstance ABSOLUTELY in opposition to my current year's focus word. Isn't it ironic? Where does this go in the list of possible 12-steps for Perfectionists Anonymous recovery?

Oh, and the 'condition' for my ride to the party? I'm to make not just one, but TWO ugly ornaments - my own and one for my 'driver'. Recovering Perfectionist Dilemma #2: do I make hers a bit less ugly than MINE, hoping to WIN???? After all, perfectionists are competitive as well, are we not?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Spirit Is Wishing ..

---to be FED! Like the plant in the play/movie 'Little Shop of Horrors' my spirit SCREAMS, "FEED ME!" in response to Jamie's prompt for this week's Wednesday Wishcasting.

All around us at this time of year are magazine features, spots in almost every TV talk/variety show and there's NO MERCY if you happen to click on FOOD NETWORK. (---rolls eyes---I KNOW! Don't ask me how I know but I bet you do too.) Some of us financially challenged by unemployment and other factors of the 'recession economy' are rather frantically searching for something special that might be conjured up (using ingredients already in the pantry)to give in place of gifts we can't afford to buy and have run out of time to craft.

Isn't everyone around YOU baking and cooking all manner of delicious-ness? Bringing tremendous pleasure to your senses - filling the air with sweet scents, making your eyes pop and your mouth water? Favorite people in my life, miles too far away to share a mug of tea/coffee or even a glass of a jolly beverage with, have been coming to mind and setting my heart yearning for their company. With thoughts and yearnings comes a voracious appetite for certain foods we'd make for and with one another and share whenever we spent good times together. (---rolls eyes, again---you KNOW that stuff just doesn't taste as GOOD by your lone-some, does it? I KNOW. Again, don't ask.)

We are bombarded with appeals from one after another charitable organization for donations to 'feed the hungry'. And some of us actually are motivated to give, donate, cook, serve for others. And still, we sit down after it's all been done - exhausted, a dazed expression on our face in the mirror and we ask ourself silently, "Is THAT all there is? What happened to the Spirit of Christmas?"

I'm wishing to follow THIS recipe:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

Friday, December 4, 2009

It doesn't stop...

I was just out playing yesterday (about that in a forthcoming post).

D-E-C-E-M-B-E-R wordplay continues...this one in part a little *poke* at the recently publicized baby crib recalls but...
consider a spiritual aspect as well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

More D-E-C-E-M-B-E-R Wordplay

Still playing today with what December has to say. I almost wish I hadn't started. Without something else to distract me, seems all I can think about is lists of words beginning with d, e, c, m, b and r and keeps shuffling and rearranging and coming up with some very interesting phrases.

Warm Fuzzies

* @ * @ * WARM FUZZIES * @ * @ *

What is YOUR winter wish? Mine is undoubtedly, without hesitation or meditation or any added inspiration - WARM FUZZIES! To always recognize them, abundantly & generously give & gratefully & happily receive them.

A *warm fuzzy* could be gloriously soft sweaters, fleecy robes, thick cozy socks, flannel jammies or sheets or lumberjack shirts, fur lined caps, gloves or mittens, silk thermals layered under other comfy clothes, quilts wrapped 'round the shoulders or across the lap while the fire crackles and steam rises from a hot cup of cider or tea or cocoa - but not exactly.

'Warm Fuzzies' are anything that goes STRAIGHT to and absolutely melts the tenderest spot in your heart and soul. An image, remembrance, kindness, gift, word, deed...anything can be a 'warm fuzzy'. Years ago I remember when I lived in the midwest we used to use the expression 'warm fuzzy' for certain types of TV commercials - like the Pepsi commercial with the adorable little blond child giggling and rolling with a bunch of playful puppies. Hallmark Cards is particularly adept at 'warm fuzzy' commercials as are many jewelers.

Yesterday I spent a part of my day setting out some more of my Christmas decorations throughout the house - among them a handful of snowmen. Snowmen - even here in north central California where having enough snow for a real one is highly unlikely - are for me a WARM FUZZY - read why here.

Warm Fuzzies are by no means just for winter though. I crave Warm Fuzzies anytime, all the time. Comments left on a blog post ALWAYS give me a 'warm fuzzy', as do emails in response to one I've made on someone else's. Many of the blogs I've chosen to 'follow' are a constant source of Warm Fuzzies.

Other 'Warm Fuzzies':

A shopper in the check out line at the store who notices the customer ahead of them is short a dollar or two and asks the clerk to remove a non-necessity from their bill and kindly hands the clerk difference. (Thanks to one of those kind and generous souls I had a drug store composition book and fresh pen to journal with)

At The Windows on State Street in Chicago - a young man who notices a frazzled mother with a baby in her arms and the small child next to her springing up and down on his feet like a bouncing ball trying to see through the crowd but can't and lifts the child up his shoulders for the best view in the City.

A hand made, quilted tree skirt made of fabrics printed with musical instruments and notes taken days before Christmas to the home of a young music minister's family whose wife had been horribly disappointed when told by a quilting teacher the materials for such a skirt were estimated to be around $50...and seeing their children WHIP away presents and an artfully scrunched up bedsheet from beneath their tree to place it there NOW!

An overbearing, greedy, driven, seemingly heartless VP of sales in a major corporate company who anonymously provides a luxury hotel suite for a young service technician's family after their home was consumed by fire. The same VP who later asked an administrative assistant working for him if it would be uncomfortable for her if he were to hire her unemployed husband who she knew was unfaithful but couldn't yet leave.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December 1st Wordplay

2009 is sneaking out the door, sort of.

Truth is it's clearing it's throat, gathering it's belongings and announcing it's about time to go as the calendar gets turned to the last page. I feel a sudden urgency about squeezing all I can out of it before it's gone - catching up on intentions unfulfilled while simultaneously glancing forward with anticipation.

This morning I've been word playing with the letters that spell DECEMBER -

Monday, November 30, 2009

Anticipation - A Monday Morning's Meditation

Anticipation. Can't hardly hear that word without it having the rhythm and melody of the Carly Simon song from my youth.
*An * tiss * i * paaaay * shun - 's making me wait...
And then the utter desecration of the song by it's use as theme music for a ketchup commercial years ago. UGH! Shudders!

Do you have a 'thing' that marks the start of anticipation for you? Or is anticipation in your life a constant, a perpetually active flow? Do you sometimes feel the anticipation of something is greater pleasure than the accomplishment or attainment itself?

Sunday was the 1st Sunday of 'Advent', 4 Sundays of the church calendar preceding and in anticipation of Christmas.

Not being a habitual calendar watcher I have many years not even realized the 1st Sunday of Advent was upon me until it had passed & therefor often missed recognizing its onset as uniquely special. Kind of shrugged it off in years past as being part of a 'ritualistic' practice of religiosity instead of true spiritual relationship but Sunday afternoon I have to admit I was jogged into recognition reading someone else's blog about observing Advent which spurred me to scurry to the garage, uncover the box where the nativity set had been packed with other Christmas decorations and pull a CD of appropriately Christmas-y music from my collection for accompaniment.
In my house, no other Christmas decorating gets done before the indoor nativity set is placed in a focal point location - thereby recognizing the focus of the season in that most mercifully sacred 'gift' from God of the birth of the world's Saviour, Jesus Christ. At sundown I finished putting it in place and read to myself Luke's account of Jesus' birth foretold to Mary by an angel:
"Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name, Jesus." - Luke 1:30-31

I'm glad I stumbled onto the blog(s) on Advent I read yesterday afternoon. I hadn't been allowing myself much in the way of anticipation for Christmas this year knowing none of my 'family' will be with me and even Darlin' needs to be elsewhere but this morning I'm grateful to be feeling kind of like my 'Christmas Spirit' and anticipation has effectively had a resuscitation/CPR.

I'll NEVER be one of those who have their gifts all tucked away weeks or months in advance or even one of many folks I know have their home all decked out for 'The Holidays' come Friday after Thanksgiving ready to switch 'on' the lighted Christmas Tree Friday evening. I have felt inadequate in the past because I could never get it together like that. A part of me also would internally groan and quip that was just TOO MUCH too soon, getting caught up in the proverbial hamster wheel rush of the commercialized 'Holiday Season' and recognizing that whole approach is pretty much only safely possible using an 'artificial' tree. Horrors! There's NO SUBSTITUTE for the scent of fresh pine as I brush against the sticky needles while placing lights and ornaments and garland and I ADORE it! When I decorate our Christmas tree - talk about a tree hugger! But if one can and does do all that advance preparation in a spirit of excitement and anticipation - effectively extending 'Christmas' beyond just one day (how many times have you thought 'Why can't it be Christmas EVERY day?') - what could be wrong with that?

We pick & choose what goes into the personal 'shopping cart' of our souls, what we'll 'buy' for Christmas, don't we? For me, absolutely YES to the Nativity, YES to the Christmas tree, lights and trimmings, NO to Santa for the most part, NO to mass marketed, HOT ticket, 'GOTTA HAVE IT' gifts, YES to sacred songs of Christmas but NO to too much cute-sy 'junk' jingles & Rudolph/Frosty and such, NO to artificially extending the spending machination of the 'Season', YES to Merry Christmas & NO to generic/PC watered down 'Season's Greetings' & 'Happy Holidays'. YES to 'making' magic, spreading cheer and joy in word and deed to one and all I meet and touch.

Wishing you joyful anticipation this Monday...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

75th Post - TA-DA!

I began blogging solely to participate in an online book club, The Next Chapter, that was beginning a book on creativity in women - a subject I was especially ravenous for. When I started into blogging I really had no idea what I might discover. Years ago when I first accessed the internet I had gotten into some quilting Yahoo Groups only to be disappointed and even hurt surprisingly. I had tried MySpace much to my disappointment and frustration and I had started YAHOO 360 which disappeared and then Multiply and finally Facebook seeking somewhere I could interact and communicate in an online community.

THIS is my 75th blogger post (counting the OTHER blog I'm not quite sure what to do with - digital/computer/electronic details are NOT my forte or I'd figure out how to import the posts there over here to the Studio). TA-DA! If I'm pretty consistent I MAY be able to log 100 for my 1 yr. 'blog-iversary' (is that what it's called?) December 26th. :> Pressure! Feeling a little here...just a tad. Usually totally laid back - I really want to hit that #100 for the year. Somebody 'blog-slap' me if you notice me putting up posts lacking quality and value just to add a click on the counter, K? I don't want to sacrifice quality for quantity under any circumstances.

What do they call that in the business world? Hmmmm...I've got it! (SNAP!) It's a foundational component of MY personal corporeal 'culture'. Perhaps it's time I have a Blog Culture.

Studio Lakeside Culture Statement

Authenticity, truth & honesty are priority: NO BS!

Quality over quantity: Value is not inherently attached to numbers . Rich is more than a monetary assessment. Sometimes less IS more.

Faith trumps fear: EVERYTIME!

Serenity: Accept what can't be changed.

Courage: Change what can be when the time is right.

Wisdom: Know the difference between what must be accepted and what & when to do something different.

Respect diversity: Variety IS the spice of life.

Generosity: Aggressively encourage stomping out stinginess.

Abundance in mercy and joy.

That's a fairly accurate summary. I reserve the right to make additions and changes to the above, tweaking when necessary. Does your blog presence have a 'culture'?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When You Don't Wish Upon A Star

Being a long-time quilter who has always preferred a vast variety of fabrics in quilts over "match-y - match-y" for years and knowing an acceptable mix of fabrics requires much dilligent and constant hunting, scrounging, auditioning and rejection AND someone who by necessity 'collects' (from junk/yard/garage sales and thrift stores) a piece at a time (sometimes over a period of years) to furnish/decorate a room...I have a HUMONGOUS appreciation for fantabulous moments when the 'just right', piece de resistance, icing on the cake thing just falls into my lap.

I seldom experience synchronicity like today when Jamie Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday prompt was 'What Do You Wish To Embrace? '

Monday night this week I had prepared for staying up into the wee hours of Tuesday morning - drank three cups of instant cappucino late afternoon & early evening - hoping to catch a glimpse of one or more 'shooting stars' in the supposed peak viewing hours of the Leonid Meteor shower. As I sat outside in the dark with my face up to the starry sky, I remembered nights I had sat on the front stoop watching the stars with my Mom when I was 8 or 9 and first learned to make a wish on a shooting star. I thought should I see a shooting star that night, what should I wish?

And I was missing my youngest daughter, Rachel, (now half way across the country in her 3rd year of college in Michigan) who would sit up with me watching for shooting stars and thinking of the conversations we'd had over mugs of milk-y flavored coffee as we sat in our lawn chairs with our faces up to the sky. I realized sitting there - missing her like that - next week is Thanksgiving and she won't be here for it, wasn't last Thanksgiving, nor Christmas either, spending them instead out of thrift and frugal practicality with her siblings and father and stepmom just a couple hours' drive from her campus in nearby suburban Chicago. And I had to admit two consecutive years without sharing major holiday meals and celebrations, without daily hugs and kisses and secrets and surprises exchanged and shared means my girl - my 'baby' - my youngest of four not being 'home' means my nest is empty. I've become as they say, an 'empty nester'.

That same day was my oldest son's 31st birthday. I've been tending 'hatchlings' for 31 years + ---- WELL over half my life. This 'empty nest' state isn't a phase I'm being introduced to to shake hands with or even kiss on the cheek and move on. It's the rest of my life!

And so...after much consideration as I expectantly watched the sky for a shooting star to wish upon, I determined my wish would be to embrace (hold closely with tenderness, assume or take up in an eager or serious way) being an 'empty nester' - but I didn't see even one shooting star. I must have been being allowed to hold it for today's wishcast.

"We must sacrifice the urgent, petty agendas of the ego to a larger field or participation. We must learn humility and own humor, finding guidance in intuition and making logic a servant rather than master. Control is a personal experience, surrender is a transpersonal one. Through surrender we learn to move with the rhythms that flow through our existence and in so doing open ourselves to the wellsprings of life that are the gift of the divine Trickster." ~Allan Combs (from Synchronicity)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday's Smile - Snowmen

I relish the blog(ger)s I visit who make me think - who plant thoughts like seeds blown in the wind into the fertile ground of my mind each day. But what I adore and appreciate most and LOVE are the ones that make me genuinely smile within and without - the ones who tickle memories and my fancy. This morning I'm adoring, appreciating and LOVING Connie @ Dirty Footprints Studio for sharing the work of her 'kiddos' from art class.

Never met a snowman I didn't like. Nope. Not EVER. But since one early November about 17 years ago, I have a particularly big, mushy, soft spot in my heart for snowmen.

Colder than normal temps had seized us and overnight we'd received a much earlier than anticipated HEAVY snowfall in the western burbs of Chicago. My oldest son, Leo, was about to turn 14, (his 31st birthday is just a couple days away), and being ever short of funds I was doing that perpetual mother's dance with available cash, thinking I could buy 3 year old (7 years younger than the youngest of the older 3 so without any hand me downs) Rachel some winter outerwear AFTER taking care of big brother Leo's birthday.

Sooooooooo, the morning of the BIG 1st snow all 3 of the oldest kids had eagerly donned their coats, scarves, hats, gloves/mittens and boots and rushed outside...making angels circling the evergreen tree, starting a fort for snowball fights with kids down the street and finally, building the biggest snowman - EVER!

Even with double pane windows tightly closed against the cold, Rachel and I constantly heard them laughing with utter glee. The first ball, the base, of the snowman was in place and the next was almost getting too big to heft on top of the first as Rachel stood crying on the couch cushions, watching out the front window and whined that she wanted to 'make 'no man' too. My heart ached for her as I kept thinking for her this was likely the first snow she'd remember (the two prior winters of her life she'd probably not remember snow) and how I was responsible for her not having 'the gear' to be outside too and deserved a huge 'FAIL, Mom!'

Suddenly, my 11 year old daughter, Sarah, came rushing through the side door and whooshed up the stairs to my bedroom closet, coming down with an old winter coat and thermal sweatshirt of their father's and his cast off work boots from days gone by as a 'helper' on a construction job. She tapped on the front window and waved both their brothers in like a traffic cop. When the boys were in she had Joel, the younger brother, take off his coat and boots and the oldest pass his to the youngest, gave the oldest Dad's gear, and rolled up the coat sleeves of Joel's coat and stuffed newspaper balls into the toes of the younger brother's boots which she then put on baby sis. Several mismatched socks layered to became Rachel's 'mittens' and a couple layers of sweatshirts went under and over brother's coat to keep it from being 'too airy'.

Oh, how I wished I had a video camera to record the orchestration! One of my scarves got pulled into the mix and I helped tie it like a 'babooshka' to cover Rachel's ears. And then they were outside. And now, I stood at the window watching. And then right before my eyes - I saw a miracle! My oldest son, who prior to that day had mostly left behind or ignored little Rachel whenever it came to 'big kid' play, slowed down. While the two middle kids finished the next layer of the snowman's body, Leo kneeled down beside Rachel and guided her in beginning the roll for the snowman's head. When they got it to sufficient size and shape, she picked it up with his help and he picked her up to place it atop the snowman. Then they all gathered sticks for arms. Someone came in and grabbed a broom and a carrot for a nose and took it out.

And there I stood at the window with tears rolling down my cheeks, watching as they removed one's gloves and another's scarf and another's hat to 'dress' the snowman.

THAT was the first time I'd ever seen ALL FOUR of my kids work at any one thing together!

I've collected snowmen ever since...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday's Meditation...

On 'sanctuary' (sank-choo-wary) What do you think of? A place set aside for worship? A place of safety and shelter? An asylum or refuge? A protected area for wildlife?

Sunday morning I awoke with a desire to be in church,immerse my soul in fellowship & corporate worship with singing and sharing an attitude of expectation. In a sanctuary. My faith flourishes without the Sunday-Go-To-Meeting ritual, but it's been too long for me without fellowship. I thought it would be comforting after the upset in my spirit from disturbing occurrences in the news the past week. Aside from the sheer horror and tragic loss of lives resulting from the shootings at Fort Hood, I have continued to dwell upon a comment to the media after the fact by a high ranking officer/spokesperson re: how disturbing it was that soldiers who are prepared to put their lives on the line in the field - out there - were gunned down in their 'sanctuary'. We may be aware of the incredible fragility of 'life', subject to irreversible change in a heartbeat. We may know life can be as easily snuffed as a breath exhaled upon the flame of a candle. Still, we presume invulnerability and rest secure in our places of 'sanctuary' - ourimpenetrable fortress & inviolate place of safety - until, shockingly, the impenetrable is penetrated and the inviolate is violated.

I think it's a ripple effect of that thought introduced into my soul - that chi or spirit or whatever you may name it - that had me feeling uneasy & insecure as I lay me down to sleep Saturday night in MY sanctuary. Halloween night I'd become acutely aware my dog, Thunder,is NOT a good guard dog nor even a responsive alarm system when she failed to utter a sound when 4 adolescent boys I did not recognize came 'trick or treating' to my door. (a rare, rare occurrence in our area where acreage separates next-door neighbors) Late Saturday night car lights beamed from across the lake long after the 'park closes at sundown' sign should have deterred parking there,thus I'd fallen asleep uneasily, a trifle insecure,after blocking the slider door and double checking the status of all the door and window locks in the house. (secret confession: I normally don't bother checking, never mind double checking, and often don't even think to close doors/windows, never mind locking them) I didn't make it to church Sunday morning but I was up before the sun, before pre-dawn light broke even. While coffee brewed I watched stars fade as darkness slowly passed into light. Awaiting dawn's early light I hoped to see local deer out for breakfast but they apparrently either stayed in or went the opposite direction. My morning companions were birds - jays scolding smaller ground feeding birds hungrily pecking like little chicks all over the parched 'grasses' surrounding the back door. Over the scolding jays I heard though I couldn't see, two hawks screaming and wondered if they were 'talking' to each other or like Indians in old westerns, heralding a pending attack. Though their screeching isn't exactly 'music' to my ears, it means I don't see mice and snakes like some in the area do.

Sanctuary had been way up there in my higher thinking for weeks before hearing that officer use the word so it was no surprise it touched me. I'd been thinking alot about home as sanctuary,what has been for some time now solitarily my home without ever feeling any need to separate my sacred spaces. I'd been feeling simultaneously urged to preserve and protect my most precious personal space and openly embrace a whole family with warmth,comfort and the security of sanctuary/home. It was quite touching to hear this presumably flinty, rock steady officer of the US Army toughened by his military training use this word that for me was a tender, gentle concept growing in my heart and soul and finding it's implementation in my home. It's a good thing to know what is to me, a soothing and serene concept of peace and nurture and sacred space has a high place in another soul less mushy than mine. After hearing that officer use the word sanctuary with such impact I went 'surfing' for quotes on sanctuary to add to a running list where I collect random words of wisdom I call 'Words To Live By'. I thought there'd be an abundance but found only a few. I like this one alot telling me sanctuary is in my self, not environment or space:

Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.

Do you maintain a safe place of refuge and sheltered sacred space? Where is your sanctuary?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday Wishcast - I Wish To Experience...

Whenever I tippy toe into Jamie Ridler's Wednesday Wishcaster's circle, I do so timidly - sweatty-palmed nervous and feeling I'm going to appear like someone showing up in stained grey sweats, tattered t-shirt and smelly sneakers when everyone else is attired in silk and satin and taffeta and lace and slim, sexy high-heeled sandals or pumps with perfect mani/pedis and adorned in shiney metals and gems or like a late comer to a skinny dipping mandatory pool party and clumsily and noisily crashing into a cart full of metal serving ware as I try to slink into the water unnoticed.

That's how awkward and inadequately clothed and even naked I sometimes feel when I attempt to respond to Jamie's wish prompts. Last night before I shut down my computer I bopped over to Jamie Ridler Studios and checked out this week's prompt and no one had yet posted. The little #1 and the word's "You're first!" mocked me. HA! I thought...not me. I wouldn't DARE, but I thought about it. As I was thinking I kept bubbling up with one word replies and considering what to write in explanation and kept second guessing myself. After a few of those, I could envision one of Jamie's pics I've seen of her on her site animated and leaning toward me with that darling little head-cocked, half coy expression she wears and altered so she's wearing a thick knit gray turtle neck with bushy white eyebrows over tortoise shell framed eye glasses and stroking a graying goatee as she says, "Vat eez it you vish to ex-peer-ee-ence, Sheila?"

And I wonder, does anyone else feel like they're on the analyst's couch when they ponder what wish to share???

Does everyone angst over what and how to say what's in their heart or do they just throw out whatever pops in their head reflexively like returning the ball playing ping pong or tennis?

I find myself hesitating - rejecting thought after thought as too greedy, too selfish, too materialistic, too revealing, etc. Then I think I wish I had more confidence, more daring, more faith and I didn't have such insecurity, such anxiety, such fear.

The more I thought (turning over and examing each idea that popped into my head like a stone nugget to see if it had any jewel or precious metal embedded in it before tossing it aside into an increasing pile) the more I came to realize, more than passion or freedom from financial worry or success or having a best seller, I REALLY WISH TO EXPERIENCE BELONGING.

I wish to experience comfort, being embraced with enthusiasm, confidence in acceptance, acknowledgement and affirmation of goodness and worth and contribution and being wanted and necessary.

When I was in OH I painfully realized both due to time and distance I'd come to no longer 'belong' at home, having been squeezed out of the gearing necessary to keep that machine running. Here at my house we've been talking about plans for Christmas and I've just recently found out Darlin' will be spending it with his oldest son in AZ, which I heartily encourage because they have time and distance to make up for, but more than his absence here the lack of even a passing thought to include me in his travel plan makes me realize I 'belong' much less than I'd like.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Welcome TA-DA! Tuesday #12

I'm a little bit late,
An almost perpetual state...
Mid-day, plenty of daylight left in it,
Not quite last minute.
It really is Tuesday still
And I'm hoping readers will
Share with me a TA-DA!
And beg a deserving HURRAH!

I sometimes amuse myself considering the irony of things I surround myself with in my 'home', like this little guy at the juncture of the foyer, hallway and the family room. Isn't he just adorable? And just in case a guest or visitor doesn't feel embraced with his happy greeting, around the corner to the left on top of an old credenza are these guys -
And that's not all. I must have 7 or 8 (maybe more) little signs that say 'Welcome' sitting about under my roof, not to mention the 'yard art'. What does that REALLY say??? Don't YOU think that's kind of overkill?

This is not new for me, or even just recent. Recently a box of 'stuff' that had been being held on my behalf since separating from my ex by my oldest daughter came back to me and in that 'stuff' were brass, porcelain and wooden pineapples - door plates, salt/peppers, bowls and other containers - from back in the day having discovered the pineapple was once upon a time symbolic amongst colonial and mariner's families as a sign of welcome and hospitality.

And yet, I don't have near the 'open house' readiness these signs and symbols would seem indicative of. Even for my Dearest Darlin's too few and far between returns to home I'm always scrambling to transform the evidence of my negligent housekeeping into a gleaming sparkle. THIS past weekend when he arrived I was still behind on the transformation but his first words to me were - and this is the TA-DA! of today's post - I'd obviously been doing some heavy cleaning. I think what prompted his remark more than anything he saw, was the scent of bleach water having just drained from the washing machine and some standing in the kitchen sink to sanitize some 'questionable for ever using again' dishware. UGH! Maybe I ought to bathe in CLOROX, ya think?

Anyway, it was good to hear that verbal approval despite the fact that I was still WAY, WAY shy of MY image of 'welcome home, darling'.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to welcome in a friend, one of the members of my beloved book club, for an afternoon of one on one quilting class. I'm not near ready either as teacher or hostess and my private fantasy that this first session as a presursor to a group evening Friday with some of the other gals might open my door for many future afternoons/evenings spent fostering and sharing the pursuit of creativity is splintering. I wonder what makes you feel truly welcome?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Being Aware, Stayin' Alive!

I've been totally snuck up on! I can hardly believe it's the first of November! Even just yesterday November still seemed far away. I live in perpetual denial of passing time. Even though yesterday, next month was tomorrow, next month sounded so much further away. After posting this I'll rip the October off my desk blotter calendar and slide it beneath the other months passed of this year and maybe before I turn out the light I'll finally change the time on the digital clock by the bed (THIS, writing this and getting it posted with November 1st as the date, is MY extra hour from the time change - without it I wouldn't have a start on grabbing this next to the last month of the year and renewing an intention of consistency and constancy and actually blogging daily THIS month).

There were soooooo many things I expected to have done/started so that this now countdown to the passing of yet another year would flow smoothly - and I didn't. I feel sedated (tranquilized came to mind to use in this sentence, but somehow doesn't seem right to use - tranquility being perceived as a sought after state), sedated out of awareness/consciousness of the irretrievability of the moments just slipping unproductively passed. I think of Robin Williams in the movie 'Dead Poet's Society' and his manic admonition of "SEIZE the day!" I've been SOOOOOO passive and easy-going so much of my life, the concept of seizing anything seems foreign and yet each time my darlin' is here at 'home' for a too brief weekend I want to SEIZE that time and multiply it and make it count for all the cumulative days that have passed since the last time he was home and for all the days that will pass before he comes home again. It feels SO urgent to do so.

I don't know whether it's the day of the time change that had me contemplating time today or what, but I had an unexpected flashback memory this morning as CBS Sunday Morning ran a piece on the Bee Gees. I was back in high school when their music was something heard daily - at a dance in the cafeteria after a basketball game and dancing with Marcus, the stereotype handsome brotha with his downy 'fro, disco sleeved purple shirt over bell bottom jeans and platforms. It was one of those moments depicted in a movie scene where we were SO tearin' it up on the dance floor that everyone else stopped to watch us. Gosh I miss dancing like that! Seems like just last night - not over 30 yearrs ago! I'd forgotten...gonna hafta find some disco I can listen to tomorrow, or Motown or something!

Time flies! It really, really does.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Delightful Discovery

While blog-hopping through Jamie Ridler's Wednesday Wishcasters this week I stumbled into a place that gave me a nearly indescribably warm, fuzzy feeling. I felt as if I'd walked through a magical gate into an enchanted garden previously envisioned only in my dreams with a seat at its center absolutely PERFECTLY fit to my every contour, so comfy to sit upon it felt like being cupped in mere air, weightlessly hovering afloat in a seated posture. It was like reaching out to accept tea in a hand made mug cast with my own inner palm's print embracing it. It was 'love at first sight' reading this blogger's words and I'm totally spellbound.

Don'tcha just LOVE it when that happens? On one hand, I can hardly wait to go back and read more and on the other I'm afraid the 'spell' was just for a moment and returning would be a HUGE disappointment. Hold on a sec while I go check, before I go ON and ON and ON some more...




TOCK!, it wasn't a dream or just a momentary spell. There IS definite chemistry there...enough I'm going to ignore my usual litmus test question I standardly pose when I'm uncertain of companionability when meeting someone new. In fact, come to think of it, I've NEVER used my litmus test question on a blogger before - hmmmm. What does THAT say????? AND, I've never outrightly blogged/put in 'print' when I've newly fallen for a blog. But for now, I'm not sharing a link to this new found treasure and just keeping it tucked in my own private treasure chest.

Anyway, this morning I find myself wanting to have coffee/tea, a soft drink, a glass of wine even with this delightful person and get better acquainted. No, I'm definitely NOT psycho, so if you find me rather suddenly appearing in YOUR comments box, don't be alarmed. Just please, please, PLEASE keep sharing. It's comfort food - rich, inspiring and oh SO warm and cozy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Would You Do For A Treat?

WHAT a PRETTY morning! A 'treat', of a sort. The sun's just risen and we had our first hard frost overnight. Everything catching the first morning light glistens as if lightly glittered and everything else makes me think of powdered sugar cookies or doughnuts.

In this week's Wednesday Wishcasting prompt Jamie Ridler asks 'What treat do you wish for?' My immediate thoughts fly to treats I've already received the promise of for the upcoming weekend.

Darlin's coming home, even if only to bring dog food and for a trip to the market to stock up the pantry and freezer, and 'the boys in the band' are playing again after a too-long hiatus having gotten a satisfactory replacement drummer and the gals should all be heading out to frolic and dance Halloween night at The Pines, a small lakeside venue in Bass Lake. Will I have to choose or will I get to indulge in both?

Usually when Darlin's home I don't even think of going out with the gals, wanting to savor every moment of togetherness we can squeeeeeeeeeeeze out of the precious few hours he gets to be here. Besides, I know he'll pooh - pooh any suggestion of costuming and as a successfully recovered alcoholic he doesn't indulge and ethically I abhor the idea of asking him to indulge me. Somehow having him spend $ on alcohol for me seems to skate on the edge of the concept of the thought being equal to the act as far as sin goes. It just seems very wrong to allow money he's exchanged his time and labor for then be exchanged for vapors and I confess, a rare night out dancing just seems incomplete without a whiff of alcohol induced mood elevation accompanying. I expect Darlin' and I will snuggle up on the eyesore big blue couch and maybe watch a movie until one of us is snoozing.

But a treat to wish for brings forth a couple of out of my reach things:

1) Tickets and air fare and a place to stay for Rachel and I and hopefully a few good friends who can swing it to go to one of Garth Brooks return performances for Rachel's 21st B-day in early March in Vegas (never been, either to Vegas or to see Garth live)


2) For my birthday later in March to go to ARTFEST weekend in Port Townsend, WA. (again, never been to Washington state nor have I been to any communal gathering of fellow creatives actively unleashing their creative spirit outside of a class/workshop) OR International Quilt Festival in Chicago a couple weeks later, which would also allow me time with my kids/grandkids (be there for Lil Leo's 6th B-day) and maybe be able to throw in a CUBS game.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TA DA! Tuesday #11

TA-DA! I'm sitting at my desk and I WILL post SOMETHING this morning and cross my fingers and HOPE someone else comes by and has a comment to share that is more significant and more triumphant than I can manage today.

I'm grumpy and discouraged. I started about 3 additional blog posts since last Tuesday's TA-DA!, but do you see them here???? NO!

I tried to get into Wishcasting Wednesday - what do you wish to say Yes to, I think it was - but even after reading some really fine wishes and casting an affirmative agreement with the wisher, I just couldn't get into the spirit of it. One of those little voices, you know the ones that get portrayed on TV commercials and in old movies sitting on opposite shoulders speaking directly in one's ear, anyway - one of those, kept telling me wishing was a trick writers use in fairy tales and involve genies and bottles or fairy godmothers and unless you believe in all that malarkey if you desire something you might consider wishing you just have to make the concentrated effort necessary. So, all my efforts at wishing rose like little soap bubbles and then one by one got POPPED as if they;d collided with prickly cactus.

On Thursday I began a post amid stalled progress and the paralyzing effect of perfectionism driven procrastination on getting my family room drapery done and realized as I was writing that I could and ought to be just sewing and steaming and hanging the durn things instead of writing about it. So I deleted what I'd begun and started a new post intended to motivate myself with an invitation to a virtual visit, welcoming you inside. And then I had to laugh at myself over that one! Me, the self confessed decor magazine addict. HA! I was no sooner going to finish and hang that drapery than I was going to have to jar the entire image by putting an eyesore piece of furniture into the MOST PROMINANT spot in that room in order to make space in the OTHER room to begin moving my 'studio' to its new location in order to accomodate Darlin's kin when they come here to live.

Then, Sunday, I was going to blog about ironic stumbling blocks. I was reduced to tears and mumbling swear words because I couldn't manage with my arthritic fingers to switch my vacuum cleaner from floor pickup to the hose attachment for upholstery and clearing cobwebs from the ceiling corners. During the prior week I had moved a loveseat - not heavy but bulky - without any assistance from the front room into the bedroom after much struggle. Getting it through the narrow bedroom door was like birthing a breech baby - it had to be stood up on one arm in a hallway, guided 'round a corner and then carefully slipped through an opening that no amount of laboring was going to make any bigger. I had also moved our MONSTER weight - comparable to a Volkswagon, okay, I exaggerate a little but it is about the size and weight of my ex's old Harley Lowrider - antique clamshell sleeper sofa, back and forth across the family room 3-4 times (like pushing that ol' Harley UPHILL out of gas) before finally admitting defeat and recognizing I could not have it, a hexagonal 60 inch mahogany 'game table' w/chairs AND the eyesore sofa necessary to incorporate into the room AND the recliner and two occasional chairs thus having to then remove the table top and its pedestal base. I'd done all that shuffling about - moved the big eyesore sofa from the front room to the family room - and I CLEARLY recall when the eyesore got put into the front room it had taken two hefty 20-something year old guys to get it there - all by myself. Plus unloaded, moved and re-loaded and over full 6 foot tall book case and now I couldn't slide a FLIPPIN' SWITCH on the vacuum without the assistance of a screw driver or pliers?!?!

Then yesterday I called 'home' to check on my sister and then intended after getting a report to call Mom at the nursing home and whaddya know but Mom answered the phone at the house! She'd come home from the nursing home last Wednesday and NOBODY had told me! I felt like the kid skipped over while on a bathroom break when birthday treats got passed out in grade school. may sound like a stretch but it really, really is a TA-DA! just to post a blog for me today. What's yours?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #10

Another Tuesday...what's your TA-DA! today? Today my biggest TA-DA! is: my bed is made!

(chuckling to myself how insignificant that MUST sound) Really, that is absolutely a TA-DA! for me. Living alone 90% of the time I hardly EVER 'make' the bed except after laundering and laying on fresh linens. Otherwise it seems a total waste of energy and time to me. I've found though since having rearranged my bedroom furniture to put my desk/office in the room it's become more of a 'living space' than before. Not to mention the bed is now in the center of the room instead of against the farthest wall from the door and now I SEE it when I pass the door. And it's ever so much lovelier made than not.

However, more meaningful to me today than a TA-DA! is an AHA! moment I had while chatting with a dear friend last night online. We were talking a bit about the struggle it sometimes is to get to be your true self amongst all the 'editors' in our lives - husbands, parents, siblings, children, teachers, church people, etc. all have an image of us tied to THEIR image of their selves that we're expected and often DEMANDED to reflect to properly reflect and enhance their own. Consequently, should we fail to perfectly fulfill those expectations we become inadequate in the eyes of others and often our own as well. They want to cut and paste and delete and insert so much of 'us' that we end up feeling like an accident casualty. We spend so much time exposed to cuts and abrasions in the exposed skin of our souls we end up feeling like I remember my younger sister looking after a motorcycle accident several years ago - raw with road rash and chunky with gravel and stone embedded in the skin on the entire backside of her legs and butt...or even worse, road kill. As I was chatting with my friend, attempting to be encouraging, it hit me - often when we feel that way we are not just so much 'road kill' but rather like the creations of a 1st class gourmet chef...rack of lamb, prime rib or filet mignon and those at the table are vegetarians. There's a salad bar for them...personally, I prefer the full menu.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday's Meditation

It always strikes me as such happy coincidence when another blogger I follow and admire has the sorta same idea for a post as I did on a given day. Yesterday was the monthly meeting of my book club group and as almost always is the case I came home thinking how MUCH I value 'the company of women' and a trifle sad we don't take or have the opportunity to spend such time together more frequently. And then as I'm reading about I see Sarah has spoke of the same thing in today's Quilting Bee over on her blog.

This is my beloved book club group yesterday afternoon at a local eatery here in the Sierra Foothills after we'd finished discussing our latest selection. We all take turns choosing the book of the month and each month the gal who chose hosts the rest of us for discussion time. We are such a diverse group of women: two are nurses, one a stay at home mom of 3, three are married - one without children, a couple have never been married and have no kids, three of us have grown children and are relative empty nesters, two are grandmas, one of the marrieds has a hubby with incurable life threatening Kennedy's Disease and another's hubby is living and working as a civilian contractor in Iraq and the third is married to a part time rock and roll singer/guitarist who also is a hiker. And two of the gals are kind of new to our group and I know next to nothing about them except they're mother and daughter and rescue horses. 6 horses are owned amongst 3 other gals in the group as well. I'm the oldest (I think) of our group and almost twice the age of the youngest.

Not a lot in common really when you think about it - except during a given month we all read the same piece of literature. And that is about as varied over a year's time as we all are from children's lit, teen lit, memoirs, historical novels, suspense, bestsellers, almost classics, general fiction, etc. I've always felt reading something with others is a deep intimacy - the same word drawn images being shared by two or three, or six, souls.

Amongst the blogs I visit and read are many of the same readers evidently from the visible comments and that too is an extended intimacy. And that's why I have become involved in blogland - for the connection and extension of intimacy. I learn something new all the time and it's so reassuring and validating to know I'm not alone. Others have given voice to the same aspirations, hopes, dreams, wishes, ideas and feelings that dwell within my self and I soooooo appreciate the kinship.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do you know today is BAD?

BAD - Blog Action Day, that is. Every October 15th is globally Blog Action Day affording bloggers around the world a single day to unite their numbers and communicate on a single topic of discussion. For 2009, it's Climate Change. Last I checked there are nearly 10,000 registered participating bloggers collectively estimated to be read by over 12 million readers. WOW! That's SOME INFLUENCE, I'd say, wouldn't you?

I came across this info by checking out a mention of the event I read last night on lakeviewer's blog. I thought surely a few of the many other blogs I 'follow' would also make mention as participants and I'm rather surprised none have. I wonder - is it because the majority of the bloggers I read are focussed on creativity, art, home life and internal spiritual concerns and as a rule in order to nurture ourselves we tend to isolate, retreat and cocoon ourselves from the influences of society and politics, withdrawing to a smaller and more distinct community? Don't we in part do whatever it is we do to express how the world touches us and to leave our fingerprints so to speak on the world we touch? How can we BE creative and artistic and totally separate our art, writing and nesting efforts from our external environment?

I live about as isolated a life as I would ever want to. It's by NO MEANS always been so but sometimes I can go for weeks without ever touching or being touched by another, and yet I touch and am touched by things I consume, wear, read, watch and hear that others have touched in their production and manufacture. Many of the objects within my space are hand me downs or thrift/junk store acquisitions that have been in someone else's life before mine. My soul and spirit are touched by the inhabitants of the online world beyond my physical capacity to ever reach but I hope that I sometimes have touched another soul and spirit that way as well. It MATTERS to me, even in my relative isolation, what happens 'out there'. The global climate and how it affects the inhabitants of our planet matters and what difference/influence I can make matters.

After becoming aware of Blog Action Day, I went browsing through some of the registered blogs and it quite literally can make one's head spin. Some were SO political and almost militaristically activist in tone with soooooooooo much statistics. Others were so preachy and overwhelming they would make a hellfire and brimstone evangelist look meek as a rabbit by comparison.

You never know what vein you're going to open by clicking on some of the registered blogs, but I learned ALOT and took away alot to ponder over a cuppa - what can and do I do to shrink my carbon footprint on the planet?

To be perfectly honest, I've always had an environmental lean - was an activist 'back in the day', before being swept away in babies and toddlers and school age children. Because of that lean from my early years I've thus always found it easy to conserve consumption of resources. By necessity I thought of it through those years with children under my roof in part as being frugal about the financial expenditures as well. But even still... I have a tendency to use it up and wear it out before replacing anything at all. I'm pretty dilligent about conserving fuel by combining errands all into one trip by car. I do most laundry in the late evening when less power is required commercially in the area and never run the washing machine or dryer without a FULL load and often drip dry many items. (I was astounded a few weeks ago to see a story on CBS Sunday Morning about a woman who faces prosecution for violating a city ordinance for hang drying her clothing on a clothesline! On her own property...GOOD GRIEF!) I get as much reading and chores and such done as possible during daylight and NEVER leave lights on in an empty room. Passive temperature control is accomplished through most of the hot summer here in CA by letting cool night air in and closing windows to daytime heat. In the winter, I'll put on a sweater, heavier weight clothing, cozy socks and an extra blanket on a bed before even thinking of turning on the heat. (of course, it helps that windows are double paned and shaded too) I never use something with a cord to do something that can be done by hand instead - for example: mixer, screw driver, vacuum/sweeper, hair dryer, etc. If hot water and a soapy rag will get it clean, why use a chemical cleaner/spray? And dish rags/towels look pretty in a basket or on a hook and can do almost anything better that paper towels would be used for. I shop thrift stores and yard/junk sales - it saves me money (and I find and rescue 'hidden tresures') AND it reduces unnecessarily having things fill up limited solid waste disposal areas and it reduces the need for duplicate manufacturing, transport, marketing and packaging of many items. Those are just 'off the top of my head' ways I can think of that I habitually do things so as to be environmentally conservative.

After some of the BAD blogs I read I've embraced a few new intentions: 'Meatless Mondays' or any other day(s) of the week - meat demand and consumption by non-vegetarian consumers increases water consumption by 20% per pound of meat versus vegetables and fruits, I learned. I'm looking to learn what plants I can responsibly add to my immediate surroundings in next year's garden that are drought tolerant. I will pay attention and opt for less disposible 'packaging' in retail items I purchase. I will actively seek and support local, state and national candidates who are willing to support and work toward environmentally responsible policies. I will stop watching and start writing letters to the shows on HGTV that I so enjoy who repeatedly advocate replacing perfectly good fixtures, appliances, etc. simply because they're 'dated' - if it ain't broke, don't fix it! LOL

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TA-DA! #9

Guess I kind of skipped last Tuesday without anyone noticing - tee hee! Not sure how I feel about that except that 'life happens' and a lot of life has been happening at a pace that sometimes makes my head spin.

My TA-DA! for this week is that I'm composing this post sitting at my newly relocated computer desk, TA-DA! The computer is relocated anyway - though my former desk still sits for the time being in it's same location. This desk is less than half the size and unlike the former location between the 'smoking porch' and coffee pot I'm now about as far away from those as I can be and still be under the same roof. This is the first morning experiencing that and I'm not at all sure I'm very delighted with the geography.

The home dec mags I so enjoy and the HGTV designers' 'rules' all say having one's computer/office in the bedroom is quite the NO-NO, but OH, WELL! Plus, I have bad feng shui with the 'desk top' facing a corner and my back to the single door into the room. I'm still figuring out how to put all my writerly tools and accessories within usable reach and get organized. Overall though, the rearranging of the bedroom as a whole to accommodate this insertion seems to be a good thing. It's kind of a puzzle how bringing additional furniture into a room and shuffling what was already there can actually make it seem as if the space is bigger. Still have about 3 pieces of furnishings to relocate before I can call it 'done' and I kind of wish I had taken before and after pics - it was sooooooooo utilitarian UGLY before.

Sooooooooooo - step 1 in preparing for Darlin's son's 'family' to come here to live is ALMOST complete. I HAVE NO IDEA how I'm gonna make my 'studio' fit into a room with no walk in closet that will be the FIRST thing anyone coming into the house sees AND keep hazardous objects and materials out of the hands of 4 and 7 year old little boys! YIKES! Feel like I'm gonna be doing 'creativity calisthenics' workouts FOR SURE!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Five Little Words

Last week Sarah @ Cottage Garden Studio posted 'Five Words' in response to another bloggers challenge and said to anyone who wanted to play to email her for five words she'd throw out. I couldn't help myself - I LOVE word games! I'll try to continue the game if you wish to email me for five words.

I received my five words with one being a real bit of a puzzle. Not finding the word in my desk dictionary, I emailed Sarah for clarification with no reply. (that's OK, Sarah and I'm very sorry if I offended you by sending you that link, hon) - waiting gave me more time to think about the OTHER four words and my DEEPEST apologies if I offended you asking you if the def *** I'd found was what you'd meant!) Thanks much for the brain tickle, Sarah!

On to THE Five Words:

1) LOYAL is probably the MOST essential quality of a friend, and a lover. It's a judgement word in my mind - one I use to examine others and decide who to trust and allow myself to pursue intimacy with. You either are or you're not. If I have seen someone be disloyal to members of their family, friends, co-workers, church, community, etc. it's really a struggle to believe or imagine I could expect them to be loyal to me. I'd define it as committed to being kind, generous, respectful, nurturing, encouraging, supportive & honest. My dictionary of synonyms equates it to faithful, true, devoted & constant. Personally the first thing that comes to mind when I read, hear or say the word truly is a good dog or cat, who absent any aspiration to accomplishment or recognition, awards or financial gain isn't vulnerable to temptation to turn away or stray - unless, of course, the temptor smells better. (grin)

2) REMOVED I've always thought of as something that was present taken away or deleted as in the items we discarded last month from my Mom's house or words and phrases I've editted from writings. This word was odd for me to contemplate as I think of it as a rigid word of more permanence. Something removed in my mind is not to be retrieved. I think of having a mole or tumor removed, for instance, or a piece of furniture removed from the house or stains removed from laundry or the carpet rather than the synonyms I found for it of secluded, sequestered, remote & separate. Hmmmmmmm...perhaps some mental adjustment may be required.

3) BALANCE OH! SOOOOOOoooooooooo MANY meanings to choose from and my thoughts keep racing with one another. My brain feels kaleidoscopic as thoughts keep altering on this one word. I think of: artful composition of a room or painting or photograph; the amount left in the checkbook; the ability to stay standing or seated on a precipice or edge; juggling multiple tasks/jobs with ease and grace without neglecting anyone or anything; a life carefully portioned in focus so as to not become obsessed with any one thing or person; nutrition/diet; mental stability. Since receiving my little list of these five words from Sarah, this is probably the word I've given the most thought time to - a not very balanced perspective, but that's the challenge. This word confronts me in a way the others don't because on one hand I feel like I OUGHT to strive for balance but I believe there's happiness to be found in pursuing passion and I haven't ever been able to find balance in life while pursuing passion. When I quilt or write or get involved in a cause or idea or do any of the things I'm passionate about, I find myself neglecting chores and duties necessary for keeping a clean, orderly house and feeding myself and others I'm responsible for. Basic maintenance of self and things doesn't get done. I'll pour all of my resources (time, money, energy) into my passionate pursuit without ever giving a thought to the other obligations I may have for those same resources - often at subsequently painfully huge cost. And when others are critical or even resentful of my passionate abandon I view that disdainfully and find fault with their regimented, orderly, scheduled approach to their lives with their daytimers, lists, strict schedules & super neat organizational cubbyholes for everything. I'd rather lose my balance dancing and laughing with a friend than sit properly in an audience at a concert.

4) HOME is where the heart is - whoever said that was oh, SO wise! Recently I've had the experience of 'going home' to find it isn't 'home' to me anymore. It's where I grew up, where my blood family is but it's not home. Home is the place where your soul is nurtured and grows and flowers and you can rest easy. It's a cozy, contented place where you're wrapped in the warmth of love and anyone looking in can see 'you' through the windows. (future blogs to come on 'HOME')

5) TOOTLE The title character of a kid's book about a TRAIN! One I forgot about totally as it was one I never had in the collection of children's books read over and over and over again to my own kids and I'll tell you why - the optimistic rebel in me didn't like the idea of reading a book to my kids about a campaign for conformity and 'sticking to the tracks'. When I travel I absolutely prefer driving whenever possible for the freedom to roam and not be on a timetable and confined to the straight line from point A to point B. That's part of the reason I've never been able to comprehend tours & cruises as attractive vacations.

***This is the word that stumped me as to Sarah's intent. Having just recently found a Facebook comment of a friend to be a trifle insulting, she clarified her intent using the online Urban Dictionary so I consulted UD for clarification of Sarah's puzzling (to me) word. Uh-oh! Oh no, I don't think so. I was soooooo flabbergasted at the UD definition I emailed Sarah to ask if that was what she meant. (I won't give it space in my blog so look it up for yourself if you're curious and naive like me.) THAT couldn't have been what Sarah meant for me to respond to. (Obviously I'm waaaaay less urban than many it seems) I was subsequently way too intimidated to Yahoo or Google search the word and frustrated that I might not complete my 'game'. But, finally after still not receiving a reply from Sarah to my email I thought to consult Wikipaedia. Oh, HOOOORAY! TA-DA!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


My favorite month of the twelve! A number of blogs I visit have stated it's theirs also. I'm in good company it appears.

I LOVE how the maples in OH and IL get to looking like giant McIntosh Apples on a stick, mostly red with low lights of green before the rains and wind knock their leaves from the branches. And here in CA some variety of tree I can't name in a neighbor's yard goes mostly brilliant yellow mixed with green, looking like giant partially ripe lemons alongside a shoebox cabin of a house.

I LOVE the smell of fallen leaves either baked by the sun or damp with rain and spicey blends of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger added into the sweetness of oatmeal raisin cookies, apple pies and pumpkin pies baking or blended into hot tea or cider on a chilly evening. Speaking of chilly - just told Darlin' this morning it's getting to be chili season and I verrrrrrrrry MUCH look forward to him making some of his specialty next time he's here. PERFECT supper: Darlin's Chili, hot cornbread and a glass of cold milk and homemade apple pie for dessert. MMMMMMMmmmmmm - YUMMY!

Was watching the deer by the lakeside this morning and one of the young ones must have been enjoying the chilly morning in spirit as much as me. It was literally running circles around the two does and two other young deer and then sprinting North and back and then South and back again. Think I'm gonna mentally start calling THAT one, 'Zippy'! hehehehehe

Been thinking today about rules - who makes 'em, which ones are meaningful and which are just arbitrary, and whether or not it matters when you break some. I've confessed before I LOVE decorating and craft magazines and the TV shows of HGTV designers and almost all of them say the bedroom is supposed to be solely a restful place of retreat with no TV or desk & computer. I'm breakin' them rules.

In a mansion of a house with rooms for a library/study, den and rec room that would work nicely for me except I expect the rooms would probably be sparsely furnished and never become warm and cozy and have the lived-in and loved atmosphere I personally must have. I'm anticipating Darlin's younger son's family including wife, baby on the way and two young boys are likely coming here to live sometime after the first of the year and I'm thinking the 'community space' of the family room, dining area and kitchen are NOT going to be the ideal environment for me to write come their arrival. Sooooooooo, the Master Bedroom Suite is becoming bedroom, library/study, bathroom and sometimes escape television room for me. (I never could stand kid's tv even when I was a kid)

I figure if I do it now I can tweak it and by the time 'they' arrive I'll be used to it and maybe even love the coziness of it. If not - it's good practice for moving to a studio apartment should that eventually be my destiny, right?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #8

Another Tuesday and I wish my TA-DA! were having gotten Mom's house in sufficient order to satisfy the home evaluation necessary to allow her to go home from the nursing home but my efforts were inadequate and the job was WAY too big for my nearly 3 week prescence - 6 weeks wouldn't have been enough what with time spent negotiating and debating with my other 3 siblings who I felt overpowered by since they reside so near and my life is so far away.

What's YOUR TA-DA! from the past week? I know Connie and Christine had their Creative Dig Workshop happen in Cleveland this past Saturday and Heather got to go...(color me green with envy). Did you start anything new? Finish something that challenged you? Get inspired or amused by something unexpected?

My big TA-DA! is I'm back home again! I'm SO delightedly happy to be back to: MY chair, MY bed, MY super starry night sky, MY kitchen, MY bathroom, MY desk and computer. MY wildly untamed back yard with it's scrubby oak framed view of perfect sunrises & MY studio space. But change is on the horizon I found out...Dearest Darlin's son has asked him to allow he and his wife of just over a year and her two young sons and a baby on the way to move in here, probably just after the first of the year. I have 'power of veto' but can't imagine using it so am starting to think of how to live with a young family in the house - moving my desk to the bedroom and what to do with my 'studio' space if it's to become a bedroom again. Darlin' suggested moving it into the front room but I fear (there's that ugly word of challenge) having it exposed to 'terrorist pre-school boys' who could quite possibly not only wreck things but would make it necessary to be concerned about child proofing and protecting them from my scissors, rotary cutters, chemicals, etc.

And so...while I didn't get to bring home my newly acquired easel and have to wait for it to be sent, I'm finding myself with the fresh perspective that my home is in its way my easel with each room a fresh canvas. Unfortunately - some of the canvasses are spec work and I can't be totally original and ME in them. But, oh boy, will I pour my heart into the ones I can!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

TA-DA! Anyway!

I know I said I would be on hiatus but I JUST CAN'T RESIST! It is Tuesday and I've been holding this little gem captive in my heart since Saturday when all I really wanted to do was do a little dance and sing-song my little treasure to anyone at all who would share my little portion of joy and unfortunately those who surround me at the present time both have no appreciation for it and have been highly critical. :( Saturday morning I got to get out in the fresh air and sunshine and under the wide open skies of middle Ohio. Foolishly I left my camera in my carry on bag next to the bed I've been enjoying in my brother and sis-in-law's guestroom so I don't have actual pics of the sweet rural barns and fields with big rolls of hay/straw or the maples beginning to be torched with their brilliant reds and oranges rising out of the green, but I'm savoring the images in my heart. My brother drove the rural roads and I was able to just soak up the scenery Saturday morning. We arrived in the village I'd always adored visiting and thought I might one day happily inhabit in my youth and after being pelted on all sides for days with WAY TOO MUCH stress, anxiety and frustration I found myself smiling and smiling and smiling just to BE in that place. We stopped at a few yard/garage sales and I picked up a handful of books to take home, replacing the ones I'd brought with me and passed on to my little sis and the end of a driveway in front of a sweet little white frame cottage on a corner I saw AN EASEL!! My heart began to race with excitement! Two precious older women within the garage attached to that driveway were still busily laying out items on tables and I inquired as to which 'artist' was giving up her easel to be told a dear friend of theirs who had to downsize to take up residence in a rest home sadly had to let it go. But happily for me - TA DA! - it means I'll be taking home an easel that I got for just pennies more than the price of a pack of chewing gum! (After spending a good deal of time figuring out how the pieces went together that afternoon, I hope when I disassemble it they'll fit in my suitcase!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday on forced hiatus...

to be resumed September 29th.

I am bummed! I DID load my TA-DA! Tuesday little banner on a thumb drive to take with me on this trip and I'm sure if I asked my brother would show me where to plug it in on his laptop or I could figure it out, but honestly - I'm sooooooooooooooooo overwhelmed here in OH it's hard to feel a sense of TA-DA! about ANYTHING at all. Getting a cup of coffee in the morning without the phone ringing to DEMAND I JUMP would be a TA-DA!...maybe this morning, but I doubt it.

I'm so worn out - barely time to post this much, let alone visit all the places I love to read and I so miss the community I've come to have such deep regard for. Please leave comments though. If YOU have a TA-DA! to share it would lift my spirit so much to hear.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #6

I'm almost ready - my bag is packed. In the morning I'm off, on a roll that once begun I can't turn back from.

I'm headed to my hometown, Dayton, OH., for almost 3 full weeks. This is not a vacation - FAAAAAAR from! My mother has not been well and come next weekend will have been in a nursing home for 3 weeks. My mission, whether or not I choose to accept it, is to make ready for her to return again to her home. Mom has lived a hoarders life for 30+ years and it only got worse after my Dad passed away 12 years ago. Mom will come home with limited mobility and somehow my sister, brothers, sis in law and I must make some negotiable space for Mom and her mobility assistance devices to negotiate within her house. My two adult daughters are going to come from IL and MI to help with this mission so it is going to be a family reunion or sorts as well. Part of me could be a bit excited - but the over riding anticipation is one of dread. I know there is going to be conflict and turmoil and I know there is going to be exhaustion and a fair amount of anguish, fear and other unpleasant feelings. I wish this didn't have to be how I'm spending the bulk of this month.

When this became evidently necessary I had just begun settling in to restructuring the studio for functionality and was anticipating several weeks of productive time in it before some opportunities to show and sell some of what I do and even taking into account the miserable economy I was hopeful to get some of that sweet nectar of admiration and approval from viewers of my work that artisans/folk artists feed on and crave like drug addicts jones for a fix. I can't find the words to express - and I'm virtually NEVER at a loss for words - how deeply and terribly disappointed my heart is.

I intended all this past week to have the studio all ready for me to open the door and walk in and dive right in to my process with massive enthusiasm and gusto upon the day of my return and to be able to post a proud photo, or two or three for TA-DA! Tuesday this week. I didn't make it nearly as far as I'd intended, though there is significant improvement and I CANNOT WAIT to resume!

I will have internet access whilst I'm away and I hope many will share their TA-DA's for Week #6 of TA-DA! Tuesday. Please leave a comment with your progress in creativity this week or a link to your own blog where you share. I eagerly look forward to giving 'Thumbs UPs' for each one!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Wish To Begin - Wishcasting, I Guess

Nahhhhhhhh - no I don't. Wellllllllll - maybe I do. I'm not a 'wishcaster' but many of the bloggers I've taken to following are and therefor, it being Wednesday their blogs are full of wishes prompted by Jamie Ridler's weekly prompt to make a wish and cast it OUT THERE/HERE into the blog world for others to support. Today's prompt by Jamie as discovered by me at BohoMom's, Heather's, BlissChick, Sarah, Suzie and a few others' blogs is 'what do you wish to begin?' And everyone I've read today has some fine and dandy things they wish to begin, admirable things. Things I really do hope (wish) they get to begin because all that I've read would make a difference. Reading, I was stirred deep inside and a wish bubbled up from within me in a SHOUT I can't ignore. Now, I don't so much KNOW about the power of adding your wish to someone else's compounding the capability for that wish to actually come about, but as rebellious as I can be about making lists and the like because I lose lists and therefor if I NEEDED it written down in words on paper in order to remember things I'd STILL be lost if the list got lost, so why bother? BUT - I have learned there DOES seem to some mystical power in putting something in writing that comes I suppose from having given it substance in print/script so here goes...

I WISH TO BEGIN to finish things I've started.

As I've been on the road to recovery from perfectionism I've been paying special attention and really noticing ways my perfectionism has nandcuffed me in the past. My home is FULL of vivid reminders - the half painted front room that wasn't going the way I'd planned when I started, so I stopped; the bare curtain rods hanging above the slider door in the family room because I feared the curtains I intended to make and hang on them wouldn't have the PERFECT decorator appearance I want; the book I've compiled research for and outlined that I fear the message of will be lost because I'm not capable of conveying it adequately or don't have the credentials to back it; all the quilt tops and blocks I've unearthed in the studio that haven't become quilts because they were/are SO BEAUTIFUL at the stage they're at that I thought I'd wreck them if I continued; the fabric and tools and supplies I've stockpiled because I was too timid to cut and to use; the garden landscape plans I've drawn to scale on grid paper and started to erect hardscape to support but doubted I could execute and care for properly...there's MORE even, but those are the most glaringly visible and the most mocking.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

TA-DA! Tuesday #5

It's another TA-DA! Tuesday in Studio Lakeside. Seems sometimes I really hafta dig deep to pull out a TA-DA! of significance. I REALLY did feel like it was a TA-DA! when I found the sketch pad I KNEW I had bought at the beginning of the year and really hadn't seen since. Well, in fact, when I moved it aside yesterday on the shelf over my desk to place the NEW one I'd recently bought after giving up on finding it I actually said outloud to myself - "Welllllllll, LA DI DA!!! You were right here ALLLLL this time!" Now I have two, guess I'm 'invested' in actually practicing some drawing, huh? Some whimsical and wonderful faces for some soft sculpture figures, my self-portrait mermaid I've been fantasizing of - think the world's ready for a plus-size mermaid?

Sunday, after wrestling with my dial up internet access and then waiting not-so-patiently for it to FINALLY allow me live access to blog talk radio, I listened to the better part of the last half of Connie's conversation with Christine and Andrea - the other 2/3 of the leadership for Creative Dig Workshop coming up Sept. 26 in Cleveland, OH. TA-DA! I knew they'd likely talk primarily about the workshop, which I would dearly love to be attending but will instead be in flight the 'day of' enroute BACK to CA from OH. I also knew there would be cheerful chat about just being your creative self every day and I hungered for that affirmation enough to be persistent when Internet Explorer kept telling me I was NOT connected to the internet and therefore could not access the website. AAAAARGH! I was not disappointed, except that it took so long to gain access that I only got to listen to part of the show.

You see, I was never much of a fairy-tale believer as a child and never engaged in 'princess' or 'queen' role play and dress-up. I didn't care much for Disney or cartoons or any of the other fantasy child play either. A good friend once asked me if I was EVER allowed to BE a child because there just didn't seem to be any child in me ---- I'd have to dig MIGHTY deep to find my 'inner child'! So it strikes me as kind of amusing that now as I'm actively involved in 'perfectionist recovery' and developing my creative self, my mental picture of 'the process' is building or restoring my 'creative castle'. I think we all must have a mental image of our own 'creative castle' - maybe not as elaborate or ornate as the one in the world recognizable famous Disney logo:

But it's there - our personal vision of where we fantasize going with our individual creative pursuits, our soul's eyes picture of the 'creative castle' we want to inhabit. Maybe you're envisioning publishing a novel or non-fiction work, garnering a blue ribbon/big money prize at International Quilt Festival, being recognized as up and coming amongst painters of your genre or medium or choice or being in demand to speak at gatherings of peers - or any thing else on a wide spectrum of accolades or accomplishment. Or maybe your dream is to teach others to follow theirs or guide an expedition to somewhere adventurous or I thinking here is limited, I know. People I know in everyday life don't talk much about their dreams and the ones that do do it with hesitation and reservation. That's one of the reasons I so LOVE the blog world and the creative community I've found within it! Creative bloggers are mostly wide open - like children frolicking in piles of colorful autumn leaves, gleefully heaving huge armfulls of them up in the air and laughing delightedly as the breeze scatters them farther than the velocity and force with which they tossed would have alone.

Hopefully, every day in some way, you find yourself making progress in building your own creative castle. In recent months I participated in a book blogging group going through Keri Smith's "Wreck This Journal" which was such an excercise in stirring up so much in me that had been sunk within - like all the fruit and nuts that separate and sink to the bottom in an unstirred batter left sitting too long while one gets distracted in the middle of a recipe. One of the prompts in the journal was simply to doodle over the title page and not being a doodler and having seen some AMAZING drawings and such from other bloggers journal pages, I pulled out my colored pencils and began to draw a picture like a child in elementary school might. I was craving some sea air and salt water on my skin and so let myself draw a representation of the shore with a cheery sun shining down on it. I remember thinking if I had the talent, it would be pretty to draw scattered sea shells on the sand but what I did instead was put a sand castle on my shore.

Like the sand sculptors on popular beaches, I'm slowly but surely working with bucket after bucket and detailing like crazy my 'creative castle' of my life. Seems I'm about to get caught by the tide rolling in lately...but I'm not giving up. My mission this week - in time for next Tuesday to share here, I hope - is to finish getting the actual studio across the hall from my bedroon into working shape. Just in time to walk away from it for nearly a month. But I look forward to being able to walk back in and be queen of my 'creative castle' then. In fact, it just occurs to me, my first full day back to it will be my 'half birthday'. Think I'm gonna hafta have a party and a giveaway for that - don't let me forget!

What's your TA-DA! in your creative life this past week?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Identity - warning...gory reference from news

Identity in our modern world is a tricky thing. Our financial identity is vulnerable to theft with all the trails we leave behind via social security number and driver's license. And yet it can be so specific with DNA maps and all the scientific/medical indicators. I was aghast at recent news reports of a beautiful model's murder in the pacific northwest that told of her body having been butchered by her murderer removing her hands and teeth so that fingerprints and dental records would not identify her. One report said her ID was made based on her breast implants!

When our moderator/guide/leader, Robyn, posted the prompt for Chapter 2 of this week's The Artist's Way book group, right away I had a mental image of an object illustrative of my identity, but it's so hopelessly vintage/out of date/passe I couldn't even FIND an image on Yahoo Search to share with my written post. I guess it's too far back in time for a jpg file to exist, even in a nostalgic old-timer type website. So I guess I'll have to paint a word picture and still some of you young'uns won't even get it.

Soda pop used to come in bottles, real glass ones instead of those plastic bubbles ranging 16, 20 and 24 ounces and 1 or 2 liters or 12 ounce cans or now those short little squatty versions. There were vending machines for them in hardware and drug stores and outside gas stations and in the laundrymat with glass doors that you could view the bottles lying side by side by side, their tin caps with their product logos pointing at you as you approached. For a child it was fascinating to watch the bottles roll on their perfectly engineered tilt to replace themselves when one was pulled from it's dispenser slot behind the door. Always on the floor next to the vending machine would be 2 stacks of wooden cases - one for empties and one for refilling the machine - with 24 little squares separating the bottles to keep them from clanging together and chipping or breaking as they rode on the trucks that would transport them to all those machines. Usually the uppermost case would be a random mix of cola, diet cola, root beer, red pop, orange pop, creme soda, lemon lime, and maybe grape. That uppermost restock case is the very image of my identity...with its random mix of bottle shapes, colors and flavors.

I am part child, daughter, grand daughter, sister, niece, aunt, grandmother, friend, student, co-worker, team player, fan, performer, woman, wife, mother, writer, quilter, lover, housekeeper, gardener, empty nester, philanthropist, care giver, teacher, builder, citizen, cook, leader, follower, activist, seeker, believer, home body, wanderer and wonderer. 31 flavors - plus! (Oh, if only you could see the big self-righteous smirky grin that puts on my face to say. My ex once actually said I was merely 'vanilla'. How little did HE know!)

My afterthought images representing my identity have been my grandmother's old button box tin full of every color and size and shape buttons I could imagine and I remember just loving to dip my hands in and lift handfuls of them and just let them 'rain' back into the tin and equally randomly colorful and amazing was another tin full of embroidery flosses...neither of which do I have photos of except in my head. : (

I think I'll be playing Carole King's "TAPESTRY" in the studio today...