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?