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 -