Thursday, July 30, 2009

On the Flip Side

There must be an evil wind blowing through blogland's various creative regions - kind of like a chinook, according to weather guys and my reference books, blows warm and moist out of the southwest over Oregon and Washington. A number of places I've visited lately have been writing of fear - confronting it, what it may be indicating, how it paralyzes. Of course, reading about it I can't help thinking about it, ruminating on from whence it comes and what to do about it, with it, and so on.

Floating on the surface of the pot those thoughts are bubbling in on the stove of my mind, is the distilled phrase from the historical wartime address - there's nothing to fear but fear itself. When out in a boat on the lake with the gals of my book club this past Sunday, I was bound and gagged - paralyzed, by fear. Even though I could manage (with some very appreciated recent improvements in pain level and subsequent increases in freedom of movement) to walk down the dock and get on-board my friends' boat without assistance, once on I was stuck - caged by fear. As invitingly cool and refreshing as a dip in the lake in a spot I'd never before had access to from shore seemed - I couldn't get in like the others because I was afraid once in the water I wouldn't have enough arm strength to swim and would not be able to get myself up the boatside ladder back inside. I feared not being able to rely upon my body, being a nuisance and burden to my friends, and appearing to be a complete fool. One of my friends, trying to encourage me to take a dip, said they'd pull or push me up if need be, but I couldn't make myself take the plunge/trust someone else's presence at the crucial moment/risk needing assistance. And so, while present I wasn't fully participating and I missed the best part of the day's experience, perched right there, observing only. And, oh how my hot, itchy skin longed to be skimmed with the cool, refreshing water! Almost as intensely as my body thrummed with yearning to dance to the music of the live band at a birthday celebration among friends a couple of nights before...

I often wish I had the habit of constantly carrying my camera whenever I go out the door like so many of my photographer friends seem to do. Yesterday I saw an image I'd love to share with you outside that speaks to me of fear so clearly. Here in California dozens of vultures at a time circling overhead in the sky is a common sight. They're HUGE and dark and ugly predators and appear so hypnotically serene and graceful unless you know what they truly are. (I'd never seen them before in the midwest, nor on the opposite coast) They seem to come from nowhere and I often wonder when I see them on air if they're poised over some road-kill or stalking some weak outdoor pet.

Thoughts triggered by other blog writers of late regarding fear and creativity and dreams/desires have been, like prey to vultures, my creative ideas and inspirations will perish like road-kill and be picked apart by vultures of disapproval, lack of understanding/enthusiasm from observers/witnesses and results won't be pleasing. Following those though it has occurred to me that all of those thoughts like my tendency to perfectionism are about control and something I have absolutely no control over. I repeat - I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL! What a freeing concept!

Honestly, some of the things I love best in life and the world around me are things I can't even IMAGINE controlling:
>seeing 'shooting stars' across the dark night sky

>deer and other wildlife that occassionally come wandering close enough to see every detail of their coats

>color and light of remarkable sunrises and sunsets

>just one time each being at the right place and time to witness the short-lived flourescent plumage of a male indigo bunting during the height of its mating period and a bald eagle 'resting' atop a nearby oak

>the glittery sparkle just after first morning light upon the foilage this side of the lake out back

>unexpected and earth moving desire stirred within me for another

>tears that come unbidden upon the reading or hearing of a tale of great sacrifice or generosity for another

Whether I creatively write, quilt, cook, or decorate my home fear can and has been disabling. I am concerned about if I'll be understood and please a reader, diner, visitor, recipient or viewer. Truth is, I have NO CONTROL over any of that. A reader/diner/viewer may have had a disappointing day, be too short on time to consider, have a bad taste in their mouth or a headache - any of which will affect their perception and acceptance of my creative effort in a way unrelated to what I've done.

What we cannot control is as much an opportunity for faith/trust/confidence as it is for fear. A wise older woman once told me that negative characteristics are just the 'flip-side' of good, strong ones. A stubborn child or man, for instance, is just exhibiting the 'flip-side' of determination. It won't ever kill me to not have what I write, quilt, cook or how I decorate loved, admired or appreciated and it's been said what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. There really is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bad Trip

I've been on a trip the last several days, a bad trip, not hallucinagenically induced by any means, but a bad trip just the same. Sorry, well not really sorry, perhaps more like blessedly for everyone else, there are no photos or picture postcard momentos of this journey to and from the 'twin cities' of Woe's Me and Self Pity, Misery/USA. (In my head sounds like someplace in Missouri so don't blame me entirely for getting off the bus at that desolate stop in the dark) Thanks for your indulgence in my subsequent moan - at the end of it is a really nice and refreshing reference to something TOTALLY different.

I was raised in the old school tradition of and subscribe to the adage, "if you haven't anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", thus the infrequency of blog writing save for the admittedly (and so titled) Cheap Blog about a celebrity wedding - a notch, just barely, but a notch above commentary on the recent rash of celebrity passings.

The extraordinary and prolonged mercilessly high daytime temps have been so oppressive. Even holed up in my 'cave' with the swamp cooler running daily from early morning until past sunset, I've felt drained by early mid-afternoon and crave a nap, often finding myself indulging in one whether or not I choose to. And even with the cooler pumping I've noted internal temps in the cave exceeding my comfort level. My scalp gets itchy from perspiration and anyplace where skin touches other skin is mucky feeling. My irritability level is so enhanced that were I to attempt a self portrait it would be of someone resembling a cactus, a porcupine or a barbed wire wrapped mummy. I thought I may have just been being hyper-sensitive having joked over the phone with Dearest Darlin' the other day that I could probably 'grill' food on his gas grill without even turning on the gas until a local news story on last night's late report showed someone who'd actually 'baked' cookies on his dashboard. (the public service aspect of this little feature was to remind folks not to leave children or pets in their cars. DUH! )

I've been feeling bored and lonely, confronting my reality of being unemployed with no prospects and my bank account dwindling to an impossibly low balance with bills still coming in my mail box and feeling both financially and emotionally broke and bordering on depressed. Thus, I've become jealous as friends post on their Facebook status activities I'd love to participate in - ventures to town for entertainment, dinner out, karaoke at local watering holes, birthday pool parties and such.

The other day, last Thursday, was the second anniversary of the date my divorce was stamped and filed by the court. Last year, I 'forced' myself to 'celebrate' it, asking women at work to join me for margaritas after work. This year I suggested to a couple 'friends' they come by for drinks - one suggested we make it part of an already planned girls night out the following week, the other was 'busy'...I was, am, miffed, and hurt. Nobody knows what a hard time I have just saying the words 'I'm divorced'...picture the scene if you recall where Henry Winkler who played Fonzie in the old TV seried Happy Days had to say he was 'wrong'.

Book club is this coming Sunday, my month to hostess and my choice of book (Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett) and a club member and friend generously offered their boat for holding our get together and it seemed a good idea at the time but I'm feeling inadequacy because I know I can't pay to fuel the boat for the day or for the rum I'd intended to make cocktails with to serve. (thankfully, one of the gals doesn't like seafood of any kind and instead of the shrimp/pasta salad I'd have liked and planned to serve, I'll substitute chicken I have in the freezer)

A few hundred miles south, a sattellite version of quilt market/festival is happening and I'd hoped since early in the year I'd be there. A good quilt show/festival is like 'church' for inspiration to my creativity and a Thanksgiving Holiday all rolled into one and I'm craving it SOOOOOOOOOOOO intensely. Makes me ill not to be able to even consider being there.

So, imagine my delight today when a blog I 'follow' actually put a genuine smile on my face! I bet it would yours too. See Journal Love here-

And, thanks Connie for being a bright spot for me this Monday. {{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cheap Blog - Celebrity Wedding

Okay - I can't help it, the first thing that caught my eye when I opened my puter this morning was a celebrity announcement of marriage. I usually don't get hooked by celebrity gossip - means next to nothing to me, but I must for some reason be susceptible to a 'crush' state (yesterday's blog I confessed I was 'crushing' on Josh Taylor at the moment) This piece of news was re: a film star crush that has stuck with me for, can it really be, 40 years. Robert Redford married a 51 year old artist from Germany,
and I couldn't help but think there probably aren't many red blooded 51 year old heterosexual females who haven't thought at some time or another they might could go for Robert Redford. Swoooooooooon! The cowboy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the student or Naval officer in The Way We Were, the journalist of All The President's Men or Up Close and Personal, outdoorsman and adventurer in Jeremiah Johnson or Out of Africa, baseball player in The Natural, etc. So MANY men he's made me fall in love with.

The bride is Sybille Szaggars, a contemporary 'mystic' artist. You can see her work here:

And would you believe, not a single DVD or video of his in the house...pout

Chuckling to myself - one day now young women will be remembering when they 'crushed' on Brad Pitt for 40 years too. tee hee

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Morning Coffee with Wildlife and Toys

A second mug of coffee, GAC on TV and 'crushing' on Josh Taylor's slightly rugged good looks and voice singing 'Another Try' (he has to beg, even in song???? For goodness sakes, WHY???)....

The sun had been up an hour or so when I made my way outside this morning to sip the first mug of steaming coffee while sitting a bit before the heat uncomfortably crushed any desire to be outdoors. Sliding the screen door open and closed again, I startled a young deer that must have been nibbling on something green and tasty just beyond the overgrown brush about 10 yards from the door. She swiftly high tailed off to my left presumably to the North rim of the lake. Apparently she wasn't the same doe I'd seen yesterday afternoon in the same area with the teeniest fawn I'd ever seen because no little fawn followed.

A slight breeze tickled the leaves of some thin branched tree I can't identify (Note to self: get a field guide to tree/plant life) but the oaks were oblivious. Not a leaf stirred on them. Floating through the air like ash from a far off fire was a wispy curtain of downy, white seeds. It's too early yet for the cat-tails to erupt into seed but I wonder what has.

It was unusually noisy for early morning and I couldn't see enough birds gathered in tree branches to create such a racket. I wished I'd had my mini binoculars 'round my neck for a closer look to see if the source was camoflauged in the dense limbs of oak foilage. Suddenly I noticed movement in the corner of my left eye and turned to see a quail topping the pile of dead limbs rising almost to the crest of the hill dropping from the end of the driveway and waiting for the next legal burn day or to be fuel for the next not-so-legal fire pit use. I'm always amused watching the jerky, bobble head movements of the quail on flat land - like less domesticated versions of farm hens. Watching, I noticed another and another of the birds move higher in the pile of limbs and realized there must be an entire flock feeding on who knows what. There may have been ants or some other insects or larvae but I always thought quail diet was seed. (Note to self: find out primary diet of quail) I quickly realized though I'd only experienced them in silence the quail are the source of the 'noise'.

It didn't sound like any birdsong at all, but rather the sound they made reminded me of a childhood toy I used to play with my little brother with when I was 5 or 6 and he was 3. I was reminded distinctly of the sound of wheels of an all wood train set on its wooden tracks when we'd try to make the train go REALLY fast. If we were that noisy at play I gotta wonder that our parents didn't wax the wheels or the track grooves to quiet us. Or maybe, like when my own kids were little, they could tell without actually seeing us by the noise of our toys that we weren't getting into any serious trouble.

I saw a similar set used as wall decor in a preschool little boy's room on an HGTV show the other day. Figured it was vintage and had been garnered by some collector from EBAY or something. Curious, after my vivid memory this morning, I checked the internet and found they still sell similar train sets with bare wood tracks and painted wooden train cars. Brand name sets go under the label BRIO and compared to toy prices I've seen as I've shopped WALMART and Target for my grand kids on occasion they were surprisingly reasonable. A little sadly, I think though, that my Lil Leo, turning 5 next month, may already be too high tech mature for a toy of such simplicity and that's a shame. Even more of a shame, his younger sisters (and mother) might think a train set from G-Ma in California for them is a goofy and gender inappropriate gift. (sighs)

Which brings me to another thought - I'm glad I had a little brother close enough in age that I got to play with toys I might not have if I'd only had girl toys and I always liked his toys better than mine anyway: Tinker toys, Lincoln Logs, tons of Legos. But I did love my lace up cards I'd 'stitch' with colored shoe strings through punched holes. I wonder which of those toys contributed most to making me the creative grown up I became?

So, I'm wondering what toys do you remember from your toy box????

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Giving participation another go as part of an effort to exercise my writing discipline. The prompt this week is 'indulgence'.

The majority of my adult life, aside from a few notably unexpected windfalls, I've barely gotten by financially. I wouldn't have described myself as poor - poor is when there isn't enough money for even the barest necessities of food and shelter (though there were MOMENTS)- but it was most often more have not than have. You learn to get by though and making do or doing without becomes as natural as being either right handed or left or having brown eyes and hair when red hair and green eyes is what you find striking. You not only accept getting by but find blessing in it - $3 grocery sacks stuffed with 'like new' newborn size baby clothes from a garage sale, bakery thrift store bread 5 loaves for a mere buck, re-tread tires, junk store lamps with working bulbs already in them. You develop a disdain for the folly of those who succumb to the marketing and advertising ploys of retail stores.

Anything not an absolute necessity becomes indulgence - the blue box of mac 'n cheese or the Big G or K marked cereal instead of the black and white generic packages, the full measure of sugar mixed with the envelope of dry powdered drink mix, 3 slices of bacon with eggs over easy on your plate instead of crumbled throughout a skillet of scrambled for the family, turning up the thermostat on a cold morning in January instead of putting on a sweatshirt or sweater.

Despite mandatory frugality I have consistently had one significant personal indulgence - magazines. I love, love, LOVE cottage/country decor and gardening magazines, craft and quilting magazines. Their colors, creativity and representations of texture and hominess totally seduce me. I keep them forever and spend hours upon hours escaping to beautiful surroundings there and finding inspiration for tweaking junk store and yard sale treasures to appear as more than they are in the rooms I inhabit.

Exercising restraint , doing without or just making do trains you tough it out. It's a form of discipline, building of muscle. Too much indulgence and one grows soft, flabby. Distinction between want and need blurs. Not enough and I wonder if you lose the capacity to embrace pleasure for yourself, or maybe, you have a greater appreciation. I know many women who routinely have their nails 'done'. I have had two professional manicures in my entire life, once for my oldest son's wedding and a second time for a family reunion. I felt like royalty both times! Would it have affected me so if it were 'routine'? I'm sure not. But, should I ever win the lottery and become able to - manicures, and a pedicure perhaps now and then, will be on my list of regular indulgences.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

WTJ - Week 6

Ebb and flow...maybe I ought to find a pic to insert of waves flowing onto and receding from the sand as an expression of my journal mood for this post. I didn't make a post for Week 5 - not that there was NOTHING done in my journal that week but it was pretty neglected to be honest. I have excuses - expected my Sweetie home for the July 4th weekend and was focussed on preparing for his homecoming and then when I was even later preparing a post for Week 5 than I had been for Week 4, it just seemed logical that rather than appearing late it would be better to just skip it and combine Week 5 and Week 6 and look on top of it for this week. (chuckle) Amusing isn't it that even with all this exercise in releasing perfectionism, I'd still be concerned with manipulating the 'appearance' of control?

After the week of mostly neglected wrecking workouts, and the coming and going of my Sweetie, I found myself (and I JUST realized today the state I'm in) hungrily desiring INTIMACY. And I'm ravenous - like I'd come off a 2 week severely restricted diet starving for a piece of cheesecake, a loaded baked potato and a medium rare 12 oz. ribeye or a roasted turkey with all the trimmings. I've bounced around through the pages of my journal - starting and stopping on this page and then another, and another, and another - not finding satisfaction. Part of it is I know, having signed up and received a favorite page swap partner (waves hello below the table to Kirby3131) I'm going to be sending a page away...a favorite...and a part of me is feeling a strong kick of inadequacy (What if she thinks my 'favorite' is pretty lame? I really, REALLY like my current favorite but it's no work of 'art' by any means...and I probably could come up with something better if I try. But then, if I'm really trying and I DO do something fabulous I really LOVE and am proud of - could I give it to a stranger????)

Soooooo...I have a number of pages 'in progress' but my dialogue with myself the last couple days as I've bounced about and explored some options in expression has me convinced I can't turn back or stand still. I'm evidently either at a dead end (which I can't fathom or accept - I'm too restless and needy/wanting) - a T-intersection, a cross road, up the ladder to the high dive or even poised at the open cabin door of a plane with a chute on my back...

Soooooooo - this was my AHA! (smacks self on forehead "But, OF COURSE!") what my sign says page...

And here, just to prove I've been doing something ;), are a couple other pages for variety...
Coloring outside the lines:

And Doodling:

First Thing In the Morning

My morning coffee is 'just right' when, with creamer added, its color is almost the same as the paint on the family room wall someone with the job of naming color for its manufacturer dubbed 'warm cocoa'.

I used to be a primitive coffee drinker - black and hot was sufficient. Somewhere along my career in morning caffeine consumption I added milk and then graduated to cream, half and half. I still don't get the added sugar so many I know gotta have - in fact, I often forget when serving coffee to others to even put it out.

Further along the line of my development, I got sucked in by the fancy, schmancy flavored coffee creamer names, probably after having been seduced by just one too many coffee beverages at one of those upper price point coffee bars. I've tried numerous - and by now probably wouldn't be quite so adverse to a spoon or two of sugar in a 'regular' coffee seeing as how those flavored creamers do have some glucose/fructose of some variety in most of them. I love toffee-this and caramel-thats and, of course, anything mocha or chocolate-y is highly regarded, but my staple coffee additive is vanilla nut. (I won't mention the brand name - not my intention to promo their label, but if someone reading is looking for a paid product endorsement I could use some supplemental income - wink*, wink*) I don't know what kind of nut the flavor is supposed to impart to the taste buds (the label illustration looks like a walnut) and there isn't one mentioned in the ingredients, leading me to believe it's an artificial combo/blend of chemicals resembling some nutty flavor. Thank God for chemistry!

Before I even take the first sip of my morning brew it delights me as the brewed coffee stirs up the creamer I've poured first into the bottom of the mug with a scent that makes me think of cake - white cake frosted with thick buttercream frosting. MMMmmmmm! DEEEEE-LISH!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Precious Moments

Sunday morning sanctuary between the sheets
Sun rises higher, day becomes brighter
Not very welcome - want to snuggle longer,
Hold on tighter, savor contact, cuddle closer.
If I could, I'd push the day back in a box...
To open after while, make this moment last.

-Sheila M. Anderson

Aren't there moments you just want to clutch and hang on to with all the strength within your grasp? My Dearest Darlin' works about 300 miles south and rents a room there. Everytime Dearest Darlin' comes 'home' it's for such a short time and seems to be gone in barely a blink. The morning I know he has to leave again is soooooo hard to wake up to, knowing the next morning I'll wake up alone, again. I'm so greedy and growing less and less able to accept the repeated separation and feeling abandoned. You'd think I'd have the posture and passion to write like one of the maddest of mad authoresses on these days. And I'd think I'd have grown mature enough to accept that this is our life - not the daily kiss goodbye off to work to be reunited at day's end to eat and drink together and rest and recharge again. I want to sit outside together tonight in the full moonlight, holding hands under the stars and listen to the crickets and frogs, sipping iced teas. But he'll be asleep when the moon rises, having to be up not long after 3 am for another day at work and I'll wish upon the moon alone.

I'm feeling pretty melancholy about the priceless moments we miss sharing...the little daily things so many couples take for granted - breakfasts, dinners, shared popcorn while watching a video, grabbing each other to dance in the kitchen to a favorite song, holding hands in the car running errands, a back scratch, a random kiss, a hug from behind while doing dishes...

Yesterday was particularly hard to watch him go as I'd taken a dive, passed out dizzy, bp soared and heart raced and he'd had to pick me up off the floor. I know he was scared, I was too and embarrassed/angry to so evidently be so needy. I'd rather just be greedy for his time instead. I ached watching him watch me for signs it was okay to go as scheduled.

He left me resting in my most comfortable chair after making sure I could get out without assistance, with instructions -
"New rule!" said he.

"I hate rules" I responded looking up into his face.

"I KNOW" he laughed, handing me the phone. "Actually, two. Keep this or the other portable phone attached to your side at all times and stay off the internet/phone line." (so he could get through for periodic checks on my well-being. I could see anxiety all over his face while he tried to be firm and assertive and I hated to be the cause)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Where's the 'cleaning fairy' hiding? Or, wish I had a white tornado...

It's time I ought to be in bed, watching the end of a fave TV show before drifting off to sleep and I wish I was. I'm overwhelmed with all the neglected housekeeping of the past month since my girls were here and left again to go 'home' to IL. My Dearest Darlin' will be here in the morning and I know he'll be appalled at the state of the kitchen, bedroom and bath and those are what I ought to have spent time on today, in anticipation. I miss when I had the capacity to kick it up to tornado-mode (what was that cleaning product that used to have a white tornado ad campaign?) to get things in order before his arrival.

I did get my desk clean today - cleared the clutter and evidence of my perching tendency here. Strangely, instead of accomplishment encouraging me to move on to other priorities, the clean space is soooooooooooo inviting I just want to hang here and not look at the mess elsewhere. On the one hand I excuse my lingering with the need to 'test' the comfort and workability of new placement of keyboard and mouse and such...amazing what a difference a slight change of angle makes. Grateful as I am for my upgraded computer, I can't help thinking if I'd been shopping for myself I likely would have gone for a laptop instead. I've thought alot about the feng shui - or rather lack of it - and wish my desk is turned into the room instead of facing a wall, but the cords and ugly backsides of my equipment necessitates for appearance sake it do so.

Will be busy through the weekend - annual 4th of July poolside party and BBQ at Darlin's brother and sis-in-law's and the stock up shopping routine for groceries and sundries tomorrow - so will likely not be putzing on the puter again until Sunday afternoon. Hope everyone has a safe and happy Independence Day weekend...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wreck This Journal Week 4 - Beauty

"The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time have given me courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty...The ordinary objects of human endeavour -property, outward success, luxury - have always seemed to me contemptible."
- Albert Einstein

I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaaay late posting this week for WRECK THIS JOURNAL but I've been 'working it' anyway. This page had me flooded with ideas and choices and temptations of expression. I had a few words I considered (kind of like at the beginning of the year) but after considering 'free' and 'mercy', 'create' and 'creativity' and 'perfectionist' with the big red universal slashed circle/NO symbol over it - ultimately I chose to go with the word 'Beauty' which was the word I chose for my 'word for the year 2009'.

And rather than follow the directions and 'write' it over and over I wanted to attempt something different, for I chose to collage the page and thus began tearing into magazines I was willing to scar and tear and 'destroy' for the purpose. I don't know about anyone else, but the magazines I keep in piles, baskets, on shelves I've kept for a reason and of course, I got distracted as I opened each one finding 'the reason' for keeping it and then finding other distractions within their pages as well. And - OF COURSE - once I got started cutting the word 'beauty', there were OTHER words that also 'spoke' to me, never mind the images. LOL Soooooooooooooo - here you have my first collage attempt since grade school. I wasn't sure how commited I was when I started so it's taped - not glued, but I kind of like it, ALOT. And when I get somewhere that I can add some miscellaneous desk/art supplies to my storehouse a package of glue sticks, some watercolor crayons and some new markers is on my shopping list.