Sunday, May 31, 2009

Inspiration In Your Bag

I recently ran across the Wish Studio, and a post called "inspiration in your bag." Mindy, the Creative Editor and Hostess, created a collage from things found in her bag/purse. It's very small scale (aka easy and doable!), quickly satisfies your creative itch, and helps to clean out your purse at the same time!

Mindy challenged other bloggers to give it a try. And Laurel posted a couple on her blog, Laurel's Art Journal. She also incorporated bits and pieces of stuff from her desk.

I had so much fun last weekend creating my garden collages. And I go through periods where I save all kinds of snippets of this and tidbits of that for just such projects. (for example, I've been walking around the house for hours with a little produce sticker off of a lemon stuck to the back of my hand cause it has a cute little bee on it.)

I decided my medium, at least for one collage, was going to be the little subscription postcards that are tucked into magazines (and fall all over the floor as soon as you pick one up). (I tried origami with them once, but they're really too thick for folding that small.)

Here's the reverse side of the card:

and my finished collage on the front.

For the second one, I used a photo that didn't print correctly on my printer as the base.

The little zen monk in the bottom corner is attached with a brad so that he spins. Don't know why he needs to spin, but . . . he does. :)

Most of the materials I used came from my desk, and a few things were even pulled out of the trash can. This was great fun. I'm thinking I might just have to start spending every Sunday afternoon this way.

Happy collecting!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Night Love Affair

Since confession seemed to be a theme in other blogs I've read today, I decided to follow suit. I wasn't going to write at all, but the guilt consumed me, and I must avow as well.

My husband has been working nights. He gets home at about three a.m., and being the dear that he is, he has been sleeping on the couch (which he can do quite well and satisfactorily, unlike me) so as not to wake me. I kiss him goodbye when I leave for work in the morning, and I talk to him on the phone when he's getting ready to leave for work again, somewhere around three in the afternoon. We get face time and actual time to talk come the weekend.

After a somewhat bizarre and harried week, I was in somewhat of a bizarre, yet animated, mood. I had the proverbial ants in my pants to do something besides sit on the couch and watch "What Not To Wear." And I had promised myself I wasn't going to spend three hours in front of the computer. I felt like doing something decadent and just accepting whatever consequences might follow.

I love my husband. I love my children and my grandchildren. And I love my friends. But I have another love, and sometimes I only want to be with that love. And so tonight, I am. I'm going to kick off my shoes and fix a drink. I'm going to fluff the pillows on the bed and turn down the volume on my phone. And then I'm going to languish with something steamy, and I swear I'm going to last more than fifteen minutes this time.

Sigh . . . life is good.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

List Lovers' Thursday

Questions for the Universe

This is not nearly as serious as it sounds, but I have spent a considerable amount of time wondering about some of these things through the years.

-*- Why is it that plastic wrap sticks to glass (and itself!) just fine, but not to plastic?

-*- Where/how do professional basketball players sleep when they're on the road, traveling from city to city? Do they stay in hotels with regular sized beds? Do they have to sleep at an angle, from corner to corner, in order to fit in the bed? (this is all assuming they have custom beds at home?) Is there a special branch of Hilton with special beds that I don't know about -- Hilton for Wilt the Stilt(on)?

-*- Why do the cats that belong to a neighbor way down the street seem to live in my backyard?

-*- Why do dogs like to roll in cat poop?

-*- Why am I physically unable to shut the computer off after "just one more" e-mail/blog/page on like I fully intended to?

-*- Why do I consistently forget to put my yogurt in the refrigerator when I get to work each morning?

-*- Why are people mean?

-*- Are the other planets in the solar system warming? Freezing?

-*- Why does that funny little chirruping sound my car sometimes makes suddenly disappear when I drag my husband out to hear it?

-*- Why does MS Word think it knows how you want your document formatted better than you do?

Have any answers? Any questions of your own?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Corner View - Cityscapes

Yuma, Arizona
My home is in the Southwest U.S. - in Arizona where it borders California and Mexico. It's not a big city, but we are about 3 hours from the capital of Arizona in one direction, and 3 hours from San Diego, California, in the opposite direction. We thrive on agriculture, the military (a Marine base and an Army base are located here), and tourism during the winter months.

While I will not have an opportunity to go out with my camera this week, I have a couple pictures to share that I took last year when I was lucky enough to get a ride on a Marine helicopter. And I can share with you the next best thing to a personal photo - a postcard. I hope you enjoy them and I can't wait to see all of your Corner views.

taken through the window of a USMC UH-47. OORAH!

Historic Buildings

Yuma County Court House, Old U.S. Post Office

Old City Hall Building, Lutes Casino, Hotel San Carlos

Bridge over the Colorado River

Downtown - Main Street

jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, sunnymama, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, nicki, ruth, mcgillicutty

Monday? Tuesday?

It's Tuesday, feeling like a Monday. Time to head back to work. And I'm feeling a bit like the bear in this photo. I think he's smiling . . . trying to smile . . . but you can tell he's not really feelin' it. I'm not actually trying to correlate the fact that he's obviously caged up to having to return to work (okay, maybe I am), but you gotta believe there are other places he'd rather be and other things he'd rather be doing than sitting around looking up at people and faking a smile just so they'll toss him a few treats (again, no correlation to my job whatsoever).

I must say that the bear was very good at sitting up and smiling; he's obviously a professional at what he does. So for today my motto will be "Be the Bear."

Have a "beary" good day! (ok, i know that's lame.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Garden Envy

While the calendar may not yet say so, summertime is here in my corner of the world. I'm not surprised, though; I'm a native of the desert.

But I'm a little saddened. Summertime means the end of my gardening for several months. Except for maintaining the lawn, a few heat tolerant plants, and tending the potted plants on the patio, the majority of my time will be spent indoors.

For a while, we'll still enjoy the Mexican Bird of Paradise . . .

. . . and the hummers will too.

There is still plenty of verbena and purple fountain grass, and just a few herbs. It's time to pick up the seeds from the nasturtiums so that they can be planted again next year. It's time to remove all the alyssum. It withered some time ago, but the birds love to eat the seeds off of it, so I left it for them. There are sunflowers to pull that grew when the sparrows and house finches knocked the seed from their feeders.

It's that time when the green in my thumb spreads to the rest of me and I become green with garden envy. As my gardening season comes to a close, it's just beginning in most other places across the country. Over the summer, as I read my Better Homes & Gardens and other magazines, I will ooh and aahh over the glorious cutting gardens pictured there. My mouth will water when I see the pictures of the home grown tomatoes and zucchini and basil. And I will mark pages and plan plots and day dream of the wonderful flower beds and veggie plots I'll plant next year.

In the meantime, I've spent this afternoon inside in the air conditioning, cutting up old gardening magazines and making collages. They may go up above my desk, or on the fridge, or maybe on the mirror in my bathroom. And they will help me get through the summer.

And if, in the meantime, you are so inclined, please share your garden photos with me!

Have a bountiful week!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Simple Pleasures

My goal for the day today had been to do absolutely nothing. And yay for me! I have pretty much met with success. That would normally be a difficult thing for me; I am a high energy person who customarily feels guilty for indulging in a day's worth of downtime. But I have been practicing and I'm happy to say I'm getting much better at it. (I have some theories on from where the guilt comes, but that's for another day.)

We had our coffee this morning, and it was actually cool enough outside to sit on the patio for a while. I read a lot of blogs over cup number two. I bought my plane tickets to visit my son on the east coast in a few weeks (now that was something I had to do, but totally worth it).

For lunch today, we enjoyed what's becoming one of our favorite summertime snacks - a spin on a Mexican fruit salad containing jicama, cucumber, oranges, and melons. A variety of fruits or vegetables can be used, but the finishing touch is a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkling of chile con limon - a mixture of salt, spices, chili powder, dehydrated lemon, lemon peel, and lemon juice. I happened to have a pineapple and a cucumber that needed to be eaten, and I cut them up. My twist on the salad is mixing in some Splenda (or sugar) with the chile con limon. It's good on so many things, and I even keep a small shaker jar in my desk at work.

I put out a jar of sun tea this afternoon (Numi Dry Desert Lime - totally scrumptious), and we had cold shrimp and cocktail sauce for dinner while sitting on the couch watching a movie. I did manage to sneak in a load of laundry, a little reading, and a nap. And I'm thinking tonight I may yet get in a little more reading, and maybe some ice cream.

I hope you take the time to enjoy some simple pleasures this weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

List Lovers Thursday (on Friday)

This week's list:
My favorite words
I fully intended to do this post last night (since yesterday was Thursday). But I had the wonderful surprise of finding out that I'd received the Morning Coffee Award from The Fragrant Muse, and had to write about that instead.

My list this week is of some of my favorite words. I like these words mostly for how they sound, or how it feels to say them. I'm sure the meaning of some of the words contributes to some extent to their appeal.

  • synchronicity
  • mélange
  • plume
  • beatific
  • lovestruck
  • serendipitous
  • evermore
  • collusion
  • forlorn
  • fluid
  • Djbouti (I know this is a proper noun - the name of a country - but it's so much fun! pronunciation)
  • nonpareil
  • proclivity
  • ethereal
  • enamor
  • philanthropist
  • rapt
There are also words I detest -- words that are just yucky (in fact anything that rhymes with yuck, really). They are just too hard, or rough, or blunt. For example, cacophony. While it's an interesting enough word, I mean you get a definite image in your mind when you hear the word, the word is just too choppy. It's almost like it has too many sharp corners or edges to it.

My list of favorite words is ever fluctuating (ooh! another great word!). I mean, I don't know every single word yet, and I probably haven't heard every word yet, and without a doubt I have not yet spoken every word. So I'm sure there will be additions at some point. But in the meantime, I do have a new one to add: Blogosphere. Sigh . . . that's a lovely, lovely word.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cool Beans!

Coffee beans, that is! Thank you very much Liz, The Fragrant Muse, for passing this bit of coolness on to me. I feel very special!

As I understand it, this award is "For blogs that go well with your morning coffee." And I have to admit that I seriously have to check in and read a few of my favorites before work every morning. I rush through fixing my hair and putting on makeup as quickly as I can (getting pretty good at it!), and have pretty much limited my work attire lately to things that don't have to be ironed. (In fact yesterday on my way to work, I looked down and noticed that there were little wrinkled creases just at the knees on my pants from where they'd hung on the hanger. I decided I'd just have to sit all day so no one would see!) Then I grab my coffee cup and head to the computer. How lovely it is to start the day with a funny story, or a gorgeous photograph, or some insightful tidbit that gets my mind going. When my clock chimes that it's 7:00, I sadly shut the computer down, throw on my wrinkled pants, feed the fish and the birds, grab my thermos of coffee to go, and head to work.

I have previously posted pictures of where I love to savor my morning coffee, and soon that will change for a while. It's just getting too hot here already to spend any time outside. But I have a spot indoors (pics in a few days) where I can still look outside and watch the birds at the feeders and see the trees. I may have to drop an ice cube or two into my cup, but that's okay too. I still enjoy it immensely and my day would not be complete without it.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Corner View - Part 2

Although there are plenty of Starbucks coffee shops, and a great little local spot (where I love to go sometimes just by myself for lunch with my book), most days I have my coffee at my desk at work (photo at left). I have a cup at home while getting ready (see previous post for a favorite cup), but always take a thermos with me to have a second cup to (hopefully) drink a little more slowly and savor a little longer.

There is a coffee pot at the office (eeww!) but I'm a little snobbish, I guess, about my coffee. I like it with a flavored creamer (fat free of course!) and now that it's getting to be summer time, I may even drop an ice cube into my first cup, otherwise it's just too hot to drink it.

I do have a couple of favorites at the coffee shops too, but I save them for special treats or when I need a pick-me-up at lunch on an especially tough day. (Cinnamon Dolce Latte - YUM!) During the winter time, I like to use my stovetop espresso maker to make a perfect little cup for warming up on a cold afternoon. I've considered getting a single cup coffee maker, like a Keurig or a Senseo, for my desk at work, but didn't want to pay the price for a good one at the time. (and the bottled Starbucks cappucinos do in a pinch!)

Be sure to indulge in all the other coffee hot spots - jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, dianna, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison, lise, cate, mon, victoria, crescent moon, erin, otli, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, sunnymama, kyndale, samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, nicki, ruth, mcgillicutty

Corner View - preview

Will have to expand on this tonight after work, but for now . . .

One of my favorite coffee cups

A sad, sad, sight . . . coffee all gone!

Cheers everyone!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If I were . . .

If I was a pen, I would write only love letters.

If I was a shoe, I would skip all day.

If I was a book, at the bottom of every page I'd say, "P.S. I love you."

If I was a spoon, I would always have a cup of coffee to stir.

If I was a pillow, I would be filled with the softest feathers and the sweetest dreams.

If I was a blanket, I would always feel like your mother's arms around you.

If I was a window, I would always find the sun to dance across your face.

If I was a watch, the time would always be "NOW!"

If I was a pocket, I would always hold a coin to share.

If I was a lipstick, I would always paint your lips with a smile.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Love (of) Rocks

Connection. Connectivity. Connectedness. I'm not sure what I want to call it; I only know how much I need it and how big a role it plays in my sense of well-being.

That's part of the reason why I love reading blogs. I get so excited when I stumble across an article and realize that the writer and I have something in common. That we share an enthusiasm for a piece of poetry or music, or occasionally treat ourselves to an iced coffee in the afternoon, or have an affinity for nature.

And that happened this morning over my second cup of coffee. I was reading The Fragrant Muse's blog article Rock of Love. She had been inspired by Julochka's Sunday Morning Theories, and commented that she "sometimes think you live in my head." (Haven't we all been there, done that?) The premise for Julochka's theory this Sunday morning is that holding a stone in your hand allows you to feel the connection that we all have to the earth and time eternal. And I couldn't agree more. In fact, I'm continuously amazed by it all -- our connection to the earth and our connection to each other. I really believe we are all one and the same, just enjoying this life's experiences in different places all around the earth.

Some of my favorite rocks/stones:

a rock I dug up while planting flowers in my back yard

I piece of citrine I found in a gem shop

rocks (slate?) I brought back from Tennessee

(while we were driving through Tennessee, I seriously thought

I was going to have to tell my husband to pull the truck over

so I could get out and touch the rock walls. I was so drawn to them!)

various rocks, pods, leaves that I've picked up from everywhere

rocks from my list trip to Sedona - I intentionally

chose these so I could make a cairn

beach stones and shells on a shelf in my bathroom

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mental Cool Down

It was hot today. In fact, it's 7:45 p.m. currently, and the temperature is still 98 degrees. Thank goodness for air conditioning, and for the fact that we are able to afford and enjoy it. I am grateful. It also helps to have a glass of iced tea and flip through some photos that look cool, and therefore get me thinking cool. From a couple years ago on a trip to Tennessee:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Martha Stewart or Mary Poppins?

Several years ago while traveling with friends, I was given a new nickname. It may have been deserved; I may have earned it. But for some reason, to this day I still resist it. My nickname? Martha Stewart. Martha F. Stewart to be exact (yes, I’m afraid the F stands for what you think it stands for).

I am a forward thinker, a planner extraordinaire, and pretty detail-oriented. Especially when traveling. I plan and pack outfits. I know ahead of time what top I’ll wear with what bottom, and I always have at least one extra outfit. I usually pack my pajamas on the top because they’re what will be taken out and worn first. I have the travel sized bottle of Downy spray wrinkle remover that stays in my suitcase. I keep a toiletry bag partially ready all the time. It holds all my TSA approved bottles, a toothbrush, etc. And I always tuck a small pair of scissors in my suitcase. And that’s where this story started.

I had already taken a little bit of heat. I had one more suitcase than everyone else, but we were visiting my son in England and it was his birthday. I was taking him his gifts. (That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.) And I had taken several travel/city guides with me. Not so out of the ordinary, right? But the highlighter pens with the little Post-it flags built into them had just come out, and I had a couple of them (1 yellow and 1 pink I think). I had probably marked some pages in my guide books, and I caught some grief over that.

Then one evening when we had returned from our day out sightseeing, one of my friends commented that she wished she had a pair of scissors because she needed to trim her hair. Now her version of the story is that I pulled out three different pairs of hair cutting scissors, which isn’t true. I don’t own three pairs of hair cutting scissors. But I did have scissors, and that was all it took. From that moment on, I’ve been “Martha.”

I am still referred to as “Martha,” or MFS, fairly often - if I send my friends homemade cards, or if I cook for them, or if I redecorate some portion of my house - I hear, “Well what do you expect? It’s from Martha.”

But I have to argue. Doesn’t this sound more like Mary Poppins? I mean Mary Poppins had that special carpet bag. She pulled a coat tree and a plant and a floor lamp out of that thing! No one would have been surprised had she produced a pair of scissors. And (I apologize to the real Martha) Mary Poppins just seems so much nicer. And younger. And prettier. Can’t I please be Mary Poppins instead?

But seriously. I have the best friends. They love and appreciate me for me, whether I’m MFS or MP. And that’s a very good thing.

aka Martha