Monday, June 29, 2009

Confessions, Apologies, etc.

I have been unsettled today. I'm not sure why; it could be because I didn't sleep well last night. It took me much longer than usual to get to sleep, and then I tossed and turned pretty much all night long.

But whatever the reason, something is gnawing at me. The little voice in the back of my head -- the one that I can barely hear, and certainly can't make out all the words -- started early this morning.

Sometimes the little voice is fearful, sometimes it's worrisome. Today it's guilty and apologetic. So I must get these feelings out there and release them. I hope they are read, or heard, or felt, or in some way transmitted to whomever needs to hear them.

I am sorry that I don't call you on the telephone more often just to visit and stay caught up with what's going on in your life. I do care about you, and I want to support you when you're down and celebrate with you when things are great. I just really dislike talking on the phone.

I am sorry if I turned and walked the other way when I saw you from a distance and didn't feel like chatting. I should have made a point to wave you down and tell you how wonderful it was to run into you. Sometimes I just don't feel like talking.

I am sorry that I'm already trying to figure out how to get out of going to that funeral. She hasn't even passed yet! And already I'm worried about having to go and see people that I haven't seen or talked to in years.

I am sorry that I'm not affectionate towards you every day. You come up behind me and wrap your arms around me and rest your chin on my shoulder every so often, and I just continue with what I'm doing instead of turning around and hugging you back.

I am sorry that I haven't sent you the package that I owe you. There is no excuse for it. I let several days pass and didn't do it, and then one more day passed, and then another week passed, and now it sits here and I feel horrible because I know that you'll never get it.

I am sorry that I am so selfish -- with my time, with my words, with my affection.

It is almost the beginning of a new month. I try to set an intention at the beginning of each month (as opposed to only at the beginning of the new year). And I think this is a perfect starting point for July. I have a lot to work on. This is going to be tough!

With much love,

Friday, June 26, 2009

Joy




The things that peg my "joy meter"


A few days ago, I was tagged by Tippyrich to do a post on My Five Favorite Random Things. As it turned out, I had already done that list after being tagged by Julochka (although I could probably do it again and have completely different items on my lists today!). But Tippyrich had mentioned that she hoped to learn more about her fellow bloggers by getting folks to play along and share this kind of information. She has a point.

Some days earlier, Tippyrich had written about counting her blessings, and had included a list of "things that give me pure unadulterated joy." So I told her that I would compile a similar list and post that instead. And here it is:
  • my cargo shorts (so many pockets & zippers & snaps & velcro)
  • my new Havaianas (with peacocks on them – so pretty)
  • getting a card or postcard in the mail
  • that first sip of coffee when my husband makes if for me in the morning
  • a new magazine
  • a comment on my blog ;)
  • a pedicure (preferably done by someone else)
  • having a baby fall asleep on my chest/shoulder
  • babies’ little round heads with just an ever-so-soft bit of hair
  • a new pic of my grandson (10 months old)
  • a phone call from my granddaughter (almost 3 years old, so cute on the phone : "Hi gramma. Wuv you!")
  • laughing out loud to a rerererererun of Two and a Half Men
  • reading followed by a nap
  • having my pillow “just right” when I go to bed at night
  • a hot bath on a cold night, when I can see the steam rise up off my skin
  • a venti passion tea, iced & sweetened please (oops! Sorry, thought I was ordering there for second!)
  • sitting quietly at home contemplating how blessed I am(sometimes moved to tears by it)
  • being “one of the guys” once a week when we all go to lunch
  • actually picking & eating something that I’ve grown (tomatoes, radishes, chiles, tomatillos)
  • having a server (waitress at a restaurant, barista, cashier) say hi & smile & ask, “the usual?”
Wishing you joy,

Wreck This Journal - Week 4

Only pictures this week. Short on time.







Wreck on!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday


What do you wish to savour?


That magical Jamie at Starshyne Productions has us in deep contemplation again this week. For her Wishcasting Wednesday prompt this week, Jamie asks, "What do you wish to savour?"

That side of me that craves immediate satisfaction never gave it a second thought and answered, "Ice cream! Iced coffee! Ice cold melon!" Ahh . . . it all sounds wonderful.

But the too-often-neglected quieter side of me whispered "tranquility please. a few slow, silent hours s'il vous plait."

My schedule has recently changed at work, and starting this week, I'll have off every other Friday. I am very excited. And while I would normally start making a list of all the extra things I can get done around the house, I'm going to refrain - at least for this week.

I'm going to savor waking up when my eyes open on their own, and not to the sound of the radio.

I'm going to savor my first cup of coffee quietly on the patio instead of drinking it without even tasting it while reading my e-mail.

I'm going to savor staying in my pajamas for a little while.

I'm going to savor sitting in meditation, if only for fifteen minutes (which I haven't done for a long time).

I'm going to savor running my finger along the spines of the books on my shelves deciding which one to read next.

I'm going to savor the quiet of no TV, no radio, no telephone.

I'm going to savor a nap in the afternoon (after doing pretty much nothing all morning).

Whatever you wish for, I wish for you also.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's a Small World

A couple of weeks ago, B did a post on random things - interesting links and websites that she'd run across. One of them was http://www.postcrossing.com/. I checked out the website and was immediately hooked.

I love the idea of receiving postcards in the mail from all over the world. We see and hear everyday of all the ugly, hateful acts of people. I find it so reassuring to know that there are many, many decent and interesting people in the world - people who want to reach out and have a brief dialogue with someone half a world away and share a 4 inch by 6 inch glimpse of a beautiful place or thing.

And in a way, it made me rather nostalgic. I had a pen pal from Peru when I was in grade school (I wonder whatever happened to those letters?). And I also collected stamps when I was in school. Grandma G. would always send me letters, and in them she would include an envelope, or a corner torn off an envelope, with some special stamp, some miniature work of art, often in a language that I couldn't read. And that made it all the more fascinating. She received letters from all over the world. I don't remember how she wound up with them; it might have been that she had friends that traveled and wrote to her from their faraway destinations. (Yes, I still have my stamps.)

I also remember saving my allowance and going to a particular drug store that sold foreign postage stamps in those little glassine envelopes. It was always so hard to choose - I would go in wanting a stamp from a particular country, but there would be some other stamp with some magnificent dragonfly, or an exotic geisha, that would catch my eye, and then I would have to choose.

So I joined Postcrossing. And it's been so much fun. The very first card I sent was to a woman in Finland, and on the card I included a note and told her that hers was the very first card I was sending. She didn't have to, but she mailed me a couple of cards in return.


And the very first card I received was from Finland (there are a lot of postcrossers in Finland!).


Last week I had a message on my answering machine one evening when I got home from work. A card that had been addressed to me had been delivered to another lady across town instead. She was sweet enough to look me up in the phone book and call me so that I could go pick up the card, which I did. It was from Germany.



I also received a card from China. It included a note, but was written in Chinese. I happened to Twitter about it, and later got a reply from Kiki, whose blog The Prosecco Life is one that I read regularly. Kiki is working on her Ph.D. in Chinese art history and, you guessed it, speaks Chinese! She offered to translate it for me if I scanned it and sent it to her. I just did that yesterday and am awaiting her reply.



Participating in Postcrossing has also led me on a quest for beautiful postcards. I've bought some locally, of course. But I've also happened across some photographers' blogs - Susannah Conway and Tricia McKellar so far - who've used their photos to create beautiful postcards. And I've ordered some. (I am worried now, though, that I'll have to keep them and won't be able to part with them!)

So you see, it really is a small world. If I can drop a little piece of cardboard in a box with thousands, maybe millions, of other little pieces of glossy paper and cardboard, and it can travel 10,000 kilometers around the world and actually reach the person for which it was intended, that's something!


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where do Babies Come From?

Was reading Jane's blog at Spain Daily today, and although I can't really remember if we ever even had a story about where babies come from, it reminded me of a funny story from when my kids were little.


Years ago, probably close to 20 years, we were at home one night cleaning up after dinner and getting the kids their baths. My daughter was in the bathtub in the bathroom down the hallway from the kitchen (she must have had the door open) and my son was in the kitchen with me.


We had a couple of clear acrylic magnetic photo frames on the refrigerator door, and one of our photos had slipped out the bottom and landed somewhere (probably under the refrigerator). The picture that came in the frame when I bought it, a picture of a sweet couple standing together on a beach at sunset, was still in the frame. My son, about 9 or so at the time, asked me who the people were. And my explanation to him went something like this, "Well, I have been trying to figure out how to tell you this, and I was going to wait till you were a little bit older, but I guess I can tell you now. Those are your real parents, you and your sister were adopted. But don't tell her yet, because she's still too little and she won't understand."


I can't tell you what he said, if he said anything. I simply don't remember. But a few minutes later, my daughter, then about 5 or 6, was standing in the doorway of the kitchen wrapped in a towel. Her face was red and she was just about ready to cry. I asked her what was wrong. And she said something like, "I've been having a little talk with God." Me, "Oh really?" Daughter, "Yes, and I don't think you're our real mom!" Right away I started laughing and commented on what wonderful hearing she must have. I went and got her and told both kids that I was only teasing them and explained to them about the fake photo in the frame. She was still upset and just didn't believe me. My husband even tried reassuring her, but she wasn't buying it. We actually had to call my Mother and have her talk to my daughter to finally calm her down and assure her that I was, in fact, her mother.



True story!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Molly's Meme - my turn

Julochka said, "tag! you're it" after she responded to Molly's Meme. And since memes are kind of fun, and relatively easy, this is perfect for a Saturday night that's getting kind of late.

Like some of the others who've memed before me, my favorites in any category can, and do, change from time to time. So for now . . .

5'ish favorite songs:

1. "Never Surrender" by Corey Hart (like Julie had a special song, this is a song that got me through a hard time)
2. "Life is a Highway" by Tom Cochrane
3. "Samba pa Ti" by Santana
4. "Caoineadh Cu Chulainn" by Davey Spillane (from the Riverdance CD)
5. "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry (current, may change next week)

5'ish favorite films:

1. "Rocket Gibralter" (with Burt Lancaster & McCauley Caulkin pre Home Alone)
2. "Top Gun" (I feel the need, the need for . . . )
3. "Pride and Prejudice" (I'll take Matthew MacFadyen for my Mr. Darcy please)
4. "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" (another Matthew)
5. "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"

5'ish favorite books:

1. "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach
2. the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (don't roll your eyes; I told you I had a teenage heart.)
3. "Roget's Thesaurus" (I know that sounds kind of weird, but I've always had one since I was a kid and I just love it.)
4. "A Year by the Sea" by Joan Anderson
5. The Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson (current - will change when I've finished them all. currently on number 4.)

5'ish favorite crushes:

1. Leroy Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon's character on NCIS. Smooth . . . )
2. Kevin James (aka Paul Blart Mall Cop, et al)
3. Matthew Goode
4. Bradley Cooper

5'ish favorite things to eat:

1. cheese
2. creme brulee
3. coffee cake
4. salted cashews (but I can't eat as many of them as often as I'd like; too many bother my tummy)
5. pierogi (with sour cream), gyoza, ravioli - any little filled dumpling-like morsel.

And I will, in turn, tag a few others:

Kiki (Kiki, if you have the time.)
Tracy
femminismo
Candace

Now, what are the ladies at Blog Camp up to?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Wreck This Journal - Week 3

I was on vacation last week and missed posting for Week 2. But I have been able to go back and admire (lots of ooh's and aahh's!) everyone else's work (aka play). And I can't wait to see what everyone has done this week. I have also really enjoyed all the videos, and I was inspired to give it a try.

While I would normally share a couple of pages from my WTJ, the video took me a little bit of time to get done. So I'm sharing just one page this week -- writing backward. I can write backward as easily as I can write forward. In fact, (this is really weird) I can hold a pen in each hand and write the same word or phrase both forward and backward at the same time. I start in the center and write backward with my left hand and forward with my right hand. It's easiest on a chalk board or a white board, but I can do it on paper too.

I realized I could write backward when I read The DaVinci Code a few years ago. (remember that part? one of the codes?) I tried it a few times and it really wasn't that hard. When I tell someone I can do this, or better yet, show them, the eyebrows go up and they generally look at me like I'm really weird. I kind of think that lots of people could do it, but they've never tried. Have you tried yet?

video











See you next week. Wreck on!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

I Want To Play

Who or What Do You Wish to Play With? That's the question of the day according to Jamie at Starshyne Productions.

Well . . . I would love to play with the girls who are going to be at Blog Camp in just a few days. I mean, can you imagine? But I will be satisfied with staying in touch via their blogs over the weekend and enjoying the stories they write and photos they take.

But I'm really missing my girlfriends (aka the girls). We have just all been busy! And it's been too long since we've all been together. It wouldn't matter what we did.

We could ride horses . . .



. . . or paint . . .
. . . or climb a tree . . .


. . . or have a midnight margarita party (in our jammies) . . .



. . . or dance . . .


. . . or play house . . .


. . . or swing . . .


. . . or do yoga on the beach . . .



. . . or just be silly and laugh!



It's not so much what we do to fill our time that matters. It's simply that we are all good for one another, and, at least for me, I feel like a new and improved version of myself after spending a day or two with all of them.

So, I wish I might, I wish I may

just hang with my girls

and be girls and just play.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Little Boys and Little Girls

I was not one of those little girls who grows up dreaming of getting married and having babies. But when they came along, I loved my children more than anything in the whole world and couldn't imagine my life without them. They have provided me with moments of immeasurable pride and limitless love, and also unbelievable heartbreak. And in those very quiet, deeply soul searching moments when I've been alone with my thoughts and asked myself what I wanted to do with my life, what one thing would make everything worthwhile, and after which I could die and feel completely fulfilled and happy and peaceful, it was always that I would raise my children to be responsible, self-sufficient, loving, happy people.

And, I'm happy to say, I have had those days, days when I've said to myself or to my friends, "If I died tonight, I'd be a happy camper." That's a great feeling.

And now my babies have babies. And everything that I knew as love before, every laugh or smile that I thought was special, every little hug or kiss that I thought was the sweetest, every tear or frown that I thought would break my heart, was nothing compared to the laughs and smiles and tears and frowns and hugs and kisses of my grandbabies. There must be other words for these feelings. There must be some other chamber of the heart that only opens up when one becomes a grandma. There is no other explanation.

J and j, and S and k, I love you so much!

J


S


k


j


XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trippin'

I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for North Carolina to visit my son J, and his wife and son, who I'll call j (see, there's big J and little j). j is 10 months old, and I last saw him at Thanksgiving time.

j is a healthy little guy, but was born with a cleft lip and palate. Soon after he was born, my son and I talked frequently about what they were going to be able to do and how they were coping with all of it. We knew surgeries would be required, but didn't know quite to what extent or when they would be done.

I'm not a mother who gives advice often without being asked. But I couldn't stop thinking about that poor little boy having to go through such an ordeal already. So I urged my son to take care of things as early as possible. I told him that I thought that if they waited until j was closer to a year old, that it would be so difficult on all of them. I knew that the older he got, the more attached to mommy and daddy he would become. And I remember telling my son that it would absolutely break his heart to see j afraid or to hear him cry when the doctors and nurses were taking him in to the operating room.

His first surgery was at four months old and was to fix his lip. I waited all morning for a phone call to say that things were fine. I didn't get a phone call, but I did get a text message or two. The phone call came the following day. J told me that he'd been unable to talk on the phone because he knew he would cry. I said, "See?" He laughed then and told me that he'd said to himself, "Mom was right!" several times the day before.

j had his second surgery on the 20th of May. According to his wonderful doctors, he should be done and not need any other surgeries in the future. I hope they're right!

In recovery after surgery.

Just in the last year or two, I'd finally gotten to the point where I didn't cry when it was time to say goodbye whenever one of us was visiting the other. But this little guy changes everything (why must they be clear on the other side of the country?)


About 10 days after surgery. (picture is not great

but was taken with a phone) I think he's feeling better!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to post anything while I'm gone. But if I can't, I'm sure I'll have stories to share when I return next week. Till then, be happy!

Corner View - Out Your Backdoor or Window

The theme for the Corner View this week is "out your back door or window." When we first moved in to our house so many years ago, there were no other houses around us in all but one direction. When we looked east, we could see the mountains (what we call mountains anyway). That was thirteen years ago, though, and things have changed. A lot! But we knew that they would, and, for the most part, we still like where we live.

When the weather is nice, we spend a lot of time outside -- planting flowers and pulling weeds and all the general upkeep that a yard requires. And we have turned our patio into an outdoor room of sorts. Weather permitting, we have our coffee out there on weekend mornings, and sometimes during the week when there is time. We feed and watch the birds, read books and magazines, and drool over seed catalogs. We take our granddaughter for rides in her wagon, blow bubbles for her to chase, run races, and create wonderful pieces of artwork with sidewalk chalk.

We cook outside a lot, and a lot of wine and beer has been enjoyed there. We've had three wedding receptions in our yard, and many Easter brunches. And in between, I've even napped out there on occasion. Unfortunately, it's getting too hot now to spend much time out there, but I do sit at my desk and have my coffee while looking out the window.








For other corner views, visit here.

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, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana,denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, ruth, 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, amy, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa,britta, virgina, april, rebecca, b, kyndale samantha, karen, kristina, angelina, dorit, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, mcgillicutty, desiree, di, travelingmama, aimee, sunnymama amanda, ali, jenell, guusje, britta, juanita, pamela, inna, daan, myrtille, cris, ibb, susi, jodi, lily, jillian, doobleh-vay



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Full Moon Dreamboard

The Full Honey Moon


To celebrate the Full Moon tonight, here is my full moon dreamboard. May all your dreams come true!




Saturday, June 6, 2009

Altered Art - Altering Me

I love collages. Of all sorts. I love the layering and textures of papers. And if there are bits of lace or string, or any little unexpected treasures to discover, it's just the sprinkles on the icing on the cake.

And I love altered art - books, journals, what have you. I remember the first time I saw an altered book. It was only in a photo in a magazine; even so, I thought it was just the coolest thing. But I've never tried one myself. (I even have a book that I read years ago and saved especially to alter.)

I've scrapbooked - always on paper, never digitally. I need to be able to touch it and feel the edges of the papers, and the layers of paint on the chipboard, and the other embellishments. That's a large part of the appeal for me.

I have discovered so many great artists and photographers since I began blogging. And there are heaps of opportunities and invitations to explore and expand my creativity. And I love jumping right in. Usually.

But I haven't ever been able to sit down and just start an altered project. And I don't know why. I know that there is no right or wrong; all I have to do is start.

So I finally did.

I chose a magazine that had some page spreads that just seemed perfect to use as a starting point (since I have plenty of magazines). I painted on one page, around a word that I liked. And it looked pretty good. Then I decided to add a second color over the top of the first color. Also pretty good. But then I started free-handing some swirly vine thingies. Not so good. More paint to cover it up. Not so good. But I really wanted to use that page, because I really liked that word. So I added some paper over the top of the page, but cut out a window so that I could still see the word. Now, time for paint again. Pretty good. Now some writing. Alright. (except for one misspelled word, drat!) Some free-handed drawing/painting. And I think I'm done.



I am not in love with it, although it's grown on me some today. But I did it. And so I'm putting it up here. It is a part of me -- my artwork, for what it's worth, and my words. And that makes me happy.