Saturday, August 29, 2009
I liked reading about the many things that B's been up to this summer. I would love to see some of the tote bags, jewelry, and books she's been making. And embellished underwear? I really want to see that! I might be inspired to give it a go myself.
I was inspired today, though, by the collages that she shared. She left me wanting more, and I'm hoping that if I'm patient, I'll be rewarded with more. In the meantime, I got out my old magazines and my scissors and my glue stick. Thanks, B, for the inspiration.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I had the day off work today. My plan was to continue painting - the entry way and/or the living room, after doing my bedroom last weekend. But I let myself sleep in, and it was glorious. That first cup of coffee was wonderful, and when I peeked out the door to the back patio, the white cat (not mine, but one of many that seem to live in my yard) was curled up on the glider, enjoying the morning before the heat became unbearable. It was just too perfect a morning for anything that resembled work.
A couple of weeks ago, in my meandering through the blogosphere, I found a blog called A Fanciful Twist. Quite magical and a little ethereal, almost like a fairytale. This particular post had me at the "lace and paper flowers." And I instantly wanted to put on a twirly skirt and dance.
Since that night, I've had it on the mental list in the back of mind to look through my old CD's for one in particular. But, as it usually plays out, there was always something more important to do. Until today. And I found it - "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac. And so I danced. In my pajamas. And the day was good.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
It's Wishcasting Wednesday. You can be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes.
Jamie's prompt today:
For what do you wish to acknowledge yourself?
Okay, I'll give myself a pat on the back today.
I acknowledge myself for inspiring creativity in others.
When I did my first Full Moon Dreamboard several months ago, I really enjoyed it. It was fun, it was kind of relaxing, and it was rather fulfilling. And I still love it. It's still up on my bulletin board, and I still love the colors and the pictures and the message that I know is there for me. I really, really believe that one reason, a big reason, a lot of us are unhappy in our lives is because we have no creative outlet.
Every kid loves creating. In fact, it is pretty much a given that every child is a little artist. We give them crayons and paper and pencils and glue. It's almost automatic - it's like it's as much of a requirement for a healthy child as drinking their milk and eating their vegetables. And we place great importance on their creations. We stick them up on the refrigerator with magnets or frame them and hang them on the wall. And every mother has a box or an envelope someplace where she's saved these precious masterpieces.
So what happens as we get older? What changes? Nothing changes except for what we perceive to be priorities. But I have discovered over the last few years that I need to play. I am a much happier girl if I'm creating. It can be (and has been) beading, or sewing, or scrapbooking, or rubber stamping, or painting. Or it can be as simple as cutting up a magazine and gluing pictures and words onto a big piece of paper.
I liked the Full Moon Dreamboard idea so much that I invited friends over to join me. I have hosted two Dreamboard Circles so far, and am planning my third one. My friends love it. (In fact, last month a special friend traveled 250 miles to come play!)
When I hosted my first Circle, I was right in the middle of a wonderful experience called "Wreck This Journal." Of course I had to get it out and show it to everyone, and one of my friends, M, actually helped me with a page. Just a few days ago, M called me from the bookstore. She thought it was so cool that she was buying one too.
So there you have it. I am a creativity inspirer. Or conspirer. See? I even create new words! It's all good!
To your creativity,
P.S. Please be sure to follow the link above to Jamie's Studio to visit other Wishcasters.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Well, let's see . . .
On Friday, I got hubby off on his fishing trip. Up north. Where it's cool. Lucky bastard*. Don't know what else I did that day, but I'm sure there was something. Some form of domestic chore, no doubt.
Saturday morning I was up early and off to the home improvement store for paint. Walked out of the store with four gallons of paint, some new roller covers, a couple of tray liners, a yardstick, and two ferns. (I can't resist the garden center. Ever!) Stopped at Starbucks on the way home for a cinnamon dolce latte, a lowfat raspberry muffin, and some sort of a chocolate, chocolate, chocolate cookie that was for my afternoon break. (It was heavenly! Can't remember what I did on Friday, but I remember every crumb of that cookie.) Got home, changed clothes, washed walls, and gathered my paint supplies/tools. I got 7/8ths of the room painted, but I can't move the bed by myself, so must wait for hubby to get home to finish. Moved furniture back, replaced switchplate and socket covers and cleaned up the mess. Including me. Had a short nap and ate some little Amy's organic tortilla casserole bowl thing for supper. Watched the mama cat and the kittens in the back yard. Named them all - Mama Cat, Kiko, and Zorro. (oh oh.) Walked in and out of the bedroom a number of times to get a "first impression." Decided I needed new curtains and made a trip to the store at about 9:00 p.m. Put new curtains up and went to bed. Didn't sleep well and finally got up at about 1:30 a.m. and turned on the computer. Ate a couple of crackers and played around on www.polyvore.com for about an hour or so, then went back to bed.
On Sunday morning I was up by 7. Started laundry, cleaned bathrooms, and made a trip to the craft store. Bought a hinged display frame to hang on the wall to hold some of my necklaces. And a new basket to hold magazines. (Oh yeah! I just remembered. On Friday I went to Pier One to buy baskets for spare toss pillows and throws and books.) Put up a mirror above my nightstand and moved some other things around so I have a little space similar to a dressing table. Kind of girly and kind of fun. More like playing dress up that way. ;) More laundry, including hand washables. Outside to take care of the birds and water the plants and sneak a treat to the kitty cats. (Oops! Did I just say that? No, hubby dear, I was just kidding. I would NEVER feed Mama Cat and Kiko and Zorro. I mean those darned cats that aren't even mine. And aren't cute at all.) Climbed through the kitchen window (that thankfully wasn't locked properly and I could force open) when I realized I'd locked myself out. (Remember, hubby is out of state fishing, theluckybastard, and the in-laws with the spare key are at my sister-in-law's house 5 hours away.) Prayed that the neighbors wouldn't see "someone" climbing into my house through the window and call the cops (where I work, by the way. would be totally embarrassing). Pulled a muscle that started in my right "cheek" and ran all the way down the back of my thigh to just behind my knee. And, oh yeah, it was about 110 degrees and 30 or 40 percent humidity. Nice day to be locked out of the house at noon. Recovered and cooled off and wrote myself a note to have a spare key made and hide it in the shed someplace. Finished laundry and took a (long) nap. Had soup for dinner and gave myself a pedicure. Slept better.
Monday morning, got to work at about 6:45 a.m. Home at five. Soup for dinner again, along with a wedge of romaine lettuce, some cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of blue cheese dressing. Blogged for a bit. Talked to my son on the phone for a while. Got to bed a little after ten. Slept like a rock.
Today, at work before 7 a.m. again. At lunch time, I had a duplicate key made, stopped at the health food store for more soup (which I didn't buy because I'm not going to pay almost $4 for a can of soup), stopped at the ATM, and went through the car wash (all in just an hour). Home at 5. Talked to a friend in El Paso (while yawning), had a bowl of cereal (while yawning), blogged and read blogs (while yawning and squinting). Now it's time to get ready for bed.
Tomorrow? We'll just have to wait and see. :)
*NOTE: In this blog, Are We There Yet, the terms "bastard" and "bitch" are (almost always) used as terms of endearment. Sometimes in a fit of jealousy.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I have been wanting to paint my bedroom for a long, long time, so I am very pleased that it is (mostly) done. The color is not exactly what I wanted, but is such a tremendous improvement that I'm happy with it. (Hubby is out of town and it'll be interesting to see how long it takes him to notice when he gets home next weekend.)
I also bought a couple gallons of paint to paint my living room and my entry way. I painted the dining room about a year ago - one of those not-quite-beige-not-quite-cream-not-quite-tan colors that seems to be different hues at different times of the day. I have an open floor plan and the dining room and living room flow one into the other, so I will continue that color into the living room. It's called Baked Scone. Mmm . . . yummy.
And that got me wondering - who gets to name all these colors? The other paint chips I picked up when trying to decide what color paint to buy are called Mesa Taupe, Silver Sage, Verdigris, Cafe Cream, Clear Pond, Sculptor Clay, and Ozone. I have a brochure/catalog from a few years ago from Anna Sova, a company that sells "healthy paint" as well as organic bedding. (They even, at one point, had what they called "Paint Aromatherapy." You could add a small container of "aroma" to your paint and it supposedly lasted from 6 months to a year. Aromas included Clean/Fresh Lemons, Hope/Vanilla, Exotica/Sandalwood, and Courage/Orange Clove. Are you getting this Fragrant Muse? ;) Don't know if they still sell them.)
Anna Sova's colors were outrageous! Elephants of Victory. Tibetan Turquoise. Fish Calligraphy. Flying Lizard. Stonehenge. Filipino Eggplant. I could go on and on.
And have you checked out a box of Crayola Crayons lately? The box of 96 still includes my old favorites from SO many years ago - Sky Blue, Apricot, Sea Green, and Burnt Sienna. Now there's also Timberwolf, Big Dip o' Ruby (metallic), Inchworm, Purple Mountain's Majesty, Tumbleweed, Macaroni and Cheese, and Wild Blue Yonder.
I want that job! I could come up with a few I think. How about Marilyn Monroe Lipstick Red, Caramelized Onion, Bird of Paradise, Egg Yolk. (I have a small eyeshadow compact with two shades of green. I put the lighter one on one day and instantly thought, "Oh no! It's that weird pearlescent green color that ham turns when it's getting a little old." Haven't ever worn that one!)
And I have some for the Grunge set - Four Day Old Bruise, Marilyn Manson Black, Dirty Dreadlocks.
What colors can you come up with?
Monday, August 17, 2009
One of the things that caught my eye was this outfit.
I have a blouse very similar to the one shown, and I am especially fond of the layers of necklaces and beads and bracelets that seem to be popular this season. I also have several flower pins and I do where them from time to time on days when I'm feeling especially girly. It's the romantic in me. (Or perhaps the artiste, I'm not sure. Tee hee.)
I popped into a department store one day last week on my lunch hour and found some silk rose pins on a clearance rack. There was a navy blue one that had my name on it, and it came home with me.
I already had a string of beads that went with the blouse beautifully. It was really long and I loved it. The first day I wore it, however, I broke it. I saved it, sure that I could fix it. I have a stash of beads and findings from my "beading period" a few years ago, and I knew that I could dig out a crimp bead and put the chain back together.
I worked on it some this weekend, but it proved too difficult. My crimp beads were too small and the chain was too delicate. I was stumped to come up with another idea.
Until this morning. I was determined to wear that necklace. I mean I just had to wear that necklace. So I came up with a couple of other ideas.
Idea number one - duct tape. (Don't laugh.) The color wasn't right - it was way too bright - but I thought I could use a tiny piece to put the chain back together, then slide a bead over the top of it and nobody would even see it. Perhaps good in theory, but not in reality.
Idea number two - Elmer's glue. Fill the center of my one loose bead with glue, then slide both ends of the broken chain into the center and let it dry. I was hopeful, even confident, that this was going to work. Time was running short, though, and it wasn't drying quickly enough. Solution? The hair dryer. It seemed to be working! I picked the necklace up and it held together. But as soon as I put it around my neck, one end pulled loose again. Damn!
Was I to be beat by a string of beads that, apparently, wanted more desperately to stay broken apart than I wanted them to be put back together? Beads, you don't know me very well, do you? Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Janet and I'm going to be wearing you today.
(color not great; rose is navy blue and blouse has lots of blue in it.)
I wore them as a lariat. And I gotta say that I like them much better that way. See beads? That wasn't so hard now was it?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
I sometimes crave breakfast foods - waffles covered in whipped cream and fruit, pancakes dripping with syrup, french toast that looks like the Alps because of the mound of powdered sugar on top. But I almost never order it. I usually opt instead for oatmeal, or a quiche, or sometimes just two eggs and toast. But today felt special. (And that little voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that I just this week made a wish that the door to my free spirit would reopen. That I would remember to be ME and follow my desires.)
So I ordered the pan perdu (stuffed with cream cheese and orange marmalade). Appropriately, since we were going to go celebrate Julia Child, it came with an enormous mound of butter. And I didn't scrape it off. (She sighs heavily as she smiles remembering.) Heaven.
The movie was darling. (Meryl Streep as Julia Child was wonderful.) It was funny, and tender, and definitely made me want to shop for copper pots and wire whisks. It was inspiring.
And it had to do with so much more than cooking. It had to do with love, and it had to do with perseverance.
The two main characters, Julia and Julie, are both married and are both ambitious women. I was really touched by the relationship between Julia and her husband Paul. He wanted, it seemed more than anything, for her to be happy and urged her to keep looking until she found whatever it was that made her so. They just really seemed to adore each other.
Julie had set a goal to cook all the recipes in Julia's cookbook in one year, and to blog about it. Julie wasn't a cook; she worked in an office and aspired to being a writer. She endured a few setbacks and suffered some failures. But in the end, she cooked all 524 recipes in 365 days.
So . . . go see the movie. You'll laugh a lot, clutch your heart in a tender moment once or twice, and smile at the rewards of hard work and determination.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
That's the question Jamie asks this week. And I've had to give this one a little thought. I have the perfect picture in mind, and after some closing-my-eyes-and-listening-to-my-heart kind of consideration, I know exactly that this is the right photo. Not because of the door, but because of the person standing next to the door.
My son, J, is in the military and was stationed in England for three years. We were very fortunate to be able to visit him while he was there, and this photo was taken on that trip several years ago. It's outside an old, old church (St. Mary's I believe) in Tuddenham which is near Bury St. Edmunds.
It was a wonderful trip and we would love to go back. But what waits for me beyond that door isn't anything I experienced or learned in England.
I wrote a few months ago about My Teenage Heart. And in that entry, I alluded to the fact that there are parts of me, bits of my personality, likes and longings, that I keep hidden. J left me a comment on that post that really blew me away: "never fear the thoughts of your companion....your thoughts will make you happy before the thoughts of any other." Such wisdom from such a young soul, and probably something that I should have been teaching him and not the other way around. I felt that he'd given me such a gift, and I really had a new frame of mind for the next couple of weeks. I kept hearing his words over and over again in my mind. And I smiled every time and thought, "Yes! I am a free spirit and I can do or say or feel or like or be anything I want!"
And as it always seems to happen, time passed and I got wrapped up in the daily grind and let go of that spirit. I remember it every once in a while, but not often enough. So that is the door I wish to open. The door to my free spirit. And I think I'll find a doorstop and prop that sucker open for a while!
Please be sure to go back to Jamie's site and see what other doors are opening today.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Found a wonderful blogger, who just happens to be in Arizona, that I think some of you will enjoy. Especially those of you with a gypsy soul. This is the post that hooked me, but do check out all of her site, A Fanciful Twist. It's just magical.
I buy organic most of the time, especially produce (even tho I read a headline from the British press, I think, a week or so ago saying it wasn't all that much better for you). My husband is okay with it, and even indulges - and enjoys - some soy products instead of meat from time to time. The other night he was in the kitchen fixing a sandwich or salad or something. I heard him start to chuckle and he called for me to come see something. He was removing some leaves from a head of romaine lettuce - organic - and there was a ladybug in between a couple of the leaves. Yup! That's organic!
For some reason it makes me feel good (successful maybe?) when one of my kids calls me to ask for advice on how to do something or cook something. "Mom, what did you used to use to marinate that chicken?" "Mom, besides the hashbrown potatoes and cheddar cheese soup and ham, what else did you used to put in the crockpot when you made that cheesy potato stuff when we were kids?" It just kind of makes me smile. And interestingly, most of those calls over the last few years have come from my son.
About three weeks ago, I saw a little calico kitten and its mommy in my backyard for the first time. I don't have cats, but a neighbor - almost a block away - has several/lots, and they have made a habit of hanging out in my backyard for some time now. (I once asked the universe why this was. I still don't know, but I take it as a compliment that they do. silly as that sounds.) The kitten was still nursing and, as near as I could guess, had probably been born either in, behind, or under (somehow) the shed in our backyard. I saw the kitten and mommy every morning and every evening. And I was captivated. I'd forgotten how cute kittens are. How absolutely curious and playful and forever pouncing on things they are! I never fed them, and while I went outside from time to time so that they could kind of get used to me, they still always run and hide when I'm too close. And now I haven't seen the kitten since Sunday. And I miss it. I keep going and peeking out the window hoping it hasn't moved on, even though I know it will eventually. Here kitty, kitty, kitty . . .
see the kitty peeking out of the shed? quality is not great, but i took it from inside the house through the window.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Participants in our Circles have ranged in age from 21 to 55. Mothers have brought their daughters, and a special friend even traveled over 250 miles to join us this time. It isn't really noticeable in the photos, but I always hang a big paper lantern to represent the moon. And we always have food; we must feed our physical bodies as well as our creative selves. It's just fun.
Last month, one of my friends commented that she had just gone in search of pictures that caught her eye, pictures that drew her in. I asked her what she was going to do with the board when she left, and she said that she was going to put it up on the vanity in her bathroom so that she could look at it every day and come to understand what it had to tell her. This month she said it's still there, even though it's been splashed with water and splattered with toothpaste. She's enjoyed looking at it everyday.
Just before we met this month, I'd run across these wonderful Affirmation Cards from Kind Over Matter. I printed out the complete set, and randomly chose several to put one at each place at the table. I told the girls it was an extra moonbeam of inspiration, and a couple of them even included them on their boards. (I also cut out the one that reads "Today may I see my own beauty," and taped it to the mirror in the guest bathroom.) :)
The very last board in the photos - labeled July - is mine. I started it at our circle in July but never finished. I had so much fun that day playing hostess that I couldn't sit still long enough to actually complete my board.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The post office, which is usually a horror, wasn't too terrible. (I had to mail a package to Diggy and Bertie. tee hee!)
The book store was wonderful (can they be anything but?). I am in search of inspiration, and went straight to the magazine rack. My bedroom needs a makeover, and while I've had an idea of what I wanted to do for the past year or two, I never did it. Now I'm so over it and ready for something different anyway. I picked up a couple of magazines, hopped back in the car and checked post office and book store off my list.
Then on to the grocery store. Not the store I usually go to, but one a little farther out of the way because they have things that I can't find elsewhere (like dried lavender for baking, anisette cookies, etc.). It was midmorning and fairly quiet, and I figured I'd sneak in and out rather quickly. I had a pretty short list.
I'm not one who usually attracts, or likes to attract for that matter, a lot of attention to myself. In fact there have been times when I have been virtually invisible (more on that in some future post). But something was different yesterday because practically everyone I ran into felt the need to engage in conversation with me.
First, there was a young Hispanic man stocking tortillas on the shelves at the end of one of the aisles. He had a stack of large plastic trays piled up on the floor. Though they weren't in the way at all, I was reaching over them to take something off the shelf adjacent to them. He saw me reaching, pointed to the trays and asked me something which I didn't understand. He repeated himself and although I still didn't understand every word, I got what he was asking me (or at least I think I did): "Are you using these?" What? Why on earth would I be using them? I smiled, said no, and went on about my business.
Down the next aisle there was an old lady (yes, a little old lady) and a young, maybe early teenage, girl shopping together. I took them to be grandmother and granddaughter. "Grandma" stopped, touched my arm, and told me she was having the darndest time finding vanilla wafers, and asked me if I might know where they were. She explained that she wanted to make a pudding and needed them to make it. I told her that I knew they were there somewhere. About that time I glanced down the aisle and the granddaughter was reaching up to the top shelf grabbing a yellow box. Success! I said, "There. See? She found them." "Grandma" chuckled and thanked me, although I'm not sure what for. I laughed, and I was invited over to her house for pudding.
A couple of cans of soup and a few minutes later, I ran into an old friend from work who is retired. He is a real sweetheart, but has the same story to tell anytime I run into him. Times are hard, he could probably use a job, but nothing's working out. I mentioned a couple of possibilities that he could look into. His replies were, "Well, you know, that Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 . . ." and "a lot of responsibility, I'm just not sure." And when I mentioned a potential part-time gig, "Well, you know, things aren't that bad yet." Funny, I'd been thinking the same thing since one of the few items in his cart was a big bottle of whiskey. Still, it was good to see him.
And, finally, while I stood looking at new cupcake pans, a neatly dressed elderly Hispanic looking gentleman picked up a couple of oval aluminum roasting pans and asked me, "Do you think my feet will fit in this?" I was polite and answered, "Yes, I'm sure they will." And then he asked, "What should I use? Alcohol of some kind?" Me, "For your feet?" Him, "Yes." Me, "I would use epsom salts." Him, "Ep(something something) salts?" Me, "Yes." Him, "Okay. Thank you." And off he went.
While I was beginning to think I'd entered some other realm or dimension without knowing it, I decided not to question the day at all. I believe that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at any given moment. For some reason, either those folks needed me, or I needed them, for reasons I may never know. And I'm good with that.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Certain sounds can do the same thing, and certain songs in particular evoke immediate and specific memories for me. I hear a particular song and I am transported at once back to a place in time that encapsulates a significant moment in my life. Mostly, they are special, tender, beautiful moments; but not always.
"We're All Alone," by Boz Scaggs. (play song) A very special memory. I attended a weeklong summer camp (Anytown) the summer between my junior and senior years of high school. The camp was attended by high school kids from all over Arizona - 3 from my high school, 3 from the other high school where I live - and many others from all over. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this here before, but I was a GEEK in high school. Seriously, if you looked it up in the dictionary, my picture was there. I fit in okay, though. I didn't "hook up" with anyone ;) like a lot of other kids did, but I had developed a bit of a secret crush on a particular boy from the other high school in my town. (I even still remember his name. Jeesh!) On the last night of camp we had a dance. I don't remember for sure if I'd danced at all before, (probably not) but the very last dance (you know, the really special one), my secret crush asked me to dance. He was so sweet, and I don't think my feet ever touched the floor. I was floating. Sigh . . .
"Never Surrender" by Corey Hart. This song gave me strength; this song made me determined. I was in a bad situation and I needed to get out. But I knew it wasn't going to be easy. And it wasn't, but I did. Enough said.
"Let's Stay Together" by Al Green. Or anything by Al Green, for that matter, was a bad sign. When that album came on, my heart raced and my stomach clenched and I was scared. That music was usually played at night after "he" had spent an afternoon drinking (and/or other things) and was usually my clue to brace myself. That was over 20 years ago, but I still can't stand those songs.
"Waterfalls" by TLC. Another summer camp memory. Only this one many years later and much, much different. I took a week off work several years ago to be a counselor at a camp for kids who are burn survivors. This song played on the radio a few times while I was driving the five hours or so to the camp. I was so excited to be going! Turned out to be one of the toughest AND most rewarding weeks of my life.
"These Days" by Rascal Flatts. Most (all?) couples go through rough spots, and my hubby and I are no different. A few years ago we were "apart" for, as it turned out, just a week. We went out on a "date" late in the week, and this song played on the radio. My hubby asked me if I'd heard it before (I hadn't at the time). He said he'd listened to it a lot and asked me to listen to the words because it was a lot of what he'd been feeling.
"Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's Turandot, sung by Pavarotti. An incredibly beautiful song. In September 2007, I attended a yoga retreat in California. As part of our closing "ceremonies," we were doing an exercise in connecting (with the earth and with each other). They played this song and I thought my heart was going to explode. Pavarotti had died two days before.
I leave you with "Nessun Dorma."
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Photos from Gatlinburg, Tennesse, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, 2006.
For a previous "Mental Cool Down," see here.