Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Secrets: June 28, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

Today's secrets come from both Frank's blog and his Twitter site. Put in this order, they seem to tell a story. This time, instead of giving you my take on the secrets, I think I'll let you readers fill in the blanks to make up your own story.

Believe What Your Heart Is Telling You

I wish I'd had this advice when I was a young adult. As much as my heart was leading me in one direction, I didn't go there because the mother of a boyfriend told me it was not a worthwhile way to go. In another instance, a family member belittled the direction I was heading in school.

Instead of going forth with conviction, I went in the direction of my heart always doubting myself, my abilities, how worthwhile my ambitions were. I never did reach the original dream.

It took many, many years to undo that damage. It took a lifetime to realize that just because those people didn't see the value in my contribution to the world, it did not mean that my contribution is not valuable.

Now I am much more prone to listening to the direction my heart leads me. I know that there is as much value in the directions important to me as in the directions these small people told me I should go. Now, when belittled, I stand tall and firm, and laugh in the face of detractors.

If I choose, I can feel sorry for myself for all those opportunities missed. But why waste even more time?

Now I choose that which is important to me, that which makes my heart soar. For I've come to know that when I dare to follow my own north star, there is benefit to those who sail the ship with me.

"To thine own self be true."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Share Your Experience

Sometimes it's not so much "older" women, as much as "experienced" women.

I've reconnected with a superb group of women on Facebook that I first knew as girls in high school. It's over 30 years later, and we've all been through some life 'stuff.' As we band together, we are using our life experiences to support and guide one another. As a collective, we're going through all kinds of trials. One is a new widow. One has a teenager that just became an 18-year-old adult. Some of us have children with mental illnesses. Most of us have marriages that need attending. Most of us are in or are approaching menopause. Some of us have weight control issues. Most of us have homes that can use some decluttering.

Amid the group, there is usually someone who has already been through the trauma that another is currently facing. So we encourage each other. Share our wisdom. Share the humor. Generate some energy to keep on keeping on.

On another front, the 'old hags' in my quilt group are going through their own life changes. They are facing terminal illness, moving from independent living to assisted living, coping with the death of children, the loss of sight, the advancing of chronic illnesses, the loss of a spouse. These adopted big sisters, mothers, aunts and grandmothers have taught me so much about what it means to age with dignity and humor. They've taught me about living with independance and inter-dependance. They reinforce the lessons of love and forgiveness.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Be Open

Hey, this is Jodie. Mom's fixing some dinner right now, so she asked me to be a guest writer. :)

Oprah's words here ring very true in my high school life. It seems as though my class, the class of 2011, is divided into two very distinct extremes of students: the overdoers and the underdoers. Average students, the in-betweens, are very few and far between.

I am among the overdoers. We are the minority, but we group together in all of the Honors classes and foreign languages. We are the ones who finish homework in class, who bring our instruments home to practice, and who ask themselves in the middle of the summer, "what is the difference between white and black seeds of a watermelon?"*

Underdoers make up a whole lot of the rest of my grade. They show up to class stoned, hit on the young female teachers, and when asked how they are in French ("Comment ca va?") reply that they are feeling very hot dog today, thanks ("UN HOT-DOG!")

It's not like these two (very broad) generalizations of students are going head-to-head at war with one another, as would be done in the cinemas**; on the contrary, there are so many people who I find hilarious. There are all sorts of redeeming qualities about everyone, and while study habits may differ, they excel at many other skills that many overdoers lack.

Underdoers are by no means dumb. They've just been trained to hate learning. It is unfashionable to be content with homework just as much as teenagers feel they have to disagree with their parents about EVERYTHING. Apathy abounds, and it's all based on an unfortunate stereotype that is cast on teenagers from not just the media, but from the general populations' understanding. Since it is expected of teenagers to rebel and to be apathetic, they are enabled to simply not care.

This brings me to what Oprah says about learning; not just reading and arithmetic, but about life itself. One must be open to learning or going against the stereotype. When it is truly fashionable to pay attention in class, so it will happen. It is unfortunate that school is more of a social chain than a place to learn, but that fact can be put to advantage if approached the right way.

In other words, don't tell ABC and Disney channel to encourage kids to be open-minded; instead, say it to Hollister and Urban Outfitters. After all, open-mindedness is not only the key to learning, but the key to peace.


*This conversation happened between myself and my overdoer boyfriend earlier today. I asked, and he put aside what he was doing to find the answer. Black seeds are actually fertile, which is why they are found much less often in grocery-store watermelons; white seeds are polyploids, which means that you won't have waxy watermelons growing out of your ears.

**"Haha you're such a nerd! Who does their homework anymore?" "You slacker, get some brains and grow up!" "Geek!" "Bum!" "DORK!" "NE'ER-DO-WELL!"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Secrets: June 21, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

The first secret is from today's US site. This week's secrets are all about fathers. The second secret I posted is one from the archives that I've not shared before.

When I was growing up, it was really hard to love my father. He was one tough old bird with a lot of anger issues. I was mostly afraid of him. So I found father figures in other places ... the fathers of my friends, men I knew from church, and teachers. Not all of them knew I thought of them as the dad I wished I had.

After my mom died, my dad and I came to know each other on our own terms. I'll never forget the day he looked at me, and I knew he saw me for exactly the woman I had grown to become -- no longer his "baby girl." That day, I cried all the way from his home to mine. The prayer inside me had finally been answered. I'm glad I never gave up waiting.

Happy Father's Day

Wishing my best to all my
Sweet Friends
who are also someone's

Anthony Codispoti
1921 - 1999

Pay Attention

I need to get outside with my camera soon. When my camera is in hand, I tend to pay attention and capture some of the loveliness I normally miss.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beauty is ...

She would know.

At the last academy awards, she was the knockout in the lineup!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Wisdom Works

I know a lot about a tiny few things.
I know a bit about a lot of things.
I know next to nothing about most of what happens on this planet.

I must be getting wise. I know how little I know.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Weird Al ... Walk Through My Door(s)


Weird Al's homage to The Doors, featuring Ray Manzarek himself on keyboards.
Video directed by Liam Lynch.

Time Management

It's all about attitude.

Yesterday was Home Blessing day. A Facebook friend had never heard of that, and asked what it was. She said it "sounds wonderful."

Here's how I answered:
The Home Blessing is my once-a-week-extra-spruce-up. I do it on Monday mornings to set the tone for the week. I use this name because when it's done, it blesses me and my family for a full week. It's an attitude thing. When you see it as giving your family a loving, calm place to live, doing these things doesn't feel like a chore.

Also, this is NOT detailed cleaning. It's getting the big stuff up. Each task takes no more than 10 minutes ... and you get to stop, sit down, and drink water in between.

My version includes:
Changing sheets on my bed
Cleaning master bath thoroughly
Washing towels from both bathrooms & kitchen
Sweeping and spot cleaning the wood floors
Vacuuming bedrooms, living room and halls
Wiping down kitchen counters, stove & cabinets
Removing 'science experiments' from fridge
Dust (fast, with a feather duster)
Watering the plants
Gathering trash all around the house
Taking out trash and recycling
Sweep off the front porch (sometimes back deck)
Keep rebooting the laundry
I got no response to this answer. After all, it looks like cleaning up the house, right? Chores to do. Putting in some elbow grease and getting dirty so that the house can look clean, only to have your family come home and mess it up again.

But you know, that's not what it is at all to me. Doing a Home Blessing becomes a treat. It's home care. It's taking something from messy to organized. It's going from dirty to clean. It's a feeling of accomplishment and knowing I can do a good job. It's knowing that being a homemaker is real work and can be very satisfying.

I have a choice. I can do what I used to do. Whine about it. Get to a Monday morning and feel sorry for myself that the rest of the family can go off to work and school and leave me to take care of the clean-up.

Or I can set my own attitude. I can appreciate this lovely, charmed life I lead and be grateful I have a home, a family, laundry, carpets, wood floors, beds and dishes to care for. (There was a time when I had none of these!) Then I can make these possessions -- and me! -- shine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Advice for Living

Especially kiss slowly.
That will help you love truly, laugh uncontrollably and make you smile!

Plus, kissing is just Niiiiiiiiiiiice!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Secrets: June 14, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

The first two secrets are from today's US site, the third from PostSecret France, and roughly translated using Google's translation tools. I only used the first part of the two-sided postcard from France.

I never considered myself beautiful. Now, when I look back at photos from my teens and twenties, I think I look pretty good. Yet I'm very glad those chaotic days are over. I'm glad to be the woman I've become, to be comfortable in my own skin.

I wonder, sometimes, why some of my friends have left me without explanation. Do they know something of which I'm unaware?

Rough translation: "You eat the skin around my fingers."

When I am extremely nervous, I don't bite my nails, but I do bite the very tips of my fingers or gnaw on my knuckles. When I catch myself doing that, I try to stop. Then I seriously wring my hands until my fingers hurt.


Go on. Give it a go. I dare you.

I like that 'loose' the fear of falling, not 'lose' it. Because I'll probably always carry some of the fear. I'll never lose that. But I may be able to loosen my grip on some of fear -- at least enough to give new-to-me things a try.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Snapshots: Summer Awakening

Summer Awakening

Dreams drizzled into solidity
Air stirred on my bare back
A fan, whirring near the window
Morning light seeping in

On You Mark ... Get Set ...

Goodness, this is something I needed to hear today! I was up far too late last night, dinking around with images for this blog. Then I was up early this morning.

Now it's almost 11:30am and, though I'm showered and dressed, I've done precious little this morning. Threw a load of clothes in the washer. Processed some e-mail. Updated my Facebook status. Played some computer games. Worked on my website. Most things that require simply sitting in a chair, thinking, typing.

I've not even eaten breakfast, and here it is, lunchtime.

So it's time to really start my day. Make a decision. Take a step. Then another.

Now tell me, how does one make a decision when the brain is still half asleep?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sweet Friends!

This weekend, two trusted friends turn 52.
Old Papa Emerson's words, when about them, ring true.
These generous souls listen when I am blue.
They add their two cents when ideas are set to brew.
They've welcomed me to their groups as part of the crew.
They've taken time with me when back home I flew.
And because of their input,
I grew and grew.

That's not much of a poem, as you can see.
Yet my most sincere birthday wishes
go to LV and JT!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Happy Dance: Bear Square [3]

[click for larger image]
Here's the third bear square I completed for my favorite charity group.

This is yet another freebie chart. I downloaded the Tatty Teddy from the Coats Crafts UK website.

This bear chart is a little bigger than the last two, about 40 x 70 stitches. Once again I added a border of hearts to help fill out the square and add some more color.

I like this bear's coat of gray. It stands out from the other two brown bears I stitched. And his tattered fur looks really cute when it's completed. But I gotta tell you, figuring out where to add the "fuzzies" on top of all those shades of gray was not easy. I finally just "winged it" and hoped for the best.

He is one darn cute fuzzy wuzzy bear, though!

This time I took one single motif from the book Better Homes & Gardens 2001 cross stitch designs, and simply repeated it using two shades of red from the balloon. I recommend this book for it's diversity and simplicity.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Wanna Change the World!

Yes! I want to change the world for the better.
I want to leave my mark in a positive way.
But doing it in a BIG WAY is likely not my destiny.

Yet I think I can do this!
I can accomplish humble tasks
(like de-cluttering my home ...
like being present to my friends when they need me ...
like wearing the "Proud Mommy" look for my daughters as often as possible)

I can accomplish some humble tasks
as though they are great and noble.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Secrets: June 07, 2009

PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard. I find it to be an insightful sociological experiment.

The last two secrets are from today's posting on the PostSecret blog. The first is from the PostSecret pics on Twitter.

When I was in college, there was a gal in choir that really did not care for me. I went out of my way to sit next to her because I knew it bothered her. Passive-aggressive behavior and I have been friends for a long, long time.

There are places where I'd rather not be seen carrying certain kinds of books. For me it's not Chick Lit nearly so much as Self Help. I'm a huge fan of audio books, too!

I read an article recently that said people who 'give up' easily have lower blood pressure. That doesn't mean give up on life and not try to reach goals. Instead it means trying stuff, and if it doesn't work, give up on that method and try something different. But people that hold on tight and try to force a situation are the ones whose health is affected. I tend to be one of those ... so this notion of giving up (acceptance) seems a sensible one for me to learn.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Surprise Wedding Reception

This is just too much fun! Enjoy!

Book Review: The Life of a Photograph

Sometimes, when my life seems hectic, I check books out of the library that I call "picture books."

No, in this case I don't mean books for preschoolers where the pictures tell the stories and words echo the pictures. I love those types of books and own more than my fair share of them, but those aren't the books I'm talking about right now.

What I'm talking about are picture books for adults. Books that I can browse through without a lot of concentrated effort. There may be plenty of words, but those are secondary to my purpose. I'm looking for eye candy. Books with pictures that jog my imagination, inspire me, give me ideas, present a subject or a perspective I hadn't considered in a while. If the pictures catch my interest, I can dig deeper and read the words that go with them.

Usually, on one of these excursions, I wander over to the New Books shelf. I start by skimming the titles of BIG BOOKS. Often the larger the size of the book, the more chance there is that it has lots of color photographs.

So sometimes my picture book might be a cookbook. Occasionally, a biography. Often it will be needlework, crafts, home care, decorating, color theory, fashion or art. This month I picked up a book of photography:

The Life of a Photograph
by Sam Abell

This book has very few words, but many, many photographs. There are lots of photographs that look very similar to one another, with just a few elements that vary from image to image.

That's what I learned from this book. Sam often doesn't go out seeking pictures, he lets the picture come to him. He seems like a very patient man!

His take on photographs? Composition is key. Look for the setting. Frame it up. Then wait. People, animals, wind ... something will happen within that setting. Watch for it, then capture the moment. "... gesture, light, color and space mingle and occasionally merge."

More advice? "look for strong diagonals; take a low angle; keep the sun to your side; bad weather makes good pictures ... compose and wait."

That's a unique perspective. The objects within the setting are not the subject of the image. The setting is the subject ... the objects that interject themselves into the subject are what causes the subject to show itself off.

Do I recommend Sam's book. Uh ... maybe. There was nothing in it that blew me away. It does present a very unique perspective, and that makes it worth browsing.

More, I recommend a quick trip to the library, to the New Book shelf, and see what kind of picture book you can find. It won't take much time or energy. But it may open you up to new ideas.