Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fun Photo Meme

For those of you that like to participate in photo memes, here's a good one!

1st Scavenger Hunt on NicoleB Photography

Nicole has posted a list of 25 items. Each participant has until March 15th to go around their neighborhood and snap some photos. The theme is "local" ... so visitors will get a real sense of what is 'local' in various parts of the world.

On March 15th, participants post their images on their blogs. Let Nicole know you're playing along and leave a comment on her blog pointing to your images.

I don't know that I'll have time to join in the hunt. Darn it! But there's still time for you to play along! I'll be sure to keep my eyes open on March 15th to view all the sure-to-be-great photos posted from all over the world.

Pacing Victory

That's sort of a goofy title for this post. What do I mean?

Well ... perhaps a story to illustrate.

I made some very boner moves today.

I offered to share some of my needlework stash with a local gal. When she arrived at my home and I got out the box that I remembered the stash being in, I realized that I'd already culled the box and most of the items I'd offered to her were already gone. Ooops. I felt really foolish for having offered something from memory instead of making sure the items were still available.

To try and make her visit worthwhile, I asked the gal about what other crafts she did. Maybe I'd have something else to give her. So we started looking through my lace ... and I realized that I need to sort out the pieces I want to keep for myself before I can offer the lace I no longer need. I had to revoke the offer. So, boner move number two.

Then I asked her about her family. It turns out our teenagers are the same age. She told me her son's name. It was familiar ... then I blurted out, "That name really rings a bell. Did he have a discipline problem?"

I knew that was a huge blunder the moment it came out of my mouth. Well, it turns out her child did used to talk a lot in class and get called on that. But, geez! What a thing to ask a child's parent!

After this lovely woman left, I was kicking myself left and right. I told my sweet husband what happened and he rolled with laughter, "Yeah, Hon. You weren't about to recover from that one once the horse was out of the barn."

Well, I suppose the situation was funny in a too-horrible-to-admit kind of way. But the laughter really didn't help. My reaction? I kicked myself harder and started crying out of frustration. This mouth of mine! Speak first, regret later.

I recognized that this "kicking myself" reaction was exactly what my psychiatrist cautions me against. So Dale helped me find a way to get a new perspective on the problem. He reminded me that I've already learned the lesson I need to learn from the situation and that continuing to call myself negative names isn't going to help a thing.

In other words, it was time to rid my mind of those self-defeating thoughts, turn my thinking around, and pace victory by moving toward being the kind of woman I want to be.

You know.

One that thinks before she speaks so she doesn't inadvertently dis someone else's child.

Friday, February 27, 2009


I suppose there is truth in this statement. Yet I also think we tell our stories to others in order to breathe life into each other.

I did that today. I told a friend a story she didn't know about me. A story that I'm not altogether proud of. A story that, so far, has a happy ending.

I told this story in a letter, so I don't yet know if it's been received, read, and received again. Or received, read, and rejected. I'm banking on the former.

I believe that by sharing my stories, even the unflattering ones, my friends will come to understand me and feel free to share troubles with me. Our stories help us feel connected to our past troubles that we've overcome. They help us feel connected to one another. They keep us from feeling alone. They can save us from despair.

I believe that sharing our stories gives each of us the chance to grow as compassionate people and the chance to strengthen the emotional ties that bind us together.

That's important to me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sunday Secrets: February 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. A couple secrets reminded me of some incidents in my life.

When I was in jr. high, the boys and girls shared a basketball court, each playing on half the court. I was not athletic. One morning I went chasing a ball that went out of bounds, tripped over my own feet, and landed on Jeff Blackburn's butt. I was ribbed about that move for the rest of the year. I never did get good at athletics, but being clumsy didn't stop me from achieving in other fields.

As a single mom, I worked at the county courthouse. On my way to the parking lot on a lunch break, I passed a couple who were fighting near their car. It sounded like something about their custody case. Many other employees just walked past. Having lived in a women's shelter just a few months earlier, I knew too well how that fight could escalate. I asked the woman if she needed help, then went back to my desk to call the police. By the time I got back outside, the abusive husband had gone. I hope she and her child were OK.

Grow, Dammit!

I am aching for Spring.
If you're a regular reader, you already know this.
I've been whining and complaining about it.

Today's quotation reminds me
that I need to be patient.
Spring will come when the time is right.
Seasons of the year, like seasons of my life,
unfold slowly, in the quiet.

It doesn't do any good to yell about it ...
Even though there IS another inch
of new snow on the ground this morning!

:: sigh ::

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Important Lesson

This is a lesson I'm still trying to learn.
It's more about the seasons of life, I suppose.

Maybe that 'point in my life' is just around the corner.
I do believe I see its shadow!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Macro Monday - Welcome Bouquet

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.

Welcome Home

I was out of town last week, visiting my best friend and her mother in Lewiston, Idaho. Since Virginia managed to fly all the way across the country to visit her 93 year old mother, I figured I could do her a favor and drive the three hours south to meet up.

After a day-and-a-half in Lewiston (where SPRING weather has arrived!), I spent the next night with my daughter Julie in Moscow.

When I arrived home on Thursday, my sweet husband had this bouquet waiting for me on the dining room table. Awwwwwwwwwwww! They are so pretty, I figured the flowers and greenery deserved a close-up.

Oh, Spring.
I can almost taste you.
Would you PLEASE hurry and get here?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Have a Pleasant Day

I'm making my world a little more pleasant by working toward the bottom of my "in" e-mail box!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello. Love. Goodbye.

Ten years ago at this time I was in the town I grew up in, mourning the deaths of both my oldest brother and my father. They died just over two weeks apart.

I was walking in a fog. There was fallout with some of my siblings. I needed a steadying hand.

Sweet friends I grew up with, friends from church, stood beside me, listened to me, helped me through those rough weeks. Away from home in Idaho. Away from my husband and daughters.

After a couple weeks, when I was at my wit's ends, my husband flew south to be with me for my dad's funeral. He steadied me. Healed me.

As I reflect back on that time, I'm listening to Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds. It is apropos.

The words, of course, taken from the book of Ecclesiastes:

And so the seasons change. Life revolves around and around. An eternal orbit.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Macro Monday - Winter Hangs On

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.

Snow Buddy

Winter just keeps hanging on here in the northwest. We get a couple sunny days. The streets start to get wet as snow melts in the 38 degree weather. Then night comes. Everything freezes up again. The giant piles of ice at the edge of the roads get dirtier and dirtier each time the city trucks need to put another layer of gravel down on the slick roads.

Last night we had another light snowfall. For a few hours, the landscape is white again as new snow covers dirty piles of ice.

Please, Spring. Come soon. I'm ready to replace the snow buddy on my porch with a wreath of flowers!

We Are Family

It's been a family kind of weekend. We started it with a celebration of my sweet husband and I meeting 20 years ago. We moved on to Valentine's day. Yesterday, our daughter Julie visited from school. It was nice to have her presence in the house for a few hours. Today, President's Day, will be another day for togetherness.

As a family, we've been walking together, napping, cooking, computing, sharing music and movies, doing laundry, eating, laughing.

It's a rare treat to have four days in a row to just hang out in each other's company and enjoy the intermixing of personalities.

We are not the same alone as we are as a family unit. Time together builds the trust.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Secrets: February 15, 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 all had a valentine theme. These three secrets made me smile.

I bought a bag of Hershey's Kisses. I keep a handful in my pocket, and then hand them out to people I encounter around town ... the guys at the post office, the nurses at the doctor's office, the cashiers at the grocery store. It's a little weird, but a whole lot fun. In this smallish town, these are the folks I encounter regularly. But it really wouldn't be that unusual for me to hand a Kiss to a stranger, either.

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. That's sweet! I'm adopting this idea!

The funniest thing about this secret is the name of the card's file. This one was an "Easter Egg". The file name?
That's my kind of humor!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I love this picture!
[click for a larger view]

This one isn't mine. It's one of many gorgeous photos from the blog of The Floss Box.

She does a lot of experimenting with stump embroidery.

Then she goes outside and take lovely pictures.

Like this.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Step By Step

I've read a couple books that encourage the philosophy of taking small steps to achieve big goals.

Interestingly, both of these books are mentioned in this recent article from Fast Company magazine!

It's a decent article with some strategies companies can take to strengthen themselves in these dire economic times. The example at the end of the article about the increase in industrial production needed in World War II came from One Small Step Can Change Your Life. I liked that book because it's written from a male no-nonsense how-to-run-a-business point of view than a typical female self-help book. It was quick to read and free of fluff.

Coming from a family that ran a small business during all my growing-up years, I really feel for small business owners right now. Their customer bases continues to shrink and their balance sheets get more and more out of balance. It's hard to think 'big picture' when lava keeps splashing on you every morning when you wake up.

Perhaps clearing the clutter of feeling overwhelmed by taking small steps to change is a step in a positive direction.

Friday, February 13, 2009


This is what my sweet husband and I are doing
this Valentine's Day weekend
so ...
not so many words here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Living ... Life

Today was filled with the latter.
I think I gave until I gave out.
Now it's time to give myself some sleep.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

20 Years

Twenty years ago today, my sweet husband and I met and became a couple.

I feel so very blessed to have this man in my life! Smart. Funny. Charming. Fair. Kind. Forgiving. Those are darn good traits to have in a mate!

Today we met for lunch and enjoyed each other's company for the thousand-and-umpteenth time. We did most of our courtship over lunches. So good. So familiar.

So today, I'm exuding love. It's in the air now. Grab it! Breathe some in.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Do You Believe in Magic?

As I was out on my walk this morning, the snow began to drift. By the time I got home, the shoulders of my black coat and my gloves were dusted with snowflakes.

I don't know about you ... but I find a bit of magic in glittering snowflakes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning Contentment

I've mentioned before that Dale and I are consciously trying to simplify our lives this year. Not only do we believe we have everything we need, we believe we have more than we need.

Today I took some 'before' pictures of my studio. It's a total mess right now. I can't create in there for all the clutter.

My goal for tomorrow is to start bailing out my studio. At first, it just means putting away the obvious clutter on every horizontal surface. But I eventually want to dig deeper and give away supplies that I no longer need.

This is going to be quite a process ... likely a long process. I hope to update my progress on my blog as I go along. It took quite a while just to get in the proper mindset for this. I think I'm there ... ready to jump in tomorrow afternoon.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Trust Your Instincts

Seems I've been relying on my intuition quite a bit these last few days. And when I don't trust it completely, I talk with my sweet husband, we put our heads together, and make decisions and choices.

I'm paying attention to my body's language. If I feel the tension rise, if I feel my guts start to twist, if I find myself losing sleep, if I get that "NO" feeling, I steer in a different direction.

I like the YES feelings. The "this feels right" stuff. I go toward the things that give me energy and back away from the people and things that make me uncomfortable.

Doing so brings me three steps closer to a charmed life. That's the life I choose to lead.

Sunday Secrets: February 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.

These three secrets caught my attention today.

A couple people said that to me this year.
My response?
:P~~~~~ :: raspberries ::

I often pass by my first husband's grave.
I stop about once a year.
I wonder why he didn't bother getting to know his daughters
when he had the chance.

Julie ... this one's for you.
Kathy ... did you send this in? ;D
Honest ... this is not my secret.
hmmmmm ... should have been!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm Pickin' Up Good Vibrations

The Fullerton High School class of '75 has bloomed over on Facebook this week. Many of my classmates have joined. We're posting memes that reminisce about our senior year. It was a large graduating class, so some of us are meeting for the first time. Many of us who were acquaintances are meeting each other as adults and getting new views of each other.

It's so much fun! I'm much more outgoing now than I was as a teenager. So much bolder. And, of course, this online medium is one that I can shine in.

The best part for me is becoming acquainted with these women. The guys are a mixed bag of fun-loving and arrogant and lots in between. But the women! I like these women!

As each new classmate joins the 24/7 reunion, I try to greet them, introduce myself is we didn't know each other 'way back when,' and leave a bit of positive energy in my path.

What a trip!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Dance: Santa

Well, I finally finished a small piece for 2009. This Santa came from a kit.

I used the floss in the kit, but the blending filament was whacked, so I used some Kreinik braid instead to make the snow and Santa's beard glisten.

[click image for a larger view]

I'm not sure how I'm going to finish it ... likely as a pillow. I'll send this to my friend so she can sell it at her craft fair next Christmas.

Just a Blessing

This simple blessing for all who visit my blog today ...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'Tis A Gift

I like that old hymn ...
"'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free ..."

I'm having that kind of day today. It all started with a good night's sleep and time cuddling up with a loved one.

It moved on to interesting interaction on Facebook. Then off to a morning with the Quilters.

After Quilters? Lunch at the Olive Garden with one of the ol' gals. (My Christmas treat to her, finally realized). She then took me to her house to see her antiques and family heirlooms, her stitchery and her hand-hooked rugs. Showed me pictures of her kids, her grandkids, and herself as a kid. It was an excellent afternoon of conversation and sharing.

Home next, where I found a message on the answering machine from my best friend. We then had a nice conversation and made some plans for when she'll be in Idaho in a couple weeks.

Next pleasure? Stacks of clean folded laundry. The smell of dishes fresh out of the dishwasher. A tidy kitchen with a shiny sink.

On to the grocery store where I made small talk with an older gentleman in the produce section as we picked out some nice navel oranges. Later, I bought a treat for my sweet husband.

Groceries put away, another check in with Facebook, then off for a crisp one-mile walk before the day slipped into evening.

Dale got home in a very good mood. His monthly check-in with his supervisors went well. Jodie called to say she was invited to eat dinner with a friend. News was shared about what's next on the front of the financial markets. Plans are hatching for an upcoming four-day weekend, and then for Spring Break.

Kisses. Hugs. The aroma of homemade soup on the stove. Warm sourdough bread. Good conversation.

What could be better?

I like the simple pleasures of days like today.

Finessed jobs
Fresh air
Fine conversation

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ten Min Tues: Overdue Phone Call

What's Ten Minute Tuesday?

Post something on Tuesdays that can be accomplished in ten minutes. That's it. Set the timer, choose something and do it. The only catch is it has to make YOU feel better.

Today I finally made a phone call that I've been putting off since the middle of December!

My adopted Italian grandmother, Catherine, is 93 years old. I met her at Quilters. She and my mother share a birthdate, May 14. I met her shortly after my mom died, so we sort of gathered each other up in our arms.

I love Catherine to bits when I see her. Since the cold weather hit, she hasn't been able to join us on Wednesday mornings.

At the Quilter's Christmas party, I gathered her cards and gifts and offered to take them to her. Then came the snows, the ice, the cold, followed by my procrastination. And I haven't seen her in months.

So for my 10 Minute Tuesday, I finally gave her a phone call. She lives in an assisted living facility ... and wasn't in her room. Darn! But I left her a nice long message. Maybe we can reconnect tomorrow.

Help Me Through

My somebody today was my daughter, Julie.

Thank you, sweetheart. You're a wonderful, compassionate young woman.

:: proud mommy look ::
{{{{{{{{{ kiss }}}}}}}}}}}

Monday, February 2, 2009

Macro Monday - Monkey

Macro Monday is easy to play,
snap a macro (or close-up) photo,
post it on your blog
then go to Lisa's Chaos
and sign Mr Linky.


It seems like ever since winter hit, I'm out of practice.

Out of practice taking photos regularly.
Out of practice finding good lighting for my subjects.
Out of practice taking my daily walks.

I miss being in my groove!

Many sidewalks in the neighborhood are still covered in ice. But the ice at the edge of the roads is beginning to melt. So last weekend, my sweet husband and I grabbed our coats and headed out on our favorite walking route, walking single file every time a car approached so we wouldn't get creamed.

I found this fun metallic sticker stuck to the ice near the elementary school. The little monkey looked cold, so I tucked him in my pocket.

I get a kick out of finding these little treasures.

What doesn't kill me ...

This is also why I don't fast. I do not feel more spiritual or closer to God when I'm anxious, bitchy and vulnerable, which is exactly how I get when I fast.

I've learned through experience that the better care I take of myself, the more peaceful, quiet and strong I feel.

I choose to move in that direction.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Oh, man. I have way too many of these piles of postponed decisions.

Today, I spent a little time in my studio making a few decisions. The main pile of paper to the left of my desk didn't get a whole lot smaller, but it did get a little bit smaller.

However, as I was filing a catalog from that pile into my lovely alphabetically ordered magazine holders full of clothing, craft, art and needlework catalogs, I decided it was time to cull a few ... to make some decisions.

I ended up throwing out the majority of the catalogs! I went from nine cardboard magazine holders down to one not-completely-filled holder. All the rest of the catalogs went into the trash. There were about 25 pounds of old catalogs!

The oldest one? From 1993!

Since I gained a full shelf of space, I removed the magazine holders and put my photography equipment on that shelf. The tripods, instruction books, reflectors and other assorted doo-dads are now readily accessible near my tabletop photo studio.

Decision by decision, I can make my home a tidier, calmer, more peaceful place where it will be easier to create the things I love.

Sunday Secrets: February 01, 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.

These three secrets amused me today.

I know this album! Love it!
Hmmm. What would he be trying to say?

Oh, brother. This seems so silly to me.
That much vanity? Really?
I will, however, get up and brush my teeth.

I used to dream of being a well-known singer.
I thought it would be great to have the world love me.
No more.
I found out I already am 'somebody'
And I am loved.