Monday, June 28, 2010

Self Portrait

Nearing the End of a Journey

I've not been blogging because I've been on a solo trip. From north Idaho, east through Montana and south through Wyoming and Colorado to Denver where I helped my daughter and son-in-law pack and clean. They made it to their new home in Las Vegas, Nevada today.

In the mean time, I drove through southern Wyoming and across the lower part of Idaho. I've lived here since 1980 and had never seen that part of the state!

I got to visit a cross-stitch shop along the way and got some nice new stash. Hope to share that here on my blog before too long.

Then I had a fabulous evening with the parents of a dear childhood friend. I hadn't seen them in about 25 years!

This morning I had the chance to practice being assertive with hotel staff. I received an excellent result for stepping up and speaking up.

Today was a long day of driving through Boise, then north on the winding and narrow highways up through my beloved Idaho. I took many a photo along the way. I hope to share some of them, too.

Tonight I have an evening in Lewiston -- the town where I graduated from college. I had dinner with an old friend. Afterwards, he took me on a short driving tour of the town, showing me some changes. It's been a long time. Long time.

So as I sat here before my computer, up far, far too late, catching up with my buddies on Facebook, I glanced up and liked the reflection I saw in the mirror above the desk. I recognized something in my face -- reflection, introspection, a certain peace knowing this solo journey has been successful. Sure, there were bobbles along the way. But as the wisest man I know says, "Mid Course Corrections."

I made those. I did it. I am capable.

Time to grab my camera once more. Time to catch this instant in time when I felt a bit of the courage and confidence that resides within.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Macro Monday - In the Lilac Bush

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.

Lilac & Fly

This is another of my photos from the walk around the neighborhood. The day this image was captured, the lilac bushes were fading. Most of the blossoms had begun to turn brown, the petals falling to the ground.

But I found this one bush that was planted in a lot of shade, so the blossoms bloomed later than its neighbors. The larger image had quite a number of brown spots, and then this one nice cluster of just-opened buds.

When I took the image into my paint program, I thought the dot on the bud with just another flaw, another brown spot. Imagine my surprise and delight to realize I'd *accidentally* captured a fly!

Now he's become the star of the shot.

What I really love about this image is how the variations in shade and texture make this image look like a watercolor painting. This is fast becoming one of my personal all-time favorite photographs.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Outside and in Bed

Another photo from my walk around the neighborhood. Love these pink and red tulip beauties.

Tucked in Bed

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Passionate Purple

More photo adventures around my neighborhood. The lovely purple tulips were bending to the whims of the breeze. They're so striking against the green of the lawn.

Graceful Reach

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book: Sir Charlie

Look what arrived by UPS today!

Sir Charlie, a biography geared toward middle-school age children, is the story of Charlie Chaplin. It was written by well-known and award-winning children's author Sid Fleischman. Mr. Fleischman may be best known for the Newbery Award book, The Whipping Boy.

Sadly, Sid died this spring just after his 90th birthday.

Besides being a gifted writer, Sid also loved magic. A mutual friend knew him well through the brotherhood of magicians. In the front of this tome, you'll see this book is dedicated to that friend.

I am lucky enough to be the owner of several books signed by this author. I will treasure them always. Too bad Sid didn't live to see this volume in print. I wish he could sign this book, too.

Maybe I'll get my friend to sign the dedication page instead.

Photo: Sid Fleischman autographing books for me

When the Trees Bloom

This photo is from a few weeks back when the cherry trees that line the road in front of Polites Park at the end of my block were in full bloom.

A rare sunny day.

We're back to gloom and storms today, so this image is a nice reminder of the weather soon to come.

Along the Centennial Trail

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lock It!

On my walk around the neighborhood ...
a rusty chain locked to a stile

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cluster of Joy

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.

I live in a neighborhood graced with wonderful gardeners.
When I go for my walks,
I get to see all kinds of beautiful flowering plants
that I don't know how to grow in my own yard.

The colors and shades make me burst with joy!

Sunday Secrets: June 13, 2010

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, I these three secrets caught my attention:

I used to conform to the men in my life a lot.
I don't have the same urge or pressure
to conform any more,

though I am still malleable enough
to adapt where needed.

Actions speak much louder than words
(but I *am* sorry!)

Indeed it does!
Plug your brain in!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Great Day to Celebrate

I went shopping at
Bed Bath & Beyond
for dishcloths.

I didn't find any.

But I did find this lighthearted birthday card. The image
made me feel happy.
So I bought it
"Just Because."

I had to post it today. After what feels like weeks and weeks of rain and gloom, we have a beautiful north Idaho day today. Sunny. Clear skies. Temperatures to reach into the high 7os! Great day for a "top down" ride in the convertible.

I also found this Jim Brickman CD and bought it for myself as a treat.

Such beautiful piano music
From the Heart. You really ought to give it a listen.

Time to go outside and blow some bubbles while lying in my hammock! Life is good.

It's a great day to celebrate and play with balloons ...
even if it's not your birthday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Walk in the Rain

Red Leaf Maple

I walked home from breakfast at Denny's yesterday.
The rain was subsiding;
just a bit of mist remained in the air.
Water droplets graced the leaves.
I was the fortunate witness.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our Iris

Our Iris

When we moved into our home 17 years ago, the entire hill on the north side of the house was covered in purple iris. Over the years we found it necessary to remove most of the tubers. But a few hearty ones remain. This volunteer bloomed in it's full glory today.

Another camera phone photo! I'm so impressed by the detail it can capture.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Iris Eye

Iris Eye

Irises of all colors are popping up in north Idaho. What I like about this purple beauty is the secret stripes you find when you look into the depth of the flower.

This is another shot taken with my camera phone. I'm impressed with the images I can capture with my new toy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Secrets: June 06, 2010

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, I liked these three in particular.

The name of this image is: p.s. I think you're cute
Well, that's one trick I never tried ...
causing an accident to get a guy's address.

My all time favorite jobs have been working in libraries.
I hope they all get to hang in and keep their jobs, too.

As a vocalist, I know this sentiment all too well.
I'm glad I got to sing for so many.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On Prayer and Friendship

I have a problem. Pretty big problem, actually. Gets in the way a lot.

I want the world to love me.

I want to be known for who I am, what I believe, the way my mind works. I want people to laugh at my jokes -- at least a mercy chuckle (I'm aware that some of my attempts at humor are real groaners). I want people to look past my appearance and into my eyes and heart. I'm deep, and I want to know others as I want them to know me. I ask a lot of questions. I expect thoughtful, truthful answers. I've been told I expect too much.

Trouble is, that isn't how the world works. Most of the time, situations call for me to be shallow and superficial. It's not a good fit.

Eleven years ago over dinner at a Souplantation, a wise man told me, "Margaret, not everyone is going to like you." I bristled at those words. I did not want to believe them.

But now, I see he was right. I still don't like those words;
I do believe.

In the last decade, quite a number of friends and a few siblings have fallen away from me. I don't think I pushed them (though they may have a different view of the story). But for one reason or another, these people who were so important to me left my life. I've attempted to contact the majority of them, but either elicit no reply or I receive a response that is obviously stand-offish. The polite folks issue an acknowledgement, but not an invitation to renew a deeper bond.

Makes me sad.

I know that life circumstances change. I realize that the nature of relationships must alter to fit current status. But, well, it just plain sucks that the change means these folks no longer wish to have conversations with me. I counted some as my best friends for a season. Some seasons gratefully lasted quite a long time. So long, in fact, that I did not anticipate the ending.

I feel like I'm standing at the top of a hill, waving. But these important people walked away without a final goodbye. They forgot to wave back. They didn't tell me that their "See you later" really meant "Goodbye." So I stand at the hill crest, bittersweet in my longing for their company.

This does not serve me well. It saps my energy. It keeps me from looking forward to the relationships that lie ahead. Worse, it saps energy from those standing beside me right now, seeking my time and attention.

So today I make a resolve. Since I cannot have the conversations I wish with these friends, I will offer a little prayer. Instead of feeling sorry for myself because the season of friendship is over, I will whisper a wave of gratitude that these wonderful folks graced my life, shared a bit of their spirit, and opened my eyes and heart to new ideas, new pleasures, new connection.

If indeed "Prayer is like a conversation between friends separated across time and space," then that will have to do. My friends need the time and space. They need distance from the intensity that is Margaret. Instead of tussling with that void, I'll fill the space with gratitude. After all, the person wrestling with emptiness will never pin their opponent.

May my prayer be the conversation; may these dear ones receive my gratitude. May that be enough.

From my point of view, the bridge is not burned, the mailbox remains unlocked, the phone will be answered, the door will be opened. Perhaps one day, these lovely people will walk back into my life and be willing to share their hearts and journeys with me once more.

In the mean time, I can pour my energy into the people that love me and want me right here, right now.

May that be enough.

Friday, June 4, 2010

RIP Catherine

The most beautiful, spunky, irreverent, compassionate, vital woman I've ever known has passed away. I'm sure her husband and two sons welcomed her with open arms ... as we released her from our embrace.

We met at St. George's Quilters when she was 80 something. She sat there with a big smile on her face and a bow in her hair, needle in hand. She didn't do much sewing. It hurt her hands too much. Her job was to sit and chat and entertain us and show us what it means to grow old gracefully, with a lot of love.

She showed us the wonder of tears in all circumstances. She showed us what it is to bring more love into your life, even as those you love most die. She lived just past her 95th birthday, last May 14 (same birthday as my mom).

Catherine, I want to be just like you when I grow up.
I think I have the spunky and irreverent part nailed down.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gratitude: Routine

Today I am grateful for routine.

Getting up.
Making a bed.
Helping my daughter gather what she needs for school.
Kissing my husband good-bye as he heads off to work, the promise of a phone call later on to check on how the day is progressing.
Facebook updates.
An e-mail pass.
Then "puttering the house into fabulous" via the weekly home blessing.

Last week was simply "too much."
Too much drama with friends and extended family.
Too much confusion and "ah-ha" and waiting and trusting as my daughter Jodie was in pain, then diagnosed, then was admitted to the hospital to have her appendix removed.
Too much sleep deprivation.
Too much of our normal life out of whack.

So today my gratitude rests in the normal, the routine, the underlying structures that keep my life flowing. It's ok to wade in a pool behind a dam for a short while, but when the dam gets unjammed, it's even better to move with the forward flow of my life.

* * * * *

Weekly Gratitude
For 52 weeks, count your blessings and document them once each week