Saturday, July 24, 2010


I was thinking at work earlier this week (I do some of my best thinking whilst my hands are occupied with morning work), about what makes me happy. See, I'm still in the midst of life change. My identity has slowly been changing. There was a time that my name was either 'Mom', or "hey, Ben&Robert's Mom" or "Cat's Mom"....I heard that so regularly that I'd have to check my work badge to figure out my real name...and then only had a 50/50 chance of getting it right. Now my sons are out in the world on their own and doing quite well. Ben is working a great job, engaged to a wonderful woman. Robert is working full time for a local business, dating a sweet girl, and the only person I know who fixes his car with items bought from Home Depot. Cat is still living at home, but it is often more a resting place for her active lifestyle. She's usually off at college, doing odd jobs or out with friends.

That just leaves me, the felines & the plants. I knew I had to take steps before I became some crazy cat lady who propagates plants for amusement (ok, maybe 20 houseplants is a bit much). So I have been adding to my life. I'm off in a few to play with race cars (no kidding).

Back to my thinking at work...I decided to make a list (making lists really does make me happy) of things & activities that make me happy. By doing this I can work towards continuing to build a happy life for myself. Some of the items on my list are: reading, sewing, crocheting, Tai Chi (have had three classes now!), listening to older people tell stories, spending time with friends, talking on the phone with Connie, sitting by the river, quiet moments with my kids, watching Dr Who, Eureka & Warehouse 13, writing fiction, holding babies at church, Farmers Market, making a home, baking cookies, sailing, making doll quilts, singing along with a good song... and that's just what I've come up with since then.

I've realized that what makes me happy are simple things. Guess I'm easy to make happy.

And never discount the joy of a magical Saturday morning!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

When did Barbie get so small? I know it has been years, and I do mean years, since my daughter last played with Barbies. I thought I had a clear memory of Barbie & all her friends. I was mistaken.

Perhaps it's because I've gotten used to the size of a ball-jointed dolls, that she seemed so small. I was asked to sew a couple of Barbie doll outfits for a friend, (a gift for her niece). I got the patterns, and cut the first dress out of a bright yellow fabric with random red squares on it. As I held the skirt piece up, I looked at how small it was, and how incredibly tiny the waist was. Could this really be right? Was the pattern somehow, shrunken? I began to sew it, but doubts assailed my mind. With the dress finished, I held it up. The entire dress (from a retro pattern) was only 5 or 6 inches tall. And the waist.... barely two fingers wide...maybe one.

Doubt heavy in my mind, I tried to think of who had daughters of the Barbie doll playing age. I called and asked a friend from church if her daughter would consider loaning me a standard size Barbie. After receiving the small blond doll at church, I took it home. The dress fit perfectly, and was quite cute too.

Later after making a pair of jeans, which took Cat (my daughter)'s nimble fingers to turn right side out, we both looked at their size with amazement.

We stood Barbie next to Chi (ball-jointed doll) and next to Mollie (an American Girl doll). The comparison was surprising. While was a bit shorter than Mollie (and half her width), they both towered above Barbie.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, as I spent years walking on both stray legos and Barbie's itsy bitsy teeny tiny high heel shoes, as I crossed the living room in the dark.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Morning Market 'Mazing Musings

This morning was incredible. It started simply, with me sleeping in until nearly 7:30 (for me that's late!), then heading off to the Farmer's Market. My usual shopping buddy had another obligation, so I went alone. So, I arrived there about 20 minutes after they opened. As I walked down the aisle in the outdoor wooden structure, I was amazed by the colors and scent. There was so much available, and at most of it was locally grown & seasonal. OK, really, this is not a running ad for the Farmer's Market.... really. I just really enjoy going there.

One of my earliest memories of doing something with just my dad & I is us going to the farmer's market in Royal Oak. At that time I could have cared less than about the veggies. What I really liked were the mini powdered sugar donuts and orange juice.

At this Farmer's Market, there is a restaurant on the second floor. Normally it's so crowded, I just grab a cinnamon roll for breakfast, but today it was surprisingly available. I grabbed a table, and perused the menu...looking at both the breakfast & lunch menus. I was surprised by the variety available to a vegetarian. Most restaurants seem to be meat-fests (nothing wrong with that, just not good for me). But the choices here... veggie chili, a variety of wraps, 'burgers', and omelets. And tofu had a section to itself. OK, I'm not a big fan of tofu (still seems like meat jello), but I'm warming up to it slowly. Today though, I settled for scrambled eggs, wheat toast and really fresh home fries. I sat sipping my tea (what else?) and watching the morning through the windows.... peaceful.

Anyways, today, today was amazing. I saw things I had to ask what were! I bought yellow zucchini, and baby onions so recently pulled from the ground they still have the roots attached. I also got fresh peas, still in the pods. I even got fresh corn...a locally grown, early maturing variety.

Oh, and I found the apron lady again...she's a really sweet old lady, with wispy hair, and gentle eyes. Her stall is never in the same place so she's always hard to find, but worth it. Her name is Veronica, and she actually had knitting needles nearby. Why was I looking for Veronica? She makes beautiful aprons (and dishcloths, purses, placements, etc). I bought that tulip apron from her before, and today bought a bib apron (it's the one under the veggies.) I had a pleasant time chatting with her.

Then, after filling my basket twice (what else would you shop at a market with than a medium market basket?), I decided to drive through downtown on my way home. Normally, this is a depressing drive, but not this time. Juxtaposed against the abandoned boarded up homes, and the occupied, but with barred windows, were clearly labeled community gardens! Right in the heart of downtown, I saw two separate, well-tended community gardens. What a sign of hope in a bleak landscape. I know it sounds corny (I can see my sons both rolling their eyes), but it filled my heart with hope.

I made blueberry pancakes (with fresh blueberries) for my daughter & her friend for brunch. Tonight I'm cooking up a whole mess of fresh veggies for dinner. The joy of this morning will last far far longer than the fruit & veggies will...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moving very slowly

A year or so ago, I took inspiration from my son Robert, and wrote out my 'Bucket List'. Yesterday, I began working on fulfilling one item from that list. #9 Take Tai Chi. Ever since I was a little kid, and first saw it on TV, it fascinated me. Then I lived in California for a couple of years. On a rare vacation, I ended up traveling beside a beach on the coast. There, in the breaking light of morning, I saw a group of older people, all quietly moving in unison, performing Tai Chi. It was hauntingly beautiful, and my resolve to learn it was solidified.

I've searched for a class, and tried books and videos. The books were confusing, and the videos, well, I tended to procrastinate so long I had to return them. As for a class, I have not found one. Until now.

The hospital I work for has a program called McHealthy (yeah, I've heard the jokes). Through it I can use the various gyms owned by the hospital (we are Borg, we own everybody). I can also take a variety of classes, including yoga, zumba, and now Tai Chi. As soon as I saw the class announcement, I called and registered. Turns out I was the first on the roster.

A bit nervous, I headed for my first class yesterday. First, I got lost, as I was on the wrong floor! Finally, I found the class, and waited for others to show up. A half hour later, the class began...and of the half sheet of people who showed up, I was the only one who showed up. (It was the day after a major holiday, might have contributed). Still, the instructor still, well, instructed. She explained the history & benefits of Tai Chi, and then showed me the complete movements. Then we began to break it down. I learned several movements, and that I need to move sssllllloowwweerrrr..... The lesson was enjoyable, and I looked forward until next week.

I couldn't stop smiling...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fear of Fun

As I thought about the past month, the month I took a hiatus from Farmville (ok, if you are gasping and feeling week from the thought, just breathe deeply, and clutch your keyboard 'til the sensasation passes), I tried to calculate just how much writing I actually got done. See, the reason for my hiatus (deep breaths) was to finish the book I began during NaNoWriMo. Did I? No. But I am closer...

I am a champion, gold medalist procrastinator. For some odd reason, I put off things I enjoy if they take any effort to begin. Now reading is simple... you sit down, open the book (I have books in at least 4 handy places) and begin. Ahh... But for writing, you have to turn on the puter, open the word doc, find where you left off, and then begin. Same with sewing. You have to move the clutter from the craft table, find the supplies, get them get the idea.

So no, I didn't get much done on the book. However, I did craft an article, the longest I've written, and submitted it to the Guideposts Annual Writing Contest. And I did write a chapter or two for the book. So, I am encouraged. And even today... as the last batch of cookies cooled (choc chip & snickerdoodles), I made myself sit down, and begin this...

So I think with some serious discipline, and self permission to put forth the effort to have fun (and a lack of new books to read), I'll work harder this month. And still find time Afterwards, to do a wee bit of farming. (feel better now?)