Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hollering into the void

It all started when I spilled my tea on my stat sheet....not the recommended way to get caffeine into one's system...or maybe it began when I had to claw my way out of bed.  I saw this Calvin & Hobbes cartoon once.  Calvin was trying to get out of bed, and his blanket kept grabbing him and wrestling him back into bed.  This happened for three frames, until the final one, where his mother, off frame, calls out to him, "Calvin!  Get up!  You'll be late for school!"  To which he replies, "I'm trying!"  That picture came to mind this morning, when if felt like my quilt was also wrestling me back to a warm bed, aided & abetted by my pillow and my teddy bear/body pillow.  I'm so glad I live so close to work...I punched in at one minute to!

Every now & again, I have a day where I blunder through it seemingly aimlessly, running into things, dropping stuff, forgetting stuff.  A Keystone cops' kind of day, if you know your silent film icons at all.  I told a coworker, who's birthday I KNOW is tomorrow, well, today I said happy birthday to her.  After spilling tea on my stat sheet.  After over brewing it cause I forgot about it (I prefer tea brewed to perfection, not so long you could dance on top of it!)  After nearly dropping two breakable dishes of potluck offerings (at least got that day right!).  I decided right then & there to stick to non-breakable mugs for the remainder of the day.  And not attempt to repair anything.

It's the kind of day to stick to routine, to established routes, and simple recipes. And hope I survive.

I figure that if I'm on a roller-coaster kind of day, I might as well enjoy the ride, and laugh at the funny parts, even if I'm in the middle of them.  And I did.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Poem

I haven't written poetry in years, but I used to use it to write myself out of depressive moods.  This was my first attempt to literally change my mood from dark to light within a poem itself.  Since I find myself fighting such a mood again, I thought I'd share this with you.  I've gotten two reactions from it when I've shown it to others once before--one thought I needed serious counseling.  The other found it hilarious.  See what you think...

A Change

Tumultuous tidings herald the day, dismal tone set within,
A veritable requiem of death, fraught with murky images,
Despair slowly creeps slimy fingers 'round a cheerful heart,
Stifling, squeezing, crushing the pale fragment of life within,
Light quickly diminishes; the air, a thick, unbreathable mist,
Sadness takes stranglehold; hope falls into misty void....

But wait....

Brief shaft of brightness pierces the veil of cloudy despair,
Offering freedom, the fragmented shell within, dismal void.
Frantically clutching, straining, for soul-reaching light,
Creative heart struggles, misses, grasps again, success!

Bathing in beauteous light, on gentle breath of fragrant song,
Misery-laden wings shake of misty chains, take flight,
Soaring free, joyously buoyed by perfumed winds.....
Gaining thunderous speed, races towards friend-filled horizons.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The View from Beside the Fence

There I sat, parked by the side of a fence in the employee area of Ren Faire, being serenaded by heart pounding drums, and voices raised in song.  When that faded away, I heard my favorite sound--a single bagpipe playing Amazing Grace.  At the second verse, he was joined by drums and a chorus of other bagpipers.  The wondrous sound lifted up through the grove and towards the heavens.

I was waiting to pick up my daughter, who's part of the talented resident cast of Holly's Renaissance Faire. She spends her weekends working (some would say playing) in the Children's Dell, as Wildflower, the fairy. 

I listened to the drums, as they pounded out a rhythm that had me dancing in my seat, I was people watching.  What I saw was a complete juxtaposition betwixt the Renaissance and our modern age.  I watched as gypsy dancers walked by, the coin bedecked belts around their toned waists jingling with every step.  They climbed into a SUV.  I saw several pirates heading out, carrying oars, treasure trunks and swords.  I watch in amazement as one pirate playfully threatened several village folk, who were trying to drive off in a mud splattered jeep.  Then two other pirates drove off on a motorcycle.  Next I saw a group of peasant dancers walked by, one in earnest conversation on her cell phone.  Another was listening and head bopping to the music on her mp3 player. I saw a tiny fairy lugging a huge suitcase.

What I noticed the most was a general sense of camaraderie.  Cast members called out to one another.  Many hugs were joyfully exchanged.  I especially enjoyed watching a mixed group of village women, pirates and a stray gypsy, who stopped to admire an elderly pirates full flowing white beard.  Picture a fit version of Santa, dressed as a Renaissance pirate.  His beard was quite impressive.  And apparently, soft.

I've heard stories from my daughter, but now I've seen the truth of the big hearted, caring group of people who make up the resident cast of our Renaissance Faire.  Hope to see you there this weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Joy of Monotony

I know. It's a weird blog title.  But it makes sense.  Bear with me for a moment. 

I enjoy creating with my hands.  Obviously, I like to write, both on a keyboard, and on a white legal pad using a hand made pen, infused with Scottish magic.  But that's another blog....

I also love to crochet, as can be shown by the picture to the left.  It started out as a normal scarf, to be worn with a long denim winter coat I owned.  The scarf grew, seemingly on it's own, to the proper, perhaps even normal length for a long scarf.  By then, I was enjoying myself far too much, and inspired by the 4th Doctor, had to continue on until it was long enough to wear touching below both knees and looped generously around my neck.  I regretfully no longer own that wondrous coat, but the scarf of legends remains.  It's very useful.  It can be used as a hat, or wrapped around my arms, as a band to sweep snow off a car.

I also love to braid denim into a rug, hand sew, and cross stitch.  I dabble in embroidery.  But the lure of yarn is always there.  I don't even know how to read a pattern...I just continue on, making square or rectangular things.  I know my children are afraid I'll slipcover the entire building in crochet.

What do all these things have in common?  Repetitive motion with the hands.  Saying that sounds, well, monotonous.  And it is.  But that's a good thing.  Why?

When I pick up my latest crochet project (a lap blanket), and begin, a sense of peace falls.  I am lulled by the repeated motion.  Stick the hook into the back loop.  Twist the yarn around. Pull it through. And so on.  Rinse, repeat.  This lulling motion allows my mind to drift.  I either watch tv (sci fy channel), or talk to a friend, or simply think.  Crafting with my hands is my best thinking time.  It's very relaxing.  I'm certain my heart rate lowers. 

Try it sometime...pick up a repetitive motion craft.  It doesn't have to be 'girly'.  I've worked on hand sewing while a friend worked on making chain mail.  By hand.  It involved wire, snips, and some muscle to wrap that wire around a stick.  But it's the same.

Try it, and let me know what you experience.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today I was working on a exercise from the book, The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. In this particular exercise, I was directed to write down five imaginary lives.  If you had five imaginary lives, what would you do? I went into this exercise with an open mind, and jotted down the first thing that came to mind.  And it surprised me. 

For my first imaginary life, I'd be a pie baker for a diner.  Some home style diner on Main Street in Small Town America.  I could actually see the diner in my mind.  A long counter top, with stools filled with regulars.  Several 2 and 4 tops scattered strategically in a small, but open feeling space.  Bright sunlight drifting in through sparkling windows.  A chalkboard above the griddle advertising the day's specials, including the famous blue plate special...served on an actual blue plate!  Behind that counter, serving up coffee and pie, would be an older woman, wearing a starched uniform, and homey looking apron.  Her name is Mabel, and she's worked there all her life.  She knows everyone, and if they order 'the usual', she knows exactly what they mean.

And there I'd be,  back in the kitchen, rolling out dough for pies.  There's an art to making pie dough.  Do it wrong, and you have something inedible and tough enough to resole your shoes with.  Do it right, and you have a flaky, tasty creation, fit to hold the fragrant filling within.  My specialty would be (and is) apple pie.  Made with two kinds of apples, liberally spiced with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, freshly ground.  There would be strawberry pie in the summer, and pumpkin pie in the fall.  And bubbly blueberry pie, served warm with melty vanilla ice cream.  And in the ice box display case would be banana cream & a tall chocolate dream pie.  Mmm....

When I had a spare moment, I'd slip out and chat with the customers, and slip fresh snickerdoodle cookies to the kids.  It would be hard work, but very satisfying.  

I'm not sure what the point of the imaginary lives exercise is, but can't wait to find out more.....

Thank you for sharing this momentary vision with me.... Mmm..now I want a piece of warm apple pie.  Hey, I do have two kinds of apples in the fridge right now!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A bright moment in my day

The best part of my day today took all of 3 minutes.  I have this gorgeous hutch desk.  The fold out desk part had a screw missing on the hinge that supports it open.  It's been this way for a couple of months now.  Every time I'd open it, I'd think, gee...need to get that fixed.  Then I'd dump something on the desk, close it up and walk away.  Well, today I finally decided to clean up the pile on that desk top.  When I found the actual wood top again (took a while!), I remembered the missing screw.  My first thought was, gee, need to call Loyd and see if he'll fix it.  (The man can fix anything, create anything out of wood).  My next thought was, duh...first try to fix it myself.  So I did.  I only had to try two different screws to find the right one that fit.  But the best part was the feeling of accomplishment.  I did it myself.

I read an article in a magazine recently, that was discussing the benefits of doing manual things.  Cooking a meal from scratch.  Knitting a scarf.  Repairing an engine.  The actual act of doing something with your hands gives a feeling of accomplishment that actually has benefits beyond the obvious.  The act of doing can help ease depression, increase a person's sense of well being. 

I learned the value of taking care of things from my parents.  If a sock has a rip, mend it.  The pole from your artificial Christmas tree snap in half?   Well, we had that happen....and my dad repaired it, and we used it for years.  (think they still do).  I also learned the joy of making things, and cooking from scratch from them. 

So, yes, today my brightest moment came from replacing a missing screw.  Tomorrow it might be from sewing a quilt square.  I am happiest when I'm doing something.  Try it!  And let me know how it makes you feel.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Supreme Summer

Since moving to my lovely apartment, I've been enjoying the seasons so much more.  I think it's in part the relief of having maintenance to do the repairs, and in part because this place is so filled with light.  I sit here, at my antique secretary desk (as a child, I repaired the chips at the corner of this old, beautiful piece, by filling those chips in with Elmers glue.  Surprisingly, still there.), at half past 8 at night, and I have a window to my left and one in front of me.  I can see brilliant green grass, the branches of trees out both windows, and am listening to the birds chirping a chorus.  Beautiful!

Summer brings to mind ice cream, cut off denim shorts, and pool-side chats.  I remember summers as a child.  I'd ride my tricycle around the sidewalks, and sometimes on the grass. I played for hours in the sandbox my father made for me.  I ran through the horseshoe shaped sprinkler with my sister and brother.  And we drank kool-aide by the gallons.

I remember summers spent on my trusty green ten-speed, ranging all over Sterling Heights, with my best friend.  We rode our bikes, wearing those too short cut off jeans, raveling at the edges, until we were tired, or bored. Then we'd stop, and split a two litre of Pepsi.  Always Pepsi.  I don't even know why.

Years later, I was the one hooking up a sprinkler, making the kool-aide, and buying those bikes.  The sound of my children's laughter as they played in the water is a precious memory to me. 

I still have that ten speed, though it's living down in my basement storage room.  One day soon, I'll pull it out, take it to that bike place in Swartz Creek, and get new tires, and thingies greased.  I still wear denim, though now it's full length jeans, or my favorite faded capris.  And I still have that best friend, and it's stronger than ever. 

Though I have traded the sprinkler for the apartment's pool, and do laps instead of cannon balls, there is no doubt that it's still summer.  The days are long and full of sunlight.  And the ice cream is still cold and delicious.  Mmm...chocolate chip mint.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Waterford Hills Racetrack

Some of you may wonder where I disappeared to this weekend. Others know exactly where I was, because they were there right beside me.  The place where I spent the weekend, at is the same place I used to go with my dad. When I was still in elementary school, sometimes my dad would take me, my sister & brother to a racetrack, maybe an hour away from where we lived.

I spent many hours watching racing at Waterford Hills Racetrack.  There were, what I thought of as Indy cars, racing, and regular cars. I always cheered on the VW bug, cause I loved those cars (yep, cause of Herbie).  Still do.

Fast forward a few years, to 2008, the year my youngest child graduated, and I decided to volunteer in the paddock.  I asked my friend, Erik (a flagger) about the various jobs available.  Being a typical engineer type, I got a 3 page email, describing the different jobs (with emphasis on how cool flagging was).  I choose working Grid.  What's that?  What does a Grid girl (or guy) do?  We check drivers' safety equipment, grid them (line them up in their slots based on qualifying), and get them out onto the track, as well as emergency duties.  What is Grid?  It's the 30 space 'parking lot', where cars line up before heading out onto track.

What is it like?  Imagine this.  Standing at the center of Grid, with my eyes closed, between races.  I get the very essence of Waterford Hills racetrack--Excitement.  The sun beats mercilessly down on my head, causing sweat to bead on my forehead, despite being shaded by my pink Corvette baseball hat.  My red t-shirt, a size too big, emblazoned with 3 inch high letters spelling out G R I D on my back-my shirt feels like I'm wearing saran wrap.  Yet, I'm happy.

I can hear the open wheel cars as they thunder by pit lane, heading towards turn 1.  I hear the cry of joy as crew members witness their driver passing the car in front, and pull out into the lead.  I hear the jangle of a harness as a dog is walked across grid.  The sound of laughter tickles as children play in the shade of their camper, parked nearby in Paddock.  I can smell the exhaust of so many vehicles, and the waft of grilling bratwurst coming from the snack shack. 

I hear the sound of happiness, and running feet, as the crew and family of the winning driver race towards pit lane, to witness the feat.  I watch as the bright orange car drives around the track, holding aloft the treasured checkered flag.  The fans cheer as he takes his victory lap.

I went to the two race weekends this past month, wondering if I was going to continue doing this.  After this past weekend, there is no doubt.  I am staying; I enjoy it too much.  I feel so much a part of Waterford, have made good friends, and great memories.  I can hardly wait for the next race weekend to arrive!

Be seeing you all soon!  I'll be the one in the red shirt, pink hat, and yellow whistle. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Poof!  What happened?  Life intervened a little too well, and I seem to have dropped off the grid for a month or so. (No, Jamie, I don't mean the Grid wherein I wear a red shirt and hassle, er, keep drivers safe.) I apologize for my long absence and promise to do all I can to not repeat it in the future.

So, it's finally summer.  My deck garden is getting tall and green!  I've a few small baby peppers growing, and one big one that I'm waiting until it ripens to red before I pick it.  No tomatoes yet, though both heirloom plants are as tall as the deck rail. Actually, the stripey one took a tumble and broke in half, but it's recovering.  I've had to hack, er, prune the herbs.  Though the three, oregano, basil & mint, are together in a modest container, they seem intent on world domination, starting with my deck.  The strawberries have run their course and are now a pretty green leafy plant.  And the two pots containing flower seeds from packets that had the year 1959 are actually growing. Slowly, but there are plants growing!  Wow.

My friend, Andrea, asked me why she hadn't heard about me writing much lately.  I realized I have also taken an inadvertent hiatus from one of my great passions-writing.  Let this blog be my statement of renewal.  I am writing again henceforth.  (mentally, I'm hearing thunderous music, and a guy shouting Ta Da!)

My other passion, I have been indulging greatly in.  I have been reading Rick Roirden's series (Yes, they are young adults, or teen books, but that's a genre I enjoy, and want to write.)  I've also been reading several quilting books and ones on vegan cooking. No, I'm not vegan; I love cheese too much. 

Pet peeve- people who utter, 'oh, reading?  I don't have time to read.'  So, I ask them. 'do you smoke?'.  Usually, the answer is yes.  See, I find the same mini pockets of time to read that the busiest person finds to smoke.  And reading is a whole lot healthier.  Reading is like exercise for your eyes and mind.  It's a mini trip without the gas prices.  It's learning something new.  It's an adventure, and excitement, all in a handheld, easily operated device.  A book.

Enough rambling thoughts. I'm back. I'm writing.  I'm always reading, and interested in what you all are reading, or suggestions for books/series to read next. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Musings on Ice Cream

It's extremely hot outside right now.  Hot enough that after taking a shower the minute I got home from work, that I'm now cold in contrast.  I am very thankful for the modern convenience of central air.  I have even been brave enough to try the air in my cruiser, on occasion. Not today though...today, despite the heat, what I call hill billy air conditioning worked quite well.  Hill billy air conditioning=roll down the windows & drive fast. 

I remember summers as a child. I had never even conceived of even an air conditioner until I saw one at my Uncle Paul's house.  We simply used fans at home, wore shorts & tank tops, and drank sweet tea (or kool-aide).  When it got too hot, we would run through the sprinkler.  Our sprinkler was cool...it was different than our neighbors.  Instead of waffling back & forth, ours was in a horse-shoe shape, and the spray would jet up like a reverse Niagara Falls.  My sister & little brother & I would run back & forth through the spray.  Invariably, one of us (usually me) would pick up the horseshoe, and try to chase the others with it.  Always got in trouble for that one...and you can't run far when the sprinkler is attached to a hose! 

The best part of summer was always ice cream.  My parents often took us to this ice cream place in Berkley (MI, not Calif).  There I would have my choice between vanilla, chocolate, or a twist.  I always chose the twist.  Then I would sit on a picnic table to simultaneously enjoy my cone and drive my sister nuts.  I would slowly lick my ice cream, bit by bit.....  My sister, having finished nearly half of hers, would ask me why I was eating so slow.  I'd answer 'I'm savoring it.'  Don't know where I learned that word at such a young age, but I knew it, and knew the answer would drive her nuts.  Then of course it'd be time to leave, and my parents would tell me to finish my cone, and I would...the last one to do so.  (so mean!)

Then there was the magic of the ice cream truck.... Ding ding ding.  The sound would call us outside, to run after the slow moving truck.  Sometimes I would get a treat from the truck, sometimes I wouldn't.  Though I learned quick that if one parent said no, to NOT ask the other one. I got in so much trouble once when I did that...

Even now, I count ice cream as one of my favorite foods (pizza, jelly beans are some others).  The best hard pack ice cream is choc chip mint.  MMmm.... and it has to be the green kind.  White choc chip mint is somehow, wrong...it just is.  Though since my daughter Melody (formerly known as Cat) started working at a business near a DQ, I've been tempted by them.  Their peanut butter buster sundae is scrumdidlyunpteous!  Mmm...now I want ice cream....

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Vacation Memories

A friend of mine is taking a vacation starting tomorrow. That started me thinking about the yearly vacations I took with my family as a kid.  We always started way before the sun was up.  My younger siblings and I would stumble through the morning darkness, somehow feeling like we were doing something naughty, being up at such an hour.  We'd pile in the back seat, with the usual argument about who had to sit in the middle seat.  With paper grocery sacks filled with our toys at our feet, we'd buckle in, and begin the journey, quietly at first. 

The sun would slowly rise as we traveled down the road.  My sister & I would start watching out the windows, looking for the sign. There!  As soon as we spotted the gigantic Tire at the side of the freeway, we'd start clamouring for breakfast.  My mother would pass back styrofoam cups, plastic spoons, and those nifty mini boxes of cereal.  I loved those!  So many choices!  We would eat our cereal in the cups, with milk from a thermos. 

As the hours wore on, well, we were typical kids.  In the days before handheld games, cell phones and mobile movies, we had only our toys and imaginations to entertain ourselves.  Inevitably, one of us would get bored.  And that one would decide to annoy his or her siblings.  Not me, of course. 

"Mom!  She poked me."  "Mom!  He breathed on me."  "Moooomm!  Her hot sticky leg is touching me!"  And of course, the old trick of waving your hand above, in front of, near, but Not touching.... And then it'd happen.  "Don't make me pull this car over." 


We would eventually get to our destination.  Sometimes it was Faribault Minnesota, to see my Great Great Uncle Paul & Aunt Ethel.  We'd go fishing, harvest corn from 'communial' fields (just duck if you see a car), and eat the most incredible gingerbread cookies I've ever had. 

We would often go to Canada.  I grew up with Canada as my playground.  We went mostly to Tobemory.  To find Tobemory, look at the Bruce Peninsula, and there at the very tip jutting into the Georgian Bay, that's Tobemory.  It's a quiet harbor, near the Georgian Bay National Park.  There are sunken ships we'd view through glass bottomed boats.  There was the Flower Pot island we wandered about (and those pesky black flies). But mostly we stayed in the marina, at this cute motel. It was a safe place, and my sister and I were allowed to wander to the stores, unaccompanied!  What freedom!  And the snacks available there...so different than back home.  I drank Five Alive (a juice blend sold in cans), and ate Milkshake bars, and lots and lots of Crunchie bars.  They are still my absolute favorite candy bars!  Mm....

The best part about vacations was always coming home.  Somehow, home seemed a more precious place, after spending a few weeks on the road.  Back home, where my beloved teddy bear, Great Big, awaited.  All my barbies, and all my books.  The back yard where I played in the sand box for hours.  The street where my friends and I would play badminton, moving aside as cars came by.  Home. 

Have a great vacation, Ro!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Joy filled Day

Today was a joy filled day.  I didn't spend it floating in a sailboat on a lake, nor resting in a sunbeam on a pretty quilt.  No.  I spent most of the day working.  But first I got to drive through the darkness of a brand new morning, to pick up my daughter Melody (formerly known as Cat).  I am starting to grow very fond of Swartz Creek.  There are some really quaint looking shops that I hope to visit sometime soon, instead of just sailing on past.  (It'd help if I wasn't always going through there early morning or late at night!). 

Then I spent most of the day at work, with a quick sun filled errand in the middle.  As I drove down Morrish road, with the wind blowing my hair into a tangle, and a baroche concerto playing at a louder volume than Mozart intended, I realized that the feeling bubbling up in my was pure happiness.  I kept smiling...it wouldn't stop.  Giggles bubbled out of me. 

I have a great job, a coworker who is a close friend, a beautiful apartment with a deck garden that's sprouting, a wonderful cruiser to drive, a family church nearby.....and a world of possibilities ahead of me.  I have books to read, more coming from the library (it takes constant feeding to satisfy my reading addiction), a story that I'm nearly done writing (soon as I get my backside reglued to my chair again), several hand crafts waiting, and racing season has started!  So much to be happy over.

So this post may be unintentionally a bit boring, but I'll gladly shout out that amazing phrase: I'm happy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gardening on the deck

My obsession with gardening began at a very early age.  My earliest memory is of sitting next to the garden (I was like maybe 1 or 2), while my mother weeded. I remember reaching out and picking a green bean, and then eating it, dirt and all. When I'd play in the yard as a small child, I would 'plant' flowers in the sand box.  As I got older, I helped my father with his garden.  We'd grow vegetables in the small plot at the back of the yard, and tomatoes between the fence and the driveway.  Later, I started transplanting pretty plants (translate that to weeds) to the space behind the garage.  I don't know how, but I really got stuff to grow back there!  In fact, the creeping ivy that I started there creeped out from behind the garage, and began to take over the entire lawn!

As I got older, and after multiple readings of The Secret Garden, I got to have my own garden plot.  I don't remember just what I grew, just how much I enjoyed doing so.  In the years that followed, I had several gardens.  I read this book about Square Foot Gardening, and proceeded to double dig down 2 feet, and added to the soil (after unearthing bricks and old tonka trucks).  I had a great garden that year, even though the birds did eat part of our corn.  Then we moved. I tried it again. We moved again. 

I never gave up. I've done vegetable gardens in rented houses, home owned places, and now here at my apartment.  I have a beautiful deck, and in containers I am growing herbs, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, and my daughter is growing strawberries.

What is it about gardens?  Is it the scent & feel of the dirt in your hands?  Or is it watching those seeds slowly pop out of the earth, and shoot upwards...eventually giving way to big vegetable laden plants?  Or is the joy of eating produce you grew yourself?  I don't honestly know.  What I do know is that I come from a long line of farmers.  My mother says I am just like my father.  The first thing I do when I get home is to walk out onto my deck, and check on my garden.  My father does the same thing...checks on his plants as soon as he gets home.  Being compared to my father, that is high praise. 

I can't wait until I can see how my striped heirloom tomatoes, and red carrots turn out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's been all cloudy and gloomy out for the past couple of days.  Thunder, lightening, dark broody clouds...this is what I see when I peek out of the windows at work, through my car window, and as I sit on my sofa looking through my window wall.  Darkness. Rain. Blah.

But there have been a few bright spots.  I've learned to look for them, to bring a bit of sunshine into my life.  There are the daffodils growing at the front door of my church.  Then there was seeing my friend Bev home from Florida.  An unexpected gift from my daughter....  A beautiful piano concerto playing on 90.1 on the way home from work....  kind words from a friend.

Ok. So. That's it.  I'm off to sleep...and try to dream up a few daffodils.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random Bits

It's a cold, blustery day, and the sun has gone down.  It's been an intense couple of weeks.  Seems like my lists are growing more complex and unrealistic.  But there have been some serious bright spots.  Like tonight...here I sit in at an antique secretary desk from my childhood, with the sweet scent of banana walnut muffins filling my wonderful apartment with anticipation.  I'll  have a great breakfast to go with my morning tea tomorrow. 

Speaking of my beautiful apartment...I can sit here, without worrying that the rain that is pounding down will spring a leak in my roof, or cause plumbing problems.  I love it...if there's a problem, I call maintenance!  I've even learned to like having a dishwasher.  (ok, deep breaths..the world is NOT coming to an end)

I feel like my life is just beginning...anew.  The world feels full of possibilities.  Now if I could just find the Time and Energy to attack those possibilities!  I've been so tired lately...so tonight I'm moving up my bedtime to an early one.  I've even got my bedside book ready.

What?  Oh, the bedside book?  I am currently reading about 4 or 5 books.  My sofa book is Living Oprah (a woman who tried following all Oprahs suggestions for a year, blogged about it and got a book deal too).  My living room chair book is "Vinyl Cafe Diaries" (love it!).  My table book is Kindred in Death.  And I feel I should duck and hide, but my bedtime, put me to sleep after I do my nightly Bible reading (we are on Ecclesiastes), is Twilight.  (quick throwing things).  Whenever I finish any of these, I have two bread baking books, one vegan cookbook, a sci-fi novel called Downsiders, and a new Writer's Digest waiting.  That doesn't even count the books I've waiting for me at the library.  I seriously love reading. 

It's late, I'm tired, and out of random bits.  Time to go curl up with my bedtime book. Night.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My daughter, Melody Catherine

Twenty-one years ago, at 4:12pm, I gave birth to a little girl.  She was born with a dark brown mohawk. I'm not kidding.  I full inch of hair on top of her head, and none on the sides.  Her grandmother, upon hearing that I was in labor, immediately hopped in her car, and drove the 4+ hours from Michigan to Indiana, and walked in when she was 15 minutes old. 

She spent most of her childhood under the belief that she was the same age as her twin older brothers-a full 22 months older.  I have little memory of her crawling. As soon as she figured out how, she was running after her brothers.  At 18 months old, she said her first sentence...and I remember it to this day.  "Benny is burrowing my pi-yo."  Though she had trouble with the words 'borrowing' and 'pillow', I was amazed.  And sure enough, there was Ben, fast asleep with his head on HER toddler pillow.  Such an amazing girl!

Then came the day when her brothers went off on the big yellow bus to preschool.  She was mad!  This was the day when she figured out she wasn't one of triplets.  She stomped around all afternoon, until they came home.  Then with a huff, she exclaimed that she was glad that was over.  Oh, her face when she learned they'd be going back the next day!

Then there was the day she was in the doctor's office, when she was maybe 4.  Her father pointed to a poster of a skeleton, and informed her that was inside of her.  She said, "No.  I have an Indian inside of me!"  (her take on my explaining that there was Cherokee blood in our family).

There was the Christmas, where she and her brother Bob abandoned their new toys, and spent most of the day fashioning a two story treehouse out of cardboard boxes (for her Stacy dolls).  It was fun to watch them working together, and going through a LOT of tape!

I've seen this girl grow from a young kid playing with Barbies, to a young lady playing a video game involving racing cars.  She's gone from refusing to wear anything but dresses, to an over sized 'attitude' t-shirt style, to a fashion sense that involved kitty ears and a tail.  (okay for youth group, but she always respectfully removed them before entering the sanctuary).  Her style is ever evolving, but is always uniquely her. 

She is an accomplished artist, in pencil, paint (you should see the paintings hanging in my house!), and on the computer.  She is obsessed with all things Japanese, from the language, to the food (and now I love soba noodles because of her), to the toys (hello kitty, ball jointed dolls, etc).  She is eccentric, has a wicked sense of humor, and a kind heart. 

She is a beautiful soul, and I'm proud to have her as a daughter.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Here I sit, trying to figure out what to write about on my blog today.  And my mind is a drifting.  After a long dark winter that seemed like it was never going to end...today I really truly believe spring is here.  I'm sitting at my writing desk, in a sun filled bedroom, with the window open to my left, and birdsong drifting in.  Beautiful day!  I picked my daughter up from work (it gives me so much happiness to say that!) today, and everywhere I looked there were signs of spring.  And I drove with my windows down (hillbilly air conditioning: roll windows down, & drive fast!), while wearing a tank top I dug out of my summer clothes drawer.

I've distracted by happiness.  It's no longer so dark each day.  My daughter is employed, and feeling positive about life.  My one son is married, and working a great job.  My other son is working, draws a wonderful comic (http://www.bobcomic.com/), just volunteered (again) at the Give Camp (web design for non profits), and I'm so proud of him for that!  Spring is here.  I get to spend part of each day either sewing or writing or both!  I've an entire series of books waiting of which I've only read the first two, and years ago.  OOO.... (oh, sorry... Magic Kingdom for Sale by Terry Brooks). 

I have a job I enjoy, and feel competent at, and work for a great boss.  I am part of a vital, vibrant, active church. I get to spend a weekend a month volunteering at a cool racetrack (from April-September), and be up close to watch the races (and harass the drivers).  I have a best friend that I have known longer than either of us care to think about.  I have other friends, here in the area, who I can call up if I have a bad day, a good day, or just 'feel like some Mexican'. 

I'm getting more at ease with cooking and living vegetarian.  Today I made some baked burritos for dinner (and my lunch tomorrow).  Wrapped in whole wheat tortillas were refried beans (vegetarian, of course), taco sauce, brown rice, orange pepper, black beans and corn).  They were terrific, and filled with goodness. 

All in all, I'm fairly happy.  So, what on earth or in heaven can I write about today? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Journey, thus far

It has almost been an entire year since I went vegetarian.  I still feel like a V.I.T. (vegetarian in training).  There have been some bumps along the way.  The hardest has been having to explain over and over again why I made this choice.  I just don't like the taste nor texture of meat.  It's as simple as that. That's why you won't see me eating any veggie burgers or veggie sausage...still tastes like meat. Ick. 

Other bumps have been attending various functions....walking into a typical summer gathering, I find that most are meat fests.  So there I sit, holding a plate of potato salad and fruit salad.  That's about the only non-meat dishes I can find.  Or I walk into potlucks, and find there are no non-meat protein sources. It finally hit me at the last one at church, that it's okay for me to bring a main dish that is non-meat!  I make a great vegetarian lasagna...and mac & cheese...and I'm experimenting with my mother's recipe for baked beans, working on a tasty vegan version.  I'll be prepared next time!

Then there is the taco filling I attempted to make out of black beans, corn, zucchini and salsa.  It was tasty, but kept falling out of the taco shell!  I'd take one bite, and wham...there would be an empty taco shell, and a pile of filling on the plate.  (turns out it's a tasty burrito filling!).

However, there have been successes.  I have discovered that I love tostadas topped with refried beans (vegetarian kind), topped with diced red pepper and sauteed corn & onion.  Yum!  And I love red pepper and pineapple pizza.  And black eyed peas are still tasty on top of crumbled cornbread.... 

So I'm still learning, but I'm enjoying my new way of life.  I feel healthier and happier.  The adventure continues on....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Hope & Interesting Possiblities

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours in Barnes & Noble, my favorite bookstore. I enjoy just hanging out there, reading magazines, checking out books, and sipping my favorite hot cocoa.  I often have interesting conversations with complete strangers.

But yesterday afternoon, as I wandered about the store, I didn't feel like gabbing.  I found myself in the cooking aisle, looking for a bread baking book called Bread Alone.  While I didn't find it, I found an entire section on Vegetarian & Vegan cooking.  Armed with an armload, I curled up at a table and spent about 2 hours perusing them.  I found a recipe for homemade vegetable broth, something I have been looking for.  I found recipes for Scotch broth & Minestrone (both meatless). 

In the course of my time there, I read three Vegan cookbooks, and got some ideas of how to incorporate more variety into my diet.  See, I've been struggling lately, with coming up with balanced and tasty meals.  I gave up cheese (& ice cream) for Lent, so suddenly I've had to be more creative with my cooking.  Can't just dump cheese on it and call it good.  In reading those cookbooks, I received new hope that this lifestyle, living vegetarian, is not only possible, but enjoyable. 

I now have a renewed hope, and my menu plans are full of interesting possibilities.  Now if I could just stop craving pizza..... (mm...red pepper & pineapple).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This morning, I engaged in an activity that I really enjoy.  It's something I learned to do in my early twenties, simply by trying and trying again.  My first attempt was not so good, but with practice, I became fairly comfortable with the results.
What am I talking about?  Baking bread. I am not talking about dumping ingredients into a bread machine and pushing the on button, but the real experience.  Using simple flour, yeast, water, sugar and a few other ingredients, I can create something worthy of fresh jam.

There is something so enjoyable, nearly sensual, about the process.  There is the scents...that warm yeasty smell that brings a sense of anticipation to the atmosphere.  Then there is the fell of the dough.  I set a timer, then it is just me and that dough.  At first it's a pile of flour that sticks to the board. I sprinkle on more flour, fold the dough in half, then turn it a quarter.  This action I repeat over and over again, and slowly, the dough comes together, becoming an elastic, smooth ball.  There is such an elemental feeling as you stand there, up to your wrists in warm dough.

Then I put the dough ball in a greased bowl, cover it and step away for an hour. 

The time up, I check, and find the ball has doubled in size.  Now comes the fun part. I plunge my fist into the warm dough, deflating it.  Next comes the shaping... I usually roll it out, and form it into loaves and put them in a loaf pan.  This time, however, I tried shaping them into free form loaves...like the kind you get form a bakery.  It seemed to go well.

Now, more rising time...that done, the loaves slip into a hot oven.  Once baked, you tip it over, and give it a thump, and hope it is done.  I rub butter over the crust, to soften and flavor. 

Then your kitchen has that warm, grandmother's-kitchen smell.  It's heavenly.... I love baking bread!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What happened?

Some of you may have noticed that I have been mostly absent from both this blog and from Facebook, for over a week.  I finally realized why.  I couldn't figure it out, but now know that I was withdrawing, hiding.  See, something happened last week that shook the stability of my world.  And until I tell about it, I can't seem to function.

My parents' home was broken into a week ago Monday.  My father was not home, and my mother was sleeping.  She woke up hearing noise, and believing it was my father, called out.  Getting no answer beyond more noise, she struggled to wake up. When she got up, she found the house empty, now, but a mess.  The front door was damaged, and the frame destroyed. Drawers were pulled out, dumped out, pawed through...including the dressers in the very room my mother had been sleeping in. 

Only some jewelry was taken, but the damage far exceeds the physical loss.  There is the primary loss of a sense of safety. 

I now find myself worrying about my parents in a way that I never have before.  I have to resist the urge to call, every day.  I find myself praying for them a lot more...yes, that's a good thing.  I check the door locks at least twice before I go to bed.  Sometimes more. 

So, that's it.  The reason I have been absent for over a week.  This event, and the aftermath, has permeated my every moment, my every thought...and if you'll excuse me, I need to go check the locks again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just what is Pocket Stew?

About a week ago, I mentioned on Facebook that I was making Pocket Stew for dinner.  I got asked by several people (on FB and via phone) just what it was.  So, I'll explain.  When I was a kid, I was in the Girl Scouts.  During a campout, we made these nifty foil dinners that were cooked in the coals of a fire.  I told my mom about them when I got home, and she figured out how to make them in the oven.  When I had kids, I made these for them...actually, I'd let them assemble them-thus even picky eaters would be happy.

Pocket Stew:

Ingredients (approximate):

1 pd lean hamburger (or ground chicken)
1 onion, sliced
3 potatoes, peeled, and sliced thin
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced thin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On two cookie sheets, lay out a length of foil for each family member.  Lightly grease the middle of the foil (cooking spray, or margarine).  Lay some onion on each.  Divide hamburger, and form into patties. Put patty on onion.  Put slices of potato on top of hamburger patty & onion, in center of rectangle.  Sprinkle some carrot on top.  Season with salt & pepper. 

Fold top of foil, lengthwise, two times.  Crimp edges.  Place 2 packages on each cookie sheet.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  To check for doneness, carefully open one package (watch out for steam). 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grammommy Nachos

This is a recipe that my mother developed, and I latter tweaked.  My kids always loved it.

Grammommy Nachos

1 lb ground beef (or ground chicken)
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 cup chunky salsa
12 fajita sized flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brown meat; drain (I like to rinse it too).  Stir in taco seasoning mix and salsa.  Cook until hot.  IN a bowl, mix cheeses together.  Lay flour tortillas on a cookie sheet (as many as will fit).  Spoon taco mixture onto each tortilla.  Sprinkle some cheese on top.  Bake in oven until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Passing the rock, yet again....

Some days it feels like life is on a treadmill.  Or in a chase scene from an old Western.  The same things keep happening over and over and over...much like watching the Lone Ranger passing by the same clump of trees and that same gray rock over and over again. 

Dishes get dirty. They get washed, put away.  Step away from the sink, and a minute later, there's a sinkful of the same dishes again.  Get that piece of molding fixed, and then find another repair needing attention.  Get home from a grocery shopping expedition, get everything put away, only to discover you are out of sugar.  It never seems to end.

Where am I going with this post?  Honestly, I am not really sure.  (hence, the name 'random musings') I have a habit of writing myself out of moods. I think I am trying to do that here.

So....I guess all I can do, when I find myself on the treadmill, and passing that same clump of trees, yet again, is to try to find the beauty of the moment, wherever I can.  I have a long standing habit of trying to appreciate things, to not take things for granted.  I am thankful every day as I walk into my workplace that I have a job that I enjoy.  I am thankful each time I get into my wee little car, and hear that engine start right up.  I am thankful that I live in a beautiful apartment, where maintenance handles the repairs.  I am thankful that I have three wonderful children, that even if I don't see them every day (or every week even), I do get phone calls, texts and emails. 

So tomorrow morning, when I drive through the predicted ice storm, I will try to appreciate how the street lights make the icicles glisten. 

Wait, better attitude.  I will look for random moments of beauty, a kind word spoken to me, the first glorious scent of my morning tea, the friendly guard who always opens the door at work, the sun shining sometime midday.  I will wait, and watch.  There..now I feel mostly better.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I remember when Saturday morning meant something really special.  My sister & I would pad downstairs in our footed pajamas, my brother sleepily following, hurrying to the television (the only one in the house back then).  I'd manually click on the set, manually spin the dial to one of the four stations (CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS).  And there they would be.  The joy of a Saturday morning.  Cartoons.

There were the standards, of course: Bugs Bunny.  Wil E. Coyote.  Tom&Jerry (ick).  But the ones I loved the most were more sci fantasy oriented:  Johnny Swift.  Thundar the Barbarian.  SuperFriends.  Justice League of America.  All those superheros.....  My sister and I would sit, far too close to the tv until my mom would come tell us to move...we'd sit and watch the cartoons, totally engrossed, for hours.... only taking a brake to grab a bowl of Qwisp cereal or Captain Crunch.  Yum! 

We would watch until the morning was over, and the shows were over until the next week.  Then we'd get changed, and go outside to play. 

But the magic was there...and cartoons were special.  I think that they were more cherished because they only came once a week.  Rarity increases the value.  Sometimes I miss those mornings.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Life Intervenes

To those faithful few who read my blog, you might wonder, where have I been this past month? I've had a few computer glitches, cured several times via advice over the phone or in person by my computer smart sons, or by my daughter who figured out which buttons to mash.  My beloved puter seems to be working smoothly now, so I'm back.

This bump into the daily routine of life got me thinking about other life bumps.  Those random things that seemingly just happen to us.  They push us off the course to which we'd planned. 

Take my recent days without home computer access. Instead of being on Facebook, or reading Stone Soup (my favorite comic), instead I read several books, did some organizing, talked to friends on the phone, and did some mending.  That might not sound as much fun as gabbing on Facebook, but it gave me more time to talk to my parents, and made a difference in my house.  Not to mention the extra reading time! 

Then there was my recent experience at the main hospital.  I am legendary for my ability to get lost.  I was headed down from the 9th floor and looking for the South elevators, and got a wee bit turned around.  Well, I stopped by this one window, and saw the city from that lofty view. For an industrial city, there was so much green!  I never realized that there were so many trees around here. It was so beautiful.

Then there was last Thursday. I drove off to work, in the morning sunlight, thinking about how the day would be a pretty good one. I figured on a good day at work, then had plans afterwards.  Instead of this course of events, I got a call mid-morning that changed my entire day. Instead of my plans, I spent the rest of the day in the ER with my daughter, then the subsequent 2 days back and forth between home and her hospital room.  (She is fine..had appendix removed.) The good part of all this, beside her renewed health, is that I had several good conversations with her, mother/daughter time.  Also, I was warmed by my sons' response. I got texts from one son asking about his sister's condition, and the other showed up suddenly at her bedside.  Several good friends visited, and one of our pastors showed up in pre-op in time to pray over her beforehand.

Between the visits, the texts, and the phone calls, I was reminded about how interconnected we are.  The outpouring of concern and love for my family was warming,and something I'll hold onto. 

So, sometimes the bumps in life can bring good things....or at least interesting interludes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cheater Cookies

Need something for a company potluck at the last possible minute?  Are your teenagers' friends hunting through the cupboard for snacks?  Do you just not feel like taking the time to measure out a bunch of ingredients?  Then this is the recipe for you... the very first cookie recipe I learned to make as a kid....

The proper name would be Cake Mix Cookies, but it's always felt like cheating to make them, so I call them cheater cookies. 

one cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
optional: chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.  Mix cake mix, oil and eggs until blended. Stir in choc chips (if using).  Drop by small scoop (or walnut size) onto ungreased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-9 minutes. Let sit on pan for about 4 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool.

This is great when using a yellow or chocolate cake mix with chocolate chips.  Today I simply used a 'rainbow chip' cake mix.  Simple, and they disappear fast.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Church Potlucks

Church potlucks have always had a special place in my heart, or should I say, stomach.  I never truly appreciated them until I was in college.  Then, anything homemade was wonderful, and a church potluck was nirvana. 

Potlucks feature several tables filled with steaming pans and crockpots of food, and pretty bowls of a variety of salads, including my favorite...jello fluff.  You stand at the beginning of the line, pick up your paper napkin, wrap it around your plastic silverware and stuff them in your pocket.  Then you pick up your stryofoam plate, and begin your perusal. 

Some things are obvious, like fried chicken, or meatloaf...but most are casseroles.  You kind of poke at them, trying to figure out their contents.  Then if it looks good, you have to make a decision.  Do I take a chance and take a full scoop, or just a dab. But if I take a dab, and like it, and come back, it'll probably be gone.  Hmm....

Going through a church potluck as a vegetarian provides even more challenges, as in, is there meat in this dish?  I took a big scoop of what looked like veggie lasagna today, but ended up picking out chicken from it.  (still tasty, once the chicken was gone).  Normally, I can be sure of getting some protein via the inevitable baked beans, but today, there was none.  *sigh*

Then you sit at your table, trying to separate individual dishes from the mishmash of stuff on your plate.  Some things are interpretable, but sometimes taste good together anyways.  Then there are the desserts.  If I haven't satisfied my sweet tooth with jello fluff, then I hit the desserts.  Today there was this awesome...thing. I don't know what it was...but there was a jello/pudding stuff in between cookies that had chess pieces on it.  It was fabulous...but no idea what it was or who made it. 

The best part is actually not the food.  The best part of a church potluck is sitting with friends at long tables, munching on unidentifiable food, and talking and joking.  Today I ended up sitting across from several kids, but still had pretty interesting conversations...and they got me laughing. 

So, despite the lack of baked beans (and jello fluff...sigh), it was a great potluck today.  And I left with an empty pan...(meatloaf went over well...even if my sons wrote 'eww' 'yuck' on the recipe years ago).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Music permeates my life. It touches each and every part.  From the moment my radio alarm goes off, shocking me awake to a tune, to the music that sustains me through the work day due to an MP3 player I don't even understand, to the theme song on my favorite TV show in the evening...there is music throughout my day.  (the most shocking wake up song ever was in junior high when I awoke violently awake to the scream of  "Freak Out!")

I met my best friend through choir in high school.  Connie and I would keep each other on tune while we sang together in Girl's Glee.  She always covered for me during that song with the rolled 'r's that I could never do.  I stayed in choirs through high school, one in college (as well as piano lessons and hand bells).  I absolutely loved practicing my piano homework on the harpsichords in the college chapel. 

At my church, music is one of the most enjoyable parts of the worship service.  Thanks to a great trio of song leaders, I can sometimes pick out the alto parts...and when the music and singing comes together, it feels like flying to me.  I have sung solos there twice.  The first time I was nervous, the second terrified.... I have both a 'Bucket List', and a "Twenty Wishes' list (inspired by a Debbie Macomber book by the same name.)  On the latter list, number 14 is Sing a Solo with Confidence.  (there is no order to the list).  I hope to fulfill this wish sometime in the next year (or two). 

Music even influenced my naming of my daughter.  OK...here's the story.  My favorite author is Anne McCaffrey.  She created a character in my favorite series, Dragon Riders of Pern, who is a Harper, a teacher/arbitrator girl.  Her name is Menolly.  I couldn't figure out how to pronounce it, so I always read it as Melody.  It fit.  So, when I found out I was having a daughter, I decided to name her after this musical girl, thus Melody (for those who don't know, it's Cat's first name).

Music is still an important part of my life.  There is always music running in the back of my mind.  My children know this, and have occasionally tormented my by calling me at work, and playing 'Banana Phone' or the "Hamster Dance", just to wedge that into my head....a sure way to insanity, I tell you.  I love many varieties of music... Josh Groban, bagpipes (esp Galiec Storm & Tartanic), classical (esp Pacabel's Canon, played on a harpsichord), Air Supply, Barry White, Pat Benetar, Newsboys, Third Day, and stuff I hear on 105.5 (though I'm terrible with song or artist names).  I love music...and it's part of every moment of my life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

candalabras as an investigative tool

Here I sit, wondering what to write for tonight's blog...and while I'm wondering, I am also watching some old black & white movie on my wee little bedroom TV.  It's about a brother and sister who buy this out of the way house.  I think it's set in the fortys, because of the beautiful hair styles, and the shirt dresses the women wear.  Anyways, the house seems to be haunted.  And what does our hero and heroine do when they hear a mysterious weeping coming from downstairs?  They light candles, and carry them in those silver holders, and go investigate.

That makes me think of every old time monster movie I have seen.  The heroine always wears a willowy white nightgown.  And when she hears a bump in the night, she puts on a diaphanous robe, grabs up a lit candalabra, and heads out to investigate.  Me, personally, if I was asleep in such a situation, I'd take a moment, put on some pants (even if it was the fortys, I could grab my brother's pants, surely), and grab the poker from fireplace, then with a friend or two, I'd head out to bash whatever made the 'bump'. 

As I once read in a comic, 'women in willowly white nightgowns, who go outside with a candalabra, to investigate bumps in the night...deserve what they get'.    I agree.  Off to consider watching some more... nah... instead I'll turn to Enchanted, and watch people randomly breaking into song.  But that's another blog...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh, the possibilities....

Some days, when the stress level of daily living begins to get to me, my mind drifts back to my childhood. I spent most of my day actively living in and with my imagination.  Anything was possible then.

I would have adventures on my purple two wheeler.  My sister and I would ride on the sidewalk (we weren't allowed to ride in the street-too young), making 'dinka-dinka' sounds when we would turn around to go back the other way.  ('dinka-dinka' is the sound of the turn signal in my parents' grassy green Duster car).  We might be cops in pursuit, or Indians riding our trusty steeds, or flying on our sonic spaceships...the skies were ours!

I played a game called 'Statues' with neighborhood kids... we'd spin madly about, until the main player called stop!  Then we'd freeze into whatever position we were in at that exact moment.  Then the 'seller' would go through his/her gallery of statues, and explain and sell them to the potential seller.  It was fun, and very imaginative.

My favorite game was superheros.  I remember pretending to be Catwoman (Julie Newmar one, of course), and standing next to a kid pretending to be Penguin...about to run, being chased by about a dozen superheros. 

I remember one night, my parents let me stay after dark, in the second lot across the street for a while.  I played a superhero there too, having adventures of my own making, and diving for the shadows whenever a car would venture by...

Thinking back, I realize that I don't want to go back to my childhood.  What I really want to do is to go back to that ultimate feeling of infinite possibilities.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Random Thoughts

Today my mind is all over the place.  I tried to read a magazine today and couldn't get through an entire article. (Got two Women's Day and a new Writer's Digest all today). What was I talking about? Oh, right...my thoughts are all over the place.  So, today, this will totally be random thoughts. 

My daughter is currently sitting on my bed, watching Disney Channel (me too), eating Doritos that taste like meat... cheeseburgers.  Weird... the chips, not the girl.  :) 

I'm in the mood to do some sewing..but can't seem to get around to sitting down to do something I enjoy.  I like to make doll quilts.  Weird, eh?  I've made them for every young female relative I have.  It's fun to do patchwork and quilting in miniature.  I have the material laid out for it... but... maybe this weekend.  The days seem to rush by...it's morning, I'm eating breakfast, then I'm at work, then home doing chores... making dinner..then bed then start over again.  *sigh*

Do I like jelly beans and Crunchie bars so much because they are truly delicious, or because they are harder to find here?  (jelly beans hard to find cept near Easter, and Crunchies only sold in Canada and Europe).  I wonder.....

Why do some people find so much fault with me being veg something to argue about?

Well, that's about it for tonight..hopefully I'll be more clear minded and coherent next time!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moving Slowly

I try very hard not to take anything for granted in my life.  I prefer forethought to hindsight, despite how clear the latter can be.  But I realize now that I have taken simple movement for granted.  On New Year's Day, at 10:02pm, I broke my toe.  The one next to my baby toe on my right foot...and her two nearby friends are also fairly bruised up.  How do I know the exact time?  I was running through a darkened apartment, in a hurry to answer the ringing phone.  I forgot about the metal bed frame I had laid on my bedroom floor.  I ran into the bedframe at a run.  Pain radiated up my leg, but I managed to calmly answer the phone. It was a wrong number. 

The following day I went to Urgent Care, and found I had indeed broken a toe. For the past week, I have been learning what life is like for those who are not easily mobile.  Even now, when I am off the crutches, every movement on my feet has to be preplanned.  Too long on my feet, and it hurts, or worse, it goes numb.  I've spent a great deal of time sitting in a chair with my feet on a leather ottoman. 

Take today.  I had to do my bi-weekly grocery shopping first thing in the morning, because there was no way I could handle walking around Krogers after a full day at the office.  Going down the stairs to do laundry is an exercise in logistics.  And it made me miss out on my weekly session in the nursery....

Now I plan out my movements.  I know I have limited time on my feet, so I try to combine errands, tasks.  And I remember fondly about simply jumping up and running somewhere. Anywhere.

I will never take free movement for granted again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have always loved to read books.  I love to watch a good television show, or a well put together movie.  I have also loved to sit and listen to people talk.  All of these things have one thing in common-stories. I love to listen to stories.  The best kind are the true to life. 

I grew up listening to my father tell stories of his childhood, of growing up as a kid during a war.  He told of his father raising rabbits for the war effort, and about his ma's love of boats.  I've listened to my (great) Uncle Paul tell about how he and his brothers (including my grampa) got into trouble-from hopping trains to fights.  I've listened to my pastor's mother talk about when Tommy was a little boy.  I love to listen to my children retell stories of happy events in their lives. I've even talked to relative strangers, while sitting in the comfy green chairs at Barnes & Noble, and heard their stories of living, and learning, and working.

I truly enjoy listening to people tell their stories.  And listening to a person tell a story is better than reading even, because you see their memories play out in their eyes, and see the emotion of their hearts.  I can think of no better way to learn about people than to sit with them and listen to their stories.

Won't you tell me your stories?

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Today is the first day of the first month of the eleventh year of this century...in other words, 1-1-11.  What is about the first of anything that is so daunting? Somehow the beginning of something is always so intimidating.  Simply starting a thing is the hardest part.  There is a quote I've heard, 'All journeys begin with a single step.'  I am a queen of procrastination.  Getting started on something is my biggest hurdle, that which keeps me from achieving my goals, my dreams.  Even little things...I waited until the day before my sister visited to try the patchwork cover for a composition book.  Yes, I ran into a few difficulties, mainly with underestimating what seam allowance to use, but it still came out beautifully.  I procrastinated at trying the puppy chow (people chow?) recipe with the substitution of the peanut butter with nutella, as I was headed to a peanut free gathering.  I made the batch less than 2 hours before I had to leave. 

Why do I do this?  Why do I procrastinate?  Because taking the first step, the first action, is so scary.  I have a big problem with fear.   Fear of conflict, fear of difficulty, fear of anxiety.  So, I tend to avoid situations that begat those fears....thus, procrastination. 

While I don't know how to overcome fear, and procrastination, I do know that recognising the problem is the first step in overcoming it.  As I used to hear on the G.I. Joe cartoons when I was a teen 'knowing is half the battle.'  So, now I know what the trouble is, and can work to combat it.  If I can take that first step.

And to hold myself accountable, here are my Five New Year Resolutions:
1. Eliminate debt by the end of the year (except for that incurred by #2)
2. Purchase reliable vehicle-preferably red
3. Finish and completely revise On a Moonless Night (a book I nearly finished writing during Nanowrimo)
4. Learn 200 signs (sign language)
5. Walk a million steps