Sunday, August 31, 2014

today my tummy woke me up…it was not happy. and the throat croaked that it was feeling a bit funky too. so it was back to bed after a quick Henry potty.  Taking it slow & cozy in today's rainy day icky.  have been looking at "Tiny House Swoon" website and have seen some amazing places.  I've looked at some of the rooms in my house here, and thought "i could live in just this room."  Am realizing that the Tiny Houses built on a flatbed & wheels may be too small for me.  I am too much of a homebody to live that small.  unless…i had 2 of them put together!  They would need separate transport and I may be wishing and dreaming more trouble than it's worth.  So i'm keeping my mind open for a Small House also.  the difference is a Small House is usually stationary - a very small traditional house not on wheels.  how much am i willing to downsize and scrunch for safety & security?    time will tell.  so today's plan will be to relax and tinker a bit in the studio - still being put back together and purged - and maybe grab some graph paper and start penciling floor plans.  the day will definitely include some lemony wax on my new tiny table!  and good coffee.

This makes me smile really big…and so does this…and now, Henry is at the end of his patience, so we are off to a backyard adventure in the rain, tummy, throat, icky not withstanding…wishing you a cozy day today!

Saturday, August 30, 2014


so, what do you do when you live in a Tiny house, but you like to have lots of people over for dinner?  Winner winner chicken dinner!  You find this with a "Free" sign on it…
although it's basically a 1-seater, note that it's a drop-leaf and note that there are THREE extension leaves on top!  so it's a table for 6, hiding in a table for one.  I could explode!

in other news, there was no success capturing Quackles the duck.  She knows I'm on to her.  Funny though - while I was sitting by the pond, fish net nearby and cat carrier at the ready, 3 different people came by to feed her, and each called her by a different name!  so she is Quackles, Carl (don't ask), Martha, and Daisy Duke Duck.  I am hoping to capture her tomorrow so I can get her to the rehabber.  The time is growing short for her successful rescue.  say a prayer.

tomorrow is catch-a-duck day, find-a-bra day, plan-a-party day, and hug the stuffing out of henry day.  for now, i'm tired and thinking about bedtime before i fall into that sad time.  so goodnight y'all.  Geez that table just tickles me.

through the knot hole - breach position

you may notice that my last entry was tuesday.  and there's a good reason for that.  i was in no way prepared for what was expected of me at work with 2-3 people out on vacation/sick.  nothing could have prepared me.  and had i known, i would probably have curled up in a corner and wimpered that I Couldn't Do It.  And at the end of the day wednesday, as I was stinking of flop sweat and tearful and near vomiting, and hating the new guy for his smugness thinking he would never freak out like i was freaking out (but he would've),  I realized that I had, indeed, done it…it was ugly and not nearly my best work (an understatement), but for the most part - i did it.  My job is not brain surgery to start with, but has demands that certain time marks be met, that i sound cheerful and competent and reliable and knowledgable, and that i do this every 60-seconds for 8 hours.  That's it.  I'm not fighting insurgents…I'm not holding a beating heart in my hand preparing for transfer to another body cavity.  i merely work in radio.  and there's no crying in radio.  but.  my ass was kicked with a soundness that it hasn't been kicked with in quite some time.  i don't remember the ride home, nor do i remember falling into bed with Henry tucked tightly against me.  I do remember feeling a chill down my spine knowing i had to do it again the next day. and the day after that.  when i woke up - an hour earlier than i needed to - it was a conscious decision to greet the day in gratitude and take the attitude that I had another chance to prove to myself that I could do this - I would rock the schedule handed me, and I would be GOOD not just adequate.

And I Did.

And then on friday when the only other employee on duty (out of 5) told me he was sick and going home early and i had to take his scheduled reports as well as the other 2-3 people's, and by the way use an unfamiliar studio which is completely & TOTALLY different from what i have ever used, and oh by the way have 15 minutes to learn it and prepare a report & deliver it…yeah, at that time…i said "okay" and i calmed myself like a trainer calms a wild horse and just. did. it.  I did.  and through the haze of mildew in the room so thick you could see it…i smiled.  (didn't breathe in, but smiled).  And now, knowing that I can do this, i am grateful for the opportunity that was given me to crash and get up and power through and reorganize and see what works and what is hindering me and change/remove that hinderance and know that i can i can i can do this thing - this life thing - this changeable and sometimes ugly thing called life - this life that is changing in dramatic ways that need not be drama-filled - i can.  i can.  i can.

And that was a big Tiny step that took a few days to learn.  and i realized i still have mad ninja organizational skills.  and i get to do it all over again next tuesday.

I meet you back here later.  Be Fierce,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2-fer tuesday

today's tiny step is to create a ledger to keep track of how I spend my money…every cup of coffee, every lottery ticket, every thing.  just to get a handle on 2 things: where does it go, and what is important to me.  If I am willing to trade some of my money for a cup of coffee brewed not-at-home, then it must be considered either Important To Me, or Wasteful.  i know i engage in a lot of "thoughtless" spending, and don't want to suck the fun out of life entirely, but am i willing to trade that $5 daily cup of coffee for a Saturday kayak trip with friends that will cost the same amount?  you betcha.  so it's more like trades, than denial of things.  I want money to be a resource for me, not a master.  and that thought right there is actually a Big Tiny step, if you sit with it a few minutes and let it bloom.  how many choices do you make in your life because of money?  i mean, everyday there are hundreds…do i buy this shiny thing because it makes me smile, or do i spend it on a dinner out with beloved one(s)?  if you are very lucky, you can do both!  and there's nothing wrong with that!  but i am choosing a Tiny life, and honestly am not able to work enough hours to do that, so…i purge my choices along with my clothes!  And am thrilled to have the choice right now.  some moments terrify me, but i stopped looking down - only forward - and that's where the cupcakes are.

these quotes are from FLOW magazine.  I will have the paper version of Flow in my life.  It's a choice. I love the feel of the paper they use, and don't feel like the electronic version would be as good (for me).  I am an artist, after all!  it's all about the texture.

so that's it for now…what is your tiny step?

Monday, August 25, 2014

2-fer tiny step

Alis Volat Propris (She flies with her own wings)

so, my tiny step today was to volunteer with Women Build - a division of Habitat For Humanity.  They get an extra hand, I learn to build a house.  winner winner chicken dinner.
it's funny how your perception of "things" changes when you realize you will have to find space for it, or that it will occupy a newly-cleared space, dissolving the effort.  you can take this to the nth degree, i suppose, and there are those that have - turning Tiny into a revolution of reduction.  I know my limitations, and the things i consider important…don't want to live in Sunshine, or any other crawlspace…just Tiny.  and it's curious that the Tinier I think, the larger i feel myself grow…know what I mean there?
now, off to work in radioland.  
just looking around the world….

at fun stuff…so many good ideas and plans and Things To Be Aware of….heading straight ahead…feet certain…NOOK at the ready….so many ways to get large by getting tiny...
today's tiny step? plan for the next tiny step, and make a journal of all my tiny steps…a big book of tiny steps.  want to help?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2 huge loads of clothing to the Thrifty….check
1 huge sterlite tub filled to the brim with books….check
1 shiny new NOOK app installed in iPad….check

did i feel a little twinge buying a book called Tiny House Living?  yeah.

time to get dressed for Perfect Stepdaughter's birthday bonanza!

it was a tiny day, bursting with goodness.
Today's tiny step? I went up in the attic (yes) over the garage (pull down creaky stairs, reach for the pull cord for the light, blindly waving about), and brought down one of those ginormous Sterlite tubs filled...with
                                                          Packing peanuts.
Filled. With. Packing. Peanuts.  I'm not sure how they got there, or why they've been so lovingly preserved.  But they are now in a lovely bag by the trash, to be curb-alerted or tossed.  And I have one of those Sterlite tubs I'm so incredibly fond of.  Today's rainy day tiny step (on top of going up in that damn attic and pulling the tub down) will be clearing through the rest of my clothes, coats, and yes -the red cowboy boots that no longer fit but remind me of the last time I had to reimagine myself when my 1st husband died, leaving me NOT the beneficiary on any life insurance because his 1st wife shared the same name as mine, so he figured it would be okay. Those boots. And for bonus points, I will be grabbing some fistfuls of books that I haven't looked at in a while.  Like years. Like for some...never.  I love you, dear art friends, more than you can imagine.  And I support you in your endeavors.  But, something's got to give with this book collection, and it's time to spread the love around.  I'm thinking maybe the women's shelter, or maybe not...they're pretty busy getting lives together at a grass roots kinda level.  Do you want some of them? Most are technique type of books...mixed media, quilting, assemblage...I'm not sure what will go and what will stay, but if you want to be kept apprised, let me know.
Long post, tiny step.  Oh, plus one. Last night my neighbor & I walked and gossiped and somehow eventually got talking about books vs NOOKs, and she told me I could download the nook app on my iPad free! Don't even have to buy/carry/charge up another device! It blows my mind how wasteful I've become, that I don't even think about stuff like that.  And in our discussion about Tiny Houses, we thought that living in a studio apartment is a great way to see if a person can survive small space living. It would certainly give you an opportunity to see how your newly pared down stuff works. Or doesn't .  I like what one Tiny House blog calls the Fire Drill test...your house is on fire & burning fast...your loved ones/pets are already out. You have 1 minute to grab stuff that's important to you, knowing you'll need to start completely over. What do you grab?  That will help you see what is truly important to you. One couple lived that drill, as a Colorado wildfire claimed their big house. The husband was gone & wife home alone. One of the items she grabbed was his down-filled slippers because she knew he'd want a comfort item as they began their new journey to rebuild their lives. I bawled my eyes out.
Today I choose to smile & be productive.

Friday, August 22, 2014

BIG and tiny

BIG:  I wish I had a magic wand or magic cure for all the women I know going through chemo right now.  I know this is about you, not me, but i want to tell you that i ache with compassion and sadness for you…that i want desperately and dearly to be able to wrap you up in a silken pashima and fly you to a paradise of your choosing.  i want to tell you that it is my flaw to say the wrong thing, so i often say nothing, for fear that you will think i'm not scared inside for you, and when i do say I'm scared inside for you, i often feel like you'll think i'm just seeing your cancer, and not you.  i see you.  i hear you - things spoken and unspoken.  i know how, in the grand scheme of things, losing your hair should be on the bottom of your list of worries, but it's on the top of your list of insults from cancer…it's a visible way that marks you as part of a tribe of people you want nothing to do with.  and all you'd want is to have a milkshake not laced with something glowing that will travel your body's insides telling tales.  i want to say that i hope to never be able to say "now I know what you went through," but hope you know i care as deeply as i possibly can and cherish your voice on the phone and your emails, and hope i'm a lifeline away from antiseptic smells and needles and all manner of bodily invasiveness.  i hope you live through this, each of you, and i hope i can hug you, each of you, soon.  until then, i am available for you 24/7…if you can't sleep, don't want to get out of bed in the morning, want someone to watch a movie with (in person or over the phone - we can do 3-2-1 start the movie! and both watch it at the same time).  I hope my stories distract you, and you see them as my offering to you and not as a self-absorbed conversation.  and i hope you'll never whitewash or bullshit me when i ask How Are You?  because i really mean it….i want to know all the good, the bad, the gritty and ugly that maybe you don't have anyone else to share it with…that maybe those closest closest to you only want to hear you're doing a-ok.  that's valid too, in it's own psychological way.

tiny:  my tiny step today is to take stock of everything i own and decide what i need to live with in order to Live, and what can go.  i heard someone say Why do people keep books after they've read them?? and i guess that's a good question, given that everything is available always - be it on ebay or etsy or still in bookstores or electronically.  for years i've scoffed at the notion of a Nook.  now i realize how much space i would save without all my shelves of books.  most are written by friends - art technique - and though i love the folks dearly, if need be, i will pass them on for someone else to enjoy.  They are special in who they represent, and not so much in the actual instruction, as i know most of the techniques anyway.  so a Nook may be in my future.  not a small tiny step, but a good one to take through the weekend…an entire mindshift.  but i'll still keep my magazine addiction!  the feel of the pages of Flow magazine are too yummy.  it's about living well... but smaller, not about punishment.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I am ready to live my story, rather than let my story live me.

ah ha! A theme!

don't you just love when you figure out a pattern or theme going on in your life?  if it''s a good one - whoo hoo!  and if not, then recognizing it can help you change it.  (I say "you" here a lot, but we all know i mean "me").
so, this morning, I received this in my inbox:

Tell me, when you think of taking consistent action in the general direction of your dreams, Linda, do you imagine discipline, sacrifice, stamina, work, courage, monotony and strategies, or are you thinking adventure, discovery, new friends, excitement at the crack of dawn, magic, surprises, fun, laughter, and on occasion - the Macarena?  Your chosen perspective changes everything.

For as long as anyone I know can remember, i've have remained solidly stuck in fear…of everything.  i won't name the many and varied colorful fears that danced like candies before me to grab and swallow…they nourished my soul - in the wrong way…

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed." 

yeah.  like that.  No more free lunches on my heart.  Tiny Steps.

Also in my inbox is this, from a woman I would love to meet someday, Hiro Boga.  It's very long, and I know it's difficult to keep someone's attention very long anymore, but i ask that you take a moment and read it. (Ignore the color bleed)...

Anytime you face a situation in which you feel powerless to effect change, remember this: You are a sovereign being. You have the power to choose.

You may not have power over the weather – rain, sun, storms – but you have the power to choose how you will respond to the prevailing winds; how you will think and act in the face of whatever blesses or assails you.

Power is a quality of your soul. It is always available to you. You carry within your very cells the memory of power, the energy and experience of power. You can tap into it at will.

Think about the stories you tell yourself and others. Stories about powerlessness: I can’t help it, this is just the way I am | just the way things are. He did this to me, she did that. If only I had | he had |she would. How could they do this | act this way | get away with this?

In the midst of telling your story about powerlessness – even if it’s a story about someone else’s powerlessness, the massacres in Palestine, or the murder in Missouri – stop. Check in with your body. How do you feel? Check in with your breath, your pulse, your heartbeat. How is this story affecting your biology?

Then, ask yourself: By telling this story in this way, am I contributing to healing and restoring wholeness? Or am I projecting onto this situation, onto these people, onto myself, the shadow of fear, victimization, helplessness?

Your thoughts are powerful. Your stories are powerful. Tell a story about power and agency, see yourself and the people in your world as powerful, able to participate in miracles that transform themselves and their world, and you lend them your power. You help them access their own power. Most important of all, you act to mobilize the immense powers of wholeness on their behalf. You act to change your world.

Tell a story about victimization, and you weaken yourself, and the central nervous system of everyone involved in the situation, even if you never meet them or live halfway across the world from them.

Develop the habit of power and the capacity to hold and use power effectively, and you can use your creative resources to shape a world of kindness, peace, provision, safety and sufficiency for everyone.

I’m looking forward to talking with many of you about power on my live preview teleclass, Create with Power on September 3rd. For now, pay attention to the stories you tell about power and powerlessness in your everyday life. Be mindful of how they affect you and your ability to create what you truly want, in your life, in your business, in your world. And then, change the stories you tell. Use your power to choose a new story, and serve your deepest, truest desires.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

tiny steps

I've begun a Tiny Steps initiative in my life…asking myself "what tiny step can I take today to become who I am?"  Some days there is nothing more than grinding fresh beans for coffee, or sitting on the patio as the sun comes up.  Last week, I went to a new hairdresser who Got It, and re-did my do.  it made a very big difference.  not much of a vain person, but really need my outsides to represent my insides a little better.  and to that end…I started thrifting - popping tags, as the song goes.  I've been going to the local Thrifty Shoppers with a friend.  Rose knows which ones are good for pants, which ones have great shorts, etc.  and once a month, everything in the stores are 50% off.  I never not ever thought I'd buy serious clothes there, but when i scored an Ann Taylor CaShMeRe sweater for $2, I rethought the whole darn thing.  And of course a set of bone china for $10.  and it occurred to me that I could dump all the clothes (well, most of them) that have sat in my closets for a while…the ones that don't fit great or are kept "just in case"…in case of what?? if i don't love them LOVE them, then they don't represent, and guess what?  Someone else can pop a tag and get my old clothes!  It is such a light feeling to pare down.  shoes, tops, pants, especially dresses - all in the Thrifty bin.  knowing that i can buy "new" for hardly any cash when i NEED something is a good feeling.  a lot of the things i ended up with still had store tags on them.  and they all represent.
2 weeks ago, i started a Meetup group for people to meet 2x/month on sunday mornings and go walk our dogs.  simple.  the fact is that i've hibernated within myself and my home too darn long, and need to branch out a bit…make friends that will be a part of my new life.  not discard the old…no way!  but knowing that my besties are living far away, it's time to get out more.
This week, my Tiny Step was to realize that I control my own story…I decide what happens…and decided to stop letting life HAPPEN to me and to make life happen!  This seems like such an easy concept, and a natural way of thinking, right?  But i had gotten so used to disappointment and living for others and being told i was not measuring up - in small, constant ways.  the day i stepped back into my radio job was the day i realized how far i'd let things go.  and i am moving back to myself, and taking control of my story.  one thing i've wanted to do is camp.  i know, right?  so today, i bought this:

yep.  a 1-person+Henry tent.  I live an hour away from Eureka Tent company, and they have wicked good used-and-refurbished sales.  I called them (because i couldn't wait for an internet order) and the guy said they were all out.  My disappointment must've been obvious because he put one together for me (not sure how that works) and it should be here in 2 days!  I wish many blessings upon him for this - he has no idea what it means to me.  it is huge.  it is much more than a Tiny step, in ways which I can't explain here. and the day it arrives, i will camp in my backyard until i can figure out where else to go.  it should be easy to let Hen out to go potty!  
I am going Tiny in my life…tiny steps, tiny amounts of stuff to own, tiny tent.  and the more i unburden from my "stuff," the larger my heart grows.  There are long moments where the tears threaten as my heart explodes with gratitude.  I realize how my Stuff has been a burden, in some cases - objects that have kept my feet cemented in place because Where Could I Store All This Stuff?? I am about to embark on a journey through the gritty, ugly stuff, but i know i will be fine…i have had some of the most inspiring guides going ahead of me, and some of the most amazing supporters beside me - my wingmen and my flankers…nothing can touch me!  I may get wounded, but the battle will be my victory.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nanu nanu

The fact that Robin Williams died by his own hand is as shocking to some as the fact that he died at all.
To some.
To those of us who slog through bouts of depression, it was shocking, but there was an underlying understanding.  The fact that he was the guy that made us laugh so hard for so many years made it more tragic, I guess.  But think about all the famous funny men and women who have died recently...overdoses of drugs, alcohol, life...what were they self-medicating against?  Think about the person in the office...the funniest, or maybe the quietest...often - very often- humor is used as a light saber against the chilling darkness.  Often a person is quiet because opening their mouth might unleash a torrent of their secrets...the Help Me's.  Depression is one of the single most medicated diseases in the US, yet most sufferers hide their diagnosis under layers of humor, addictions or silence.  I had a circle of acquaintances with cheerful blogs that posted Isn't My Life Amazing pictures and snippets of their supposed day-to-day.  After digging deeper, I realized that it was a sugary tower they constructed and less a reflection of reality.  I had to step out of the circle.  It was just too difficult to embrace that unreal reality.  And once outside, I saw quite a number of folks had done the same.  I guess I'm off track, as usual.
My point in the beginning was headed here: we often don't know who is suffering, or how deep the slice goes.  Knowing you are there for them, us, is good.  But often not enough. No matter how deeply you care.  Depression is a one-man show that cuts off everything but amount of love can conquer it, but any amount of love can amount of talking can dissipate it, but any amount of conversation can deceive it. It comes when it wants, stays till it feels like leaving.  You don't "wallow" in depression, it knocks you down and drags you to its lair.  Sometimes humor helps...sometimes being the funny person guarantees you invites that will give you something to point at on your calendar and wait for.  Sometimes humor excuses a lot. Sometimes it's like putting lipstick on a pig - hide the ugly under the candy coating.  I guess I would say Be there for a depressed person.  Don't expect to cheer them up.  Just be there.  My friend Kim has this amazing sound she makes " mmm mmmm " that's like chocolate chip cookies out of the oven.  It's a comforting sound, but doesn't make you feel helpless and childlike.  So be there.  Grab a movie or some knitting and sit with the uglier parts of the person...the parts they are most afraid to show. Don't expect to save them from sadness, just be there. And I thank my people who have been there for me. And those of you reading this, I thank you for no judgement.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A seemingly perfect Sunday morning

Last night, I sat in a folding chair on the massive lawn of a mansion overlooking a chi chi lake in my area.

Groups around me picnicked with expensive wines and baskets from trendy shops.  I sat silently reading the program, my husband-not-husband doing the same next to me but not too too close.  We waited quietly for the beginning of a chamber music concert that he had left his love of all loves for - The Boat- to come listen to. It wasn't out of love. Or concern for my aloneness. More to be the user of the ticket rather than someone else.  By intermission, I was more than ready to go home.  The music was not as I thought, and almost as bad as if I had tried screeching a violin for the first time myself.  Not out of tune - the ensemble chose to play their own original compositions.

 Not a fan.

 We drove home silently, went to our separate floors of the house, and turned out the lights.  I will say that I cannot continue to live like this.  I awoke with a pounding headache and intestinal drama.  I will say that life was given for so much more than this.  I am working way too hard to keep keep out of my own head.  I am looking for a place to belong, I guess.  Not just people to keep busy with. A place where there is a slot that only I fit, where I am meant to be...where I can say AHHH and relax into myself.  For most of my life, I have been the one to try to make everyone else's life wrinkle-free.  I am done.  Done working too hard for a husband who cares not...who sees his entitlement but not his responsibility...or his wife.  I am done trying to fix my head, to fight the astoundingly crushing depressions that come, and waiting for the other shoe to drop when there is a break in the clouds.  Tired of being marginalized by a man I married...only to be kicked to the curb when his kids are grown and my earnings aren't much of a help. Tired of being the maid, the cook, the grocery shopper, the laundress.  I am glad he has found a passion, however, wish there had been room for me, as well...wish that it was not required that I participate in his passion -The Boat- in order to have a place in his life.  I get the all-consuming passion thing...I'm an artist.  But by god I never walked away from my life in order to persue it.  My one week retreat every year felt like stolen time that was never acknowledged or spoken of, other than mild mocking about the "girls making art in the woods."  I have clung for life to those "girls" at times.  I have replayed moments and hours and days...a mix of happiness and longing for them.  The fault is my own for living so narrowly...for not demanding my place...for not branching out more earlier on.  I can say that the demands of my stressful previous job with the weird hours is partially to blame.  I can say that living with an un-admitted alcoholic is partially to blame.  I can say that not keeping my eyes open and listening to my gut is partially to blame.  I guess I just expected back what I gave.  I guess I just expected a partner in life.  I have, instead, a large house to keep clean (for no one), a high energy dog that needs a lot of time and attention (who gives back quite a lot, by the way!), a studio turned upside down & is unusable, and friends and neighbors who are busy with their own lives, living the sweetness of our quick summer season.  I think to myself, what would I leave behind in order to travel lightly? My studio? My clothes? My sweet pup? What?

Monday, August 04, 2014

     August Break…..


Sunday, August 03, 2014

August Break

A few years ago, I met an amazing woman, Susannah Conway.  Her story is wonderful.  Heartbreaking.  slowly triumphant.  When she wrote it into a book, I bought the book and treasure it. 

She is doing a thing called August Break…you can sign up for a daily email prompt for the month of August.  Then go take a picture of whatever the prompt is.  fun.  easy.  no pressure.  so here are my first 3 days….well, actually just the last 2, as the 1st one was "breakfast"  and i didn't eat breakfast that day.

Day 2 - Pattern:
my David McDonald coffee mugs in a row.

Day 3 - window:

oops - a slightly tilted shot of a stained glass window at my favorite coffee shop Freedom Of Espresso. (too much caffeine before I took the shot?)

go here to read her blog and sign up if you want to play along!

sunday sunday

after a nice evening of cilantro-lime salmon, gleaming china, old friends and new, a girlie movie, wine, more wine, rum and pineapple, and Lola…after all that, a nice sleep with a Henry tucked in Right Next to me.  This morning, the day brings coffee and journal talks with another new friend, then to the hairdresser.  first, henry felt the need to impress his new friend, Ruger, with how he can splash in elbow-deep mud puddles.  Ruger topped it by laying full out and half deep in the same puddle.  a quick bath for 2 tired dogs, who ran and ran and ran.  dogs are cool like that - hello, sniff sniff, off to play.
so now, off to the day.  wishing you the coolest of cool days.

Friday, August 01, 2014

a mishmash

< from BraveGirls

                               Cafe Press >

more BraveGirls...

 more cafe press….

< and finally, BraveGirls.

Henry's at doggie daycare today, after a night of restlessness.  I stayed to watch for a bit, to make sure he was doing has been 2 weeks human time, 50 years dog time, since he'd been there, and he is usually the first one in.  Today he was not, so I peeked through the observation window for a little bit.  When I left, he was full out playing with the hugest dog in the place - a German Shepard that was large even by German Shepard standards! Oy. I will have a tired little tudball tonight.
Since I was Hen-less, I decided to go sit by the lake and check on my duck. The geese have finally adopted her, and I'm hoping she'll get the point about flying.  There is much flapping about and preening, as the goslings prepare their wings for flight.  Quackles imitates them with preening, but not really flapping yet.  Time will tell.  Sitting by the lake was so peaceful.  It's been a while since i did that without Henry.  Lately, it hasn't been possible, as he makes a buffet of goose poo.  I came home and climbed back under the covers to finish watching The Intouchables, a movie recommended by Sue.  It is now my favorite movie.  Go now and watch it.  I can't decide if I should get up and work on my studio some more, or eat breakfast and re-nap. Hmmm.  A lazy morning before work.  How is your morning?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

If cancer were a man….

to Maggie Rae and Denise….

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

and a 2fer...

by the way, a private message here between me, my sister and an unwanted guest that's in her House:

now back to your regularly scheduled life.
today in the woods: My grace is sufficient.

from Brave Girls:

Your heart will mend, it will…it always always will, no matter how many times it has been broken. Sometimes our hearts have to be broken to be made into something newer, stronger ,and wiser. Sometimes the cracks that a broken heart makes and leaves are the very portals to the greatest
light and love and learning that we will ever experience.
Having our hearts broken is a part of life…it just is. Anyone who lives and loves with all of their heart, or even with parts of their heart, is destined to experience the breaking of that heart at one time or another.
Be with those feelings. Don’t rush the healing time. Let it go at its own pace and certainly don’t shove those feelings into some faux hiding place, believing that what is out of sight is out of mind.
Broken hearts have a lot to say….and the more patient you are to listen…the faster your heart will heal. Listen to what your broken heart is saying about how it wants life to be, in the future….
Be patient and gentle with yourself….no rushing. Rushing a broken heart is a bit unkind and impatient…you don’t want to treat yourself that way!
You are so loved. You are so wise and wonderful and amazing.
You are healing right now.

Monday, July 28, 2014

overshare alert

i probably won't hit the "publish" button on this one, but this being my journal, of sorts, i just might.
with the recent War of The Roses feel to this house, i see myself moving about the rooms…picking up laundry here, making some cereal and coffee there…all looking normal.  i am upstairs now, taking a break from packing up any unnecessary item in my studio.  i feel like i have been kicked and slapped and beaten, though no physical connection was needed.  it's been no secret that i've been a square peg in this house for many years.  but i guess i hoped for mutual epiphanies…i guess i hoped when i moved downstairs to sleep, that perhaps that would be the wake-up call that was needed.  but there was none - no conversation offered.  perhaps relief?  i spent so many years working at hateful destructive jobs in order to close the gap between income and not-my-child-support going out.  now the kids are grown and gone, and i feel kicked. to. the. curb.  left to do the cleaning and laundry.  left on weekends to find my own way, while a new romance with a boat overtakes the place where my feet and heart once were.  could've been a red corvette, i suppose.  or a trophy woman.  perhaps.  who knows, maybe i'm lucky that it's a "thing" rather than a person.  it all just sucks.  it is the most selfish of selfishness.  i am still, apparently "a dear, sweet woman,"  but have no place left here.  having a henry makes it more challenging to move or move about.  and to where?  when the time came that i couldn't possibly stay in a cubicle one second more…when the time came that the finances didn't dictate a 2nd income…i left my income/freedom behind.  was i wrong to not prepare for this future?  if so, what was the point of having that particular past?  to enter into a relationship with an eye toward failure is ludicrous - why bother?  what honor is there in that?  so today, i feel utterly cut loose and drifting.  today i feel like screaming and kicking holes in walls and smashing china.  i want to scream fuck so loudly that the owls fly from my trees and the neighbors many miles away will shut their windows. but today i worked quietly at packing up any and all non-essential studio supplies, and comforting my love, my henry, as he senses sadness.  I want to draw my women friends around me like a tight cloak…like a tight hug…while i sob…i want to crawl quietly back to bed…i want to lay face down on my new studio carpet and just let life go over me and do what it will, then pick up the pieces of the mosaic.  Perhaps. i don't feel like i want to be stoic at all.  i am too old to start this shit over.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

i'm tired of being brave.

Tired of having the drama to wade through that supposedly will build character.  Tired of life situations to be dealt with that are so hideous and ugly that people say You're Brave.  You're Strong.  One foot, one day at a time.  I am willing to live a mediocre life in exchange for just being able to live it.  to have certainty where my feet will step next.  sounds boring, doesn't it?  well, there's a lot to be said for boring.  a lot to be said for steady-as-you-go.  a lot to be said for keeping that boring day job that pays so well, rather than branch out into the great unknown and live what you think is you dream.  not to kick someone's wings, but the larger percentage of fliers do not reach the sun, Icarus, so make sure you can still walk, should your main supporter till death-do-you-part decides to have a midlife crisis and leave.  make sure your ducks are orderly and accounted for, because i can tell you straight and solid this:  it is a messy and ugly and kleenex-filled time, and your friends will have patience, but only so much, and you will get sick of hearing how strong you are when all you really want to do is sleep the sleep of the dead or scream for someone to help and they will get sick of your back-and-forth between wanting to stay in the polluted water/wanting to commit an amazing felony and when you realize your plan is made of cotton candy and you get a glimpse of reality you will have to choose quickly whether or not to push that door with your shoulder and move through or simply become bitter.  i'm on the fence right now.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Yes, another new job!  I have to say, I love this seems to be a perfect fit, as I suspected it would be.  Part traffic reports.  At the same place I worked before heading into the abyss.  So it's back around the wheel.  And funny thing: in just a week, I feel my wings again.  I was greeted so warmly by folks that remained all these years.  I was wrapped back into that fun/dysfunctional family.  The job does have it's crazy, but it really is a good thing.  Now to keep one foot in front of the other, which seems so much easier than it did last week.  I'm sitting outside on my patio right now, a good breeze is blowing through the trees, and so far the fat, fluffy owl is keeping to himself and leaving the robins alone.  I've gathered a fine cloak of women around me, both here and afar, and am grateful to tears for each of them.  I feel stronger than I have in years, despite the home turmoil and stench of a relationship unraveling.  I can move my feet and step over the debris now.  I thank each of my women friends...each a feather in my wings

Sunday, July 20, 2014

sunday 2-fer

you hear so much about Henry…
you'd never guess that I have another studio assistant, Purrl…
who gets very testy when asked to Please Stop walking across my keyboard.  In fact he bit me and drew blood on my arm.  It has been a while since this fluffy little diva middlesex cat has been allowed back.  but now, of course, i can't resist.  he/she gets so little attention now that Henry is afoot.

Also taking my attention is yet ANOTHER cookbook I got from Williams-Sonoma after class today:
those are some bold promises, and I intend to hold them to their word.  I'm sorry - I'm a food dork.  I get so choked up in WS that please, don't even try to talk to me.  I want those checkered pants and little black chef hat and all the knives and zesters and corers and accessories and ThInGs in a great kitchen.  i want a stove that has more than 2 working burners and an oven that knows how to hold a temperature.  i want to learn how to operate my grill properly.  Since i can't afford the cost of CIA tuition, I'm cobbling together my own cooking education through adult ed, Williams Sonoma, etc.  I'd still love to do the CIA Bootcamp, but (again!) I start a new job tomorrow.  it is what fits me best - part time, afternoon, radio.  when i finally said "girl.  you are being way too dramatic and oogly googly about this job thing.  just go get a job" when i said all that…Bam! the next day i got an offer from the blue.  cross your fingers for me!
okay time for coffee.  Thanks for hanging in here.  i know i'm not too reliable lately.  but honestly, it's been too hard to find words for the knee deep stuff i just went through, and boy it's good to be me right now!

where are you from?

where i'm from
by george ella lyon

i am from clothespins,
from clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
i am from the dirt under the back porch.
(black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
i am from the forsythia bush
the dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs i remember
as if they were my own.

i'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
          from imogene and alafair.
i'm from the know-it-alls
          and the pass-it-ons,
from perk up! and pipe down!
i'm from he restoreth my soul
          with a cottonball lamb
          and ten verses I can say myself.

i'm from artemus and billie's branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
from the finger my grandfather lost
          to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
i am from those moments--
snapped before i budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

a running theme the past few weeks…re-empower yourself.

yes.  do it, and also - do it yourself.  DIY.  don't look outwardly for things you already posses within yourself…i look to certain touchstones for a nod or for a fill-up of things i feel i may lack.  but i have to realize that those things aren't lacking…i'm just choosing not to use them, i suppose…perhaps needing a heart to touch mine, who knows.  "no man is an island," and that is even more true for women, beng hardwired to gather.  In my neighborhood, we women gather.  i am the planner, most often.  we do simple things like movie night which involves chocolate, too much food and a movie.  last night we went out to see a movie - Tammy.  In the midst of the hilarity were some dead-on truths.  Tammy (played by Melissa McCarthy) had life barf all over her one day, and she took off with her grandmother (an alcoholic with multiple medical problems, but a great outlook on life).  one of the best lines of the movie was from her…she looked at Tammy and said "You've always complained about your shitty little life, but never done anything to change it…"  right between the eyes.  It's true.  i've gotten so used to just bitching about how life done me wrong ("life" usually being relationship) and leaving mySelf at the door.  Yes, it's true that a bad relationship, marriage, job, PTSD, etc, can beat a person down till they feel they have no choices and no reason to exist and have nothing to contribute so they should just stay put and be grateful for the shitty little existence that they have because it could be worse.  but it's a lie.  and it doesn't have to be Either/Or.  within the shitty little life, growth and change can begin, till the roots re-grow and strength returns and the bud opens into a full flower.  life does not have to stop because you are unhappy with it.  and even with all those things (especially PTSD, for me) it doesn't have to ride your back always…you can figure out how to occasionally grab the reins and ride the dragons back (i say "you" but we all know what i mean).  in fact, i dare say that life should begin when the shit starts flying, or becomes so deep that you can't move your feet.  especially then.  and use the shit to build a wind-proof house.  nothing like a little mud and hay to make a snug house.  i've spent hours wondering how this shit will translate into a beautiful life that i wanted to create.  then i planted a garden (a for real one) and it struck me that the seeds didn't sit underground wondering how they would get through all that manure covering them…they pushed through, hit the sunshine, took a drink and bloomed.  if they sat underground trying to puzzle it through, they'd rot.  and i have sat underground for too long…i have been immobilized by the things that haunt me and by the things that torment me.  and i may be way off base in this dissertation.  but i think i want to give it a go, just to see.  pick a direction, and go.  stop stopping.  and circling.  maybe continue to bitch and moan for a while, but for God's sake - move a little.  so after this epiphany, i got this in my mailbox this morning:

her giant

she called upon the different parts of herself for help. if she was going to make it, she needed to accept them all, unite them all and believe in them all. it was time for a huddle of tremendous proportions. it was the making of her giant.
—terri st. cloud, bone sigh arts


Friday, July 04, 2014

today is July 4th…a day filled with picnics and gatherings and fireworks.  for most.  for some, a work day.  if i was still at 9-1-1, i would most likely be working.  so i'd like to say thank you to those who are working today to keep things safe, or at least mitigate the collateral damage.  today, Henry and I will head to the Big Park on a Big Walk.  Quackles the duck tried to follow us home this morning, and although she is doing good in her pond, I don't have confidence in her innate sense of good & bad people (and dogs).  i'm not sure if she knows about migration.  so i'll be keeping an eye out for her, with a safe home on standby, should the need arise.
Happy 4th to you…wishing you a gentle & sweet day, if you are alone.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

So should I start every post with "yikes! It's been a while" and just be done with it?  So much and so little going on.  Have been getting commissions for reliquaries, and hope to have permission to show one or two.  They are just so personal and sacred...little bits and favorite toys and plaster circles with precious pawprints...a collar...maybe some curls of fur...all entrusted to me to enshrine in an assemblage worthy of the well-loved life that once cuddled up and chased a ball and stole a heart or two.  I am honored, truly, to do this work.
I was up most of last night with a screaming hip and aching hands, so I will leave you with a promise to fill you in on some great good news ... Tomorrow.  But know that a goodness and kindness has returned to me and sunk into the place formerly occupied by a crusty & unkind swirl within me.  Just a thin ribbon, but enough to poison.
And Henry is doing just fine, despite cleaning out the catbox for me - clumping litter stuck in his teeth created quite a night's work for me.  No ill effects to report.
See you in the morning...sleep well.

Monday, June 23, 2014


* wake up way too early…check
* take car to mechanic….check
* clear all the furniture - ALL of it 0 from livingroom…check (and OY)
* romp with Henry in Big Open Area formerly known as livingroom…check
* vacuum carpets twice and shampoo them….check
* forget where I put my coffee (again) and pour a third cup, hoping to actually drink this one…check
* call for sponsor for Combat Paper Project (I only need $1500.00)….check
* mechanic called to say car ready 6 hours early (!!!) ….check

Today is a super deluxe lucky day!  yesterday was crap, so this one makes up for it.  and it isn't even 11am!  Plans to make cabbage rolls with spicy rice and red bean & sauerkraut salad.  to quote Dana Carvey….Exxxxcellent!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

yes. 3 today

sometimes, it's a smell…or a song…or a deja vu…or the sound of a favorite cousin's voice on the phone that reminds you of who you are.
and then, there are those Super 8's of you toddling about like Princess Diaperpants.

oh by the way

yeah.  that kinda love.

This morning, i woke very very early, with a warm cuddly ball curled tight against me.  we both went for a potty break, then decided it was an excellent day to go back to bed.  so we did.  despite Henry's urging to stay put, we finally got out of bed around 7:30, and i had a steaming mug of coffee on the new patio.  i'd forgotten how much i missed sitting outside in the quiet coolness, before the world wakes up.  such a perfect way to start the day.  today, i think some new patio furniture is on the agenda.     I think some nice, big Adirondack chairs with comfy cushions in Teal and Orange.  And a small table for coffee and a book.  I've been reading cookbooks to beat the band, and want to cook it all!  Am planning a Williams Sonoma trip this week, just to drool.  Being the only one around makes it a shorter trip, though, because i hate to leave Hen alone too long.  he gets sad.  so i'm off to work on a commission for a reliquary.  I'm so loving these.  feel honored to create these sacred remembrances.
i saw the word "shenpa" here, and followed the daisy trail of links to this:
Shenpa is a Tibetan word meaning “attachment” (and we know what the Second Noble Truth has to say about that!) but PemaChodron often describes shenpa as “being hooked.”
What normally accompanies shenpa is a desperate urge to alleviate the shaky feeling that’s arisen by engaging in a particular behavior we hope will bring about some relief. So we scramble to produce something pleasurable that can counteract the extreme sense of unease and discomfort that makes us want to bolt away or disappear.
It tends to happen very suddenly and without warning, and when it’s happening it’s as if we’re being visited once again by one of our least favorite people in the world, someone we’ve been acquainted with for a long, long time. Too long in fact.
You know you’re experiencing shenpa when you have an almost uncontrollable urge to run away from what’s going on right now. The wanting-to-run feeling is an instinctual reaction to an otherwise innocuous sense of groundlessness and unease. This uneasiness arises whenever something takes place that makes us feel as if one of our buttons has been pushed and we’ve been exposed somehow.  And while this wide-openness and vulnerability is in fact nothing to be afraid of, it feels so unnerving when we resist it that our brains search desperately for ways to quench the flames that arise from our fearful and doubtful minds.
Which rings clear and true.

Friday, June 20, 2014

occasionally i rise to the occasion

…and post two a day, as a make-good for the recent long, dry spells.

so an amazing thing has been happening and just sort of came to a wild in-my-face get-through-this-shit ah-ha moment.  (enough with the hyphens, let's move on to the dot dot dots I'm so fond of).

For the past however long, I have been in this You Are Invisible, Unimportant, Unmissed frame of mind.  I have been feeling downright dejected, and like nothing will never ever be the way i want them to be in my life.  i have helped many get their art careers going, and going strong sometimes.  but can't seem to promote myself.  not out of feeling less-than, just feeling tired every time i thought about doing it…posting that fantastic post on Facebook or here in this blog, or pushing for a show somewhere.  i just can't seem to follow through and have let some cool opportunities slip by.  and yet - have felt a hot jealousy when the very people i help - get shows and opportunities.  not wishing them less, but wishing myself more.  and feeling like my magic touch had turned sour on myself and felt old and fat and unneeded and obsolete.  oh big old sigh poor me.  and some addictive behaviors started rearing their heads in the whiff of an opportunistic sniff of a maybe chance to roar.  but the dragon remains asleep.  save for 7 or 8 sets of china.  and i knew full well that maybe that wasn't my path, so things were actually working out pretty well.  but still i wanted wanted wanted. pout foot stomp hot tears swearing much wine drinking. but there was a teeny spark of magic still holed up in my heart that refused, absolutely refused, to be smothered. and that glint of a spark held tight and sure, and slowly reignited all the broken bitter bits that had fallen from the heart that had squeezed itself so tight that it was numb and felt like an old leather glove…brittle bits of that ugly heart reignited like a Phoenix and began to warm this heart and shine brighter and brought life and laughter with it (and s'mores, of course).  and on the day when there was just the slightest flicker of the flame, an unimaginable gift arrived, and attached was a note "YOU WERE MISSED."  I was missed.  out of 200 people milling about at the most fantastic spot in the universe…I was missed.  I swear to you, my heart burst.  full out. in the middle of the day, in front of The One who believes less in me than I even did…it burst.  and i pointed to the gift, and the note, and watched a curious expression on the face facing me.  then i came up here to tell you about it.
I was missed.  hot damn and don'tcha know.

Live your dreams now to any degree that you can. With every purchase. Every decision. Every hello and goodbye. Every assignment. Every conversation. Every meal. Every morning, afternoon, and evening. And never, ever, ever look back. Reframe every thought, word, and deed from the perspective of the person you've always dreamed you'd be, as if your life was already as you've always dreamed it would be. Die to yesterday's illusions and be reborn to the truth of your vision.


so true.  such good advice.  a theme, the past week.  wasting energy wanting what i see coming to others…yet still being grateful for the things percolating for me…the tick and the tock.  needing to own the knowledge that i need not live up to anyone else's perception of what i should be doing…(or would that being living down to their expectation of what they want?)

loving the options that are whizzing to me - bringing Combat Paper Project here…working on reliquaries for sweet, beloved fur babies gone on before their people…feeling little clicks of tumblers falling into place…grateful grateful grateful
* for friends
* for Henry
* for the ability to provide balm
* for art and intuition
* for being where I am right now
* for asiago toasted cheese sandwiches.  sorry - I am just loving on them too much.

discerning the difference between wishing for something, feeling jealous, and knowing when the pull is really a call to action.  knowing what's my journey, and what will never be my path to follow.  and being so very okay with that.  and not getting caught up in the fame and fortune of it all.  When are all the lessons learned??

Saturday, June 14, 2014

love this label…reminds me of Phil Parsons' work...

last week's table…nothing this week - big daddy has a date with his boattheboattheboattheboat

making Beet Ravioli for a special person tonight…...stay tuned…….

Friday, June 06, 2014

Reliquary for Groucho

I never met Groucho, but he was a much beloved cat...

      And Sonny was, and remains, in our hearts….my Perfect Stepdaughter's best friend…her horse….

such an honor to be chosen to craft these reliquaries, these sacred housings for precious mementos.