Sunday, December 31, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
pondered by Carol Dunton at 5:00 PM
Sunday, December 17, 2006
all year long, i have a little pine tree that stays up in my living room... lights and all...
i call it my 'life tree'....
it has ornaments on it from all phases of life of late... true, some of them are Christmas ones...and snowmen, and angels... but most are not... most are talismen of a journey taken and thoughts, prayers and love served along the way.
a cranberry pomegranate forever preserved on the end of a ribbon, a copper acorn, a jeweled butterfly, a pony bead bracelet from one of my students, an inscribed ornament to my mother two months after she passed away, and many more celebrating friendship, love, hope and faith...each one with its own story...all topped with a gentle angel, made from a paper plate by one of my former students who is Muslim....
it's one of my treasures.. and it serves me very well, indeed...
this year, as was the case of last year, too, it will be our Christmas tree... and as is not the case of last year, there are already a couple of presents beneath it...but the gifts this tree gives are without end...they last all year for me...
...yes, Christmas lasts all year for me...
pondered by Carol Dunton at 8:23 PM
pondered by Carol Dunton at 9:55 AM
Sunday, December 03, 2006
* ADVISORY!! Please keep the 'wake up' portion of the above statement in mind. It plays a role in the picture above. **
oh... but the GOOD kind! 50 little tea lights wearing tu-tu's of silver foil... each one waving a birthday 'hello' to me!! all over my front yard.... a sea of birthday candles....
is there better?
pondered by Carol Dunton at 4:50 PM
Sunday, November 12, 2006
a true nature fairy....
striking a pose in my tubby... I was about 2....
notice the resemblance to the 'oil of olay' lady??
This picture was created last night...amid laughs, cranberry cocktails - good lordy... who knew homemade cranberry vodka was so pretty!!?!... food of EVERY kind... and enough paper, paint, modpodge and embelishments to stock a small store!
The ya-ya's and I decided that we needed to get 'crafty'. R's contribution included homemade cranberry vodka that looked like a liquid jewel...the prettiest cranberry red in the cutest Wal-mart jug! One sip of her concoction and we were singing 'It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas'. N's beautiful spinach salad competed with her Champagne pate for star title... hard call there. Apparently, my rustic pumpkin sausage ravioli earned the nod for my part... we produced a feast!
Evening's respite was creative bliss! N made a beautiful lavendar tray filled with photos of family and friends. She was like a windmill - arms a'flyin' as she cut, glued, trimed, modge-podged and trinketed up her 'Best Friends' tray... absolutely beautiful and amazing!!
R was our little 'ma nature' with her tray... papers made of the most amazing pairings... fabric enbedded into layers... grasses 'growing' in course pulp... and the most amazing to me... skin-thin slivers of cross-cut branches peeking through a silvery-lavendar paper. Her tray metomorphed into a candle tray, with the center stage being surrounded by 'leathery' autumn leaves from a fall napkin, golden words of wisdom laid on forrest green and combinations of textures and fibers that were so intriguing to gaze at!
How awesome it was to watch these two transform their blank 'canvases' into treasures!
As for me, I worked on a project in progress... a wooden box from Ikea that has no rhyme nor reason...other than whatever strikes my fancy at the time. Last night it was one of my favorite photos of me ...taken by my mom. I remember when she took it. It begged to be turned into a 'nature fairy', of sorts. So out came the supplies and this is the result... a little spot on the top of the box bearing 'nature girlie'... complete with micro-glass beads on wings of vellum leaves and her hair adorned with a 'God sparkle'... a little rhinestone found on the pew one morning at church.... whimsy and fun are hard for me to incorporate into my art... I am WAAAY too serious when I create. So this was a stretch, and it was fine!
Very late into the evening, all goods and goodies were packed up. As N and R loaded up the beloved Jeep, it looked like a week-long trip to the cabin was the focus. But no, it was simply the necessary components being tucked away and loaded home until the next ya-ya soiree!
pondered by Carol Dunton at 2:48 PM
Monday, November 06, 2006
How often have you heard someone rave about their boss?
It doesn't seem to happen as often as the 'rag on the boss' tirade happens.
But I'm about to change that.
I was talking with one of my ya-ya's today. It had been a very rough weekend with family issues...the kind that knock the wind out of you. As we talked about all the different facets in my life, we came to my job. Thus the rave about my boss.
You see, my boss amazes me. She has one of the hardest jobs I know of, and one of which I could never, ever do. (I am going to refer to her as 'Dr. S'.) Every day, she must create a learning environment for about 900 students - surroundings that support, educate, nuture and empower students from all walks of life, from all backgrounds, from all situations. Our families absolutely love her and support her to no end! She treats every single child with dignity and friendliness. I can't tell you how many times I have been in her office and a couple of kiddos come by with birthday cupcakes that they want to share with their principal, gifts for the holidays, tokens of their love for her. By the end of the year, Dr. S. has had lunch with every student! She knows them by name, remembers their name long after they have moved on through life to have children of their own and she always remembers anecdotes about them. They TRULY think of her as their princiPAL... what a joyful memory they will carry forever of their school days!
But that's not all that she does....
Every day, she must create a working environment for about 75 staff members - surroundings that support, educate, nurture and empower her staff. This is not as easy as it may seem. Personalities, communication, regulations... these can all make a smooth running wheel hit a rough cog now and then. But, even those cogs get worked out, and the wheel continues humming along its way. Trust me, I've been on the cog that got clogged, and even in the worse of times, it always worked out. Because... of my boss. That's the type of enviorment she works for, strives for, supports and encourages. And despite all of the new 'rules' coming down in my field, she vehemently stands for creating a world that allows me to do my job the way I know how to do best... Trust me when I say that is not the norm in my profession. But it is with my boss, and God bless her for staying true to her vision.
But I can't stop here.
For, Dr. S. has blessed my life in more ways than she would ever know. Fate has lead me down an interesting path these past few years. Along this path though, has been Dr. S. Her unwaivering support for me and my family has been true, strong and unyeilding. Many has been the time when she took me out, had me over to her home, indulged me with time spent with her wonderful family. Every time I drove home from spending time with her, I always gave thanks for her, for her daughter, her son, her grandson, her aunt, her sister, her cousins, her nieces and nephews, her dogs and her cats.... and a precious time with her mother... truly.... truly.... truly....
I have learned so much from her in so many aspects...I could go on and on about how this woman has been such a guiding presence in my life... as my friend, as my boss, as my mentor.... she is so many things to me.
So it is with gratitude beyond measure, and the biggest bearhug that I can muster (she is such a 'hugger'!), that I give a heart-felt 'shout-out' to Dr. S. This world, truly, is a better place because of her and I thank her for all that she is to me. God bless you, S.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 5:34 PM
Saturday, October 28, 2006
It has been a wonderful, wonderful day today.... spent with my ya-ya's... celebrating the lives of two of our mothers and deepening the connection that the three of us embrace.
N and I arrived at R's... bearing the beginnings of brunch with an egg casserole, beautiful cantalope and the makings for bloody mary's. Upon entering the decorated doorway of R's, our noses were tickled with the scrumptous scent of apples and cinnamon...R's signature apple cake that NO ONE can say 'no' to a second piece! My nose was gay...
which leads me to this beauty....
A nosegay from N.... bright vermillion gerber daisies bundled into the sweetest nosegay... a token of my ya-ya's love and celebration of my mother life. A book of sentiments, and a card swirled with wisdom from a humble nun...
touched to tears was I.... as was R..... for she received the same sweet offerings in celebration of her mother's life..... Two mothers.... three women....
We sat out on the patio... and it was a feast for both the tummy and the eyes.... a carpet of fresh, new grass rolling behind us as it was showered intermintently ... roots wiggling down as green shoots stretched sunward. Hummingbirds toyed with each other between sips of nectar... squeeking and buzzing with nary a care in the world! As it should be....
The autumnal sun arced over the south horizon... dragging a lazy Saturday along with it. Candle flames waving 'hi' to us from an outdoor firepit...their fragrant scent occassionally drifting across our table...
Coffee laced with pumpkin pie creamer, bloody mary's stirred with Mary's pickled asparagus, happy sunflowers listening silently to our conversation from their pitcher next to the apple cake and eggs...
The three of us share many, many commonalities... some beautiful, and some ugly. Thankfully, the shadowy ones are locked away in past lives, never to be seen again.
Traces remain and compel us to make the choice... do we let them revive ? or do we step on them, heavily, slowly rolling heel to toe....quelling any attempted uprising....
that's exactly what we do.... with arms locked around each other and twinkles in our eyes...
we move forward through this beautiful life
3 beautiful women
rising out of the ugliness
pondered by Carol Dunton at 7:05 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Welcome to a slice of heaven on Earth....
Monday morning, the ya-ya's and I loaded up the Tahoe. We had blankets, camping chairs, picnic baskets full of snickerdoodles, chicken salad, cheeses, chips, chocolate, pickled asparagus, apples and more!, magazines, journals, books, cameras, hard cider, gloves, scarves and a thermos of hot coffee... all for spending the day in the woods...literally!
R, N and I ran up to a grove of trees that are the most brilliant red that I have ever found in Arizona! I found this sweet spot about 6 years ago, while running the roads on one of my frequent road trips. It always calls me back each autumn because of how it reminds me of Ohio autumns. I'm not sure what type these red trees are, I think maples, but whatever their species, their impact is striking!
I was afraid the leaves might not quite have changed yet...but quite the opposite was true....they had faded and fallen ... most of them. A couple of aspens shook their yellow medallions as a breeze danced through, but most of the red had spirited into the fall air ... no mind... we were happy with all that we had.
We set up our little camp... a thermos of coffee on a tree stump served perfectly as a table (note the picture), chairs in the sun to stave off the brisk, crisp 48 degree air.... food passed around and shared, and a toast to us 'autumn angels' with a bottle of hard cider! OH YES! The splendor of fall had begun! We spent the next 5 hours soaking in the purity of autumn in the forest... chatting, comforting, laughing, eating... Funny thing... books were left closed, pens were left capped, magazines were left tucked in their baskets. When the three of us get together, we seem to fill the moment with stories, advice, laughs... and the 'distractions' that were packed are never opened. It's as if we cherish these times together and don't want to waste this face-to-face offering. It's always been the right decision... I never come back home and think 'Wish I had read that magazine instead..." never....
As the sun began to sink into the bare branches of late afternoon, we started to gather talismans of our trip and pack up. Poor R... she, of all people, highly ticked off a chipmunk who was distaining our intrusion into his living room uninvited. As she gathered from the forest floor, she was pelt from above with nuts! A chittering accompanied the pelts, and we could only imagine the words being hurled at her along with the nuts...which found their mark, more than once!!! It was too, too funny...!
After packing our day up the ridge and back into the car, we stopped by a noble pine tree...old, stoic, solid and stately. His gift lay before us... huge, tan pinecones frosted with sap... fragrant, curved and large. Without even trying, they evoked thoughts of upcoming Christmas... and we gathered each a bag of them to take home... the car smelling like a Christmas tree on the ride home.
I have to give a 'shout out' to my Autumn Angels... these two women are as pure and true and genuine as friends can be. They are the true epitomy of friends. They, WITHOUT RESERVATION, were so agreeable to make this trip with me.. no reservations, no hesitations, no worries and no 'uh... I don't know...'s.... These angels packed up goodies that made this trip so special, so memorable... and they did it with purity and love in their hearts. Thank you, my ya-ya's, for taking this trip with me. Thank you for your love and honor and support. Amazing you are... blessed I am.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 12:47 PM
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Being from Ohio, I'm ingrained with the seasons. I can not watch the months slip on the calendar without thinking of the seasons, the solstice, the waning and waxing of daylight, the storms, the snow, the floating leaves of such unique color raining down on my hair. As said before, I play the part of a desert rat...but I hate it. It doesn't seem natural to me to live in an oven.
This is the driving force that has lead me to many a roadtrip adventure. Thus this little gem here. Traveling on a dirt road up in the forest about two hours from here is a cluster of trees that each fall put on such a vibrant show for anyone who happens to meander by on this road less traveled. One time my family and I took chairs, books and a picnic and just set up the day in this grove of splendor. I love it here.... nothing but nature...pure nature.
Yesterday was spent cleaning top to bottom, laundry duty and the kitchen fired up as two girls made pumpkin-cream cheese muffins and rice krispie treats. It took all day to complete that last sentence, but when I laid down for sleep, a good day had been spent.
I have a couple of errands to do today... I'm in search of a certain brand of ledger paper which is being very elusive. I may splurge and buy a Yankee Candle. I've wanted to for a month now, but finances have prevented that kind of purchase. Maybe today I can justify it. Autumn always wakes up my 'nesting'....decorate the house, pull out some of my favorite things to spruce up the home, make some yummy favorite recipes...soups, bread...you know... good ol' comfort food.
What does Autumn make you yearn to do?
pondered by Carol Dunton at 9:56 AM
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I was sitting at my table, picking at the remains of what was to be a most enjoyable dinner, but turned out to be rather tasteless to all of my senses and without much nourishment for the mind and body, when she walked in. At first, I was too busy with what was on my plate...clumps of financial business, a bite or two of what was and no longer will be, a half-smear of fear, and an uneated bite of uncertainty...to pay much attention to her memory. I'd been rather pre-occupied with the non-productive activity of picking at the components of this pity dinner...pushing bits over to this side of my plate, then making tracks in these leftovers over here....occasionally putting my fork down, deciding that I was done with this meal and starting to get up, only to pick up my fork again, and meander through the leftovers of a paradoxal life....
...when in she walked.
I instantly recognized her, but couldn't believe that she still existed.
She was always small, but if that could be condensed into an even smaller size, then it was. She was haggared; her long, fluffy coat of black and white fur hung on her bones - 3 sizes too big. As beautiful as it was, even it couldn't conceal the wear and tear that almost 4 weeks gone had done to her. Even more spent were her eyes. One with its eternal weep, the other one, the good one, looking large, scared, and without any more reserve to draw upon. One touch to her body, and the story was told. On the run for 4 weeks. Whereabouts unknown. Given up for dead.
But there she stood. A bit unsteady. But upright, none the less.
Olivia was back home.
Where she had been during the past month, we have no idea. She obviously wasn't with someone, or she wouldn't be a bag of bones. How many hours, how many miles did those little feet wander? Where did she spend her nights? What sustained her during her journey? And even more curious, what protected her? At what point did her mind turn her back towards home?
Friday night was spent tending to this little creature of stubborness, reserve and strength. Food and fresh water were offered constantly around the clock as well as gentle hugs and whispered words of encouragement to a fragile soul. As I ran my hand down her back, each vertebrae bumping my fingers, looking into her weepy eyes, I couldn't help but admire her...her spirit and fortitude...the fact that she never gave up and yes, she had found her way home.
Perhaps fate had just taught me a lesson in the guise of a 3 pound cat.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 12:10 PM
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I haven't posted lately... mostly because what I would like to type would be rather depressing, I suppose. I've been in a slump since court. Worried about things... things that have to do with M and I. Money. The future. How things will work out.
I've also found myself being ticked. Ticked at what was not said. Ticked at the situation that I'm in. Ticked that the whole weight of parenthood and life are on my shoulders. They ache. They are tired of holding everything up. Tired of fighting to rectify lost payments, fraudulent charges attempted to be made, paperwork, calls to return, accounts to balance and repairs to be made.
We are starting my most favorite time of year and I am, once again, having a hard time getting into the season. Fall is my most beloved time... I love the colors, the weather, the anticipation of the year slowing down and the holidays coming. Cooking with my favorite Le Crueset dutch oven, trying out yummy recipes, decorating my house for fall, scented candles, ... all of it.
But the last 4 falls have been awful ones. Manic episodes. My mom's death. More manic episodes. Each fall I vowed to enjoy it.
Each fall I prayed to get through it.
I find myself missing what my little girl's heart had dreamed of and planned on. Someone to help me out of the car when my hair is gray. Someone to take me to the movies. Someone to ask me how I was. Someone to take care of me.
That won't be.
I guess I am mouring what was to be, and never will.
I guess this is all part of the journey.
I just wish the fucking Fairy of Fate would quit dancing on my life and move on.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 6:18 PM
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Oh, what a night! A dear friend treated me and another dear friend to a night out...to a LYNYRD SKYNYRD concert! Oh yeaaaaaaaaaaah! The beautiful part of this whole event was the D, who so graciously bought our tickets, had never been to a L.S. concert before! Oh, sweet anticipation! S and I have been to see them twice... we love Lynyrd Skynyrd and try to see them every chance we get! It's been about 5 years since we last clinked beer bottles at one of their concerts. So D treated us to a wonderful dinner out and then we headed to the concert. Well, the most stunning part of the whole night was that we had FRONT ROW SEATS!!! Save for a few folding chairs set up right in front of the stage for radio station winners, we had FRONT ROW SEATS!!! With plenty of floor space at my feet, I 'got down' to kickin' up some southern rock music! It was absolutely THE BEST! OOOOOOOoh.... and notice the white guitar pick?? That was thrown to me by the guitarist....oh yeah, baby! In fact, D and S and I ALL got one... that's what happens when you are in the FRONT ROW!! : ) And the tattoo... well, I just had to play the part...I mean..this is Lynyrd Skynyrd! So part of getting ready for the evening was applying a fake tattoo... And I have to tell you, I love it!! I'm sort of thinking that maybe I need to treat myself for my 50th birthday this year... I just need to make sure that I get it somewhere that it will still be in another 30 years. I don't want to be some 80 year old lady in a nursing home getting a sponge bath and my tattoo that was on my back is hanging down on my butt. One must consider these things when contemplating permanent markings. D and S...you two ladies 'rock'!
pondered by Carol Dunton at 7:00 PM
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
pondered by Carol Dunton at 7:56 PM
Monday, August 28, 2006
i told him 'hi'
i told him that he looked good
i told him that the kids say he's been doing better
he told me that he doesn't have a job
i told him that he's a good man... i told him that twice
i told him he is a very smart man
i told him that he's a good worker with a lot to offer
he told me that he's depressed and the medicine doesn't seem to be doing much
i told him that i've had no choice but to be ok when he asked how i was
i told him that it's been hard
i told him i pay for everything
he told me that he feels like he's let me and m down
i told him he has
i told him that he needs d and m in his life
i told him that d and m need him in their lives in a healthy and positive way
i told him that all i wish for him is to take care of himself and do what he needs to do to be healthy
i told my heart to be quiet and not to say what it wants to say as i drove away crying
i told myself that i made the right choice as i second guessed myself in so many ways
i told myself that i have to continue on this path even though i don't know the future
i asked God to take care of him for me
pondered by Carol Dunton at 2:16 PM
Saturday, August 19, 2006
but it's there.
It's in the air.
I noticed it earlier this week. Playground duty. Hot, humid and icky.
there was this ever-so-soothing breeze swirling by and it made the hot, humid, icky air a bit cooler...and even a bit relieving. Maybe summer had turned around for the return flight back into the year.
Can you hear that?? Ahhh... yes. Tooooooooooooooooot ... Toooooooooooooooooot ... Toot .... Toooooooooooooooooooot! The train whistle. I notice it every time and I love it every time. I can hear it from school. I can even hear it lying in bed at night. But the train whistle is an elusive sound. It does not play well with heavy summer air. Its stage is the lighter, cooler air of autumn, winter and spring. That's when its lonesome, melodic notes of passage float on lighter breezes and seep into our windows, our yards and our minds. The first job I was ever aware that my dad had was working for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Columbus. He worked downtown at a type of headquarters... we called it 'DC'. ...machines spitting out tickertape - punched with information, routes, directions. Black, glossy old-fashioned phones with metal dials that you put your finger in and turned. Big, black headsets so that he could speak to ??? on the other end of the line. Amber lightbulbs shining down on parchment paper as it rolled out of the manual typewriter - its worn, metal keys stamped with gray letters and numbers. Rows and rows of machines, information and communication clicking, humming, pausing, ringing, working to keep all the trains safe and literally on the right track as they moved through lines of rail. I found it all facinating and keep very fond memories of visiting my dad's work tucked away. So when I hear a train whistle, I savor it. I listen to it...really listen to it. Did you know that the engineer has to blow when approaching a crossing with the pattern long, long, short, long? Listen, next time.
The light has changed, as well. Sunlight. It's no longer blazing white. It's starting to mellow into its autumnal gold. I notice it when I walk into the bathroom in the morning. I have a wonderful arched window by my bath tub with a beautiful feathery green jacaranda tree peeking in. Subtle gold is starting to wash the leaves...the harshness of summer white ebbing away. The light is also beginning it's autumn slant. No longer bathing us from straight above, it glows in from the low side. A true sign of the sun beginning its southern journey.
There's been change in the world of work and home. The next 10 days hold the answers to how much change on the homefront. Perhaps the rays of bright, golden light I saw radiating out from behind a cumulonimbus the other evening are pretelling of good news ahead. Peace at home. My true home.
but it's here.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 8:09 AM
Monday, July 31, 2006
...and we are smitten with him! Meet our new family member...Ross! He came into our lives via a visit to Starbuck's one morning. He is a rescued dog from the pound. He was picked up as a stray...full of foxtails embedded into his skin, ticks, a back-half so matted, that his fur had to be shaved off...there was no way to get a brush through it. Sad, depressed and lethargic, Ross was laying in a cage at the pound sad and not eating. Luckily, he was spotted by the right people and rescued the moment he was available for adoption. Two weeks later at the hands of a wonderful woman who was his foster mother, Ross is finally free of those awful embedded foxtails, free of ticks, micro-chipped, up-to-date on his shots and about to be neutered later this week. Today M and I finally got to adopt him. He is a total love and we've had a wonderful first day. I had him groomed and bought him treats, his favorite food, some toys, a doggie dish, and heart-shaped I.D. tag. He's been through so much and we want to give him a loving, stable home. Our cats are having various reactions...from total indignance to 'what the *&^% ?????' But we'll all be fine.
I think Molly would approve....
I think Molly would approve.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 6:12 PM
Sunday, July 30, 2006
I spent Friday morning on my butt or on my knees weeding this little gem in the forest. E and M's little garden needed a little tending, and my two hands were just the tools to do it. So, with a cool forest breeze blowing through the trees, a radiant sun above and whispy clouds parading by, I set to work to make this little garden shine again. The weeds didn't offer much resistance. One tug and I had another clump to add to the weed bucket. I methodically made my way past the clumps of chives (and nibbled a couple as I did, oh my! are they yummy!), the rubarb, the tomatoes, peppers, mint and corners of irises. Digging in dirt is theraputic. It gives one time to think. To ponder. To reflect. To wonder. To plan. To question. To settle. To be.
My pants were just covered in black soil. They went into a bag for a good soaking in the washing machine tonight. My heels were BLACK!! I sat in the shower and scrubbed them after weeding and didn't get all of it out! But no worries... it's all part of the experience! A trip into town to Wally World for a few items found me getting a new garden stake - a cute little red ladybug who's wings spin in the breeze! (You can sort of see it to the left of middle). A cool drink of lemonade with some mint from the garden (and a splash of Gordon's) and I was quite content to admire her new showiness! I'm not sure who was smiling broader, the garden or me! Gardening. It's so good for the soul.
pondered by Carol Dunton at 5:44 PM
Just study this for a moment...
the shading of the billowing clouds... the way the blue sways from deep to light.... the rays of sun streaking the heavens... the whispy fringes of the clouds... the layers of visible moisture settling into their positions to help build a summer thunder storm.... the corona of light around the edges of white....
the magster and I ran up to the rim for one last indulgent summer vacation weekend... after unpacking and settling into our cabin, the girls (mag and her friend) settled down to petting and playing with the four cabin kitties while I settled into my forest. A picnic table right outside was too inviting to ignore, so I laid down and watched the sky above. A pause of this being a childish thing to do crossed my mind... and then was dismissed .... why NOT look at the clouds?? And this was the result... beautiful formations...never to be duplicated again...
pondered by Carol Dunton at 5:26 PM
Thursday, July 20, 2006
So much has happened during the past week. I came back from the mountains, relaxed, comforted and at peace, only to find myself feeling like I ran into a brick wall at 90 miles an hour the very next morning. It took me by surprise...and only validated what my spirit knows to be true and authentic - I am a mountain woman at heart and that is where I belong. I play the game of a 'desert rat' well, but my heart and soul are not happy baking in 112 degree heat. Down here I feel lethargic, trapped in the 'suburban' lifestyle and all the things that assault the senses.... stores, news, crime, heat, busy schedules, etc. Up in the mountains, life is soothing, calm, sybiotic with nature and attuned to God. Down here I am trapped. Up there I am creative. But I digress....
So much has happened during the past week...not even to mention the past 8 hours. The culminating perspective is that I am, once again, blessed. Instead of focusing on one topic of heart, I'm going to sprinkle a buffet of views.... perhaps one will speak to you.
* to all my girlfriends... please take breast health seriously. This means that if you have any suspicions about your breasts, call your doctor, even if you are shaking and crying when you do it, DO IT. Make sure you get your mammogram. And if you have to have an ultrasound or further testing done, do it for the empowerment that it gives you of knowledge, which is always power. If you need support, call on your ya-ya girlfriends to go with you, or to listen to you, or to hug you. But do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Remember, getting a mammogram doesn't give you cancer. It gives you knowledge. And knowledge is empowerment. Norma and Ruthie.... thank you... from the bottom of my heart ...and boob....
* My new fantasy is to be kidnapped by Jack Sparrow and held against my will (and Johnny Depp) on the Black Pearl.
* Nando's makes the best damn marguerita this side of the Loop 101.
* My realtor, Karyn, brings the 'Italian' out in me... I have no 'Italian' in me (that I know of), but she was gracious enough to have me over for dinner (after I invited myself!!) and this is my new favorite salad - you must try this... even the magster loves this...
- 1 container cherry or grape tomatoes - cut in half
- 1 jar marinated artichoke hearts - roughly cut
- 1/4 red onion - chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smushed and chopped
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives from Trader Joe's - leave whole
- 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves - FRESH
- 1/2 container of the small mozzarella cheese balls from Trader Joe's...for once in your life, you want small balls....
- olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
In bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, artichokes, onion, garlic, basil and cheese balls. Drizzle olive oil over mixture and season with salt and pepper. You can also throw in a spoonful of the artichoke marinade and olive juice, too. Mix gently and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marry flavors. Let sit out for about 10 minutes before serving to take the chill off and intensify the flavors. This is just perfect with fish or eggplant parmigiana. You'll have to talk to Karyn about the eggplant! Enjoy!!
* I don't usually find pets...they usually find me. I went to Starbuck's this morning for coffee and lost my heart to Ross. The wheels are in motion to make him a part of our family.
* I'm addicted to the show 'Grey's Anatomy'. LOVE that show!
* Bitterness erodes the vessel that contains it.
* When you think that things are bad, or you're feeling down about something, do what I do...tune in to Jerry Springer. In no time you'll see that your problems aren't as bad after all! Remember... you could be married to a transexual man with three teeth who secretly dresses in ladies lingerie and is sleeping with your best friend in your trailer while you're flipping burgers at McDonald's during the day and stripping at night to support your 5 kids and the one on the way!
Sort of makes that small bank account seem not-so-bad after all!
* Laugh... even at the most serious of situations... it's ok to laugh.
Blessings to you....
pondered by Carol Dunton at 6:50 PM
Sunday, July 09, 2006
The washer and dryer are in full gear right now and the groceries, suitcases, bags of books, paints, magazines and other necessities are all put away. Another wonderful trip to my favorite place on earth is now a trunk full of such great memories. The Ya-Ya's, teenagers and I trekked up the mountains to a cabin surrounded by grand Ponderosa pine trees and fresh, clean mountain air. Ed and Mary, as ALWAYS, rolled out the welcome mat and we settled in in no time to our home away from home. Greeting us, to our delight, were 4 cabin kitties - soft, furry and so full of energy that just watching them romp and run and tumble and flip wore us out! A fierce thunderstorm and 1 1/4" of rain in half an hour was such a treat! We sat on the porch, cheese & crackers and wine in hand, and watched Mother Nature shower the forest with pure water. You just can't imagine the crisp, fresh scent that fills your lungs after such an event. Candle makers would make bundles if they could capture that scent.
But what has this got to do with my picture? Well... meet Kiko...
You see...Ed and Mary have a true menagerie tucked in this mountain spot. Sheep, pigs, ducks, geese, chickens, kitties, dogs... and yes, peacocks!! Two male and two female. I went down 'to the animals' one morning to see how the livestock was and Kiko was oh, so curious about me. So we eye-balled each other for several minutes. I tried several times to get a good picture of him without the chain link fence, but it wasn't to be. Just as I thought I had the shot, Kiko would tilt his head away...coy little devil. The next day, Kiko became a father! Two peacock eggs were being taken care of by a very sweet hen in the hen house (the peacock parents aren't interested in the caring of the eggs, just in the creating of them) and lo and behold, little peacock #1 hatched yesterday morning and then baby #2 was awaiting us this morning! Too cute and oh, so precious! Mama hen is quite dedicated to the warming and caring of her babies...even if they don't cluck, and she's doing a super job sitting on those peacock eggs.
Such is a part of what awaits one at this sacred spot on the Mogollion Rim. We had other awesome experiences over the 3 days there, but I will keep those in my heart and memory book for when I need a respite from the 111 degree heat.
Until the next time I run back up the mountain....
pondered by Carol Dunton at 6:30 PM
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Woohoo! I won!
This is an authentic Judith Leiber sterling silver mirror compact covered in pretty little pink Swarovski crystals! "Who's Judith Leiber?", you might ask?? I didn't know who she was either until a month or so ago when a field trip to the Phoenix Art Museum had me gazing in amazement at an exhibit of over 150 'Judith Leiber' purses in various shapes, animals and styles covered and adorned with tons of these pretty crystals! The display is unbelievable! Little purses made in the shape of a bundle of asparagus tied with a ribbon, red lady bugs, pink pigs, cherries, siamese cats, butterflies, and on and ON! Shiney, sparkly, oh-so-cute little purses that have a big price tag! I instantly fell in love with them and even went to her web sight afterwards. For a mere $3,500 I could purchase an adorable pear purse! Ahhh...but that is not in my league...and I'd look a little silly shopping at Target with such a fine container for my money... what little would be left of it. So I put that fantasy in my 'dreams' file and thought nothing more of it...
Until one day...
I happen to check out a website promoted here... mysweetconnection.com. It's a 'chick site' full of 'chicky' things like recipes, helpful hints, deals on shopping, etc. There's even a way to 'earn points' through trivia questions and surveys and then spend those points on raffles being held on a variety of items. Well, I happened to check this site out about a week ago...(I had first checked it out two months ago and forgot about it). One of the raffles was for this adorable Judith Leiber compact! I thought if I couldn't afford one of her purses, at least I could spend my points and try for her little cute compact (can you believe it's valued at $475?!?!). So I dilligently played trivia each day and took the survey for this past week. (sidenote: it's interesting what one will focus on when one is in a loosing battle with a wicked stomach flu and is neither willing nor able to assume an upright position for 3 days) As soon as I accumulated points, I spent them on entries for this compact. I think as of last night I had 36 entries. I was serious about winning this!! Lo and behold, the raffle closed today at 11 am and I just checked to see who won, and I DID!! WOOHOO!!! I'm getting fitted for contacts tomorrow morning and eye-sight willing, I am going to drive over to pick up my 'oh-so-cute-little-pink-Judith-Leiber-mirror-compact' !!! Nothing like pulling out my ultra-chic Judith Leiber compact from my $29.99 purse from Target!
pondered by Carol Dunton at 11:39 AM
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Call me crazy, but the airport is one of my favorite places to be. I love planes. I love to fly. I love the whole unbelievable concept that 60 tons of metal can break the binds of gravity and soar to altitudes that allow you to see the curvature of the earth - all in comfort and style. I love everything about the airport and find it simply facinating.
My love of flying starting at a young age. My dad would load up the family and stop by Kentucky Fried Chicken for individual dinner packs. We'd drive out to the airport, dinners on our laps and watch the planes take off and land as we ate. My dad had a radio that allowed us to listen to the conversations between the control tower and the pilots. It was such a thrill to listen in on the instructions, readings, directions and things that passed on this frequency. Sort of like secretly listening in on a forbidden conversation.
I've always carried this love with me. I don't fly NEARLY as much as I would like to...my last trip was two years ago... pity. But sometimes I'll drive over to the airport, radio tuned in and watch the planes. I'm not the only one there. It's funny how many others find this a great way to pass time.
Friday I was able to go on a tour of our airport... of the artwork. Ours is the second largest collection of art in the U.S. Who knew! We were given all sorts of facinating information...our airport employs 31,000 people! We were driven over to the new 'rental car' complex...wow! Rainbows of reflected prisms colored the walls - it was a facinating art installation and one that all valley residents should really see at least once.
I took this shot of the new control tower being built. It's HUGE!! Unfortunately, I didn't get the current control tower in this picture for an awesome comparison. But trust me...this tower is a monster! Once completed, it is going to operate for a year in tandem with our current tower before it takes over the operations of the flights soley on its own. I can hardly wait to see it when completed. Now if I could just find a way to finaggle a tour of it....what an experience that would be!
pondered by Carol Dunton at 2:29 PM
Monday, June 12, 2006
Meet my 'first aid' basket....
Some might notice that it's really a Longerberger basket... the 'lunch basket' model, to be exact. I'm guilty of loving their baskets. Good thing I bought my collection of them when I did...those days are probably over. I have had this one for almost a year and it goes where I go... work, the grocery store, Starbuck's, lunch with my girlfriends, to pick up M, the cabin in the woods... Yes, I carry it with me everywhere.
I call it my 'first aid' kit because it contains things that help me with the day. In the back is my green scrapbook album of my new home. It's a work in progress and one that was suggested by Susan Ban Breathnach in her new book "Moving On". It's a wonderful book that guides you through the process of 'moving on' in your life; either literally due to divorce, loss, moving, etc. - or by simply 'de-cluttering' your life of things that clog your closets, garage and probably your spirit. I started reading her book on March 19th, and I'm on page 40. I've been there for 2 1/2 months. That's because she suggests making an album of how you see your 'new' home...whether you really are in a new home, or you are 'renewing' your present one. I was so taken with her suggestion that I accumulated the necessary album and embellishments and for the last two months, that's what I've been doing..setting up my 'new home' book... a page for the living room, a page for the kitchen, one for the bathrooms, etc. Magazine clippings, drawings, inspirations are beginning to slowly find their way into my album. If I come across an idea or inspiration for my eventual new home, then I tuck it in there. I tend to be one who spearheads through a project to get it done, but for some reason, I am perfectly content to take this at its natural pace, which seems to be a bit slow, and just enjoy the process.
Next, is my black box of my colored pencils. A 48-peice set of Prismacolor colored pencils. My favorite. They are so rich and smooth to work with. These aren't your grandma's colored pencils. I love the rich color and silky texture that lays down when I color with them. Sometimes, I think it's crazy that I cart them around with me every day, but when I consider taking them out of my basket, I just know that I'll be inspired to create a page or label or card, and darn...I won't have my pencils. So I trust my inner voice and keep them with me. Good thing. I use them quite a bit.
My personal planner is Mary Engelbreit...have you heard of her? Her 2006 desk calendar tucks so nicely in my basket and keeps me sane!! I write down everything that's important...phone numbers, appointments, meetings, classes...and thank goodness, because in these crazy days, I know I would have forgotten an appointment or 'lost the magster'!! Do you have a planner??
The next book is my pink leather Italian journal. She's relatively new to the bunch. I don't write in her much...only when I really think about it...which is about once every month or so. But I love the girly pink color and the little pink button book marker in her. Silver with pink and white buttons - made by a woman's group for battered women through J. Jill stores. I wish those women strength and courage everytime I see it.
Next, is the wonderful Susan Ban Breathnach book, Moving On. It's laying on its spine and those little pink 'flags' are paper tags that I've used to mark special parts of her book that I wanted to be able to refer back to. Like I said, I'm only on page 40, because I've been busy doing my 'homework' of creating my album and haven't read on. But every so often I think about going back to this book and learning more about this process that I am in. Maybe I just carry it around for its good karma.
Next, but hard to see, is my purple pencil keeper. It's nothing more than a plastic envelope from Target for 3 bucks. But I carry a wealth of writing supplies in it...mechanical pencils, a little pad of sticky notes, art gum eraser, pink pearl eraser, a yellow highlighter, Zig 'millennium' writing pens in different sizes - 6 black, one in blue, Zig 'writer' pens in all sorts of colors - kiwi, pure violet, black, wheat, orchid, coffee, burgandy, apricot, plum mist and platinum, a pack of ink pens in colors of blue, purple, orange and green. Life is too short to only write in black.
Tucked down in and out of sight is an eclectic group of cards sealed in a baggie. They are mostly from '7 gypsies' - a collection of old-fashioned cards used to scrapbooking...check out their site...I love these cards!! Also in the group are cards with soothing pictures - hearbed bathwater in an old-fashioned clawed tub, a wooden bowl with a mix of potpourri, a sweaty glass of lemonade...all with recipes and words of wisdom on the back of each one. I take them out now and then and look through them. These, too, have almost been removed from the basket, but as soon as I do, I know that I'll wish that I hadn't.
I don't have all of my eggs in one basket, but the basket that I do carry around is one that helps me through the day.
What's in your 'basket' ??
pondered by Carol Dunton at 4:05 PM
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Maybe it was the 115 degree heat.
The magster and I went shopping today for some things. After an uneventful trip to Old Navy, we headed down to Kohl's...they were having a 'bra' sale. Now mind you...I HATE bra shopping. You find 3 bras that aren't designed for 49+ yr. old, 2 kids, weight-loss, down-to-my-knees boobs and stride right into the fitting room, hoping that there are no hidden cameras ready to capture the 'tit-sling try on'! I always have a trace of optimism that when I try on the first one, I, too, will look like the woman on the front of the tag...looking so 'fly and foxy' in this bra! But after struggling to slip, plop, hook and adjust my boobs into this fashion statement, I realize that no matter what kind of fancy contraptions you strap on a cow, udders are udders.
If I had my way about it, I would strip down to nothing on the top, gamely grab bras left and right, try them on right there in front of the display, and if they didn't fit, throw them down and go over to the next display. None of this 'take off shirt, take off bra, try on bra #1, bra #2, bra #3....put back on old bra, put back on t-shirt, fix hair, go back out and try to find 3 different bras that might fit', and do the whole process over again.
I spent a good hour perusing the selection Kohl's had. After trying on 3 with halarious results, I headed back out. I searched for the 'lavendar' tag that corresponded to my cup size... for heaven's sake. (J says I need a 'boob lift'... she may be right) The pickin's were slim...the sale had obviously already been a hit with a lot of women (and probably a guy or two, if truth be told). Finally, I found two that would do. They were white and pink...the pink one being my personal fashion statement...albeit a rather modest one. One for the magster (it was a buy 2 get 1 free!), and I headed over to the pajama section. Heck, I was feeling so sassy with my new boob slings, I figured I should find myself a new nightgown! Well, meandering through the pajama section found me staring at a rack of miscellaneous undies...and there on the end was a pistachio green bra with a little pink bow in the front and a little pink ribbon running along the sides. Green and pink! Watermelon colors!As fate would have it, there was one in my size! And the kicker...there was a big ol' sign on the rack - 'GOLD STAR SALE - 60% - 80% OFF!'
Well, I knew this was a sign from Lily of France (undergarment goddess), so I grabbed my new bra and triumphantly strode up to the register. I asked my friendly sales clerk how much my new watermelon bra was, since it was on sale. She scanned the code and told me it wasn't on sale. ??? Yes it is, the sign says so. She nonchalantley picked up the phone, spoke to anonymous, nodded, and hung up, only to tell me that it wasn't on sale. I repeated that the sign said differently. 'You want to talk to her?' I was asked. "You betcha" was my reply. I was committed and willing to do what I needed to do to take home my watermelon bra at a reduced price!
Ms. Frumpy Grumpy appeared. I explained that the bra had been on the sales rack. I showed her the tag with a yellow line marked through the bar code. She told me that that didn't matter. I said that as a customer, it did to me! So I invited her to allow me to escort us over to the said rack. Ms. Frumpy Grumpy launched into her 'wave-off' diatrabe that the yellow mark didn't matter, the bras probably shouldn't have been there, someone must have put them there, there is no sale and that the sign stating the 60% off was on the wrong rack. "Look...it's not even tightened" she said as she loosened up the thumb screws and move the offending sign over to another rack. She showed me!
Ahh... but not so fast, glass-hopper....
That bra was coming home with me - and at a sale price.
I then exposed my knowledge to Ms. Frumpy Grumpy that if a store advertises merchandise at a sale price, they are required by law to honor that price. They had a sign on this rack. Three of these bras were on this rack. This bra, Ms. Frumpy Grumpy, is on sale.
"I'll need to go look up some numbers. Do you want to follow me or wait here?"
"I'll wait here, thank you."
As we waited, I explained to my mortified daughter that this was an excellent lesson for her to witness in shopping. I explained the theory behind it and patiently waited for Ms. Frumpy Grumpy to return. About 8 minutes later she did. She happily handed me my bra and said 'Here you go!' I asked if she was able to get the sale price and she replied that she had written it on the tag. 'Thank you very much.' I said. As magster and I strode back to the register, I looked down.... $12.99. Yipeee! This bra and I were meant to be together!! My new watermelon bra was the deal of the day!!
A melon bra for my melons!!
Like I said.... maybe it was the heat....
pondered by Carol Dunton at 5:14 PM
Friday, June 02, 2006
my dear Molly...
you were the best...
may you be running with ease now...
give Mom a lick ... tell her I miss her and love her...
and give Mokie a real run for his money... he's been waiting for you...
thank you for all that you gave us... you were graceful up to the very end...
we will always have you in our hearts...
pondered by Carol Dunton at 2:18 PM
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
We were heart-attacked last night! The doorbell rang a little after 9:00 pm. It had been a quiet evening after returning home from a birthday dinner out for M. Then...the doorbell rang. I opened the door and no one was there.... but hundreds of paper hearts were! All OVER the yard! Standing in a parade on little skewers and sprinkled all over the grass and driveway. Wishes taped to the garage door. Hearts bearing wishes for a grand 15th birthday. Hearts saying that she's loved! Hearts full of teenage girl gooofiness and genuine love! And to top it all off...a treat from Starbuck's!!! No one in sight, but lots of 'presents' before us!! It was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Soon, the 'offending party' drove by giggling and laughing. Hugs all around. Thank-you's in ears. Smiles, laughs, giggles and goofiness. It couldn't have happened to a more deserving young lady...and I am forever grateful to all of her wonderful friends for taking such good care of my daughter - especially during this past year. It was the most wonderful kind of 'heart attack' to be had!
pondered by Carol Dunton at 4:47 PM