Wednesday, December 31, 2008

When Life Hands You Socks, Make Snowmen!

Ahhh.... the lazy days of winter break are just pure bliss!! I am sooo enjoying doing 'nothing'...or whatever my little heart desires! I've indulged in playing games, staying up late, sleeping in, watching movies, lounging in pajamas, reading, going on walks with the Ross-man (my dog), organizing and my favorite thing to do - spending time with friends!!

This morning found the ya-ya's on over for brunch. I whipped up a batch of waffles with my new waffle iron and we put on a spread that was de-lish! Then I pulled a surprise on them.

"I have a craft project for us to do! You're going to make your Christmas present from me!" This brought both "Oh cool!" and 'Huh??' .... So I explained that I had planned on making my ya-ya's little sock snowmen for their Christmas gifts but had been burned out on school craft projects so busy with all the holiday happenings that I ran out of time! Being the great troopers that they are, they were more than game! So out came the coffee-stained socks, the antique buttons, the bag of rice, the yarn, the glue guns.... each snowman began to take on his cute little personality and when it was all said and done, we were silly girls who had fallen in love!


The three of us love to decorate for the holidays and hate to have to put Christmas away - so we've decided to roll the trimmings over to January in honor of winter. So trees will stay up, white lights will still glow, and these little guys will now have the place of honor in our homes as we celebrate the season of winter (even though it was 74 sunny degrees today - that's desert life for ya!) Can you tell we were all raised in snow climates??

Plans for tonight are simple - none! I'm staying home and quietly watching this year slip away and a new one with promises and hopes and dreams and wishes take its rightful place.

I wish you all the very best that the new year brings. May you be blessed with joy, love and peace in 2009.

Happy New Year!





Friday, December 26, 2008

Slow Motion



Ahhhhh.... winter break.....

It does a body good.

So much has gone on with this wonderful holiday... and I am sooo looking forward to the next week off from school... I have often akinned teaching to running at full throttle... and when you come to a holiday break, you slam into the wall. It takes me a few days to acclimate to being off....to not having to look at a clock 6 times each hour....not managing, answering, interacting, etc.

So I am busy resting, playing, breathing, enjoying, visiting, relaxing... just letting go to be able to be.

Plans for next week are sparse. A few physical therapy appointments are on the book, but I am focusing on NOT making plans. There are so many things that I want to do...scrapping, pulling weeds in my gardens, reading a new yummy book, coffee with my ya-ya's, maybe go to a movie, take my walk, taking my son out for a belated birthday dinner, learning the ins-and-outs of my new camera.... whatEVER I feel like doing WHEN I feel like doing it... I want to savor each free day and rest my body, spirit and mind.

I hope you are enjoying this time ... the winding down of the year and the looking forward to the new one... relax.... slow down a bit.... breathe......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Believe!


Hi Santa Claus,
I can't wait for Christmas Eve! I can't wait for you to come to my house!!! I've been a good girl. Really, I have. How'd you know my name??
Oh...
Your beard is really big!
....what?
Yes, I mind my mommy and daddy.
Um...yeah, I'm nice to my little brother. But sometimes he's not nice to me. He plays with my stuff. I don't want him to play with my stuff. It's my stuff, not his.
...yeah... I can share with Steve....
Ohhhh! I know what I want for Christmas! I want a Colorforms play set - I love making pictures with the stickers! And I want a new box of crayons 'cuz mine are all broken and short. And maybe some drawing paper, too. Oh...and a tracing book, too!
And I reallly want a play kitchen....it has a stove! and a refrigerator that you open and put stuff in! I could pretend and play 'house'! Me and my friends play 'house'!
Steve?
Um... maybe a new TinkerToy set. Some of the pieces are broken and lost. We could both play with it. Or maybe some Lincoln Logs? I love building Lincoln Logs! I build houses!
Yeah... I'll share.....
I can sing "Jingle Bells"....wanna hear me sing??
'Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingles all today
oh what fun is to ride one horse open sleigh-HHH
jingle bells, jingle bells, jingles all today
oh what fun is to ride one horse open sleighhhhhhhh'
Oh, and maybe a dolly carriage for my dolly so I could push her around in it.
Santa Claus? Do you know what house is mine?? Are you sure? It's the white one.
We don't have a chimney so I don't know how you're gonna get in. Oh..okay.
Me and mommy are gonna make you and Rudolph some cookies...and a glass of milk. How does Rudolph fly? I try to fly! I jump off my bed and pretend I'm Mighty Mouse and I jump up high like I'm gonna fly! Sometimes I almost touch the ceiling! Mommy keeps saying 'You're gonna break your neck some day." We're gonna leave the cookies on a plate in the living room...by the Christmas tree. I'm gonna wait up alllllll night and watch out my window for you, Santa Claus. I'm gonna look for Rudolph's red nose! I'm not gonna sleep and I'm gonna keep looking out my bedroom window so I can see your sleigh up in the sky!!
I'm gonna stay up ALL NIGHT!
Oh...
...you don't??
Okay... I'll go to bed ..... and sleep.
A candy cane for me? Thank you!
I love you, Santa Claus.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

When It Doesn't Seem To Be Enough


Give Thanks

Two simple words, yet they hold so much grace, power and richness in their sounds.

The turkey is in the oven happy and stuffed. The Waldorf salad is made in honor and memory of my Mom...it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without her salad.
Pies are baked. Pans are ready for their assortment of goodies: Sagaponauck Corn Pudding, biscuits, mashed potatoes and the most wickedest gravy this side of the Pecos,
if I do say so myself.
A soft rain settles on the rooftops; turning leaves drip down upon the grass as the Earth begins a slow wake on this Thanksgiving morning...
doors open to let the outside in.
A dog, literally, lays at my feet, candles of pumpkin and spice dot the living room, dining room and family room.
As I sip my pumpkin-spiced coffee in my 'oak' leaf coffee cup, I find myself in humble gratitude to God for all that has come my way in so many ways.

I want for nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

I am so blessed...
and so very thankful this Thanksgiving Day.

And yet, 'thank you' just doesn't seem enough.

Reflections upon the last few years leave me with so many views.
Part disbelief of all that has happened in 3 short years.
Part sturdy resolve in making it through.
Part pure 'little girl scared' at what was, what did and what could have.
Part peaceful spirit in knowing that God was taking care of me all along the way...
and continues to.
Part grateful beyond expressed words to my children and all of my friends who have carried my wounds, my dreams, my hopes, my outlook, my heart and my hand
when I just couldn't carry myself.

And yet, 'thank you' just doesn't seem enough.

This ornery 'squirrel in the forest' will be the first to proclaim 'I'm no bible thumper!' And the truth is, I'm not. But I go to church. I adore my pastor whose sermons are like taking a mini-college course. I learn about God, about faith, about the Bible, about our world's history, about my role on this planet, my challenges, my goals, my fellow man and this year, mostly about prayer. I have found myself walking down a 'prayer path' that was not part of my plan. Hesitantly, I have created talismans for this powerful practice, shared it with others, gifted some with it and tried to make sense of the power prayer so obviously has.
This Thanksgiving Day, two special people in my life are able to enjoy this day in ways that were only
hoped for, wished for...
prayed for.
The scope of the good that comes their way can only be explained in human terms as a 'miracle'.

And yet, 'thank you' just doesn't seem enough.

Each day the news reminds us all of the challenging times our world is in. Part of me has to chuckle for this has been the norm in my world for the last 3 years. I've turned my back to shopping in a frenetic crazed state of mind, buying things like there is no tomorrow. Newspaper ads, commercials, signs - all telling me how I have to give my hard-earned money to someone for some gadget that will bring 'unbridled joy and happiness' to my world bounce off of me and drop like stones.
Lessons learned these last three years have shown me the joy, the beauty, the gift of the written word...the simple token....the shared meal.... time spent together.
And once again, I will emerge on the other side of the 'holiday spirit' having not used a credit card or gone into debt to buy one gift this season.
Simplicity will have deeper meaning and give truer Christmas spirit -
to both the receiver
and myself.

And yet, 'thank you' just doesn't seem enough.

To tell God 'thank you' from deep within my heart ....
To hug my children and kiss their sweet cheeks
(um..even though they are 17 and 28 I can still do that, right??) ......
To hug my friends, tell them I love them and to thank them for
helping me along my path in this life.....
To silently tell the universe 'thank you' for all that I have, all that I've experienced,
for all of the lessons I have learned whether I wanted to or not....
Each 'thank you' is meant from my heart.
Purely, wholly, truly and simply.
But it just doesn't seem to be enough...
...or is it?

May your day of Thanksgiving bring peace, joy and love to you and
to all whom you share your world with.
I know that I appreciate you being a part of my world.
Happiest of Thanksgiving Day to you and yours
and...

thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Knitting Knotes....and other 'purls' of wisdom

So many things going on....much on my mind. I loved what my friend, Meags, wrote on her blog just the other day. She has been away from blogland for a while and she recently wrote that she had be 'thinking'...that October and November are 'thinking months' for her. I found that to be such a 'right on' statement, for I have found the very same to be true for me. The paradox is that as the Earth begins its dormant stage and prepares for a winter of slumber and rest, my mind revs up....events happen that encourage me to look for the lesson within. Every fall I have this grandiose idea of a quietness edging in...the beginning of rest and huddling in. And every fall I find that events happen, things arise causing much reflection and learning from. Instead of being the squirrel in the forest fluffing up my nest in a hollowed tree for the winter and checking on my stash of acorns, I'm the one standing in the middle of the forest, hands on my hips going 'So what's up with this?? What's the lesson to be learned from this?? And quite frankly, this wasn't part of my autumnal plan!!!" Nothing more disconcerting (or bemusing) than an indignant squirrel who has many lessons to learn, whether she wants to or not.

But I digress, a bit.

What I have been learning is how to refine my knitting technique. Oh sure, I whip out autumn scarves with a flurry like falling leaves and mindless glee. But I've always wanted to 'get down'....and I don't mean all James Brown-like. I've wanted to work with smaller-sized needles, with lighter yarn, with a more 'delicate' pattern. There are patterns that work on circular needles, double-pointed needles, using stitch markers and 'reducing down to shape a crown'. I'm dying to make a pair of socks!! I've been all over the internet looking at pictures, patterns, videos. One such sight had the adorable picture of a
'pumpkin' hat (and a pair of matching booties) for a little one and I instantly fell in love! I had to make that pumpkin hat!!

NO! I AM NOT GOING TO BE A GRANDMA!!

I know...I know... then why make a little one's pumpkin hat?? Because I wanted to. It was just the project to try my goal on. And besides...you know me and autumn! So off I went to purchase yarn and smaller needles. May I just say I am a needle snob!?! I will only use bamboo needles. I adore the feel of a natural product (as opposed to aluminum) and I make sure to always use my 40% off coupon from Michael's to make my purchase.

As I am rather 'butt-bound' due to my knee (this is killing me, by the way, that I can't go to yoga OR work in my garden during this glorious weather, but I digress again...), I have been using my spare time to work on my little pumpkin. Knitting is relaxing, rhythmic, calming...almost like a tangible form of meditation. I've totally enjoyed working on my technique with the smaller needles and yarn. I did alter the pattern a bit by not working 'in the round'...choosing to go 'tubular' and then sew at the seam and top 'vents'. I knitted the leaves and added some curly vines to the hat - every pumpkin should have at least a curly vine or two!!

And voila'! A pumpkin ready for picking!

On another 'knote'...I have to mention that last weekend I was given the priviledge of teaching a class at a women's retreat hosted by my church. Now mind you, this is soooo not like me. But my pastor (she is just an amazing woman!) and our spiritual director knew of my early post about making a 'prayer mala' and wondered if I would mind teaching this at the retreat. I was honored and excited to share this with the gals! But to be honest, there was a part of me that was a little concerned that it might not be received as enthusiastically as I am about it. I was a bit afraid the women might think stringing a bunch of beads onto some wire and calling it a 'prayer mala' might be a little ....oh...too 'new age' or weird for them.

Shows how much I know.

The women couldn't have been more receptive or eager about the whole project! The spiritual director and I had gone shopping for gemstones and beads a few weeks earlier. I had typed up a info sheet that describe each gemstone/bead and the meaning behind it (some offer peace, abundance, calming, etc.) They gathered their choice of colors and types and began stringing and it never stopped! I was crimping and finishing malas up until after the end of the day! I was so thrilled that so many 'strangers' were eager to share this with me! Several made two - some even making one for a friend in need. It really was a powerful thing to see. I know how much I use mine, and how much it means to me. Something tells me that those women are getting much out of theirs, as well. I know I did out of the whole experience.

Plans today include working on a gift for a dear friend who just received a very tough medical diagnosis. Maybe a pot of chili for dinner. Typing up sub plans for Tuesday's workshop and hopefully, beginning a new knitting project! I guess that fluffled-up nest will have to wait another day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Mother Knows Best

It's been a quiet time for me here on my blog, but oh! my mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts, lessons learned, ponderings and reflections! Many times I have seriously thought of posting, only to find myself confused as to how to scribe my mental thoughts. When the next day comes, and my thoughts are no less organized, I feel frustration, hope for tomorrow and then the cycle continues.

So, for lack of anything profound to picture or post about, I will put my thoughts to 'paper'... apparently they will not quiet down until I do this....

*****

I recently took a day off from work to spend the day remembering my mother on the day of her passing. I had these grand plans of sitting at her grave, remembering, crying, missing and delving into the grief and pain and the thoughts that I have not been able to feel for 5 years due to other circumstances. I had mentally planned for the way it was to be played out.

But little did I know, so had my mother....

I did go visit her grave....and remember....and cry....and grieve. But I also listened to a total stranger, Paula, who literally walked up to me in my private grief ... and tell me that she felt compelled to come over and give me a hug because I looked like I needed one. She was there with her elderly, frail mother, Wanda. Paula's father had passed away in August and her mother suffered a heart attack a week later. Paula proceeded to speak of her fears of losing both parents 'together', of being an only child, of her abusive husband of 35 years (a Vietnam Vet, as my father was), of her stomach problems (!), of her seizures, the tests she's having to undergo and on and on. At a pause in the conversation, I offered her a red rose from the bouquet I had brought to my mother's (and grandfather and grandmother's grave as well) grave. She thanked me and then pressed a small leaflet from the Seventh-Day Adventists into my hand. Her frail mother was paying her respects at her husband's grave this whole time and had grown tired, so she had gotten back into the van. Paula realized it was time to go, so she bade me good-bye and good-day, hugged me again...and I watched her as she walked over and laid the rose down on her father's grave site and then got back into her van and drove away.

I sat for a while....wondering about this encounter. This is the second such strange one I have had while 'visiting mom'. I tried to be back into my grieving state.... "Where was I?".... but I just couldn't do it....the moment seemed to be gone. After a few minutes, I packed up the unused flowers, my purse and as I walked back to my car, I passed by Wanda's father's grave...the one she had laid the rose down on.

It was no where to be found.

The spot I had watched her bend over and lay the red rose down on.... well...

There was no plaque...and there was no rose. Nothing.

*****

I met up with my ya-ya, Norm, for lunch. We had such a nice time...she is a beauty of love, grace..... She says things to me at times that settle like sparks...but I seem to let the slowly burning-out embers rest in place...and I revisit her words more than she realizes. She treated me to a wonderful time with plans to meet again in the evening for a dinner with our other ya-ya, R. It was time for me to move on. I had a date with another good friend who was in need.

*****

I spent the afternoon with my good friend. We made lists, phone calls, plans and I was happy to be in his company. We accomplished much and I was at ease the whole time. We sat on the patio of a coffee shop in the glorious soft breeze across from a dialysis center, one similar to the one my mother had to go to three times a week during her final month and which factored into her death. Watching the patients come and go, I reflected on the irony of my position that afternoon. What my plans had been...and what they were playing out to be.

*****

That evening, my ya-ya's and I met up for a patio dinner. I brought a picture of my mother. Dear R brought pictures of her baby daughter and mother; they, too, had passed on (that anniversary being the next day). We women had lost our 'girls', but we were celebrating their lives together so that we could laugh, cry and support each other during these fragile days. The evening dinner was wonderful and a very dear memory was made that night.

*****

But, wait. This day. It had not gone as I had planned. Not nearly at all.

Why? WHY???

*****

Because my mom had other plans for me. I learned a lesson that my mom was determined to teach me that day, much to my chagrin and petulance. You see, my mother was a selfless woman with a strong, fun, spirit. She was not a 'boo-hoo' woman....I rarely, rarely saw her cry. She often told me 'how the cow ate the cabbage' and more than once offered her loving advice to get 'up and blow the stink off of you.' She never sought attention and was practical about the important things in life. Skip the drama. Face the facts. Move on. Make the best of it. Keep your head up. Never give up. Persevere.

My mother would never, ever have wanted a big deal made of her passing. Yes, I could grieve. And cry. And miss her. But to spend a day 'boo-hoo'ing about her being gone would have ruffled her feathers. I now know that my mother's wish was something along the lines of "Okay...sit at my grave and cry for 15 minutes if you want to and miss me and remember me and bring flowers.... if you must. But that's long enough. Sitting here crying about me is not doing you any good, me any good, nor anyone else. There are things that need to be done today. Don't waste your time here. Go. Go do something good!"

And so I did.

Instead of indulging my self-pity and sorrow, I, hopefully, helped others in this delicate balance of life, find their way through the day. I hope I offered Wanda and Paula, be whatever they were, comfort, kindness and a small token of love, if but for a brief moment. I hope that afternoon I was able to bring comfort to my dear friend. I hope that what we accomplished during those few hours made a difference, and hopefully, brought some peace to his heart. And that night, as I wept sweet tears holding my mom's picture in my hand and sharing a happy thought of her with my ya-ya's.... I hope with my heart that I was able to bring love, comfort and support to my ya-ya, R... who's loss is greater...and who handles it all with such grace and diginity. I hope I was able to help all of these people that day.... for God knows... they helped me.

I do believe, truly, that my day was spent doing exactly what I was suppose to do.

Mother knew best.



Friday, October 31, 2008

Passage


Love you, Mom...
peace be with you...
C

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Delicious Autumn...!



Look!

It's the Fall Fairy!

I told you she came by from time to time!

My dear ya-ya, Norm, gifted me with this little sweetie, and I just adore her! I truly was speechless when I opened my autumnal gift.... Norm had really found a Fall Fairy! So she now hangs from my dining room light, unabashedly throwing herself into the beauty and spirit of the season... I love her!!!





I had a wonderful time up in the forest with my friends. We worked hard, accomplished much and enjoyed each other's company! For those of you who think I am 'roughing it' when I speak about my favorite place to be, rest assured that I am not. I have the comforts of new appliances, a hot shower in the lovely bathroom and the most beautiful view out of the bedroom window. I often don't sleep well up there, for I spend hours in the night looking out the window at the stars.



This quaint abode in the middle of the forest is my second home.... and I love spending time there. I learned alot about myself, my future, my abilities and what I thought was my path in life. I admire Ed and Mary and the life they live here. It's not easy, not at all. And I am honored to be able to spend time here... it always teaches me something and renews my soul.

This corner of the Earth smiles for me.



I have a new little feature on my sidebar. It's called 'Twitter' and it allows me to add a little update to my blog when I am out and about and not at my computer! It's a catchy little gadget and fun, to boot! Enjoy the weather this week - take a moment to take it in!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking A Break In Fall


Car.... check.
Groceries.... check.
Gifts and goodies..... check.
Clothes and necessities....check.
Plan, numbers and standby's...check.
As you read this, I'm heading up the 260 with Mellencamp or Seger or some other bad boy crooning about life and love and losses and luck. I'm heading up to my favorite place on Earth to spend several days with my cherished friends, E and M. I'm going to help out with wood cutting in the forest (I can't WAIT!! Do you know what animals we just might see???? ... and hear??), planting some baby plants, tending the chickens and other critters and celebrating!
This is the view from my cabin porch - and my front row to Nature's show that I never, ever tire of!
This trip is a wee bit of a challenge for me... most in my world would be very surprised to hear me say that. But I'm going. I'm going to make the most of it. Throw fear, cares and uncertainties to the autumnal breeze and go.... relish in the gifts this place gives my spirit. A step forward. Another stretch of my journey taken.
I wish autumn blessings for you all this week. Go soak it all up!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Funny Story - With A Serious Message

The Fall Fairy has been pre-occuppied with duties such as report cards, preparing for Fall Break and other unfestive obligations. But yesterday at noon, Fall Break officially began and I'm all OVER this next week off! The weather here has taken a turn for Autumn with temps down (to the 70's people...the 70's !!!) and a delicate breeze which is the perfect scenario for .....
cleaning carpets.
Yup.
Carpets.

I had a date with a doctor yesterday...a famous doctor at that. You might have heard of him before. His first name is 'Rug'. Our date started early in the afternoon and rolled over into a 'one-night stand'.

Contrary to every fiber of my being, I cleaned my carpets as my first celebration of fall break. Pitiful, I know. I did the downstairs, first set of stairs, upholstery-cleaned the sofa and all six dining room chairs yesterday. This morning I did the upstairs, second set of stairs and touched up the sofa again. As soon as I turned off that machine for the hundreth time, my date with the good doctor was done. Over. Fini. Without so much as offering him a cup of coffee, I drove him back to where I had picked him up. I had used him for what he was good for, then shown him the road.

Needless to say, I'm a bit slow-moving this afternoon. Which brings me to my message. Thursday night I skipped to my yoga class ready to relax and 'let go of any emotions which no longer serve me.' (My wonderful instructor says this each time and it really rings true in my mind.) After a wonderful hour of stretching, posing and relaxing, I came home all energized and pepped up.... oh, and sore. My muscles ached. You know.. the deep ache that, when you finally crawl into bed, it makes every bone, leg, muscle gnaw at you and you find it impossible to fall asleep. After trying to fight it for a few hours, I rambled downstairs for the ibuprofen. In the darkness of the night, I got out my bottle and took three tablets, sure that they would finally beat the beast of ache and let me slumber for a few hours before having to get up for work. They were bitter going down, but I don't take ibuprofen often - I was 'blessed' with a high tolerance for pain - and I was too achy to care. Funny thing was, after another hour, even the ibuprofen couldn't dull my aching body. Out of sheer tiredness, I finally fell asleep about 3:30 am.

Yesterday's 'date with the good doc' wore me out (oh, the jokes that could be made about swinging from the chandelier, when all I swung from were the stairs, chairs, and a carpet cleaner cord). The stooping, standing, bending, lifting, moving, lugging, filling, emptying, stretching, pushing and pulling left me worn out, shaky and just plum beat (this house is 2300+ sq. feet - and seemed even bigger as I cleaned!!). Thinking I would outsmart the aches and pains, I reached for the ibuprofen during the afternoon cleaning fest to head off those villians before they blew into town. Hmmmm..... What's this? Uh... this is the bottle I used last night, but it doesn't say 'ibuprofen'. It's my perscription antacid.... zantac ... ?? I popped 3 antacids in the middle of the night instead of ibuprofen??!! No wonder my aches never went away!! My stomach was fine, but oh my gosh! That explained the bitter taste going down..and I couldn't help but think how lucky I was that I didn't get sick from taking something that I hadn't meant to - and 3 tablets, no less! I put that bottle back to the side, grabbed the other white bottle - yup, they look like the goods! - and popped three to take my pain away.

Last evening I manage to throw myself in the shower, put on fresh jammies, and plan my attack of the upstairs for today. I hurt. Boy, did I hurt. I laid in bed for a couple of hours, hoping the entire body ache would subside. Again, it didn't. It only settled in deeper. So I lumbered downstairs and, again, reached for my ibuprofen. As I started untwisting the cap, the label caught my attention for some reason. Hmmm....

This bottle isn't ibuprofen... it's..... WHAT ????

stool softener

Yup.

Those three tablet that I so smugly took in the afternoon to thwart the pain had no intentions of dealing with pain. Instead, they were headed straight to my ... well.... you know.

Crap.

That's twice now that I've taken medicine - thinking it was one thing - and it being something totally different!!

Needless to say, I was up a good deal of the night last night, as well....but for a different reason.
Needless to say, I am very lucky that I truly didn't hurt myself in some way by taking medication I wasn't planning on taking.
Needless to say... I've learned my lesson. All three bottles are white and the same size and shape. But oh, the contents are oh, so very different! From now on, I will always turn on the light, check the label and make sure that I really DO know what I am taking.
Needless to say, I feel like I'm about 83 years old.

Don't do what I did. Always, always check your labels. Even when you think you already know what you are taking - check them! Don't be like me - sitting in the bathroom in the dead of night with a fabulous tummy and a body that feels like it was trampled on by a stampede!

But boy, does my carpet look nice!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Celebrating Another 'Fall Fairy' - The Birthday Girl!


It's official...I think I'm addicted to ... Autumn! I just can't seem to get enough of this season!

Case in point....

Ya-Ya B had a wonderful birthday to celebrate today as us ya-ya's do. The customary celebration is lunch at Cracker's with goodies to open.

I started knitting the ya-ya's each a scarf to celebrate the season about 2 months ago. It's made with a yummy yarn by Lion's Brand...and get this... the color name is 'Harvest' !! Of COURSE it is!!!

It waves from golds to greens to maroons to the coolest pumpkin orange and all around the autumn palette! I love this yarn!


A while back I happened to pick up some knitting ribbon called 'Autumn' (!!!)... I wasn't sure what to do with it, but I was so intrigued, I just had to have some. Well, it was the perfect addition to my scarves...a fringe of autumnal colors with the ends cut at angles to conjure up the image of falling leaves.... (sigh)





I wanted to do something creative and cost-effective for the wrapping... With the economy as it is and having to watch my pennies, my motto for living is...

"Work with what I have ...and make what I have work."
So it was brown kraft paper and my favorite fall stamps and inks!!



I have a couple of antique typeset letters... 'y' and 'a' .... YA-YA!
I'm crazy over my pumpkin stamp, too! See...I told you it is bad!
... um...
does this guy look familiar?
Yes, it's Gambit. He's SUCH a help! No matter what I start digging into around here, he always shows up from nowhere to be in the middle of all of the action. In the garden, in the garage... doesn't matter. If there's something to get into, he's ready to be a part of it!
My idea for a gift tag was to die-cut birch leaves from cardstock and write one of my favorite sayings on them...in three parts. (It's the saying with my autumn post a days back)
I wrapped the scarves up in orange tissue paper and then the oh, too cute paper! A tie around the nifty little package of the same ribbon used for the fringe along with the gift tags ... and we are all set for a birthday party!!
A few candles tucked into a lunch sack bag made with wire ribbon and of course... my stamps!!
I knowwwwwwwww... I told you it was BAD!!
My ya-ya's looked so cutie-buggie in their autumn scarves!! We had just the nicest time laughing, talking and sharing... such wonderful women they are and we ALWAYS have a great time together - especially when it involves celebrating a birthday! Happy Birthday, dear B!
You fall fairy baby!
<---Ya-Ya's are B (the birthday girl), N, R and Moi.
*Can you tell which two are sisters?!

Welcome, Home!


Welcome home, Son!

I can hardly stand the excitement! My son bought his first home! A brand-spankin' new one! He did his walk-through on Thursday and the moving in began! For the last four months he's been storing things at my house as he bought them...and we've all be looking forward to this day when he comes an official home owner.


The moving-in began Thursday afternoon and he's in!


His home is gorgeous and I adore the floor plan....I could sooo see myself living this home! He has his own ideas about what he wants to do to each room, how he wants to set it all up, etc.

I was able to sneak away from work early yesterday to give some 'Mom' help. But for some reason, and I don't know where he gets this (wink), he didn't really want me setting up his kitchen, buying loads of groceries, washing the kitchen linens, setting up the cupboards, stocking the pantry and ... you know... stuff that us Mom's are good at!



He is so excited he wants to do it all himself....and I totally understand.

I did get 'permission' to buy a few things at the store yesterday and I took the chance of sticking the two cans of soup, jars of peanut butter and jelly and loaf of bread in the cupboard without his expressed consent. I figure if he gets his shorts in too much of a wad I'll just plead 'guilty!'

I could spend hours here telling you how much my son means to me. He has always been my biggest supporter in anything I ever did. He adores his sister.... truly... and I have no doubt in my heart whatsoever that he would literally give his life for her. During the last three years, Son has been a support ... to all of us. And even though we haven't always seen eye-to-eye about everything, he has always been there for me. I truly...truly...don't know what I would do with out my son.

David... congratulations, honey...on your beautiful new home! I wish you years of happiness and blessings in it! Now, switch that channel back to 'Oprah'! ; )

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's Here!! It's Here!!


Happy Fall to All !!!


(is doing her 'happy dance' all over the place!!)


Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Do You See It?

.... oh, it's there, alright.

Autumn's graceful entrance into the world. Change is in the air, but it is subtle. Have you noticed? The early morning sunlight slanted through the tree branches like golden rods of promise? The train whistle slowly drifts a little more loudly these days on the cooler morning air.....and lingers just a little bit longer as it rythmically chugs through town... Mornings are a gift if you rise up early enough...cool breeze, frisky kitties, happy hummingbirds. Plants seem to look at each other in the garden and say..'Wow. We made it. We made it through another Arizona summer!' Airplanes rumble on ascent overhead....slow, methodical...and just a little bit longer...as they disappear into the blue. Gentle breezes drift by of promises in the days ahead... Night beckons for opened windows....to push the stiffling machine-cooled air out ... and let the pure coolness of the night air be inhaled in. The sun seems to be aquiencing to the fact that its angry hold on daytime is coming to an end...and it, too, submissively sinks in the western horizon...almost seeming to be a bit grateful that the hot fire of summer is finally dying down and on its way out. Wind chimes softly herald the coming of shorter days....and longer nights. Earth lets out a collective sigh at the passage of intensity and heat.... eager for the shift. Relaxing....peaceful....preparing.....

I made this video last year from the ya-ya's annual trek up to the woods. In honor of Autumn at our doorstep, I offer it again....and hope that it brings you autumnal blessings for your day.
*Note.... scroll down to the red music player on the left and pause Ms. Krall for a moment before beginning the video so that you may hear another golden voice serenade. Enjoy.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

We Have A Winner!!


Oh, many 'thank you's' to all of you who left a sweet comment about what you are thankful for! I give all of you a big hug for sharing a bit of your heart with me!

I wrote your names out in orange, of course!, and snipped them into little strips to be folded up - twice!

Then I tossed them into one of my favorite coffee mugs - these little guys run all around my mug in different versions and let the kid in me enjoy Halloween in a bit more 'grown-up' way.

Toss, shake, stir, toss again, shake again, stir again.....



Okay...time to pick the lucky winner...


JILL !!!!
Congrats, lucky girl!!
Email me your address and the Fall Fairy and I shall send your glittery greeting on it's way ! Yeah !!
Thank you, dear blogging friends, for visiting me and leaving a comment. I appreciate your comments at all times and hope that the Fall Fairy visits all of you soon!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Gift of Giving - For You!!!

Oh, guess who visited me last weekend??

Yep.... that sweet little pixie who I look forward to every year... the Fall Fairy!

I told her she was early, as it was still, technically, August. But she just smiled a bit coyly and said, "Not for you, dear girl, it isn't!" So in she came and decorate she did! I was thrilled beyond to see splashes of orange, gold, maroon, pine and pumpkins and leaves all around! The home is happy, happy and I am ever grateful for her early visit! Autumn is my favorite season of all, and woefully for us desert dwellers, it passes in the blink of an eye. So, one must stretch out the season as best one can in order to remember autumns from years gone by back in the midwest.

Fall Fairy bedecked the fireplace with something new this year...and it is pur-ty! A glittery message in the pumpkin-iest of orange...hanging by matching grossgrain ribbon! Don't you love it? Its simplicity is part of its charm, but ooohhh...the possibilities of what one could add with embellishments is endless! I'm refraining, for the time being, from adding anything...but oh my, the ideas are swirling like falling leaves!

And guess what!! ?

Fall Fairy left an extra one! She did, she did! Apparently she has visited not only my home, but my blog, as well ... and she thought it was time to have a little 'give' away! Perfect!! There's a lot of 'giving' going on around here! So in honor of Fall Fairy and all that I have to give thanks for, I'm going to pick a lucky winner and send this sweet little garland on its way! Too fun! To have a chance for this to be yours, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post of something that you give thanks for... appropo, don't you think? Leave your comment before Wednesday evening at 9:00 pm (mountain time) and I'll pick a lucky winner from the comments. How wonderful is that?






There is so much to give thanks for in my world....health, family, great friends, my job.... so many. I hope that there are many blessings in your life, as well.
Good luck to all of you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where Do I Begin?

As you might know, the last couple of months have really pulled the rug out from under me. In a nutshell, I've been plagued with some kind of 'pain in the abdomen' thing. I've had countless tests of all kinds, a trip to the E.R. and worry that could last me the rest of my lifetime. I am extremely, extremely grateful that all tests are negative. I've passed them all with flying colors. The quirk in it all is that there's no medical explanation for the pain; they don't know what's causing it. My 'doctor friends', however, do. I'll spare you all of the details, but I am hoping and praying that they are right and that I am finally back on the right track. I have missed being myself, missed feeling good and missed enjoying my life. I've also missed blogging, but quite frankly, I didn't feel that I had anything worthy or uplifting to offer. So I kept quiet.

I do believe the quiet time is over.

I do believe I'm back in the saddle again.

I do believe I'm back.

*****
Often as a teacher, you feel pounded into the earth. Physically and mentally. Problems, discipline, lessons, edicts.... of every kind..... these can leave one empty, tired, drained, used-up, and fatigued to levels never experience before.

Then....

You open your door to greet your kiddos and there stands this angel with dark brown eyes, blond hair, a pinky-pink outfit, the sweetest of smiles and hugs, and this in her arms...a jar of home-canned fresh pears that she and her mom made the night before. A jar of love in my book. Do you know how this melts my heart and renews my spirit??? That a family would share a gift of their hands and heart with me is the ultimate love gift!! It causes one to have to catch their breath. Then.... a mother shows up as the bell is ringing. Her son is smart, funny, cute, kind...and, oh yes...has some special needs. I have loved this woman from the first time I met her, before her son was even one of my students. She has shared her life, her culture, her heart and her love with me...as well as her son. My life has been enriched by this family in so many ways. This morning she brings a whole plate of homemade baklava for me and my daughter, who adores this woman's culinary skills! (She frequently sends in little goodies for me!) She speaks her mother's heart to me; a mother's worries quelled and filled with gratitude, love and happiness. It took me two tissues to get through our chat. And once again, my spirit had been refilled. My strength returned. My resolve refocused. My commitment renewed.

Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with these two surprises - and the tardy bell hadn't even rung!! In spite of my hugs, tears, 'thank-you so much!!', smiles and laughs, I don't know if these two families will ever truly know the depth of gratitude I have for them, their amazing children and these beautiful gifts of love. I really don't know.

I am beyond blessed in my life. In so many, many ways.

****
Over the last couple of months, I've had many medical tests and I would often pray for good news.

That four-letter word...

pray

I've always been perplexed by praying. When I was young, I just couldn't understand how 'talking to God' could be heard by Him. As my friends will tell you, I am a very black and white person. So when I prayed, it was always horribly succinct...

"Dear God. Please make him be in a good mood. Amen."

To the point. Over and done with. Like a short, handwritten note.

As an adult, I must admit, it's been pretty much the same. That is....when I prayed. No frills, no 'zen' moments. just straight to the point and direct. To make matters worse, anytime that I tried to have a 'meaningful' prayer time with the big guy upstairs, I tried to quiet myself with the best of intentions. I'd start off giving thanks, then as I would ask for help and guidance for loved ones and problems, my mind would begin to drift all OVER the map!! I'd find my thoughts drifting off the lane...and onto a side road. Pretty soon, I'd try to get back on the road of prayer, only to find myself pulling over up ahead on some other thought, worry, etc. By the time my mind realized what I was truly doing, I was so frustrated at myself that I'd just give up. Praying has never come easily to me and I've always felt inadequate about it.

Last month the ya-ya's and I went up to our cabin for our annual summertime trek. It was beautiful, gorgeous, fun and all things wonderful wrapped up into a long weekend. Each year I try to take along a 'project' for us to do...something that will always be a talisman for the wonderful time we treasure together. This year, I decided to make a bead strand for praying - not unlike, perhaps, a rosary. Actually, when I went to my awesome bead shop and was explaining what I had in mind, the gal said "Oh, a prayer mala." Umm..okay. I didn't know that there was such a thing. So I gathered beads and gemstones - different ones to represent different things. I carefully chose strands of mother-of-pearl, amethyst, malachite, flourite. Seven colors of gems for the 7 chakras of the body were selected. I had no clue exactly how my prayer strand would look, but ideas floated around in my mind. During a beautiful afternoon while on our retreat, I took out my stash and explained to the girls my idea. We all dove into it with creative passion and the results were so beautiful.



I created mine in an order to help me with prayer. Starting on the left, I have a mother-of-pearl cross to begin with thanking God. Then gems and beads follow to give gratitude for the heavens and stars, the clouds and rain, a sparkly one for our earth, then the seasons.
Next, mother-of-pearls beads for each of my children, then gemstones and bell beads for loved ones, ya-ya's, dear friends. The seven colors of the seven chakras follow...then 5 gemstones that represent my five gratitudes of the day.






The strand is then brought together into one...sort of a tail. These gemstones of amethyst and flourite are for any concerns, worries or other items that might need a little attention...a little help. A sterling silver bead finishes it off. I then tied a few strands of this awesome fiber that I used as the fringe on ya-ya R's prayer shawl birthday present in June.

I have used this prayer mala for my daily prayers and it has helped me stay focused and finish! What a difference! I start on one side and work my way around and down. But I have also used it for strength, courage, hope and peace by carrying it in my purse with me to the doctor's office, the labs, the imaging centers, the hospitals. Little did I know how much I would use this little beading project. And little did I know how much I would need it.

Before I head out, I'd like to say 'thank you'... to all of you for your comments, your encouragement, your support and your prayers and good wishes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very, very much. I am sorry that the last two months have been difficult...not just for myself, but for my friends, as well. (I know some of you are yelling "Would you quit with the 'sorry' stuff????!!! Geesh!! But I feel it necessary to say.) I am reflecting on all that I've gone through for I know, I know for sure...there are lessons inside this experience to learn from. Changes to be made. Cleaning to be done. Visions to be explored.

May blessings cover you and yours.

Monday, August 25, 2008

R-E-L-A-X

If I still have any readers left, I'm surprised. I have been dealing with some serious health issues and tests. The last two months have been very challenging and I've been quiet....trying to understand what is happening to my body, myself and how to balance it ... along with the setup and beginning of a new school year. I received very good news today from the doctor's and I have been given the instructions to go home and r-e-l-a-x. Doctor's orders.

So for those of you who still visit, who still check in on my blog and me... I apologize for the quietness here, but know that I am on my way back. I thank you for your visits and support. May God bless you in more ways than are known.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Touching Base


Hi! Yes, I'm back for a quick visit....things have been so crazy this past month with some health issues and the beginning of school. Unfortunately, my mind has been preoccupied with some matters and blogging has been on the back burner. But I have not forgotten about my blog, nor you...my visitor. I have some pictures and thoughts swimming around for posting which I will be adding here soon. I hope this finds all well in your world.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Taking A Break

Summer vacation is winding down....and it feels like it just began, to me. Teaching summer school right after school got out really put me behind in terms of letting go, relaxing and renewing myself. So I'll be taking a little time off from blogging....just a week or so, I imagine. Next week sees me going back to work and attending to some other issues. So while I'm doing that, listen to the words that James so soothingly sings, maybe revisit some of my older posts, if you wish, and do take care of yourself. See you in a few!

P.S. Go play over at this blog for a delightful give-away, great music a chance to win some yummies!! OOhhhh...I hope I win! : )

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

When you read this I'm going to be up in the mountains at my favorite place in this whole world! My daughter, her friend and my ya-ya's and I have packed up tons of food, clothes, goodies and surprises and driven up to a log cabin tucked waaaay back in the forest....a beautiful, ponderosa pine forest that is unspoiled, respected and sacred.

Our yearly getaway is a tradition that renews the spirit, deepens our love and commitment to each other to always be supportive, laugh and carry our spirits through this journey of life and celebrates all that is good in life! Six girls in one cabin! We laugh, eat, drink, giggle, cry, pontificate, and just be....breathing in the pine air and humbly enjoying the beauty that surrounds us. This year we are taking our yoga mats and doing our yoga in the forest....I can hardly wait!! In the lazy afternoon, thunderheads build as they drift from left to right...bringing a fresh rain and scent that drifts down among the tree boughs. Nightime finds bats amazingly circling our niche, the Milky Way spilling along the midnight blue night sky and this time... the Full Buck Moon starting her graceful roll across a blanket of stars.

I always come back renewed...and my spirit always taps me a little harder on the shoulder....'Oh, girl...someday.... some day.'

Yes... some day.

I'll see you all when I return. Be safe.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Paging Dr. Rod Serling

**Disclaimer...(I know, another one) The following post contains a four-letter word. Those with delicate ears or queasy stomachs might want to head over to ebay or something.

Over the years, I've had the dubious honor of dealing with a cantakerous gallbladder. Once in a while, it flairs up for about a week - causing me tummy pain, trouble and an over all feeling of being run over by a mack truck. Another attack began Saturday...and still wasn't gone as of yesterday morning. A call to my doctor ended with me being told to go the the E.R. Great...just great.

As you know, my ya-ya's and I are heading up to the mountain cabin tomorrow. I don't have time to have surgery. I don't have time to have an operation. I don't have time to 'be sick'. So I told myself that I could heal my little organ and all would be well....while thoughts of being out in the middle of nowhere and needing to go to the hospital loomed in the back of my mind.

Last night, my book club met at Mimi's to discuss 'Julie and Julia'. Ms. K had sent us all the cutest little red-checked aprons (complete with minature rolling pin) for our evening and we all showed up, dressed like french cooks! What a great group of gals! Some faces were back and some were new and the evening was just perfect!

Until the french onion soup.

And salad.

Uh-oh.

I'm not feeling so well.

As the discussion went on, I got whiter. I turned to ya-ya N and said, "I think we need to go to the emergency room." So we did. R and N accompanied me there, while J and K were coming along, too.

Now, as most of you know, that is not a fun place to be. It's full of sick people. And 'icky' stuff.
I don't have time to sit in an e.r. I'm going on vacation! I have stuff to do. I must say, though, I was attended to in a pretty fast fashion. After doing vitals and such, they were concerned, as was I and the gals, that my gallbladder was not a happy one and surgery was just around the corner. I'll be honest. This didn't sit well with me. I don't have time for this. I'm going on vacation Thursday!

I was hooked up to an i.v.. given morphine for the pain, an anti-nausea medication, blood work drawn to check my gallbladder, pancreas and liver enzymes, to see if I was having a heart attack (since I am over 45), an EKG and last but not least...a sonogram to look for stones or other things that would be causing my situation and to confirm that it's time to remove this little beast!

The morphine made me feel loopy. The sonogram made me begin to panic...I was sure that the little white line on the screen was a laceration to my liver and that I was just months away from a certain fate. (Uh..they did say that the morphine can make you 'emotional'...as if I weren't already!) Everywhere I went I had to carry my little saline bag/i.v. ... and my ya-ya's were gracious enough to hang it up on the wall hook each time.

Finally, I was taken back to an examination room where the doctor was going to come in and give me the news - of which I was sure was...."Nasty gallbladder, prep for surgery, blah blah blah." We waited. And waited. And waited.

Oh....here he comes.... "God, please help me be calm and make it through the surgery and not let it be anything fatal and take care of my daughter should things not go right."

He asked me some questions about my symptoms. He tapped on my tummy.... here....and there (points to spots with finger)... He listened to my heart, my lungs. He looked at all of my lab work and the radiologist report from my ultrasound. I braced myself for the horrid news...dabbing my tears with the corner of my hospital blanket. Then here came his diagnosis, which none of us were prepared for...

'You're constipated.'

......

.....

"I'm what?"

Dr. Brad - 'You're constipated. Your test results are perfect and clear. But when I do this (taps again on my tummy)...hear that 'drum' sound? You're backed up. Your symptoms can mimick a gall bladder attack and explain the pain you've been having.'

Me - 'You mean.... I'm full of shit ??!!????'

Dr. Brad - 'Well, that's not really the medical term for it, but sure!'

Me - 'You mean... no surgery???? I can go on vacation Thursday???"

Dr. Brad - 'That's right!"

Tears of joy! Relief and happy dancing! Prayers of gratitude given! Smiles and hugs! Tubes and monitors unhooked!! Clothes put back on!

Then an ornery little thought strolls through the examine room...
My friends have earned the right to be able to tell me that I'm full of shit....
and I can't argue.

You should see the smiles on the faces around me.