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.


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' 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. 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.

Monday, July 14, 2008


If you've been following the little ladybugs crawling up the sunflower, you'll see I'm just days away from the heading up north to my favorite place in the world - a beautiful log cabin tucked waaaay back into the forest! My ya-ya's and I have been going there each summer for the last 4 years and we truly look forward to it for sooo many reasons. I've made about 3 lists so far....heaven forbid we get settled in out in the middle of God's country and someone forgot to bring the orange juice!! We get a little crazy with all of the anticipation... guilty! We chat, plan, buy, create, make lists, replan, buy again, make some more and all the while, laugh and have such glee in being able to take this trip!

Yesterday was the perfect day, cloudy and rainy, to bake some banana walnut bread to take. These guys look like they're ready for Goldilocks! We'll be bringing enough food for a week, but that's all part of the fun, too!

Ya-Ya sister, B, is driving up Friday evening to join in the fun and merriment! She's such a wonderful woman (I love this gal!!) and the three of us are so excited that she's coming up to join us! : ) Six girls in one cabin in the woods = BLISS !!

So much planning is necessary. There's always the ya-ya ritual to begin our stay in the woods....a candle lit with a blessing for our stay....and one brought for our wonderful hosts, as well. And it's not unusual for special tokens to have made the trip, too. I can't show you any more than this....that would spoil the suprise...but I've been giddy for a month over this!!! Just plain giddy, I tell ya!!! I'm off to gather more goodies for the trip. Have a beautiful Monday!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

50 and FABulous!

Our birthday girl arrives outside to our doorbell ringing and banging...50 tealight candles in silvery paper cups glitter on the lawn, while hot coffee and bakery treats away her as James serenades us! What a way to welcome the birth day!

hugs from her ya-ya's...

this one from Vicountess Shimmering Moon!

and from Queen Giggles A Lot!

and this was only the beginning of her day!

We brunched at Cracker's... with a yummy birthday treat, then finished the day with a birthday feast at her home, all prepared by her adorable hubby! It was a day full of true birth day love! Happy day, R!! You make 50 look gooooood!

Be vewy, vewy's a secwet!

Can you keep a secret? Good. 'Cuz I'm about to share one with you that I've had for about 8 months....and we don't want the birthday girl to know! Today is my ya-ya, R, birthday! She's turning the big 5-0! As you read this, I might be sitting in a camping chair with her and N on the front lawn of R's house...with 50 little tea lights waving 'good morning' to the rising sun on this special day sipping coffee while James Taylor sings from the ipod dock plugged into the outside outlet via an extension cord. Or I might be sitting at Crackers as we treat our birthday girl to a oh, so yummy! lunch! Or, I might be back down at her house for a birthday dinner with the family and close friends. It's a day to celebrate the birth of this gracious, caring, amazing woman to our Earth! here's the secret part.... for my dear friend, I made her a special gift... a prayer shawl. I knitted it using a yummy yarn that is no longer available here, so I special ordered it and voila'! Even better, I found this oh, so fantastic fiber for making the fringe first I wasn't sure about the varigation and colors, but it was made for this shawl, I tell ya! It's just like the one I made for ya-ya, N, for her birthday. And see that little beady-thingy down in the corner?? Well.....

....I call it a talisman. It's a strand of beads that I've strung and attached to the fringed edge. Beads of special sentiment and colors of the shawl....with a special bead made of the shape of a cross.

I wrote a blessing for it on a sweet tag, tied it on, wrapped it up and snuggled it down into a pretty birthday bag....

I can hardly wait!! ..but shhhhhh............

We have to be vewy, vewy qwiet!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Last week my ya-ya's and I took a class at the local rec center - a yoga class. Well...actually, we were directed to the wrong room ... twice. Obviously, no instructor (nor other attendees) showed up, so there we workout outfits, new yoga mats, water bottles and no yoga class. Ahhh...but not to worry, glass-hopper. Ya-ya R has been doing yoga at home for quite a while with her yoga dvd, so she lead N and I through her routine and we loved it!! I had never done yoga before and I found it both a challenge and relaxing and centering. So this morning, N and I are running down to ya-ya R's home, mats and all, to do Ya-Ya Yoga!

This, as I see it, is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with the whole idea. So let's see... after working out for an hour, one does get a bit 'glistening'. Perfect solution? Cool wet clothes infused with aromatic oils of rosemary and mint. I headed to Wal-Mart and bought this group of washclothes for less than $4! Washed them up and they're ready for the next step!

I mixed about 20 drops of this wonderful aromatherapy oil in some water. I placed the pink and yellow clothes in and let them soak it all up.

Then I wrung them out so that they weren't runny, but yet had some moisture left in them. I then folded a pink and yellow cloth up and sealed them into baggies; making a baggie for each of us!

Next, I placed them into the frig to get nice and cool! These will make the perfect cooldown cloth after our session... the cool, damp cloth infused with the rosemary and mint are soooo soothing! I even made another little baggie for my daughter who rides her bike home from her job each afternoon in 107 degree heat! A welcome relief for the desert heat awaits her in the fridge when she gets home today.... ahhhhhh...

Of course, I had to bring something yummy for the tummy, too! How about a rustic nectarine and grape tart? Warm out of the oven..... Oh, perfect! I'm off to nurture my body, mind and soul. I hope your Thursday brings you nurturing, too!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Our greatness lies not so much
in being able to remake the world...
as in being able to remake ourselves.
- Gandi

Monday, July 07, 2008

And the winner is......

Names all folded up and placed in my daughter's favorite ice cream bowl and tossed around .....

....picking one out.....

ohhhh..... who will it be???

It's Chickenbells! Congratulations, Miss Sadie! Your goodies will be on their way up the I-17 in no time!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my 'anniversary' post. Your kind thoughts and words are why I am always honored to have you spend a part of your day visiting me. You are all winners in my book! : )

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Happy 200th!

**Update** Not much time left to leave your comment with this post for my little giveaway...have you done that? Oh! Why not do it right now so you're in the drawing in the morning! Good luck everyone! : )

YES! It's true! This is my 200th post! I remember so well my very first post... back in February of 2006. I had no idea where this blog 'thing' was going to go, what I wanted to gain from it or how long it would last. But almost 2 1/2 years later, it's been an incredible source of fun, expression, connection and learning for me.

Even more amazing to me are YOU! My readers! I've been amazed by how many of you read my blog, visit on a regular basis, leave your wonderful comments and even trade emails with me from time to time. I've had visitors from all over our country, as well as Viet Nam, India, Saudia Arabia, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Canada, Thailand, France, England and name a few! I've had friends from fellow bloggers click on over and visit me. And I've had those that stumbled upon my blog quite by accident.

Needless to say, it's been humbling to have my words, thoughts, feelings and photos read by, literally, people around the world! And to those of you who have been inspired to begin your own blog journey, you make my day when you do!! Congrats to all of you who have begun this wild ride of journaling your life through this medium!

So in honor of your visits, comments and kindness, I'm holding a little 'give-away'! That's right! A 'thank you very much!' for taking a few moments out of your day to stop by and visit. As you know, I've been making a 'vision board' for myself and one of my little gems in creating this board has been making little fancy-pants push-pins to hold up my dreams and visions. Wellll.... I made a set for you, too!! Not only that, but I just HAD to grab a set of these oh, too-darn-cute paper tags with which to write whimsy, dreams and notes on for you as well. Then, to help you get started, I'm sending you one of my favorite journaling pens - a 0.5 black millennium pen... YEAH!! And don't be surprised if another trinket or two find their way into this bag o' goodies! A girl has to keep a secret or two up her sleeve! : )
(and noooooo, it will NOT include a box of Brown Betty!)

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post!

Now, let me take a minute here and address the 'leaving a comment' part of this wonder. See that little word down there at the bottom of this post?? It says ' (blank) touchpoints' ?? See that?? Go ahead...I'll wait while you scoot down there to peek.

Did you find it??

Well, just click on that, and you'll have a comment window pop up which let's you type in your comment! How easy is that? I KNOW a lot of you are 'lookie lou's'.... and there's nothing wrong with that! But if you'd like a chance to win my special give-away, then leave a comment. It doesn't have to be anything grand, profound, long or deep...just a 'hi' will do the trick for ya if you're shy! But feel free to get all 'wordy' if the spirit moves you, too! How easy is that?!!?? And come on.... admit it.... you know you want a chance to have Mr. Postman deliver these little gems to your door!

I'll leave the comments open until Sunday night. I know many of you are heading out with the holiday weekend, so I'll leave it up until then. I'll happily write each commenter's name on a strip of paper and pick one for our winner! Monday morning, I'll announce who the lucky winner is!

Thank you for sharing this corner of the world with me, dear reader! You are wonderful passengers to enjoy this journey with! Good luck to you all!
Velvet Brick

When The Student Teaches The Teacher

My dog, Ross, and I had just returned from a hot, sweaty walk this morning. We were wringing wet and looked like it. I was sitting in the living room checking some things on the internet - both of us trying to cool off - when a car pulled up to the curb. I recognized it as one of my little angel of a girl I shall refer to as Miss O. Out she jumped from the side door of the van, carrying a Ziploc box in her arms. She was all gussied up with black patent shoes, a cute dress and her hair pulled up with a pretty bow...too adorable for words!

"This is a surprise", I thought as I hesitantly realized what I looked like...sweat pants, tank top, hideous hair, no make-up and stinky! She's an artistic, gentle soul who makes me grateful to be her teacher, so I could only imagine what Miss O was up to and I opened the door! There she held in her arms this box - taped up with the words 'to' and 'from' with our names on the top. She had brought me a present. This beautiful child had come to my house with a present for me....

We sat right down on my floor in front of my opened door... Ross happy to lick her ear and face as he is a frequent visitor to my classroom, and he remembered her (my dog knows!) I pulled off the tape here and there and managed to get it opened...and there, inside, were flowers for me. A bouquet of watercolored flowers made from filters and pipe cleaners. Each one carefully crafted by her for her teacher.

I can not adequately express the feeling one gets when a student creates something with their hands and heart for you. Yes, as mothers, we have that experience several times, perhaps, as our children grow through the years. But when a student, whom you have not seen for a month, whom you have not taught, talked with, laughed with or helped for 5 weeks, shows up at your door holding a box of love causes you to back...and give gratitude for your place in this child's heart.

I hugged her. Ross licked her. I had to hold back my tears as I told her I was going to put them in a vase and think of her all summer long. She humbly hugged her sweaty teacher and gave that brown-eyed smile and twinkle - then went back to the car with Mom. I humbly place my bouquet into a mason jar and set it on my dining room table - a place of honor in my home and heart.

Are children not the band-aids for our souls?