Monday, October 31, 2011

The Wonder of Halloween

As I write this post, I'm sitting on my front porch, dressed as a gypsy, waiting for the first trick-or-treaters of the year to come my way.

You see, I love Halloween, and I love to sit on my porch, but unfortunately, those two things only happen on one night of the year.  I live on a busy corner in a very small town, and while our porch is comfy and cozy, it's location is more conducive to Mexican Polka music and fast cars than anything else.  Not that I don't enjoy Mexican polka, or fast cars, just not on the one day that children are trying to cross the street in the dark of night.

Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up.  We always started our Halloweening at Sister Dubose's house.  She was an older lady who lived in our neighborhood and who was a member of our congregation.  She made these pink popcorn balls that took forever to eat, and almost broke teeth in the process.  She would always invite us in for hot chocolate and after a lifetime 15 minutes or so, we'd be turned loose to roam the neighborhood until 9 p.m.

My brother and I would trick-or-treat to Harrison Boulevard, the street with the biggest houses in town--at the least the part of town where we lived.  We went from house to house and when we finished both sides of the street, we'd start again.  Our pillow case bags were perfect receptacles for our precious loot.

Wearily, we'd make our way home where our parents (who spent the evening in perfect warmth and eating the full sized candy bars my dad insisted on giving out) would make sure that our candy was void of hidden razor blades or obvious poisons.  Apparently, the M&M's always looked suspicious and were immediately confiscated.

My childhood was typical, average and absolutely wonderful.  I ran free--especially on Halloween.  Interestingly enough, my own kids don't trick-or-treat.  They say it defeats the rule that we've laid out the other 364 days of the year, namely to never take candy from strangers.  A few years ago, my daughter said to me, "Why go through all that work to freeze and get candy I don't even like?  It's bad for my teeth, we can just stay home to pass out candy and watch a movie instead."

I was heartbroken.  How did I fail to introduce the wonder of Halloween to my brilliant yet logical offspring??

No matter.  Here I will sit, on my front porch, waiting for the first trick-or-treater to arrive.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

A Post Worth Repeating, Just because I need to be reminded that this is a guiding principle of my life, and if it's one of my guiding principles, it may be one of yours, and we could all do with a little less stress and a whole lot more happiness...

Warning:  This post contains the word ‘hell’ several times.  If you happen to be offended by the word ‘hell’ then stop reading now, because I will just end up offending you, and then you’ll call me (heaven forbid), and write me letters about how offended you are and how I may be a bad influence, at which point I’d probably just laugh at you, which would, in turn, drive you mad. And you would be so red with rage that you’d try to strangle me with your little man hands…which would never fit around my neck, and then I’d simply kick you and run away…so, if you don’t like the word ‘hell’ then do yourself a favor and bow out now.  No one will ever know.

Ok.

So, those of you that know me well, know that I live my life by a couple of guiding principles, one of which I call the “Hell Yes! Hell No!”  principle.  The basis of this idea comes from a little gem of a book called Hell Yes! by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin.  I came across this book one day and was blown away by it’s utter simplicity.  Without printing the entire work here, which violates more copyright laws than I can count, the gist of it is this:

Before you commit to one more thing, ask yourself, is it a ‘hell yes!?’ or a ‘hell no!?’.

Let me explain:  ‘Phoebe’ (names have been changed to protect the not so innocent) calls me one day and asks if I can bring in a meal for a mutual acquaintance.  Before I automatically say, “Yes.” I ask myself, “Do I really like cooking for people?”  For me, the answer is an unequivocal  ‘HELL NO‘.  I’d personally endure hot pokers in my eyes before I would enjoy making a meal for someone other than my family, and if by chance you are that rare friend that I have cooked for, you know that I only make one meal, and when you get tired of red beans and rice, just let me know.  I won‘t judge you.  Anyway,  I do like to clean--(strange, but true) so I say, “You know, Phoebe, I’m unavailable to make a meal, but I’d love to come help so-and-so clean their house if they need it.” At this point, this only works if I really can help them in another way.  And if not, that’s ok.  Because it’s ok to say ‘No’.
Now, you see how easy that was.  Phoebe felt all good inside because I didn’t scream, “HELL NO!” and hang up the phone, I didn’t have to cook for strangers, and I was able to stay on my true path which is marked by things that light up for me.

Wait.

What did I say?

Yeah.  You read it right.  I said, I was able to stay on my true path which is marked by things that light up for me. These things make me feel happy, excited, and energized.  In other words like saying, “Hell YES!”


Each of us is on a path in our lives and we are here to find, and fulfill, and do the things we need to in order to be happy.  We’ve all been blessed with interests that light up our true paths.  When asked to do something that doesn’t light up your path, and you decline, no worries!  That person will simply move to the next name on their list and for that person, that task may be just the thing that makes them feel happy, excited and energized.  As Elizabeth Baskins says, “Sometimes you might feel pressure to take on a ’hell no!’ because you feel bad saying no.  You worry about disappointing the person who asked.  But isn’t it a little egotistical to think that you might be the only one who could fill the bill?” By saying ‘yes‘, when we really mean ‘no’, just means that we are depriving someone else of something that may light up their true path for them.

You may be asking yourself:  “Don’t you feel guilty for saying ‘no‘?”  And I’ll tell you, at first I did.  But then, I realized that when I was saying yes to things that I didn’t want to do, they felt like a burden and I did them grudgingly.  And I asked myself, who wants a gift that was given grudgingly?

You also may be asking yourself, “What if I’m not sure if it’s a ‘Hell Yes!’ or a ‘Hell No!” ?  Well, let me ask you, if it’s not a ‘Hell YES!’, then what else could it be?

So now, after lots of practice saying, “Hell NO!” and “Hell YES!” (but with other words, mind you) I find that it is the easiest thing in the world.  I have big, gaping holes in my schedule to be filled with things that really do light up my true path, like working in my chosen profession,  cleaning the widow’s house next door, volunteering in my kids’ schools, stripping wall paper in a friend’s bathroom, and reading a good book.  Because I’m not over extended and stressed out all the time doing things I don’t really want to do, I’m happier, more excited and energized.

And to that I say, “HELL YES!!!”

And with that, dear reader, I'm off the my kid's Halloween party!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Do you ever sit down at your computer to blog and your mind is just a swirling mess of graceless slush??

I do.

And (I know, don't start a sentence with "and") I don't care because my mind is slush...but not good tasting like a Diet Coke flavored slushie,

just messy brain slushie, which if you spill it, is difficult to get out of your clothes.


Happy Saturday. :)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Picture for Friday because I spent my day herding cats/2nd graders


I spent the afternoon herding 2nd graders and so nothing witty/interesting/funny/profound occurs to my tired brain.  However, here is a picture of a hydrangea I picked from my yard!  Rock on NaBloWriMo!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Halloween decorations, Sunshine, and a Stranger


Halloween decorations.  It happens once a year, Halloween.  Since having kids, I get a little more into it every year.  This year I have a 2 foot black spider "crawling" up my front porch.  Wicked.

Sunshine. One of the last warm days before we descend into full frosty mornings and mitten weather.  The sun was glorious.

A Stranger.  On the road today, far from home, I ran over a nail.  I was blowing along at 70 mph and got off the road far enough not to get hit by on coming traffic.  Just ahead of me, a stranger stopped and came swooping in to change my tire.  I heart you, stranger.

What are your three beautiful things?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Drama Queen

My friend (nickname Lover) says I'm dramatic.

She's right.

Once, on a camping trip with our two families, my daughter had set up her drawing easel in the middle of the path to the bathroom.  I made a comment like, "Nona, move that before someone trips over it and dies."  Lover stopped in her tracks right there and said, "Nona, no one is going to die--even if they tripped over your art stuff, they would just fall down, and NOT die.  Your mom has a tendency to the dramatic, so when you need a reality check, call me and I'll tell you the truth."

Lover pulls me back from the brink on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we don't live near one another and from time to time I could really use her truthful and kind logic instead of wallow in the crazy scenarios that roll around in my head.

You see, I am a drama queen.  I don't stir up drama, in fact, I don't like that AT ALL. However, I frequently envision the most dramatic outcome possible for any situation I may be in.  Strong wind?  Tornado.  Scratch?  Tetanus.  Car problems?  It's probably a Transformer--no, not the kind that kind that manages an electrical current, but a large alien robot that lives in disguise as a really cool car and who fights the evil Decepticons.

See?  Drama Queen.
   
My thoughts may go something like this:

Drama Me:  I have a tumor.

Logic Me:  (Said in my best Arnold impersonation,) It's not a tumor.

Drama Me:  Really, it is.

Logic Me:  You have NO symptoms.

Drama Me:  That may be true, but my eyelid has been twitching for three weeks, and I am sure this is the symptom of a serious brain tumor.

Logic Me:  Before you jump to conclusions, perhaps you should try putting on the glasses that you never wear and see if that helps before you run off to the brain surgeon man.

Drama Me:  Shut up.  I refuse to listen to you.  I'm going to die!!!  This is simply the first symptom.  The next will be a headache, followed by me being able to move objects with my mind.  I'll come up with a cure for diseases, as well as be able to read entire books really fast, then I'll  create a way to grow gigantic zucchini in my garden, I'll fall in love with Kyra Sedgewick and she'll make these groovy twig chairs which I'll buy on the sly to support her...wait.
That's the plot to Phenomenon.


Logic Me:  See, you're nuts.


Drama Me:  Duh.  Have we just met??


Logic Me:  Go to bed, your eye will stop twitching when you're rested.


Drama Me:  ...Hmph...unless I wake up dead.


Crazy, I know.  But I'm so used to this type of rolling dialogue, that it's kind of comforting now.  The best part is, my kids have their father's non-dramatic temperament and that's a good thing.

After all, there can only be one queen.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Biggest Surprise

Through my blogging friend Delores, over at the feathered nest, I found this little gem of a blog called Prompts for Writers.  It's a fabulous resource--she gives prompts for non fiction writers, poets, and fiction writers.  If you find yourself stuck, try this site out.

Today's prompt is to describe a time when you were surprised.

Hmmm...this one took some thinking about as I like surprises about as much as I'd like a case of typhoid, but there is one surprise that stands out.

When I was 21, I became a full time volunteer for my church for eighteen months.  As a preparation, I went to a training center to learn French for two months.  This wasn't my first foray from home as I'd been to college for the three years previously, but this time I wouldn't be able to come home for holidays and summer breaks for nearly two years.

The night before I was to leave for Quebec, our group of French speakers wanted to take a picture near the big map at the front of the complex where we were staying.  As we were walking up the long hall, my older brother walked around the corner.  As he lived in Massachusetts at the time, I was simply blown away.

I didn't know that he was passing through Utah on business.  He stopped at the training center where I was on a whim.  It was pure providence that our paths crossed at that exact moment...then of course, there are no accidents.  I've always felt that one last connection to my family was a gift to help me through the separation of the following months.

It is a sweet memory.

What was your greatest surprise?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NaBloWriMo Failure....NOT!

Alright, I missed two days, Friday and Saturday...there goes my perfect attendance record on NaBloWriMo.  However, it was all for a good cause.  My mom, Magnolia, was here and we were taking on the town (that's code for eating popcorn, drinking Diet Coke, and watching British dramas all weekend.)

Here's a snapshot for Snapshot Sunday:


What are you doing with all those leftover green tomatoes from your garden??

Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What's in a nickname?

Do you have a nickname?

I have a few.  Some of them are obvious, like "Square Toothed Girl," others I would never repeat for fear that they may be inadvertently yelled out in the grocery store the next time you see me. I am also a shameless nickname giver.  My habit of bestowing nicknames came from the fact that one of the first things I was ever called was a nickname.  My great-grandfather called me Ethel Fitzwater and Little Miss Never Shuttum-uppum.
(Wow. Did. He. Know. Me.)

With nicknames like that it's no wonder that I'm a chronic nickname bestow-er.  I've given just about everyone that I know a nickname--friends, family, strangers...doesn't matter, it's almost an unconscious act;  like breathing, but more fun.  Indeed, many of my dear ones know the names by which they are referred to in my head.

There's Rocky Babe Boa, for her ability to fight off a purse snatcher single handedly with nothing but a hockey stick and a pair of stilettos.  There's Pete, who is petite and feminine despite her nickname.  There's Sassy Britches, who has the best fashion sense I know and always works the actual sassy britches she is undoubtedly wearing--Then there's Clover, who sports indelible ink of the same shape which she got one night in a seedy tattoo shop in a suburb of Salt Lake City.  There's also Lover, (who isn't my lover) but a lover of life and the opposite of hate, thus the name.

Other nicknames I've given or proudly claim as my own, even though I've stolen them:  Fidget, Purse Nazi, Hippy Chick, TBeck, Snoozefest, His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Dullness, Lover-ly, Graphook, Greasy Bits, Oregeritapn'caps, BRam, Clang-Clang-Clangity-Clang-Shoo-Bop, Ladyface, Brillo, I-Can't-Believe-it's-not-Beelzebub, Freakshow, Hollow Legs, His Eminence, Mamacita, The Flying Nun, Handlebars, Biker Chick, Communist, Hot Lips, Porcupine, Butthook, Chops (Lamb and Beef,) Pretty Pretty, Baby Girl, Short Shorts, Dirty Girl, Weirdo-Menerido, Nylon Runner, Git, Stoops, Heebs, Smooth Daddy, Clanker, Headshrinker, Baglady, High Priestess of the Land O' Drama Queen, Pinochio-ee-oh, Wicked Witch o' the Baby Mamas, Psycho Dog Bone Cheese Meat, Hott Stott, Whizpopper, Southern Belle, Mouthy, DooBeeDoo, Bug, Bumblebee, Choooopy, G Pop, Granddaddy Crazy Pants, and the list goes on and on...

Are you a nickname giver?  Do you have a nickname? 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dementors in Smallville??

I took these pics this morning on a walk.  I can't decide it the oppressive and glorious fog is a merely the result of two pressure systems meeting in the atmosphere, or if Azkaban's Dementors have invaded the Northwest....I guess if I make it through the day without my soul being sucked out, I'll know...

Cheers, on this fine October day!!






Monday, October 17, 2011

My favorite Autumn Recipe

NaBloWriMo is in full swing, our challenge is to post everyday in October.  Today's prompt was to share our favorite fall recipe...here's mine...

Lasagna Soup


While not a fan of actual lasagna, this is a truly great soup.  I think that it is best made while listening to Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" as I drag Mountain Man around the kitchen and we shimmy like we are contestants on Dancing With the Stars--only with fewer sequins, and less spray tan.

1 pound turkey sausage (not pork, beef or armadillo)
2 cups shopped onions
1 cup diced carrot
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 can chopped Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 cup radiatore pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
cubed mozzarella or provolone & Parmesan and chopped, fresh basil to garnish

In a large stockpot, brown sausage, onion, carrot, mushrooms and garlic.  Then add chicken broth, tomatoes, and radiatore (pronounced with a heavy Italian accent, and don't forget to roll your 'r'--rah-dee-ah-tor-aye.)  It's really effective to wear some kind of striped blue and white Venetian gondola captain shirt and sing a bit in Italian.  If you don't speak Italian, don't worry, most Italian's don't speak Italian either (I'm kidding, please don't write me letters--) Just do it with confidence and you can fool anyone.

Simmer soup until pasta is cooked and tender, about 10 minutes.
Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute more.

Serve over cubes of mozzarella or provolone and garnish with Parmesan and fresh basil.

Light a candle, crack a Diet Coke, sit with your family and enjoy this luscious and filling soup.  Celebrate your time together.  Celebrate yourself.   Mangia bene, vivi felice!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To Renew

They sat at a table in Starbucks.  Fat rain fell outside, rivulets forming as it spattered against the windows.  They sat across from one another; one tall and the other short. The taller one had thick, grey hair streaked with black.  The shorter one, blonde hair just past her shoulders, sat across from her.  They hadn't seen each other in almost fifteen years.  As they stared out the window, the familiar and comforting silence of two people who have shared the the palate of human emotion from the funny to the insane, settled in between them.

Feeling the warmth of the drinks between their hands, hearing the tink of coffee cups being gathered from tables and laughter nearby, each took a deep breath, and at the same time felt the paths of their lives converge.

This was a moment of sweet joy.    

Friday, October 14, 2011

A quote for Friday...

"God is not found IN people. God is found BETWEEN people.  When you and I are attuned to each other, God comes down and fills the space between us so that we are connected, not separated.  Both love and true friendship are more than a way of knowing that we matter to someone else.  They are a way of mattering to the world, bringing God into a world that wold otherwise be a vale of selfishness and loneliness."
                                                                                      ~Rabbi Harold Kushner

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Cupcakes, babies and leaves.  


Cupcakes.  Need I say more?

Babies.  My dear friend, Rocky-Babe-Boa, is having one soon.  A new life, bringing hope and joy--I can't wait to meet her.

Leaves.  While walking this morning, the first yellow, red and orange leaves of autumn were just touching the ground.  Fall has arrived.

What are your three beautiful things?



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not so wordless Wednesday...


Dear Random-box-type retail establishment,

We need to talk.
It's not me...it's you...

It's October 12, and I haven't raked a leaf,  or carved a pumpkin, and I still have flowers blooming in my yard.
Your blatant attempts at getting me to buy buy BUY for the coming holiday season has reached its limit.  I say "No Thank YOU" to your aisles and aisles of ornaments, Christmas lights and stockings this month.  In fact, I say "No Thank YOU" to all tacky Christmas decor in general...but especially before Halloween.

What's next? Mistletoe on Labor Day?  Stockings in July?  The Easter Reindeer?

Your premature pressure to drain, squander and waste my hard earned money is making me tired.  Therefore, I'm breaking up with you.

I'm just saying "No" to your commercial bastardization of a beautiful time of year.
Don't call, write, text or email me again.  I will avoid you, and I think you need to know, your behaviour is co-dependent, and you need professional help.

Sincerely,
Lisa

What do you think about Christmas in October??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hi, I'm Lisa, and I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife


liberal [ˈlɪbərəl ˈlɪbrəl]  
                  a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes,
                  views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
2.
a. Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
b. Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
3. Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
4. Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.

feminist [ˈfɛmɪnɪst]  a person who advocates equal rights for women

Mormon [ˈmɔːmən]  a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints

house-wife [ˈhaʊsˌwaɪf]  a woman who manages her household as her main occupation.
________________________________________

Hi, I'm Lisa.  And I'm a liberal feminist Mormon housewife.  I'm also a knitter, a reader, a lover, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an aunt and an average tap dancer--but popular media outlets aren't discussing those labels in politics right now. 

As the political scene revs up for another year, there is much tossing about of generalizations about certain groups...recently, I've heard things like, "Those Mormons!" followed by "Those liberals!" chased by "Those Republicans!/ Gays!/ Women!/ Children!/ Mexicans!/ Greeks!/ Canadians!/ Cows!/ Chickens!/Unicorns!"-- each group pointing a finger of fault at the other, in anger or ignorance, but usually both.  

I haven't thrown out many of my personal labels on my blog much--besides identifying myself as Lisa, or a square toothed girl.  Of course, in a perfect world, there would be no labels, which would make it difficult to tell baking soda from baking powder and gala apples from the ever-so-scrumptious-in-season-now Honey Crisp, but at least we'd be free to live with the wild abandon of deflated muffins and occasional disappointment in our fruit.  

There's a lot of talk right now in the world about some of the labels that define me, and I'd like to give you my take.  I'm going to work backwards, so hang in there.
  
For the last 15 years of my life, I've worked full time as a housewife.  I receive no paycheck, no health benefits, no vacation time and no breaks.  I made a conscious choice to leave the work force and focus my attention full time on the two people whom I chose to bring into the world.  

I clean, I cook, I chauffeur, I volunteer, enjoy and love my career.  I am passionate about it. I love making my home.  I graduated from university with honors and I love to learn; because I am passionate about learning, my people are passionate about learning...they can even do math.  I can fix a bathroom sink, calm a crying baby and recite Chaucer all at once. 

I am also a Mormon.  I belong to  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I believe in Jesus Christ.  He brings me hope, happiness and peace.  I believe that there are as many ways to be a "Mormon" as there are Mormons.  I don't scrapbook, craft, or quilt and I have serious misgivings about the "errand of angels being given to women."  However, I can renovate a house, drive like a bat out of hell and teach just about anything...except math, because that's just wrong.

I also honor other beliefs.  I treasure, cherish and believe the truths taught in the Koran, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao-te-ching, and many other holy books.  There are many belief systems I would like to learn more about.  My goal is to cast my net as far as possible and gather in all the light, joy, hope and peace I can find.  Mormonism is what works for me, and I honor what works for you.

I am a feminist.  I advocate for the equal rights of all women, everywhere.  Everyday, I try to extend respect, hope and dignity to every living thing I come in contact with--even that guy that perpetually cuts me off in traffic every morning. Unfortunately, women have been subjugated for centuries.  "Women hold up half the sky" says the Chinese proverb.  I believe that women are the greatest force for love in the world, and the world needs more love. This is why I am a feminist.     

But how can you be a feminist and a housewife? (You may be asking.)  Housewifery does not stand in contrast to feminism.  I choose to be a house frau, I was not forced to it by societal expectations, extremist authoritarian dictators, or my religion.  I chose it.  All of it.  It doesn't matter what I do, it's how I do it.  I feel that this short season of tending the garden of my family is a privilege and an opportunity. 

I am a liberal--or I try to be in every sense of the word.  
I try not to limit my thinking.  I question just about everything.  I attempt to seek.  I like to learn.  I am open to ideas that seek to improve the rights for women, the LGBT community and especially children.  I favor ideas and reform of programs that just aren't working.  I think there are some innovative ideas about the environment, term limits, women's health issues and many other topics that are worth looking at.  I'd like to learn more about as many of them as I can.  

I am tolerant of the ideas of others--ESPECIALLY if they do not agree with me, because therein lies the opportunity to learn and explore another way of thinking.  I am liberal with my contributions to charities, I'm liberal with the time I spend volunteering in the community where I live.  I seek to be  liberal with my praise of others, my encouragement and my love of all of God's children here on earth.  I am a liberal.  

I am also ample (liberal) in the backside, I'm pretty laid back as a parent (not strict/ liberal) and I went to a liberal arts school, which is neither here nor there, but it kind of proves my point.

And this is why I am writing this post today.  I'm not (said with contempt) "one of those Mormons/liberals/unicorns" I am a human being with thoughts and feelings as real and valid as your own.  There is nothing that can't be discussed if it is discussed in a spirit of love, kindness and true curiosity.  Come talk to me, and I will talk to you, and we will find a way to understanding each other.  

Instead of going for the easy generalization, I hope we can all try to see the child of God beneath the label we are casting about with such divisive abandon.  We don't have to be angry.  We can choose instead, if we disagree with someone's politics, to say, "I've never thought of that before," or, "That's interesting."  Let's discuss, without anger, our differences, rejoice in our common beliefs and honor the magnificent variety in every person we meet.
  
Then maybe send them some love...   

...and I'll send some too.





Monday, October 10, 2011

The Great Fall Clean Out

This week has been a week of organization--and I feel frantic.  However, it's an easy frantic--a frantic that makes me want to clean every drawer, pull out every piece of clothing and climb every mountain...oh wait, that's another day.

Anyway, today is going to be one of my favorite days of the year. It is the day I remove every book from every shelf and reevaluate what I own. Today is the day I get rid of my "stuff." Today is the day I take a good look at what I've accumulated and take the unused, unnecessary and uninspired and pass it on for someone else to enjoy.  Today is the day of the Great Fall Clean Out.

So you see, I can't spend much more time blogging...

Wish me luck.

How do you feel about getting rid of your stuff?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost a Year

I began this blog almost a year ago this month.  October 19th in fact.  In July, my friend Susan over at the contemplative cat, tagged me in a blog retrospection which I've put off in honor of reaching a year.

Over 13,000 hits and 61 followers later, it's been a great year in blogging--of course, I have nothing else to compare it to so even if my only reader was my brother Scott, then hey, I'd still feel successful.  I've made many new blogging friends who enrich my life, and I am grateful that they share their stories in all their diversity.  It makes me appreciate the beauty that each person has to offer.

As a part of the retrospection, I was given categories discuss.  Here's goes:

Categories 1 & 2: Most beautiful post, Most successful post.  I've combined them because they are the same post:  You Are Beautiful.  I was surprised the day that I wrote this post and how many people responded to it.  It is, by far, my most favorite post too.

Category 3: The Most Controversial.  I'm a lover, not a fighter, and I've always felt that contention never solved anything.  However, I was pretty surprised by a conversation that ensued on Facebook in response to In Defense of the Holiday Program.

Category 4:  Most helpful post.  Before You Commit to One More Thing.  Who hasn't felt like they give into the pressure to do do do all the time?  I have.  This encourages us all to follow the path that lights up for us and in the process find our joy.

Category 5:  The post whose success surprised me.  G is For Grey Hair.  I had no idea that women would respond to it so well.  Embrace your grey! (Or not.)  Just find joy in who you are, at any age.

Category 6:  Post most ignored. Honestly, I haven't felt that any post has been ignored too much because I have this number one fan, whom I mercilessly teased and tortured as a child, who must now be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome because he's always good for a comment and a laugh.  As long as he keeps reading, I'm good.

Category 7:  The post I'm most proud of.  Butter to the Bread of Life.  My friends are integral to my health and well being and I breathe gratitude for their loving kindness every, single day.
Overall, life was good in my own little blogdom.

How was your blogging year?  

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Quote for Friday....because I got sucked into the new season of Psych just released on Netflix, but I wanted to keep up with NaBloWriMo...

"The conditioning, shattering, heart-stopping, amazing truth about divine love is that in all its sublime magnificence, it is absolutely, totally free.  Like sunlight, like the air, love is within and around each of us at all times without any exceptions or conditions whatever.  We have only to open our hearts (awareness) to it to know that love is already there.  There is no distance between us and love, ever."
                                                               ~Richard Chamberlain


Sending love your way!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Beautiful Things Thursday

Floor, rain and a name.


Floor. This week I've spent in a serious renovation of my mudroom.  I know people really love their kitchens or bedrooms, not me--its all about the mudroom.  It's not indoor or outdoor, it's the lovely in between.  This week I ripped up the existing floor and revealed the original painted wood floor....then I painted over it.

Here's a pic:



Rain.  I love the outdoors.  However, sometimes there's nothing like a good, old rainy day to snuggle in.  Rainy days are my favorite days.

Name.  We've been looking to name our house.  We've finally found one!  It is now called Prenons Racine. Here's a picture of the crest I painted on the floor of the mudroom...it looks better in person...I think.  Anyway:




It means "take root"--which I know, it's a weird name for a house.  Maybe it's more of a motto, the meaning behind it is that when we take root in our lives, we produce good "fruit." The fruit of taking root and honoring the present could be beauty, joy, friendship, love or a million other good things.  When we are firmly rooted in Love, that is where joy is found. There's no reason travel the road of mortality if we aren't going to honor the journey, the easy and the difficult.  By sending our roots deep, we commit to enjoy to the end...until the next chapter begins.

What are your three beautiful things?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Advice to My 15 Year Old Self

As a part of participating in NaBloWriMo, there's a handy little prompt we can use each day if we want.  Today's prompt is: What advice would you give your fifteen year old self?

Hmmm.....Cue Wayne's World flashback music: doodle do do doodle do do...

1. No matter how cool you think that perm is--you're wrong.

2.  No matter how cool you think pegging your jeans is--don't.  You aren't a Beneton Model. Pegging your jeans doesn't look good on anyone.

3.  That math class you are stressing out and slaving away in, forget about it.  You'll NEVER, EVER, EVER use it.  Trust me.  NEVER.  Chemistry too.  Forget about it.

4.  Stop worrying about going to Homecoming.  He'll ask you.  Don't kiss him though.  Ew.

5.  Keep memorizing all the lyrics to the late 80's/early 90's music that you can.  Most of them have become classics, and you'll someday realize how much belting out "Janie's Got a Gun" will be a stress reliever later in life.

6.  Eat all the carbs/fat/cholesterol that you can.  Someday you'll give birth to beautiful children, and donuts just won't be an option anymore.  Enjoy it while you can.  Oooo eat some french fries too.

7.  Stop saying the word "rad."  Your brain is in a formative state, and everything you learn is becoming a habit.  Do yourself a favor and stop saying it. You'll thank me someday when you are standing in front of folk singer legend, Joan Baez, and you say "Your last cd was totally rad!!"

8.  Stop worrying about your future.  It's awesome.  Even the bad stuff.  You'll make it through it and come out the other side more empathetic and more joyful. Just enjoy the ride.  It's a good one.



What would you tell your fifteen year old self??

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Dream of IKEA




I have an eight year old boy.

If you've ever been around an eight year old, or have one yourself, you may know that those little boy brains can get fixated on one thing:  Legos.

If he's not playing with Legos, he would like to be playing Lego Harry Potter on the Wii (over my dead body); and if he's not playing Lego HP, he can be found sketching future Lego creations on any spare paper he can find or pouring through Lego dictionaries to make sure he hasn't missed any new sets that may have come out in the last fifteen minutes.

I also think that when he lays his little head to sleep at night that lines of Legos dance through his head like sugar plums, but with less sugar...or maybe he dreams of sugar too just to keep up his strength, who knows?

I used to think this obsessive interest in one topic was a form of, well, obsessiveness.
I considered myself well beyond the focused/obsessive thinking about anything as trivial as building blocks one could put together.

Until this weekend.

Let me just say first that I spend a lot of time on helping others renovate, improve, re-organize, and just spiff up their homes.  This can become problematic in the fact that I'm always on the look-out for the next design phase.  Needless to say, catalogs and home decor magazines are my friends.

This can be problematic when trying to improve your own home.  When we moved into this really old house, we realized its one fatal flaw right away: it only had one closet.  Yes, you read that right.  ONE...and it's not even that big.  The closet situation has been a challenge because I really like clothes, and shoes, and scarves...and, well, you get the picture.

We decided to finally rectify our closet situation this weekend.  IKEA is just a little jaunt down the road from our house and with the help of a rental truck and a bit of a drive, we were in storage solution central.  We spent the better part of the day (5 hours) wandering, looking, planning, laughing and purchasing a huge multi-piece wardrobe that, should the house crumble around us, we can simply move into and be quite comfortable.

After wrestling large, flat, heavy boxes into the truck, tying them down and covering our precious purchases with plastic to protect them from Portlandia's delicate drizzle, we headed home.

On the way, I pulled out the IKEA catalog.
"What are you doing?" Mountain Man asked.
"Looking through the catalog." I answered.
He: "We were just there."
Me: "So what?  I may have missed something."
He: "But you were online every spare minute this month comparing, planning and looking at IKEA stuff."
Me:  "Shhh!  Eat one of those Swedish cookies we just bought, and drive, you are distracting me!!"

I then took out a piece of paper and began sketching exactly how we were going to put the wardrobe/benches/boxes we'd just bought together.

I looked in the back seat at my son who had his Lego dictionary open on his lap.

Dang.

Love IKEA too?
Check this out.  And this.

Do you have any obsessions?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

NaBloWriMo Month

Everyday in October, I will be participating in National Blog Writer's Month.  I can't decide if I'm insane to commit to writing everyday for all thirty-one days or if I'm feeling inspired.  I'm leaning toward insane.

The point is to get those writing muscles moving, habit forming, and well, just to have some fun.
I hope you enjoy it!

If you are interested in joining, click on the badge to the right and join the insanity!!

Here's to a great month, and happy Saturday!