Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas, sweet family. I don't know where I'd be without you.







Photos by the lovely and talented Kelsey Michelle

Friday, December 23, 2011

Open Letter to Women I Admire

Dear Heroines,


I appreciate your strength, creativity, open heart, transparency, and confidence. I want more of these traits in me.


     More light shining through.

     More unapologetic enjoyment.

     More honesty.

     More laughter.

The Christmas season has been hard this year. There's a lot of fear and sadness as my mom's health fluctuates dramatically (seizures, multiple hospital stays, immobility, confusion, more questions than answers). I'm preoccupied with grief and disillusionment instead of holiday cheer. I thank God for each and every opportunity to express love to Mom, and simultaneously agonize that her full-bodied living has been so diminished.

In the last two days of relative calm, a deep appreciation has surfaced in me for women who demonstrate the kind of life I want to live. The rawness of my heart has removed all inhibitions when it comes to love and recognition (no more secret-admiring. I'm going public).

Whether it's been years since we've seen one another or we've never actually met in person, I want you to know how much you mean to me.

Nancy, you continue to show me the power of making a life doing what you love.

Cami, your honesty and wise counsel are the balance bar I need while crossing life's high wires.

Carol, your humor, leadership, and refusal to accept negative self-descriptions make me smile til my cheeks hurt.

Alicia, you are an open window of beauty and tenderness.

Cary, I love your bold vibrancy in life and in art.

I am grateful for every intersection where our paths cross.

I see several common threads among you: 
  1. Full acceptance of life in all its shades of celebration and sorrow.
  2. Joy in your place in the world.
  3. Humility combined with extravagant generosity as you share yourself with the people around you.
Thank you for all the ways you exemplify the woman I want to be.

Love,

Emily

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A first

On December 10th, I ran my very first 5k! Our local Jingle Bell Run was a great experience.

I'm somewhere in the blurry part of the crowd. (Blurry because of my speed, of course.)

Source
Here's what I wore:



Here's what I plan to wear next year:


This lovely outfit comes from the ever popular Mom vs Marathon (photo used with permission). The subtitle of her blog is "How to run a marathon and a household without losing your mind" -- don't you love it? I admire her writing, photography, her running stories, and especially her style. Check out her blog - it's really inspiring.

And I highly recommend running with bells on your shoes. It's so much cheerier.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

November's Book: Born to Run

In November, I listened to Christopher McDougall's book on CD (some nice multi-tasking was accomplished listening to a book about running while quilting in my jammies). I heard Born to Run mentioned in my running class and was intrigued. Something about the barefoot running debate, a big race in Mexico, and a giant canyon. Huh.


So I checked out the audio book from the library. This was a good call. I never would have been able to keep up with all the characters and subplots had I been slogging through the 300-plus pages, one chapter at a time. Since I could just enjoy listening (and push "pause" while finishing a seam with my noisy sewing machine), the plot unfolded like a Christopher Nolan film: tricky and spell binding.

WOW. It wasn't what I was expecting from a book whose subtitle sounds like an athlete-tabloid. This book has it all: suspense, intrigue, feats of strength, rugged terrain, science, psychology, ultra marathons, strong women, fanatical men, and layers of back story that added depth to every chapter.

It was all very accessible. The author writes from a modest, average-Joe perspective, and I never felt I was in over my head. The running itself though, sheesh. My measly singular-mile accomplishments pale in comparison. But it was all inspiring.

Take a gander at the author's website. I hope his pictures add oomph to my glowing recommendation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thoughts

I've realized recently that I hold on to unpleasant emotions in order to protect others. I have made it my responsibility to hide my own pain and anxiety to make sure everyone in my vicinity is happy or, at the very least, not experiencing their own emotional discomfort.

I learned this as a little girl. I discovered I could affect the people around me by helping, smiling, giving the right answers, or just being silent. I've created a very intricate (subconscious) system using each of those elements to place myself in the world, garner praise, and make others happy.

I don't contradict people in conversation, even to correct a misunderstanding.

I am self-conscious of tears, even when there's no reason to hide them.

I keep quiet when I'm not 100% sure my ideas will be accepted.

But I'm getting pretty sick of myself.

Life has thrown some curve balls my way, and there are times I really want to walk away from needs I can't meet. Sometimes the best form of self expression is a sob. I don't know anymore when to keep quiet and when to speak up. But I'm still using my Good Girl Kit of Minor Remedies.

So my heart soars when I read things like this:


I have nothing to announce. There have been no breakthroughs. But my ears are tuned to hear more about vulnerability, honesty, audacity, and authenticity.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Patchwork introspection

I love quilting. You may think that I've been day dreaming about being Amish, or practicing for my sixties, or pretending I'm a shut-in. And you'd be right. Quilting, to me, is the perfect combination of wild creativity, solemn perfectionism, and focused solitude. These are things I'm drawn to lately.

It's not as boring as it sounds. I know "quilting" seems like an oxymoron. What business does a hand made blanket have posing as a verb? If you hear "quilt" and picture pastel calicos and dusty doilies, I understand. I really do. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

I've spent the last several weekends hunched over my craft room table cutting, piecing, ironing, and stitching. When I sew, I'm a combination of Sponge Bob Square Pants (a veritable frenzy of enthusiasm) and a Tibetan monk (meditating on seam allowances and color selection). Here's why.

It's a craft for problem-solvers, puzzle lovers, and type-A personalities. It's challenging to start with the end result in mind and then figure out how to assemble all the pieces to get there. The more precise I am, the better the results. There's nothing like the satisfaction of organizing fabric in the exact size and colors you want.  

I saw a picture of a particular quilt recently and fell in love. It was made from two dozen or so stars, all different colors, on a white background. The stars weren't symmetrical. I love asymmetrical quilts. They're all the rage (put the classic "bonnet girl" quilt pattern out of your mind).

_DSC3316
Source
One set back with this new-found quilt design: I don't have a pattern.

I LOVE this predicament. I can see the seams in the photo, so I can break it down to individual strips. I see that each star is made from five squares, interlocking with the four stars around it. So I made my own pattern. It's real scribbly but I think I get the gist of it. Time will tell. 
I sometimes feel like I'm cheating when I use tools like table top mats and rulers and rotary cutters. Sort of like receiving a bouquet of beautiful flowers, then realizing they're fake. Oh well. This "cheating" isn't something I dwell on. Since I can't create anything out of thin air, this is the next best thing.

Quilting is introvert-friendly. On Sunday I was in my PJs for HOURS (covered in lint and thread) with unwashed hair and floppy socks. I'm no Martha Stewart, but she's got nothing on me when it comes to commitment to creativity. It's engrossing. I lose all track of time.

It's also a forgiving craft. Every uneven edge and wad of string gets hidden when the quilt is assembled. The most rewarding part of making a patchwork block comes after all the edges are sewn together, the seams have been ironed, and I flip it over to see the front. Success.

I wanted to include a bunch of pictures, but if I keep waiting to post til I remember, it'll be another week at least before this gets published.

Photos to follow.

In the meantime, here are links to other people's quilting photos that inspire the heck out of me.
http://incolororder.blogspot.com/
http://allbuttonedup.typepad.com/all_buttoned_up/2011/10/desk-sized-modern-crosses.html
http://emmmylizzzy.blogspot.com/2011/11/more-coziness.html

Monday, November 28, 2011

How timely


I just noticed this quote on my coffee.
I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
-Louisa May Alcott

My weekend felt a little stormy (no dramatic stories to tell; nothing specific I can blame, just a case of the "Meh. Whatever"s).

My double tall Americano is long gone, but I'm leaving the paper cup on my desk for a few more hours.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The best location for ab-crunches

I wanted to mention a few more things about my night running class. After our laps around the track, we do 3 minutes of strength training: 1 minute in "Plank" position, 1 minute of crunches, and 1 minute of push-ups. Let me tell you, these are the longest 180 seconds of my week. But I'm getting stronger.

The best part about strength training is the close quarters. Since the ground is all muddy and wet, we share a tarp. Imagine, if you will, a 5' x 5' blue tarp spread on the ground, in the dark. Then picture 9 ladies, lined around the edges, doing various training moves in semi-unison. During Plank, our hands are on the tarp. During crunches, we all sit on the tarp facing outward, and alternate up and down with the person next to us so there's room for everyone's shoulders. During push-ups, we kneel with hands in front of us (and the really strong gals don't use their knees at all).

I've never exercised in such close proximity before. Not to mention I don't know these women well. But the camaraderie of shared experience disguises the fact that we're practically strangers. We all have our headlamps on and we're elbow to elbow (I'm careful not to look at anyone head on, or I'll get blinded). We breathe heavy in each others' ear shot while concentrating on the repetition.

One of the women has been telling a continuing story about someone they know personally who is on Jeopardy. We get a one-minute installment of the story during Plank. Last week during push-ups, one woman asked, "Who likes Twinkies?!" We all laughed. Nice distraction. On Monday, when we rolled onto our back for crunches, we realized the clouds had cleared above us and we were looking up at the stars. Best workout ever.

I told Michelle that's one thing I love about being a woman: get a few of us together, and there's likely going to be lots of story telling. We may not know each other very well, but that doesn't stop us from working hard and laughing together. Being in the dark to exercise limits my ability to compare myself with the women around me. Instead, I just enjoy what my body is capable of doing and appreciate the women around me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miracles

When someone you love has a chronic, debilitating illness, there's a constant roiling combination of anxiety and grief just below the surface. At least that's how it is for me. And it doesn't take much to expose it all. Sort of like a breach in the dam of my emotions, pin pricks can turn into flash floods pretty quickly. Knowing Mom's brain is chemically and biologically affected by Alzheimer's makes it less of a shock to hear she's been taken to the Emergency Room, but no less scary.

I got an email at work on Thursday morning from my dad, explaining that Mom had a seizure (or similar "fainting spell," unresponsive for 20 to 30 minutes) early that morning and was in the ER for observation. The nursing home had called him, and he had gone to the hospital at 5am. She was fine, his email said, just bored.

 
While I decided how to respond to the news on Thursday morning, I couldn't control the tears. Surrounded by co-workers in our shared office is not where I wanted to have a melt down. I left work early and spent a few hours with Mom and Dad at the hospital. She was discharged that afternoon, no worse for wear. Thankfully, she already had an appointment scheduled next week with her neurologist.

There's nothing predictable about Alzheimer's except for decline, so hearing that Mom had a seizure was the equivalent to hearing she'd had a stroke, or a heart attack. Panic, loss, fear, bewilderment, anger all came to the surface like the day we heard her diagnosis five years ago. Or the day she got lost while taking a walk. Or the nights she woke up crying. Or the day only a month ago that we moved her to the nursing home.

 
We've lost a lot. She's lost a lot. Without the familiar abilities, awareness, motor skills, or creativity, it's sometimes hard to recognize the woman I love so much. But she still recognizes us. Her face still lights up when she sees us. She still whistles and hums and can recall the tune to every song she's ever heard. She still smiles and laughs and there are moments when her eyes are filled with unmistakable light.
 
When I got to her bed in the hospital admittance wing, she was humming to herself and gazing out the window. She smiled when she saw me.

 
Her lunch was brought in on a cafeteria tray and set on the bedside table. Dad spoon fed her. He kept her laughing. He stood at her side and helped her with a tenderness and nonchalance attributable only to a 35 year-long love story. I was speechless. It was a moment I will never forget. All the angst and blood curdling worry that began building when I read my email that morning vanished. Mom was safe. Dad was here and taking good care of her.

Those happy, peaceful, funny, beautiful moments are the ones my counselor calls miracles. I wish for more dramatic miracles, like Jesus calling my mom's name in a loud voice like he did for Lazarus.

"Vicki! Come out!"

I wish the tendrils of Alzheimer's would unwrap themselves like burial cloth, falling to the ground in ribbons. I wish she could step out of this tomb.

The miracles I witnessed this week might not make headlines, but they still soothe me.
  • A kind doctor's soft voice, giving us vocabulary for our questions
  • Nurses who were attentive and compassionate
  • Dad's stories about music and art and cooking and childhood
  • Mom's laughter, throwing her head back in that familiar way, even in a hospital bed
  • A funny moment of self-consciousness as the nurse wheeled Mom out of the ER, suddenly aware she wasn't in her normal clothes ("Am I dressed?!")
  • Speedy return to the nursing home and a big welcome from the staff there ("Vicki! Hi! How are you feeling? I'm so glad to see you!")
  • Family photos on Friday morning that had us all laughing
  • Seeing my 28 year old brother embrace Mom and rest his head on her shoulder
  • Time this weekend to rest, craft, read, and process.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Running...at NIGHT!

I'm one week in to my second session of running class. Same time, same place...but now that Daylight Savings has plunged us all into darkness, we're running by head lamp.

While rounding the bend at the middle school track where we run, I blurted to my Exercise Buddy Michelle, "Who knew we would be taking a class on RUNNING, in the RAIN, in the DARK?!"

She laughed, "I know!"

"We are so hard core!"

Me (left) and Running Instructor Carol

Like any worthwhile endeavor, night running requires a specialized wardrobe. My tank top and spandex shorts just weren't cutting it anymore. I found running tights at Target, and Michelle and I are layering our long-sleeved-moisture-wicking shirts with water resistant jackets (light weight, warm, but not too warm).

We bought head lamps from Amazon.com, and went with the cheapest option we could find. Big mistake. I couldn't get the thing to turn on after the batteries had to be replaced (providing a grand total of 1 hour of use). It didn't even last long enough for our first class. But I did use it while cleaning my oven.

Cheap-o prototype. Lamp was crap, but the strap did wonders for my hair.
We also have to wear reflective glow-in-the-dark gear (requirement of the shoe store sponsoring the class). I doubt we'll come across much traffic on a dirt track in a residential neighborhood, but you never know. In one of our warm up runs, Michelle and I saw a deer saunter across the sports field. With lights strapped to our heads and neon vests velcroed tight, we needn't worry about being gored.

Michelle
Winter months are always the hardest for me exercise-wise (at least in the dark and soggy Pacific Northwest) so I'm happy this winter session has us running twice a week.

Plus, I'm fast as lightning in my new running tights.

In October I read: Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Any Alexandra Fuller fans out there? I read her first two books (Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight and Scribbling the Cat) shortly after coming home from Africa. I was desperate to get my hands on anything that brought back the sound of crickets at night, Muslim prayers at dawn, and the constant sweeping of red Ugandan dirt. They didn't disappoint.

Imagine my delight when I heard Fuller had another book in the works. I put Cocktail Hour on pre-order back in June, and waited for the release date. Another gem. In this book, she writes more about her family history, how her parents ended up in Africa in the first place, and how her immediate family was affected by the choice to live there. Interesting stuff: riveting, heartbreaking, rollicking. Her family members sound like wildly likable characters.


In Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness Alexandra Fuller braids a multilayered narrative around the perfectly lit, Happy Valley-era Africa of her mother's childhood; the boiled cabbage grimness of her father's English childhood; and the darker, civil war- torn Africa of her own childhood. 
The family photos she includes are wonderful (you can also see them on the Amazon listing).

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Six weeks in review

I've spent an embarrassing amount of time today trying to figure out how to represent the last six weeks of my life as a line graph. Tonight was the last session of my running class and I realized today that quite a lot has happened since I began.

I was hoping to create a graph with the horizontal axis listing dates from mid-September til now, and the vertical axis showing my stress level on a scale of 1 to 10. The goal was to show how CRAZY and STRESSFUL and OFF THE CHARTS my life has been lately. A veritable emotional roller coaster.

But I'm no master of excel, so I'm going to have to stick with my normal method: the long winded essay.

Let's go back to the week of September 12th, shall we? That was the first night of my running class. I ran a 10:22 minute mile. Awesome. Very happy and proud of myself.  A new way to unwind is always a good thing. This came in handy when, later that week, Hubbins and I had an uncomfortable but necessary conversation about our spending. Mostly mine. And how it was excessive. Or something like that, the details are hazy.

On September 21st, Hubbins started school! HOORAY! He's pretty much a genius full of untapped mental resources. He's talked vaguely about going back to school before, but never very seriously. This year, with prodding from his boss, he decided to make it happen. He's working toward a four year degree (estimated graduation date: Spring 2013). His strength is numbers so he's nervous about all the reading and writing it's going to require. I keep reminding him that this is why he married an English major. And why I married a math whiz who can budget.

The next week, Hubbins left town for three days on a business trip. I decided not to go (having saved nothing for a weekend at the spa). It was just as well I stayed home.

On Thursday the 29th, I got an email from my dad saying that the nursing home we visited had an opening and Mom could move in immediately. Gulp. On Friday, my sister and I packed a suitcase and gathered a few mementos from home for Mom to take with her. This was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Mom was emotional about leaving home, and it took all the strength we could muster to stay positive and reassure her the change would be a good thing. We smiled and rubbed her back and promised she'd be in good hands and that we'd visit often. But all I wanted to do was cry in her lap. I desperately wanted Mom to reassure me that everything would be OK and that she understood our good intentions. It was a terrible day, and I went home to an empty house.

When Hubbins came home, we worked on his first few homework assignments before I left on vacation. My co-worker and exercise buddy Michelle and I took off for PALM SPRINGS! We shopped, got facials, read, laid in the sun by the pool, and ate at an awesome new restaurant downtown Palm Springs. Sunshine never felt so medicinal.

My first day back to work was uneventful, until I got home to a waterfall over the front door.

A week later, once the fans and de-humidifiers were finally removed and the floor-to-ceiling plastic pulled down, we thought the worst was over. Then our oven blew up. Hubbins and I were watching TV on Monday this week when we saw a blazing light coming from inside the oven. We peeked through the oven window and it was like looking directly into the sun. I thought a biscuit had fallen off the cookie sheet and burst into flames. But the the heating element had split in two. Repairs pending.

Throughout all this, I've attended the running clinic twice a week. Tonight was our last session. I've been reflecting today on how much running has helped me cope. Even when my preference was to curl up on the couch in my jammies, I ran. Every night felt like an accomplishment. My head cleared, my muscles ached, and my perspective improved. I did a lot of emotional eating over the last six weeks and gained back several pounds, but I kept running. Tonight, my mile pace was 9:56. SUCCESS!

The next series of classes begins in two weeks. We'll be running after dark, so we get to wear headlamps. I don't know what wild and crazy things will happen between now and mid December, but running will help me take it in stride.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waterlogged

You are never going to believe what happened last night. It involves firemen and flooding.

On the way home from work I dropped Hubbins off at a coffee shop near our house so he could do some homework (he recently went back to school!). I came home to change out of my work clothes and unload some boxes we had in the trunk, to make room for groceries. I said hi to the kitties and filled the bathroom sink with a little cold water and closed the drain to give Rajah a little drink (he loves drinking out of the sink). Both faucets were off (this is important).

Then I went on my merry way to the farm stand to get produce. I was gone for 30 or 45 minutes.

When I came home, there was a firetruck in the street right in front of our driveway. The neighbor lady was standing in her driveway looking up at our laundry room. There were three firemen outside the front door, and one was up on a ladder, about to break a window on the second story to get in. Hot water was pouring from the ceiling of our entry way, from the bathroom and laundry room (directly above the front door).

I jumped out of my car and the neighbor lady shouted, "Here she is!"

A fireman said, "Hello, Ma'am, do you live here?

"Yes!" I said.

He shouted up to the fireman on the ladder, "We have the homeowner!" Broken glass averted.

I opened the front door. Water was running through the ceiling. There was water at the bottom of the stairs, all our shoes were wet, and the area rug was completely soaked with standing water on top of it.

The firemen and I ran upstairs. In the bathroom, the sink (still plugged) was overflowing onto the floor and the hot water faucet was on full blast. The first fireman turned off the faucet and unplugged the drain.
Another fireman said, "You better call your landlord."

I grinned weakly, "we own this place."

"I think you're pretty lucky," the third fireman said, "If there is a positive side to this, the water just went straight down and out, it didn't ruin the carpet on the stairs."

They told me the neighbor had called 911 when she discovered hot water pouring from our house. Not just out from under the front door, but falling from the second story onto our front step. She knocked on our door and was dripped on by a tropical waterfall.

The firemen and I went back down to the entry way. Water had run down the inside of the wall and created a big bubble in the paint. I've always hated that paint, but it was thick enough to hold probably 4 cups of hot water. The firemen recommended that I pop the bubble and avoid any more damage to the sheet rock. I ran to gather towels.

When I came back, they took my name and phone number. One said, "Well, we're going to leave you now. Good luck!"

I said, "Thank you so much for coming. I would have had a heart attack if I'd come home to this by myself."

I was bewildered by it all but so relieved our house was not in flames. I asked, "Do you get many calls for water?"

"Oh yeah. You'd be surprised." (Little comfort.)

They left. I moved my car from the street to our driveway. I went inside and started cleaning up what I could. I used every towel we own. It was hot and steamy. I was sweating and crying. I don't know what was worse, finding a home owner's emergency or calling my husband and telling him, "The bathroom flooded. There were firemen here. It's bad."

Hubbins walked home while I cleaned.

He found me and about 20 towels, all sopping wet. Mr. Calm Cool and Collected called the insurance company and the water damage cleanup folks.

The cleanup crew spent today dismantling the bathroom, tearing up laminate flooring (which we laid two short years ago) and removing all the damaged drywall. Our toilet and sink are on the back porch. The whole bathroom area is sealed with floor-to-ceiling plastic. There are giant de-humidifiers and fans running.

It looks like ET in here, that scene near the end where guys in HazMat suits quarantine Elliot's house. I have to unzip a plastic barrier to go downstairs.





Former sink location

Former toilet location

Zippered plastic hallway

Please make sure all your sinks have overflow drain holes. Ours didn't. Now it's full of rain water on the porch.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Book of the month: A Grace Disguised

September's reading was recommended on a blog I follow called Team Ewan. Kirsten's review is far more eloquent than anything I can say about it. Her beautiful and heart wrenching writing has been a big encouragement to me. So I took note when she recommended a book about loss.


I loved the book. The honest, raw, vulnerable discussion of grief was really soothing to me, especially this week. It provided a little glimmer of light.

On Friday, we moved my mom to a nursing home. Alzheimer's has done a number on her motor skills and basic functioning, and it reached a point that needed professional attention. Notice how I defend the decision, as if you're questioning the necessity of long-term care. Like I described here, mom doesn't belong among elderly invalids. But she does require more care than my family can provide.

The transition hurts a lot. Knowing she's not at home anymore means I can't pretend, even subconsciously, that life will ever return to normal.

It hurts too much to say anything else at this point.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Attention craft-lovers: SALE!

Well, it's officially fall. Overnight the leaves turned color, a cool breeze picked up, and the days are noticably shorter. While this usually triggers a tantrum ("PLEEEEASE can I have more summer?"), this year I'm distracting myself with crafting.

My sewing machine is out again, the coffee table is covered with embroidery floss, and I'm reorganizing my fabric stash.

Want to join me?

Exclusively for you, dear blog readers...



Enter coupon code BLOGFRIEND15
at checkout to receive 15% off!

Yarn - Bellezza Collection - Dolcetto Lime Fabric - Vintage Scandinavian fat quarter
Throw pillow 20" x 20" - Scandinavian yellow Jewelry Frame 3.5 by 4.5 inches

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm running again.

Weekly. TWICE weekly, in fact. Please recall that my prior relationship with running has been wrought with peril.

My workout buddy and I enrolled (with minimum coercion from me) in a running class!!!

From the informational brochure:
For women wishing to begin a consistent running program
This program provides:
• Twice weekly group workouts in a fun, non-intimidating environment.
• Personal goal development.
• Interval training.
• One on one attention.
• Advice on running technique and mechanics.
• Instruction in injury prevention, stretching and strength exercises.
• Overall enjoyment of running.

GAH! I'm so excited. My legs are sore today (two sessions under my belt) but it's the good I-just-accomplished-something-worthwhile sore.

My lifelong goal of being an REI model is about to come true!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Full heart

If there are any silver linings to Moms Alzheimer's diagnosis (and most days there aren't) one might be my increased appreciation for living.

I scour my life for beauty and sweet memories and divine encounters. I've uncovered a lot of treasures. Sometimes it feels naive and indulgent to be so swept up in grateful emotions and let the tiniest little things thrill me (I was nearly moved to tears during a peanut butter commercial this week). But it's a practice I plan to continue.

Some days are dark, cry-til-my-gut-hurts days. Last weekend I felt bulldozed by grief. I wrote angry words in my journal, and wallowed in the helplessness I felt. I purged all the sorrow-sludge up from the depths. Not pretty. I'm not comfortable sharing that stuff here.

But then there are weekends like this one, where I meet new friends and have meaningful conversations and the sun shines and I sense a Midas-touch of celebration. Creativity and inspiration abound. The world is a beautiful place.

Grief has widened my perspective. I feel like a funnel, taking in more than I have the capacity to contain.

I move forward with open arms, vulnerable but receptive.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Current Obsessions: Cath Kidston, Etsy Finds, Sisters on the Fly, Bunnies

 1) All things Cath Kidston

Source
Online magazine


 

2) I love this necklace.

It seems appropriately moody to me, with a silver lining.
AdeloCreations on Etsy

3) Someday, I will be part of this club.

Sisters on the Fly: Caravans, Campfires, and Tales from the Road

Does the combination of love-for-all-things-vintage and camping appeal to you? It does to me. More inspiration here.

I'd like to read and take a nap in a cozy nest like this:

5. A pet bunny.

 Remember this post? Bunnysitting 2008

Me and Mr. Bun
I raised rabbits as a little girl, and will always have a soft spot for long fuzzy ears and twitching noses.

This blogger is a quilter and a rabbit owner:

Jeni: In Color Order
Source
I love her blogs about her rabbit George and quilting {swoon!}.

Source

Source
Now I just have to convince the more skeptical members of the family that a pet bunny is a good idea.

"I need more information"

"Don't even think about it. I already have to share my humans."


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Vacation Project #3: Refurbished Furniture for my Garden

1. $5 antique store find


2. $35 gallon of mis-matched high-gloss paint, on sale for $7

3. New finish on old table


4. Extra space for container gardening!

Growing in my front entry: oregano, geraniums,
basil, moss, dill, lavender, cilantro, fern.