Monday, June 30, 2008

Making Room for Creativity

This a.m. I tried a writing exercise called Morning Pages from Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. Easy and fun. Moreover, extremely effective. Cameron contends that by turning this simple writing exercise into a morning ritual that you can move whatever blocks your creativity. This is not just for writers either. In fact, she says writers tend to be more critical of their own writing and might resist the exercise more than a non-writer. 

While doing the exercise, I was quickly reminded that journaling has always been a great way to work through anything in my life, but had never considered it a way to open the door for creativity. Try the Morning Pages exercise and you'll be amazed! I was delighted and freed. During my morning walk, I was actually able to think about fun things instead of working through the clutter I tend to collect.

Rules as paraphrased by SAS:

1. Write three pages by hand on 8.5 x 11 paper each a.m.
2. Don't look at what you wrote the day before.
3. Be free with thoughts - anything counts.
4. Do it every day.
5. No one else is allowed to read it.

My thanks to friend Karen at Inspirasana for recommending this book.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This Old Tile

A dream
A vision
for something old
for something new
for something created 
or together.
It's more than just

dedicated to my loving husband on our 6th. XO

Friday, June 20, 2008

What If? Living Life to Its Fullest

A member of my book club asked a question based on a book we were reading about living your life to the fullest - I have not finished the book yet, but here follows the basis of the question ... in the beginning of The Poet of Tolstoy Park, the main character moves to a better climate so he can live out his final months with a TB diagnosis. He has about one year left. The question is probably one you have heard before ... "What if you only had 6 months to live? How would you spend it if you had no pain or suffering?" 

I mulled over this question for several hours, especially on the day my friend asked it. At first I was redesigning my home and adding on new spaces - decorating. Then I was traveling in Italy, Turkey and Sri Lanka, and oh yes, Serbia and Croatia. I had considered asking if I could add one more caveat to the question ... could it be, "How would you spend those last 6 months of your life and money would be limitless - no pain or suffering?"

My final answer does not surprise me after all, but perhaps some were looking for a more illustrious answer. I know I was at first. 

I want to travel. But, I'd miss my home. I love being home. Right now I am trying to figure out a business so I can work from home! I want to do new things to my home, but it would take longer than six months, and I wouldn't want to live in a mess for my last months. The mess would be too stressful. Money doesn't help solve either of these situations or save my life. 

I live my life the way I want to almost every day. At least that is always my intention. Sometimes my day is not perfect and sometimes I wish I had more time. In fact I always wish I had more time to do all the things that I love. And I do the things "I love" daily. I like cooking, pulling weeds, napping, reading books, playing on my computer, talking with my husband on the phone from his work, driving to all the places I do, playing turtles with my son, watching our frog eat bugs, returning books to the library, buying eggs from the farm, walking in our neighborhood's cathedral of trees or listening to the lake's waves ... and it the list goes on and on. 

Yes, it would be fun to go on a longer farther trip and yes, my home is in a state of continual re-decoration, re-design, re-model -- mostly in my head and always with my husband who loves to talk dreams -- about trips, design and painting with me. 

This way of living didn't just happen. I didn't pick out a new living room from Pottery Barn and emerge as a perfect woman or go on a resort vacation and emerge anew. In the last 18 months, I have made some big career changes, prayed, taken a good and long look at myself, asked my husband for help and worked with a life coach. I knew each day was not all that I wanted it to be so I chose to change my way of thinking.

I have proven to myself that anything is possible and I remind myself of this often enough. I refuse to settle for something that just shows up instead of something that I want. I am open to the things that help me live happily. As they appear I grab them. I live them. I have faith in God and do know that the things I need are given ... and that the next good always follows. My work is to remain open so that I can use and receive this life of gifts.

Enter my son, fresh out of the bath tub and dressed, outside here on our front step where I am writing -- apparently he's given his toy snake a bath too. He ties long reeds around rocks. The wind is blowing through our 70-year old trees and my husband is over there in the adirondack chair sipping a cold bottle of beer. My laptop is here with me and I am typing away. I am grateful.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

This Old House

When I saw this photo it took me back to a time when my husband and I were dating. We visited a store in Minneapolis called Architectural Antiques. It was an amazing time together because we were both discovering why we were so drawn to each other. Both of us mulled around on our own and then brought each other back to the precious objects of interest. Old hinges, door knobs, garden gates, doors, sinks, and tile. The tile in particular was completely interesting. The salesperson told us that most of it was ripped out of a couple of Victorian homes in San Francisco. That day, and after, we talked a lot about how it could be used in our future home.

For my birthday, celebrated about three months after that day, I received a beautiful single tile that I immediately recognized. Today it sits next to my stove and I use it all the time. The store is gone and so, obviously is the house where it lived. For me, the tile is a portal to our past and a reminder of the dreams we continue to share. 

This entry is dedicated to my very dear husband as we near our sixth anniversary.
Photo credit: KT

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Green Taste Buds for Me

I love writing about or looking at anything green. My first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box from Riverbend Farm in Minnesota certainly qualifies as green any way you slice it. Today I felt like I had opened a long awaited gift! And what a gift to have the option and choice to eat locally. Tonight dinner was a quick fix and it involved two of the lettuces topped with thin slices of radish and an easy no-recipe oil and vinegar dressing 

I am trying to grow veggies on my own, and believe me, my heads of lettuce are no where near the size of these! I cannot imagine the planning, care and work it took to get these beauties in the ground and to the co-op where I'll continue to pick up my prized CSA box for several more weeks. All I can say is "wow". Talk about appreciating what you eat and eating the best. 

Check out my friend Inspirasana's blog for what I consider to be an award-winning photo of the heirloom speckled bibb lettuce (above).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Georgia, Pour Moi?

What if you could commission your favorite artist to paint something just for you? Who would it be? What?

Peonies for SAS by Georgia O'Keeffe, oil on board, 36" x 24"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grandpa on My Mind: Father's Day

I asked my son what he loved about Daddy. 
"He puts worms on my hooks," he said. 
The simple attention of a parent is what he 
likes the most. And this reminded me of my

I didn't grow up with a father in my life. So 
Grandpa was everything to me and my 

Grandpa caught candy from behind my 
ears so many times. A Charleston
Chew, Neccos, Mounds bars,
Big Daddy gum and Sweetarts.
"Well hello Miss America," he greeted us.
He played Monopoly with me.
Are you hungry? How about a hamburger?
Always two from McDonald's.
He took me school clothes shopping sometimes
or let me pick out a special birthday outfit.

He always brought us a special little present 
when he traveled.
He said I could have some office supplies from the 
closet at his office. Yellow legal pads, red
pencils and blue Bic ballpoints pens.
He happily talked to me when I called 
him at work. His secretary put me right 

He bought us really good snacks to have
while visiting him. Totino's pizza and
chocolate milk. Chocodiles and crazy ice-cream 
flavors. He always liked blueberry
and maple nut. We liked chocolate.
He laughed hard when we watched Benny Hill
with him or the movie Airplane.

Grandpa took my sister and I to Hawaii when 
I graduated from high school - he said 
he loved it so much, he wanted us to visit too.
He called both of us "sis" sometimes.
Grandpa drove us to primary every Tuesday.
He introduced me to Frosty's.

He laughed a lot and talked with me.
He didn't say bad things about others.
Grandpa said 'I love you' and gave us hugs.

Grandpa loved to vacuum and I liked
to tease him about that.
He loved sweets as much as I did. 
Grandpa brought us large boxes of Sunkist 
oranges often and I ate many at a time.

My Grandpa.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Secret of Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Freshly grated nutmeg. 
Orange peel and a splash of
orange juice. 
Vanilla - and lots of it. 
The pastry blender is perfect for 
cutting oats, brown sugar, and 
butter together.

Use your favorite recipe and make 
sure to add these ingredients.

Try serving this delight with whipping 
cream infused with Amaretto di Sarano, 
granulated sugar and vanilla.

OR vanilla bean ice-cream.

Cloud Watching

Find your own paradise. A warm summer's day. Feet in the lake, eyes on the sky. 
Minnetrista, MN

Thursday, June 12, 2008

There's A Frog in the House

E officially is the proud 5-year old owner of his first purchased pet. Wooly the caterpillar has to count as the first pet, of course. Then there was Wooly II, who was released into our yard after a 3-week tour inside. Real tears were shed with the loss of each.

The frog habitat birthday gift from friend Jennifer pushed me to investigate a critter to put inside of it. After frequent demands about getting a pet -- and my request, "Please, can we put this aside for a few days so I can think about it?" I decided that we could at least look at some frogs. Well, we ended up with a 2.5 gallon plastic fish bowl and a square of screen snapped tight over its opening - plus an American Green Tree Frog. 

His name is Froggy! And E named him so because of the Froggy series of kid's books. (Yes, I do recommend this series written by Johnathan London). I am just as excited about the whole thing as E. His love of animals has been evident from a very young age and continues to grow. It thrills me to set him up with a pet that will grow with his boyhood adventures. Besides, I really like this little frog.

As I write this blog entry, I have been summoned several times to look at what the frog is doing. He appears to be very happy in his Coco Soft bedding. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Creative Calling

I was drawn to this mosaic counter top at the River Rock coffee shop as I waited for my world's best iced caramel latte. The feeling that came over me was reminiscent of a longing from years past. I wanted to make a mosaic something. For the second time in a week the thought of making a mosaic ran right in front of me. 

I plan to comb some flea markets for old plates and tiles to break up. And who knows what else may appear since this intention has been set? I have been saving some blue, green and clear beach glass that my nephew collected for me from Puget Sound.

For too long I chose to ignore the creative calling to write -- years passed. An idea popped up and I would literally tell myself why I couldn't answer. The calls eventually went away or so I thought. It took a lot of work to rediscover the core of my creativity, and like an old coin purse, it just stays with me. My self-investment grows new limbs all the time. I am grateful for this blog and a couple of other journals that keep the creativity flowing. Please fill and refill your creativity when you hear it calling and you will be rewarded over and over again simply by using your gifts. (I assure you, this is not fortune cookie rhetoric!)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Go Indigo

If you're a zone 4 gardener, try out a Blue False Indigo plant. Mine started as a small thing and has shot up considerably each spring. As of this date, her flowers are not completely open. In a few days, I'll have to weave in a bit of wire around her and attach it to hidden bamboo poles because the flowering stalks become heavy and tend to fall aside. Perfect in our Minnesota climate, this prairie plant requires minimal water and can handle full sun all summer long (don't get confused with the real thing, which is simply Indigo). She's a real beauty and keeps the weeds at bay. Go my Baptisia Australas!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Finally Five!

Finally five. Outside catching toads. Being with special friends. Dad's grilling. Hello Grandma and Grandpa. Gifts -- rrripped open! First bike and training wheels. Cakes of love are lit. Mom serves melting ice cream. Hugs, a plenty. Car doors slam. Waves. Thank you for being with us!

Friday, June 6, 2008

7 Random Things About Me

This one came from Inspirasana.

1. My first bike at 5 years. Used. Big banana seat. 
Fushia all-over.
2. I like getting older, wiser and more authentic.
3. I don't ever want to wear dress pants again.
4. I love red shoes. Always have.
5. Chocolate cake donuts from Wuollet are my 
favorite vegetable.
6. Dream job -- exhibits curator from home office.
7. Collector of antique earrings and jewelry.

OK, my turn to tag someone -- KT, you are officially tagged! Inspirasana, my fun is done.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Love

From the moment you were conceived, in mind and body, I knew you would be as you are. You are wonderful - sweet, bright, joyful, fun and creative. Each day you give me these gifts my little love, my son.

Cupcakes decorated by the birthday boy ~ except for the one with "5"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Little Hand

... making cupcakes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Pie for Lunch

Why not? ... and some coffee.

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