Saturday, January 31, 2009

Soul Journal 18: Releasing and Receiving

I recently joined the yahoo group, Soul Journal, based on this blog, Soul Journal.

This week’s entry is about “Release and Receive”, letting go of the old and being open to the new.

When I saw the theme, I reversed the words, by accident, and to me it became “Receive and Release”. It spoke to me about opening up and accepting my “muse”, my “creativity”, my “art”. And it doing so, I would release my art back onto the world (poor world!)


I applied a watery coat of gesso to some watercolor paper. Over that, I applied several different colors and coats of acrylics. Then I coated my hand with gold paint and applied my hand to the page.

This is how we physically receive and release, via our hands.

I then used a big stamp with writing on it and randomly coated the whole page with the stamp in a dark blue ink (it’s hard to see in the picture).

Then I stamped “Receiving and Releasing” on the page at the top and bottom, outlining the Releasing. I pasted on various letters to symbolize words coming in and the two little cards are the books coming out.


I stamped one of the books with a stamp of fountain pens and added the words “inner life”. In the other “book” I added the words, “love your life”.

The whole process spoke to me of accepting your art and owning it and not being afraid to share it with others.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snow Day Pictures

A couple of collages of the images I took on Tuesday. We get snow, especially in any measurable amount, it is almost mandatory to get out and take pictures.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Color in the Snow

There is some colors out there besides shades of brown, black and white.

There is something about the bright red against the snow.

It seems more vibrant

(written on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - the day it snowed)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stopping by the Park on a Snowy Morning

(written on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - the day it snowed)
Stopping by the Park on a Snowy Morning

Whose seats these are I think I know,
Their homes are in the town though.
They will not see me stopping here,
To watch the park fill up with snow.

My daughter does think it queer
To stopwith without a Starbucks near.
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The snowiest day of the year.

She gives her cell phone a shake,
To check if there is some mistake.
The only sound she can keep,
Is the cell phones gentle beep.

The woods are snowy, light and deep,
But I have many chores to keep.
And dishes to do before I sleep.
And washing to do before I sleep.

Sorry Mr. Frost!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Walk in the Park

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

--Robert Frost

This was one of the first poems I ever memorized and to this day, xx years later, I still remember at least the first and the last parts of it. Which is pretty good, because I have a hard time remembering what I just had for dinner the night before.

Walking through the woods today was peaceful and quiet. Just the sound of my jeans rubbing at my ankles and the crunch of my boots in the snow. Occassionally I could hear the sound of the wind in the pine trees. So tranquil. Now I am watching the flakes swirl in the wind outside my window.

(written on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 the day of the actual snow)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow is a 4 Letter Word

Yep, we achieved snow. We should be getting about 4 inches of it, but right now, to me, it looks like we have already gotten there and the snow is starting to come down harder.

This is OD and Noel's second trip out. The first, we did the "pee and poo" trip at 5:30 am and the snow was just starting to come down pretty good. It started about 3:00 am.

It's pretty. I dumped OD and Noel and let them go back inside and started on a walk around the lake all by myself, in the quiet. Until the "park police" told me the park was closed and ran me off. And about 20 other people!

So I am now inside, watching the snow come down harder, drinking my coffee and watching the activities in Washington, D.C. on the tv.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Knitting Again!

BF wants a shawl. But she is also very hot natured, so she wanted something lacy and airy and to cover, but not for warmth. Told her if she found what she wanted, I would knit (or crochet) it for her.

Now for those who have made anything on "commission" for anyone, giving them carte blanche to select something is really dangerous. Because often, even those closest to you, can pick out that one pattern which is absolutely awful.

(This is the picture from the site)

But BF did a great job. She picked Liquid Silver Shawl from the Elann Yarn site. This lovely shawl, by Rosemary Hill, is starting out so wonderful. The first 8 rows went great. BF picked a great off-white Silken Kydd from and the clear, silver lined beads make it look like sparkles on snow.

I did have to rip back to the start when I started the lace portion of the shawl. I just didn't have it down correctly. So I am starting over this morning. Think I have it in my mind now what do to.

It's going to be beautiful!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Almost Tropical!

This was the pond yesterday when the temperatures was still in the teens. I know there are people out there going "what is her problem?" as they waded through a million feet of snow. But this kind of icing over on the pond is about as usual as actual snow.

But this morning, when I went to walk the dog, it was already about 39 degrees, about 30 more than it was yesterday morning.
Let me get out my swimsuit!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday Night Dinner

This was dinner Friday night. The "main" item was chicken wings, filled with mozzarella cheese, dipped in egg and rolled in bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Added a little spaghetti sauce to dip them in. Rounding out the meal was a bit of salad and some angel hair pasta.

With OD "helping" (please read hinder), the recipe was from the February issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray.

OD was keeping an "eye" on the preparation.
The verdict....I really liked it. OD "doesn't trust chicken" and Texter came back for seconds....
of the pasta.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Why I Live In the South......

Today everyone was going nuts. We were down to 17 degrees last night, which is almost unheard of here. Suppose to get down to single digits tonight.

I don't mind cold. I enjoy the change of seasons, which is why I don't live in the deep south. But I don't like ice except in a glass surrounded by sweet tea. As far as snow.....I like "polite" snow. The kind where it has fallen overnight, you wake up and the yard looks really pretty, sun shining off the snow and the streets and sidewalks clear. You can stand at the window, drinking your coffee, enjoying the view.
And by lunch, the snow is gone. Don't like "black ice" either. Mainly because it tends to make bad drivers drive worse. There must be some kind of mental twist people make when they hear the phrase "caution, icy roads" that makes them think they can drive 70 mph like it was a bone dry surface, turning right in front of people, obvious to the wrecks they are causing.

I know there are parts of the country where they actually wait for the ponds to ice over so they can skate on them. No skating here. Just cold. Will be gone in 48 hours. Back up to the 40's. I like the south. strange as this might sound, I think I could live in Maine...even in the winter.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The real reason I can't fold clothes.......

He weighs 23 pounds. His "little" brother weighs 16. They have put on a few pounds since they have been confined to the apartment. Blaze, above, weighed 17 pounds a year ago. OD calls him the "Godfather". He has this way of staring at you which is very intimidating. He has to be scary staring at you because his "voice" is really high pitched when he does meow. It is so funny. Kind of like Orsen Wells as a soprano.

But am continuing my zentangles. I had a group of ATC cards I had traced the alphabet on, one letter for each card, for something I had planned but never followed up on. So they have become the basis for some zentangles

And this is what happens when you start sorting through "stuff" and organizing and your bed is right behind your chair. Actually it makes it rather nice when I need a lot of space to spread a project out. I have a double bed, less "dog" space on which to work.

Of course, a rainy day always helps be more productive. I love rainy days....except at 5 am when I have to walk the dog...and the cold water seeps into my shoes.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Journal Cover

This is the cover of my newest journal. It's a composition book I rescued from Texter's stack of unused notebooks. The cover work was actually done to cover up where she had written her name, but it also used up some of the "stuff" I had laying around.

The upper left corner is an ATC card I tried some acrylics on. I didn't realize until I glued it on the front there is a face on it. If you look really close the face is looking to the left and there is a lot of wild hair behind it.

The upper right hand side is a prepaid card for World of Warcraft. The girls started me on it and now it is a big stress release for me. The face further down is a polymer clay one I made when I was playing around with clay for the first time.

I wrapped a piece of Tyvek I had dyed and had cut a heart out of around the back of the notebook and filled in with some wrapping paper I liked and the front of a Christmas card I received. So, not a dime later and a little less in my stash, I have a new journal for a few days/weeks. The good thing is I have several other notebooks left I can do this too, so at least the first part of the year I am covered with journals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Work I Did On My Day Off Work......

Yesterday, being a Monday,was probably not the best day to make phone calls, but I did. And I did not get all bent out of shape being transferred around the phone company about 56 times. But it is possible to "play" while working. While awaiting someone to come on the line and while scanning pages, I colored pages. My current journal is a composition book I rescued from Texter (one of her discards). The only thing I really don't like about it is the pages are thin and inks bled through and when you glue stuff on the pages it wrinkles them up.

But I like look. So today was productive, on both working and playing counts.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Perfect Meal

Several months ago I read a book, by Jay Rayner, The Man Who Ate the World. The basis of the book is looking for the "perfect" meal. He goes to several luxury spots around the world and spends literally hundreds and thousands of dollars for these spectacular dinners. As I read the book (which I did enjoy very much), I wondered what a $400 or $1000 meal would taste like. It would be interesting if, like one of those makeover shows, someone would take me for one of these ultra meals prepared by a great chef so I would know what it was like to eat a meal that would pay my rent for one month.
Instead, on Friday night I had a really good meal, which I prepared at home, cost me less than $5 (and that's with a little bit of leftovers) and took less than 30 minutes to fix. The girls were going to be gone that evening, so Mom here was on her own. Other people would be going, " kids...let's get kinky", but no kink here. Instead, I'm going " kids...I get to eat salmon!" I fixed salmon with a balsamic vinegar/honey glaze, Rice-a-Roni Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs, and fresh strawberries.
Ok , for all those out there going it's January, strawberries aren't local, salmon isn't local, Rice-a-Roni isn't local...bug was good! Oh, and by the way, strawberries drives one of the cats crazy, like catnip. He was climbing in the trash to get the tops of the strawberries. I had to dig them out and lay them on the kitchen floor so he could lay on them.
But it was a really good meal. I enjoyed it as much as meals I have paid more for that I've eaten out. Of course, I have never paid anywhere near 3 digits for a meal, nor has anyone spent that on me.
One of the most memorable meals I have every had was tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with a couple of friends. It was the perfect combination of a cool, rainy day, cream of tomato soup (I put milk in my Campbell's Tomato soup) and a Colby jack grilled cheese sandwich at a friend's house. For 3 of us to eat it probably didn't cost $10 total. But 3-4 years later I still remember that meal.
Of course, should anyone want to treat me to a $$$$$ meal, please let me know. I won't turn it down!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

'I HAVE TO' versus 'I GET TO'

I was fortunate enough to be gifted at Christmas with a certificate for books (one of my favorite things). And I was on the wonderful Patricia Mosca's site where she was talking about The Awe-Manac by Jill Badonsky.

So since I know Patricia is a woman of wonderful taste and I have Jill Badonsky's The Nine Modern Day Muses (and One Bodyguard), I ordered the book and got it a couple of days ago. We will not mention the pacing and checking the tracking status of the order. Of course, the minute it was delivered the power went out!

While reading by candlelight on the surface seems beautifully retro and romantic, 51 year old eyes can't handle it. Besides, I had a feeling I wanted to savor it carefully selecting and allowing a piece of chocolate to melt in your mouth. (Yes, Patricia, there is a ton of chocolate between the walls of this home!)

Into my pack it went, along with my journal, to take to work. We are pretty slow now and I get to read between calls. I had my journal, highlighters, pens, all ready to start the book.

On page 5 the light bulb went off. Or rather stadium lights went on when she talked about replacing "I have to..." with "I get to..."

Have you ever had those moments when something hits you and you get so jazzed and excited you want to tell the world...tap dance on your desk? Your skin feels too tight, you can feel every blood cell moving? That was what I was feeling.

I am the world's worse person with money and this year is not starting out well. However, I have started moving forward to correct this problem and am feeling positive about what I GET TO DO.

Just looking at this major area in my life and how depressing it can be, it makes it much easier to deal with it when I say...

"I get to pay my bills on time."

"I get to not rely on borrowing from Peter to pay Paul."

"I get to have professional help to set new habits."

"I get to not worry every day about money."

This probably isn't exactly what Ms. Badonsky was thinking when she wrote the book, but 5 pages into it and if nothing else I named the 8th of January "I GET TO' day. (The 7th was named Rainbow Day)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pens and Pencils Oh My

If you ever want to woo a female in this household, do it with pens and pencils! Take us to a business supply store and we swoon. Texter can sniff out a new marker like a drug dog.

So New Year's Day I watched the "Bones" marathon, caught up on blogs and went through one of the 3 large bins of writing impliments to see which ones were still good. Sharpened colored pencils and regular pencils, threw out used up markers.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I like orchids. I had a couple that got zapped by the cold temps in my old house. So when I moved, the grocery store behind me had several in their floral area. After a few weeks, once they had bloomed and faded, the ones left were put on sale at about 75% off their original price. Putting it within my price range.
I figured it would take another year for it to bloom again. Orchids generally bloom only once a year. But I would be patient. So I set it in the east facing window and let it go.
Much to my surprise about 3 weeks ago it puts out a shoot and this is the results. I did not know what color the orchid was even going to be. I am very pleased with the colors and the fact it bloomed for me so quickly.
It looks so nice, sitting in my kitchen window, greeting me every time I walk into the room. I'm Blooming!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

When Life Cuts Off Your Electricity......

Nothing like getting home from work....knowing what you are actually having for dinner this time....getting it started. Chicken in the oven, reheating from the other night. Water on the stove top for noodles for shells and cheese. Have salad stuff out. Sliced peaches for fruit. All planned.....then....


There goes the power. I did pay the bill. Not me. It's the severe gusts of wind going through the area has downed the power. Not much I can do about it.

Texter goes out on the balcony and calls me out (OD is walking around going "hungry, hungry, stupid debate homework, hungry, hungry")...."Mom, come here, this looks weird."

I walk out onto the balcony and it's not's a DOUBLE RAINBOW!!!!!

So, after ooohhhhing and aaahhhhing we came back inside. Luckily the chicken had warmed enough, the candles were bright enough we could have the chicken and peaches.

One of the advantages of living where we do is when the power goes it cuts power to a major intersection and a small strip mall which is very busy. Power back on in about an hour. But the memory of the rainbows last longer.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Zentangle Play

Once again I am about 2-3 years behind the curve. I remember coming across this a couple of years ago and "rediscovered" it a few days ago. Zentangles. And better yet, I came across this video on Youtube (don't they have something on everything) about drawing a mandala-style zentangle. And from there, the creator's blog.....Milliande who oozes creativity constantly it seems.

These are fun, easy, but challenging. Ok, easy, but challenging? Anyone can do them. My "problem" is figuring out the textures or fill-in's I want to do. So while you can easy do one in front of the TV, it sometimes takes some thought....or non-thought. I have found thinking about what I want to do seems counter-productive at times.

My next bout of "creativity" on my final couple of days off...other than going in for my pre-lim for my colon cancer screening test (don't you love turning 50?) I have already purged files yet again and got rid of another bag of old papers. That I did on Sunday. My current creativity is getting the desk top computer, which has returned to my sole possession, up with "MY" stuff.
I have been using both the desk top and the lap top with the girls. Most of my bookmarks are on the laptop, so have to move those over. Maybe doing some purging and reorganizing.

Sometimes creativity takes a more mundane route, but the Virgo in me rejoices in it.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"almost tastes like fried chicken"

From a 15 year old this is pretty good praise. I made Swanson's Citrus Chicken and Rice I cut out of a magazine a while back. Part of my "new" cooking agenda. Simple, easy, quick and tasty. I will probably make this one again. I will cut down on the amount of onions it calls for. We are not really onion people. And let the rice cook just a little longer or in a smaller pan in order to be sure all the rice is completely cooked. (Just so you will know, the picture was made about 1/2 way through, so I didn't serve pink chicken.)

So out of 3 new dishes, 1 has made the cut. Plenty for dinner and plenty of leftovers for lunch for me to take to work. Healthy. Tastes good. Quick and easy.

My picture on the plate with the salad, all nicely presented? Got eaten I believe. I know I took the picture. In fact, I took 3 or 4. But they didn't make it. Kitchen gremlins! If they would only do the dishes. PS.....except for a measuring cup and knife, this is a one skillet dish to make. That and a salad and you're done.

OD did not try it. She "wasn't hungry". Once again, she is getting a dose of the real world. Seems she is suppose to be the mouthpiece of the "debate" they have to do in a class and the others are suppose to be doing the research. REAL LIFE!!!! hits and she is getting to do it all and she can (1) not do the research and bomb the debate or (2) do the research and the others get a good grade too. When they start getting hit in the face with life outside school it is so funny. All those things you could say about the "real world" gets handed to them on a platter. A few years from now she'll be facing the same situation with a co-worker and be thinking "this is just like high school!"