Sunday, March 29, 2009

What I Learned from Earth Hour

R0013815I/We participated in Earth Hour last night.  About 8:20pm I went around the house and lit candles.  I had taken my bath and was all relaxed from cleaning my room (which is another story).  Turned off the computer and TV’s.  At 8:30 I turned off the lights.

Texter did have her computer on, but other than that she had no problem with it.  She finished her first viewing of “Twilight” just as I was turning things off.

OD was out and came in just as it started.  She had no problem with participating either.  I ran her a bath (for her aching Ren Faire legs) and she took a bath by candlelight, came out and went to her bedroom and died crashed.  I did have a fan on her Ren Faire garb spread out in the laundry room to dry out.  Her skirts were soaked and when about 10 pounds of drapery fabric is wet, it weighs about 25 pounds.

The hour without the lights and “stuff” on was pretty interesting.  I thought I was better able to be without “noise”, but realized how much I depended on the TV being on to nothing in particular, just to have noise.  If you had asked me prior to last night I would have told you “no problem, I hardly ever watch TV” but I didn’t realize how much I depended on it being on to fill up space.

I also meditated for a few minutes.  Boy, what little skills I had learned in the past were way gone.   Forget the noise from the TV, the thoughts whizzing through my mind was enough.  It was a short, guided meditation I listened to on my ITouch (is that cheating?) and I could barely hear the speaker for all the things flying through my brain.  Do I need to work on that in my 101 things!

It was peaceful.  It was raining (still…we are up to our eyebrows in water…thank goodness I am on the 3rd floor!) and I had the window cracked so I could listen to the rain and the aerator in the pond.  With the candlelight it was also very “soft”.  Even though my meditation sucked as far as clearing out the mind, the time I spent on my bed, writing by candlelight was tranquil and relaxing.  While I can’t recommend writing by candlelight on a  regular basis, shutting down will have to become a more regular, if not daily, practice.

I don’t think I “lost” anything during that one hour last night, but I feel I definitely gained a lot.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

List of 101 Things in 1001 Days

If you read yesterday’s post, here is my list of 101 things I plan on during in 1001 days starting on April 4, 2009.  They are not in order of importance, how I plan to accomplish them, or do-ability.  In other words, it’s just a list.  (And for some reason I started numbering them in reverse order.  Guess so I will know how many more things I needed to come up with.)

101.  Keep updating my 1001 things list.

100. Review my list every 3 months and report back on my progress.

99. Knit a lace shawl.

98. Learn Tai Chi.

97. Visit all the thrift stores in the area and make a list of the ones  worth revisiting.

96. Learn to sharpen my knives or have them professionally sharpened.  Mine barely cut butter right now.

95. Put OD’s writing and Texter’s drawing into book form.

94. Visit the waterfalls in North Carolina.

93. Explore my spirituality more fully.

92. Put curtains on all the windows (tastefully).

91. Join a garden co-op or community garden.

90. Plan my menus and shopping lists for better eating.

89. Get a digital camera with interchangeable lens and learn to really use it.

88. Treat myself to new fountain pens.

87. Do some RAK to other artist’s with my unused art supplies.

86. Go on a “picnic” at least once a month, inside or outside.

85. Set up better study areas for all of us.

84. Wear earrings and lipstick every day for a month.

83. Walk at least 10 different trails in North Carolina.

82. Create a garden on the balcony for herbs.

81. Have a spa weekend at home.

80. Take Noel to dog obedience class so I can take her with me more on walks.

79. Visit the art museum in Charlotte.

78. Finish my doll, “Luna”.

77. Carry a notebook and pen wherever I go.

76. Join a writing group.

75. Make a quilt for each of the girls.

74. Do a craft table at work.

73. Lean a new technique for my journal every 2 months.

72. Yoga more. Attend a yoga workshop.

71. Save my old photos.  Save those worth saving and trash the rest.

70. Take care of my nails for 30 days.

69. Do a facial once a month, at home or at beauty school.

68. Visit all the botanical gardens in North Carolina and draw and/or take pictures there.

67. Blog at least weekly.

66. Update my wardrobe to suit “me”.

65. Do at least 1 challenge a month on the different groups I belong to.

64. Get published somewhere, whether it be writing or art.

63. Reconnect with an old friend.

62. Make a vision board.

61. Have nice bookshelves in my living room.

60. Send a card/postcard or surprise to a friend every month.

59. Get a henna tattoo on my hand.

58. Stick to my budget and record my expenses.  Be sure updated every paycheck.

57. Save $10,000 for emergency fund.

56. Complete a Nanowrimo.

55. Have fresh flowers or plant in the house once a month.

54. Make a will.

53. Decorate my home with art I know where it comes from.

52. Wear biking shorts and not be embarrassed.

51. Do a gift advent calendar for the girls.

50. Get new living room furniture (haven’t had any since 1984).

49. Get a birding guide and start a list of birds I’ve seen.

48. Have my makeup done by a professional and wear it to work every day for a month.

47. Get fitted for a bra and have 2-3 good bras on hand.  Get some sports bras.

46. Take a watercolor class.

45. Meditate more.  Create a space to do it in.

44. Make a set of Soul Collage cards.

43. Set up a more functional area for my art and sewing.

42. Set up an alter and have a candle on it every day to burn.  Have a water feature.

41. Pick a month and do a picture a day.

40. Do something active at least 30 minutes every day.  This does not include the quickie “pee and pooh” trips with the dog.

39. Offer a giveaway on my blog.

38. Lean to make illuminated letters and do the complete alphabet.

37. Have an art-journaling-to-go bag.

36. Scrapbook my high school stuff.

35. Create a garden area at the new Renaissance  Faire area.

34. Find my “scent”. Wear perfume every day for 30 days.

33. Cook a new dish once a week.

32. Finish my family cookbook.

31. Canoe down the Eno River.

30. Go visit a new or long-lost friend in another state.

29. Go to the theater in NYC.

28. Buy a new towel every pay day.  My current towels are spiritual, as in very holey.

27. Finish up on the family history.  Visit and take pictures of some sites.

26. Buy or make a white, gauzy dress.

25. Attend a goddess workshop/gathering.

24. Learn more about aromatherapy.

23. Get Photoshop and learn more about digital photography.

22. Walk/run a half marathon.

21. Get a good bike for myself.

20. Learn to spin wool.

19. Learn calligraphy.

18. Get my college degree in Creative Writing, English or History.

17. Work on botanical drawing certificate.

16. Visit another Ren Faire in another state.

15. Learn to read tarot better.

14. Go through and index my journals.

13. Get another tattoo, possibly the one Texter drew for me.

12. Enter a writing contest.

11. Finish a pair of knitted socks.

10. Take a fiber arts class.

9. Have acupuncture done.

8. Write everyday.

7. Go on a silent retreat.

6. Visit Biltmore Estate.

5. Design my own Christmas cards.

4. Write the first of my novels.

3. Learn belly dancing.

2. Take some art journaling classes.

1. Take a writing workshop.

I’ll keep you posted as the 1001 days go by.

Friday, March 27, 2009

101 Things in 1001 Days

I try at least once a week to read through some of the blogs I am interested in.  I use this time as a sense of inspiration, of connection to a world I am interested in, to learn, to savor with my coffee in the quiet time.

On one of the blogs I thought I read she was making a list of 1001 things she wanted to do in her life.  Actually, when I revisited it was 101 things Kathryn wanted to do in 1001 days. (Warning: do not visit her blog unless you want an truly wonderful experience.  She will motivate and inspire you tremendously.)  See what happens when you read things only half awake.

I was intrigued by what I thought thought was the original idea and started listing my 1001 things (sort of a bucket list I guess) and actually it’s really hard.  I could go pretty fast through the first 25, chug along to 50 and then it slows down.  I started jotting down ideas in my ITouch when I thought of them (although Kathryn’s “Blackberry” may be a new option). 

But still a long way from 1001.

When I went back and revisited her site and saw it was 101 things in 1001 days it put a different spin on things.  I pulled out my list and started separating it into 101 in 1001 days versus the whole 1001 things.  Since I plan on living to be 150 and I’m only 51, I figure I could eventually fit them in.

Then I needed a concrete time period for my 1001 days.  At first I thought 12/12/12 would be a good ending date since that’s when the world as we know it is suppose to end if you are into crystal skulls and such.  But that meant not starting until next year.

I then looked at ending on December 31, 2011.  Finish then and start 2012 with a new list (possibly).  It would be a good time to recap, reflect, redo.

Therefore, my 1001 days would start on April 4, 2009.  Fantastic!  My spring vacation starts then.  Everything fits nicely.

I have my dates.  My 101 things will follow tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Park Update

I have an acute sinus infection.  It sucks to put it bluntly.  But the dog still needs walking.  So before the weather matched how I felt (we are getting rain from Thursday through Sunday….again) I took the dog for a quick, little walk into the park.

What is this?  There is an orange fish on my walkway!


And then a yellow butterfly appears!


What’s going on here?

In the past few years, there have been signs posted around the 2 mile walkway… are entering the purple zone… are entering the orange zone…..

I never knew what they were talking about.  It takes one of the kids to tell me.  In case of emergency, if you call 911 you can tell the EMT’s what “zone” you are in so they can find you quickly.

Now I imagine most people are like myself and can’t remember what zone they are in 2 seconds after reading the sign.  So the parks department came up with this…..


So now, all along the pathway are stencils of the various floral and fauna in the color of the zone you are in.  They are spaced about 20 feet apart so there is no way you can not know what zone you are in.  Finally, a smart idea and good use of my tax money!

And the bench has been redecorated for St. Patrick’s day.  I had some more pictures I took last week, but the camera ate them.


So as soon as the rain ends and I feel better I’ll go back and take some more pictures.  Should be done up for Easter by then.

Off to take my mega antibiotic, snort up nasal spray, take Motrin and crawl into bed. 


Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tenth Gift

I have been carrying around a little clipping about this book by Jane Johnson.  I finally unearthed it and picked it up at the library.  Now I’m sorry I waited so long.


I was originally interested in reading this book as it is suppose to be about two women, 400 years apart, who are drawn together by their love of embroidery.  I was disappointed there was not more discussion of needlework in the book than there was, but the story a good one nonetheless.

Julia lives in the modern London, Catherine lived in 1625 and both were master embroiders.  Julia receives a book on old embroidery patterns which has a journal by Catherine written in the margins.  The story Catherine tells leads Julia from England to Morocco to follow Catherine’s story of her kidnapping by pirates and being sold into slavery.

Besides their common love for needlework, Julia and Catherine follow the path of their love lives.  Almost makes you want to head out to Morocco.

Good book, enjoyable read with the story flipping from today to the 1600’s and back again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Full Moons

One of these days I will take some really great pictures of the full moon.  We have such great moons at times.  I love the ones where there are some clouds and the moon is seen through the pine trees.


This is my latest picture of the full moon on the water of the pond next to the apartment.  We were talking about the moon the other day at work and no one knew the full moons had “names”.  I called the one in March the “Sap” moon and was explaining how the Native Americans named the moons.  Well, I had the basic premise down, but I had the wrong name.  The Native American called it the “Worm” moon.  But it is called the “Sap” moon by others.  Frankly, in this case, it’s the Sap moon for me.

I was curious and decided to check the list of moon names again and came across this list of Full Moon information on Wikipedia.

January was the “Wolf”  Moon.  Like that, especially since I am a “fang and fur” type of gal.  But another name used is “ice” moon, which has a really interesting picture in my mind.

February was the “Snow” Moon.`Believable.  That’s when we had our first snow this year and when we would normally get it here in North Carolina.

March, I’ve discussed.  It’s also called the “Crow” moon and as my best friend has crows/ravens as her current totem, I would say March is her month.  But this month she had her gall bladder out (at long last) and her husband broke his hip.  So I am reserving calling this her month.

April is the “Pink” moon.  Also called “Fish”, “Seed” and “Waking” Moon.  Fish moon does have an intriguing image.

May is the “Flower” moon.  I see a giant magnolia flower, although May is a little early for them around here.  Or a gardenia.  I think of the wonderful nighttime smells from flowers.  But May is a little early for all of these.  Maybe honeysuckle.

June is the “Strawberry” Moon.  Maybe we could swap out May and June’s names.

July is “Buck” Moon.  I am sure it refers to male deer.  I like “Thunder” moon a little better, although the picture of a stag against a full moon would be a great picture.

August is the “Sturgeon” Moon.  Being in the south, we don’t really have sturgeon.  “Lightning” moon is another name and I like storms.

September (my birthday month) is the “Harvest” Moon.  I’m renaming it “Birthday” moon.

October is the “Hunter’s” Moon.  I’m ok with that.

November is the “Beaver” Moon, which is not a pretty picture.  I like “Frost” or “Snow” moon better.

December is the “Cold” Moon.  English names have it as the “Oak” Moon.  As a lover of the Green Man, I’m going with the “Oak” moon name. has more of an explanation of the moons, as well as the exact date and time of the moon in 2009.

Ok, you’ve been MOONED!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Texter in the Kitchen


In my continuing effort to “jazz” up our menu, try new stuff, eat healthier, blah, blah, blah, this past week I gathered up several new recipes.  A lot I got from Oprah’s website from the celebrity chefs she had on a week or so ago.

Then I handed them to OD and Texter and told them to read over them and indicate the ones they might think about eating.  And they did it without fussing (are they growing up?).

The next day at work I made up a two week menu plan and shopping list based on these menus.  So instead of 1 new thing every week, at least this next couple of weeks we are eating about 10.

Saturday night, since OD was out, I did a recipe only Texter and I were interested in.  Did I mention all the recipes I selected were ones I would eat.  It was the Chipotle Shrimp Tacos.  Texter and I will eat shrimp, OD won’t.  Oops, realized I didn’t locate the dried chipotle peppers at the grocery store, so I had to use chili powder.

Results.  Ease of making…fair.  Did have to get my little food processor out to puree the sauce which was a bit of a pain.  Taste…ok.  They called for corn tortillas.  Think I would do it in flour ones as the corn tortillas tore up.  Will I fix again.  Probably not.

But……TEXTER ATE IT!  I could tell she felt it was ok, but she ate it.

And now (on Sunday afternoon) she is finishing up the Caramel Thumbprint Cookies!



She made them herself.  In fact, she insisted on it.  She made Chocolate Chip Cookies last weekend.  And she made a big breakfast.  Hashbrowns are her specialty.

Then Sunday night I fixed Spicy Roast Chicken I tore out of a Food and Wine magazine someone left at work.  I did everything up to the final “topping” which involved jalapeƱo peppers.  It was good.  TEXTER ATE TWO PLATES OF IT!   I took the drippings and made a gravy out of it and mashed potatoes and a salad.  This one is a keeper according to her.


There is hope!

PS…the pictures are not mine.  The tacos are from Oprah’s site, the chicken from the Food and Wine site and the cookies are from the Hershey site, but since I am promoting their products I don’t think they’ll mind.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Book Reading this Week

I, Judy, promise to at least TRY and remember where I got a recommendation of a book to read so I can credit/blame the correct person.


This is labeled as a “techno-thriller” and it does help if you know a little bit about computers, but not necessary.  Also, if you are a MMORPG person, like I am on World of Warcraft, then you will have a deeper appreciation of the storyline (and wonder if you should be playing!)

The story is about a dead creator of a widely (as in worldwide) online game and how, after his death, he continues to live.  The thing is, Daniel Suarez makes it ssssooooooo believable it could happen!

Great read, but like Tom Clancy novels, sometimes all the information you are given overloads the brain cells and you have to put it down.  I think if I tried to read it straight through (although very tempting) I would fry my brain.

And on this rainy day, I will definitely be picking it up between loads of laundry.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

New Week of Reading

Started off the week “trying” to read The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.  Ok, this was definitely not a book to read by picking up and putting down at work.  And as the first xxx number of pages is about the severe burns the main character received in a car accident was not enough, and his career as a porn star/director,  it was just ….. weird.  And I read weird.  But it just wasn’t for me.  I tried, but by the time the girl was introduced it had dragged on long enough.  I abandoned it.  Sorry, because I like gargoyles.


Then I was fortunate enough to find Hovering in Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld.



It had been recommended on another blog I was reading the other day (forget which one) and there it was on the shelf.  The book follows the life of an artist/activist Addie and her daughter, Scarlet.  I am about 70 pages into it and am really enjoying it.  Don’t know whether since it is about birds and birding, or art, or her field journals or a combination of all which appeals to me.  But the storyline so far is pretty good.

To follow this book up, is The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory. author of The Other Boleyn Girl.


I have read a couple of Philippa Gregory’s books and would like to read them all.  She is one of those authors I have on my back burner as a source of always having something to read.  Since this book is about Mary, Queen of Scots, it is fitting to be reading it as the Ren Faire is due to start at the end of the month.

And there are a couple of Stuart Woods I have not read yet under these books.  So I have enough to keep me occupied the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Bench Update or Snow II

Yep, we got snow…..again…..

And OD and I braved the frigid air to make a round of the park.R0013779They had redecorated the tree with different hearts.  I was really expecting to see St. Patrick’s Day decorations, but these glass hearts were lovely in the snow.

R0013782Took my camera to work that morning and took some pictures around the building on my first break.

R0013699This is a bench in the memorial garden area we have off to one side of the main entrance.

R0013704And the bench out front of work.

That was Monday.  Today, Wednesday, I walked to the library with a light jacket on.  Friday it is suppose to be in the 70’s.  Go figure.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Procrastination Monster

I can procrastinate over anything. For example, instead of cleaning up the kitchen from dinner, I am writing this entry.

My ‘monster’ came about as part of The Artist Way exercises I am working on with a group. One of the things we were asked to do was to think about ‘monsters’ which haunt us. I had read the exercise and as I was getting ready to go to sleep, this image came to mind.


He does look awfully active for a procrastination monster. I think I am going to fill out the page with zentangles. That way I will beat the monster by “doing”, which by the way is my word this year…

Sunday, March 01, 2009

What OD does in school…..

OD is doing tech for the play at school and left early this past Saturday morning to meet up with her co-workers/actors and then to practice. 

She ran home for a second about 3pm and then left again to work on something else at a fellow techies’ house.  What were they working on?  This……

R0013685Yep….they played with dry ice.

Actually, I shouldn’t say they “played” with it.  They “worked” with it because she was very careful handling it.  She and the other girl researched it on the computer, called the grocery store and checked out if it was food grade, cost, etc. and then….

big drum roll please….

because she is now 18 she could buy it!

She and other girl “experimented” on how much ice they needed to put into a glass to get the look they were going for.  And how it reacted with different liquids.

So, this was really a “science” project and not a “theater” project.

Blaze wasn’t too sure about the experiment, whatever you wanted to call it.

R0013686But OD was jazzed.  Not only had she “learned” about dry ice, but turning 18 does have it’s benefits.



Blue Heron Serenity

They have drained the water out of “my” pond.  Not sure why as I haven’t asked the apartment office, but I am sure there is a perfectly good reason.  I do miss the water sounds from the aerator in the pond though.

However, with the warmer weather we have been having, things are starting to bloom.  The pessimistic part of me fears a freeze sometime soon to destroy these tender buds, but I am trying to put those thoughts behind me. 

There is a pair of “ugly, black birds with funny yellow beaks” looking at the small ledge in the corner outside my bedroom window for a nest.  Not sure how that is going to work for them, but it is a easy flap or two to the river birch tree which stretches up to the third floor.

My favorite bird is back however from wherever it has been during the colder times.  Not sure if it is male or female, but it slowly walks around the edges of the pond, not making a ripple in the water, feeding.  I can sit here by the window and watch it barely move for ages.  Silently, slowly, regally it flows through the water. 


It does drive Noel nuts who thinks she should be able to go outside and play with it.  Blue Heron can provide a moment of humor however.  Texter calls from the balcony….

“Mom, your bird is back.”

“I wonder why it is walking up the bank….”

“Ohhhhhh” as the heron poops mightily. 

So we now have biology lesson on where herons poop….not in the water.


Update: (as this was written earlier in the week) the water fountain is back on.  And a 5:45am, as you are standing in the parking lot waiting for your ride, when the heron flies over, it’s really, really spooky until you figure out what it is.