Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Gratitude -- Day Nine



Today I am grateful for:

1. Illusion and the implements thereof. (Not artifice. I'm not at all a fan of that.) In this list I count makeup, hair dye, and of course, Photoshop. I guess I should also put candle light in this list. All of these are things that help us to maintain the illusion of looking younger than we are--or, on good days, looking as young as we feel.

2. Nearsightedness. I started wearing glasses when I was in fourth grade and hated that I couldn't see clearly. It is only lately that I've started to appreciate how this has shaped my life in positive ways. I think because I couldn't see distances very well I began noticing details of things around me--the beauty in details and close-up views. I find that both my art and my writing reflect my interest in exploring the "small" story rather than the big picture.

3. The end of molting season. I think it is almost here! Who knew that two small canaries could manage to shed so many feathers and not end up bald?

4. Washing machines and dryers. My washer just got fixed. I can't begin to imagine how our ancestors kept their family's clothes clean when they had to wash everything by hand. I would have moved to the tropics and had everyone run around naked.

5. Wind chimes. They lift my spirits whenever I hear them and remind me that messages from the universe are constantly being carried to me on the wind.

Gratitude -- Day Eight

Yesterday I was away from my computer all day so I didn't get any chance to post although I found much to be grateful for throughout the day.

Yesterday I was grateful for:

1. The warm welcome my daughter received at the college she will be transferring to in the fall. We were there meeting with the department head to make sure it would be a good fit for her.

2. The fact that she can come home to visit on weekends if she wants because the college is within easy driving distance--not like when it took us a whole day to drive to see her during her first two years of college.

3. My good friend Cynthia, over at http://ashimmyinmyspirit.com, who was able to step in and drive my younger daughter to class while I was out of town. Thanks again Cynthia!

4. Being able to sit and enjoy conversation and a glass of wine with my newly twenty-one-year-old daughter. I loved spending time with my daughters when they were little and I love spending time with them now that they are grown.

5. The waitress at the restaurant yesterday who actually CARDED ME when I ordered a glass of wine! Now that is an event to mark on my calendar. I'm sure it was because she had to card my daughter but nevertheless, it totally made my day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Little Bush That Could



Thought you might like to see the continuing evolution of my amazing little plant that went from dead vines to dazzling blooms as an Easter gift to me.

Gratitude -- Day Seven

It's funny how some days, usually as I'm driving along Hwy 101, I am continually finding things to be grateful for--the egrets that fly eloquently across the sky, startling me with their impossibly white plumage--and even the occasional heron who appears like an egret in shadow form. Then there are other times and other days when finding five things to be grateful for really taxes my imagination. I find that so odd. Compared to many I have a really easy life. Why doesn't gratitude just ooze from my pores like sweat on a hot day? I suppose that's what this exercise is all about. Becoming more mindful. More present. Maybe even smiling more.

So here goes. Today I am grateful for:

1. Being able to say or write whatever I want without fear of being silenced by anything stronger than my own desire for acceptability.

2. Classical music and a quiet corner where I can listen to my thoughts and drink a latte.

3. A past that is just wild enough to seem interesting to my daughters.

4. Having never taken a job on Wall Street or in Washington, D.C.

5. A person of intelligence and creativity at the helm of our country...finally.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gratitude -- Day Six

Today I'm grateful for:

1. Dog groomers. Chelsea is all cute and smiley after getting her summer cut today. I'm sure she'd look all sad and gnarly if it fell to me to keep her trimmed.

2. Lively music at the Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol today. It was a perfect day to stroll about looking at vendors' wares and eating chicken kabobs.

3. Wonderful quilters who shared their art at the festival. I have always admired people who can make art from cloth, thread and scissors.

4. Hot air balloons. I saw four of them yesterday morning when I was on the road by 7:30. I always feel I've been touched by magic when I see hot air balloons and I can't wait for the 20th Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, June 13–14, 2009, http://www.schabc.org/. One of the highlights of my life was going to a hot air balloon festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and getting to go up in a balloon on my thirty-fifth birthday.

5. Having a bedroom on the second floor where I can look out into the trees and see birds flitting from branch to branch and singing for all they are worth.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gratitude -- Day Five

Today I'm grateful for:

1. Living close to my brother and sister-in-law. It was fun just hanging out at their house this morning.

2. The Redwood Writers Club and the interesting guest speakers they bring to meetings.

3. My new favorite show on HBO, "In Treatment". The writing and the acting are really first rate. I just love the characters.

4. Discovering flowers in my garden each day as life's exuberance explodes each day into new blossoms. They serve as reminders to me about how I want to live my life--adventurous, enthusiastic, fearless and wild.

5. My daughters who, in their passions and longings to get on to the next part of their lives, give me glimpses back to my own youth and the dreams I had for myself.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Gratitude -- Day Four

Things I'm grateful for today:

1. Do-overs. I'm grateful this morning for another chance to approach a new day with the spirit of welcoming joy into my life from wherever it presents itself. (I was pretty cranky last night.)

2. Living in the wine country and getting to watch the cycle of growth and renewal on the vines I pass by each day. They've gone from orange foliage, when I first moved here in October, through the barren, dark brown twisted sculpture of the vines themselves in winter. Then I watched the wildly exuberant yellow mustard arrive in spring and march between the rows of vines. Now the yellow is gone but the vines are covered in lush green leaves which seem to double in size daily. Watching this dance of life brings me great joy and reminds me to be patient when I feel that I am not moving forward.

3. New ideas that come to me each day as little gifts.

4. My yoga class that reminds me I still have plenty of flexibility as long as I keep moving.

5. That I am here, where the temperature is 70 degrees and sunny, not in Tahoe where this morning it was 38 degrees and snowing.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gratitude -- Days Two and Three

Yesterday I never got around to posting. I spent most of the day dashing from appointment to appointment or sitting in the car waiting for my daughter to finish HER appointments. Throughout the day I made mental notes of what I was thankful for such as:

1. Having a car that I truly enjoy driving (a 2006 Toyota Highlander)
2. The happy glow of orange California poppies keeping company with purple-blue lupines along the roadside
3. Snowy white egrets who fly over the roadways near where I live. They are so graceful and elegant.
4. My cell phone (I remember when you had to find a phone booth and correct change any time you wanted to "reach out and touch someone"
5. That Santa Rosa has free wireless hot spots throughout the city where you can access the Internet from your laptop

Today I am grateful for the following:

1. Birdsong outside my window proclaiming joy at a new day
2. My loveable cats, Mystic and Emma, who've managed to adapt nicely to their new home
3. Listening to the contented snores of my dog, Chelsea, as she snoozes at my feet
4. The amazing Internet that allows all of us to connect so easily with one another
5. The unlimited potential of the day that awaits me.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gratitude

Today I read about an application for the iPhone called the Gratitude! It is a gratitude journal and was created by Carla White. You can take a look at it on http://happytapper.com/. Oprah says it changed her life. (I have to interject here that I really wonder what kind of change it brought to Oprah's life--I mean, sure, even Oprah is allowed to have ever evolving great things happen but jeez, I can't even get my head around what THAT might involve.)

I think taking a moment each day to be grateful for a few of the positive things in my life might be a good idea. While I don't have an iPhone I do have a blog so perhaps this would be a good place to begin. Carla White suggests listing five things each day for at least thirty days. Here goes.

Day One--I am grateful for the following:

1. My loving family
2. Having coffee with my good friend Cynthia this morning
3. Monet and Thiebault singing me into a good mood this morning
4. That my eleven year old dog, Chelsea, still acts like a puppy
5. My air conditioner got fixed

What are you grateful for?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feathers Are Flying

My two canaries, Monet and Thiebault, are full-on into molting season. I had to put a little net skirt around the bottom of their cage to help contain the colorful tiny feathers that are constantly fluttering around the cage and drifting to the bottom. They've also taken to bathing in their water dish even though I had bought a cute little canary tub in hot pink with a mirror in the bottom for them. But they much prefer their water dish. (Kinda reminds me of my kids who often preferred to play with the cardboard boxes and wrapping paper their gifts arrived in.) It is amusing to see them splashing about in the water dish and then hopping onto a perch and preening. Between the molting and the baths they look positively sleek, thinner even. I wish that would work for me--shedding pounds left and right as I hop around the house and splash in my tub. Maybe they're on to something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My New Hero

I have a new hero and her name is Susan Boyle. If you haven't already seen this little clip from "Britain's Got Talent 2009" on YouTube you should click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nox2DRCAKxk">

Is she not amazing? I had chills and was in tears watching her perform. This little lady gives hope to all of us dreamers out there who have aspirations to be recognized for our talent. She certainly wiped the smirk off perpetually snarky Simon Cowell, one of the hosts of this show as well as "American Idol".

On the topic of fairy-tales-do-come-true, I'm putting my money on Susan Boyle having her wish come true. What do you think?

Current Pet Peeves

I normally don't like to be a complainer BUT I have a few pet peeves...

1. My new washing machine that clearly has aspirations to be a waterfall. It has gotten quite good at spewing a cascade of water from the bottom of its front-loading door. When you pay a ton of money for an appliance, shouldn't you expect it to work?

2. My inability to find my warranty info with the phone number to call the repairman for my washer. I am such a ditz!

3. All of the super-short onramps on Highway 101 near Santa Rosa. What were they thinking when they designed these? I'm amazed more folks aren't killed here.

4. Kitchen sink faucets that begin to leak and fall apart after about six months of use. Why are we making such crap hardware? When I was growing up I don't remember my parents having to continually replace the kitchen faucet. (Am I sounding really old here? Or just really cranky?)

5. Speaking of faulty parts, what about the flush handles on toilets that keep breaking? I can't tell you how often I've had to replace the ball and chain mechanisms in toilets. How long have they been making these now? You'd think someone would have figured it out by now how to make a long-lasting flusher.

6. While I'm at it, what's up with people who insist on taking the window seat on planes and then pull down the blind? How often do you get a chance to view the world from up in the clouds? Don't hog the view people!

Okay. I feel better now. Sometimes a girl just has to let off a little steam.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My New Banner

I used to say "Photoshop is my second language." Well, not anymore. Just like the French that I seldom use I have become very rusty "speaking" Photoshop. But I slogged away at it and finally managed to create my new banner. Like everything else, it is a work in progress.

Tonight is the last of my scheduled writing classes. I have taken five different classes over the past two months and I've learned something from each of them. But apart from my "Lowfat Fiction" class, I've done very little writing. The work I did in that class I was really proud of. Maybe it's that the short format is less intimidating (or maybe I just don't have much to say.) Trying to write an actual screenplay is pretty daunting, but 500 to 800 words I can manage and it forces me to be tight. No rambling, run-on sentences. Hopefully I'll be posting some short stories here very soon.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Easter Bush




One of the delightful things about moving into a new house with a garden is discovering, as the seasons change, all of the surprises earlier gardeners have planted and left behind--just for me, it seems. I had thought this brown little vine by my garage was quite dead this winter but I could never bring myself to pull it out. When I'd look at it a little voice inside would say, "Wait. Not just yet." A few weeks ago I noticed tiny green leaves beginning to sprout from its crispy twigs. This week it astonished me by revealing this glorious display.

I'm a firm believer in listening to messages from the universe and this certainly feels like one. I am reminded not to give up too soon on dreams that I fear have died a silent death, invariably due to my neglect. If I just hang in there, reach a little deeper for inspiration and remember that everything has its season, the eventual flowering of a dream can indeed occur.

I will always think of this as my Easter bush. I feel like it went through its own little resurrection.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Going to the Birds


Life has been full lately so I apologize for being slow to post. I just finished a class on writing and illustrating children's books and have completed the sixth (and close to final) version of the text. Now I need to begin the illustrations. I'm also midway into a class on screenwriting. You'd think with as many movies as I watch that this would be easy for me but it is a whole different way of telling a story. I'm also taking a class about making a living writing books and magazine articles. Yes, this IS hopefully the next step of this journey. I'll keep you posted.

Like many of you, I have big-time Spring Fever. I've been working on the backyard to make it more like an outdoor livingroom. It's still pretty exciting having this new, flower-filled environment to work in. (Our deck in Tahoe is still covered in snow and ice.)

Biggest excitement lately is the addition to our family of two canaries, Monet (the yellow one) and Thiebault (the orange one). They are named after my favorite artists, Claude Monet and Wayne Thiebault. They're only a few months old but they are finding their voices and learning to sing. I'm really having a lot of fun with them.