Tag: best of 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

resolutions, schmezolutions

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today’s Q: what resolution didn’t stick?

today’s A: n/a. not applicable because i stopped making resolutions long ago, and in doing so, i surrendered. i handed off control of my to others. here, i said, you, whoever you are, you be my rudder. you decide where i go, what i do, who i do it with. you decide my fate, my future, my now. i’ll just float along aimlessly and see what happens.

i quit with the resolutions because i felt inadequate and eroded when i didn’t stick to and complete them. i quit with the resolutions because i felt like i didn’t take up enough space in the world to be worthy of resolutions. i quit with the resolutions because i just didn’t think it was worth it. i didn’t think i was worth it.

but oh my goodness how much can change in a month’s time.

i still won’t make resolutions – but i will make something akin to plans. (not tonight, though, cause i’m watching mama mia.) (and i’ve had maybe a wee bit too much wine.) (but not enough to affect my spelling skills, just my planning skills.) (and don’t worry. i’m not leaving the house.) tomorrow, though. yes, tomorrow i will create a collage for 2010. tomorrow i become the architect of my own life.

and it may or may not involve words.

~~~

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i am holding my heart with both hands as i say thank you to gwen bell for putting this challenge together, and thank you to members of my new twitter tribe. i have, through this challenge and on twitter, found my right people – my tribe – and my life will never, ever be the same.

blogliography for this post:
acey
alana
angela
bryce
coach dian
danielle
emma
gwen bell
julie
julie
karen
kathy
kelly
lindsey
lisa sonora beam
molly
mandalove
mary
morag
mynde
nicole
rebecca
susan
thewordwire

zura
and my family: andy, alison, and kipp.
and other members of my twitter tribe who don’t have blogs.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s post answers the question “what resolution did you not keep in 2009?”
~~~

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messages from another side

they’re often entertaining and informative, but at a deeper level, advertising mostly illuminates the vital need for teaching, encouraging, practicing independent thinking skills . . .

this, my friends, is what can happen when you get too, er um, worked up:

literal is funny (sometimes):

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s post answers the question “what ad made you think this year?”
~~~

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#best09, #bestof2009

paperholics anonymous

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hello. my name is jeanne, and i’m a paperholic.

i have this notion that the trees in heaven have leaves of various papers, and when the leaves fall, they are immediately replaced with more and different paper leaves. the skies rain pens, and colorful flowers magically become ink when picked. blank journals grow like weeds, and the clouds (always within reach) are actually handmade papers.

in my real world, 3 thank you notes = 1 apple, so to keep the doldrums at bay, i start my day off by penning 3 thank you notes. i seem to collect notecards like there’ll never be another, and i’m pretty sure that when answering this question next year, i’ll mention these jewels danielle laporte and these from papaya. this, my friends, is one of my favorite notecard find for 2009: embroidered paper. sweet.

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envelopes? oh, don’t get me started.

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then there are pens. these days i mostly use the handblown glass stylus my son, kipp, surprised me with on a trip to hawaii years ago. (yes, that’s it in the lead photo.) there is nothing – nothing, i tell you – like the sound and feel of that nib scratching across the paper leaving a trail of gratitude and appreciation.

then there’s this fountain pen beauty i bought myself to mark the occasion of going to graduate school.

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there’s the fountain pen i bought because it was a replica of the fountain pen i used in elementary school (fountain pen + briefcase in 3rd grade? well, let’s just say that i’m a stronger woman because of it) and the fountain pen given to me by one of my son’s former girlfriends. while doing some online shopping, i happened upon this pen on a chain. fortunately it goes with everything. (think it might be time to dust around here?)

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journals are another weakness addiction downfall interest. though i still occasionally go back to the black-and-white hardback inexpensive composition books because, as i told julie jordan scot, they don’t expect too much from me. about a month ago, somebody tweeted about purchasing a keel’s simple diary. unfortunately, i was still in the completely-gobsmacked stage of trying to find my way around twitter (now, i’m happy to report, i’m in the just-plain-gobsmacked stage), so i can’t give credit for the find. but there it was: the word “diary” – a sparkly if ever there was one. naturally, i had to go investigate and wound up giving 5 of them as gifts this year (yes, i am one of the 5).

in spite of my trusty ever-present companions, the iphone and macbook pro, september finds me hanging out in the calendar sections of local and online stores, fondling all the latest organizers – when it comes to pen and paper, old habits are hard to break – and i was fine with that system, totally fine, until i rebecca had to go and mention the day runner life tracker system. i spent far too many hours minutes yesterday envisioning my life with one of those flexible life tracker systems in my hand. (it brought back memories of the southpark trapper keeper episode – one of my favorites, though i have no idea why it’s so funny. i mean, i covet that trapper keeper. covet it, i tell you.)

coming across gwen bell’s article, then lisa sonora beam’s post last night has me gathering supplies to do a collaged plan for next year – something i haven’t done in more than 15 years. such planning was once an annual event for me – something i looked forward to. i would turn myself loose with the scissors, creating a collage inside a decorative (or decorated) file folder. i’d revisit the collage every month or two, always amazed at how my year was unfolding as though guided by the collage. but then i got busy, times got rough financially, cynicism built up and the belief in my self plummeted, so i just quit doing it. but now, i’m innergized and committed to using scissors, glue, paper, and intuition to create a map for 2010. to take control of my life; to live more consciously while reflecting regularly; to become more proactive than reactive.

and so, though it’s not on embroidered notecards, not written with vegetable-based amber-colored inks using a handblown glass stylus from hawaii, i offer yet another big, huge thank you to gwen bell for putting this challenge together, creating a path that has led me to my tribe, led me to my self and led me (back) to my self.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. this post answers the question “when you touch the paper, your heart melts. the ink flows form the pen. what was your stationery find ot the year?”
~~~

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best web tool 2009: the envelope please

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in 2009, after spending much time auditioning many, many web tools, i learned and put into use hootsuite, evernote, dropbox, amazon s3, skype, delicious library, things for task management, scrivener for writing, process for outlining and braindancing projects. i rejoined facebook, set up a flickr account, learned how to create and post a video via vimeo. i researched, learned, and began to use these and many other web tools, but hands-down the best web tool of 2009 is twitter.

far from being a top gun or even a squirt gun on twitter, i am learning my way around and have made some good friends – some very good friends – there. in one of our getting-to-know-each-other email conversations, karen introduced me to havi and her post on finding your right people. my right people are on twitter – i’m sure of it – and to think that i would not know my tribe had i thought myself out of participating in gwen bell’s best of 09 blog challenge.

twitter folks are some of the most encouraging and supportive people i’ve ever happened to come across. so many seem to enjoy learning and sharing bits they find intriguing, interesting, informative. though i’m still learning twitter etiquette (i’m up to question #2768 to my manchild), i am mightily impressed with the good manners that prevail even in a world of 140 characters. “thank you” tweets come across my screen with delicious frequency, and every time i see one, i pause and think of somebody i can thank on twitter or off.

i enjoy the easy, non-obligatory rhythm of twitter – need to miss a few hours or days? no pressure. just rejoin when ready and pick up where you left off without feeling the need to go back and catch up on everything you missed. there’s no getting behind on twitter, and that’s a big relief.

i especially like the way twitter is shaping my thinking skills, helping me think crisply, with brevity, succinctly distilling my thoughts down to the essential. i have, however, read so many blog posts about how twitterers will not waste their time with anything but witty, sharp repartee, i do have a tendency to think myself into silence, even though these same folks also say they will not follow anybody who doesn’t post with regularity. “just listen to that smartass inner voice i know you have,” my manchild kipp (@lloyddobbler on twitter) tells me, “and take dictation.”

even having said that, twitter gives me 24/7 opportunities to take risks – to have my say and walk away without growing wrinkles and gray hair worrying too much about how my 140 strung-together characters will be received . . . something that is, of course, made easier given the small, miniscule number of followers i currently have. and while we’re talking about followers and following, a question: what is an acceptable discrepancy between the two? because i fear looking pathetic if i follow more than 32 times the number of followers i have at any given time, i’ve created a wait list of people i want to follow. i pick up a few followers, i follow a few more. that’s my system.

even though i know everybody has their own reasons for being on twitter, i sure do like the fact that so few people come across as hard-core, pushy, it’s-all-about-me sales people . . . even though i have noticed that some people have a tendency to send their own self-promotional tweets out several times an hour. but so few people do that, i just turn it into a game and make bets with myself about how many times those who do will post the same tweet in any given hour.

so, you see, twitter is more than distracting, clock-eating, short bursts of communication. yes, it’s so much, much more, and that’s why had i a red carpet and little gold statue (or a heavily-decorated cake with candles like the one in the picture) to award, it would go to – ta-da – twitter. (i would keep the goodie basket, though.) (i’m just sayin’.)

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge
~~~

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#best09, #bestof2009

best gift of 2009: a new way of being

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i release my grip; i tighten my grip. like the beating of a heart: systolic, diastolic. both are necessary. both are sometimes erratic and irregular . . .

for proof that i’m releasing my grip, you’d have to look back no further than yesterday. some 12 hours after ravaging our way through enticingly-shaped packages and stories of selection criteria, the floor was still covered with spent wrapping paper and ribbons. gifts were still strewn about the house, in nomads in search of a home. back in the day, we would’ve opened packages and after a short exhale, i would’ve scooped up the paper and mainstreamed the gifts, leaving only the tree (with only a scant 12-15 hours remaining) and tablecloth as evidence that christmas was different from any other day.

in november i spent 4 days with the in-laws and prepared no script. in august we went to visit my son in colorado, and the only items on the itinerary were flight times and rental car confirmation number.

we moved into a new house, and while many of the big projects have been ticked off the list, there are switches without plate covers and marble floors in need of polishing and entire rooms that still look like attics.

i am more willing to accept without comment that some members of my family are just not likely to follow through with their commitments. that some projects may never be resoundingly finished. that some people are just more comfortable seeing the negative side.

and in the releasing, there is a tightening . . .

i tighten my grip around my writing self, living into my promise to regularly carve out time for stringing words together. i am not yet satisfied with what i am writing, finding myself still reluctant to peel back the top and release the contents of what’s in the can, but step one: thanks to gwen bell, there is a writing rhythm in the making.

i trust myself more, increasingly confident that i can and will handle whatever appears. i become more comfortable asking for help when needed without feeling faulty or indentured. i accept tears as highlighting pens instead of signs of weakness.

though i am not yet fully brave, i do speak my truth more, knowing full-well that my truth may not be your truth, but recognizing that my truth has value, too. and as i grow stronger, i learn to speak without the watering down and protective padding of tacked-on qualifiers. and even when the conversations get rough and bumpy, i stay. i stay.

i tighten my hold on patience – around these things and more – because i am not done here. these are not gifts that have been unwrapped and fully assimilated into daily life. this tightening and releasing – this shedding of layers and forming of balance – this is a gift that is still giving and still in the making.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: the best gift of 2009.
~~~

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throw away the red pen, i get it now

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it’s said that we teach to learn, and that’s true. it’s said that when the student is ready, the teacher appears, yeah, maybe so. it’s said that children are angels that teach us a lot . . . and, well, okay. i can only agree to the angel bit only on a case-by-case basis, but i can tell you that the best lesson i (re)learned in 2009 came from my son: when he says go see a movie, i go. (yes, kipp, i promise.) (really.)

he lived as an actor in los angeles and went to many a screening on account of being on some committee having to do with oscar selection, and it looks like that would have given him enough credibility for me to take his word for it. i mean, i meant to go see movies he told me to see, it’s just that, well, things kinda’ get in the way sometimes. sure, we went to see the movies he was in, but those he recommended, not so much.

a few of the movies he called about on his way out of the theater include cars, finding nemo, the up side of anger, the incredible hulk, ratatouille, juno, and whale rider. one christmas he made us go see the family stone, and today he dragged us to see avatar. so i think we can agree that he has good taste in must-see movies, that he knows what he’s talking about.

he tells me to read a book, i drop everything and go find it. he tells me to see a movie, i decide to wait till it comes out on dvd so i don’t have to deal with the kid talking and the cell phones ringing and the sticky floors and seats. “but some movies you just have to see on the big screen,” he says repeatedly. and now, today, after seeing avatar, i get it. we can go enjoy one of our post-viewing deconstructionist talks after any show, kipp and i, (and oh how i do love those and look forward to more discussion about avatar because there’s just too much for one sitting) but some movies are just too big to be seen on anything smaller than a movie screen.

why didn’t you just say so, kipp?

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: the best lesson learned in 2009.
~~~

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happy times at happy time (best business 2009)

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i was never going to be a poodle owner (i love you, mom, but). and i’m still not, even though i do sometimes act like one.

i don’t know when happy time boarding started, but i know when i the s-p-a as we call it, having to spell it when phoebe (our welsh corgi) is within hearing distance until i have the keys in my hand and my hand on the door.

phoebe and i love this s-p-a because everybody who works there is friendly and accommodating (in spite of the headache they must surely have working in the din of incessant barking) (and i haven’t seen the first one wearing earplugs – amazing) though they may not know my name, they all know phoebe and every single one of them sounds sincerely glad to see her when i drop her off. and when i pick her up, well you’ve never seen such a heavily decorated corgi (i can’t imagine what pam’s ribbon bill must run every month) and she smells so good it really gets in the way of her ability to effectively herd the deer, squirrels, possums, and wild turkeys that trespass on a daily basis.

(warning: here’s where i really sound like a poodle mama.) and the accommodations? well, i’ve been thinking about asking if i could board myself there for a while. maybe i could get some serious writing done while wiling the time away here:

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or here:

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or especially here:

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they’d make me take a walk and a break when needed. i could romp in the festive outdoor courtyard to meet my quota of socializing, and when time to get beautiful, they’d escort me to the grooming side where i’d get comfortable in one of the themed apartments there (no crates. no, no, no.) and relax till time to get my hair and nails done.

i could nap at will and without guilt.

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or i could do what phoebe does when she’s there – just sit and watch the world go by:

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i could be onto something here. yes, yes i could.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: the best startup business encountered in 2009?
~~~

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2009, the year of grappling

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it’s been a year of grappling. yes, yes it has. there’s been grappling with things that could be decided with wishbones or the magic 8 ball or using my roll-on deodorant as a crystal ball – things like eat-in-or-out and do-i-or-don’t-i sign up for that bootcamp. then there was more advanced grappling that required more advanced divination techniques walking or writing or stitching.

the year began with grappling about whether to buy the house or not, whether to move or stay put. then once we decided to buy the new house, i grappled a lot with things like where to place furniture, what to leave and what to take, wall colors, floor coverings, and best use of space. as the grappling wanes and we get settled, i begin to see that anything’s possible in a house that loves you.

on and off throughout the year, i grapple with difficult people – one in particular. do i go eyeball-to-eyeball or do as i’ve been taught and take the so-called high road (the road i was taught to ALWAYS take, the road that feels so much like cowardice)? i write to distill, write for clarity of purpose, and set up a meeting. when we part hours later, there is no grappling at all as i silently thank her for giving me the opportunity to finally stand up to a bully. thank her for this feeling of powerful satisfaction and self-confidence i have seldom known.

when the calendar reaches the one-and-a-half year anniversary of the day my best friend from graduate school broke up with me, i grapple with whether it is time to write that letter or wait a while longer. i write the letter, and feel quietly satisfied, knowing whatever her reception, i’ve done the right thing.

when my cousin’s son “went off the deep end”, i grapple with whether to speak flat-out or take the usual vague, watered-down approach. flat-out won, and i have to tell you: it feels really good to speak unencumbered with syrupy words and hollow platitudes. i traveled light, and i like it. i like it a lot.

yes, i grapple . . . and whenever i think myself out of something – when i let my head overrule and overrun my heart – i look back and wonder what would have happened if. but, oh, oh, oh. every time i listen to my self, trust my self, heed my self . . . i stand a little taller, feel a bit surer, and say thank you. a lot.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: what one word best describes your 2009?
~~~

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best project(s) of 2009

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let’s face it: i am a project-driven girl. this year the BPOA (biggest project of all) was moving and settling into a new house. sifting through 14 years’ worth of accumulation in that house, deciding what to keep, and what to put up for adoption. selecting new wall colors, new flooring, making the best use of space. there were new light fixtures to install, switches and receptacles to replace, curtains to put up (a first for me) – the list is long and you know what i’m talking about so enough said.

the lack of storage space led me project No More Filing. that one involves creating digital copies of all the bajillions of photos and receipts we have in boxes. i purchased a neat receipts portable scanner and a fast, racy fujitsu scansnap, and i’m almost caught up . . . at least as far as receipts and paperwork goes. the photos? not so much. i’m about to find my rhythm, which is good. we’ve burned up 4 shredders (so far) and i had to get a bigger hard drive (a new computer, bless my heart), but we are decidedly lighter in the way of file cabinets and banker boxes filled with papers. (don’t bother doing the financial math on that one. it’s more about physical space, anyway.) (and i feel lighter and more spacious already.)

it’s fun nesting – learning the house, its sounds and quirks, striking compromise by making our mark on what’s already here. it’s exciting discovering what plants will grace us with their presence throughout the year. (next year’s house project is building my second stone wall and creating a cut flower garden since i have, for the first time in over 30 years, a sunny spot.) it’s satisfying being resourceful, finding ways to refashion what we already have into what will work better in the new house.

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and hey: the next nesting project is to find just the right place for the bryce widom artwork i won in the gwen bell best of 2009 blog challenge! woohoo – thank you gwen and bryce. it’s fantabulous – so much so that the kids are already arguing over who gets it in the will.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: what was your best project in 2009?
~~~

Technorati Tags:
#best09, #bestof2009

singing my heroes and sheroes

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i tell them i love them, but do i tell them why?

i tell them i’m proud of them, but do i elaborate?

sometimes i do, but not nearly enough.

today, i tell them that they are my unsung heroes and shero, and yes, i tell them at least some of the reasons why (to list all the reasons would get us into bandwidth issues) . . .

my husband, andy has been my hero for 36.5 years now, and here’s why:

he makes me laugh. sometimes he cracks himself up more than he cracks me up, but he still makes me laugh.

~~

he listens when i talk (well, not like i’m some e.f. hutton. i mean, sometimes his eyes glaze over, but we’re working on that).

~~

he will go to the grocery store with me just because. once, in the days before cell phones, he figured out where i was and just showed up in the spices aisle to help me get groceries then we went home and put them up together.

~~

to this day, we hold hands wherever we are.

~~

he shares the scepter (read: remote control) to the television. he may leave the room when i’m in control, but he shares.

~~

willingly and without complaint, he helps members of my family.

~~

he is wicked smart, talented, creative, and funny.

~~

he gives me cards. now, honestly, it used to make me mad that he gave me store-bought greeting cards. but then i had this small-huge shift in thinking and realized that he spends a lot of time sifting through racks of cards in search of one that says what his engineer-trained brain can’t quite articulate. or maybe it says what he doesn’t even know he wants to say until he finds the card.

my son, kipp. my hero because . . .

he knows that you can learn more about humans and their relationships from poetry, music, and literature than from any psychology class or textbook.

~~

he edited my thesis, and when it was done, he asked if he could share it with some of his friends (who then became my friends from ensuing conversations.)

~~

once, on a trip to hawaii, he surprised me with a handblown stylus and inkwell set because he knew – he just knew – how much i would enjoy the scratching of nib to paper and how much i needed to allow my brain to exhale and make room for all the important things that get buried and shoved aside under burgeoning to do lists and overcrowded calendars.

~~

when he landed in l.a., he took a job delivering food to learn his way around.

~~

he is an adventurous eater, something he learned all on his own.

~~

he writes poetry, songs, and essays; does open mic events; is an actor and skydiver – all this and balances his checkbook.

~~

we go to movies and shows, and afterwards to dinner or for drinks and discuss what we just saw from as analytical deconstructive creativists.

~~

he is willing to say “i don’t know” right out loud.

~~

he is wicked smart, talented, creative, and funny.

my shero is my daughter, alison. want to know why?

she ran for local city council then the state legislature before she was 25 years old. (and in the state legislature race, he was in a run-off with the older male career politician. lost the runoff only by a slim, slim margin, too.)

~~

she started a local theatre company in 2005, and it’s still going and growing.

~~

she supervises my hair stylist and goes clothes shopping with me.

~~

in 2006 she hit a rough spot with depression, and i just kept putting one foot in front of the other, doing what needed to be done. a year later, she directed steel magnolias, casting me as m’lynn to her shelby. coincidence? i think not.

~~

as a beautiful, articulate, talented public figure in a small town, she receives more than anybody’s fair share of other people’s insecurities and bad behavior. yet through it all, she remains the bamboo – bending but refusing to break. she is tenaciously nonconformist.

~~

she is wicked smart, talented, creative, and funny.

~~

she can do genealogical research and retain what she uncovered.

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if you need to know what to give a person, call her. she knows people better than they know themselves.

~~

she speaks her truth. others may not understand or agree, but she speaks it anyway.

yes, i am one lucky woman. luckier than i deserve.

best09
~~~
the stories are mine, but credit for the kindling goes to gwen bell and her best of 2009 blog challenge. today’s prompt: who is your unsung hero?
~~~

Technorati Tags:
#best09, #bestof2009

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