Tag: life (Page 1 of 13)

Day 15, The Determined Daffodil

Green plants growing in a pot

I am cranky.
I need space (physical and mental).
And order.

In this morning’s First Light of Day journal, I ask what I want my life to be because that seems a good starting point. The question “What do I want?” echoes when it hits the page.

I need a reset button, something to take my mind off the current situation and set me back on the path of cheerfulness and optimism. The only thing for it is to plead with Mother Nature to wrap her arms around me and whisper sweet parables to my heart and something positive to think about to my brain.

The sun has come to call today, so I go outside for a walk and there, in the flowerpot now filled with dead stems that were once colorful blooms celebrating daughter Alison’s graduation from college in our home-held ceremony, I spy a daffodil stretching and rubbing her eyes.

How did that happen?

In July this pot was filled with ham and egg lantana, not daffodils. Daffodils are spring flowers; lantana thrives in the summer. Daffodils enjoy the cool shade; lantanas are happiest in the hot, full sun.  I accept it as one of Mother Nature’s conundrums, something for me to ponder.

Green leaves, plants, and brown leaves underneath a green flower pot

Now I may be delighted with the notion that everything happens for a reason all in its perfect time, I may giggle gleefully with magic, but  The Engineer wants to know how and why things happen. Before I can stop him, he shoves the pot aside with his foot, and  lo and behold the pot is sitting in the middle of a small daffodil patch. This daffodil – the only one blooming – who found her path blocked, found a way to keep growing anyway. By golly she was meant to stretch, reach, grow. She was meant to live, and live she would. She was, after all, put on earth to bloom, and she let nothing – not even a heavy pot of wet soil and dead (or dormant) lantana stems stop her.

Daffodil in vase beside waterfall

The Determined Daffodil, now at home in a vase that belonged to my grandmother, the one I’m writing the book about.

She is not a victim, this daffodil. She doesn’t whine or wring her hands because her life is difficult and not at all the way she’d like it to be.  This is one Determined Daffodil, and she chooses lightness and smiles and positivity.

Now I REALLY have something to ponder.

Day 14

A meet cat with hand shading his eye. Text: “Hey, I can see my sanity from here. No wait, it’s just a rock.”

I saved this image but not the info telling me who to credit for it. If it’s you, please let me know, and I’ll add.

 

Pop quiz: 1 introvert + 3 social butterflies = ?

As the resident introvert, hearing “shelter-in-place” sounds like paradise. To the social butterflies I live with, not so much. For me, self=distancing brings on the excitement of having large blocks of time to myself to create with cloth and ink. To the 3 extroverts, it means they have to go more than 2 minutes without interrupting me.

I was a stay-at-home mom, which in those days, was the equivalent of gum on the bottom of your shoe. At last I’m feeling some respect, though, as next generation family members have the choice made for them to  be stay-at-home parents. “This is hard, Mom,” my son tells me. “How did you do it?” Wonder if he can hear me purring in response.

Every few days, I reach into my memory banks and sent my son and niece an email with “”low tech” activities they can do with children – things I did when my children were tots. (I am careful not to include any project requiring toilet paper.) I doubt they’ll use any of my ideas, but I’m itching to pull out the supplies and add a daily arts and crafts hour here at Camp Corona.

Creating Space in Our Togetherness

We – that would be my mother, our daughter, The Engineer, and I – have been sheltering-in-place since Tuesday 10 March  2020. You’d think by now we would have a daily routine, but in reality, not so much , though it’s not from lack of trying, and we are getting there. We spent Day 1 bringing beds up from the downstairs guest rooms and moving furniture in the gathering room to accommodate them. On Day 2 we went to the library to load up with books and to the grocery store. Day 3 we went out  for supper because I expected the restaurants to close. We kicked off Day 4 with me inviting everyone into my morning sacred practice. We read a randomly selected Blessing from this book written by a talented woman and dear friend Ashima Sarin who is  the  daughter of a dear friend. Then we draw an oracle card or 3 from my decks and take a few minutes to take the wisdom into our bodies. I’m not sure Mother has ever seen or heard of oracle cards, and I’m not sure they resonate with her. So last night when I couldn’t sleep, I came up with the idea of writing quotes on slips of paper, put them in a container, and she can draw one of those out every day. I think she’ll enjoy that and find it more meaningful. (If you have favorite positive, uplifting quotes and are willing to send them, I’d be much obliged.)

Knowing the value of structure and accomplishment, Day 5 found me introducing the Chore Chart. (It also keeps one person from having to do all the work.) Community Chores are listed, assigned, and everybody has their own signature color to make finding their daily duties even easier. Knowing how important it is to do something for others, I asked Mother to call at least 2 people every day (something she’s taken quite seriously and enjoyed immensely) and daughter Alison to post at least 2 funny kitty videos on her facebook timeline each day (something she’s not done with any regularity). Everyone is required to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day, with their feet on the earth and fresh air in their lungs. The Chore Chart seems such an easy thing to me – and it would be if everybody would stay in their own lane. Mother is bad to do other people’s chores (usually without mentioning it to them), and daughter (who seems quite comfortable in overage teen mode) is bad to do none of hers. On Day 6 we set a time for breakfast (9:30 a.m.), declared lunch on your own every day, and supper at 6 p.m. We binge-watched Turn and are now on the second season of Downton Abbey. There’s some comfort knowing that at 6, we’ll eat the flop in front of the tv (all) and hand-stitching (me).

Today I will create personal Daily Do sheets for people to add their own tasks needing to be accomplished. Chores take about 1 to 1.5 hours each day, leaving plenty of time for reading and making. I do this because we need to keep as normal a life as possible and (perhaps mostly) in the spirit of self defense so I don’t have to remember and remind.

Other things I’m considering: weekly book club or maybe weekly book reports; daily arts and crafts; and a round of daily calisthenics.

Adjustments are required on everybody’s part. Our house is totally rearranged with stuff everywhere, and I am not one who handles clutter – visual or physical – easily. Mother and Alison are in our house not theirs, so Mother, especially, has to ask where everything is and learn little idiosyncrasies like how much laundry detergent to put in the washing machine,  how you know if the dishwasher is on or not, and which light switch turns on the lights and which one turns off all the clocks, lamps, computers, and other things plugged into electrical outlets. Which reminds me: our first arts and crafts hour will be spent creating signs for rooms (occupied / vacant)  and the dishwasher (clean / dirty).

Meanwhile in the Dissenter’s Chapel and Snug

Red, yellow, blue, green, gray, and orange pieces of fabric sewn together into blocks

Over the weekend, while others napped, I treated myself to some much-needed, much-enjoyed studio time. Cut up some shirts The Engineer no longer wears, and mindlessly put them back together. Now that I think about it, this kinda’ parallels our current existence: putting the discombobulated familiar together in new ways.

How About You and Yours?

How are you and yours? What’s keeping you sane? Be well, y’all. Check in when you can.

Evidence Explained

Evidence 2017, Day 1

Inspired by my friend Judy Martin’s marking of time and dedication to her art, despite a full family life,
Inspired by my friend Jude Hill’s dedication to daily stitching and reflection, interwoven into her daily life,
Inspired by my new friend Kathleen Warren‘s mindful noticing of her surroundings and honoring of her creative process . . .

Evidence 2014

I revamp my abandoned 2014 attempt and a previous attempt at daily stitching that I can’t even find now into a version that will see me through to the champagne. I just know it will.

Evidence 2017, Day 2

Being an accomplishment-oriented girl, I like to track how I spend my life.

Evidence 2017, Day 3

I first ask myself: how do I want to fill my days, and the answer hasn’t changed significantly in the past 4 years:
stitching,
moving (as in moving my body through space – walking, yoga, exercise, etc),
writing,
mirthing (think: awe, wonder, laughing).
This year I add 2 things:
prospering (in every way a girl can prosper) and
connecting (as in with people, friends, family, strangers)

Evidence 2017, Day 4

Then I assign each a color. (There is a story behind each hue. I’ll tell you later.)
stitching
moving
writing
mirthing
prospering
connecting

Once that is decided, I make my way to the local thrift shop and purchase clothes in those colors to use as fabrics. Storied cloth, my favorite.

Evidence 2017, Day 5

I track everything in my handwritten journal, and each morning I look back at the day before, free-cut strips of fabric in the appropriate colors, then I turn my Improv Self loose to  stitch them together into a 6.5″ square block.

Evidence 2017, Day 6

The method of stitching the daily blocks will change each month. For January 2017, I’m using wedges – something I’ve long wanted to try my hand at, but never made the time to try. (Wait’ll you see what the daily blocks will look like next month.)

Evidence 2017, Day 7

You might ask (I know I did) Why is there not a color representing The 70273 Project? The answer: Because The 70273 Project touches every part of my life, and every verb I want to have in my every day touches The 70273 Project. Writing? Multiple writing projects each day are for The 70273 Project. (Know anybody who wants a guest blog post?) Stitching? I stitch several blocks each day for The 70273 Project. Moving? I move so I can keep up with The 70273 Project! Connecting? Oh good lord, such marvelous connections are made daily because of The 70273 Project. You get the picture. Right or wrong, there is no separation between The 70273 Project and me . . . something we’ll talk more about later.

 

Evidence 2017, Week 1

Each week will be stitched together, then each month, and finally . . . the year.

One thing that eludes me right now is how to finish the back. Ideas?

it’s time

today’s a day
when we remember,
and in that remembering,
we’re put squarely
in touch,
undeniably
in touch,
with our own
mortality.

we know
we’re all gonna’
die,
not a single one of us
is exempt.

Clock2

we know
we’re gonna’ die,
but we do not know
when
or where
or (regardless
of circumstances)
how.

Clockface1

if you’re reading
this,
you’re alive.
you haven’t died,
though your clock
is ticking.

Tree1

so, scoot.
get on out there
and live –
really live,
treating us all
to your very own
gorgeous genius
and genuine glory.

Leaf

and hey,
while you’re at it,
why not stop,
every chance
you get,
and notice,
appreciate,
pay tribute to
somebody else’s
beauty?
they shine,
you shine,
we all shine,
even though
we might never
know why
or who to thank.

in praise of curves in the road

pasture1693

i rounded the curve
and spied a gorgeous sculpture
in the middle of the greening field.
i blinked
and the captivating sculpture
became
a mule
grazing.

from captivated and elated
to
disappointed and deflated
all in the space of
a few hundred feet.

then i remembered
something read
years after i left
pews and classrooms . . .
michaelangelo
said he created his
david
by removing all that
was not david.

and just like that
i was once again
captivated.

///

i’ve been pondering lately what it means to think independently.
and to value feeling as much as thinking.
and every now and then, i wonder what my life would be like
if i hadn’t been so strongly conditioned
that science rules,
that there is only one right answer,
that a mule eating is merely a mule eating
and not a work of art.

the qualities of mud

JHCToddler1

as a little girl, i loved dressing up in frilly socks and ruffled panties and petticoats that made my skirts stick out like a tabletop. i liked patent leather shoes and dancing in the grocery store and creating private nests for myself where i could get away from it all and create. one thing i did not like was getting dirty. dirt just did not interest me at all . . . which for some reason, disturbed my mother to the point that one day as i sat quietly working on a new book, she picked my 5-year-old self up, carried me outside, and sat me down – ruffles, lace, petticoat and all – in the middle of the biggest mud puddle she could find. she still loves to tell that story, and i declare she sounds embarrassed that i didn’t like to get dirty and smugly satisfied when she gets to the part about unceremoniously plopping me down in the mud. i can just see her wiping her hands and laughing as she walked back to the house to watch me from the window.

now i may not have liked mud then (and i still don’t like to get stuff under my fingernails, so i’ll not be making mudpies any time soon), but in some ways, mud is kinda’ growing on me. not that i want to spend time in a mud puddle, mind you, but i do like holding clay in my hands and shaping it into something or other. and i love not having a clue what i’m going to write but picking up the pen anyway and just watching the words spill out on the page.

my precious friend and writing partner julie daley (jewels, i call her with very, very good reason) recently asked me a most excellent question: what does writing from the feminine look like to me? that question captivated me for days, and the mud story kept tugging at my sleeve pointing out that writing from the feminine can sometimes be muddy. muddy in the sense that i don’t always know where i’m going when i start to write. it’s not always clear, and there’s not always an outcome – intended, expected, or otherwise. when i write from the feminine self, i write from (including myself, my vulnerabilities, my feelings) instead of about (reporting, answering the 5 questions of who, when, where, what, and why).

when i write from the feminine, it’s more about process than product, and quite often, i don’t even know what i have till i get to the end and can see patterns and threads and word crumbs. when writing from the feminine, i write from the body, and often there’s a lot of space in what i write – space enough to crawl into and get comfortable while things incubate. writing from the feminine, it’s more about following than questioning, intuition than the cognitive. writing from the feminine uses dreams, metaphors, and imagery, relying on intuition and an inner knowing that can’t always be explained (nor does it need to be, actually) more than giving ink to what others think and write and theorize.

. . . as i sit here writing this, my resident owl serenades me under the glorious full moon, and i swear she’s urging me on, telling me that writing from the feminine is natural and needed and even necessary . . .

you know how when cars get stuck, little flecks of mud go everywhere as the tires spin their way forward and out (“out” if all goes according to plan, anyway)? when writing from the feminine jeanne, little flecks (and sometimes big flecks, too) get slung out, often without segues or outlines or even capital letters. there’s seldom a nice, tidy, linear structure, and often as not, there’s not even an

The Virtual Red Carpet

No Academy Award was ever more of a surprise or more appreciated than the various honors and awards i’ve received from my friends in the ethers over the past few weeks . . .

Tracy Brown and Gordon Simmons allowed me to sponsor the Daily Gratitude Journal over at Happiness Inside where there are multiple ways to discover, well, happiness.

///

My darlin’ Jewels honored me with the Beautiful Blogger award on The Awesome Women Hub on Facebook.

///

Susan, Abigail, and Noel dropped a Stylish Blogger Award on me, and with that award comes a request to tell seven things about yourself . . .

1. I am named after my uncle (my daddy’s brother) who was killed at age 18. My mother and daddy met in third grade in a most unfortunate eraser-to-the-back incident while doing long division at the blackboard. It may not have been love at first sight, but they dated each other exclusively throughout high school, then enjoyed over 50 years of marriage . . . except for that one weekend in high school when a little spat found Daddy taking their classmate, Jean, out on a date. When Uncle Gene was killed, Mother saw a chance to solidify the affection of her mother-in-law, but oh the dilemma when her firstborn turned out to be female. G-e-n-e, short for Eugene, is a male, so that wouldn’t do. And she didn’t want to go through the rest of her life being reminded of That One Awful Weekend, so Mother tinkered around with various spellings until she decided on J-e-a-n-n-e.

2. I met my sinuses while flying the wind tunnel in Denver. It was fun, though – the wind tunnel not the sinuses.

3. As a child, I loved potato chip sandwiches.

4. I still don’t drink bathroom water.

5. I don’t wear a watch – haven’t for years.

6. I don’t like strawberries . . .

7. Or tomatoes.

~~~

“I need 5 more quirky things about me. I’m struggling here. Can you think of anything?” I asked my husband.

In less than 5 seconds, Hubby rattled off all sorts of things to me (almost before the question mark was out of my mouth). “That’s enough,” I told him. “I have my 7.”

“Are you sure?” he asked. “Cause I was just getting warmed up.”

~~~

While I am loathe to thank my husband, I am not at all hesitant to say Thank you again to these lovely, talented folk who have seen fit to bestow a little spotlight on me, though I deliver it red-faced with embarrassment for my tardiness.

January’s Idea of Time Management

Logs

Don’t read. There’s time for enrichment and enjoyment later. You’ve much more important work that needs to get out the door now.

Don’t exercise. Moving from bed to desk chair to bathroom to kitchen to table to laundry room and back to bed is enough movement for now.

Don’t slow down to write thank you notes. You’ll still be thankful later.

Don’t turn on any music, it might distract you and make you forget what needs to be done now.

Bubble baths, leisurely walks in the wood, afternoons spent behind a book are indulgences you earn by getting things done. And since you haven’t gotten nearly enough done, head down and back to work with you.

When you can’t sleep at night, just lay there and think about how awful it is that you can’t sleep. Or get up and get something done. But don’t you dare get up to write or draw or read or stitch.

Just keep saying “Yes” and eliminate every form of “no” from your vocabulary.

Put your friends on hold. If they’re really true friends, they’ll still be around when you’ve caught up.

Don’t waste time putting things up – out of sight equals out of mind. Just pile things up on your desk, on the floor, on tabletops throughout the house. Consider creating mountains as creativity, if it makes you feel better.

Buy a gross of sticky note pads (okay, make it 2 gross) and write one item – only one – from your to do list on a single sticky note. Pretty soon your walls, ceilings, even your furniture will be colorfully shingled. (Of course at the rate you accomplish things, the sticky will eventually wear off, so be sure to write yourself a reminder to replace fallen notes.)

Accept every offer to go out to eat – every single offer. Just remember to eat fast so you can get back to work. The extra weight? Bah, you can lose that later.

Writing retreat with friends? You can do that one day when you’ve whittled down your to do list. You’ve already put it off for 8 months, anyway.

Want to be a writer? Just keep telling yourself that writing checks and meeting minutes and grocery lists and to do notes is writing. Then quit the whining and get back to work.

I’m so glad today is February 1.

It Was A Dark and Stupendous Night

TheHat.jpg

38 years ago today, I walked into the bar in search of a drink and out of the bar with the bartender . . . my future husband. I went there with a friend from high school, and we’d pooled and spent our money on gas to get us there. Having not thought things through all that much, my friend came to the rescue assuring me that she knew a bartender in a bar called Muhlenbrink’s. He’d be wearing a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat, she said. We made our way through the hugely crowded bar, and low and behold, there was, in fact, a bartender in a brown leather floppy-brimmed hat.

And he was adorable. Absolutely, undeniably adorable.

She shoved and I flirted to make the seas part so we could land ourselves directly in front of Him. She thumped her fist down on the bar and proclaimed, “I know you.”

He looked up. “No you don’t,” he said and went immediately back to drawing beer.

I was mortified. Mortified, I tell you.

As I silently begged the floor to open up and swallow me whole, she persisted with her insistence. It seems she knew the HAT, not the MAN. You see, for reasons he can’t remember, Andy was wearing Billy’s hat that night.

At this point, I don’t suppose he’ll get fired if I tell you that he did eventually slip us one (note the singular) tom collins, and when the bar closed (we stayed to listen to the band – wink, wink), we were invited to a part at the bouncer’s apartment.

We accepted.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

And herstory.

We met on January 27; became engaged on April 1; and married on July 31.

Of that same year.

He says I’m the most expensive date he ever had.

I say he’s the best date I could get with the boobs I had at the time.

Ah, love.

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