Friday, September 22, 2006

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

Every parent has experienced that moment when your kid repeats something that you weren't even aware that they saw or heard. I've had many of these over the years. Kids never cease to totally amaze me!

Here is my latest:
My eldest daughter had to write a personal narrative for her school English paper. She chose to write about our vacation this summer. In her first draft she wrote every little detail of the trip including:

"We had breakfast the next morning at the hotel buffet while my mom stayed in bed and ordered room service."

I had to laugh! I don't usually eat breakfast, as it upsets my stomach early in the morning. So as we were on vacation: my husband offered to take the girls to eat breakfast in order to give me a chance to have some coffee and put my make-up on/fix hair without a three ring circus going on in the small room.

But to see it through a kid's eyes? How funny!

I can only imagine what her teacher must think of me now? Slacker mom? Luckily, the above observation didn't make it into her final draft. Whew! : )


Share some of your embarrassing moments with me in the comments section below (click "comments" below to enter). I'd love to hear some other stories! : )

Thursday, September 21, 2006

You Are What You Spell?

My husband is a spelling fanatic! He's always looking over my shoulder as I write, pointing out my numerous spelling errors. He says: "You are what you write!" It is annoying and unnerving! I now have major spelling anxiety and couldn't spell correctly if I tried!

I wish he would just give me a break and let me compose first and spell/grammar check later. I'm an engineer and spelling is not my forte, okay? Sometimes my brain just goes faster than my hands can keep up with!

I felt just terrible about my spelling anxiety until my wise brother sent this email to me. I read it start to finish, in a matter of seconds, without stopping to pause or question a word one time. And now I don't feel so bad about not being perfect at my spelling the first time around. Hopefully, this new-found knowledge will help my spelling anxiety and yours -- if you have it too!

Read it for yourself and see what you think : ) ...

Read the following paragraph:


Yuo'd thnik olny srmat poelpe cluod aulaclty raed tihs:

I bet taht cnanot blveiee taht you aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht yur'oe
rdanieg. Boehld the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to
a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr
the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist
and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses
and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by
inedpndetnely, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I
awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!


Happy Spelling!

P.S. The kids and I have a new name for my spelling fanatic husband "Mr. Spelling Bee".



12/06/2009 Lauren's 'CSI' Science Project Report ...

Just helped Lauren type up her Science 'CSI' project report. She still hunts and pecks, so I had her write it and then I typed it up in five short minutes -- my fingers should be registered weapons, no? ; )

Anyway, I don't remember my 6th grade science class being this much fun. Times have surely changed?! Now, if every science class was this much fun we'd have kids trampling one another to be science majors in college! Seriously ... check this out ... tres cool ...



The Case of the Missing Hard Drive
By, Lauren C.



Five suspects and one missing hard drive. Could this be the work of two suspects? Or just one? How can we be sure? Well, with the evidence my group and I have gathered, we have concluded that the evidence points to Violet and Kevin. The powders, the liquids, the ink, and the metal all point to them, as I will show in the subsequent paragraphs.


First of all, there were 7 metals in all and the crime scene evidence was not magnetic. Kevin had a tin screwdriver and Violet had a zinc hammer. Our group verified that both the tin hammer and the zinc screwdriver are not magnetic by using the magnetism test.


Secondly, we tested the liquids to see what temperature they boiled at. The crime scene evidence boiled at 66 C. Violet's Isopropyl alcohol boiled at 70 C, and the isopropyl alcohol smells similar to the crime scene liquid. The similar smell along with the nearly the same boiling point -- only a 4 degree difference, which is within a reasonable margin of error -- are evidence that Violet's liquid is the most similar to the crime scene liquid.


Our third test was a vinegar test. The crime scene powder did not react to the vinegar test at all. We found that Violet's Epsom salt also did not react to the vinegar test and neither did Kevin's Epsom salt. The no reaction to the vinegar test, for both Violet and Kevin's powders, along with the fact that both Kevin and Violet had Epsom salt show that we have two suspects and not just one lone suspect.


Our fourth test was a chromatography test on the ink. This chromatography test showed that the crime scene evidence faded to black, then purple, then blue, then yellow. Kevin's ink demonstrated the same chromatography pattern as the crime scene evidence. This proves that the pen used in the crime was Kevin's paper mate pen.


Finally, the hair evidence showed that we are dealing with two different suspects, working together to commit the crime. This is because the hair samples were each unique and not identical strands of the same hair. And why would someone bother to write a note to themselves? It just doesn't make sense. Two suspects had to have been trying to communicate with one another.


In conclusion, the metal test, the vinegar test, the presence of two unique strands of hair, and a note all support the theory of two suspects working together to commit this crime: Violet and Kevin. The liquid test clearly identifies Violet as a suspect. The Chromatography test clearly identifies Kevin as a suspect. Therefore, our team names Violet and Kevin as the suspects in this computer hard drive crime. We recommend that the police investigate immediately in order to ensure that the missing hard drive may still be recovered.

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My attempt at poetry ... a bit unconventional ... but I'm new to this ... these words come from my heart ... from my present and past lives ... temporarily assembled here (in no particular order) for ABinsolitude : )







'The Angel of Death', By Evelyn Pickering De Morgan
(Image Courtesy of http://www.artmagick.com/)


@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.



The Unexpected Angel




Death is not dark. He is not cold, nor is he evil. On the contrary, Death is quite simply misunderstood. No faceless, black robed, sickle bearing demon is he. Death has a face, and a rather handsome one at that. And though his countenance does not bear signs of age, his eyes are filled with the wisdom of ages; for Death has witnessed the rise and fall of many once great nations.

Death does not set about his task with joy nor malice, as fable and legend would have the world believe. No indeed, Death has a warm and gentle, almost tender, nature. His compassion is beyond measure, for he has personally borne the pain of every soul ever placed into his charge. Death takes no twisted pleasure in his work, but neither would he ever trust his many charges to the care of another.

Death is harbinger to weary bodies and souls, and protector of the innocent who seem to have been taken from this life before their time. He lovingly guides the way between this life portal and the next.

Death is the keeper of the Door to Rebirth. His shouldering the burden of that heavy door gives birth to the possibility of growth for the soul and the hope of eventual enlightenment for all souls.

Death heals the broken-hearted, by mercifully laying unrequited loves to rest. His act of kindness grants peace to those held in the cruel grasp of unrelenting pain, giving the heart leave to be open to new possibilities and the hope of experiencing love once again.

Death can give us wings. Like a butterfly's chrysalis, Death provides us a safe space, in his loving embrace, where we are allowed to fall completely apart so as to emerge once again, rebuilt anew, stronger and wiser in this life.

And so, hopefully, you now see that Death is many things: Guide and Protector, Father, Healer and Lover ... none of which are to be feared, but instead should rather be revered. I wonder, could it not be said that Death has perhaps the biggest heart of us all?



@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.











'Hope', By George Frederic Watts
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.


A Truth of sAges

Hands and feet, these may be bound.

And voices can eventually be beaten into submission.

The heart, the mind and the soul, however, these remain wild and free only ever belonging just to me.

Thus empowered, know that the eye that is me will prevail.



@September 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.


Song: 'Hope', By Rush








8/10/09



For the past three nights I have had the strangest dream. Each night, after the dream, I would awaken after only a few hours sleep, at exactly 4:22 a.m. WST. Last night, after awakening, I decided to write about what I had dreamt. So regarding my the post of a few days ago, about soul mates, here goes: (Keep in mind that I wrote this at 4:22 a.m., after just three hours of sleep. It may need some further refining at some point.)





@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.



The Hunter's Moon
As I lay in silent darkness, exhausted from the endless flood of tears, sleep stole silently upon me, flying me away to the land of peace and possibilities.


He placed me high upon a lone cloud, in an indigo sky lit by dancing rays of the Hunter's moon. There, I quietly sat upon my privileged perch, listening and admiring the beauty of the universe surrounding my weary soul. Secure in the knowledge that somehow, however unworthy I felt, my soul was a part of something bigger and more profound than me.

I dared not ask why I had been chosen for such an honor, for fear it would just as quickly fade away. Instead, I sat quietly gazing out in awe at the wonder of marvelously abundant works of our Creator. As I communed with this sleepy world of brilliant stars, each one ripe with infinite possibilities, almost close enough to reach out and touch with my tired, trembling hand:
peace and comfort warmed my soul.

Then, just as mysteriously as my arrival in this celestial sphere, the sound of glistening stars, each one singing her quiet song, suddenly retreated leaving me momentarily afraid and alone in a sea of silence. I sat trembling in the echoes of silence, unsure of what was to happen next. But then, a familiar voice called out to me and the fear began to beat its slow retreat, like that of a lingering ocean tide. Looking eagerly about, I searched to find a face for the voice, that I somehow knew so well, but try as I might, there was to be no gazing upon his face, nor knowing of his name. I could but hear his sensuous and familiar melodic voice as he spoke my name, "Michelle".

And he beckoned me, "Hold up your hand, my love." So I raised my trembling hand, reaching out with hope into what seemed the nothingness of space beyond. And as I extended my arm to its farthest point, the trembling stopped, for I felt his gentle touch upon my hand and the warmth of our reunited souls too long since parted. As we touched, I knew simply this: that I was not alone. Here under the knowing gaze of the Hunter's moon, I had at long last found
my better half.

As to whether, or not, we shall ever, in body, meet here in the waking realm: I know not. It is, however, a possibility that gives me hope. Perhaps we have already met, while walking aimlessly down a neighboring street? Perhaps he is the one who used to sleep next to me, his soul having masqueraded in insolent youth, now awakened to truth, finding instead an old fractured soul on the mend. Perhaps it was the touch of some being not of this earthly world. But even if only in the land of peace and possibilities are we ever to meet again, it is enough for me to just have hope once again.


@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





'Luna', By Evelyn Pickering DeMorgen
(Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


So that's it. Any thoughts? I don't usually sleep, and hence, I rarely dream. Is this real? Or just imagination and longing? Who was behind the voice in the dream? I guess ... I've got to figure that out ...









"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted." [Ecclesiastes 3:1+]

I have to remind myself of this when I am going through difficult times ...  
My 11 year-old -- little genius, too wise for her age -- asked me the other day: "Where are all the good men dead? In the heart or in the head?" She got this from the movie 'Grosse Pointe Blank' -- one of my favorites. At the young, innocent age of 11, it seems she already has formed her opinion: 'they're dead in the heart.' Why do you think that is? I asked. She replied: 'because they aren't taught to be alive in the heart.' But, she rationalizes that is okay with her because, she says, quite simply: 'I couldn't live with a stupid man.' Neither, can I, I guess? Maybe we need to do more, as a culture and society, to teach men not only how to be alive in the heart, but that it's okay to be alive in the heart.



9/3/09 Thoughts on a bad day ...



@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.


The Looking Glass



I have no need of looking glass.
I have but to look into your loving eyes
to see the truest reflection of me.
For is not a love, reflected through the union of two souls,
the surest measure of a love that sings true?

Alas upon awakening this morn,
I found my heart heavy with burden.
For I had finally come to accept,
that even though we had once sworn,
somehow our once true love had been torn.

Now when I look into your empty eyes
I no longer see myself.
Through tears of infinite sorrow,
I wonder if, in truth, I ever really did.
Do you see yourself in me?

The grown-up in me thinks that perhaps
my measure is yet another silly truth,
too long since carried from days of foolish youth.
And thus, my last remaining illusion shatters;
now, I too can close empty eyes
and resign myself to the path
that my feet were set upon so very long ago.


And thus with shattered looking glass:
nothing in my life worth reflecting shall ever more come to pass.


Yet the silly child in me still, somehow, foolishly clings to hope...



@August 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith. 



'Meeting on the Turret Stair', By Frederick William Burton
(Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)












12/4/09   Evolution of poem ... they're never ever really done ... always changing, shifting, evolving ...


@December 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





Willow's Whisper

Have I made you cryHave I awoken once sleepy eyes?

Perhaps, I've made you smile? Shared something that's made your visit here worthwhile?

Come then, and stay with me awhile under peaceful shade of the willow tree, here in my secret garden. Tell me of your hopes, your dreams ... your inner most desires. What would it take to set your world on fire?

Promise me that one day I'll find, in me, the voice to sing again ... that this happiness might never end ...

I breathe you in and close my eyes.  A tear of joy wells up inside, and with a whisper I wish us away, on willow's wings, to the place where Majestic Day bends to sweetly kiss Serene Night.  A place where all is momentarily right in the world, as in the celestial heavens far above.  A place where my love for you is sacred and not a given.

Yet the hour draws swiftly to its close.  Reality returns.  Sadly, I must let you go. With parting kiss on shade of tear stained lips, I bid you a silent farewell. Until we meet again: know that in my heart that I still call you friend.

 
@December 2009, Copyrighted Poem.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.


Song:  'Happiness', By the Fray












'Immortality', By Henri Fantin-Latour
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


"Faith, Hope and Love ... but the greatest of these gifts is Love ..." 1 Corinthians 13:13



@Copyrighted Poem: December 2009. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.





12/30/09


"I was never yours to own ... nor you mine to possess. We are only borrowers of each other for our short time here: A blink of an eye in the sea of eternity. What then is immortal? ... All my love, now and forever." ~Isabelle



"What then is Immortal?"


I am nameless ...
I am faceless ...
Faith and Hope are my kin ...

Hope is but a dreamer and while Faith may move mountains: I move men. Tis true, I have moved many a man to brave and noble deeds. Yes, some to even truly amazing feats! And yet, sadly I lament, others I have unwittingly moved to their defeat; For Passion, masquerading as me, has brought many once great men swiftly and humbly to their knees. Passion, however, is merely a jealous sibling rival to me ... a desperate imitator, want-to-be of the true me.

It is said by wise, divinely inspired men, that I am ‘patient, gentle and kind’ ... that I ‘bear all things’. Noble and honest sentiments indeed we'd be agreed; Had I a face, you might just find me crimson of shade, but I digress ... For not all happen to agree with this naming noble disposition you see. These skeptics often lash out at me in wild lament, claiming that I am but the bearer of unbridled torment. Their justification? That I am a cruel and unrelenting master when I refuse to meet a match; For though I am freely given: I am not always well received. Therein, perhaps, lies the folly of man ...

In my defense, I claim to be no master of any sort. I am simply here to inspire and nothing more. I am a potential within all beings ... some more so than others … but the will, the desire to act is not within the scope of my power. Nor is control of the quickly waning hour; For so often, I am all a matter of timing. Hence, much is left to chance ... unlikely, serendipitous circumstance.

Now I make my final stance before our parting glance … for surely, you have my name? ... Despite the arguments leveled against me above: I am what I am and what I am is … (xxxx) … A whisper of hope carried upon the mystic winds for all mankind. And all in all, I’d have to say that the world is a better place because of, rather than in spite of me. Do you, perchance, agree? I wonder: does the latter not, to some small degree, make me immortal?

A moment before you answer and pray do ponder this: can you even begin to imagine a world without me?



@Copyrighted Poem: December 2009. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.


Painting: "Immortality", By Henri Fantin-Latour.




Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"In God We Still Trust"

My sister just sent this music to me and it is truly wonderful!  So uplifting and moving.  It definitely awakens the patriot in you!

For anyone who still truly believes we, as Americans, are indeed "One Nation under God, indivisible ... with liberty and justice for all ", this song will make your heart swell.  As you listen, you'll feel proud to be an American and to believe in the God who allows to be such a wonderful, diverse country and still be one of the world super-powers able to shape and effect change in the world, for the better, on a global scale when necessary.

So without further adieu, here is the amazing song for you to have listen ...

http://www.gunbarrelcityradio.com/InGodWeStillTrust.wmv

"March, 2005, this song was performed at a Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate standing ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it! Sadly, major radio stations wouldn't play it because it was considered politically incorrect. Consequently, the song was never released to the public. If this song speaks to your heart, share it with friends and loved ones. Then let us cease being the silent majority and join together -- not as a particular political party, but as Americans!"


God Bless America!



6/7/2013  Saw this post pop-up in my stats listing.  Apparently the above song is no longer available for listening, but I checked and you can find the song on youtube.com. ... If you're interested in hearing it.  Contrary to what you might think --per my more recent posts-- I am still a Christian ... I am just not an intolerant or a judgmental one, not that I have ever been intolerant or judgmental:  I am just now finding my own voice --this past year or so-- to speak out against the latter negative --yet somehow, still widely accepted--  aspects of "Christianity" as I do not find these traits to be truly of Christ or Christian in nature.  To my way of thinking Jesus was all about Peace, Love and Understanding, traits which run counter to the very nature of intolerance and judgment.  As Christians we should lead by example ... love, nurture and care for others in need unconditionally.  From what I have witnessed in my own personal life, it is this "unconditional" part that most Christians have trouble with, especially when it comes to resisting the temptation to force one's own moral convictions and personal beliefs upon others that we encounter in life.  In matters of a spiritual nature our choices must be made, felt and truly processed in the heart and mind of each individual for only then can true spiritual enlightenment and advancement of the soul along the path of our journey home to our Creator occur.  The latter meaning simply that fear and coercion --forced or otherwise-- are not instrumental toward the end of spiritual enlightenment and advancement of the immortal soul along our journey home.   I have written several pieces (here in this blog) on contraception and other related topics if you are interested in truly opening your heart and mind in order to consider another valid point of view.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pope Speech, September 12th to the University of Regensburg

Copyrighted By "What Planet Are You Living On", September 2006

I have read the Pope's speech in its entirety ... just so that I could see -- without media bias - for myself the context in which his controversial quote was made. More on what I think about what the Pope said next login, but for now let me just say this:

Isn't a soul coming to God of his own free-will -- a gift God chose to give to us, when HE above all has the absolute power to command and force our obedience ... yet He chose to give us free-will -- more meaningful to Him? As opposed to a soul that pledges allegiance to God and a particular set of man-made religious ideals out of fear and as a result of violence?

Further, why would God want any of us to use force, fear, and violence to call others to Him? By using force, fear, and violence to call others to God don't we totally dismiss the gift of free-will that He gave to us in the first place?

It says in the Bible that our God is a loving God, slow to anger, and quick to show mercy and forgiveness to all who ask it. Isn't it time that we start showing LOVE, MERCY and FORGIVENESS and tolerance to those who differ in man-made religious ideals and dogma?

God made us a diverse peoples, with different skin colors, languages, gifts & talents, and cultures. It only stands to reason that these different peoples would find different ways to worship and know God. And I sincerely feel that He finds no one way preferable. But I also feel that God IS saddened by those that would overlook His gift of free-will and choose instead to use force, fear, and violence in order to bring followers to His name in-line according to their own narrow-minded --and often rigid-- idealogies.

I think that on some level this was the major point that the Pope was trying to make. Also that we need to keep a dialogue open between various religions, but that a dialogue is impossible with extremist religions that have no tolerance for other religions, and that further resort to violence as the means to spread their version of religion.

I regret that the Pope chose to quote a conversation from some medieval text. I don't think that particular quote was truly needed in order to set the stage for his speech. I think that the Pope could, and should, have found another way to begin his speech and set the stage for his conversation.

The Pope's intent may have been innocent: I think that in his mind, he was simply addressing his fellow theologians. He had just read the text that he quoted, so he felt that it would be appropriate to share the same with his colleagues. I don't think he considered the ramifications, or possible interpretations, of this quote when it would be heard by the general public. That for him, and for all of the millions of Catholics around the globe, is unfortunate: When you are the Pope you can't afford to make statements like this without fully considering the possible ramifications and interpretations.

The above being said,  I hope that there can be forgiveness and that the violence against innocent Catholics can stop. Let Islam be the "bigger man" in this instance and lead by example not by violence. Prove this very controversial quote wrong and simply do not respond with violence!
Here is the quote to the actual speech text. Read and decide for yourself: (Not currently working ... the Vatican isn't allowing blogger servers to connect to its website.)

Copyrighted By "What Planet Are You Living On", September 2006

What Makes You Happy?

Let me get my tea and ponder this for me ... What makes me happy?


Music ... music is the rhythm of life.  I could not endure a life void of music.

A cup of tea, sipped in quiet moments of peace ... Like this one.

Seeing butterflies swoop gracefully through my backyard garden, in their spectacular array of colors and sizes. It's like getting a kiss from heaven for my garden each time one lands.

Seeing our neighborhood cardinal family enjoy our backyard trees, bushes and birdbath.
Seeing my children's excitement at spotting the cardinals or butterflies.

Hearing the neighborhood doves sing their melodious cooing songs, often times perched on the sill right outside my bedroom window.

Seeing a new flower unfold and breathe to life in my garden. Seeing a lizard scurry through my garden.

Watching my children smile from ear-to-ear as they swing -- almost high enough to touch the sky -- on the swing set that Daddy made just for them.

Hearing my husband open the door in the evenings upon his return from work and getting/giving him a big hug.

The smell of the morning dew on the lawn and bushes and the sun gently touching the sky in the early mornings.  Witnessing heaven's glorious kiss upon the earth at sunset.

Not having to do dishes at night -- thanks for yesterday Ken! Not having to cook every night -- great dinner last night Ken!

Having my husband serenade me with his guitar & vocals.  Maybe one of these days I'll be able to sing along?

Playing Backgammon, Mancala, or Pinochle with my husband.  Chess is too competitive for Ken.

The smell of a fresh pot of coffee in the morning. I LOVE coffee ... my one vice.

Hearing news and getting photos from family, friends, and loved ones.

Watching old movies ... need to do this more often!  Curling up with a good book and escaping into strange and foreign lands.

Driving our new car (SUV) after waiting years to finally buy it..

Having a clean house ... especially when I don't have to clean it ; )

Sharing a bottle of wine with someone I love, especially when it is accompanied by a jar of exquisite olives.


That's all I can think of for now. Take some time to think for YOU!
And remember:"If you never had a bad cup of coffee: how would know when you had a good one?" ~ Me 2004

( What's he story behind this quote?:
My husband can't stand it when I make the coffee. Why? Because I refuse to measure the grounds out. I figure each brand and blend is different so one measure doesn't work for all across the board. I prefer to eye-ball the grounds in the filter and if it feels right I go with it. My husband, Ken, can't stand this! He never knows what kind of cup of coffee he is going to get. : )

He used to try to get me to measure the grounds using arguments of logic and reason which my method defies. He would ask me repeatedly: "Why do you insist on doing it your way?!" And ... One day I found the words and simply replied: "It let's me know that I'm alive. Besides, if you never had a bad cup of coffee: how would know when you had a good one?"

Now Ken has come around and I think he actually enjoys the surprise on the days that I make the coffee. : )- )






















'Amoretta and Time, In the Garden of Adonis'


11/7/09  You found me!  My new Secret Garden ... this is #4. 

It is a dark day for me today, but I am going to force myself out into it.  We have a sitter coming and are going to go out with other couples -- for a change -- this evening.  We are going to a place with loud live music and very little lighting, so I won't have to do much talking.  I am a wonderful listener anyway ... 

11/8/09 Dinner out last night was nice.  Great band ... jazz and blues ... not my absolute favorite, but still enjoyable.  The band did a Louis Armstrong song that is one of my favorites:  'What a Wonderful World'.  Wish they would have done 'Bye, Bye Blackbird' ... that was Armstrong too, right?  The drummer held a trumpet and sang in raspy voice that actually came quite close to old  "Sachmo" ... not quite, but darn close.  As I'm finally over this flu stuff, I was able to have a glass of wine ... Pinot Noir ... one of my favorites ... yum. 

I came home too wired to sleep, so I took a hot bath and read for a few hours -- till 2:30 a.m. ... early for me.  I don't have much time to read during the day, but late at night many good books keep me company.  One of the books that I am reading right now -- one of eight -- is a very fascinating book on philosophy -- Ken says I wasted my electives in college on philosophy, history and political science ... but I disagree.  I am at a section of the book that is delving into the man behind the works of Francis Bacon.  What an interesting life he seems to have led.  Books are a weakness for me ... I have way too many ... I read way too many at one time ... etc., etc.  I used to feel bad about not finishing some books, but then again some books just aren't worth finishing ... Anyway, as I'm reading last night I came across a quote from Bacon that sums up books rather nicely:  "[In books] we converse with the wise, as in action with fools." [That is if we know how to select our books] "Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."

I had to resort to sleeping pills --finally -- in order to sleep.  Hate to do that, but sometimes the sleeping pills are a necessary evil.  A dark day gave way to dark dreams as I had feared.  I awoke this morning with sore feet from running through a nightime misty wood in bare feet.  I felt as if I had actually twisted my ankle and I had an unexplainable bruise on right arm.  The rest of the dream?  Well, that will have to wait for another day ... and even then, it may just be too dark and personal to share.


11/9/09  Everyone I know is on Facebook?!  I just don't quite get that ... the willingness to put so much about your life out there and then attach your name and where you live?  Must just be my not trusting nature, but I will never do Facebook as ME.  That being said, I feel so out of the loop ... not enough to sucumb to the pressure of opening an account in my actual name ... but just for the hell of it, I set up an account under an alias ... just to see if I could do that.  It worked, so now I've sent messages to my friends and we'll see what it is like to be inside the loop for a change -- probably not much different, I suspect.

It's just funny that we, as a society, today have so many tools that enable us to be connected, and yet people actually spend less time TRULY communicating because they are always on-line uploading photos and writing snippets for their photos and daily entries .... or they're texting (I absolutely do not get texting!)... instead of picking up the phone and calling, visiting, or even doing that archaic thing known as emailing.

I admit that I do spend some time on my blog ... but I try to limit my time on-line to under 15-20 min. a shot -- hence my many typos and re-edits -- and only as I find free time throughout the day (e.g., lunch and late in the evenings ... on rare ocassions early mornings).  For me, my blog is a sort of therapy.  It lets me vent so that I can be a better mom and an approachable wife.  Is that so bad?

As for connecting?  Well maybe it's just over-rated?  Maybe it's (Facebook and the like) just an illusion of connecting ... an illusion of who we really are?  As long as I have my health, my children and family ... and, of course, my books: I'm happy.  Easy to please, no?  Besides, my elusiveness allows me to retreat without suspicion during dark times ...  and during times of deep introspection.  There are times when I long for a deeper connection, but they are fleeting and quickly pass ... guess that's just who I am.  No point in trying to change it now ...

P.S.  p.m. ... I'm on facebook now, under my alias ... I finally was able to see photos of my nephews 1st birthday -- they weren't sent out to those out of the loop (me!) because EVERYONE else is already on Facebook.  My nephew turned 1 in September!  I still haven't seen photos of either of my sisters' new homes ... but I have hope now.  : )  And its been almost a year since I've seen any photos of another dear friend from high school and her daughter who is now almost 3 -- last photo I saw of her:  she had not yet turned two!  So it feels good to be 'in the loop' ... Facebook seems a strange animal?  I'm guessing I have a lot to learn ...


11/10/09  Ken and I had fun last night playing guitar together.  I play flute and just play around on the guitar for fun.  Ken has had many years with a college educated music major so he is FAR, FAR superior.  He's helping me learn some new stuff, and I have found the patience to let him teach me.  It was fun ... good to spend time together doing something we both love ... music ... and laughing ... mostly at me and how horrible I sound?!  But I get an A for effort.  Look out Jimi Hendrix:  I'll have 'Purple Haze' down in no time at this rate.  I'm smiling again ...

I've thought more about why I hesitate to let others in ... watching the memorial service for the thirteen fallen soldiers at Ft. Hood, I felt such an overwhelming pain for those that had tragically, and so unexpectedly, lost their lives ... especially the expectant mother ... and for their loved ones left behind.   I definitely have the gift of empathy ... but maybe, aside from not trusting others -- due to my past abuse -- I keep others at a distance in an effort to protect myself from having to feel too much for others because it can be overwhelming for me?  Definitely something toexplore in therapy when I return from my travels.

Some parting thoughts:  Aristotle's take on the character of a man ... Read for yourself and see ... do you, perchance, agree with Aristotle?

"He does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life, --knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live.  He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him.  To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination ... He does not take part in public displays ... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talk and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things ... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes.   He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave ... He never feels malice, and alway forgets and passes over injuries .. He is not fond of talking ... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed.  He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves.  His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important.  A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care ... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skilful general who marshals his limited forces with all the strategy of war ... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virture or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude."

11/11/09   I wonder ... if you were unaware that you had, in fact, lost something:  would you recognize it, if it found you?

11/12/09  Much to do before I can leave here and travel to Texas.  The pantry and fridge must be restocked, with easy to fix meals in mind.  All laundry must be washed and folded.  The bathrooms cleaned, etc., etc. ... And as I tackle this mountain of 'TO Dos', I do so knowing that chaos will probably reign supreme while I am gone ... that I will probably have to redo each and every single thing all over again upon my return ... but such is life, eh?  You do what you've got to do ... complaining ... dreading ... feet dragging ... only makes it worse.  I'm 1/3 of the way there already -- to finishing my 'to do' list that is ... not the feet dragging.  Of course, coffee would help my outlook immensely ... just joking ... just wishful thinking ... I have no desire to jump on that addiction wagon again.  My stomach is finally rebounding from ulcers.  So life is good! : )

It will be nice to see my family again.  I was a stressed out MESS last time I saw them, with trying to oversee fix-its on our Texas home (to be put on the FOR SALE housing market), while packing up the last of our possessions (giving or throwing the rest away!) and loading them onto a truck ... which, I had planned to drive by MYSELF (what was I thinking?!) up to our new home in the Pacific Northwest.  But the stress must have gotten to me, because I became sicker than a dog and completely lost my voice.  Try having to direct others, with a sincere interest in helping, when you have NO VOICE?!  So Ken had to fly down and rescue me.  He drove the truck while I slept -- probably just as well ... I am not a fun person to travel with when I am well, bored and confined in a small space.

SO, it will be nice to see my family under less duress this visit.  To actually be able to sit down and have real conversations.  To play with my nieces and nephews -- I love kids ... they keep it real!  I am hopeful that I will get to see two of my friends from my high school days, in England, while I am there as well -- Monica and Eileen.  Needless to say, I am really looking forward to my trip.  Will be strange not to be on call 24/7, but somehow:  I'll manage.  A whole week to myself ... whatever will I do?  Maybe catch up on some much needed sleep.  : )

Received this in the mail today ... a beautiful image.  Fun to imagine being one of these horses ... out for run under a moonlit sky ... plowing through the cool whispy snow ...




Night ... Sweet dreams to you ...    M


11/13/09  So I'm on Facebook now ... under an alias, with a creepy photo and screen name.  My way of making my own subtle protest at being forced into to doing something that I really did not want to do ... but at least I'm in the loop now.  I have a wacky profile to match my alias as well (e.g., Activities:  'Stalking football watching fans and disrupting their game viewing.'... and actually, now that I've done it ... having an alias and being mysterious is rather FUN. : )

I've even  figured out how to chat ... last night -- never really done that before?! ... I've done Skype (live video feed), just not text chat ... like I've said before:  I don't have a lot of patience ... but it wasn't too bad.  Figured out that being able to type a mile a minute is not really condusive to chat, because you never give the other poor person a chance to speak (Sorry Paul!) ... but I'll figure it out eventually.  Funny, because I said that I would never go on Facebook (wrong!) ... said that I'd probably never chat (wrong!) ... and I still say I'll NEVER TEXT (haven't done that one yet though) ... but I guess, that it just goes to show that you should really never say:  NEVER!  It may just come back and bite you ... Go figure?!

It's workout day today ... overdid last time again ... guess I have a lot of latent frustration to work out ... not looking forward to being in pain again, but no pain ... no gain, right?  I'll try not to beat myself up too badly this time ... perhaps I should workout to classical music instead of hard core rock?  : )  Well ... here I go ... have an awesome day and a wonderful weekend.  God Bless!

Workout Music: Break, By Three Days Grace


P.S. A riend of mine (from up here) was in a bad car accident yesterday morning ... on the highway ... on her way to work.  Her car was completely totaled.  Had to cut her out of it.  But thankfully, she was in a well built car -- a Saab.  She is alright ... just banged up ... mild concussion ... sore and stiff ... but she will be alright, THANKFULLY!  It's just really scary ... especially when it hits so close to home.  So you all: BUCKLE UP and drive defensively, PLEASE!  And SLOW DOWN!  Going 5-10 m.p.h. slower might just be the difference between life and death.


11/14/09   I find comfort and solace in books and in writing, but I also find it in music ... hence all of the music footnotes throughout this blog ... [and I have an 8GB MP3 player and a huge playlist on Playlist.com, not to mention numerous CD's  : )].  To me music adds dimension to life, as well as writing. 


'Music', By Edward Burnes Jones (Image courtesy of ArtMagick.com)

Plato says it well ...

"Through music, the soul learns harmony and rhythm and even a disposition to justice ... [posed as a question of truth to Glaucon]: musical training is so powerful, because it finds its way into the secret places of the soul, bearing grace in their movements and making the soul graceful [does it not?]."




... Shifting gears and moving back into life in three dimensions ...



I watched the movie the 'Ugly Truth' last night. It was after 2:00 a.m., and I had already read.  My eyes were tired, so I popped this movie in.  Never made it to see this one in the theater, but after watching it now ... think that that was probably a good thing.  

What can I say about this movie?  ?????????  Well, I think that you could safely classify this movie as a 'chick flick'?  I think, anyway?  To me, the movie did not paint either men, nor women in a favorable light.  And the funny parts?  Well, they just weren't that funny.  Maybe I was just overtired, but the whole movie was just kind of big blur that didn't make a whole lot of sense.  As I'm watching, I'm thinking ... okay, are most women really that shallow and flighty?  Are most men really that caveman-like?  Gee, I sure hope not ... how depressing?!  

The only part of this movie that truly resonated with me was the very end of the movie, where K.H.'s character -- the network TV producer -- says to the Ugly Truth talk segment host, Mike:  "You're in love with me?  Why?"  And Mike replies:  "It beats the HELL out of me."   Then the two kiss, progress to the next level ... and live happily ever after  .... right?  [I get this last part because it sums up my relationship with Ken rather nicely ... that's just the way it is and you have to accept it, or move on.]

One positive thing that came out of this movie for me is that it makes me feel a whole lot better about aging ... because, I figure that the older I get, the less likely it is that I will ever have to worry about this kind of crap (dating) again?!  If something were to happen to Ken, or we were to split:  I think I'd choose to remain SINGLE.  I have NO desire to play the dating game again ... ever.  Takes too much patience these days -- from what I've seen anyway.  I feel for those out there, on the front lines, trying to survive and make it work in the dating game of today.  More power to you (and so glad it's not me out there)! !

So bottom line ... save yourself the $4.99 that it costs to rent to this disaster of a movie ... and spend your valuable time ELSEWHERE.

NEXT TOPIC ... someone asked me why I write my blog ... especially when I name people ... Do I expect that they will see what I write about them?

Answer: NO. They may see it; they may not. To me the latter point is irrelevant. Why? Because, I believe that if I take the time, thought and energy to put the words out there ... that the universe will deliver the good intention to whoever it is that I write about, whether they read what I have written directly or not. And whether that makes sense, or not, to the average persons' 5 basic senses ... that's what I truly believe.

On that note, I'm going on 3 hours sleep here and the words on the are starting to blur together.  Went to Erynn's last soccer this a.m. and Lauren's is later this evening.  I need many, many cups of tea between now and then, so having cleared my head a bit ... I'll sign off now.  Joyful day to you!  Hope its nice weather wherever you are.  It turned bitterly cold here and snowed/hailed last night.  The hail pieces are still intact on the ground even this afternoon ... its that COLD!  : {

11/16/09   I am afraid that my husband's neglect just might be my undoing ...

I still sleep in the music room most nights.  Actually, I shouldn't say sleep ... I should say stay.  But, I did sleep last night ... for awhile ... until I awoke from a very vivid dream ... and let's just say that my husband was not in it.

For some reason, Ken seems to only want me when I am not in the mood.  It's more of a challenge that way? When I am, he's not interested ... hence the mood I went to bed in last night.

Somehow, I will get through this?

P.M.  After a good 1.5 hour workout, and a chat with a friend, I'm feeling grounded again ... I don't know what the future holds ... I don't why things have happened in my life the way they have, but they have.  I'll keep hope and try to do what's best for my family, for my daughters ... but maybe I need to be open to what is a little bit best for me too?  Working on figuring out just what that is ... time away should help my perspective.  Talk to you when I am home again ... Peace ...

11/17/09  Packing ... but as I yawn and rub tired eyes, I think about the recent quote that I posted on my front page:

"No man when conscious attains to true or inspired intuition, but rather when the power of intellect is fettered in sleep or by disease or dementia; the prophet or genius is akin to the madman (Phaedrus, 244)." ~Plato


I smile and laugh ... thinking ... just because one is 'fettered in sleep' doesn't necessarily guarantee genius WILL result ... sometimes just a foggy tired mind is all you get ... : )  ... got COFFEE?

Joyful, joyful day to you ... I am joyful in anticipation of my first vacation -- recent trips to Texas were HARD work! -- away from home since having kids.

11/27/09  I'm home.  Flew home evening before Thanksgiving. 



Hate flying ... not so much the flying, but feeling claustrophobic trapped in the small cabin with all of those people!   It takes a lot for me to stay focused and not flip out, but the Big Guy upstairs watches out for me.  I kid you not, the last 5 times that I have flown now -- in a row -- I have  not had anyone immediately seated next to me.  And this, on relatively full flights (i.e., only 1 or 2 empty seats on the entire plane!).  If I'm in a window and there is no one in the middle:  the ride is not so bad for me.  So thank you God!  Your efforts on my behalf were sincerely appreciated!  : )

Good to be home.  Time away from home and responsibility truly did me good.  I feel refreshed.  When I came home, I found that I had been honestly missed and Ken was glad to see me.  Maybe time away made him realize what life without me would be like?  I've gotten lots of hugs, kisses, and caresses for no apparent reason since being home ... feels like when we first started dating.  Nice: I could get used to this. 

I wonder if men have an inate desire for the thrill of the chase ... maybe a hold over from early caveman days when men were the hunters?  They get bored when the thrill is gone ... or in their minds, they perceive that the thrill is gone?  The kids and routine settles in, and the walls begin to close in?  Well, I've got news for you men ... women feel that way sometimes too!  We may rank security and comfort high on our list of priorities, but we like a little excitement now and then too.  I guess, the key is just finding the way to communicate that to one another?

I was good while I was away ... did not cheat ... I had one opportunity, but it was not too hard to pass up.  I guess that I am a good girl at heart ... even though a BIG part of me wanted NOT to be ... for revenge mostly, I guess and to defy a stereotype that I feel has been forced upon me.  I'm sure that nagging desire to have other experiences will probably rear it's ugly head from time to time, no?  But I'll just deal with those moments as they arise.  For now, I am rested ... have a new perspective ... am happy to be home and have had lots of good lovin' from my husband ... so all is right with the world for now.  We'll see what tomorrow holds ...

11/29/09  I saw that a friend of mine, who initially said that he had doubts as to whether, or not, God even existed ... and if he did exist that 'he was mean mother f_ _ _ _ _', posted a quote from Miraim Williamson on his blog and on his facebook page that referred to the existence of a God, in that we are all children of God with our own inner light.  Wow!  That gives me hope for him.  I won't call him on it though.  Somehow, the right words, messages, and experiences in his personal life are getting through to him.  I'll just smile and continue to pray.  God bless you, Paul.  I am thankful for your insights and your friendship ... you've opened my eyes in many ways as well.  Know that I will be praying for you, your father, and your family especially this upcoming Monday.  I know that the surgery will go well.  Peace and blessings to you.    - M


11/30/09  Dante's 'Inferno' is proving an interesting and challenging read.  Kind of puts the fear of Hell and damnation back into you ... although, truth be told, I have a very different view on what Hell is and is not.  Still, what a fascinating mind the author of this epic poem has ... and perhaps a bit of self righteousness, with a rather large ego, dare I say?  I'm nearly at the end of the 'Inferno' -- reading 7 other books at the same time makes the read go a bit slower ... hard to read at night too (when I do most of my reading), as I have a very vivid imagination and reading this at night sometimes gives me the CREEPS!-- but, I feel compelled, at this point, to read right on to the very end of this 'Divine Comedy' ... though I've not yet seen much comedy in the pain and suffering of others in Dante's contrived Hell?


'Dante Conversing with Farinata degli Uberti', By William Blake (Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


Knowing a bit of history helps ... but I did have to do a bit of background reading on Dante in order to understand some of the people that he (the everyman) meets along his journey through Hell.  I'm learning quite a bit about allegory through this read.  It is also interesting how Dante weaves so much Greek Mythology into his city of Hell. I'll share more as I go along ... wish I knew someone else who was reading this at same time ... would to be FUN converse on.

I am also eager to know more about Dante's beloved Beatrice ...


'Beatrice Addressing Dante', By William Blake (Image Courtey of ArtMagick.com)


Have been giving some thought to events in my life of late and what my future holds.  I had said at one point, near the beginning of summer, that I would consider going to my high school (mulit-year) reunion ... I think now, however, that while I have been able to reconcile and come terms with a lot of things that have happened in my past ... I am not strong enough to physically go back and reconnect with people that were a part of that past.   So, I won't be going to the reunion:  Boston 2010.  I have tried my best to stay connected to those who mattered most to me from that time and that is enough for me.  I'll still pray for those who happen to come to my mind from time to time ... and I'll treasure fond memories of days long since gone ... but any more than that, I am simply not capable of.

P.M.  I am proud of Ken and me.  We came together, as a team, and successfully tackled putting 7 strands of lights on our massive 9 ft. (artificial tree).  Putting lights on the tree is never a fun task, but it has to be done.  I did the tree lights all by myself last year ... and part of me thinks that while it took longer to do the job all alone, that it was easier, in the end, than having to work with Ken.  We both have strong opinions and definite ideas as to how the lights should be put onto the tree. 

Things were dicey at first, but I was determined that putting up the tree was going to be a FUN family  experience this year.  My bad wrist was shot from cleaning out our storage shed (and our last material foothold in the state of Texas) in Texas last week, so I was in no shape to put the lights on all by myself  this year ... and Ken was not about to do the job all alone ... so that meant working together.  When it looked as if we were about to come to blows (verbally speaking), I decided to employ humor in an effort to diffuse the situation ... and to my surprise it worked ... we were soon both laughing and compromising.  Instead of me taking the better part of an afternoon to put the lights on all by myself, the two of us finished the job in under an hour.  Go figure?!  What a great exercise in marital compromise and teamwork.  : ) 

After the lights were up, the kids had fun reminiscing over ornaments that they had made, or selected for purchase ... and then hanging them on the tree.  Nice that the girls are old enough now to reach the higher parts of the tree, so I don't have to rearrange and move everything up -- after they've gone to bed : ).  So we're almost done with tree decorating and it's not even Dec. 1, yet -- a definite first for us!  Tonight we'll put the angel on top of the tree and add the strings of cranberries.  This is Erynn Jeanne's year to place the Angel Gabriel on top of the the Christmas Tree.  God Bless ALL families this time of year as they come together to share, bond, and celebrate this joyous time of year.

We finished 8:300 p.m., Nov. 30, 2009!  Yeah!  : )

Christmas 2009 'mini-miracle'

[Click on image to view album]


A Happy note to end this Secret Garden on.  : )

Saturday, September 16, 2006

California Does Something Right

Wow! Couldn't believe the news: "California Bans Use of Cell Phones While Driving."

California actually did something right (as in correct) and right (as in the opposite of left) and they did it FIRST -- one of the first states to do so.

I'm impressed. Wish our state would follow suit ...

HVP Lines & Kids Soccer Fields?

The city we live in has placed the sports complex -- where 2 of my children play soccer -- right under high voltage power lines! I couldn't believe it! And now, my oldest plays on a field within just a few hundred feet of these dangerous elecromagnetic field-generating lines.I wonder what the city planners and council were thinking when they made this BRILLIANT decision? Or IF they were EVEN thinking? I can't believe that with all of the lawsuits and research out there that these sports fields -- built within the last 5 years -- would be placed so close to the high voltage power lines?  Land near power lines is cheap, I guess, but low cost at what price? To my way of thinking:  no price is too high when it comes to the health and well-being of our children, our future.

Well, I hate to ruin my kids soccer playing experience, but I am definitely going to be doing some research of my own and asking some serious questions! I'll let my kids play for now, as games are only 1 hour, once a week --with practices held at a local elementary school. If my research turns up that playing underneath the high-voltage lines --even for only 1  hour per week-- is truly a health hazard:  my children won't be playing for THIS CITY anymore!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Monica: That Special Someone?

See Thursday, September 14th, below. Thanks!

Decorating Frustration!

All of the HYPE about decorating our homes in order to “express ourselves”, so that we can “live life more fully, surrounded by beautiful things that we love” has left me mentally and physically exhausted! Moreover, I am so uncomfortable with my "less than perfectly decorated" home that I seldom seem to find the courage to invite anyone over for a visit. I’m even loath to open the door for UPS or pizza delivery, seriously!  I don’t even have my extended family come over anymore these days; it's just too taxing for me to entertain: period.

Our house --which also comes with two large dogs & 3 creative, energetic little ones-- never seems to be CLEAN enough!  Sometimes, it seems almost as if I can spend a large portion of a day just picking up, only to sit down at the end of the day and see that most of my accomplishments, in the latter respect, have been completely undone. In this state of mind: who has time to think about expressing themselves with unique paint choices, decorative accessories and new furniture pieces?

But from time to time, I do find the mental and physical energy necessary to make small changes. The problem is, like most of us, I don’t have a lot of $$money$$ to waste working on "redecorating/decorating."  Thus, I try to be creative and do a lot of stuff on my own. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time either, and I have a bad wrist that acts up, from time to time, making it hard for me to sand furniture, etc. or to even hold a paintbrush. Hence, my house remains littered with lots of unfinished projects because I can't seem to clearly focus on where or even how to begin.  How about you?


Here are a few of mine:

(PHOTOS TO BE UPLOADED)

Photo 1: I steamed cleaned and recovered my "college couch", in a southwestern motif. I sewed new pillows and used leather straps to attach copper/bronze decorative embellishments. Current status: 1) still have 3 pillows to hand-sew the bottoms shut on; 2) The kids ripped one of the embellishments off – a 7-inch double-laced strap sewn through the entire cushion, from one side to the other. 3) A worn rope tooling to be applied across the bottom front.

Photo 2: I found two wooden pantry cabinets to place on either side of our "just married" entertainment center. I was able to stain – and almost match – one cabinet with the white-wash/antiqued finish I had applied onto the original entertainment center. The other cabinet remains to be completed.

Photo 3: I decided that I simply could not take “our everyone has one of these” country white and pine kitchen table and chairs – also from our "just married" days -- anymore and decided to paint it a southwestern red (“sienna”). The table part sanded and painted easily enough, but the chairs were impossible to sand and required 6 coats of paint in order to sustain the red color without the white underneath seeping through, even with primer? Needless to say the remaining 4 chairs are still white – CRINGE!

Photo 4: We found a sale on laminate flooring and my wonderful and talented husband replaced our 10 year-old, once-was-white-carpet with the hard wood --which I love! -- but the darker floor has necessitated changing the tops of our coffee table and two end tables. I completed the coffee table, but have yet to do the two end tables.

Photo 5: I tried adding a touch of color in my den a few years back, with a color I fell in love with on a trip to Italy, but  I was so tired and afraid of making a mistake that I did not come close to finishing this painting project for 2++ years -- feels like going to confession to get that off of my chest. And I’ve yet to finish painting around the coat closet and pantry – fortunately, I don’t see these when I collapse onto the couch at night. ; ) I like the color though: “lion’s mane” it is very warm and relaxing – especially at night when several small lamps around the room provide jump a warm glow of illumination.

Photo 6: A Black photo display frame, 18” x 24”, hung on wall. It still has photos of strange people from the store/factory. My daughter asks me all the time: “who are these people mommy?” (Q: Is there an easy way to get black and white photos? Changing color to black and white on my PC is lacking in color depth and dimension? Color photos would be tacky right?)

Well that is just my main living areas. I won’t even “show” the rest of the house to the general public, suffice it to SAY that my oldest daughter is probably ready to move beyond  “Winnie the Pooh” wallpaper, and we now have an entire (ugh!) dedicated play room for the kids and all of their toys (Dad’s former pool table/game loft) waiting for me to “decorate.” HELP! I asked my sister if I could paint it gray? She thought that bordered on child abuse ... But when I try to think of a “color scheme” all the colors and choices seem to turn to a sort of gray soup in my mind!?!

The playroom has beautiful aspen wood bookshelves – loving assembled by Dad … he is so handy and talented -- that need stain or paint or something? There is also an unfinished projects/tea party table – with no chairs yet – to be painted or stained. On the upside: the puppet theater that I made for the kids 3 years ago – a project I was actually able to finish! (yeah!) – now has a workable home.

So for the time being, I just smile and tell myself one day at time! God has a plan for me and right now it is to focus on my family. So I have my priorities straight, right? But, I do have hope for my "decorating downfall": I'll get there eventually. I have just recently started to work from home, so I am hopeful that this new working arrangement will somehow afford me a bit more time to complete some of my many projects and touch-ups required on a 10+ year-old home. I just wish, in the meantime, there wasn’t so much hype in the entertainment media and mainstream "mom/social" network to have the “perfect” home. It’s kind of lonely not ever feeling comfortable enough to invite anyone over: Can’t we all just lower our standards a little people?

Any constructive “decorating” suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Monica All Dressed Up!


Monica at Eileen's Wedding -- March 2006

Monica still searching for that special someone.  : )

That Special Someone?


Dear Oprah,

I have a wonderful friend. She is the sweetest person I have EVER met in my entire life! She is so honest, genuine, giving and caring to others. Monica has a wonderful personality, a great sense of humor, and she really listens to what others have to say.

Monica comes from a family of 6 children. She has an
older brother and 4 younger sisters. She is now 40
and celebrated the wedding of the last sister -- aside from herself -- in March of this past year, 2006. That sister, Eileen, is now pregnant and expecting a baby in February 2007. (Eileen is a close friend of mine too!)

Monica would make a wonderful mother, and she is
truly happy for her sister, Eileen, but I can tell that Monica is sad -- on the inside -- that she has not yet found a special somebody. She doesn't say it, but I can tell that she wonders -- at this point -- if she ever will find her special someone in time to have children and a family of her own.

Monica has tried numerous "dating services," but nothing has ever gone beyond a first date. Monica is a beautiful woman, but she doesn't take a lot of time to care for herself. Others and myself have tried to lovingly suggest that she try fixing her hair this way or that … or wear a bit of mascara, etc. She just laughs and says I have an allergy to this make-up or that, and I don't have the time, etc. No one really has the heart to just lay it on the line and say that she needs to spend more time on her appearance. I mean looks shouldn't really matter?

One night -- after Eileen's wedding -- my husband and I were talking about Monica, and in the course of the conversation: he says that as sweet as Monica is: "there has to be an initial spark ... a physical attraction that gets you beyond that first date ... that's just how guys are." Then he suggested that I "get her on the Oprah Show."

So here I am -- thanks to my insightful husband -- writing to you, Oprah, to see if you and the Oprah Show can help Monica to find a voice for the inner beauty, that shines so brightly, by helping her to show her outer beauty.

I've attached two recent photos of Monica:
1) the first is of Monica at her sister's wedding, where Eileen has had Monica's hair and make-up done for her (ABOVE:TOP CENTER) ;

2) The second is the normal everyday Monica: the face she shows the world ... a face that is beyond beautiful to those of us who know and love her, but one that is lacking in self-confidence to outsiders (TOP RIGHT).

Monica has a B.S. in Psychology and a Master's degree in Sociology. She works long and hard hours with underprivileged and challenged children in the XXXXXXXX public school system. Monica gives so much so others it would be nice to give something back to her and set her on the path to find her special someone.

Let me know if you can help me to help a wonderful friend and person who truly makes this world a better place to be: Monica!

Monday, September 11, 2006

God Bless America


When I see an American flag blowing in the breeze, I feel the power of our great nation in its rippling folds: The power to band together and carry on, even in the face of grave danger, as we've done so many times before.

September 11th has come around again. It has been 5 years and from signs seen and heard on TV, radio, and newspapers: we as a nation ARE healing.

I pray that the healing of post 9/11 continues and that God sends HIS blessings to ALL who have lost loved ones on this tragic day 5 years ago. May HE especially bless the children who have suffered as a result of the 9/11 tragedy.

May God bless those who have served, and those who continue to serve, our Country in the armed forces both at home and abroad. May God bless the families who have ALSO lost loved ones defending our country.

May God provide for the needs of families left behind while their loved ones go off to serve in dangerous places -- like Iraq and Afghanistan -- and may God bless these soldiers each day and bring them home safely to the ones that they love.

May God bless all who serve our country here at home: as police, firemen, coastguard, and in other important service roles.

May God bless our President Bush, his advisors, and all of the politicians who must make hard decisions in order to provide for the safety of our country and all U.S. citizens.

May God also bless the leaders of other foreign countries, like England, who are committed to fight the war against terrorism.

May God bless all people who practice the Islamic faith. May HE touch their hearts and help them to realize that violence and terror are not HIS ways. May HE give them the wisdom and courage to see through the lies of those that would use them in the name of religion to carry out the extremist Islamic terrorist agenda.

May all Americans awake each day and be thankful for all that we have. May God bless us and help us to PUT FIRST what really matters -- our famiies, our loved ones, our friends, and fellow countrymen. May HE help us to continue to strive to serve and give to others, each and every day, as so many did in the spirit of the aftermath of 9/11.

A website has been created for anyone wishing to log on and pledge to continue to serve others and help those in need:
www.mygooddeed.org

Why not visit today and make a pledge? We all have to work together to make America a better place, a place worthy of being called: "the land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE!"

God Bless America!

(And be sure to watch President Bush's address to the nation this evening!!!!! )