Monday, September 18, 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, 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

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

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

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.  : )

1 comment:

Dirt Dog said...

Absolutely wonderful . I certainly love the approach an answer to a cup of coffee an understanding an knowing the difference in texture granuals and the differences between a good an bad cup . you sound like a handful of a gal to enjoy with a delightful sence of humor . Great day to ya ! an happy blogging . I certainly am glad to run across yours .
surprising how in some days one can run across something that brings about a smile an a giggle enduring the unknown of a cup of coffee is special.
Cheers Dirtdog thanks once again !