Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, March 05, 2012

Crycare Crime

My stress level has been increasing by leaps and bounds since I learned we had been  kicked out of our healthcare program of 36 years, effective September 1, 2011. I found this out just last Tuesday when I tried to make an appointment to renew my BP medication at the MTF (military treatment facility) where we have been taken care of since October 2003. I have two more pills left and fourteen of another type that I still have from May of 2008 when it was decided I should stop taking them. I have no idea if those fourteen will control my BP until we find another PCM.

I'm sure it is going to turn out fine eventually and I just wanted to talk about it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Godspeed

Thinking about my children


You say goodbye,

smile proudly

as they stand there, so tall

with backpack, camera,

and you hand over a sandwich,

or a fresh peach,

and a lucky penny,

wishing, Godspeed.

You can't go with them,

hold their hand as they cross

whatever street they must

to school, train, or plane ---

or ocean, or midnight sky.

You can only watch,

feeling your heart beat fast,

still warmed from that last hug,

as they walk away,

looking smaller to you

as they grow

to full size on their own.

You swallow tears

arms already feeling empty,

and try to smile.

You think they might look back

for reassurance

or to wave excitement as their

newest adventure begins.

At last you turn,

go back inside

to whatever house you call home,

make yourself a cup of coffee or tea

and plan your own journey

to destinations unforeseen......



~~Lenore Horowitz~~

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Who Me?

Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, explains how to break through the shell that separates you from your true self.


Vanity and pride are what most of us tend to think of when we think of ego, but ego is much more than an overinflated sense of self. It can also turn up in feelings of inferiority or self-hatred because ego is any image you have of yourself that gives you a sense of identity—and that identity derives from the things you tell yourself and the things other people have been saying about you that you've decided to accept as truth.

One way to think about ego is as a protective heavy shell, such as the kind some animals have, like a big beetle. This protective shell works like armor to cut you off from other people and the outside world. What I mean by shell is a sense of separation: Here's me and there's the rest of the universe and other people. The ego likes to emphasize the "otherness" of others.

This sense of separation is an intrinsic part of the ego. The ego loves to strengthen itself by complaining—either in thoughts or words—about other people, the situation you find yourself in, something that is happening right now but "shouldn't be," and even about yourself. For example, when you're in a long line at the supermarket, your mind might start complaining how slow the checkout person is, how he should be doing this or doing that, or he failed to do anything at all—including packing the bag of the person ahead of you correctly.

When this happens, the ego has you in its grip. You don't have thoughts; the thoughts have you—and if you want to be free, you have to understand that the voice in your head has created them and irritation and upset you feel is the emotional response to that voice Only in this way can you be present to the truer world around you and see the golden shade in a pound of pears on the scanner, or the delight of a child in line who begs to eat them.The trick, of course, is to work to free ourselves from this armor and from this voice that is dictating reality.

Observe Your Mind

The first foundational step is to become aware of what kind of thoughts you habitually think, especially negative thoughts: irritation, anger, impatience and perhaps even some kind of sadness. You might, for example, complain about yourself, how useless you are. If you start to hear these repetitive thoughts, then you will suddenly realize, "I've been thinking these same thoughts again and again almost every day without really knowing it."

Distinguish Between the Voice of Ego and the Actual Situation

Awareness is the beginning of becoming free of the ego because then you realize that your thoughts—and the negative emotions they produce—are dysfunctional and unnecessary. For example, let's go back to the supermarket line. As you stand waiting, you aren't actually irritated because it's taking a long time to get through to the checkout, which is the situation. You are irritated by what your mind is telling you about the situation—which is that all this waiting is bad and a waste of your time. But you could actually be enjoying that moment if you say, "This is simply what is. There's nothing I can do about it, so why not breathe in deeply and look around and enjoy the world around me?"

Let Go of Limiting Stories

Sometimes the danger is not even pessimistic thought. If, for instance, you have been let go from your job, you might so resist being negative that you say, "It's a great thing that I lost my job!" That kind of willful optimism is not necessary. We hold on to the fairy tale of supposed happiness—that we should be happy. But this keeps you stuck where you are. Instead, try to describe only what is happening, without judgment: I do not have a job. I must look for one.

Bring In Your Awareness

When you see the difference between your voice and the reality of the situation, that's the beginning of awakening. This is often a moment—a flash that sizzles and disappears. Initially you still lose yourself again, and the old thoughts arise, but gradually, you gain awareness, and the dysfunctional thoughts subside. It's a gradual transition, this bringing in of your awareness, because the ego doesn't want to change. It doesn't want to disappear, so it will give you plenty of reasons why you cannot be present.

Lay Down Your Weapons

Your challenge will be to become more aligned internally with the present moment. Fighting with your ego by will just makes it stronger. By declaring war on it, you make an enemy. A simple example: You wake up in the morning, and it's raining and gray, and the mind says, "What a miserable day," and this is not a pleasant thought. You likely feel some emotion: dread, disappointment, unhappiness. You suddenly realize that your judgment of what kind of day it will be is based on a mental habit, an unconscious default. That simple awareness creates space for a new thought to emerge. You can look again out the window without that preconception and just see the sky. It's gray. There's some sunlight filtering through the sky. There are, perhaps, raindrops falling. It's not actually miserable at all. It has a certain beauty. Then suddenly, you're free. You're no longer imposing something on reality, and you're free to enjoy what, previously, you had rejected.

To learn more about the ego, overcoming adversity and creating inner peace and meaning in your life visit EckhartTolleTV.com.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Something's Fishy

There's a mouse in the house!
We heard noises inside our gas fireplace a week or so ago (I now think it was right after we had been going in and out the doors doing yard work). Being ultra sensitive, through the week I would feel movement or think I heard something out of place occasionally, but attributed it to the ice maker or golfers. Yesterday I was sitting at the computer in the office and just happened to look over my left shoulder into the living room. There, sitting in the middle of the floor was a fairly good sized mouse (an adult or teenager).

I immediately went into action. I opened the nearest door and started to scare the mouse out by stomping and moving furniture ever closer to the door. Then I moved stuff that could be hiding places, folded the sheers and curtains off the floor onto the window sills, took the cushions off the upholstered furniture and started to turn them over. Then I started checking other places and ended up doing a lot of sorting and rearranging that I've been meaning to do for quite some time. Eventually the living room also was rearranged. We have not found the mouse yet though. No telling what I may accomplish by the time we find the little creature.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Telling the Truth

"You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind,  your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you."

Frederick Buechner

Friday, March 11, 2011

Challenges

"I know for sure that in every challenging experience there's an opportunity to grow, enhance your life or learn something invaluable about yourself."

                                                                                Oprah

Monday, February 14, 2011

From my Valentine

I found this note next to the coffee pot when I got up this morning.

"For My Valentine,


As I thought back through our years together, back to the time when I first made the realization that I wanted to be with you always, I found while I admired and treasured the things you could do, it is the person you are that captured my heart. At the moment of discovering that, Where you are not - I would not feel alive, that I  realized I love you more than any other.


All my love this Valentines Day


Hupson"

I am thankful for this day, this life, this man*)

Friday, December 17, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ONE AND ALL



We have made a valiant effort to get organized for the holiday season early. How far are we willing to take this? We put up the Christmas lights for the first time in seven years in mid November. Christmas letter was written (being edited as I speak), added to addressed cards, stamped and sent before we received any (another first); gifts have been bought, wrapped, boxed and sent. I have even started decorating the house by setting a festive centerpiece on the dining table. We contemplated extending this level of frenzy into a major garage clean-out but prudently decided to “put that off” until a later date; after all we’re inspired, not crazy.

We celebrated our 34th Anniversary 6 days ago and my "I'm not saying" birthday 3 days ago. My husband brought me a beautiful bouquet of roses, took a day off work and wined and dined me on our anniversary. And I'll just say this birthday was the hardest birthday ever as well as the best one ever. I received a gift from my husband that blew my socks off. It was a large white ceramic rooster and hen that I had admired in a shop window in July. Soon after they disappeared and every time I passed the window I lamented not having gotten them while the 'gotting' was good. I teared up when when I opened the box and realized what it was. After I arranged them in my kitchen we went out to dinner to a bistro where our experience has always been excellent. This time we were seated in an empty section and basically ignored. The disappointment was swept away as soon as we got back home and I listened to the messages from my kids and grandkids. Even with the poor reception their voices and serenading warmed my heart.  

I have developed an interest in beading and now find myself spending countless hours engaged in my new hobby. He who knows teases me that I have more interest in sorting out the beads by size and color than in putting them together in a finished project, but bear in mind that this comes from the man who assembled 20,000 rounds of ammunition and hasn’t fired a gun in 7 years. There’s an old saying about a pot and a kettle…..


Actually, we have both done very well for ourselves this past year and haven’t faced any injuries or debilitating life experiences.Then a couple of weeks ago my husband went on day shift after a decade of swing. Coming into the light of day has been a difficult adjustment for me. I am just a half hour away from waking up before he leaves for work. I miss our ritual send off, so I no longer consider myself secure in my role as domestic goddess, providing a warm hearth and emotional stability when he stumbles home from work at 2:30 a.m.


In June, we traveled to the Washington D.C. area for a reunion with the guys my husband flew with from 1978 to 1981 in the 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Hahn AFB, Germany. I was amazed by all the faces I recognized but was unable to put a name to. My husband said that if he closed his eyes, it was just like he was thirty years younger. We also sandwiched in some time in the area with our friends N and J, and went sightseeing as well as visited the Smithsonian with friends from Hahn we've kept in contact with, J and B.


I volunteered to be the adult authority for my grandchildren for a week in July while their parents traveled to Chicago. My usual role as the doting grandma was in direct conflict to the one of being responsible for the children’s well being and finding that you must say “no” at times.


We also drove back in August to attend a cousin’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was a good visit with friends and family we haven’t seen in a long time.


And now we are looking forward to Santa!!!
Wishing you the best holiday season ever!!!!
With love
LZM

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Out of the Dark and into a New Light

The past five days have been quite traumatic for me. After almost a decade of living the life of a vampire our world has shifted. My husband has gone on day shift. I'm sure the enormity of this has caused a tremor somewhere in the world. Or maybe just in my world. It came about very unexpectedly and we only had a couple of days to adjust. I don't know how to behave.

So far he has left before I've been able to drag myself out of bed. I have progressively gotten up earlier and earlier though, so there's hope for me yet.

One nice thing has been that my evening meal tastes better because he is here to share it with me. Or maybe now I make better meals.

He falls asleep soon after he eats though, But he is still adjusting. We are both truly excited about this change and look forward to experiencing a little bit of normal again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I've just really been stagnate lately. In a state of mind that I'm not proud of. Thinking back, there have been some bright moments. For the most part though, I am wondering where the joy has gone. Seems I 've been stirring the soup pot of my life and have found all the good parts are gone and only the broth is left. So, perhaps it is time to visit my 100 Things About Me list that I started so long ago (3/22/07).

100 THINGS CONT. OR aLSO OR ?

1. I have paint watercolors that knock my socks off. Other peoples socks too. I could sell them, but I don't want to let them go.
2. I haven't done more than test new colors in about 9 months.
3. I used to get paid to do calligraphy.
4. I have been paid to sew garments for people.
5. I have won awards for knitting and cross stitch projects.
6. I was editor of an organizations monthly newsletter.
7. I was a newswriter for an organizations monthly newsletter.
8. I ran for Vice President of an organization and lost.
9. I wrote, directed and starred in several skits.
10. I was the star of my senior class play.
11. I would have flunked algebra if I hadn't transfered out of the class taught by the organist of the church I attended. I took business math and did well. I have always considered myself lousy at math, but my husband has tried to convince me otherwise. I have just recently started to believe him.
12. My brother hasn't spoken to me since August of 1999.
13.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

COFFEE

A good story..........


A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.


Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.


In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.


Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."


"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.


Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.


Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"


Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.


"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?


Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?


Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?


Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?


May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.


The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.


When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.


Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

There we were.




Bringing back the memories

Last month Hupsun and I flew to the Washington DC area to attend a reunion of the TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) where he (Hupsun) began his Military career 32 years ago in Germany.

We landed at Dulles in the dark, took the bus to our rental car, found our "Inn", then found a restaurant (that was just getting ready to close) and ate some food.

The next day, after the free breakfast at the "Inn", we drove to the home of my very dearest friend in the beautiful Virginia countryside. Her husband was Hupsun's boss at one time (which made her the bosses wife at one time). Very soon after our arrival we were amazed to realize that these two men, who we ordinarily have to pry conversation out of, were chatting with each other like magpies. We all had a wonderful visit.

I couldn't leave without visiting their cows though. And I downloaded a picture I took of them, but just lost it somehow:( The bunch they had the last time I visited were much more photogenic. But, that's understandable, because I spent a lot more time getting to know them.


I made Hupsun drive around R & K's neighborhood for awhile so we wouldn't be early to the pre-reunion get together. R & K were our "sponsors" (a couple assigned to help new couples) when we arrived in Germany 32 years ago.


"It is just as rude to be early as it is to be late", I told Hupsun.


Two other couples were already there. Three men met us at the door. I was amazed that they looked familiar to me. I knew that I had known them but I didn't know who they were. Kind of like when someone is guest starring on Law and Order and you try to remember where you know you know them from.


I recognized K immediately. She hadn't changed a bit. The whole evening was delightful.

The next day.......



Manassass battle ground.



Shanandoah scenic view.



I finally found a bear in the woods!



Fly boys (and one mystery woman), thirty years older and some of them have grown up! They all still do so much talking with their hands that you would have
thought they were all Italians.

Big boys racing!



At the Smithsonian Museum of American History. I think we're related!



Julia Child's cookbooks!



The coolest building I've ever seen in the United States of America!



Speaks for itself!



I like things from every angle.



We're walking, we're walking!
And now I am off for ten days to visit and babysit my grandbabies.














Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tired of looking at this

I have been attempting to post about our trip in May to DC. It took way too long to post the pictures correctly and am now having writers block.

SOON. If anyone is still interested.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

News

I'M PREGNANT!!!!!








April fool's!:-D






Wednesday, February 03, 2010

I had no idea that blogger would punish you for not posting for 90 days. I will be posting soon.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Life is still good, war is still not.

This is poignant and truly amazing.

Kseniya Simonova, 24, draws a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears, and she won the top prize of about £75,000. She begins by creating a scene showing a couple, sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear, and the happy scene is obliterated. It is replaced by a woman's face crying, but then a baby arrives, and the woman smiles again. Once again, war returns, and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman's face appears. She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier. This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house. In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside, and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye. The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population's being killed, with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million. Kseniya Simonova says: "I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art, especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings some audience members to tears. And, there's surely no bigger compliment." click on the link below - http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=vOhf3OvRXKg

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NO BAGS PLEASE

An environmental television program was so shocking to me that I immediately changed the way I dealt with the plastic in my life.

Before seeing this program I had a huge collection of both paper and plastic bags. I had taken plastic bags to the recycle bins some stores provide. I had started to opt out of some plastic bags when my purchases were easily manageable, joking that I was ‘saving little plastic men’. Now I refuse all new plastic bags when I shop with the exception of the produce bags for small multiple items like green beans or bulk goods. I am reusing my collection of plastic and paper bags until they are unusable. They will then go to the recycle bin. When the collection is depleted I will sew up some bags or make some out of used newspaper. See how here: Ro's Newspaper Bag Project

I have also become more aware of how plastic goes into my garbage cans. I will rinse out a plastic milk carton and use it to collect all the different bits of plastic that I once tossed away without a thought; the strips that are torn off lunchmeat packages, used ziploc bags, used plastic wrap, or I might corral all the days plastic in a used ziploc or empty plastic peanut butter jar, I also try to use storage containers (I have been a huge ziploc bag fan for a long time) more for leftovers and such, you get the idea. I have also stopped using plastic straws and bottled water.

When I refuse plastic bags now, I say, “I am trying to save our world one plastic bag at a time. Everyone can help in some small way. Perhaps the following facts from an environmental blog that I found will have you thinking twice about the plastic in your life.

Environmental Impact of Plastic Bags

More and more people around the world are becoming aware of the environmental issues surrounding plastic bags. Considering their somewhat placid appearance, the impact of plastic bags on the environment can be devastating. Here are some facts about the environmental impact of plastic bags:

  • Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistaken them for food
    The manufacture of plastic bags add tons of carbon emissions into the air annually
  • In the UK, banning plastic bags would be the equivalent of taking 18,000 cars off the roads each year
    Between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year
  • Approximately 60 - 100 million barrels of oil are required to make the world’s plastic bags each year
  • Most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade. Some figures indicate that plastic bags could take over 1000 years to break down. (I guess nobody will live long enough to find out!). This means not one plastic bag has ever naturally biodegraded.
  • China uses around 3 billion plastic bags each day!
  • In the UK, each person uses around 220 plastic bags each year
    Around 500,000 plastic bags are collected during Clean Up Australia Day each year. Clean Up Australia Day is a nationwide initiative to get as many members of the public to get out and pick up litter from their local areas. Unfortunately, each year in Australia approximately 50 million plastic bags end up as litter.

Fortunately, some governments around the world are taking the initiative to deal with the environmental impact of plastic bags by either banning plastic bags or discouraging their usage.

Perhaps you have some ideas on how we can help the world's plastic bag and garbage problem.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Strong Life Test for Women

My results:

Creator/Leader

Not surprised by my results.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Isolation

VISITORS

I was housecleaning my Email when I came across a thoughtful observation I had made to someone a while back. I have followed and admired this popular blogger for most of my blogging history. She certainly didn't need my advice, I was agreeing with hers when I posted the following parable.

"If you want visitors you have to answer the door, invite them in and entertain them. Devoted fans dwindle fast when you stop opening your door."

It has occurred to me that my blogging behavior is much like my life. I often don't answer my door (lots of good excuses, no good reason), seldom invite anyone in ( ) and therefor I don't have to worry about entertaining anyone.

I have been avoiding blogging and pretty much my life. Just wanted you to know.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Landscaping Chapter

SHOW AND TELL

I enjoy seeing 'before and afters'. You've shown me yours, and now, I'm showing you mine.

The process was fascinating and worth getting up at such an early hour (Early for me, since my usual bedtime is around four am). I didn't get up because the noise bothered me, but because I couldn't stand to miss something.
As you saw in the last post, the lawn was removed and the reusable rocks were gathered onto landscape fabric. Plants that would be replanted were put in pots.




My precious tree was pulled out. This I did not watch. The tree was a volunteer that I could see when I was at my kitchen sink. Birds loved it and it was sad to see them come back, sit on the fence and look quizzically in the direction of where the tree had been.

Also, on the same note, I watched the lizard that lived in the rock wall in back frantically scurrying around after his home had been disassembled. Yesterday I woke up to a bird in our living room, later in the afternoon we caught a cricket inside the house, and last night we chased a tiny mouse, without catching it, all over the house. We believe all this is happening as a result of the destruction of their homes and of our doors having been opened so often the past two and a half weeks.


And then the potty was delivered!
An area for the patio is graded and the foundation for a section of it is painstakingly built up.


At the same time the rock retaining wall along the golf course is deconstructed, graded, landscape fabric laid and the rock wall reconstructed. It was a weeding nightmare without the fabric. Plus, gophers were having a party with the lizard there.


The pavers are laid making the porch wider and more usable. Monday a handyman is coming over to start work on putting a sliding patio door in where the window visible in the picture is. Then we will have better access to our more usable porch and new patio.


The dry creek bed is shaped. The boulders are carefully maneuvered into place with difficulty and my guidance. Then it is filled in with river rocks. I spent some time after the workers left and on the weekends rearranging rocks so they look more natural and will continue to do so.
A Red Sunset Maple and a small broom are planted.
A white, fragrant Lemoine lilac and yellow daylilies are planted beside a couple of dinasaur eggs.
The back is complete.
Our lavender lilac is replanted to the opposite side of the porch to screen the porch and a mugo pine is planted to screen the neighbors utility boxes.
Hostas are planted in the continually shaded area under the front entry because I love them!
Hostas are planted in the continually shady area under the front entry because I love them.
A juniper and some lambs ears are added to the front plantings and then the small river rocks. And then, TA DAH!!
The landscape project is completed. The landscapers think there should be more plants in the front. I have always been a rock freak and like the serenity of the expanse of all the rocks. I also, don't want to obscure the view or use more water. After all, we live in the desert.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Xeriscaping our yard





THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING BIG
(In a small space, anyway!)



It isn't easily discernible, but, the front yard is peppered with piles of dirt created by gophers as they tunneled their way under our lawn. The lawn is that lovely shade of yellow because our sprinkler system has been messed up since fall.
The weeds are a result of......well.....neglect.....pure, lazy and shameful neglect. Why are most of them so green and healthy?

This is our porch, which we never use because there is no direct access to it. It is really the only area of our yard where we can create a pleasant, private area to use. We seldom sit on the front porch which is on the north side, and in 4 and a half years we have sat on the tiny back patio maybe twice. The patio is on the golf course and also the south side. So, even if we were willing to dodge the golf balls, the sun makes it uncomfortable to use. So, we hope to address it all with pavers and xeriscaping.

I created several plans. I obsessed. We visited several landscapers. I obsessed. When we recovered from the bids we were given, we selected one. I obsessed. I am still obsessing. So many decisions. I obsess over every single one, then worry I may have made the wrong decision. At the same time I am chanting that it is all going to work out perfectly. I'm talking dogs and new tricks here now.

Work began quite unexpectantly Monday. I will explain and post pictures soon.

Monday, May 04, 2009

SPILT CREAM

Yes, I dropped a quart of cream, the top flew off and coated my shirt, created a waterfall of cream dripping down the side of the cupboard and created a white pond on the vinyl floor.

I was attempting to distract myself from the project I was working on by fixing myself another cup of coffee. I figure that the spillage was an unpleasant reminder that I had limited myself to one cup of coffee a day.

So, I came in here to check my email instead and found out I had a new comment on my blog from z. Thrilled, I went to my blog to read it and decided to post. So, in the end I have distracted myself from my project as well as avoided extra cream calories!

The project I am distracting myself from is xeriscaping our yard. I must make a decision as to which landscaper we should have do the project. Since deciding to buy a sofa that turned out to be more uncomfortable than a bed of nails, I haven't had much confidence in my ability to make decisions. I have it nailed down to two. Any suggestions on how to make this expensive decision?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Miss Me?

What's Up?
I have been thoroughly depressed about using a computer since returning from our trip to Seattle last month. I was looking forward to blogging about our trip when I turned on the laptop computer for the first time in over a week, clicked on Bookmarks, and there were none. Tried our main computer. Same thing. I have been pulling out my hair since then.

While working on it today I noticed that I only have 8 more posts until my 100th. You know, the one where you post 100 things about yourself. If I post this,it will only be 7!!

I am in the process of making positive changes.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fastinating

I just watched this video on beth's blog and think it is so fascinating that I wanted everyone to see it. http://callibeth.blogspot.com/ (Schroll down and click on the January 29 U Tube post) How'd they do that?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

z at http:razorbladeoflife.blogspot.com generously assigned me the letter S. I couldn't believe my luck. I couldn't wait to follow the meme instructions which are.......



You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it on your blog.Then people leave comments on your post and you assign them letters and the cycle begins once more.



Letter S.



1. I love the letter itself. S is so spindly, spirally, sassy, smooth and need I say sexy (I'll probably say that a lot in this meme).



2. I love the letter S so much that the name of my first born, who I love, begins with the letter S and who was born in San Diego, a city I love and that also begins with the letter S. Those who know S will agree that she is a a sensational ray of sunshine.



3. I love my son. He is simply sterling, amazingly talented and skill full at putting things together and solving problems. Supportive, sentimental , straightforward and sensitive.



4. I love my spouse. Such a smart, selfless, sharing, successful, sound man of substance. He is occassionally; somber, silent, sometimes silly and always super sexy.



5. The first word that came to mind when I read that z had given me the letter S was succulent. I love the word and use it a lot when appropriate, like when I encounter foods like succulent crab, chicken, pork; things that are so tasty and juicy that you want to suck them into your mouth until you explode. Savory is another delightful taste sensation that I love; savory sauces, seasonings and spices that bring ordinary ingredients to a higher level of sumptuousness. It is all quite sensual if you ask me. So sensual that some succeed to the level of orgasmic. I know that doesn't start with an S, but it brings us to......



6. I love sex. Get that surprised look off your face. I know you were expecting it. Start with someone special whispering sweet words in your ear, then, softly touching your bare skin with the tips of their fingers. Lips softly skimming the point of your nose, your cheeks and perhaps your chin and forehead before succumbing to the hungry desire to connect with the succulence of your lips. Soon buttons and zippers will be impatiently maneuvered off and more serious touching and kissing starting. The skillful savoring of lips on your sensitive places can take you to another succulent level, where supple hands might start suggesting secluded islands where satisfaction can be found with a silky stand of splendid attention. (That was purely gratuitous!)



7. I love smooth silky stationery. Until I started blogging, I constantly filled marvelous journals of smooth and creamy paper, with wide lines (that are preferably not harsh black), with all kinds of thoughts and plans. And I would usually write with a fountain pen and a lovely color of ink to suit my mood.



8. I love to shop. For me that doesn't mean that I love to spend money. On the contrary, I love to save money when I patiently wait for something that I want or need to go on sale.



9. I loved the book "Sophie's Choice" as well as the movie starring the spellbinding Ms Streep.



10. I love spellcheck.



There are my favorite S's. What a lovely letter to be assigned. Thank you z. If anyone else wants to be assigned a letter, let me know.

January 24, 2009 2:03PM

Friday, January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, painter of American landscapes, dies at 91

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Andrew Wyeth's 1948 painting "Christina's World."


I am deeply saddened by this news. For many decades I have been a fan. Over a decade ago I first visited the Brandywine Museum in Pennsylvania where I was emotionally overwhelmed by Andrew Wyeth's temperas and watercolors. Since then I have imagined myself meeting him there, perhaps sitting on a bench watching the Brandywine River float by, and having him mentor and admire my own work. Now, that dream has died.

By Mark Feeney
Globe Staff / January 16, 2009

Andrew Wyeth, whose evocations of a timeless rural present along the Maine coast and in Pennsylvania farm country made him America's most popular living artist and whose 1948 painting "Christina's World" became one of the most famous artworks of the 20th century, died today.

Wyeth, who was 91, died in his sleep in his home in Chadds Ford, Pa., after a brief illness, the Brandywine River Museum said in a statement.
Perhaps no American painter has ever had as strong a hold on the popular imagination as Mr. Wyeth did over the course of his seven-decade career. As the critic Brian O'Doherty once noted, "Wyeth communicates with his audience, numbered in millions, with an ease and fluency that amounts to a kind of genius."
One mark of Mr. Wyeth's special status is how often he was summoned to the White House. He was the first artist to receive the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1963. Richard Nixon held an exhibition of his paintings and dinner in his honor in 1970. In 1990, he was the first artist to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. President George H.W. Bush, presenting the award, noted that Mr. Wyeth's work "caught the heart of America."
Yet Mr. Wyeth's popularity never translated into critical acclaim. Although rarely dismissed outright, Mr. Wyeth was seen as a peripheral figure, at best, and an artistic anachronism. "They are just sort of colored drawings," the critic Hilton Kramer once wrote of Mr. Wyeth's paintings, "illustrated dreams that enable people who don't like art to fantasize about not living in the twentieth century."
Mr. Wyeth's shaky standing with the art establishment was underscored in 1986 when it was revealed he had spent 15 years secretly painting a neighbor, Helga Testorf. News of "the Helga Paintings" made the covers of both Time and Newsweek. Time's art critic, Robert Hughes, voiced the art-world consensus when he mocked "the great Helga hype" and dismissed the resulting exhibition of the artworks as "an avalanche of Styrofoam and saccharin."
Mr. Wyeth was the most famous member of one of America's most renowned artistic families: His father, N.C. Wyeth was a noted muralist and book illustrator; his son, Jamie, is a highly regarded realist painter.
Jamie Wyeth once likened his father's work to that of the poet Robert Frost. "At one level, it's all snowy woods and stone walls. At another, it's terrifying. He exists at both levels. He is a very odd painter."
Much of that oddness had to do with a kind of self-imposed mutedness: of tonality, emotion, subject. Mr. Wyeth once described his approach to art as "seeing a lot in nothing." There is a sense of almost-palpable restraint to his work, of a sought-after narrowing of visual possibility.


That narrowing begins with locale. All of his work is set in the vicinity of two places: Chadds Ford, where Mr. Wyeth was born, grew up, and as an adult lived seven months of the year; and Cushing, Maine, where for most of his life he summered. (Mr. Wyeth later moved nearby, to Benner Island.) Other than a trip to France and England in 1977, he never left the United States, and only rarely did he venture beyond "Wyeth country" at home.
Your favorite Andrew Wyeth painting?
Mr. Wyeth painted in a consistently dry, austere style. Starting in the 1940s, he preferred to paint in tempera, a process that suspends pigments in egg yolk rather than oil. Tempera, he once said, allowed him to avoid painting "a picture that looks like a painting. People who like the paint surface don't understand what I'm doing."
There was nothing excessive or inessential in Mr. Wyeth's work. He strove for an almost-mannered simplicity. The mythic emerges from the specific in his work. "I've often said, ‘If I was really good, I could have done the field in "Christina's World" without her in there.' The less you have in a subject, the better the picture is, really."
In form as well as content, Mr. Wyeth's painting is unemphatic, uninflected, even-toned. "My work is very subdued in color," he said in a 1997 interview with CBS' "Sunday Morning," noting his fondness for earth tones. Both visually and spiritually, his temperas and watercolors are the painterly equivalent of sepia-toned photography: His barns and fields and no-tech interiors provide a pre-patinated sense of the past.
This pairing of ostensible contemporaneity with seeming distance in time helps account for the unsettling quality Mr. Wyeth's work can often possess. The Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko once remarked, "Wyeth is about the pursuit of strangeness."
Rothko added, however, Mr. Wyeth "is not whole as [Edward] Hopper is whole." The comparison was not gratuituous. In its prevailing air of human isolation, Mr. Wyeth's work bears an obvious kinship to that of Hopper, who was a friend. Hopper is one of three artists whose work can be seen as, in a sense, triangulating with Mr. Wyeth's. The others are Winslow Homer, with his restrained palette; and Norman Rockwell, with his easy accessibility and tendency to nostalgize.
Such an anomalous group suggests how difficult it can be to assess Mr. Wyeth's work. It's notable that the owner of "Christina's World" is New York's Museum of Modern Art, the most influential institution in the 20th-century art world. As for Mr. Wyeth's allegiance to representation (and not an especially innovative form of representation), he once declared, "I'm a pure abstractionist in my thought."
The youngest of five children, Andrew Newell Wyeth was born on July 12, 1917, in Chadds Ford. His parents were Newell Converse Wyeth and Carolyn (Bockius) Wyeth. His father had moved to Chadds Ford to work with the celebrated illustrator Howard Pyle.


A frail child, Mr. Wyeth left school just two weeks into first grade. He received the rest of his education at home. Mr. Wyeth's art teacher was his father, and he'd spend hours drawing and doing watercolors. "I played alone, and wandered a great deal over the hills, painting watercolors that literally exploded, slapdash over my pages, and drew in pencil or pen and ink in a wild and undisciplined manner," he said in a 1976 interview with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Thomas Hoving.
American artist Andrew Wyeth's paintings
The Wyeth family spent their summers in Needham, where N.C. Wyeth had been born. They began to go to Port Clyde, Maine, when Mr. Wyeth was 10. Mr. Wyeth once described the look of Maine as "all dried bones and dessicated sinews." In 1998, the Farnsworth Center for the Wyeth Family in Maine opened at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine.
Specializing in watercolors and landscapes, Mr. Wyeth had his his first one-man exhibition in 1937, when he was 20. He met Betsy Merle James on his birthday, in 1939. They married a year later. That same day in 1939, she introduced Mr. Wyeth to her friend, Christina Olson.
Along with her brother, Alvaro, Olson would become one of Mr. Wyeth's favorite models. Their Pennsylvania counterparts were a farming couple, Karl and Anna Kuerner.
Mr. Wyeth's painting of Christina Olson, unable to walk because of a childhood bout with polio, crawling through the fields toward her 18th-century farmhouse, would sell for $1,800 and become one of the most reproduced images of the last century. Now the property of the Farnsworth Museum, the Olson farm was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It's the only site placed on the list for being the subject of an artwork.
The death of Mr. Wyeth's father, in an automobile accident in 1945, marked a major personal and professional transition in his life. "When he died, I was just a clever watercolorist — lots of swish and swash," Mr. Wyeth said in a 1965 Life magazine interview. "I had always had this great emotion toward the landscape, and so, with his death ... the landscape took on a meaning — the quality of him."
One of Mr. Wyeth's best-known images is "Winter 1946," a tempera showing a boy racing down a hill. On the other side of that hill was the railroad crossing where his father had died.
Mr. Wyeth had always been intensely private, which made the brouhaha surrounding the paintings of Testorf all the more striking. Not even Betsy Wyeth had known of their existence. Asked what they were about, she gave a one-word answer, "Love." Was her answer born of jealousy — or calculation? That answer, combined with Wyeth's secretiveness and Testorf's ripely Nordic sensuality, lent a not-so-faint whiff of sexual scandal to the news.
Mr. Wyeth sold 240 renderings of Testorf in 1986 to a Pennsylvania businessman for $6 million. In 1990, the businessman sold the paintings for an estimated $45 million.
"What the Helga?" a 1986 New Republic headline asked. The next year, the paintings began a lengthy museum tour, including a stop at the Museum of Fine Arts, in 1988. It opened at the National Gallery, in Washington, where Mr. Wyeth became the first living American artist to have an exhibition. In 1980, he had become the first living American artist to have an exhibition at London's Royal Academy.
Mr. Wyeth received the gold medal for painting of the National Institute for Arts and Letters in 1965. In 1977, he became the first American painter since John Singer Sargent to be inducted into the French Academy of Fine Arts. President George W. Bush awarded him the National Arts Medal in 2007.
"All I can say at the end of my life is that painting has been my one interest, nothing else but art," he told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 1997.
In addition to his wife and son Jamie, Mr. Wyeth leaves another son, Nicholas, an art dealer, of Cushing; and a granddaughter.
Funeral plans were not immediately announced.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DON'T MISS THE JOY!

Can I get any sadder. I'm remembering that this once was a happy time when excitement and anticipation filled my heart. It has become a time to feel sorry for myself.

When I was growing up we were real poor. We rented a small house from, and next door to, the landlords, who weren't poor and who lavished their four grandchildren with gifts every Christmas. I helped shop, wrap, decorate, clean, cook, serve, pass out gifts, and collect the discarded wrappings. I was also filled with great envy. When I had children of my own, I tried to assuage that envy by lavishing them with gifts every Christmas. Every year my husband would look at the beautifully wrapped gifts piled high around our Christmas tree and would say, "Too much!" or, "You're sure showing them landlord kids." When my children left home, I tried to keep it up from afar. It just isn't the same.

I began to rock as the tear neared my right jaw line and another tear broke out of the corner of my left eye. Noticing the tears, my mind turned away from the sad thoughts I'd been dwelling on. I grabbed a tissue from a nearby box and wiped the tears away.

"I'm imagining that everyone else in the world is smiling. How ridiculous. I have chosen to feel sorry for myself and I can chose differently!" I thought as a spark of joy started to grow.

I think I will have myself a happy new day! After all, it is almost the most wonderful day of the year and I don't want to miss it by feeling sad!