Monday, October 30, 2006

Oh! The Possibilities!

We have a "guest bedroom" which I eventually decided was ridiculous. We have an overnight guest maybe once a year so about 364 days out of the year, it is unoccupied and yet our office is an overflowing MESS. For a while I kept begging to convert that room into a studio, rather than have my studio share our existing office space. For reasons I won't get into, this idea just wasn't flying with the other member of this little family!

Then I just started thinking to have two offices- Yes. Sounding better. Why I don't know, but that idea wasn't met with quite as much aversion.

And then rather than calling mine an OFFICE, I decided, "let's just call it a hobby room." That sounds SO appealing. My vision is books EVERYWHERE, a cozy spot to write, a spot for guitar lessons, a place to create whatever it is I'm into creating at the moment. Nothing serious, just creative and fun.

So yesterday, my dad picked up my guest bedroom furniture to use at his house. Everybody wins! My furniture is stored safely, and he's putting it to good use!

And now, the canvas is empty, so to speak. There is not ONE stitch of furniture or anything in the room. So WHERE do I begin? I've wanted to do this for so long it seems and now I really have no idea what to do with it?

I went up to Home Depot to get paint color ideas. I looked up some decorating magazinzes while I was there. I looked at books with home office space. OH NO. Not my deal. Sort of like when I got a laptop and to get the typical computer bag was just an insane option for me. A Hello Kitty backpack made WAY more sense. Who says you don't look professional and grown up with a pink Hello Kitty bag strapped to your back? Huh?!

So sticking true to "What do I really want my hobby room to look like?"...I found some ideas in the books for decorating kids rooms. One that had pink walls with red hot flowers and bright colors everywhere. Colors and images that truely INSPIRE. My husband will absolutely kill me when he hears of my plans. But if I'm going to all this trouble, why not make it JUST RIGHT? I'm not rushing into anything. But this is my initial vision...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fit What You Are Ready For

It's funny. Sometimes I actually BUY books. (Usually, I'm a proud and frequent user of the Dallas Public Library.) When they seem like they might possibly change my life I'm more than willing to throw down the cash. But what happens most of the time is because I have more than 3 weeks to read these, they sit around staring at me while I finish up on my current library books, and then eventually they make their way to my bookshelf, unread. But then eventually, when the time is right, they get read.

Sometimes it's months later, sometimes YEARS.

Last year when the paperback edition of the 10th anniversary edition of "Wherever You Go There You Are" came out I bought it. I was toying around with the idea of meditation even then I guess. But apparently, I wasn't quite ready for it because the book ended up on the bookshelf.

But lately, thoughts of that book keep coming to mind. Oddly. I think I keep dreaming about it even! Coincidentally I just finished my final meditation class of an 8-week series today. Last night I started flipping through the book. I got it out barely remembering that it was about meditation and mindfulness. This time when I read a few chapters I was completely sucked in. Now I have a reference point. Now mindfulness and meditation practice isn't so very foreign to me and I have a greater interest because I know at least a LITTLE something about them.

The introduction said:
"Each of us has to chart our own course, and it has to fit what we are ready for...
You certainly have to be ready for meditation. You have to come to it at the right time in your life, at a point where you are ready to listen carefully to your own voice, to your own heart, to your own breathing-just to be present for them and with them, without having to go anywhere or make anything better or different. This is hard work."

You bet it is! Maybe I wasn't ready for this book when I bought it, but I'm pretty sure I am NOW. It seems interesting to me that I must have planted the seed of interest somewhere last year regarding meditation and I just barely remember it. I'm pretty sure it was right before or right after Mom died. I knew I wanted to be reflective, find some new tools to help me thru life, etc. I'm sure my mind was in a place where, had I already HAD a meditation practice it would've been helpful, but diving into it knowing nothing about it would've been grueling. But I knew enough to buy the book. I guess I knew eventually this book would be good for me. Now is the time. Now it seems to fit.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Screech Him to a Hault!

I am happy to say I was never a fan of "Saved by the Bell". I don't think I ever knew it existed until it was just a thing of the past. But now the cast of charactors seems to show up from time to time on VH1 or MTV shows like "Where Are They Now".

But a month or so ago on "The View", I saw the guy who was supposedly the "dork" of Saved by the Bell (named Screech), who is now a grown up and he has a very adult film star name like Derek Diamond. I was completely grossed out by his attempts at ripping off the public and attempting to get free money.

His sad story went something like this: Even though he was on a hit show for years, he somehow has no real money to show for it. Boo hoo. Now poor Screech, A.K.A Derek Diamond is in jeopardy of losing his house!!! Something about the loaner of his mortgage called in the loan and this guy Derek is now having to come up with the cash or he will be homeless. So he wasn't just asking for money, he was selling these ugly shirts that say something like "I helped Screech save his house." I hope no one contributed. I don't remember the details but it all just seemed very wrong and he seemed to be taking sick advantage of his child star fame. The hosts of THE VIEW didn't seem to buy into his stupid story either.

And now this guy is back in the news. "Someone" leaked a video of him and two girls...I was right about the Derek Diamond-adult film star thing. At first, he was going to sue!!! But then decided rather than spend his hard earned dollar fighting it, he'd instead share in the profits of the video sold. He also made some statement about "this would be a lot worse if I were a small man." Oh, okay Tommy Lee. Whatev. EWWWWWW.


Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm Good Now

Today was the last day of my Physical Therapy for my neck. I didn't know this walking in. I never knew exactly how the whole prescription thing works, but evidently I had 3 times a week for 4 weeks. And today, my days were UP.

I know the timing was just right. I'm feeling WAY better. Most definitely, and very happily, on the winding road to "recovery". Now I have all the stuff to take care of my neck at home. I've got my own heating pad, I now have my own mechanical traction device (oh boy!), I know what stretches to do, and I have certain little excersizes specifically to safely build the strength around my neck. Some days are better than others- And that is speaking for many levels of life.

I really wonder if I had another MRI done now if it would look as scary as it did a month ago. Have things shifted? They must have. I also wonder and will never know I guess, would my body have healed itself anyway? I know that the body is always trying to heal. I'm glad I found the right people to help me help my body get there as soon as possible.

So now my neck is more or less back to it's "normal"... But I suspect it's going to get better and better because NOW I'm being proactive. Pain is a signal to do something. Thanks for the warning, Body. I'm good now...

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Magic of R & R

Speaking of sleep cycles, rest and relaxation (please refer to the current burning question!) I must tell you my secret for fighting a cold.

First of all: I AM KNOCKING ON THE WOOD TABLE BESIDE ME as I write this. I hope that after posting this, I don't come down with the worst cold of my life, or the flu, or whatever...

Secondly: I've been lucky, if there's such a thing as luck and I don't necessarily think there is, to have not been sick in I can't even remember how long. Years.

So yesterday when my throat felt a little funky, and I myself felt a bit funked out as well, I thought, "Oh well. I was bound to catch a cold sooner or later." I also happened to be at a Wellness Fair and I had a tongue consultation done (Yes, I just said "Tongue Consultation" in the same way someone else might say MRI) and I was told I had some phlegm issues. Ah ha! Yes, we were all in agreement. I was probably coming down with a cold. BTW, she also told me the side of my tongue was "flabby" and that this meant I had some liver and pancreas issues. I have been looking at my tongue in the mirror constantly and asking my husband, "Does this lipstick make my tongue look fat?"

Anyway, I woke up this morning and my throat felt more than "funky". It felt scratchy and sore. Always my beginning symptom of a bad cold.

So I made the BOLD decision to cancel all of my very important appointments, meetings and just clear this busy schedule of mine for today.

I ate sweet potato pancakes for breakfast. I watched some tv in the morning. I wrote in my journal. I read my chapter for my Artist Way class and did all of the tasks. I sat in front of the fire. (I'm pretending it's really, really cold outside.) I took a mid-day bath. I put on my fleece pants and sweatshirt. And I played around with my guitar and started figuring out some Christmas carols. (It maybe too early for normal people, but as a musician, I sort of need a jump start on getting the holiday songs worked out, so forgive me!)

Maybe I'm speaking too soon, but this day of complete "Doing What I Want and Nothing Else!!" seems to be paying off. My throat isn't's BETTER! I feel pretty good. Now that it's almost 2:45, it's just about nap time. I know the power of naps. I'm not talking a power nap here. I think I'll get up just in time to take a little walk in my neighborhood before the sun goes down. Then I better call it a day!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

There's Still Time to Make it.... the Texas State Fair if you haven't already been. It runs thru this Sunday. I finally went yesterday.
Let me tell you my highlights, and of course, I won't be able resist the lowlights as well.

1. Birds of the World- THE BEST show out there. These people have raised tons of money to protect some really cool birds and they've brought many to this show. Hawks that soar so close you better watch your head!! And a parrot that can sing "Yankee Doodle Dandy", and "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" in it's entirety. The birds were beautiful and the show was breathtaking! I've seen it before and I will see it every year I go to the fair!

2. Barn Tour- This is NOT your average petting zoo! I got to see a gray kangaroo mommy with a baby in her pouch! I don't think I've ever seen that in real life before! They also had a giraffe, some ostriches, emus, llamas, pigs, sheep, calves,....Lots of beautiful, cute and so-ugly-they're-cool animals.

3. African Acrobats- These guys started off annoying me because they were doing a lot of pretend fighting among each other, but after they warmed up, the did inventive flips and jumps over, under and on top of each other.

4. Top Flight K9s- AWESOME!!! Frisbee catching like I've never seen! Lots of different dogs all with unique tricks and personalities.

5. Pig Races- No, they aren't very fast. This was sad really. Very redneck-y.

6. Chef Sergie the Italian Juggler- Hands down the MOST ANNOYING GUY AT THE FAIR!!!! Rather than speaking about his mostly lame juggling tricks he constantly blew a whistle. By the time his 10 minutes wre up I wanted to shove his whistle up his ...!!! Drove me NUTS!!

7. Marilyn Monroe- Listed as a "show". However, a Marilyn look-alike just posed for pictures. I was expecting her to sing or something... So I was sorely disappointed. Just go check out the butter sculpture of her instead! Also, in the Women's Building you can see a lot of Marilyn memorabilia including gowns from lots of movie premieres that she appeared in.

8. People watching at the Fair is always of interest to me. Loads of people, altho nothing compared to the weekends I'm sure.

There's lots to see and do. And if you're into Turkey legs, fried coke, cotton candy, etc. there's tons of horrible stuff to eat.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Paying Attention

The other day after my meditation class, I asked the teacher about Ayunveda because he had referenced it a few times. It has to do with the way he eats, sleeps, and the whole rhythm of living a life balanced with nature. Since he's a runner, a yogi, and a meditator- he's my new mentor, altho he doesn't know it. So I just want to learn about the things he practices. He seems so healthy and balanced.

Anyway, I looked at some books about Ayunveda and was overwhelmed by how complicated it was. To the point of thinking, "oh well, whatever, that's just HIS thing, but it's way too complicated for ME."

But later that same day I noticed a short article about the subject popped up in my Yoga Journal. Then yesterday I got a little literature in the mail about wellness and one of the topics was a brief overview of Ayunveda!!! I had never even heard this word until a few weeks ago, but now that it's piqued my curiousity, it seems to be popping up everywhere.

It's like when you start shopping for a certain type of car and then you see them EVERYWHERE.There aren't more of them on the road than there were the day before, but now you're paying attention and so you're seeing them in such abundance.

Anyway, it just seems like the universe sometimes is really trying to help you out when you feel like giving up on something.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mutts, Mystics, and Moonpies

What a FUN day at the park!
I performed at a fundraiser for dogs, set up by a lady who rescues Weimaraner's, at White Rock Lake today.
It was so much fun. I got to sing for about an hour while I watched all sorts of beautiful, big, small, cute and even some costumed dogs walk by.
Some dogs had there paws (palms) read. I had my Runes read. (telling that I have a BIG year ahead of me, BTW) We got to watch dogs compete in a Frisbee catching competition. There were all sorts of vendors there. And it was a beautiful day! Some of my friends showed up...New friends and old friends.
They had t-shirts printed up and all the sponsers were listed on the back. And they put MY NAME on there! And it looked so cute because they took it off my website, so it was pink with honeybees!
The person who organized it was just as nice I knew she would be based on our voice mails and emails back and forth prior to the event. She made me feel so valued and appreciated!
I hope they raised lots of money! I know all people and their best friends had a fun day.

Livin' Lavena Loca Part 2

Last weekend I decided to spend my Sunday baking cookies and then delivering them to my favorite neighbors. And of course, the cookies I chose to bake were the Livin' Lavena Loca cookies. I followed her directions. As the cookies baked, the smell of the almond extract filled my kitchen and thank GOD!, my whole house.

But when the buzzer went off about 10 minutes later, my little crescent shaped cookies had melted into one large flat piece of melted butter that covered the entire cookie sheet. Still, I tasted them. And they tasted DAMN good. However, something had clearly gone very wrong during the baking process and these were unsharable. So I ate a few inches, until my stomach hurt from all the butter involved.

I threw the rest away and decided I was way too exhausted to start over from scratch...NO PUN INTENDED. Baking day had come to an end.

On Thursday, I went into Potbelly and my friend, Missy, the Boss Lady of the place held up her version of the cookies she had baked after reading my blog. Her's were no where NEAR as flat as mine had been, but they weren't as rounded as Lavena's either. We discussed what might have gone wrong. Her's were still delicious, just didn't look quite as pretty as Lavena's. But I was so flattered that a) she's a reader of the blog and b) she baked the cookies and shared some of them with ME!

Well, I am officially on a mission. I WILL get to the bottom of this mystery. But for now, you might want to hold off on using the recipe I posted a week or so ago on this blog. I must have made some mistake. I apologize if you've already had any sort of cooking disaster like I did. I guess that's just a part of baking. Or maybe Lavena is holding out because she wants to remain famous for being the best cooking maker in town. Give me a little time...I'll get to the bottom of it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday Lunch Bunch

I love Wednesdays. Every Wednesday my dad, my brother, our friend, Capt. Cool and his lovely wife Sandra, meet for lunch. Occasionally we have guest visitors but we are the core group.

Maybe it's because I use to be a teacher and having a grown up, leisurely lunch was out of the question, but there seems few things as luxurious as an extended lunch with friends right in the middle of the week! It's right up there with bathing in the middle of the day!

My mom, of course, use to be part of this lunch bunch. Back in the days of her going, Sandra was working and couldn't meet us. After mom died, it was just me and the boys for a while. And I missed her. One day Sandra showed up because she had taken some sort of a leave of absense at her job. Clearly there's no replacement for having mom there with us, but having another female there oddly makes it so much more fun for me.

I have never been one to feel like I need female companionship. I've never had many "girlfriends". But I think that's because Mom filled that role for me. Now I find I am hanging out with ladies more and really enjoying the types of conversations women seem to automatically fall into. So I am so grateful Sandra isn't working. I hope she never goes back to work. At least, not on Wednesdays!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Rainy Days and Tuedays

I love it that it's 10am and it's still dark enough to feel like it's 6am. I love the sound of the rain falling on my roof. I love that I have all of my lamps on. I love it that my doggies are nice and dry inside, laying here by my feet. I love mornings like this. And I love it even more that I don't have to be anywhere until a little later today! That's a lot of love, huh?

Friday, October 6, 2006

Ode to My Mailman

I haven't lived in my neighborhood all that long, relatively speaking. Lots of my neighbors have lived here for about 50 years. And up until a few weeks ago, we had our original mailman, Jim.

Let me first say, he's not dead, because the fact that my title here is Ode to... might lead you to that assumption. Oh no. He's still very much alive.

Jim was the best mailman. He got my mail in my mailbox every single day between about 11:30-noon. If I forgot to stamp a letter I had put out for pick up, he'd knock on my door and remind me. If I ever went out of town, I didn't have to bother going to the Post Office to get my mail stopped. I just asked Jim to hold it for me. I haven't ever lived anywhere where I actually knew my mailman by name. My current neighborhood is the kind that requires the mailman to go on foot because our mailboxes are on our front porches. I remember being so excited about the thought of that when we first moved in. Mail- door service? It sounded so very luxurious, and well... it is! So I guess that's one reason I know my mailman by name.

But it's also because he makes a point of saying hi to me, and pretty much everyone else in the neighborhood whenever we run into him. Jim has walked his ass off for years and years! He is really tan and lean because of it. I've never seen him without a cigarette. Anyway, if it weren't for his leathery skin, he'd still look pretty young. That's what walking every day, and being a happy and friendly fella does for you, even if you do smoke, I guess!

I've thought before that he probably knows quite a bit about me just based on the mail I receive. I remember one day he told me that my neighbor and I both used Netflix (I don't anymore, in case you're wondering...) and that we should trade movies before sending them back. Sometimes I'd see him down the street and say hi and he'd tell me he just dropped off some package. So he actually paid attention to stuff, and he had a great memory.

The other day, one of our 80 year old neighbors told us that Jim's last day in our neighborhood had come and gone. I had no idea this was happening. I was so sad I didn't get to say so long! Apparently our's was not Jim's only neighborhood he delivered the mail to, but it was the most time consuming. Now he's cut back on his hours and our neighborhood is off his list. Whaaaa. Whaaa. Whaaa.

I still have that great luxury of mail service right at my front door, but I don't have Jim. My mail comes at random times everyday, being delivered by random mailpeople each day. I don't know their names, and they don't seem to know mine. Things just don't feel the same around here...

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Unlocking the Door Magically

Okay, this isn't truely magic, but it seems to me like it is.

My friend Juan taught me this:

If you are out of range to lock/unlock your car door, if you have the type of key that is a part of the locking/unlocking mechanism (like VW and AUDI has) you can stick the key in your mouth and at the same time, hit the unlock button. And it works. Apparently it has something to do with the cavity of your mouth. (Not the cavities in your mouth, as was my first understanding of this explaination as I embarassingly responded, "Oh, well then it's a good thing I've got so many cavities!") So in other words, you could stick it in your ear, your mouth, ...ANY body cavity and this trick would work. EWWWWWW.

Have fun.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Angel Cards

When I visited THE CROSSING in Austin I bought some Angel Cards in the cool little bookstore there. Angel Cards are just these simple little cards, teeny cards actually, with a little angel representing a word on about 80 different cards. Words like "Curiosity", "Balance", "Creativity", etc.I think the idea is you draw a card on days when you need a little angel by your side...and what day do you NOT?

I had trouble with these cards at first because I'd draw a card with a word that didn't connect to me. After trying this for about 3 days I sort of abandoned the idea of them.

But a few days ago, I decided to draw not just draw ONE Angel Card, but to draw 3. Because remember, I make the rules around here!!! That felt a lot better to me. Somehow, the cards seem to have a theme when put in 3s, so far. And so far, they've had meaning to the particular day I drew them for.

Today I drew the following three Angels:
Here is how they applied and how they helped me in my day:

First of all,I found out rather than our usual meeting with my Artist Way group tonight, we were intead going to see some film at a church. Initally I was so disappointed to hear of this decision. (I was kept out of the loop because I've had email problems this week.) But then I thought of my Angels- Presence and Commitment. Aren't I commited to this group? And don't I need to show up to be a part of it? So I bought my ticket and I'll be going. I'm sure there's a reason for me being there.

Then, I called Apple's customer service to get help with my email problems. I was on the phone about 2 hours. The first "helper" had me do something that dug my hole even deeper...No part of my email would work once he got his hands on it, AND I had lost all of my old emails. I was truely really mad at this guy. I wanted to hang up. I wanted to give up. And before doing that, I wanted to yell at him. But I remembered the other angel I drew today...Grace. So I told him I was upset that this had happened, and even more upsetting was that I really just needed him to simply say he was sorry. (Rather than put the blame on me for not telling him I didn't want to lose my emails forever.) I asked him to just be compassionate. He (sort of) was. He said, "Well, I do apologize." So there was Grace! On both of our parts. We were able to move on from there. Or rather, he ending up realizing I needed help from someone who knew a little more than he did. And now, just 2 hours later, because of my commitment to getting this settled, my email is back in action. I am so happy. The smart tech guy walked me through it, but I DID IT. I didn't give up, And I was nice even when I felt frustrated.

I have my 3 angels to thank....

***VERY SAD FOOTNOTE...after initally posting this, I realize I can receive email, but cannot reply or send out anything. Now I'm REALLY being tested! YIKES.