Crocodile Clouds, and Green Eggs & Potatoes

crocodile cloud I live a joyful life.  Check out this photo I got of a crocodile horizon.  It was better before I finally got pulled over and grabbed my camera.  He even has a gleaming eye…cool, eh?

 green eggs and potatoes 017 crocodile cloud and green eggs and potatoes 018 crocodile cloud and green eggs and potatoes 019 crocodile cloud and green eggs and potatoes 020This morning I tried another experiment with green eggs.  I’ve been blending my eggs with lots of spinach, and pouring them over my already sauteed onions and potatoes, and letting them steam till firm.  Not bad, really.  I topped them off with this amazing garlic/cilantro balsamic I found, which is more creamy balsamic than vinegar.  ooooohhhhh, myyyyy goooodness….delicious.

My friend Calley O’Neill taught me the concept.  She adds milk or almond milk to her eggs, but I just add straight eggs (2) and blend it with spinach.  Maybe a few drops of water to rinse out the blender and get all the mix in.

Although they were delicious, next time, I will not saute my potatoes and onions so long before adding the eggs, because they take some time to steam firm.  Really good for me!  That was a whole heaping hand-full of spinach.  Wonder how Dr. Seuss got HIS green eggs?

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Ta~DA! – Lily’s quilt is in the mail!

finished-butterfly3I live a joyful life!  Today I wrapped a half-quart mason jar of coconut oil spiced  with peppermint oil (mosquito repellant) in several layers of plastic, and tucked it into the middle of Lily’s new quilt, and popped it in the mail to North Dakota, where the kids are for their summer graduate program.

I’m sure I’ve told the story of Lily asking for a quilt of her very own, and my immediate response –I joyfully shopped for the fabric and finished it in about 3 weeks!  Isn’t that what Grandma’s do?  That’s what this one does, so far.

I was really happy to find this fabric that is Hawaiian flowers, but not the “typical” ones.   Pretty, crisp, bright flowers and sky blue in between.
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Sew-Fun’s machine embroidered butterflies were a joyful addition – one in each blue pinwheel – 6 in all.  The pattern is called a “disappearing 9-patch”, and was easy once I mastered the placement of the squares.  Spacial intelligence is not my strong point, so it was a bit of a challenge.

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I was especially happy with my simple quilting machine-stitched long X’s through the diamond shapes, and surrounded each of the sky-blue pinwheels to frame the butterflies.  Turned out marvelous!  Looks nice on the soft pink corduroy background, as well.

And now I’m on to design one for Reed.  That one will be a family affair as I enlist the kids and Calley to help me design a play space for him to direct wings and wheels (and maybe some boats?)  between New York, Hawaii, Oregon and California!  I’ll keep you posted.

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I DID it! My first free-design quilt for my darling Claire.

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My beloved daughter (okay, daughter-in-law), Claire, asked me a while ago, in response to my query, for a quilt with “koi and peonies”.  Now THAT was a design challenge!  But you see, I have a secret weapon.  I happen to be friends with Calley O’Neill, who is a stunning artist, and amazing designer.  Don’t believe me, check out her websites at Calley O’Neill and The Rama Exhibition.  

Anyway, she helped me design the oval pond, with peonies in the corners, as though they were growing poolside.  She had some other design features which I found too difficult to pull off, but the basic design is hers.  

I found some gorgeous peonies on oriental print fabric, which I cut out, one by one, and “doodled” onto the beautiful fabric I found for a background, one by one.  That took a few weeks.  I sewed them with shiny gold thread, which matched the gold of the print.  Very free motion on the sewing machine.  I loved it!Image

I designed the koi (again, with Calley’s help) by piecing together bright colors of fabric and appliqueing them to the water-colored batik I found.  The fins of the fish are also “doodled, but on through the layers, as well as the water lilies.

Quilting was another design challenge which I just held my breath and DID….I chalked some arcs around the fish, and sewed them down, as well as tying each of the noses of the koi with embroidery-thread whiskers, and working my way around the flowers on the edges with more “doodling.   I also stitched the ditches of the poolside border.

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There were a couple of “boo-boos” that occurred while working, some small cuts in the fabric, which I embroidered shut with additional “wildlife”.

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I was equally happy with the back, which was fashioned from soft, baby blue pinstripe flannel, which I hope Claire will joyfully cuddle with while she lounges on the couch watching TV and eating bonbons!Image

 

Stay tuned for Lily’s quilt.  She ASKED me for it!  A quilt of her very own…pink with flowers!  I’m ON it!

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Just so you know…just in case!

ImageI love you guys and gaias!  I love my life!  I love every moment.  Most important thing I can say. This morning, I’m going ziplining!  I’m going to jump off a cliff over a rain forest attached to a sturdy clothesline!  Yes, i will wear my video camera.  So, if this is my last will and testament, let me just say I’ve lived a good life!

My friend Dianne is celebrating twice today; 25 years sober, and 65 years on the planet.  She invited us all to go celebrate with her for lunch and a dive off a cliff.  I’m scared and excited and happy that I have the courage to go.  My only regret is that my children and grandchildren are not here to play with me.  So I’m taking pictures and will post them somewhere, assuming of course that I return in one piece.  If not, I’ll spare you the details.

Remember!  NOBODY DIES…and if they do, they learn to fly.  I’m flying high today.  Love and joy to all.  Here’s a link to a video.

 

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BED-RIDDEN is a well-coined phrase…

I’ve only been bed-ridden for 6, going on 7 days, and already I feel like I’ve been ridden hard and left to die.  My sympathy redoubles for people who are long-term.  There comes a point when I begin to wonder whether I am so weak and sore because I have the flu, or if it’s because my bed is wearing me out?  Of course, the fact that I haven’t eaten very much at all might account for the weakness as well, but where does the vicious circle begin?  It’s almost like taking pain-killers…hard to determine which is worse, the pain, or the killers?

I could definitely understand why people die from this flu.  I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, even if I had one.  

Good news is that my lack of appetite has allowed 20 pounds to miraculously melt away.  Not a way I would recommend, but hay, I’m not looking this gift horse in the mouth.  Also, I notice that my taste buds are super sensitive and food tastes really, really good when I can take it in.  I right now prefer really mild tastes, because they are bigger than life.  A loving friend brought me some sweet chicken sausages the other night, and I felt like I’d been blasted with flavor.  Couldn’t tolerate it at all.  

I’m using this opportunity to make new choices about my diet, and going to get walking as soon as I can to rebuild strength and hopefully keep the ball rolling in the right direction.  One of my best friends, the champion cheerleader, has been coming on strong to do just that, and I’m not going to let it stop me.  It was MY idea in the first place, and I’m going to do it, even if she likes it.  Kind of like the old adage – “true freedom is doing what you think best, even if your mother approves.”

I don’t know what makes me so resistant and stubborn when someone tries to get me to change to do things their way, but the streak is HUGE in me, and I have to work hard not to let it sabotage my own good intentions and desires for improvement.

Other good news is that I got moved completely before the lightning struck.  Friday morning, I felt fine, and Seny and i moved the last load of heavy planters, etc., and everything was all put away in my room, and I felt all cozy and happy.  By Friday afternoon, I was abed, shivering and moaning, and haven’t been any good since.

When I do come up for air though, a few minutes in the front room, sitting in the window seat of an early morning, enjoying the birds in the back yard, or an afternoon lay in the sun in the window seat, warming my back oh-so-deliciously, or when I rise up to go to the bathroom, and my breath is taken away by the afternoon sun on the blooming jacaranda tree out my window, I am truly grateful that I completely finished the move before this struck, and that I have landed in a place of such beauty.  This home is absolutely amazing in its ability to house six of us and allow us all to be as though we lived here alone, if we like.  Room for everyone, space for all, and beauty unbounded, especially since the recent rains have greened the place to velvet everywhere.  As soon as I get the strength, I’ll take some pictures.  

I am truly blessed.  Even the severity of my illness has made me more grateful for my usual good health.  And once again, my loving friends have rallied to bring me tea and soup and meals and lozenges — anything I asked for.  Life is loverly, even when you have the flu.

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GROWing into a New Year

ImageI’m growing still….entering my 62nd year – finally officially a senior citizen — although no one has yet questioned me at the box office. They better not, those little twerps.  They have NO IDEA that 62 is not 35, or 40, or any age past 21, right?  If only they knew that questioning me would land them a big fat kiss and a squeezy hug!  (on second thought, maybe that’s WHY they don’t ask…)  I’m cracking myself up here.

I’ve long since given up on new year’s resolutions.  I already know in advance they won’t last past Jan 7th, so why torture myself? AND, I’ve noticed for the past several weeks at least, I have been following this seemingly natural cycle to want to clear and clean and reboot stuff.

One thing I’m wanting to reboot, without making any rash promises that erode my self esteem even more when I don’t keep them, is my physical well-being.  And I want a little more balance in my life.  So I’ve decided to create a new guiding principle in my days, entitled G-R-O-W…..which stands for, roughly,

GO! – Grunt, grimace, grace, gratitude, groove, whatever it takes to get me to move my body, grateful that I can, and gripping onto every last ability I can guard and generate.  So, on a daily basis, looking for regular groovy ways to move and keep healthy.  This of course, will include GRAZING on healthy things, keeping them handy so I can easily find them, rather than the less desirable choices.  Things I really enjoy, like baby cucumbers and nuts and fruit and handy things I can GRAB, since that seems to be the real way I feed myself — I give up fooling myself that I will cook for one. 

R is for REMEMBERING — remembering my spiritual roots, my spiritual longings, my spiritual connections – remembering to BREATHE, remembering all the lovely wonders of my life, and flowing gratitude for them – remembering to keep in touch with my children, and theirs, remembering to get to the post office as often as possible – sending little reminders of my care and existence.

O is for ORGANIZING – organizing my priorities, my house and car, my work, my laundry, my refrigerator, opportunities for play and work and balance.  Keeping my appointments straight in my head.  So far, that still works for me.  I’m not even bothering to buy a new calendar insert for my lovely red book, — although I bet I could find one whose dates fit the right slots from years past.  Every seven years, right?  They’re all still empty past January, anyway.

W of course, is for WORK — seemingly my favorite past-time, so not even worth trying to leave out.  Truly, I love my work.  I take such joy in making other peoples’ work shine, and helping them to find ways to make their work pay for them.  I want to remember to WEAVE in all the other things that bring balance and WHOLENESS to my life.  Maybe it will look something like this: Organized chaos, of breathtaking beauty….right?Image

 

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Looking Back – A Day in the Life of my “Youth”

So

ImageI’m an old woman now, happy, happy, happy to be so.  I’ve been trying to dig myself out from under my “piling systems” and bring some order and beauty into my home.  I tend to float along every day, paying very little attention to myself or my immediate surroundings, so busy am I in serving others.  Not complaining, just noticing.  So this Christmas Eve, my gift to myself is to stay home and clean my house — really clean.  It took me all day to reduce the piles and boxes and bags of papers to two filing boxes and two large black plastic bags of recycled paper.

In the process, i came upon a journal written in the Spring of 1995.  Believe it or not, I had traveled to Mexico with my housekeeper and her family, leaving my anti-depressants behind and escaping my very difficult life of the moment, as I was separated from my husband and children in order to heal from some heavy emotional steamer trunks that had popped open and buried me in their contents.  My intention in going to Mexico was to take a break from my constant urge to do myself in — came to find out, the anti-depressants were contributing to that urge — and leaving them behind was very helpful in getting through that part of my journey.

While there, free to be on my own for much of the time, completely removed from family and friends at home, I spent long hours in my journal, reading, praying, trying to make sense of my situation, heal my wounds, etc., etc.,

An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Cla...

An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Clark in formal 19th century attire. The ad is titled Drink Coca-Cola 5¢. (US) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On one of these days of solitude, the rest of the family had traveled to visit other family members, leaving me home alone for the day, in a sweet little dwelling with a dirt floor.  Because I was desperate to telephone my best friend at home, I spent the entire day across the village at the store, awaiting her call at the only phone in the village.  I found out later that she was ignoring my calls, and wasn’t ever GOING to call, because she was afraid of a long distance call to Mexico running up her bill.  Some best friend.  Anyway, as I waited in vain, I ate fake chocolate chip cookies and drank bottles of Coke, and spent hours musing in my journal, doing my best to “do my work” so I could be done with it.  I didn’t dare leave the phone, I was hot, hungry, and had begun my period.  For the entire day, I sat around gingerly dodging anything that would stain, because there were no “facilities” to be had.

Though my friend had left me the keys to her house, they were the wrong ones, so I was locked out.  There was no public or private restroom available, and I spent a miserable day.  At the end of a 12-hour wait, I was discouraged and angry and chaffed and wet and sticky and had to go to the bathroom.  Luckily, I had eaten and drunk very little.

As dark settled in, and I was locked out of the house, I made my way to a relative’s house, and begged to be let in.  They knew who I was, and could follow my broken Spanish enough to get that I desperately needed a bathroom.  I hobbled carefully to the back yard, following the young mother out, wincing at every chafing step.  She finally made me understand, by showing me herself, that I could choose my place to squat!

I decided to wait a while longer, since my situation was a mite more complicated.

Back in the house, I settled gingerly onto a bed, grateful for the fan, for the dark, fearful for the bedding.  As others around me began to breathe regularly in sleep, I lay and wondered what lesson was contained in this misery.  Hadn’t I just passed a day in joy and hope and righteous pursuit of the best I could be and have and give?  I prayed for understanding and the answers seemed to flow…  (sorry, couldn’t help myself)

In my musings, I pictured myself before an audience of lovely Mormon mothers, in my presentation entitled, “Just for Mormoms.”  (Forgive the specific cultural innuendos here — Those were my very devout LDS days – I’ve since become an apostate).  So here goes…

“The subject of my discourse today is the M-word.  No, no, not MEN – that’s the F-word.  I don’t mean FRUSTRATION, I mean MENSTRUATION. Confusing, isn’t it?

I have a dear friend whose one Mormon doctrine is that when God created men, she was only kidding.  I think the truth is, that when God created women, he outdid himself.  He is, by his own admission after all, a man.  but as He created women, following the pattern of his eternal companion before him, he realized that with all that desire and capacity for being good, faithful, determined, truth-seeking, tenacious, intelligent, capable, virtuous, intuitive, creative, courageous, charitable, child-like, nurturing, sensible, wise, loving, optimistic, confident, spontaneous, fun-loving, generous, invincible and humble, we women would need  a little help with the humility, a way to ground us, so to speak, in our mortality.

Otherwise, we would all rise like bouquets of brilliant hot-air balloons, (except of course, WE would be filled with the Spirit).  No, no, there had to be a string attached — somewhere in the course of linguistic history, someone named the grounding wire “TAMPAX”.  Of course, there have always been various means of restraint — elastic with hooks, safety pins, now they even have adhesive strips!

In the scriptures we’re told by a loving Father, “I give men weaknesses that they may be humble.”

Weakness just wouldn’t stick to women, so he had to resort to more drastic means — something as a dynamic reminder that we are, still and all, MORTAL.

In characteristic over-achieving fashion, however, I fear that we women have carried it all past humility to humiliation.  By going to such lengths to deny our basics of mortality, we call it base.  While men, basic as they are, think nothing of their mortal rumblings, we of the more “refined” set ignore and deny any such evidence, perhaps carrying our disdain too far.

By hoping the bathroom doesn’t smell the same when I leave as when I follow you in — by pretending to have been twinkled beyond the need to tinkle, we pretend to be more than each other, more than we truly are.

When God says, “Be still,” He’s not referring to the occasional plop, splash, paper-crackle, or heaven-forbid, FLATCH that we may hear in the next stall.  Those are not the noises He meant to hush.

Just because you seldom hear these sounds from the next stall does NOT mean the other occupants are more Godly — they are simply out-waiting you.

Of course I’m not suggesting we all regress to 4-yr-old antics and fascination with bathroom noises – but reminding myself and whoever can hear me to be as little children, kind to ourselves, kind and tolerant to the mortal weaknesses (THERE, I’ve gone and admitted it) of ourselves and one another…”

Anyway, long story to explain a feeling that night, and many since, that in my mortal struggles, when I pray, I am often given humor and gentle teasing to help me remember that I am not alone.  i would never have poked so much fun at myself in that mess, but I still think it is hilarious.

Looking back these many years later, I am ever grateful to be beyond the flowing years, and more settled into the quiet ones. Old journals are ever-precious sources of inspiration to me.  Reading this particular one from death wish to immortal wannabe, I enjoy the roller coaster — given the distance of years and retrospect.  Life is good.

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