Monday, April 30, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR SCRAPBOOKING!!

I am so very geeked. The House of Paper is having a whole freakin' month of challenges, the whole month of May, in honor of National Scrapbooking Day. If you want to come & play with us (and we can be a very amusing & rowdy bunch), click here for more details, listed in the H.O.P. message board forum. We are quite friendly, really -- some new folks have joined us recently & we haven't bitten them, not even once. We are tremendously proud of this achievement. The whole point of the challenges is for us to s-t-r-e-t-c-h ourselves, learn some new stuff, and have fun with our online buds. Heck, there are even 3 online classes that the DT members are putting on. Who can say no to that? Hope to see some of my readers there!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Painting

Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.
-- Danny Kaye


Flinging paint sounds like lots of fun. It's just the recklessness and abandonment of reason and edges, I think. Kind of like fingerpainting, getting all squishy and gooshy and IN to the art. Just like life, it's kind of got to be an immersive process. None of your namby-pamby, wishy-washy paintbrushes for me ... just start sloshing the paint around and LIVE!!!

Money can't buy me happiness

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

-----Franklin D. Roosevelt

I think President Roosevelt was on to something. I've never known stacks of dollar bills to produce happiness. I have experienced a nest egg imbuing me with a sense of security & safety, but not joy and delight. Spending money on travel or creative stuff does produce a profound sense of excitement and jollity, though. And so it's no surprise that this is where most of our disposable income goes. Well, that and social outings, which I consider to be traveling for the brain. *grin*

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My DNA

Pot of Gold

"Weekends are a bit like rainbows; they look good from a distance but disappear when you get up close to them."

----John Shirley

And this weekend is almost half gone ... but it is oh, so, succulent. *grin* Today was the first day in a long time that I didn't already have the whole weekend day mapped out. And it was glorious. I got an early start because I had to pick up the plants I ordered from the Arboretum, and then the rest of the day was just wide open. I spent more than an hour, just aimlessly surfing the web, guilt-free. Then, my sweetie & I went out -- for lunch, to the bookstore, and to the movies. Just awesome. Definitely a pot of gold at the end of my rainbows.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Don't get between me and mysleep

"The bed is a bundle of paradoxes: we go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret; we make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late."
~Charles Caleb Colton


My performance drops tremendously when my sleep is disrupted. Luckily, I am pretty good at stocking up some reserve energy, just in case. And I'm fairly good at putting on a good front and faking it. But, there's a limit to the usefulness of those two talents. At some point, I have to pay the piper, and give in to my need for rest. I take a long time to "unpack my brain" at the end of the day. It's not that I'm worried about anything, it just takes me a while to sift through the miscellanea and move on into unconsciousness. It doesn't help that the slightest change in noise level ... or pressure from a cat's paw ... or bundle of wrinkles beneath me ... all will wake me up!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Naivety

"In violence, we forget who we are."
-----Mary McCarthy

I've had a number of people bring up the Virginia Tech tragedy in the past week. They want to know what my perspective is ... what I think could make someone "just snap like that." My take on it? No one "just snapped". The killer methodically planned out what he wanted to do and he did it. What motivated him to do that, we may never know. And the reality is that there are many, many people who walk the planet who would do the exact same thing. Not all of us are given a moral compass as we grow up. And some of us have faulty mental wiring, making it difficult to stifle impulses. The net result is that we have people among us who are willing to (and, in fact, interested in) doing things that many of us would consider horrific. And that if we manage to catch these people before they commit a heinous act, we should count ourselves lucky. I find it fascinating that people seem to want to polarize things so the "scary-bad-mean-awful" people are on one side and the rest of us are on the other. It's as if we will do fine if we can cage them all up and feel safe and secure. The reality is that the world is not a secure place. But we also cannot live in fear and terror, hiding at home, worrying that something might happy. We have to learn from what has happened, figure out if there was some way it might've been handled with fewer losses, fewer scars, and fewer heartbreaks. But to think that we'll ever reach a point where we'll be able to predict this kind of thing 100%, that is naivety in action.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Midwest accent all the way, baby!

I'd love to hear all of YOUR results, gentle readers.

My response gets cut a little bit below, here's the whole thing: Western. Like Midland, Western is another accent that people consider neutral. So, you might not actually be from the Western half of the country, but you definitely sound like it.

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Western. Like Midland, Western is another accent that people consider neutral. So, you might not actually be from the Western half of the country, but you definitely sound like it.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?



White & Nerdy

I saw this months ago ... and it STILL cracks me up!!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A guide to giving a man-to-man hug

I find this very humorous. And, in some cases, required viewing.

Today's assignment

Spend a few minutes reflecting on relationships—romantic or friendships. What do you bring? What do you take? What works well in your relationships? What do you want to work on changing?

What I bring:
Instigation. Inspiration. Insanity. Intelligence. Inverse logic.
What I take:
Comfort. Commiseration. Camaraderie. Closeness.
What works:
Give & take. Having people who value the same things I do. Letting myself fall...and trust I'll be caught.
What needs some improvement:
On my part, patience. Also a dose of insight that others do not see the world the way I do.

4/24/2007 -- Trendy Tuesday Mini Quiz

1. Favorite Spring Color: that deep mauvy-purple that hyacinths and lilacs do so well at.

2. Favorite Spring Activity: listening to our windchime on the back porche

3. Best Spring Treat: being able to smell all the fragrances on the wind

4. Is there a spring in your step today?: there is now ... but after the gym, I suspect the spring will be gone!

5. If you were a fruit, what would you be?: A luscious, juicy pear.

Stonehenge ... LOL!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rate My Life ?

I'm actually stunned my family & friends are so low! They're an awesome part of my life!

This Is My Life, Rated
Life:
9.3
Mind:
9.5
Body:
8
Spirit:
9.1
Friends/Family:
6.5
Love:
9.1
Finance:
9.3
Take the Rate My Life Quiz


Life: Your life rating is a score of the sum total of your life, and accounts for how satisfied, successful, balanced, capable, valuable, and happy you are. The quiz attempts to put a number on the summation of all of these things, based on your answers. Your life score is amazingly high. This means that you are in tune with your needs and on a path toward great personal fulfillment. Despite the challenges of life, you have achieved harmony and balance. Continue doing what you are doing right; do not allow yourself to slip or falter. (Read more on improving your life)

Mind: Your mind rating is a score of your mind's clarity, ability, and health. Higher scores indicate an advancement in knowledge, clear and capable thinking, high mental health, and pure thought free of interference. Your mind score is quite high, meaning you possess a high degree of mental clarity, ability, and health. You clearly understand what is required to maintain optimum mental function. Continue doing what works, and avoid pitfalls which may come along. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the mind.

Body: Your body rating measures your body's health, fitness, and general wellness. A healthy body contributes to a happy life, however many of us are lacking in this area. You have a rather good body score, which is an indication that you take care of yourself. There is room for improvement, however. Please keep doing what works. Eat right, exercise, reduce your stress, treat any illness. Doing these things will help ensure your body will be in good working order for a long time to come. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the body.

Spirit: Your spirit rating seeks to capture in a number that elusive quality which is found in your faith, your attitude, and your philosophy on life. A higher score indicates a greater sense of inner peace and balance. Your spirit score is dramatic. Continue on your path, do not stray. Continue to reap the rewards which your spirituality brings forth. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving the spirit.

Friends/Family: Your friends and family rating measures your relationships with those around you, and is based on how large, healthy, and dependable your social network is. Your friends and family score is not bad but can be improved. Maintain your current social net, while you try to expand it. Try new things and form new friendships. You will be rewarded greatly.

Love: Your love rating is a measure of your current romantic situation. Sharing your heart with another person is one of life's most glorious, terrifying, rewarding experiences. Your love score is very high, which means you are in a very happy situation right now. Do all you can to keep it strong. Read advice from other quiz-takers on finding and maintaining love.

Finance: Your finance rating is a score that rates your current financial health and stability. Your financial score is impressive. You seem to be doing everything right in this area, so keep up what you're doing. Do not fall into common traps and continue planning for long-term stability. Read advice from other quiz-takers on improving your finances.

Fortune Cookies

My friend Jason always seems to get ones that are lottery numbers or "Confucious say" kinds of quotes, but I tend to luck out with ones that are both meaningful & favorable. I got one about a year ago that I liked well enough I tucked it into my wallet, which is unfortunately nowhere near me at this moment. When my quads cooperate, I'll post it. Stay tuned ... *smile*

No perfect choice.

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.

Today I am feeling extraordinarily imperfect. My quads, calves, and back are definitely operating at less-than-perfect standards. I'd say most days they're at about 95% ... today, it's maybe 20%. I'm trying to look beyond the imperfections, but it's really bugging me. It puts me in a position I dislike intensely: deciding whether it's better to push myself or better to rest. I really struggle with this decision tree. I used to have a default mode of pushing myself, and I learned that it wasn't the smartest or healthiest option, especially when it was employed willy-nilly. But, if I rest, will that be a decision I'm pleased with, or will I regret it later? I seek balance: to be happy with either choice, because the reality is neither choice is a perfect one. Some days, decisions are easy. Today, though, is not one of those days.

I don't know

It's not often I feel stupid, but when it happens, it's helpful for me to remember:

He who knows best knows how little he knows. -- Thomas Jefferson.

We have our limits, our bounds. I was discussing with my sweetie last week about how expertise factors into trust, and I think that's why I really dislike feeling stupid. I like to feel that I know enough about a lot of things that people can trust what I have to say, and can trust that I know what I'm doing. I suppose it's another kind of trust altogether to be able to admit that I don't know something, isn't it?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Life-long connectionis

My brother and I actually had very little sibling rivalry. But we also had many conversations where we talked AT one another. It wasn't a single, two-way conversation, it was two parallel, one-way conversations. We are very much wired differently.

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~Clara Ortega

Despite, that, though, we do share wonderful memories. And silly ones, too. We not only share private family jokes, we have jokes that make sense only to the two of us. My sweetie thought this was unique among twins, but we've demonstrated that is not the case. All I have to say to my brother is, "Oh, look...ROCKS!" and we just giggle. I have the same thing with my cousin...I can just say "MEATCAKE!" and she'll crack up. It's wonderful to have life-long connections with people.

I'm too sexy for my hat.

Too sexy for my hat. What you think about that? *grin*

Sex appeal is fifty percent what you have got and fifty percent of what people think you've got. -- Sophia Loren

Amen to that. I am a sexy woman. And I know it. It's an incredibly powerful feeling. I've been called "intoxicating." I think I like that, the idea that someone can be so drawn to me that they feel a rush of endorphins akin to being a bit tipsy. Anyone who sees a photo of me wouldn't know anything about my capacity for smoldering eyes or teasing looks ... but trust me, they're there. I've only shared it with a select few people, though, so don't feel too bad if you've not had the pleasure. *grin*

Saturday, April 21, 2007

You Are Best Described By...

San Giorgio Maggiore, Twilight
By Claude Monet

I've got a gripe

It's pretty simple. It pisses me off when people look for ways to weasel out of commitments. By canceling less than 24 hours in advance. By lolly-gagging. By making themselves scarce.

My very good friend, Jason, moved today. And by "moved," I mean this: his stuff moved out of his apartment 2nd floor, but with a nice elevator) into a big moving truck...and then after transporting said truck to girlfriend's place, all of HER stuff moved out of her 4th floor WALK-UP building...and then all their combined stuff moved into their new 2nd story building. Again, a walk up.

Three people canceled ... or should I say "reneged"?!... last night. LAST FREAKING NIGHT. That is so totally uncool.

This morning, while Jason, my sweetie, myself and later another friend of his are moving his stuff downstairs, we learn that no one.... I repeat NO ONE ... has yet to arrive at said girlfriend's place to help stage things by moving them down to the curb. *groan* No One. This is so very very wrong.

When we arrived there an hour and a half later, people had arrived, but several of them were simply engaged in washing dishes & packing up boxes. After the fifth trip up, my quads were telling me how much they hated me. After about the 12th trip, my calves and stabilizing muscles on my thighs and knees were chiming in. I'll admit, I took breaks. I also tried to keep myself busy, at LEAST handing things up into the truck or working on getting stuff packed.

Same thing when we got to the new place, when my knees started screaming at me, I stayed upstairs or downstairs, trying to grab stuff from people who'd just made it to the top of the stairs -- or by moving things 20 yards from the back of the truck to the back door. Just keep moving, I told myself. Every little bit helps. I don't begrudge people taking breaks, and I know everyone has his (or her) own limit, but DAMN. I really started getting irritated when a couple of people took the opportunity to disappear for 30 minutes at a stretch. Again, they're an improvement on the people who didn't show up at all, but DAMN.

It's not even my move. They're not even my friends. But ... I say again. DAMN!

Friday, April 20, 2007

What Susanne Needs

New game that I got from Karen ... who got it from Breanne.

Go to Google and search on "Your Name needs". Here are mine:

1) Susanne needs to be back in Bar Harbor to open “CafĂ© This Way” for the spring and summer season. (I had no idea I was responsible for this.)
2)
Susanne needs a second car. (I think my first car is just fine, thanks!)
3)
Susanne needs Cass to help transport nine orphans cross-country in a covered wagon. (Uh, no one told me about this. And who is Cass?)
4)
Susanne needs help getting her strips to come out perfectly. (I refuse to acknowledge anything about stripping.)
5)
Susanne needs a preliminary report by mail before 15th of November, since she is going to Brussels with Dan on the 21st of November. (I don't know who Dan is, but if he's paying, I'll accept those reports and go to Brussels.)
6)
Susanne needs to disappear at these most tense and uncomfortable moments in her life. (I do? Boy...what a relief. Life will be much easier, now, thanks.)
7) Susanne needs many more walkers! (I don't need a walker just yet. Give me a few more decades, okay?)
8)
Susanne needs to be named and shamed for her t**t of the tour behaviour. (I don't even know what this means.)

Shopping.

How many days in a row can you go shopping before you're officially declared brain dead?"
- Brenda Walsh

Unlike some people (DAWN!), I can go without shopping for days on end...maybe even weeks. In fact, if I shop for about 3 or 4 hours, that is enough for me to become pretty brain dead. I just don't take pleasure in it. I know, I know ... many of you are just horrified by that idea, but I really am not that big of a consumer. I read somewhere that a bunch of people made a pact not to shop for anything other than groceries, toiletries, and things like gasoline/engine one for a whole YEAR. I could see myself doing that. I'm pretty good at trading, being creative, and the like. I like to see things find new homes. I liked the idea of Freecycle, but my area group just seemed a little too over-the-top for me, personally, so I bowed out. It doesn't mean, though, that I don't try to find new homes for unloved items, which, if you read my post on my first White Elephant party in January, you already know. So, my credit cards will happily stay home, and so will I!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

No film.

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film. -- Unknown

I'll admit it: I almost always have film loaded. My poor sweetie, though, he often runs out of film. He hates that fact, too. I have a brain that traps the most trivial of information, and there are times where he is hopelessly outmatched. But, then again, there are days where I'd like to live in his head. It seems like it'd be so much less chaotic, so much less jumbled-up garbage I'm perpetually sifting & updating. *ding* My brain just kicked out two songs I heard today I want to put on my "play at next year's Crop" list. See? It's ALWAYS working. *shaking head* How do I get the film out of thing?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

FROST SHOCK!

Those of you who do not play World of Warcraft, this li'l video will make no sense. As for the rest of us, I think you'll find it very funny. It's been out for a year, and it STILL cracks me up.

Rock Diva

There's no half-singing in the shower, your either a rock star or an opera diva. -- Josh Groban.

I don't know. I think I might be a Rock Diva. [Or an English teacher. "your"?! How about "you're"?!! As in a contraction of 'you' and 'are"?! Sheesh.] I will say that occasionally I hit a note that reverberates off the tile...and I just want to sing it over and over again, composing my own melody to highlight it.

weeds vs. flowers

I recently commented that my dear friend kaj's daughter was "growing like a weed". She said that her daughter preferred "growing like a flower." So this quote:

Where man sees but withered leaves, God sees sweet flowers growing. ~Albert Laighton

brought to mind the age old adage that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I don't see anything wrong with weeds. Some weeds are just incredibly beautiful. And they're almost always incredibly adaptive and strong willed. Just as spiders, lady bugs, and mice do not belong indoors, weeds don't belong in my flower beds. So, I will pull them out, and try to exert my will on that tiny corner of the world. I have a sneaking suspicion kaj's daughter truly is a beautiful weed. I think that within a matter of years, she will have found herself a wonderful wild piece of nature in which to throw down roots, adapt, and show us all just how beautiful she is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A change in the weather

It's spring, so you know what that means...

"In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours."

----Mark Twain

... Mr. Twain has it right. At least in my neck of the woods. I was fully prepared for chilly weather today. The air was downright nippy last night. Today, I go out with a t-shirt and hoodie and feel horribly overdressed. It seems like even though weather forecasters get better and better with passing years, spring still wreaks havoc with the most advanced computer models. One big practical joke on the part of Mother Nature. And I'm right there with her, laughing along.

Life is like abox of .... crayons.

I was given this quote to prompt me to think:

Life is like a box of crayons. Most people are the 8-color boxes, but what you're really looking for are the 64-color boxes with the sharpeners on the back. I fancy myself to be a 64-color box, though I've got a few missing. It's ok though, because I've got some more vibrant colors like periwinkle at my disposal. I have a bit of a problem though in that I can only meet the 8-color boxes. Does anyone else have that problem? I mean there are so many different colors of life, of feeling, of articulation.. so when I meet someone who's an 8-color type.. I'm like, "hey girl, magenta!" and she's like, "oh, you mean purple!" and she goes off on her purple thing, and I'm like, "no - I want magenta!"” -- John Mayer

Here's my take on it. I disagree that most people are like the 8 color boxes. I think that most people are more like the 128 color, giant boxes. We've all got a bazillion vibrant colors at our disposal, but some people are just better at stretching and using the odd colors ... or repairing crayons when they get broken ... or not being afraid to lend out our crayons to others. For that matter, what's wrong with being an 8 color box, if you're really REALLY good at it? Life's all about differences -- embrace them!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wow.

All I can say is "Wow." Okay, and "ow", as my right pinky is quite tender. If that's my most major injury after two three minute bouts with padded swords, I cannot complain. I think I acquitted myself very well. [And if you read this blog entry, you will know how much I was worried about being able to do so.] I admit, these three minute segments were the longest three minutes of my entire life. The time just seemed to stretch on interminably. My breath rasped in my throat. I tried not to think too much, and caught myself many times doing things that were Bad and promptly self-corrected. I asked for feedback from the two guys I fenced against & they were kind enough to offer me up some recommendations of things to work on & also to give me praise. I feel so loved. *smile* Independent of one another, they came to similar assessments -- so I now know I need to work more on follow-through and persistence. And, of course, with any martial art: practice, practice, practice. Hell, that's a good idea with ANYthing a person wants to become good at. And now, more than ever, I really want to be better and better with this skill set. It was a challenge, a workout, and just pure exhilaration. The adrenaline is now finally wearing off. Wow. Ow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Be Original

I got tagged for the Be Original blog project by Susan White . I got a great big giggle out of it, because she nudged me after reading my Be FUNKY post (see below) and connecting me with our Crop on the Cape experience! :)

So here's the scoop. It all started with a 'Be Original" post on Mohit Singhania's blog. I've lifted this off Susan's blog, who lifted it off Michelle's blog who lifted it off Angie Pedersen's blog - not very original I'm afraid but since it was such an excellent summary I figured there was no reason to reinvent the wheel:

Summing up from Mohit’s original post, here is how it works:

  1. In a new blog post, list and write about 5 to 10 methods you use to create original posts.
  2. At the start of your post, tell your audience (briefly or at length) what you are doing with the “Be Original” Project and link to the project.
  3. Link/trackback to the blogger who tagged you for “Be Original”
  4. Share your “Be Original” methods with your own audience
  5. Pick as many bloggers as you want and “tag” them to take part in the fun…
    After all, that is how a meme works (a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another.)
  6. Sit back and learn from the discussion.
How do I come up with original blog ideas?

1. Random stuff that happens throughout my day. Just things I experience, both weird and mundane.
2. Issues that have been floating around in my head for a while. Mostly existential stuff, some of it prompted after reading a book or visiting a website.
3. After listening to music. It frees my brain up and stirs up old memories that I may want to revisit.
4. Following a fun event or trip, in which I want to share a summary or fun little highlights.
5. Reaching out into the universe when I cannot sleep. CQ, CQ, CQ.

I am now tagging Karen, Gaye, Breanne, Kathy, and Chiara.

so FUNKY!!!!!

For those of you who were at the Crop on the Cape ...



as for the rest of you, just get up outta your chair and BOOGIE for a break from scrapbooking.

Quirky

The folks over at Fancy Word for Simple gave us this quote to ponder:

"Cherish forever what makes you unique, 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes!"
-----Bette Midler

With a question about how quirky is too quirky? I think that all of us have oddities and quirks, and some of them are cute or become "signature" elements of our persona ... but some personality traits and wacky behaviors are less-than-fun. And, boy-howdy, is it hard to tell someone that their wackiness is troubling to me or offensive. I have one person in my life that challenges me in this area a LOT. I've sought advice & recommendations on how to handle it, and I've tried every single one of them! I am now at the point where I have concluded that the other person's oddities are just not compatible with how I want to develop a continued relationship...so I'm willing to let it fade into the background of my life. Sad, but true.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hush, brain. Hush.

I really need this quote right now, at 2:50 am:

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
-----Confucius

Why? Well, for one, I suspect tomorrow, with noticeably less sleep than I want or need, I will be going fairly slowly. For another, it is a good reminder to me as I embark upon a rather overwhelming stage of my medieval longsword training. For our final class next Monday, we take the leap from theory to application. I got a small taste of it this evening, in the form of a drill. And I learned that my body is nowhere as responsive as it needs to be. And, at 2:00 am, I learned that my brain is very aware of that, and is doing everything in its power to come up with various scenarios so I will be more prepared. I think I just need to tell myself, "Self, hush. Even if you go slowly next week, as long as you do not stop, you will learn. That is all you need to concern yourself with." It's just hard, realizing that I really only have counters for one of nine different types of attacks. Or that although I "have" the counters, they only work if I realize what I need to do and do it fast enough. *shaking head in dismay* Brain, hush.

Monday, April 9, 2007

figuring it out

Jack Handey cracks me up:

I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it. ~Jack Handey

I used to have a whole quote book of his. I think I loaned it to someone & never got it back. Such a wacky, irrepressible sense of humor. I think many of us don't "get it" ... a LOT of the time ... at least AT the time. Afterwards, just like we struggle with that punchline or can't figure out why everyone else is laughing, so much of life makes sense only in hindsight. But life isn't just about making sense ... it's about experiencing things. So, I often don't worry if things make sense ... I just make sure I'm living it. If I figure it out, later, GREAT! If not ... oh well!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

RED MARBLES

I got this in today's email...and just wanted to share it with my blog-readers:

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes.

Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me. "Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."

"Good. Anything I can help you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."

"Would you like to take some home?" asked Mr. Miller.

"No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."

"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"

"All I got's my prize marble here."

"Is that right? Let me see it" said Miller.

"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?" the store owner asked.

"Not zackley but almost."

"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble". Mr. Miller told the boy.

"Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller." Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, "There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an
orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store."

I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado, but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts...all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.

Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.

"Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim "traded" them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size....they came to pay their debt."

"We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho."

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.

The Moral : We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.

Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
A fresh pot of coffee you didn't make yourself...An unexpected phone call from an old friend...Green stoplights on your way to work... The fastest line at the grocery store...A good sing-along song on the radio...Your keys found right where you left them.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Learning purely by chance

I've been given the following quote to chew on:

"Learning is not attained by chance,
it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."
-Abigail Adams

and I don't know that I agree with it. I think that a huge amount of learning is attained by pure chance. There are all kinds of things we learn from the people around us that they don't even intend to teach us, let alone for us to intend to learn it! Sure, there are times when I will sign up for a class, where my sole purpose is to learn, or times I will pick up a book, wanting to know more about a particular subject. But it is most often in everyday life, when I least expect it, I will learn something that broadens my mind. I almost always have this happen in conversations with my friend, Jason. We talk about things both silly and serious -- and I almost always have a moment in the conversation where I say "hey, file that away for future reference!" because we seem to learn together, as we just talk! So, I have to respectfully disagree with ol' Abigail on this one.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Vacation vs. Trip

My sweetie & I differentiate between vacations and trips. This quote:

I am not the type who wants to go back to the land; I am the type who wants to go back to the hotel. -- Fran Leibowitz

demonstrates the difference pretty well, too. Vacations are restful, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Their purpose is to do very little and to do things slowly, soaking them up. Trips, on the other hand, may be thoroughly exhausting, full of activity, but also packed with great memories. Disney World is a TRIP. Soaking up sun in the tropics? VACATION!

Craftswoman!

"The woman who works
with her hands only
is a laborer.

The woman who works
with her hands and her
head is a craftswoman.

The woman who works
with her hands,
her head and her heart
is an artist."

---St. Francis of Assisi

I have often wondered about the difference between arts and crafts. When I think of crafts, I think of popsicle sticks and straws and yarn. When I think of art, I think of museums & sculptures. I'm not sure where my scrapbooking falls into that spectrum! When, however, the idea of "craftsman" is put in front of me, I realize that crafts are not all that bad. It can be a sign of tender loving care. I know both of my parents put lots of energy and thought into their quilting and woodworking, and my brother does the same with his jewelry-making. So, in the end, I think I am more of a craftswoman than artist, and I am just fine with that!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

They like me anyway!

This weekend was just simply amazing. Of the girls I hung out with, I had only met Karen in person. We had jokes about which ones of us might be axe murderers or slashers. Well, Gaye, Dawn, and Johnna ... as well as Johnna's delightful mom, Binnie, were nowhere near as violent or scary as some had feared. In fact, they were just wonderful. We all got along just amazingly. I mean AMAZINGLY. We were laughing and having fun, and being ourselves, and just lovin' it. So, I find last week's quote from Fancy Simple just perfect:

Your friend is the one who knows all about you and still likes you anyway. -- Elbert Hubbard.

At this point, I'd have to say that all of us know all about each other ... and we like each other enough that we're already trying to find a way to get back together again!!! I don't have any sisters, but if I did, I'd like them to be like these chix!

Catharsis

While I was at the weekend scrapbooking retreat, I divulged more confessions...

...for my "I have to confess" album.

It was quite cathartic.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Brains.

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (50%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (66%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Monday, April 2, 2007

Play that funky music, white boy!

Oh, did we ever have fun at the crop this weekend!!