Friday, May 29, 2015

No Complaints

There comes a time in a new relationship--depending on circumstance--when the inevitable meeting of family and friends occurs.  I've always found it difficult to go from the excitement of getting to know someone one-on-one, to the nervous breakdown phase of being introduced to the other part of a person's life.

Nick asked me to go with him to a Memorial Day BBQ...with most of his motley crew of friends and cohorts.  My stomach flipped, heart raced.  Ah man, isn't it too soon?  We've only know each other for 3+ weeks.  Isn't that a bit early to meet the crew?  He assures me it's all good, so I make a big bowl of potato salad and try to calm the jitters.  What if they don't like me?  What if I don't like them? What if an asteroid hits the planet and I have to somehow fight to survive with these total strangers? (Hey, it could happen!)

However, other than that first awkward moment when we walked out onto the back deck and everyone turned to stare at the "new girl", the party was really fun.  His friends were sweet and welcoming, and the heaps of food were amazing and delicious.  I laughed my head off, told a few good stories myself, and felt like an idiot at the end of the day for worrying, even when I met Nick's sister--who was really nice, by the way.  (And thankfully, the rest of his family lives in Colorado, because there's only so much a girl can take in one day).

I don't seem to be getting much done lately, what with these new and unexpected Nick distractions. It's been quite awhile since I've had long, meandering phone conversations, shared dinners with someone, or been to a really great party.  I often find myself staring off into space, mind spinning with the changes that have transpired in just one short month.

And ladies, just between us?  I forgot how time-consuming it is to have a man around.

I'm not complaining.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Take A Moment

Memorial Day, 2015

The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every 
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart...
Should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, 
gratitude and rededication on this solemn occasion.

                                         --Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Buddha and Boyfriends

Still working my way down the very long To Do List, which will take me clear through the Summer and into early Fall.  I'm trying to pace myself, take my time...after all, I have at least three months to accomplish my tasks.

So, yesterday, to break the monotony of what seems like endless chores, I went into town and wasted some quality time by window shopping and checking out the new stuff at Pier 1, one of my favorite places to dream and admire and fantasize about owning a beach bungalow somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard.

What I found was this amazing piece of art that I just couldn't resist.  Thankfully it was on sale, with a further 20% discount, and I also had a coupon for $15 dollars off any purchase.  Good thing, too, because I think I might have paid full price no matter what--which definitely wasn't in my budget after the dishwasher fiasco.

Let me digress for a moment:

I've been looking for a large piece hang over my bed.  I change my duvet covers with the seasons, so whatever I found had to be neutral to work with four totally different patterns and fabrics.  I've been on the hunt for this elusive item for ages.

So, yesterday.  I'm wandering in the nether region of the store where the pictures and art pieces are stacked against two walls and I begin rummaging.

And there it was.  The one.  I pulled it out from behind several other art works and just stared in amazement.  It's about 2-1/2 feet by 3-1/2 feet, four solid wood planks, carved in Indonesia, signed by the artist. I knew it was going to kill me to turn the price tag over, but then I did--and realized it might be doable with the various discounts and holy crap, this is going to be MINE.

It's beautiful and looks incredible in real life.  Every single time I go into my bedroom, I can't help smiling.

My most excellent Buddha...


It's another long weekend, peeps; the holiday that effectively kicks off Summer.  I have some plans, though not sure what Nick and I will decide to do in the end.

Wait...  Nick?  Who's Nick, you're wondering?

It's early days--couple weeks so far--and I haven't mentioned him because I didn't want to jinx anything, but yeah, there's a possible, maybe, too soon to tell, boyfriend kinda guy named Nick who seems interested in knowing me.  He's been over for dinner a few times and we talk on the phone every day, so the interest is going both ways.  I'll share the first meeting one of these days...even the blushing and stuttering parts where I acted more inept than a 15 year old once I realized what was happening.

Clueless doesn't come close...but hey, I'm totally out of practice.  And it's scary cool...

Sunday, May 17, 2015


This has been the busiest week ever.  Honestly, from Mother's Day weekend to this moment, it's been non-stop.

I had a great time with Mom, though it was also really good to hang out with just my sister and do girly things too.  And eat out.  And go the mall.  And stay up way too late drinking wine and laughing our heads off.

After my sister left to drive home on Monday, I had a house full of men washing all the windows, inside and out, including the skylights so there were even guys up on the roof.  "It's raining men," (hallelujah) kept running through my head the whole time the crew were here.  It's great to have all the windows shiny and clean...even better that I didn't have to climb a 30-ft ladder or get on the roof myself.

The window cleaning started the week and things just got more busy as the days went on with appointments and errands and chores.  Every night I'd sit at the laptop, my mind whirling from all the stuff I'd done that day and what had to be done the next, so rather than write, all I could do was sigh and shut the machine off.

I know things have become too fraught when I haven't read a book in over two weeks.  But now, at last, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm caught up with so many things I can hardly believe later today I'll actually be able to sit down and read.


Yesterday, the last of the gardening work was finished.  I'm set for the Summer--only the lawn to mow each week, and the backyard pots and containers to water--which is a great feeling especially after all the work I've done to get to this point.

I took some shots yesterday of my begonia, columbine and iris blooms.  I might not like the scorching heat of the impending Summer, but I do love the colors and beauty of the flowers that bask in the sunshine...


It will be good to get back to a more regular and reasonable schedule again.  I miss my walks with the boys, so have started a new exercise regime.  I'm calling it Joyful Dancing.  I have dozens of SiriusXM radio channels on my TV, so I picked one that plays Jukebox Gold...and I dance to 70s and 80s tunes.

The dancing--and the idea--started on Friday when I wanted to listen to some music while I was working.  I picked a station, but before I could get back to work, the first song had me dancing around the house, then the second one was a great dance song too and before I knew it, I'd danced about eight in a row and was breathless and sweaty from the workout.  Well then.  Who needs an exercise machine or a gym?  I've got music, rhythm, and my feet.

So, I dance for a solid half an hour, flying around the house doing hardcore twisting and turning, wiggling and shaking.  It's been really fun, though Saturday morning after my first "session" on Friday, I was so stiff, I crawled out of bed moaning and groaning.

Still.  I love to dance and can't think of a better way to exercise, even if it hurts.


I expect to post the next installment of the story this coming week.  I've let it languish for well over a month now, leaving Mitch and Kate in a dicey predicament.  They've been banging and shouting in my head a lot lately, so unless I want Ace to use me as his personal chew toy, I have to get back into the plot soon.

Okay, now Joe Walsh is singing "All Night Long" and I've gotta get dancing.  So, come on, peeps, get your feet moving and join will make you smile...really.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Mom's Weekend...

My sister is driving down from Washington, then we're headed further south to our mother's for her birthday and Mother's Day celebrations.  The weather is to be in the mid-80s, sunny and warm, so we've planned a picnic and have loads of gifts and goofy things for Mom that should make for some good laughs and fun.  I'll be out of town and off the grid until Monday.

Have a great weekend, peeps...and for all you Moms out there:

** Happy Mother's Day  **

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Holiday Photos

Well, here I am at the hotel.  It's warm and sunny, palm trees are swaying in the gentle trade winds, the air is redolent with the heady scents of hibiscus and ginger.

The ocean whispers, beckoning me to the water's edge to sink my feet in the wet sand as the sea laps at my toes.  Here's the incredible view from my balcony...

Before I hit the beach and revel in the tropical mindset of slow and easy, I think I'll head to the tiki bar and order a lovely, cold umbrella drink from one of the yummy cabana boys I can see below, smiling at their customers as they deliver beverages beside the pool...

Such a wonderful holiday.  I'm so glad I was able to save up for it this year...


New dishwasher installed much for my holiday money....sigh.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Busy Weekend

The weekend kicked off early on Thursday with my neighbor and I driving all over town buying emergency supplies to send to Nepal.

Along my winding mountain road there are 18 houses scattered across the ridge. Several months ago a new family moved into the first house. The man is a doctor, from Nepal, although he's been in America for quite some time and his two small kidlets were born here.

Jen, (the neighbor), spent her childhood in India with her American/British parents.  She said in the village where her family lived--close to the border between India and Nepal--she could see the Himalayas and the lights from Kathmandu.  She loved the people and has a deep affinity for the region.

After the terrible earthquake last week, Jen went to the doctor's house to see if there was anything she could do, considering his entire family--and his wife's--live in and around Kathmandu. When he told her he was leaving Friday night with a team of colleagues, nurses and interns to help in the relief efforts, Jen asked for a list of medical supplies that he could box up and take with him.

Then she called me.  We went to Costco first, then stopped at two medical supply stores and a place that services the local hospitals.  When curious peeps asked what we were doing (because we had way more gauze pads and bandages than normal), we explained, and--cool part now--the shops gave us discounts and customers donated money to help us buy more supplies.  It was heartwarming, and restored a tiny measure of faith that there's an inherent decency in most people.

Sandesh and his crew are now on the ground, somewhere in Nepal.


Saturday, Jen and I went into town to find her some new Summer duds.  Last year she was just finishing her mastectomy surgery and chemo; new clothes were way, way down on her list of priorities. We had fun shopping, then she said she wanted to go to Michael's for a new coloring book. I laugh, think she's kidding.  She wasn't and told me the books got her through endless rounds of chemo.

A whole new world opened up for me.  Sometimes I wonder about the stuff I don't know. Like, who knew there was an entire department at Michael's with coloring books for adults, and all the pencils, pens and equipment needed for coloring in them?  (Okay, probably everyone but me).  I was amazed and intrigued. And got hooked in about ten seconds flat.

I bought the Celtic Flowers book because it looked fairly easy, then couldn't resist the Mandala book, though wow, it's so complicated I don't know what I was thinking.

So, Saturday night, movie on the television, I sat at the dining room table listening while I colored in my new book.  It's incredibly relaxing, soothing and very, very fun.

The blank page...and the almost completed image:

I'm clueless about "painting" with gel pens, so I'm learning as I go.  But one thing hasn't changed since my early days with that familiar yellow box of crayons: I still can't stay within the lines.

Great colors in the adult version of Crayolas, too.


Finally got my new birdbath yesterday.  I've been waiting for months--since my beautiful cobalt blue one cracked in the freezing temps over the Winter. This one is ruby red, though looks sort of brownish in my photo. I had barely gotten it filled with water when a blue jay came flying in, squawking like a town crier. I can't wait till word gets out and all the birds come back for their early morning baths...

Then later in the afternoon, I planted my fuchsias in the five hanging baskets.  I found a new style to replace two baskets that were falling apart.  They sort of have a tulip shape and I loved the soft, green jewels.

When I was finished planting and starting to clean up, I realized my throat was scratchy and my nose was burning.  I looked toward the coast range...and was stunned to see thick smoke filling the valley from a forest fire.  It doesn't bode well for the coming dry months.  Within the hour, it looked like this...


It was definitely a busy weekend.

There's much to be said for helping others in desperate times; learning a new way to craft color into my world; anticipating the joy of watching hummingbirds dine on juicy fuchsia blooms all Summer...and listening to the blue jays chatter and argue each morning as they bathe...

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Smudge, A Sniffle and a Sigh

I got up at dawn this morning to rejuvenate my house, car and landscape.  It was a cool, clear start to the day, just a few birds beginning to stir as the sun began to rise over the mountains.

I've been pondering which of my six smudge sticks to use, then decided last night on the Four Winds since I was covering lots of ground--literally and spiritually--and needed all the help I could get.

Four Winds: Copal, Lavender, Sweetgrass, White Sage...

The smoke was thick and fragrant, the sweet aroma drifting through the air with the movements of my beautiful hawk feather (found long ago on a hike in the Painted Desert of Arizona).  The heady scent reminds me of an early Spring morning in the pristine red rock country around Santa Fe.

After doing the four corners of my property, I stood on the deck as the sun rose behind me and sent messages to Alan and Ozzy, my dad and nephew.  I shed a tear, but more in gratitude that I loved them and have been blessed to know them in this lifetime.

Then I made my way inside where I cleansed every room, imagined the darkness being blown away by the smoke, to be replaced with light and joy.  I can still smell the faint whisper of the blend in the house.  It's calming and reassuring, familiar and warm.

When the ritual was finished, I honestly felt lighter, more accepting of things, and so utterly glad that I lived through yet another demonic April.  I'll still have moments of pain--only human after all--but now my sad, deep sighs will slowly turn into refreshing and hopeful deep breaths as the days pass.

It's all good.

Happy May Day, dear readers.  Blessings...