Saturday, March 31, 2007


Staying Present (7 - 15 - 06)

I've been making collages for years and years. I was inspired by an old old friend who, like me, was born in the Year of the Dragon. She had a dragon tattoo and was a practicing Buddhist. She taught me the art of the treasure a stream of consciousness journal entry, you flip through magazines snipping without thought. You converge the images and then step back. Sometimes it's even better to put it aside for awhile. Then you take a really good look and you notice things.

Very often a theme emerges. In the image above, the Buddha came before I actually found his counterpart in a nearby thrift store. Santa brought the doll house. And is that me and the Princess in Hawaii this past December?

Believe In Magic (10 - 13 - 05)

Or one can work more mindfully, purposefully choosing images that represent what you want to manifest. Here I've encapsuled a healthful lifestyle, more playfullness, self - care. An added benefit was the spinning wheel that later emerged in an updated version, and the sweet soft yarn then produced.

A tribute to the power of the mind, it's a ritual and an art combined. I keep these snippets of my life in a spiral bound notebook. I used to use random canvases, mostly old cereal boxes and such...these proved too difficult to manage, and I always ended up burning them. A shame really, as they truly seemed to become mile markers of what was going on, or would happen. A sort of visual diary of the esoteric kind.

Not unlike blogging I suppose.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

new scanner

WOW! My world has just expanded. Blogging possibilities are limitless now...I have a scanner!

Thanks, honey.

Thanks to everyone that wished me luck on the test. It wasn't really so bad...and now I can get back to more important spinning.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

spring things

Witness a miracle: the orchid given to me for my birthday has bloomed again...never mind that this is the only one out of five blossoms to open. This tiny lion face is lighting up the corner of my room for a second time this year.

Inspired by the overpriced fare at a certain coffee chain, I set out to reproduce their lemon scones. Made all the more delicious since I didn't have to go anywhere to eat them...except back to bed of course. These are several times larger than their mass produced counterparts. Just add coffee and some new magazines and the world is all right.

We celebrated Ostara last week as a family, conducting a simple ritual picnic style on the floor. We planted seeds infused with wishes for what we want to grow in our lives...then decorated eggs from our prolific hens, drawing on symbols and designs to represent things we want to integrate. These we ate, with mindfulness, for breakfast.

The outer and the inner made manifest. Sweet times shared with intention. It all feels right.

Friday, March 23, 2007

i hate math

Directions: For each of the following questions, select the best of the answer choices given.

1. What is the most important first step to preparing for the GRE?
a) Wishing you had started sooner
b) Taking the day before the test off to cram
c) Clearing off the table, finding a pretty cloth and arranging an artistic centerpiece "so I can concentrate"
d) Make some really strong coffee

2. What would you rather be doing today?
a) Turning back time to 9th grade geometry and actually doing the work
b) Anything that doesn't involve being indoors
c) Reading the three magazines I bought yesterday instead of the phone book sized test prep I got at the library
d) Getting better than an average 75% on the sample math portion

3. How will your GRE score effect the chance of being accepted to your graduate program?
a) They will need to ignore my math score
b) The GRE is just a tiny portion of the qualification and is a terrible reflection of my overall abilities
c) I'll need to light some candles before and after the test
d) I can always take it again (but only five times this year - drat!)

4. Why are you on the computer instead of at your table studying?
a) I feel guilty about my lack of blog posts and don't want to let (all two) of my readers down
b) Blogging is my cheapest and most immediate therapy
c) At least this makes me feel competent
d) I am the world's best procrastinator

I'm trying everything....bribes, prayers, panic, nonchalance, tea, denial...I just don't feel good about this test. I'm a good writer, I can think logically, make analogies, and effectively manage nineteen five to six year olds, but can I pass the GRE? Nervous, I'm very very nervous.

Please light a candle for me tomorrow at 1:00 PST. I'd appreciate it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

welcome spring

Blessed Spring Equinox to y'all. The blue garter stitch pony was Horsey Girl's first (and last, besides head bands) knitting project, and the one that made solid her talent for the craft (if not her patience.) I really didn't help her too much with it, and when she got to knitting the other side I noticed she didn't need the pattern any more, she remembered it from the first side...including the number of decreases, and the fact that it was knit in the opposite way. I was so proud of her, and equally horrified to find it tossed away in a pile at the back of her closet while I was cleaning. Now she embodies the Goddess Epona, and I feel another horse coming into our lives soon...

The High Priestess from my beloved Tarot deck is there as a reminder from my Authentic Self to incorporate majick into my daily stay centered and true to hold the balance between the worlds. Yes, my deck is in German, I bought it that way unknowingly, but it's the images that count anyway. I think I am a pretty good reader, even though I don't practice enough.

The weather has turned (again!) and we had showers and cold skies yesterday. Every time I open the door to the coop the hens make a dash for it, so I relented. See how happy they are to be out in the big, green world! From front to back, we have Red Angel, Tinkerbell, Jasmine and that's Riley bringing up the rear. Not pictured: Beauty, the barred Rock.

Hope your day is lush and green.

Monday, March 12, 2007


My Goddess, it was HOT here today. Low to mid eighties, to be exact. I've been enjoying these wonderful oranges that our neighbor has been bringing by regularly. His girlfriend has a tree in San Jose. Usually I juice them on the weekends, but today called for fresh squeezed juice mixed with sparkling water and ICE - lots of ice.

The yarn is something I call my First Attempt at Bulky. I'm starting to play around a little more with thicknesses now while I spin. I see commercial yarn with new eyes, always trying to size it up and see if I could recreate it. This hank is very, very loosely plied, and if I did it again, I wouldn't ply it at all, because it really didn't need it. But I like plying, it's fun.

The roving was a mystery wad given to me by the friend with the broken wheel. I think the color is pretty exciting. I gave this yarn to her last week....she is an excellent knitter and felter.

Speaking of recreating....someone out there can certainly help me. This is a dishcloth I found in B's dryer on our recent stay, and I'm dying to make one. I know, I know, it's cinchy, right? But reconsider my ineptitude, coupled by the fact I've never made my own pattern. How was this done? I know it's just garter stitch, and the holes around the edges are probably yarnovers. Can I figure out the rest (stitch count, etc.) just by the photo?

If you can help me, please comment! Thanks!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


My oldest daughter is sixteen today. That makes it my birth day. Isn't she gorgeous? Her name is Madeline (known more commonly here as Princess #1, for all the obvious reasons.) Maddi was born on a bright sunny afternoon in San Jose, my only hospital birth. The next morning, we awoke to find a dusting of snow outside our bedroom winter.

Upon Madeline's birth I became a stay - at - home mom. Maddi grew up playing outside in the forest, exploring her world with very few boundaries. I always knew when she was happy because she would sing to herself, something she still does now. She was a content child, very adaptable and creative...she never clinged to me, but we did enjoy reading books together and doing side by side crafts and artwork. She is a wonderful artist.

She's a natural on horseback, but not as interested in riding as her sister is, a shame really. All around athletic, she won her middle school Turkey Trot twice in a row, and came in 3rd in a 5k we did as a family a few years back.

When Maddi was in second grade, I got a divorce from her Dad and she was devastated. How does one explain to a child the horror of realizing that you have made the worst mistake of your life? That everything will change except your undying love for her? That despite the chaotic appearance of the time, everything was going to be all right? There was no way I could tell her how much better I would be to break away from that abusive and dysfunctional scene...she only saw her own world falling apart.

Time softened things...the girls shared equal time with both of us. Changes husbands, new schools, a new sister. Maddi chose to spend more time with her Dad in the city. I saw her drift away from me, but all I could do was wave. It hurt to have her stray to the "other side", but I let her go with love. Our time together is precious and meaningful now, no moment is wasted, we live sweet and juicy because this day will never come again.

She is a soccer star now, one of two sophomores chosen for the Varsity team this year, and traveling the state with her local team for most months. She chastises me for knitting during games but hey! At least I'm there...and the one hour pre-game warmup is the perfect time to hit garage sales. Life is full of opportunities.

I love you, Madeline Elizabeth. I'm so proud of the woman you are becoming. Our best times together are yet to come, I promise.

Friday, March 09, 2007


One highlight of our girlie weekend was hitting the Boardwalk. This is the best place to people watch next to Disneyland. Every color, size and age are represented here. I love Santa Cruz, and I'm glad to raise my kids in such a marvelous melting pot.

We approach our intended destination with a mixture of fear, excitement and anticipation. There is no greater wooden roller coaster on earth than the Giant Dipper.

Oh sure, there's some steel holding it together up there...but upon a close inspection one can easily be convinced that it's mostly painted wood. The perfect combination of vintage weathered and modern drama. Let's go!

And I do mean vintage. It's been thrilling seekers since 1924. It's survived wars and earthquakes, and it still rocks. Of course Horsey Girl won't go near it. The one time she tried she threw up. So it was all about me and Princess #1. We tossed our tickets at the gate and ran to the front of the line.....we scored the first car!

The first nine seconds of the ride is in the pitch black...neck wrenching turns at lightening speed but you have no clue where you are headed. Then, the proverbial light and the end of the tunnel. It's a breakthrough moment, and there's no going back now.

We begin our ascent to the rhythm of the clickety - clack, clack, clack, clack...everybody knows what's coming, and they are breathless. The weather today calls for mostly sunny skies with a touch of palm trees, highs in the mid 70's, and no lows in sight. Until we reach the top, that is.

And here's the view form the top. You can see all the way to Monterey from up here! Notice the lighthouse on your left. At this point I must stop to breathe...stay in the moment...chastise my oldest child for spitting (she's a real spitter, that one.) I'm suspended in air, and time. But just a moment to catch your breath - ready?

An explosion of speed! A rush of wind! And we're off....the ride is barely three minutes long, but it's so much more. We twist, wind, lift and separate...we throw up our hands and scream like banshees. What a release! What a ride!

Back on solid ground, tears streaming, we laugh like crazy as we relive it again. We check out the picture that a machine on drop number two takes of us (for purchase) and crack up again (it's always awful.) Then we are pulling out another wad of tickets as we run for the entrance, it was so terrible, so wonderful, let's do it again, and again.

I love my beautiful big girls. There's no place like home.

Monday, March 05, 2007

b is for beach house

My friend B. went to Arizona to watch Spring Training (lucky duck!!!) and she let me and the two big girls stay in her beach house in Santa Cruz. No baby, no dogs, no dh...just a girlie weekend, and it was wonderful!

B's house is the perfect beach house, starting with the color. She actually has people come up and knock on her door, asking her the what kind of paint she used and what the color is called. Sometimes this is less than convenient, like early on a Saturday. She is typically a very good natured person but this was crossing the line. Anyway, by turns this color could be described as sage, smoke, mushroom, moss or any number of greeny - gray combinations, depending entirely upon the time of day.
There is a lot to see inside and outside. These sweet piper birds look just like the ones that run in and out with the tide along the sandy shore. Here they peek out and admire the view.

And what a wonderful view...there is a lovely park next door, and beyond the tulip tree you can see a glimpse of the water accented on each side by (left) the log ride and (right) the Big Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. (More on that in another post!)

Every day we were there, a birthday happened just outside the kitchen window...balloons, presents, cake and happy children abounded. It felt like a nonstop party.

B. has many collections, but none outdoes her sea glass. She has mounds of it, jars, bowls, plates tucked into every corner...I think she must walk the shore a lot. My favorite is this selection, which includes colors rarely found and formed into a beautiful beach mandala.

"But what did you do?" you ask. Well, can you see the knitting in this picture? I didn't think so. Look closely, on the ottoman...that is the extent of the knitting I did, even though I brought several other projects (yes, yes, including the mushroom socks...they are still languishing). There were magazines to be read, cable TV to watch, dreams to dream and long stretches of beach to walk. The girls were my main focus, so we spent a lot of time just "hanging out"...talking, joking, laughing and bonding for the first time in a very long time, just the three of us....just like old times, before second husband and baby came along.

We also ate a lot (oomph.)

More of B's collections, kind of an Ode to March don't you think? I love these little elf figurines..the plate says, "In my house, I do as I damn well please!" B. is very fond of green.

Every room is lovingly decorated with mellow antiques, soft faded beachy colors, worn linens and faded treasures. I love the look of this room, but we all decided it had too many "old items" (including sepia photographs) and was very obviously being occupied by a few other people already. (The minute she stepped in, P. #1 announced, "This room is HAUNTED mom." I had to agree.)

More elves, sweet plates, and sea glass. Treasure around every corner.

Last we have my favorite piece of art...a forest fairy, made of sticks and bark and feathers and crystals and seaweed, her crown a pumpkin stem. I will try to make something similar very soon I think.

Thank you so much B, for providing your lovely house for us to bond and be a family threesome again...if only for a little while. What is remembered, lives.
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