Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bitter and sweet

As long as I live
  I think I shall love and hate
You the most of all

Isn't it amazing how one person can reach such extremes in our feelings. I am trying to remember to learn from all they mean, or meant, in my life. All of it is food for growth in my soul. It is up to me to choose to let the bitter enhance the sweet, rather than consume only the bitter. And consuming only sweet becomes sickening, eventually. Balance in all things.

Friday, March 14, 2014

More than I bargained for, in a good way

     Go. I am in a hotel room tonight. I have brought my daughter to Portland, OR to see her new college. She's in the dorm, I'm in a hotel. Doesn't seem like a big deal, does it?
     What is so remarkable about this event is that, I think, it's the first time in 30 years I've been in a hotel alone. I traveled by plane, across the country alone. But I have not been in a hotel alone. I dropped her off; made my way into downtown Portland; enjoyed Powell's Book Store; found this hotel; and here I am.

     I am flying by the seat of my pants on this trip. I, usually, plan every step ahead. This time I decided to wing it. There was a moment when I wasn't sure I had made the right choice. I compounded the problem by trying to find a place to stay in a new fashion, and it wasn't working out. I didn't take the time to learn what the safer areas were, so I found myself in a less than desirable part of the city. So I plugged a fast food place into the GPS and found wi-fi for the price of a fish sandwich. (Note: This place wasn't comfortable, but it also wasn't uncomfortable. Do not stop if you are not sure for your personal safety.)

 As I ate dinner, in a place where I was sure I could see my car from my table, I went with the familiar. I went to and found a reasonably priced hotel, with breakfast. I got the address for Powell's, munched down my fries, and zipped to my car; I did not unlock my door until I was next to it and locked it as soon as I was in; plugged the address into the GPS and off I went.

Powell's is phenomenal. It's a bookstore that's bigger than some libraries I've been to. Then serendipity showed up.

I just love it when that happens.

I was tired and thought I should find the hotel while it was light, "Just go lock yourself in a safe hotel room and write. Use this time away from the house to work on the poetry." my safe self resigned.

Then I saw the sign for a presentation by Haroon K. Ullah, at 7:30 pm, this evening. Mr. Ullah is the author of "The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family's Day of Reckoning in Lahore" You know I'm a sucker for a chance to hear directly from an author. I stayed.

What impressed me about Mr. Ullah is that this extremely intelligent, well educated gentleman is very rooted in his small, eastern Washington up bringing. His presentation was engaging, informative, entertaining and intelligent. Not at all pretentious or condemning. This book is in my que. If you have ever wondered how the average person lives in the violently political, war torn world; read this book.

My book budget was spent on Wednesday's book purchase at the Hedgebrook Literary Series. I will either get this from the library, or wait until next month to purchase it.

Today's message of Hope:
1) Push through the panic and go, the gifts that are there are worth the trip.
2) None of us are alone in our concerns for a better life.
3) Don't let the fact that you can't buy something stop you from going. If I had, I would not have had the opportunity to shake the hand of a gentleman that put himself in the heart of, truly, life threatening situation to show me (and you) that we are all human.
4) Know how to use technology to bring the plan together
5) Hotels make funny noises when you're alone. When you assign the reasonable explanation for them, they're not scary. Annoying, but not scary.
6) Some risks turn out yummy, my hotel has a hot breakfast. I'm going to sleep so I can wake up and enjoy it.

I think my wings just got a little stronger.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lessons from the Penguins

A friend posted a video of penguins sliding on ice and even falling down several feet of rock then standing up and shaking it off.

I would have thought that penguins would have developed grips on their flippers to prevent this from happening. Instead they have thick skin and strong, yet flexible, skeletal structure.

It got me to looking at my own failings and strengths. Where do I look for stability, where what I have is resilience? Why don't I see that as strength. It is not that I won't fall, but that I am strong enough to get back up. That is it's own kind of strength. Perhaps there are times when I am more careful, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.

So, what ledge have I avoided because I fear the fall? Submitting my writing? Taking the next class to get my degree? Organizing the paper work? Taking a real look at what's left undone?

Letting go of the stuff has been easy, so far. It's been stuff with no real meaning to any one. Now I am going through things that give me pause to think of someone or some time. These things are harder to let go.

Coupled with the discouragement of realizing, for all I've done, not one room is finished.

It's been tough to get motivated to do anything. Ironic, isn't it.

So I do a little, for some is better than none. 10 things.
1) The junk mail that never should have made it in the house, out to recycling
2) The beans that refused to cook, out to compost
3) The sale items that people said they would get, but haven't arranged for.
4) The paperwork from work that has to be kept, but not in the office, boxed
5) Bathroom cleaned
6) Seed starters assembled and put with garden tools
7) Books searched on book buying site. Those they'll take put aside. The rest in the car to go to the library.
8) Dishes put away
9) Sale items taken out to the garage
10) Blog written

Done. Going to go enjoy the day.

Some days you can scale a cliff. Some days you fall on your tail and have to bounce back up and start again.
Both are days of strength building. Shake it off and go on. Lessons from the penguins.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Encounter the Art of Conversation

Sometimes I think moving would be easier than cleaning out. There is so much to do. Every accomplishment seems to be followed by another point of disarray.

Discouragement is a black cloud that moves in fast, then stops. Make life dark and cold and uninspired. How do I keep going? What is the motivator that gets the breeze going to move that cloud along?

It is a clearly defined goal. Just like a business, you have to have a mission statement to focus on. "I want a clean house" is too vague. What do you want to do with your home?

Mine home mission statement is: "To have a comfortable, inviting space to welcome friends and encounter art."
Art for me is the art of conversation, book readings, house concerts, perhaps even a small exhibit.
But that's not where I started. When I began this mission the goal was to be able to walk through a room without having to step over something. The mission is ever changing.

I am excited this week. I am going to call a local charity to pick up a bunch of stuff. I'm boxing it all up now. Letting go of not only the item, but the idea of selling the stuff. I am, finally, able to let things go without having to make money for bills. It is an amazing feeling.

More than two years this has been my life. Now life is changing. Even positive change can be difficult. But I'll get through this too. I have built a firm foundation, I'm ready to build a new home for myself, even if it is in the same house.

Today, clean out 10 things. Throw away, recycle, give away, sell 10 things. Then, tomorrow, do it again. It's amazing what will happen.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Today's Mood = :-)

I hadn't very much more than woken up this morning, when someone came knocking on the door. I was, pleasantly, surprised to find a friend at my door with a frozen coffee for me.

We sat and talked for a bit, then she went on with her day. After she left I got to looking around my home. I have been so wrapped up in making money, I haven't really paid close attention to the details lately. So, I set to work.

I did clean the garage, and make my treadmill usable.
I also scoured my kitchen and picked up the living room.

It was a beautiful day, so I opened the windows and "changed the air", as my Mother would say.

Other than to take the clean laundry upstairs, I haven't spent any time playing hermit in my room. It is so refreshing to be in this open space. I hadn't realized how being in that tiny space, most of the time, was affecting my mood.

It is so nice to be at a place where I can spend half and hour cleaning up and it's cleaned up. There's still too much in the garage. And the craft room is a disaster. My house will not be a feature in any magazine.
 But my living area is peaceful. It is so much easier to be at home, not out spending money, with it like this.

It's been a long road, but it's coming to an end. It's not a dead end. It's a point of deciding left or right.
The possibilities are exciting.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


I sat and enjoyed a glass of wine at my favorite wine shop today. It was a nice break from the normal routine of coming home and posting things for sale. It was nice to visit with friends. Connection is so important.

That, and a nice stroll around town, was the break I needed.

I have several people coming tomorrow to pick up items I've posted on line. As much as I dislike garage sales, I may post that the garage is open for business. I am going to organized the garage tomorrow, it wouldn't be horrible to have people stopping by, while I clean.

I have developed a few bad habits lately, they are affecting me physically. It is time to break those habits and get back to the good ones I once had.

So tomorrow's goal is to organize the garage enough to be able to use my treadmill again. The nice weather is arriving, I want to be able to hike the beautiful trails near by my home.

I have gotten into the habit of being on my computer, while sitting in bed. I then fall asleep in that position. My hip is paying the price. No more of that. Made a nice sitting area and  put a lap desk, of sorts, together. I will incorporate yoga in my exercise to routine.

What's the use of having a little extra money, if I'm too unhealthy to enjoy it?

How about you? What improvements are you making in your life?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A day of rest

The thing about meeting amazing people who are doing amazing things with other amazing people, is that it leaves you wondering if you can be amazing enough to be invited in.

The temptation in moments like this is to spend money on something extravagant, that makes you feel amazing. With several credit card applications sitting in the recycle bin, it would be oh so easy to do.

I am not the kind of person who can, easily, say "I am amazing."

So, what does one do when one doesn't feel amazing and has no money to buy artificial amazing?

What I do is abandon amazing and shoot for acceptable to society. Really, lower your expectations for a while. Not forever, just for a while. Give yourself a break.

I should have spent this day working the sale pages. There are bills to be paid. Instead I schlepped around Facebook, read poetry, wrote poetry, and called my Dad. Do I feel better. No. But I didn't do something financially stupid, that makes me feel good.

Tomorrow I'll be ready to go again. Sometimes you have to stop and smell the fabric softener on the pillowcase.

Life is Rich

It was the same brand name coffee
Today, it tasted richer
Plain, ordinary eggs on store bought bread
Today, tasted more savoury
Promise had become reality
Today, the world was a palate to be savored.
Tomorrow would be full
Today, the coffee was richer