Thursday, March 27, 2014

Art Journaling, Tea and Flowers

Yesterday evening I mentioned that I'd been working in one of my art journals again. And I'd meant to include pictures, but forgot. I'm going to blame it on the stuffed up head... 

I've been swilling tea and water (and a cup of coffee... I won't lie...) for the past several hours now, and took a Sudafed... so now I feel less stuffed up and kind of like my eyes are bugging out of my head. However, since I can now breathe again, I'm not going to complain. Sudafed does make me feel rather... AWAKE. @_@

I also mentioned that the Missus had brought me home some flowers yesterday evening. They're bright and fun, and I absolutely love them...


They're vivid orange Sun Stars... the buds on the stalk tips (before they bloom) look like asparagus... 

^_____^

 Here's the first art journal page I did the other night. I had no idea what I was going to paint. I just grabbed the colors that jumped out at me & started painting. It was refreshing and relaxing... better than a yoga class. ^_~


This is the page I started last night. It has a really fun texture to it... and I am now in love with texturing everything. 


Since I don't have any gel medium, I've been giving my journal pages a base coat in this strange beige color we have a huge tub of... After the first beige layer dried, I slapped on some globs of beige here and there, then dragged a pick comb through the wet paint. After that layer dried (with the help of my trusty hair dryer...), I used different blues, light gold and black to paint over everything. After I'd add some color, I'd rub off the excess with a paper towel. There are a lot of layers of paint on this puppy... 

I ended up stopping work on this last night and going to bed because I was feeling stressed (because Britt was stressed about school and I have a difficult time not borrowing her strong emotions) and I couldn't chill out. I was getting grouchy because of this, and having a hard time focusing on the process of painting (instead of what I was painting). So I took some NyQuil so I could sleep without waking myself up by coughing... and woke up feeling awful... lolz.

But I've been up for several hours now, and while I'm still coughing & feeling stuffed up, the tea and decongestants seem to be helping. ^_^ 

So now I'm off to paint some more, and hopefully finish up this page. Then I'm going to take some time and glue every other page of my art journal together (it's just a cheap sketchbook...) so that hopefully the pages will take to being painted with less complaining, rolling of edges, etc. ^_~

Next time I buy a book for an art journal, it's going to have some heavy duty paper in it. But when I got this book, I had no idea I'd be painting in it... so it's working nicely, all things considered. ^_^

As a side note, I've been trying to figure out a way to post pics onto Instagram when I haven't taken the photo with my iPod... since my iPod's camera sucks... I tried emailing myself the pics I took with my camera and then saving them to my iPod's photos, but whenever I try to open them in Instagram (or Picfx for that matter...) the apps just crash. Meh. If you know how to do this some other way, let me know pretty please? Thanks! ^___^

XOXO

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Rambles

Today is cold, windy and rainy... and I'm sick with a head and chest cold.

I got up this afternoon, only to crawl right back into bed and sleep another hour and a half, until the Missus came home, bringing me flowers. ^-^

So now I'm up, eating some strange veggie-noodle soup I found in a can at the back of our cupboard and drinking coffee. The coffee is fabulous, the soup is okay. It was decidedly not okay until after I'd dumped some granulated onion and garlic, black pepper and paprika (a lot if it...) into the pot. Now it has a smoky flavor, thanks to the wee bit of smoked paprika I added on top of the regular paprika.

What can I say... I love paprika. In large amounts. On (just about) everything. ^-^

I've been working in my art journal again, practicing painting FEARLESS. I've never enjoyed working in my journal as much before. No stress. No trying to get anything to "look just right", no expectations of what things are "supposed" to look like.

Since I'm enjoying my art journaling so much, I'm planning to take one of Connie's online workshops (BIG) in the next few months.

If you've never checked out her site, go HERE, (seriously, like, right now...) and check it out. She's amazing. She has several different workshops she offers throughout the year.

One I really would like to take is Painting the Feminine. The next go of this workshop starts in June, and registration opens at the end of April. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to register. ^___^

If you're looking for a free workshop, she also offers FEARLESS Painting for Art Journaling and Total Alignment. Both are online, via her website.

FYI, Total Alignment is also the name of her FEARLESS painting retreat, which you can find more about here.

Well then... I'm off to go play in my art journal some more. Hope your week is going well!

XOXO

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Joining Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots, and numerous other bloggers, in Gratitude Sunday...

...even though it's now technically Monday. As a night owl, since I haven't been to bed yet, it's still my Sunday. ^__~

This week I have been thankful for...

*The blue skies and sunshine!!!
*Going for walks by the bay at Boulevard Park.
*Having an impromptu dinner date with the missus on my lunch break from work... and going to our favorite sweets shop to get cake for dinner.
*Chocolate Stout cake with Irish Cream frosting.
*Giving myself time to art journal.
*Sipping coffee on the porch with my cat (she gets water, not coffee...), while a squirrel chatters/shouts at us from a nearby tree.
*Getting the trunk of our car cleaned out so I can now shampoo the inside, and having way less oil damage than I originally thought. ^_^
*That it's now SPRING!!!
*Taking the dorky Winter 2014 challenge that was going around Facebook like a bad chain letter... Britt and I had way too much fun jumping into Lake Whatcom.

The Missus & I after our... bracing... jumps into the lake on 3/19...


Please make sure to take a moment to visit Wooly Moss Roots and the other wonderful bloggers participating in Gratitude Sunday by clicking the image below. 


Gratitude Sunday

I hope we all have a great week this coming week! Brace yourselves for Monday with many strong cups of coffee... I know that's what I'll be doing... 

XOXO


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Some days are just irritating

Today is just one of those irritating, rather frustrating days.

So I'm trying to find little ways to not let shit get to me.

The coffee I'm drinking is helping... even though there's no Bailey's in it. ^_~

I discovered yesterday when I went to put something in my trunk that the bottle of engine oil I keep in there (just in case...) had somehow come open and spilled... all over... omg. Our tent is in the trunk and has some of the oil on it, but I'm hoping that since it's only on the bottom of the tent (it's rolled up...) that I'll be able to scrub it with dish soap and save the tent...

On the bright side, once I clean all the crap out of my car's trunk, we will be that much closer to trading our car in... It has served us well, but was kind of lemon-ish when we got it. Not totally, but there was quite a bit wrong with it that the *fabulous*, ahem, sales-lady failed to mention...

My driver's side headlight went out, and it's not the bulb or the fuse... which leaves the socket, the wiring and a handful of other things that will be a pain in my ass to fix... but hopefully we'll get this car traded in within the week, so I won't have to worry about it. *fingers crossed*

The biggest frustration today, however, came from Mt. Hood Community College in Portland. Britt had her application for their part-time RN program almost ready to go... we were going to mail it off Monday, after triple-checking that everything was filled out right. There was one more piece of paper she needed to fill out, and when she got online this afternoon to re-print the page, she found an announcement on the MHCC website saying that effective immediately they would no longer be offering a part-time program.

Whaaaaaaa....

Well fuck... now what?

On the bright side, at least we hadn't sent her application (along with $75 non-refundable fee) in yet. So we still have all her official transcript copies and what-not for wherever she ends up applying instead. But since MHCC was the only college in Oregon that offered a part-time RN program, we may start looking for somewhere else to go to school... Perhaps northern California? Le sigh...

Anywhom. I'm off to clean out my car trunk, which really needed to be cleaned a long time ago. It still has crap stored in it from when we cleared out our storage unit last July... mostly because we had nowhere else to store our camping gear. Ah well. Better now than never, I suppose...

Looking forward especially much to sitting down and writing my Gratitude Sunday post tomorrow... Click HERE if you'd like to join in too. ^_^

XOXO

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Oh my... somehow a week flew right by when I blinked.

Joining today with Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots for her Gratitude Sunday. If you'd like to join in, or just read other participants' posts, please click on the link at the bottom of my post to be taken to her wonderful blog. ^_^

This past week I have been grateful for:

*Lhu and Phiphi starting to feel better. Hopefully we've found the right kitty antibiotics to kick the nasty bug that's taken up residence in their lungs. Pseudomonas' eviction notice has been served!

Lhu. 

*The cleaning and organizing we've been doing around the house. It's slowly restoring my sanity.

*Kitty snuggles when I really need them. I swear my cats are psychic. They're also incredibly tolerant should I ever need to cry into their fur.

*The warm weather the past few days. Even though it was raining, it has been wonderfully warm. It finally feels like Spring. I want to go roll around in the grass and kiss the buds on every tree and flower I see.

*The flowers I picked up from the store to plant on our porch. Flowers and any other living plant, really, make me happy on a level I can't explain. I feel off-balance if I don't have any green leafy growing things to love on. I'm especially in love with the hydra-like daffodil. Daffohydra? Hydradil? Whatever... she makes me smile.


Crocuses!!!
Daffohydra?

 And the daffodils...
Hydradil?

Hyacinth on the left, chibi Irises on the right. 


*The fun cook book my mom sent me for Christmas this past year. I'm baking my second attempt at a birthday cake from this book, since last weekend it dumped snow and we had to reschedule birthday dinner to this weekend. Which was good, since both my cake and my frosting I tried to make last weekend sucked ass. My baking pride took a kick to the teeth, so I'm hoping to restore my faith in my ability to bake an edible cake. "Delicious cake" would be preferable, but for the moment, I'll just settle for "Edible". ^_~

Alice's Tea Cup recipes by Haley & Lauren Fox.


*Tea (marshmallow & spearmint) to soothe my heart burn.



*And a super cute tea pot to drink it out of. ^___^ My Mother-in-law learned that I'd like to start collecting tea pots (my mom collects them and I've been in love since I was a little kid). So every year for either Christmas or my birthday (last year for both... lolz) she's started getting me tea pots. ^__^



*Speaking of mother-in-laws... My in-laws. I'm lucky to have Britt's family that's loving and accepting. Their love and care and family-ness over the past several years has been precious to me. Even though we don't all always get along, and there has been some completely insane shit that's gone on, Britt's family has made me part of an extended family - something I've never experienced before, and for that I will always love them (no matter what shit they may pull, and no matter if I don't always like some of them.) I especially love (and like) her folks, who love me more than I could ever have hoped. They add love and laughter to my life that gives it a richness, a fullness, my life would otherwise lack.

*And lastly, I am grateful for the little things that crop up when least expected. Like words of wisdom from my tea bag. So often it seems an impossible task to change our world for the better. But one small action, one smile, one helping hand at a time... and it will happen.


Take a moment to hop on over to Taryn's blog... and if you have two moments, why not check out the Etsy shops she and her husband run? They make some incredibly cool stuff! 

Gratitude Sunday


Have a lovely week this week! 

XOXO

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Joining with Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday...

If you're interested in joining in, click the link at the end of this post to be taken to her lovely blog.

This past week has been filled with so many things I've had to do, so I'm happy to sit here for a moment with my cup of coffee and reflect back on what I'm grateful for.

This past week I've been grateful for:

*Our car that takes us where we need to go, especially to out of state interviews.

*That I celebrated another birthday yesterday.

* My cats, who alternately lounge all over the house and wreak tiny amounts of havoc all over the house. Especially Lhu, who is currently curled up by my feet, snoring.

*Our coffee pot. We haven't had one since November 2012... and we finally got a new one. No more having to make only one cup at a time. ^______^

*The snow last weekend... Britt and I went to the park and played in it for an hour or so. She made her first snow angel ever.

Britt, mid-snow angel making ^-^


*Two of my favorite authors, David Eddings and Neal Stephenson, for creating such wonderful worlds for me to visit (and revisit... numerous times...)

*For the plants in my house and the few herbs on my porch for giving me a wee bit of green while the snow keeps on coming.

*That my brother was safely able to move, despite awful snow and weather in the Midwest this past week.

*For our new(ish) camera, so Britt and I can once again take way too many pictures of things. Mostly of our cats... ^-^

Thank you for stopping by this afternoon. ^-^
If you'd like to join in, or just read the other posts for those participating in Gratitude Sunday, hop on over to Wooly Moss Roots by clicking on the link below:

Gratitude Sunday

Snowflakes taste like magic...
Have a wonderful week my loves! =D

XOXO

Friday, February 07, 2014

Doors

In the attempt to embrace my Nine Words for 2014 (in this instance, Brave), here's another first for me... sharing something I've written with anyone other than my laptop or my cat.

Months and months ago I wrote a piece for a flash fiction challenge from Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds... If you've never encountered his writing, do yourself a favor and go introduce yourself to one of his books... you'll be glad to make its acquaintance.

Without further ado, here's the blurb I wrote for the prompt FLEA MARKETS. Enjoy! ^-^


Doors

Kat poked through the piles of junk, the tables full of treasures. She had no particular item in mind, but browsed the aisles piled high with anything and everything imaginable, searching for a special something. She would know it when she found it.

She wandered around for what felt like a terribly long time. As she was getting ready to give up her search, she found it. It being an old, slightly rusted door knob attached to a back plate with a large key hole. It also came with a skeleton key that weighed heavily in her hands. There was no price tag.

“How much did you want for this?” she asked the seller. The old woman raised bushy eyebrows and peered at Kat with her bleary, aged eyes.
“That? How did that get here? Hmm. I suppose I could give it to you for $5... if you're sure you want it. Although why anyone would need that many doors, I'm sure I don't know.”
Kat handed the woman the money and carefully placed her purchase in her messenger bag. She looked back up at the old woman.
“What did you mean, about the doors? This is only for one door.”
The old seller scrunched up her wrinkly face as she laughed. “Ah, young lady, that knob will lead you through more doors than you think, if you will it.”

With that, she turned away to help another customer. Kat left the woman to her next customer and walked back toward the bus stop.

As she sat on the bus, she thought about the old seller's words. They sounded like something out of a fairy tale. She thought how lovely it would be if life had fairy tale magic, but how it most certainly did not. At least not for someone like her, a college student working at a coffee shop, who could barely pay her bills. Yeah, she'd definitely welcome some fairy tale magic.

That night she couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned, then finally got up to take some NyQuil, hoping it would knock her out for a few hours. Around four in the morning she gave up and went to her kitchen.

She made some tea and toast, then sat down to more closely examine the doorknob. It was strangely heavy, just as the key was. She held it up to get a better look at the design etched onto the knob. She glanced through the keyhole and what she saw nearly made her drop it. She set it down on the table and took a deep breath. Maybe she'd taken more of the cough syrup than she'd thought. Because she was obviously hallucinating. She had to be, right? Yes, she decided, she had to be, because moonlit gardens simply do not exist in the key holes of old doorknobs.

She held it up again and purposefully looked through the keyhole this time. Sure enough, the garden was still there. “Through more doors than I think, if I will it,” she whispered to herself. She walked over to her kitchen wall and placed the knob against it. She let go and found that it held fast to where she'd placed it. Slowly, she turned the knob to the right. It didn't budge. It was locked.

Of course it was, she thought, that's why there's a key. She grabbed the key off the table and walked back over to the knob on the wall. Kat inserted the key, turned it, then turned the knob to the right again. The whole doorknob promptly detached from the wall and she had to scramble to catch it.

“What the hell...” she muttered.

She looked through the keyhole again and saw the garden was still there. Her eyebrows drew together as she replaced the knob on the wall. She inserted the key once again and turned the knob to the left. A door that hadn't been there seconds ago easily opened out of her wall. She gazed through it into the garden bathed in moonlight, smelling of sweet flowers and green, growing things. The warm Summer air enveloped her and fireflies beckoned her forward. She stepped through the doorway onto a dirt path and didn't look back.


Sunday, February 02, 2014

Wild Women (who run with wolves) and how I didn't forget Imbolc this year.

This is the first year that Imbolc hasn't snuck up on me and then zipped past with just the barest of nods while I'm still trying to figure out how I managed to miss most of the month of January. I am feeling proud of myself. ^_^

Back in January, I picked my One Word for 2014: Balance.

I've known that most areas of my life have not in balance for a long time. My health, my finances, my sleep or lack thereof, my spiritual practice and creativity (really, my lack thereof) just to name a few are what I've noticed the most as of late.

I want this year to see me find my balance with myself and the world around me. I want to learn that even though I might wobble a bit, this doesn't mean I have to topple completely. I want to find my balance, my center and learn how to re-find it when I wander off.

Several weeks ago I participated in a discussion on books and book suggestions. A friend of my friend suggested she read Women who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. My friends replied that that particular book was one of those kinds of books that you need to read at the right time, and I totally agree with her.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is one of my favorite authors. She is an amazing story teller and listening to her read her own books for their audio book versions is pure magic. She has a voice and words that spear through, right to your soul. Right to wherever they need to go.

I'd tried reading WWRWTW twice before, but I just couldn't get into it. I'd been eyeing in on my bookshelf for a few weeks, thinking I ought to crack it open and see if it spoke to me this time.

Third time's the charm. Where I couldn't make myself focus before, and found myself having to re-read whole pages because my mind just wouldn't focus, I found laser sharp focus this time. Each word seems as if it was written for me, written to tell me what I need to hear right at this moment in my life.

I am having one of those times in my life where everything I read seems interconnected somehow. I remember the last time I tried to read WWRWTW I had just finished Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, and I had Wild Women on my mind, but the time just wasn't right yet.

The whole book is amazing, but one of the characters in Beauty Queens stood out the most to me. Her name is Mary Lou, and she wears a purity ring given to her by her mother because the women of their family are "cursed". Without the ring, they are all "Wild Girls" who like adventure and sex and aren't apologetic for it, which of course is deemed unacceptable by society at large.

This got me thinking about every woman's "Wild Girl/Woman" and how we're encouraged to beat her down, lock her up, medicate her into oblivion and most of all fear her.

This dovetailed perfectly with the few pages I'd managed to read and comprehend from WWRWTW, and it started me thinking about the kind of woman I was, currently am, and the kind of woman I want to be.

I started reading WWRWTW this third time, and realized that I had locked my Wild Woman away without even knowing it. But now that I know she's there, patiently (sometimes not-so-patiently) waiting for me to remove the debris from my most recent emotional/psychological cave-in, and all the ones I haven't cleaned up after before this, I have rolled up my sleeves and grabbed my shit shovel and have been shoveling away.

Another literary web strand I've found is from the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop, which I read as a teenager. At one point, the character Jaenelle has withdrawn from the world and is inside her mind, her psyche, rebuilding herself. She's putting back into place the pieces of a shattered chalice, one tiny piece at a time. She knows that if she goes too fast, it'll just crumble again, and therefore so will she. Slow work, deep work, hard work are what's needed to mend the chalice and make her whole again.

I feel that by allowing the imbalances I'm aware of in my life go unattended for so long, I've allowed the cracks in my Self to get bigger and weaker, and so when great stress was applied I almost collapsed in on myself.

So this year I'm striving for balance, and am learning how to ground and center myself. Last year's SouLodge journeys helped me learn how to go down deep into myself and how to listen to myself and to other guides in my life. I know that if I keep journeying, many of the troubles/blockages I faced while working through SouLodge in 2013 will no longer be there due to my current Self repair.

This year I'm learning what makes me happy, makes my soul sing, makes my spirit feel nourished and well-fed and then doing those things.

I was doing some reading on Imbolc since it's the holiday that I forget the most, and I'm always bothered that I forgot. One of the things I read from almost every single article was that Imbolc was a time to set intention for the rest of the coming year. It's time to not only start Spring cleaning your house, but your Self too.

Reading that same idea over and over again got me thinking. When we Spring clean our homes, we get rid of all the things we no longer need, scrub every nook and cranny and get into all the little spaces that we might not otherwise clean on a regular basis. Since we give this much time and attention to detail in our homes, why not devote the same kind of love and attention to ourselves?

Getting rid of things from the Self that we no longer want to claim can by much harder work, I think, than getting rid of a pair of jeans you no longer wear. I can be messy and painful and difficult, but I know that it's worth it.

I also think that when we get rid of shit we don't need to be part of our Self anymore, we have the marvelous opportunity to plant seeds of who and what we do want to be.

Veronica Varlow wrote a blog post on How to Become the Person You Want to Be in 2014. In it she outlines how she picks nine adjectives for how she wants to describe herself in the coming year. She also outlines the candle burning ritual she does to cement these words.

The past few years I've been a big fan of picking just One Word. It gives me a simple, attainable goal to strive for throughout the year. But this year I took her challenge and picked the nine adjectives that I want to embody in 2014. I feel like this year is going to be a magical year, full of change and fun and wonderment. A year of applying some good  ol' C-4 to my fears and what I let bind me or stop me from being the woman I want to be.

So this year my One Word turned into Nine Words, and I'm okay with that. I think I'm going to turn them into Nine Pages and do some art journaling. ^___^

Soooo... here are my Nine Words of what I am going to embody in this coming year:

Adventurous
Attuned
Balanced
Brave
Creative
Happy
Sensual
Wild Woman
Wise

I am going to be adventurous and try things I want to do, but have never done.
I'm going to be brave enough to do them, even though I'm scared.
I am going to be attuned to my body and my spirituality.
I am finding my balance and correcting imbalances so they don't get out of hand.
I am indulging in my creativity - whether that be dancing, singing, baking, spinning yarn or spinning poi, painting or general mess-making; whatever it means to me at that particular moment, I'm doing it.
I am going to revel in my sensuality, love my body and take better care of it.
I am going to free my Wild Woman and we're going to run and laugh and paint the town.
I am going to do all the things that make me happy.
I am going to learn and experience as much as I can, in hopes that I will gain wisdom.

I hope that whatever dreams and goals you've set for yourself this coming year are realized to their fullest. Blessed Imbolc my dearies!

XOXO

Saturday, February 01, 2014

About the day I ran away and joined the Circus

So last Sunday I ran away and joined the circus. Well, for a few hours I did.

I've been wanting to learn to spin (poi) for years. And years, and a few more years...

But I've always had excuses consisting of lack of time, money, someone to teach me, etc. On the 15th of this month, Britt and I went on a date to Vaudvillingham, and there on the table, next to the gigantic top hat where you put your admission donation, was a flyer for a poi workshop on the 26th.

I picked up a flyer and then watched the amazing show that night. I thought about how long I'd been wanting to learn to spin. About how the workshop was only $10. About how I always seem to find excuses for why I can't do the things that interest me...

So I committed to going, and I went. And I had the best three hours I've had in months. The instructor and his girlfriend/wife were amazingly knowledgeable and helpful. They were able to interact with all of the people who showed up, regardless of their experience level, and work with them on both existing and new skills.

Now, I am almost painfully socially awkward. I'm working on it, but I still don't fit into a crowd very well. ^_^

But I went anyways and found that everyone there was quite nice and very helpful. The idea with the workshop was that "Everyone is a teacher, everyone is a student", and that was amazing. Everyone helped everyone, whether it was teaching a new move, help in mastering something or just offering encouragement. Simply telling someone that they're going to get it and encouraging them not to give up even though they're frustrated was wonderful to hear.

Most of the attendees had been spinning for at least a little while, and I was one of two or three people who were totally new.

Well, I'd been practicing a little bit in my kitchen, but when I arrived I still wasn't able to spin both poi at the same time without smacking myself with one of them. Luckily Britt had bought me some soft(ish) vinyl poi with LEDs inside, so even though it hurts when I smack myself in the face, it's not too terribly and my glasses don't break. ^____^

Everyone was wonderful and helpful and I learned a lot of stuff.

I am really glad I went, and rather proud too, since I've been known to wuss out at the last minute when it comes to doing things I've never done with people I don't know.

But I've decided that I'm sick of being lame, so I'm going to go places and do things and meet new people and, god forbid, I might even make some friends while I'm at it.

So... as another first for me, here's a video of me practicing in our apartment complex parking lot. Britt says that my expression is "constipated looking". I'm fairly certain that I look like I'm concentrating on not smacking myself in the face, but whatever...

Enjoy! =D

XOXO



Eek! Sorry this is so dark! At least you can see the LEDs in my poi... lolz. Next time I'll have Britt help me take video while there's still some light outside... ^____^