Saturday, July 28, 2007

Smoked turkey leg soup & Self Portait as Sun Goddess

Bele Chere. All of downtown Asheville is transformed into a street festival. Music & vendors of food & drink & goods. The weather is perfect for it: rained this morning & very slight sprinkles spitter-sputtering occasionally today, which means it's cool & overcast & people aren't getting overheated & crabby & sunburnt.

I walked through the festivities yesterday on the way to pick up my mail from the P.O. box. Listened a little & looked a little & spent not a penny. Today I bought a T-shirt (What would Tesla do?) & a turkey leg. Now I'm at a coffee shop blogging around for a little while before I traipse back through the party. I'll stop at the co-op on the way home & buy a few veggies so I can make soup out of the rest of my turkey leg.

A couple days ago a new young friend of mine was talking about the fact that her mother didn't like her & the last words she'd said to her were on the order of you disgust me. I jumped up & gave her a big ole hug & said I'd be an extra mom for her if she wanted. The next time I saw her I gave her a little heart-shaped post-it note that said
I love you completely, infinitely, immeasurably.
You are perfect as you are.
I trust your path.
You choose (always).
Then I told her that in a profound way, we are all the fathers & mothers to our selves, & those statements will be truly meaningful when she can say them to herself. She said it would be a while. But that's okay. I trust her path! Grin.

My boys are off in Montana right now, having fun with the relatives. As fabulous as it would have been to see them there together, I did what was perfect for me & stayed home. The rewards for honoring my self are flowing in: paintings (including Self Portrait as Sun Goddess) & ideas & tremendous meditation & spiritual growth. So, to those of you in Montana I am not face to face with this week, know that I am heart to heart with you.

Blog alternative:
71. Make soup. Even if it's just a can of Campbell's. Bonus if you boil something up to make the stock yourself. (Smoked turkey leg, wild celery, etc.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

But what's my motivation?

O frabjous day. (Thank you, Lewis Carroll.)

Got a call this morning from Gabe's mom & we made arrangements for them to come to my apartment after she picked him up from his film-making camp. So I did a little more straightening up--love that external motivation. My apartment wasn't too bad anyway, because I've been keeping it nice for me--love that internal motivation.

After our lovely visit, I walked to the post office to pick up my mail. There was a woman picking up trash with one of those nifty reachy claw things & I thanked her for doing it. She was clearly NOT a post office employee, but rather someone who had chosen to do this task. She said she didn't feel like doing it so I asked why she was then. "Because it's God's earth," she said simply, & picked up another piece of trash. I started picking stuff up & putting it in her bag.

She told me the area around the post office used to be much worse & thought perhaps it was in part better because of her work. I agreed with her, as I bet people who saw her--she's 4 months shy of her 80th birthday--picking up trash would think twice, or maybe even 80 times, before throwing more down. She says sometimes even grown men pick things up & put them in her bag. Her back was bothering her today. If Sears sold new backs, she'd get one. She's hoping by the time she turns 80, someone will take over for her & she won't have to do it any more.

I offered to do some healing energy on her, but she felt self-conscious about it, so I told her I could do it by long distance & would give her a treatment when I got where I was going. Which I did, but on the way to getting there I picked up some trash first...

Here's to Jean. Not sure if she spells it that way, but I'm sure your good wishes, prayers, healing energy, thanks, etcetera, will get to her.

Speaking of film-making, I finally ordered my copy of Final Draft. This new movie idea really has me excited! Also, I'm going to get trained in so I can work at my favorite gallery when they need extra help. Plus I have another healing session for a different Wisconsin woman. Coolness abounds.

Blog alternative:
70. Pick up 4 pieces of trash, at your post office or your office or a random street corner or a favorite park. Or pick up 80 pieces, if Jean really inspires you.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pit bull puppy vs. my shirt--a narrow escape

Sometimes my computer--or some coffee shop wi-fi set-up--gives me a little grief. Sometimes I know which. Sometimes I let it bug me. Sometimes I've got the que sera sera c'est la vie thing down. As now. Eventually I may check with my computer guy to see if there's something about my system that's funky, but for now I'll just check my email when I can, blog when I can, not worry about it when I can't. So here's the next installment from the sporadically-available Laurel Winter:

Today I've had breakfast at Sunny Point, walked in the Arboretum, straightened up a bit at home, put laundry into & taken it out of the washer & put it into the dryer, meditated, napped, talked on the phone to people who were there & answering, not talked on the phone to people who weren't, worked on my new screenplay, played a bit of guitar ("Friend, I will remember you, think of you, pray for you, & when another day is through, I'll still be friends with you" from my John Denver songbook) & met the next-door neighbor's cute pit bull puppy Alexis (she tried to eat my shirt, which I dissuaded her from doing).

Later? More straightening, possibly. Laundry out of the dryer & put away, almost surely. Some painting & writing & more guitar picking. The eating of fried chicken from Ingall's. Possibly the drinking of wine--a nice Snoqualmie Chardonnay.

Ooh! I forgot to tell you about Friday night, the Harry Potter release party at Malaprops! Billions of persons, possibly; I didn't count. A panel of 5 celebrity judges, including moi, judged the costume contest. Before that I walked to a coffee shop in my black evening gown with jet beads sewed on it & an asymmetric sheer black skirt & a sheer snakeskin print duster. Although it wasn't exactly a Harry Potter costume, I felt it could hold its own in a school for wizards. The other judges were all actually dressed as characters from the book, including a Hagrid, so it was quite fun. We wanted to give more awards than were available.

For me, though, the funnest part of the evening was meeting a 4th-grader named Gabe whose mom works part-time at Malaprop's. He was as excited to meet me as I was to meet him, as Growing Wings is his favorite book so far! We're going to get together for tea sometime, he & his mom & I, so I can sign his copy. I autographed a piece of paper for him, & he framed it & took a picture of it & emailed me a .jpg of my own signature. How cool is that?

Okay, I'm going to make a copy of this & then try to send it--no promises! if it doesn't work you'll get an even longer blog from some future date.

Blog alternative:
69. Take a look at your closet. If there are too many things in it, set aside a few (3? 5?) to go to the trash or a consignment store or a thrift shop. Then plan one thing to buy.

(For me, it's a new pair of shorts. Currently I have one pair, hand-me-ups from Zach when he was about 12 or something, and if they're in the laundry--which they were this morning, which inspired this--I have to wear skirts or long pants. Now I don't mind skirts or long pants, but sometimes--as when I'm about to walk in the Arboretum on a summer sunday--I want shorts. Turned out it was cool enough today that long pants were fine, but the principle still applies. I could just buy some more, but I told myself I had enough clothes, or more than, & would not acquire more until I got rid of a few.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Eurasian fusion guitar pickin'

This morning I walked over to one of my favorite coffee shops, just over a mile from my apartment. One of the baristas--who I hadn't seen since I got back from my travels--gave me a latte. Pretty pattern of brown & white on top. Almost too pretty to drink. Almost.

Brought out the cuter littler watercolor set & spent some time painting. My favorite, which I later gave to my friend Carol at the Haen Gallery, had a blue rectangle in the corner. Beside it I wrote: "This is the box in which we keep the sky," he told her. She laughed & laughed. "You can't keep the sky in a box," she said. "You can't keep anything in a box." (The last 3 words trail off all crooked, along with ribbons of twisty blue, the sky escaping from its neat box.) I let Greg the barista choose a painting, in appreciation for the latte. He picked one that said, You are held in the heart of the angel of the sky. Christopher at the Haen Gallery picked He dreamed he grew wings & could fly. The universe said, "Well, duh." One last one given away today, to Amy, whose job is changing & friends are dying & who is living with her husband & 2 cats in one room of their house because the remodeling is 8 weeks overdue: When she realized what a small portion of the infinite this current girl part was, it really took the pressure off.

After my painting & writing & bill-paying & post-officing & banking, I came home & meditated & took a little nap. Then I went to the co-op & bought 6 mushrooms & 1 zucchini & 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs & some eurasian fusion marinade. That & some rice I had here already made me at least 3 meals worth of delicious. Plus I was cooking! I hadn't really gotten into the swing of cooking lots in the apartment much, between unpacking & traveling & just settling in, so it felt really good to be cooking with actual ingredients.

The other night I walked over to a park on Charlotte Street to "Shindig on the Green" where I saw square dancing & heard lots of fiddling & guitar & banjo picking & bass playing. It reminded me of hanging out with my oh-so-musical family. Came home & cut the finger nails on my left hand & tuned up my guitar. Whipped out a few favorite chords just for fun. Tonight I even got out a songbook & played & sang a little. (Things like "Gentle on my mind," an old Glen Campbell favorite.) The folks at Shindig on the Green don't have to worry about the competition, but then I don't think they would. It was a "come on & jam" sort of event, with tents for musicians to sit in even if they weren't on the stage. Did hear Grammy-winner Bobby Hicks--yee haw.

Maybe one of these days I'll take my guitar to a street corner & play a couple songs just for fun. Maybe someone will toss a quarter into my case. It'll be a while though...

I cleverly opened the create-a-post window while still at the coffee shop, so I could write it at home at my leisure. I'm lounging here on my green damask fainting couch (or chaise lounge, if you prefer, but I am never quite sure exactly how Frenchly to pronounce that, so I say "fainting couch" instead) typing these last few words. Then it's off to the wi-fi place to post them. Later, gators.

Blog alternative:
68. Chalk art. On a sidewalk somewhere.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

French Vanilla Pigeon English

Now I'm scared. The program to write my blog automatically selected the font I always use. Perhaps it's reading my mind. Perhaps it's recording my habits. Perhaps it has taken over & I am no longer blogging. Do I exist? Would you know if I had ceased, as long as someone--a prescient program, a stranger with too much time on his/her hands, a government agency--continues to write this semi-random collection of thoughts.

Inspired by the venue:

"I thought French Vanilla meant it had eggs."
"AIDS? Oh, eggs. I thought you said the French Vanilla has AIDS."

One of the baristas here just started reading a Laurell K. Hamilton novel & was interested to hear that I've met Ms. Hamilton. I related the story of when we met at a Nebula Awards weekend. We were sitting in one of the rooms visiting & a highly-intoxicated & terribly-disappointed-not-to-have-won-a-Nebula-that-year writer came over to talk to us. He took my hand & raised it to his mouth. I thought he was going to kiss it, but no.

He licked my hand.

A few years later, at a different Nebula banquet, the guy sitting next to me leaned over & nipped me on the shoulder. Too nice to strangers? Irresistible shoulders? Drawn inexorably into a nexus of weirdness? (I confess; I felt compelled to use inexorably & nexus in the same sentence. Twice.)

Inspired by Cathy:

My friend Cathy talks to pigeons. She says hello, tells them how beautiful they are, etcetera. The other day she was going to a store & heard someone else talking to pigeons, a highly-intoxicated someone. She noted that she was pleased to realize other people have to be drunk to lower their societal inhibitions enough to talk to pigeons, but not her!

I can relate. In the last couple days I've talked to stray cats (I know, not much of a stretch), a black snake, & assorted flowers. At least pigeons talk back to you, even if you can't understand their language. (Pigeon English? Grin.)

Blog alternative:

67. Talk to something most people don't talk to. Tell it (flower, black snake, pigeon, etc.) how happy you are that it exists. Bonus points if you give specific details.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Breakfast cereal & tattoos: one cop's opinion

It is confirmed. The Arboretum parking lot tadpoles are no more. The Arboretum is still beautiful & green, but it will have to get its frogs & toads from another location.

Cops are buying coffee at the wi-fi place; planning buffet suppers at the Grove Park Inn, should a Friday evening schedule permit;
giving opinions on the best of the available breakfast cereal flavors; admiring barista tattoos. (One of the baristas has a scissors tattooed across her wrist, where she has a scar. The cop thought it was a little creepy. He does like Cinnamon Toast Crunch though.)

I am feeling increasingly resettled, which is much better than feeling increasingly unsettled. Now I just have to decide if I am going to maintain the scheduled plan of heading back to Montana at the end of the month or if I am going to stay home. Current leaning is toward home....

Here is a new meditation I came up with:

Blessed, beloved other (this can be friend, lover, child, etc.)
I thank thee.

Blessed, beloved self
I thank thee.

Blessed, beloved universe
who gave birth to us
who we continually give birth to
I thank thee.

Blog alternative:
66. Make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for yourself & a friend. (Or, if you're not into carbs right now, spread peanut butter on chunks of cheese--that's tasty, too.)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday the 13th. Day one stranded on the raft...

Back from Virginia Tech. Nick's REU was working on an audio array to see if people can distinguish sound landscapes the way we can visually. I got to try out the testing & I must say I'm not that great at spatial listening, but it was interesting. All the students made posters of the projects they'd worked on & explained them to those in attendance. (It was fun during the poster presentation where they introduced the few parents who were there. I waved when they said "Nick's mom is here," & the guy doing the introducing said "Oh! I thought you were a new graduate student!")

What was REALLY fun, though, & possibly Nick's true mission at V-Tech, was the raft. Yes, just as you imagined: he gathered hundreds of plastic bottles (coke, gatorade, water, ice tea, etc., that his new friends drank. He drank from the drinking fountain in the hall) & bought $20 worth of duct tape. Chloe & Jose (I guess you have to imagine the accent that makes that a 2-syllable Hispanic name) & I helped him tape them all together. On Friday the 13th we had a grand launching--probably going to be on you tube--where various persons, including me, in my dress, & the director of the engineering program or somesuch, paddled around. It was awesome fun, & just the sort of thing Nick does on a regular basis.

He made lots of good new friends there, especially Miss Chloe, guru of origami. She made me the tiniest little rose out of a strip of paper that used to be around her silverware at Bogen's where the REU crew went for dinner. I was invited to tag along.

Great drive back, although there was a portion where some pretty obnoxious trucks were hard to lose. They sped up so much on the downhills & slowed down so much on the uphills that neither going slow nor going fast would get rid of them. I solved the dilemma of a particular truck that kept tailgating by pulling off to get gas. Set it to automatic & washed the windows & when I came back it had clicked off at exactly $30.00.

Blacksburg isn't exactly Asheville, but they do have a way cool art supply store downtown called Mish Mish (I think that's the name...) where I bought a new cute little watercolor set. Even littler & cuter than the one I gave Nick. And these cool brushes that hold water in the handles. I did a couple paintings at a coffee shop today. One is the outline of a human figure with the words you are here & an arrow pointing to the heart. Remember that. You are here. Right in my heart.

Blog alternative:
65. Compliment a perfect stranger. Smile, jacket, shoes, tie, glasses...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

self-portrait as moon goddess

(Possibly) better late than never. (You tell me. Grin.)

I'm home! Yay. Arrived Monday, a little later than expected due to traffic before disfunction junction (where 40 splits off to go the Knoxville or Hickory). Pleasant conversation in the car anyway, so no big deal.

It's been a whole week since last I wrote. So much has happened. I did take the bus & enjoyed it thoroughly. Only 16 hours or so. I had talked to a woman in the seat ahead of me & was actually doing some energy healing before the bus was out of Miles City. It turned out she has twins who were born on my birthday--although some years later, of course. We had a lovely talk & then I went back to my seat to snooze. Later, when we'd both slept & the bus was getting more crowded, she invited me to come up & sit with her, on the assumption that it's better to pick your roommate than get stuck.

My son Zach picked me up in Minneapolis after he got done with work. Since he was a going to be a little while, I met a friend at Brit's Pub first. What a treat to get a ride from Zach--a couple hours of conversation uninterrupted by car parts! We talked work ethics & aesthetics & relationships & finance & many other wonderful things. I told him how fabulous he was & he said, "You're my mom; you have to say that." I said, "Nu-uh. I know lots of moms who gripe about their kids. And besides, other people tell me you're fabulous." So he said, "You're my mom; they have to tell you that."

In Minnesota, I did several Reconnective Healings, including distance healing for a woman in Wisconsin. It was very cool & seemed helpful for her, so she scheduled 2 more sessions. I love my work.

For being in Minnesota for such a short time--Tuesday night through early Monday morning--and without wheels at that, I sure spent a lot of time in cars. 3 trips to the cities. (Poker with Coralee; lost $40 & had lots of fun. Jim Carey's surprise going away party--you'll find him in London. Back up with Zach to my cousin's house on Sunday night so I could get a ride to the airport by 6 a.m.)

Since I got home, I've done 3 paintings. (self-portrait as moon goddess is one of the titles. Still haven't figured out picture posting, so you can merely imagine it. Who knows--your imagined picture may be cooler than the one I actually painted. Perhaps I should do a blog consisting solely of the titles of imaginary paintings.)

So far my walking has been to the post office & back, & to the wi-fi place & back, so I cannot give you the tadpole report. I do not have high hopes for their survival. R.J. is doing well. I saw 2 bunnies, a black squirrel & a fat, fluffy, black & white cat while walking around the block to occasionally get away from the bar noise at the surprise party. Only the cat allowed--nay, demanded--petting.

I need to get back home & do another healing session. When next you hear from me, I'll probably be in Virginia, seeing Nick & his research program & his new friends.

Blog alternative:
64. Walk. At least around the block. Bonus points if it's a block you've never been around before.

Monday, July 2, 2007

What NOT to do on your summer vacation

Miles City, Montana.

Remember when I was talking about my trip & there was that magic happens here, probably involving a car portion, about getting from Montana to Minnesota. Well, close...

Turns out you can't do one-way car rentals from Miles City, Montana. So, after hanging out with my ex-in-laws for a little while longer, which is lovely, as I was only going to barely get to see them, I am getting on a bus. At 3:10 a.m. My son will pick me up on the other end, about 16 hours later. Instead of driving, I get to meditate & sleep & stare out the window & maybe write or draw--we'll have to see how that sits with the old semi-circular canals. Reading in the car gives me motion sickness, so writing & drawing may be out as well. But, hey, I can easily sleep & meditate & stare out the window for 16 hours.

Time for another bulleted list, arranged in categories:

Animal health:
  • R.J. the dog, still on the mend last I heard. (I assume someone would have told me if this was not the case.)
  • Tadpoles not looking good. Apparently the rains around Asheville have been missing the parking lot at the Arboretum.
  • One buck deer near mile marker 32, I94, probably dead.
Fun things to do--& no, I am NOT being facetious:
  • Attend your dad's all-school reunion & reconnect with aunts & uncles & cousins, oh my!
  • Hang out with your ex-in-laws for a while.
NOT on the top 10 list:
  • Hit a deer in your parents' Cadillac. Especially a buck. Sigh.
Blog Alternative:
63. Take a bus trip to another town. Or another state. Or out of one state & completely through another & most of the way through yet another...