Thursday, November 20, 2014

Big old brown dog slobbered on my prom dress

I know what you're thinking: What was a big old brown dog doing at the prom? (Or what was I doing at a prom, for that matter.)

There was no prom involved. It was the day after Halloween & I was a race marshall at the 5K turnaround point for the Running Lungs 10K-5K-2K. Good thing I had that extra layer of prom dress (skirt, actually) over my long johns & jeans, because it was 17 degrees when I left the house. "What?" you say. (I know what you're saying as well as what you're thinking. Bwaaa haaa haaa!) "17 degrees in Asheville on November 1st?"

Actually, no. I was (& am) back in Rochester, Minnesota. With a dog-slobbered prom skirt & all of my other possessions under one roof. In Asheville, I had a storage unit, which is probably NOT a healthy thing. It's like weighing several thousand extra pounds, but because you're not carrying it around with you, you never do anything about it. Oh, you go out there & poke around & pick things up & put them down & maybe deal with 3 items, but then you pull the door down & click the padlock shut & drive away with a sigh. When all the stuff is visible, you are far more likely to recycle & throw away & give away. (I made a trip to Goodwill today.)

Perhaps it wasn't the very best time to move north, as the temp lately has been in the negatives, wind chill wise, but hey, that just keeps you inside, working on organizing & creating. Plus right now I have a warm little dog on my lap, one of my grand-dogs. I am back in the Winter house. If you have to live in a house in Minnesota in the winter, the Winter house is the one. Passive solar, earth bermed, capable of leaping -- if it's a sunny day -- a winter temperature into the temperate range. (At least while the sun is up.)

The polar vortex is easing up & we're going to be a bit more seasonal by the weekend. Yay!

Blog alternative:
288. Put on a fancy extra layer to go out in, even if it's silly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back Again

I know what you're thinking: She was trapped in her car for all of July & August. The bear's not that big. Surely she could have driven to a location with wi-fi & bought it an apple pie or something...

I am in -- as you may have guessed from the photo -- Montana. Actually I'm in Montana for the second time since last I blogged. My dad had a minor heart attack in June & I basically spent 3 weeks in July with my folks, for moral support & foot rubs & card playing. That time I flew.

This time was a big surprise, because his 80th birthday was September 7th & my niece is getting married later in September so Mom & Dad figured I'd just make it out for the wedding. But heck, an 80th birthday is not one to miss! I spent the morning of September 2nd (no way was I getting on the highways over Labor Day weekend) cuddling with Derrick & talking & then drove (with a stop or three along the way) to Big Sky & spent a couple days in a (super cool) log cabin with Minnesota friends (hi Debbie & Jim) & went to Yellowstone Park for the first time in 40-some years (which makes it my second time there ever) & drove to Nye to surprise the heck out of my folks & provide a little brown bear with a photo opportunity.

July & August happened in a lovely fashion, as far as I remember. Grin. Guess I'll leave them at that. September. I just love fall, when it gets brisk -- & it got down to real brisk already up at Nye. 22 degrees. Except today it's going to be 85 there. Montana weather. Gotta love it.

In Montana I have sporadic cell phone service & sporadic wi-fi capabilities, depending where I am, so I'm taking advantage of some coffee shopping. I've provided some foot rubs & been involved in a bunch of card games (right now I'm behind, so I better get cracking) & done a bit of visiting & worked on a novel & soaked up the beauty of those brash teenage mountains, the Rockies. Beautiful in a different way than the rounded greener grandmamma mountains of North Carolina.

Anyway, I'm back. Hope your summer went well & your fall is going weller. (I know it's not quite the first day of fall yet, but I do it strictly calendrically. (Weird. There seems to be doubt in the program's mind about both weller & calendrically, not to mention grandmamma...)

Blog alternative:
287. Surprise someone you love with a phone call or a cupcake or a handmade card or an invitation to a frisbee game or...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday the 13th Feng Shui

One of the other aliens who
lives in this house.
Happy Friday the 13th!

I took a couple workshops (one's not quite over yet) at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here.

One is about planning wills & health care directives & such & is informative & humorous & tremendously worthwhile. (If anyone wants to know cool stuff about signature cards for Pay on Death dispersal of bank accounts or the importance of putting JWROS on your car title (joint with right of survivorship) so the other guy or gal can just drive away after your next vehicle turns out to be a hearse, just let me know. Grin.)

The other was a really cool class on Feng Shui (fung shway, in case anyone else out there besides me has the unfortunate habit of not being able to pronounce things they've only read...) which inspired another room re-org. This one is my best ever! For a while, of course, the room was both shaken & stirred, but it's coming along very nicely & I've released a bunch of stuff into the wild of recycling & giveaway & turned some art supplies into reality, rather than possibility. So much fun, too. Su-shen, who taught the class, is very much in favor of common sense & personal preference & intuition, as well as the ancient Chinese wisdom.

I turned several key horizontal surfaces into "this is where pretty stuff lives" spaces rather than "this is where I can chuck stuff rather than dealing with it" zones. I also strung a belt composed of metal circles from one corner of the closet molding to a shelf around the corner & hung necklaces on it. Guess what? I've worn several pretty necklaces that had been huddled in bags & boxes & beltbags, waiting to be appreciated. Now, they're appreciated, by me anyway, whether I'm wearing them or not, since they make up part of the room decor.

Blog alternative:
286. Figure out a way to display some item that's squirreled away, forgotten like a nut that will never turn into a tree. Jewelry. Jewelry-making-tools. A favorite frisbee. See if visibility increases utility.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Free to be...CrabbyPants

Shadows of leaves
on sunlit leaves

I've had many scheduled activities this month, including listening to Christine Kloser's free teleclass, the Transformational Author Experience. 22 hours of really interesting information. Christine is a great interviewer & her experts are amazing. It's a 2-week event that ends on Friday, but you can catch at least the 3 Friday events over the weekend, so check it out at
the Transformational Author Experience
if you're interested. Even if you're not specifically writing a book, some of her experts talk about things like inspiration & finding your calling & marketing your seminars & social media & money. But you have to sign up before it's over...

One of her experts was Marci Shimoff, who wrote a great book called Happy for No Reason. Lots of great information & exercises & an easy read. I just read it & loved it, so my post title & topic may sound contradictory, but it isn't, really.

The other day I was feeling a little crabby. Now, me on crabby is a lot like a lot of people's best days. I don't do crabby often, or well. But, there I was, feeling (a little) crabby. I believe (now) in honoring & expressing my emotions, in a useful way, letting them flow, rather than putting on a perky, positive front & denying that I even felt that way. I've had years of experience with the perky, positive front, which was mostly -- but not always -- authentic. Now when I'm perky & positive, I want it to be front, back, inside, outside & sideways. But the other day, crabby.

I had no reason. I wasn't tired or hungry. I hadn't just had something disappointing happen. (I'll get to that later.) But instead of saying to myself, "This is ridiculous! Quit it!" I just let myself feel what I was feeling. I got over it before the day was even out, & I chose to mostly hang out just with my own little crabbypants self rather than spreading it around, but it was satisfying. Relaxing. Authentic. That was who I was right then, & I didn't have to pretend anything to anybody, including myself. Whew.

Earlier in the month, I had a disappointing experience, when I got the news back from my editor that my novel either needed to be longer, or maybe shorter, & maybe it wasn't for a young audience, but maybe it was, & what did I think? It was a very thoughtful, well-considered email & --

-- I went into a cave wondering if I even wanted to be -- or could be -- or ever had been -- a novelist. I'd just wanted to have it out of my hands. Sigh. I still haven't touched it, but I have come up with one idea for addressing one of her concerns, & when I'm hungry to do so, I'll go to that scene & implement the new idea & then see what happens.

I tell you this to illustrate that I went ahead & felt what I was feeling when I did know the reason, which made my no-reason-crabbypants feel quite silly to me, but I was willing to just let it wash out in its own time anyway.

I am a happy person, & getting happier. Life is good, especially if you let in the occasional crabbypants. The sweet is sweeter after a little sour.

Blog alternative:
285. Embrace your inner crabbypants. Don't give her a car & a smart phone & access to your checking account, but a hug & a big "I love you just as you are" will go a long way.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Refugee of the Month Club

trapped in the side of the a rental car,
legs too twisted to run...

I told you I had some fun writing news to share, & I do.

Years ago, when I lived in Minnesota, the Rochester Repertory Theater (aka, the Rep) held a series of 10-minute play contests. Each of them had a theme. The first was actually performed at a new Saturn dealership in town & all the plays had to center around cars. The one I wrote (all of the ones I wrote for the contests were chosen & produced) was called "Life, Love & Highway Safety" & one of the main (non-speaking) characters was an inflatable safety man. (Actually, it was a blow-up adult toy & I had to paint a mask to go over his face.) Another time they were set at the Goodhue County Historical Society & I set "An Apple from the Teacher" in their one-room school display. (I attended a one-room school in Montana for elementary school, with one teacher for eight grades & 12 to 25 students in the whole school.) "The Carrie Casanova Memorial Coat Tree" required the use of a coat rack, and had two living characters, plus a ghost, and a narrator. Another had to center around a trunk, and for that I wrote "Refugee of the Month Club," which made me laugh out loud when I reread it a few months ago.

Apparently, the folks at the Rep had the same reaction, because this summer they're doing 10 of their favorite plays from all the competitions & "Refugee of the Month Club" will be one of them. So, if you're going to be in Minnesota, check out TREASURES in TEN July 11 - 12, 17-19, and 24 -26 at the Rochester Repertory Theater (103 7th St NE, Rochester, MN 55906. 507.289.7800) & enjoy the show.

I also found out that "Even Cowgirls Spread the News," a poem I had published in The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, was nominated for a Rhysling Award.

I'm sure I have more to tell you. Thunderstorms. All sorts of classes I took during Asheville Small Business Week, including one on 3D printing. I could etcetera all day, but then I wouldn't get to my day, would I? Grin.

So, catch you on the flip-flop.

Blog alternative:
284. Dust off something you created months or years ago, whether it's a story, a drawing, a recipe, a photo of a particularly beautiful floral arrangement. Enjoy the heck out of it. See what happens then...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cloudy, with a chance of dishes

Derrick, hugging a tree.
Oh, April. It's one of the cruelest months for blogging, because it's so fun & busy, what with birthdays & all. Plus I've been doing a lot of dishes.

Don't laugh! Derrick has been (slowly) acquiring a house that is in the family & has a clouded title. Now it's mostly sunny, only partly cloudy, & we can start cleaning it up. For a while, it had no water, so a bunch of dirty dishes piled up on the counters & table & I have just about finished washing them. The water hasn't been turned on yet, although we did get the electricity turned on, so we hauled water over & I warmed water in my electric kettle to make effective dishwater. It's been an adventure. I enjoyed every minute of it, except when I splashed a little extra hot water on my hand.

Did some outside, too. Derrick mowed & I raked the lawn. I didn't want to get all the same muscles stiff, so I experimented with form -- just call me "Dances With Rake."

Tomorrow should be very fun, because this week there are a bunch of free classes & I signed up to see one on 3D printing. I'm fascinated by the Santa Claus machines, as they are sometimes called.

It's late-ish & I should go to bed. I mainly just wanted to blog before my birthday.

In the next installment, I'll tell you some more fun writing news.

Blog alternative:
283. Dance with a rake. Or a broom.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

0 to 800 in 12 hours--new personal record

half of a whispering chair at NC State
(I'm sure that's not the technical term...)

Made a mud pie! A very lovely one. Decided to whisk it out into the world (Women's World, that is) & see if anyone wanted to take a bite.

But first, time travel. We set the kinda-way-back machine to 1984, the year it was discovered that Big Brother wasn't as bad as had been predicted by George Orwell. (That's more like now. Grin.) More importantly, at least in my universe, 1984 was the year I decided, heck, I can do that, and sold a mini-mystery to Women's World. With the resulting $500, I bought 10 $50 black hills spruce trees, which we planted at the edge of the back yard. They are towering now. I know how tall my career is, as that was my first professional (in terms of pay & also circulation) publication.

I sent them a few more mini-mysteries without further sales, and also a romance. They didn't buy it, but later there was a short-lived romance magazine called Arabella that bought the story I'd written for Women's World, "Hot Dogs and Champagne", (red wine with meat, white wine with chicken and fish, hot dogs with champagne -- everyone knows that, right?) and used it as the cover story for their very first issue, illustrated by Alan Ayers. They did an article on him, since he's one of the premier illustrators for books, especially romance, and showed the photo shoot he'd done to create the painting. It was awesome!

Some years later, when my dad was about to have surgery, I drove to Montana from Asheville in 2 days. I don't recommend driving almost 2000 miles in 2 days, but it's possible. Shortly after I passed Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I needed a cup of coffee and ended up at this place called Buffalo Ridge and discovered that the owner's girlfriend (they were in their 70s or 80s) was Alan Ayers mother. Weird, huh?

But, back to the story of the new story. Guidelines change, but Women's World still publishes a mystery & a romance every week. So, I got the hankering to see my byline there again. About 10:30 or 11 on Wednesday night, I started typing a little romance. Done with the first draft around midnight. The next morning I did a bunch of revising on my little 800 word gem -- err, mudpie; I forgot the terminology -- & it was in an envelope a little after noon. At the post office shortly thereafter. Voila! Mudpie in the mail. I'm not sure when I'll hear, but it was such fun to write I feel as if I've already won. Plus, the new record!

I'll definitely keep you posted.

Blog alternative:
282. Think about something you've been thinking about doing & see how fast you can do it. Clean out a drawer. Write a story. Make that soup you've been hungering for.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mudpies & wedding cakes

This one is for Cathy, a screen shot from the movie
War Games. She's always looking to see the girl as
driver & the boy as passenger on a motorcycle...

I've been resting on my laurels, & very fine laurels they've been, & still are. Still, all this resting... Makes a girl restless. It's like when you've had a favorite pillow for years & one night you're lying on it & it's gotten a bit thin.

There are several groups of people who might take issue with this even being an issue. The people who've been trying, with no or little success, to publish, or even complete things. The people who have to work damn hard to put food on the table, sometimes at a job they hate, & don't have time to even think about creative crap & the wussies who commit it. The writers & artists who have been steadily--or at least less sporadically than I have been--pushing through the walls of whatever & have no patience with the wussies who don't create.

I will backtrack to last evening & relay what brought this issue to the sizzling hot, on-high front burner.

But first I'll backtrack a little further, into the backstory. Joe D'Agnese & Denise Kiernan wrote a book called The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed: The Only Personal Finance System for People with Not-So-Regular Jobs, & then began a once-a-month gathering called Freelance Fridays, first at Malaprops & then at the Battery Park Champagne Bar & Book Exchange. They eventually stepped aside because it wasn't serving their own lives as well as it was serving the lives & careers of the others who were attending (Yay, Joe & Denise! Way to put yourselves at the centers of your own lives!) but that is where I met them.

They'd done books together & separately, some ghostwriting, etcetera, & Denise spent 7 years researching & writing & revising a book called The Girls of Atomic City, which became a national bestseller & landed her on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, amongst other appearances. It's gone from hardcover to paperback, with another whirlwind book tour beginning & that landed Joe & Denise (& Greta Johnsen, aka Nerdette, the podcast, which I've just begun to listen to & is charming) at Malaprops.

I enjoyed listening to Greta interview Denise & my maybe-a-minute interaction with Denise (not because she wasn't interested in catching up & friendly but because she was busy signing books & such) & I'm looking forward to reading the book (I didn't buy it in hardcover) but the meat & potatoes of the evening was a kick-in-the-pants, man-your-battle-stations conversation with Joe.

That is not the right description at all, because it wasn't in the slightest harsh or militaristic. I'll backtrack again, to what Joe had been doing before this conversation became my great gift: continuing to do his journalistic writing, his ghostwriting, his bread-on-the-table writing. No bestseller, but hey, it was writing. Except, he didn't get into writing to be solely journalistic & non-fiction-y. He wanted to write fiction, especially mysteries. So, he bit the bullet, set ambitious goals around writing & submitting short stories, & achieved them. Not publishing--that's out of his scope--but writing & submitting. Guess what? With the writing & submitting came a bunch of rejections--& some acceptances! Yay, Joe! But really I'm saying Yay, Joe! to the part he had control over, the writing & submitting. I'm happy about the publishing & wish him much more of it & that his goal of having a novel with his name on it is fulfilled, but I'm most excited that he set out on the journey, with or without a pocket handkerchief.

Student-ready/teacher-comes, etcetera. The teachers are all around, you just have to be ready to be a student. I am, having already restlessed about resting on my laurels.

But--this is the scary part; stop reading if you're extra sensitive--I'm afraid. Afraid I've lost the beginning-middle-end knack. Beginning is the easy part. I can begin on anything, anytime. & (she says modestly) my beginnings rock. Rock, I say. Even roll. I have mad skills at beginning. At times in my life I could also middle & end, but my beginnings have ALWAYS been the best. I've got enough beginnings begun to jumpstart the careers of a whole stable of authors (& inventors & artists & designers & engineers...)

Once, my friend Selby said to me that we weren't hungry enough to be successful writers, being (at the time, & I believe she still is) married to guys who made plenty of money & therefore not dependent on our book/story/poem income.

So, Joe, thank you. For feeling your own desires & deciding to go for it. For gumptioning. (Ya gotta love the little red line that shows up under the perfectly good word you just invented.) For taking the advice of Bradbury & Faulkner & all those who came before, making not just art, but an income. The pulp masters couldn't spend 3 months or a year perfecting & polishing a little gem of a story & presenting it on a satin pillow. They wrote it; they slapped it into an envelope; they put the new blank page in the typewriter & their fingers flew. When it came back--if it did--they slapped it in another envelope.

I haven't been doing much enveloping--or e-submitting, as is more frequently the case these days--of stories & poems & novels. Some, though. Especially recently. I lit a fire under one editor & gave her the deadline of my birthday, which she said she could meet. I took a picture book that another editor had reluctantly rejected & sent it to the publisher she recommended I send it to. I've organized my space even better & have even begun to think of the books I have boxed up in storage, & why, & possibly why not.

But I'm not going to whole-hog it on all fronts. I want this to be sustainable, not a recipe for burnout. I don't want to start making wedding cakes. How about mudpies? &  if someone sees art in a mudpie, cool. If not, cool. Next mudpie.

Blog alternative:
281. Make a mudpie. A literal mudpie gets you bonus points, but do some little half-assed thing in the direction of a dream. No wedding cakes allowed!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Asleep at the keyboard

It is the last of February. I've been doing some feng shui-ing in my room, removing a shelf that interfered with smooth entry. It's so much better.

Last weekend we took a trip to Wake Forest & Chapel Hill & Winston Salem. A very lovely experience. I'd tell you more about it if I wasn't about to fall asleep. Definitely beddy-bye time for this chickie. I shall let the robin sing you to sleep, or sing you to wake. Me, I'm set for dreaming.

See you in March.

Blog alternative:
280. Take a look at your space. Is the entry welcoming? What can you do about that?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

6 more winks of winter, says southern groundhog

 I just spent a week--or a season--in my pajamas. Hibernating, perhaps. Or changing into an entirely new organism--caterpillar to butterfly--in a cocoon. Maybe it was a cold combined with a series of winter storms, that suddenly just up & fled these Carolina mountains.

No logical explanations. Where is the logic of a week in pajamas? But when one doesn't specifically have to go outside--indeed, can't, for days, because her street hasn't been plowed of its (not quite a foot of) snow--& she does have have a cold & she already got enough groceries to last &...

(Some members of the household, who didn't have colds were more adventurous. Jon & Satori rode a kayak on a steep street in the middle of downtown with some friends. No, I'm not kidding!)

A week in pajamas. It was so delicious. Actually it was a mere 6 days, because Wednesday last I had clothes on & Wednesday this I donned (the same) clothes again. Except Wednesday last I wore my puffy coat & today a hoodie was too warm. Woo hoo. Spring has sprong!

The groundhogs did see their shadows, but here in the southern mountains, that means 6 more winks of winter. Gotcha. Just kidding. No, I mean it. Aw, you know I was joshing you...etcetera. 6 more winks of winter. Unlike in the northlands (47 years in states that border Canada; I think I know what I'm talking about) where it can snow in October & not melt until May. The first year I was here, it was 70 degrees on the first of January. But we do get real snow & real cold. It's a win win. Nothing boring about the weather here.

So, I got some fun things done during the week of the pajamas, including reading a truly dynamite book by the truly dynamite Martha Beck. Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want. I'm going to get my own copy, because she has so many great exercises in it. I also worked on some contests I'm judging & played a little (grin) poker & did some writing & watched some cool videos & movies & lectures, from Jimmy Durante singing Inka Dinka Doo to documentaries on Salvador Dali & Picasso to The Parent Trap starring Hayley Mills to The Making of Yentl. What a strange feast for my brain. What wonders will come out of that percolating, composting, internal spontaneous combustion engine?

So today, it being in the mid-sixties, degree-wise, I walked downtown for milk. I returned some misprinted checkblanks to the bank (apparently they no longer have the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum ones that I've had forever so I took back the boring ones they'd sent me instead & got the wildlife ones) & took pictures of the springtime.

It was odd to hole up during one season & emerge in another. I don't feel like a bear, though, unless it's a very tiny bear that just broke out of a chrysalis & is wondering where the heck these wings came from.

I know that in some latitudes, winter's going to be winking madly at you for a while yet. Don't hate me because I'm southern. Grin.

Blog alternative:
279. Take to your pajamas for a day (or more) & see what you discover.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Simon says, "Cry!"

This is Jefferson & his parents, back in 2004.
 I met them when I was in Peru & I sponsored his education.
He just graduated from high school!
Yay, Jefferson. All the best to you.
If you want to do something similar,
check out Angels of the Amazon

I'm not much of a websurfer, as you might guess if you've read my periodic "why the blog alternative" explanations. HOWEVER, the other day I went nutsoid on youtube, watching video after video in which (mostly young) people surprised & delighted the heck out of the judges on various talent competition shows. (Britain's Got Talent, The X Factor, American Idol, that sort of thing.) OMG! To see a young Indonesian girl in a head scarf do "Grenade" or a goth boy who has never sung in front of ANYONE in his whole life (not even his parents) come out with the most beautiful opera or the girl with her dancing dog. Wow. Just thinking about them now makes me happy. I feel like anyone can do anything. (I did NOT watch the ones where anyone who could NOT do anything humiliated themselves in front of the judges & were completely surprised when Simon reamed them a new one…)

I'm not going to make youtubing a major hobby, or even a minor hobby. I'm glad I did it. Someday -- not soon at all -- I'll dip my toe in again. But it did help make me even more hungry to create, to do the things I do well, to get them out there. I'm not going to try to flaunt my vocal skills to impress anyone -- I'd deserve to have Simon make me cry -- but I'm glad I'd already decided to get some of the novels (one is already almost formatted!) that have been languishing, unread, out there in e-book form.

The Csikszentmihalyi (I spelled it without looking!) book on creativity is interesting. It was first written in 1996, before anyone &/or their dog could publish their own books with great ease, before youtube could get you out there, in front of the millions -- or threes -- of viewers. He talks about gatekeepers being an important part of the creativity factor, outside validation. That is still true, but going viral can be the validation now, as well, the online public rather than just editors or music producers.

So, here's to creativity, to getting it out there, to head-scarfed girls & goth boys. To Susan Boyle. To Ashleigh & Pudsey. To doing what you love until you're great at it -- or to doing what you love whether anyone at all finds any value in it. The true value is in doing what you love. The rest -- making Simon cry, getting kissed by Tulisa, 4 yesses & trip to Las Vegas -- is whipped cream & cherries on top, but the sundae itself is in the joy.

Blog alternative:
278. Take some creative thing you do out for a walk, in public. It doesn't even have to be the thing you do best. (I have a secret -- well, not any more -- fantasy of learning a couple songs on my guitar & heading for a minor street corner with a hat & busking a little. I'm better than some of the people out there doing it…not many of them, but some.)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

PJ Days

This is a picture from holiday time in Montana, but it easily could be from here in Asheville. It was single digit-y this morning. Brr. A nice, weather-inspired PJ day. I got some good things done--I just did them without putting proper clothes on. What am I saying? PJs are THE proper clothes for a PJ day.

January has been a lovely month. I spent an extra couple days in Montana, because my flight was cancelled. The weather wasn't that bad in Montana, but probably my plane was in Boston or something. Time for a few more games of pitch with Mom & Dad. We played--drumroll!--170 games. Dad ended up the winner, but he had to come from way behind to do it. My big success story was that I skunked him 3 times in cribbage. (This just does NOT happen. Cribbage is not my best game at all. I got major league lucky. But don't tell my dad that…)

So, almost Groundhog's Day. My guess is that Phil is going to see his shadow & scurry back into the den for 6 more weeks of winter. I could be wrong.

I've read some of the most delightful books. Beth Hoffman (ah, my new love, Beth Hoffman) has Saving CeeCee Honecutt & Looking for Me. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Also just finished read Cultural Intelligence, which brought up the concept that most of us are guilty of, which is Be Like Me. The book is quite business-y, but interesting & valuable, with lots of examples. I also got on a Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi kick & read his Good Business & now have just started Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. I'd like to know how to pronounce his name, & spell it without having to think too hard…

Now it's time to do some other things. I have a haircut scheduled for tomorrow (yay Casi at Eclipse Salon) & an oil change for my Toyotiac next week. I'm working on some publishing-y stuff & some creation-y stuff & some organization-y stuff. So what's new? (Everything. Grin.)

Blog alternative:
277. Read a new book by a favorite author. (Or read something by Beth Hoffman!) (Or Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

New baby photon: 40,000 years & 8 minutes old

strangled grape in a lotus bowl

Today's morning pages (slightly edited -- very slightly -- for your consumption)

Here I am again. Not still. Well, still. No, not still. Never still. Always growing & evolving. Eternal, yes. Still, no. No river, no matter how slow moving is ever still. Not even a puddle is still. Water molecules are evaporating & joining the water cycle in the welkin. Or seeping down into the ground water. Or getting gulped by the grateful beak of a bird. Or flying off in birdbathed feathers. Nothing is still.

I think today, Saturday, I'll write some poetry. I wrote some last night. I actually wrote it with my heart yesterday when I was worshipping the congregation of droplets that were worshipping the cedar branches. So beautiful. Sometimes it's okay to forget your camera, because then you want to devour the beautiful sight with your eyes & your mind & your heart & your soul.

So year I am again. I was going to right here, but my finger reached up & touched the y, & before I erased it I decided to write year. New year. New routines, mixed in with the old routines. Nothing is ever old. There is only new under the sun.

Once I heard a story about neutrinos. Once I held my hand out for a second, held my hand in for a second. 65 billion neutrinos flew through a square centimeter of me, on their way to being on their way. Mmmm. Neutrinos. Changing flavors as they go. Sweet neutrinos. Spicy neutrinos. Savory neutrinos. They're really not related to neutrons, except having shared a name for a short period of time.

That's another thing I have no shortage of -- besides sun & neutrinos & air, grin. Ideas. No shortage of ideas. I love having so many ideas. I love being able to execute them. What an interesting word, execute. I don't want to execute them. I want them to realize. I want them to grow. I want them to hatch out of cocoons, groggy with transformation, & spread their wings. I want them to suddenly discover claustrophobia & an eggtooth & no need to stay hunched together. I want them to remember who they are, who they've never been until this exact moment. I want them to blossom. I want them to develop spores. I want them to sneeze & seed the universe. I want them to build webs. I want them to colonize. I want them to leave home with a hobo stick -- or a barbie doll suitcase -- & a dream.

I am in love with the idea of ideas loving their gestation, their evolution. I'm in love with the idea of ideas pumping iron, bulking up, flexing their new muscles. I'm in love with the idea of coaching ideas & having ideas coach me.

I'm just completely in love with the world, with every congregation of droplets worshipping every cedar on the way to every post office. I'm in love with librarians, still sleeping, not yet on their way to the library. But maybe they're awake now, in the early morning, having some coffee & some private time before they head out to be there in case I might be coming by. I'm in love with the sun, boiling out its photons (&, of course, neutrinos) & I'm in love with every photon born in the solar core, struggling through the dense gases for 40 thousand years before it escapes to make the 8 minute journey to earth, in case I might be there. (Or some other beautiful being, be it rock or plankton or hummingbird.) There is such squanderous beauty everywhere. All that is contemporaneous with me, & all that has been, & all that will be -- I am in love with it. So much beauty been & now & yet to come.

It is delicious to eat & drink the idea of that with my mind & heart & soul -- even the parts that have never & will never be in range of my sensors. Dear eyes. Dear ears. Dear taste buds. Dear nose buds. Dear skin cells. I love you all so much.

Blog alternative:
276. Spend a few moments with the idea of all the beauty you'll never see or taste or sense in any way, the infinite beauty. Then spend a few moments with beauty you can (appreciatively) sense. Coffee with just the right amount of milk (which, for you, could be no milk). A blue glass. Your own smile in a mirror. The soft coziness of your robe. (Mine is made of bamboo!)