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May 2012

A Real Face-Melter

This one definitely needs a soundtrack. . .


Last Saturday night, Tom and I went to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert.


Even though the RHCPs have been around for a long, long time (they are nearly our age, after all) . . . and I've been a fan of their music for a long, long time . . . I laughed with Tom and my friends that we'd be among the oldest people at the concert.

And, well. . . we were.

But it didn't matter.  It was great!  Awesome, in fact.


It was, in Brian's words*, "a real face-melter." 


* Brian was there, too.  Just not with us.

It's Summertime. . . and the Livin' is Easy

It sure felt like summertime around here this weekend.  Hot and humid.  It's a perfect time to think about summertime goals . . . prompted by this week's Ten on Tuesday topic . . .


Ten Goals for This Summer:

  1. Find plenty of opportunities to put my feet up and . . . relax!
  2. Eat fresh -- visit the Farmer's Market for fresh, local produce.
  3. Go to the Lake Michigan shore now and again . . . catch a sunset!
  4. When it's too hot to be outside, stay inside where it's cool and organize a closet or two (or three).
  5. Do a little "sprucing up" at the cottage -- some paint, some new shelves, replace the flag.
  6. Visit a botanical garden or two; go on some garden tours for inspiration.
  7. Research cameras . . . take the plunge and buy one!
  8. Finish the Photoshop class.  (It's time to Just Do It!)
  9. Smell the roses!  Don't stress out about what's "not done" in the garden. . . and enjoy what "is!"
  10. Soak up the sun!  Get out and "play" in the delightful summer sunshine.

How about YOU?  What are your goals for the summer?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.



A Little Garden Project

My best gardening pal, Sandie, and I spent a glorious afternoon yesterday making papercrete hypertufa containers.


We made containers like this one  (Sandie made this one in a workshop last April).


Only three ingredients:  paper pulp (shredded newspaper soaked in water for 48 hours), Portland cement, and perlite (or, in our case, vermiculite . . . because we couldn't find perlite).


Did you know that cement is really, incredibly cheap?  So cheap. . . that the smallest bag you can buy is 94 pounds!


That's a whole lotta cement. . . but what a deal!  Only $9.79 for a 94 pound bag!

Anyway.  We gathered our ingredients and some plastic forms and other oddments, and set up shop in Sandie's garage.


We measured . . .


and mixed. . .


(3 parts paper pulp : 2 parts Portland cement : 1 part perlite/vermiculite . . . with a splosh of water during the mixing up)

and ended up with a bucket of papercrete!


We coated our plastic molds with vegetable spray,


and then just started glopping it in (with a lot of intentional mooshing and smashing).


We ended up with quite a collection of hypertufa planters!


Now . . . we just have to wait . . . for the papercrete to dry, harden, and cure.  In a few weeks, we'll have new containers for yet more succulents!  (And we have enough cement to last a lifetime. . . )


31 Things: Good Morning

Today, I'm sharing "Day Two" of my "31 Things" project.  As you can see, I've decided to forego the scrapbooking element . . . replacing it with a song from the Soundtrack of My Life instead.  At some point, I plan to post all 31 entries as a separate "pages" feature to this blog.  For the time being, I'll just share a post now and again.


Soundrack:  I Say a Little Prayer (Aretha Franklin)


My morning routine. . . is very routine.  While the time I wake up – and the intensity of the getting-up-and-out activity level – varies depending on what my day holds, it is, essentially, the same routine each day.  (I can get completely ready to leave the house in less than a half hour if I need to, but I usually stretch things out for longer than that.)


(The view from my bed when I first wake up.  We live high on a hill, so I never bother with the blinds.  I like to wake up to the sunshine.)

What do I do. . . every morning?


  • I wake with my alarm (which sounds much like the warning system at a nuclear facility, I’m afraid. . . it’s the only thing that works to get me going!); I don't mind the being up . . . but I  have a hard time with the getting up.


  • After a “snooze bar” (or two), I get up an immediately brush my teeth (because I really hate the way my mouth tastes when I wake up).


  • I let Jenny out and feed her (unless Tom is up before me, and then he takes care of that one).


  • Coffee!  Two cups. . . with a dollop of cream.


  • Then I hit the shower,


  • dry my hair; do my make-up, and get dressed.


  • I make my bed every day, without fail.  I really hate having an unmade bed.


  • Eat breakfast . . . same old cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds) every single day. . . with a handful of dried cherries and a sliced banana.  (I share the banana with Jenny.)

And then. . . I’m off!  For whatever the day brings!

I Wish I Liked. . .


This week's Ten on Tuesday topic just made me smile every time I thought about it!  This week, Carole has us thinking about Ten Things We Wished We Liked


I wish . . . I liked. . .

  1. Getting up early
  2. Frugality
  3. Housecleaning
  4. Taking the high road
  5. Delayed gratification
  6. Opera
  7. Unsolicited advice
  8. Running
  9. Tofu
  10. Moderation

How about YOU?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.


31 Things: Jewelry

Today, I'm sharing "Day One" of my "31 Things" project.  As you can see, I've decided to forego the scrapbooking element . . . replacing it with a song from the Soundtrack of My Life instead.  At some point, I plan to post all 31 entries as a separate "pages" feature to this blog.  For the time being, I'll just share a post now and again.


Soundrack:  Peaceful Easy Feeling (The Eagles)


I love jewelry.  I always have.  Some of my earliest memories . . . are of my mom’s jewelry.  Clip-on earrings.  Shiny brooches.  Matching necklace-and-bracelet sets.  I used to love it when she would let me “play” with her jewelry box. . . when she would show me different pieces and tell me their stories.


I had my own jewelry box as a girl.  It was one of those little boxes with a music-box ballerina that turned and played a little song when you opened it.  I loved it.  I thought it was so special.  I remember being intrigued with just when that ballerina would “shut off.”  I used to try to close the box very, very slowly while peeking inside to see if I could see just when she stopped.  Then I would open it really, really quickly to see if I could trick her into a slow start.   I kept my own special jewelry in there.   I had a monogram “K” pin made of Genuine Redwood.  And a Santa Claus Pin with a light-up red nose.  A few little-girl lockets and bracelets.  A charm bracelet.  And a few other oddments that I had picked up here and there.  I loved all of my jewelry!

As I got older – probably fifth grade or so – girls around me started to get their ears pierced.  I so wanted pierced ears!  There was a girl in my fifth grade class. . . her name was Linda, and she was very quiet.  We weren’t really friends, but her desk was near mine.  I remember that she had very, very blond hair – and pierced ears.  It all seemed so exotic to me, then!  Pierced ears!  Linda wore these little mouse earrings with blue jewel eyes.  I coveted those mice!  I wanted them!  I begged to have my ears pierced.

But my parents said NO.

As I grew a bit older, my desire for pierced ears grew stronger.  By seventh grade, EVERYone had pierced ears.  Absolutely EVERYone.  (Really!)  I was obsessed!  I wanted to wear big hoops and dangling, filigree earrings that would hang down to my shoulders!  (Gone were the days of cute little mice earrings.)  Whenever I shopped, I spent all my time admiring the earrings.  All of my friends exchanged earrings for birthday and Christmas gifts.  I was so left out!  I begged.   

But my parents said NO.

I was too chicken to pierce my ears myself, and my friends weren’t daring enough to do it for me, either.  So you know what I did?  I pretended to have pierced ears!  I collected . . . pairs of things.  Buttons.  Beads.  Pieces of wire.  And I glued them to my ears!!!!!  One of my friends even gave me broken earrings from her collection to help me with my ruse!  Every morning before school (in secret, of course), I used Elmer’s Glue to glue junk on my ear lobes!  It was tedious.  It was ridiculous.  But I achieved the look I wanted!

Ultimately, my mom caught me.  She was irritated with me. . . and she thought I was silly. . but she took pity on me.  She decided that I must really, really want my ears pierced if I was desperate enough to glue crap on my ears every morning.   She relented, and I got my ears pierced for my 14th birthday. 



All these years later, I still love jewelry.  I have a great big stand-on-the-floor jewelry box (sadly, no ballerina!) full of all kinds of jewelry-treasures.  (Although I don’t have my monogram “K” made from Genuine Redwood any more, or the light-up Santa Claus pin, I do still have several pieces of jewelry from my old ballerina jewelry box still lurking about!)

Every day, I wear my wedding ring . . . and 2 pairs of earrings (because I love my pierced ears so much I got them double-pierced in college).  I often wear a bracelet (or two or three), and sometimes a necklace.  Nothing special, really.  But things I love!


(And, just for the record, I let my own daughter get her ears pierced the first time she asked – when she was about 10 or 11!)


On Everyday-Ness

When I was young, it seems I was always waiting for . . . something.  The Next Big Event or Special Day or Turning Point that would mark my life and make it "special."  I was totally bored by the ho-hum, everyday cadence of my life.  I wanted Big Things. 


As I grew older, I started to get it.  I began to get a glimpse of what was actually behind all those "life-is-a-journey-not-a-destination" quotes and inspirational posters.  That Special Days . . . were special, sure.  But they weren't . . . everything.

And then I got cancer.

All I wanted, then, was Everyday-ness.

I craved the ordinary, "normal" pace and cadence of life.  I wanted to feel a breeze and drink some wine on my patio and pet my dog and see movies with my husband.  I wanted to talk to my mom on the phone and send cards to my sister and hug my kids and cook a plain, old, ordinary dinner.  I wanted to meet my friends for coffee and sit through committee meetings and sort the mail and pull weeds.  I wanted to put gas in my car and run errands and vacuum my floor and watch tv. 

Yes.  That kind of excitement. 

Sometimes, you have to have the absolute wonder of Everyday-ness threatened. . . to completely appreciate its value and loveliness.  Or . . . that's how it worked for me.

Back in January, in that flurry of goal-making so common to a fresh, new year, I stated that I wanted to "Celebrate the Ordinary" as one of my annual goals.  I try to do this every day.  I really do!  But I was looking for a way to do this with more intention.  Then, a while ago, I saw a new online class being offered by Big Picture Classes called  31 Things. 

31 Things . . . is a class designed to to celebrate the everyday-ness, right now, right here . . . through 31 daily writing and photography prompts.  It's a class designed to help document, understand, and celebrate the routine, daily stuff of life. 

When I read about the class, it seemed like a perfect fit for me!  Not only did I find the content and the structure appealing, but the timing actually works perfectly -- tucked neatly between the end of a very busy work time and my upcoming travels.  I signed up right away!

Day One started yesterday.

So now. . . I'm immersed in 31 Things.  I'm still figuring out how I'll share the process on my blog.  I know I will.  I'm just not sure in what format*. 

Stay tuned!


*There is also a scrapbooking component to the class.  One thing I know for sure . . . I am not a scrapbook kind of gal!  Although I'm often inspired by the scrapbook journals other people put together, I have found that the scrapbook format does not work for me.  Rather than becoming an extension of expression, scrapbooking becomes a barrier for me!  So, I will NOT be participating in the scrapbooking element of 31 Things.  Just sayin'.