Friday, October 17, 2008

My Cuttlebug

I haven't been posting often, but I have been busy. Now, maybe someone out there will notice I did not post September's artist trading card and you are right. When I tried taking picture of all of them before I handed them out, I only encountered technical difficulties and lousy picture after lousy picture. I intend to attempt to take a picture of the card I kept so you can see the design. But of note (to me at least) is that the day I worked on my September ATC's was the day I bought my Cuttlebug machine and from that moment on I have been embossing and cutting like a fool.

The following two cards are for men...a couple of my uncles to be more exact whose birthdays are this month.

This first card is actually very similar to my September ATC as I even used left over background paper I had made for those. Do you see those swirls? Those were done with my Cuttlebug. And do you see the ovals? Those were done using my Spellbinder's Nestabilities dies cut and embossed with my Cuttlebug.

Do you see the white and brown mesh looking paper? Cuttlebug and the Cuttlebug Mesh embossing folder designed by Christine Adolph (the same who designs the lovely stamp lines with Stampington).

Here is another card I made for someone who loves purple (could you tell?). Notice the panel behind the flowers? That is the Textile Cuttlebug embossing folder designed by Christine Adolph. And the borders are made using Martha Stewart Craft's Doily Lace border punch which I finally found at a Michael's in Dallas when I went to visit a friend of mine. Did I mention that I brought along my Cuttlebug and Cuttlebug embossing folders and my friend spent one night and the next morning happily embossing away and then went out that week to buy her own Cuttlebug? Yes, I am an enabler.

The polka dot brackets are from a set by Inque Boutique and the oval a Nestabilities die cut and embossed using my Cuttlebug of course. And the squares were also cut using Nestabilities. These dies are fantastic and I buy a set a month as I have a VIP coupon from Cut@Home.

And lastly for now here are the artist trading cards (ATC's) for the Vintage Halloween theme:

I think they came out pretty well. I used Kiwi Kiss from Stampin' Up! for a punch of color with the black and white--I love this color! The scary cat face is from Paper Source (when I was in Dallas I bought it), the cat with the swirly tail is from Papertrey Ink's Spooky Sweets II set, the beware stamp is from Pink Paislee's Trick or Treat set. And yes, I used my Cuttlebug for the black cardstock base which I embossed with the wonderful Swiss Dot embossing folder and I cut the black cat heat embossed on the vellum with a scalloped oval Nestabilities die.

Lately I have been hard at work on my Halloween party invitations. They include the same Kiwi Kiss color, black, white and some other colors for good meassure. I will try to post some pictures at some point.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Cards

I thought I would share a few more cards made recently before I am off for my trip to see family (and hopefully that includes my year old twin cousins).

First up is a card I made for a maternal male cousin turning 10. This card was done without any real thought. I just pulled things out and tried things out and hoped it would work out. It turned out to be something I really liked.
Below is a card for my only paternal female cousin that I hope to see this week for the first time in well over 5 years. The card ends with the green.

This is a card and the envelope I made for my friend, Erin, who is moving into a new phase of her life.

Here is a better picture of the card alone:

Some more birthday cards for friends (notice a color theme on the last two?):

This is a card I made last night for an aunt I am going to see this week. I hope she likes it!

Have a great week! I know I will.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Some More Cards

Wow, another post in less than a month! First, I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I have mentioned more than once that I am no photographer.

Here are some more Artist Trading Cards with an "Orient Express" theme to share from my trade last night. It is hard to tell, but in the background is a train on the right and the skyline of Istanbul behind the image of the woman (by Dawn Houser, Inkadinkado).

I also wanted to share a card I made for my twin cousins' 1st birthday (yes, they are MUCH younger than I am). For some reason the card looks very crooked, but I don't remember it being that way. The stamps were bought especially for this card from Papertrey Ink (Bitty Baby Blessings) plus the kraft cardstock, aqua mist cardstock and ribbon are from Papertrey Ink as well. Can you faintly see the tiny sailboats on the onesies? The Bitty Baby Blessings stamp set is downright adorable and I was so excited to try them out on my cousins' baby cards especially as one of the sayings was "Good Things Come in Multiples" perfect for twins, right? I was also excited about the color combination. Have I mentioned my love of Papertrey Ink? The dots are from metallic white craft paint which I also used on the ATC's above. I do tend to use similar products for a while much like I can listen to the same CD for months.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Before July Ends

Gracious it has been a lot time since I posted anything! To be honest I had lost some of my enthusiasm for blogging...a new puppy, computer issues (does anyone else deal with quirky computers?), catching up on all my work at work, doing a lot of things at home (like sifting through 20 years of papers) and such does have a way of cutting into my blogging. Plus, right now I am more interested in other people's blogs than my own.

With that said I have been meaning to share a few things I have made in the last couple of months.

Here are *very* simple father's day cards for my grandfathers. At this point I can't remember if I even made my dad a card (another problem is I have more memory issues than usual of late).

Here are Artist Trading Cards I made for this month's trade with a Star theme (that is Greta Garbo).

Hope you are enjoying the summer wherever you may be!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bright Bird

Happy June! I thought I would share with you all the Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) I made for June's trade. The theme was Creative Challenge using rubber! what a hard challenge since I never use rubber stamps. Actually, I have to hold myself back from all the tempting stamps, papers, inks, paints, embellishments, books and the like. I can talk for hours with friends about products, companies and blogs.

Here is the picture of the ATC's I made entitled "Bright Bird":

Right now I go to Nichole Heady's blog {capture the moment} a lot. She once designed for Paper Crafts Magazine (a really great magazine for ideas for cards and other projects) and now co-owns and designs clear stamps for a marvelous company, Papertrey Ink. What is also amazing is that Nichole Heady is only 28, is married with 3 kids which makes me feel rather old and lazy...anyway, have fun looking at her work, the Papertrey Ink design team's work and enjoy Papertrey Ink's products! I am excited about this month's releases.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Too Adorable

Here are a couple of other pictures for you to enjoy of Remy. You can more clearly see his blue-gray coloring against the verdant grass and clover. Remy is so cute that even my horrendous photography captures his appeal.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Addition

This past Sunday we added to our family. Leia's death left a huge hole that we have known would need to be filled.

Our latest addition: Remy (full first name is Remington) who is a tiny, wild, little blue (gray) male chihuahua with green eyes. He was born on April 1st and is one smart little man. He is already coming to the office and charms all who see him.

Without further ado here is Remy:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hobson's Choice

I have considered deleting yesterday's post, but that is me in all my unglory so I think I will let it stand. I do thank you, dear reader, for your patience with my petulance. At another point in my life I would have remained firmly entrenched in my self-pity, but I don't want to do that anymore. Even if things are occassionally bad I still have so much to look forward to and enjoy. Plus, I am moving forward in several ways and I hope evolving however slowly.

I saw a sweet film on Monday night on TCM entitled Hobson's Choice. It is about the eldest daughter of an alcoholic shop owner in Victorian England grabbing hold of her destiny in her very capable hands and marrying the talented, demure bootmaker at her father's shop. The wonderful thing is the evolution of the bootmaker as he becomes more confident with the help of the woman who believes in him without reservation. It is a funny, sweet and charming British film with some lovely performances by a stellar cast including Charles Laughton as Hobson (the father), John Mills as Willie (the bootmaker) and Brenda De Banzie as Maggie (the daughter) . I would recommend this little gem for those with any romance in their souls or in need of a dose of hope.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have come to the realization that I truly stink at being a friend. Hell, I stink at being a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter and a niece. I stink as a student. I stink as a employee. I stink as a patient. Am I having a good pity party? You bet. A huge lavish one. I can throw those like the best of them. I am good at self-pity. I am good at complaining. I am good at being lazy. And I am good at sticking my head in a book and hoping the world passes me by and I disappear into a pile of ash.

Okay, it is time for me to dust myself off and realize it is not the end of the world that I failed. Well, failed pretty miserably in all my relationships. I am not universally abhorred yet only a very flawed person with profound interpersonal difficulties. At least that means I have a lot to improve upon. And I can grovel. It is one of my endearing/annoying traits.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Minor Annoyances

Maybe one or two of you have noticed I haven't written in a month. I have been experiencing aging and one the lovely byproducts of aging: decline in health. In the past several months I have come to the realization that I am falling apart on various levels. I am not that old nor have I lived much of a life much less a hard one and there it is. Nothing very serious, but it all adds up. Maintenance is now taking a healthy chunk of whatever money I have. And being someone cheap about spending money on my health I don't like it one bit. I rather spend money on important things like books and magazines. Oh well. It was bound to happen. I had been lucky thus far. No broken bones. No serious accidents or illness.

At least mentally I am still pretty darn dopey although occasionally cranky if I am in pain. My energy level is even lower though than it used to be and anyone who knows me can attest that is frightening as I have the energy of a slug on a good day (perhaps that is unfair to the slug as he is only slow--a better animal is the koala as the only thing they eat actually doesn't give them sufficient energy).

All in all life is good. Even the annoying parts are just that--annoyances to work through and perhaps help to appreciate what isn't annoying and trying.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Yesterday was a college friend's birthday. Of course I am still working on her card as I just can't get it right. It isn't a work of art even at its best, but it needs to be something that shows how much I care especially as I haven't spoken with her for months now. Why do I let so much time elapse? Why do I hesitate to write or call friends and family back? Why do I let days, weeks and then months (or even years) go by before responding?

I remember during the summers I would go a month or two without talking to my closest friend at the time. Both of us were too involved in other things and we didn't mind the time spent without made no difference in our friendship. I suppose this is what it is to be at heart a loner and a homebody. It is hard to explain how wrapped up you can become in your own mind, thoughts and world unless the other person is likewise occupied.

The Joy of Tasters

I made Let's-Put-Everything-In-That-Isn't-Tied-Down pasta last night. Originally it was going to be pasta with Italian sausage and broccoli rabe, but I thought I should use the broccolini in the refrigerator and then there was some cherry tomatoes sitting out that needed to be used too.... In the end the pasta also had some garlic, extra virgin olive oil, saffron, red pepper flakes and tomato paste added too. On the top freshly grated parmesan cheese. Taster A (I must protect the innocent, but there has to be a better way to distinguish my tasters. Still thinking about names from mythology) felt it was lacking something. Taster B had two helpings and really enjoyed it (also took some to work to eat for lunch). Taster C thought it was good, but not what she wanted last night.

I have noticed a trend. Taster A and Taster B don't often agree about what they love. When Taster A is ecstatic about dinner, Taster B may respond by saying: "This is chicken? Are you sure? What did you put in this? I just can't place it." I reply and ask whether he likes it: "I am not sure. It isn't disgusting." High praise indeed. Another thing he will comment with is: "It is edible." Wow, what a glowing compliment!

When Taster A doesn't like something she'll say: "It wasn't my favorite thing. It could use something. It isn't as favorable as your other dishes." Keep in mind that she says everything with her facial expressions. Taster A could kill a person with her dark and withering scowl or make your stomach tense up with a look of pure and unvarnished disgust. Her face can say: you are worse than sewage or dumber than dirt. Although when she likes something she is very enthusiastic: "Everything was delicious! The rice was cooked perfectly. The chicken was so moist and tender. That asparagus rocked!"

Tasters are finicky or at least mine are as I can only satisfy 2 out of 3 at the best of times. You slave over a hot stove, spend ages cleaning up after your mess and this is the payback? Yes. One person happy with the meal and it was all worth it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blast From the Past

This was a draft post dated September 28, 2007...I think it is time to dust it off and publish the sucker. Please remember that I was writing about the past and it may not properly reflect what I now feel. I have been working on my perception as perception is so incredibly important! In fact your mind can persuade you of quite remarkable things and some of them aren't healthy in the slightest.

I have been meaning to share a very special blog with you, dear reader. I think the minute you begin reading Orangette you realize what a blog should be: personal, warm, friendly, witty, informative, whimsical and charming. In fact, it is little wonder that Molly met her husband through her blog. For a lovely little real life romance centered around food (a certain lemon cake actually) check out the link to their Food Network profile.

I think this brings home how blogs can bring people together. I know that in the food blogging world (yes, there is one) fellow bloggers have established friendships exchanging ideas, tips, stories, recipes and information. They also actually visit each other. I find this sweet and amazing as I find it hard to even catch up with friends that live in the same city. I think it opens my eyes to what lives other people lead that seem to have sweeping vistas.

For me most trips are carefully, nearly painfully pondered where I have to skirt around possible problems and constraints: financial, time, logisitics, not to mention the huge clothing dilemna. I make everything much harder than it should be and it is all due to insecurity on my part. The actual travelling I relish, it is the process prior to the journey that bothers me. I have this fear of what people from my past will think of me to the point I have hidden when I have seen someone from high school in a store. This is arrogant on my part as I don't think they would necessarily remember me anyway. I usually remember people while they forget. The problem is this fear extends to family and friends. I hide from them too. When I didn't I had to prepare myself for it and I wasn't always successful....

In July of 2003 I went to a college friend's wedding in Maine. The trip in general was fantastic and the wedding lovely, but the night before the wedding I was struck with such waves of sadness, embarassment and a sense of not belonging or fitting in that I couldn't eat (a highly unusual occurance for me) and sat reading some local paper fighting back tears for which I luckily snapped out of later that evening and was in good spirits for the rest of the weekend. Still, I felt awful about my moodiness and inability to deal with the emotions in a "normal" way. In the back of my mind the episode only reinforced my own ideas of being socially inept and too damaged to be much of a friend. I had faced a similar situation at my maternal grandparents' 50th Wedding Anniversary a few years before in which I felt paralyzed by a feeling of profound alienation and shame at being me whilst surrounded by family.

The years following college I had a crisis of identity and I forgot how to related to others. My world became smaller and smaller as I tried to find meaning and understanding about myself. My route diverged from the norm quite radically. I didn't pursue a career nor did I pursue a romantic relationship. My feelings of alienation only increased until I became isolated, anxious, and ashamed. I assumed it would be better to stay out of people's lives than corrupt them. Yes, dear reader, I was maudlin.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Links and the Mighty Dollar

It only took me 10 months or so to add links to the blogs I have mentioned. Nothing like promptness to keep this blog active and fresh! I think I could mention dozens if not hundreds of blogs. So, I will only add to my list when I actually blog about them. How cool is it that the woman behind Cupcake Project left a comment on my blog thanking me??? Pure class. I will never stop marvelling at how people can find you in this vast world of ours.

On to another subject a couple of Saturdays ago (or three who can keep track which is why I blog and journal) was a day to weed through old cookbooks. We are talking about microwave and lite cookbooks along with other cookbooks mostly dating from the 1970's and 1980's. Five boxes later we took them to our local Half Price Books and received less than $40.00 for the lot (including some stellar dvd's like Honey) which we burned through (and more) with new purchases that fit into a single bag. A lesson in the value of the dollar and inflation, dear reader! What is even more enlightening is that we were estatic with that they took everything. What a feeling of freedom and lightness!

Another Friday Night

This Friday night I couldn't fall asleep so I watched AMC's Fear Friday. I remember the AMC of old which showed wonderful classic films without commercial interruption much like TCM today. There was even the AMC host Bob Dorian who introduced the films. Do movie hosts have to have Bob as a name to be considered? Think of TCM's main movie host Robert Osborne and then the much missed Joe Bob Briggs who used to be on TNT. Then again on AMC the other host was none other than George Clooney's father Nick Clooney--no Bob there.

I discovered this blog post about the evolution (or perhaps devolution) of AMC. I could not agree more, although it is best not to look backwards. At least the new AMC is being bold with its original shows like Mad Men and Breaking Bad...that is progress. I do like the concept of Fear Friday as well, but I found myself really distracted and annoyed with the numerous commercial breaks. Every commercial increased my appreciation for TCM and made me long for the old AMC more.

Last Friday they were showing Brian De Palma's The Fury. I had seen this movie several years before, but I couldn't remember much of it other than some teenagers with incredible psychic abilities going insane. I did not remember Kirk Douglas as the secret agent (spy) father of a psychic son kidnapped and willing to do anything to get his son. The son is played by Andrew Stevens the son of Stella Stevens (I mistakenly thought Connie Stevens was his mother) who happened to be in a lot of tv movies and shows in the early 1980's and he often played someone with a disturbing intensity: a stalker or a young man who prefered wealthy older women, but had the vibe of Joseph Cotton's character in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. The young woman who is just discovering her psychic abilities is Amy Irving (has anyone seen Crossing Delancey with her in it? It is a family favorite).

I think this viewing of the movie I particularly enjoyed all of the disparate threads that make up this film. The Fury is a curious mix of cloak & dagger, action film with horror/psychic film added in for good measure. There is death from the usual car crashes and gunfire, but also from extreme loss of blood that is a hallmark of horror films. There are beaches in the Middle East under attack, covert government agencies without restraint and ruthless power, exclusive all girl high schools, luxurious scientific foundations discovering psychic abilities and a huge remote estate. If you look closely you will see a very young Daryl Hannah and Laura Innes. With a larger role is Dennis Franz as a New York cop of all things.

I won't write a summary of the film as I am terrible at them, but if you enjoy 1970's horror based upon powerful psychic ability and some over-the-top blood scenes not to mention levitation and blue glowing eyes you will have fun with this one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I have been very inattentive lately. I think I have had other things on my mind. Still, it is already the 10th of April and unforgivable if I continued to leave my blog sadly empty. Recently I have been really interested in cupcake blogs. One or two of you may remember I wrote about a cupcake blog many moons ago. Cupcakes happen to be a very popular subject for blogs. I subscribe to one: Cupcakes Take the Cake that culls the internet for news on cupcakes and delivers it to its cupcake-happy readers several times a day.

One blog they recently introduced me to is Cupcake Project. This is a blog with a mission and purpose. It began as a way to chronicle the baking of cupcakes for the blogger's friends' wedding and after that success she is baking for Bride & Groom 2.0 as she calls them. You can read all about it--her cupcake triumphs and not-so-triumphant cupcake experiments there. I love how she chronicles the tasters' reactions.

I think I may need to have tasters and also cute nicknames for everyone. I am thinking gods and goddesses, as I love mythology. If you are particularly taken with a certain god or goddess please let me know. If you wish to become a taster you must love food and be adventurous. As it is usually somewhat difficult to deliver food across state lines without great expense and trouble, being near me may also be critical....

By the way, as much as I wish I could claim credit for the lovely cupcakes at left, they aren't mine, but an image I found at UW Libraries Blog of all places (talk about perfect combination: cupcakes and books!).

Monday, March 31, 2008


There are many things you can miss in such thing for me are women wearing hats on Easter Sunday at church. I have never seen it, not once. I haven't even worn a hat for any other reason than it being cold, playing softball with family or occasionally for Halloween. I take that back now...when I went to St. Thomas for my friend's wedding this past July, I bought myself a straw hat as my single souvenir (Although I did receive a gorgeous larimar pendant later on from another friend and her family as the most thoughtful and generous of souvenirs of our time together. Larimar is only found in the Caribbean and I fell in love with the creamy blue-green stone whilst there. See the picture at right for a sample of larimar) and I walked the beach and sat by the pool in that chocolate brown straw hat with mother of pearl buttons.

My sister is actually a lover of hats and has several although I am not sure she has worn them out in public. I wonder why she doesn't wear them? Why do women not wear smart little hats like they used to? Think of those stars in the 1930's and 1940's in their dresses and suits and those beautiful hats crowning their glossy upswept hair the alluring lacy netting seductively partially shrouding their lovely faces. Or perhaps a hat like the one Greta Garbo wears above (but let's face it, Garbo could have worn anything and looked beautiful). I think hats can tease and flirt. I think we little a more elegant playfulness in our lives now.
What brought hats to mind was listening to a program with a woman who is a proponent of bringing back hats. What do you think of hats, dear reader? When have you worn a hat? Have you ever bought a hat because you were drawn to it?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with honey-lime glaze

I am very behind on posting about Sunday meals I have made, but I will post this recipe for you all because I made it for a second time last night and I really enjoy it as it is spicy, sweet, savory, tart, earthy and fresh all in one bite.

The recipe is from Cuisine at Home which is a wonderful cooking magazine. Every single recipe I have tried from their magazine or cookbooks has been delicious and sometimes they become incredibly longed for (like the southwestern turkey breast and cornbread stuffing we made for Thanksgiving or the fruit salad with a jalapeno-lime sauce made for Christmas brunch).

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with honey-lime glaze
Cuisine at Home, February 2008
Makes 8 cups; Total time: 45 minutes.


3 ½ lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
½ cup honey
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chopped fresh cilantro


1. Preheat oven to 425 °F.
2. Toss sweet potatoes with olive oil, cayenne and salt in a large bowl until coated. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 25 minutes.
3. Whisk together honey, lime juice, and cinnamon in a small bowl while potatoes roast. Once potatoes are tender, coat with glaze and roast 5 minutes more.
4. Garnish with cilantro.

Another Interesting Search

I have five posts of varying degree of completeness written for this month and guess what I am going to post about? Read on to find out.

I was searching for a particular book as a friend requested some recommendations of steamy novels that won't disappoint and I went in search of one I read several years ago by Lisa Valdez by the title of Passion. Sex with a very well endowed stranger at a public exhibition in Victorian London...what is there not to like? The author's website has inexplicably disappeared in the few months since I last went there to check on the progress of her next novel Patience which has been delayed in being published for years now and has no set publication date.

In my search I stumbled upon a blog, It's My Blog And I'll Say What I Want To! (which has since moved) that made me laugh and a previous entry really snagged my attention.

The entry's title you may wonder:

I Guess Sperm Really Is Good For The Skin...

Yes, dear reader, I am that concerned about skin care (and my mind is often in the gutter).

UPDATE: Lisa Valdez's website is up and running again so if you want to read an excerpt of Passion or Patience follow the links.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I happen to be more than a quarter Irish that I think may be the largest portion of any single ethnicity as I am a veritable mutt. Even my surname speaks of my Irish heritage. When my father was born a nurse actually expressed pity for him because his entire name was so incredibly Irish. Personally, I think my dad's name has a very lyrical and lovely quality to it. I have great pride in my Irish surname and believe it is beautiful. My last name conjures up happy memories of my father's family--each person endues the name with warmth, laughter and happiness. I think I associate all of that with being Irish or at least that is our Irish heritage.

I wish you all a wonderful St. Patrick's Day whether you be 100% Irish or have not a drop of Irish blood!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Pi Day

Today is 3/14 or otherwise known as Pi (3.14159265358979323846…) day to celebrate that magical number we knew, used and perhaps even loved back in the day we were in school (one friend being a math major I am sure encountered it more than the rest of us).

Any reason to celebrate is good enough for me especially if the food to eat today is the delicious pie. Any kind of pie is worthy today to commemorate: apple pie; cream pie; pumkin pie; chess pie; cherry pie; meat pie; quiche; lemon meringue; chocolate mousse pie; peanut butter pie; custard pie; mince pie; pecan pie...the possibilities are as endless as the number Pi!

I think I will have some key lime pie myself.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day

This is going to be a very short and quite useless post just so I take advantage of being able to have a post on February 29th. I won't have this chance for another 4 years and who knows what the circumstances will be then? Lately I have been thinking a lot of the future not entirely of my volition, but because change is inevitable and evident. Perhaps it is reaching another birthday and everyone else aging yet another year or perhaps it is the situation of what could loom in the future considering my family. I am more cognizant than ever of the obligations I have and what my position in my family means and for once I am not depressed or overwhelmed by what may be.

I hope dear reader that you are doing well this Leap Day. I am doing exceedingly well.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trio of Movies

I watched three mainstream movies this weekend. I have found that with any movie you can find something substantial and poignant in them (even when you have to really look or it may be the absense of or lack of something which is most remarkable). What you may most notice in any given film is often dependent on where you are at as a person when you watch them.

I finally watched "The Bourne Ultimatum" Saturday night. I have thoroughly enjoyed each movie in the trilogy for their kinetic pace which seems to mimic what must be going on in mind of the protagonist who has lost his memory, but none of his killing instinct and skill. What I took out of the last film is that no matter what you have chosen in the past or even done in the past, at every moment you can choose another path. One of the greatest tragedies is to believe you are without choice and must remain on a fixed course counter to your integrity and ethics.

I watched "A River Runs Through It" again in its entirety Sunday night on TCM. This is Oscar month on TCM where they air Oscar winning and nominated films. I have always enjoyed "A River Runs Through It" for its slower pace and sense of place and the connection with nature. Two things struck me this time watching it: first, Paul, the younger brother who lives life fiercely and wildly appreciates people trying to help him even when he can't accept the help and second, the words the father says in the end which I am probably misquoting: "you can love completely without complete understanding". I think that is something I have noted without properly comprehending. A lot of love is about trust and faith concerning the unknown aspects of others.

Also Sunday night I watched "The Jane Austen Book Club". It is based upon a book of the same name I have been meaning to read since I first heard the author on The Diane Rehm Show when it was first published. Other than being a fairly decent chick flick, there was one scene in which the only guy in the book club is remarking upon Marianne from Sense and Sensibility: "I understand why Colonel Brandon goes for Marianne. It's because she's generous with herself. She's willing to risk her heart. No rules. No fear." For your information, I watched this scene again last night with subtitles to make sure I got it right just for you, dear reader. This bit particularly struck me because I realized that it is perhaps one of the things I most admire in others and yet I am not very generous with myself nor am I much of a risktaker.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Eclipse

Remember that oh so (unfortunately) memorable song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" (you haven't lived until you have screeched--and yes, it is necessary to screech or wail rather than sing--that song)? Tonight there will be a total lunar eclipse and there will not be another one until late 2010.

I found this lovely visual aid on NASA's eclipse website to help you properly time your eclipse watching.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spread the Love

I had my little temper tantrum yesterday when I was confronted by how much I still hold myself back and limit myself. It is difficult to contemplate that even if love served itself on a pretty sterling silver platter to me I would probably freak out and fling love as far away as possible. It is also unsettling to realize that I am still very much like I was as a girl who felt more comfortable receiving negative attention than positive. Yet, it is best to be honest and to acknowledge how very responsible I am for my situation--it is the only way to own who I am and who I can become. I thank you, dear reader, for keeping with me even when I am petulant and listening.

Perhaps Valentine's Day is a commercialized holiday (what isn't?), but it does help to remind us that we are surrounded by the love and care of others and we likewise love and care. For those of you experiencing this Valentine's Day single remember that the love professed about during this day need not only be the romantic and passionate sort, but indulge in some self-love, familial love, platonic love and love you share with your beloved pets. For those in your life who hate this holiday (and what it may represent to them) be there for them and feel the enriching warmth of being able to help someone else when you are needed. When you need help go to someone you trust and feel suffused in appreciation because they are there for you.

As a friend wrote to me today: "spread the love with your smile today!" There are those in your life for whom your smile/presence is incandescent.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cat Lady

I am at the point right now when I haven't a clue what to write--I have no direction. I have started on a few posts this month and then abandoned them because they bored the hell out of me. I have written in my head a pretty pathetic history of my Valentine's Days (it would take about a sentence to sum it all up and is only interesting to someone in the psychology field). To be honest at the moment I don't give a damn how I feel, think, act, react, etc. and I can't see how anyone else would either. I don't feel an impulse or drive to express myself, I don't feel social and I could probably slip away from the world and hibernate for a few months without much of an issue (I have done this in a sense many times in my life). The problem is when I do finally come out of my chosen exile I have to adjust once again--reestablish relationships, make new ones and each year I get older this becomes significantly harder.

It is probably best I don't live on my own or I think I would just lose touch with everyone...I know enough about myself to realize I could very easily end up as that odd loony cat lady. At times I fantasize that I die entirely alone and people think "what a waste of space" or "good riddance" if they think of me at all. There's the truth of it, dear reader: I sometimes feel a queer sense of pride in my isolation, my very oddness or by not following the usual human instincts. I am a little too attracted to destruction, tragedy, ugliness, waste and decay...there is something compelling in both Miss Havisham of Great Expectations and Emily in A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner. What I have always found is that it so much easier to visualize and imagine myself alone than with others.

So, I am trying to make life difficult for myself and stay in the game. Push myself when all I want to do is to sequester. Talk when I want to remain silent. Express myself when I want to close down.

Friday, February 08, 2008

An Experiment: Part I

I forgot to take pictures of my latest ATC's. I will have to do that soon.

I was thinking of part of a presentation I did my senior year in high school for an independent study project I did. I had the audience by consensus create characters for a historical romance. It ended up being a wacky story premise, but fun for all. I wonder how that would work now? I wonder if I still have the forms I used somewhere in my closet...I am sure I do.

I think I may try a similar exercise here. So think upon your story setting: When? Where? What circumstances besmirch our heroine and hero? Let me know what time period, situation and location you would choose. Most of all have fun and make it dramatic.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I have been working upon a post including recipes of my last two ventures into Sunday Night Dinner. How do people blog and include recipes so regularly? It is beyond me, but I am justifiably awed. I have been reading some more Saveur and M.F.K. Fisher. There is perhaps nothing as tempting as an articulate article or book concerning food to me. Have you ever read about a cooking process in which each sense is employed? How a family's memory can be exemplified by a meal or even a shared dish? How luscious an unknown dessert tastes? I have lists of cookbooks, books and memoirs concerning food that I wish to own and read. Did you know they have culinary themed mysteries with recipes included? I delight in those as well. What is better than food and a murder mystery after all?

In the stacks of reading material next to my bed (Of course I need not include the magazines and books on the bench at the foot of my bed nor the slipper chair now devoted to holding a couple of stacks of magazines and cookbooks nor the stack of magazines on my wooden chest. Let me not also include the books and magazines in my closet, under my bed, those two or three magazines placed on my dresser nor those actually organized on shelves) are various current cooking magazines such as Fine Cooking and at least two cookbooks I am reading through (yes, I actually read them like they are novels when I have the chance). Of course in the process of reading The Tex-Mex Cookbook and the like, I am also reading bits of Northanger Abbey, flipping through various art related publications and less illustrious books. I love the time researching, reading and learning about food as much as actually eating or cooking food. This may be because I am more a thinker (let us not qualify the quantity of my thoughts) than doer. I am not one to jump into doing something without educating myself about it. I wonder why then I spend so much time with cooking related books and dedicate so little time to learning about systems of government, democracy, my government or even citizenship?

I have only recently ventured into visiting websites of Ron Paul, Barack Obama and John McCain. Next I will need to examine Mitt Romney and Hillary Clinton--I have given her a lot of slack because I have wanted a serious woman candidate for president. Too often I vote for a rather odd reason: diversity. I will vote Republican if the candidate is a woman or a minority. I try to vote outside the two parties too. My belief being that few candidates actually represent what I want, but I can vote for people to represent more of the population than just white Christian males. I want to promote questions. I want discussion and debate--not ideological bickering, but serious thought on what problems we face, the possible alternatives and ways to compromise. I want politicians to examine and reexamine the details of a decision, which has ramifications for their constituents. If we are going to consider war I want there to be due process before declaring war--I want it to be difficult to commit our troops. I don't want to be told that there is only one acceptable family structure. I do not wish to encourage complaisance and derision of others by touting our country’s superiority. Yes, we are fortunate, but we also always need to grow and improve and we have much to learn from other cultures, countries, religions and governmental not let empty self-righteousness and arrogance erode what traditions should be continuously remembered and built upon.

Personally, I see many ways we can improve as a nation and as individuals. We are not meant to remain frozen and nature will do everything in her power to cause change. One thing I learned in my cookbooks and ventures into the cooking world is that recipes aren't exact (baking though is more like science) and they are meant as guidelines for a process. We want pat equations and answers and there aren't such things. If you continue to use the same recipe your meal will still not come out exactly the same each time. Much of life is a lot like cooking--you make do with what you have on hand, use your best judgment from experience (ask your family and friends for further help) and improvise as best you can.

Friday, January 25, 2008


My dear reader, I am calling upon your kindness to help me with the upcoming themes for my artist trading cards. The two themes are PINK or MYSTERY and I must come up with a concept that will fit within the confines of 2.5 inchs by 3.5 inchs.

What do you think of when you think of Pink? When you think of Mystery? I would be delighted to hear your thoughts. I will make certain I share with you the final results which are due on February 5th.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Review

I receive various newsletters daily through email (who doesn't?) and one of them recently was from Writer's Digest about tips for blogging. Upon reading their tips I realized I am not blogging according to their tips at all--I am breaking a lot of rules for a successful and popular blog. This includes having a clear purpose or focus for my blog i.e. cooking, politics, books, movies, art or lint if I so choose. One of my failings is that I am not focused hence the name dabbler. If I went according to this tip I would have to have over a dozen blogs and then where would I be? Still, I have considered at least having more of a structure to this blog--I believe it may meander too much and its relevance might be rather limited.

Another tip was to be sometimes I can be that, but other times I write entirely too much. Yet another tip was to pose questions to my readership to promote interest and interaction. Do I do this? And yet another tip is to frequently and consistently post or you lose readership. Since I have a good half dozen readers I should hate to lose even one of you!

So, dear reader, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer specific blogs? Do you have any suggestions?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Austen to the Rescue

Yesterday was a convergence of negative things happening. I made a list in my journal actually. Bloody nose. Copying machine not working properly (I am easily annoyed when technology goes awry). Talk of recession. Heath Ledger's death. Someone pulling out of the artist trading card trade I organize because they felt it was a waste of their time and money. I felt quite dismayed with it all and in these periods of time I start feeling somewhat battered and wish to go into my little cave.

This time my cave walls happened to be illuminated by the world of Elizabeth Bennet. Even with all the allure of Mr. Darcy, thoughts still intruded to the point I had to reread passages and wondered in dismay (yes, that word yet again!) at my inability to comprehend Jane Austen especially when I take in account this is my third reading of Pride and Prejudice (does this mean my mind is slipping as I reach such a venerable age?). With determination I blocked out the real world listening to Tori Amos on my headphones and I did indeed slip into a happy rhythm.

Yes, I take vacations from my life even though I am well aware that my life in no way is bad. In fact my life is rather uneventful and perhaps that is an advantage to someone with an imagination. In this I do feel some slight kinship to such estimable writers as Jane Austen and Emily Dickinson (please know that I do not flatter myself with any other comparison!). I am not sure if my life were so brimming with activity and excitement I would have the inclination for reflection or for expressing myself.

When trying to find an image to accompany this post, I stumbled upon a wonderful blog (there are so many) called Classical Bookworm which pointed me to a site where some gifted person created a font based upon Jane Austen's handwriting. If you are interested, please read about the process of creating the font and also find some other beautiful fonts you can download for free! As for the image at left, you can find many more from different sources at this delightful site: Molland's.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Harvest

I have been indulging in watching movies and reading novels of a romantic nature lately and yet I could not be more disinclined towards romance personally at the moment (or any time really). I have mentioned such things before and will no doubt bore you, dear reader, with it again that I show a great ineptitude in such areas of life. It is probably because at the heart of it I don't believe I deserve love nor do I have faith in my own power to love with any sort of constancy, regularity nor proper devotion. When my emotions are engaged I am a worse person for it, not better. Yet, it is wonderful to read and watch romances, which are so positive and hopeful.

I think you can find no more romantic film than one I watched on Saturday night. I have never seen the beginning of Random Harvest, but have seen the middle and end on more than one occasion. The hero of the film (the very debonair and elegant Ronald Colman) suffers from amnesia and what could be romantic than amnesia? Throw in the delightful Greer Garson as our brave, constant heroine and you have a winner. I shall not tell you about the plot for fear I will spoil the fun...should you wish to know more you shall have to see the movie for yourself! For anyone with a romantic leaning you can do no better for a movie about the miracle of love.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Finding the Romantic Within

I have never thought of myself as a girly-girl. I don't like getting my hair done or my nails (nail polish just starts to chip away nearly immediately and I hate that waste of money and energy). I don't enjoy shopping for clothes, although I like clothes and fashion in theory. I like pink fine, but not too much. I like jewelry, but find it mostly gets in the way or gets lost or damaged (I should admit that when I do buy or wear jewelry it is BIG). I don't really like diamonds--they are brilliantly sparkly true, but why not spend money on something more meaningful than a very expensive rock...I would be perfectly content with garnets myself. I have no dreams of a fact if I get married I rather elope (it is just too hard to figure out who you are going to invite to a wedding, so it is best to just do it on your own and have everyone feel slighted!) and spend the money on a down payment for a house and have a very lovely party later with excellent food in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

But there are certainly ways I am a stereotypical woman: I LOVE, LOVE Jane Austen. Last night Masterpiece Theatre kicked off their new Masterpiece Classic hosted by Gillian Anderson (they will be announcing the new hosts for Masterpiece Mystery! (summer) and Masterpiece Contemporary (fall) later this year) with an all-new Persuasion. In fact for those who likewise are thrilled with waistcoats, men on horseback, misunderstandings, tart heroines and the like for the next few months every Sunday night on PBS is dedicated to airing the entire works of Jane Austen: "The Complete Jane Austen" (four of the productions are all new and a new biopic about Jane Austen as well). I swoon, I rejoice, and my little heart swells with warm romantic contentment. How can I be upset when I have Jane Austen to look forward to? After watching the sweet Persuasion (which I have been remiss in not reading), I pulled out my copy of A&E's Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle version which in PBS's wisdom will also be airing) and slipped into a wholly pleasant state.

I had forgotten the seductive appeal of romantic books and film and how I disappear. For however long I read or watch, there is no me. I don't react, I don't think, but rather just observe. It is a blissful state of suspension. Sometimes it is good to be away from your own thoughts and emotions or at least I have always felt so. For a while I may have indulged too readily in my chosen drug, which helps to calm me. It is difficult being an even-tempered person when you have a terribly erratic and tempestuous emotional nature makes your skin feel like it is too tight....

Note: I have been playing with this post for the last couple and days and I am tired of it, so find it as it is--January 16, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Power of Choice

I have been reading through the most recent issue of Saveur and some back issues. I love the wealth of information in this magazine from their brief memoirs to a sampling of a particular place, culture, family or food item. Lately I will spend free moments reading an issue cover to cover and I feel full upon finishing. This is a magazine about food, but more importantly it is about how every life is enriched and shaped by food and cooking. I appreciate that they delve into the history of foods and how economy, religion, people, location, politics, gender...everything flavors how and why we eat the food we do. For their January/February issue each year they have The Saveur 100: people, places, foods, restaurants and such they admire and love (2008 is the 10th anniversary of The Saveur 100). If you have a chance pick up one of these issues and be amazed by the diverse items that whet your curiosity and appetite.

A big problem now facing us all is how to be conscientious consumers in all things. The green movement not only faces us in our choice of car, appliances, cleaning products, but also in what and how we eat, what clothes we buy and where we buy our products. Often times paying less money may mean paying another price...antibiotics in the meat eaten and clothes made by people in intolerable conditions. How we spend money is more and more a political, ideological, moral and ethical decision. With all the technology at our fingertips and the ability to buy produce from nearly any continent of the planet there comes less knowledge about how these products are produced and transported to our shores. Conversely, there has never been a time when it is more important nor easier to find ways to be cognizant of the provenance of what we buy.

I have been reading and hearing some disturbing information about the food I consume and also the items I purchase for very seductively low prices and I am coming to realize I can't afford to only look at the upfront cost. I believe health wise the hormones in food I consume is causing me to confront issues I find challenging in the most positive of light. I have been speaking with my family about all of this and we are going to research organic foods. I want to know exactly what I am putting into my mouth. I in no way want to encourage the philosophy that profit is more important than all other factors and any means justify the result. When your whole goal is to gain material wealth you will go spiritually, emotionally, morally and mentally bankrupt.

I will try to keep you, dear reader, abreast of my process to cleanse my life, because that is what I am doing. I am going to see that life in all its various forms is worthy of time, attention, energy, contemplation and meaning. To relish the fact that choices matter--big and small and that I have every opportunity and the intoxicating luxury to live my life as I feel is just and right.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Recycle & Resolution

I went to my monthly artist trading card trade. This month's themes were Recycle & Resolution. My sister helped me to realize what I would recycle. One birthday many, many moons ago my best friend at the time made me a red and blue paint splattered t-shirt with matching socks and bow for my hair. I held onto these items for years and years (I think the bow least of all in all honesty) and last year when I was going through clothes I finally relented and gave up the way too small t-shirt to the rag bin. This by no means was an easy fact it was somewhat (pathetically) wrenching. My sister told me to grab the only mildly stained by motorcycle oil and such t-shirt and cut it up for the cards. Brilliant I thought! Finally the shirt will be memorialized into a tiny piece of art.

For my other card with the theme of Resolution there is the image of a beautiful young woman collecting flowers and enjoying nature and the life around her. My resolution of sorts was to savor & celebrate life. Now, I am not entirely happy with both cards (I am happier with the Recycle than Resolution) as they are pretty damnably flat (spare and with little embellishment) and yet there is something about them that are like me, just not enough....

See them for yourself, dear reader, below (please note that the poor woman actually does have some skin pigment in the actual cards):

I have so much farther to go! I know I can do 100% times better and I have in the past (there is a feeling in my stomach of wincing when I see them). I wonder if you can go in reverese in development? They look rather infantile to my eyes which means I need to start thinking upon the themes much earlier and experimenting rather than playing it very safe all the time (also finding where all my supplies are so I don't have to avoid techniques because I can't locate what I need to do them). Rather tame indeed! I am going to attempt to submit a card or two (not artist trading cards, but the type you send in the mail) by month's end to a publication with the theme: tantalizing turquoise along with a couple of friends of mine...I am going to push beyond my comfort zone and see if I can actually do anything with vitality!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Habit although not a sexy concept is actually necessary for creating strong relationships. There is nothing like seeing someone or talking to someone on a regular basis to foster a sense of closeness. In college I often lived in the same dorm as my friends and ate dinner with them every evening. After graduation we all went our own way and no matter how you look at it we are not as close as we once were. I have no idea what each of my friend eats each night, although I do remember which friend nurses a coffee after dinner, which friend dislikes tomatoes, which one doesn't like sour cream and which friend that eats vegetables by choice. Do they still have the same food preferences? This I am not sure of, but if I were in contact with them on a consistent basis perhaps I would be. I haven't actually communicated with any of them for a while other than sending a holiday card. This is a stage in life when friends that live hundreds of miles away usually take a backburner to working on developing a family and local network of friends and career.

When you fall out of step of meeting up with someone or communicating with them your connection loosens and perhaps slips. Some friendships can survive such distance depending on the level of desire to maintain such friendship on both ends, but most simply disappear until one day you no longer know the friend you once knew so well and they fade into a stranger. Therefore of all commitments of time the most important and vital--outside of those to remain vibrantly, authentically ourselves--are those to others we want to remain in our lives. You have to invest consistently into such relationships and they are relationship is without work as much as we wish to delude ourselves. Some seem easier at times. Other times it is hard to push yourself to keep in touch, or at least it is for me because of one reason or another...low energy for instance. You have to consider though--and I am again taking stock what with the new year--who you want in your life and how to strengthen or revitalize slackening bonds.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunday Dinner II

I made Sunday dinner last night as it was obviously Sunday. I had intentions of taking pictures, but by the time I finish cooking, I am too tired to nicely plate the food and photograph it--I only want to feed the grumbling masses. I am a bit dismayed by my lack of follow through, but there you have it.

Each Sunday is an experiment trying all new recipes and more often than not the product is good, but time beats me up. In fact the average Sunday dinner takes 2-4 hours of cooking and I know that my time management, organization skills and my cooking knowledge & experience could be honed to shorten the time. I am still a relative novice though prone to mistakes...not soaking beans the night before for instance.

Last night's meal:

Cayenne rubbed chicken breasts with avocado-onion salsa (cover recipe of January/February 2008 Everyday Food)
Ultimate Black Beans (February 2008 Cuisine at Home)
Sweet Potatoes with Honey-Lime Glaze (February 2008 Cuisine at Home)

I did experience a headache most of the time I was cooking the beans (begun around 3:30 and served at 8:00) because of the strong onion and garlic smell, but they were very tasty especially topped with queso fresco and few extra shakes of Tabasco.

The glaze for the roasted sweet potatoes was especially wonderful and I wonder if I could use it on nuts with the addition of some cayenne pepper....

As for the chicken breasts, I added much more rubbing seasoning the recipe called for (I ended up practically tripling it)--perhaps because the chicken breasts were large or just because I have a much heavier hand, but regardless of whether I added too much seasoning (according to my sister the chicken was too salty to her taste, but then again she likes less salt than many) or not the avocado salsa tempered the heat and saltiness perfectly (even in my sister's opinion).

In the end, I would happily eat any of the dishes again, although I may need to vacate the kitchen for most of the simmering of the beans or take pills before hand.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Much Rambling and Many Questions

I have been thinking a lot about writing lately. For many years I have had the desire to write a novel. Most of my friends are aware that I have a love for historical romance and have been attempting to write a novel in that genre with questionable dedication.

I opened up some files containing bits of stories or even a decent start to one version of a story I have been rewriting for nearly half my life. I laughed at the ludicrous melodrama and nearly schoolgirl-like descriptions and interactions between characters. I found some interesting parts of each story, but again they are all wrong and obviously contrived. The voice isn't really mine, the plots unclear to me, the characters too flat and shallow and so on and so forth.

Last night I wrote a page of questions for myself in the hopes I could strip away all the crap and get to the truth of the matter. Perhaps most important of all questions is: Why do I write? All other questions stem from that simple, yet profound question. Sometimes I wonder at my motivation to write. I have encountered masterly storytellers who weave seductive, magical, glittering worlds and people with breathtaking capacity to evoke emotions, images and thoughts with words and I am neither the former nor latter. Still, I have been told I am a good writer at various points in my life.

Writing does require more than weaving a story or evoking emotions requires the ability to convey mundane and jarring truths. Do I know enough of human nature? Do I know a place enough to share all it's charms, idiosyncrasies, the underbelly, how a person is shaped by the character of the land or city in which he or she lives? Have I been a keen observer or lost in my own delusions and fantasies? Do I actually listen? Do I really know anyone?

I am best at constructing questions for myself that are in all likelihood entirely unnecessary and a means to avoid doing, as I fear doing in many aspects. I fear not living up to the expectations of family and friends who believe in me. I fear not living up to my own dubious expectations. I actually fear writing a decent novel and the prospect of writing another and another with the expectation they will surpass the previous.

In the end, the fears and expectations are all meaningless and perhaps only doing is what matters. I have begun to see that any writing--here on this blog, in my personal journal, random notes, correspondence--is doing. I feel I am changing my perception of who I am, what my place is, where I wish to go, what I want to do, still I have a gnawing need to express myself. I write because I am freer and more assured in writing than in person. I am desperately uncertain and disjointed in person and will say things that boggle me in reflection for being so inaccurate, inarticulate and false. My body language is not fluid or natural because I feel my body is foreign—there is a disconnect from what I think and feel and what I do. I come off as aloof because I feel unable to express myself properly. In writing I am comfortable and I can in that moment be whole.

It is high time I integrate everything and be a bit less of an awkward, jittery marionette in person. I imagine that if I stopped detaching from and being ashamed of my body much would improve, even my writing. I can't even imagine the difference it would make, but it is well worth finding out....

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Holiday Catch-Up

I mentioned holiday cards quite often in my blog and I actually made a very few, carefully deciding on which friends (poor family are always the first to be shortchanged). I had already made invitations and invited my local friends to a holiday party so they were quite easy to cut from the list. Then I decided there were a few I had promised (and wanted to make, plus when I promise someone it helps to motivate me to actually do it) a handmade card. My creativity was limited this past year and stuck in tag form it seemed. They are an easy form to add to and embelish and yet you can use the end product as a bookmark, hang it on a door or even a tree (although it is rather large). As I thought they are very similar to the holiday invitations, but a bit different too. For each person I chose a word for them...sort of a hope or prayer for them and then I wrote something truly sappy on the reverse side. I do hope by this time they all received their card!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

Perhaps you thought I had abandoned you, but that is not true. I tried to write posts in the month of December as things had happened and yet they were tepid attempts at best. As 2008 begins I wanted to make sure I ended the unintended silence.

I am not sure I believe in resolutions (probably because I don't follow through), but I do believe in having dreams and aspirations for the future. New Year's is a convenient time to begin anew. It's a lovely even date to begin charting the rest of your life. Still what it doesn't address is that each day you need to wake up and see it as a new start, a new beginning. A friend told me he sees New Year's as any other day and I think it is because he tries everyday to make it matter--he has no need to make have a wake up call to examine his life because he does it all the time. It is difficult to remain aware of your life, to be present for the mundane as well as the extraordinary, to listen to someone even as they wander into topics which bore you (say break fluid), to not want to rush through the slow parts to get to the more interesting ones....

Something wonderful occurred in 2007. I believe people come into your life for a purpose or rather that each person who enters your life can teach you something. There was someone who taught me (unbenownst to them!) that no matter how low I felt I still had hope and there was still something redeeming in me. This person also taught me to look at others and see that they too may hurt and need some simple kindness. I learned that rather than protecting oneself from pain to feel, reach out and try because I could heal from rejection. I began to like a strength in me I had scoffed at and feared for far too long. I began to forgive myself for my mistakes and errors. I felt I had done enough penance and even the injured party had forgiven me years before. I stopped looking back at my life full of recrimination, guilt and regret. My actions in the past made sense. When I did not like how I may have acted in the past I still saw the reasoning behind it and realized how I may be able to change it in the future.

I did not do all this entirely alone. Always I had friends and my family (and dogs). In 2007 I finally could not only recognize how blessed I was...I felt it. I encountered some wonderful new friends who helped to illuminate a potential future completely of my own making and who made me laugh at the silly and the grave parts of life. I tried to reconnect with old friends who meant a great deal to me. I have only been partially successful with the reconnection, but I have begun and that is enough for now. I realize that life is not in the results, but in the process no matter how messy, confusing and frustrating.

I wanted to thank everyone for their support and well wishes concerning the death of little Leia. It was difficult and yet a lesson I take to heart. I am still saddened by her death, but I have faith and I have hope which I may not have had only a few short months ago and when my faith and hope was not enough I had my friends and family. Life is good.

In the end I wish to live my life in a manner that honors who I am and my beliefs. I believe that 2008, like 2007, will be a monumental year. I hope you too are as fortunate as I am! Happy New Year (and day!).