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…not quite knowing what you are doing.

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Be brave enough to live life creatively

The creative is the place where
no one else has ever been.
You have to leave the city of
your comfort and go into
the wilderness of your intuition.
You can’t get there by bus,
only by hard work and risk,
and by not quite knowing what you are doing.
What you will discover will be
wonderful.
What you discover will be
yourself.
- Alan Alda 

Oh, Yeah! You are Beautiful!

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

I’ve been talking a lot with local friends and some internet friends, about how mean women are to themselves about their bodies. How they really do believe there is a perfect shape and they aren’t it. Unfortunately, some also criticize others as well.

There are magazine articles about “downplaying your flaws” and more nonsense of that sort. How about “show off/be proud of your favorite features!!!” ???? How about that?

Correct Your Flaws?

I heard a radio advertisement this week, offering plastic surgery to “help you correct your faults.” To give you a better shape.

UGH. Big UGH. What a horrible business to be in. Cutting people up to make them look different. (I’m all for plastic surgery to help put people back together after accidents and the like… this is not what I’m upset about.)

I am the same age as Michael Jackson… who looked fine as he was born… and had HOW many surgeries to look different? I ache for him that he couldn’t just be happy as himself… with the amazing talent he had.

Plastic surgery is elective, which means a doctor gets paid directly by the patient rather than going through insurance. It’s a BUSINESS. I’d invest in good therapy to help me develop boundaries and confidence, over surgery, any day! Therapy is cheaper and so helpful!

Go On, Find Something to Love!

Which parts of your body do you like? Have you ever thought about it? If not, it’s time to consider loving that pretty knee or your laugh, your freckles, your curly hair that has a strong personality and which other people envy even on humid days.

My friend J has beautiful, small, tapered fingers. Although she wore a bigger dress size than me, she wore a full size smaller wedding ring, a size I wear on my pinky finger.

J also has a beautiful back… smooth, pale skin and a straight posture. She never knew her back was an asset. Once when we were in our young 20’s, I sewed her two dresses that showed off her back and pretty hands (back “cleavage” and tapered sleeves)… one pink crepe satin for dress and one blue knit for work. She looked SO beautiful in those dresses. She didn’t think of herself as beautiful, but I surely did.

I know I have beautiful long hair. I have had this hair since I was a teenager, except for 9 years while I was a young businesswoman trying to look old enough to work. No matter what my weight, my hair is pretty. My legs have always been lovely. Mom says I have the “Carvey calves” which come down many generations of my matriarchy.

My weight has fluctuated from a little high in high school, to a member of Weight Watchers (I weighed more than my man who was 8 inches taller than me), to a healthy normal weight, to a too-thin person for whom most food caused me uncomfortable reactions such as hives, to a menopausal woman for whom food is finally friendly but whose body is now trying to protect her inner organs by making a small tummy fortress around her abdomen.

Take a good look at the photos here. The women I dance with have a rainbow of differing features. They are all BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful. So are you.

Keep Lovin’… or Find Lovin’ for the First Time

It’s important as we see our bodies change while we live our lives, to see that we have those pretty hands, eyes, hair, feet… at least let someone else tell us how beautiful our back is (in J’s case), or to let my friend A tell me how beautiful my curves are while she’s helping me pick out clothing for my slowly-rounding 55-year-old figure.

You may have an amazing smile, a soothing voice, expressive eyebrows, the best tush the world ever saw (my friend W), the loveliest round female tummy of all (my friend M, here she is below… gorgeous and confident, with roundness that some women would wish to dissolve… yet my, she is pretty).


Curves mean we are mature. The Hollywood ideal is very close to pre-puberty, and I see this as hurtful to each of us as well as our society. We can look good at all ages.

Your Differences are your Good Parts

The very things that make it hard for you to fit into “normal” clothing may be your best asset! Those are the things where you are different and noticeable.

Don’t cover up… instead find a way to celebrate. Delicate hands deserve bracelets. Eyebrows want lovely eyeglasses over which to peek, or perhaps bangs that let them take center stage. Strong shoulders are queenly and elegant, and beautiful in a halter top or drapey shawl.

Beautiful “grrl” curves beg for a scooped neck or v-neck. Hips love a good shirred wrap to make them more shapely and alive. Don’t hide your special features!

Take a Deep Breath of Kindness for Yourself

It is the holiday season. We can spend it enjoying company of friends or worrying about our weight and whether it’s OK to eat that hand-made gingerbread cookie. Balance and proper portions will make us feel healthier, but guilt for enjoying special treats need not be part of our six-week holiday experience. Be kind to yourself, OK?

ALL OF US ARE BEAUTIFUL. I love you. Consider loving yourself, too. Please.

Homage to My Hips

these hips are big hips.
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top

Lucille Clifton

Keep Walking

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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I love to walk and I love our earth. (I don’t love camping… so my walks are relatively short, but frequent.)

I just found an eloquently-written story at National Geographic. This man is starting a 7-year walk in Ethiopia. (I visited Ethiopia during holidays 2004-05, which makes this extra fascinating. I took the above photo in northern Ethiopia while I was there.)

An Afar proverb: It is best, when you are lost or thirsty, to keep walking under the sun, because eventually someone will see you. To be tempted into shade, to drop under one of 10,000 thornbushes, means death: No one will find you.

Keep walking. This is a metaphor for many inner journeys as well.

I loved reading this short story. I wonder how he can write like this in the middle of a powerful journey. When I’m traveling, I tend to get sucked into the moment. I’m glad he can write for us.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/out-of-eden/salopek-text

A Halloween Laugh

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Oh my gosh, this is so funny I’m laughing out loud.

My first trick-or-treaters came at 10 after six. It was a group of about seven older kids.

I went to the door and said “I’ve got stickers! Do you want smiley faces or flags?”

They all turned around and ran away….
Then two boys came back and asked for smiley faces.

I’m laughing so hard I don’t need any more trick-or-treaters to make it an excellent night!

Photo: Pumpkin pie transformed into a smiley face/ jack o’lantern by Brian when I wasn’t looking one day. He keeps me smiling.

The pie was made with an allergy-friendly, celiac-friendly, vegan pie recipe I developed when I couldn’t have milk or eggs. Try my recipe for LynnH’s No-Nothin’ Pumpkin Pie

Twenty-Minute Tossing Week

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

20130914-020106.jpgFriends… It’s Autumn weather literally overnight, here in Lansing. One day it was sweltering and I wanted air conditioning, and the next day I wore alpaca and wool sweater and wished for the furnace to kick on.

In weather where eating lunch on the porch is too uncomfortable, I need the inside of my house as comfy as possible. However, housekeeping is not my strong suit.

On Facebook I started a group about a year ago, called “Toss-It Tuesdays.” We share our adventures in letting go and tidying. I picked Tuesdays because they work for me, and because it sounds good to say. Other days are, of course, also fine!

This Week’s Challenge
Because it’s fall now, I want to intensify my tidying. Maybe you want to join me? Here is what I posted to the Facebook group–

I have a plan: Twenty-minute Tossing week. Twenty minutes, max, on one area per day.

Sunday: any drawer
Monday: anything with a door (cupboard/ medicine chest/ pantry)
Tuesday: any box, bin or suitcase
Wednesday: any flat surface above the floor (desk/ table/ shelf)
Thursday: Purse, Tote, backpack or carrier
Friday: any floor area or under something
Saturday: any closet or vehicle

The idea is to do 20 minutes with a timer, and then stop. So often we think things will take too long, so we don’t start.

Committing to a short time helps us get started. If we need time to tidy from the process, we will plan to toss for 15 minutes followed by “tucking it back onto bed” for 5 minutes.

Let’s see how a week works (do it only days you can free 20 minutes, and “Get Out of Jail Free” any day you don’t participate.

If you decide you want to do a different area than I suggest that day, do what you choose. This is just a way to get started.

I know I need my indoor space happy when it’s heating season. I want to get started now.

Are you in? Starting tomorrow?

Inspiration for a Monday

Monday, August 19th, 2013

If you hold back or hoard and find that tendency hurting your life, or if you sometimes are afraid that there is no abundance, read this quote.

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It’s a great quote for me, as I start a day at my desk. I’ve been gone long… it will take more than one session to catch up.

I must remember the abundance in the air around me, in my creativity, in my creative soul.

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a better place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”

– Annie Dillard,
– “The Writing Life”

City Hall Fountain, Toronto

Photos from Toronto. The second one is City Hall’s fountain (a skating rink in winter). There were several folks there in wheelchairs. The man at center left was reading a newspaper, without company. How freeing that must be for him.

Deep Feelings – Travel, Change & Art

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

LynnH at Textile Museum
I went to the Textile Museum in Toronto yesterday. (The photo above is me in front of the Museum.) To get there, I took an unusual route via streetcar and a lot of walking.

An important section of the subway track is under construction this weekend. This means the above-ground transit is bursting with passengers.

The transit drivers are kind and helpful, and they have information workers at the top of every stairway leading down to the closed trains. Here is one of them helping two women find an alternate route.
20130811-120539.jpg
Video with Heart
I know I’m known for being cheerful, and typically that’s truly me. Some readers ask for do-overs when I post photos of me with a thoughtful, rather than happy, face. However, there are other moods which contribute to a good life.

Walking through the part of Toronto which was such an important part of my teen years, of my becoming the Lynn I am now, has me pensive and thoughtful. It’s an emotional trip for all the right reasons.

Last night I recorded a short, shaky, imperfect and heart-full video for you, on the roof terrace of this Hostel where I’m staying. I talk about the Textile Museum I visited yesterday and why this trip touches me so deeply.

When you watch, I think you will be OK with my lack of an outright smile. Click the photo below to see it.
chat from the roof

Art is Real Life – a Split Second

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

20130810-144836.jpg

Yesterday, I caught this stylish older woman outside the Art Gallery of Ontario / AGO. Sometimes real life is art.

Abandoned Walmart is Now a Library!

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

I love collecting libraries. Brian and I often spend time in them all over Michigan as we travel to sing.

Originally this library in Texas was an abandoned Walmart. What a creative use of the building! And better yet, library enrollment has gone way up.

http://grist.org/list/this-abandoned-walmart-has-been-reclaimed-as-a-public-library/

20130803-123244.jpg

Technicolor Train

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Olek, the Yarn Bomb artist originally from Poland but now living in New York City, has recently completed the yarn bombing of a four car train, in her homeland Poland. If this doesn’t make you smile, you need to start over with a new day!

When I was in Montréal last year, I happened upon a piece created by Olek near the fine art Museum. If you want to read more about that encounter, you can click to read it here.

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http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2013/08/olek-locomotive/

Google Doodle: Maria Mitchell’s 195th Birthday

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Today’s Google Doodle Honors Maria Mitchell, First Professional Woman Astronomer (and poet, and professor at Vassar). Here’s the Time article about it:

http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/08/01/google-doodle-honors-maria-mitchell-first-professional-woman-astronomer/

“Try Something New” Day

Monday, July 8th, 2013

If ColorJoy is about creativity in all ways, then trying something new and stretching is ColorJoyful. June was crazy in my world, I spent more time traveling for work than ever before. I sang, I danced, I knit… all out of town.

(Photo at Right is Habibi Dancers backstage at a Library Event, below is The Fabulous Heftones at Wheatland Traditional Arts Weekend.)

While I was on the road, I didn’t post here. Posting becomes harder, the longer I wait in between posts.

Fabulous Heftones at Wheatland Traditional Arts WeekendI’m pushing past the clumsiness by doing something guaranteed to be clumsy. I’m doing something I’ve not done before. I pointed the video camera at my face. Maybe we can connect more fully if you hear me speak?

I think video is great for connection. It’s also good for demonstration. Let me show you how easy it is to use fabric paint to embellish objects.

First I show you my eyeglasses, which were black for over a decade but are now pearly turquoise. In the video I embellish plastic dollar-store earrings. I hope you enjoy it.

(Note: if you can’t view this here, CLICK HERE to see on YouTube’s site. On my computer it doesn’t work in FireFox, but it does work in Chrome.)

Oh… (added later) here are up close photos of my eyeglasses before & after.

Before:

glasses before

After:

glasses after

Why Be Alone?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

20130618-125827.jpg

There is some talk in the press lately on introverts and their needs; their contributions to business and social groups. It is a world-enhancing concept; I’m all for it. However, alone time is not only a need for introverts.

Me, Too!
I’m an Extrovert. I love people, and have many good friends.

Yet, I came of age in a family of 3, and I prefer to interact with one friend at a time. The list of friends I meet for lunch or tea in the course of a month is pretty long. Relationship is a high priority in my life. The way I do it is time-consuming… and totally worth it to me.

I have a very public life. I can barely go to a coffeehouse or grocery store without seeing someone who knows me. This is a city of 115,000 people, and it feels as though I know most of them! Yet, I go crazy if I can’t be alone.

A Balancing Act
I find social interaction in groups socially confusing. Being at the front of a room, either teaching or performing, energizes me. Tea with a friend is perfect.

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On the other hand, a room full of people, even if I love them individually, is over-stimulating and overpowering. I tend to sit near the door in these situations.

The Ears Have It
I think I’ve finally figured it out. I’m overly stimulated by sound. Sitting between two conversations is harder than playing chess, I can’t figure out what to focus on.

Even when I work alone, I prefer writing after midnight. My beloved is sleeping at that time, and our city neighborhood is quiet. Nobody is walking a dog past our corner. There are no sounds of bicycles, cars, or dribbling basketballs on the sidewalk at that hour.

My Personal Friendly Noises
I figured out last summer when I took a 2-week retreat to Montreal, that a regular repeating sound nearby helps me work. A ticking clock, crickets or a percussive old-fashioned lawn sprinkler can calm my ears, so that they are not straining to hear sounds further away.

(Ticking clocks distract others… Including my Brian. Rain stresses me out, but a waterfall calms me. It takes a while to figure it out.)

20130618-131748.jpg

I purchased an app for my iPod which makes cricket sounds and a host of others… Birds, water, clocks, wind chimes. It has helped me work alone during the day. By playing a sound near me, my ears don’t strain to hear things a block away.

Growing Up?
I guess I need alone time more now, at 50-something and self employed. Still, I remember in college buying a friend a fast food meal so we could have a 1-1 conversation outside the dorm or sorority house.

It’s a joy to learn how best to work. I exhibit many attributes of a person with ADD, but the typical treatment for it makes me worse, not better.

As a child, I know some adults worried for my future. As a young adult, I struggled to find ways to be an effective employee (often staying late, to get deskwork done when the environment quieted down).

My Own “Boss”
As a self-employed woman, I now can’t afford a bad day. I am my own secretary, publicist, computer tech, webmaster, copy writer, graphic designer, errand-runner, pattern writer… I am even the products I sell: teaching and singing.

It took me a very long time to figure out what it was about me that needed such care. Even though quiet music playing in a restaurant would distract me from good conversation, I didn’t see that as anything but restaurant-relevant.

I found an interesting article on introverts here: Introverts Explained: Why we love you but need to get away from you

You may find the article enlightening.

Are you in need of alone time? Do you find that those around you are fine with it? Threatened? Confused?

PS The iPod Touch/ iPhone app I use is called Quick Sleep. It lets you save combinations of sounds for later (crickets & a clock; 4 kinds of birdsong). It also has a night timer to fall asleep to your favorite sounds, then turns off to save batteries. There are a lot of sound generators… This is just the one I prefer for my needs.

Images: 1) Tea for one, 2) Lunch with Rita Petteys of Yarn Hollow (handpainted yarns t& fibers, she dyed the yarns for both of my Knitty sock Designs – Crystal and Sunberry), 3) My backyard balcony view in Montreal, 4&5) Me teaching a crowd.

Goodbye Party for Yarn bOMb at MSU

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Local Lansing, Michigan friends… it’s time to take the sweaters off the trees at Michigan State University. They are warm enough and want to grow again.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go visit our ColorJoyful Yarn bOMb page and smile.

Will you join us tomorrow/Saturday, May 4? We will meet at the garden around 11am (stragglers welcome). Link to Map, for Horticultural Gardens (Children’s garden parking… free on weekends. We hope nobody will park there for graduation.)

We will un-sew the “ace bandages” around the trees so we can wash them and reuse them in later projects. I expect it willtake a few hours.

When we’re done I’m buying a round of tea/coffee at a local gathering place. We’ll either go to Chapelure (the closest), Wanderer’s Teahouse, or Gone Wired/The Avenue. They are all locally owned.

Cry not, because we have more Yarn bOMb projects in the wings. A semi-secret smaller one is planned for Memorial Day… stay tuned.