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Archive for January 10th, 2006

People Write, I Love It!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

skyI have been remiss in mentioning those lovely folks out there who write to me. I hope I’m organized enough to not miss anyone.

My friend Norma C. of Pittsburgh writes about a music concert performed for birds. Very cool photos.

Charlotte wrote in late December that she’d been driving around an unfamiliar part of town, and found a house with a turquoise cement driveway. Swimming pool colored. Wowie, that would not happen in Lansing!

Theresa I. wrote with suggestions for places to eat on the holiday weekend, in Ann Arbor. I ended up not going, but I did really appreciate the input.

Lynne wrote on Jan. 1: “I read your blog because I appreciate your positive attitude. It’s a good habit to develop. Counting your blessings lays down new pathways in the brain that make it progressively easier to see the good around us.”

Thanks for that, Lynne! I am sitting here in the sunshine today, drinking it in. I’m glad I have this column where I can commit to focusing on the better things in my life. I notice lately that I still complain about being cold. Sometimes I could just have dressed more carefully and then I would not have anything to complain about. I’m trying to remember what things I do have control over, and deal with those bits when possible, avoiding the whiny/complaining thing that might result if I were not as aware.

On Thanksgiving, Chelle wrote: “I enjoy reading about your inwardly rich and introspective life – not to mention your creativity, sense of style and great attitude toward life. Whenever IÂ’m down, your appreciation of the everyday world makes me remember why itÂ’s good to be alive.”

I guess that relates to the bit above. The act of focusing on the good can transform a life. There’s always something, if we look, that can help us see the good in life. Some days it’s harder than others. Weeks of no sun have really chipped away from the upbeat thoughts in my own mind, but I am starting to notice when I whine and then I do my best to remember that my hassles are nothing, really. Inconvenience and minor discomfort are not worth the loss of energy.

I’m learning to re-focus, it’s slow. Worry and self-centeredness are hard-wired in me but with this blog I remind myself each day why focusing on the better stuff is worthwhile.

I remember when I was in my first marriage. When I would worry too much, I’d sing loud (to myself), to drown out the doubt-voices in my mind. My favorite song to sing back then was “I’d Rather be Blue Over You than Be Happy with Somebody Else” from Funny Girl. It’s a great belting song, but what a horrible theme! And I was truly living that idea at the time.

veggie rolls at Sushi restaurantSo one day I realized that I was singing a negative message to myself. Over and over, I was reinforcing the idea that being happy was not a good option? That blue was good? So I switched my theme song, to “I’m the Greatest Star,” also from Funny Girl. I just chose that day to change the background messages I was feeding myself.

Well, folks… it wasn’t what I planned the day I changed theme songs, but fifteen years later, that first guy is gone and I’m happy with Brian, and now at least at Ukulele Festivals I can feel like the greatest star. Wow!

If you ever doubted the power of the subconscious and how it really listens to the words we feed it, I’m here to say it is very powerful indeed. Putting ourselves down to look humble (common practice among young women in the US) is really destructive to our overall life. Don’t do it!

Say nothing, before you say something bad about yourself. Following it up with “Just kidding!” does not remove the damage it can create inside you. Lynne said it above… new pathways in the brain, created by your thoughts, can change your life.

OK, enough introspection… back to letters.

Susan Hensel from Minneapolis, MN writes today that she visited a new museum with her son: The Museum of Russian Art. She says “It is a new museum here that is glorious. The architects did such a good job renovating a church.” There is an exhibit of icons there right now, which she says is world-class.

Susan’s show/installation, Desire, Just opened this weekend in Minneapolis. Go to this web page and scroll down, and see a glimpse of this amazing installation. Susan has been a full-time artist for all her adult life and continues to create in new, thoughtful ways. She’s a writer and a book artist, so it seems to me even her 2-dimensional wall works tell a story. I count myself lucky to be one of her friends.

Melissa in Australia writes: “Just wanted to thank you for posting “Ode to My Socks” by Neruda. I passed it along to my step-daughter Mara (in California) who has begun knitting again and she in turn has passed it along to her weekly knitting group.

“I like the variety and positive attitude in your blog. I like your willingness to show who you are… such a wonderfully colourful person. Thank you so much for continuing to photograph, write and publish.”

How wonderful it is that my love for a poem can be passed on to others. I’m so glad it struck a chord.

It means a lot to get these notes… thanks, Melissa. I haven’t had comments enabled in over a year because of terrible spam, and so these email notes (from all of you) mean a great deal to me.

Laura writes: “…thanks for the good writing and happy thoughts. I posted a link to your December 30th post on my own blog, and I giggled today about tea hoarding. I always save the last incense stick, piece of chocolate, tea, etc. for a ‘special’ event that never seems to come. Time to savor the stashes right now…I’m pretty sure more will come along.”

Aaah, it’s SO hard to give up hoarding. Giving up whining is easier than that! I’m trying to throw away ONE thing a day that I truly don’t use, or put it in a box to give to charity. Wowie, is that hard!!! I mean, if I whine about feeling cold I can put on another layer, some longjohns, legwarmers, slippers, hat, wristwarmers or another wrap/shawl/stole. But let go of my stuff? You’d think I was going to die. Very very difficult stuff.

So right now I’m going to walk away from the keyboard and find one thing to toss, and then I’ll come back and tell you about it…

…OK, I found 2 necklace strands of purple plastic beads I got for Mardi Gras at the Temple Club last year, when our friends in the band Klezmeroke played there (if you click that last link, you’ll also get a pumpkin bread recipe I created). I’ll take the beads to City Kidz Knit! and do a little drawing for a prize. They enjoy that. And I don’t need plastic beads hanging from my stereo shelves. Why is that so hard?

Well, my friends… we have sunshine today!!! Glorious sunshine. I will be photographing some yarns today, woohoo!

Photos: 1) Sunshiny view, same general view as yesterday but taken from porch (the glass reflected too much light to take from indoors today). Sky is still partly cloudy but thin enough so that the sun is really doing a good job today, yeah! Can you see the tinge of blue in the sky, in the upper left-hand corner? And the shadows? I sure can!

2) Dinner last night. Brian took me to Omi Sushi on MAC Ave., a place My Sara (Goddaughter) introduced to me. This time, no raw fish (though I’ve had it maybe 3 times… since I don’t like any meat it’s not my fave, but it’s better than hamburger any day).

Top and bottom rows are an avocado roll… just sticky white rice and avocado, rolled into a thin layer of seaweed (which has an almost non-detectable mild green vegetable flavor). Middle roll is asparagus instead of avocado. Very satisfying, and easy to digest if you’re having dinner past 9pm as we did. Notice the beautiful presentation. The glass is ceramic, holding Japanese green tea.

The blobs on the bamboo plank are green wasabi horseradish and some sort of flavored/pickled/candied ginger root (which Altu adores). You put a tiny bit of the wasabi into the tiny square bowl under the chopsticks, pour some soy sauce into the same square bowl, mix up a little, then pick up a roll piece with chopsticks and dunk lightly into the soy sauce/wasabi mixture before you pop the whole thing into your mouth.

The sauce is salty from the soy and has a punch from the horseradish, though I go very light on the punch. Mmmmm… So glad things have changed since I was a girl, I really enjoy the variety of food in my town these days.