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Archive for July, 2011

Sock Summit Post #1

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

We instructors here at Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon, are being treated very well. Wednesday night we were treated to a lovely, beautifully-cooked dinner (mine prepared specifically so that I could eat it in spite of my sensitivities). It was great to meet folks I’d met only on line previously.

Thursday morning I sat in on a class by Donna Druchunas. She is the author of Arctic Lace, a book on quiviut lace in Alaska (it won awards, a lovely book). It was a session on how to look at a historical sock and reproduce it. I left when they started the actual knitting, but very much enjoyed the samples Donna brought and the books she had with her.

I could write for hours… but there is so much to do here I must keep it short. I’m taking photos but don’t have time to process/upload one for you today.

Catch you later!

Everything I Need

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

As we learn as adults, “Need” and “Want” are very different things. I’m preparing to teach at Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon.

I leave Wednesday, which is much less than a full day. I’m reminding myself that I’ve traveled a lot over my 52 years and it’s always been wonderful. Packing is always a confused time and yet I do fine.

I remind myself, also, that I’ve taught professionally since 1994. I know my subjects, I’m passionate about them, and I know I can give my students and the conference organizers what they paid for.

It’s still a little overwhelming. I keep repeating the lyric from a Bob Dylan song (She Belongs to Me, 1965) that helps me on creative-frenzy days.

“She’s got everything she needs, she’s an artist, she don’t look back.”

Here is a link to the full song (mysterious and cryptic, as Dylan does well).

I leave Wednesday and return Wednesday. I will most likely be posting to my Twitter account more often than posting blogs, while I’m gone. My twitter name is @ColorJoy

If you want to see what I’m saying (including repeating/re-tweeting other folks’ tweets which inspire me), you can see my outgoing texts without joining Twitter, here: http://twitter.com/colorjoy

Will you be there? I know one person already who’ll be in my Crystal Heel class. Anyone else? Send me an email at Lynn AT ColorJoy.com and I’ll try to meet up with you somehow. If you see me there, I may not know your face. PLEASE say hi. I’m approachable, I’m kind, and I’ve never bitten anyone…

Summertime! Heat, Clothing as Art, and Music

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Even Hot for Me, and I Love Summer

It’s been hot enough here in Lansing, Michigan this week to slow us down a good deal. There were a few days when the City offered “cooling centers” where folks without air conditioning at home, could go so they would not overheat.

On Thursday, I took this photograph of the thermometer in my kitchen. To be fair, when the sun shines it gives a falsely-high outdoor temperature, but it was pushing 100F anyway. (For non-US readers, this is equivalent to 32C indoors /44C out.)

Clothing as Art

A few days earlier, it was warmer than most like it (but I love heat, as a general rule). I hand washed a lot of my African dresses. They are so beautiful, and so colorful! I just had to take a photo.

Notice that most of them have some sort of handwork on them. Some are hand-dyed, some hand-embroidered (or embroidered with a machine that is hand controlled).

If you have read my blog much, you know that I believe that art is everywhere. You can see artful expression in the funky old kitchen items above, and particularly in the textiles shown below.

Practicality does not minimize the artfulness in my mind! It just means that these items will wear out faster than a painting on a wall.

Roll call from front to back:

  1. Purple/blue Kenyan tunic, purchased in Nairobi, Kenya. Hand-dyed fabric, hand-controlled machine embroidery.
  2. Green/Pink Kenyan long tunic, purchased in Mombasa, Kenya. hand-dyed, hand-controlled machine embroidery.
  3. Moroccan-style dress, made in Canada, purchased on Ebay. Hand-controlled embroidery, machine-made braid.
  4. Dress of unknown African origin. Purchased in Lansing at a wonderful Mideast/African/Indian clothing store on the corner of East Michigan Avenue and Foster, half a block from Foster Community Center, same corner as Quality Dairy and Blimpies. Commercially printed commercial fabric, machine sewn.
  5. Dress from “Democratic Republic of” Congo. Purchased from an American woman born in Congo (parents were missionaries) but living here, who imports items here to sell and help loved ones make a living there, fair trade. High quality factory-made printed cotton, machine sewn, machine embroidered. One piece of the embroidery looks as if it was generated by a computer-programmed sewing machine.
  6. Long dress from Kenya, purchased same place in Nairobi, with same attributes as Tunic #1.
  7. Two Ethiopian dresses, purchased on Ebay from the same seller, last fall. The dresses include white cotton which is hand-spun, and the fabric is hand woven. The side seams usually are machine sewn although this white one is hand stitched. They typically use synthetic threads for colors so that color does not run in the wash. The embroidery in Ethiopia, at least all that I have, is hand-worked.I feel so honored to own textiles of this type! I must say, though… the writing is on the wall that it will be less available over the years. Also, the quality of the dresses I bought in Ethiopia in 2004-2005 (and gift dresses I’ve received from Ethiopian friends more recently) is better than that I can find online.

I even have more African dresses than this. I love them in summer. If you must go out in heat, they create your own shade. In addition, they don’t fit tightly so allow breezes to blow and cool you down.

They are an excellent design! Trust me, shorts and a tank top wrap you like a blanket and don’t protect you from the sun. These are the best, ever. And a woman walking down the street in flowing fabric? Fabulous.

Music and Video as Art

If you have read this far, I want to offer you a musical send-off. This video appears to be mid-1970’s (before MTV and the proliferation of videos). We looked like this when I was in High School… yup. We did.

It’s Mungo Jerry singing “In the Summertime” which is a sticky tune… it may stay in your head all day, and I expect you won’t mind at all! When you click on this, it will take you to a YouTube page. Happy humming!

We Sing at Altu’s Tonight!

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Brian and I have had a busy week with our musical act, The Fabulous Heftones. We sang at a private luncheon on Tuesday. Here’s a photo of us at that event:

Friday we were on the radio (WLNZ 89.7 FM) in the morning for one song, then at the new City Market for the lunch hour (also on the radio). From 2-4 we sang at Foods for Living, a favorite healthy-food grocery in East Lansing (love them- they are employee-owned now, too).

Today/Saturday, we return to our “home venue.” We sing at Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine in East Lansing (for locals, this is on Michigan Ave., between Frandor and Harrison Rd.). If you are interested in hearing us but not sure what Ethiopian food is like, you can read their food “Frequently Asked Questions” web page.

I hope to see a few of you there! It’s much more fun with friends in the audience. If we haven’t met in person before, please introduce yourself.

Each Moment Matters

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Another quote as I head into a busy day.

Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

— Oprah Winfrey

Photo: While Brian was driving us back into Lansing from the West side one day, I caught this image. It’s the tallest building in Lansing, the Boji Tower (long called Michigan National Bank Tower) with sunset light glowing on its windows. According to Google Maps, we were about 4 miles from the tower when I took this photo. Talk about a split-second moment!

The Noble Art of Leaving Things Undone

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Wowie! Here is maybe the most pertinent quote I’ve found in a while.

How wonderful that I found this thought, just after I decided to let go of the idea that “I don’t have enough time.” Letting go of that has been a tug of war during the first few days, but I’m feeling more aware. So here we are:

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

– Lin Yutang (1895-1976)
– Chinese author on Chinese philosophy and more

Quote found in book “A Collection of Wisdom” by Rodney Ohebsion, ISBN 1-932968-19-9

Photo: Brian took this of me before I’d finished my first cup of tea. It was on a trip to Washington, DC, a few years ago. I think I needed to leave a few things undone at that point!

Artful Images All Around!

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

I take a lot of photos as I pass my way through my days. Usually I have more to say with words than with images, and often you never see what I intended to share. Today is a day for images.

Jo’s Diner, Bath, Michigan. This town is pretty darned small… they don’t have a library. I meet kids here to knit this summer. Much fun. The staff here is very friendly, as well.

Outside Jo’s diner one day, I found this manufactured beauty:

A Chevelle. My friend Tom had a blue one in the early 80’s. He bought it in the southwest, moved it to Michigan after finishing his stint in the Air Force, and took the engine apart. Any part that needed replacing got an extra-performance version put back in. The engine was full of sand, from being in New Mexico or Arizona where it had been until that time.

That was a scary-fast car. When he took me for a spin, one touch on that accellerator stuck my back to that seat, and how! He was proud. It was really a lovely piece of machinery.

Here is another vehicle which I find beautiful in another way. The guy sitting in it, eating his takeout lunch at Olympic Broil (formerly a drive-in complete with car hops), said it was “rainbow” painted. I thought it reminded me a bit of a Mondrian painting.

And just around the corner from the truck, on our walk around Old Town, we hit the Riverwalk and saw this:

A Mondrian-type building (the city keeps covering up graffiti on the Riverwalk, I’m guessing). It’s pretty monochromatic in this photo.

Cynthia and I went by there this last week and saw that some very nice, colorful hollyhock flowers are growing up at the base of the building. We’re delighted the flowers survived the lawn care folks (who sometimes can’t tell a tiny hollyhock from a weed, not necessarily their fault).

For the record, Mondrian was a painter who evolved into a “pure abstract” (non-objective… meaning no object intended) style of painting. He used squares, rectangles, lines… lots of black and white, and usually if he used color he used the primaries of blue, red and yellow.

There is an excellent visual overview of Mondrian’s work, and his evolution toward non-objective paintings over time. Highly recommended, if only to look at the images!

A Tweetup

Friday, July 15th, 2011

I had the delightful experience on Wednesday, of driving to downtown Ann Arbor, Michigan to meet folks I’d only met online. We all are involved on Twitter (if you are, too, I’m @ColorJoy there). Therefore, it can be called a Tweetup (not merely a meetup).

We had a great time at Teahaus on 4th, not far south of Zingermans, same block as the People’s Food Co-Op. I hadn’t been to the Teahaus before, and it was a delight. I had a lovely salad of fresh greens, and a pot of lovely, very dark black tea. And conversation, of course. Here is a photo of the art which was my meal:

Don’t forget, food can be art both to the eyes and to the sense of taste. This was definitely both. (That message brought to you by ColorJoy… where Art is an Everyday Attitude.)

So who was there? Here we are. (Thanks to Nick, the super-waiter-guy, who took our photos with a smile on his face.)

Back row: Birdy (@EncouragingBird),  her husband Mike, @RachaelAcklin, and @JennyBBones. Seated, @TishaBerg and me, @ColorJoy. Tisha lives in California, so this all came to be when she found herself on a trip to Michigan. It was truly enjoyable!

Thanks to Birdy for letting me know of this opportunity. I was delighted to be included. What an inspiring day!


Breaking Up with “Not Enough Time”

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

An “Aha” Moment

Wednesday I had a couple of long drives in my car, alone. I wish I didn’t love driving as much as I do… but there is something meditative about flying down pavement between the stripes. I really love highway driving (even more after dark, but I digress).

While I drove to Ann Arbor to meet several Twitter friends for tea, I had a waking-up moment. I’m good at some sorts of discipline, and very bad at other types. I had a bit of a puzzle over that for a while.

What I Do Well

I’m good at sticking to foods that make me feel healthy. It does not feel like a big problem to just say “no” to foods I like but which don’t treat me with respect.

If I have “a deadline” I am good at saying no to anything else until that deadline is handled. Here’s where the problem comes in, though. It works fine if the deadline can be handled in a week or less. However, with big projects, I say no to myself far too often, for far too long.

A Less Useful Version

I’m preparing for teaching at Sock Summit in Portland, Oregon. I’ve known I’d be teaching there for months, now. I’ll be there in 2 weeks.

Teaching is what I was born to do: I love it more than eating or sleeping, and I can’t wait to be there. I keep thinking of new things I can add to the great job I plan to do.

(Mind you, the classes are only so long. I can only teach until the “bell rings” and the students are let out into the world. This does not stop me from thinking of more value-items I want to add into each session.)

We all know that any project can expand to fit any number of hours allotted to its planning and execution. I could knit samples for a year to illustrate my points, but the samples I already have knit are no doubt plenty of illustration.

I am capable of planning classes until I forget to think about laundry, so I can pack clothing for the trip (rather important, even if not specifically class materials). I am capable of ignoring everything but my one “big deadline” until it’s over. This is not healthy, and it’s unnecessary.

The Other Side

I have not “let myself” knit for my own pleasure, for my own joy… in far too long. The reason I am in the knitting biz is because I love knitting socks SO MUCH!

I love teaching, yes. But why is it that since I learned I was going to teach for Sock Summit, I have not “allowed” myself to knit much for myself?

Change Teaches Us

One day a week or two ago, I had done so much that day I gave myself a treat. I got out a Maxi ZigBag I’m knitting (a Biggie, large purse sized). I’ve been working on this bag for over a year, mostly pulling it out when I teach classes on the subject.

That night, I just let myself knit on it for fun. It’s multicolored “stranded” knitting, my favorite.

I had more energy the next day for work. I am rather confident that the pleasure knitting had something to do with that inner shift.

Pandora Back in the Box?

I think I’m again dealing with that double-whammy monster called Scarcity/Hoarding. Scarcity says there is not enough to go around… so I hoard what I’ve got, in case Scarcity is right.

I need to break up with this concept. I need to throw the monster into some sort of jail or Ghostbuster containment box.


I don’t so much *need* to do this, as I *choose* to do this. Who knows what it will look like?

Maybe I will give myself the 15 minutes while I wait for my teakettle to boil in the morning, just to knit for joy and pleasure. Maybe I’ll find another way to do it.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to “I don’t have time?” How did that work in your life? How did you do it? Do you have relapses (I expect I may)?

(Tonight I started by taking a long walk, just short of an hour, in the neighborhood. My health and my happiness both benefited.)

Input more than welcome…

Photo: City sunset featuring the Quality Dairy corner store. Full of wires and poles and cars and streets… but beautiful just the same. Unrelated to this post, but very much a typical image of Lansing, Michigan, USA… where I live and work.

You Can’t Push on a Rope

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I was gifted with a wonderful book, over 600 pages of quotations and sayings from different cultures and important historical/religious figures. I could get lost in the book, read everything, and then start over reading it again.

Here is an Iranian/Persian Proverb:

You can’t push on a rope.

Wow. All the determination in the world can’t make something be what it is not. Love this idea.

Here is a Basque Proverb:

Things used to be that way, now they’re this way, and who knows what they will be like later.

There is no room for “we’ve always done it that way” if you keep this proverb in mind. And isn’t it so true?

We change, and we don’t see those changes except in extreme times. Yet, I sit here and reflect on who I was as a teen, as a young woman, as a divorcee, as an employee, computer consultant, artist/musician. I could not have seen this life coming if I had wanted to.

Mae West said:

Your real security is yourself. You know you can do it, and they can’t ever take that away from you.

Yeah, sister! One of the most wonderful gifts in my life was being single for a chunk of years in my 30’s. I learned to figure things out, to make things work when I wasn’t sure how to do it at the start. I call this “Rescuing Myself.”

Sometimes rescuing myself was going to the junkyard to get a part for my old car, with a screwdriver and the knowledge of what a brand new part might cost.

And telling the parts sales guy (after going out in the muddy field to get the part and unscrew it from the junker out there) that if he was going to charge me 80% of the cost of a new one, I’d just go to the dealer and buy new. He changed his price by a vast percent, so that I wouldn’t duck out. Victory!

Sometimes rescuing oneself is finding a friend or ally who can do what you can not. Admitting the need for a hand is humbling… but people often like helping.

Humble Rescuing Oneself

The dumbest thing I ever did when I was single, was buy a metal kitchen table and try to take it up 4 steps solo. I could not do it by pulling from the top, so I got underneath and lifted and pushed. Less than halfway up, I realized that I’d done a very unwise thing, and I really did not want to get clobbered by a metal table flying down the stairs.

In the end, I got the table in and I did not get hurt. I did get scared first, and wiser second. Now I know that there are some things I just need to do with a friend. Give in, let go of that ego/pride, and ask.

You can’t push a rope. Wowie. Something like trying to herd cats? Nailing Jello to a wall? I want to contemplate all the ways this saying might be interpreted.

The image today is a drawing I did in crayon as a tiny little girl. Notice that I drew noses with nostrils… when you’re a lot shorter than adults, you see their nostrils.

Speaking of different states of how we are/who we are during the course of time… I was a little thing once. The essence even then was *ColorJoy!* I don’t know how I got a magenta crayon (Mom would typically buy 8 colors to be frugal) but I clearly gravitated to it at an early age. Thanks for saving the drawing, Mom!

Be Yourself… The Blessed Unrest of Creative Life

Saturday, July 9th, 2011

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. — e. e. cummings

We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other peoples’ models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open.

— Shakti Gawain, Author

You will recognize your own path when you come upon it, because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.

— Jerry Gillies, Author/Speaker

There is a vitality, a life-force, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open… No artist is pleased…

There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching – and makes us more alive than the others.

— Martha Graham (to Agnes DeMille)

Images: 1) Me in Columbus, Ohio… self portrait reflected in shop window. Holding an iced bubble tea, my favorite treat from North Market. 2) Purple Shirt Day at Elderly Instruments. Me, Brandon, and Cynthia. 3) My 181st pair of socks I’ve knit. I guess I’ve found my “energy and imagination” in knitting socks repeatedly. These are warm and slipper-like… unmatched in a very ColorJoyful sort of way.

Quotes from the Late Betty Ford

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Betty Ford died today at age 93. She was First Lady during very rough times (1974-77 which I remember personally.

I remember her as a woman who always stood tall from the inside out. She said what she thought. She didn’t worry if her husband’s political party agreed with her opinions.

Perhaps it was unusual for a first lady to be as outspoken about issues as I was, but that was my temperament, and I believed in it,” she said in an interview for this story at her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home in 1994. “I don’t like to be dishonest, so when people asked me, I said what I thought.

She had rough times. She made mistakes. She admitted them and stood tall again. I love women like that.

You never know what you can do until you have to do it. In the beginning, it was like going to a party you’re terrified of, and finding out to your amazement that you’re having a good time.

She believed in equal rights for women. She campaigned for the Equal Rights Amendment even though many were not happy about her actions.

What man could afford to pay for all the things a wife does, when she’s a cook, a mistress, a chauffeur, a nurse, a baby-sitter? But because of this, I feel women ought to have equal rights, equal Social Security, equal opportunities for education, an equal chance to establish credit.

Points of Historical Reference

For the record, when my father died in 1973, my mom could get not get a credit card. She had been writing all the joint checks from a joint account to pay their joint bills. She was a 38 year old mother of 2. She was a homeowner. She had a FULL TIME teaching position which she’d had since 1968.

If I remember right, Sunoco turned mom down specifically because she was female and single… and she never bought another drop of gasoline from that company. I also seem to remember that Sears finally gave her credit, before any other place would “take the risk.”

Also, it was legal in the US in the 1970’s to discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. Many women lost seniority, raises and even jobs, based on this fact.

Betty Ford was talking aloud about these issues and more. Some of these topics had not come into the press until she started talking. She also raised awareness of breast cancer and substance abuse because of her own experiences. She didn’t hide her truth from the public, even when it was not so lovely.

Betty Ford, rest in peace.

If you are interested, here is a Washington Post article about Ms. Ford.

(Photo, taken 2009 at Gone Wired Cafe… Flowers seemed appropriate.)

Tribute to a Fine Human Being: Eric Oscar

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Today is my only sibling’s birthday. Eric Oscar is only 19 months younger than me. When we lost our father in 1973, we were but kids… he was a week before his 13th birthday and I was 14. (Daddio was 40, mom 38.)

Best Friend Ever!

That loss gave us a deep partnership. He is truly my deepest, truest friend. Eric Oscar stood up for me at my wedding to Brian… I had a “Dude of Honor.”

We have very different styles, very different personalities. He’s an introvert, geeky in the sense of really loving gizmos and technical things. I am geeky in the sense of using technology as a tool to get things done.

His style is casual and relaxed with an intellectual sense of humor; mine is intense/ funky/ colorful. He is as comfortable in nature as I am in a big city.

In spite of these many surface differences, we have very similar belief systems and values. We have a deep respect and regard for one another as truly good humans. I can call my brother at 4am and wake him up, he will never complain. When I went through my divorce in 1991, he took calls at all hours. He is truly a friend without judgement.

Losses Gave Us Focus on Relationship

We both learned to value relationship more deeply than those who have never had a loss. In fact, he was widowed at age 30 (his late wife, Kelly, died unexpectedly at age 27). We went through that second huge loss together as well. Relationship is just about everything if you’ve seen loved ones die young.

I like doing anything if I’m doing it with my brother. I’m not a fan of cooking dinner. However, when we were in high school, we were in charge of meals. Mom had a job that kept her out until 5.

Eric and I rode our bicycles to the grocery store, bought groceries, planned meals and cooked them. It was fun, cooking with Eric. We had a great time learning new things to cook. We read labels, we shopped carefully, we prepared food together. I don’t love cooking these days, but cooking with my brother was the best time, ever.

The Dudes Learned to Fix Things in the 60’s

My father came of age in the 1940’s-50’s. He believed a girl should not have to fix things, or at least not dirty/techy things. I was taught to garden and to do some recreational/artful woodwork.

Daddy wanted me to know the theory of electrical wiring, so he built me a little board of wood with batteries, switches, light bulbs and a bin of short wires. I could do the theory of wiring all day, sitting tidily in the living room or my bedroom. Eric, on the other hand, was taught to crawl up in the attic space and push wires through walls… at the age of 11.

To give my father credit, he did insist that I learn to change a tire on the car before I was allowed to sign up for drivers’ education. He never saw me drive, but I am grateful for that lesson at age 14.

I have changed many tires. Though I don’t enjoy the task, there is such a power in rescuing oneself! I highly recommend it. Last time I changed a tire, I was delayed merely 22 minutes. Had I waited for roadside assistance, it would have taken at least an hour. Power!

My Favorite Eric Oscar Story

When I worked for Black Child and Family Institute in the early 1990’s, I knew more about computers than anyone else in the building, and was often the answer person for computer “hiccups.” Then one day, my computer (the main one in the office) stopped working. We were a nonprofit with donated equipment. Somehow there was no real place in the budget for any big computer repair.  It was up to me to fix my own machine. I knew how to fix word processing problems, but not machine issues.

Eric Oscar was working as a computer expert/technician/programmer in Detroit at the time. I called him, not knowing what to do. He said: “Do you have a screwdriver? Can you get the phone, the computer and the screwdriver in the same place?” I hung up, moved everything to a good place, and called him again.

He said:  “OK, look at the back of the box. See that screw in the top corner? Unscrew that…” and proceeded to have me take the case off the computer. He walked me through a repair. I learned to fix computer hardware OVER THE PHONE, with my patient and thorough brother on the other end.”

After that job, I went into a computer software training job for 6 years. After that? I was a self-employed Y2K consultant, and I often hired my beloved brother to be my assistant. I did hardware repairs as well as software at that point. All because Eric was matter of fact and taught me what he knew I could do.

True Friend, True Feminist, Power-Sharer

I call this man the embodiment of a feminist. The good kind, the real kind. Over the years he has purchased me power tools for my birthday and other holidays… or no holiday at all. He knows I’m competent and have a generally good mechanical sense of logic. He had the luxury of growing up in abundance which means he doesn’t see fixing things as a financial failure.

I still don’t like having dirty hands. If I can fix things with a screwdriver or a nice clean wrench, I tend to do it. If it needs a mess made or muscles, I hire it done if at all possible.

I’ve fixed a lot of things on my cars over the years, saved a lot of money, and RESCUED MYSELF. I think that rescuing oneself is the coolest, most powerful experience ever. (Of course, it’s better after the rescue is complete! During the process it’s no fun at all.)

My Wonderful, Human, Loving Brother

Today I honor what my brother means to me. This gives me deep pleasure.

Some folks are afraid that there are more bad people in the world than good. I say that we only get news about exceptions… about the crummy stuff that doesn’t happen often but which catches our attention.

I hope this tribute to my real, human, good friend who is my brother, will restore a little bit of faith for some of us who want to believe in good. Because he is not the only good person in my life, there are multitudes of fine humans if you look!

Thanks to Eric’s wife Diana/Otterwise for the photo of him with braided beard and mohawk.

Becoming Ourselves, Blooming

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

I always get nice feedback to photos of our garden (such as it is). These flowering plants all came with the house, though some of them we moved around from here to there and back.

Most years I also plant geraniums and tomatoes in pots. This year I have two tomato plants and a few herbs, but no annual/flower pots. We do what we can fit into our lives, and it works fine. I’ll try those again next year.

I took these photos around June 28. The climbing roses are just plain weeds for 11 months of the year. They grow a foot in a week at times.

They grow toward the south side (sunshine) which means they reach across the back steps where we enter/leave the house. They have been known to do scary damage to my handknit shawls on far too many occasions.

However, this time of year they are SO beautiful! We picked some from the garden to wear at our July 29 performance. I forgive all, when the flowers bloom.

The one on our back mud room/entry is extra crazy. Somehow it pushed itself through a crack in the siding, and grew straight up… INSIDE the siding. Then it pushed itself back out at the very top corner.

I love the metaphor here. I think I can imagine myself as that tall bundle of blooms… pushing through rough stuff (maybe unneccessary in part) and coming out tall, colorful and glowing.

Yes, it’s late and I’m generally poetic anyway. But really… it’s like my gray hair. I love EVERY ONE of my gray strands. I earned each one the hard way and came out stronger… and more beautiful.

May you have moments when you feel like the triumphant rose, emerging from behind the rough journey… beautiful and whole.