Saturday, December 22, 2007

Snow Day

It's looking a lot like this picture where I live these days. The snow is pretty as it falls on evergreen trees and a twilight purple skies are beautiful against the snow covered corn fields. Christmas lights are especially pretty as they shimmer through the snow. Winter, seen from the inside of a cozy, warm home is lovely.

In reality, it's not so great. The white stuff comes associated with a lot of COLD. Morning temps in the single digits as I leave the house. Ice that takes 10 mins to get off the car windshield. Ruts in the parking lot that are 10" deep of packed ice and snow. Ugly black sludge on the sides of the road. White residue building up on the car. White knucles clutching the steering wheel driving in the dark on ice. Horizontal snow and lip chapping wind. There's more, but you get the picture.

On the up side, the state of Nebraska has some pretty cool real time video of road conditions in many locations, so you can see the winter wonderland you're going to have to drive through. I was told this is an unusually snowy December and it doesn't usually get like this until mid January. This must be a special treat just for me. Lucky me.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Life Rule: Never Give The Drunk The Camera

Here's proof of why one of the Life Rules is "Never give the drunk the camera." Never mind the designated driver; I think we should have had a designated photographer at the Christmas party.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Internet Today

This week, the sister I consider the least web savvy sent me an invitation to Facebook. In itself, this seems like a normal event, but it really surprized me. Why? Because for years I have thought of myself on the cutting edge of most things internet and although I knew of Facebook, I hadn't seen the need to get my face booked. I think my grasp on new and exciting is slipping away....and I don't really care.

When it started, sampling every new toy in the internet toybox was great fun. There were ideas and visions I'd never dreamed, and the first time I wrote code and it became a visual reality was a thrilling moment. I completely embraced the vitual communities, pets and places. I managed a solid business without ever seeing most of my customers, and when I did see them, it was ok if they didn't look as I'd imagined, but when the conversations weren't as scintillating
as the email exchanges, I'd feel a little let down. They probably felt the same about me.

Now, my internet use is vastly different. I use it as an everyday item, like the cup I drink my coffee from. It's always there, does it's job as a coffee cup but if I tried to make it be a champagne flute, it might not do so well. If I want to know anything, Google is my first thought. I get annoyed when the info I want is buried by layers of thoughtless navigation. I am happy when I find my answer in seconds. And although my main contact with most of my family these days is via the internet, I don't turn to it for friendship any longer.

Which brings me back to Facebook. I went and signed up out of curosity. I can't see myself getting too excited about it. Sure it's cool in a hot sort of way, but not in the way that sitting in a bookstore cafe with a friend is. If you're lucky, you might meet that friend on Facebook, but unless you move out of that realm, that's all they are -- faces. And until more people get out from behind their screens and actually come to the MeetUps or other meet and greets , its all they can be.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Top 100 Movies

The AFI released its Top 100 American films; the teal ones are the ones I’ve seen. What have you seen?
1. Citizen Kane
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Raging Bull
5. Singin’ in the Rain
6. Gone with the Wind
7. Lawrence of Arabia
8. Schindler’s List
9. Vertigo
10. The Wizard of Oz
11. City Lights
12. The Searchers
13. Star Wars
14. Psycho
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Sunset Boulevard
17. The Graduate
18. The General
19. On the Waterfront
20. It’s a Wonderful Life
21. Chinatown
22. Some Like It Hot
23. The Grapes of Wrath
24. E.T.
25. To Kill a Mockingbird
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
27. High Noon
28. All About Eve
29. Double Indemnity
30. Apocalypse Now
31. The Maltese Falcon
32. The Godfather Part II
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
35. Annie Hall
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai
37. The Best Years of Our Lives
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
39. Dr. Strangelove
40. The Sound of Music
41. King Kong
42. Bonnie and Clyde
43. Midnight Cowboy
44. The Philadelphia Story
45. Shane
46. It Happened One Night
47. A Streetcar Named Desire
48. Rear Window
49. Intolerance
50. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
51. West Side Story
52. Taxi Driver
53. The Deer Hunter
54. M*A*S*H
55. North by Northwest
56. Jaws
57. Rocky
58. The Gold Rush
59. Nashville
60. Duck Soup
61. Sullivan’s Travels
62. American Graffiti
63. Cabaret
64. Network
65. The African Queen
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark
67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
68. Unforgiven
69. Tootsie
70. A Clockwork Orange
71. Saving Private Ryan
72. The Shawshank Redemption
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
74. The Silence of the Lambs
75. In the Heat of the Night
76. Forrest Gump
77. All the President’s Men
78. Modern Times
79. The Wild Bunch
80. The Apartment
81. Spartacus
82. Sunrise
83. Titanic
84. Easy Rider
85. A Night at the Opera
86. Platoon
87. 12 Angry Men
88. Bringing Up Baby
89. The Sixth Sense
90. Swing Time
91. Sophie’s Choice
92. Goodfellas
93. The French Connection
94. Pulp Fiction
95. The Last Picture Show
96. Do the Right Thing
97. Blade Runner
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy
99. Toy Story

Friday, September 21, 2007

Got Cats? You Gotta Get This!

I am a cat girl. Always have been. Always will be. Right now, I have 5 living with me. And you know what that means....the little darlings shed everywhere and although I vacuum, it's never enough. Meet the Furminator! A cat lover's secret weapon against the shedding.
All that hair came from 2 small cats in one short grooming session. I used the Furminator on them about a month ago, and this is all the loose hair that's accumulated since. Can you believe it?
The Furminator cuts only the dense undercoat, leaving the top coat smooth and silky feeling. You use it just like shaving your legs and my cats don't mind it a bit. A couple words of caution... Furminate first, then vacuum your room and don't wear clothing you expect to leave the house in shortly after the grooming session!
At first it seemed a bit pricey, but it really is worth twice the price. So, I don't make a dime on it, but you gotta get a Furminator!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life in a Cubicle Was Just Not Interesting To Me

Last night on 20/20, John Stossel was interviewing some NY socialite named Fabian Basabe whose life seems to consist solely of parties and more parties. He's the son of some wealthy guy and married to some wealthy daughter of a wealthy family. He apparently tried working once and didn't like it. He said(as closely as I remember) , " I saw a cubicle once, and it just didn't seem all that interesting to me". The thought of " sitting in there all day, and eating lunch at the desk" was just not interesting to him. Well, DUH!!!!
As much as anyone may like their job, spending 8 hrs a day in the cube farms of corporate America is generally not going to be all that stimulating. But we do it . Lots and lots of us do it. And wish we had windows. Or doors.
So, I thought I'd share my own little corner of of the farm. I'm lucky at my current job, the color scheme suits me. I've worked in much worse daily conditions. I have a very nice, soothing blue and light gray environment. The walls and desktops are in nice condition and nothing appears to be falling apart. The walls are actually high enough to give everyone some privacy, but we really need to work on the whole door thing. Speaking of which, have you guys seen the CubeDoors site?
So here's my daily view. See the lovely ergo keyboard my employers got me on my first day? And my very nice large monitor? I am well cared for. The little corridor leads to the break room. My cohorts in marketing and web design are all clustered nearby. We spend more time with each other than with our families. I think it's fair to say each of us would prefer it the other way around, but the electric company has NO sense of family values. So it's hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go!

Friday, August 17, 2007

World Most Expensive Free Green Bean Recipe

I got this great recipe card in a teaser mailing this week. Gorgeous recipe cards for all the courses of a wonderful meal. Doesn't this look awesome... it really tastes great too. I happened to have farmer's market fresh green beans the day this came in the mail, so I tried out the recipe. It was almost enough to entice me to sign up for the convenient every 3 week mailing of wonderful recipes. Almost.

There are "more than 1000 recipes" and each mailing will include 12 of them. Yum- o you may be thinking. Each mailing is just under $9 when you include to postage. You do the could buy one hell of a lot of cookbooks of your choosing for around $750! Of course, you won't get the nice little plastic storage box to keep them in that you do get with the cards. You're on your own when it comes to storing that many cook books. I use to collect cookbooks. Now my recipes are in my computer and I've kept only a handful of my very favorite actual cookbooks. I kind of miss them, but space becomes an issue sooner or later. But I have wandered, so back to the recipe cards.

When I was a new bride, I joined one of these clubs and I really learned a lot about cooking, I made almost every recipe. But it seems to me that they were around $3 a pack and there was a finite number that you agreed to at the beginning of the club. Times have changed.

Anyway, here is this really great recipe. Make it before the cold winds blow.

Herbed Green Beans

  • 1 lb green beans
  • 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 large thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
  • lemon wedges for garnish

1. Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a large 10 inch nonstick skillet. Add the beans, simmer, covered over medium heat for about 8 minutes. You really should cut off the tips of the beans, they can be unpleasant to eat. Drain in a colander.

2. Heat butter in the skilet unitl melted. Add the shallots and sugar. Cook about 2 minutes or until softened and a pretty golden color. Add salt, pepper and the green beans. Stir gently and cook another 3 minutes to heat through.

3. Remove skillet from heat, add lemon zest and basil. Spoon onto serving plate, Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I Am a Lucky Woman

I'm a lucky husband bakes bread! I asked him to share his recipe. It's a pretty basic recipe, but for whatever reason, whenever I try to make it all I get are hockey puck loaves. In his hands, alchemy happens and something divine is the result.

This is not a recipe for the beginning baker, the instructions are sparse and assume that you already know a little something about baking bread. One trick I have observed, since I got my Zoji bread machine a few years ago, he does let the machine do the kneading for him. Then he forms the loaves and bakes in the oven. Go for it.... may the goddess of the harvest smile on you too.
Classic French Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1 cup cold water
1 cup boiling water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 Tbl salt
1 Tbl sugar
2 Tbl shortening
6 cups about flour

Mix all but flour and let proof for at least 5 min (10 better). Stir in flour a little at a time til dough feels right (sticky but doesn't stick to fingers). Then knead until it's smooth and elacticy. You might use all the flour, you might not. Allow to rise covered in a greased bowl at least 45 min, punch down and rise again for at least 45 min.Make into loves (2). Cover, let rise for at least an hour. Slash the top of the loaves with a knife. Brush on a glaze of 1 egg white and water,beaten together. Set oven 350 deg, place a pan of water in oven in the bottom rack. Bake until golden (about 40 min) and internal temp is about 180 deg.

You can add 1 Tbl each in the mix stage of parm cheese, minced garlic and italian seasoning for some awesome garlic herb bread.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Your Lucky Day

Well, this could be your lucky day. A blog my sister told me about is offering a cool prize, just for visiting the site. So go visit, 5 Minutes for Mom and register for a 37" flat screen LCD HDTV, compliments of Best Buy. Viral marketing at it's finest!

Sounds of Summer

We're fortunate to live nearby a national park, Homestead National Monument. Among other cool things they do is have a campfire program on summer evenings. Last night, we enjoyed The Little Brown Jug band. Outstanding bluegrass fiddling mingling with smoke from a small fire ( it was after all, still 90 degrees at 8 pm) and the night sounds of woodlands in summer. They played just over an hour and I wish it had been two. A perfect twilight entertainment.
State parks often have fun evening events too, check out your park system, do something different this summer!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Birds

The baby Barn Swallows have all flown the coop, so to speak, and not a minute too soon. They had only been gone one day when the apartment manager came to knock down the nests. He'd been by about 2 weeks ago and wanted to do it, but we insisted that at least the babies needed to be out of it before he did so. He thought we were being too soft hearted and went off grumbling. I think he's been watching it as much as we have,but with a whole different interest level.

It was sad watching them try to come back and finding their home gone. The mama made many attempts to feed the kids, big fat juicy bugs dangling from her beak. Eventually they seemed to understand and we discovered that there is definite Barn Swallow language for being po'd.

This photo is a little guy that's been living in a small pine tree near our patio. He was making a lot of noise the other day, so I went investigating. There's a small nest and this cutie was hopping all over the tree. Still haven't seen any adult birds, so not sure just what kind this one is.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Fair Time!

How long has it been since you've been to a real county fair? Not an overtly commercial attempt at a fair, but a real agricultural centered county fair. It'd been ages since we'd gone to one and we made up for it by going two nights in a row. We saw concerts, pigs, cattle, horses, canned produce, a gianormous cabbage and all sorts of other things I'll share in the next day or two.

Tonight, a shot of the midway. We're way past the wild rides, so our big event was the ferris wheel. Rides sure have gotten wilder it seems, and the addition of strobe ligthing makes them seem a lot wilder. I'll stick to the old fart thrills. Nice for photos if not excitemet.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alligator Wrestling in Nebraska

The highlight of the Gage County fair last night was the opportunity for kids to catch a wild alligator. The owner of the Wild Game show that's presenting this challenge, says the allogator was found locally.They were mobbed. It's a real alligator alright, about 6 ft long and it splashes and squirms so the kids think they're really wrestling a monster. And then, once you get the creature caught, for a measley $5 you can have a Polaroid of the moment. Uh huh. I guess it doesn't matter that the gator's jaws are duct taped shut.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It's a scary world

Apparently human kids are not the only ones that return home after they've flown the coop. All 5 kids were back in the nest this morning! It's a scary world for us all.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Next Food Network Star

Last night was really disturbing on the Next Food Network Star. One of the contestants, Jag, was revealed to have lied about his culinary background and his military service. He was one of the final 2 contestants and I think he probably would have won. He'd been given a chance to correct the misstatements and did not do so. Then he was confronted by the show and he resigned. I hope it was a forced resignation. It's not that his military record has anything to do with his cooking ability, it has to do with integrity and trust.

This has been one of my favorite shows to watch in the past. This season it has been really lackluster, bordering on boring. The challenge ideas have been interesting, but none of the contestants seem to have any natural leadership ability or strong enough personalities to keep you interested in their show. I think Alton Brown had in right a couple of weeks ago when he suggested sending them all home!

To me, the contestants who were in one to one choice situtations with Jag over who was being eliminated really got the worst of this whole deal. Had Jag not been such slime and continued under false pretenses, one of the others may have had an opportunity to really rise to the occasion and shine. I hope The Food Network does something nice for these double losers. I wish when Jag's lies had come to light, TFN would have restarted the whole comptetition.

I'm a huge TFN fan. It's appointment tv for my household. In the summer doledrums of reruns, we watch our favorites over again and give the boring shows a second chance to grab us. Unfortunately, there are a couple of really boring hosts... I hope the new season brings the sparkle back to TFN and that Alton Brown shaves.

PS... Alton Brown is my favorite host, but the boy really needs to buy a new motorcycle or something for his midlife crisis and get over the beard thing.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Class Photo & Graduations

Here's the class photo of the fledgling Barn Swallows. This is the last shot I got of them all together, on Saturday morning. By Saturday night, one of them had taken off to explore the world. In typical teen age fashion, he or she didn't even leave a note! We'd been gone for the afternoon, so we didn't see the take off, but we were glad to not have found a bunch of feathers in the grass.

Today, there's been some wing flexing activity in the nest. I think the next two that will be taking off next have been hopping from the main nest to the little secondary nest and flapping their wings a lot today. It's like they just discoverd them They raise them up above their shoulders and flap wildly for 20 seconds and then turn around to see if their sibilings noticed before settling into a new spot in the nest.
One little guy tried climbing from nest to nest by scaling the wall inbetween, eventually he tried his wings. I was so excited to get this shot of a Barn Swallow's first flight!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Week of Swallows

We humans are always saying how we're amazed at how quickly our children grow. I wonder what we would say if we were birds. I read that the parent Barn Swallows fly up to 600 miles daily to feed the babies. They only eat insects, so that's alot of meal prep! Probably explains why we've been able to sit in the twilight and not be bothered by mosquitos. The two parents continue to be constantly in attendance, at night one sleeps in the nest with the kids and the other sleeps in the secondary nest. That's the second bedroom just visible at the right edge of the photo. The parents haven't been too disturbed by us, when they swoop in and we've just gone out, they complain a little bit, do a couple fly by's and then come feed the kids anyway. Now, they do not like flash photography! That tends to tick them off a bit, but duty calls and they keep bringing home the bacon.

What they do mind is a stray cat. One unfortunate cat tried strolling through the patio the other night and suddenly a full squadron of swallows appeared and chased that cat to the far edge of the yard! I swear my indoor cats were laughing themselves silly while they watched that little adventure. We call our sliding glass door Cat TV, and they've been glued to it all week.
Anyway, here's how they've changed in just 7 days from the first photo I posted. They still look rather prehistoric here, don't they? These were taken on 07/07/07, just 2 days after the above photo.

In just 2 more days, they were looking a lot like Albert Einstein....
The smoky looking halo in the photo is actually a wild bunch of feather fuzz making its first appearance. This is one of the bigger babies. There seems to be a span of about 3 days from what we can tell from the first 3 appearing, to finally seeing all 5 of the little guys. Don says they remind him of muppets! They've spent alot of time hanging their heads over the edge of the nest, extending their necks while opening and shutting their beaks. It's been really hot this last week, maybe that's a cooling activity. The photo to the right was was taken 07/09/07.

Two days later and what a major difference! I expect to see them start to move out of the nest in the next day or 2. Already the larger ones are trying to balance on the edge. Oh, here's something I'll bet you didn't know about nest housekeeping! Even as teeny 4 day old birds they knew to hang their butts over the edge of the nest to ummmmmm, relieve themselves. No potty training appeared neccessary. Clean up on aisle 3! Photo taken 07/12/07. I hope I'm home to see the fledgling flight attempts.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Barn Swallows

A family of Barn Swallows are making their home on the roof of our patio. We've named the mamma and pappa Chatty and Cathy. The seem to have tried out our location for several nights before starting to build their nest. Cathy would roost on the end of an exposed screw and Chatty would harrass her for hours before settling down to roost close by. This went on for more than a week. It was like they were arguing over site selection. Soon they started to build a nest. It went together quickly out of mud, sticks and grass. Oddly enough, a second shallower nest was built several inches away, like adding an "in law" room to your home. It seems like Dad gets to sleep in the second nest.

Just this week, on July 2, some tiny little beaks poked their way above the edge of the nest. They were literally all translucent beak and neck, just popping out when Mom or Dad swooped in with a meal. Today, 3 days later, they are starting to make tiny little noises and have developed some dark gray down. And we discovered tonight, there are 5 babies!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Random Stuff About Me

So, I was tagged... here it is....
1)Name one person who made you smile today? Don
2)What were you doing at 8:00 this morning? Tuning in to Pandora radio before I started my work projects for the day
3)What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Cleaning up the dinner dishes
4)What is something that happened to you in 1998? I inherited some money unexpectedly
5)What is the last thing you said aloud? Luna! to a cat about to tip over my glass of water
6)How many different things have you drank today? Tea,Vitamin Water, Water, 1 Soda, Coffee
7)What color is your hair brush? Black. But my favorite comb is hot pink!
8)What was the last thing you bought? Cat litter
9)What was the last gift you received? A very cool CD of new Michael McDonald 10)What color is your front door? White.
11)Where do you keep cell phone? In my bag. Terrible at remembering to charge it up.
12)What was the weather like today? Overcast and humid
13)What is the best ice cream flavor? Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk
14)What are you excited about?
15)Do you talk a lot? No
16)Name a weird food you like?
17)Cold or hot? Cold mostly.
18)What's your favorite thing to do?
19)Do you want to cut your hair? Always, but I rarely have any idea how I want it.
20: Are you over the age of 25? HA! I mean... yes!
21)Are you ticklish? yes
22)Are you typically a jealous person? I don't think it's jealousy, but I am very competitive.
23)Name a friend whose name starts with the letter "L" : Lynn
24)Name a friend whose name starts with the letter "A": Allison
25)Do you chew on your straws? Never
26)Do you have curly hair? Straight as a stick.
27)What is the next concert you're going to? Some fledgling country star that's palying the county fair... I promised my mother I'd take her. I don't care for country music.
28)Who is the crappiest person in your life? We won't go there. I'm trying to not see it that way.
29)What is your favorite color? Turquoise
30)What is something you say a lot?
31)What's your room like? My home office/craft room..too small, needs more shelves
32)What was the last movie you saw? Pirates of the Carribbean.. Edge of the World
33)Do you have work tomorrow? At my paid job, no. At a bunch of other stuff, yes.
34)What's your dream job? Something that overpays me for being creative and lets me keep my own schedule.
35)When was the last time you said "I love you"? An hour ago
36)What should you be doing right now? Exactly what I am doing right now.
37)Do you have a nickname? Not really. My daily use name is a nickname, of my given name, but not something like Cutie Pie
38)Are you a heavy sleeper? Yes
39)When is the last time you did the dishes, honestly? this morning
40)What are your pet peeves? People who let their dogs out to roam the neighborhood letting them poop everywhere. People who don't scoop the poop. Drivers talking on cellphones, People who don't close cabinet doors. When I misjudge the distance something is and drop it....sign of time to get new contacts. People who speak very loudly in communal areas, like the next cubicle over or on their cell phone.People who take young children out to restaurants without having given them a snack first!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Don't Let the Music Die

Do you listen to Internet Pandora or any of the independent music stations around the net? There is a bill in front of the Senate that could end it all and it's coming up for a vote in the next few days. If you care about this issues, as I do, let your politicos know how you feel.

This is especailly important for those of us in rural areas or with musical tastes that go beyond Top 40.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekly Tarot 06/22/07-06/29/07- The Hanged Man

The Hanged Man, Universal Waite

What's your first reaction to this card? Does it seem a little weird that the guy is clearly trussed up but totally unconcerned? In fact, in this rendition, he actually looks almost meditative to me and he certianly is not at all upset. Or maybe he's been trying to get untied and we catch him here in a moment of catching his breath before he tries once again to wriggle free. What do you think?

Hanged Man always reminds me of the grand illusionsists, starting with Harry Houdini, getting themselves out of the straight jacket. It seems impossibe to us, but they always manage to do it. How? Maybe it's by looking at a situtaion with a different point of view. Maybe it's by calmly evaluating the situtation before taking action. Maybe they see the impossible as merely a challenge to our preconveived notions of what is and isn't do-able.

I've also heard of this card compared to images of Jesus on the cross. Now, that's a little far fetched for my understanding, but if it floats your boat, go for it. I can almost see the connections between willing sacrifice, especially that of one person sacrificing for the greater good, but that's not my real understanding of this card.

Some keywords for this card are contemplation, perspective, patience, resourcefullness, surrender, letting go, trust, giving up, overcome.

When I draw Hanged Man for a weekly overview, I see it as a time to look for a new perspective on something in your life. It's a Major Arcana card, so it is of importance and deserves thoughtful consideration. What's going on in your life that isn't working quite the way you hoped it would? That's the place to become the Hanged Man and look for a different solution. Maybe you'd benefit from physically changing yourself in response to the issue. How? It can be a simple as just taking the discussion to a coffee shop instead of your kitchen table. It could be an impromptu trip to a new destination... anything that gives you some new input. Maybe it's just a random word said by a chat room pal... be aware and you'll understand the Hanged Man's powerful impact.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Quilting Memories

The town I live in, Beatrice, Nebraska is celebrating it's 150th year as a town this entire year. This past weekend, I went with my mother to a quilt display that spanned the entire 150 years. There was one quilt from each decade. Most of them seem to have come from one family, lucky them, to have that heritage. It was a sweet, unpretentious display... no glass cases, no one demanding that you not breath on the quilts. There was a small, very small sign, asking that you not touch the quilts, easily overlooked. In a larger city, I have a feeling there would have been a white gloved museum archivist, actively guarding the past. I have to admit, I touched.

I'm a texture person, couldn't help myself. There was a crazy quilt from the Civil War era that captured my heart. Slivers of fine velvets, satins mixed in with common cottons told the story, but it was the elegant, flowing embroidery that really spoke to me. It was almost as though the quilt maker was saying, "they can take my stuff, but they can't take my soul." I think most people had dramatic life changes during that time period, no matter what side they championed. Goods were scarce, families separated, nothing was stable. But the quiltmaker perservered. Her finery may have been reduced to rags, but she could turn them into something beautiful to serve another purpose. The stitching was as fine as any lady of leisure could have done, although I suspect there was not alot of leisure time for ladies of that era.

So, I wonder, did she do those feathery stitches while wondering what became of a lover or son? Did she loose herself in stitching as she mused about her life back east, before the chaos? What memories did the velvet hold for her?

As I turn to my crochet work to ease the stress in my daily life, I connect with the unknown quiltmaker, and I understand.

Friday, June 08, 2007

7 Of Wands Voyager Tarot

7 of Wands

The images of this card, from the Voyager Tarot is filled with warriors, masks and lights. This is a troublesome card for many people, it causes us to have to look our inner selves right in the eye and not blink. When we draw the 7 of Wands, it's time to stop kidding ourselves and get real. You'll know in your inner heart of hearts, what is it that you're avoiding or masking simply because it is easier to do so than to actually face the truth.

Your inner turmoil for this cycle may be related to something small, but it's far more likely that the turmoil goes right to the core of who you are. It's woven in the fabric of your self image, whether you realize it on a conscious level or not. If you work with the 7 of Wands this week with meditation, freestyle writing or visioning , you'll find yourself on the path to great growth.

Sometimes growth of our souls happens slowly, but it does happen when we allow the light to shine through the dark. Often, what we see in the light is not what we expected or wanted to see, but it is truth nonetheless. Be brave and allow yourself to look inward this week. To allow the clarity and warmth of the light into our lives is the first step to finding home.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cow Chip Bingo

Life in rural America has it's joys, stresses and oddities. It's the oddities that are on my mind this morning. Festival season in Nebraska appears to start the first weekend in June. We had our choice of a nationally sponsored bbq cook off, a Rail & Trail themed event celebrating the area's railroad and pioneering history, a German festival and a tribute festival to a small town's founder. The weather was wonderful, breezy, dry and sunny. How to choose? can you not choose the one that highlights cow chip bingo! I ....... you not. You fill in the blank.

Picture this; a large field with about 5 cows milling around, doing their cow thing. Silly humans actually spend money to buy a numbered flag. The flag is assigned a position on the bingo board and is placed in a corresponding position in the field. And then you wait. What are you waiting for? Well, the big plop of course! Really. And when it finally happens, the flag nearest the plop is the winner of a prize. How long you wait is of course totally up to the cows, who are known to be exceptionally contrary on occasion and the event can run as long as an hour. Chicken .... Bingo has been known to take up to 2 hours! In this case, it was a quick game with winners declared in under 10 minutes.

Now, I've been to a lot of festivals in my former life as a craft show vendor. I've been to CottonPickin' Days, Muleskinner Day's, Peanut Festivals,Peach Festivals,Old Mill Days, you name it, I've probably been to something like it. I thought I'd seen just about every kind of event a committee of well meaning yet deranged minds could dream up. Now, I think I really have. I wonder what's on deck for next weekend?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

And Yet Another Address

Once again, I've tied on my flying shoes and taken a leap of faith step with my life. It was a giant step, all the way from Texas to Nebraska. Now, that doesn't really look like much on a map, but trust me, it is a huge leap!

For the last year, I've been struggling with an all too common situation for people my age; long distance aging parents who need someone nearby to help them out. I didn't want to be the one to pack up my life and go. Especially since the destination was a very rural location in Nebraska, where there are miles and miles of corn and snow... most of all snow.

Mentally I played out many scenarios. I tried to discuss alternative plans with my siblings. Nothing was jelling and it was becoming increasingly clear that going was the only choice. Even my dreams were clearly telling me the right thing to do. So, with the full understanding and participation of my husband, we decided that we would go to Nebraska. He's remarkable. This makes 9 major moves in our 33 years. We'll talk about moving at a later date.

And here we are....we traded one small town in Texas for an even smaller town in Nebraska. We've traded a 3 bedroom house for a 2 bedroom apartment. We've traded working from home in our jammies to driving 80 miles a day to jobs...each. We've traded our predictible, self centered lives for the challenges of the unknown. And it feels right.

Friday, March 09, 2007

In the Moment

I've been making an effort to really keep myself focused on living in the moment for the last couple of months. I am overall an optimistic soul but for the last several months I've found myself worrying alot and having some real issues with anxiety. I know better than to allow my mind to spin these huge worry webs. I am no novice to the ideas becomming so popular with the Secret. I know where I have my focus, I have my result. I teach these metaphysical life laws and I help other people create their best possible life. So why am I so wrapped up in these sticky worry theads?

Becasue I am an ordinary soul living a human life with lots of challenges. Just like everyone else. Knowing the universal laws and principles is one thing; living them daily is quite another. The most difficult aspect of having some awareness of the magnificence that is possible, to me, is staying focused on the awareness. It's my biggest challenge to truly let go and allow the bounty to flow over and through me. It remains that way even though I have first hand experience and KNOW that the laws work. I forget. I lose focus. I'm human.

So, I am making a concentrated effort to live in the moment. Just for today, as I teach my students. To be aware of how the the worn keys on my keyboard feel smooth and cool on my finger tips. To be aware that I am sitting slouched over and my back will protest in a moment. To be aware that I hear the wind blowing outside and that in this moment of writing, I am completely at ease with myself and my place in the world. Oops.. a distracting thought just popped mind is in hyperanxiety mode right now, dams being built against its currents... I can let it go. Noticed and released. Back to the moment. I'll let you know how the rest of the day goes.