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Monday, October 31, 2016

My Little Luxuries.

  • An occasional daytime bath.
  • Magnum Mini chocolate-coated vanilla ice cream bars.
  • Listening to showtunes while I get ready.
  • Diving into learning about a show after I see it.
  • Fresh Sugar lip balm.
  • Burning my peppermint marshmallow candle before company.
  • Sitting in the car and talking for a while before getting out.
  • Icy water in my almost-1-liter bottle.
  • Writing in color.
  • Playing music loudly when I'm in the car alone.
  • Dr. Pepper in the morning.
  • Just looking at the art in our living room.
  • The big purple blanket I brought from the bedroom to my armchair in the living room.
  • Ordering two beverages (water and a soda) at restaurants.
  • Looking at the pond after rain.
  • Seeing baby animals (ducklings and goslings) in the spring, right through our window.
  • The three of us, all eating different food but all sitting together at the table for dinner.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Few People Know That...

  • I loathe squash.
  • I'm terrible at parking but even worse at getting out of a parking space.
  • I met Dennis DeYoung of Styx. Oh, wait, I tell everyone that.
  • I can tread water for over an hour.
  • My hair has a lot of red in sunlight.
  • I drink a ton of water. I tracked my water intake for 24 hours a couple years ago: 7.5 liters.
  • I was homeschooled for 2nd-8th grades.
  • I used to spend two separate months a year with family in Washington state.
  • I don't live anywhere near any extended family except my cousin Steve and his family in SC.
  • The first vehicle I drove was a big pick-up truck. I was around 10 and on my family's ranch.
  • I got to play the princess in a children's theatre version of Aladdin.
  • I lip-synced "Somewhere over the Rainbow" in a bizarre costume as part of a children's theatre insane production of Oz.
  • I'm on volume 161 of my journal.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Favorite Collections

What makes a collection? If it's a good one, it's a gathering of objects, similar in appearance or purpose, which reveals a person's personality and joys or fears.

I would love making a collection of emerald objects. I do feel some connection to Oz.

I have quite a collection of necklaces. Several were birthday, Christmas, or anniversary gifts from Josh. Many necklaces are hanging from hooks (like a silver seahorse key rack), and the rest are in separate zip bags in a pretty box. I used to have more, but I gave many to my mom to wear or to dismantle for crafts. But I love necklaces. I love how a necklace can completely change an outfit or an attitude.

I have a collection of Faerie Glen fairy figurines. They're gorgeous. In so many moves, many have lost their wings. But they are still lovely. My favorites are in our bedroom.

I collect journals, of course. And pens. I think I have a great fear of not being able to write.

I love my illustrated fairy tale books. In my search over several years, I've found some stars.

I also love my musical theatre souvenir programs with their vivid images and bright color, pushing me back into that experience in the audience.

Some of the joy of collections is the joy of discovering and acquiring more objects. I don't have the funds for that now, but I try to put that energy into enjoying my collections as they are. Sometimes, my apartment feels like a wonderland to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Odd Wishes.

These are the kinds of wishes that roll around in one's bedside table's drawer.
  • I wish I had a vanilla milkshake and a giant Pottery Barn Teen catalog.
  • I wish I were better at spellings. It's gotten worse in the last couple of years.
  • I wish that I could get back to a healthier weight and that my efforts would actually have an impact.
  • I wish I were eating a nutty brownie and vanilla ice cream with my dad.
  • Alternative: I wish I were eating Snickers pie from Cooker with my dad.
  • I wish I could still dance a little just to show it off.
  • I wish my fingernails wouldn't grow past a certain point. 
  • I wish I were eating pastry with warm brie and honey outside the Blue Moon Cafe with my mom.
  • I wish I had learned to play the piano.
  • I wish my hair wouldn't frizz.
  • I wish I had a lighter version of my swimming obsession back.
  • I wish I could have individual pockets in my savings account--gifts, summer, travel...
  • I wish Sunset Boulevard and Starlight Express would tour now.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Culling and Curating.

I'm not sure why I'm suddenly okay with reducing the number of books in our library. What am I cleaning out? Do I feel choked by objects, unable to enjoy the rest, the most beautiful?

I have a Pull-Ups box full of books, several of which I just read recently. I've been going through the the sticky-flagged pages and writing down the quotations in a Cinderella composition book. The box will go to 2nd and Charles, where I'll get store credit. The newer books are easier to let go. I work slowly through the older books, the ones that have been part of our many homes. 

I want our bookshelves to convey who we are. I want to feel lighter. 

Of course, I have so many books I've not read yet, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. The best news is that I'm kind of crashing through books lately. It's a wonderful, empowering, and joyful experience.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


It may have a negative connotation, but what a delicious word! It makes me think of chocolate and velvet. I guess taste and touch are major channels. Here are some examples of my kind of decadence, rich and sometimes frivolous happiness, maybe the sort in which I should indulge more often.
  • getting comfortable alone with a book for hours.
  • reading a magazine cover-to-cover in one sitting (I did this on my 30th birthday).
  • clean, slightly worn sheets.
  • mermaid stamps, stickers, and so on. That kind of magic should be easier to find!
  • laughing my head off with one of the people I most love to talk to.
  • multiple acknowledgements of a blog post I thought would interest no one.
  • Gold pens.
  • Dove chocolates with peanut butter.
  • Magnum mini ice cream bars.
  • Dr. Pepper right when I need it and so cold.
  • Bingeing on a show as I did with Bates Motel.
  • Fleece pants.
  • Writing fast and pushing the pen hard.
  • Noticing a word I just learned out in the world.
  • Buying multiples of something I adore.
  • Holding hands.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

On Trend.

I love trends because they help me get what I want. When I started public high school at 16, I wanted to fit in. I don't know if I wanted to get attention or just to slip into the background by looking like others. Ombre was in style then too, and I remember my pink-to-hot-pink pants. I loved the sparkle jeans. My favorite pair had little pink and white stars sprinkled over the glitter and fringe.

Since then, I haven't paid much attention to trends unless they are something I already like. I pay most attention to colors. My mom and I love deep greens, so we were excited when it became "color of the year" or something. We couldn't find green anywhere, and suddenly, it was everywhere! Like magic.

But I also ignore a lot of trends. Matte makeup is big deal right now. I love everything that shimmers or sparkles, so I pay little attention to newer makeup. I will say, though, that Urban Decay still has the right idea with the Moondust products. When something I love is on trend (and preferrably, on sale), I take advantage of the opportunity if I can.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Bloom Where You're Planted."

I've been seeing this on Mary Engelbreit's art work since I was a child. I never thought about it much. But looking back, I think of the move my family and I made from TN to NC. I was 12, and as far as I can remember or interpret, I did not bloom. I was mad for my best (and only) NC friend. I stepped into warm, black pools of self-loathing thoughts, and I'm surprised I ever came out of them.

Hannah and Melissa arrived in my life and were certainly lights I needed.

For the first time, after 5 or 6 years of moving almost every year, Josh and I have finally lived in one city for nearly 5 years. I finally feel as if someone planted me here. It's not a perfect place, but I think that I can bloom here and that I already have done so at least a little.

I took a big risk on friendship, and we won. I've discovered the reasons for a lot of my out-of-control sorrow. I can't get those years back, but I can use what I've learned. I'm still learning when to water and what to prune.

I can find so much here. I can become what I hope to be here.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Unexpected Joys.

  • A server at Cracker Barrel gave me a frosted mug with my school-sized milk cartons.
  • When I made my first order to Papaya Art my box included 3 or 4 free, glittery greeting cards.
  • My mom is going to try to make a blanket out of my special, pretty, old T-shirts. I'd love cuddling up with those memories.
  • Closing the shower curtain--instant bathroom makeover.
  • Watching Riverdance again.
  • All of Urban Decay's Moondust products. I test them on my wrist at Ulta.
  • Watching most of my favorite movies again with Bruce. I had a good excuse to watch them!
  • Bruce brought us 2 cases of water bottles during Hurricane Matthew.
  • Cold water near the end of a shower. 
  • Cleaning out the fridge...kind of satisfying.
  • Regular, repeating appointments for me and Oliver makes life so much easier.
  • I like iced mocha, and I can get it in a bottle or carton at the grocery store.
  • Staying on track with my GoodReads annual reading goal (50 for the year!).
  • Books that demand my attention.

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Light Tomorrow with Today."

This quotation by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is so encouraging but also offers a major challenge. When I encounter it, I always want to be still and ponder it.

Here's one trouble I see: how can I light the lamps and candles while saving nothing? I've been trying not to save objects or experiences for later. But often, when I have a great experience or use a new gift, I fill with light that can spill into the next day.

I also try to think of yesterday's me, today's me, and tomorrow's me as a group of friends who need to be good to each other and help each other. So I wonder,
  • What can I do to heal yesterday?
  • How can I use what yesterday taught me?
  • What new habits can I work on today and pass to tomorrow?
  • What messes has yesterday left for me? How can I improve the situation?
  • What can I do to give tomorrow some brilliance like hope?
  • How can I avoid leaving a mess for tomorrow.
  • How can yesterday, today, and tomorrow all respect each other?
  • If I build a beautiful day today, what is likely to happen tomorrow?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Live the Story You Want to Tell."

I saw this on a journal at Barnes. I kept thinking about it.

I love telling stories. Often, this is oral, autobiographical storytelling. I love seeing an appreciative audience. A couple of people have told me that I'm good at that storytelling, so that probably makes me run wild.

I also like to tell stories in writing. I've written endless emails to close friends, detailing events in my life. But I can also make up stories, and they can be whatever I want them to be.

I have new stories to tell my best friend almost every day. They're simple: Oliver jumping off furniture, funny exchanges between Josh and me, songs and words my family made up.

Some stories are good because they're full of opportunities for catharsis. Or they're good for an embarrassed laugh. But I keep coming back to the journal that said, "Live the story you want to tell." It seemed to be speaking to me directly.

I want to tell a story about a girl who loved theatre and shared this delicate passion with someone else.

I want to tell a story about a girl who watched all the Disney Princess movies she'd missed.

I want to tell a story about a girl who took the train to D.C. and took in the art there.

I want to tell a story about a girl who wrote every day.

I want to tell a story about a girl who never stopped reading.

I want to tell a story about a woman who told the truth about who she was.

I want to tell a story about a woman who fought back.

I want to tell a story about a woman who let others fight for her too.

I want to tell a story about a woman who stopped being scared.

And yes, I eventually bought the journal.

Monday, October 10, 2016

About Pink.

Generally, my favorite colors are purple and green. Sitting in my living room, the only pink I see is a Disney Princess tote bag and a page flag with space for tiny notes. But I try to keep some pink accessible.

Audrey Hepburn believed in pink, so it real must have some magic, right there with kissing.

I love pink pens, especially ballpoint. They glide so easily. I love pink eyeshadow as long as it is metallic or sparkly. I sometimes have to switch to another palette once or twice to get it right.

If anything needs a boost, I may try to remedy the problem with pink. Sometimes, I say, "I need some pink in my life right now." A hot pink shirt, preferably with Disney Princess design, can be helpful. The lighter pink shirts can make me look like Ive used all kinds of beauty products even if I've used none. It seems to give me an endearing flush. She when I shop, I pay attention to pink.

Green makes me feel empowered and capable. Purple makes me feel apart from the world but highly creative. And...I guess pink makes me feel beautiful.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What to Try (or Try Again).

  • Wearing liquid eyeliner
  • Wearing an anklet, if I can find one
  • Tackling the Bronte and Austen books I've not read yet
  • Using my fountain pen in my journals, trusting the paper to handle it
  • Swimming. The manic joy it gave me last summer has drained away, but maybe I can still enjoy it
  • Writing letters. I could just send encouragement postcards. I haven't written a letter in a long time.
  • Making another collage. I used to love making collages. Watercolors, magazine images, charms, glitter...
  • Wearing more of my work clothes--no saving for someday!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Gift Stories.

Gifts are my primary love language. Objects hold much meaning for me. I remember how I got them or who gave them to me. Just about every object in my home has a story. This two gifts have been on my mind:

Many years ago, my aunt Brietta sent me a round, silver box with concentric circles of round stones in all colors. Though it has held ordinary objects (push pins, swirly paperclips, a coin), it seems like a place where a gypsy girl would keep something magical.

A couple of Christmases ago, Mom gave me an 8-inch Madame Alexander Jo doll. Mom and I both love Little Women (my son calls her Marmee) and Madame Alexander. This gift was full of meaning. For a long time, I saw myself as Beth--sweet but weak and sick and so very shy. My mom suggested that I was more like Jo--a writer, fiery and independent though out of place. I began to see myself differently after that. So the doll is a symbol and reminder of that for me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What I Want to Teach Oliver.

My son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the beginning of the year. So I'm having to shift expectations, do a lot of paperwork, and learn how to be a good mama to him right where he is.

Here are a few things I hope to teach him or help him learn:
  • I would love to teach Oliver to read. I can think of few greater gifts I could give him. I don't know how to do it, but I'll try.
  • I want to teach him to love reading. He often sees Josh and me with books. Oliver already seems to cherish some of his books. Life probably will not be easy for him, but reading strengthens and soothes.
  • I'd like to teach him to cook and sew. Unfortunately, I do neither. Maybe his grandmothers will teach him.
  • I want to teach him ways to manage his disorder. My experience won't be the same as his, but I'm determined to help in small, practical ways. I occasionally have instincts about what will help him in a bad moment. I need to learn more about ASD.
  • I'd love to teach him to love musical theatre. Those memories turn on a light inside.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Life Enchantments (Not "Hacks!").

  • Buy a baby bottle brush to wash cups and glasses easily.
  • Keep your favorite necklaces on display (key hooks or even push pins will work). Put the rest of your necklaces in individual Zip Locks (no tangling!) in a pretty box.
  • Use a bead organizer from a craft store to organize earrings. Buy a smaller version of the box for travel.
  • Use what Josh calls a house purse (any tote bag will do) to contain your current reading and projects, so you can move them room to room easily.
  • Arrange books by color for a beautiful display.
  • If you have a lot of tank tops like I do (I have a rainbow of colors; I often wear tank tops under my shirts to show a little less skin), roll them up and place them upright in a decorative box. You won't have to dig for the color you need!