Monthly Archives: October 2012

Which Head Shop Would You Pick?

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Have you ever been in a head shop? I hadn’t until recently. I got to experience this with a long-time girlfriend. It started with an innocent “want to take a walk with me”? In fact, (now that I think about it) things like this happen with her all the time. You know…serendipitous stuff, quirky-odd and wonderful? I love our adventures. And just so you know (absolutely no judgement intended), we aren’t head shop types. I won’t dwell on this because I don’t want to leave the impression we are grandma’s with support hose either. We are COOL, just older than the age group usually found here.

There are actually two head shops (right across the street from the Colorado State University campus), go figure. Rockin Robin is right next door to Mellow Yellow, and yes, the building is uh… a mellow yellow?

My friend was going to a concert and had to go to Rockin Robin’s to pick up tickets and she asked me to walk down with her. She is lucky to live in our beautiful downtown area, so off we went on a beautiful fall day. We smiled at all the Chip and Dales (squirrels) chasing each other through the branches, dodging bikes, jay walking. We arrived, went in, and a young man (he looked around 14) asked if he could help us. He looked a tad dubious, like what are these mothers doing here? No pun intended.

Chip 'n' Dale

Chip ‘n’ Dale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend whipped out her credit card to order the ticket. He says, “We don’t accept credit cards for these “.  Oh golly. That’s not what I really said.  What can we do but walk all the way back to her house? We leave the dark and smokey (incense?) shop and my friend says, “Hey I know someone who works at Mellow Yellow, maybe she’ll have $27 on her for the ticket”.

Now, I’m thinking to myself…yeah right!  How the hell does she know someone at ANOTHER head shop?! And WHY would they hand over $27!?

I have to say I liked Mellow Yellow better, it had cool tie dye shirts and funky women’s clothing. I get introduced to her friend who was friendly and gracious and she whips out $27 and hands it over. I am now dying, and ask, “How did YOU become friends”. She shrugs and says she used her as a dog sitter. Evidently she is like a “dog whisperer”.  Uh…o.k.  The thought went through my head that there might be a “reason” dogs get mellow (no pun intended) around her?

We arrive back next door and find a note taped up, “be back in a few”.  By now we are wishing we could USE the head shop. Ah youth, he probably had the munchies? We trekked back home laughing. I decided to call it a day so I am assuming my friend paid back the dog whisperer, I know she got her ticket and went to the concert, but that’s a whole “nother” story. I then emailed both my kids and asked “have you ever been to the head shop here?

My friend will be travelling for the holidays off and on and I will be house/dog sitting for Zippy, her delightful Bichon. I’ve known him since he was a puppy. He’s now 13 and still zippy. I seem to attract Bichon’s. I think I might be a  Bichon whisperer.

Gratitude Attitude

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Honestly. What more can happen? Dare I say that?! I have NOT had a good attitude this week, and it’s only Monday! I discovered $400 worth of debits in my checking account that weren’t mine. I don’t even have $400!  Someone set up a PayPal account under my name and then a little creep bought video games with it. I spent the day on the phone with the bank and PayPal and I gotta tell you, I’m a tad cranky. I was impressed how professional PayPal was. I THINK they’ve dealt with this a time or two. What I can’t figure out is how some pimply faced kid (creative license) is smart enough to hack my account but my bank can’t secure it?

I was told by a friend (who was tired of my complaining) to do a gratitude list. There is nothing that can bring about a reality check faster. I had a list of 35 good things in no time. The thing is; we all have our limits, no matter how we choose to look at life. Sometimes you need a good rant and rave ( it was required in my Italian family) before one can let in the good stuff. I’m on a spiritual path, but I have a way to go till Nirvana. That’s o.k., what else would I write about?

My week started looking up (and it’s only Monday) when a friend gave me a brand new sewing machine (still in the box), and I got accepted in a retraining program for working in the bio medical field. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry many moons ago, but things have changed a bit in QA since then. I’m excited to have something to look forward to, other than retail or call centers (ooooh I can add that to the list).  PLEASE don’t make me go back there! I’ve done my time, more than paid my dues, and it’s time to move forward. Maybe I’ll be pro-active and add it to my list.

I set up the sewing  machine and only broke two needles figuring it out. Impressive. I have some ideas for Christmas gifts so this baby came to me just in time. Hmmm, maybe I’d better add that to the list too? Times are economically stressful for many people in America right now, and if they aren’t for you, put it on the top of your gratitude list!  We have to look for the good or the despair can swallow you whole. A simple thing, like a gratitude list, can change how we see the world and reminds me that I have a lot more than any thief can steal from me. Now if I can just get through my mammogram. See? I can think grateful thoughts like “at least it is paid for”, while my boobs are being smashed, but don’t ask me to smile.

I’m excited to be able to sew things with my machine and I love to hand make gifts for the holidays. Nothing fancy, just simple and from the heart. Having a creative outlet is essential for me and very rewarding. My list is getting longer.

As for reading… I’m glad you asked me about that.  J. K. Rowling’s new book is slow reading and it’s a tad boring so far. Hard to believe but haven’t read very much. Mayhew’s Village  Mystery called “Dry Bones” had some cute moments but was pretty predictable. The Colonel would have been better off staying home for this one. I’d like to read the first one and see if it can redeem itself. Time to make a trip to the library, running low on reading materials, and yes, libraries are at the top of my gratitude list.

Protection…Not Rejection

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I’ve had, what some would call, huge rejections in the last few weeks. One on top of the other. I found myself floundering. Questioning who I am as a person, friend, parent, potential employee? I’ve made huge changes in my life in the last year. I jumped off the cliff of predictable into the churning sea of change. I INVITED it in with bells and whistles; what the hell was I thinking!?!  Change is inevitable but when you welcome it with open arms, instead of  flashing lights of caution, you are asking for it.

If you have any kind of spiritual life you begin to realize some of the worst experiences bring about the most powerful results. When I look back on what I have chosen, or was forced (the self-will pried out of my clenched fingers) to put in God’s hands, I see a cozy burrow of protection. Self-will usually gets me in situations that I’ve learned painful, but invaluable lessons. Those situations grow less frequent with maturity but when they happen they can pack a wallop. Then I remembered… Protection, not rejection.

There were things that I wanted that came from insecurity, vanity, pride, out of loss. There are people that I wanted in my life for the same reasons. They were doomed to failure because they weren’t based in reality, and they were very painful. A dear friend recently reminded me that sometimes our  higher power removes things from our lives to  make room for the new, for the better, for the best! For MORE. I learned to settle for the very least, for what I could get, instead of  all that is possible. And if I am honest, I expected the people in my life to settle for less too. I wasn’t able to fully give of myself, and God knows I tried. I have to think of all the situations where I was protected by them NOT working out and vice-versa.

So…Should I open myself up for more? Should I make room for the best? Should I give more authentically and honestly? The answer is a resounding YES!  How else could I experience navy blue side-burns from do-it-yourself hair dye? How could I experience reconnecting with a childhood friend, healing with Bianca, daily walks and Portland, Oregon? How could I find a ME I didn’t know existed, or teach myself  Word ? How would I have decided to start caring for my emotional health instead of using food? How would I have the courage to release that false protection? How could I reconnect with old, dear friends who have always been there, waiting in the wings for me to get it. How would I have discovered the world of blogging and connecting with the amazing community of bloggers it has produced?

Rejection hurts, it’s painful, but full of lessons. Sometimes you have to lose to gain.

Protection…not rejection.

Respite From Stress

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Rainy and forty-eight degrees out today, what’s a person to do? Well, there’s the Hallmark channel. I’m a sucker for happy endings, but there are  too many reruns. I’ve become a Hallmark junkie since being introduced to cable. Pathetic, I know. I’ve never had cable before, never wanted it, reading has always been my entertainment but it seems my horizons are being expanded daily. Really? Hallmark???! Hopefully it is just a phase. A kind of reality denial?

My favorite blog, Truth and Cake ran a contest for J.K. Rowling’s new book and I won a copy. Thanks again Rian! I didn’t nominate her site this time because she’s been Freshly Pressed twice (her very first blog-wow) and I wanted to give exposure to other blogs who don’t have as big a following. Stop by her blog, you’ll enjoy her vibrance.

J. K. Rowling is calling to me as I speak so I will heed her siren and curl up on the couch with a blanket and  my very own copy of  “The Casual Vacancy”. It’s been a while since I’ve done this, so I hope I remember how. Oh yeah…now it’s coming back to me. Shoes off, couch, recline, snuggle.

I Also picked up Margaret Mayhew’s newest Village Mystery called “Dry Bones”. This book has a lot of “cozy” elements (although I haven’t read the first two).  I am crazy about anything British. I love the BBC and I would gladly marry Colin Firth (or even do his laundry) but I heard his wife does that. Rats!  A friend did my genealogy and all of my mom’s family migrated to America from England so my obsession was no surprise.

I finished “The Life Boat” by Charlotte Rogan and it was so-so, but intense. It reminded me of  a  modern (1914) version of “Mutiny on the Bounty”. It was rather dark and not what I would call a victorious story.  People fighting to stay alive, acknowledging that some have to die for that to happen. Grace, the 22 year old heroine, was not very likeable, is very complex and unpredictable. So was the ending. I was excited to read this but it was disappointing frankly but a pretty good try for a first time author.

I’m in the midst of “To Free a Family, the Journey of Mary Walker” by Sydney Nathans. A female slave escapes from North Carolina, leaving behind her children and mother. She ends up in Philadelphia and is determined to reunite with her family. She spends the rest of her life doing just that. It’s well researched and riveting so far. It reminded me to put “Slaves in the White House” on hold.

Hope you are curling up to do something you love today. We all need a respite from the busyness of life and the epidemic of stress that is running rampant right now. Take care of yourselves!

Sharing the Sweet Stuff

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I just received my second nomination for a blogger award. This one is called The Super Sweet Blogging Award. For those of you who don’t know what these are, they are awards given/nominated by peer-bloggers. It is also a way for us to introduce our bloggs and those that we really like and admire to a broader audience. It’s a win-win gift that we  get and then pass on to you.

I was nominated by Clanmother  who by my definition is a Renaissance woman. She has more than one blog and visiting all of them has become a daily ritual for me. She is eloquent, kind, compassionate, and eclectic. Art, history, philosophy and wonderful conversations abound in her bloggs. I am more than honored to have her visit  and enjoy my posts and look forward to her comments. Please take the time to visit, I’ve connected with many other wonderful bloggers through her’s.

The rules include answering 5 questions and nominating others for this award.

  1. Cookies or Cake?  Answer: Cake
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla?  Answer:  Are you kidding? Chocolate!!!!
  3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Answer:  Box chocolates.
  4. When do you crave sweet things the most?  Answer:  I agree with Clanmother, I’m not sure I understand the question? Always.
  5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?  Answer: Candy, I know it sounds like the name of a stripper, but I’m all about  the candy.

My Nominations:

Elyse’s Life As I Know It: This is a shameful plug for my daughter who just started blogging.

Out of The Birdcage: This is an amazing blog from the land of down under (from me anyway) and I adore it. It is unique and artsy. My kind of bohemian and I’ve gotten exposed to jaw dropping stuff and recipes to spice things up as well.

The Nice Things About Strangers: This blog mixes travel with  stories and observations the author makes in her travels. Her posts are wonderful and touching.

Russell Ray Photos: You can learn all about San Diego, CA without ever going there.  Russell also mixes it up with comments, and experiments with the newest technologies in photography. I love to see what he will come up with next, and the latest snaps of Zoey the cool cat. This site is a delight.

Chasing ART: I lust after art so this is self-explanatory. A feast for the eyes and soul.

Enchanted Seashells…Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife: She shoots from the hip and her posts are a hoot. I  love how real she is.

I Miss You When I Blink:  A refreshing writer’s blog I find very interesting and funny. Four Ways to Stop Mean People By Creeping Them Out is priceless. Freshly Pressed too.

Made By Rori: A short and sweet blog with lots of different things. I like it’s simplicity.

Wood and Rope: I love anything to do with the sea so I have a soft spot for this blog. Clever crafts and links.

Emelsea Loving: You have to see her link Dogs and Dolphins. It made my day. I enjoy the variety of this one too.

Inspired 2 Ignite: Powerful posts about the realities of recovering from abusive upbringings. Raw, inspiring, and heroic. Choosing every day to confront your past and build on that takes courage, everyone can benefit from this one.

Valerie Davies: A new blog I enjoy. Valerie is a writer and includes favorite recipes. The best combination ever.

Depression, Neediness, Or Pumpkins?

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Do you ever have those days when no matter how cheerful and thankful, grateful and positive you want to be the reality is you aren’t or can’t?  I think it’s called depression. Not the clinical kind that brings you to your knees but, the reality kind. The kind where all the challenges, problems, shortcomings you struggle with wins for this moment in time. I’m there. Even thinking of my favorite, pumpkins, doesn’t help.

It is easier to acknowledge it, deal, fall apart, hide out…so you can move on. I had a coffee date that didn’t show, a mentor who set up a time to process some issues of mine and also didn’t show and then there are close friends who won’t return phone calls after numerous attempts, and messages. It hurts.
It is one of the biggest truths that you can’t control the behavior of others, nor do I want to. I tried it… it’s exhausting and futile.

It’s also true that the universe doesn’t revolve around me. MY truth lately is I’ve been looking at neediness. Being needy is about the worst thing I can think of and it shows up at the most inconvenient times. Maybe because I spent a lot of my youth acting, and pretending to be needless. It would now appear I am making up for lost time. There is no way out but through.

It sneaks up on me, and when I finally see it, I cringe. It brings up shame, and regret for me, even though I know intellectually it is the most normal of conditions. How one handles it is the key. I am aware of it and that is half the battle. I am still not good, or comfortable at dealing with it.  It appears upside down and sideways. Having emotional needs in my family of origin was risky, and a sure guarantee of disappointment. Hence the need for needlessness, which ironically results in neediness. Sad but true.

I know it’s time for me to tackle this demon in a healthy way so I asked for professional help. I would rather feel depressed than needy. Not good options. I also know that this will change the outcomes of old friendships. I don’t want to encourage relationships that see neediness as a handicap. It is a symptom, like many other emotions that require love, understanding and compassion and healthy boundaries.  I won’t be emotionally or physically abandoned for it anymore. THAT is unhealthy. It starts with me not doing it to myself, or allowing it from others.

My son spent a pleasant evening with me last night and I was reminded again of why my life has followed the path it has. He said friends of his in college ask him how he got to be so well adjusted at such a young age? We chuckled at that because it comes from experience with lots of complex issues. We have mental illness in our family tree that requires on going therapy and creative life skills.

My former husband and I were lucky to be given a healthy set of tools that we practiced with a  lot and thankfully were able to pass on to our two children. Our son and daughter both use them beautifully, but not perfectly. We’ve also modeled the gift of imperfection too. Life can be messy. I don’t ever want them to feel ashamed of being needy. I want to model that addressing those needs in a healthy way is up to me and choosing people who are available to meet them.

Now I get to practice something new to add to my tool box of life. I’ll let you know how it works out. I think instead of being depressed today (and again, I AM NOT talking about clinical, chemical depression that requires professional help), I’ll clean the house, read, and re-arrange my pumpkins. No neediness required for that.

Want To Take A Sea Cruise?

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It appears that prison overcrowding is not exclusive to modern times after finishing the book “Bound With An Iron Chain”.  I was amazed at the dismal results of  death by hanging that was supposed to control crime in England in the 1700’s. Anthony Vader wrote a fascinating accounting of the 50,000 convicts that were shipped to the American colonies, between 1718 and 1775.  Complex social issues contributed to England deciding to use young America as a dumping ground for it’s most unsavory, but the foremost was cost. Just like today it was too expensive to house and feed the convict population. How else could the royals afford all those jewels?

Shipping them to our virgin shores was also very profitable for those in the convict business. Eventually it over took indentured servants as a cheap source of labor to help with building the infrastructure of colonial America. There was no way to police the convicts once they got here and many escaped only to return to crime in London.

The reasons for ending up on a ship bound for America could be as minor as stealing a hankie, a loaf of bread or poaching a chicken to feed a starving family, along with more serious minded criminals. After a time the bleak poverty and unemployment (prior to the industrial revolution) in merry old England made the risk worth it.

If they were unfortunate enough to survive the voyage (and many didn’t) they faced harrowing conditions after arriving in America. It wasn’t until we finally banned the importing of British convicts before our Revolutionary war, that England was forced to set up penal colonies in Australia. This is not history that was common knowledge which made it all the more interesting to me. If you like history you’ll like this well researched book. I wonder how many of our early ancestors came from British prison stock?
I also really enjoyed learning what inspired E.B. White to write the incomparable “Charlotte’s Web”. Michael Sims did an amazing job of detailing the idyllic, pastoral background that shaped Elwyn’s childhood and his deep love for animals and nature. He was raised in a close knit, middle class family and suffered from a young age with depression and anxiety that haunted him throughout his lifetime. Elwyn White had an impressive writing career at The New Yorker magazine, where he also met his wife who was an editor there.  They eventually settled into farm life in Maine that inspired the setting for all the wonderful characters created in “Charlotte’s Web” and had a devoted 48 year marriage.

His wonderful “Stuart Little” stories also became  classics but were released before he wrote the magical story of an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider that held me and countless children spellbound. I enjoyed every page of this wonderful book by Michael Sims. Now, to find out how a woman ends up accused of murder from a lifeboat as I finish up “Lifeboat”. It will go well with our cold snap and my flannel sheets.