Tasting the Air... Revisited

Thursday, December 8, 2011

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I caught myself daydreaming today.  I suppose this is the effect that comes when you get frustrated with your work and you start thinking about where your true dreams are hiding.  My dream has always been to open a children's book shoppe & tea room. I have had it planned out to every minute detail (the only change has been from my younger years wanting it in New York City to now as an adult envisioning it in a coastal Maine village)... and yet it remains just a dream.  I simply wonder if this will actually come to fruition one day... it is surely within my power to change the course of my life- can I do it?

All of this daydreaming took me back to a post I once wrote under the guise of "Phantasmagorical Literarium" (one of my MANY blog attempts- I still love the name!)  I wrote this as a guest blogger for Destination: Unknown.  It sort of inspired me to embrace the future like a child again.  I want to remember that feeling once more and put into action a plan to honestly follow what I know in my heart is my true destiny...
 

Originally posted September 2010 and titled "Tasting the Air"

"Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them." ~Dr. Seuss

Yes, the great Theodore Geisel said the hell with adults and I completely agree. We complain, we worry, we dissect every look or word from another person and try to manipulate it into some meaning that will either help us or hurt us as we climb the proverbial "ladder of success" that won't necessarily reach a hill of beans in our lifetime. If there is at least one thing I have learned from my few great successes and even greater screw-ups as an adult, it is the fact that once we reach a certain age we completely forget about the very joy there is in living - in playing - in tasting the air around us to find the silly flavor of the day!

Okay, you are probably thinking I'm a complete nut- which, for the most part I will agree with that assessment. I am also a woman who has been to hell and back (the darkest of depressions, divorce, unemployment, bankruptcy, the list is too long to keep going...) and I have learned on this journey that life is so worth the living if you simply stop and take a moment to look around. In a time when we have it made so easy that, technologically speaking, we don't even have to take one foot outside and interact with the rest of the world because it can all be brought to our doorstep with the push of a button, we should look for the simpler things in this life that will connect us with all that has been before and all that is still yet to be.

Yes, I seem to be waxing philosophical today. To be honest I think it has to do with the time I was given on Friday to volunteer in my Wild Child's class. What an eye opener! As a former teacher I knew a little of the madness I was to expect when walking into a classroom of 20 four-year-olds. What I didn't expect was how, at such a young age, this group of children were wiser in their playtime than the time I have spent lately with other adults. Truly. The innocence of sharing, of being relatively color-blind and accepting of all who come into their little world, of smiling with not only their little mouths (something we all do when we must but have learned to fake) but also the purest intention of smiling with their eyes... now that is a sight to behold. I get a taste of it from my munchkin, but when you multiply that by twenty- well, let's just say that for that brief moment I could see the future and know that this world might have a fighting chance of being a good place again.

Ah, but the cynic in me comes out... the adult in me starts to tear at that pretty picture... yes, they are innocent and lovely now- but give them a few years and the darker side of the world will creep in and turn them too. As old FDR once said, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..." and it is indeed fear of the unknown that makes children grow up to be the adults that Dr. Seuss said to hell with. So, is this an endless cycle that cannot be stopped? Do we have to allow the anger of the world around us seep into our own skin to make us turn into angry adults who end up raising angry and fearful children? I certainly hope not.

As I said before, I am taking the time now- before it is too late- to taste the air and find the joy. I want to raise my own daughter to believe that anything is possible in this life... I am slowly but surely working on making my life better so that as she grows we can grow together enjoying everything that the world has to offer; I want to learn from her how to see and accept again. Some may call this action a little crazy- a little naive; regardless, I would rather look outside my door with love for what I see than a sort of prejudice for my surroundings- the people and the places. The choice is completely mine- the choice is completely yours- for how you want to live your life... to be the obsolete child or to be a person who still believes that no day should go by without learning something new- without finding the excitement of being alive!

I believe my sister, Nicole, has mentioned this quote by Mavis Leyrer before, and I will continue to work at living by it as well-

"Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy shit, what a ride!”

I do believe Dr. Seuss would approve of that statement as well!
 
 
 
 

A New Year

Monday, October 31, 2011

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I sit here on Samhain - the Celtic New Year- wishing for one simple thing... Peace.  Peace for myself.  Peace for my daughter.  Peace for my family.  It is such a simple word and yet when it comes to blood and the ties that bind- peace seems to be forever eluding each of us.

The cycle of life seems to be on a loop tormenting those I love.  There is so much regret and so much blame without very little redemption.  My silence does not condone what is going on or what has happened in the past- my silence is simply one of someone so tired of the fight that all I can do is continue working on finding a way out to create a life that is extraordinary for myself and my daughter.  We deserve that- and each member of my family deserves a life filled with the extraordinary. I will not play sides.  I just wish for peace for everyone. 

Call me naive- call me whatever name pops into your mind... I know that my new year is beginning and I have much to look forward to in the future.  Whether or not I look back on this time with a blurred vision trying to block out all of the things that went wrong- who knows.  I am the Queen of Starting Over.  What better day to start over than Samhain, true?


It is the time of burning leaves,
The crispness of the air has awakened
Memories both dark and hidden,
Memories of past feasts partaken.
I sit comfortly in this silent room
Computer keyboard beneath my fingers
Yet...my mind is never frozen here
In times past it wants to linger.
I 'see' a bonfire raging on a hilltop
With my people all gathered around
Our prayers to the Gods I shout,
Yet, in my dreams I hear not a sound.
The drums beat, the people dance
Wildness fills the autumn night.
The Other Side is so very close--
The Veil just beyond the fire light.
I reach, I feel, I almost touch...
Spirit fingers entwine with mortal
Then dawn's first light appears
And seals again the fragile portal.
I turn away from the cold ashes
Let the wildness leave my aching soul.
Another year til another Samhain...
On that night again I'll be whole.

-poem by: Elspeth Sapphire

Gleeks Anonymous

Monday, September 19, 2011

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Soooo.... I am getting a little goofy knowing that the new season of mind-numbing television is starting tomorrow.  I know I should be more creative with what little spare time I am allowed; however, Tuesday night I am going to be sitting like the biggest couch potato you have ever met waiting for Season Three of "Glee" to kick off.  Yes, last year I somehow got sucked in after catching a few episodes on some Oxygen marathon- I then became obsessed and watched the remainder of the second season after the Super Bowl- and the cherry on top of this whirl-wind slightly new-found appreciation came this summer with following "The Glee Project" where they competed to be cast in the show.  Oh... how I love that show (and I know I'm not the only one!)
In consideration of a whole new season starting, and in appreciation of the absolute musical talent that show has- I am creating a list of (some) of my favorite musical numbers thus far... I realized when I started looking at videos on youtube it was harder to choose from- they are all so good!

The songs I picked were either great covers, really touching, or the scene was incredibly funny or terribly sentimental.  The last song, although not sung, is just an incredible bit of choreography to "Bubbly Toes." Enjoy!













This final number I'm throwing in for my Wild Child- she is completely in love with Jesse, lol!

Rants & Raves

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

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The past couple of weeks have kicked my behind from one end of the road and back again.  As with any other human being, I have had my ups and downs... and now I return to the blogosphere to simply throw out a few viewpoints that will enlighten, inspire, and simply relieve the stress that is building up like a volcano ready to explode out of my body.  Oh yeah, this should be a good one.

The Rants:

- I could write an entire blog on this subject: "Please Reply."  Seriously, when you write this in an email to certain individuals are you simply doing it because you have no better use for your time than to put those two words in the composition?!?  Or, more logically, are you typing it out because you honestly need that person or persons to respond to what you have asked and/or had to say in a timely manner.  If you have the time to read an email (and yes- I know when you do since I put a read receipt on every email I send out) then you have the time to click the reply button and type out words as simple as "yes" or "no"-  I don't want your full biography- simply a response.  Is that truly that difficult to comprehend?!?

- People who beg/plead to participate in something (a chance to earn money with no expense to participate) and then don't show without a single call or email... well, you are useless to me.  I promise you will not get the opportunity again as long as their is a breath left in my body to say "NO!"  Period.

... and Finally (I'm trying to keep it short since this is "Positive Thinking" day or some nonsense like that...)

- The fact that my daughter would wake up at the butt-crack of dawn every single morning during her summer vacation (even after staying up later than she should most of the nights during said vacation), and yet now that school has started I have to practically drag her out of bed by her ankles to get her up in the morning to get ready for school.  I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

Okay, so enough of the ranting.  I simply had to purge those few thoughts out of my system before completely blowing.  As I said this is some sort of day to be positive, sooo... I am mustering up the non-bitter thoughts in my head to think of the things that have happened over the past few days that I can absolutely rave about- those tiny nuggets that make me feel truly blessed while I sit seething over the fact that people aren't responding to my emails...

The Raves...

- My Wild Child lost her first tooth on Sunday!  This is such a huge milestone in my world... knowing that my little one is growing up so fast.  Now, the Tooth Fairy is feeling the pinch of the economy so she received exactly $1 for that precious little fang :)

- Silly, I know, but I finally found the PERFECT shade of blue nail polish! I'm a sucker for different colors (always have been since the wee elementary school years.)  I don't have a pic of it but think of that bold, deep blue that you see sometimes in the center of a peacock's feather.  Yep, I've got that on my nails right now :)

- The Second Saturday Fest that has been started in my "Better Hometown" is slowly but surely growing!  It's taking baby steps but I am so proud that we kicked it off and we will be going all out in October for Halloween!

- My sister may be moving back to our hometown! Okay, I know I'm getting ahead of myself because I don't believe she has been offered the job yet; however, deep down I would love for her and my brother-in-law to be closer for Wild Child's sake.  My crazy kid adores her "Auntie Cole" - probably the fact that she is a mini-clone of "Auntie Cole"- and for her to have more family around would be an absolute blessing since she only sees her father's side maybe a couple of times during the year.

and in my attempt to outweigh the bad with the good...

- I am drinking a kick-a$$ caramel cappuccino this morning... you know... it's the little things in life :)

Hoping everyone has a positively beautiful day today- and if you too need to get something off your chest... simply do it and feel the pressure dissolve into the ether of the blogosphere!

Restless

Monday, September 5, 2011

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It has certainly been a while so I figured it was about time to check in.  I must admit that work is taking up every corner of my mind right now... between working on the acquisition of a historic train depot, the continued work on building up a monthly event in our downtown area, the recent completion of the installation of a bike rack downtown & the completion of a business facade grant, trying to find grant money for my own organization, and also having a major concert coming up- well, my brain is on overload.  I feel pulled in more directions than I ever thought possible- and yet, I couldn't be happier! 

I will be the first to say that I have no right to complain about my job after spending the better part of the last two years unemployed and seriously unsure of what the future may hold.  Actually, I'm still unsure of my future seeing as how this job I love I honestly can't afford to stay in... but that is just one of those irons in the ongoing fire that I am working through.  For now I can say I love what I do- I love the fact that I am able to make such a difference- and I will simply leave it at that.

So, the question of the day is- why do I feel so out of sorts?  When September rolled around I actually felt like I was coming out of some summer stupor; however, I am yet again feeling restless.  I realize that I refer to one too many movies yet, I had that feeling today when I was outside and the wind was blowing hard- well, do you remember in the movie "Chocolat" how the wind told the main character it was time to move on?  I was, oddly enough, getting that same message.

Okay, call me crazy... but I have known for ages now that I am indeed a restless spirit that does not want to settle in one spot too long (until, of course, I make my way to the coast of Maine!)  When I was married and living in another neighboring town, all I could think about was getting out of there- moving.  Well, when we separated I did move, here to the Wild Woods.  A sort of peace came over me yet now that restlessness has returned and every second not spent on work or taking care of my daughter is spent daydreaming about the two of us just setting out on some wild adventure to some new place we could call home.  It becomes this ache in my belly wanting to start over... constantly wanting to start fresh and create an entirely new life.

Oh how I wish I could just be content.  It is just not in my nature.  So, do I follow that old wind's advice- or do I wrestle with that discontent until I finally tame it into submission?  Much like all the madness in my life... only time will tell.

Smells Like Purple

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

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A few days ago I asked my sister to give me a word- just one simple word that can kick-start the creative juices so I can hop back into the blogosphere (of course it was a rather long hop since I am just now writing several days later.) Anyhow, her word for me was "purple."  Hmmm...

What immediately popped into my mind, oddly enough, was the scene in "Under the Tuscan Sun" where Francis is describing her surroundings in a postcard.  Somewhere in there she uses the phrase "smells like purple"... or something like that (it's been a while since I've seen the movie.)  That has always stuck in my head.  This woman had let go of everything and in this one moment just gave in to all of her senses- literally soaking in every bit of her surroundings from the sights to the sounds (and even the smells!)  We all have such a tendency to be wrapped up in our own little worlds that a moment like that to let go almost seems impossible to fathom.

So, my goal right now is to take a day- sometime soon- to simply find a place where I too can be inspired by my surrounding, as Francis did, so much that I may sniff out- see- taste- touch all of the colors around me.  I am going to reach deep and pull out my inner Papa Hemmingway who was able to describe one view down a road in more words than I swear are in the Bible.  If I could take that one day to truly release all of the stressors and worries that consume me- I wonder if, or rather, my hopes are that I can finally break free this block when it comes to my own writing. I have a notebook full of story ideas; however, when it is time to actually sit and begin one of those stories- my words simply fail me. I cannot open up to my senses as I once did.  That is certainly a cry for needing one day to do nothing but explore the senses.

As E.L. Doctorow put it... "Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."  I will make it my goal to feel the rain and smell the purple!  Thank you, Nicole, for that one word has inspired me!

  . 

*Image found at frontpagemag.com

We are the Music-Makers

Thursday, August 25, 2011

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One of my all-time favorite movies is "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" with Gene Wilder.  As a child and even now as an adult, I have always thought it was sheer brilliance.  A line that has stuck with me over the years was "We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams" --  it has been tucked away in my mind's file folder of inspirational quotes for as long as I can remember.  Just recently, I came across the actual poem that it came from (something I had never read before...)  in a book of Celtic Verse I purchased from Barnes & Noble... It goes a little something like this...

Ode

We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whome the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems

With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world's great cities,
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire's glory.
One man with a dream, at pleasure
Shall go forth and conquer a crown,
And three with a new song's measure
Can trample an empire down.

We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o'erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world's worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.

~Arthur O'Shaughnessy (1844-1881)


What struck me about this poem is the truth at the heart of it- the power of the written word (whether sung or simply put on a page for a reader's pleasure).  What one writes can build up or tear down the most powerful in this world.  Each person has a voice that needs to be let out... whether it is one person's tiny blog that reaches only a handful and perhaps touches them at some point or another, or maybe it is a world-renowned writer or musician that is capable of touching millions in one fell swoop.  Either way, it brings encouragement to grasp the fact that we can move mountains with our own words if we so choose to let it.   Arthur O'Shaughnessy knew that.  We are all indeed the music-makers- the question is, what song would you like to be remembered for?

Breaking Through Stereotypes

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

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Today started out to be a pure blessing for me... I was so excited to receive an email from a gentleman representing a Pagan group that has family-oriented activities for Wild Child and I to attend rather close to where I live.  I looked on their website and I am absolutely thrilled with what I saw... I can't begin to describe how good it feels to finally find a religious group that believes as I do!  To be honest- turn any corner and you will never be at a loss for finding a church in our community; however, the non-Christian groups are few and far between; or rather- seemingly nonexistent here and far from finding one anywhere at all.  Until today! 

To me, this means the sort of spiritual fellowship that I have been missing for way too long.  I don't mind being a solitary practitioner- having been doing so for well over a decade, as well as studying various aspects of my beliefs for almost twenty years now.  One thing I found lacking in all this time was simply the community.  Not feeling alone... finally being understood... and above all not being treated like some freak.

Unfortunately, how foolish of me to think that my family would be supportive.  This is where my blessed day took a turn... I happily mentioned this group to my father and his response was a roll of the eyes and asking the question, with a condescending laugh, "so do they do ritual sacrifices?!?"  Whether or not he realizes the magnitude of what he said- it is the same stereotype as if he went to my brother-in-law (who is Sunni Muslim) and asked him what sort of terrorist plans he had for the weekend.  If he only realized how hard it was- and how long it took me- to be truly open about my beliefs- maybe he would not treat my feelings with such ignorance and mocking.  All I ask is for acceptance.  He may not agree with what I believe, but he should at least respect my beliefs as my own.  I should not have to justify myself but that seems like all I can do since I finally opened up.

So, maybe this will help the process along- at least a start that I can build on in the future- here is a little information video that (I hope) will shed some light regarding my path... Brightest Blessings to all those who can see past the stereotype... and even to those who aren't yet ready to relinquish their ignorant behavior!




Kung-Fu Fighting

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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My Wild Child and I were close to having a throw-down this morning.  Granted, she has unfortunately inherited my obvious disdain for the early A.M. hours, it was battle du jour just trying to get her up and out of bed for school.  Honestly, I find it funny that during the summer vacation she oftentimes would be waking up well before I ever rolled out of bed- she was bright eyed and bushy-tailed.  Now, however, the bright eyes are more of a well-executed five year old glare, and the bushy tail is generally covered up when she yells that she doesn't want to wake up and she throws the covers completely over her body and head until she is simply a mound under a blanket that won't budge.  Is it just me- I thought this behavior didn't catch on until at least middle school?!?

Well, once I rolled Sleeping Beauty out of bed, the next battle rang loud with her continued feelings of disgust as I tried to make her sack lunch that included the (obviously evil) bread with the "seeds" (aka whole grain.) I followed a friend's advice and these seeds became "magical" seeds that might give her superhuman powers that no other child in her class could possibly have.  She's not some dummy.  Plan failed and I gave in with a sandwich made from whole wheat.  I have to find a sneakier way to get this healthy option into her lunch bag... I will win this battle!... Well, eventually :)

So, now that Princess Patootie Butt is at school, I come to the realization that not only do we have another (roughly) 170 days of this morning tug-of-war, but  I really need to step up my game and get a little creative with my attack plan (which is sooo hard since I'm just as grumpy in the morning and I would love nothing more than to throw the covers over my head as well.) 

As Mommy & Wild Child take to their sparring stances- we will simply see as to who will come out the victor in this crazy game called life!  Wish me luck!

Music in the Raw

Sunday, August 21, 2011

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This being my last day prior to heading back to work, I decided to relax a little bit with some music this morning.  Call me a snob, but what you here on the radio 99% of the time is not music- not real, cutting to the bone, performances that make a mark.  Those songs are what the producers want.  As for me,  I want to truly feel the heart of a song- and the only way to do that is to find a live performance to get at the true talent of a band/performer.

So, for today, I've decided to share with you some of my favorite live performances.  Granted, I'm leaving out quite a few (many you can find on my Music for the Soul page, and many- such as Queen & The Eagles, can not be narrowed down to one singular performance- although I love them all!)

Here are just a few (slightly eclectic selections) that honestly moved me when I heard them/saw them for the first time.  The rawness of the performances, the impact of the lyrics as they were being sung (and not just lip synced)... well, this is where the true masters are for our generation... enjoy! 

First up is Queensryche- completely underrated and "Silent Lucidity" remains one of my favorites after 20 years!  The live performance, in my opinion, is even better than the official video



I originally heard this song when my sister posted it on facebook.  Florence and the Machine have such a unique sound- something often overlooked nowadays...


Simply put- this song takes me back to my high school days listening to the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Hole, Nirvana...  Trent Reznor's voice is pure emotional gold... 



I've been a fan of Annie Lennox as far back as I can remember the Eurythmics days.  Being also a fan of The Lord of the Rings- this combination was made in heaven...



Ah, Kurt Cobain... a poet for our times gone too soon... another throwback to high school...



The first time I heard Nnenna Freelon sing, I was sitting in my dorm room- freshman year- I tuned into some late night jazz station and she was singing "Bye Bye Blackbird."  She has such a pure voice- I have been a huge fan ever since...


I'm sorry- no words can even come close to describing Eric Clapton's performance...



Simply put - she wears her emotion on her sleeve without apology...


And finally...
I first heard this song on the Grammy Awards, which in itself was odd since I rarely watch any of the award shows but I'm glad I made the exception... to be honest it gave me chills (sorry for the poor quality)...


Okay, so maybe I'll throw in one Eagles song that, without question, will go down in the books as one of the all-time greatest live performances...

*Image at top found at http://www.deviantart.com/

My Happy List... Revisited

Saturday, August 20, 2011

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This is actually the note I had been searching for- My Happy List.  Something created eons ago and something that I have included in every attempt at blogging in the past.  This is my "me in a nutshell" post that never fails to put a smile on my face...

My Happy List (originally written sometime at the end of 2008-beginning of 2009):

1. My daughter... Autumn Gwendolyn. I was one of those people just a few years ago who would have said absolutely not about wanting to be a mother... it's amazing how a child can put so much into perspective...and the sound of her laughter is worth more than anything in this world.

2. Painting... I do not paint to show in galleries or to sell for extreme amounts of money... I do it for the pure joy of it. Whether good or bad my paintings are expressions of how I feel at the time and the mere act of putting brush to canvas is beyond words.

3. Writing... when I get into the right rhythm words can flow so easily.

4. Driving on winding, country roads... when you have no exact direction or place to go...simply taking in your surroundings and feeling a slight sense of freedom.

5. The ocean... just the sound of it, even before it comes into view, sends a wave of relaxation over me.

6. Finding myself again... I know this sounds bizarre, but over the past few months I rediscovered the passions and dreams that I let fall by the wayside while I was married. When you are in as deep a depression as I had been in nothing seemed worth doing... I feel like a veil has been lifted and each new day brings about reminders of the girl I once was and the woman I am longing to be.

7. Reading a good book... I should follow this up with on a stormy night with a perfect cup of coffee or tea. I am in awe of the authors in this world who can reach out and touch your heart with merely the written word.

8. Cooking... I love cooking from scratch. My favorite is buying veggies from a farmer's market and starting there as my base.

9. Designing my dream house... I religiously make floor plans on scrap sheets of paper, scan through design magazines, look up websites that will aid in my creation of my perfect home (that as everyone knows will one day be on the coast of Maine)

10. People watching... as most of my friends know I have never been one to be the center of attention - I enjoy being slightly on the edge of the party looking in... observing and having fun using my crazy imagination to discover more about an individual.

And the little things...

11. St. Simon's Island, GA (my favorite place to be- especially sitting on the end of the dock w/ a midnight picnic)

12. Ben & Jerry's Phish Food (I now must add that their Boston Cream Pie rocks as well!)

13. silver jewelry... especially with rainbow moonstones

14. crystals

15. reading tarot cards

16. fresh seafood

17. Red perfume... the smell of it still takes me back to when I was 13 listening to "Phantom of the Opera"

18. hot tubs

19. "Letters to a Young Poet"

20. swimming

21. chasing rainbows

22. driving to the song "Excess" by Tricky... I get a slight bad@ss feeling about me :)

23. sitting outside & drinking coffee on a foggy morning

24. rain

25. black nailpolish

26. glitter

27. Vanilla Bean Frappucino with double shot of espresso

28. long, relaxing bubble baths

29. "Carmina Burana"

30. The Art Institute of Chicago

31. listening to Frank Emerson play at Kevin Barry's in Savannah

32. Mozart's "Requiem Mass"

33. vampire stories

34. GA Guidestones in Ellberton, GA

35. James Taylor...his music always makes me smile

36. the full moon

37. Celtic traditions

38. unique teapots

39. a new haircut (one that I desperately need)

40. memories of my theatre life... it made me what I am today.

41. believing in true love and knowing I will find it one day

42. movies by Christopher Guest

43. going to Alexandria, VA simply to eat at a restaurant called Bilbo Baggins

44. Galway Bay in Chicago

45. chocolate cake shots (thanks to Galway Bay & the gorgeous Irishman, Nolan Rafferty)

46. my lighting design for "Jekyll & Hyde"

47. the smell of an old bookstore

48. carpet picnics (getting all fancy w/ no furniture- a little wine, smoked gouda, caviar, dried mango...)

49. the smell of patchoulli

50. North Campus at UGA

There are so many more favorite things that I could include... at one point in my life I even made a little video to go along with this happy list...



So, what would you put on your happy list?

In the Beginning... Revisited

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While looking for inspiration for a post today, I ran across this small piece I wrote in October of 2009... a few years have passed, but not the personality! Gotta love it...

I must begin with the simple fact that I love my daughter more than anything.  Having said that, I find it necessary to follow up by saying I could sense the wild childness about her from the very beginning... you could look into her eyes and see the old soul looking back at you.  This old soul had a mad twinkle to her  that took my breath away and I knew I was going to be in for the ride of a lifetime!

I don't mean to say this to sound cruel in the slightest - but the girl reminded me of Dr. Evil, plotting to take over the world in an Austin Powers movie, when I first saw her baby picture taken at the hospital.  The headstrong determination was there even at a few days old.  If you don't believe me, check out the comparison pic...



Obviously my munchkin isn't Bad Seed evil or anything like that... but she certainly has a streak of something that lets everyone know to get out of the way or be caught up in her hurricane!  I am envious of her energy and just her life force in general... it is amazingly powerful!

The dilemma I face on a daily basis is how much of that mad energy does a mother need to reign in without squashing it completely?  There are rules and regulations in this world that we all must abide by, and my Autumn doesn't like to follow anyone's rules. How thin is that tightrope we must walk between teaching your child the rules of etiquette and letting her be the dazzling, free spirit that I am constantly witness to?

Questions to ponder... I suppose as long as she doesn't actually turn into Dr. Evil, I'm doing a pretty good job as a mother!

Ode to My Morning Coffee

Friday, August 19, 2011

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Why have you forsaken me?  Once upon a time you lifted me up with joyous energy... and now your sweet facade only mocks my need- nay, my desire- to keep my eyes open in those morning hours that laugh in the face of a woman who, no longer in her youth, cannot stay up late at night the way she once did and expect to be fully vibrant the following day.

Alas, your dark warmth no longer provides comfort.  The taste is still there but the fire has depleted.  I must leave you for another- one whose aroma will never be your equal; yet, one whose refreshingly-crisp, caffeinated  charge ensnares my senses and calls to me with a strong voice while you only whisper.

Morning Coffee, it is time that I introduce you to your replacement... Red Bull.  I realize that all we've been through, I will still reach out for you in the after-dinner, evening hours. However, your presence will no longer be requested in those wee hours when you can hear the cock crow.  You have fallen short, my old friend, and as hard as it is to say goodbye... we all must move on to follow our own destinies...

A-Scouting She Will Go

Thursday, August 18, 2011

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I've made the decision to pass on the Girl Scouting tradition to my daughter.  Wow, believe it or not that is truly a scary thought.  You have to understand my family- they were Girl Scouting fools... my mother was a troop leader and a camp director, my sister was a girl scout practically from birth and moved on to being a camp counselor to being fully employed by the Girl Scouts for quite sometime.  As for me- well, let's just say I quit the Brownies after about 6 months, I was never terribly fond of Girl Scout Camp, and I did one tour of duty as a camp counselor after my senior year in high school (I was seriously just trying to save some money for college.)

So, why then would I put my daughter into the Girl Scouts? I suppose it boils down to the fact that I want to see her a little more interactive with other kids her age. She loves taekwondo, and that has done wonders for her self esteem I believe, but that is still not an altogether social environment. It's a class.  With Girl Scouting I think the experience could help bring her out of this shell she builds around other kids.  Not sure why- but honestly she can relate and carry on conversations with adults with a lot more ease than her peers.  All this at the age of five.  It's definitely time for Mommy to intervene.

Part of me is also a little excited at the prospect of the Girl Scouts.  She is more like my sister than myself, so maybe she too will find that life-long love for what the Scouts are.  Only time will tell.  If nothing else, it will be a new experience that she can add to the list of experiences I hope she is able to have in her lifetime... and of course... we can't forget the tasty cookies!  Look at Daisy Scouts- here Wild Child comes!

Autumn Musings on a Day Off

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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I have been wound up so tight lately that I decided to take the day off- a mental health day, so to speak.  True, I cannot completely let go and I find myself checking my work email more often than not; however, I am not going to let it consume my every thought like it has over the past several weeks.  Sometimes you just have to let go for a little while to come back stronger.  That's my plan, at least!

So, what does a girl do to relax?  Me- I'm simply enjoying the quiet.  I sat outside on my back deck and let the cool breeze float by me.  It was one of those mornings where you can almost smell Fall in the air.  Oh, how I long for the change of seasons... to get that crisp, woodsy smell makes my heart skip a beat and know that I don't have to wait too much longer for my favorite time of year!

I am longing for pumpkin patches, warm vegetable soup simmering and the taste of hot apple cider dancing on my tongue... I long for those beautiful jewel-toned colors to pop up on all of the trees.  I think to the Robert Frost line "Nature's first green is gold" and I desperately wish to see that gold all around me.... I long for the autumn chill to fill the air- and actually stay for more than one day.   I'm simply a sucker for this season that will be taunting us for another month... but it will be here soon.  That is a promise I know it will keep.
 
Autumn also brings with it the desire to pull out books of the macabre that are aching to be read- books that fill you with thoughts of ghosts, goblins, and all sorts of things that go bump in the night.  Why not, right? This is indeed the season of my beloved Halloween & Samhain!  Without question one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe, was meant for a season such as this.  Whether reading the words he wrote or simply seeing them played out by the likes of Vincent Price, his presence is required to make the Fall complete.  As I continue my quest for a relaxing day, I will leave you with a version of Poe's "The Raven" that I discovered and have fallen madly in love with over the past couple of years.  Maybe this too will get you in the mood to bring a little of Autumn's wicked magic into your own life!



Backbone Growing Again!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

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Time to head into a new workweek... not that I had much time off from the last one due to an (almost) all day event on Saturday.  I can feel myself slowly decompressing and yet there is tomorrow... it basically consists of big meeting/ monthly report to state/ finish grant application that is due/ bigger meeting.  After that I think decompression will truly commence and lead me to what I am *crossing my fingers* will be a day off on Wednesday. Oh, one can dream!

I'll admit to having quite a few ups and downs this past week... it is time to (okay I really can't use the Goddess Brighid metaphor on this one so, sorry Nicole, I'm stealing your alter ego for a moment) it's simply time to pull up my Wonder Woman big girl panties and take a stand where stands are needed.  There are a few people out there who probably think I could be a push-over in my line of work... I hate to tell them they are more than mistaken.  I Am Woman! Hear Me Roar!

In honor of my goal of standing up for some much needed principles in the upcoming weeks, I am seeking a little musical motivation - a little kick-a$$ anthem so to speak.  I'm including this one possibility that has been stuck in my head lately; however, I am more than willing to take suggestions! Enjoy!


Living, Dying, and the Growing Up In-Between

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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These are my "Hump Day" Revelations...

~ Part of life is learning how to smile at people graciously while wanting to smack them and offer the sage wisdom "GET A CLUE!"

~ I can't stay up late the way I used to.  Bedtime for this thirty-something chick is definitely becoming a couple of hours earlier.

~ Pay checks make me smile when I know I've earned every penny (if not triple what is written) simply by staying sane on the job.

~ Five year olds on the first day of kindergarten- as cute as they are- choose to use their built-up energy from being good all day by driving the parental unit nuts in the late afternoon to evening.

...And finally...

~ Damn, it's hard trying to explain death and dying to one so young... we are just counting the hours (if not minutes) and trying to make our old cat, Snowflake, as comfortable as possible.  She has lived a good life and I just don't want her to suffer anymore.  She will always be in our hearts...




*Top found at  by ebsqart.com

Brick Walls Are My Friend

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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While constantly bashing my head against one brick wall after another I do believe I have been left in a state of brain-damaged euphoria today.  Those self righteous brick walls are the one constant in my life and so I think I've made friends with them.  I expect them- they need me- thus, we are in a copacetic relationship that has lasted longer than most relationships in my life. 

My brick walls are easy enough to define - the periodic bouts of my Wild Child taking her nose-dive off the deep end of normalcy, my pangs of guilt at not being the Super Mommy that obviously the Super Nanny thinks everyone could be, my reoccurring issues of self doubt with the way my career or lack thereof is heading... oh,  I could go on and on.
Yeah, I know- it was about time for a little whine to go with the extra sentimental cheese I infused into a lot of my posts.  But seriously- I just want one day where I don't feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle (or hitting my head against that proverbial brick wall) in one or both major aspects of my life- work or home.

Oy Vey.  It's been a day.  I'm just going to go to sleep now and work on a fresh perspective for tomorrow.  Time to channel a little Scarlett by saying that "after all- tomorrow is another day!"  And, if all else fails, I'm sure I'll have some good quality time with my old friend, the brick wall, again... he's never too far away from me!

Sunday Daydreams

Sunday, August 7, 2011

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It's Sunday and I have hit daydreaming status. I am at the point where the thrill of the weekend and time off is wearing down and the realization that I will be back at work in the morning is becoming glaringly obvious; so, I am daydreaming of where I long to be- in my perfect world. 

You see, I live in Georgia- have done so all of my life.  There is something deep within that for years now has called me to Maine.  Don't ask me why because, to be honest, I have never been.  The temperature change wouldn't bother me because I much prefer the Fall/Winter to the Spring (and don't get me started on Southern Summers- I have hated them my entire life!)  I was in Chicago one March where it was freezing and snowing - and I was in heaven!

I have decided to take you on a visual daydream today... to the place where I know my heart would sing, and my Wild Child and I could thrive.  Enjoy!

It begins with a little artsy village on the coast of Maine...

 
My home is within walking distance to the village and the seashore...
a beautifully restored Craftsman bungalow...



Inside my home, with a view of the coastline at the window, sits my antique desk (think Under the Tuscan Sun) where I write at every day- being, of course, a beloved children's author at this point...


Looking out my window,  I see my Wild Child playing in our colorful,
 overgrown garden with her puppy, Lovebug...


When ready to relax I either stretch out with a good book off of the shelf, and cup of coffee, in front of our stone fireplace...


... Or I head into my magickal kitchen, where herbs from our garden are hanging to dry, and some delicious stew is simmering on the stovetop...


As I head out the door to go to my business (that I own and is completely paid for) I stop to look at my car that takes Wild Child and I on great coastal adventures on the weekend...


And finally, I make my way by foot down to the village, to open up for the day,
the Mad Hatter Children's Bookshoppe & Tea Room... a fairy tale of a shoppe that is one part stepping into Alice in Wonderland and the other part Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.


So, that's my daydream... what's yours?

Life Lessons from Phineas & Ferb

Saturday, August 6, 2011

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Although my daughter has become a true Sproutlet as the summer draws to a close and school will be starting in just a few days, I will admit I  have given in and allowed her to go back to Disney (backstory simply being she got a little too caught up and became a big couch potato) for her favorite cartoon- Phineas and Ferb.  I never thought I would say this about a cartoon- but they really have something with that one.  There is an intelligence- a "smart" quality- to that show that not only has my daughter hooked but I have to say I am a fan as well.  Last night we enjoyed the new movie together, and this morning I sat down to my blog and realized that there are quite a few points that can be taken away from those characters created.  I may have made a stand against some of Disney- but I can't say no to this series. Call me silly, but here are my Top Ten Lessons learned from Phineas & Ferb:

1. You are never too young to get creative.  Use your brain for what it was made for!

2. Family may not understand you, but at the end of the day they are there for you.

3. We all wonder what our pets do when we are gone- whether or not they are a secret agent- they too are a part of the family. 


4. Speaking of families, the blended kind can work!

5.  Friends can be found where least expected- across the street, with the biggest bully, acceptance is key.

6. Enemies can find they have more in common than they realize if they simply stop fighting for a moment.


7. Sometimes the quiet ones have the most profound things to say if given the opportunity.

8. Although the key to every day is to make it the "best day ever"- a "do nothing" day is also quite good for you every now and then.

9. Imagination is a gift- don't waste it!

and finally...

10.  I think that as soon as someone figures out the point of the floating baby head, all of the mysteries of the universe will make sense :)


Goofy post, I know- but sometimes you simply have to go there!

Sing Out, Sister!

Friday, August 5, 2011

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Tonight I'm leaving it short and sweet- this is for my sister.  It is hard seeing her go through all of the b.s. of the past couple of weeks, with the one person who should be her greatest champion being... well... you can fill in that blank with whatever you would like to imagine.  She deserves better.  She deserves the opportunity to get a little angry and let it out- this one is definitely a little "empowerment" for her...

For My Munchkin

Thursday, August 4, 2011

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I read today a letter reposted by a friend on facebook- it was titled "Letter to My Daughter."  To say the least it touched me; the eloquence of it all made me think of my own daughter - my munchkin, before she even had a name.  This post is for her so that one day, when she is older, she may read it and understand how I felt at this very moment.





Dear Autumn Gwendolyn,

I am searching for the right words to say as I look at a picture of you on my desk- it is one taken when you were just turning four.  Your bright blue shirt peeks out from behind your long, golden hair and you are wearing a black cowboy hat that, in most cases, I would shake my head at- but on you, it is beautiful. You are the most beautiful human being to me and I feel at awe that I played my part in creating you. 

You have such a light about you - your eyes smile not with the innocence of youth but more with a mischievous twinkle that makes me feel like you have lived more years than I could possibly imagine.  You are an old soul and that I knew from the first moment I set my own eyes upon you.  I know that within your short life you have been through more than a lot of people... your family went down separate paths and yet you must realize that those paths still lead back to you and are bound with everlasting love.  I also hope you realize that my own path is tied to you heart and soul.  As we like to say, you are my "X"... X marks the spot and that spot lies within you- my treasure... my heart. 

In less than a week you will be starting your own adventure- that of entering kindergarten.  I want to dig deep and give you all of the words of wisdom and advice I could possibly muster:

~ Know that you are beautiful inside and out.  Every person ever created is beautiful in their own, unique way... and remember as the Irish saying goes "a face without freckles is like a night sky without stars..."
~ You can be anything you want to be... do not limit yourself to just one thing- but when you do find that something that makes your heart sing, follow it with every ounce of passion inside of you despite what others may say.
~ Mistakes happen.  Learn from them.  Grow from them.  Never regret them.  Live life with no regrets!
~ Love does not know skin color or gender.  Follow your heart wherever it will lead you.
~ There are both good qualities and bad qualities to organized religions.  The path I teach you does not have to be the end to your spiritual education. Once again- your heart will be your most honest guide.
~... and finally, as the saying goes "Dance As though no one is watching you. Love as though you have never been hurt before. Sing as though no one can hear you. Live as though heaven is here on earth!"

My dearest munchkin, you are a blessing.  You are my proudest accomplishment.  We may not always get along as you grow older; but, know that I will always be by your side- with a hand to hold- whenever and wherever you may need me.

With all my love,

Mommy

The Wonder Woman Effect

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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I think I am the embodiment of "too many irons in the fire" right now.  It's exciting work that I do- but I will be the first to say it is mentally exhausting sometimes trying to keep up with a million ideas rushing through my own head for what I would like to see accomplished in both my personal and professional lives. Some days I am on fire- in a good way- and other days I honestly wake up wondering if I am up for the job.  Self doubt has always been one of my best friends in the emotional demon category of life.  If you are too sure of yourself you come off cocky and unrelatable, and you certainly set yourself up for a great fall.  On the other hand, if you are constantly meek and not putting forth your best foot, you are basically considered a joke as well.  I'm just looking for a happy medium... I am still looking for my personal Wonder Woman.  Not too much to ask, is it?

So, this fire that is currently burning (you know the one with the too many irons) is giving me a headache.  Since I've been told I need to find my own superhero sort of alter-ego to help me through these times- Wonder Woman has been claimed by my sister, I am going with someone I feel quite comfortable with- the Goddess Brighid (I decided to forgo the superhero persona.)  No, I am not channeling a goddess and it really doesn't seem right to use such phrases as pulling up your Brighid underoos and going for it (yep- that seriously only works for the comic-book set!)  I just think there are some qualities that I can focus on as she is the goddess of the hearth, poetry, and smithcraft.  How perfect! These are the three aspects of my own life that I try to keep in balance: my home life with my daughter, my passion for writing, and what better analogy for too many irons in the fire of my work life than the symbolism of a forge!

Well, here goes- reaching in deep to find that inner-goddess in me... finding strength to manage the consistently crazy aspects of my life and simply finding peace in all of the challenges that come my way in work or otherwise... and if all else fails I don't think my sister will mind if I have to borrow the Golden Lasso every now and again!

*Image found at elsaelsa.com

Deflated Balloon

Monday, August 1, 2011

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Oh goodness, I'm having a day!  I am happy to say that my meeting with all the head honchos went remarkably well.  As I like to put it - I may be quiet but I can be one pushy lady when it comes to getting things moving!  Now, however, I have hit the "deflated balloon" status- stress and adrenaline blew me up and at the three o'clock hour all I can think about is curling up in bed and decompressing just a wee bit more.  Energy Level: 0.  Creative Ideas Flowing: None. Time left in this day: Too long to contemplate seeing as how I have to present a report to City Council this evening. Aye yi yi!

On top of it all, I'm seriously kicking myself for getting sucked into watching "The Next Food Network Star" last night at midnight.  I knew I had to get up early- and yet I was drawn in and remained stuck to the television until way past one.  Yes, I am most certainly paying for it now.  I will also probably pay for it when I do finally get home tonight and the Wild Child will be waiting up to see me and all my thoughts will be regarding the cushiness of my bed.  I'm starting to think I may need to invest in a pillow and an alarm clock for my office- when I'm still here "after office hours" and I just need a catnap I'll curl up under my giant desk, turn the lights off, and put the "Out of Office" sign on the door, lol!  Yes, these are the dreams of the sleep-deprived and balloon-deflated girl getting a little loopy in her office :)

My only other option, I suppose, would be to borrow my mother's mini fridge to put in here and stock it with giant Red Bulls.  Oh, the possibilities are endless...

*Image found at flickr.com

Dreaming of the Railroad

Sunday, July 31, 2011

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I've noticed that I get the strangest urge to write in the one o'clock hour (if you don't believe me just look at my first two posts.) Sorry, simply a side note...

Today is the day before one hell of a day, to be perfectly honest.  My over-stuffed mind now has to turn to a meeting that I am planning at work.  It's not just any meeting- it is one that brings together all of the major players in the small town I work in for the purpose of making a game plan for negotiating the acquisition of a railroad depot that was literally the birthplace of the town (and is still owned by the biggie Norfolk Southern.)  I have everyone attending from the mayor all the way to  two individuals who are our leaders in the State's House of Representatives & General Assembly.  To say the least, I've got a few butterflies banging around in my gut.

It amazes me that this time last year I was unemployed and feeling more than disheartened that with every resume I sent out all I received in return was an empty mailbox.  Now I am in a key position in this community to work for great change.  Feeling proud of what I have accomplished is definitely an understatement sense this past January.  And yet... there is tomorrow...

I need this to be a success.  I need this to be that one goal that shoots my credibility over the top as a first-year director. I need to take on that Wonder Woman persona that my sister has always spoken of and yet I never had a great grasp on.  Basically, I need to take to heart the quote that I have hanging up in my office at City Hall... "Fortune favors those who dare!"  Virgil, I couldn't have said it any better!


*Image by artist, Leslie Miller

The Sound of Silence

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The sun has set on my last "staycation" day (not counting tomorrow since I actually plan to clean & do a little work.)  I think it's sort of funny to say that I'm actually glad.  To steal from Simon & Garfunkel, the "sound of silence" has been a bit deafening.  Yes, I have sat back and relaxed for the most part; honestly doing nothing of great importance beyond wandering aimlessly around an empty house and filling my time with mind-numbing television or silly games on the computer.  This is exactly what I wanted.  The one factor I never truly figured in is the fact that my day does not feel complete without my daughter. I needed this time but without the sound of her mischievous laughter, or the sound of her little feet running through and filling this home, it just doesn't feel... well... right.

I think it all boils down to my noticing lately that I'm going through slight growing pains with my Wild Child. I never thought I'd be one of those mothers; however, I am feeling the pains of her growing up- feeling like it is happening too fast.  She has always been so independent yet knowing that she will be going to elementary school this year (kindergarten), I just long to spend as much time with her as I can before it is too late and she doesn't have the time for me anymore.  My job's odd hours have kept us somewhat apart this summer and I realize that this weekend is just one weekend closer to her going to school.  Wow, am I going to be one of those moms that ends up tearing up as I drop her off on her first day?  I look back at some of her baby pictures and it feels like it was just yesterday, not over five years ago.

I know this is the inevitable.  I know practically every mother has gone through this at least once in their life.  It just hit me more since she's been gone this weekend. I feel like if I blink my eyes more years will fly by and she will be going on her first date... getting her driver's license... graduating and going off to college.

See what this sound of silence has gotten me? There are no outside stimulants to keep me from going to the land of the overprotective mother while she is away.  Maybe from this I should simply take the old saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder."  When she returns home I will give her the biggest hug and kiss- and the next time she does something that makes me want to pull my hair out, I should simply take a moment to breathe and remember, she won't be with me forever, and I should cherish every single second I have with her as my little girl who still needs her mommy.

My lesson learned from this particular weekend?  Linda Wooten said it best when she said "Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn't know you had, and dealing with fears you didn't know existed."


*Image found at google images.

Wishing On Stars

Saturday, July 30, 2011

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I have wished on many a star in my lifetime.  Even at the age of 34 I still look up to the heavens in search of that first star of the evening... hoping, praying, dreaming that that one twinkling light will bring me peace and somehow grant what I ask of it.  Some may call it childish- I simply call it finding my sense of place in this crazy, mad world.

Last night, the first night of a mini-staycation at home while my daughter is at the beach with her grandparents, I sat on my back porch and I found that one star.  My thoughts immediately went to my sister who just lost her job, my thoughts went to my daughter who is battling so many anger issues for too young an age, my thoughts went to my parents who- in their golden years- are fighting illness and the repercussions of too much togetherness as they have both retired in the past year, and finally my thoughts fell on me... still trying to find my right path in this lifetime so that my family may be proud of me and for once I could be proud of myself.

That one little star winked back at me and for a moment my mind was clear.  I stared at it for quite a while and simply let myself go into its beautiful, white light.  For a moment wishing on that one star brought peace. 

I'm not quite sure why I find myself blogging again.  I am, you may say, a serial blogger- I start and stop and keep coming back to try again.  Maybe this is my time finally- maybe this is the blog I have been searching for.  Maybe here, much like wishing on stars, I may discover that sense of place that is always eluding me in the outside world.  My voice may be weak in the crowd; but here... here my voice can speak up, whisper, shout... whatever it needs when it needs. 

So here I begin, on the spiral road- taking the path inward... searching for the road not taken... just finding myself and chronicling the journey as I go along.  Brightest Blessings to me and any who care to join me.

*Image found at icykitty.deviantart.com