Wednesday, March 31, 2010

31/31 The End of March Daily Posting

Beautiful day of making others happy and letting them return the favor.

Husband. Daughters. Friends.

Pretty weather.

Baking, walking, tutoring, making yogurt.

Kissing my husband good-bye.

Looking forward to kissing him welcome home in a little while.

Lord willing.

It is always Lord willing.

Good to remember who holds the world in His hands.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

30/31 - Of Vikings, Greenland, and Colossal Buildings

Found this excerpt in an article I read last night:

"The Vikings discovered and settled Greenland around A.D. 950. Greenland was then so warm that thousands of colonists supported themselves by pasturing cattle on what is now frozen tundra. During this great global warming, Europe built the looming castles and soaring cathedrals that even today stun tourists with their size, beauty, and engineering excellence. These colossal buildings required the investment of millions of man-hours -- which could be spared from farming because of higher crop yields."

Food for thought, that's for sure.

From H. L. Mencken:

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." ~~ H. L. Mencken

Getting stuffed - and sort of feeling sick - on all this food for thought?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

28/31 - Stillness

"Stillness can be a powerful answer to the noise of others. It can be a way to push back against the buzz of the world, to take control. It can remind you of what’s important.

How to Practice

Stillness, oddly, doesn’t come naturally to many people. So practice.

1. Start your day in stillness. Whether it’s sitting with a cup of coffee as the world awakes, or sitting on a pillow and focusing on your breath, stillness is a powerful way to start your day. It sets the tone for things to come. Even 5-10 minutes is great.

2. Take regular stillness breaks. Every hour, set an alarm on your computer or phone to go off. Think of it as a bell that rings, reminding you to be still for a minute. During this minute, focus first on your breathing, to bring yourself into the present. Let the worries of the world around you melt away — all that is left is your breath. And then let your focus expand beyond your breath to your other senses, one at a time.

3. When chaos roars, pause. In the middle of a crisis or a noisy day, stop. Be still. Take a deep breath, and focus on that breath coming in, and going out. Find your inner stillness and then let your next action come from that stillness. Focus on that next action only.

Let stillness become your most powerful action. It could change your life."

~~Leo Babauta

Saturday, March 27, 2010

27/31 Employed

Cassie worked her first day at her new part time job. She was nervous before she left the house but you should have seen her at work. So calm. So friendly. She was a demo girl for Essential Baking Company which is an organic, artisan bakery. The best bread ever! It's partially baked, you bring it home, bake it for 10 minutes and it comes out hot and crusty. So good!

I digress.

Tom and I went into Market of Choice to shop and to see our girl at work. She was surrounded by people chatting with her just as calm as if she were here at home entertaining friends at a party. She sold so much bread that the store had to open up its last box of 'store bread' which is the bread for the shelves for the rest of the week. She burned through the bread for the day in record time. Amazing! I even overheard one clerk tell another that 'that new girl is really good!'

She is!

Her first paycheck is in the mail.

Sorry for the cheerleading.

Cassie really is a marvel.

Friday, March 26, 2010

26/31 Family

Missed a day on my 31 day March to the Sea or whatever it is. March through March? It's more like frolic. We're having such fun.

Fun. Pure fun. Real fun.

There needs to be more fun in the world.

And more hugs.

My daughters tell me so and they are correct.

Yesterday I made lasagna. Served it with crisp apple wedges and roasted asparagus. All four kids joined Tom and me. The lasagna vanished. Everyone ate and talked and ate. Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti for dessert - made fresh right here after our hearty meal.

It contents me to know I am serving wholesome, nutritious, real food to my family with the freshest ingredients. Love goes from my hands into the food into the people who enjoy it.

Simple pleasures really are the best!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

24/31 - Wine Country

Tom, Cassie, Caroline, and I continued our Spring Break fun by visiting wine country on this gorgeous blue,Wednesday. Several vineyards opened their gates to us for wine tasting, relaxing on verandas and patios in 70+ degree weather, dinner, even a tour of the winery. Most interesting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

23/31 Beach

Husband, daughters, pup, and I drove to the beach today and played. All day. In the sun. In pretty shops. By the sea. On the sand. 
The girls wrote Spring Break in the sand with their toes.
Couldn't stop the hair from blowin' in the wind.

We are Loving Spring Break!

Monday, March 22, 2010

22/31 Squeaking By

Almost forgot to post here today.

We are enjoying Spring Break immensely. As the Italians say, the sweetness of doing nothing.

Tom is loving it! So good to see him resting and playing.

The girls attended a party at a friend's house this afternoon.

I had a good long talk with my sister on the phone - we are so alike, it's easy to speak with her. Heard from my best friend, too. Soothing conversations full of life, laughter, seriousness, and love.

For dinner Tom, Cassie, Caroline, and I hopped into the car in hot pursuit of the best pizza in town. Found it at Sy's over on Alder Street. New York Pizza. Fresh ingredients

And tonight all four of us had a marshmallow fight. Great stress reliever! Try it sometime. You can hurl the little sweeties hard and not hurt one another.

Spring Break. Gotta love it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

21/31 Smiles

 "I love friends. I want more friends. I love smiles. That is a fact. How to develop smiles? There are a variety of smiles. Some smiles are sarcastic. Some smiles are artificial - diplomatic smiles. These smiles do not produce satisfaction, but rather fear or suspicion. But a genuine smile gives us hope, freshness. If we want a genuine smile, then first we must produce the basis for a smile to come." ~~ The Dalai Lama

Saturday, March 20, 2010

20/31 Sunny Day

While it is only 35 degrees and dark as I write, the forecast calls for brilliant sun and warmth.

This first full day of Spring Break brings with it energy, promise, and hope for refreshment.

Eagerness to embrace this day - this week - fills me.
Sun, sun, sun here it comes.
Happy Spring Break, Everyone!

Friday, March 19, 2010

19/31 Lucid Dreaming

I lucid dream.

My dreams are sometimes very helpful to me. Many a solution or problem has been solved while lucid dreaming.

And sometimes my dreams take me away to places lovely and perfect. While lucid dreaming I can banish the blue meanies of my life and pursue loveliness.

I went to bed last night with wet hair and woke up looking like Lady Gaga. Well, my hair did. I bet she'd pay a pretty penny for my style. But it's mine today. I'm keeping it. I feel funky. If I go out I'll 'fix it' because I'm sort of a coward.

Controlling dreams and knowing I'm dreaming and remembering my dreams. It makes the idea that all that time spent asleep is not wasted after all but used to good purpose. A whole other dimension.

For today, I shall take my Gaga and enjoy the sun, roast a turkey breast, cash my tax refund, walk my dog, hug my kids, kiss my husband - a good long kiss - and smile all day because Spring Break has begun.

See you in my dreams - if you're lucky!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

18/31 - Afterglow

There were leprechauns here yesterday.

Lots of them!

And Irish food, Irish dancing, Irish laughter.

One guest stayed behind waiting for his mom to pick him up. His sister came to the door. The leprechaun hat was quickly placed on her head, she ran back out to the car, grabbed her mom, and through the front door they came.

What happened can only be attributed to leprechaun magic. Mom Patti, sister Christy, and lingering Reid joined Cassie, Caroline, and Cherie in playing Rock Band - which the guests had never played but have long wanted to. Patti was new to us but we can see she'll be a fast friend. And Reid has never been to our home before yesterday.

We carried on until after ten, smiling, laughing, and making music!

On a school night!

Fun, Irish style!

Was it really magic - or too many root beer floats in funky green glasses?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

17/31 - Irish Blood

Got enough Irish in me to feel extra jolly this Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Awakened to peppy - and haunting - Irish music and party plans already under way.

My daughters are having a get-together. Not a big party, just a chance to hang out with friends, watch a movie, eat Irish food.

Laughter. Play. Merriment.

Decorations are going up, cleaning has begun, everyone is wearing green. (Thank goodness my bathrobe has green on it or I'd be bruised in triplicate right now. No mercy.)

I have rooms to clean, food to make, walks to take, joy to hold.

Even the dog is getting his Party Bath.

Happy St. Paddy's to You!

Lighten up, join in, have FUN!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

15/31 - Kindness

Yesterday I received kindness from a stranger. What was offered was an exception to a rule but it made a huge difference in my life.

Not only for today but for many tomorrows to come.

Today I wish for everyone to experience such human kindness, the kind that looks past policy, past money, past procedure. The kindness that sees the person and the pain and chooses to help rather than take.

"Thank you!"

Monday, March 15, 2010

15/31 Outrageous Use of OUR Money

Have you heard about the new Beltline name change?

It's outrageous.

For anyone who doesn't know, the Beltline is a major east/west freeway in our fair locale. It connects Springfield and I-5 to west Eugene and all points in between. As far back as I can remember it has been called Beltline. And I can remember back pretty far.

Our idiot Governor Ted Kulongoski has decided he needs to honor a now deceased businessman who played a major part in Oregon's transportation system. So, he's going to name a major freeway to the tune of $250,000 (think quarter of a million dollars!) plus a ceremony. The money goes to replacing signs! Huge signs, many signs. For what??

Excuse me? Aren't we in a recession? Aren't state, city, county employees being laid off or furloughed? Excuse me, aren't we always whining about and being overtaxed because we don't have enough - MONEY!

Plant a tree, stick a statue somewhere, name the new pedestrian bridge after him. Name a star, or a day, or a child after him but please, leave our money alone.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

14/31 Clock Change

If you've been a reader here for awhile you know I am not a fan of changing the clocks back and forth, back and forth every two seasons. Pick one and stick with it people!

But do it I must or I will be late, be late for a very important date.

Thankfully the sun is shining today and I have fun and meaningful activities to pursue.

**guttural sigh**

Saturday, March 13, 2010

13/31 Too Nice a Day

Had a brooding post here about money but deleted it.

It's too perfect a day.

Cassie and Caroline are out taking homemade pudding to a friend who had her wisdom teeth pulled. Pudding makes everything better.

Tom is filling the car with gas so he and I can go out together later and have some fun.

Joe is coming over soon for Cassie's Saturday Cook/Bake Day feast.

Me? I've been soul searching all morning.

(Anyone seen my soul? Can't find it anywhere! :)

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

12/31 Bread

Lately I've been frustrated at the shocking, unhealthful ingredients in affordable bread and the high price of good bread. While I realize that paying more for real food is in line with my priorities and while I realize that better health means money not spent on medical bills, still, I am frugal.

So I made my own bread yesterday. Honey Wheat with no sugar, mostly whole wheat, no powdered milk, no soy, no unpronounceable ingredients.

The kneading worked my muscles.

The aroma invigorated my senses.

The sight made me smile because I knew my family, upon returning from work and school, would sigh and grin just as they did.

 Beautiful, beautiful loaves!

How we each enjoyed a thick slice with the vegetable beef stew I'd simmered on the stove!
Our culture has denigrated cooking for centuries, first belittling it as 'women's work' and then, later, as a trivial inconvenience to be avoided as much as possible through technology. But actually, cooking is not a lowly, but a high, venerable, and sacred activity. ~~ Charles Eisenstein
My time in the kitchen felt like a sacred activity as I pondered the origin and purpose of my ingredients some of which I've grown in my own garden. The expending of effort on behalf of my life and the lives of loved ones who abide with me in this safe haven was pure love working for our pleasure and benefit.

Creation. Excitement. Satisfaction.
To live rightly in the time allotted is a matter of paramount importance, and life a sacred journey. ~~ Charles Eisenstein
Yes. Yes it is.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

11/31 - Vindication

Late in the summer of 2009 the City of Eugene enforced a mandatory furlough reducing the hours of its employees and thus, their pay. This illegally broke the union contract but complaints fell on deaf ears.

The union worked together.

Yesterday Tom received this letter at work:
We received the ruling from the arbiter, Luella E. Nelson, who ruled in favor of the workers and the sanctity of our contract with the City of Eugene. This award clarifies that the City cannot use furloughs as a cost cutting measure. Arbiter Nelson directed the City to stop the mandatory furloughs, pay full restitution for hours lost due to the furlough, and give clear instructions on the layoff provisions of the contract.
Bottom line? The City is now paying for nothing.

But we'll take the check for it is money Tom should have earned in hours he should have been allowed to work.

It'll be nice to return to 'normal.'

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10/31 Fresh Air

Cassie told me this morning that she and Caroline were having a terrible time falling asleep last night.

Finally, they opened their window a little.

Fell right to sleep.

The best sedative in the world is to be hydrated and sleep with a window cracked, even if the temperature is in the mid-30's. (I have to say it can be too cold to sleep with the window open, for me anyway, but high 20's or mid-30's are just fine.)

The disconnect between nature and individual causes all sorts of malfunction from insomnia, to headaches, to depression, to obesity, to pent-up emotions of the unnecessary type. We were not made to exist predominantly within walls and ceilings but to live, move, and have our being in conjunction with the earth, air, wind, fire, seasons, hot and cold, flora and fauna.

Sometimes, when it's hot or the Perseids are playing in the sky the kids, Tom, and I sleep outside on the lawn. I never sleep better than under the moon, stars, and in the cool night air. I awaken refreshed, early, with the sun gently warming me announcing that the day has begun. Though my sleeping bag may be damp with dew on the top I am always warm and toasty inside, sometimes with my cat or dog curled up next to me.

Fresh air. Connection. I forget the importance and then am reminded. Today by a daughter finally enacting what I've been telling her for years.

Fresh air will help you sleep.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

9/31 Like a Lion

Frosty morning. White roofs. Pale blue sky streaked with pinks, oranges, yellows of sunrise. Invigorating chill.

I love it!

Prayers for husband as he travels north into snow and ice.

Thankfully it is March. Thawing will beat sunset here in the temperate climes of the Willamette Valley.

In like a Lion out like a Lamb.


Monday, March 08, 2010

8/31 POV

Point of View. It makes a big difference.

Mondays are seen by some as the Grim Reaper of the weekend, the poisoner of Sunday. Droopy shoulders, hanging heads, too much coffee, and the expectation of Murphy's Law enacted.

I used to hate Mondays. I used to hate any day of the week that wasn't at least a Thursday. I especially hated Tuesday.

Here's how it all seemed to me at the ripe old age of 22:
Sunday is the dampened weekend day, freedom but with the specter of Monday.

Monday is the gloomy beginning of the long work week. Awful. The only upside is that you are rested from the weekend and may have some good stories.

Wednesday is the middle of the week, the worst is over, but still there is half a week left.

Thursday may be the best day of the week because the next day is...

...Friday, and all day Friday is pleasant because ahead are two days of freedom! The reason Friday isn't as perfect as Thursday is that once Friday is over, the weekend begins, and it zips by way too fast and then, BAM! it's Monday again.

Saturday is equivalent to Heaven.

Now, back to Tuesday. There is NOTHING good about Tuesday. Nothing. Worst day of the week.
That's how I looked at life until, after regularly verbalizing my longing for the weekend, a meek, sagacious, 'elderly' (she was probably the age I am now!) co-worker quietly intoned to me while on break in the women's lounge, "You don't want to wish your life away."

Boy. I'll tell you, that stung. And it sat in my mind for hours, days, weeks, and obviously years, okay decades.

My viewpoint changed right then. On the spot. And I've never looked back but began searching for the goodness of life in all its moments and have found that plenty exist. Prior to my awakening I simply sulked while overlooking simple - and grand - pleasures.

Gratitude for Ruth's courage in imparting her wisdom impels me to remember and to pay it forward.

I keep the following quote from Goldie Hawn in a little wooden cigar box with the calculator, compass, protractor, some pencils, erasers, and pens, all things I regularly pluck.
I love life. I wake up every day excited to wake up. You want to know what I think? I think you have to stop feeing sorry for yourself, and start thanking the day instead of scowling at it.
I don't always wake up excited. I'm not a millionaire actress with housekeepers, nannies, chauffeurs, houses here and there, and the means to fly away to a sunny locale when feeling blue.

BUT, this attitude can be easily adjusted. We non-millionaires don't have to worry about where to put our money to keep from being taxed to death, we don't have to pay people to keep logs and records of our employees, our real estate holdings, our appointments, etc. We have satisfactions they don't have due to living close to the earth, to reality, to our children, closer, if you will, to the edge. And, well, anonymity has a great price these days.

We all certainly have the choice to thank the day rather than scowl at it. Life is precious, each minute, only to be lived once.

"Thank you, Day! Thank you for being Monday. Thank you for what you bring including, as the sun sets, the hope of Tuesday which is no longer the worst day of the week."

Sunday, March 07, 2010

7/31 - Sunday Breakfast

Some days begin with magic.

This one, for example.

I slept like a baby after setting brioche dough to rise and putting yogurt into the machine last night.

My rested body awakened in the early hours, excited to make its first batch of jolly french rolls. Soft, sticky dough felt fun, like playing with Play Dough as I rolled it into little balls, plopping them into the muffin pan.

Dough rising under a warm towel, Cassie and I visited at the table, discussing life, philosophy, challenges, and fun. Smart girl, that one.

Just as I was to put the bread into the oven Joe unexpectedly drove up in his blue pick-up truck. "I came over to take Sam for a walk," he said cheerfully. Grabbing the leash, man and man's best friend headed out the door, Cassie at their side, brown billed Alaska cap on her head. I popped the bread into the preheated oven.

Now the house has that unbeatable bread smell, Tom and Joe are out buying good bacon, and I'm about to make a fruit salad.

Caroline walks down the hall smiling as though it were Christmas morning and no one told her.

Like I said, magical morning.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

6/31 As I Was Saying....Sniff

"A good heart is both important and effective in daily life. If in a small family, even without children, the members have a warm heart for each other, a peaceful atmosphere will be created. However, if one of the persons feels angry, immediately the atmosphere in the house becomes tense. Despite good food or a nice television set, you will lose peace and calm. Thus, things depend more on the mind than on matter.

Matter is important, we must have it and we must use it properly, but in this century we must combine a good brain with a good heart." ~~ the Dalai Lama
In attempting to pontificate on this quote effort is lost. All deleted, I give up. Scents of citrus, apple, cake, toasting bread crumbs, and is that pork? It's Saturday and Cassie is cooking/baking.

The sun is high in the sky hollering at me not to miss it. "Come out here. Get away from that computer, woman!"

All the while The Who wonder who I am, Mick can't get no satisfaction and right now Sir Paul is fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops his mind from wandering.

My roof must be sound because my mind is wandering.

Those scents! That music! The pestering sunshine!

Concentration befuddled.

The food? Schnitzel with homemade applesauce of a specific variety being made right now, Orange Glazed Carrots, and Petit Fours made this morning.

How am I to focus? Weak mind, today my mind is weak weak weak. But my senses run in perfect order.

I'm going for a walk in the sunshine. Then, I'm going to dine on the best food to be found in Eugene/Springfield today.

You can thank the rockers, the daughter's culinary abilities, and the sunbeams blazing through my normally storm-darkened window.

You've been spared.

Friday, March 05, 2010

5/31 Inertia

"You have to create your own life. You can't wait for someone to get you started or do it for you. And you can't wait for it to just come to you." ~~ Anonymous

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

3/31 This Man

Jolly Baby grew to become a very important person.




By his choices we know him.

He is a Good Man.

Tom, your laugh bubbles up my own laughter, your smile brightens the room, your driving scares me, your faithfulness comforts me, your provision secures us all, and your love, well, thank you for love that permeates our hearts every day. You make me happy.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

2/31 Smoke Scents

Daughters discovered incense awhile ago.

Many scents including cannabis. Don't worry, we aren't getting high from it. But it smokes like the dickens so we put it into our little log cabin incense burner. Smells nice, not at all like pot. Mesmerizing to watch the smoke exit the chimney and windows in beautiful swirls and streams.

One type of incense reminds of smoking meats. Tom heads for his cookbook, licking his lips. thinking barbecue barbecue barbecue all the way.

Scents stimulate the appetites or repel them. Such is their purpose. Perfume - oh, so delightful. The trash can, not so much.

Thanking God today for eyesight and nosesmell.

And my little log cabin gaily smoking.

Monday, March 01, 2010

1/31 - Hibernation Ends

Thirty-one days in March. Shall I attempt to post on each one of them? Perhaps. At any rate, this is the first one, done on the first day, March First.

March is a friendly month. Spring arrives. Rain. Sun. Flowers. Leaves. Hope. One has the pleasure of leisurely observing the Warm Season's approach.

I like it.

Hibernation is behind. Once again I wake up, stretch, glance around. Ah yes, the good Earth awakens with me.

Creative juices flow, invigorated anew after the long gray season.

Appetite surprises.

"I feel like making lasagna."

So I do.

It's gone now.

But not forgotten.