Thursday, December 31, 2009

The long and winding road

Funny thing about clichés – they bombard our vocabulary even while being held in contempt by lovers of language and literary nobility. They have, however, woven their way into our vernacular because they have merit. They are born from repetitious truth.

With that in mind may I say, “My how time flies.”

One of my last clear memories was sometime early in August when I decided to sell me house. The remainder of that month was lost to combat against cobwebs and dust bunnies, hours spent with brush in hand and paint in my hair, scouring and scrubbing that left my weary bones in need of a Calgon moment.

September was my month of upkeep. Fluffing the pillows, wiping the counters, and chasing down pet hair in an attempt to keep the home front ready for that last minute viewing. The lawn must be trim, the windows sparkling, the bathroom spotless. I fell into a vortex of cleanliness that led to exhaustion which was compounded by fitful sleep as I worried the place would never sell.

In early October an angel walked in the door. “I love it, I’ll take it,” she said and I barely had a moment to revel in the good news than the onslaught of inspections began. This was a harrowing month. My home was 80 years old and while charming and full of character, she was also showing every bit of her age. I think I held my breath for about 45 days waiting for some awful defect to surface.

I squeaked through multiple inspections by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin and was a wreck as I waited for the dreaded gas utility visit. When that last inspector gave me a “pass” I did a little jig in my basement as he backed away in horror. I would have kissed him except he really was quite sweaty.

With the reality looming that I soon would not have a place to live, I launched into a frantic search for a rental. All the anxiety up to this point was suddenly a minor blip compared to the ordeal of finding a clean, safe, affordable new home. Not to disparage all landlords, but why don’t they clean up decomposing mice before they show the house? And don’t they realize a fresh coat of paint would certainly help justify the exorbitant rent.

After hours and hours on craigslist I lucked upon a tidy ranch; fresh, bright, a little bland but it would be a nice place to call home. It had everything I needed and a few bonus features: good location, space for a home office, nice kitchen, pristine bath, fenced yard, and a large breezeway for a 3-season garden room.

I moved the day after Thanksgiving. The relocation went smoothly without a single horror story to tell. While I do not pine for my old house, I soon realized what creatures of habit we are. The emotional upheaval was amplified by silly little things – having to sleep on the other side of the bed, mistakenly driving home to the old place, the frustration of finding my way around a new grocery store.

While the past few months remain a blur, the feelings of time lost were swept away as I realized in an unexpected moment how magically everything came together. The disorder of my life was replaced in a nano second by the richness of a fresh perspective.

So as I am propelled into another decade I ardently embrace one more cliché – “Out with the old, in with the new.”


Note to Friends from the Blogosphere: Honestly, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. I wonder what delight and silliness and drama is filling up your lives. I miss you; I miss your creativity and your generosity of spirit. I send heartfelt wishes to you all for a new year filled with comfort and joy, peace and goodwill.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The evolution of a blogger

One year, 27 days and 161 posts ago, I officially became a blogger.

It all started with an offhand comment from a friend. I was deep in the throes of job hunting and seriously frustrated with the process. I had been stood up, made to do role play and the final straw -- one of my interviewers fell asleep.

As I was moaning about my experiences and prattling on about the undignified world of the job search, my friend said, “Why don’t you write a blog.”

It took a minute for my brain to process the idea. Then I laughed. If you’ve read my masthead, you know I am a self-professed luddite and the thought of jumping into the blogosphere was skulking no where in my universe.

That night I woke up in the wee hours and instead of counting sheep, I started a one-person brainstorming session about blog possibilities. The next day I logged on to blogger.

The original concept was to rant about the idiocy of potential employers as a means to ease some frustration and maybe amuse a few simpatico cyber surfers. But as I jumped into writing, I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm for a good rant. It seemed so self-absorbed, so whiny, so “who cares.”

Instead I began writing in an essay style. Talking about what inspired me, what I enjoyed, how I viewed the world. Sometimes I took two or three days and many hours to finish a post. I searched for the right word, a unique perspective, an original thought. It was relatively satisfying.

Then I began running out of material to write about. Being insightful isn’t so damn easy.

About that time, I started cruising through the blogosphere. I bounced from post to post and was impressed by the creativity, the variety, the fresh voices I found. I wanted to be funny. Then I decided I wanted to be impactful. Or how about writing around a certain theme. Where could I find brilliant photos? Maybe poetry. Maybe fiction. I could do recipes or talk about gardening.

Enough already!!! I was making myself crazy trying to catch up with everyone else. Wanting to be as good. Trying to be better. Trolling for followers. Spending hours making comments.

Thankfully I finally settled down and just started having fun. I locked onto some interesting sites and made good friends. I was impressed by the bounty of generous, kind, talented people hanging out in cyber space. I felt so at home. I was enthralled with the sense of community. I loved the expression.

And I spent way too many hours being consumed by posting and exploring my blog roll.

That brings us to present time. The phase I am in now I would say is a classic case of burn out. It’s fairly typical of my personality – diving in feet first, keeping a frantic pace, eventually wearing down my enthusiasm.

But before it’s never been such a dilemma.

I don’t want to walk away from the blogosphere, but it seems…so ….uncommitted? half-hearted?.... to do it with one foot in, one foot out. The conundrum is the fence I am riding.

This was a long winded way of saying, you’re not going to be seeing as much of me. I think maybe I am morphing into a lurker. I will be hanging out in your comment pop-up box and when you least expect it, a tart response will appear. Maybe I will even have something to post about once in a while. Maybe not.

A couple of months back I did a Six Word Saturday post, half of which said I was: “embracing the unexpected”. Bottom line -- that could be what this shift is all about. I am clearing the deck for what is coming next in my life.

When I find out what that is, I will let you know.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blingee Flingee

The sparkly stuff has arrived. Some came willingly, others were badgered into the world of glitter, but everyone had fun making wild creations.

Here are participant masterpieces in order of arrival in my inbox.

"Sarah Trooper" by Some Guy from a blog of the same name.

Personalized Glitter Graphics

Kathleen at Easy For Me to Say pays tribute to Mr. B.

Mr B and Loro
Add Glitter to Pictures

Nancy from Life in the Second Half creates a sparkly ode to nature.

Create cool Profile Comments

VA, who brings us Vegetable Assassin, wanted to offer up the "cheeseyist" glitter.

Zig a Zig Ah
Glitter Graphics

Dee aka "Lindy MacDuff" at Mike & D's Life in the Hoosier State and Beyond gets friendly with a favorite Scotsman.

Late Late Night Host
Make custom Glitter Graphics

Lori, who shares great adventures on Lori Times Five, pays hommage to the King of Beasts.

Life in the Bush
Make custom Glitter Graphics

And last, but certainly not least, ds from Third-Storey Window has been hanging out with the Bard.

Glitter Graphics
Glitter Graphics

Thank you everyone for putting some sparkle into your life, and into ours.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blingee nation

Uncle Sam for Prattle
Glitter Graphics

Hello! Anybody out there in the blogosphere?

My request for Blingee creations has been woefully ignored, having received only a few entries to date. Interestingly, those who did submit a sparkly masterpiece all said the same thing..."Gee, that was fun."

So, see what you're missing. A creative process. The opportunity to wow your fellow bloggers. The chance to attach shiny stuff to digital pixels.

It's not too late. Click here for details. Wednesday, September 16, at midnight is the deadline. Looking forward to your razzle and dazzle.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Looking back

As Labor Day approaches, I’m not saddened by the loss of summer, but thankful at the prospect of fall. While spring may be the most eagerly awaited season, with the puppy dog anticipation of crocus shoots and longer days, autumn brings a sigh of relief with its colorful, cool days.

Spring gets you pumped up; autumn encourages you to let go.

In February and March, I find myself looking out the window at my garden, brown and trodden. I watch for the first green sprout to show itself among the soggy leaves. One by one as the early daffodils, daylilies and iris present themselves, my heart pumps faster with each green bud. Like a bear coming out of hibernation, my spirit starts to stir.

By April I find myself circling the perimeter of my yard. Sometimes two or three times a day. What’s growing new today, I wonder. By May the peonies are emerging so quickly I would swear they leap up when my back is turned. My heart soars when I notice the first buds on the hydrangea, so you can imagine the exaltation when the apple tree glows pink with blossoms.

And then before you know it, it’s July. Hot, humid, relentless, with the steamy days, blazing sun and breezeless nights. The leaves of the peonies become crispy brown. The lawn forsakes all hope that spring promised. Slugs, beetles, thrips beat you down with their tenacity.

O fall where art thou?

Labor Day is summer’s last hurrah. Who cares if I can no longer wear white...I can see a rosy touch of pink in the sky, hear a note of reprieve in the birds’ song, and feel a kiss of coolness in the night air. While I’m so happy to fill pots with flowers as spring begins, I find myself in August longing for the day when I can store the hose away.

Until it begins all over again in a few months.

(Reprinted from last year because my creativity is on the wane.)


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blingee Free-For-All

Bono and Bill
Personalized Glitter Graphics

Hear ye! Hear ye! I am calling for an official end to the August blogging absenteeism. Some of us (including myself) have been MIA for one reason or another. I've missed visiting you and commenting. I've also missed reading your comments on Prattle. get everyone back into the swing of things and exercising their creative muscle, I am hosting a Blingee Free-For-All. Take yourself to the home of glitter and sparkle by visiting From there the process is pretty intuitive. Making a twinkling masterpiece is free -- and fun for all ages.

No rules. No regulations. (Though I am a PG rated blog, not XXX.) Choose your image and add shiny crap to it. Send your entries to by September 16th. That's one week to razzle and dazzle.

You must send me the Blingee "code". Once you've finished your entry, there will be a link right next to the photo that will take you to the code location. Choose photo size #3 (280x280) and cut 'n' paste the full code text into your email. If I don't have the code, I won't have the sparkle.

Don't forget to include your name/blog title so proper credit can be given.

I will post all entries by September 18th and visitors will have a chance to comment on the creations. Sorry, no actual prize is being offered, just the opportunity to showcase your talent. Hopefully, you will also make us laugh.

NOTE: Lurkers are welcome to play along. You don't need to have a blog to participate.

Now...on your mark, get ready, get set.....Bling me!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dum da dum dum... dum

With that milestone birthday getting closer and closer (oh, the horror), I have been thinking about what I want for the next phase of my life. Here are my big day wishes:

I always be resourceful and moving with the flow of life.

I be the eternal optimist.

I keep being interested so that I may be interesting.

I wish....that I will never lose the twinkle in my eye.

I wish....that if I ever have a moment like this somebody will shoot me.

I always have a sense of humor.

(This photo is dedicated to Rudee.)

Here's hoping all my wishes come true. And yours, too.

CREDITS: Images are courtesy of my resource coordinator, the lovely Kathy Vina.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Now what?

Yesterday was my Open House.

After three weeks of frantic prep leading to the nerve wracking event, it was all over in two short hours

A last minute walkthrough before the appointed time was a little unnerving. The sterile kitchen was a field of sleek, empty countertops. My desk was so naked it refracted the sunshine and made me squint in the glare. The freshly planted geraniums in the planters startled me every time I saw their blazing color through the window.

As I surveyed my staged environment, I couldn’t help but wonder…“Who lives here?” It felt as though much of my personality had been stuffed into drawers along with the clutter.

Traffic for the event was good, not great. About twelve nice folks came through, and not one apparent psycho among them. It took me a while to get my rhythm. The first lookers I’m sure found me very stiff and uncomfortable. Then I relaxed into the flow and got into a laid back salesmanship role.

I think there were a few good prospects, friends of neighbors who were familiar with the area and loved the house. But I didn’t hear those magic words I had so fiercely anticipated….”I love it! I’ll take it!”

After pulling the open sign from the street and turning off all the lights, I fell on the bed in a weary heap (next to the stoner dog who was tranquilized for the event). Every waking hour of the past few weeks had been filled with purpose. There were chores, there were exacting schedules, there was a deadline to be met.

Now what?

As tired as I was, it was hard to just chill. My body and brain had been rewired to be constantly in motion. Being still was not a recent option.

So as my mind continued to whirl, I contemplated next steps. More advertising. More flyers. Spread the word. Keep the house clean. Hold a good thought.

I’m hoping this is not a never-ending story.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Progress report

Look. There it is. Can you see it? It's the light at the end of the tunnel. I finally feel like I'm seeing an end to the cleaning, painting, sprucing, gardening, as I get my home ready to sell.

The major projects are complete (knock on wood) and I'm moving on to the final touches. A little primping and staging. Final check for dust bunnies and cobwebs lurking in the hinder regions. Last minute refinements. Fluff the pillow, arrange the flowers. Breathe a big sigh of relief. Well, not quite yet. I have to sell it first.

I've got to admit -- I'm dead tired. The days have been long and I've used muscles that don't get worked on the weight training circuit. I fall dead asleep only to wake up at one in the morning with horrible thoughts that I don't even want to put in writing. Then I toss and turn like the devil's in my bed.

But at the same time I've got a proud sense of satisfaction as I look around and see sparkling tile and shiny clean windows. The touches of new paint are giving a fresh appeal. The decluttering of table and desk tops make the rooms feel sleek and airy.

Now it's time to turn to the main man for help. Aside from some shrewd marketing I'm putting in place, the sale of my home is in the hands of St. Joseph. I really was not comfortable with the thought of burying the poor guy, upside down no less. I mean really, who thought of that? Then a friend said she just said a prayer to him and placed the statue in a cozy cabinet. Her house sold the first day. Yay. No dirt, no head stands.

I searched for pictures of St. Joseph and came across this sweet one. Typically you see him holding the baby Jesus, but I like that here he is in his own house and even has a dog!

My open house is Sunday. I'm praying for good weather. I'm praying for a good turn out. I'm asking for a solid buyer (no psycho fanatics,please). I am hopeful. I am optimistic. I will keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The little engine that could

Sweeping. Dusting. Mopping. Washing. Sneezing. Pruning. Weeding. Edging. Taping. Painting. Scraping. Wheezing. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

That's pretty much been my life the past week and the reason I am MFTB (missing from the blogosphere).

As I plunge into the process of getting my home ready to sell, there have been moments of great satisfaction when it seems like progress is being made. There was also one wildly fretful episode when a gaze around the 80 year old basement was so overwhelming I fell into a dark spinning fog of high anxiety.

Cobwebs have been splitting and reproducing faster than a drunken amoeba. I cannot get the smell of latex gloves off my hands. My hair and body form a kaleidoscope of paint colors.

Yesterday I was reeling in a complete panic, crazed by the scope of work needing to be done. Then last night I watched a show called "The Hoarders" on A&E. Seeing those poor people squeezing through narrow paths etched out in the waist high debris that completely filled their homes, my vigor and determination returned.

In a random flick of the channel my tasks suddenly seemed very doable. You gotta love synchronicity.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Movin' on

A few months back I wrote a post titled "Shift Happens". It was about those times in your life when you suddenly see things differently or when you head off unexpectedly in a new direction. For reasons, maybe obvious or maybe unknown, the universe gives you a little nudge, the winds change and your life, along with the energy around you, shifts its course.

Well, I find myself in the maelstrom of a "status quo interuptus".

This is what happens when you take some down time to recharge and re-evaluate. It's during that peaceful reverie, that self reflection, that the nudge comes and you find yourself bumped into a new frame of mind.

And that is not a bad thing.

To get myself moving in a new direction, I've decided to sell my house. It's something I've considered for a while and when that shift hit, I was ready to accept the change.

Yes, the process is going to be stressful, but I'm looking to the end result and I know that optimistic outlook will get me through the turbulence. Right now what I'm knee deep in and not loving is the cleaning and painting, and painting and cleaning.

There is something satisfying, though, in seeing the boxes of crap ascending out of my basement and filling up the dumpster. Something devilishly delightful in knowing the crabgrass will be the new owner's problem. Something quite jubilant about the anticipation of setting up in a new home. (I'm a Virgo, I love organization.)

The down side, sadly, is that this wild work schedule of clean up and freshen up will keep me away from the blogosphere for a while. The upside is that when I return I am sure I will have keen stories to tell about the basketball-sized dust bunnies lurking behind the dresser, lookie-loos testing my pesky nature and the plethora of nasty rental properties.

Until then, remain in good cheer and embrace the unexpected.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Gone fishin'

While the saying "gone fishin'" is in this context just a metaphor, it does convey my current state of mind. I'm feeling the need to recharge, rejuvenate, re-evaluate. So I'm going to take some time away from blogging and wallow in a state of reverie.

Hanging out in the blogosphere has become so second nature to me that stepping away for a while will put me into a bit of withdrawal, but I know I will be back. Maybe in two days, maybe in two weeks.

Keep on being creative and sassy and honest and irreverent. I hope you all will be here when I return.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What's on your fridge?

Finally this past weekend I convinced myself I could no longer put off cleaning the house. Part of that frenzy was to strip away some of the clutter that has been accumulating on my refrigerator. Here are a few selected items.

Starting with vintage postcards...

This face always makes me laugh.

This is from way before the time of Photoshop, so I don't know if it's a manipulated image or just three really happy sibling kittens.

This is Coney Island c. 1938. Gadzooks...look at that mass of humanity.

I got this from a fortune cookie a couple years ago. I'm waiting, waiting...

Here I am looking quite pleased to be photographed with the dude who plays Jackson Montgomery on All My Children.

A friend sent this to me in a birthday card a few years back. Hardeeharhar.

I just love this comic strip, "Rose is Rose".

A few of my cutesy magnets that were yard sale finds.

This postcard doubles as a finger puppet. You can print it off on card stock, cut out the hole and enjoy hours of fun at your next party.

What's on your fridge?


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pass-a-long of the week

Every now and then you might be fortunate enough to stumble upon someone who adds a distinctive voice to your life. For me, Steve Almond is one of those people.

He’s not a guru of any sort, nor a noted genius, or a loving spiritual guide, but he has a couple of talents that I admire and he’s a man who stands up for his beliefs. (Don’t go thinking Gandhi, but more along the lines of 70’s counter-culture disciple)

I can’t even remember how I became acquainted with him, but if you are ever in a state of mind where you need a good laugh – I mean a from the gut rip roaring snort – then you should read his book, “candyfreak”.

This man knows more about packaged sweets than any other human being on this planet. “candyfreak” is his wacky memoir of a truly wild addiction.

Aside from writing, he served as adjunct professor in creative writing at Boston College for five years until publishing an open letter of resignation in the Boston Globe in which he explained that his resignation was intended to protest the selection of Condoleezza Rice as the college's 2006 commencement guest speaker. That’s the standing up for his beliefs part that I mentioned earlier.

The other dimension Steve adds to my life is his knowledge of music. I subscribe to his newsletter and a couple of times a year he will send out a list of recommendations. We’re talking mostly below the radar talent that you likely would never encounter had you not be privy to his thoughts. Well, at least it’s fresh to a music dud like me.

Here are a few picks from his recent list:

Raphael Saadiq, The Way I See It (Sony, 2008)
Am I honestly tipping a solo album by a Tony! Toni! Toné! alum? To mis-quote our last black president, when questioned as to whether he enjoyed pollinating Gennifer Flowers ... You bet I am. This is pure soul from the Philly wing of the party. "Sure Hope You Mean It" ranks as the greatest hidden track never released by the Platters. (I second this recommendation. One of my favorite CDs in a long time.)

Charlie Mars, Like a Bird, Like a Plane, (Rockingham Records, 2009)
Charlie got tipped a few years back and he returns now, having thrown off the bridle of country for something more atmospheric, a kind of Pink Floyd under the influence of Marley vibe. Call it stoner sex jelly. And spread liberally.

Johnny Flynn, A Larum, (Mercury Records, 2008)
Tommy Finks put me onto Flynn, who makes folk rock of the nimblest British sort. Think Fairport Convention with a brogue, or Nick Drake with a bit more vim in his vigor. It's all joy and mischief, guitars strummed by sprites and a reedy tenor.

Clare Burson, Silver and Ash.
A softly devastating suite of songs that reveal themselves with the slow grace of an antique music box. There's a story here, subtle but persistent, about the people who came before us, and the miracle of our births.

Ike Reilly, Poison the Hit Parade, (Six Siren, 2008)
Still ugly, still making pretty things. The Ike delivers another blow to the temple of corporate rock. "When the Plant Shuts Down" offers a blistering vision of what the recession might do to wake our conscience.

Eric Hutchinson, Sounds Like This, (Warner Brothers, 2008)
Madonna was all ready to roll Hutchinson out as the Next Big Thing. Then her label tanked. Then the internets found him. Then he got another deal. And now his first LP is here, a creamsicle of sweet sunny pop.

If you just want to listen without purchase commitment, I often find CDs through my library. Then if it’s good, I can rip it to my computer. I also joined MySpace because they have an amazing music collection. You can create your own playlist, perfect for background tunes while you are blogging. The playlist is free but downloads do have a fee.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

BloggerCon...costumes optional

Recently I have been having fun thinking about organizing a Blogger convention. Rather like ComicCon, only without Super Heroes. And where costumes are optional.

Then today I’m trolling blogs and I start seeing these references to BlogHer who was hosting a conference this past weekend. Why am I the last to know? I visited the BlogHer site and scanned through the agenda.

Here’s a sample:

• The Transformational Power of Blogging
• MommyBlogging: Have You Found your Mommy Blogging Tribe?
• “Balance” is a Big, Fat, Lying, McLiar LIE for Moms who Blog
• Blogs & Body Image: What are we teaching our kids?
• You Are Not Your Disease, You Just Blog About It Every Day
• Business of You: Brands and Bloggers
• What is "Pro-Woman" in a Post-Palin World?
• Advanced Social Media, Syndication and Stats


The convention I had in mind would be much more about fun. In many ways, I feel I have found my “tribe” and now I just want to meet all of you. There would be massive socializing, lots of eating and drinking, sharing of ideas, toasting great posts and no gender requirements.

There would also be a few speakers and presentations just to keep up the pretense of a work connection so we could write off the expense.

Here’s how it’s playing in my mind.

The first thing I would do is have drollgirl and sallymandy up to my room for a wardrobe consultation. Working/not working from home for so long has left me fashion impaired.

Then on to happy hour where Lola is going to demonstrate how to make Limoncello and Eddie Bluelights will lead the conga line. While we’re feeling mellow and before we’re completely socko, Cormac will arouse our senses with a reading from his latest pulp fiction and Quirkyloon will bring us up to date on the threat of Zombies.

We’ll break into smaller groups for dinner, where I will meet up with Kathleen, Rudee, ds and DistractedBSO so we can catch up on private lives and I can finally learn more of the affection for keens, how to knit and resources for poetry and images.

After dinner is rabble-rouser time, so Vegetable Assassin and I will grab a Mexican brew and sit in her airstream goofing on people walking by.

For the next day’s presentation I haven’t fully thought out the agenda, but it could be something like this:

How to make world class videos about absolutely nothing.
- presented by Some Guy

Round table: Creating an international community within the blogosphere, for fun, not profit.
- Panel members: Woman of No Importance, LoriX5, Ribbon and Purest Green

How to create multiple posts every day while having a full time job and still having a life.
- presented by Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein

Irreverence/satire/irony – punch up your writing style with humor.
- presented by Comedy Goddess

Round table: Having fun with social issues.
- Panel members: Lakeviewer, Utah Savage, Lover of Life

Whaddya say? Are you in? Let me know your ideas so I can pull together a proposal for funding and send it off to those good folks at Blogger.

Photo: ComicCon image sourced through Google


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Six word Saturday

Tossing my cares to the wind.

Six Word Saturday is hosted by Cate.

Photo credit: Reuters


Friday, July 24, 2009

Unique perspective

It's all about how we see things, isn't it?

Images were sent via email by my friend, Kathy/Vina; no photo credits were included.