xoxo, me

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Colorado, United States

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No Time To Say Hello Goodbye.

I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

Well, not so much late as over-committed.  Over-booked. Overwhelmed. Deadlines looming all at once.  Yikes stripes.

But 4:00 am does have it's advantages. Ten Whee Ones® cut and ready to sew before 7:30 am. And I caught one of these for the first time in weeks.

And in other news ~ our grandkitty has come to live with us.  She had a little house tour with Gramps this morning.

We tend to give our animals nicknames.  She's already Boda Butter or Boda Buddah or Boda Buddha.  I'm sure there will be more. Stay tuned for the adventures of Boda the City Cat in suburbia-land.  Y

Monday, April 29, 2013

Anticipating Summer. Right.

Spring finally said hello to Colorado over the weekend!

(Of course this is a tulip from 2012.  
After seven snows this month my tulips this year are, umm... struggling.)

Temperatures in the upper 70's had me thinking about breaking out the shorts (and crossing my fingers they still fit); putting the boots in the back of the closet and bringing out the Tom's.  

I scrubbed the winter off the deck tables and chairs thought about the veggies I want to plant.

(A tad early to plant yet, so this is a Polaroid from a couple of years ago.)

Screens were put in the windows, the patio doors opened wide to let the great outdoors in.  And the best thing about that is the sounds and scents that drift in ~~

The boats on the lake in the distance

A soft breeze blowing thru the grass...

The scent of fresh flowers on the windowsill in my studio

So we're happy and thinking warm thoughts of summertime fun.

And then I heard the weather forecast this morning.  81 degrees and sunny today. Yay!  

And Wednesday, May 1... 

I have no words.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Good Guys Win

Sometimes people come along who totally restore my faith in humanity.

David Henneberry is one of those people. Never heard of him?  He is the guy who discovered Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, hiding in his boat out behind his house.  Not only did he alert police thus bringing an end to the nightmare Boston had been living for days, but he did something really awesome after that as well.

A thoughtful and generous man in Texas started a fund to repair Henneberry's boat and the effort snowballed.  Before he knew it $50,000 had been raised ~ enough to replace the boat!  

Henneberry was grateful but philosophically responded, "It makes me feel wonderful that people are thinking like that, but it is my boat. People lost their lives and lost limbs. I'd rather [that money] go to One Fund Boston. To buy me a new boat is a wonderful thing. I don't want that, really. They lost limbs. I lost a boat."  

(Wait. Here's a tissue for ya'.)

I read somewhere later that he added that he had a canoe out back.  That will do until he can afford a new boat.

Some people.  Some people are the reason the Good will always outweigh the bad.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Oh, Lordie... It's All About the Food

I married into a family of foodies.  I mean people who really love food. Who get super excited over food. Who can spend hours - I mean hours - in a grocery store. I once stopped with my sweet mother-in-law at King Soopers to pick up cheese - just cheese.  Two hours later we're in line and she says, "Oh honey, I forgot the cheese!"  

Put them in some place like the fancy dancy King Soopers on Leetsdale in Denver and they can spend a day there.  I'm not kidding.  Take them to a Farmer's Market and you would be wise to bring along your Kindle because it'll be a loooong day.  Give them a menu in a restaurant and they will pour over every item and "oooo" and "aaaaahhhh" for what seems an eternity.

Don't get me wrong ~ I love them all. Food ~ and preparing meals ~ has always just kind of been one more thing I have to do. Sometimes I enjoy cooking; but more often than not, it's just one more thing to do at the end of a busy day.

Time together with these foodies I love - whether it be a celebration, a serious conversation or an impulsive, spontaneous get together - always centers around food. Whether it be breakfast

or lunch (the favorite time to meet)

or dinner (if we can stay up that late)

A birthday requires cake

or perhaps something a bit healthier

So when the mister became friends with a new-to-Denver, extremely talented caterer, Katie, who makes delicious meals and the her equally talented artist husband, Chris, delivers them right to your door ~ well, he was over the moon excited to give it a try. I was intrigued but having grown up in a household where you do everything for yourself, it seemed like a luxury I didn't quite deserve. But busy as we are (and I would not have had a moment's hesitation a couple of months ago when an Indie Design/Production project had me working 16 hours days!) I consented to give the idea a try.

One of our first meals was a pasta dish (the pic doesn't do it justice but I was in a hurry to dig in) that had me going back for seconds and I had to stop myself from thirds...

Besides the delicious food the other thing I love about The Spicy Radish is all your meals are delivered in Be Green containers ~ every bit of the packaging is recyclable.  YES!  My kind of people! No Styrofoam here thank you very much!

The chicken burgers with dill, roasted red peppers and feta with a caper aioli sauce and roasted sweet potato fries on the side were unbelievably yummy.

And then we have things like the beet, orange and feta salad and spicy garlicky shrimp with orzo that I love but would never make for myself.

So, yeah... it took all of one week to say "Sold!" on the idea of The Spicy Radish making weekly deliveries to our home.

And we are noticing other great benefits to this wonderful home delivery ~ like did you know there is a light in the refrigerator?  And I have glass shelves! For once the fridge isn't full of all manner of leftovers we never eat and bits and drips of things we don't need. 

Which brings me to the other good thing ~ for the most part we are staying out of the grocery stores. Which eliminates all those impulsive food purchases that (a) we don't need and (b) we often don't even eat beyond the first couple of bites that tempted us to buy them in the first place.

And because we're not spending time and money in the grocery stores (other than quick trips for milk, bread and the essentials) we are saving some serious coin!

So this is a total win-win situation.  And I promise from now on I will be shooting the food properly with my real camera rather than my phone.  Because Katie's food deserves the best!  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Creative Gene

"Asking someone to help you create is like asking someone to salt your food ~~ it has to be to your taste."  *Edie Brickell*

When I heard that it clicked with me immediately.  And I was reminded of times when well-meaning folk have tried to "help" me be creative.  For the longest time I thought it was just my stubborn nature that rejected their advice. I know better now.

A friend walked along with me on a little photo shoot while we were vacationing together one time.  It took a lot of patience (something I am not known for) to bite my tongue every time it was suggested "Oh you should shoot that ~ from this angle." "Oh come over here, get that."  "Oh stand here."

In my head I'm screaming, "You're so good ~ why don't you pick up a damn camera and just do it yourself?"  

Did I mention patience is not my strong suit?

And it is why custom orders of my little Whee Ones® et al are challenging for me.  I almost always say yes to an idea and am usually pleased at the end result ~ particularly when the customer is pleased.  But it's difficult.  When I create a product I make a sketch and design a pattern.  I tweak a lot and usually make a couple of prototypes before I see sitting in front of me what I envisioned in my head.  So when I have to create someone else's vision ~ well, it is really a challenge.

Some are easier

than others...

All that being said, I have learned recently what it means to be a collaborative artist ~ to work with people as part of a team.  It was challenging, yes; but really rewarding once it all started flowing.  I learned so much not only creatively but personally.  Although it was I who took images from a page and brought them to life, chances are I won't be credited with design. But that's part of the deal.  And how things go sometimes.  And how we learn to take things to the next level next time.

So I've learned I can do both ~ I can work alone and I can work as part of a team.  Both are rewarding in different ways.  In the end I am just grateful that I have this creative gene (thank you, Mom) and I have so many artistic interests I really could use more than one lifetime to master them all.  

Oh, and that quote at the beginning of this post?  The one from Edie Brickell? She is a singer/songwriter who just happens to be married to Paul Simon. For 20 years. Yeah. That Paul Simon.  Her statement was in response to a question asking if his music influenced her music.  

She's awesome.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What? Me Worry? It's 3 am isn't it?!

Worry is the most useless emotion.  Well there's guilt ~ that's useless, too because if you're feeling guilty it's already too late.  Whatever you're feeling guilty about has already happened and there's usually not a lot you can do to remedy that.

But back to worry, because I'm a pro. If they gave degrees for worrying I would be a PhD. I'm a 3:00 am worrier. I can count on at least three or four mornings a week opening one eye to check out those red digits on that little wooden block next to the bed and sure enough - they are usually led by a "3."  

Dr. Wayne Dyer says those early morning hours ~ right around 3:00 ~ is when God talks to you.  Well, if that's true, God has a sick sense of humor and he really gets a kick out of waking me up. (3:00 am is also when those pesky paranormal activities start but that's another story for another day.) Because undoubtedly all these worries start swirling in my mind like a mix-master and they build on each other and no matter how hard I try, they aren't going to let me return to the land of nod.

I worry about getting my products to my stores in a timely manner and filling special orders asap.

No one has ever complained but customer service is huge for me and that includes keeping my shop owners happy and their shops well-stocked.

I worry about my kids. Who are adults now and doing quite well on their own.

But I'm a Mom until I die and even then I'll probably worry about my kids for about three days.

I worry about the mister and his stress level and his health and that he works all the time and when he has time off he's exhausted...

And yet I've never met anyone who can multi-task like that guy, keep smiling and keep going.

I worry about my Mom.

Who at 94.5 runs circles around me. So go figure.

I worry about my in-laws who are such dear people. 

But one can't stop the years...

And along those same lines, I worry about A-choo.  She's 20 years old.

And really cranky sometimes.

I worry about Simba who used to love to go to the park.

Now at 15.5 she is happy just to walk a couple of blocks to pick up the mail and go home.

I worry about guns and bombs and innocent people being hurt.  I worry about how stupid the "leaders" in our country have become.  But don't get me started. Seriously. You don't want me to go there.

I worry about my cholesterol and my liver and my sodium and my calcium and my risk for diabetes and high blood pressure and everything else I read on my recent blood test results from the 9Health Fair. Freaks me out, man. Although every year when I read those I become the classic hypochondriac. And every year I live to take another blood test.

That being said, I thought I was a fairly healthy eater; but I guess I need to step that whole thing up and the exercise as well.

The one thing those annoying 3 am worry wake up calls do for me?  The only good thing that comes of them? They give a really swift kick-start to my work day.

And in the end ~ that's all worry does. Gets me up and productive at an early hour. None of the things I woke up worrying about have changed and there is nothing I can do to change any of them anyway.

Useless emotion. Bah.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just Go With It.

I promised myself I wouldn't whine about the snow again today.  It started snowing yesterday afternoon, continued thru the night and is still coming down at 9 am. And it's April 23.

That kind of sounded like whining, didn't it?  Ok, so my whining reminds me of a quote I read recently:

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on Earth. Then I ask myself the same question."
*Harun Yahya*

As much as I yearn to live near the big blue ocean 

and aspire to live that quote ~ and I do in my head ~ in real life it's not practical.  Gah.  I hate being practical. 

The mister and I have jobs, we have a home, we have four-legged people with fur, we have elderly parents ~ all of whom depend on us to be there when they need us.  We have responsibilities.

I'm the lucky one who can do what I do from anywhere in the country.  And although the mister can access clients from anywhere in the country, he also needs to be available to be on site physically when needed.

I am realizing that at almost 60 some of my dreams may have to remain just that ~ dreams.  My days of changing things in my life every three or four years are gone.  We know now that - providing we are fortunate to stay in good health - we have about 15+ years to work like hell and bank it.  We are the type of people who will never "retire" because we love what we do.  But someday it will be nice to slow the pace a bit; take a little more time off to spend near my beloved oceans.

So I had a bit of an epiphany this morning. The quote "Bloom where you are planted" is so cliche and a bit saccharin for my taste but it's kind of where I'm at.  

And I could be in worse places. Denver is a cool city

We are a short drive from the gorgeous mountains I moved here for 39 years ago

And at the end of my street I have space to wander 

I'm a two hour flight from the Pacific I love

So for the next few years we will feather our nest and make our home completely ours, exactly how we want it.  (Finally)

We will make a concerted effort to balance work and play more

And remember that life can change in a heartbeat.  And when you make plans, God laughs. And everything I just wrote could be irrelevant tomorrow.

See?  I still thrive on change.  Gah.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Salute to Sunday Mornings

One of the longest running television shows on air today is CBS Sunday Morning  It first aired on January 28, 1979 and I've been watching ever since.  I tune in on Sunday mornings at 8 am knowing I will learn something and be delightfully entertained.  I love the things they find to share with us ~ obscure and interesting people in the world of art and music, a famous person thrown in here and there, as well as some plain and simple funny stuff. There are a fair share of serious reports as well; but I have to admit it is the cultural segments that really wow me.

For instance ~ yesterday I learned what plants know

I enjoyed an interview with one of my favorite guys Alan Alda which really touched on something I wrote about just yesterday.  I was talking about technology and how we should never assume people know what we're talking about.  Alan Alda is saying the same thing about science and scientists.  Those folks are so smart (I know a few personally - and yowza - are they smart) ~ but science is a language unto itself.  So when, say, scientists go to Capitol Hill to testify and try to solicit funding for research, most of the people they are talking to don't have a clue what they are saying. Which doesn't make congress people really anxious to give them money.

So Professor Alda is teaching scientists how to relate to the lay person so they can understand.  Not to dumb it down - just to make things more relatable.  

I have observed my mister doing that when speaking IT with clients.  He talks in terms that they can understand - not to demean or insult them; but just so they can relate.

(Working in the IT field does have it's advantages.  And disadvantages.)

And finally I can usually count on something in a CBS Sunday Morning broadcast to touch my heart.  Especially in light of the tragedies last week with the Boston Marathon bombing and the explosion in West, Texas a story on dealing with regret made us think about how life can change on a dime.  And how important it is to let our loved ones know each day how precious they are.

It prompted the mister to walk up to me with a hug and say, "I'm sorry we had a disagreement on Friday."  (Wait. Here's a tissue for ya')

So if you've never caught the program grab a cuppa' and tune in some Sunday  morning.  I think you will enjoy. :)