Sunday, November 30, 2008
today is the last day of november. nablopomo is fini! posting every day was challenging, but I am so glad I did it. I must say again how much I admire those of you who do this on a regular basis or even five days a week.
I took the challenge on a whim. I must have been bored that day and/or had one too many cups of joe. but I actually learned some things along the way. you see, my friends, I am a starter. I do not do so well at finishing. I have tremendous sparks of energy and creativity at the beginning of projects, plans, ideas, events, but soon happily hand the details over to more capable and reliable souls. but there really was no one to delegate to here. so I carried on. digging deeper for ideas, words, images: going out and experiencing little things to have something to post. in a concentrated timespan of one month, it really did prove to me that this blogging thing we've got going here is pretty amazing stuff.
thanks for staying with me.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
after a good night's sleep (wonderful!), I woke up early and laid in bed thinking about life and whether or not it was truly wonderful. and by whose definition of wonderful? and is it life itself or our reaction to our lives that make it wonderful or not so much?
last week I had a conversation with a friend who I think is truly brilliant. she asked me the question, "if you could decide, at the moment just prior to life, whether to do it or not, what would you say?" I looked at her incredulously and said, "of course, yes." granted, the suffering I have endured is at the low end on the scale of human suffering, but still, I've had some events. these falls, assaults, bruises, dark days are what make me who I am. I don't know who I would be if I didn't experience them and, in hindsight at least, am grateful for them. I posed the same question to her and she said, "I think I might sit it out."
I was shocked. a day-long debate ensued on what makes a life worth living. I pulled in another friend (selected because of her bright, cheery disposition, a certain ally for life) and posed the question to her. to my surprise, she expressed some tentativeness and ultimately answered that she too would rather not. what is going on here?
a few months ago, I was half-listening to n.p.r. and a scientist was talking about the chronically depressed and suicidal. he recently completed some research that showed that this population is more accurate in their perception of life events than the rest of us. his research showed that happy people were basically living in a state of denial about the reality of life, that happy people did not score high when being tested on the accuracy of their perceptions to events. it was basically scientific support for the whole "ignorance is bliss" hypothesis.
just prior to this, I was going through a funk and someone loaned me the book happy for no reason. I tried to read it, I really did. but it really bothered me. who is happy for no reason? and do I want to be that? my personal conclusion was that the happy for no reason crowd is teetering on insanity and numbness, carefully avoiding the pitfalls of life (and apparently chronic depression and suicide).
I want to feel human emotion. I want to experience an imperfect human life. I don't want to live a "charmed" life, that's boring. I don't want to walk about with a silly grin on my face (whether or not it's for no reason or chemically induced). I will continue to take risks with my ego and my heart. I don't want to be happy all the time. sometimes you just need to be sad because really sad things are happening. sometimes you need to be angry because sometimes life sucks and people suck and they should know that their suckiness has an effect on humanity. these are the things that make our stories, that build a human life.
what I don't want is for my emotional state to be purely dependent on the events of my life so that I'm only happy when I'm experiencing days like yesterday. the n.p.r. scientist said that happy people have a greater ability to employ the wonderful human defense mechanism that is denial. I'd like a reserve of goodness that I can call on when the moments are less than bright. I think they call that resilience, not denial. that's what I'm aiming for.
life is indeed wonderful in it's complexity.
sometime in the future, I will need to look back at this and remember that my answer was yes.
what is your answer?
this was a long post. if you're curious about more discussion points and information, I've included some interesting links. make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and settle in. I can't locate the show I mentioned above, but have a listen here and here and a look here.
Friday, November 28, 2008
but I did eat some of it. and I enjoyed making the rest of our little thanskgiving feast. I admire those who have the patience and talent to bake. I resist baking because of its exactness, its science, its potential for failure. cooking is just more fluid, with room for improvisation.
my husband wishes I baked more (the photo above serves as a bit of homemaker porn for him, especially with the apron; a smear of flour on my face and it would have been all over.). he loves desserts of all kinds. I can manage a killer chocolate chip cookie and a cupcake here and there, but I have a little ptsd connected to other baking disasters.
my interest in improving my baking skill is growing, ever so slowly. having a peek every now and then at the lovely blog bread & honey sparks the fire; there is just something so grounding about the process.
I'm thinking that baking will be on the birthday list in some form (coming next week).
in the spirit of black friday, everything in my etsy shop is on sale.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I'm hoping for some really good rest time this 4 day weekend. I wish I could sleep like simon. sorry for the blur here, but it was really dark and you have to be ve-wy, ve-wy sneaky to get a shot of this mischievous corgi. simon goes through this whole ritual before crashing. he mills around the bed, poking, turning, digging, trying to find the perfect nesty spot. when the bed is sufficiently destroyed, he retreats to the foot of the bed and assumes this position:
I love simon.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
bold, quirky, stunning, fantastical, interesting, funky: these are the qualities that catch my eye most of the time and make their way into my home and on to my body.
but there is something about pretty. soft, unassuming, graceful and certain of its appeal. there is a lot less disagreement around pretty. it's like a girl named claire; consistently claire. do you know what I mean?
I discovered pink peonies on the flower stand at richmond's trader joe's last week. what a lovely gift for late fall. I carefully carried them with me to a meeting and then sat them in the front seat like precious cargo for the drive home. once home, I emptied the vintage head vase of my makeup brushes; it seemed the only vessel appropriate for magical autumn pink peonies.
pretty, don't you think?
p.s. her name is now claire.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
this one here is really describing how I feel about my camera and my photography. I like that the canon is front and center, in focus. and there I am, a bit pensive, eyes akimbo for all that beauty, color and quirkiness out there.
nablopomo is kicking my butt. posting every day is challenging and I have complete admiration for those bloggers who do it all the time. so far, so good, but don't be surprised if I serve you more than one day of thanksgiving leftovers.
happy tuesday. go take a self-portrait.
Monday, November 24, 2008
saturday I paid a visit to one of my favorite little local shops, portobello road. going there is like going to visit a friend. a friend with a flair for beauty and decor. after a short drive out of the city, past cow pastures and stunning views of the blue ridge mountains, I arrive at the tiny vintage house. the shop's proprietor, jackie, has a natural talent for selection and display (I know this when I enter a store and want to buy, buy, buy every single thing).
portobello road is currently decorated and selling beauty for the holidays. the shop houses a fantastic mix of new decor, gifts, jewelry and vintage clothing and furniture. my favorite room is in the back: sunlit with white, silver and pastel trinkets and a wall of vintage lingerie.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
- will hillary be chosen/accept?
- how am I going to teach the last class of the semester on may 1 and be in london on may 2 for closing night of this?
- do you celebrate christmas/hanukkah/kwanza/other? what do you do? I am so fascinated by holiday traditions other than my own.
- why is it so freakin' cold this november?
- have you seen twilight yet? any comments?
- any book recommendations? the colder it is, the more I'm reading.
- how do you decorate your christmas tree?
- what's the best thing about cold weather? (trying to indulge the bright side, here.)
- do you have any questions for me? (now I sound like I'm doing a forensic interview; work alert!)
happy sunday, sweet ones.
*my curious necklace was made by the beautiful and talented lisa leonard.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
so, you may be wondering about the big blue S...well, lovely ms. aubrey is handing out assignments to list 10 things you like (or that make you happy) that all begin with the same letter. she chose the letter S for me. super!
- scents. currently loving this one and this one and this one.
- smiley face cookies from smith's bakery.
- scottish accents.
- good old-fashioned sass.
- sunset magazine is a little piece of california in my mailbox every month.
- saturdays & sundays.
- the smiths. and every other band that transports me back to my youth, dancing on a crowded dance floor like nobody's business.
- stories. love hearing and reading them and wish I was more skilled at telling them.
happy weekend happy people!
Friday, November 21, 2008
I was all set to write about how grateful I was to get 8 full hours of uninterrupted sleep at the hotel in richmond (no dogs, etc.). while this still makes me happy, what made me happier was coming home.
I am always taken aback by how much I love being home. the endless rustle of three dogs who can't seem to settle down all at once; the presence of the person I share my life with, going about his evening, pausing to gently touch my back or kiss the top of my head, laughing softly at my stories; the comfortable familiarity of my bed, my kitchen, my yard: these are the things that make me happy. they serve as the backdrop of my life; often unnoticed, sometimes annoying, always there. happy.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
my absolute favorite is world of mirth.
if you are ever in the richmond, virginia area, you must spend some time at this happy, happy place.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
he is a rather large (about 18" high) vintage tin toy ferris wheel. I cannot resist smiling when the little cars go 'round and the tiny little bell rings out its circus song. and that smile!
can you help me out with finding hercules here a function in the home other than pure play (not that there's anything wrong with that!)? my idea was to use him as a jewelry holder or key holder or something like that. I dreamed I would effortlessly place him in his perfect funky vintage juxtaposition on the vanity ala amelie or carrie bradshaw's clown table. it doesn't seem to be working. he just ends up looking like a big old toy in a modern setting. do you know the secret to doing this? if so, it would make me very, very happy indeed to know as well.
off to richmond today for two days of meetings and (I hope) a little carytown fun tonight.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
a friend and I are having a disagreement about the lyrics to this iconic song. either way, it's a cup of happiness. and what a lovely thing to disagree on.
this image was shot for our christmas postcards. it makes me so very happy.
a cup of tea, yogi tea to be exact, is just what we need this week. we're both battling killer colds. when I get sick, I tend to become childlike and vulnerable and in need of comfort. before you click away and never come back, one more sick revealing thing about me: I call my tea "yogi and boo-boo" (yogi tea and honey bear, get it?). I hope you come back. I'm not sick very often. and I promise never to speak of this again.
anyway, yogi tea really is the best cure. before bed, you can mix the cold season tea and the kava stress relief tea for a potent, weird dream-inducing and totally restorative sleep.
yogi and boo-boo make me happy.
AND the happy network makes me happiest of all!
have a visit and enjoy these happy lovelies throughout the week. I'm so glad they joined in:
kendalee shows us her glorious Home.
lynne introduces us to lovely jewel.
munted kowhai has beautiful artwork and a photo tour of seattle.
linda sue makes me smile with tiny hats and wee-ones' art.
and heather is taking us to a happy place.
happy week is the best! it really is like a little network of happiness spanning the globe.
it's not too late if you would like to post happiness, let us know in the comments.
Monday, November 17, 2008
- handknit rainbow blankie
- lollygagging in huge bookstores
- grilled cheese sandwiches
- my sweet man
- bare feet on wood floors
- vintage cars (wink to the karmen ghia)
- moroccan lanterns
- my simon (and roxy and luca and really all dogs)
- old neon signs that keep glowing
- anthropologie just gets it right every time
- can you be in love with a camera?
- world of mirth in carytown (richmond, va)
- children who are loved and adored
- friendships (happy birthday t)
and flickr, which is an endless source of beauty, happiness and inspiration. click here to see who captured the images above that make me so happy.
happy monday everyone.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
it's amazing how changeable we are and how our emotions respond to our surroundings. this week, I want to focus on things that make me happy. every post will be devoted to pleasure inducing people, places and things.
it's officially happy week.
if you'd like to play along, comment and leave a link to your blog or flickr. rules are not very happy, but the gist is to post each day (through saturday) about whatever makes you smile, swoon, laugh and/or dance with wild abandon.
an entire network of happy mojo sure would be amazing.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
consider yourself tagged.
1. where is your cell phone? charging.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I like orange roses the best.
these are sitting on the little conference table in my office. I brought them in to brighten our work space. in my real life, I supervise a team of investigators and social workers who do child protection work. I know what they see day in and day out...I did it myself for years. I try to bring a little color and beauty to the office to balance the dismal scenes they absorb throughout the week.
the roses sit there between us as we speak of the unspeakable: the broken babies, the struggling mothers, the drugs, the anger, the fear, the unloved. the roses sit there, but their beauty can't mitigate the ugliness of the words swirling around their flowery obliviousness.
then I look across the table and see the real beauties: women and men who choose this work that not many want and commit to do it with fairness and compassion; who save children and families with equal commitment, who worry about those we couldn't help.
they are beautiful and I am blessed to know them.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
alas, there is much work to do. so happy I can dress down in my office, even on a tuesday. today is definitely a day for jeans, a turtleneck and uggs.
autumn has arrived in all its coziness, beckoning those who move too fast to stand still for a moment in the hush.
Monday, November 10, 2008
so, curious friends, I would be so very grateful for any travel tips, must-sees, must-dos, must-photographs and any other nuggets of u.k. fabulousness. I fancy a nice mix of the biggies (tate modern) and funky local stuff. and I'm totally fascinated by all things queen elizabeth (the fiery red-headed one).
we are hoping the u.s. dollar makes somewhat of a comeback in the next six months. the most recent copy of travel and leisure writes about "affordable" dining in several european cities. an "affordable" lunch for two in london is somewhere in the vicinity of $60. yikes.
this week's lovely mosaic is courtesy of these flickr folks.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
only problem was, I felt kind of strange showcasing so many of my own photos in such a public place in my own home. it felt a bit like when I had the photo show: vulnerable and exposed but without the humble response, "she begged me to show them and I didn't want to let her down."
then I got over myself.
and I love it.
and it can grow from its current 20 to probably 120.
now that's grand.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
here's my starter list:
- continue to be diligent about using my reusable grocery bags all the time, even at the drug store and target (I have to admit, it's hard to give up the boutique and anthropologie bags) and commit to another environmental practice that pushes me out of the plain home-recycler category.
- volunteer (which means stop being so selfish with my time).
- stimulate the economy by purchasing this coat and this dining room table.
- have some empathy for those who don't feel the hope. I know this feeling. I lived with it for eight years. it's awful. I will do my best to be sensitive. (update: already failed.)
- continue to guarantee that the tiny little part of the government that I have some control over (my unit) will operate with compassion, respect for the rights of children and parents, financial stewardship and efficiency.
Friday, November 7, 2008
yesterday and today, we enjoyed temps in the mid-seventies with brilliant sunny skies. last night I sat in the backyard and chatted with the mister in my bare feet and a tee (and pj pants!).
maybe virginia really is trying to be more like california.
(and sadly, it appears that california is trying to be more like virginia.)
Thursday, November 6, 2008
there was an open, authentic feeling of togetherness in my workplace and community. most people were excited and hopeful for the future. smiles were bigger. words were kinder. the shared energy between people practically sparkled.
we are not so unrealistic to think this happy haze will last. we know there are tough times ahead. but it's so much nicer to get down to the business of life when you are on a new page of the book. the story yet untold, but sure to be remarkable.
this photo was shot on the sidewalk outside my office, looking toward the james river. I can't believe I got a rainbow, a flag and gorgeous autumn color in one frame.
that's the kind of day it was. and is.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I can make it official now: I'm home.
while I'd like to think that my influence over the past seven years made a difference, I know that you were already jonesing for a change before I arrived with my western values and kooky california ways.
I promise I will never refer to you as old dominion. you are majestic, colorful, historic. filled with beautiful people ready to move you into this century as a powerhouse of thought, art, compassion and commerce. sometimes I think they talk a bit funny, but who am I to judge "a bit funny"?
thank you virginia.
p.s. luca says, "way to go people!"
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
you get to choose your pack leader?
choose wisely. you want respect, loyalty, honesty, a genuine smile and the capacity for affection. you want to be valued for your potential. you want someone who recognizes your intelligence and doesn't assume stupidity and distraction. you don't want someone who calls you silly, demeaning names like "poo-poo dog" or "joe six-pack". come on. we're bigger than that. we're better than that.
go on now. do good.
Monday, November 3, 2008
it's almost over: the frenetic, edgy, war torn energy of this election. it was a good fight. scratch that. it really wasn't. I wish senator mccain would have been his authentic self and not let the republican machine eat his soul. and I wish he wouldn't have picked her. see then, even if my side lost, I wouldn't have felt so bad. because I kind of like mccain the way he used to be.
it's going to be an interesting couple of days...
please give credit to the flickr photographers of senator obama here.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
yesterday, I got to spend more time in my neighborhood cooking store taking photos, browsing cookbooks, pondering which class to take in november (I'm thinking provencal cuisine) and being delighted with the constant stream of happy customers who were equally delighted as I that beautiful k opened this jewel in our burg. it's better than williams-sonoma. and sur la table.
I wish we had gone this route. they are so freakin' gorgeous.
it was so warm and sunny yesterday. I think it really was the most perfect day. instead of my usual saturday latte, I had passion tea.
the poster I designed is hanging in starbucks (and 100 other locations around the city). I love that photo. lisa b. has the best legs. and shoes.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
my favorite story around the event has to be the monarch butterflies. in the west, the monarchs migrate around the same time as dia de los muertos. if you've never seen the migration in action, you should book a trip as it's one of the most spectacular things to behold. thousands upon thousands of monarchs flock to groves of trees and it appears as if the leaves are made of butterfly wings. mexican folklore tells us that the butterflies are the souls of our loved ones, returning briefly to say hello and all's well.
butterfly soul trees. that makes my heart smile.
this really has to be my favorite weekend of the year so far: dia de los muertos, an extra hour of sleep, gorgeous GORGEOUS weather, nothing on the agenda and a profound sense of hope that the world is about to become a way more beautiful place.
I hope yours is lovely and peaceful.