There was something I wanted to write about–it was simple and yet seemed as though it might be helpful to someone happening upon this post some day. Now it’s gone and I’m going to let that be all right.

A few moments ago, I was very startled to see someone about twenty feet from me, smoking a cigarette on the roof next door and staring into my windows as I sit in the dark in my recliner. It made my heart start pounding. I’d been reading other blogs as I attempt to jog my memory about what I wanted to write.

I’ve been alert and productive lately but yesterday as I was being active I realized that my pain levels were going up. At that point I knew I needed to get the most important things done for the next few days because it would be awhile until I recovered.

That was true. I’ve had to take about four or five naps today and have been sluggish and spaced out while I was awake. In this situation, I remembered to move my consciousness vertically, instead of horizontally or heaven forbid, sideways. I’d be zombie-like, bring my attention into the moment and accept and make peace with where I was at. Then I’d gently reach for just a little higher perspective of what was going on. That can be done no matter what place we find ourselves in during any moment. After all, our lives are made up of these moments, like a tapestry. There’s contrast in a beautiful tapestry and every point isn’t dramatic and sparkling.

Well, that isn’t my lost idea of what I was going to write, but I think it’ll do.

Life Is A Gift

Much of my life has been hellish. But I like who I’ve become. It isn’t about where you go, what you get and what you give. It’s about who you become while you’re going, getting and giving.

I’m not content and I’m not at all wanting to keep the status quo. I have a lot of challenges and obstacles and I’m well aware that is true for all of humanity.

But I appreciate and admire who I’ve become with what I’ve had to work with.

Reading Cookbooks; Books and Food

Long before there were foodie blogs with gorgeous photos, there were cookbooks with gorgeous photos. Most of the recipes, I’d never make. Taking a heavy, hardback cookbook and looking at the photos and reading some of the information has always been a pleasurable activity for me. One of my favorites is A Spoonful of Ginger by Nina Simonds–Asian cooking–and while it’s healthy and delicious looking, it’s beyond my skill and patience level.

Another is Lemongrass and Lime, which is about New Vietnamese cooking. Now that my interest and skill is upleveled, I may actually experiment with some of the recipes this year. About fifteen years ago, I worked with some Vietnamese women (off the boat) and had several occasions to eat meals they prepared. They were delicious but the aroma of the food was strange to me. I’ve yet to eat in a Vietnamese restaurant and am unaware of how that experience would be regarding aroma.

Once I bravely roasted a duck for my version of celebrating Chinese New Year (on a whim) and eventually found myself with at least three inches of melted fat in the roasting pan. The pan was so heavy that I had to get a neighbor to lift it out of the oven for me. I’ve blocked out whatever I went through to get it cleaned up–I remember the duck was greasy too–and I remember vowing that I’d never do it again. Actually, it took quite a bit to get me to try the experiment because I had a pet duck as a child. His name was Duckess. (a child, remember).

With heavy metal poisoning, my kidneys could be destroyed were I to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle but that’s another blog post.

In novels, I love reading about food. The description of the “white meal” in Charles Finch’s latest novel is magical. The sandwiches that the character Spenser makes in Robert B. Parker’s novels are inspiring and I’d often have to stop reading and get snacks.

Kinsey Milhone, Sue Grafton’s character eats weird snacks that are actually delicious and easy to make and I’d have fun with that when reading her series. They seem to have involved peanut butter, cream cheese, green onions and pickles–not all together, but simple ingredients like that.

Right now I’m reading The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg. There was a mention of eating crackers with cheese, horseradish mustard and red onion. That sounds like something I’d love to try and will get the stuff next time I go grocery shopping. Which may wait until tomorrow. It’s very sunny now which is making the little basil seedlings on the windowsill happy but it’s only 25 degrees. When I got up it was 14, which is a good reason to procrastinate if one can.

Hopeful Basil Seedlings

It’s winter here again–gray, cold days. The basil seedlings are still looking perky. They quickly outgrew the shallow sushi roll container they were germinated in and were moved before their time. Becoming a bit spindly after transplanting, more soil was added on top to prop them up a bit. Maybe it isn’t good to cover more of the stem?

The windows are northeast here–the city grid is at an angle because of the river, I believe. The seedlings have been getting water often and very lightly because the soil seems to dry out fast but then the plants seem easily washed away with too much water. They are cute.


Will the net appear?

This could be called a crazy day. I made an impulsive choice, something I used to do quite a bit more often a long time ago. It’s been my m.o. to get ahead of myself, set myself to be a fool and I’ve done it again. It’s a learning opportunity and scary enough that I won’t write about it here until it’s over and then we’ll see.

So I guess I might be writing whistling-in-the-dark-posts for awhile. All my relatives that have passed on might be rolling their eyes next time they check in on me. Like I was supposed to grow out of this right after adolescence.

Actually with my health challenges, it may not work out so well at first but I can keep practicing and eventually get it. I’m not trying to tease here–I am too excited to write about anything else and I wanted to keep my daily blogging habit.

Embracing Instead of Running Away

Today was one of those moving-through-molasses kind of days and I was cold also. A day to have the presence of mind to prioritize what’s really important and then rest.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m way better than I was last year. I know after we become aware of new insights, there needs to be an integration time where we let it settle in. And decide how we’re going to make a habit of the changes we decide on as a result.

Sometimes when the world is broadcasting panic-inducing information, it’s tempting to keep reacting and pushing forward until we remember it hasn’t worked so well in the past for most of us.

In my downtime today, not being able to focus on reading, I watched some television on Hulu. A show from several years ago called October Road is available and I watched a couple of episodes. The Dean of a nearby college told the main character, a young man who has written one successful novel that a writer embraces his life, he doesn’t run from it. Interesting. I wonder how true it is.

Of course, embracing our lives instead of running from them could be recommended for anyone.

Three Realizations

fabric art

fabric art

Dare I call them epiphanies? I’m still feeling like things are going to be all right even with needing to take two naps today. Simply couldn’t keep my eyes open and had a fever. In a healing way, not a getting sick kind of way.

First I became very much aware that I’ve been pressuring myself and limiting my enjoyment of life because I need to make changes in how I do things, faster and more often than I used to. Well, so does every one else. Faster and more often. And I’m doing it. I know what and why I need to change and day by day I know the “how”, most of the time, in the moment. I just don’t have a plan for the long-term “how”. But whenever I’ve done that before, I’ve always had to change the plan. It doesn’t mean that I have to postpone enjoyment of life until I figure everything out.

This usually happens more often after I speak with a healthy, employed, successful acquaintance who has family and friends and who is envious that I have more free time. Maybe I should feel guilty? Uptight? They’d never change places with me.

The second realization is that there’s nothing wrong with me for not liking the selfish, abusive, greedy, lazy, mean, snarky, manipulative, lying, ill-mannered, ignorant people in my past. Of course, I wouldn’t like them. As a caring person who understands that we’re all one and that there is a beautiful soul underneath icky personalities, I tended to make it mostly my responsibility to ensure that every relationship went smoothly. Well, it’s a two way street and there’s no need to relate to disagreeable people if I don’t have any real business with them.

The third realization is that as challenging as my life is, it’s better than it was a year ago. Five years ago. Ten years ago. Twenty. And so on. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I have regrets. It does me no good to condemn myself now that I have hindsight. I’d do a lot of things differently. But really, my life is better. I’m generally optimistic about the future even though I have dark moments and sometimes feel that at age 56, it’s too late for me. There’s no evidence why I should feel optimistic, but I do.

Interesting Times

It turned out to be a lovely day, sunny and relatively warm by late afternoon after an unpromising morning. In February I still appreciate these kinds of days and hopefully in March I won’t feel let down on the days with less pleasant weather.

An old friend from a different time-zone called last night and we talked until 2:30 a.m. my time. There were some belly laughs too, worth missing sleep for.

I’m feeling optimistic even though I noticed an alarming headline about the U.N. predicting 50 million environmental refugees by 2020. Against my better judgement, I read the article. Locally, the cost of many fresh produce items has doubled and sometimes tripled recently because of weather events in the Southwest. Believing that fresh produce has more nutritional value than frozen and canned, I choose that as much as possible. And am really looking forward to the farmer’s market.

We all need to be learning new things and we’re way more courageous than we tend to give ourselves credit for.

Sunday Odds and Ends

It’s a quiet day for enjoying details. At home. I brewed some Earl Grey tea and while I was researching online I opened YouTube and listened to Thelonious Monk–still listening.

Lately I’ve been cold, which is unusual for me. A little while ago I took another shower just to warm up and the water temperature stayed even the whole time. Often I have to use up a lot of my patience with the drastic water temp changes–just like the repeatedly lost internet connection I deal with all the time. That took years and years to learn to stay calm like this.

So far, so good with the liver/kidney cleanse stuff I’m taking and a side effect is I seem to be losing belly fat. Nice.

Yesterday I was looking up some of my favorite authors online to get a list of books to look for at the library. Sue Grafton’s next book will be out in December but she mentioned several writers she liked so I will see if I like them too. It’s great that writers share and aren’t competitive but I’m more cautious than I used to be about hype and such.

A few days ago I finished Robert B Parker’s Split Image, which I got from the library. Looking at his site, I was sad to hear that he’d died unexpectedly about a year ago. He was only 77 which used to seem ancient but now not so much. Then I felt worse when I read some comments on Amazon about his latest books. Maybe he wasn’t at the top of his game. So what. Over the years, he’s given me hours of reading pleasure and when I was ill, his writing made sense to me whereas other things were confusing.

When it comes to my own creativity, I am feeling much safer working with my fabric art than with drawing and writing. It isn’t even about ever making money–I’d like to think I could bring joy and pleasure with my creativity just as some writers, artists and musicians have done for me.

I ordered sets 16 and 17 of Midsomer Murders which is great except one of my resolutions was to quit shopping for entertainment for awhile. Guilt has not set in and I’m feeling like I don’t care—I’m pleased actually.

The weather might be a lot better than the drizzle that’s happening today and I want to get more veggies to expand my personal recipe collection. I’m thinking kale–on pizza, with garlic.

Revisiting A Dream World

Mid-morning on a Saturday and I was puttering along in my apartment when I became very sleepy. I also had a slight dull headache and was kind of clumsy and ended up crashing on the bed.

I didn’t sleep more than an hour or so but I had very vivid dreams. I won’t even attempt to figure out what they mean here. I’m such a light sleeper anymore that I haven’t been dreaming much lately–nothing worth remembering.

These dreams were like a movie and it was a world I’ve been to before. I was revisiting it and was making different decisions and having different perceptions than I did last time I visited the surreal places.

Visiting some formal gardens, I could see that some of the flower beds were being worked on. I sat in a familiar chair and was greeted by an old acquaintance–no one I know in real life–who gave me a hug. He had a new dog who was shy of me and somehow I knew he’d had an older dog that liked me and was now gone.

There was an historic mansion in museum-like condition I revisited. The word “federalist” was mentioned. New wall paper was being put up–a quaint design in rust colors to replace the previous goldenrod colored background with sage vines. I didn’t like the quilts that were on the beds. Everything was immaculate and orderly.

I got a day-pack for hiking in the beautiful, magical, mountain foothills nearby. This place is very familiar although I’ve only dreamed about it four or five times that I recall. I’m way more physically fit and energetic than I am in real life. There were other people milling about and it isn’t a repetitive dream at all. I could choose which route to take on the way to my favorite outdoor places in that world and knew which area I wanted to go to.

There was a huge old kitchen that looked like a movie set and I was chopping vegetables at a work table. Again familiar, as were the other people there who welcomed me back.

The new part to the dream was an outdoor area where there were llamas and also camels wandering around. At first I was very uncomfortable but people were riding some of them and the animals seemed very friendly.

It was all more vivid than the rest of my waking day which has seemed somewhat dreary. That has to do with the cloudy, rainy weather and the mundane things I’m doing, maybe. It seems like shades of gray compared to the vivid colors and details of the dream world.

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