Better than what...

Better than what... Better than ever... Better than your average bear... Better than I used to be... Better than nothing...
You'll just have to read on and decide for yourself.

About Me

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Springfield, MO, United States
I'm a continual work in progress.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Normal? Really?

Rhi and I were standing in the grocery line at Walmart tonight and since I have my Ballroom dance class tomorrow night I was thinking about my steps from last week. Of course thinking about my steps led to practicing my steps. It was a slow line. I think that first step we learned has come back to me. I believe I was trying to step out on the wrong leg. If I step left, right, back left and over it seems to work. Anyway, Rhi looked at me with a grin and said Mom please - be normal. This led to a fairly lengthy discussion that lasted all the way out to the truck about how I used to smack her upside the head in the grocery store and tell her to be normal all the time. Now I don't remember it happening this way at all. I don't remember ever smacking her upside the head. I do remember thinking about it once or twice. Rhi was a challenging child. I do remember telling her to behave. Usually this had something to do with her standing on her head in the cart, or engaging complete strangers in lengthy conversation about all manner of personal information about our business. She was a chatterbox. Apparently I never let her go outside when she wanted to play ball either. I think she's dreaming or possibly psychic, I was probably thinking pretty hard about not drawing attention. I used to care a lot about blending in and trying to be invisible. That was one of the biggest changes Rhi engineered in my life. You couldn't blend into the woodwork around Rhi. People notice her and want to talk to her wherever she goes. Maybe the change in my life started with her and maybe I've aged out of it to some extent. Somewhere along the way I've given up the idea of being "normal". It's not all it's cracked up to be anyway. It might even be boring. I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable being completely open out there in the world but unique is probably going to be okay. I may be like Grandma Moses and shine in my 80's. Meanwhile I'm just going to keep right on dancing.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deep Thoughts

Do I want to be a writer when I grow up? I've thought at different times in my life that I do. In high school I had a wonderful teacher who believed I was talented and supported me in my writing. It didn't seem real as a goal then. I was too depressed and too angry to be serious about the future then. In my 20's I wrote again for a time and believed I could be serious about writing but life happened. In my 30's I actually attempted to be a writer, published a co-written article in an engineering journal, helped a friend write patents, had published prose, joined the Writer's Guild. I was inspired for a time. Late 30's, early 40's writing became a tool of my personal growth, not for outside consumption. Deep and painful inner searching was lightened as thoughts and dreams and memories flowed from pen to paper. Writing became my sanctuary, my expression of inner musings. I think that I feel stories coming back to me now. Stories about little girls walking barefoot on dirt roads, stories about other worlds and fantasies. I don't feel a book because I've always been a short story kind of gal. A snap shot in time appeals to me now. Something that can be richly detailed but described in a few satisfying pages with an end in sight. I want to write about kaleidoscope colors and bejeweled thought patterns alight with feeling. I see myself sitting on a deck with my laptop writing the day away into sunset. For now sprawling across a softly plushy maroon recliner will have to do. Writing is all, no matter the surroundings.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More craftiness

It started out as a lazy day today. I woke up about eleven and chilled for awhile, spent some time on Google Reader, checked in on Facebook, had a sandwich. Then I decided I really ought to be doing something and went to work on this craft idea I ran across. I didn't have any spring rods and didn't want to go out to get them so I used wire. I had some paint left over from the kitchen and some material that had been hanging as a curtain for so long Rhi didn't recognize it when it was re purposed. I didn't have too much help sanding but I did have lots of help painting. I also borrowed my mom's new sewing machine, sweet! I sewed a straight line and didn't tear anything up. I like how it turned out so well I may have to finish all my bookcases like this. The results are shown below.

Petey's Blue Ear

The idea
My Version

Thursday, January 20, 2011

So Much To Do, So Little Time (an ode to not sleeping)

I've always been a night owl. Stay up all night reading. Paint a room or move furniture at 2am, these are randomly good occupations for the nocturnal. Something about that twilight in between time when no one is around can spark exhuberant creativity or long deep thoughts. Solitude is my plateau for becoming aware. A what if or so what evaluation of whatever is going on in my life. I enjoy being social but need that cloak of silence to recharge. It might have something to do with being an only child. I had friends, cousins, family but also learned to entertain myself at an early age. I remember long stretches of alone times as a child. The parents worked blue collar hours, mom 3-11pm, dad 3-11am. Someone was always sleeping at our house so being quiet was a requirement. Nature or nurture - who knows? We had a German Shepherd named Prince when I was six who loved me like the moon and stars. It had been snowing heavily one day and Prince had broken his chain and wandered off leaving a trail in the snow. I remember following his tracks for a time and squating down in the cold snow to more closely examin the paw prints. As I bent down a cold wet nose bowled me over face first in the snow. After much rejoiceing Prince explained to me that he wasn't lost - he was coming right back. At least that's the way I remember it.
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Waiting for Snow

I'm waiting with excitement to see if we get snow tonight. Got my sandbags in the truck, can't wait to see the babies running around like maniacs playing in it in the morning. I love snow but don't care for ice! We'll see what develops. 

I was deep into my Google Reader tonight when I came across something profound "Action cures fear, so by learning to do it now, the spirit of faith will rise within you so that you become pro-active in all that you do". We could all use a bit more pro-active in our giddy-up. I think I've been fear based for most of my life. Today I took a baby step away from that. In our Cardio Sculpt class we were doing an exercise that involved climbing up on a bench and hanging from a bar doing leg lifts. Probably not that big a deal to most people, but not only am I afraid of heights but I'm afraid of falling. Amazingly though (with a little help from Marie) I made it up there without falling off and killing myself and I sort of did a couple of almost lifts in spite of my muscles quivering like Octopus arms. It could have been really embarrassing on several counts 1) I know it shouldn't have been a big deal and 2) it really wasn't pretty having my surgery scar and my big ole belly hanging out there in the big double mirror for all to see. Not too many years ago I would have reacted with shame to that scenario but I seem to have moved past it for the moment. The belly is getting better and the scar - well that's a visible mark of my survival of a major intrusive surgery. My war wound if you will. I think I digressed but this is not atypical for me. I really could use a snow day... I found an idea for redoing a bookcase on the DIY feed. Picture this in blue with different material...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gray days and ponderances

Between the gray skies today and the heavy feeling of an incoming pressure front and the number of documentaries I've watched lately, I think I may be pondering too much. Of course I won't eat chicken McNuggets again but thanks to Super Size Me and and King Corn I'm struggling with the idea of processed foods in general. Also there is much to worry about with water, the supply, the quality, the gaping need in other countries for something we take pretty much for granted here. The arrogance of so much availability that we can be picky about brands of water. Do I need cell phones, yes I would say so but I don't really need two Droids with bunches of apps to play with, honestly though it gives me so much pleasure. Could I live without cable, of course but it also gives me much pleasure. I watched a documentary quite awhile ago where this couple lived on a low income salary for a time, with no health insurance and nothing to fall back on. It made me think back to a girl I knew in school, Dorothy. Dorothy's family was obviously very poor and Dorothy lived an isolated existence full of mean spirited whispering because she smelled. Why do some people have this problem, well maybe they haven't been able to pay the utility bill or the hot water heater is broken and they don't have money to repair it, or maybe there's no money for soap that month. So anyway for the rest of the day I'm going to be grateful that I have enough to keep me and mine fed and I'm going to work on being mindful of the world around me and conserve in ways that I can. For now though I'm going to have to go back to cuddling the babies. Apparently Dixie is picking up on my mood and is trying to crawl on top of my computer to be held. We all try to do our part.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Girl Time

Just had the most wonderful day with my friend Tammy. Rolled out of bed this morning in time for T and I to go have coffee at Starbucks before our mid-morning massage appointments. As part of the Drury Wellness plan we now get a free massage a month at the the massage center on Commercial Street. Having so much fun when we got there that we had to make a conscious effort to switch to our inside voices. We were treated to lemon/lime water in the waiting room then I was introduced to LuCinda. I've only had a couple of massages so I don't have a lot of experience for comparison but it was nice. I also found out that massage would help with both my carpal tunnel and lower back pain. Shouldn't my insurance pay for that if it would be preventative for both those things ;) Great experience, can't wait to have another. So then T and I went by Funtiques and wandered around. If I had $3,800 that beautiful buffet would be mine LOL.. Bunches of other cute stuff in there though. I was noticing all their textiles today. I could totally see new kitchen curtains while I was looking around. Then we went to Celito Lindo for lunch and whiled away the afternoon. Good times. Then to come home and get cozy with an extra day full of hours laid out like a buffet ahead of me to do with as I will. Contentment is the word of the day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crafting Again

The crafting bug bit several of us in the office in December and shows no signs of letting up. The ladies let me sit in the other day as Cheryl made ribbon flowers and Teresa made material flowers. I absorb wisdom at the feet of the crafter goddess Teresa. With her inspiration I tried making a material flower (without supervision I might add). So what do you do with these creations? Well you take an ugly hat (yes, yes everyone I do know it's ugly - but so warm and toasty on these cold winter days). First I added two of the flowers that Teresa made, then I tried to talk her into making me another for the sake of symmetry. Unfortunately she called me an ungrateful wench and told me to get to crafting. Lo and behold we have the dorky but cute hat you see below. Teresa made the green and the blue, I made the ivory. What else can I do to this hat, hmmm bejeweled visions are dancing through my head...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Endeavor

I went to my first ballroom dance class tonight. It was a bit of a surreal experience. I arrived a few minutes early in the ballroom at Findlay Student Center. The lights were down low and three or four people were clustered by the door. The instructor, Marie, said she had trouble finding the lights. That actually gave the room a bit of atmosphere though. I'd been nervous about going to the class and that only increased when I saw how few people were there. I thought there were two couples and myself but turned out it was a married couple, one of the faculty, and one of Marie's regular students. Everybody seemed to know more than I did. Surprisingly that didn't make me feel more than just a bit uncomfortable. We started off in a line going through the motions of the first dance with Marie in front leading us. She went through the male part first (it was hard not to follow that piece but I really would be confused attempting both parts). I was able to do a bit of that step which was fairly basic but we went through two dances and the second dance seems to have erased any memory I have of the first. I alternated between dancing with Brian, Marie's student, and Marie. I did better with the steps than I thought I would but have found out that I have a lot of difficulty relaxing and letting someone lead me. The second dance we learned involved a right step, left step, one two three, pattern which I quite liked. Difficult to keep track of what you're supposed to do with your hands while watching your feet and trying to pay attention to the music. Tricky business. One of the faculty who I believe had done this before was fun to watch. She had a lot of flair in her dancing. Someday I may have flair. Right now I just have willingness to learn and a decent attitude. I believe I'm not going to let it bother me that I don't have a partner or that I'm not as graceful as the others. I actually rather enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to trying it again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Movement and Music

I've started wellness classes this week and am happy to be back into it. Cardio Sculpt was good this morning. It's just enough different from Crossfit to provide a little interest and Marie will also be teaching Ballroom Dancing on Thursday. I will be attending that class in the ballroom, which seems very apropos. In my mind I am making flowing, expansive movements with charm and grace. We'll see how the reality goes. Deep down my real problem with dance is that I'm really, really self-conscious. I have lots of voices in my head telling me I'm going to look stupid. Maybe one of these days I'll move beyond that (with Je ne sais quois LOL). By the way I ran across an interesting phrase when I was looking up the spelling for that... "Cette femme a je ne sais qua", meaning that "That woman has a certain thing I cannot explain", a charm , an indefinable enchantment. I'm telling you that could be me if I learn to dance. I'm already full of a lot of unexplainable, it's just a matter of adding the enchantment.

Speaking of enchantment... I ran across a new phone app last night. It's called Relax and Sleep - imagine that! It has everything from white noise to acoustic guitar to a cat purr. It has a sleep timer that you can set to shut off after you've gone to sleep and I believe you can set it to wake you up in the morning. My favorite sound is the music box. I haven't fallen to sleep to a music box in years but when I was little I could not sleep without my music box playing in the background. I stayed all night with my cousin when I was little and she got up and threw my music box outside in the yard because it was driving her crazy. I cried and cried - not... I'm just making that up to make Linda feel guilty. I don't really remember how I reacted, I was little. There used to be a shop in the mall that sold music boxes. Not the ones with the little twirly ballerina on it like the one I had. I wonder if that ballerina bounced when she hit the ground? Anyway these were really nice ones with really pretty boxes and some of them had disks so you could play different musical tunes on them. Fascinating. 

Thinking of that twirly ballerina reminds me that when I was in kindergarten at Evangel I was the fairy princess in a Christmas program. I got to wear a little pink tutu and my mom put my hair up in a bun. I had to flutter on my tippy toes and touch the toys (other students) that were sitting in this train on the head with my wand. I was six so it's all pretty vague. I do remember that I was urged to curb my enthusiasm when I tapped them. Ballroom dancing here I come!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shutting Down

My brain seems to be in hyper drive since I started the wellness program at work. Have the endorphins kicked in - I don't know. It's become difficult to shut it down and go to sleep though. I've painted my kitchen walls and cabinets, cleaned the house, beaded a necklace, created a utensil hanger, and redesigned my blog and we're only part way through January. I'm not troubled, just enthused. Everything interests me right now. I can't get enough of my Google Reader, from Dilbert comics to the Huffington Post (which by the way, I think I want to be Arriana Huffington when I grow up). Throw in Psychology Today, NPR, National Geographic, and a dozen other things in RSS feeds and the interest quotient jumps through the roof. Oooh I bet the Smithsonian has a feed as well!

We're starting our new classes this week and I've signed up for Crossfit, Cardio Sculpt, Ballroom Dancing, and Stretch and Flex. If I'm not fit by this time next year it won't be for lack of trying.  I'm enjoying Pandora as I go to sleep at night. Some nights it's Muddy Waters, Etta James and the blues - some nights it's Classical guitar or celtic music. I'm waking up to Dolly Parton belting out "Better Get To Living". What will I be up to next, there's just no telling!


I was laying in bed last night thinking about going to sleep when the cats ran through chasing each other like maniacs. Nothing unusual there but Dixie decided she wanted me to hold her and plopped herself on top of me. I lay there petting her until she snorted. I thought at first she'd lobbed a loogie at me but when I turned on the light I discovered that there was blood on my shirt and on my bed. I hollered at Rhi to come and help, Dixie seemed oblivious to everything. Turns out she had poked the pad of her front paw with something and was bleeding profusely. By the time we got her cleaned up and our surroundings cleaned up it must have been two in the morning. She didn't act like she felt any pain during any of this, just seemed very puzzled about why we were making her stay still. When I let the dogs out this morning she ran around playing in the snow and opened it back up so she is currently prohibited from rough housing outside with the pack. She did not understand at all why she couldn't go tearing off into the snow like everyone else. When she came in and we took the leash off her and got her re-bandaged, she went over and starred at the leash and tried to convince me that it wasn't fair and she really should get to go for a longer walk. She's off pouting now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Starting Over

I'm starting a new blog today. After visiting with some friends I've decided this format may be easier/prettier to play with. So I'm going to transfer everything from over here. I started my blog a year or so ago hoping that it would encourage me to write more. It has - a little bit in a year is a lot better than none in a year. It remains to be seen whether having more formatting choices will enhance or slow down the process. Onward!