Friday, March 20, 2009


This has nothing to do with Seasonality, but... If there are any Gnarls Barkley fans out there, you gotta see this:

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I am beginning to understand why so many women pressure their adult offspring to hurry and produce grandchildren. (Never fear, my darlings! I don't intend to be one of them.) Fortunately for all of us, I stumbled into creativity and passion just in the nick of time. Now I am reveling in the opportunities for pursuing these passions. I absolutely adore having so much time to myself, and the freedom to choose how I spend it. And yet, I still feel pangs when I think about what I have left behind me, for I also adored being a mother, and I was pretty darned good at it! (how's that for humble?)

Now, just when my youngest is about to graduate from college, and I should be ecstatic about his soon-to-be independence, I had to go and discover all those mommy-bloggers. Talk about feeling torn! I am so jealous that I didn't have the outlet of blogging when I was raising my kids, especially when we were living in Indonesia (can you believe I couldn't even e-mail home in the early 90's?)

I usually tell people that I didn't awaken to my creativity until my mid-40's, after reading Simple Abundance and The Artist's Way, but that's not completely true. It was in Indonesia that the first seeds were planted. I was away from parental advice and censure, and finally had a bit of domestic help, some free time and a little discretionary income, but had nowhere to go and nothing to spend it on! The kids were my passion then, and as they say, "necessity is the mother of invention." I had no choice but to get creative! I had kids to entertain, costumes to create, birthday parties to throw, meals to cook, holidays to celebrate... And, I had to do it all with the barest minimum of supplies, in a climate of never-ending sameness. So, when I read blogs like Soulemama, Beauty that Moves, Redneck Mother and Blue Yonder, I can't help but feel nostalgic. They are now living what was my life and passion for many years, but now it's all over, and I did a lousy job of recording it!

Scary thought: what if I had ended up like so many other women out there? What if I had become so caught up in raising the kids that I had never even got around to discovering my authentic self, figuring out what makes me happy, or opening up to my creativity and passions? Well, I think it's safe to say that, it's easy to see why there are so many TV shows that feature nutty mother-in-laws like the one on Everybody Loves Raymond. I think there are too many women out there who ended up feeling like empty shells, once their last chick flew the coop, and they are desperately waiting for someone or something to fill them up again. They are thinking that perhaps grandchildren would do the trick.

I say, "Don't count on it!" Learn to fill yourself up, instead. Of course, there's no harm in my keeping a folder full of crafty kid ideas, is there? Ideas that I've gleaned from my favorite Mommy-Bloggers. It never hurts to be prepared, right? I'm just saying, if and when I do have grandkids, and if and when they do come to visit, we're gonna have some kind of fun!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


My friend who blogs at My Own Velvet Room had this list posted today. The object is to bold the books you have read, and italicize those you wish to read. Guess I'd better get crackin'!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)**
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)*
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)*
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)**
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)*
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)*
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)*
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)**
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)*
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)*
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)**
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)*
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) - maybe in H.S., can’t remember
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)**
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)- tried, but I just hate books where bad stuff happens to kids, so I gave up
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)**
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)*
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)*
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck) - again, maybe in HS
30. Tuesdays with Morrie(Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)*
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)*
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)*
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)*
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)**
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)*
45. Bible - but not all, by a long shot!
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)*
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)**
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)*
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)**
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)**
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)**
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)*
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)*
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)**
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)*
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)**
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) - tried, but again it was that kid thing that stopped me
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

What would your list look like? Of the ones I have yet to read, are there any that you really loved? I put asterisks by the ones I liked, two if I adored it. Based on my favorites, have you got any other suggestions for me?

Monday, March 16, 2009


If you were to consult my husband, he would probably tell you that I suffer from a split personality disorder when it comes to housekeeping and entertaining. Or at least, I used to. I've been working very hard at trying to overcome it, to blend my Jekyl and Hyde into one, more balanced, entity.

Have you ever been to someone's house where they had just about killed themselves to put on a good show for you, with perfect food and table settings, beautiful decor, fresh cut flowers, and sparkling crystal? But, for some reason, you felt rather uncomfortable? Instead of trying to put you at ease and make you feel welcomed, you got the distinct impression that this hostess would actually prefer to have velvet ropes on every portal, and plastic runners on the floor. And, if she could get away with it, she would probably greet you at the door, rush you along the runner, pausing at each doorway just long enough for you to ooh and aah, and tell her how amazing she was, then she'd whisk you right back out the door. Well, if I were going to be completely honest with you, I would have to admit to having just the tiniest bit of this Martha-ness in me. I can't help it - it's the way I was raised!

On the other hand, I am also a firm believer that husbands and children deserve to feel comfortable in their own homes, and shouldn't be nagged from dawn until dusk, in order to keep it looking as if no one were actually living there. Do you see the problem here? I could be perfectly laid back for weeks at a time, but as soon as I found out company was coming, I'd go berserk, wanting everything to be picture perfect. In fact, I always said that I had to entertain at least once a month, because that was the only way my house ever got really clean.

I don't want to be that person anymore. It isn't a very balanced way to live, and the good life is all about balance, isn't it? I'm looking for a routine where I have time for writing, time to volunteer, time to exercise, and time to read and knit, but where the house stays picked up enough that I wouldn't mind someone dropping in unexpectedly. I no longer need it to look like it's ready for a photo shoot. I just want it to be orderly, calm and welcoming. That's difficult to maintain if you have too much stuff, or piles of books and magazines everywhere. So, #1 on my to-do list has been to let most of my magazine subscriptions lapse, and to get back into the habit of going to the library more, and the bookstore less. An added bonus is that my money lasts a whole lot longer this way. #2 on my list is to make certain things a daily habit, and not put them off until I know company's coming. #3, and by far the most important, is that now, whenever I invite guests into my home, I make a concentrated effort to remember that it's not about me. It's about them!