Woohoo! The Story Circle Network conference hasn't even officially started yet, and already I'm having a blast! Left home about 4:00 yesterday and drove into Austin in the pouring rain. Stopped at Mama Fu's for some potstickers and seared ahi tuna (3-6 is happy hour and all appetizers are half-price!), then came and checked into the hotel. Had a few minutes to get unpacked, then it was time to head downstairs for the bag- and folder-stuffing party over in Susan's suite. Finally got to meet Linda Hoye, whose blog (My Own Velvet Room) I've been reading for some time, and who is heading the blogging panel I'm on. Was too revved up afterwards to get to sleep, so stayed up watching TV until 2:00!
This morning I had breakfast with Linda and two other bloggers who will be on the panel with us: Nita Lou Bryant, a freelance writer here in Austin, and Judy Miller (aka International Mom) who blogs about raising adopted, interracial children. We could hardly stop talking long enough to eat! It's so amazing to me, the difference between how I felt the last time I came to this, and how I feel now. I've come into contact with so many of these women on-line during the last couple of years, that I feel like I'm amongst friends, rather than strangers. It's like I have a safety net around me now, and it has completely taken away my hesitancy to walk up to a group of strangers and start talking. I've gone from "Why would anyone want to hear what I have to say?", to "Why wouldn't they want to talk to me? I'm pretty interesting!" What an awesome feeling.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
I'm ever so glad that there are people in the world who love/live to organize and conduct. Me, I'm not one of them. Oh, I can really groove on reorganizing some shelves or a closet, but when it comes to whipping people or events into shape? Well sheesh, I get a headache just thinking about it!
Take an event like, oh, I don't know, let's say a family reunion. In theory, I'm all for them. We had so much fun visiting with various cousins at both my nephew's anniversary barbecue and after my mother's funeral, that someone said "Hey, we should have a cousin's reunion!" Then we were all, like, "Yeah, we should!", and "Great idea!", and even "We should do it in the Hill Country! There's so much fun stuff for everyone to do in the area."
I was pretty revved up about it at that point, but then the usual things started coming up. One cousin, who produces rodeos, said, "Just don't schedule it during the first quarter of the year. I'm totally booked then, but I really want to come!" Then his brother, who acts as prop-manager for various Broadway musicals in NYC, and often goes out on tour with them, said, "Well, I might be able to get away for a couple of days, if you wait until after the Tony's." Yet another has just undergone chemo, so we need to give him time to recuperate. I really, really want him to come, 'cause he's the only one who went to UT and had hippie leanings, like me. Unfortunately, he moved off to Boston shortly thereafter, and we've hardly seen him since. So..., I guess we're talkin' about putting it off until it gets nice and toasty around here, huh? Wanna make sure all the wasps and scorpions are out in full force.
It wasn't just timing, though, that boggled me. It was simple logistics. Where do you sleep 25 or 30 people, when you have a two-bedroom house, and there are no hotels in town. Should I try to reserve that many rooms in various B&B's around town? There are certainly plenty of them, but how do you decide who gets what? And what about the parking situation, or lack thereof, here at our place, and that treacherous driveway? If the party goes on until after dark, and we serve any beer, someone is sure to end up in a ditch and needing a tow truck!
And so, after several days of letting my brain go round and round like this, I ended up right back where you found me not long ago, when I had that garden episode - in a state of quandary paralysis! I found myself kinda hoping that maybe everyone would just sorta forget we ever brought this up...
That's when big sis came to the rescue. I guess she knows me pretty well by now, 'cause just when I was ready to raise the white flag, she sent me a message asking, "Need some help getting this thing organized?" Hell yeah, I do! And, if anyone can whip it into shape, she's the one. After all, we don't call her The Little General fer nuthin'!
P.S. Click photo to enlarge.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Just twenty-four hours left until I'll be heading over to Austin for a few days. It's finally time for Story Circle Network's Stories from the Heart V conference. This will be my second one to attend, and it's a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around the contrast between then and now, both in my life, and in me! I was so intimidated that first time, and a little scared, to tell you the truth - feeling unworthy to call myself a writer, unsure about sharing a room with a total stranger, in the dark about what goes on at a conference, in awe of rubbing elbows with the likes of Susan Wittig Albert. This time is way different. Oh, OK, I'm still a little in awe of rubbing elbows with Susan, and a bit weirded out about being a panelist, but mostly I'm just giddy with anticipation!
I guess you are wondering what all this has to do with tea cozies, huh? Well, you've probably forgotten all about it by now, but a while back, when I first started preparing for this, I offered you a bribe if you would share some information with me. I wanted to know who you were (gender, age, education, occupation, location, marital status, etc.) and I wanted to know what brought you to Seasonality in the first place, and what made you want to come back. I don't need to know your real name, but if you happen to be a blogger yourself, feel free to link to it in your comment.
For those of you who shared that information the first time I asked, your names are already in the hat, but I will add them again if you will leave a comment in which you share with us anything that you have made or done, that was inspired by something in this blog (food, craft, garden, outing, you name it! Got a picture of it? Send it to me and I'll post it!). If you haven't shared your stats with me yet, please do! Even if they won't come in time for my blogging panel at the conference, it's nice to know who one is talking to.
Two of the cozies pictured here are already spoken for: the teal blue one was Lexie's birthday present, and the orange and red one is mine. However, whoever wins the drawing will be able to choose either the sage green one with teal trim, a sage green one with rusty red trim (half finished now) or if they are in no hurry, they can have one made from that multi-colored ball of yarn in soft yellow and coral. After this, I think I'll retire from cozy-making for a while. After making eight, I'd say it's time to try something new. The winner will be chosen early Monday morning (1/8/10). Good luck!
P.S. Afraid the colors in the photos aren't quite true. We haven't had any sunshine here in days, which makes for poor photography.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
I have one last thing to share with you from the latest issue of Mary Jane's Farm (Feb-Mar 2010). I'm sure, by now, most of you have heard of the Slow Food movement, but have you heard about Slow Gardening? Garden-writer Felder Rushing, who used to write for Southern Living I believe, is now sending out a surprising message to gardeners everywhere: reject hard work, tidiness, and precision. Apply seasonality to the way you think about, cultivate, and use your food. Relax, and work more closely with nature. "Slow gardening is an attitude, not a how-to," Rushing explains. "Use your senses, connect with a satisfying chore, and do something useful instead of just sitting there polishing your silverware." He believes that slow gardening is for everyone, including those in cities and suburbs. "If you like to cook with herbs, grow some in a pot on the balcony. Just one or two or three or four containers are plenty enough to make you feel useful and in at least some sort of control over your life." You can visit his website for more ideas on how to have a fun, pretty, productive garden, without being too uptight!
Monday, February 1, 2010
We are a funny couple, my hubby and me. You tell me I have to go from a huge walk-in closet, down to one that's a mere five feet wide and two feet deep, and I'm all, like, "Woohoo! At last I have a legitimate excuse for getting rid of all the stuff I don't really love and never use!" Tell hubby the same thing, and you might as well ask him to give up an arm or a child. Not only did I succeed in paring down my closet contents, I even ended up with enough space for folding chairs, canning jars, coolers, ice cream maker and ironing supplies, and boxes of old slide projector stuff! Hubby's stuff, on the other hand, does not seem to have shrunk much at all in the time since we bought this place. In fact, it seems to have expanded to fill all the empty spaces I left at the townhouse, three storage rooms, and two garages.
Provided things continue to go well with the kids, and if the economy doesn't take anymore nose dives, John's seriously considering letting the townhouse go by late summer, or early fall. Though he's anxious to be here in Wimberley full-time, I'm sure the idea of sorting through all his stuff is raising his blood-pressure and keeping him awake at night. Problem is, I have no idea how to help him, short of saying, "Here, take my closet too. And what about this little corner of our bedroom that I use for my desk and bookshelves? It's yours, if that will help!" My pointing out items that he hasn't used in years is never well-received, and might even cause this normally easy-going guy to snap or growl. So, what to do? Pray, my friends. Pray!
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The final step, in Mary Jane Butters' Seven Wonders program for tapping into the flow, is this: Practice Praise. She says, "There is no denying that the world is brimming with brilliant minds. Talent, ingenuity, and skill abound as far as the eye can see. Daunting? Nah. Inspiring. As you open your eyes to the work of talented women around you, allow yourself to experience awe without envy, and start doling out kudos like candy. You will find that the more freely you express your admiration, the greater your capacity for accomplishment, even if vicariously."
The first time I attended a Story Circle Network conference, I experienced something I didn't know existed. Women wanting other women to succeed. Helping them. Encouraging. Going out of their way. I spent three days in close quarters with 150 other women, and never heard a discouraging or catty word spoken the entire time. In fact, I never felt more...buoyant! It got me to thinking. Maybe what I'd always heard, about having to claw your way to the top, wasn't necessarily true. Find your tribe, and you will be lifted.
So there you have it - seven days, and seven ways of tapping into your creativity, your wellspring, your brilliance - the flow. I dare you to give it a try. Become a conduit. Open yourself up, and let the energies of the Great Creator course through you, then flow out into the world. What have you got to lose?
P.S. Many thanks to shlonkombakazay.blogspot.com for the above image.
If you're planning to watch the Grammys tonight, you might want to keep an eye out for the "best country instrumental performance" nominees. One of them just happens to be Wimberley's own little Sarah Jarosz! Of course, she's not so little anymore. She's actually an 18 year old college student up in Boston, but old habits die hard, and everyone around here still thinks of her as that spunky little 12 year old mandolin picker who liked sitting in on the Friday night bluegrass jam sessions down at Charlie's catfish parlor. Wish her luck!
After leaving a rather lengthy reply to Linda's blog comment yesterday, it occurred to me that not many of you would go back and see this, and perhaps it was something worth sharing here:
"I just realized the oddest thing the other day: blogging has changed my taste in magazines! When I was working as a merchandiser, I took just about every cutesy decorating, craft and gardening magazine out there. My focus was on "stuff" and making people want that stuff, so I scoured them for display ideas. Once I left that job and moved here full-time, I found myself losing interest in all my old favorites. They started feeling frivolous and stupid, most of the projects a waste of time and energy. Gradually, I let all my subscriptions lapse. I went out in search of something with a little more meat to it, and now have only three that I buy on a regular basis: Mary Jane's Farm, Hobby Farm Home, and Mother Earth News."
I was taking Gourmet magazine as well, primarily because I'm a big fan of editor Ruth Reichl's books and writing, but they went and folded on me. So sad. Oh yeah! One more thing, for you city girls. There is a brand new magazine out, from the editors of Hobby Farm Home, which I don't take, but which I plan to gift Alexis with whenever she moves to Austin. It's called Urban Farm: Sustainable City Living. So, if you too have found yourself looking for something more real, down-to-earth, with a little more grit to it than any of those magazines you usually see at the grocery store check out, take a gander at one of these.
P.S. Many thanks to magazineline.com for the above image.