Farewell YOG

Have you all been following the Year Of Gratitude Blog this year? I happened upon it a soon after I entered the blogosphere and have been inspired by the women who have shared their gratitude journey this year.

Alas, the YOG will come to an end tomorrow in the sense that the last entry will be posted, but it will still be out there so we can browse and find inspiration from the previous posts.

If you've been inspired by the YOG, I encourage you to pop over and leave a comment to let those fabulous YOG women know that we've apppreciated their attitude of gratitude this year!

Time for some discipline

You would think I would learn. Once again, here I am at the cusp of a new year comtemplating the weight that I have gained over the past year that now needs my attention. Once upon a time when I was younger, I could eat anything I wanted, exercise not at all, and not gain a pound. I have to keep reminding myself that those days are gone.

My clothes seem to have shrunk in my closet over the past few months, so I either need to go out and purchase an entire new wardrobe - not a bad solution actually - or muster up some discipline and get back on the healthy eating and exercise routine. To make matters worse, I have to go for another cholesterol test this week. Gulp.


Last evening, I put turkey bones into a pot to make stock for soup that we'll have for dinner tonight. This morning I got up at my regular time to get ready to go back to work after the Christmas holiday. When I turned on my radio I heard no more Christmas songs instead the format had returned to the regular contemporary Christian music that I enjoy. Our snow is mostly gone, and we've returned to the Pacific Northwest rain.

It occured to me that one of the reasons that these past four days have been so special, is that they were a break from the ordinary. We would get sick of having turkey leftovers every night (actually we already are sick of it!). Christmas songs are so special because we only hear them for a brief time each hear. While I am looking forward to retiring from my job, I know that when I do there will be a different routine established, and so a break from he ordinary will still be special.

"To everything there is a season.....". I am going to work on enjoying this new season as I return to the "real world" for a time today.

P.S. In case you're wondering, the gadget that I posted about earlier, is a Solio solar battery charger!

Memoir Challenge

The Story Circle Network is holding a challenge beginning on January 1. The idea is to choose four women's memoirs to read in four months, and then post a four sentence review of each book.

There are prizes each month, and a grand prize at the end of the four months. I encourage everyone to check it out!

The books that I have chosen to read are:
1. Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein
2. The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir by Patricia Harman
3. Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice
4. A London Scrapbook by Polly Grose

Gadget Girl

I love technology and gadgets and I'm fascinated by new things that I see coming out. I love browsing in stores like Brookstone, and Best Buy, although I have to admit that there are some things I see that I really have no idea what they are for.

I love my own gadgets like my Pocket PC, iPod, pink laptop and especially my Sony eReader. (I can't wait for an excuse to buy the Kindle!)

For Christmas I received the gadget pictured here. I love it, and it's going to be so useful to me.

Any ideas what it is?

Boxing Day

In Canada the day after Christmas is Boxing Day and it is also a holiday. In many ways, Boxing Day was my favorite holiday in December. The hurry and stress was behind, and it was a day for relaxation.

We usually spent a quiet day enjoying books that we have received or purchased for Christmas, eating turkey sandwiches, working on a jig-saw puzzle, and other low key things like that.

Now that we live in our "new" country, Boxing Day is no longer a holiday. I'm thankful that this year the day after Christmas is actually a day off for us so we can continue the Boxing Day tradition this year!

Merry Christmas!

Just a short post this morning as I prepare to head out into the snow yet again. (I'm sure that once again today I'll be one of the very few who make it into the office!)

I'll leave you this morning with a picture of my children from Christmas long ago. Their smiles speak of the joy of Christmas morning, don't they?

May the joy that these little faces project be yours on Christmas and always! Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Snow days

The snow keeps falling here in the Pacific Northwest. In an area that is not prepared for the volume of snow that we are receiving that means that it's often wisest to stay off of the roads as much as possible.
This past weekend we stayed home and enjoyed our down time together. What a refreshing pause in the hustle of daily life!
I'm not sure what the morning commute will look like today, but we'll do the best we can to ease back into real life.
A weekend of rest was the silver lining in our snow-filled clouds!

Storm warning

Today we are under a severe winter storm warning. People have been out shopping last night and this morning stocking up on supplies in case we lose power because the forecast is for cold temperatures, snow, freezing rain and high winds starting this afternoon.

Earlier, it was a beautiful morning. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the winds were non-existent. Gradually, the clouds have begun to roll in though and we know that the storm is on the way.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had storm warnings in real life? Most often the storms in life come suddenly in the form of a phone call in the middle of the night, a lump found while showering, investments losing money, or perhaps the loss of a job. We usually have no opportunity to prepare for the storms in our life and so we ride them out the best way we can.

Appearances can be deceiving, like the beautiful blue sky this morning, and storms can come unexpectedly. We have prepared the best way we can for the weather system that's on it's way this afternoon.

Tell me, is there anything that we can do to prepare for the storms in life that are sure to come?

Stroller in training

Did you ever notice how some people kind of stroll through their day, and others walk purposefully and quickly as they go about their activities? I'm one of the latter, but lately I've been observing the habits of the slower-paced folks.

My husband is one of the "strollers". He meanders throught the house as he prepares for the day in a way that suggests that he has never even heard of the word "stress". Sometimes he runs a bit late as a result of the slower pace, but he's one of the leasts stressed people I know. Quite frankly it drives me crazy

I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. I bound out of bed when the coffee-maker goes off and I'm like a woman on a mission. I've got my routine and woe to the individual, including puppies and husbands, who tries to veer me off of that routine.

I've noticed at work as well that there are folks who take their time and others who walk like they're always in a rush. Lately, I have been consciously trying to slow down my pace and I have found that it does something for the stress level. I keep thinking that in retirement, I'll turn into one of those "strollers".

For now, I'm just a "stroller in training".

And the winner is.......

Marilyn over at The Stair Landing!

Congratulations, Marilyn! Please send me your mailing address and store preference (Barnes & Noble or Borders), a gift card will be coming your way, and you'll have a perfect excuse for an hour or so browsing in the bookstore!

Thanks everyone for sharing your Christmas memories. It's so comforting to look back at our childhood dreams, isn't it?

A Christmas Story

I can only recall one Christmas when there was really something that I wanted to receive. More than anything that year I wanted a Spirograph - do you remember those? They were kits filled with colored pens, plastic circles and bars with holes in them that had cogs that fit together so that you could move them and draw the most beautiful designs.

I needed one of those Spirographs! In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I had gathered various paraphanalia from around the house in an attempt to make my own homeade version. I had mason jar lids, those plastic rubber sealers, all the colored pens I could find, and I managed to make some pretty funky designs.

On Christmas morning, there was one gift that was the last one given to me. I just knew it had to be my Spirograph, but when I opened it up I found a Hands Down game instead. I'm not sure who was more disappointed (okay, I am sure, it was me!) my Mom or I. What had happened was that she had ordered my Spirograph from the Sears catalog. I guess that Spirograph's were big sellers that year, because they ran out and shipped a substitution
Mom asked me if I wanted to keep the game, or if I wanted her to send it back and try and get the Spirograph. Hiding my disappointment, I assured her that the game would be just fine.

We played with the game off on on on Christmas Day, and I genuinely tried to muster up some enthusiasm for it. Later in the afternoon, I went to my Mom and confessed my disappointment and told her that if it was really no trouble I would prefer it if the game could be returned and we could try to get the coveted Spirograph
Well, eventually I did get my Spirograph and I loved that thing. In fact, when my kids were old enough, they also loved playing with it when we went to visit Grandma. Over the years, some pieces were lost but it was still possible to make beautiful pictures

I only just got rid of what was left of the Spirograph a couple of years ago when we moved. I wonder if part of the value was attached to my anticipation and waiting to receive it. I choose to believe that it was. Often, those things that don't come immediately or easy are the things we value the most
P.S. Stay tuned for the winner of the B&N or Border's gift card!

Support your local bookstore!

Today I'm piggy-backing on Joanne's idea for supporting the publishing and bookselling industries. (Despite what my husband thinks, I'm not keeping the industry going all by myself!)

So, here's the plan: leave a comment telling us a little something about one of the best Christmas suprises you had as a child.

I'll draw later this week and the winner will receive a gift card from either Border's or Barnes and Noble!

Slowing down and taking care

Yesterday morning I read a post by Judi over at A Baby Boomer Women's Life After 50 that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. She talks about a week of self-care she just experienced and how her perspective on what's really important has changed. For some reason this resonated strongly with me.

We had a snow day here and spent much a wonderful low key day at home. Not worrying about having to rush out to do anything we got our Christmas letters printed and ready to send, played with the dogs, played some Flinch, read books and just enjoyed being home together.

Last evening we spent a pleasant time with friends from Church in a home that is so cozy that one feels as if they could curl up and stay for a week or so just basking in the peace and welcoming that is part of that family.

Sometimes in our daily lives we can find ourselves on a treadmill of sorts where we're too busy to pay attention to our own mental and physical health. I'm "hearing" messages from everywhere lately. I need to slow down and take better care of myself and focus more on what is really important.

What messages are you "hearing" lately?

Book Report

Yesterday, I gave myself permission to set aside the book I had been reading for my reading group. I wasn't enjoying it much at all, and after hearing comments from a few others in the group who were feeling the same way, I decided to put it down.

When I was younger I forced myself to finish all books that I started. Not so any more. I've decided that there are just too many good books, and likely not enough time for me to read all that I will want to. My time is precious at this stage of life and I want to spend it the best way I can.

Yesterday, in anticipation of possible power outages due to an incoming winter storm, I download three books to my Sony eReader. They were The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, A Mercy by Toni Morrison, and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. A December feast!

I have two questions for you today. Do you finish every book you start? What are you reading (or anticipating reading) right now?

Happy Starbucks Day!

It's Friday! I always treat myself to a venti Carmel Macchiato on the way to work on Fridays. Yum!

I'm looking forward to the weekend. Thee is supposed to be bad weather coming in later today, and for me bad weather means more time to stay home and read and write. I can't think of a nicer way to pass the time time than to sit by the fire with a book and my dogs and a cozy quilt.

I'm nearing the end of a book I'm reading now and so I'll probably be on the prowl for something new this weekend as well. It's not that I don't have a number of as yet unread books in my bedside table, but really one can never have too many books on hand! With the bad weather in the forecast, I'm thankful for my Sony eReader because I can buy books without ever leaving the comfort of my home.

So, I'm treating myself to Starbucks and a new book. What treats are you giving yourself this weekend?

Stupid Stuff

This morning I was awakened by a blood curdling scream. As I struggled to surface from deep sleep, I began to realize that I was the screamer. Gerry and I were both wide awake after that, and as I moved to get out of bed to begin the day he asked what I had been dreaming.

My reply was a mumbled, "stupid stuff".

I had been dreaming that I was at a resort and for a variety of, mostly stuipd, reasons found myself unable to find my way to the beach. Sometimes one wonders why the subconscious mind entertains some of the things that come up in our dreams. Some of the reasons that I found myself unable to get to the beach last night could be classified that way - unusual and just plain stupid. The reason for the dream about the beach however, was much less mysterious.

I am living in an interesting place called pre-menopause. Many of my nights are spent alternating between feeling that I have been thrown into a furnace, then the ocean, and finally into a meat freezer and last night was no exception.

I had awakened earlier swimming in a sea of what someone has coined night sweats. Let me tell you, that doesn't even begin to describe the experience of waking up with the feeling that you have fallen asleep in a lukewarm bathtub.

Finding oneself in bed and soaking wet is one thing, but what comes next is the sense of being stranded outside in sub-zero temperatures after finding oneself soaking wet from a lukewarm bathtub. Now that's stupid!

A few months ago I purchased some pajamas called wicking pajamas that are called that, I suppose, because they are supposed to act like a wick and absorb the moisture in order to prevent the subsequent chills. I think I must have gotten a defective pair because they don't seem to be working for me.

On the bright side, I had an excuse to pull out this great picture of myself in the ocean that was taken earlier this year in Mexico and to remember how much fun that trip was. It's fun to reminisce about that trip, but tonight I'd rather look back to childhood days on the warm dry prairie.

Dad's Blog

This is a picture of my sister and I. On the back of the picture, in my Dad's handwriting, is a list of everyone that he wanted to have copies of the picture printed for:


I'm sure that, along with the picture, each person would have received a long letter full of news, and that no two letters would have been the same. My Dad was a master of communication.

Lately, I've been thinking about what he would do if he were here to experience the world of blogging. I'm convinced he would have his own blog where he would post all sorts of interesting tidbits about life in general. He would use it to keep everyone up to date on what twists and turns the lives of my sister and I were taking, and would include interesting little tidbits about not much of anything at all.

In some ways the blog is a 21st century version of the kind of letter writing that my Dad used to do. He wrote often, and wrote long newsy letters filled with his thoughts on a wide range of subjects.

The other thought that occurs to me as I ponder my Dad's hypothetical blog, is that none of the people whose names appear on the list on the back of the picture are still alive. The world today, is nothing like that simpler time when my Dad took negatives to the drug store to have copies made for family members.

How sweet it would be to turn back time for just a little while.


This is a picture of my little (three pound!) dog, Chelsea. She has her harness and leash on and is ready to go for a walk. Does she look apprehensive?

When Chelsea hears the word "walk" or sees us bring in her leash and harness, she will run and hide or try to make herself invisible by sitting as far back in the corner of the sofa as possible and she will sit there trembling as she waits for us to get going.

I sometimes feel guilty watching this reaction as we get ready for a walk. I can almost hear her saying "I don't want to go outside, I want to stay at home".

Many times as I've prepared to go somewhere new and unfamiliar I've felt the same way, and I have wanted to stay home where I feel safe and comfortable. Chelsea is fine once we get outside and begin our walk, and I too I am usually fine once I arrive at my destination.

Chelsea has no time for sniffing and looking around when we walk. She just wants to get the walk over with so she can get back home. Often, as we round the corner toward home she begins to pull on the leash wanting to get home faster.

Again, I understand her perfectly. When social events are over, I'm most always glad that I made the effort to attend, but when it's time go to home, I begin to feel the anticipation of settling back in to my home where I feel safe and secure.

Looking Ahead

It's a dark wet afternoon here in the Pacific Northwest. As I sit here at my desk looking at the rain falling, I just happened to glance over at my calendar and realized something that perked up my soggy spirits.

Two weeks from today is the longest day of the year! That means that in just two more weeks the days will start to get longer!

Now, I'm not in total denial, I know we've probably still got some winter weather in front of us, after all it's in two weeks that winter technically begins.

Winter in this new home of mine us unlike that which I've lived with all of my life, and there are certain aspects that appeal to me. I don't miss the snow, ice or freezing temperatures at all, and I'm beginning to get used to the rain. The milder weather is a definite plus, but when it's wet and gloomy it's really wet and gloomy.

It's the daylight that I miss the most at ths time of year. It can get depressing going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark day after day.

I'm looking ahead to the winter solstice when the days will start to get longer. Before you know it, the flowers will be blooming and I'll be back in my lawn swing on the patio!

Okay, maybe I should just slow down and take one extra minute of daylight per day at a time.

Lessons from the road

This picture reminds me of a favorite quote I had when I was younger. "Those who say it can't be done are usually interrupted by others doing it". (James Baldwin)

Somewhere, at some time, someone enterprising individual must have said "we don't have to go around the mountain, we can go through it!". I wonder if there were scoffers, those who snickered behind his back.

I find that this little saying has come true in my own life over and over again. There are little things at work that we tend to talk around and around about, when I know that if someone just sits down and does it it will be finished.

In other cases in my life, there have been situations where I, myself, have been convinced that I couldn't do something, but with the help of God and others I found the strength needed to walk through the mountain.

Have there been occasions in your life when you may have been told, either directly or indirectly, that something couldn't be done? What was your response?

A Slower Pace

Recently I waited in the car with the pups as my husband went into the grocery store. I enjoyed the opportunity to sit quietly and observe people coming and going.

There was one older woman who caught my attention as she pushed her grocery cart toward her car. She walked slowly, taking her time, each step seeming to require some thought. I wondered if she was in pain of some sort.

I lost sight of her for a time, but caught a glimpse of her again as she pushed her cart back to the cart-collection area. Again, I was struck with the slowness of her pace and the care she took with each step. I appreciated the fact that if she truly was in pain as her gait seemed to suggest, she was still willing to return the cart and not leave it in front of her car as I had seen others do.

After returning to her car in the same unhurried fashion she prepared for departure. Slowly she reached back to get her seat belt, and as she pulled it to the front to fasten it I could tell that there was something on her mind. Once buckled in, she reached into a compartment toward the top of the window and retrieved some sun glasses. Slowly and deliberately she removed the glasses she wore and replaced them with the sun glasses.

Not happy with her vision from the sun glasses, she removed them. I saw her reaching toward the passenger seat and assumed that she was rummaging through her purse. Having retrieved a tissue, she slowly began to wipe the glasses, periodically putting a lens into her mouth where she could breath on it, and then wipe some more. After wiping for a time she would hold the glasses up to the light. Eventually, satisfied that the glasses were cleaned, she started her car and began to back out of her parking space.

I hadn't watched her for more than a few minutes, yet I felt myself calm down as I vicariously experienced her lack of stress and lack of concern with time or schedule.

I look forward to the day when a trip to the grocery store is like that for me.

Book Review

I just finished Pat's new book Growing Up In the Texas Panhandle.

I know that this book will be a treasure to Pat's family in the years to come, but as one with no connection to Pat's family, I can say with surety that this is also a wonderful read for anyone with an interest in reading lifestories.

The stories of summers spent with grandparents, family picnics, roller skating, swimming, and other childhood fun made me remember back to my own childhood and the endless summer days that stretched out ahead. Pat's description of family vacations that entailed hours and hours of travel in an unairconditioned car also took me back to the days when my own mother packed wet faceclothes for us to cool ourselves in the heat of the afternoon.

Her book is filled with favorite family recipes (I am dying to try that fried chicken!) and tributes to grandparents whom she learned to appreciate only after they were gone.

Pat goes on to tell about her early working years and her experience of finally leaving her family home. This book resonated with me and left me yearning for a simpler time when we made our own fun and life was not so complicated. While Pat and I grew up in different times and in different geographic locations, many of the experiences she writes about resonate with my own memories of childhood.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to take a trip back in time to learn a bit more about how someone else grew to be the person that they finally become.

Thank you for sharing your stories, Pat!

We're home!

After a long, 14 hour trip, we are finally back home again. We had an incredible time with our children and beautiful little grandson. It's official, we DO have the cutest grandson possible, and we're only slightly biased!

We had a wonderful time, and were especially honored to be able to spend some one-on-one, (really two-on-one) time with our beautiful grandson, Jaxon!

We also spent some great times with soon-to-be-Mommy, my beautiful daughter Laurinda, who is due to deliver in one more month! She and I did some pre-baby shopping together and it was the best time one could ask for.

It's hard to express how thankful I am for everything that God has given this year. We are all blessed beyond measure!
P.S. Brandon, Gord, and Nicole....we had a wonderful time with you all as well! Just saving those memories for another day...and another post....


This is my dog Maya. She looks pretty spiffed up in this picture, but it's very likely that five minutes after this picture was taken her bow was askew, one of her ears was flopped forward, and she looked like a shaggy dog.

She has a very loving personality, she always wants to be near me no matter where I am or what I am doing. She's content to sit on my lap for the longest time when I'm working at the computer.

Maya is a rascal though. She's chewed some things in our home that ought not to be chewed, we had some potty challenges with her when she was younger, and she can be a bit yappy. She takes toys away from her sister, she wants whatever her sister has and isn't afraid of letting everyone know it.

In some ways I relate to Maya. I can get all dressed up in the morning, and by the time I get to work and look in the mirror I wonder what happened to that woman I saw in the mirror before I left home. My makeup doesn't stay put as long as I'd like, my hair doesn't always behave the way that I would like it to.

I've been know to be a rascal, doing some things that may have annoyed some other people.

I look at this little girl and my heart overflows with love for her despite her sometimes rebellious ways. She's just so darn cute!

I hope that someone looks at me in the same way sometimes!

This Woman - Laura

February 25, 1922

The Angel of Death has again visited our district, removing one of our most beloved residents in the person of Mrs. L. Graves. Mrs. Graves had been suffering for some years from an incurable malady, and for the past year this disease has progressed more rapidly, terminating fatally on Saturday morning, February 25th. The deceased was well and favorably known in Crystal City, where she and her family lived for a number of years, removing to Mather district later, where her husband died. Here she remained until war time, and both her unmarried sons enlisted, when she and her daughter came to Clearwater, where they have since resided. Mrs. Graves' two sons Richard and George, made the supreme sacrifice in the war, and this no doubt had a weakening effect on her constitution. During the few short years it has been our privilege to know Mrs. Graves, she has endeared herself to us all by the sweetness and unselfishness of her character. Her patience and fortitude under sorrow and suffering have been wonderful, and a splendid example of Christian love and faith. A great deal of sympathy is felt for the remaining children, Mrs. F. Fiskel, of Benson, Miss Belle Graves and William Graves, in the loss of such a mother. The funeral took place yesterday from St. Paul's church, of which deceased was a devoted member, and was largely attended.

This woman was my great-grandmother. I never had the fortune to know her, but in reading this tribute to her, I count it my great loss.

Happy Thanksgiving

Well, we're packed and organized and ready to leave for our Thanksgiving trip. We're both fortunate enough to be able to leave work early so we can get a head start on our journey to visit our children, grandchild, and soon-to-be-born grandchild.

We are blessed and there is much to be thankful for. I couldn't begin to list all the things that I have to be thankful for this year, so here is just a short list:
  • I'm thankful to have an opportunity to visit with my friend Wanda one last time before winter prevents travel
  • I'm thankful for our beautiful baby grandson Jaxon
  • I'm thankful for my daughter's health, and for her miracle baby soon to be born
  • I'm thankful for the opportunity to do fulfilling work
  • I'm thankful for my husband who blesses me every day whether he intends to or not
  • I'm thankful for our church that made us feel welcome the first time we walked through the doors
  • I'm so thankful to have an opportunity to visit with our family this Thanksgiving. We are blessed by these amazing people who once were our children, and by those with whom they have chosen to spend their lives. We could not ask for a daughter-in-love or a son-in-love whom we would love more. We relish role of "grandparent" and look forward to getting to know these newest members of our family as they grow and change.

God has been good to us this year!

A Sharp Woman

There is a woman I see fairly regularly whom I've come to think of as sharp.

She's very slender and always dresses well. Her slight frame is slightly on the pointy side, I think she could stand to put on a few pounds, but no matter.

She doesn't look young, on the contrary her face is lined and wrinkled. It's hard to speculate on her age, it seems likely that she is younger than she looks.

I've heard her speak, not kindly, to others. She can be intimidating, whether intentional or not I'm not sure. I wonder what her life is like, if she is happy, or if her apparent gruffness is a reflection of some pain she has experienced.

As I've met her in passing over the past few months, I've noticed a persistent scowl on her face. We don't know each other but I always smile at her when we meet.

Until recently, she has not returned that smile, in fact more often than not she appears to ignore me altogether. Then, one day, unexpectedly, she returned my smile! I felt victorious just in the fact that she had smiled at me! From that day forward, when we met she has continued to acknowledge and smile at me, sometimes even saying "hello".

It's a silly thing really, but I like to feel that in some way I've started to break through her sharp exterior and that one day we'll have a real conversation.

A Precious Memory

A number of years ago my life fell apart. I struggled to get through each day the best way that I could, at night I would call out to God. There were times when I begged him to take me home because I couldn't stand the pain I was going through.

During that time a woman I worked with came over to my desk one day, with her walkman queued up to this song. As I listened, I struggled to hold back my emotions, overwhelmed by the love of God, and of the kindness of this woman to reach out to me.

I want to encourage you to step out when you see someone hurting, because you don't know what kind of an effect you will have. This simple gesture touched my heart in such a deep place. This woman, who so many years ago stepped out, has be come my very best friend. I cherish her more than she can imagine, and I thank her for stepping out.


Lately I've been thinking about the rings that women wear and the stories that they reveal.

This is a picture of the rings that my daughter and her husband exchanged when they married.

In addition to my own wedding band and engagement ring I wear at least two other rings every day - my mother's engagement ring and her diamond solitaire. These rings became mine after my mother died and I am honored to wear them.

These two rings symbolize the commitment that my parents made to one another, but more than that they remind me of the integrity of my father. My father promised his bride three things if she would accept his proposal of marriage - a new house; a fur coat; and a diamond ring and he was able to provide her with all three of these things in time. My mom was a simple woman and on a daily basis she wore only her wedding band saving the other rings for "special occasions".

I sometimes wear a diamond and ruby ring that belonged to my aunt, and this ring too has a story. It was bought for my aunt by her husband as a gift to remember the diamond and ruby ring that belonged to her mother - my grandmother - that went missing from my mother's home some years ago. My grandmother lost her husband when her youngest child was just months old. She lived an extremely difficult life and this ring, given to her by her husband who died too young, came to my own mother after her death. I continue to hope that one day this ring is returned to me.

I see some women wearing her original wedding set on her right hand, and a newer flashier set on her left hand. These speak prosperity achieved as time has gone by and perhaps promises kept.

No matter what rings a woman chooses to wear, the circular bands tell a story and symbolize in some way the circle of life that we as women are an integral part of.


A number of you have participated in this game of "tag" so I decided to join in.

Five Things I Was Doing Five Years Ago
1. Taking Fridays off
2. Living in Kamloops
3. Enjoying a weekly coffee time with my BFF
4. Probably making my Christmas list
5. Making quilts

Five Things On My To Do List
1. Pack for our Thanksgiving trip
2. Take the dogs for a walk
3. Grocery shopping
4. Bath the dogs
5. Laundry

Five Things I Like To Snack On (there's a theme here that may explain my cholesteral issues!)
1. Cheese and crackers
2. Cheddar cheese mini rice cakes
3. Cheesecake
4. White cheddar rice cakes
5. Grapes and cheese

Five Things I Would Do If I Was A Millionaire
1. Give to my church
2. Give to my children
3. Retire
4. Travel
5. Buy a bookstore

Five Places I've Lived
1. Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
2. Princeton, British Columbia
3. Kamloops, British Columbia
4. Auburn, Washington
5. And that's all, folks!

Five Jobs I've Had
1. Keypunch operator
2. Computer programmer
3. Hair salon receptionist
4. Babysitter
5. HR business analyst

Five People I Am Tagging
No one....I'll just let anyone else join is as they feel inspired....

The Gift of Imagination

As I was driving home yesterday after another long and draining day at work, I tuned into one of my favorite Sirius classical radio stations. There in my car, in the middle of traffic, I found myself transported.

I was at the symphony, in the same theatre that my husband and I used to attend on occasion. The orchestra looked so grand dressed in their finest formal clothes. I remembered the coziness of being in that theatre on a cold winter evening, I could picture the unique walls that were constructed to allow the best possible sound to be heard, I saw the burgundy seats, remembered the ushers in their black and white clothes. It was grand!

Suddenly, I found myself back in my car, my attention required as I changed lanes. Once I was back on track, my mind wandered again.

Listening to Mozart, this time I was in an English country home, in another time, listening to a young woman playing the harpsichord. There were no cell phones, no email, no TV new programs with bad news, just the pure pleasure of listening to music well played.

It's an amazing thing that when you have travelled the same roads often, your mind is able to slip into neutral in a sense, and you're able to take these journeys in your imagination. It used to concern me when I arrived at my destination with little recollection of chunks of the journey, but I've heard that it's a common experience.

It doesn't concern me any longer, I enjoy the opportunity to use my imagination to escape to a quieter place for a while.

Little Things

Yesterday I was the recipient of a simple act of kindness and generosity that brightened my day. As a token of appreciation, someone gave me a container of wonderful-smelling soap and a pretty bag of lavender seeds. It didn't cost her much, really didn't take too much effort, and yet it lifted my spirit immensely.

Too often, I find myself caught up in the hurry and stress of the day's work and forget to take the time to appreciate people around me. This simple act of thoughtfulness inspired me to try and be more mindful of simple opportunities to let others know that I appreciate and care for them.

What simple ways can you think of to show your appreciation for someone?

The King and I

Here is my life lesson for today: "Don't try and cut someone's hair when you're tired and not thinking clearly".

I have cut my husband's hair for years, and this morning started out like many others. As I took the clippers to the back of his head, the difference this morning was that I had neglected to put on the #2 guard.

One never wants to hear the words "uh oh" when their hair is being cut, but that's what my husband heard this morning. The damage was done in one swipe of the clippers, and there was nothing to be done but to clip the rest of his hair to match the first ruthless path of the clippers.

He kind of resembles Yul Brenner in The King and I this afternoon, not a bad thing, right?! We have had some good chuckles over this little mishap today, and I have just one more thing to say to my eternally patient husband:

Sorry honey.....uh....shall we dance?!

Stress Management

It's Friday, we made it through another crazy week. I am so incredibly ready for a weekend so that I can regroup and recharge my energy. Here in my world it's been just a little wild of late.

I once heard something along the lines of "the key to stress management is learning to relax so that you can build your physical and emotional reserves to meet the next challenge".

My goal for the weekend is to do my very best to relax. I know that there are challenges ahead and this is vital in order to be able to get through what's to come

I'm going to read, organize some cooking, write, get through the box of kids books in my attic, read, do a bit of shopping, write, get a manicure, read, and whatever else fun pops up.

What are you planning for relaxation this weekend?


In two weeks we will be on our way to visit our children for Thanksgiving. Though they won't be celebrating Thanksgiving in Canada, I will be having my own Thanksgiving celebration in my heart. This year we have much to be thankful for.

It is our first Thanksgiving with our precious little grandson, Jaxon. We miss so much being so far away from him. It will be so exciting to see how much he has changed since we last saw him!

In less than two months my daughter will be having her much-anticipated, long-awaited, little baby (we don't know if it will be a boy or girl yet)!

God has truly blessed our family this year and in this, as in everything, we praise Him and give him thanks!


Just a short post today....to let everyone know I'm still here.....working too much and not taking the care I should. I saw my doctor yesterday, and I was up in my blood pressure, up in my weight, and up in my cholesterol. I haven't gotten the hang of this "getting older" thing yet.

A couple of weeks ago I bought a brand new notebook, with grand intentions of stealing away to my local B&N at lunch time for some quiet time writing. Well, the book is still empty and I haven't taken a lunch break all week.

Sigh....I'll try to to better next week...and hope that the craziness quiets down a bit.

The bright point of my day was coming home to find a fun little package from Angie. What was the high spot of your day?

Wedding Quilt

This is a picture of my daughter and her husband on the morning after their wedding, with the quilt that I had made for them to honor the occasion.

Making the quilt was such a pleasure, as I worked on it I was able to spend time thinking about how much I love the kids, and praying for their upcoming wedding and future life together. By the time I had finished the quilt, having spent so much time and effort on it, in some ways it was like giving a piece of myself to them.

In much the same way as making this quilting, sharing stories about our lives gives us an opportunity to share a piece of ourself with those we love. I am looking forward to one day having some stories organized in such a manner that I can give a gift to my children and grandchildren.

This is one of the reasons that I write.

What reasons do you have for writing?

What would you say?

What would you say to your younger self if you had the opportunity to speak to her? This is a picture of me at 22 years of age. If I could speak to her in a way that she would listen (ah...there is the key) what would I tell her?

I would reassure this young woman that her children will turn into strong, health and loving adults. I would tell her to spend more time with her parents, because too soon they will be gone.

"Listen", I would say, "there is a voice that is trying to get through to you. Stop trying to be so strong, and just listen."

I would tell her that the right road is not necessarily the easy road, and that it is not too late to take that road. I would tell this young woman, that there is heartache in the years to come, and that she will feel that she will not survive the trauma, but I would reassure her that she will not only survive, but she will find strength within herself that she cannot imagine she possesses.

"Listen", I would say again, "you cannot change the past, but you can most definitely influence the future."

I would tell her that she will come to appreciate the lessons that sorrow teaches her, and I would reassure her that she will find happiness, contentment, fulfillment, and peace eventually.

"Be patient", I would say, "you will be okay."

What would you say to your younger self if you had the opportunity?

This Young Woman - Belle

This young woman was just married. She smiles thinking about her future with this man who will share her life. They are not young, she 27 and he one year older, but the promise of a future together causes her to smile.

She will bear three children; the first, a son, in less than two years. Five years later, a daughter whom she will name after her mother, and after two more years another daughter.

Time was hard in what came to be called The Great Depression, and one prairie winter saw her husband succumb to the hardship as illness took him from her. Her youngest baby daughter was only four months old when she was faced with life without her husband.

Her husband's family were good people. They built her a little house next to theirs in the prairie village where they lived. She raised her three children under the watchful eye of her husband's parents, thankful for the help they provided.

Her daughters would marry young, both to older men, perhaps seeking the paternal influence taken from them so tragically. Her son would not marry and would continue to live with her in the little house in the prairie village.

Almost forty years after her husband had died, she went on to be with him. She had lived a quiet, simple and difficult life, and she had raised three strong children. In another time, may have built a life with a second husband, but that was not to be her path.

This young woman's name was Belle and she was my grandmother. I don't recall her smiling or laughing, though I'm sure she must have. I don't recall her hugging me or playing with me, and I'm sure she didn't. I can't say I knew her, more tragically I can't say I loved her, but now thirty seven years after her death, I honor her.


Some number of years ago I had the privilege of meeting my birth-sister in person. We had written a couple of letters and talked on the phone, but this was to be our first face-to-face meeting. She and her family were travelling to our home for a weekend visit and I'll never forget how nervous I was waiting for them to arrive. "What if she doesn't like me?" was uppermost in my mind as the endless hours of waiting dragged on.

Eventually they arrived and our families got to know each other. I couldn't stop looking at her; we looked somewhat alike! Anyone who is adopted will know that this it is a huge thing to meet someone who looks like you do.

Later that night, after husbands and children had gone to bed, we stayed up all night long talking and learning about each other's lives. At that time in our lives, we were both living in different areas in British Columbia, Canada. We had both been born in the Saskatchewan prairie and so it was remarkable that we both ended up living so near to each other. The story doesn't stop there though.

As we began to share about our lives as children, we discovered that we had both lived in the same city at the same time for a few years! We had lived about four blocks apart and attended the same school at the same time!

Given that there are five years difference in our ages, we don't recall ever meeting each other, but I can't help wonder if we had an occasion to come across each other at some time, oblivious to the fact that we were sisters.

Six Word Memoir

Recently I heard of this book that was a compilation of six word memoirs contributed by a variety of individuals, both celebrities and average folks. I was immediately fascinated by the concept and started thinking about what my own six word memoir might be.

I've come to the conclusion that, for me, it's not a static thing. Just as my life has so many facets (and that's a post for another day!) and has gone through so many changes, my six word memoir can change as well.

So, for today, here is my six word memoir:

Detached, rescued, lost, found, strong, content.

What is your six word memoir for today?

Of mice, men and God

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes that which should be obvious escapes me, and I will have a moment where I realize what I had been missing. (picture me slapping my forehead here saying "ah ha!"). I had one of those moments last night.

My life has been crazy in recent weeks, there is so much going on at work that just when I think my head is above water, I start drowning in work again. I've been working extra long hours, and quite honestly I'm starting to feel it physically and mentally.

This week I had plans of getting out of the office at lunch time, going to my local B&N and spending some time writing. I even planned to try and get out of the office early (read "on time"). Let's just say those plans haven't materialized as I'd hoped.

Last night, I was reminded of an old saying that my Dad used to quote. "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, gang aft agley." (Robert Burns). I started thinking about how this applied to my good intentions of taking breaks at work and leaving on time.

Then when I sat down to cruise some of my favorite blogs I came across Terri's posting called "A whisper in my heart" and I was reminded of one of my most precious bible verses "Be still and know that I am God".

Ahhh....that's what has been missing. Amidst all the craziness I need to be still and listen for His voice and leading. I won't be able to muster the self-discipline without His help. So thank you, Terri for pointing me back in the right direction.

A Splash of Color

The rainy season has official started where I live. This past weekend we turned our clocks back. Thus begins the many-month long season of darkness. This is the season when I begin to go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark. It can be a sure fire recipe for a depressing time ahead.

Today, I'm remembering that I have a choice about how I go into this new season. This picture is of the fall mums that I have near my front door. I purposely bought them in a bright color this year.

Similarly, I'm purposely choosing to keep a bright attitude and to focus on the many blessings in my life. Even in this dark season there is much to be thankful for!

Noticing the little things

Fall in the Pacific Northwest means rain. I've discovered that cool weather and rain means that we grow all sorts of interesting mushrooms in our yard.

I think I must have missed this phenoman last year, being so busy with life and all, but in my quest to slow down and appreciate things more, I've begun to notice and appreciate the different shapes of what's sprouting in our yard.

Here's a picture of a big fella that I took yesterday morning. I love the way the little bunny (not real) is looking at it.

How about you? Are you noticing any new things as you try to live in the moment more?

In The Moment?

I like to listen to music when I'm getting ready in the morning. Usually during the week I tune in to my favorite radio station for some uplifting music. This morning when I turned it on I heard a Christmas song.

For a moment, I was confused. Had I woken up into some weird time warp? Was it suddenly December?

With all the talk these days about living a simpler life, and enjoying life more in the moment, why do we try and hurry time. It is still October, people!

I'm tired of going to Costco in September and finding Christmas decorations. I don't like seeing back-to-school wear in July. January is not the time for me to be thinking about Valentines Day.

For goodness sakes, let's slow down!

Personally, I think I'll be listening to opera or classical music on my iPod in the morning for the next couple of months.


There is something relaxing about doing repetitive tasks. My first real job was as a keypunch operator (now I'm definitely dating myself!) and I found that I was good at it, and I enjoyed it immensely. The opportunity to tune out everything around me, and take journeys in my mind while I worked through a batch of keypunching was very appealing.

I find a similar kind of satisfaction when I am making a quilt. I am a machine quilter and I find that the repetition of cutting and piecing puts me in a state of mind that is completely relaxed. In that space I find a perfect time to pray for the individual that I am making the quilt for, and to reflect upon different things in the life of that person.

Recently I found myself immersed in a large and repetitive task at work. While others in the same situation complained about the work before us, I found it an opportunity to put myself in neutral and to allow my mind to wander.

This kind of thing refreshes me. I remember things and that I had previously forgotten, I plan things that I want to do in the coming weeks, I reminisce about friends and family in in the past.

Alas, too soon the work was done and I was back in the real work world where I have to engage my mind and bring my full self to the table. The brief respite was kind of nice though. Despite the ache in my shoulder I came to the end of the day feeling that I had accomplished something and to top it all off....I had had a great introspective time.

What could be better!


The other day I was in a meeting at work. Before getting started, I wanted to let everyone know that a certain individual was going to be late. I put my hand up to my ear, cupping it slightly.

"She's having a ......." I said, struggling to retrieve the right word from deep within the recesses of my almost-50-year-old brain to explain her tardiness.

Thankfully, I work with a great group of folks near this same age who were willing to join in to an impromptu game of charades.

"Root canal!"

"Ear ache!"

"Web cast!"

"That's it - web cast!", I exclaimed when someone guessed the word that had escaped me moments before.

Why is it that I can remember the phone number that I had as a child? Why can I remember the phone number the best friend I had as a child? There are so many little tidbits of minutiae in this brain that there's no room for the current things that I need to be able to retrieve on a moment's notice.

I'm beginning to develop a repetoire of little tricks to help me survive these forgetful days. I take more notes, sticky notes are my friend. Visual clues are especially useful to remind me of things that I need to do; if I run out of something I'll put the empty container in my care to remind myself to pick it up on the way home from work.

So, I'll keep relying on these little tricks and hope that my co-workers are always up for another game of charades.


Recently my husband changed jobs. He has gone from working every weekend to having weekends free. I cannot believe the change that this has made in me!

Suddenly I am cleaning my fridge, organizing cupboards, planning meals, cooking meals. It reminds me of the nesting instinct that some women experience when they are pregnant.

It's a bit crazy, but I am loving just puttering around the house while I hear the sound of a football game in the other room, or the sense of security I feel just knowing he is outside washing the cars.

I'm not sure how long this phase will last, but it certainly feels comfortable for now.


I have always taken enormous pleasure in reading. I have a habit of having more than one book on the go at one time. Last year for Christmas my husband bought me the Sony eReader. This is an amazing device! I can carry around so many books in this little device, and more dangerously, I can purchase them instantly from the online book store. I don't read all of my books on the eReader, for me there is no substitute for an honest-to-goodness book in my hand.

Here are the books that I currently have in progress (some on, some not on the eReader):

1. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
2. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
3. Hannah's Gift by Maria Housden
4. The Elements of Style (yes I'm one of those bookish people who actually read these things. As I child I read the encyclopedias my parents bought for us as well.)

Yesterday, I pulled out The Year Of Fog by Michelle Richmond from by bedside table. I'll be starting that one soon too.

What book(s) are you reading?

Cup of Coffee

Late yesterday morning, I went downstairs to get a cup of coffee. Gerry and I had both indulged in a second cup earlier, and so there was only a dribble left; certainly not enough to fill the big Starbucks mugs that we typically drink our coffee from. So, I took out one our smaller cups and poured the coffee in, adding a splash of hazel nut flavoring.

With my first taste, I struck with how good it tasted! For some reason, the smaller cup seemed to invite me to sit down, take a break, and enjoy this cup of coffee.

It seems that in life we are so busy that we gulp down our mugs of coffee on the run, and don't stop to enjoy the flavor and experience that is there for the taking.

Instead of a venti, next time I'm going to get a tall. I am going to slow down, maybe even sit down, and experience the pleasure of a cup of coffee.

Dreams Come True

A few years ago I had the pleasure of being able to fulfill one of my life long dreams when my husband and I took a 15 day tour of Great Britain. I had longed to England at least since I was a young girl studying English Literature.

This trip was everything that I dreamed it would be and more. This picture is of me in Winchester Cathedral in awe of the vision before my eyes. I remember crying when we first went into Westminster Abbey just at the enormity of realizing where I was standing.

As time goes by, and one takes the time to look back, it's such a blessing to recognize dreams that have come true. They don't all have to be as grand as a trip to Great Britain.

What dreams have you seen come true in your own life?

Coming Home

There is nothing quite like the greeting that "my girls" give me when I get home after a long day at work.

If Gerry is home before me, he has them sit at the door until my car is safely in the garage, then he opens the door and gives them the "ok" command to out and greet me. They wiggle and squirm around wanting nothing more than an acklowledgment of their cute little presence.

If I'm home before him, the first thing I hear as I get out of my car is them barking in the house saying "Hi, Mom!". When I open the door the they stop barking and just jump around as I reach down to greet them.

Once I'm in the house, and have a chance to put my things down, I pick each one up in turn and give them a special greeting.

Our trainer says that dogs should be taught not to jump up, and that they should greet you and then go off and let you settle in to being at home. I struggle with trying to get our little 3 and 5 pound girls not to jump up. Truth be told, I like their style of greeting, it works for us!

(As Joanne might say....we own it!)

Closing The Loop...Almost

Today I was going to close the loop, so to speak, by writing another installment in my This Little Girl series. This Little Girl - Mary was going to be the story about my birth mother.

This afternoon, as I opened the picture I have of her as a girl, and thought about what to write, I knew that this was not the time to close that loop.

I know quite a bit about this woman who gave birth to me. I know facts about her life, how she grew up, how she spent much of her life, and even how she died. I also know much about her life and her perception of people and circumstances.

I have talked with her sister, my aunt, and heard her described as "the kindest person who ever lived". This description does not resonate with me. I have met the other children she chose not to keep, my siblings. I wonder if it resonates with them.

I have read the words she spoke when she stood before a court surrendering her rights to me.

I will save This Little Girl - Mary for another day.

She was my mother, and yet not.

This Little Girl - Laura

This little girl was born in a small village on the dusty prairie at the beginning of what has come to be known as The Great Depression. Her Daddy would pass away when she was just two years old and she would not remember him at all. Her Mommy would go on to raise her, as well as her older brother and younger sister alone.
She would remember her childhood as difficult but not without fun. Her Daddy's family helped out in many ways, and she had good friends and cousins to have adventures with.
This little girl married young, only eighteen years old, to a man eleven years her senior. Together they would build a comfortable middle-class life together and eventually, they would adopt two baby girls. The little family of four kept to themselves and allowed few others into their inner circle.
Her husband developed health issues that prevented them from experiencing many of the dreams that they shared when they were young, and when she was 53 years old her husband would pass away.
She had not had a life apart from her family, and she would struggle as she was forced to attempt to build one alone. This struggle would take a toll and she herself would pass away suddenly at age 55.

This Little Girl - Linda

This little girl will soon be on her way to a new home; she has just been adopted. Already, at just a few months of age, she feels somewhat detached from those around her. There are feelings of loss and grief that she can't quite identify, but she knows that there is something, or someone, missing from her life.

She will grow to love her new mommy and daddy very much, but the experience of loss and grief will never quite be far from her. She will lose these new parents far too soon, and once again find herself disconnected.

This little girl will eventually give birth to children of her own and finally experience the wonder of seeing another person who shares the same genes. She will love those children infinitely strongly, and will learn much from the experience of being a mother.

She will eventually find her first family - the family who chose not to keep her. In some ways it will be too late, as the parents who's genes she shares will have since passed away. In other ways, she is thankful for the way that it turned out because the emotions of meeting them may have been too much. She is thankful for others in that birth family - sisters, brothers, aunts, and others - who welcomed her for a season.

This little girl is me. Obviously I don't know what, if any, thoughts were churning around in my head when I was born and then adopted four months later, but the sense of detachment is something that has been real all of my life. I have come to think that it started back then.

A Good Cry

I've been a bit overwhelmed lately. There is a lot going on a work and in life in general. To top it all of I don't think I got more than three hours of sleep last night.

I received an email from my husband this afternoon hinting (okay, hinting is not a strong enough word!) that I come home early, really what he meant was to come home on time.

His ploy worked, and I packed up some work to bring home and left the office when it was still daylight. Had a nice dinner, watched the news, played with the dogs, all that and it's not even 7:00 pm yet!

Before all that happened, though, I had a good cry when I got home. Sometimes I find that when life just gets away from me and I can't keep it together anymore, shedding a few tears releases some of that stress and makes me feel better. Just feeling my husband's arm's around me while I shed a few tears releases a lot of tension.

We're going to go for a hot tub now, then I think I'll crawl into bed with a good book. It will all look better tomorrow.

Adventures in Hairstyling

Adventures and hairstyling are words that have no business together in the same sentence, yet that is what I am about to embark upon today.

It can take time to find the right hairdresser. When I moved here to the Pacific Northwest last summer, I was blessed have success on my second try. My first trip to the hairdresser down here, well, let's just say it was enough to have me consider regular trips back home to get my hair done.

Then I met Nadine. She wasn't one of those gossipy girls that I've observed, she had just the right blend of conversation and silence. We got to know about each other's families and she always remembered to ask after them. Her memory about certain things that I had shared with her on previous visits was astounding.

Oh yes, and her hair styling capabilities were magical! She understood how to deal with my double crown and receding forehead. She knew how to make my straight hair find body it never knew it had. The style is so quick and easy for me to style in the mornings. My hair has looked wonderful since I met Nadine!

Imagine my fear last week when I called for an appointment and was told that Nadine had left. Oh they referred me to another stylist who is taking her clients, but I'm not sure it will be the same. I'm preparing myself for a period of bad hair.

This is one more area of stress that I wasn't counting on right now. Stay tuned for more on this hair raising adventure.......

The Family Bible

A few years ago my batchelor Uncle died. He had lived in the same 800 square foot house where my Grandma had raised three children on her own his whole life.

After he died, I had an opportunity to venture into the attic. I had always wondered what was behind that door that we weren't allowed to open as children and I was excited to find out.

What a treasure trove we found! There were so many things from the past! My mother's school books, very old pictures, quilt blocks, irons (the real irons), coal oil lamps, and so on.

One thing that found, and have kept is the family bible. In this bible, are listed the dates of birth, marriage, and death of family dating back to the mid-1800's. Tucked between some pages are the funeral announcements of some. I assume that these entries were made by my Grandma, and after her death by her son, my Uncle. I see my Mom's birth date, the date she married my Dad, and the dates that they both passed away.

Conspicuously absent is my own birth date and that of my sister. I can only assume that the reason that we aren't there is because we were adopted.

I have to say that it hurt not to find my name in that bible. That family is my family whether my name is in there or not. It's a strange thing to be adopted and to come to grips with the whole family concept. It doesn't happen overnight, and in some ways it is still in process.

No matter. I entered the date of death of my uncle into that bible and put it away. I consider it my family bible whether my name is in there or not.

Seven simple things that make me happy

Springboarding from Terri's post about seven things about her that people don't know, and keeping with the current trend toward simplicity, I decided to post seven simple things that make me happy.

1. Deadheading my tidal wave petunias in the summer time when I come home from. It's just such a peaceful, and repetetive task that somehow relaxes me.

2. The first sip of coffee in the morning.

3. A new bar of soap. I don't know why but I love the crispness of a new bar of Dove soap, especially that little bird in the middle.

4. My crock pot. It belonged to my mom, and when I come home from work and there's a meal simmering away it so comforting.

5. Beating my husband at Flinch.

6. Rubbing my dog's bellies.

7. The smell of freshly cut grass.

Now...what's on your list of seven?

Creatures of Habit

Our little dogs are trained to use pee pads inside of the house. Recently we returned from a long drive and Maya (our five pound dog with a bladder the size of Lake Washington) ran to the spot where the pee pad should have been and let go. In that urgent moment, routine and habit took over, and the fact that someone had neglected to put down a pee pad was irrelevant.

I have a routine in the morning that is not to be messed with either. Get up, go "potty", put contacts in, brush teeth, shower, turn radio on, put deodorant on, put moisturizer on, put makeup on (in the same order every day), put lotion on....etc. One thing out of order and my whole days goes pffttt!

It's not that have some crazy kind of OCD disorder, but by establishing this morning routine, it frees my mind to wander and think about more interesting things (like my morning blog post!) rather than what needs to be done next. My body is on auto-pilot, and my mind is either in the office or in blogosphere. It's also useful to have trained myself to follow this same routine for those times when I'm late and need to rush through it. It's simple, no thinking or extra planning is required, just ramp up the speed!

So Maya, I understand your little mistake perfectly. We're two of a kind.

Happy Birthday, Ruth!

It's a month of birthdays! Today I want to wish a happy birthday to my sister, Ruth (center). I only met Ruth three years ago, and I am looking forward to getting to know her better in the coming years! This picture was taken on the day, three years ago, that I first met these two sisters of mine.


I'm working on a submission to the Story Circle Journal for December and I've got to say that I am having so much fun with this!

I started out playing with different ideas in my head for a few days before taking pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in this case!).

I've written, rewritten, and rewritten some more. Do you have any idea how few words 350 is?! Thank goodness for the little word counter at the bottom of my screen. What a nifty tool that has been invented since the last time I had to count words for a submission anywhere!

No matter now it turns out, right now I'm having a wonderful time playing with the words and trying to express what I want to say within the 350 word maximum. Who knew that I would have to struggle against a tendency to be too wordy. I've always been the quiet one!

Rearranging Furniture

You might notice that My Own Velvet Room looks a bit different. I'm playing a bit with the look of my blog today. I guess with the change of seasons, I thought it might be time for a new look. I'll try out a few different looks, and eventually find one that fits I'm sure.

This blog rearranging that I'm doing got me thinking about furniture rearranging, and the changes that I've been through in my attitude toward it. When I was a young stay-at-home mom I rearranged my furniture fairly frequently. In retrospect, it must have been because that was one of the few things that I had control of during that phase of my life, and it was something I could do to change the regular routine.
In more recent years, as I have become more settled into who I am, I have lost this desire to rearrange things in my home. In fact, other than moving to a new city last year, I don't rearrange my furniture at all anymore. I have things where I like them, I am comfortable with the ambiance, and I see no need to change things. It actually agitates me when someone moves things out of place.

I'm seeing parallels here,and I'm not quite sure what to make of this message to self.