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.

This Little Girl - Laurinda

This little girl turned 30 yesterday! You'll see her wedding picture to the right. She is awaiting the birth of her own baby right now! Incredibly, you can also see the picture of that miracle baby to the right as well!

I am so proud of this young woman for, among other things, her perseverance and strength of character. In many ways I wish I were more like her. She has a strong personality, and yet knows how to be vulnerable. I admire the way she allows herself to lean on her husband.

She is so smart, and I think sometimes she doesn't really know how much she has to contribute to this world. She is beautiful, inside and out.

I love her with all my heart. She is my daughter. Happy birthday, Daughter!!


I have them everywhere. Those glasses that I have heard referred to as "readers". I call them lifelines.

I have a pair in almost ever room of my house to prevent what became the mad dash to find a pair of glasses every time I wanted to read something or see something smaller than my 49-and-counting year old eyes could focus on. I have a pair in my purse. On my desk at work I have two pair because the ones I need to see my computer screen don't work for reading paperwork.

I have prescription and non-prescription ones. I have sedate and stylish ones, and also crazy animal print ones. I have a pair on my dresser because I can no longer see the jewelery in my drawer and trying to do up the clasp on a bracelet - forget it!

I wonder sometimes, how people in the past managed to cope with this loss of vision in their maturing years. I wonder if part of that might have resulted in them sitting back on the sidelines more, and observing (only those things happening in the distance!) rather than doing.

Me, I'm going to keep collecting "readers" because I've got a lot of things left to do before I'm ready to sit on the sidelines.

Nothing to wear

It's taking me twice as long to get dressed in the morning these days. The changing season, the unpredictable weather, and my ever-changing body are conspiring against me these days.

Around Labor Day I started the gradual rotation from closet to closet of summer clothes and fall and winter clothes. It amazes me how I look at some things that I felt so comfortable in last season and wonder what I was thinking at the time. Has my taste (or vision!) really changed so much in the past six months?

Then there are those items that I really like, but that have somehow changed shape or size over the summer and no longer fit the way I remember them fitting. Those are tough to take.

And what about the dilemma of what's really appropriate to wear in October. I bought this really cute pair of white strappy sandals in late August. Can I still wear white? If the sun is shining and it's over 70 degrees is it okay?

Really, I think the only solution is for me to go shopping.