Monday, March 28, 2011

Decluttering

Today I wanted to send my mom "something" in the mail to let her know I was thinking of her. I decided to use a postcard I came across from when I was in Concord, MA around 2006. The post card was of Walden Pond.  I wanted to briefly tell my mom on the card about Henry David Thoreau so I googled his most famous writing.  I have never been so enthralled by it as I was today. It hit a new spot for me because of the stage of life I'm in where I crave simplification; a decluttering, if you will.  Reading this I readily admit that I have so much clutter of possessions, time, demands (from my house mainly) that in my current state and stage, I'm unable "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life".


I suddenly envy my daughter who lives in a tiny 2-room house on a farm in South Africa, who went over with a back pack and a suitcase for a couple of years.  Granted she has more now than will fit in those pieces.  She has resolved not to become too weighty with possessions because ultimately she thinks she will return to the States and cannot bring much back. I also think of my sister who passed away untimely of cancer and who taught me valuable lessons about earthly possessions that you cannot take with you.  This means my whittling down of possessions must be done judiciously. The advice of my friend, Kathleen, was to ask myself: "Do I love this?  Do I need this?"  If not, then I must consider parting with it.  I'm reconciling with this more and more as I look at the next stage of my life as a new act of my play.  Also in Kathleen's words, "You need to be lighter, more nimble going forward!"  Good advice.

Here is Thoreau's wisdom:


"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

You can read about Henry David Thoreau here on Wikipedia.
These are all photos I took at Walden Pond in August, 2006

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Crisp and cheesy!

These are a lot like crispy cheese straws, but you don't have to make dough.
Check out the recipe - it's made with Saltine crackers!

The baked cheese crackers I served on Friday night were an overwhelming success. I made 3 batches last week.  Each time they got better!  The first batch, I put too much cayenne pepper on so they had a real bite.  The next batch probably had too much cheese, and the third batch was perfect!  My pottery friends snarfed them down though.  It's always satisfying when your guests like something you make that much!

I didn't find my camera cord, but I did find my card reader.  Yay! my new Canon card fits in the same slot as my Olympus card which is awesome because it's something I love having and I won't need to buy a new card reader for this camera. You might have noticed I went back and added pics to my previous posts, and I have some I took of the cheese crackers too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Understanding tea

I just posted a draft I wrote earlier in the week, and I must confess, I am still having those doubts.  I don't feel as if I'm getting very into it yet, but I write posts in my head a fair amount - like when I'm driving, or when I'm showering and I obviously can't post.  Maybe other bloggers have those moments too.

Needless to say, I have thought about this blog a lot this week, about getting back to it.  Confession: For a week I've been looking for my camera cord to add photos to the first post, to no avail.  I have a new camera from Christmas but it's no good because the card doesn't fit my printer and without a cord there's no way I can upload images. Argh.  I'm frustrated with myself and have almost exhausted the places where I can look for it.  And the obvious...yes, I've tried my old Olympus cord, but it's not compatible with my Canon.  There's one more thing I should mention....when I do find the cord, or buy a new one, I still have to figure out how to add photos to a blog, ahem!

Did I sew every day?  Hmm - no.  After my first post, I kept it up for two days and made 3 more blossoms for my project that I've named, Just for Japan {a spin-off from Hearts for Haiti.}  I didn't set any real goals, but I did contact a friend who teaches apparel in a high school to see if her students might be able to make some pins and supplement what I can make. She came over to see the pins and took one with her to mull it over and perhaps show it to her students. I don't know where we're going with that, but if her students do make 2 or 3...or 5 each, it could mean 50 to 100 blossoms that will supplement what I can make and that can be sold.

Meantime, daily, the news out of Japan becomes more and more dire and I feel real urgency to do more than I've done so far.

I am disappointed that I didn't set a goal, but I have to "forgive" myself because I had a lot going on this week.  Things like: Work each day. Meeting with my painter to see about progress on his projects at my house. Two trips to Home Depot to buy hardware for the house {for painter.} Boxed up items for Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity/Restore and for a guy at work to sell at a flea market, making somewhat of a dent in the things in the garage, but it's still a mess out there. Battled with a sore knee for a few days - pre-patellar bursitis, but it's better, thank you Father. Met with a designer to walk through my house to discuss what  inexpensive upgrades I can do to the house. Baked cheese crackers two nights. Baked and iced a chocolate birthday cake over two nights. Had pottery friends over last night and then we all went to a gallery opening.  Oh, and did I mention that I cleaned house, the downstairs anyway?  And that I painted the closet under the stairs because the painter never got to it and I needed to put the things that were strewn all over the diningroom back into it?  There was not much extra time for sewing and I can see why I only got 3 more blossoms made!

There were daily phone calls to my mom and my sister-in-law about my mom's health.  All week my mom was ailing with a stomach bug, that over there they call "gastro" {as in "Mom's got gastro".} I'm concerned about my mom and praying for her. I'm terrified that she's giving up because she doesn't think she has anything left to live for.  If only I could live down the street from her and shower her with love and respect.  It's incredibly tough to be a daughter 8,000 miles away.



The highlight of my week was having my pottery friends over for appetisers last night.  We were once "The Wednesday Night Class" {infamous, maybe!}  We all got along so well, that here a few years later, we still enjoy each others' company.  I'd heard our teacher was having a gallery showing and thought how fun to go as a group to cheer him on. One of the gang had a birthday last week so for something desserty I made him the chocolate birthday cake.  Don't get me wrong, I loved having my friends over {we had a fabulous time catching up} but it did spur me into action to clean up some messes and complete some things downstairs that I was working on in tandem with my painter.

I am like that, you know.  At times {more often than I do it} I need self induced prodding, and there's nothing like company to light a fire under my tail.

And bless Irene's heart....she remembered my fetish for Typhoo Decaf tea. Having seen some at Earth Fare, she brought me a box, complete with a bow.  She lived in England for a while.  She truly understands the need for tea.

Who am I kidding?

I'm writing this blog, but I find myself asking this question: "Who really is going to be interested in reading my blog anyway?"  I follow my daughters' blogs, but they are chock full of interesting, amazing tidbits, travels, great humanitarian things, photos that melt your heart out.  I also follow the daughters of friends who blog about their children and it's great to see what their children are up to and how they are growing. I have an additional friend whose daughter in Michigan blogs about her daily life with little children and interjects it with spiritual and relationship "stuff" {which it's doubtful I'll need, but I must confess I do read it and I wonder if I'll ever have a love relationship again...} Now I'm charmed by another friend with a daughter abroad who posts recipes and lovelies that she creates and a friend who quilts, and a young father who took over his wife's poignant blog when she died of breast cancer, and a vegan who's a Christian and a fitness enthusiast that I occasionally check in on......  But MY blog?  I ask myself, "Who am I kidding?"

Monday, March 21, 2011

A New Undertaking



I used to say I had not had a complete day if I had not held a needle and done some sewing. It has been a long time since I spent any time in my sewing room creating much of anything. Today is a landmark day because I hand sewed 15 little pins, starting a new fundraiser to help with the crisis in Japan.  I did something similar last year for Haiti to raise money and it was quite successful {that was my one little sewing burst in the middle of a long drought!}
I'll make more pins as I have time this week, and I'll work on a source to sell them. I will also contact my church about having them send the money through appropriate channels. I need to work on a goal as it helps me to think, "I'm going to make 5 pins every night after work" and then do it.
Swiss batiste left over from a christening gown, buttons, a random spool of red wire, recycled beads, French knots in DMC thread: these were some of the materials I used.  It was a complete day again!