Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Speaking of sacred spaces...

Speaking of sacred spaces, work has been more challenging than usual. I found myself looking for a centering influence, and with a little time and thought, came up with this carefully placed rock garden

Here are the stones my garden contains, with the healing properties that apply to my workplace:

Blue Howlite
• Absorbs own anger and any directed at you
• Facilitates calm and reasoned communication

• Helps relieve emotional and spiritual isolation and allows feeling connected with all that is

Dalmatian Jasper, Dalmatian Stone, Aplite
• beneficial for mood elevation, balance, and nerves
• said to sound a warning when danger is near
• grounding and centering
• harmonizes emotion, maintains composure, helps avoid overanalysis
• helps move forward while planning potential actions with care and reflection
• stimulates sense of fun, transmutes negativity and outgrown patterns

Black Tourmaline
• Balances right and left brain hemispheres
• Promotes self-confidence and positive attitude
• Helps dispel toxic emotions such as negative thought patterns, worry, guilt, judgment, anger, and fear
• Cleanses energy field, especially in meditation
• Protects against all types of negativity
• Gain insight into how past affects present
• Protects against curses, psychic attacks, and ill-wishing

Moss Agate
• Peaceful temperament
• Helps one find and adhere to one’s higher purpose
• Releases negative karma
• Self-esteem
• Useful in meditation to magnify one’s goals

• insight, penetrates paradox and contradiction in order
• helps analysis, intuition, observation, and creativity
• facilitates self-disciple, organization, efficiency, and structure in research and mental pursuits
• insight into self
• beneficial for self-esteem, memory, rational thought, objectivity, intuitive perception,defensiveness and oversensitivity

Monday, April 9, 2012

Garden Reawakening 2012

 Garden porn:

The potting table is busy. See that little blue bag on the table? That was my Easter basket. :)

Tomatoes and pepper wait to be planted. In the other pots are an assortment of herbs - Thai basil, rosemary, and cilantro.

Finishing up the last section of tilling in the vegetable garden.

The lettuce has really taken off ! 

You wouldn't believe what this cheap electric garden tiller is capable of doing! My favorite garden tool, hands down.

Time to transplant the sweet pea...

Blue spruce and Veronica Blue in Balthasar's garden. I'll be adding Munstead lavender soon. The pots are waiting for impatiens.

Potted ranunculus and my quatrefoil stepping stone.
Lobilia and artillery fern in the stone planters out front.

The shady sides of the house are filled with hostas and vinca.

Lily of the Valley is beginning to bloom around the porch.
Hard to see on camera with that silly fence, but there are 4 climbing roses and this rose bush around the gardens. Also not pictured: pyracantha, boxwood, hydrangea, and lilac.

Other decorative, meaningful elements:

moss agate

Ranunculus with Kelly's birthday traveling gnome
Kelly's Easter pinwheel

I'm waiting to plant nine Pencil Point Junipers along the fence, Irish Moss along the other fence, Impatiens in several pots around the yard, and Munstead Lavender in Balthasar's garden. Once those arrive, the Garden will be complete. It will be lovely in a month or so!

Thanks to my love for traipsing around the garden with her camera. She suggested that we should take pictures every Saturday to document the awakening. What a great motivation to keep up on weeding. Here's hoping!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Everyday Sacred Spaces

Recently I have noticed that I am drawn to images, symbols, discussions, and inner musings about spirituality. Though I grew up in a vaguely Christian tradition, I was aware even as a child that I was not comfortable embracing that identity - it did not fit me. However, I didn’t set out on any “quest” to find that tradition with which I could identify, as it seems many people do. I was comfortable with a “cause and effect”, no nonsense world view.

I’ve lost loved ones over the years. I think about them often. When the last of my closest, dearest departed last year, I suddenly felt shaken from what looks now like a cynical, dismissive world view. I began to hope for more than what I can see. That is a discussion for another time and post.

Today I became interested in intimate, sacred spaces. Call them what you will – temples, altars, shrines. I looked at dozens of pictures of such places, thinking that perhaps I will create such a space for myself. But what I have come to realize is that I must have always sub-consciously hoped for more than I could see, because these sacred spaces already exist all over my home – my garden (and the plans I have for it), my d├ęcor throughout my house, the way my workspace contains meaningful treasures, and especially my craft room.

Recognizing this about my personal spaces led me to think about the way I shop for things. It has always seemed to me that most people purchase items like they vote for political candidates, settling for the least offensive of what is immediately available. My way of shopping drives people mad. I may vaguely have some idea of what I want, but until the perfect thing presents itself and “speaks” to me, I refuse to buy it. And if I am shopping and feel strongly about an item I don’t necessarily need, if it is within my budget, I have learned to make room for it anyway. Otherwise I’ll just end up obsessing until I go back for it. I know all of this sounds contrary to a discussion about spirituality, dwelling on material things, but it really does relate. I don’t have a house full of useless, meaningless decorative items cluttering up my space. Instead, my spaces are all sacred and meaningful. Recognizing this, I no longer feel the need to construct an altar or shrine. My home, my workspace, my garden, and my craft room are all sacred spaces. That makes me happy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Edward Cullen and Matthew Clairmont: Why We Love Them

The appeal of the characters in Twilight and A Discovery of Witches is easy to understand. We all dreamt that one day we’d find that person who not only truly appreciates but adores us, who would be loyal and loving in the best and worst of times. Years later we find ourselves in relationships where we’ve compromised and rationalized and whittled away our expectations to the point where we accept being taken for granted or deliberately misused, feeling less than appreciated and fulfilled. It’s a hard place to be, knowing you take second place to TV, golf, sports, a bar stool, ambition, etc, etc. And yet, we stay in these relationships because it seems like everyone we know feels less than satisfied with their circumstances. So we buy into the complacency, embrace whatever benefits we can find in our relationships, and trudge ahead. Then, out of the blue comes this thrilling, chilling reminder of what we had dared to hope for so long ago - a story about two people whose love and devotion give them the strength to face any challenge, a relationship in which the lovers are engaged and mindful of what the other is feeling and thinking; a relationship in which the most stressful moments do not devolve into hurtful episodes of lashing out. In this relationship, the lovers seek to protect and are protected. It is hard, when faced with this ideal, not to feel some revival of hope that we, too, may one day meet that person for whom we will be the one center, the person who will accept that they are the center of our world as well, without the testing and games and insecurities that plague us all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My beloved cat, Balthasar, left this world on Tuesday, July 23, 2011. I will someday post a remembrance, but I am working on gathering all I can from my memory and my pictures to be sure the story is as complete as possible. I don't want to forget a single detail. In the meantime, Kelly and I have added to the family - a bit of distraction in hopes that someday I'll have another little buddy who claims me as his own.

Kelly and I spent a long time looking at kittens in the area on Petfinder.com. We decided to go to the Gladstone Animal Shelter because Kelly’s previous beloved kittens, Renny and Sahara, had come from there. The shelter had listed a litter on Petfinder.com with the following description ”What a fun litter of kittens! The have been with us about a month and are just as playful and fun loving as can be. The calico kitten is a female and the other two kittens are males. Mom is a calico as well and needs a great home, too. These babies (and mom) are really fun and we are anxious to see them get into the permanent homes they so deserve, can you help?” I was interested. What sweet little babies.

Sebastien (the little white and orange guy in the picture) was the calmest of the litter. When we brought him out to play, he was affectionate and sweet. We were sold. Kelly also picked a little black and white female that was too new to be adopted out right away. She will come home with us in a week or so. They didn’t even have a picture of her on Petfinder.com yet, so you’ll just have to wait for pictures when we bring her home next Monday.

Sebastien was adopted right away, on July 30, 2011 and came home Monday, August 1, 2011 after going to Kendallwood Animal Clinic for a checkup and neuter. The staff loved him, said he was very quiet and playful. He has ear mites and they suspect he also had fleas as Sara said she saw some flea dust during the exam. He tested negative for FIV. They gave us medicine for ear mites and some flea/mite/roundworm medicine and sent us home. I sat in the back seat of the Forrester with him and played with him on the way home. He didn’t seem to mind the car ride at all.

Once home, I bathed Sebastien and then took him upstairs to show him the litter box.

He went potty right away. He spent the rest of the evening exploring upstairs, making friends with Harper and Zeus, both of whom he was not scared much, especially Zeus. 

He seemed thrilled with every toy we offered, from the cat fishing poles to the vibrating mouse, the smaller mouse toys, the animal print ball, and the crinkle ball. He had a hard time with a feather he pulled off of the cat fishing pole - we finally noticed that it wasn't just that he was carrying the feather around in his mouth. He couldn't get it out.

We noticed that he is a chewer. We may have trouble with exposed electrical cords, as he chewed on everything he came in contact with.

He is very affectionate with both of us, rubbing his little head against ours. Kelly seems to get him to purr easily. I don’t notice it as often, but Kelly says that is because it isn’t always an audible purr. I also noticed that Sebastien wants very much to cuddle with Zeus, who tolerated his advances well until Sebastien seemed to be looking for a snack. Sara told me that she believes he is 4-5 months old. The Gladstone Animal Shelter website states that they have had the litter for a month, so he had probably never spent a night away from his mother. Poor little guy.

 I tried to get him to stay on the bed to sleep, but he left us. Kelly found him in her room beside her cabinet this morning. Kelly gets up much earlier that I do, so she feeds the animals while I am still sleeping. She described a standoff between Harper and Sebastien at Harper’s food bowl, where the kitten fearlessly forged ahead to partake of the dog food while Harper gave a low little growl. Apparently, Harper gave in and walked away. What a good girl. Sebastien seems to like her very much; though in the very beginning he gave her little warning hisses of fear. His walking between her legs and rubbing up against her indicate things have changed quickly. Kelly also said that Sebastien attacked his own food with great enthusiasm.

He was very vocal this morning. His charm and zeal were hard to leave behind. I remember being anxious to get home to see Balthasar when he was a kitten. It seems that this new fuzzball has a similar effect on me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Housewife of Notre Dame

It’s Monday morning, about 8:30.  I’m at home, doing the things I’d be doing if I were a kept woman. No, I didn’t quit my job. I’ve been struck by some bizarre allergy that has made my face, including my eyes, swollen and itchy. So my momentary lapse into housewifedom comes with a price – disfigurement and a powerful itch. Oh, and did I mention that I leave for vacation in days?

I’ve had a pretty good morning despite the pox.

I slept an hour later than usual, rising to call in to work. I decided I might as well stay up and get ready to go see the doctor, so I took a shower and listened to NPR, as usual. Today, the Beastie Boys were on promoting their new album. They began the interview just as I was wrapping things up. On most days, I would miss the rest of the broadcast, but today I was able to go online and listen to the entirety of the interview. Sweet! And, of course, I have decided I must have the new album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2.

K wants the Adele album, so maybe I'll go pick up both of them sometime today if my face ever gets to a less ghastly configuration.

Next, I began thinking about the luggage tag project I started last night. It all started well, but I have run into a snag.

No matter how hard I press with the iron, I can not flatten the tag enough to fit underneath the presser foot on my sewing machine, so I am unable to sew on the clear vinyl piece that would hold a card with name and address. I tried hand stitching the piece, but the vinyl is hard to pierce and it shifts too much, so my hand stitching looked awful. I love the way the rest of the project turned out, so I’m eager to find a solution. I’ll be spending some time today looking for solutions online, but if you have some knowledge and experience to share, I’d sure appreciate it.

Balthasar is glad I’m home. And he seems to really enjoy the dish towel with the bag of ice I’ve been using to help reduce the swelling around my eyes. Even with the pox, life is pretty good.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

More Sewing Success!

Here it is, the reversible bag I mentioned in my last post:

I learned many things making this bag. Most importantly, to allow 3 inches of height for making the bottom of the bag. It's much shorter than I intended. Now that I "get" the construction, I'll be able to make something a little closer to what I really want next time. K is already asking for a beach bag, so it won't be long before I get a second chance at getting this right.