December 30, 2009

a year in review

a year in review....2009 through my eyes

2009 through my eyes....

it's funny looking back at it this way - has on only been this year that i learned about textures, the beautiful of pola coloring and the wonderful light a window can bring? it also appears that i'm rather fond of diagonal lights, the close-up instead of the faraway, and a lot of blue.

thanks to all of your for your unflagging support and suggestions during the year. i am inspired by you (as you can see in some of my 'lookalike' shots) and am in awe of the talent we have in our circle of friends (and their friends and their friends' friends...and so on). i look forward to more inspirations and laughter with you.

December 29, 2009

a journey

the only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind.
the only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind...

i stared at that statement for a while as i thought about what it meant...but then the meaning took flight in my heart. i smiled. as the year draws to a close i've been pondering what it has meant to me - what will i leave behind as i kiss 2009 goodbye? what will i carry in my heart?

the endurance of trying times. the lesson in charity and faith. the love of friends and the luxury of a support network that has loved me throughout. the gift of new friends flung far and wide across the globe. my heart is very full.

but there remains room for more if we open our hearts, then that miraculous organ expands...and expands...and even expands more. even when we think it might burst - it always has room for more love and more joy and, sadly sometimes more pain. and even when it feels crushed and broken, if you leave it open - it has room for healing. wonderful heart.

and i wonder what 2010 holds for me. i've got to hold the rudder firm and the sheets as they struggle in my hand when the wind whips around me. (sailing talk there - a bit of drama there as i love a good sailing metaphor) i'm not one for resolutions. i make it up as i go along and do mini-resolutions throughout the year - tweaks (sometimes major repairs). yes, there are changes i would like to make...i've already started working on them. just as 2009 brought changes, like clockwork, so will 2010.

dani has challenged me, and you too - to a one-word resolution in 2010. in light (and celebration) of that challenge, i've decided to go with 'journey'. because i see my life as the journey - the path - the adventure. may it be a happy one that leads to many more happy discoveries.

December 28, 2009

the aftermath

(taken by iPhone this morning)

i took the weekend off - celebrating the holidays and all of that. we do not do big holidays in my family, i just don't really see the need for it and it's not what the holidays are about to me. instead, i got a few heartfelt gifts and those were just perfect. we went to see 'a christmas story' play at the shakespeare festival (i thought it was adorable but i feel a feeling the boys were very bored). we went to church and i was moved to tears by the message. and the children's choir sang - who can be untouched by a children's choir? not me. we had our dinner together and i tell my oldest niece (she's five) almost wet her pants in excitement over opening presents. how knew a 'littlest pet shop' purse could be not me. and the stocking was a big hit...of course now others in the family want one. maybe that's a project for next year.

then there was the obligatory after-christmas shopping for discount decorations and i finally made my christmas dinner last night. ham, chicken and dressing and pecan pie. i even have leftovers. (the leftovers are the very best part)

coming back to work, the halls are quiet (i wish i could say the same for the construction outside my window today). i have music playing quietly and i'm plowing through the e-mails that are coming in now that people are slowly coming back to work. christmas came and left in a hurry for me. and that's okay, i enjoyed its brief visit.

December 24, 2009

peace be unto you...


may this holiday season bring you the peace that your heart seeks, the balm that heals all, the love that binds us together, and all the dreams you wish to come true.

may this christmas bring you the joy of a child and the happiness that only true contentment can bring.

may it be the most beautiful of holidays and the harbinger of many more beautiful holidays to come.


December 22, 2009

88 days and counting

winter came quietly, if officially, yesterday at 12:47 p.m. it didn't yell or draw attention to itself, it just settled in and wrapped my world in bright blues and chilly air. no snow (that's okay with me), no drama (also okay too), just a sweet knowledge at this the shortest day brings on additional minutes of light each day. it started it's icy crawl towards the equinox just 88 days away. 88 days...isn't that like piano keys (or is that 82? i forget). the flats and sharps of the season.

welcome winter - i'm happy to have you because you bring along your friend spring soon enough. in the meantime, i will love your aquamarine skies, lacey frost on the leaves, and the pink tips to everyone's nose. the faster steps, the crunch beneath my feet and the feel of a warm coffee mug in my cupped hands all make me glow. the barren branches shape a lattice against the sky and the branches take on a special grace. all the things i love for you this season - reminders of when that cold wind blows and i despair that i will never see green again, that you do bring in the green season. if not for the cold, the flowers would not blossom as bright. so welcome, even if i don't always make you feel at home.

December 21, 2009

the weekend was a whirl indeed, a very nice whirl. in it i learned:

:: how small the world really is when connected by brothers and day care,
:: the beauty of making new friends,
:: my sister doesn't quite have the art of mixing a cocktail down (teasing),
:: the humbling feeling of walking into a house and seeing your artwork on the wall,
:: you can get a lot of shopping done in a short time if properly motivated,
:: people who claim innocence about a subject maybe card sharks in disguise,
:: a simple meal with a dear friend tastes better than lobster,
:: cheap alcohol bought at a home store tastes like baby formula (ick),
:: however, good quality stuff sipped over a few ice cubes can be perfection,
:: that i will always giggle and perhaps tear up when seeing children playing the nativity,
:: my nieces are completely charming...i swear...,
:: that 'i don't like it' can sometimes mean, 'i'll eat it anyway',
:: there is definitely a difference between guy and girls wrapping paper tastes,
:: i can cook dinner and two pies, almost simultanteously...almost,
:: that barilla's three-cheese tortelli is a fantastic meal starter,
:: and is the greatest temptation to bake christina's crostada without taking a bite.

one of the best lessons i practiced this weekend was being present in the moment without expectations. in being present, i had the best time ever. the surrender was gentle and did not take any prisoners. sometimes, i discount lessons like this when i listen to my negative inner chatter, but this weekend, i refused to listen to her. it was a fantastic weekend and as a result, i got a lot accomplished. i highly recommend putting ms. sour apple in the closet again.

December 18, 2009


(via iphone)
isn't she pretty? a card that i got from kat. she loves her perch on my bookshelf.

it's a whirl this weekend. a day long party at work (i made potato soup and black bean salsa.) the soup was great but i stayed up past midnight getting it done as i had a late start last night.

tonight, i'm invited to two more parties, a dinner tomorrow night and maybe a visit with my favorite aunts on sunday. somewhere in there i have to buy christmas presents. luckily not much though.

what about you? you have something going on? short and sweet today - i though i had something profound, turns out i don't. sometimes it works out like that, right? be kind to each other.

December 17, 2009

requests, ruminations and rambles

what is that lyric about 'clouds in my coffee' from "you're so vain?" i never really understood the line - but this shot with the iphone reminds me of that.

i've had a difficult time this week with horrible, rude people and it makes enjoying the holidays so hard when you're faced with such awfulness. there is a special person that is going through a rough time - can i ask for your warm thoughts for that person? i'm sure that is descriptive of a lot of people you may know - let's all stop for a moment and offer warm thoughts, prayers and whatever else you have that you can send right now. thank you.

that being said, i've been overwhelmed with the beauty in my own life by wonderful friends i've made in blogland. did you see leslye's beautiful cards before i snapped them up to make them my very own? this iphone shot doesn't do them justice. and the sweet bookmark? i love it. it hangs from my book "making choices" by alexandra stoddard to remind me to have faith to make the right choices.

today i'm going to breathe in the holidays - they have arrived. co-workers have dropped off cookies to go with coffee, tomorrow is a day long 'goody day' and i'm making potato soup and black bean salsa. this weekend i will buy presents. a tree may or may not go up.

i have many more goodies to photograph and show you. this coming and going in the dark is a challenge to my photography...or a reasonable excuse. did you hear the one about the dog that walked into the saloon and said, 'i'm lookin' for the fella that shot my paw?' (groan) see, after that, you're sure to find something funny today.

December 15, 2009

no lords or ladies need apply

too much? *giggle* it made me chuckle. i heartily prescribe at least three chuckles, one belly laugh and perhaps a chortle or two per day, whenver possible. laughter makes the blues bearable.

heck, if you're hating on the holiday season, it will be over in a matter of three weeks. and, that flies by - right? (it does if you're as old as i am - i can't tell you where november got to so fast but it hit supersonic and was gone before i knew it.) maybe you can do a reverse advent calendar if you just have to. should we do that, invent the cynic's anti-advent? (teasing!! i promise) it makes me laugh to think what would be the daily 'treats' - certainly no peppermint or chocolate. (probably lumps of coals cut into pendants or switches for our vases?)

tomorrow, i'm kicking my grinch in the but(t) and getting him out. i'm going to check my christmas china to see what it needs to be ready for christmas breakfast. i'm going to finish the stockings and start helping santa stuff them. i'm buying my five or six presents and i'm going to be happy about them. i refuse to take on any projections of what christmas is 'supposed' to be. my parents loved christmas and even the years where we didn't have much, according to my mom, i can't remember wanting at all. i'm going to remind myself of that.

what in the heck would i do with all those calling birds and ladies dancing anyway - talk about obsessive (and excessive) behavior. who wants all that bird poo and men leaping about? and the noise of the drummers would just give me a headache. ugh.

so there funk, what cha' think about that ms. sour apple? (i have a feeling she's sitting in the corner smoking incessant salem's and bitching about her virulent hate of tinsel)

ps - ms. sour apple is me (goes without sayin').
pss - no geese, calling birds, partridges or other named fowl were harmed in the writing of this blog. i could not say the same if ladies came in my office dancing right now. i reserve the right to any gold rings left laying about.

December 14, 2009

musings and such

a fog has wrapped montgomery in a swath of dingy gray-white blankets and the hushed sounds of the city have me feelings as if i'm alone in the world. perched in my little office, looking down on the traffic, isolated in a sea of government workers, construction, and traffic. the world is moving around me as i sit here watching - a metaphor? a self-fulling prophesy? a stagnation? or just a moment? too much to ponder. i'm reminded with that thought of a quote from susan st. james, 'to reach the finish line is the beginning of another race.' today it feels as if the dash to the next race is weighted by the sandbags around my ankles. can you loan me a starter pistol?

ode to billy joe just came on my ipod - anyone remember bobbie gentry? her songs remind me of my childhood as mom had a few albums of hers - a duet album with glen campbell and then, 'fancy' (you know that song that reba made a big hit.) anyway, the song suits my foggy musings.

the rain now has come and washed the fog away - isn't it amazing how fast things can change. i'm glad now that i ducked out the front door to shoot a couple of pictures of the capital. the pristine white marble against the soft whites of the fog were beautiful. sometimes i look at the dome though and thing about my uncle that i never met and how he lost his life keeping that dome in that pristine condition. (he was pressure washing the dome and his safety rope broke - it was in the 1960's and i never knew him.) i wonder if my cousin can look at the capital the same way?

across the street, the construction of the building goes higher and higher. men there weld rebar to the girders while hanging from safety harnesses. the sparks arc like blue dragonflies in the rainy greys of the afternoon. i can see the crane move steel branches back and forth and hear the machinery's slight hum of activity. below the traffic is slowed by watchers that hold yellow caution signs. dr. king's church sits on the corner - dark and lonely in the rain.

i've finished my last sip of coffee and the garish christmas cup sits on my desk as an indictment of my lack of decoration. around me are christmas trees and wreaths. daily 'goodies' have started their long slouch towards bethlehem and dooming my waistline to a purgatory of prayers until i reach the balance of indulgence and resistance.

i'll finish up with nick drake's 'poor boy', another good song for a rainy day. i hope you're having a beautiful day.

December 13, 2009

pretty pretty princesses

it's hard to believe that my oldest niece is five. today was her princess birthday and the best cinderella ever came to her party along with her friend belle. the girls were mesmerized. but we adult laughed the entire time - as cinderella was trying to tell her story of meeting her prince, all the girls chimed in on what happened next. i will hand it to her - she had the patience of a saint. both princesses sang songs and totally enchanted the girls.

all in all it was a very wonderful birthday - i was utterly charmed by all the hugs and smiles the princesses gave and how well they played together.

December 12, 2009

what you discover

today i discovered i had all but one ingredient for each of the following:

lemon pie
pecan pie
and santa fe soup

so...i bought the things to complete them. i'm happy to report the soup was very much loved on a cold, rainy, wintery day. it's nothing fancy but a quick put together for when you're in a hurry. (so good with fresh cornbread if you're so inclined - today we just had fritoes with it)

santa fe soup:
1 lb ground round, browned and drained of any excess fat
1 can rotel tomatoes (i used mild but i bet hot would be good if you like)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can corn (yellow or white, either one)
1 can green chilies, chopped
1 can pinto beans (i use chili beans for the extra flavor)
1 package taco mix
1 package ranch dressing mix

dump all ingredients together and simmer for at least 15 minutes. you can garnish if you like with cheese and/or sour cream. add jalapenos if you dare.

in a few minutes i'm going to get up and start on the pecan pies (and maybe an apple too). the lemon pies will be tomorrow...because, well, the lemons had to come out and play today.

December 11, 2009


for those of you with ipods and the holiday spirit, apple has a gift for you! a free album of christmas music. i must say, some of these artists are great! check it out.

a photographer friend has terrific free christmas textures available on her blog today. joy is a fabulous photographer and i love what she does with toning. if you don't know who she is, you need to check her out. (plus she's featuring molly for her model on the textures) go grab you some christmas fun!! :)

Christmas Angel

i used her texture to make my christmas cards last year. :)

December 10, 2009

December 9, 2009

delicious ambiguity

the last of it

yellow leaves clinging on to my frail little crepe myrtle. my last little bit of fall color. they have fought valiantly against the wind and rain this week, but i think by this weekend they will be gone. the oak tree has steadily dropped tons of leaves on the front yard, a carpet of russet and brown. next door, the camellias have started blooming.

i've erased at least five paragraphs that followed that opening paragraph. words haven't come easy today. i think about writers like hemingway who could say so much in six little words or marquez who took forever to express his intricate thoughts. (many years later, as he faced the firing squad, colonel aureliano buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.) how is it that those writers can so capture me?

hemingway later told one of my favorite writers, fitzgerald, that he wrote one good page for every 90 pages of crap (paraphrased there) and that his goal was to put the 90 pages in the garbage. in reading, 'the sun also rises' - i wonder how many pages he discarded to get the sheer beauty of that book.

so back to the question of many paragraphs do i need to discard to get where i want to be? mostly likely my answer is that i didn't have a clear idea of what i wanted to write today. and that is the way it is most days. i open a blank page and words sometime tumble out easily. not so much today. part if it is due to a lack of sleep - don't you really hate it when the weather forecasters predict really bad weather? then everyone is nervous and uptight - my brother made me swear to keep my phone by the bed in case he needed to call me to tell me to go to the basement. (maybe we've watched twister once or twice) so i kept waking up all night long thinking i heard tornado sirens (i didn't)

i think i'm on the trail of someone to teach me knitting and/or crochet. i think i would be better at knitting. crochet seems rather mysterious and confusing from what i've watched. all that looping and switching and....dropping and...what all else that needle does. i think i'm officially too blind to keep sewing with a needle - last night it took me ten minutes to thread a needle. (note to self - go buy a self threader)

i've been on a recipe hunt again - i tend to make things over and over until i'm sick of them (once i master it, that is). so lately i've worn out spaghetti, chili and beef stew. i'm going to dive into those great meatloaf recipes you all gave me and let you know how it turns out. i feel a cooking urge coming on.

since i've proved that i'm no hemingway, i'll leave you with a couple of thoughts from other writers that say it better than me...

"twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. so throw off the bowlines. sail away from the safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. explore. dream. discover."
— mark twain

"i wanted a perfect ending. now i've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. delicious ambiguity."
— gilda radner

December 7, 2009

open letter to christmas

dear christmas
(because grown-ups don't write to santa, or do they?)

i'm writing today because i miss you. over the years i've let you slip out of my heart and, like all fairies, if i don't believe in them, they die. i haven't kept your light burning bright in my heart.

in my own defense, it's been a tough few years. there has been sadness and bad memories associated with christmas - but i fought through some of those. money's been tight - but some of my most fun memories are of times that i made christmas presents when i had nothing really to my name.

so what is it this year? i haven't been overwhelmed with you. i gave up on commercialism years ago when i realized i would not use credit for christmas. that's just a trap that some grinch set for that his heart has grown larger, he realizes that it was a mean thing to do. tell me oh sprite - i want my heart to be full of christmas cheer and not this infinite cold wasteland that it feels today.

i know you're there, waiting for me to come to you. you've never left me - not really. i know because when i think i'm over christmas, i remember beautiful memories and see the snapshots in my head. like, the year that uncle lee dressed up like santa and delivered our toys in a giant red sack? that was a good one. or what about the year i got my christmas china and even sat a place for the cat at the dinner table. that was very special. or the year it snowed when i got a special ring from a special guy. that was especially perfect. or my recent favorite, mom and watching ga opening santa for the first time.

and it's not that i don't like you. i think you're rather charming. red is a wonderful color on you and i like red, even on me. and some people say that dark green is one of my very best colors. (okay - that was mom, but i like it anyway) so what gives sprite? do you need to come knock me upside my feathery brain with the star that should sit on top of a tree of my choice?

could you whisper in my ear and let me know - use my right one, it hears better. until then, i'll quietly wait and see if i can figure it all out. because, i'll tell you a secret - you were always my favorite holiday. not because of the gifts, just because of the joy and goodwill that you spread. keep that part up, because it's like the very best part of it all.


December 6, 2009

whadda week.....

what is this you ask? this is the ending to a crazy week - helping my nephew finish up his science project. (determining which products are not biodegradeable - therefore we should recycle)

in this week i've had a family emergency, watching after nephews so my sister could work late, a fund raising event, grocery shopping (at least! we were getting low), a girl's day, fantastic football and now a science day. whew.

it's been a whirlwind of activity and i'm still going strong tonight in getting my clothes together for the week and cooking dinner. we've lived off fast food this week because i haven't had time for cooking or grocery shopping. it felt good to cook tonight.

the cold weather has arrived in alabama (did you hear about the snow in texas?) and i believe some flurries hit up north. we avoided that bullet for now, but had the first real freeze of this winter. brrrrr i've been working on making christmas stockings and another weekend has gone by and i didn't put up a tree. i think i have one more weekend before i just hang it up, right? *smile*

i feel as if i've been on a treadmill last week - hopefully it will be better this week. hope you get off to a good start too. gotta run change the clothes over to the dryer.

ps - i'm working catching up with blogs - if i miss one, please forgive me. also, if i check your streams on flickr, i'm way behind there. i still love ya, it's just been one those very little time week.

December 2, 2009

defying gravity

you may recognize this beautiful piece. one of my fabulous crafty friends made this and i've admired it on two different occasions when she blogged about hobbies. if you haven't met cinner, then you need to. she has the warmest heart and the best attitude in the world. she sent me this as a little surprise - imagine my joy when i opened it. now it sits in my office where i can admire it every day. thank you cindy - i will cherish. (please ignore the rather rude dinosaur in the background, he was trying to crash cindy's party)

so, thank you cindy. that was so sweet and generous.

the day started out dreary and dark. this afternoon it has blossomed into this glorious sky and the sun coming through my office window feels warm on the left side of my face.

there are simple things around me to do, yellow post-it notes scattered with purple ink. a coffee cup that has the last sips of cold coffee from this morning and printouts from various websites as i do some research for the office.

the day is good. the sun has made an appearance and even though i know it's cold outside, it warms the left side of my face. 'defying gravity' comes on my ipod and the message makes me smile. it's a good message...a very good message.