Friday, December 31, 2010

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful...
1. to be spending another New Years Eve with my love
2. for my getting to see my family quite a lot in 2010
3. that I have a niece born into 2010
4. that I also have a nephew with my sister's marriage
5. that I am looking forward to 2011

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From Notes from the Universe: "Oh, shoot, Darby! I don't think I ever told you that whilst in the pursuit of a grand and wonderful dream, should you all of a sudden round a bend and see before you an enormous uncharted mountain with towering cliffs, jagged rocks, and seemingly impenetrable walls, just consider it a sign that your dream is considerably more worthwhile than you had previously imagined, and that you are exactly where you're supposed to be."

I needed to hear this.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thoughts Become Things

This came with the prompt for December 25th REVERB. The person speaking does Notes from the Universe. I have pasted a few in this blog. I get them daily and enjoy them. And I am very thankful for them because they often tell me just what I need to hear.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Forever Gone...

Every year, writers pen their thoughts about what transpired in the last year, the last decade or even the last century. The history buff in me loves reading how much we've changed -- and so when I came across a list of 20 items which have become obsolete, my interest was piqued!

1. VCR and VHS tapes .... I remember the time when we got our first VCR. My Dad won it at a work raffle at Christmas - and he was glowing when he brought it home. We watched, recorded, watched, recorded and watched -- probably like most families, but I just remember how cool it was to have something on TV and then be able to play it back later.

2. Travel agents .... I never used one except for when I worked for the state. Great group of people dedicated on making the angst of travel easy. They setup your flight, hotel, ground travel ... they can arrange your trips and have a pretty good idea what to expect when you got to your destination. "Hands-on," personal service ... gone by way of the likes of Expedia, blogs and other travel sites.

3. Separation of Work/Personal Life .... Oh how I relate to this one in ways that I can't begin to articulate. I was having a conversation with a good friend and former colleague about how much has changed since when it was just her and I working together. It was the introduction to email, the internet, and cell phones ... the lines became blurred and as a result work began invading our personal life and then vice-a-versa.

4. Forgetting .... At first I'm like - what? But then after reading the description a bit - the internet has made it possible for us to forget things and come back to it later. It makes sense ... that we rely more and more on the internet for things that we'd normally store in our memory banks or in our filing cabinets ... I was going to say something else about this, but I can't remember what it was.... anyway!

5. Bookstores .... One of the sadder things gone forever. I remember many times when I'd go to the mall and into a B. Dalton bookstore ... or a Waldens. Just being able to sit and read, check out the latest books or magazine. It was a refuge to escape for a bit without the formality of a library.

6. Watches .... Admittedly, when I started working for the State, I stopped wearing a watch. I didn't like the idea of being confined to minutes and seconds on my wrist - so I stopped wearing one. How do I keep the time? On the computer (lower right hand corner) ... cell phone ... or via clocks in the house.

7. 1-900 phone sex .... The internet ... what else can you say?

8. Maps .... As my parents can both relate - I was very much into maps ... streets, signs, roads..... I loved being able to map out routes and was fascinated by that as a kid. I had a full hand-drawn map of our immediate neighborhood on my wall. It wasn't anything special, but I carefully drew the streets, the sidewalks, signs, lights ... markings on the roadway. Mix in GPS, Google Maps, and one can surmise that I can get pretty geeky when I get into navigational mode....

9. Calling .... Hard to believe that texting, Twitter, Facebook and email have surpassed calling someone on the phone. It's a trend that makes it easier to have smaller parts of a conversation - without needing to delve into a longer one on the phone. Have we really evolved as a society that is dedicated on 140 character bits of information?

10. Classified Ads in Newspapers .... It was just a matter of time that as many newspaper chains are turning to an online solution - thanks in part to eBay, CraigsList and other online classified-type services ... it's no longer needed to waste the trees to print it anymore.

11. Dial-up Internet .... Anyone else remember the screeching sounds of "modem-talk?" But who really wants to "zip" around the internet at 56k anymore?

12. Encyclopedias .... Not really coming as a shock since we all have Google and Wikipedia to look at. But - as the internet proves: just because it's posted, doesn't make it real. Encyclopedias -- while infamously vague ... was still at least a good starting point to research something. Now - it takes multiple resources and some verifiable FACT to prove things ... something the Republican crowd tends be seriously lacking these days....

13. CDs .... It wasn't that long ago when we witnessed the death of cassette tapes (shhhh - we still have those, but don't tell anyone) .... but now to witness the death of CDs in a shorter time span is just - wow. iPods, streaming music online, mean that most of us can download our entire CD collection to something the size of our wallet. I still use CDs for data purposes though because DVDs still have burning problems and readability factor for some older machines.

14. Landline Phones .... up until a month ago - I would dismiss this as a potential "forever gone" ... until we removed our landline - transferred it to a cell phone ... and that's how it is. While there are but a few instances - where landline phones are necessary ... in the span of instances over a year or a decade ... it just doesn't justify dropping $50 a month to watch something that doesn't ring.

15. Film and Film Cameras .... Another one of the sadder moments in this list. I love how film can capture things that digital can't. The approximation of pictures - interpreted by a computer - just does not replace the color and depth of celluloid. But I do love the creativity and freedom that digital photography provides us.

16. Yellow Pages and Address Books .... Another product of the efficiency and ease that the internet provides us. It's easy, it's up to date (mostly), and it's readily available with a series of clicks and letters on the keyboard. No more 5-7 lb book, no more finding pages ripped out or listings buried under different subheadings than what you were looking for in the first place.

17. Catalogs .... What fond memories I had growing up looking at the winter toy catalog for Montgomery Wards, JCPenny's and Sears. Now - we just receive spam messages of every sale a store has everyday ... 10% off before 7am ... 30% off doorbusters ... receive a free gift when you give us your email address so that we can spam you that much more!!

18. Fax machines .... Arguably one obsolete thing that isn't quite dead yet ... but with document scanners, email capability and the growing lack of paper ... we're definitely emerging into a paperless era.

19. Wires .... Another arguably misplaced item on this list .... but we have wireless internet, wireless phones and even wireless charging .... I submit that wires is probably going to officially die out in the next decade after they successfully implant the microchips in my brain - so that I no longer need to interface with computer monitors, mice and keyboards.... :)

(don't laugh - they're looking into it....)

Last but not least ....

20. Handwritten letters .... No form letter, no copy and paste, no informal 7 word reply in an email .... we're losing our ability to demonstrate emotion, love, and pain as our collective pens fall upon blank sheets of parchment. Love letters are now replaced by cards, txt messages, facebook status updates and tweets. The sad part is - we lose a connection that we think is replaced by keystrokes and little emoticons. When the hand grasps the pen ... to author something ... it becomes a physical connection that pours from our soul in scribbles and penmanship. There was no undo ... there was no re-arranging sentences so that they made more sense. The flow of our thoughts was more controlled - a slower pace - arguably something that simply can't exist in an instant on, "internet is ready" world that we live in these days.

(Original list posted at the Huffington Post ... comments were done by me. :))

Which makes me wonder - how much of our soul is slowly leaving our bodies with the advent of so much technology ... are we losing the morsels of our lives as they once were captured in frames on celluloid film .... are we becoming lazy because the internet ensures that we don't forget our appointments for tomorrow .... are we slowly losing our connection to the tactile universe, replacing it by ones and zeros?

Many authors, columnists and philosophers of our day have long since wrote about this day. I guess I didn't stop and consider that it could happen during my time - and yet - here we all are.

While I'm glad we're doing away with dial-up internet and fax machines ... I'm not quite sure I'm ready to give up my connection with life around me. Some things are worth doing "the old-fashioned" way ... now I just need to convince the rest of the world that it's a good thing too.

Forgive Myself

This is from the December 22nd Daily OM: "Giving ourselves permission to feel at peace with our past actions is one of the most positive steps we can take toward living a life free from regrets, disappointments, and guilt. The more we are able to remind ourselves that the true path to a peaceful mind and heart is through acceptance of every part of our lives and actions, the more harmony and inner joy we will experience in all aspects of our lives."

You know how you always hear never have regrets? I am a person that disagrees with that statement. I feel sometimes we need to regret our actions to know the magnitude of our mistake and learn from it. There are some significant regrets in my life. And they are ones I have hung on to for a very long time. I have had disappointment in myself. I have carried guilt for all the things said and things done. But in 2011, it is my hope that I can give myself permission to feel at peace.....take steps to forgive myself.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Everything's OK

Prompt: What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

I love this prompt. I love the link that was given in the post for the prompt. It has had me thinking since I opened it after midnight on the 24th. It did make me think - yes everything is going to be okay.

And more than okay. For the first time in a long time I feel like everything will be okay. The proof is the feeling inside more then anything else. I think things can look perfect on the outside often when things are crashing on the inside. So only on the inside can we know it is going to be okay. And tonight I figured out that it is going to be okay. That 2011 is going to be more then okay.

I am going to use some of those tools in Gwen Bell's post on How to Create a Personal Manifesto. The vision map is very appealing to me. And I am even thinking of it digitally this time. I think by creating it - it will help me keep it incorporated into my year ahead - that things are alright and I can create my own reality.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. traditions
2. the drive with to look at lights last night with Michael. It is our tradition and it something both of us look forward to all year. We splurged on Starbucks and brought the ipod stocked with holiday tunes and drove around and looked at all the beautiful lights. It was wonderful to share the evening with Michael and I am so very thankful we get that time together.
3. watching Polar Express with Michael tonight - another tradition that I am so thankful for
4. Christmas coloring books and crayons
5. Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Lights

Michael and I went to look at lights tonight. Last year there weren't that many lights here. But this year everyone decorated it seemed like. So it was a lot of fun.

Our tradition is stopping and getting Starbucks, bringing the ipod loaded with Christmas music and drive around. It my favorite holiday tradition with Michael. And I know he feels the same.

There were lots of limos out going through the neighborhoods. We have a couple neighborhoods that almost every house decorates so its like a tour. But just to explain our town isn't huge. It is not like we are a big city. So seeing limos going around through the neighborhoods looking at the lights was...just well odd to me. But I am sure it is fun to do it that way - getting friends together and enjoying the lights together. And not having to drive.

One street there were several houses in a row that had a ton of lights. But the house right before those houses just had this one little light in the window when we passed. And I had Michael back up and look. Because I could tell it was a word but I couldn't read it as we passed. It was an arrow with the word DITTO under it. It was very funny.

We have friends that go around and give awards to people that just leave them at the door with a little gift of chocolates. And I have no doubt that the DITTO would have won an award from them. Because I would have loved to leave them one too.

It was a wonderful night. And I am so glad Michael and I were able to take some time to keep our tradition.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Stars

I have King Arthur Flour "Liked" on Facebook because I love their recipes. I like their flour too. I seem to have good luck with it when baking in high altitude. Anyway, they posted this recipe on Facebook last year sometime and I bookmarked it and finally made them. But adapted it a little bit.

I didn't make Cardamom Butter Cut-Out Cookies this year. And I like cardamom so when I saw this recipe and the ingredients I felt cardamom would be a good add to it. And so I did.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Stars
adapted from King Arthur Flour's Chewy Oatmeal Decorating Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (King Arthur's recipe has ginger)
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, traditional or white wheat
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
cinnamon sugar

To prepare the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, then add the egg, vanilla, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom, beating until smooth. Beat in the flours and oats. The original recipe warns that the mixture may look dry at first but then it will come together - I didn't have that problem. It was pretty moist all the way through the mixing process. Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

To shape the cookies: Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a circle about 14" in diameter. Use your favorite cutters to cut out cookies, re-rolling and cutting the scraps. Place the cutout cookies on lightly greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets; set them fairly close together, as they don’t spread.

To bake the cookies: Bake the cookies for about 9 to 10 minutes: the shorter amount of time will make softer cookies, the longer amount of time, crisper cookies. Remove the cookies from the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Yield: 6 1/2 dozen 2 ½" cookies.

* I wish I had ran the oats through my food processor just a little bit. Maybe just 2 pulses. Because in cutting the cookies out through the oats was difficult at times. And so the stars didn't have clean edges. I think having the oats in smaller pieces would have helped that. But you don't want oat flour you want oats so that is why I say only 2 pulses. Maybe only one. I just feel it would be easier if they were in a little smaller pieces. But they still turned out good and I even if I don't have time or the food processor thing doesn't work - then I would still make these cookies as they are very good.

* These cookies are great for high altitude cooking. The oats and whole wheat flour helps hold them together. They don't spread at all.

* King Arthur calls them chewy but they weren't chewy at all. It might be due to altitude. Not sure. But to Michael and I the cookies tasted light and flaky - almost like a pie crust but more sweet.

* They weren't good to ship at least not loosely in a container. They broke. We shipped some to Michael's parents and I think I included some in a package to my sister and brother-in-law. But Michael's parents told use that the stars didn't make it. As I said above they were light and flaky. Although they weren't crumbly. I just feel it was to being jostled so much in shipping they broke. But they aren't fragile cookies just in normal conditions (such as sitting in a cookie jar and being eaten right away because they are so good).

These cookies were really good. I loved that they had whole wheat and oats in them. And I will be making them again. And maybe trying different spices in them and possibly drizzling them with some dark chocolate.

3 Days of Reverb

Prompt: Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

To try. I mean that is simple isn't it? Trying is a step towards succeeding.

Prompt: How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?

I traveled home several times in 2010. And then to Iowa for my sister's wedding and then to North Carolina to see my friend Jessica. I would love to see Jessica again in 2011. I would love for Michael and I to go away to Santa Fe or another long weekend somewhere. And I want to see my niece and be able to hold her and give her kisses and hugs.

Prompt: Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?

I love my name and wouldn't ever want it to be anything else. I don't want to be anyone else either so it just can't think of a name that I would choose. I am me - good bad and ugly. I have flaws. I have made a lot of mistakes. I have had a life that really is hard to imagine. But it is mine and I own it. I am 43 and if I want anything other then I have now I need work for it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Wreath 2010

Remember the garland wreath I posted back in November that I said I wanted to create. Well I did.

Okay so the main reason I wanted to create this wreath was because I can't have a wreath with any kind of glue on it - as anything hanging on my front door has the sun hit it and the sun melts it. Well...having a momentary brain lapse...I didn't quite think through that this wreath would have problems also. Any guesses what happened? Well I really don't need guesses as I am going to tell you. It melted. The mylar (assuming that is what garland is made out of) melted in the sun. It just kind of rolled up tight into itself. So this photo is thankfully a before photo. Although I should have probably taken an after photo too.

So backing up on how I made it....

I took a big embroidery hoop and wrapped garland around it. And then I took a smaller one and wrapped with the same garland. Looped some ribbon around each and then hung them so the little one was sitting in/on the larger one.

This photo is from the inside of my front door as the sun was so bright I couldn't get a good photo from outside without blinding myself - which should have given me a clue it was going to MELT! DUH!

Otherwise...I really liked this wreath. It was fun and festive. Very easy to create. And I still might make another for next year to hang in the dining room.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beyond Avoidance

Prompt: What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

There are things that are always on my to-do list that I never seem to get around too and I hope to in 2011. But I can say without a doubt 2010 wasn't the year for them. There were things I needed to do in 2010 and did. But usually avoidance is my friend. And I am very good at it - and I hope that in 2011 I lose that friend.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Prompt: What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I am still going through healing. But I know some amazing people in my life helping with the healing. Michael, friends, my doctor, my therapist, family and sometimes random strangers all help me heal. I just want to keep focusing on working on me - getting me to the place I want to be. And I know that all those people are there to help and support me. I am very blessed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lessoned Learned + Try

Prompt: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

That I can express myself in a clear way that isn't attacking or passive/aggressive. I knew this before but often didn't apply it. I just didn't express the feelings or I did a jab because whatever was said to me made uncomfortable and it was easier to jab back. I hope to just keep in mind the skills to used to express myself through 2011.

Prompt: What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

Do I have enough paper to describe this? (start these REVERB's usually offline) It just feels like I have put my life on hold for so long...waiting to live it. Pushing parts of myself down because I didn't know how to express those parts. I just want to try this year. I want to try things that come to mind. I don't want to put it off. I want to try to express myself in what ways feel natural.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. love letter from Michael - I am very lucky to have someone so romantic that hand writes me a love letter especially during such a rough week
2. homemade caramel corn
3. lights on the tree
4. thoughtful amazing friends
5. Christmas cards

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Prompt: How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Jessica without question changed my view of the world and impacted my life greatly this year. I am incredibly thankful for all she did to make it possible for us to spend time together. She gave me an artful, peaceful, expressive place to be - especially during such a hard time in my life. She helped ground me and gave me strength to carry on through this year. Jessica has changed my life since the moment we met 4 years ago so it has been gradual but staying with her was a burst of positive energy. I love her and am so blessed to have her as my friend.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Action, Appreciate and 5 Minutes

Catching up on a few prompts as it has been a busy week. This is always one of my busiest weeks of the year.

Prompt: When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

It is about making them happen, but I right now it is about making my thoughts and feelings align more so that I can stop all the doubts and negative self talk. I am doing quite a lot of journaling. I am doing more art. I do have actions that are making aspirations come to life.

Prompt: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

I always have appreciated Michael but this past year he has been my rock in a whole new way. He has supported me and helped me go through my grieving process. And I thank him often.

Prompt: Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Hugging my Uncle, visiting Jessica, being at my sister's wedding and her wedding reception, being able to go to burial of my Uncle's ashes, lots of phone calls with my girlfriends from around the country - laughing with Kaylee, crying with Jeni and being completely open with Jessica, slumber party with my Grandma, going to Eat, Pray, Love with my Mom, sister, two of my Aunts and my cousin, trying new foods and love letters from Michael

Monday, December 13, 2010


Okay I am going to make a confession....that I wonder if other people do also....

I will get hooked on a little craft/art project and then end up buying a ton of supplies to make more of it but often don't. I have done this with the marble magnets, clothes pin magnets, note cards and gratitude notebooks. I have a ton of supplies for all those project yet it never fails I want to do something new. Or at least it takes me many years to come back to it as I will search through my stuff and go "oh yeah that was fun to make lets do that!"

* images of marble magnets I made several years ago

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Subway Art

Subway art seems to be all the rage these days. There are a lot of different takes on it out there. So I decided to make up one for Christmas.  I am a person that likes color options so here are 3 different colors of my Christmas subway art for you to download and print.

Click on these image to save the larger image. I am sure they would look good printed on cream or white paper.

Reds, greens and ice blue

Reds, greens and brown

Browns and Greens

I think I am going to print the one with browns and greens on a cream piece of cardstock. And then put it in a plain wooden frame that I picked up at the dollar tree a while back. And then I might hang the frame from green velvet ribbon. Or I have a piece of really pretty green satin ribbon that might look good.

Body Integration

Prompt: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

No and no. A lot of body issues and often I do think that makes me do many of the things on that list of 11 things from yesterday. I know that I hide because of my body issues. Body issues is one thing I have on my list to work on for 2011 but I know it will be an ongoing struggle and issue that I deal with most likely for the rest of my life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

11 Things

Prompt: What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. perfectionism
It stops me from trying often as I am worried that it won't be perfect so why try it then. And that isn't an option. Trying is much better. When I do try, I find myself often at least happy that I tried even if it ultimately didn't turn out the way I envisioned. It helps me also gain knowledge on how to take steps to keep improving. Perfectionism feeds negative self-talk.

2. self-doubt about art
Just create. Again it is linked with the above because if I can't do it exactly how I envision then the self-doubts start creeping in and I then don't pick up paint brush, scissors, collage items and so on for months.

3. mindlessness
I want to be more present in the moment. Multi-tasking often makes me lose track of time. And I want to be present and alert in the moment.

4. processed food and refined sugars
Food and issues surrounding weight are such a hard spot for me to conquer. I know just eliminating those things will help me be so much more healthy even if not losing weight. I am not even putting losing weight on the list as it just sets me up for more negativity.

5. stuff I don't need or use
We have a storage unit that we are going through at the end of this month and I want that process of going through it to start me going through all my other stuff and purging.

6. negative thoughts on age and where my life is at
This is a big issue for me right now. My life is not where I thought it would be at 43. And I keep hanging on to that instead of trying to make my life look like I want it to - at least in the ways that are possible.

7. let go of the unrealistic
I put this one after number 6 because I think sometimes my dreams exceed the possible. And I am one of those that totally thinks anything is possible if you set your mind to it. But there comes a time when some dreams need to be let go of because they aren't possible or healthy. Such as the vision of my life is impacted by my love. And I wouldn't change that but there are some of his life goals and dreams that effect my life and my dreams. And so if it is choosing between a dream and him - I choose him.

8. guilt
I carry lots of guilt around daily. Guilt for living so far from my family. Guilt for not doing enough or giving enough. Guilt for not doing everything a "normal" person should be able too do.

9. the notion of normal
I do a lot of the comparing myself to what I think is normal. And I know that question of what is normal? I agree logically - there is no normal. But emotionally often I don't believe it. I do comparisons and think "Hey look at all that person is doing and accomplishing....should I be doing that?" And then I do the "I must not be normal." Really I think the normal roots from my migraines. I look at everything everyone else can do and then I know what I can do when I have so many migraines and it eats up my life.

10. not expressing feelings
I keep a lot bottled up. I am hoping for 2011 I am more expressive of what I am feeling. I feel I had a good start to this in 2010 though.

11. procrastination coupled with avoidance
I am BIG procrastinator and I often procrastinate to avoid something. Like in my art, I say I am going to go work on something but I just procrastinate because I am avoiding the doubts that come with sitting down and creating. If I think about it, I should do it now. I should do it because I know when I do I will get past it.

How I will get rid of these will just be a work in progress. I hope that I just keep my mind focused on it. And I feel that eliminating these things will free me to be.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

To go to Minnesota when I did so that I could tell my Uncle I love him and give and receive a hug from him before he died.

Another wise decision for me this year was to go into therapy. With the grief and all the other problems of this year - I really needed that support. It was a hard decision and hard to just do in general but it was a wise decision. It has helped me so much.

Gratitude Friday

I am thankful for...
1. A good drive over to Denver. With all the weather reports we are prepared for it to be horrible. But it was good weather over all the way.
2. Jim and Nick's BBQ last night. It was so good.
3. Michael's parents being so good to us.
4. Christmas lights sparkling
5. Frank's peanut butter cookies - yums!

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

I can certainly say that my sister's wedding and her wedding reception at my parents were the parties of my year. I am very grateful that I was able to attend both. We really didn't think we could afford to go to her wedding. And in the end it hit the budget but it was so worth it - to see her get married. My sister looked beautiful. Her dress was almost Marilyn Monroe-like. And my Mom did her flowers and they were beautiful bright orange and yellow.

At my sister and brother-in-law's wedding reception that was held almost a month later at my parents in Minnesota - again my sister looked beautiful. My Mom is the hostess with the mostess so the flowers, the food, the candy bar were great! The candy bar is what it implies - my Mom had several jars of different candies and then little paper bags with April and Joe's names and wedding date on them and people could fill a bag or two of candy up to take home with them as favors. Oh and the other wonderful thing about the reception my other sister made cupcakes - red velvet, coconut and then one other that I am not remembering at the moment. All of them were so good.

As I said above I am just so grateful I was able to attend both. I am glad I was able to see my baby sister marry her love.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

M&M Cheesecake Squares

Michael's only request for dessert for his birthday was that it had M&M's in it. They are his favorite candy and we haven't had them in probably close to a year. So I found a recipe for M&M cheesecake squares. We enjoyed them and he said they were exactly what he was craving.

Recipe adapted from Razzle Dazzle Recipes

1/4 C. butter
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. chopped oatmeal
1 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
8 oz. low fat cream cheese, softened
1 t. vanilla
3/4 C. M&M's candies
1/4 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg

Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and oatmeal, mix well. Reserve 1/2 cup crumb mixture; press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of greased 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350°F for 7 minutes.

Combine cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla, mixing at medium speed on electric mixer until well blended. Add egg, mix well.

Layer 1/2 cup candy over crust; top with cream cheese mixture. Combine remaining candy, chopped, and reserved crumb mixture; mix well. Sprinkle crumb mixture over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.

Cool and cut in to 16 equal squares.


Prompt: Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I discovered Tasty Kitchen, BlogFrog that has so many inspiring groups, Facebook has been a big part of my life this year - keeping in touch with family and friends but really I have been pretty quiet everywhere - offline and online.

I would like to be more involved with art communities to help with inspiration and just support.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Prompt: What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I am working on an art journal type project that came from therapy actually. I am using a file folder that I rubbed paint all over it - inside and out in blues, purples and reds so it looks like a bruise (my therapist pointed that out to me as I didn't notice that at first - I just knew I wanted darker colors for it). And then I am doing a collage inside and out. Outside how others see me and inside how I feel and how I see myself. I have most the inside done and I asked friends to describe me in a few words so I can use those as inspiration for the outside. I also started a present for Michael for Christmas which of course I am not going to talk about here until after Christmas.

I want to finish Michael's present. I want to make some more gratitude journals. And then my list goes on and on. I have a notebook where I write all my ideas down and I have many that are waiting to be worked on.

One thing though I want get ready for the new year is an art inspiration jar. It will have slips of paper in it that say anything and everything from - gesso a canvas, prepare a few backgrounds on pages in an art journal, cut up magazines for collage materials, prepare tins, give 30 mins to a soul collage card, use the letter T for inspiration, use something you saw outside today as inspiration for your art journal and so on and so forth. I have pages and pages of ideas that I need to just print and cut. Also I am going to decorate a jar to put them in and when I am lacking focus or inspiration then at least I can pull something from the jar to at so that I give some time to art.

Birthday Wishes....

Happy Birthday Michael! I hope you have a wonderful birthday today. You are an amazing man and I feel so blessed that I get to spend everyday with you!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Snickerdoodle Pie

I saw this recipe in Better Homes and Garden magazine. I tore it out knowing I wanted to try it - one day. Well that day came a week or so ago. Flipping through my recipe file, I found this recipe and knew immediately that it was what I wanted to make. It turned out perfect and Michael declared it something that needed to be made again.

Adapted from BHG

Crust Layer:
1 Single-Crust Pie Pastry or 1 rolled refrigerated unbaked piecrust
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. butter, melted

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. light-colored corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pie Filling/Batter:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pastry and line 9-inch pie plate. In bowl combine sugar and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Brush melted butter over crust. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. of cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set aside.

2. For syrup, in saucepan combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, the water, corn syrup, and 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Set aside.

3. For pie batter, bowl beat 1/4 cup softened butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds in a mixing bowl. Beat in granulated sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar until well combined. Beat in egg and 1 tsp. vanilla. Gradually beat in milk until combined. Beat in flour. Spread evenly in crust-lined pie plate.

4. Slowly pour syrup over the filling in pie plate. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover edges of pie with foil.

5. Bake pie 25 minutes; carefully remove foil. Bake about 20 minutes more or until top is puffed and golden brown, and a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 10 servings.

Let Go

Prompt: What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

My Uncle and a friend.

My Aunt and Uncle gave me the key when I was a young girl. I adored it right from the moment I took it out of the package. I love keys and it just was such a special gift to me. I wore it all the time. And then one day it got tucked away as I didn't want to lose it. Every so often over the years I take it out and look at it with fond memories. But it gets tucked away safely again. Well in my last move I couldn't find it. And shortly after my Uncle died, I went on a reorganizing my studio kick. I have an old jewelry box in here with jewelry I had been meaning to go through for some time - hoping to find some pieces to use in art. So while reorganizing I found my key in that jewelery box. I now have it hanging in my studio so I see it everyday and remember all the people I love.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Prompt: How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I feel like so many of my answers to these questions are going to be downers. And I am not reflecting on them to have them echo into the next. I am reflecting on them to help remind myself that I need to make a conscious choice to do as the question suggests - cultivate wonder and also seek balance and create. To be more present in each moment of my life.

I do think one thing that always seems to cultivate wonder in me - here in Colorado - is our day trips. Although we didn't do as many as years past the ones we did...were awe inspiring.


I am posting this again as it fits my thoughts right now....

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.” -William James

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas Lights by Coldplay


Prompt: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

I think I started a handwritten journal when I was in Junior High. I didn't write regularly until I was in my mid-twenties. In 2000, I started an online journal. I used to write in it and in a handwritten journal everyday but the last few years, I haven't written in either as much as I would like. And I miss it. I feel my mind is more cluttered because I don't write everyday. And when I do have something to write about, it seems to disappear when I finally get a moment to sit down to write.

I know that there are many things in my life I can eliminate to write but not only to write but to create art. And one thing I want to create/manifest is not only time to create art but I want to empty my mind from the clutter banging around that stops me from creating. And I believe writing will help me empty those things out.

That is one reason I really like the idea of Sunday Creative and the Creative Boot Camp. I really thought those would help me. Yet I find myself frozen in this state where all the little negative critics in my head have more space then the positive that allow me to move forward with all the creativity that flows through my head.

I want to create that for 2011.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

One Word

Prompt: One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

The first word that came into my mind to encapsulate 2010 is PAIN. It has been an extremely hard and painful year. I don't think I want to go through all the things explaining, pondering everything that caused pain and struggles in 2010 but death played a big part of 2010. So maybe the better word is grief but combined with all the other struggles of 2010 - pain fits. Of course I recognize that there were many good points and highlights to 2010 too. And some of the consequences of those pains and struggles created some positive things. One of those positive things is I was able to visit my family quite a lot in 2010.

I have all the words of 2010 popping into my head. So I am going to list this year in words. Not explaining the words just listing words...

death - finances - stress - no focus - snow storm - curves - anger - lost - arguments - drama - tinnitus - old movies - Eat Pray Love - alone - sadness - tears - failure - masks - food - God - flood - fast - hopeless - travel - family - health - insomnia - devastation - cluttered - disorganized - therapy - depression - numb - emotional roller coaster - migraines - North Carolina - health - sister's wedding - Chloe Jo

So now what do I want my word for 2011 to be - again first word that came to my mind is BALANCE. I would love for my life to have more balance. I feel like I am tipped over and now I want to stand up and find balance in my life. I want to discover who I am and what I want. I am feeling very out of touch with myself. I want to ground myself and allow myself to be more present in each moment of the day. Be active in selecting my thoughts and feelings because I know what the moment is - really.

I am going to be manifesting BALANCE in my life for 2011.

Reverb 10

Well I stumbled upon this and I really want to do this as I want 2011 to look very different from is called Reverb 10.

From the website: "Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 - and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you - you'll have support on your journey."