Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sensory Rooms

One of my favorite blogs is Franciska Beautiful World.  Her posts are frequent, and filled with beautiful pictures and ideas.  And she often has contests!  Right now she is working on putting together a collection of inspiring rooms in Norway and worldwide.  Any bloggers can enter the contest by submitting photos of their rooms.  I think it's a lovely idea, and so fun to peek in on other can look right into homes all over the world... while sipping tea in wool socks at your own home.  I decided to enter, just for fun.  I'm no good at taking pictures, but what the heck - I'm excited to be putting my workroom/bedroom back together after the big ordeal of the leak, so I took a few pictures of the organization I've managed so far.  I didn't move to the apartment across the hall after all.  I waited, and the repairs here are finally complete.  So far the roof is holding tight.  Last night in the windy deluge, all the rain stayed outside.
Staying in my current apartment, I didn't have to give up blue walls.  The walls across the hall are plain cream.
I've put my bed right beside the window because it feels right.  Shouldn't a person be able to look out  at the light and the birds and the tree branches while waking up?  And I guess everybody who reads this blog recognizes my turkey feather pillow and my great-great grandmother's bed cover set that I've been using as curtains!

It's really nice having a mantel and fireplace in the room.
 Here is the old library table my grandparents are letting me borrow as they have moved and are looking for a new house.  So I get to use this wonderful table in the meantime.  The top is soft and worn, and I've found that when I sit there barefooted, my arches fit just right into curves in the woodwork along the bottom.

Thank you to Daniel for the best alpaca blanket... even on the coldest, draftiest night this blanket keeps you warm... and one of my antique sheets.  I like how the blanket is handsome and the sheet is pretty.

Another variety of coleus and a glass mushroom my mom gave me in my stocking this Christmas.  It's clipped onto a French/English pocket dictionary that was printed in London in the 40s.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

nine of spades

I found this teeny tiny nine of spades card on the edge of the sidewalk while walking through town with my grandma yesterday.  It's only 1" x 1.5" and came from a deck that some little kid maybe got from one of those quarter machines at the grocery store and then threw out of the back of a minivan window.  But even so, I like it a lot.  I love finding things on walks.  You never know what you might get.  It could be something helpful, like money or a brand new roll of tape (yes, I've found considerable amounts of money while walking, and also a brand new roll of tape, just after having thought to myself how I needed some).  You can also find mysterious things that make you wonder... for example when I was living in Ireland, I found two big, gaudy faux pearl buttons from what must've been an old lady's cardigan.  I found them on different paths on different days in the same village.  How did that happen?!  Then of course when you're out in the woods you can find things left behind by animals instead of people, like feathers or porcupine quills (of course not in Virginia).  It's always a pleasant surprise... I like to think of it as a kind of ongoing scavenger hunt orchestrated by your guardian angel... little messages and presents left for you to find and appreciate.  So, just for fun, of course I had to look up the meaning of the nine of spades in card fortune telling.  And it did resonate with thoughts and feelings I've been having lately.  How fun!!

Monday, January 14, 2013


The amaryllis bulb my mom gave me days before Christmas is finally blooming.  What a lovely surprise to find first thing on a gray winter morning.  

I've been painting and have made up a new note card set.  Some people might be deterred by the inclusion of a skunk, but I really like skunks.  Not only are they attractive in black and white, but I like the way they waddle around, are nearsighted, and are almost like little bears.  I remember being envious when I was younger and my mom told me that one of her good childhood friends had had a pet skunk.  Actually, I'm still kind of envious!  But it is illegal to have pet skunks in the state of Virginia.  I saw a group of baby skunks last spring, on the outskirts of a field.  Their little heads had wispy puffs of white hair and they barely made their way through the tall grass.  If you ever need cheering up, you might like watching a couple youtube videos of skunks.  Apparently nursing cats are happy to adopt baby skunks and let them nurse right alongside their own kittens.  And kittens and baby skunks have been known to play wrestle with gusto! 

notecard set with owl butterfly, peregrine falcon, skunk, hen & chicks, a bright pink wild rose, and a stick of sycamore with lichen

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the little things

The other evening at work at the restaurant, a motorcycle-riding man with blue eyes and a dimple who was sitting at the bar told me that he's usually done a full day's work by the time his wife wakes up.

What time does he wake up?  At four a.m.  I've been thinking about it ever since.  I've had bouts of these kinds of thoughts throughout the years.  I've tried to be an early morning riser.  I love the idea of drinking coffee while it's still dark out.  I'd love to be at my desk, writing, thinking, making lists, checking things off my list... I would love to be awake, alert, waiting for the natural light to meet me in my home.  Imagine... you could have made a pot of soup, you could have bread rising, you could have outgoing bill payments waiting in the mailbox for the post carrier... I could have laid out new pattern designs, sent the kind of important emails that confirm and set things in motion... all by lunch time.  Then the rest of the day could be for attending to errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, creating, painting, meetings, enjoying fresh air, etc.

And what would it feel like to be one of those people who grows increasingly tired in relation to the sun's sinking proximity to the horizon?  Could I become one of them?  At the moment, I am the kind of person who gets more and more geared up to do things late into the night.  And no matter how many promises I make myself before bed at night, no matter how excited I think I am about the coming day, come morning, I've forgotten it all... I turn my nose up at the whole wide world and just want to go back to sleep.  Even when I force myself out of bed, a relentless grogginess (and sometimes grumpiness)  hangs over me for most of the morning, sometimes all the way into the afternoon.

In the past when I've failed at becoming a morning person, I reconciled it with genetics.  Just like my paternal grandmother, I'm a night owl.  But I guess I haven't reconciled it yet.  I still want to try being a morning person.  I want to try to function in the early morning.  I want to try to savor the very, very beginnings of days.  I'm trying to think of little inspiring things that could actually rouse me out of bed at 4 a.m.  Most of all, I think it would require getting used to it, so that I would grow to covet the dark pre-dawn time because of all the positive memories I have of it.  At the moment I don't have too many wonderful pre-dawn memories.

In the  very near future (whenever the space is deemed ready by the landlords) I'm going to move into the vacant apartment across the hall. (The final resolution to my on-going ceiling leak/repair problem).  It is bigger and has more windows... and I'm thinking maybe I could coincide the move with a new habit of waking at 4 a.m.  That would mean I'd have to go to sleep by 9 p.m. at the absolute latest.  The trouble is that it will clash with my waitressing schedule.  Who knows... I'm stewing on it.  Each of us has the power to shape our lives to our visions.  I have an especially large amount of leeway because of the pretty open circumstances of my life... so why wouldn't I try this, just to see how it works?

Meanwhile, yesterday I checked out a new book from the library.  Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris.  Don't know how men would feel about the book, but if you liked Chocolat, and are looking for a book to cozy up with and be swept away with magic on the wind, really engaging characters... if you want to be captivated by sensory experiences conveyed through the written word... I'm only a few pages in, but so far it seems like it could be a very enveloping January read.  Here's an excerpt of main character Vianne remembering her old friend Armande, who is now dead:

I stared at the page for a long time, hearing the echoes of her voice.  I'd heard it so many times in dreams, balanced at the edge of sleep with her dry old laughter in my ears and the scent of her - lavender, chocolate, old books - gilding the air with its presence.

I think nowadays the average American person is so busy, so consumed with the hectic tasks of the daily rush that there isn't time for this kind of luxurious memory to blossom, particularly on the edge of sleep, because we're all too often reviewing and rehashing our most current dilemmas frantically before sleep, and then jarred awake by an alarm clock in the morning.  But... hopefully most people can remember this kind of memory sensation from childhood, or maybe while on vacation?  And wouldn't it seem right if we could have more of this kind of thing in daily adult life?

Today I'm boiling a big pot of pinto beans, my kitchen windows are all steamed up, and I'm working on some new paintings.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

May this winter bring us lots of snow... and may we enjoy fresh air, inspiring contemplation, lively conversation, good health, love, generosity, laughter and prosperity!!