For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Festival Thinking

I'm so excited about this weekend. One of the things on my AblazeyDaisy Do list is to plan and start a vegetable garden. I've been wanting to do this for a few years now, but I've been moving too much to actually do anything about it. 4 residences in 4 years. Drag.

Now, we are getting settled in the DC metro area with no plans of moving again for say sixty-seventy years, or some very long time. So the veggie garden is going to become an actual living, breathing organism this year. This weekend we're going to attend several lectures by Rooting DC on various plant related themes. Several lectures will occur tomorrow in the Carnegie Library (as a librarian I find this to be an amazing extra to the lecture series). Sunday is a half day hands-on workshop on SPIN gardening methods. (Small Plot INtensive gardening, which focuses on high edible yield from small spaces.) I'm so excited I could spit, or dance. I may do both.

In looking over the details of this weekend's schedule, I was explaining to the husband why I was willing to 'give up' my entire weekend for this. He is joining me on the free Saturday lectures, and I am attending the pay-for Sunday workshop solo. We were debating spending the money right after we'd just been privvy to great free info on related topics. I said "I want to put our festival thinking into my everyday life. This is what I want to DO." It's the honest truth.

We love to attend music festivals. Great locations in nature, multiple musicians, camping, strangers become your friends, everyone seems to be a better version of themselves, fewer worries, focusing on great importances like music, sustainability, cooking your own food, sharing with your neighbors. I'd love to feel, act and be like that more often than 4-5 weekends each year. I believe starting a vegetable garden is a great access point to bringing festival thinking into my life regularly. Tending to the soil. Eating what I grow. Sharing with my neighbors. It sounds wonderful. This weekend may be just the entry point I need to learn enough to just get going on it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day Celebrations and Lacerations

What a great combo this year: A Valentine's and President's 3 day holiday weekend! The husband and I decided to celebrate by skipping town to a B&B testing our Florida water legs on skis. Neither of us have snow skied that much. Actually, our anniversary weekend almost 3 years ago, marks J's first attempt ever! He did great and even though we never left the kiddie slopes that weekend, we had a blast.

I've been skiing 3-4 times more than that. I have even successfully navigated a few blue trails in my day. So we were venturing out onto the green slopes in PA. Unfortunately, a spill or two too many landed J on his bad shoulder renewing old injuries. :( We stopped early for a breather and it soon became apparent we needed to stop altogether. I felt so bad for him b/c he was in pain, and I knew he was disappointed to have to end our slope time. No matter that. I just wanted him to be feeling better.

Well, it's 2 days later and I think we're going to have to take him to urgent care for some xrays. He may have fractured his shoulder. But putting injuries on the back burner, we had a wonderful Valentine's day evening. We celebrated at the B&B fireside, eating leftovers, sipping wine, sitting on a window seat talking about life and watching the snow fall. It was udderly picturesque (we were at a farm and there were cows and sheep in the background). My love even bought me this AWESOME dress I'd been coveting for weeks, and was waiting to hit sale prices. He bought it for me full price and I love love love it. (I love him too ;) Thanks honey!

The next day we awoke to 2nd homemade breakfast of our stay. In all honesty, we forgotten to tell the owner what time we wanted to get up. As we'd had such an early start the day before, hoping to hit the slopes early, she woke us up at the same time the next day with a shout of "Breakfast is SERVED!" We quickly brushed and lumbered downstairs to be greeted by a huge and hearty breakfast. Perfect for skiers. Woefully heavy for anyone whose immediate plans involved going straight back to bed.

But we ate anyway. Tasty going down. Too bad that's not where it stayed. After sleeping in a few more hours, we left the B&B to head back home. I was sick the entire ride and had to recline the seat back and lay down. Whenever I opened my eyes, the sight of tree limbs wizzing by made me dizzy. The second I walked into our house, I had to race to the bathroom and dear friends...I will leave out the descriptions of this next scene. Suffice it to say, the breakfast didn't stick. And I was in bed from 1:30 pm until 10:30 this morning. Couldn't drink fluids, not even water. The smell of my husband's dinner downstairs several hours later put me back into the bathroom.

I truly think I got food poisoning. I've had it only once before with simliarly unfortunate consequences. Today, I'm feeling better but still weak. Able to eat some egg whites and toast this a.m. and broth for lunch, I'm heading in the right direction. What's the moral to this story? There may be a few:
1. When in doubt, stay on the smaller slope.
2. If you feel iffy about eating anything, just don't.
3. You know it's true love when your dearest empties your pukey trashcan without complaint.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

AblazeyDaisy Dos

(101 Goals in 1001 Days)
progress noted at sidebar here

I've seen this list on a few other blogs. I love lists. I'm one of those types that loves to write out a list just so I can physically cross off the items when they are done. There is a deep, unmatchable satisfaction in checking the box or drawing the line. Of course, it helps when the to-dos are of some merit. To that end, I'm going to try and create my own; a large extension to my annual 3 New Year's Resolutions.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." - Mark 12:30-31

Love (Family Relationships)
1. Call my grandparents each week.
2. Plan for a baby (!)
3. Have a baby (!)
4. Read "Power of a Praying Wife" while husband reads "Power of a Praying Husband"
5. Take dance lessons with husband (swing or other)
6. Plan and execute 5 picnics in different locations – National Mall, RockCreek Park, Gravelly Point, 2 other TBD
7. Create a new tradition. Memorialize here – possibility “plan one surprise date month per month. Alternate who plans it Can’t cost over $75. Doesn’t have to cost anything.”
8. Find an occasion/location where I can wear my wedding dress again. Cruise? Fancy New Year’s event? Then WEAR IT.
9. Go to indoor rock climbing wall studio with J
10. Go for hot air balloon ride with J
11. Go paintballing with J

Heart (Emotional/Beauty)
12. Plant a vegetable garden
13. Plant an herb garden
14. Volunteer at an animal shelter
15. Travel to Italy/Europe
16. Travel to Yosemite National Park
17. Travel to Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine – New England TOUR!
18. Go on a yoga/veggie retreat
19. Compost
20. Get another rain barrel for front yard.
21. Set up both rain barrels
22. Plant 2 trees in front yard.
23. Replace all bulbs in house with energy efficient bulbs.
24. Cancel all catalogs we don’t use. Sign up to be taken off junk mail lists. – Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Asst’n.
25. Change to a clean laundry detergent (low-phosphate or phosphate-free). Ecology Center – detergent fact sheet.
26. Reduce hot water heater tank to 130 degrees. Every 10 degree reduction saves 6% energy costs (but 120 degrees might not kill all bacteria).

Soul (Spiritual)
27. Have meaningful, scheduled quiet time with the Lord each day
28. Memorize 101 bible verses
29. Read through the entire Bible
30. Find a local church home and join
31. Take more baths
32. Splurge on good bath oil
33. Volunteer at church library. If one does not exist, offer to organize an unofficial library
34. Keep a prayer request journal with answers

Mind (Intellectual)
35. Read and keep track of books read - 1/month VSDC book club, book lists
36. Take Rosetta Stone course for French
37. Join a book club.
38. Write for publication - pt blogger, freelance articles
39. Take a writing class
40. Take a print screening class
41. Research book topic
42. Play piano once a week for 3 months
43. Write a song
44. Play song in public on guitar at either open mic night or Shakori Hills contest
45. Attend a SoJo meetup
46. Write down my dreams – keep dream diary by my bed.
47. Buy and play with Scrabble
48. Start and maintain a blog with at least 2 posts/week
49. Sign up for a word a day. Post it to blog? (Done: 2/16/09 Merriam Webster's Word of the Day)
50. Participate in NaBloPoMo at least once
51. Visit a Planetarium
52. Design personalized book plates and add them to all books in our permanent library
53. Take a picture once a day for 30 days (mini Project 365)
54. Publicize and market blog.
55. Play in a drum circle (DC park, music festival)
56. Go for a week w/out any tv
57. Collect favorite quotes and post on blog

Strength (Physical)
58. Be able to complete 50 regular push-ups at one go
59. Get to and maintain 125 lbs. (need to lose about 10)
60. Establish a habit of getting up and working out in the a.m.
61. 30 straight days with some exercise each day. Walking and yoga count.
62. Establish a regular yoga practice - at least one 1 hour session/week
63. Workout 4-5 times every week
64. Become lifetime WW member
65. Complete the Couch to 5K plan.
66. RUN in a new road race, at least a 5K.
67. Participate (run/walk) annually in the Del Ray Turkey Trot.
68. Try new veggie recipe once a month
69. Learn to cook 3 Indian recipes that TASTE good when I make them.
70. Make weekly menu plans
71. Drink 3 waters a day. Carry orange stainless steel container.
72. Go for a walk around the National Mall.
73. Complete a detoxification program.
74. Fast for at least one 24 hour period.
75. Take multivitamin every day!
76. Go for 3 hikes in 3 different venues: Old Rag and 2 TBD

(Friend Relationships)
77. Volunteer at Carpenter’s Shelter
78. Meet up with Cori and Claudia for a girls weekend.
79. Have neighbors over for dinner
80. Go walking with Becky 10 Sundays
81. Make some b/day and Christmas gifts
82. Attend a Rocky Horror Picture Show and dress up as a character
83. Have small group create a list of 4 things they want to do around DC totaling 12 and then DO THEM.
84. Host a backyard BBQ. This means having more than 3 people over at a time.

Myself (Security/Financial/Home)
85. Have piano repaired
86. Find and buy some true cowboy boots
87. Finish and have notarized our will
88. Finish and have notarized our living will, health care surrogate, DPoAtty
89. Organize the basement
90. Organize the attic
91. Wash the outside of the house/hartiboards
92. Take down the spa
93. Get passports
94. Put important docs in firebox/travel safe. Get firebox.
95. Paint living room walls
96. Take paint off fireplace mantel
97. Have custom shutters designed for under house
98. Hang shutters around jam room window outside
99. Install rain gutters
100. Update my resume
101. Create written backup plan for jobs/avenues to pursue should anything happen to my job

Making my list active as of this Friday, 2/13 (13 has always been a lucky number for me! see #11), that would put my 1001 days ending on 11/11/11!!! Way cool.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Years-Old Seasoning

Today, my mom went to the doctor to get an x-ray on her neck. In November, both my parents and my granny were in a car accident. Since that time, my mom has been in a permanent halo, screwed into her skull so that her fractured neck won't move and the bones recement themselves. Yesterday was the 3 month 'anniversary' of the accident. Nothing to celebrate of course, but she is supposed to visit the doctor who did the halo surgery this Thursday. He will evaluate the xrays from today and hopefull TAKE THE BLOODY CONTRAPTION OFF HER.

She has been amazing about it. Not being able to move her neck, having to carry a 35lb. device at all times, confined to a world of no periphery vision, not being able to drive or do much of anything she's used to doing, constant tiredness. My dad has dealt with similar angst being a full time care giver to a once energetic wife. I pray that this Thursday is the day of removal!

Meanwhile, my dad and I were IM'ing about our dinner. This family loves it's soup. He had made a split pea for the evening and I have a white bean chili perking in our crock pot. I'd mention how I'd decided to make this particular soup for tonight b/c we were going through our pantry trying to clean it up. I ran across this White Chicken Chili spice packet from I can't remember how long. It was cracking and crusty. But Frugal Fanny that I am, I was determined to use it in my let's pare down our pantry stash dinner attempts.

In explaining the dinner rationale to my dad, I mentioned the "years-old seasoning" packet. It dawned on me that this was a good metaphor for aging. In the middle of all the accident aftermath and therapy turmoil, I know this family is feeling old, fragile. Yet, with each other we maintain our humor, our love, our togetherness, our solidarity. I do not understand why this happened; though I don't the Lord has a plan for all of us through it. I can see the ancillary effect of years of time taking place over mere months as stress, worry and fear try to consume the days.

When my mother is able to have the halo removed, she will have 4 facial scars from the pins. No doubt, countless other unseen scars remain. Years-old seasoning. She has weathered this with an aplomb I could only hope to imitate. I bet that grace comes only with years-old seasoning. The event has made me reevaluate my priorities, thankful to have a job with fewer responsibilites and greater quality of life. Those decisions sometimes come only with the wisdom of age. Years-old seasoning.

I've been scared to post my last blog entry for fear that the person discussed may someday read it and be offended. While that is not my intent, and at least for now, this blog is so far under the radar, I can't see how that would ever happen - if she does...maybe that's one of many reasons I wrote the darn thing. Maybe we'll grow closer through it. And if not, maybe our friendship wasn't meant for longevity. Years-old seasoning. Life is nothing without some spice. I truly hope the essence I'm offering up to the world is a blend that's pleasing to the senses. I'm a huge work in progress; but I'll keep at it until the mix has been perfected. When that happens, I'm placing bets I will be many years old.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Flashback via Facebook

I'm sure many folks have read/been tagged/heard about the "25 Things" on Facebook. I broke down yesterday and filled it out for myself. In the process, I also added a Facebook link to this blog. I'll post the list here just for kicks.

25 Things About Me
1. I have 2 cats each weighing in at over 20 lbs. (more to love)
2. I didn't learn to whistle until I was 15.
3. They say you don't know a language until you can dream in it. I used to dream in French. That was 15 years ago. Now I'm fluent in Franglais which I speak regularly with my Dad so no one else can understand us. It's a hybrid of long ago grasped French vocabulary and English spoken with a French accent.
4. I was born w/out enamel on all of my molars.
5. Music festivals are my favorite way to truly relax. Maybe it's the not showering for days straight or often being out of bberry range...regardless, the music/camping combo is a wonderful thing!
6. I've had 4 jobs (same company) and 4 different residences in less than 3 years.
7. I make up jingles on the spot several times a week. Random songs about the dishwasher or the doorbell or whatever mundane thing is going on at the moment. Jesse says if 'they' can make a hit out of "that's Jared" or "Subway, eat fresh", I ought to change careers and make us rich.
8. I have a fascination with skulls. Alas poor Yorick... And with peacocks. But not with peacock skulls.
9. I used to smoke Marlboro Lights, then Marlboro Reds, then Parliaments. Now, I can't stand the smell and wish VA would get it's head out of the p*ass*t and legislate smoking out of public places.
10. Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girls are 2 great tv vices.
11. While I'm not superstitious, 13 has always been a lucky number for me.
12. I got my first solo apt in law school. Loving life on my own so much, I didn't want to go home for all of Christmas break so I got a temp job at the University BookStore for 2 weeks. I met my husband, a fellow UBS employee, during that stint. Oh, the magnitude of seemingly small decisions.
13. Both my elbows are double jointed. I can hyperextend them into a 110 degree angle.
14. I can't stand typical picnic fare. Baked beans and cole slaw both make me gag.
15. The Smurf sheets I had on my bed at age 7 are still in the guest bedroom sheet rotaton at my folks' house. When I visit, I'm still sleeping on the Smurfs.
16. I haven't read a fiction book in over 4 years. NF all the way.
17. I kick butt at Ms. Pacman. My long reigning favorite video game.
18. During my travels, I keep the business cards of the indie bookstores I visit. I'd love to own one someday.
19. I grew up miles from one of the best beaches in the US (Clearwater), but I'm really more of a mountains/forests/rivers gal.
20. I've been driving the a purple, manual-transmission Jeep Cherokee for 10 years, and I hope to be driving the same wonderful Cherokee a decade from now.
21. My cat Parker has his own theme song (see #s 1 and 7), the lyrics of which are:
"He's the poops, he's the cat, he's the Pooper Cat. Oh yeah.
He's big boned, he's not fat, he's the Pooper Cat. Oh yeah.
Smells like shit, cuz he shat, he's the Pooper Cat. Hmmm-hmmm.
He's the poops, he's the cat, he's the oneandonly Pooper Cat. OH YEAH!"
I declare copyright on this song should it ever make the bigtime. :)
22. I said I wouldn't get anymore tattoos, but I may have fibbed.
23. I am really thankful for my life right now. I like my job (and am glad to have one), love my husband, family and friends, adore our home, enjoy our location. God is so very good.
24. I cooked a 100% vegan Thanksgiving in 2008. It was fantabulous and delicious.
25. I learned to cook by watching the Food Network. I'm crossing my fingers for a veggie food show in the near future.