Reluctant Empathy and Old Ideas

I’ll go to my corner now that I’ve had my little tantrum after writing something that was more catalyst than conviction.

Later in the day when I was on my way to collect the resident teen from his spot at the curb after school, I heard the man I’d been watching earlier on television ask for privacy for the executives who’d received bonuses.  If the company was subpoenaed for the list of names, then it could be public information and the man expressed concern, reading from notes they’d already received from hate mongers about what should be done to the executives and their families if given the opportunity.

Continue reading “Reluctant Empathy and Old Ideas”

Making a plan for myself, maybe.

Yesterday, I avoided coming up here to sit at the keyboard, to sort through emails, to sip my coffee while scrolling through the early morning cacophony that is Twitter.  I’ve been doing this for more time than I like to acknowledge.  Instead, I straightened things up around the kitchen and the rest of the house, started some laundry, and pulled a stool up to the kitchen counter to make a plan of sorts.  It was a scary concept, but I was armed with a pad of paper, stickies, and a sharp pencil.  It was going to happen, or else.

I also silently vowed to get in the car to get groceries before noon — something I resist doing like one might resist jumping into an ice cold pool buck naked just because it was there.

Continue reading “Making a plan for myself, maybe.”

Loving magazines & Martha Stewart

I have nearly every Martha published… A few people around Bloggsville have been going through their magazines for a variety of reasons. No, don’t run and hide. It’s not another meme. But I’m always fascinated when people are on the same wavelength — especially if it isn’t meme driven.

I’ve been thinking about magazines quite a bit because I’ve gotten to the point where as much as I now have the time to enjoy them (they used to be a decadent distraction in my life I’d indulge myself with) I don’t. Most of my subscriptions have been for cooking magazines, and because much of the content is available on the Internet now, I’m feeling guilty about the paper stuffed in my mailbox each month.

Years and years of them… I’m also feeling a bit uncomfortable about the problem I have throwing magazines away. Of course, they’re recycled in the end, but that isn’t the problem. It’s having to go through each one more time to see if I need to: 1) save the whole edition; 2) tag specific sections; 3) tear out recipes to try; or 4) just get rid of it. And they just sit. Waiting for me. Waiting in baskets, on tables, on bathroom counters, and in stacks mixed with catalogues and mail.

So many possibilities, so little time and energy… For years when each school year ended and I actually had a week or two before special project work began (for school, not my leisure) I’d sit down with my magazines and have quite a bit of fun watching old movies and wallowing in the possibilities that each magazine contained. It was a cathartic process that helped me mentally conclude one year, and sort of erase my hard drive to prepare for the next.

The process helped me plan projects that needed to be done around the house, too. It helped me think about things to organize, get togethers with family to celebrate birthdays, decorations to make for special seasons, and dreams to put on a list of things to do some day when there was more time, less work, more energy, and more money. Ahhh…dreams…

Many of the projects involved gardening because we had quite a large piece of property. There was never a dull moment deciding what type of garden to put where, which seeds to plant or what perennial to become emotionally attached to. Seriously. It’s easier to think of organizing a small piece of the planet instead of the pressing grind of aspects of life that seem beyond our control. The promise of food to cook, a garden to take care of, and a house to decorate and organize has always been my idea of heaven. Truly.

Martha Stewart Living No. 4 So it’s no wonder that I am someone who loves Martha. Yes, The Martha. My family lovingly refers to her as Moth-rah. I think the MoH came up with that one, but I’m not exactly sure. I know what you’re thinking, but yanno? I just don’t care. I don’t care that she was in jail. I don’t care that it’s been said she’s not a nice person. I just don’t care. And for those people who do? Get the hell over it. Because Martha helped me get through some very difficult years. She’s seen me through a new marriage, raise two boys into adulthood and a third into a teen, has inspired me to create two beautiful homes, and fill them with the aroma of something delicious to eat. She’s helped create many days with memories of working with my mom in our yard, planting, clipping, and admiring our hard work. Martha is the reason I was able to hang on to remnants of a life long desire to create anything and everything connected to what the MoH calls “fluffing my nest.” If Martha ran for president, I’d vote for her and I’m not kidding.

It all started with her Weddings book, given to me by an old friend before the MoH and I were married… Or was it her Entertaining book?

My oldest issues of Martha… I have nearly every Martha Stewart Living magazine published. Really. I don’t know how I missed out on the beginning, but my collection goes back to Number 4: Autumn of 1991. That was before the RT was born. You know I’m not the only one who keeps them, right? It’s kind of the same for those who save National Geographic. Every time I decide I’m going to throw them out, I just don’t get around to it. Or can’t bring myself to do it. Anguish at the thought. I have given some to my middle son for school related projects, and he’s *Martha lovers, please cover your eyes…* cut out some of the photos, but he’s returned the magazines. He gets it.

I used to watch her old television show, but it’s been years. And I’m not sure why I don’t watch the new one. I could DVR it, but never think about it. Maybe it’s because all those other people are on now, and it isn’t just Martha and her obsessive compulsive drive on the most minute detail I could spend an entire half hour of time fascinated with. Totally.

When I was very young, my idea of a good time *everyone groans and settles in for yet another maudlin trip down morose memory lane* was to go through the Sears catalogue and make lists of furniture I’d purchase for my some day house. I was fascinated with color and texture, with shape and design. The idea of putting it all together perfectly to suit a mood or a personality or lifestyle is like being able to put together a gigantic puzzle. It’s the same with gardening and cooking.

Ironically, I don’t get the same satisfaction performing the same ritual with fashion. It just doesn’t interest me. It never has. *Oh, really, dear? We couldn’t help but notice…* But the clothes in my closet are organized by colors. That counts, don’t you think? *Yes, as a sign of someone with one foot firmly planted in looney land…*

I miss having my head in the world that kept me from going stark-raving mad with stress from work. And I value more than I can ever say, what I’ve learned from digging in and trying new things, and for having family and friends who’ve indulged me my wannabe obsessions.

They’ve graced me with comments of, “Martha Does Live Here,” and I’ve taken them as a compliment, knowing full well, that Martha’s businesses run due to the creativity and drive of an enormous number of very talented people. So I supposed I should say they saved me. But without Martha, they wouldn’t have had the same opportunity.

At this point in life, if I regret anything — any one thing — painfully, it would be that I did not gain my education in a world filled with textiles and color, design and shape. That I did not choose to immerse myself in an environment organized with samples and cuttings, layouts and portfolios. That I chose instead to keep those passions as hobbies or distractions instead of a livelihood. *very, very heavy sigh*

Okay, so that’s more than one. But still.

It’s that time of year, and the first in so very, very long that I will be able to immerse myself in all the what ifs and begin to wonder instead…


Thanks Martha.



p.s. I’m sorry I don’t even have a Jack-o-lantern on my porch this year. I guess I didn’t rally the guys hard enough. Does it count that we have a few on the dining table with some autumn colored flowers? Just checking.

p.p.s. I’m a NaBloPoMo-Ho (see pink lips above) and that all starts tomorrow. I’m going to focus my writing on letters to people. Which people? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see. If you’re interested, send me some ideas of what you’d like me to blather on about. Or would like to challenge me to write about. Keep it clean, though. Okay?

Go ahead. Lock me up.


I spent half of yesterday thinking it was today.

Pathetic.  Does that mean I’m wishing my life away, that I’m becoming forgetful, or that time flies when I’m having so much fun I can hardly see straight?

I vote for the last one.

So much loveliness.

I could be under house arrest and be thoroughly entertained.

You know.

Like Martha.

She probably loved it.

But I’ll bet her house was shiny.


And had labels on shelves.

A crudless keyboard.

But I have an azalea that blooms all year long.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Nearly wordless, but improving.

Oh, look, everyone. It’s nearly wordless Wednesday. That would be the modified version for those of us who simply can’t keep our fingers still. But you will be impressed today with my accomplishment of fewer words…

Iron Fang by the RT

Meet “Iron Fang” who showed up on the kitchen counter after school yesterday.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

I wonder which class the RT drew this in when he was supposed to be acting like he was interested in the lecture?

Thoughts, Clouds, & Billy Collins

I’m not very good at “Wordless Wednesday” because I’ve never been wordless at any point in my life. As an infant, I most likely had the noisiest brain, making observations and collecting ideas and opinions for a lifetime of blathering. Therefore, I propose Thoughtful Thursday instead, and offer a bit of Billy Collins on the English artist, John Constable and being a “Student of Clouds” from his book of poems Questions About Angels which I truly enjoy.

The emotion is to be found in the clouds,

not in the green solids of the sloping hills

or even in the gray signatures of rivers,

according to Constable, who was a student of clouds

and filled shelves of sketchbooks with their motion,

their lofty gesturing and sudden implication of weather.

Morning Clouds

Outdoors, he must have looked up thousands of times,

his pencil trying to keep pace with their high voyaging

and the silent commotion of their eddying and flow.

Clouds would move beyond the outlines he would draw

as they moved within themselves, tumbling into their centers

and swirling off at the burning edges in vapors

to dissipate into the universal blue of the sky.


In photographs we can stop all this movement now

long enough to tag them with their Latin names.

Cirrus, nimbus, stratocumulus —

dizzying, romantic, authoritarian —

they bear their titles over the schoolhouses below

where their shapes and meanings are memorized.


High on the soft blue canvases of Constable

they are stuck in pigment but his clouds appear

to be moving still in the wind of his brush,

inching out of England and the nineteenth century

and sailing over these meadows where I am walking,

bareheaded beneath this cupola of motion,

my thoughts arranged like paint on a high blue ceiling.


The photographs here were taken today at different points between 6am and noon.
John Constable:  Cloud Study — 1822

Add a soundtrack of “Blue and White” by Beth Waters, “Storm” by Lifehouse, and “Ocean Size Love” by Leigh Nash, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday morning after working on my patio trimming and repotting. Nice.

Almost Wordless, but Not Quite?

 See updates below…

I have to work today. All day. Yes. A-L-L. As in all.

There’s no blogging. Warning Well, this doesn’t really count, right?

Because I have a lot to do. Gentle Reminder

Seriously. A. Lot. You know…tons.
I have several iTunes playlists at my disposal…mac Screen so that should help. *Okay, who in hell purchased Chumbawamba?*

But I’m going to wonder about that spider outside — right in front of the door at face level — whom I’ve named Clyde.

Okay. So maybe not? Fat Head

Update #1: Okay, so, like…I lasted until 11:54 (3.5 hours – not too bad, huh?) when a Liz Story piece came up on my iTunes play list and I decided to Google for sheet music — which I’ve never done. And whoa. There’s not only sheet music on line, but I can get it immediately with plastic money. And print it out. And play it. Do you have any idea HOW long it’s been since I purchased music? YEARS. Then I could park my caboose on that ol’ piano bench and actually play. OMG. There are distractions EVERYWHERE. And no, the time in my post above not correct, so don’t even think you can check up on me, Slick.

Update #2:  It’s nearly 4pm and my eyeballs have fallen out and are rolling across the desk.  Edu-speak is pouring out of my fingers and making absolutely no sense…wait.  That sounds normal, doesn’t it?  Have….to….finish…