In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The 48th Parallel

Living on the 48th parallel has some good attributes. You experience four seasons. However winter on the West coast involves more rain, the Midwest and East coast receives more snow. I believe it is one of the most beautiful stretches of the United States.

The 45th Parallel is a line which designates the longitudinal halfway point between the earth's equator and the North Pole. So those living on the 48th are just that much closer to the frosty tip of our planet.


One other attribute of living north of the 45th are the long days of sunlight during the summer months; sun rises around 5am and sets around 9:30-10. By Independence Day, July 4th it will not get dark until 11:30. This can make staying up for a firework show like staying up for New Years! Don’t get me wrong, normally I love sunlight. The other day, however, I was not liking it in any way what so ever.

Going to bed at 8:00p.m. is a new goal of mine. It allows me to get a good night sleep and rise up early to write in the morning, my most productive time of the day. Last night, I lay on my back looking up at my bedroom skylight. I was ready for bed, but sunshine was still streaming through the skylight, seemingly, directly into my eyes. Wondering how fashionable it would be to put tin foil over a skylight, I started to assemble my blankets into a teepee-like shape around my face to help shield the light.

View from my deck in the afternoon
As I fussed over the construction of my “blanket shade” I remembered there was a time when I had wished for a skylight in my bedroom, and now I have one. My mind kept up this train of thought and like checking off a grocery wish list I started to remember “things” I wanted that I now have. As I went down the list I realized there was a catch with each one; a positive and a negative. Always wanted a deep soaking tub, have one, but it is dark purple. Always wanted a grey slate floor, have one but it’s only in the bathroom, always wanted to live in the San Juan Islands, I’m here but the small town politics and water issues are equal to the island’s beauty, (incredible!), always wanted to work outside, I do now at a fantastic place, but it’s seasonal.

Examining the yin and yang of each wish didn’t cause a pity party, but a moment of reflection. It was interesting to see HOW something I desired materialized, the ITEMS wished for and WHY. With this in mind I’ve come up with a new wish list; a little experiment if you will: a wish for my career, health, family, friends, and the world. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Number one on my list: shades for the skylights.

Sunset from the deck.
Good night all!



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It’s the Little Things

A couple of months ago my young-adult son asked us if he could stay with us for a few months during a transition. He was going from “A” to “B” and needed a place to live just for a few months; of course we said “Yes”. He is our oldest and the first to leave the nest. It’s been wonderful to have all four of us under the same roof again. During his stay he has helped out with food and cleaning the house to lessen to the burden of his visit. We raised him well. *face glowing with pride*


However, After about two weeks of his stay I was starting to notice little signs, little clues into a past life that I had so quickly forgotten. Cleaning the bathroom one Saturday morning, I noticed that there was an empty roll of toilet paper on the holder. Now, mom’s everywhere know that there is no place on this beautiful planet, no matter how wonderful your kids and husbands may be, where we can escape from this sight: a lonely brown tube of cardboard with just the smallest piece of white tissue dangling down, the glue that held the roll together now exposed and vulnerable. A little sad really. Without blinking I went to the linen closet to find a replacement. Looking, looking, looking…
“Hey did someone move the toilet paper?” Odd looks are all I get in return. “Where’s the toilet paper?”
My daughter walks by, “Do you have it in your room?”
“WHY would I have toilet paper in my room, mom?”
“I don’t know that’s why I asked.”

Somehow, four times quicker than I could account for, we blazed through our toilet paper. Having that one extra person in the home made a big difference on the little items we all used in our daily lives. I would blink and *bam* out of toothpaste, blink- out of laundry detergent, blink- out of milk, blink- the car’s out of gas. My lord, I need to stop blinking!

My son had been gone a few years and honestly I had forgotten what it took -material wise- to keep a family of four going. On top of having to buy our toiletries in bulk again, I also started to get the big family packs of meat, rice and vegetables. Then it hit me, like a ton of bricks: groceries are freakin’ expensive! I knew this of course, but had forgotten how expensive it was to buy groceries for our whole family. The weekday meals were a little easier because everyone is out and about; the weekends meant breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner for four people for two days. Can you say crock pot? It’s been an eye opening experience to say the least.

Soon it will be down to just the three of us, and by summers end it will be only my husband and I. I’m wondering how our grocery shopping will change. Will I still buy in bulk? Will there be a 42 pack of toilet paper sitting in my closet for a month, collecting dust? As my kids enter and re-enter the world change is certain for them; exciting wonderful change! For me, it’ll mean more hot water, more gas in my tank, and… dusty toilet paper.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Poetry: Lookout


Fields of flowers
Rolling green hills
Sitting, wind at my back
In the distance ships sail

Snow capped Olympics
Needle tipped trees
Moss covered rocks
I spy a brown fox
In the a field of brown grass
Zig Zagging in sync with a rabbit

The other side deer
Emerge from the forest
Out in the open now
Gathering together for diner

The sun, the warm setting sun
Soon your heat will leave us
Yellow, deep orange, getting lower
Shadows stretching

At the Robert’s Redoubt sitting
Atop my lookout
I do just that
I lookout and see
I see and hear
The waves, the eagle,
The wind, the distant voices

Another day is ending
Leaving the promise of a fresh one
Today it is called “tomorrow”
“Today”- I will not forget you!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom's Holiday Ham


OK, true story:

One holiday four generations of family are all gathered together in the youngest daughter’s new home for a rare time together. This is her first time hosting a family dinner. Her mom is helping her with the ham. The daughter plops the large ham into its pan and asks the mom, “OK what do we do next?” “Well,” answered the mom, “first thing we need to do is cut off the ends of the ham, just the sides about 2 inches worth.” “Why?”, asks the daughter. “I don’t know, but my mom always did it, and her ham’s turn out great every time.”
They call the girls grandma in, “Grandma, why do you cut the ends of the ham before cooking?” “Gosh, I don’t know why. Never thought of it. MY mother always cut the ends off, so that’s how I’ve always done it. How funny.”
The three ladies quickly walk out to the living room to find the girl’s great-grandmother sitting and talking with family. “G.G. I have a question for you. Why do you cut the ends of the ham off?”

“Well, I don’t know why YOU cut the ends of the ham off, but I had to cut the ends off or it wouldn’t fit into my oven!”

Lesson:
It’s good to know WHY you do what you do, so that you don’t waste any ham. ;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Gift



About eight years ago someone gifted me a bottle of eau de parfum Chanel No. 5. I purchased a small bottle of it in my early twenties and quickly burned through it; it was my favorite fragrance. How wonderful to find this old friend again or perhaps it found me? With kids, a job, and a fluctuating income, purchasing a new bottle of expensive perfume was not on my grocery list for many years.

Chanel No. 5 has been on sale continuously since its conception in 1921. It is a world wide favorite of woman everywhere. It is expensive. Because it is so expensive, I use it only when necessary. I’ve owned the same bottle for almost eight years and still have ¾ of it left! It’s used for romantic dates, important job meetings, special get-togethers and the like. Now I wouldn’t want you to think I don’t get out much, but like I mentioned earlier it’s used ONLY when necessary! One spray and the fragrance stays with me most the day and makes me feel strong, feminine, classy & clean!

Marilyn Monroe
Chanel ad
Perfume plays an interesting part in my life. I’ve only three –four different
bottles of it at a time on my bathroom counter but each has a specific purpose. There are my light and fresh days when I just feel like a body spray, other days when a little fun Victoria Secret’s “Pink” is required, and then some days when I need, and I use that word accurately, I NEED to bring in the big guns; my Chanel.

Today, however, I surprised myself. Not going anywhere, sitting at home writing, doing some research, cleaning house, all in what I call my “ratty-tatties” ie: favorite ripped up jeans and an old sweatshirt; clothes I wouldn't even go grocery shopping in. After my shower this morning, I found myself reaching for that magical amber liquid, hopeful and with great expectations. Spraying some in front of me, walking through the mist, I felt like a knight putting on his armor. It’s become an old friend I thought as I reflected on the times I've used it.

Thank you Coco for making such a fabulous elixir! Yes it is a THING, it doesn't give me love, but for a little while, less than a blink in the whole scheme of things… I am happy and smelling good!