Monday, January 31, 2011

Everything is new, and by "new" I mean old.

We agonized and almost pulled each other's hair out, and lost what was never ours, and in the space of hours were shown this.
It comes complete with this.
and this.
and this.
and best of all...this.

I'm in farmgirl heaven.

the name of my blog will be changing as my life changes...
as I am no longer going to be living in the woode.

**Names I've been thinking of**
Sparrow's Cottage (it is what I was before, but perhaps I should move forward, or perhaps this is finally me coming to the place I've wanted so long)
the dear old couple named their little farm Stonehaven, and I rather like that.
Wrote in the Dirt (sounds like "or else your name is mud" and that isn't too nice)
Out of the Woode (seems to be looking back though, or rather regretful of time spent in the wood, which I am not)
Arms Open Wide (which is how I feel right now)

**Words in my mind right now**

A Fine Dust
finely dusted
widely dusted
on my feet
widely dwelling
widely unfolding
revealing within
abiding within
abiding widely
widely abiding
dwelling widely
revealing dust within
the dust within

the haven within

**and now goodnight. I may have a deep and dreamless sleep my lovelies**

Edit: trying to take a hot shower to unwind and get sleepy, and it occurs to me that it might be that I should name my journal after myself...novel idea...
Katie Jo

Only my family calls me that, and it is a name from profoundly happy and important times as a little girl on our farm.
I was born Kathryn Jolie, which I am too proud of, and I'm sure it's a sin. I've actually told people my full name while flipping my hair back and checking a nail before I laid it out for them with the appropriate French accent.

My mom calls me Kate sometimes, but I've been Katie my whole grown-up life. My dearest grandma called me katie bird and that is almost like a secret name, which I've told, quietly, over and over again. but it doesn't want to be a title, it is a name tattooed over my heart.

I think it might be right to just call my journal "Katie Jo"
it sounds very farmgirl and wide open spaces and american honey, don't it?
(I promise I only had one beer with dinner, I'm coming by this rambling natural-like)

Something to *try* and think on tonight while I sleep.
Why it should be such a brain-bending idea, I don't know, except that I am an endless word smith and so the way the letters fall together and the sounds of them whispered or exclaimed are of great import.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

something unexpected...

Have you ever prayed a fervent prayer and ended it with "or better?" Have you ever gotten the "or better?" Uhhhhhhh...
I have a lot to tell you this next week...

Friday, January 28, 2011

My shadow

Don't pretend that you do not have a shadow side. Do not pretend that you don't secretly laugh when you should not. Do not pretend that you have not drawn your shades and decided to feel sorry for yourself.
I use to try to destroy her. I thought I should not have her. But I learned that to have balance in my life, I must not leave her alone to build her houses of nettles. I must not let her feel torn and tottery.
I let her talk to me sometimes with my full gaze, rather than hearing her out of the corners of my eyes. She needs to talk so she can see the situation clearly for herself. Before she spins out of control, I have to grab her by the shoulders and say, "Talk to me."
When she does, she scares me. She doesn't see brightness and light, and I'm afraid she is so worried about every small thing, she forgets the bigger picture. I have to let her cry into a pillow. I have to let her brood for a bit, and when she is done I grab her shoulders tighter and say, "Listen. Stop. You are fine. Everything is fine. Trust. Trust and Calm, dear one."
You see, I am no longer ruled by her.
I remember that when I took that mysterious step behind the veil, I learned to quit trying to tear myself in half. I needed to take the tattered, scattered bits that I had tried so desperately to get rid of, and to love them back into myself instead. They are all me, I don't have multiple personalities (if anyone was wondering).

I came face to face with my shadow self, and learned who I really was as a complete human being. I love her like a child. I know her, and I hold her with me at every step. I do not let her take over for long, as she is a light extinguisher, a darkness lover, and sad company. I remember that no matter what happens, she is not in control of us. I am the Mother.
She is learning to keep quiet and take deep breaths.
I turn again tonight, holding her hand, both of us with heads held high...remembering what we are worried about, but determined to follow our path wherever it may lead us.

There is a real possibility that our 1901 house is not going to be for sale again. That truth hurts both of us. But it does serve to remind me of this: the dream was not that home in particular, but it was A HOME in which my children could be farm kids, and we could live a much simpler life, with hard and dirty work. That can be had in other places, and that is what it comes down to. This knowledge placates her for tonight. Trust, trust, trust the process.

p.s. I do not seek advice in this journal, honestly. I use my journal as a place to explore my feelings, my beliefs, my world, my dreams. It gives me great satisfaction to share with anyone who will read, because as a Virgo I tend to need smoothing of ruffled feathers quite often, but as a Virgo, I will always do whatever I damn well please. Juxtaposition and fickleness...what can I say, it is in the stars.

even though the sun is out...

Today, I'm frustrated. I'm on the verge of tears all day today.
I let our house be shown while I was out, and it was a pig sty. Our kitchen actually still had toast popped up out of the toaster with jam on the counter and sticky clumps on the table where the kids made their own toast. But, I'd had an appt. that we almost forgot to get to, and had to rush out...well, I've been packing and letting the house be messy all week ...

probably in celebration that we had a we aren't even sure we have a buyer :( All of this is so stressful, and it makes it harder with my sweetie away this weekend.

I hate when doctor's say things like, "Well, it could be an ear infection, and I don't feel a 'mass' behind your ear, so let's try anti-biotics." Wait, were you worried about a 'mass'? What the hell?

Work has been stressful, because I'm not a squeaky wheel who does not get any oil, and I realized that it is my fault that I feel that way, and that was hard.

I am only a human being...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

our hands are full of dirt

This is a face I'm holding onto our dreams for.

I like less. I like reused. I like old or re-purposed. I like things to be nice, but I just happen to have making-do in my genes. I've decided I'm totally sure of it.
For instance, the house I am selling. (fragment, consider revising) It is this big beautiful home
with four bedrooms, a bonus room, a kitchen nook, a long grand dining room, a giant laundry room, an even bigger pantry, 3 bathrooms, an open-air master bath shower, a room for a sauna,
a walk-in closet that may have been bigger than any bedroom I had as a child (exaggeration, consider revising), knotty pine trim (gag me with a spoon, consider revising) and like cherry or maple honey-colored sleek looking cabinetry in the kitchen. Oh yeah, a wrap around porch and natural siding. Yup, totally beautiful and wonderful. I recognize this. I just haven't ever wanted this. That seems ungrateful, I'm totally aware, and if you knew me well enough, you'd know that if you needed a home and you asked me, YES, you can stay here, too.
I am pretty sure I was just too young and naive about the "finer" things in life, and I truly wanted whatever my beautiful husband wanted, and if he wanted this home, then I'd be happy and make it my home, too. I've tried. For, what, 12 years? Jesus. How long have we lived here? Yup, something like that.
So, for, let's say, 12 years, I've literally scraped up the ground and moved it, I've pushed and prodded at the floors, the walls, and the colors. I've threatened, more than once, to take sledge-hammers to the stupid dark blue and white tile in the stupid frickin' "master suite". I've refused to allow the "sauna" to actually be made into a "sauna" - I stored camping gear in there instead. I've put up a chicken coop and made a raccoon-proof hillbilly chicken run (which I am SO proud of cause I did it all myself :). I've tried to make one of the bathrooms off limits (it is so stupid to have three toilets to clean), and I went through a seriously MESSY CLUTTER phase where I think I had finally decided to just cover up the "beautiful house" with all my inside
feelings...which wasn't pretty.
I finally came to some kind of agreement with the house when I had a day where it occurred to me that I wasn't going to move forward from this house because I was NOT LOVING WHAT IS. Truly. I just needed to stop the spin-cycle of "I hate this big stupid useless dining room!" and thinks like that (yes, I said "thinks") and just say, "Oh my goodness. thank you for this home
that has kept us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Thank you for the opportunity to live in the quiet and the wonderful spiritual walks I've taken in the woods. Thank you for the big yard for my kids to play in. Thank you for the opportunity to learn to love something that I didn't want." I had to learn gratitude before I could move on. It has been an honest love,
I promise you that. I'll miss this big stupid house when I go, because we've learned to love each other in the best ways that we could. Being grateful covers a lot of unpolished ground.

Here is the second part of my thought...

I grew up on a farm...the better part of my life was spent in the open arms of the sky from east to west and back and again. I've lain in an open field with the wind whipping my hair, holding
onto a kite and feeling as though I could actually fall in love with earth and air all at once and go sinking into it. I understood why Sarah Plain and Tall and Skylark talked about keeping dirt from your land, and about writing your name in it. A farm is such hard work, and so satisfying that it becomes you. When you love it, it never leaves you. It is like a true and abiding love that won't ever stop whispering to you, "Remember your name is written in the dirt."
No matter where I've gone, my parent's farm has been home. I've still caught myself saying, "We could go home for the weekend." And without a bat of an eyelash my husband knew I was
talking about the farm. Or I've asked my brother, "You gonna come home for the weekend?" He has lived for years in the Gorge with his beautiful wife and baby. He knows what I mean. It is in our bones, in our blood. We loved it, we loved to hate it, we worked on it, it became ours, and we want one for ourselves now. That's it. That's the end.
When I make a list of what I want, it includes the sunrise and sunset (the SKY), land (dirt to write my name in), irrigation sprinklers (chink chink chinking all summer long), laundry snapping in the sun, chickens chook-chooking in my yard, herbs by my kitchen door that I can really cook with, beautiful fragrant flowers and useful plants, goats to bleat at me for pets and treats, kitties who catch mice in my old barn and rub on my legs while I change my own stretch of hand-line, family who come to my home and feel at home there, too.
I'm just not a fancy person. I get nervous when things are too fancy. I'm pretty sure a booger'd be hanging out my nose every time I had to visit a fancy house, or I'd walk into someone's white carpeted home with poop on my shoes. It makes me more nervous than a cat in a room full of rockers (cliche', consider revising).

I'm pretty sure this is a product of being the descendant of, on one side, people who left their own country to come to America (ballsy, courageous, no-nonsense) and, I'm certain, hill-billies. It all comes down to this: use it up, wear it out, make-do or do without. I'm more comfortable re-making a sheet into window coverings than I am in buying something new and fancy. Not to say I don't have new things, but in my living room right now, I can count four new things.
I see 12 things that were handed down, or re-made, or bought second-hand...which things do you think I love more? Yup...

Let's get to my DREAM HOME (remember what I wrote about this house we live in now? okay).Our Dream home is less than half the size of this one. There is ONE bedroom for each of us (and my children have expressed SERIOUS desire to share a bedroom for now!! sweeet), one bathroom, normal sized closets (one in each bedroom), one place to eat, one living room and one normal-sized laundry room. *sigh of relief* All of this is housed in a home that "they" say was originally built in 1901, but after all the history I've done on this place, I'm sure there was a dwelling here in the late 1800s. The bones of the house tell me so, too. The central peak shouts homestead. This home has a story, and I can't wait for it to whisper to me.
There are 10 farm acres on it, with the old barn, the chicken coop and other old shoppy-barny thing. There is a SKY and DIRT and I already see the future ghost-shapes of my shiny black Australorp chickens scratching there...
It is not anything like the house we are leaving.

Our dreams are in our hands, and our hands are full of warm earth.
This is the other face I am holding onto our dreams for.

I want to give that richness of spirit to these two bright and shiny souls my husband and I have brought into this world. It is the best I know.
I am going to give it to them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the PAPER dollhouse project

Just the first two pages
of my paper dollhouse.
I'm SOO planning on living in that home.
The dreaming is, I realize, the time spent between the moment I think of something
and the moment it comes into my hands.
Which means my dreams
are not "coming to me" but are always in my own hands.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

this new day

Today feels like we've been waiting in a train station. Like we've finally been told that our train tickets are going to be paid for, after years of waiting in the line, and now here we are, waiting for that train to show up. That may sound like a waste of time, to be just feeling as though you were waiting. There is much that is learned in the waiting, I've found. Patience. Joy in the quiet. Patience. The opportunity to find the quiet center of myself when what I really want to do is stand in the middle of the yard and scream out my frustration. Patience.

I love this new phase of our lives. I'm loving the quiet packing I've been doing already. I love the down-sizing we've been up to. I love saying goodbye to the knotty pine everywhere in this house. I'll love saying goodbye to the juniper and the pine trees that hug us too closely. I am looking forward to the hard work of getting our HOME. I am looking forward to the open air, the sunrises, the sunsets...did I mention the openness. I am looking forward to the irrigation ditch that runs along one side of the property. I am looking forward to it all, and I am still trusting.

I am so profoundly grateful to be giving this lovely house to someone else to love...perhaps someone who should love it much better than I. Someone who wakes with joy every morning at the cozy closeness of the trees with the obscure sunrises and sunsets streaming in at them.

There is still so much to do, and I'm enjoying the waiting much more now that I know something is actually going to be happening. What I believe is that our dreams are always in the process of coming true. I'll always keep the lessons and truths I learned from Paulo Coehlo's book The Alchemist right smack in the middle of my heart. (the funny thing is that I wrote his name as Pablo Neruda, though I've written his name countless times before...must see what the Goddess is telling me there.) When I realized that I no matter what I was doing, it was never a step that couldn't be counted toward my real desires, that was a big eye opener. Whatever happens in my life will prepare me for my personal legend. When I've reached that legend, a new one emerges. Always in a state of creating and growth. How wonderful that is!! Everything that has ever happened to me, or that I've chosen to do has caused me to be more ready or more grateful for the thing I was truly hoping for.

Remember on my post about Awen? I feel as though I fluidly flow between all three of the gifts of Wisdom, Love and Creativity, and at this point, it is looking more like Wisdom (the owl, the key) is coming into play. There is loads of hand-work to get done before I can really invest in the heart-work of getting our home. I'm up to it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

profoundly grateful

someone bought our house...they BOUGHT it.
Now we are chasing after this one...and it will take a chase.
It recently went into foreclosure (poor people), and we need to find out which bank owns it so we can buy it from them before some developer is a piece of Oregon history, and it is the Old Home of my Heart...if any of you have ever loved an old home for what it could be,
you know my longing.
Selling this giant home in the woods was a 5 year ordeal.
It is over, can you believe it?
I can't hardly...
and yet, our work has just begun!!

You can read about the home we want here, and here , a little bit here, but mostly here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Holding my breath...

someone wants our house
someone wants it enough to have offered money for it

we are holding our breath
i'm too afraid to be jumping up and down
but let's call it...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


See the words I picked out of a Kahlil Gibran book, The Prophet, here. Read my poem, here:


I dwell wingless

before winter’s black-mossed

and boundless leafy seas

I want to be

A little unfolding silhouette

Opening out

Revealing space

erasing darkness that perched once

away they’ve flown together-

a drifting net of downy-gray

a fragile mist

I close my eyes

and fly

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Prophet Wordle

Wordle: kahlil

Click this to see it larger...

I use to LOVE to write the poems from ReadWritePoem when the prompt was from something that looked like the above "wordle". This wordle contains things from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.
I kept thinking about how it reflects my life right now, the words I chose. Pretty amazing.
It gives me a good visual on how I'm feeling when I'm too invested to see it all clearly.

I want to write a poem using these words, and I will be working on one. That sounds fun.

a heart dream

credit: Nancy Fishelson Design

In my future home, I'm gettin' me one of those mantels.
How much I love the whole feeling of this room. I thought I'd want deep cushy carpet in my new house, but those thick dark wood floors are so beautiful, it'd be a hard call.

Every time I talk about the 1901 house lately, I've been picturing my family living in it.
I've decorated it. I've repainted it. I've re-sided it. I've re-floored it.

There is a part of me that is scared every time I talk like that.

It is scary to put your heart out there like that. I am trying to keep it tethered, because there is a reality out there that says it won't happen. There is a reality out there where it is all taken away, and that is truly ironic, because we don't own one pebble from that place.
I only own it on that landscape I've been building in my mind.

Ahhh, hell. I'm a dreamer. It is what I do. The world needs dreamers, right?
There are soul dreams, and those things seem to include people in my life: my husband, my children, my personal legend (see The Alchemist for more information on that) for example.
Then I run around making heart dreams:
where I work, where I live, what my home looks like, for example.
My soul won't be hurt if I don't get that house,
but my heart sure will.

Monday, January 17, 2011

what I'd wear everyday I HAVE cool jeans like that, but I'd love a shirt like that with the little brown leather braided belt, and of course that owl pendant hanging from my neck, and the black twisted hoops, and can you just imagine how comfy those red Dansko shoes would be?! I love the baskety-woven look of the satchel, too, and just to make it "mine" I'd have to add a red feather...woohoo! I'd be so set!
Same pants, but look at the cutie patutie pink ruffles on that shirt! and all belted up with the big black ribbon - wow! I heart those little satiny pink ballet slippers, too. And another woven basket, but this time with some kind of rosy vintage pin stuck on it...the straps in turquoise no-less. Anyway, just playing with polyvore and sharing some more.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

clothes i heart

I had some serious fun playing on Polyvore today. I've made art from it before, but never really looked at the fashion end of it. I'm not really a "fashion" type of person.
But recently, I've been loosing weight...lots of weight...and I've been feeling like looking
at clothes...Here are clothes I heart:

I think I should make a paperdoll of myself that I could dress in these clothes for my paper dollhouse!!!!! And I'm ON THE HUNT for dresses like those up there for REAL! I'm fairly interested that when I really got into digging up what my favorite styles were, that I was drawn like a moth to these kinds of dresses, in these colors...soo interesting, especially considering that there is NOTHING in my closet right now that resembles any of these dresses even slightly. Hmmm, must remedy that.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

where i'd like to be

I'd love to be in the Hidden House with the dolls.
But I am here, looking over my horrendously messy kitchen with disdain.
With two kids and a husband and me making messes and not cleaning them up every morning before we leave for our days (while the light silently breaks through gray snow clouds) and then coming home again (in the winter-pewter twilight) and being too tired to clean up the morning messes only to make new messes on top of the others,
my house is rather dingy...
and not in a good way.

Being a Kindergarten teacher for the first time has really taxed my energy.
I am much smarter this time with it all, though. I decide what is important to spend time on, and what is not. It is not important to make copies of worksheets (which have their place), but it IS important to put up our World Traveler storyline frieze like I told the kids I would.
It IS important to keep in contact with parents, but not important to organize the building blocks.

But, with all of that kind of priority-making experience under my belt, I had never before encountered a room full of 5 and 6 year olds. Just about every day brings up something new to consider.
They are eager to learn. They'll do just about anything you ask them to (this if fading in some of them as they begin to test their limits with teacher), and they get excited about everything...making my job loads easier.
In middle school, it was mostly about getting that age invested.
In kindergarten, it is mostly about...well, what is it about... at this age, learning is second nature. They'll learn, no matter what I do. They are thirsty sponges, and gather the forms and sounds of letters like water. It is an amazing experience to teach Kindergarten...

I work hard at it. I get a deep satisfaction out of it. Because I'm interested in it, I keep getting better. I am working on being gentle with myself. If I think I should or could be teaching a subject in a different, more effective way, I don't suddenly change it. I have decided to let myself flow into it. What I was doing before wasn't bad, and many might still say, "how clever of you to have been teaching it in that way." But anyway, I am trusting my own judgement. I have found I feel more balanced when I quietly let go of what I was doing and quietly add in what I want to do next. In this way, I am acknowledging all of it as valid. It helps to remind me that I am always getting better. Nothing I was doing was BAD, I only thought of something BETTER.

My favorite moments in teaching have been those unscripted moments. The ones I didn't plan on. The ones where I fit like a great cog slipping into the other great cog and finding that together they are lifting a heavy weight or pushing a mighty thing.
The ones where I reaffirm that being a teacher is my nature.
~and all those other inane cliches we hear about this sort of thing~
After 14 years of teaching, I realized something:
I'm very good at just talking to the kids.
I'm very good at bringing up my own knowledge mid-lesson and heading on that tangent.
I'm very good at getting kids to look at me wide-eyed and open-mouthed.
I'm very good at bringing big knowledge down into small bits.
I'm very good at helping kids remember information.

Today, we were sitting at the meeting rug and I had a very grown-up book with loads of words in it that had some very good photos of octopuses. I decided to show it to them and talk to them about the pictures:

Me: "Hey, look at these two octopuses kids! This one kind of looks old huh! And what does the other one look like?"
Kid:"He looks mad!"
Me: "why do you think so?"
Kid: "He's standing up with his eight arms out! and he's all dark brown....he looks mad."
Me: "Hehe...he does look mad! I like the way you decided he was mad because he was standing up with his arms out like that. In fact, octopuses really do DO that when they are mad! They also turn a dark color to show the other octopus that they mean business! What do you think they are saying to each other?"
Kid: "That old one says,'Don't be mad!' and the mad one says, 'You're buggin' me! I'll eat you!'"
Me: "Oh, wow! That'd be scary for the old one. Do you know what else I think they are saying, 'I'm gonna eat one of your tentacles old guy!' 'No, don't eat any!' 'Yeah, I'm gonna eat it, but don't worry, I'll just eat one and it grows back anyway!' 'no!' 'yes! Don't worry, it grows back'"

Kid: "It does grow back Mrs. E?!"
Me: "Yessiree! Sometimes a bigger, madder octopus will get so hungry that he finds an old or a sick octopus and will eat some of its tentacles! But those grow back!! Do you know of another animal who looses a part, but later it grows back?"
Kid: "I think a snake...or somesing..."
Me: "You know what I was thinking of? A lizard! They can loose their tails, but their tails can grow back. Why do you think some animals can do that?"
**loads of discussion on that topic, then later**
Me: "Okay, so if that mad hungry one ate five of the old one's tentacles, how many would he have left?"
Kid: "I think three."
Me: "Woah!! You are doing subtraction! Tell me how you figured that out?"
Kid: "He's gots 8 arms, tentacles, and if 5 gets ated, that's only 3 left!"
Me: (drawing this on the white board as he talks) WOW!!! That is amazing!!
**leads to a tangent on what-if he lost 2 arms, what-if he lost 7 arms**
Me: "So, if he only had three tentacles left, what would he be called? Remember what we talked about those bikes that have three wheels?"
Kid: "A Troctopus!"
Kid: "A TRItopus!"
Kid: "A Tri-octopus?"
me: "Those all sound so funny - I think it would be closer to Tritopus though - what if he only had 2 tentacles left?"
All Kids shout: A Bitopus!
Me: "Let's go get our journals and a pencil. Write the date at the top of your next fresh page and draw a story of The Octopus With Less. You decide if he should have 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or NO tentacles left! What does he do?Draw pictures and write words. Use your own spellings and I'll help you. Let's GO!"
The kids rushed to tell the story of "The Octopus With Less"! We had no-legged octopuses who decided to be a playground ball instead. We had the four-legged octopus who became someone's pet, on a leash no-less. We took AN HOUR talking and laughing and imagining and then writing and drawing and sharing. Amazing. An HOUR with 5 and 6 year-olds on one subject. Amazing. Truly.

So, I took what I thought would be a simple 1-2 minute look at the pictures of octopuses in this book, that I'd picked up at the last moment, and besides the animal science, we became mathematicians, etymologists, and story writers.

I'm constantly amazed at what children learn.
It makes my job that much easier, and that much harder.

I enjoy my job, but I take it very seriously. I sweat it out. I worry. I improve. I always try to go in a forward motion. I want more OCTOPUS moments...know what I mean?
As much as I love teaching, this is why I wish I were in my little Hidden House in Terrebonne right now.
I wish I were in my little slope-roofed bedroom with the window overlooking the very old lilac bush and the willow. I wish I were looking out at the moon casting shadows on snow covered fields...hidden away all snug and warm and watching.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

a Hidden Home

I am in love...
with this book.
My mom gave it to my daughter for Christmas, but I think it belongs to me.

My mom is a dollmaker. I know this book spoke to her, and I hope she has her own copy at home...don't you mom?! Cause I'm not sure if "Emma" wants to share this one.

The Hidden House is the most beautiful, haunting picture book I've EVER seen...and I'm an Elementary School Teacher who lives in the picture books section of the library, the thrift store, the book stores, the garage sales...anyway...I KNOW picture books. This one is singular.

It is about three dolls who have been left behind in a Hidden House and what happens to them.
Just look at the endpapers...couldn't you just paper your walls with it?!
Look at the tree growing in the house as it becomes hidden.
This book I've been keeping out and I look at the illustrations about once a day, truly.
It makes me feel at home.
The Hidden House makes me feel at home.
I feel wrapped up in the spiderwebs and beetles and things growing over windows.

My mom and I have a word for it...we call it "Snohomish" that means nothing to all of you, but it is a town in Washington state that is rather touristy and antiquey. After a day of shopping, we were walking back to our car which was parked on a residential side street at twilight, and stopped for some reason to look over a rickety metal railing and saw this steep, skinny set of concrete stairs going down into a kind of concrete pit that was overrun with ivy and thick mosses and it was drippy and cracked and went to NO WHERE. Skinny steep concrete stairs going to...what...just that pit? No doors or windows to go anywhere? There were some old pieces of wood that were peeling paint and a door with an ancient looking knob on it, and all together looked like someone was saving the remains of their home in this strange mossy concrete pit. So, now, when we see things that belong in this sort of category, we say, "It looks kind of...Snohomish to me. I love it." And so we do, we DO love that sort of thing.

But what I think we really love is the broken thing. We love the thing that has been fixed and mended and made new, but is really still a broken thing.

This book is amazing because of that very fact. And it got me to thinking about why I do not love a new house. Why I LOATHE the dark granite counter tops and beigey nothingness walls and the "butler counter" in the "large pantry" and the houses that are too new to hold ghosts or secrets or hidden things.
I want a house that speaks.
I want a house that has lived and will teach me.
I want a ghost.
I want the peeling and the small and the hidden.

and I'm not happy without it. That is it. I can't be all zen about it and say, "I am the nothing...I need nothing and care for nothing more than what I have..." That is a load of bullshit. is.

If I should want to live in something smaller and older and dirtier and stranger, why doesn't someone just say, "Hey...she wants less...let's go ahead and give it to her."
I'd need a sugar daddy for that, I guess.
But, to the point: I really really REALLY wanted to join in on Graciel's Dollhouse Project.
So, I wanted it to be something I was going to enjoy doing.
I wanted it to be something I would keep for only as long as I really needed it, and I wanted it to be totally authentic to me.
It had to be paper...I am totally and completely a paper girl. Just ask mom.

I got this blank book recently from a friend who knows me oh so well. I was intending to keep things about herbs and gardens in it...and it decided to do something different with its life. Who am I to stand in the way of the dreams of a blank book?

I love the linen-like feeling of the pages, and between each page is this thick tracing paper kind of sheet...won't it be luscious...So I decided to cover it in some fabric and make it into a kind of paper dollhouse. I want to keep pages of my dreams for the home of my heart in here. I want to put paper dolls in it. I want to draw pictures of things.
It needs to be a "I'm-getting-this-come-hell-or-high-water" kind of book.

And so I covered it in pewter grays and buttery creams...but kitty wanted to help...constantly.
Finally I finished it, and I just love the colors! It is something I could keep out and look at and add to, and draw in, and it wouldn't be distracting to me...that was important.

I did the inside pages with buttonhole thread to keep the fabric tight.

I love how it looks!

And now I have begun.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Best things about Tuesday night

...are The Carpenter's LP playing "Close to You"
scratchy and tinny and beautiful
I love the sound of a vinyl record
it makes me feel like painting my nails bright pink
and reading a Seventeen magazine
I was born in 1975, but instead of mooning over 1980s music (which I sorta actually do)
I really love 1970s music...

I just love the subtle disco beat...and the excessive use of horns and harmonies...
and of course I love the white strappy sandals on Karen Carpenter on the album cover...

and this hot chocolate made from sugar-free hershey's syrup (wow!),
half and half and whipped cream.
Totally sugar-free (cause sugar don't agree with me very well)
and so yummy and decadent tasting I had to do a glowy haze and close-crop on it in Picasa

...oh, time to flip the record and listen to "Baby It's You"...

Two of my favorite 70s songs:

I love Rita Coolidge...look how hot she was in 1970!

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Wow, I really like that word "ensconced." Doesn't it sound as if you were happily being kept in a very high tower, much like rapunzel or someone like her in some sort of old story that tells a tale worth remembering...yes, ensconced.

So, the reality of my world is that I have many of my fine things sitting in a very dirty shed right at this moment. I went looking for the book which accompanies my plant oracle cards, and found mouse droppings, mouse nests, mouse "pantries", and mouse...well, for lack of a better word, confetti, for I can't for the life of me think of why a mouse should want to pick to bits a piece of red paper and leave it in a dusty heap and then poop on it, except for the idea that they might have had a little mouse party and things got fairly wild.

The next reality is that the mice have taken up residence in all 6 drawers of a tall dresser in that dirty shed, and they've apparently "eaten" about four complete beeswax candles from the top drawer and left more poop that looks like beeswax in the next drawer. In the third drawer, they've made a house out of bits and subsequent drawers are some sort of "reserve" they've created. They've even gathered bits of crusty bread from the chicken yard; snatchy little fellows, don't you think?

Reality number three is that I've found a hole in a plastic bag that holds some of my handmade purses and scarves and things like that, and I just threw that to the back in disgust, because I really didn't want to see what they'd done to it.

The mice are ensconced in the shed.
How romantic...for a mouse.

Reality number four is that I throw my three kitties in the shed about twice a week now.
Being "ensconced" is a treasure for them; they are done in about 10 minutes with what they need to do.
How fulfilling...for a cat.

Here's how it is...

I can talk and write about all this lovely stuff, but in the end, even in the midst of writing about compassion and love and happily laying out words of encouragement and understanding, I am so backwards.
I'm writing away, lalala, and my son comes in to ask for batteries. Ugg...I was so ungracious. Why does he have to interrupt me? Why do I have to look NOW for batteries? Why can't you find them yourself? Don't you know I'm trying to write about sweetness and light?!

It turns out that I need a good hour to myself every single day to unwind and recharge my patience. If I don't, I can't even seem to function on a "nice" level. That is the ugly truth of it.
I love these children more than my own life.

They make me proud and remind me of how good we can be as human beings.
They also try me at every turn and show me how important it is to get time to myself.

I actually don't feel that this is the UGLY truth, I think this is a human truth. We all have our things that "recharge" us to deal fairly and patiently in life's situations. It is as much a part of my life as eating and sleeping are. What recharges you?

I've added some music I've been listening to lately on my sidebar...
I think Sarah of paper roads has lovely ideas and so, yes, I've copied her on this as well!