Thursday, November 27, 2014


I can actually say I'm thankful this Thanksgiving. 
Really thankful.
Dinner went off without a hitch and the food network taught us a new way to have turkey....dry baste!  
My husband and I did the kitchen ballet together and did it well. 
Out of the four children and nine grandchildren, we only had one child and one grandchild at the table.
And a pretty table it was! I set up a good bit of it last night and was pleased when my ten year old granddaughter oohed and aahed when she saw it! It was worth polishing the silver and pulling out the china!

The biggest surprise of the day came at the end of our meal together.
But the tryptophan has kicked in and I want to give the surprise the credit and words it is I will have to share tomorrow.

I hope whoever reads this today finds themselves loved peaceful and content.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


As usual, I was behind the chair for 8 hours today doing hair.  I had great clients from start to finish and lots of laughs along the way.  I have had many people actually say to me..."You really don't work do you?"  Well, I actually do...or at least my aching feet say I do at the end of a long day.  But I understand what they mean when they say this.  I am not really confined by a definitive set of rules outlined by an overbearing boss or corporation.  I set my own hours, I listen to my clients needs and wants, try to meet them and generally have great conversations along the way.  I work in a salon my husband built for me within our home so I have no commute and I get to go to the bathroom on my own toilet when the need arises during the day.

Working for myself has gone exceptionally well once I set boundaries for myself and my clients.  I had to make specific hours and stick with them.  I had to stay within a certain number of clients so that I could take care of all the ones I have had for years.  The one aspect I love the most about not working for a corporation is the leeway I have when it comes to money.  When times have been lean or clients haven't had the wherewithal to pay, I have been able to do the work and either release them from the debt or postpone the payment to a later date.

I have seen so many woman walk into my shop feeling down and undone with a bad hair day.  Color overdue or a cut that is driving them crazy.  Only to see them skip out the door an hour or two later with a fresh "do" that has made their life better.  To be able to give that gift is a great feeling.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not behind the chair for my health - I need to make money for my household.  But occasionally I get the opportunity to send a gift certificate to someone I know that is strapped financially and can't make an appointment with me or to make sure a mom feels better about herself from a simple haircut.

I am not trying to toot my own horn, but on the eve of Thanksgiving, I have to say that I am grateful to work in a job that allows me to give to others.  And in the end, isn't that what it's all about? 

Community and giving.

And me, being thankful.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A bright spot in my day

After a long work day today where extra marital affairs and talk of Ferguson, MO filled the salon, I was beyond exhausted by the atrocities we commit against one another as humans.  Emotionally I was over it all and ready to pull the covers over my head.  But my hubby had other ideas and rescued me from even thinking about dinner.  He grabbed me, my daughter and granddaughter and took us to a steak house.  What a great idea, I thought. Starting Thursday, there will be a future of turkey dishes until the leftovers run out. 

During dinner, my ten year old granddaughter encouraged her mother to share office stories and hilarious incoming phone calls.  She cut up and laughed and brought humor to our little corner.  She reminded me of innocence and unfettered joy.  In fact, she just looked up at me from where she is reading and said...." We had a great laugh didn't we?"  May those type of memories stay with her when she older and remind her of how much she is loved.

Then we dropped by the bookstore where I looked for Christmas gifts and the new book, Small Victories by Anne Lamott.  My granddaughter found a new book series to read and raced to her in hand.....excitedly hoping that a purchase was in the near future.

Coming home she raced to her newest spot on the floor upstairs under the recently erected Christmas tree.  (Not my doings.....believe me).  This sight.....her full attention to the words and story being woven lightened the cares and stories of the world off my shoulders.  A reader, I thought.  I've got a reader in this grandchild.  My heart couldn't be happier!

Here's to words that weave a story and lighten the strings that tug us down!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Everything old looks new again

Preparing for Thanksgiving has always been more of a chore than the meal is worth for me.  I am usually the planner, preparer, chef, and chief cleaner upper.  Thankfully a few years back, my dear husband stepped in and took over the task of storing leftovers and "retting" up the kitchen.  Even the gathering of family is not enough to make this a holiday a time I can look forward to.  All the jokes about sitting down with people you usually tolerate throughout the rest of the year and then purposely sit next to on the fourth Thursday in the month of November has roots in the truth.  The past couple of years I have actually been thrilled when I found out that my kids had other plans.  I was able to sit in my pj's all day and eat whatever I turkey be damned.  But this Thanksgiving I am going to give it the old college try and do my best to turn it around. 

I am not the kind of woman who really uses china or formal dinner pieces, but I pulled out the Noritake china I bought for my hope chest when I was 16 years old and living in Taiwan.  The pattern is called Reina and is a white on white pattern with silver edging.  It doesn't get much use and really never has during the years since it was purchased.  I also found the silver my mother bought in Hong Kong during a trip we took there for my 16th birthday.  Because of my father's rank in the military and protocol for the time we lived in Taiwan, there were dinner parties every few weeks that required me to learn how to set a formal dinner table where china and silver were regularly on display.

The silver I pulled out from under the stairwell was in a sad state.  Since my mothers death 18 years ago, I have never used it.  In fact it was still wrapped in the tissue paper and soft cloths that she bought to protect it all.  I bought Tarn-x and gathered the soft fabric I needed for the cleaning and set out to restore it to its former beauty.  Some of the pieces are permanently discolored and a few had deep pitting, but most of the pieces responded to the gentle care and cleaning by displaying the beautiful shine I remember from my youth.  It took several hours to clean and buff the silver and I wondered how many people actually do this anymore.  It wasn't hard work, but it was tedious and time consuming. Wouldn't my regular day to day dinnerware be just as good?  The answer is yes, but perhaps setting aside a few days a year to put some extra care and special attention to the day could remind me and those who will enjoy it to put their best foot forward and take some care to show up with shining attitudes and smiles.

I am aware that none of this is needed for a special connection over dinner.  After spending the day with my oldest daughter cooking an early Thanksgiving celebration dinner just two weeks ago, we ate on her everyday dishes in her kitchen.  Her table is a large coffee table and our seats were pillows on the floor.  It was delightful and there was nothing formal about the gathering.

Cleaning the silver with its permanently discolored spots and wearing away by time and exposure to the elements was an act of reverence for me.  It connected me with my mother again and became a hope for me to connect with those who will sit at my table this year.  It also reminded me that to neglect something treasured and beautiful takes its toll on the treasure and the one called to restore it.  I hope that I find the buried treasure of laughter, gentle conversation and extended olive branches surrounding us as we count our blessings and partake in the bounty we have been given in food and one another.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Books aren't just for enjoyment

I am a reader.  A voracious reader.  A reader with eclectic tastes and a strong lean towards strong female protagonists.  I enjoy a well crafted sentence and a thoroughly researched subject.  My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon,  is a female who has made me a better reader and a better writer. Since reading her Outlander series of books, I now read all other fictional work with a more critical eye.  I can still be carried away involuntarily with the gift of a true story teller, but I see the subtle nuances and well honed sentences with more appreciation.

This being said, I was surprised by the unexpected thrill I found when I read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I can honestly say I wasn't even sure what a YA book was until I found this series.  I have now found myself seeking Young Adult fiction and incorporating it into my repertoire of loved books.  The central character, Katniss, is a strong female who is confident, selfless, compassionate and a great shot with a bow and arrow.  She starts out as a young girl who does anything to keep her family alive during a time of great despair and succeeds in compassion while taking no grief from anyone in the process.  When she makes the choice to keep her young sister from a deadly game run by a controlling government, she steps into an arena ill prepared to stay alive as she is sought out by other pawns who wish to be the last one standing.  By the end of the first book she finds herself the chosen symbol for a revolution.

I have read the series through at least three times and have seen the movies an almost equal number of times.  This past Friday I was able to go with my daughter and friends to the first showing of Mockingjay 1.  The first of a two part finale.  At our pre movie dinner, I looked around the table at the women and thought about the pull of this movie and it's plot.  Not one of us were young adults.  We aged from 58 to 29 years old, and yet there we were to see a fascinating tale of the ultimate lay down your life for another.

One particular scene brought forth an emotional response of tears and the compelling desire to join in the three fingered salute of District 12.  As the hero of the story, Katniss Everdeen, walks into a hospital of severely wounded people, the wounded lift their fingers in salute to the young girl.  At that moment I asked myself....What would it feel like to be the face of a Revolution? 

How many people throughout history began as ordinary citizens of their own life, only to discover that their presence and very personhood would require them to be a figure to follow as a rebel.  I think of the individual who knelt down in Tiananmen Square in opposition of the government there. Mohamed Bouazizi who ignited the Tunisan Revolution and enough public outrage that the president of that country had to step down. With the release of the movie, people being oppressed in different cultures are finding this salute a perfect expression to their own cries of decision.

I get that this is only a movie and that the characters do not imitate real life.  But there have been revolutions around the world where the unlikely leaders were put into positions of becoming the face of a rebellion.  Decisions have been made to take a stand on less than the reasons found in The Hunger Games series, but I doubt anyone wakes up realizing that they will be the one to lead a revolt.

Thank you for your consideration.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Crafts and Craziness

My mother was quite the crafter.  She didn't always finish what she started, but her intentions were good and when she completed a project it was gorgeous and worth keeping.  I remember watching her sew as a child and then crochet blankets and scarves.  She took classes and learned how to paint on fabric which she either sold or gave as gifts.  I remember her gathering pictures and taking them to a class that was going to teach her how to decoupage.  A fancy name that enticed me into the arena of crafting. 

If it is true about right brained individuals being more creative by nature, then I believe the right hemisphere of my brain is proportionally bigger than my left.  When I can't be creative in some aspect, I feel as if my soul is drying up.  Pinterest has the same effect on my neurons as crack.  The great thing is that I actually try many of the Pins I pin and have success....for the most part. 

I am a hair stylist and that allows for a daily dose of creativity.  Color and shapes take my brain and hands on an adventure every day.  And I love the client that comes in with no preconceived notion and just lets me have full control.  There was a time when that would have scared me gray....but the day a client walked in and said, "short, kicky flicky, with blond, red and black" and I skipped to the color room with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I knew I had matured and beaten the fear.

But away from the salon, I love doing a million creative things.  I love to photograph....people and landscapes.  The smallest of details do not escape my eye which can occasionally be a detriment if I am in a hurry.  I love to create new dishes to serve.  Every spring when its time to plant I love to create a space of peace on my back deck of old window frames and re-purposed pots.

My mom did teach me to crochet, but I found that I love the look of knitting  better.  So not to be deterred by the knit one, purl two references, I found a friend a friend with a great deal of patience and unlimited texting ability.  I find that knitting is quite relaxing when I'm not ripping it out and cussing a blue streak for the 40th time.  Today I am attempting to begin a baby blanket.  I'm finally on row 3 because I didn't cast on correctly the first 15 times...and that is not an exaggeration.  The head cold I woke up with this morning is not helping the situation...apparently you can't count correctly with a headache and a nose full of snot.  Luckily the baby isn't due until May and I don't think head colds can last that long! 

On to row 3......

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I don't know if menopause has been playing a leading role in my attitude lately or if I have just reached my limit on .... well, everything.  I definitely want to blame the fact that the glasses I have donned this past week have been anything less than rose colored.  I am not the woman that walks around with tons of grace for everyone and every situation, nor am I once to pounce on every flaw, mistake, or error in judgment.  I like to think I try and see myself in the same situation and give a get out of  jail free card to the person needing it.  But this week I feel myself walking around with a scowl on my face and a need to police the world. 

Bad service at a restaurant.....I'm letting the manager know.

The bank's inability to manage the four accounts I have at their institution and the debit cards they issued without pin numbers......I am going to let someone know about the ineptness of it all and how I feel.

Trucker completely cuts us off on the turnpike.....he gets a hand gesture complete with suitable phrases.

Someone mentions how they don't have to work outside of the house and can leisurely go about their day.....and I am undone.  Tears and all. ( I kind of blame that one on a long day yesterday on my feet....Okay, I know, it was envy.)

I picked up Women Who Run With the Wolves and turn to these words. 

"When a woman has trouble letting go of anger or rage, it's often because she's using rage to empower herself.  While that may been wisdom at the beginning, now she must be careful, for ongoing rage is a fire that burns her own primary energy.  To be in this state is like speeding through life "pedal to the metal", trying to live a balanced life with the accelerator pressed all the way to the floor.
Neither is the fieriness of rage to be mistaken as a substitute for a passionate life.  It is not life at its best; it is a defense that once the time of needing it for protection is past, costs plenty to keep.  After a time it burns interminably hot, pollutes our ideas with its black smoke, and occludes other ways of seeing and apprehending."
I know that when the anger started this week, I felt like I was in a place of not having control.  I am very aware that no one really ever has control of anything, but this was control of my little sanctuary of home and hearth.  So I began seeking control over anything that touched my life.  As a result, I have a hotter than hot anger with a flashpoint that is immediate. Hopefully by recognizing this I can begin to address the real issues at hand. 
Anger and Envy are close relatives that spur one another on but never really have a shut off valve.  My hope is that I can keep my mouth hands inside the car window and work on myself before I do any real damage to myself or others.