20140906-48 copy Blog

The Muse Has Left The Building

 

My chair and it's comfy pads along with a pile of books and my notebook.

My chair and it’s comfy pads along with a pile of books and my notebook.

Remember on the old Frazier show, how it would always end with “Frazier has left the building“, a riff of course on the phrase, “Elvis has left the building“. Well, in response to weekly photo challenge for this week on muse, I find it hard to show what’s calling to me because nothing is.

The muse has left the building.

I’m spending my mornings hanging out on the deck with the boys, enjoying the cool start to the day. I’m listening to the birds sing, the insects chirp (they were very loud this morning), and just enjoying summer. When I worked, I always resented having to go in on days like this and not being able to enjoy the beauty of a nice day.

So instead of writing, instead of taking pictures, instead of getting much done, I’m hanging out on the deck. I have my iced tea and camera.

I need my tea and the camera too.

I need my tea and the camera too.

I have a dog that I can lean over to pet anytime I feel like it, although he’d rather be inside with the air conditioning. Too bad. They’re all sleeping better for spending time outside in the morning.

Having a Vizsla lay next to my chair is always a nice extra.

Having a Vizsla lay next to my chair is always a nice extra.

Sometimes I even throw the ball for the beagle, although not for very long. He can’t chase it like he used to; after a few times up and down the steps, he’s worn out.

The beagle hopes to get the ball thrown!

The beagle hopes to get the ball thrown!

The trumpet vine is starting to flower. I haven’t seen the hummingbirds yet, but each fall we find one or more tiny nests inside the trumpet vine. They usually announce their presence by buzzing us on the deck.

The trumpet vine is just getting ready to bloom.

The trumpet vine is just getting ready to bloom.

The deck’s actually not all that big, but I enjoy it and I enjoy our backyard.

View of the entire deck thanks to my fish eye wide angle lens.

View of the entire deck thanks to my fish eye wide angle lens.

The muse will return at some point. In the meantime, I’m re-reading my J.D. Robb books, lap swimming in the afternoons after it’s gotten too hot out, and listening to videos / webinars as I move forward with my plans for a new life not in taxes. Of course, having said that, I start a contract position next week that will last several months. It was due to the network that I got this opportunity – this VP knows my former VP and recognized my name as a result. It also helped that the position is in my niche speciality – corporate state income taxes – and uses the same software I’ve used for my entire career.

So the muse might take a longer vacation than planned. Oops!

In the meantime, I hope you’ve relaxed a little with me out in the yard. I’ve been enjoying seeing all of you showing your muse (click here to see more). In case you don’t remember, here’s the ending to Frazier:

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The Joy of Common Work

Visitors Center at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

Visitors Center at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Richmond, Virginia

. . . Do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
– Robert Lewis Stevenson

It’s easy for me to get caught up in wanting everything fancy, just like I think everyone else has it.

But of course, very few have everything fancy. For most of us, we have to cook and wash dishes, do laundry, clean, and take care of our children and / or pets.

There’s a joy in it – in the routine of scrubbing pots, folding clothes or sweeping floors. There’s a joy in the pleasure of a dog when you’ve bent over next to them to put on your shoes and they can look up at you and wag their tail.

Joy is everywhere, but we have to remind ourselves to seek it and be aware of it in the little things in our lives. To not let daily living overwhelm the sweet little things of our everyday actions.


For your amusement, below is the original and some experiments. I like the one that includes the “worn brick” texture and really found it hard to choose between it and the one I finally used. Both look good, but for different reasons.


I Hate Chores!

 

A photo on an uninspired day of my daily photo challenge; edited with a vintage filter.  See the photographer in the teapot?

A photo  of the disk rack on an uninspired day of my daily photo challenge; edited with a vintage filter. See the photographer in the teapot?

Today’s challenge on 30 Days of Lists is to list chores I actually enjoy.

My answer is:

NONE

NOT ONE

Nope, nothing

I used to enjoy baking, but a) my husband dislikes homemade bread, especially for his sandwiches; b) my daughter didn’t care either and c) I can’t eat much of any baked goods, especially if I want to keep my weight down.

I enjoy the end result from cleaning the house, but bitterly resent it while I’m doing it.

Cooking, groceries, laundry, and vacuuming are all so transitory.  I make a big sacrifice of my time to get them done and as soon as I finish, they’re already unraveling.  It’s the same thing with yard work, picking up dog poop, and paying the bills.  It never gets finished and it never stays finished.

Chores soak up time, take away from fun and passions, and give very little in return.

So ends my rant for today.  And my comment about yard work never staying finished?  It for sure doesn’t stay finished when a beagle decides there’s a mole to be found.

[Later note – a few weeks after this, I actually cleaned the house as part of nurturing my creativity.  What a strange change in events!  You can read about it here.]

Augh!  Find the mole already and be done with it!  The problem is he has already found and killed one this summer.  Obviously there are more.

Augh! Find the mole already and be done with it! The problem is he has already found and killed one this summer. Obviously there are more.

#30Lists


Things To Nurture This Month

Clouds over the Smoky Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina.  Taken in the late afternoon.

Clouds over the Smoky Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina. Taken in the late afternoon.

Where do I spend my time and energies? What do I need to focus on to bring along and develop? Wiktionary defines nurture as “that which nourishes; tender care, education, training”.

So what do I want to nurture this month?

  • My photography and creativity
  • My soul (spirituality)
  • My body

For the next three weeks, those are the things I want to emphasize, grow, and develop.  I didn’t put my family or pets on here, as I am already nourishing them.

For my photography:

  1. The classes I’m taking
  2. Investing in a new camera
  3. Blogging daily
  4. Decluttering the house more (it frees up physical and mental space)
  5. Taking better care of my body

For my soul:

  1. Praying regularly
  2. Doing my daily devotions (I use YouVersion for this)

For my body:

  1. Get back on my diet
  2. Walk daily
  3. Do 20 minutes of yoga each night (of course, tonight I was too tired and skipped it. . . again)

It looks beautiful, in the few minutes before the squash started to rot before they ripened and the vines died from powdery mildew.  The tomatoes burst open from blight.

It looks beautiful, in the few minutes before the squash started to rot before they ripened and the vines died from powdery mildew. The tomatoes burst open from blight.

There are things I no longer want to nurture, mostly dreams and passions.  I’m no longer interested in homesteading, gardening or food preservation.  The garden totally didn’t work out despite repeated efforts (my husband think it’s not enough light in the yard).  My husband is not interested in homesteading and I don’t have the time or energy to do it by myself.

I’ve cut back my writing.  I don’t feel like sitting in front of a computer for hours on end to craft a book.  It’s a great idea, but not for me at this time in my life.  I want to record my life, so I’ve increased my journals and photographs.  But writing anything else is not happening.

Cooking has also gone by the wayside.  I simplified my diet as I lost weight, but there’s still a lot of cooking to be done.  I’ve gone to cooking protein once a month and freezing portions for use later, supplemented by fish several times a week.  I cook vegetables and a bit of carbs every other week.  It’s not fancy, but it doesn’t have to be to nourish me without costing a lot of time.

So. . . photography / creativity, spirituality, and body.  That’s what I want to nurture (nourish) this month. 

#30Lists


Marry Fragrances For The Holidays

Just a reminder that Norad is tracking Santa’s progress around the world.  I’ve enjoyed this for quite a few years – check it out here.

Scents evoke so many  memories and emotions.  I love the way the house smells after making butternut squash, turkey or especially cookies.  It’s easy to marry up compatible fragrances for some holiday cheer.

Combine together:

1/8 cup mulling spices
3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick (3″ or 4″)
several pieces of dehydrated apple end or fresh orange peel

I dehydrated the apples myself, but you can buy them commercially at the grocery store or from a bulk foods bin. Leftover orange peels also work fine. If you are giving these as gifts, you’ll want to use something dehydrated though.

The spices are from Penzey’s. They are fresh and reasonably priced especially for large purchases.  I’m fortunate enough to live close to one of their stores, but have mail ordered from them for years before they expanded nationwide.

I get about three days of frangrance from this recipe by leaving it in the pot on top of the stove overnight.  Be sure to set a timer to check every 30 minutes to add more water when it is simmering.  The chances of boiling the pot dry and ruining it are high and a timer makes a big differences in remembering to check.

There are a lot of variations on this that can be found by Googling for potpourri.  The Frugal Girl also recently posted a recipe for this.

I didn’t have any pictures of my little treasures made up to share.  Instead, here is a recent picture from the botanical gardens that I thought looked festive with all the red in the background.  Enjoy!

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – BLOGGER’S CHOICE.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.


Feeling Thick Textures

I love to feel textures – thick ones, thin ones, nubby ones, silky ones – I love to feel them all.  That was one of things I really enjoyed about sewing my own clothes was feeling all the textures as I worked.

I haven’t sown for years, but I still enjoy feeling textures.  I’m very tactile.  I love handling my glass paperweights and wooden bowls.  When I compliment someone at work for a nice sweater, I can’t resist touching their arm and feeling it for myself.  And going through the stores, I like to brush the clothes as I go by the racks to feel the fabrics.

My sister and I both made the dresses we’re wearing in this Christmas picture.  Hers was a linen type fabric, but mine was a thick red velvet with thin lacey sleeves.  I’m not much of a shoe person, but I was thrilled to have those matching red shoes with their big bows.

Have a good weekend!  The weather in central Virginia is sunny and in the 50’s.  I even sat outside in the sun for a short while to read this afternoon as the dogs went wild in the yard.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – GOBBLE.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.


Support For My Body

I am truly amazed at what it takes these days to get me out of the house in the morning.  When I was newly married, I would roll out bed, get dressed and to work in under 30 minutes.  I obviously didn’t wear make-up, shower in the morning, or fix myself up much!

These days it’s a whole different matter.  Not only do I shower and wash my hair each morning, but my support system then requires that I:

  • Comb my hair & fluff it with my fingers
  • Put on deoderant
  • Brush & floss my teeth
  • Use moisturizer and sometimes under eye concealer
  • Put in eyedrops for my dry eyes
  • Put on eyeliner (gray) and mascara
  • Smooth out my eyebrows
  • Fluff my hair again
  • Lotion my feet and legs

None it takes very long, but I’m a bit irritated that I have to do so much to look good and feel good for the day.  I know it’s pretty simple, especially with not fixing my hair up, but it seems like my daily routine should be easier.  At least I have a routine for my support system – it’s much easier when I don’t have to spend time thinking about what I’m doing or make a bunch of small decisions.

That doesn’t take into account the rest of the morning ritual – making the bed, letting the dogs out and back in, giving the dogs a treat so I don’t have to chase the beagle all over the yard to get him back in, making my lunch and eating some breakfast.  Whew!  I’m glad I don’t have to get a small child out the door anymore either.

Is it all necessary?  Yes it is.  But it’s worth it on most days.  It’s too bad I didn’t make a list of my morning routines years ago when I started keeping my journals.  It would be interesting to see how they’ve changed over the years.  The biggest change is that I no longer exercise before work.  Now I do it during lunch instead.  Probably not much else has changed, but I’m not sure.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – INDISPENSABLE.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.