Saturday, April 29, 2006


just a little reminder to sit in the quiet and breathe and listen...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday {Part 2}

As I mentioned last week, there is some cooking going on in the Poetry Thursday kitchen.

I am happy to announce that next week, Lynn and I are going to present you with Poetry Thursday: the blog.
As I mentioned in an earlier post this week, last weekend Lynn and I spent some time exploring the zoo here in Tacoma and discussing Poetry Thursday. Some of you probably know Lynn from her blog Sprigs. You already know that her wit and intelligence are a wicked combination, but this is even more true in person. And her poetry invites one to pause and read her words again. Then read the words out loud, letting the sounds resonate and the images dance across the mind.

Here is a brief bio to properly introduce her:

Lynn is a professional writer and editor with more than a decade of experience. Her background is in communications, Web writing and magazine editing, and her work has won numerous awards. Lynn began writing poetry in 1996, after reading a poem by Pablo Neruda while on vacation in Washington, D.C. Her poetry has appeared in several literary journals, including Fence magazine.

She began blogging in October 2005 so she could explore personal essay writing and connect with an audience in an immediate and tangible way. She lives in Seattle with her husband, hamster, Egyptian spiny mouse and aquatic frog.


Next Wednesday we will unveil the site. On that day, you can come here or go to Lynn's blog to discover the new URL and some more information about the new Poetry Thursday blog.
The intention of Poetry Thursday will be the same: Share a poem of your own or one by someone else. Lynn and I will share some suggested guidelines, other information, and ideas next week!

poetry thursday

(finding my inner haiku)

A chickadee chirps;
the pillow under my head,
my ears awaken.

Want to go to a poetry reading? has a great calendar of events on their site. Check it out and report back if you attend any readings in a city near you!
Friday is Poem in Your Pocket Day in NYC. I think this idea is fantastic! Carrying a poem in your pocket that you share with friends, family, co-workers, the people who make your latte at Starbucks - the possibilities are endless!
Some people have shared that Poetry Thursday has invited them to discover or rediscover poetry. I love this. If you still aren't sure poetry is for you, I invite you to check out this poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day website.
As always, if you want to participate in Poetry Thursday, share a poem on your blog (if you don't have a blog, leave a poem here in the comments). The poem can be one your write or one by someone else (just be sure to give them credit and it is also great to include where you found the poem in case people want to check the book/publication/website out themselves). After you post your poem, you are welcome to leave a comment here so people know you have posted. If you want to be added to the sidebar of participants, just send me an email.
Happy reading! And I invite you to find your inner haiku...maybe not today, but someday soon...
when you are ready.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

on a lighter note

I am enjoying Boston Legal right now. I love this show. I started watching it one Tuesday night when Ali mentioned that she was looking forward to watching it later that evening. So I tuned in to check it out.
And now I admit that I enjoy every minute of it. Laughing at the craziness of the world of this lawfirm. I cannot believe what happens to these people. Cracking up out loud, but trying to be quiet so I do not wake-up the husband down the hall. And I have been known to sit with my mouth slightly open because there are moments that shocking. Oh I love it! My favorite part though is the music in between the scenes. The deep "mmms" of the singers. How to explain that one if you don't watch...just imagine deep bluesy sounds that aren't words but are very sultry. Almost like a human saxophone.
Tonight I have decided that I want those sultry sounds between the moments in my life. Imagine, you take the dirty dishes to the kitchen and begin to fill the dishwasher. As you close the dishwasher door, the chorus sings "mmhhmmhmm." You finish reading a wonderful email from a friend. Hhhhmmmmm. You put a pan of enchiladas in the oven. Yeaaahhhhhmmm. You turn on the water for a hot bath. Ooohhhmmmumm. You pull up to the drive-through espresso window. Mmmmhhhmmmm. You slip between the sheets of your bed and spoon up against your already sleeping husband. Ummmhummm.
Love this. Hearing a chorus sing during the little vignettes of your life.

Monday, April 24, 2006

let go again and again

If you know me well, or have been reading this little corner of the world for awhile, you know that I often talk about letting go. And one of the reasons I do this is because I have so much to let go. And today, I was reminded about letting go of the guilt.

This evening, I talked with a dear friend about the idea of taking care of yourself. Putting yourself first. And when I asked her why she doesn't do this, even though she said she wants to and should and on and on...she said in a very quiet voice, "I don't know how." This was so huge. She went on to talk about how she always feel guilty if she puts herself before her job, her friends, her family, all the other stuff she should be doing.

This is a lesson that will be repeated and repeated until it is learned. You cannot live your best like unless you learn to take care of yourself. I believe this is true. And I believe I have not learned it either. You cannot keep your eyes open wide enough to see what is coming next if you are to busy taking care of everyone else. And even people who spend their entire life taking care of others in the most selfless of ways, I believe that they know how to take care of themselves. It may not be with bubblebaths or a shopping spree at a bookstore. Rather, it is more an understanding of what their souls need.

What if we sat in the quiet long enough to listen to what our souls need?

As I sat thinking about this conversation, all of my own guilt decided to bubble up to the surface...I think it heard an invitation I did not realize I had extended.

So tonight, before I go to bed and try to quiet my mind enough to sleep I want to release this guilt:

That I have once again forgotten that ice cream is not a food group and eaten some late at night with a smile on my face.

That I haven't called back some people who have called lately. I am neck-deep in work when I am used to being knee-deep and I am having a hard time juggling it all.

That I have not sent out three packages to other bloggers yet. One that is for a Creativity Exchange swap that I should have sent two weeks ago. Another as a return thank you for a surprise received in the mail. And another that I haven't even started yet that is a trade that I am so excited about. I have made many excuses about being in the midst of moving my art stuff from the dining room table and the living room couch (they are actually in the same room) into my home office that I am making a home office/studio. But really, I simply am having a hard time juggling having stuff to do for once. I am used to have a few hours of work a day and plenty of time to clean, play, nap, talk on the phone, help others, and on and on. I am not complaining. I love that I have lots of work (and so do my checking account and credit card bills), and that I have made some new friends so my social life is more interesting than it has been since we moved here, and that people are reaching out to me. But I still hate that I said, "yes i want to share part of myself through some art and send you something," yet I have not done it.(Remember, this is my guilt - not yours. I love the swaps and will send stuff soon...just please forgive me that they will be late, delayed, and all that stuff.)

That when I feel stress like this I forget to just enjoy the intimate moments with my husband. He invited me for a date after work today. We went for a walk in the woods. Then to our favorite little grocery for food for dinner. Then made dinner together and ate it outside. Guess I feel better about this one already.

That I forget the power of my own words sometimes.

That I sometimes wish Millie was my previous dog Traveler. Well, I kind of just wish they were both my current dogs (though they would have not really gotten along).

That I want to say no to an editing project I do as a volunteer. I do not have time. But I will say yes again. Yes, I will. But this time, I will set some boundaries.

That I am behind in writing a paper for my yoga training. And my presentation. At least I think I know what I will be doing for that. But I have not done the art journal example I planned to work on every day this month so I could show everyone what one would look like.

That I do not have time to read all the blogs I want to read everyday. And I have time to read some, but I don't have time to comment. Yet, people come here and leave me the nicest notes. (thank you)

That I forgot my husband's and my first date anniversary on Friday. He forgot, then remembered, then forgot too. But me, I don't ever forget. But I did. Makes me really sad for some reason. I think because I really get how that day five years ago changed my life forever.

Oh I think I could go on and on here...but this is enough for tonight.

What guilt do you need to release today? Do it now my friends...let it go.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

senses. chocolat.

the deep brown piece of dark chocolate is almost black. i hold it in my hand and smile with anticipation. i walk back to the couch. take a seat. take a breath.

the surface of this small morsel of chocolate is smooth. as i run my finger over it, i feel the slight grooves on one side. a little piece melts off onto my finger.

i bring the piece toward my mouth and inhale. i close my eyes and am transported. to a small cafe in france with bright yellow walls and red tablecloths; i sit alone and bring a cup of the hot cocoa to my lips and the heat from the drink warms my chilled body. to a shop in belgium where i imagine my husband brings two truffles for us to the bench where i sit outside; his would be coconut, mine double chocolate. to a line outside a chocolatier that is so small only a few people can stand in the shop at a time; as I stand in line the odors waft out through the open door and my stomach starts to rumble. to a couch (or two) in england where i am curled up next to a friend (or two) sharing a bar of chocolate as we laugh and cry and tell stories. to a movie theatre where we pass a box of sno caps between us. to a kitchen in los angeles where i watch a friend make her famous peanut butter and chocolate candies, and lucky me, i get to lick the beaters. to a backyard bonfire where we all roast marshmallows and break hershey bars in half to make smores; i look around and all of my tribe is there with me as we listen to a story of far off places and gypsies and secret passages.

in my head, i hear the soundtrack from chocolat. it has been running through my head all day as i have thought about this topic. then the piece of chocolate snaps with a slight sound as i take a bite.

the bitter, rich flavor explodes on my tongue immediately. and as it melts, i begin to taste the sweet. just enough to satisfy the need. for now.

{and know}
even though i may not have traveled to all the places the smell of chocolate takes me and enjoyed the perfect evening of chocolate and friendship with some of my dear friends...i know that it does bring us together. this feast for the senses. this sweet, bitter, luscious treat. hope we can enjoy some together soon.

sunday scribblings

four for fun and a request

1) My site has new clothes thanks to Joleen! Thank you girl. I love it!!!

2) Meeting bloggers has become my new favorite past time. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Dana (aka Lynn of Sprigs) at the zoo here in Tacoma. We sat for quite a while watching the crazy fish with teeth and fins like dancing skirts. And we learned we both get a little uneasy around the tank that is home to the tuna and sharks. The tuna....well, they are a bit like a gang up to no good. And the can get way to close to those guys in there. When one started coming directly toward us I had to step back away from the tank...quickly. We also spent some time working on some ideas for Poetry Thursday, but I think we could create a whole new blog just about escapades at zoos. Dana has a wonderful sense of humor...I mean I am still cracking up a day later she is that funny. Visit her blog and you will see what I mean.

3) It's flip flop weather here! The sun is shining and the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue. The squirrels are chasing each other in the yard. New plants seem to be shooting up all over the place. Yes. I am in love with spring.

4) Jon and I joined netflix after Jim and Laini's strong recommendation. How much fun is this? Oh I love moving things around and adding them to the queue. And our first movies arrived. So we have watched the first three episodes of Huff (thanks for the recommendation Denise) and it is already back in the mail. Love it. Huff was very good...we moved the next disc up into the queue and I can't wait to see what happens next in this wacky family.

and a request...
Both Pixie and Marilyn have friends who have recently been diagnosed with cancer. A dear friend of mine's brother will go through a bone marrow transplant here in Seattle later this month. We have all been touched by cancer in some way or another and many of us are probably touched by it right now.
I would love it if you would just take a moment and take a breath and send some positive energy to all that need healing today. That energy can take many forms: prayer, meditation, laughter, positive what feels right for you. Let's see what we can do to help the healing of the body, heart, and soul begin.

(a sunday scribblings post is to come...but have to make a dent in this editing first)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

{got ya}

spring has sprung!

Friday, April 21, 2006

songs to write on your heart

I have been listening to few songs over and over in the last few months. These songs remind me of what life is all about. Why I am here. Why we are here. It is amazing how you can fill the silence with the music of another and remember this. They invite me to cry as I realize I am not alone in my thoughts, hopes, and dreams. I am not alone.

Here are a few of these songs...

Galileo Indigo Girls
Stars The Weepies
No Net Below Jonatha Brooke
These Photographs Joshua Radin
All That You Have Is Your Soul Tracy Chapman
What Was That John Gorka
Virginia Woolf Indigo Girls
America Simon & Garfunkel
Let Go Frou Frou
And the World Spins Madly On The Weepies

Sing them out loud. Write them on your heart. All the words. Invite them to be part of your soul. And then let yourself begin to dance...yes, you...let yourself dance in your life.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

poetry thursday

Two more poems from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master, translated by Daniel Ladinsky.

The Sun Never Says

All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

"You owe

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the

This Sky



Where we live

Is no place to lose your wings

So love, love,


(Thanks Matt for sharing this book with me and introducing me to the first poem this morning.)

I keep forgetting to share that April is National Poetry Month. Poetry Daily will email you a poem every day this month if you sign up for their newsletter. There have been some great ones; each of them has commentary by another poet/author. Very cool.


Stay tuned for some exciting developments for Poetry Thursday. Lynn and I are cooking up a little something and will unveil it soon.

As always, to participate in Poetry Thursdays share a poem on your blog. A poem you write yourself or a poem by another. Feel free to share your link here in the comments so that others will know you have posted. If you are not on the list of participants and would like to be added, please send me an email.

I hope the poems you read today cause you to pause, even for just one small moment, and remember who you are. Happy reading.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

a couple of tags

Visiting Thea's blog tonight, I came across her tag (and was honest to say that yes, I stopped by and yes, here are my answers). Also, Denise tagged me to spill some here go both tags.

Five minutes to myself:
I would take a nice little nap with jon and millie. Oh wait....this was supposed to be by myself. hmm. I would make a smoothie with fresh fruit and drink it up with a pink straw.

Five bucks to spend right now: how would you spend it?
On a vanilla latte and a cinnamon roll at The Mandolin Cafe.

Five items in your house that you could part with right now that you hadn't thought of already?
Oh I am sure there is something in the kitchen, like some glassware or bowls or spatulas. But I must admit that I will keep them all.
Some knickknacks that I have simply outgrown.
A couple of winter coats.
Some books...yes, there are some books that I should pass on to another reader.
Hmmm...I think I am at five by now.

Five words you love:
wondrous, gently, scandalous, stinkbug, cantankerous

And for Denise:

10 things that spill some beans and tell you more about who I am:

1) i love pajama pants so much and secretly wish that i knew how to sew so that i could make myself pair upon pair of them.
2) tree pose is my favorite yoga pose, but chair pose is the one i know i need to work on the most.
3) the fact that people in china cannot google "democracy" makes me so damn mad i can hardly breathe with i think about it. i wish they could email me to google it for them.
4) the reason i don't like playing team sports is that when i was in 6th grade and played soccer, a girl on the other team told me to "get out of the way bitch." so i did. and never looked back.
5) a glass of cold water makes me very, very happy.
6) and a nice martini glass full of some kind of fruity martini has been known to make me even happier.
7) not one day in the last 374 has passed without me missing my grandmother. not one.
8) i am a pretty serious person by nature. sometimes this means that people misunderstand me and think that i am pissed when i am not anywhere near that feeling. i am just serious. and this seriousness has caused me to let go of the silly theme of self-portrait tuesday this month. please know though that my closest friends know my wicked sense of humor. and my husband says i am the funniest person he knows.
9) i have a birthmark on my left thigh that looks a bit like a number sign. this is how you know that i am not a clone.
10) my favorite beans come in the form of split pea soup. and the refried beans in my husband's tostadas are a close second.

and just for more little thing is that i have only 49 more days in my 20's. only 49. i can't wait until i get to wave these 20's good-bye!

If you feel moved to participate in either of these tags, please do!

Monday, April 17, 2006

portland, oregon on a saturday night...

I am still happy as a clam after a wonderful weekend in Portland. Visiting my brother, Powells, meeting Laini, Jim, and Alexandra, seeing Kelly again and meeting her husband, going to the Saturday market (on Sunday), eating some good sushi, driving home in time for The West Wing...a perfect weekend.

Jon and I stopped by Alexandra's house on the way to have dinner with Laini, Jim, Kelly, and John. Her house is simply adorable and she is as amazing in person as you sense she is reading her blog. We could have sat in her living room and talked and talked for hours. And we almost did! but luckily Laini called when it was time for us to head over for dinner. Laini and Jim are the cutest (sorry guys, there is no other word), and Jon and I quickly felt like we had been friends with them for a long time. It was so fun to meet Kelly's husband John in person since I had heard so much about him during our long talks at ArtFest. John has a delightful sense of humor; all three guys had us cracking up quite a bit. There is nothing like wine, good food, great conversation, and laughter. Visit Kelly's blog for some pictures from the night. Alexandra joined us for dessert and the laughter continued. I cannot wait to invite myself for another visit soon (and I do mean soon!).

On Sunday, my brother took us to the Saturday Market (I really think they call it that on Sunday too), and I tried on some hats and channeled Denise and found one (pictures to come after I charge the battery for the digital camera). We bought some bath bombs at Lush and ate some fantastic sushi. Then we headed home and I worked on my laptop in the car and then brainstormed what I wanted to write for Sunday Scribblings (that post is to come yet today).

Oh and I wanted to share the books of poetry I bought at Powells:

Harvest Poems: 1910-1960, by Carl Sandburg
My Name is William Tell, poems by William Stafford
Poems and Sketches of E.B. White
Carslaw's Sequences, poems by Lisa M. Steinman (we heard her read at the poetry reading and several times Jon and I both laughted out loud)
Broken Knuckles Against Knives Cutting The Food To Feed Me Through This, poems by Brittany Baldwin (we heard her read as well, and twice I started to cry as she read her words with courage and conviction)

And one more note about Powells (it was that great people. I can't stop talking about it for a reason). They have the new and used books TOGETHER. This is also the case with their online start exploring my friends. A wonderful way to afford to buy more books!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

a poem for a sunday

Portland. This is some kind of town. Powell's. What more could a girl want. Truly, I am ready to move in. All I need is a pillow and I would be good to go (they have yoga mats, food, coffee, and more books than I could read in six lifetimes...but I sure would like to try). They had a poetry reading while we were there Saturday afternoon...I walked out with five new books of poetry...more on all of this soon, but I wanted to share a poem from a poet my brother introduced me to this weekend.

The Vintage Man
Between a good artist
And a great one


The novice
Will often lay down his tool
Or brush

Then pick up an invisible club
On the mind’s table

And helplessly smash the easels and

Whereas the vintage man
No longer hurts himself or anyone

And keeps on


(from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master translations by Daniel Ladinsky)

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I am grateful for:

the emails and comments I received this week after I wrote about my grief and the anniversary of my grandmother's death. My friend and I talked about this idea that you sometimes wish you could wear a sign that says, "I am grieving today." This way people could be gentle with you. My blog became my way to do that on Wednesday. Thank you for understanding and holding me in your strength and friendship. I am blessed to have each and every one of you in my life.

that my brother was born 25 years ago yesterday. We are in Portland visiting him this weekend. It was great to have a quick glimpse into his "rock start" life when we were able to stop in and see him in action recording a band at Jackpot Recording Studio. And great to catch up over dinner and meet a couple of his friends. You can check out some of his projects here (though you won't exactly find him on here because even though this is his site, he is that behind the scenes guy a lot of the time) and here (this is one of the bands he is a part of; he has recorded, mixed, and done all that other stuff I don't understand to all the music you will hear here) and here (he is the new drummer for this local Portland band). This morning he is already back to work, so Jon and I have the day to explore Portland which leads me to...

that we will be spending the afternoon at Powell's Books TODAY!!! I have been hearing about Powell's for years now. And. today. is. the. day. when. I. finally. will. visit. this. incredible. book. store. Stay tuned for more...

the connections I am making in blog world that are becoming friendships in the real world. The emails, and phone conversations, and "meetings" in person are just making my heart so happy. A few:

  • Being part of the justBe creative team! I am having so much fun talking with Melanie (aka Melba) on the phone and emailing with the rest of the creative team.
  • Last Sunday I connected with Letha. Words cannot describe what it is like to have that moment when you connect with someone in a heart-full, soul-full way but you know when you do. Her artwork is gorgeous, and it was a joy to listen to her explain her pieces for the show she has in August. And the stories behind the vintage fabric she is using for the clothes in her new boutique...very cool. We are going to get together for our own little mini-artfest days and I can't wait!
  • Today I hope to connect with Alexandra at Powell's. And tonight Jon and I are having dinner with Laini and Jim and Kelly and her husband John. I am so excited to connect with everyone that I popped out of bed this morning when I remembered we were in Portland (please note: after a very late night...well, late for me) and couldn't go back to sleep.

that so many people are sharing poetry on Thursdays!

that I gave my dad the link to my blog a few weeks ago. Hi Dad. Thanks for reading...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

poetry thursday

I am moved to share one of my own poems today. In eighth grade, we had to create a book of poetry as a project for English. As I looked for old pictures and postcards to take with me for a class at ArtFest, I stumbled across this book of my own poetry. Here is one that resonated in this early morning hour.

The Awakening
Across the sky
The colors vividly awaken
All that is around
The trees seem to stretch
As the sunlight fills the air
The birds begin to flutter
And sing sweetly as the sun rises
It is another day
A new beginning
No matter what happens today,
The sunrise will always be there
Waking up all of nature.

Elizabeth Morgan (age 13)

A thanks to Kat for suggesting people create their own poem this week and participate in Poetry Thursday. Please leave a comment with a link to your blog if you did write a poem as part of Contagious Creativity!

I also want to share a link to a wonderful site I discovered tonight. Some of you have either shared and enjoyed poems by William Stafford. This is a site dedicated to raising awareness of the power of poetry in Stafford's memory/honor. I have only just begun to explore this website, but it already speaks to my heart. It is very inspiring...


And as always, if you would like to participate in Poetry Thursday, please share a poem on your blog. You can leave a comment here to let everyone know that you have posted one today. Also, if you want to be added to the list of participants, please send me an email (and if you sent me an email but you are not on the participant list, please send me a friendly reminder).

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

april 12

A year ago today, I lost one of my dearest friends. My grandmother. As the flowers bloom everywhere, as Spring reminds me that the circle of life continues, as I give myself the space to grieve and laugh and cry, as I wish with every fiber of my being that I could hold her hand, as I say with conviction that the pain is not any less, as I cannot believe that I have not talked to her in over a year, as I wish I could rewind and hear her laugh loudly, as I remember that through the grief her death invites me to experience I might be finding myself, I put the words I read at her funeral out into the world once again.

I had some time in the Atlanta Airport to write down a few things that mean Grandma to me. Grandma is:

the smell of Pond's Cold Cream, hummingbirds, walks around her yard as she points out what is growing and blooming, knee-high nylons rolled down around her ankles and cropped pants before they were back in style, cranberry juice, cherrios stuffed with peanut butter to make little tiny sandwiches, stubbornness, jumping on the bed, walks on the beach in the early morning so you could find the best shells, a book lover, always there when I need to laugh, cry and cry some more, chasing each other around the kitchen to put ice cubes down each other's shirts, beautiful, Spring, lily of the valley, forsythia, little notes in the mail, sugar cookies and date pinwheels, sloppy joes, trips to one price clothing, how she always remembers the littlest things you like-for me-warm socks, riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, when I call - Grandpa saying "I bet you want to talk to your Grandma" and then her voice saying "hello," sitting outside in the sun drinking pink lemonade, my oldest friend, crotchety at times but also honest, dependable, and silly and that sense of humor and indescribable strength, a safe haven, my mom saying "your Grandma is a bit of a stinker," so very smart, how proud she is of her children and grandchildren, gardening, the moments when her patience could be infinite - her children may not have seen this but her grandchildren did every now and then, cooking tips, relationship advice, how important the birthdays of others were to her, her amazing memory, her smile. A wife, mother, grandmother and friend. We all have our own memories and these are just a few I could let myself reflect on. I think something we all know is that with Grandma, what you see is what you get. She was always Real and didn't shy away from her convictions.

A Storyperson by Brian Andreas
Landscape of the Heart
It is still so new and all we see is the empty
space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart.
There, there is no empty space and she still laughs
and grapples with ideas and plans
and nods wisely with each of us in turn.
We are proud to have known her.
We are proud to have called her friend.

Thank you Grandma.
Thank you for teaching me and for always, always being you.
Now Grandma, listen closely. Your husband wants you to know how much you are loved. By him, by your children, by your grandchildren, and your friends.

Peace to you my friend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Day 4 continued

Saturday morning of my ArtFest adventure brough a workshop with Anahata Katkin. I was happy to have a few people from my previous workshops in my class and I finally got to really connect with Elizabeth.

In the morning, we went down to the beach to create nature altars (as I described in my previous post). Here is a picture of mine.

nature altar

After we finished we walked to each person's altar. Each of us shared what we wanted to about creating the altar, what it represented, and so on. It was beautiful. There is so much more I could share about this morning...but for right now, the sacredness of the experience needs to stay there on the beach as I continue to soak it all in and realize all that I have learned.

After lunch, we met up again to create a mixed-media piece inspired by our altar. Anahata had us each take a polaroid picture of our altar on the beach so we would have something to work from.

This was a very inspiring class, but I was out of my comfort zone for the entire time. Until, really, the last few minutes of class. I am getting used to this idea of building layers in a piece. I am so mystified that I am actually creating something and I fall in love with the "background." I forget that I am creating texture for the piece and not the actual finished piece. (This problem has followed me home. I love the techniques I learned at ArtFest, but I am still not able to move forward from the background sometimes.) We used inks, water-soluble oil pastels, gesso as a paint layer, charcoal, and other things that I had never used in this way. I felt frozen for a good part of the class. That feeling of wanting to jump out of my own skin. I described my internal self talk in last week's SPT post. By the end of class though, I found my words. I wrote about what was going on in my mind. And then I realized I could use the lines that the dripped black ink had created on my page as lines for more words. Suddenly I was moving quickly, letting go, finding my way. Of course, time was up then...

I am still not done with this, but here is how it looks right now.

the fear

The words across the page:
The beauty of the fear is that anything you do will be the right thing. To do nothing is to stay in the frozen moment. To do something, to move, is to live.

Saturday night brought show and tell and the end of ArtFest. I was able to spend more time with Kelly, talk with a few other new friends, and have one more conversation with Kristi Steiner.

I take a breath. My heart has grown. How blessed I am to have had this experience. I am forever changed.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

senses. artfest day 4, morning.

i reach down into the sand and feel the smooth rocks of all different shapes and sizes. i turn a round one over and over in my hand. the air is cold against my face. rain drops onto my head, cheeks, nose, shoulders. i reach down again and pick up a rock with a sea plant attached to it...long dead. the rock and plant together look like a human heart. a human heart. i feel the sand as it sticks to my fingers. i rub them together trying to remove some of it. then i feel the cold water as i put my fingertips in to wet them and wash them off. the rain again falling on my head, my nose. as i find the spot to build my altar, i decide to put my fleece gloves on. instantly, my hands are warmed.

i take a breath and inhale the dampness and the cold of the fresh, wide, open air of the sea. at some point, i am so cold that my nose starts to run. i smell very little during this adventure.

as i work on my altar, i pause to take a drink of water. the clean taste of the water cleanses my palette and my mind. just for a moment.

the water laps quietly as the small waves roll in and out. seagulls cry around me. high in the sky. along the edge of the water behind me. i am far enough away from everyone else that i do not hear any human voices. as i move rocks, i hear my own breath as some of them are heavy. one makes a loud curplunk down onto the sand as i move it yet again and drop it. i walk back down to the water and hear myself gasp as i find another rock that looks like a heart. this time in the shape of a typical heart. later i hear a voice. though no one is around. the voice answers a question i have just thought aloud in my head.

the beauty of the beach at fort worden. low tide. so much to see. rocks, plants, kelp, shells, empty bodies that once had crabs within them, sea gulls, people, water, islands, seagrass, the twisty shapes of medrona tress, a pair of ducks, so many colors within all of this sea life. oranges, pinks, greens, greys, whites, blacks, purples, greens, reds. as i walk, i pick up the pieces that draw me in. the rocks, shells, plants. i find a spot that is to be my spot for the next hour or so. the place where i will create a nature altar. i first draw in the wet sand, but i can't find what appeals to me. i look to the right and see another large rock that almost have a cave underneath it. i move to it and look around. as i find a few larger rocks to add to my little pile, i decide to stack them. i also create little pile of multi-colored rocks.

then an idea comes to me and i create a circle of black rocks that all look alike around this stack of rocks. on top of the stack goes my human heart rock. this is me. in the sea of things that are alike, i feel lost and alone and stripped down to my heart. i move the heavy large rock that has a little indentation in it where water has pooled...i move it to the left of this little mountain i have created. and i put some little plants in this small pool on the top of this rock. and i create a circle around this big rock. a circle of all the little things that i have picked up as i walked to this spot. the small rocks of all different colors, little plants, funny fuzzy stuff that looks like hair but is really a sea plant, shells of all different sizes. the heart sees this land of funny creatures and wants to be a part of it. so i must figure out a way to get it there. i try to build a bridge but it does not seem to work or to be the right addition to this altar. how will this heart rock climb off of this mountain? i think to myself, "i don't know how to get there. how will i get across this valley between the two?"

{and know}
when you suddenly hear a voice say, "you have wings," take a breath and hold on. you are about to visit places you only let yourself dream about...

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I am off to Seattle for my yoga teacher training weekend (I do come home at the end of the day each day). I can't believe we are done in June. People begin to share their projects today, so it will be a day of learning all new aspects of yoga and the meditative life. (I don't share my project until next month. Phew.)

And yes, more on ArtFest soon. Thank you all for your kind comments and for reading that entire long post!

march tulips

This is a picture of the tulips Jonny brought with him when he came to stay with me at the B&B in Port Townsend last weekend. They are from our yard.
The tulips really know how to BLOOM this year. Incredible.
We have jars of them all around our house now and they are all blooming like this. And every jar has one little wayward tulip (seriously, it is so much fun) trying to get a new view out the window or of the room it is in.

Take a breath. Open up. And bloom.
This is the phrase that keeps running across my mind.

What would happen if we let ourselves bloom like these gorgeous tulips?
What are you afraid of? What is stopping you?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

artfest {day 3}

This post is a bit on the long side. So please, settle in with a cup of tea and pretend we are sitting at my kitchen table and enjoying the little mason jar of tulips that sits there as we sip our tea and eat some cookies. And then I start telling you about ArtFest. Day 3.

Friday brought another early morning. This time I worked on my altered book in my little room at the B&B. Being a morning person during these first two mornings was fun (but it quickly ended on Saturday).

My workshop was with Claudine Hellmuth. I was excited to take a class with someone with such a following, someone who has honed her skills and found her niche. Claudine showed us some techniques and then let us get to it. And I had a lot of fun just playing. I learned some great new paint techniques (like spreading a surface with elmer's glue and then painting over it. as it dries, it cracks in some very cool ways). This class was a different experience for me. How to explain. We were to bring photocopies of some black and white pictures. I took this to mean old photos (and that is what most people brought). However, to me, this meant bringing pictures that had meaning for me. So I brought several pictures of my relatives (grandparents, great-great grandmothers, and so on). Because of this, I had a little trouble figuring out what to do. I had this idea to create something for my mother. The words came to me as I was painting the cigar box we were using as a shadow box (the picture below makes this a bit clearer), but then I realized I didn't have the photo I needed. I decided that I would have to wait on creating that piece for my mom. So, I decided to use a picture of my grandmother with her grandmother (so my great-great grandmother who lived to be 102. I was born on her birthday). My grandma was a little girl in the picture. I was very stuck on this idea of creating something as a tribute to them. Because of that, I didn't know where to go. Claudine's pieces are so whimsical. And I didn't feel the whimsy. Until I thought, "what if my grandmother is holding flowers in the piece?" Then it all came together. I have to admit that I am very proud of this finished product and think these little boxes make great gifts. I need to fix the way my great-great grandmother is sagging just a bit here (sorry ella), but overall, I just love it!

ella and janet

After the workshop, Kelly and I connected and went to the Art Asylum room. She started working on the second canvas from her workshop (check out the finished product here - I LOVE it), and I worked on my altered book. As we were working, Jennifer Louden and her friend (Barbara I believe) came in and were commenting on how we were such die hards working after our workshops. It was funny. I knew it was Jennifer right away, but I wasn't about to start gushing "oh I love your books! I read your blog!" and so on because I feel like "famous" people deserve their space. We ran into each other again at Vendor Night...and I had a class with her the next day (more on that class soon!). It was a treat to be able to connect with her, hear about her radio show, and the amazing workshops/retreats she is offering in the Seattle area.

That evening, Jonny arrived. Because I was already paying for my B&B room and because his spring break started that day, he drove up to Port Townsend to join me. It was great to have him with me for this last part of ArtFest. It was nice to have someone to talk to about the experience as I went to bed the last two nights. And I am so glad he arrived in time for Vendor Night because I never could have described it to him in a way that would do it justice. But I am going to try right now.

Vendor Night. Imagine, a room filled with 400+ people who are all so happy to be connecting with one another and discovering new art and connecting with the artists who created each piece. I am not sure how many vendors there were (maybe 50?), but they were all incredible. I was just sparkling with the joy of seeing all of this amazing art and connecting with these beautiful people. Kelly, Jon, and I had so much fun wandering, looking, and BUYING!
Some highlights:

I bought this beautiful piece from the sweet and kind Tracie Lyn Huskamp. I felt an immediate connection with Tracie and her work. It was wonderful. Check out her site and explore the world of this amazing creative soul. (the words on the piece: Let me share the love and favor of the few who know me best, And I'll spend my time contended. This just simply summed up how I felt the entire weekend. I knew it was mine. And she knew it too as we talked and laughed and connected.)


Then I found a funny little pile of pendants on one table. I thought they were all beautiful, so I looked through them all. And suddenly I gasped out loud and started tearing up. I grabbed Jon's arm. "Look," I said. His mouth dropped open just a little bit. He said, "It is perfect." The joy of having someone just get you. And know. Yes. This is perfect. It says everything for me. And the shell, the little turquoise dot, flowers, the words. I said to the artist, Heide Murray, "you didn't know it at the time, but you made this just for me." I am wearing it all the time.

pendant side 1
pendant side 2

Traci Bautista had a great booth. I purchased some words and some fabric. I would love to take a workshop with her some time. And I can't wait to read her new book. I also bought a fun bag of ephemera from Amber Gibbs of Queen of Tarts Stamps.

Then I discovered the wonderful art journals of Randi Feuerhelm. I bought her incredible decks of cards with her artwork on one side and tips for art journaling and altered photo ideas on the other (if either of these topics intrigue you, I really suggest getting a set. they are fantastically fun!). Again, I felt a connection with her right away - it was great to talk with her. I can't wait to dive into all these ideas she shares and start creating. It will be like taking little mini-workshops with her!

Finally, I came across Theo Ellsworth. I stood there in awe as I turned the pages of his capacity zines. This boy (okay, I say boy because he just seemed like he could be one of my brother's friends...and my brother is still my baby brother even though he turns 25...that's right, 25 people! next week) has one of the deepest spirits of anyone I have ever met. You just get this right away. Reading his work and looking into his eyes. He just gets it. Life. Living in this life. The pain. The beauty. The joy. The grief. He just gets it. I was reminded of the first time I looked at Brian Andreas' work over ten years ago and laughed and cried and knew I had found someone who understood my soul. This is how I felt reading Theo's work. Jon agreed. We bought all six issues and can't wait until he unveils #7 on his website.

By the time I got to Tracy and Teesha's booth I was happy that a) all the people were starting to leave so I could actually get to their table and b) they took credit card! I found some incredible stamps and had such fun talking to Tracy, learning more tips from him. Such a kind open heart he seems to have. And the quotes on these stamps...I would love to just sit and talk with the two of them for hours and just say thank you. Thank you for sharing all that you know so that I can know that I am not alone.

Other artists who spoke to my soul that evening (but my pocketbook could not come up with anymore day): Carla Sonheim (an amazing tender woman; the little girls she creates are just gorgeous), Annie Lewis, Kathy Welsh, Laurie Mika, LK Ludwig, and Keely Barnham (I bought her incredible zine, Stray Stitches, just to revel in the beauty of her inspiring work). Several of these women teach workshops, so I hope to learn from them some day. (There were others, really, I was inspired by everyone, but these were the cards that I picked up.)

Kelly and I shared show and tell in the car (because everything was closed in downtown Port Townsend). Then Jon and I went back to the B&B where I talked his ear off for another couple of hours. Then off to sleep with dreams of Ganesha (really, I dreamed of the Hindu elephant god that night).

Thank you for reading this long post, you dear people from all over the world who stop at my blog (now that I have site meter I know you are out there. I don't know you but I appreciate you stopping by for tea). I said to Jon, "look at how long this post is." He replied, "People are going to be reading a very tiny book." It just made me laugh.

Yes, there really are (at least) two more installments of this adventure (I haven't written them yet...but they will come). But, I promise to pepper in some shorter posts too (hee, hee).

poetry thursday

Poem Without a Category

Trailing my stick I go down to the garden edge,
call to a monk to go out the pine gate.
A cup of tea with my mother,
looking at each other, enjoying our tea together.
In the deep lanes, few people in sight;
the dog barks when anyone comes or goes.
Fall floods have washed away the planks of the bridge;
shouldering our sandals, we wade the narrow stream.
By the roadside, a small pavilion
where there used to be a little hill:
it helps out our hermit mood;
country poems pile one sheet on another.
I dabble at the flow, delighted by the shallowness of the stream,
gaze at the flagging, admiring how firm the stones are.
The point in life it to know what's enough—
why envy those otherworld immortals?
With the happiness held in one inch-square heart
you can fill the whole space between heaven and earth.

Gensei (1623-1668), translated by Burton Watson
(from the book The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry edited by Stephen Mitchell)


I have been reading the poem Revolutionary Dreams by Nikki Giovanni over and over for the last few months (it is from the book The Women and The Men). And as I read it, I wished I could hear Ms. Giovanni read it out loud to the world. I decided to see if she has a website, and she does. If you click over to it and then go down to multimedia, you can hear her read a few of her poems. You too can attend a poetry reading from your own bed, still in your pajamas, with your laptop on your lap.


Happy Thursday everyone!
If you have shared a poem on your blog today, please leave a comment so people can find your blog. (And if you want to be added to the list of regular participants, please email me.) Thank you for sharing poetry...
Blessings to you all.

yes there was a post here

about some new thoughts about poetry thursday.
but i have put them to bed for the night. just like i am about to put myself into bed.
and i have realized that is just what i need to do.
so forgive the removal of the post. but with the power of blogger i am doing what i need to do.

will share a poem when i wake up...
(and more about artfest!!!)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Back to ArtFest. Day 2.
Thursday morning I woke up bright and early. So early that I actually had time to relax before heading over the Fort Worden and had time to read the next chapter in my current book (The Year of Magical Thinking). It was nice to just take time to sit and drink coffee and read (with no TV, telephone, or email to distract me).

My Thursday workshop was To Map the Treasure of My Heart with Kristin Steiner. Reading the description of this class is what pushed me over the edge to sign up for ArtFest:
"Our creativity is most authentic when it comes from the heart of who we are. Do you know what provides the source of your most genuine creative impulses? With a few simple, non-scary writing exercises, you will come to clearly see what lies at the core of your creative treasure chest. Uncover the themes, colors, collections and longings residing deep within. Then document each discovery in this tiny altered board book."

I will never be able to do the experience justice, but here it is: this workshop changed my life. It is that simple and that wide and that real and that true.

Kristi created an amazing atmosphere where people felt safe to create, play, learn, laugh, and share. We took a children's board book and began to create our own altered book. We learned about dying fabric (this was my first time working with fabric) and using walnut ink (my first time working with inks) to age things. Oh how much fun this was. I learned how to make a simple cut and rip fabric - I mean really, for someone who can't cut straight lines, this was like a dream come true.

But it was the invitation to find the words. This is what changed my life. Kristi had us write. First about our fears. So much came up for me, but I just had this little tiny piece of ledger paper to write them on. And they poured from me. Getting them out was huge. Later, she had us write about the colors, textures, obsessions, collections, longings, trademarks that speak to us, that make us who we are. To pull the adjectives from our hearts and minds. What are we drawn to. One thing became quite clear to me: I am drawn to the stories that vibrate in my soul.

As we worked, I stumbled over my fears (what if I do it wrong?) but did my best to just let it all go and play. One of the neatest things we did was create a little altar to our creative younger selves. I used a picture of me that I stumbled across last week. I just love it. Me as a litle girl with a big smile on my face.

At the end of the class, Kristi had us write an accounting on the back of that little piece of ledger paper. How to explain? A way to hold ourselves accountable for what we do, this creative life that we lead, to own it all. To own our part of the experience. The way that Kristi just gets it - how she puts her heart out there so we can learn from her - this touched me so much. Throughout the day, as she spoke about her own experiences as an artist, I often felt the little pinpricks of tears on the backs of my eyeballs. Yes. Yes. Yes. I kept thinking this over and over. I am not alone. There are other people out there who get me. Who get it. Who understand. As she said the words, "what do you own?" I put my pen to the paper and wrote. The gist of it was that I own that through the grief I have experienced I am finding who I really am. It took this grief to bring me to this place where I could be quiet enough to hear the whispers of the little girl inside me who wants to create, live, love, dance, and laugh. (As I write this, I am watching the last few minutes of the movie My Life. Oh how this movie makes me cry and cry. I try not to watch it because it hits me in the gut (for many reasons, one of which is that when I saw it in the theatre, I was with my dad and he cried during it - at the time it was one of two times I had ever seen him cry). The last time I watched it was 10 years ago, after my parents divorced. But what a good movie it is. And perfect for these emotions that roll down my face.)

After we finished writing, Kristi asked us to share a page of our book and something that we own. These amazing brave women shared a little piece of their stories. It was beautiful. And after I shared my thoughts about the little girl, someone said that they felt the same way. That their little girl is waking up too. And Kristi said to me that she believes that we find healing in finding our creative selves.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

I learned so much about myself in this class. I did not want to leave. I could have taken a week long workshop with Kristi. She touched my heart with her integrity and honesty and heartfelt teaching. I have a secret hope to participate in a retreat she is leading with another teacher in September. I hope that my life and the stars align in such a way that I can...

After the class, Kelly and I met up to share what we had learned. It was so great to have someone to connect with after this amazing day.

Later that evening, we went to a gathering where people were writing in their art journals. We spent about three hours pouring over the pages of Teesha and Tracy's journals and asking questions of other artists. And talking, talking, talking to each other. I was energized and inspired by these amazing artists and their journals. This is a way to come to the page and let go. This is a way to tackle that inner critic with vengence. This is a way to have fun. I bought a book kit at vendor night (more on vendor night - the crazy amazing vendor night - in another post), so I can create my own journal. I am drawn to the idea of prepping the pages before binding the book together. To get rid of that dreaded blank white page. I can't wait!!!

(I will post pictures of my little altered book. But I want to finish it first. I have my words...the most important part to I just need to put in all the little touches that give it its character. Stay tuned my friends, stay tuned.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

yes, i am spending the night with him once again

kenny rogers in on american idol people...
what more could this tired yoga teacher/freelance editor/artist need????

{SPT} i'm an artist, "april fool"

i am an artist,

These are my hands with ink under my nails soaking up the energy from this piece I created in my workshop with Anahata Katkin. I promise to go into more detail but it was my Saturday workshop and in my stories about ArtFest I am only on Thursday (and yes, I will write more about Thursday later today). But here is a preview of Saturday:

During the afternoon of this workshop, these phrases were going through my head: i am an artist. this is amazing. i am an artist. who do i think I am? this is hideous. i want to crawl under the table and weep. how cool is this? i am amazing. i hate this color. why did i take this class? black...i have never used black before. i hate black. ohhhh, i love black, that looks so cool. who do i think i am? i am so lost. this morning was amazing...and this...this is crap. i cannot capture the feelings on the page. i am an artist! april fool...
but i learned...i can be whomever i want to be. so, today, i am an artist.

See more April Fool SPTs here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

begin at the beginning

I have spent the day in macroeconomics world, editing an online course. This is so far from my last few days that my head is spinning a bit. I don't even know where to begin, so I will begin at the beginning.

Wednesday night I met up with Kelly and knew I had found a friend. It was wonderful. She is the first person I had met in person from blog world. We could just set all the surface stuff aside and simply connect. I feel so blessed to have had a friend with me during this entire experience. We are at similar places in the learning curve of art world, so we were able to share our questions, answers, and she gave me so many tips (like getting a tackle box for my art supplies! by the end of this week I will be the proud owner of a tackle box). Throughout the entire time, we shared stories, laughed, she put up with my crazy excitement (and I was more than a little crazy with excitement - thanking Teesha Moore twice for letting me attend so last minute. My husband said I was a bit like the toy horn you use on New Years that you blow and the paper part rolls out into someone's face - I was literally like that horn sometimes and that is so not my usual personality), taught me a lot about life and art, and simply got me. She is an amazing artist and she is learning to let go (hee, hee) of the inner critic. I can't wait to see what she creates next (and I do want to be the first person to buy something of hers). Thank you Kelly.

During dinner that first night, I met up with Kim. (Oh my friend, I do believe that we have known each other in a past life.) I truly feel like I have always known her. She is an incredible woman. And I am so lucky that she just lives up the road and can't wait until I can spend the day in her studio. She made me the most delightful little book that I will fill with my words (and make a few more like it on my own). I love the way that Kim looks at the world. Her kind, honest heart shines through just like it does on her blog. She created some amazing artwork this weekend that you should check out on her blog. (Kim, be warned, I am inviting myself up soon!)

That first night there is a bit of a trading "frenzy" after dinner. People bring things to trade. From artist trading cards to bits of stuff to things they have made to beads and bobbles. I was a little overwhelmed by this but didn't want to miss out on all the fun. I brought some CDs (my current playlist I listen to as I create and write) and some bags of stuff one might use in a collage or to make an altered book. (I have a few of both left, so if you would like a CD or a bag of stuff, email me and I will send one out to you.) During this time of trading I learned something that would hold true for my entire time up there: this group of people who attend ArtFest are incredible, kind, crazy, friendly, amazing individuals. I received some wonderful little trinkets during this time of trading, and it was fun to see people excited about my CDs and bags of "stuff." I realized I didn't have to feel accepted by the group (the fear of not having anyone to sit with was a big one for me) because I was already part of this group.

After dinner, there was an opening meeting where Tracy and Teesha said hello and Michael DeMeng spoke. This was my first introduction to Michael's work. One word. Wow. I hope to one day take a class with him. His opening talk was great. I wish I had taken notes, but I was simply trying to take it all in. Right before I sat down for this meeting, I heard someone exclaim "Liz Elayne" - there she was - Blue Poppy. I wouldn't see her again until Saturday (we had a class together - more on this soon), but as I looked into her face and hugged her, I could hear the actress from the PBS version of Anne of Green Gables saying, "I knew we were kindred spirits." (Elizabeth - I hope you could hear her too.)

When the meeting ended, Kelly and I went to the Art Asylum room. Incredible. Tables of stuff for all of us to use to create. But it was kind of like a sale at Nordstrom, if Nordstrom was a thrift store. It was crazy fun. Kelly learned that I can get a bit overwhelmed in crowds as I said, "I think I am just going to step back" more than once. We found some neat things though and spent a couple of hours talking and creating together.

Then I went back to my room at the B&B. It was nice to stay off campus this first year. I know I need my space. I could read and take a breath and have hot water and not have to stand in line for things...

A sneak peek of more to come: Thursday is the day that changed my life forever. (I am not kidding people.)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

like december 25, 1985

in the house we lived in from the time i was about 3 until i was 11 (my favorite house; the house that sneaks into my dreams; the house i one day want to build), there was an area that was almost like a balcony near the top of the steps. it was right outside my bedroom. i could sit on this balcony of sorts and see all the way down the steps into the living room. this meant that on christmas morning, if i was really quiet, i could sit there and peak to see what might be under the tree. on christmas morning in 1985, my eyes spied cabbage patch kid twins! i recognized that big box right away. i sat there mesmerized, looking at their little matching blue velvet outfits. i could not wait until my parents woke up so i could speed down the steps and take them out of the box to play with them!

this is how i felt the entire weekend at ArtFest. christmas morning. 1985.

my heart and body and soul and mind are simply overflowing with joy, excitement, passion, silliness, love, words, color, textures...

i can't wait to tell you all about it after i drink some tea and sleep, sleep, sleep...(oh and watch the west wing. i love this show...)