Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thought for the Day. I Had to Share This With You.


Not familiar with Jersey City, New Jersey?  A picture paints a thousand words.  

Have a great weekend. 



Monday, November 23, 2009

Mother/Daughter Support Squad to Las Vegas

See Spot Run and I have arrived in Las Vegas.  Nellis Air Force Base, to be exact, where my husband is starting a job managing airlift operations for a huge military exercise called Red Flag. 

We will be here through Thursday, and going home to Montana on Friday.  Would you like to come along and see some of what we’ve seen? 

First item the list of things I like:  The sunshine.  There is snow on the ground at home in Montana.  But here, we’ve had constant sun and days warm enough to wear sandals with my jeans.   

I also like that the air base where my husband is now stationed happens to have the largest solar power plant in North America.  It’s easy to find things not to like about the military establishment, but I’m proud of this fact.     

Here’s a picture of President Obama visiting the solar array at Nellis in June 2009. 

Moving away from the base, we have started looking around Las Vegas.  While I generally didn’t like the Las Vegas Strip at all, especially the people handing out pornography to my husband on the street, in front of my twelve-year-old daughter—which caused me eventually to walk in front of both of them and loudly tell the hawkers to leave us alone—I did like the ceiling at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace.  Here’s a view of the inside of the shops taken outside Spago, which was not open yet when we arrived there.   

We did have delicious salads for lunch at a surprisingly elegant place at the other end of the mall.  Oddly, it’s called The Cheesecake Factory.  I liked our lunch, too.   

Today we visited Hoover Dam, about an hour to the east on the border of Nevada and Arizona.  I was especially taken by the bronze sculptures called Winged Figures of the Republic.  Whatever you think about the U.S. government damming the Colorado River within an inch of its life for the sake of “making the desert bloom as a rose,” it’s hard not to admire the engineering prowess inherent in this dam, and the artistic vision of the Norwegian sculptor Oskar J.W. Hansen, who designed these figures in the 1930s. 

Without the dam on the river, there would be no water for Las Vegas.  Would that be a bad thing?  I’m not sure.  Certainly I wouldn’t want anyone to question the worth of my hometown.  I’m doing my best to appreciate this one. 

Tomorrow we look at thrift shops and neighborhoods where my husband might find accommodations.  I have some work to do and SSR has homework.  The next day, we’ll visit Death Valley, California.  I’m looking forward to that, as well as Thanksgiving Dinner at Todd’s Unique Dining, a local restaurant that comes with high marks for its innovative young chef. 


After that, SSR and I will be on an airplane back to Montana, and my hubby will stay here until Christmas. 

As with all situations, there are things to like and not to like about this one.  Mostly we’re glad we’re together. 

With best wishes to all my American friends celebrating Thanksgiving this week, and international readers who have visited in the past weeks.  I’m thankful for you. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wardrobe Refashion Update

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It’s been almost six months since I took the Wardrobe Refashion challenge not to buy any new clothes for two months. 

With one exception—two pairs of Gap pants in July—I’ve done it.  It was pretty easy, and it made me really look with new eyes at old clothes.   

I’ve posted a few photos of my adventures refashioning my own clothes.  That was fun, but after a while I started feeling limited by not liking how my clothes looked on me.  And that’s another issue altogether.  

Still obsessed with Making Good New Stuff out of Old Icky Stuff, in August I found a book that set me on an entirely new creative path.  I posted about it:  The Sweater Chop Shop, by Crispina ffrench. 

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It’s largely Crispina’s fault that my blog has languished this fall, because I’ve found her approach to recycled sewing completely inspiring and fantastic.  I needed this diversion.  At the same time that I found her book, as most of my readers know, my husband was preparing to move to another state for a job—without, for the time being, me and our daughter.*

Since I can get pretty compulsive facing the Fear of the Unknown, I’ve chosen to throw myself headlong into Crispina-inspired sewing during this time, rather than eating or shopping myself out into trouble.  Yes, it pretty much replaced blogging, because…well, mes bonnes amis, I wanted to be really, completely selfish and mess around with fabric and colors and thread and shapes and textures and not show it to anyone, not feel a single bit of pressure, not feel like a Bad Girl for not visiting my blog friends…blah, blah, blah. 

Anyone relate to this?  I know the answer is Yes. 

My other favorite book (besides Sweater Chop Shop) is The Twelve Secrets of Highly Creative Women, by Gail McMeekin.  This amazing book has a whole section about how we women who want to create must do this:  shut the door, turn off the phone, Be Selfish! was hard, but I did that.  For the cost of a couple of therapy sessions, I set up own Chop Shop and gave myself time to try it.

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Here are some of things I’ve made.  Truthfully, I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent.  Like anything one loves, it can be all-consuming.  I’m thrilled with how much I’ve learned, and how excited I am to get out of bed and do this instead of write grant proposals for the non-profit group that employs me. 

If these items look like they’re being photographed for sale, it’s because I’m opening a shop on Etsy at the end of November.  This exercise in creative abandon is making me seriously question my current career path.  At the very least, to justify playing with wool as much as I want to, I’d like to get some monetary return for my time. 

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I’ve noticed that other blogger friends have also stepped back from the social obligations of blogging to devote time to other creative pursuits.  If any of you are reading, I’d like to hear how that’s going for you—if you want to say.   

*he left this morning, and here I sit, at three in the afternoon, in my pajamas, house torn up with my projects, sad/glad the waiting is over, and knowing good things will come of it all. 



Friday, November 13, 2009

World Kindness Day

compassion.jpg compassion image by piveapastor

Did you know that Friday the 13th is World Kindness Day? 

Neither did I, until my friend Ingrid at Fashion is My Muse told me about it, along with an offer to send me her copy of a book I’ve been coveting.  Isn’t that kind?  Yes, it is.  Thank you, Ingrid.

Here are some other kindnesses I’m thinking of today.  

There’s a family in my town whose mother got a brain tumor and died a few years ago.  She was forty, and left behind four children under ten.   Utterly devoted to them, she was a gentle, creative, and smart mother.  I knew her because our daughters went to preschool together.

The family’s father has a substance abuse problem and has been left the sole guardian of the four kids. He has a part-time job and few family resources. 

This woman had many friends.  Today a group of them have taken on responsibilities of caring for the children.  They call themselves the Aunties.  Through an email network and daily check-ins, they figure out what the kids need every week and do all they can to make it happen.  They take care of nitty gritty needs like dental appointments and clothing, as well as simple kind actions like  hosting birthday parties, paying for dance lessons, and taking the little ones to the movies.

The Aunties all have families, jobs, and struggles of their own.  Yet they’ve embraced these children, all the while respecting that the dad, whatever his problems, is still the dad.

Soon, the father will be going to court-ordered treatment for his addiction problems, and the children are being taken in by the Aunties and some extended family. 

This month, I decided to join the Aunties.  I’ve always been a little nervous about getting involved with other people’s lives like this, and I don’t know yet what exactly I’ll contribute.  But geez, with kindness like this looking you in the face, it’s hard to sit on the sidelines and watch.

Yesterday a lady at the fabric store let me go in front of her at the check out because I was late for my daughter’s parent-teacher conference.  I told her about World Kindness Day, and how much I appreciated her small gesture.   

Kindness can be large, like what the Aunties do, or small, like the favor the lady in the store gave me. 

Either way, we all need it.  Don’t we? 




Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flowers de la Semaine and Doggies in Winter White


Clover and Riley/Vanna White Dog are here to say hello and we have not forgotten about you!   

The flowers in this photo cost me practically nothing at the florist down the street.  They have a fantastic deal in which you get six free roses if you go in wearing your bike helmet.  I love that they promote and reward sustainable transportation this way.  Aren’t those peachy-pink roses great? 

(Clover and Riley think so, too.)


The rest of our family are busy getting Hubby/Dad ready for his impending move to Nevada, which is happening in two weeks.  Much scurrying about and travel plans being made.  SeeSpotRun and I will spend a week there at the end of November. 

Do you think they have good thrift stores in Las Vegas? 


In the meantime, I’ve been indulging in a purely selfish creative pursuit that involves lots of second hand wool sweaters, hand sewing, and wardrobe refashioning.  It’s keeping me sane to have something in my hands to stab and poke with a needle, something I can control, something colorful and natural and recycled to throw energy into when everyone else is asleep. 

More about that in the future, but for now, thanks again to all of you dear friends in blogland who left kind comments to my last post. I’m slowly getting around to visiting all of you and enjoying all your news and thoughts.