Monday, March 31, 2008

Crafting Can Save Your Brain

Recap: as part of's Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Wallet series, I've been talking about recycling and thrifty ways to feed our art/craft habits while pointing out the benefits of doing so. I've discussed the money-making recyclers at Etsy, the communities where recycling habits regularly happen and some of the interesting discussion there. I took you on a tour of unusual craft/art/hobby supplies places. So what's left? Maybe the most important element of all. How DIY crafting can save your brain.

Let's start with Wired magazine's Clive Thompson, who wrote a telling article about attempting to mashup a new clock: He kept screwing up his soldering joints.
Why am I so inept? I used to do projects like this all the time when I was a kid. But in high school, I was carefully diverted from shop class when the administration decided I was college-bound. I stopped working with my hands and have barely touched a tool since. As it turns out, this isn't a problem just for me — it's a problem for America. We've lost our Everyman ability to build, maintain, and repair the devices we rely on every day. And that's making it harder to solve the country's nastiest problems, like oil dependence, climate change, and global competitiveness.
Quick survey here: Did your parents own a toolbox? A sewing basket? Do you? Do you use them? Do you know how to use a hammer, pliers, drill? Sew on a button? Hem jeans? Replace a zipper? or like Thompson, solder a wire? When something breaks or is damaged, do you return it to functionality by yourself, have someone fix it for you, or simply throw it away and replace it? We've moved from a society of do-ers to a society of buy-ers; from making-do to getting-new. It's hurting us financially, it's hurting us environmentally, and here's a little secret: it's hurting us mentally.
Neuroscientists have shown that working with your hands exercises different parts of your cerebrum than sitting and cogitating.
Try to remember the day someone taught you to knit a scarf, sew a straight line, solder a wire, tool a leather key fob, color inside the lines. Any simple task that involved using your hands to perform a task. You watched what you were doing closely. You thought HARD about each step, sometimes coming up with little sayings to make it easier to remember. It took all your concentration simply to perform the task; we could not imagine being able to complete it without such concentration.

While we were fussing and concentrating and learning, our brains were doing something magical. They were making new connections. As we struggled to perform a simple task, we were growing more brain.
Stronger brain.
Better brain.
And we never knew it.

Think about those tasks we learned that you still perform. If you're a knitter, can you knit and walk at the same time? (many can and do). Imagine the strong brain connections that were formed as you learning those tasks. Unfortunately, as those connections are formed and become "routine" the brain needs to spend less energy (and fewer connections) to help us accomplish these tasks.

For each of us, continuing to learn new things, to solve new puzzles, and to remember old tasks that we've let our muscles and brain forget are important tools in saving our minds. For individuals like me, who face the threat of a debilitating brain disease (such as Alzheimer's or MS), this continued learning is one of the pathways of hope for a healthy foturee.

So next time something in your life isn't as perfect as it might have been on day one, instead of thinking "time to replace with a newer model", grab that rusty sewing basket or tool box and get your DIY groove going. Your brain will thank you.

Some resources for getting your DIY groove on:

Make both the blog and magazine
CRAFT Make's "little sister'.. again a blog and a magazine. The HowTo wiki page is priceless!
Ikea Hacker Start with the brilliance that is IKEA design and improve it!
eHow How To Do Just About Everything
Helping Handmade Classes to teach you the basics in all types of crafting. Their first classes are just beginning.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Working It in Style

Stamped, Bleached, Dyed and Full
A couple weeks ago, I asked what to do with a few t-shirts that still looked OK on my although they were a larger size than I am currently wearing. The shoulders hung below the shoulder line, leaving lots of extra room through the bust.

I decided to keep them. In the middle of summer, there will be days when I want clothing that simple hangs looser on my body and lets more air flow.

This is one of those shirts.

I used the last of my discharge paste and a cheap stamp from JoAnne's to stamp the front of this shirt (thus hiding the food stains that live there). After processing, I threw it in with a couple other things getting some turquoise dye.

And now I have a cool new workout shirt to wear to the gym. Which is where I headed right after taking this photo. Ain't it purty?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Attention Artists

I heard this morning that Rob Breszny is seeking artwork for his CD covered and books. Although I have little experience with him, while reading his text several of you regular readers came to mind. I think he would like your work.

What imagery do I like? What am I looking for? I don't necessarily know (surprise me!), but I am drawn to neo-primitive, archetypal imagery that blends ancient myth and future revelation.

Sound like you? Think about it.

While checking out Rob's website, I found this amazing Prayer For You. It has several stanzas.. I think I shall read one each day (or week) and just try to take it in wholly. For example:

Dear Goddess, You who never kill but only change:

I pray that my exuberant, suave and accidental words will move you to shower ferocious blessings down on everyone who reads this benediction.

I pray that you will give them what they don't even know they want -- not just the boons they think they need but everything they've always been afraid to even imagine or ask for.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eatin' Good

I want to blog but what I'm thinking about I can't blog; and I can't blog about other things because they're not what I'm thinking. Like wanting to talk but only knowing a secret. You can't share the secret; you can't talk.

Nah, I'm not thinking about anything secret... just some work I'm not ready to share yet.

How about some pictures instead?
Where's the Meat?

This was part of our dinner the other night. The veggies start on the grill and cover most of the surface. Fortunately, as they cook, they shrink leaving enough room for the meat to cook. The spouse had pork chops; I had salmon. The veggies came off the grill with the meat and got a dash of balsamic vinegar. Remarkably, we ate most of these in one sitting. (the yams, some onio and one potato was left).

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Thrift Shops and Salvage Yards are Art/Craft Supply Stores

Recap: as part of BlogHer's Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Healthy Wallet series, I'm talking about recycling and thrifty ways to feed our art/craft habits. This weekend, let's examine Thrift Stores and Salvage Shops as our art/craft supply stores.

Thrift Stores:

Wool Sweaters:

Felt It: As I showed last fall with a sweater into felted purse post you can find a colorful wool sweater, felt it, and end up with great felted materials to craft with. Green Kitchen's son used a similar idea to suggest his mom make a Sweater Apron. Check out her photo-tutorial. Betz White makes charming wonderful designs with these sweaters.

Reknit it: With new yarn for a sweater costing somewhere between $25 and $150 dollars (depending on size, material, and pattern), it's always nice to know that you can visit the thrift store, find a great sweater hanging on the rack for $2-5 dollars and simply recycle the yarn. Even better if it's a white, cream or neutral colors that you can die to your dream color. Andrade wrote this fabulous tutorial on thrifting yarn to get you started. Her initial advice is:
The key is to concentrate on quality so you'll be happy with the yarn after it has been unravelled and washed. Think of all the sweaters people receive as gifts that are never worn because they're too hot or the wrong color or the wrong size -- sometimes those sweaters end up at the Goodwill.

Things I look for when sweater shopping:
*) serged seams (avoid!)
*) fiber content and quality
*) color/dyeing potential
*) gauge
Other Clothing:
Check for buttons on shirts/jackets/vests; I've found some fabulous sets of buttons on items for $1-3! These are buttons that may sell retail for $1 or more each! Wool shirts are perfect for making gorgeous stuffed teddy-bears.

Elsewhere: Many shops will have yarn, fabric, notion supplies stocked somewhere. Plus consider equipment: a blender for paper making, pasta machine for polymer clay.

What supplies/equipment have you found at a local thrift shop?

Salvage Shops:
As part of my (ahem) research, I recently two local salvage shops in the bay area: Urban Ore and Ohmega Salvage. If you live in a smaller, rural area these might not be as easy for you to find.. but search out similar businesses wherever you live. Both were formed with the idea of keeping reuseble materials out of the landfills. Urban Ore is a lot more eclectic in it's offerings; Ohmega Salvage sticks strongly with architectural materials.

But what did I find? You can check out the set of photos that documented the day. An easy source of glass for any type of project, plus lots of tile (whole squares, broken bits and shaped pieces) for mosaic work. Stair spindles that can be quickly turned into candle sticks, plus the evidence of standard art supplies and notions.

Don't forget to look for inspiration when you're then. I spotted this gorgeous bracelet and realized it was safety pins and beads with wire holding it into a bracelet form.

I haven't made it to the East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use since they moved to Oakland. No excuses.. simply no time. But for any avid crafter, this type of store is the place to find.

So you don't live in the East Bay? What are you to do? Homework. There is an avid thrifting community in Portland, Or. that occasionally publishes a brochure detailing shops. I'll bet that similar groups thrive in many urban communities. If you live in a smaller rural area there are still likely places you can find. I used to live in an Ohio county that had more horses than people. I still knew where 3-4 great thrifty stores could be found.

What I'm getting at here: This isn't like going a big box store with a shopping list. What you can do: learn the resources you have in your region (don't limit yourself to your neighborhood, stretch out to resources within a couple hours). Visit them a few them and get a feel for what you might find. Eliminate the places that don't look like they would help you much, but the ones with great potential? Visit them often. Get to know the staff and let them know what you're interested in. Leave a card if you can; managers love to know who to call when they suddenly receive entire rolls of unprimed canvas and 100 tubes of acrylic paints.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

HeartStrings: Scrappy Quilts for Charity

Not much time for chit-chat this morning. The weather is beautiful and my garden has been calling my name out loud! Digging, trimming, hauling, taming... all those good spring activities pull me outside and away from the computer.

NOT to mention that I've got an assignment today to write on using thrift stores and recycle/salvage yards as art and craft supply stores. (yeah, I'll repost that here this coming week). Wish I could find the link to the article on finding sweaters to unknit. I thought I saved it to .. but still can't find it. Anyone? (I know.. talk about last minute!)

To give you something to hold you over while I'm working my butt off outdoors, thought I'd point to a worthwhile project for some of those quilting scraps you may have: HeartStrings participants make scrappy string quilts for people in a variety of circumstances, from Project Linus to the survivors of the lastest distaster.

Now I love the string quilts, and will likely start (again) putting my own assorted scraps and pieces to work making squares and tops for this project. With all the weather-related disasters that have already befallen states this spring, I've got a feeling that lots of people will be needing them.

So go vist this blog and if your garden isn't quite ready for your attention yet (like you're in the midwest and it's either flooded or under inches of snow...) maybe spend an hour or so working on some HeartStrings.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Refashioned Blue Jeans

Embroidery Hemmed Jeans
I have 2 pair of jeans of that fit me. That's all. Two pair I bought on sale at Ross because my old jeans could not be worn in public anymore without a threat of embarrassing me. When I bought them, I did not spend a lot of time, thought, or cash making the decision beyond the "they fit in the waist and hips" check.

Because I'm still working out, although I'm not at my ideal weight my body is still changing shape. Pants, especially, give me a couple months of wearablility before it's off to the thrift store. This is not the time for $100 perfectly styled jeans, though I hope I'm nearing that "final size" option.

Whatever. The current 2 pair of jeans have been a little less than my ideal. (note, next time spend just a little more than 10 minutes looking for jeans).

First, when did they stop making jeans out of just cotton? Heavy, soft, delish denim seems to have disappeared for me. (OK, maybe I could go a little more upscale than close out stores and find the real thing? I hope?). Everything is part ramie, part cotton and with a bit of stretch.

Second, I want my jeans DARK. Dark, dark, dark. Neither of these pairs were. They were a medium fade that looked as if I'd owned them and worn them for atleast 6 months. While it wasn't an unattractive look, it didn't really make me happy. But Ross had nothing in a dark, dark all denim jean. And I had been about to be arrested for indecent exposure.

Third, after a couple washings, they felt a little too short. There wasn't that subtle break on the shoes that I expect in pants of the proper lenght. Forget completely wearing them with my Danskos. (thank you SusanW for writing that we jeans in two different lengths to go with our shoes!)

So last week I decided to upgrade my jeans just a little.

While I couldn't do a thing about the fiber content, I DO know how to dye fabric and vat dyeing is the easiest thing to do. I already had some navy dye. So I took scissors to hem to give myself more length and treated my jeans to a swim in some deep blue chemically treated water.

The results were not as dark as I might have wished, but they were not unacceptable. The 5% lycra in this fabric was not going to accept any dye, and the ramie and cotton would accept dye at slightly different rates. Still my jeans were now visibly closer to the dark side.

They also had 2 visible lines that showed where the old hem had been: the bottom fold of the leg and the surface stitching line for the old hem.

We are so lucky to be living in a year where embroidery detailing is HOT on jeans. Well, lucky that it's hot and that I have a sewing machine with a number of decorative stitches. I found a thread in a color similar to the decorative stitching on the hip pockets, ran through my menu of decorative stitches and played for just over an hour.

Hemline Stitched Over #2

A simple line of straight stitch right along the bottom of the hem firmed the line. Next I chose one of my favorite utility stitches (it's a zig-zag meant for sewing in elastic). My foot has a center-of-stitch mark, which I kept over the faded hem lines. Because the decorative stitch itself moves to both sides it nicely obscures the faded line below. Filling the gap between these lines with more decorative details turned this stitching into a planned part of the design, and stopped the eye/mind from thinking: those stitching lines are hiding something.

If you would like to do something similar to your (or your kid's) pants, I'll share a couple hints:

use more dye than you think if you want it dark, dark. I used the suggest 2 TBS of dye, but I think double this amount would have for a much darker result. (BTW, the top photo is more accurately the final color of the jeans).

use simple decorative stitches with a short repeat when camoflaging "flaws" in the clothes. Let the stitches fool the eye.

if you use a long decorative element (like the leaf in the top image) start and stop it near the inside seam. Leave a small gap rather than trying to fit the elements together.

if your machine does not have fancy stitching, note that this same technique can be done with all straight stitch, or simple zigzags. Varying the stitch length, stitch width (for zigzag) and thread color would all produce fantastic results. More lines of pure straight stitch could make a great statement here.

play with this. Have fun. Remember these are just jeans. One reason to do this is to have fun and use the clothes to express a little of yourself.

I'm Not Alone in Refashioning My Jeans:

Last summer, Katrin at Sew-Mad needed to repair her jeans she ended up "pimping her pants": A colorful bit of backside (which I think emphasizes a very nice backside!) and patched knees!

Sew Funky gave her favorite jeans a bit more life by turning them into capris.

While not jeans, Nikki Shell took some cute yoga pants that didn't fit right and refashioned them into a great pair of spring pants! Nikki, btw, is the hostess of wardrobe refashion!

If refashioning is beyond your jeans, check out Flickr's Denim Surgery group for lots of ideas on reusing, repairing, recycling, revamping your denim.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Love...

One of the writing prompts I keep is a list of things. What I'm grateful for, my life rules, and today's prompt:

What I Love (the little things):

A puppy sigh
Black tank tops
Sesame oil
Quick smiles
Fresh warm tomato slices
Sleeping in the sun
A good sweat
Polar Fleece
The contrast between cold, soft grapes and hard, salty Manchego cheese
Laughing Out Loud.
Baseball games
Someone combing my hair
Talking with friends
My Zen Stone
Black Olives
Giggling with a friend over an inside joke
Encouraging Twitters and emails.
Fun necklaces
A soft breeze
My baseball cap
A dog sleeping against my side
Bright eyes
V-neck t-shirts
Vanilla (manila) mangoes
Ear lick from Katy-dog
Crispy cookies
Hair swinging against my back
Soft yarn
Sun dried linens
Firm mattresses

Have you noticed? Many of these things are based on senses... the touch, smell, taste, sounds, sights of LIFE.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Have You Said Goodbye?

This week, one of close friends is dealing the sudden diagnosis of pancreatic cancer (suddenly this is everywhere!) in a frail mother who likely will not survive the week. She had not speaking much to her mother these past months, hurt and angered at some behavior from her parents.

Friend told friendB, friendC that just last week she decided to give up her anger. You cannot judge the righteousness of her anger, as you do not know the circumstance. We can all applaud her maturity for freely letting it go. I'm sure we can imagine how the news of her mother's illness would have been received differently if it were piled on top of bitterness.

Instead of simply shock and deep sadness (and I know, simply seems so inappropriate here), Friend would be dealing with mountains of regret for time wasted. Eventually, she would have had to try and reconcile her anger and her loss in the void of a motherless time.

Thankfully, she's going home with atleast a little less baggage to carry.

Which leads me my question. If you have one or both parents still alive, have you said a hearfelt and meaningful good bye to them yet? Have you spoken the words you want them to hear before they die? If you were get a phone call saying a parent had passed in the night, would your soul feel at peace or would you still have regret for unspoken words.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Will I See You CraftCon?

FYI: I am part of the panel: Social Networking Toolbox

Applications are now live for Craft Con (formerly known
as Craft Congress), happening April 4th through the 6th.

Brava Theatre in the historic Mission District of San Francisco will host
Craft Con 2008. This unique business development conference will bring together over one hundred key individuals from the independent/DIY
craft and design community. Crafters from across the globe will
take part in this exciting opportunity for debate, discussion, and
knowledge-sharing in an effort to explore and shape the
DIY craft movement.

The cost of attending the event is $150/person, which
includes a tour of San Francisco April 4th, meals and sessions
April 5th and 6th, and a gala event the evening of April 5th where
conference attendees will get to experience the unique culture of
the San Francisco arts scene.

*Topics for discussion will include:*
* Business:*
  • Profit Models,
  • Legal Structures,
  • Alternative BusinessModels,
  • Getting Published

*Philosophy: *
  • What Does Handmade Mean?,
  • The Politics of Crafting,
  • Crafting Green

* Workshops will include:*
  • Project Management, Product Development and Broadening
  • Your Base,
  • Seeking and Retaining Sponsorship,
  • Computer Social Networking Toolbox,
  • Real Life Social Networking Toolbox

*Movers and Shakers to knit up a red carpet for:*
  • Tina Barseghian, Editor in Chief of Craft Magazine and author of "Get a Hobby";
  • Faythe Levine, creator of the film/print project Handmade Nation;
  • The Girly Show;
  • Jeanee Ledoux of Honeydoux and "Abode a la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Decor";
  • Extreme Craft.
To apply, visit our website and fill out the online
application by March 23rd!

For more information visit:

Click here to see photos from last year's event!

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

To Do Thursday

Mental notes for myself...

To Do Thursday:
  • Reduce email inbox to 0. Archive, answer, or file as a Google Doc. In some way get it out of the inbox.
  • Work on notes of social media tools for artists/crafters.
  • Workout at gym.
  • Vacuum the whole house.
  • Dust the first floor.
  • Walk dogs.
  • Twitter/WomenWhoTech set up.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wine Bottles at Pajaro
I've forgotten to blog about my weekend in Pajaro, haven't I? The photo above was taken as we were getting ready to leave; I managed to snap this before just before the bottles went to recycling. There is something about the transparency and reflectiiveness that I like.

About the weekend? It was wonderful! Good friends spent time together.. really spent time together. Lots of sewing, lots of conversation, lots of walking on the beach. If you ever get the chance to go away with good friends for a few days do so.

I still need to finish writing about Caffeine Panic. But that's a whole 'nother story.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We're feeling hot, Hot, HOT

Over at BlogHer, Kristi Sammis asked us to define.. or redefine HOT.
Seriously -- there are all kinds of hotness. Hot can mean sexy, beautiful, edgy, attractive, interesting, powerful, creative, smart, funny... The definition of "hot" is vague at best, and that means we have the freedom to make it our own. So let's.

For the March Good Health-a-thon check-in, let's do it. Let's plan to be TOTALLY HOT this summer.

Which means (and forgive me, I love numbered processes!)...

1. Defining "Hot." What makes a woman hot? When you think about some of the "hottest" women you know, how would you describe her attributes?

2. Picking one or two of those attributes you feel you want to enhance in yourself.

3. Figuring out a way to measure your progress, and selecting dates (or events) for performing check-ins.

I am SO playing this game!

One of the quoted bloghers already has a "Hot By BlogHer08" button (which I might steal) and that seems both an do-able date and a great venue to show off my hotness.

So what do I consider HOT?

#1. Hot is confident. It's standing up straight, looking someone in the eye, speaking out, and being sure.

#2. HOT is attractive. NOT in an "I want to look like that" kind of way; more in an "I want to sit at a table and talk with" kind of way. A person-magnet. Beyond charismatic, this is an individual who you just know has something to say you want to hear! HOT is community-building, bridge-building, sharing.

So, how do I want to be HOT BY BLOGHER 08?

A. I have several projects I'm trying to develop. All are in the shadows, competing for time and attention. They are worthwhile activities. By BlogHer at least one (I hope two) will be pushed out of my head and into the world.

B. I will continue to work on my balance and stability so I can confidently walk head up. Being able to trust my body will let me relax and share my thoughts. Besides, I know that 3 days of non-stop activity is exhausting. I need to be the best shape ever to survive it without falling asleep half-way through the unconference.

So what do you consider HOT? How do you define it? And if you choose so, how will you be HOT by Summer?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Telling the Universe

I believe that when I tell the universe what I want, she provides me with what I need. The trick is always to recognize what she providing and know she has my best interest at heart.

So once in a while I write down a series of things that I want. No particular order. Some possible, some unlikely. I let the universe know what's on mind. And if you happen to be able to help with a thing or two here, I'd appreciate it.

#1. A 30 hour day with 22 hours of sunlight. OK, it can cloud over for an hour in the afternoon so I can nap.

#2. Someone to take some simple head shots of me. I've never liked the posed photography studio looks, but I am desperately in need of photos. Desperately. I'm about to resort to more "me in the bathroom mirror" shots.. and look how bad those appear!

#3. Inspiration for new business cards. Do I want moo cards? Something more professional? Both?

#4. A real choir to sing with that isn't 15 miles away and meeting on the same night as other commitments of mine.

#5. Some good books on tape. Recommendations. I'm thinking inspirational, growth, self-help, sci-fi, mystery, classics. OK, maybe everything but history and westerns.

#6. A light athletic shoe with tons of support for my wobbly feet. Currently I'm wearing Ryka's; they weigh 1.4# ahd have a sole about 1" thick. Is there something lighter and thinner that keeps ankles from pronating and feet stable?

#7. A work schedule I can stick with. Do project A on Monday; part of B later Monday, etc. OK, that's called self-discipline, a calendar and a to do list. At times I think it would be easier to just go away somewhere to work for a while, but I find myself sitting in coffee shops people watching, which isn't any more productive than swinging on the deck.

#8. The courage/discipline to step beyond the inspiration phase in projects and get to the production phase. Ah, discipline. There's that word again.

#9. A great comedy movie. Something really light and simple and fairly brain-dead but not insulting. I rarely like Will Farrell or any of the former SNL folk. But I need me some giggles.

#10. Courage. Or belief in my self. Both. And discipline. I can see a bright, great future ahead of me when I grow these in myself.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Friday, March 07, 2008

I Move on Spurts

I move on spurts of concentration and energy right now.

It seems that I am never home. When I am, I'm playing catch up with responsibilities, chores and stuff. Reading, sewing, cooking, petting the dogs.

I sit down to blog and remember: there are photos in the camera I should download first; there was some interesting observation I made, but I wasn't home or near a computer or a piece of paper and it seemed to slip away.

What was it I did today, again?? And what about would anyone care to know about?

So instead of doing what I know I should: just brain dump for a while and trust that something worthwhile is in there, I move on to a distraction that keeps me from getting closer to my writing brain.

My bad.

I'm toying with the idea of committing to blog 365 just to insure that I show up at the page every day. I need the discipline to say: from time A to time B I am just sitting here. I have writing prompts, I have ideas, I need time. I probably have time, but don't use it wisely.

In my life today: I'm reading Younger Next Year for Women (about exercise and health), I'm going to my final choir workshop for the winter, hitting the gym for a 1 hour workout, walking the dogs, going out to supper.

Somewhere in here I need to work on scheduling out panels for a conference, search out dinner venues for a conference, research a craft article for BlogHer for tomorrow, mop the floor.

This weekend I hope to play a little with video taping myself in the garden (again for a planned series of pieces). And learn more about video editing on my Mac. Get the Mac to find the internet (sigh..), and sew a quilt top for National Quilt Day.

Yeah.. So I'll probably be blogging at 5 am or 11 pm. We'll see.

Now where is that camera with those great shots??

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Why I am For Obama

It was nearly four years ago. A young senator from Illinois was giving a speech at the Democratic National Convention. While I did not waste my time watching the whole fiasco, the reaction to this speech ran through the internet like wildfire.

Links to it popped up like dandelions on a spring day.

I listened once. Then again.

My pulse quickened, my breathing became shorter and more shallow. Small adrenline squirts were activated because my soul and my brain were excited.

Excited with the possibility of hope.

I was sold at that moment on the idea of this man one day becoming president.

And it was not for me that I was excited. I am a child of the late 60s, early 70s. I remember (vaguely) the sense of hope that JFK created in his presidency, though he died when I was in 6th grade. I recall the hope for a better world that Martin Luthor King held out. I remember believing that Bobby Kennedy offered a chance for world peace and Malcolm X a hope for racial reconciliation.

That was my youth and my time. We know it all disappeared.

Hope was replaced:

for hostages held over a year in a foreign land;
for gas lines block long;
for positive images of young boys skating on ice into history;
for the tearing down of walls;
for the ending of governments;
for a stained dress;
for sensationalism;
for cynicsm.

When I first heard Barak Obama speak, I thought: this is the person who can energize a generation. A generation that has been disenfranchised. A generation without the hope that I had at their age. A generation that appears completely engaged only in their own survival and destruction.

To get these young people pulled into the fold that is the citizenship of the US, we need a vision. Professor Kim said it most clearly when she wrote:
I think the response to Barack Obama reflects the hunger that Americans have had for an inclusive vision that acknowledges the mistakes of the past and looks to future in a positive way. There are a lot of questions about how one gets there.
I see in this man a chance for inclusion.

I see a chance to bring the young Americans back to being active participants in their government, in their society, in their future. I have high hopes for these youngest of citizens. I don't want to let them down; and I don't want to let them off the hook.

May we find a leader who pulls them into the process with vision and hope and who does not then replace it divisiveness and vitriol. Who does not lose another generation.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

Monday, March 03, 2008


What's in store for me this month? More adventures, I'm sure...

Phyllis wrote:

YOU are a beginning a “dynamo” period! Mars, the planet of action and sex appeal is transiting your sign for the coming 2 months, energizing you to initiate some important new beginnings and activities. This is a terrific time to take innovative steps to promote yourself, to assert your needs and to let others know what you’ve got cookin!

Be courageous, Cancer. And remember to use self-respect and self love – not irritability or reactivity – as your motivator. That will help you use Mars’ energy proactively and avoid the unnecessary squirmishes Mars sometimes ignites.

INSPIRATION/EDUCATION are also highlighted this March. Many planets are gathering to shed light on ideas and activities that bring meaning to your life. It’s a wonderful month to TRAVEL, take a class, or learn something new. It’s also a good month to TEACH or PUBLISH something that demonstrates your expertise. The New Moon on the 7th can help you get started with a new idea that blossoms over the coming year.

The 13th and 15th and 27th-30th are also expansive dates, terrific for communication and meetings. The 16th and 17th might reveal where an idea or relationship needs more pragmatism in order to actually work out.

RELATIONSHIPS are active and exciting all through 2008 as Jupiter, the planet of expansion brings heroes, inspiring connections, and over all fascinating folks to your doorstep. PARTNERSHIPS AND MARRIAGE are also likely for many Cancers this year, too. March might bring people from far away into your sphere, or someone who has something significant to teach you. Be thoughtful between the 4th and 8th as decisive energies might spark a make-it-or-break-it showdown with a significant other.
Be honest and courageous about what you really want. But genuinely consider other’s points of view, even if they are different from your own. In that way, you might discover a whole new way to conduct a relationship. Alas, if a difference between you and another just can’t be resolved, your relationship could end. Again, use self-respect and self-love to assert yourself, not reactivity. You don’t want to push someone away unnecessarily.

SEX can be special this March, especially between the 1st 13th. Use the ultra-romantic energies on the 8th and 9th to really connect with your beloved.

JOINT FINANCES could also be taking a decisive turn, especially the first half of this month. Mercury can bring ideas, negotiations and contracts that involve loans, your partner’s finances, taxes and insurance. Venus helps you attract what you want from others.

CAREER innovations come to the forefront around the Full Moon on the 21st. The new steps you might be deciding on there might necessitate changes in 2-3 other areas of your life. The active energies in April will help you figure it all out.

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.