mmmmmm
I've put Scones and Crones on haitus for a bit, so click here: http://studioatlillehus.blogspot.com
and I'll see you on my other blog, okay?

See you there! And let me know if you visit, okay?


23.12.08

I have a new friend who is 94. She'll turn 95 in early January.

She's a remarkable person, but recently lost her independence and it's really hard for her. As she said to me, "One minute I had my apartment and my car and the next minute I'm here..."

Driving home after our visit I was grateful for the periods in my life when I was infirmed and had to rely on others for help and accept their good will with grace. And I'm grateful for the times I've been able to take care of others when they were in need.

We need to know how to give help and how to accept it. We need to know how to be independent and how to accept that we can no longer be on our own. We need to figure out how to mourn the loss and move on.

The seasons change. So must we.

20.12.08

I was looking through some old pictures and came across this one of Jakie when he was a wee pup. Isn't it the dearest??? I just couldn't resist posting my little sweetie (who is now a BIG sweetie!)


19.12.08

Bad Mood Trifecta: Bush, Boredom, Bad Weather.

Blaaaaaaaaah-humbug.

(sorta like Bah-humbag but without the enthusiasm...)

16.12.08

It's snowing tonight.

Our home is snug and warm...all decorated...filled with the aroma of ginger and curry from the dinner I made. Tomorrow it will be even more fragrant when I make Indian Ratatouille for friends who are coming for dinner...cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, saffron...mmmm! I'm planning on making rich Pots De Creme for dessert...my mom's recipe.

Jake is asleep on the floor next to me and his tail is thump, thump, thumping the carpet. I wonder what he's dreaming of? Playing with his buddies at puppy daycare today? He's such a sweetie!

Emily's in San Francisco at the American Geophysics Association's annual gathering; she was selected to present her summer research with NASA at a poster session - her second year of presenting! She'll head home to Philly tomorrow. I miss her...

Meggie is doing such a great job getting all her applications to grad schools together and mailed - all while she's working and helping out around home. She is thorough and thoughtful. I know that once she is off and running she won't be home for extended periods. I will miss her already...

Next week I'll have my chickies in the nest again as we gather to celebrate Christmas.

I always sleep so much better with my chickies in the nest! (If I had a tail like Jake's I just know it would be thump, thump, thumping!)

10.12.08


Our home for the holidays!


It was in the high 5o's today and I was happy to be able to work outside without freezing. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold with freezing rain and ice - the perfect scenario for decorating the tree and doing all the inside trimmings! I think I may actually be getting in the mood for Christmas! Pretty soon it will look just like these pictures I took of the inside last year!

6.12.08

One can never have too many shops or blogs...

I decided that I wanted to use Lille Hus for my Etsy shop, and finally figured out how to accomplish that. Click here to see it!

And then, to chronicle the development of the shop and all the wonders that will be available there, I started a new blog: http://studioatlillehus.blogspot.com/

I could (and do!) spend hours, and hours, and HOURS on all this... it's so much fun!

Anyhoo - come on over and check it out - and let me know what you think so far!

While I'm doing all my other work today, I'll be thinking about the design for all the peripheral goodies like business cards and wrappings and the stuff I'll sell. Ka-ching!

A busy mind is a happy mind!!!

4.12.08

Christmas cards are printed, embellished and folded. Even the Christmas letter is written. All I need to do is stuff the envelopes and get them out! I offer, in gratitude for a productive day:


a winter haiku

red bird on white snow

fragrance of evergreen branch

soft breath of angels


And now I'm off to bed! Sweet dreams, all!!!

3.12.08

Three things I know for sure:

Clarity is healing.
Honesty is healing.
Time is healing.

Life is good and peace-full.

2.12.08

Down with a baaaaad cold, but did have a moment feeling well enough to discover a blog called 37 Days so I thought I'd share it.



Hope to be wheelin' around in the 'morrow. This is getting old REAL fast!


To health and feeling vibrant!

Karen Anne

24.11.08

Omigosh - I've been gone a while, huh? Busy with all sorts of stuff and a bit bored "hearing" what I think of writing...to the point of yawning. Oh well. I'll be appropriately inspired again when the time is right. Till then, check this out:

Couldn't we all use one of these? An Applause Machine! Available here in a variety of colors...Gotta love it!


14.11.08

I have a new favorite website, The Muse is In. I just love going to the home page to listen and play with all the little goodies that appear. The creator, Jill Badonsky, also wrote a book that I've ordered: The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)

And her blog is equally wonderful!

And, yep, someday, when I have some spare moolah, I'd love to take her course on Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching. In the meantime, I might settle for becoming a certified Muse Group Leader. It would fit in well with the SoulCollage® workshops...

SO MUCH I WANNA DOOOOOO!!!

5.11.08

Last night when I went to bed around 1:30 a.m., as soon as I put my head on the pillow I heard a song stirring around in there...thought it was Peter Paul and Mary who sang it, but realized today it was actually Mama Cass Elliot. It seemed the perfect song with the perfect sentiment to fall asleep to after a perfectly PERFECT presidential election and speech by Barack Obama!

Do you remember "There's a New World Coming"?

Here are the lyrics:

There's a New World Coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end
There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it's growing stronger
With each day that passes by

There's a brand new morning
Rising clear and sweet and free
There's a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me
Yes a new world's coming
The one we've had visions of
Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love!


Like I said, perfect, huh?

I think PP&M must have done a version of it...but at any rate I'm feeling a need to listen to their music again. Seems a good time for them to make a comeback!!!

Maybe I'll get my guitar out again...

I never knew just how deep the feeling of gratitude could be.

But now I know and I feel like I can finally breathe again.

I feel hopeful in a way I haven't in a long time.

I feel safe.

Miracles happen - and we are that miracle tonight!

"All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well..."

Amen!

3.11.08

My mantra this day before the election seems to be simply "ohpleaseohpleaseopleeeeease!" but I love what Joan Chittister has offered us:

GIVE US, O GOD, LEADERS...

Let us join in prayer for our country and for the world.

Prayer for Leadership

Give us, O God,
leaders whose hearts are large enough
to match the breadth of our own souls
and give us souls strong enough
to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek
more than development for ourselves —
though development we hope for
more than security for our own land —
though security we need
more than satisfaction for our wants —
though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader
who will work with other leaders
to bring safety
to the whole world.

Give us leaders
who lead this nation to virtue
without seeking to impose our kind of virtue
on the virtue of others.

Give us a government
that provides for the advancement of this country
without taking resources from others to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves
to choose as leaders those who can tell
strength from power,
growth from greed,
leadership from dominance,
and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God,
to open our hearts to learn from those
to whom you speak in different tongues
and to respect the life and words
of those to whom you entrusted
the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God,
give us the vision as a people
to know where global leadership truly lies,
to pursue it diligently,
to require it to protect human rights
for everyone everywhere.
We ask these things, Great God,
with minds open to your word
and hearts that trust in your eternal care.
Amen
— Joan Chittister, OSB

1.11.08

The little houses continue to be in my thoughts...they very much want to be seen and they want me to work with them again. So here's a quick example of what I've been doing with them lately:

Little House on the Praire
Hint: If you click on the "label" below it will bring up other drawings I've posted.

30.10.08

Happy Halloween!!!

29.10.08

A bit of wisdom for today:

But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown. -Carl Sagan

And more than a few have laughed - and laughed heartily - at lil' ol' me.

I gotta remember that when things are going well and I think that it's all due to my brilliance and charming personality. Um...methinks it has nothing to do with genius or even the lack thereof. It usually means that the Big Guy in the Sky has got a hand it in and just happens to -temporarily - approve of what I'm doing. Tomorrow? Well, maybe not so much...and I'll be hanging out with Bozo again!

Note: When I was a kid I didn't have a bear, I had a Bozo the Clown. Seriously! (Am I doomed???)

27.10.08

I've been continuing my journey of clearing out and re-arranging things in my life. I've always had an abundance of things and have clutched hold of them mightily. Perhaps because I've felt, on some level, that I didn't really have the non-material things I deeply needed. Because, for whatever reason, I've felt that I didn't deserve them.

Odd how the mind works. What event or person in my life made me so sure of my unworthiness? Why did I choose to believe such nonsense and let it rule how I've lived my life?

That was then and this is now. I chose to believe I am worthy. And what I'm learning in this process is that clutching an abundance of things interferes with realizing the abundance of spirit - that generosity of heart and soul that I long to embody and radiate.

So I'm working on finding the balance that suits me.

It's an interesting journey, this.

22.10.08

I discovered what should be a new Olympic event while in the dressing room of my local Kohls:

Trying on "shapewear" - those items that go by strange names like Spanx (Snap would more aptly describe the product), Assets (emphasis on ass, methinks!) and Flexees (ain't nuthin' ez about them!) Who created these things anyway?

They are like large rubberbands and should come with warning labels. They don't wanna go up, and they don't wanna be pulled down. They cut off circulation, strain your muscles (which ironically if you had, well...) and attempt to strangle your neck whilst causing permanent damage to your already damaged ego...

But, but, BUTT: if you manage to actually get into one of the contraptions without having it twang out of the dressing room, well, it feels kinda good. Kinda like when you were in your twenties and had Muscle Tone! Ooooh, remember those days?

So, of course, I bought two items! Both hold me up and slim me down. One is a bra that goes to my waist, and the other is a bra that goes all the way down to THERE if you know what I mean. I'm a little concerned that I might put my eye out with the latter when I try to rehook it in the restroom. A challenge made all the more dangerous with bifocals...

But, hey, I'll give up an eye for the opportunity to rid myself, albeit temporarily, of unsightly bulges. And with one eye, the lumps that remain will be harder to see!

It has occurred to me, though, that it just might be easier to go to the gym than get in and out of my new garb.

And much less dangerous.

19.10.08

Way to go, Colin Powell!!!

17.10.08

Sorry - there's no way I could resist posting this photo that came through on my email - what a hoot!!!
Okay - the Presidency goes to the best dancer!!!

12.10.08

I've been one longer than I thought I would...but I enjoyed the quiet of my week alone, and I've been enjoying the quiet since. I've been observing and considering all the craziness of the world, grateful that I know - I know - that in this moment I have all that I need and everything is as it should be. So, not much to say...

I've been continuing my cleaning spurt (is it still a spurt when it's been going on for a while now?) and found this tonight in my studio - it speaks to what I've been feeling and experiencing:

"And if you stop talking you can hear the wind." So Eagle stopped talking and he soared. And his flight said everything. - Eskimo Legend

29.9.08

I've been loking for the perfect thing to distract me from all the horrors going on in our country; the economy (does it still exist?), Sarah Palin (will she exist after Thursday's debates?), etc.

Found the perfect distraction whilst driving back from the grocery store just now: Nose Whistles!

So for the next week or so, while Skipperdee, my computer, travels to Tacoma WA and back, that's what I'll be thinking about. The Unexpected Nose Whistle That Persists Inspite of Blows and Rubs. Soooo disconcerting. So maddening. So very humbling.

Anyway, that's what I'll be Contemplating while I'm sewing up a storm and painting trim. FUN!!!

Not to worry - I'll be back to blog and email when Skipperdee returns from vacation. (Unless I get bored enough to go up on the Big Computer that hurts my neck...)

Ciao!

26.9.08


My sentiment exactly!!!

A reproduction of a poster commissioned by the British Government in August 1939 to be posted in times of "crisis or invasion".

If you want one for your very own, (you can choose from a variety of colors!) check out Blu Lima on Etsy.

25.9.08

There's a big part of me that is not for the bailout, the details of which are being hammered out in Washington as I write.

My concern is that is will just mask the symptoms of an ailing economy and simply put off the inevitable bottoming out. And the public will continue to think the it needs, needs, NEEDS: more of everything - regardless of the consequences for our future and our grandchildren's future.

Maybe we need this fall to clear out all the mess and start afresh.

Maybe we need to know the full impact of our past actions and proclivities.

Maybe the truth - The Truth - is what we need to face.

And embrace.

24.9.08

A misspoken adage that actually speaks quite well to our current dilemma:

"The world is going to hell in a ham biscuit!"

Whether in a hand basket or a ham biscuit, the world does, indeed, seem to be heading south.

But ya' know what? The world is going to be fine. And so are we.

All will be well.

Eventually.

22.9.08

Tomorrow I celebrate the 5th anniversary of my decompression surgery.

Five years of being free of the "terrorists" that would set off random "bombs" in my head when I strained or laughed. Five years of celebrating being able to put on my undies without falling over. Five years of being filled with gratitude for a hundred and one things that would seem small and insignificant to most people.

Here's the biggest lesson I learned from my journey with Chiari: Life is in the small things!

17.9.08

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. -Edgar Allan Poe

Amen to that!

I'll get back to writing soon...just a lot going on right now. A lot of Thinking. A lot of Doing.

All is well and all will be well!

15.9.08

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up.
-Tom Lehrer

I post this because I wanted you to know you're not alone in your wish!!!

10.9.08

Megan's hopes for getting a commission in the Navy and becoming an Intel Officer came to an end yesterday when, after investing nearly a year jumping through all the various hoops, she received word that she wasn't selected.

So we did what we always do in situations like this: we popped open a bottle of champagne and celebrated! We raised our glasses with this toast:

To disappointments that open space for unknown blessings already on their way!
Today is a new day, shiny and bright with possibilities.
Life is good.

9.9.08

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.

Have become fully aware of not needing anything in the way of clothes, accessories, shoes, or anything, anything for the house.

Sort of takes all the fun out of going to a store or antique mall...I mean, why go???

So what am I supposed to do now???

Augh. This being acutely aware of my consumerism, of feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff I still have, and of trying to turn over a new leaf (as in being frugal) is, um, kinda the pits if ya know what I mean.

I haven't discovered the pure joy of it all for any extended period. Short bursts only.

I'm positive I would feel differently if all that I'm getting rid of was rewarded in weight loss. One pound off for every pound do stuff I get rid of.

Seems like a reasonable idea, but the Universe ain't cooperating.

Poop. (And here is where, before, I would have gone out and bought something to make myself feel better...)

4.9.08

Thank God.

The Olympics are over.

The conventions are over.

I'm going to bed and pull the covers up over my head and not watch TV after 10pm for a very long time!

AMEN.

3.9.08

"Palin? Really?"

My head just won't hush up.

She's due to speak in 35 minutes and I will try to be open. Really.

But I doubt she'll address the thing I want to hear: why she thinks this is a good move for her. She just gave birth to a special needs child for heaven's sake. Her oldest daughter is pregnant. I probably wouldn't be wondering about these things if she were a man. But she ain't. She's a Mom.

And that job is waaaaay more important than running for Vice President of the United States when you've just given birth to a child who deserves your focused attention and love. And when your teenaged child is giving birth to your grandchild and needs your focused attention and love.

John McCain praises her for "putting her country first."

But what about putting her kids first???

Augh.

1.9.08

Dinner tonight:

Honey Mustard Potato Salad
Oven Roasted Fresh Green Beans with Lime and Sea Salt
Homemade Applesauce Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Who needs meat????

30.8.08

Be forwarned: political rant follows!

I don't know whether I'm more insulted or horrified.

John McCain doesn't seem to get that selecting a female for his running mate whose overwhelmingly singular credential is that she is female is about as sexist as you can get.

I didn't vote for Hilary in the primaries, but it's insulting to me all the same that McCain seems to think that his beauty pagent runner-up is, in any way, an equal to Hilary, or that she could, in any way, be a viable "Hilary substitute" for women disappointed that Hilary wasn't the Democrat's nominee. Note to John: Women are not interchangeable. No way. No how.

Palin seems to know a heck of a lot about oil and natural gas capture in Alaska and could reasonably, perhaps, have been chosen to be a member of his advisory team, but it's really horrifyingly unsound judgement to think that she'd be able to handle the number one slot if John doesn't prove to be as immortal as he seems to think he is. When I consider that she might become the President if John were elected and kicked the bucket, well, to say I freak out is a total understatement.

And if all this wasn't enough (and to prove just how small and critical I can be) she has a really irritating voice, talks way the hell too fast, and doesn't seem to know how to Be Quiet. She doesn't even take time to breathe for heaven't sake! And she described her husband as Alaska's "First Dude"- her play on "first husband". Geez. I rest my case.

Thanks to McCain's questionable choice, however, I'm even more confident that Obama and Biden will win the election.

Halleluja!!!

28.8.08

The chortles continue...(see previous post)...

What does it say about me that I am so easily (and sustainably!) amused????

27.8.08

ThE UlTiMaTe HoOt TrIgGeR: Cluster Puffs.

That was the name of a mattress pad described in an ad in the Sunday paper.

The 6 year old in me simply cannot get past it; every time I think of it I dissolve into huge guffaws that turn into truly unbecoming snorts ...and then I start laughing even harder!

(Pardon me while I go get a tissue to dry my eyes - I've errupted again... Hahhahaha. HA! Hahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!)

I'm sorry...but OMG "cluster puffs" can be used to perfectly described so many things - from little white clouds floating in the blue sky, to...well, I'm sure you can think of a few!

Cluster Puffs.

Try not to laugh! I dare you!

26.8.08

Not spending much time online for a few days since I'm helping Megan go through all her stuff; saving some, packing some, donating some, pitching the rest.

We're taking trips down Memory Lane and have laughed, and cried some, over things we've unearthed.

It's a joy to be able to spend this time with her and I marvel that the mom I was even a few years ago has mellowed so. Megan's mess and clutter ( and Emily's, too!) could easily send me into a crazed state and I'd rant and rave and scream and sputter. But now, well, for some reason it simply doesn't bother me! Maybe because I've gone through much of MY mess recently and feel so much better about all that. The process doesn't freak me out anymore - matter of fact, I kind of relish it because it feels so good afterwards.

At any rate, we've made significant progress and should be in great shape by this afternoon. Then it will be a simply matter of putting the bed linens and towels through the laundry and packing them away.

A nice way to spend a couple of days with a wonderful daughter!

23.8.08

I enjoy horoscopes and Tarot cards every now and then and today's Card (for everyone) from Tarot Card of the Day, is the Star card. I took to heart it's meaning as I read it; I need to really make an effort to give up the idea that I am "supposed to be in control"and truly trust the "invisible Helping Hand" that has always answered prayers in ways that have supported what is best for me. Today I will trust that everything is in order and that everything that happens is for highest good.

The Star

This Deck: Celestial

General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one's Soul with the Divine -- the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one's Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences -- forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.

This card could also be called the "Celestial Mandate" -- that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within -- and value to -- the larger Cosmos.

22.8.08

My friend Joan is the Birthday Girl today and since she's passionate about birdwatching I had to make her a special card:

Happy Bird-day, Tweety!

20.8.08

I've had separation anxiety in a big way. But not over the kids growing up. Nope. I've been missing having access to Photoshop. I'm trying to ease my angst with a smaller version; Photoshop Elements 6. It's helping a lot, but of course all the things that were so easy to do on the fullblown version (and on the Mac G5 I had in my office at Dickinson) are more challenging. The learning curve is steeper than I had anticipated. I still managed to figure out how to scan, on Dean's scanner, a small collage I made, then send it to my computer downstairs and then manipulate it a bit with Elements. All the running back and forth and up and down the stairs between computers added an aerobic aspect that I need, too! Not much to show for the day, but hopefully things will get easier. Especially since I made a run to Barnes and Noble for a book to help me out...

Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to the other things on my To Do list. But it was fun to try it out and be creative in a small way - even if it took all day!



17.8.08

Michael Phelps made history last night.

His dad, never mentioned by the athlete, watched his son's incredible victory from afar; on his television somewhere in Maryland.

I don't know the story. And that's as it should be; it's none of my business.

But I ache for him the same way I ache for John Edwards, ya know?

15.8.08

KiTcHeN PiCtUrEs!!!
As promised... pictures of the kitchen with new paint and floor tiles. I've tried to keep the counters clear - makes me feel good. For decoration I've used touches of rosemaling - on plates and breadboards that I've collected. The antique oak kitchen dresser is from my parents - it had once been used in an old store in Maine - it has really deep drawers and provides great storage! I used the lace on the top shelf to hide some large vases, candlesticks and silver pieces that took up room in the dining room. Eventually we'll make the radiator covers and their tops will be level with the windowsills - a great place for violets that seem to love being in east-facing windows.


















































































I covered Jake's bed in an old tablecloth that matches the wall color exactly.

So there you have it!

14.8.08

PiGgY PiCtUrEs!!!

I made a piggy and piggy hat for Bennett's first birthday. Didn't have a pattern, just took my scissors and cut and sewed. My brain was so happy and I loved the whole process of thinking it through! Best of all, Bennett actually wore the hat for a few minutes!
























11.8.08

So John Edwards had an affair. He's not perfect. He's like us.

It's all so very sad. For Elizabeth. For him. For the kids.

Relationships are hard and people make stupid mistakes. Stupid, stupid, stupid mistakes.

Not one of us is exempt from making big time flub-ups. Sooner or later we all disappoint ourselves and those we love through some careless act of ego. We think ourselves invincible and skip gleefully into territory that will always leave us aching for, begging for, a "do-over" from the universe. Big or small, seen or unseen, these acts and words of thoughtlessness will eat at our soul until we acknowledge them and seek to set things right. Nothing is so humbling and frightening as the awful realization that we've really screwed up and hurt those we hold dearest; perhaps to such an extent that we might not ever be able to repair the trust they had in us and our paths must part as a result.

Being real and honest and thought-full so that my words and deeds express deep caring and love is a challenge. Maintaining a humble and contrite heart is not always so easy. But I'm making progress. Compassion comes more easily these days; criticism is not the "go-to" emotion it used to be for me. I know now that unconditional love, forgiveness, and reconcilliation are the blessings of Grace and are as joyous to give as to receive. But I wonder - would I have found my way here if not for my mistakes? Would I have known how loved I am by my my family and friends if I had not ever had to seek - and gratefully received - their forgiveness? By the grace of Spirit I am home.

I hope the Edwards' can find their way home to each other, too.

7.8.08

I'm home, but down with a summer cold that doesn't seem to want to leave. While I'm lying on the couch being pitiful (dramatically so), this is what I'm thinking about:
“Wherever there is excess in anything, something is lacking.”
- Ancient Proverb
Hmmmmmmm...

3.8.08

Down south for a few days. Nice to have a Girl's Road Trip with Megan in the new car. Good to see my grandnephew, Bennett, celebrate his first birthday yesterday, and good to break bread with my mom and dad this morning.

We had a feast of Fried Green Tomatoes - fresh from my brother-in-law's garden. His FGTs are the BEST!

Taking a post-feast rest before heading out to the Antiques Show at the beach with ma sistah. She's assured me that I'll be able to find a restroom there when all the coffee I've consumed hits:

"They have pee places at the thing-a-ma-bob."

I love that we communicated like that - we're the only people who can easily understand each other. (Our husbands have to struggle mightily and usually look more than a bit perplexed...) But Krissie and I share a sisterly combination of history, psychic ability, and humor! Best of all we're helpful and patient when one of us has a senior moment...a matter of offering words so that we sound like we're playing charades, or we just change the subject and are off and running again

See ya'll in a few days! ( I'm off to the you-know-what in the you-know-where)

31.7.08

Quiet on the home front.

Walls and floor of the kitchen are finished and pleasing to the eye and heart. Feels good to have done the work myself - with Dean's help using the nail gun. I still need to touch up the splotches of blue that somehow got on the ceiling - those seem to be my "signature" in all the rooms I paint!

Now the process of putting everything back in place...editing what stays, what goes. I'm trying to keep the all the surface - horizontal and vertical - clear. I've always loved "things" but the older I get the more aggitated I get with clutter and piles.

Here're my latest observations on messes:

Clutter and Piles = Anxiety/Paranoia
but:
Clear Surfaces = Clear Mind
and:
Orderly Surroundings = Orderly Mind

Clutter and piles are often in overwhelming evidence in the homes and psyches of the aging, but I've noticed, happily, that those older people who make a concerted effort to have their homes orderly (my parents!) don't seem to suffer from the anxiety or paranoia experienced by their messy peers.

I'd better go put more stuff away!

23.7.08

I'm sore!

But I live! I mooove! And now I dance because:

I am DONE!!!!

This evening I will patch nail holes in the wall, and tomorrow clean the walls and then get started with the painting. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when I do a test paint spot, I'll realize I don't have to prime first...

May the paint gods be with me!

22.7.08

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, OOOOOOOOOOOOUCH!!!!!!!

Have been on the floor laying tiles (and up again for every #%$ing tile) since 6:25 this morning. It's now 9:45 p.m. and I'm moving like Tim Conway playing the ten thousand year old man.

I wonder if I'll be able to get up in the morning...still have under the fridge and the entry way to finish up. The entry is just about 9 tiles tho' and about the same for the fridge.

I really think it's okay if I whine quietly, don't you?

Tonight I'll be able to sleep; last night I lay awake fretting about sticking that first tile down - on the diagonal - yikes!

Up to bed with me then...

(ohgodthestairs!!!)

20.7.08

In my fantasy world, this is where I would write. By stone mason extraordinaire, Lew French:

Aaaaaaah!

18.7.08

I love designer Isaac Mizrahi.

Love him!

If I were Jewish, male and gay, I would so be him. Seriously. We think alike. And he love bright pink and orange together, too, which makes him especially wonderful!

I love his website and get a kick out of his video blogs and webisodes. And the Studio Blog. It's all somehow reminiscent of Seinfeld...

Anyhoo, for a good time, bookmark this and make it part of your day.

Everyday!

17.7.08

Wow.

There is prayer, and then there is Prayer - so wonderfully rich and powerful that it makes your soul sing:

Novena natus: Nine hymns for the souls of women by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

It starts, "What do women truly want? To be truly seen. To stand in the blessings of those who love the God of Love, and not the Sadducean God of Crabbed Views.
Let us pray ...."


Read it to the very end, feel it to the depth of your being.

Wow.

16.7.08

I'm both ecstatic and filled with dread.

On Monday, 21 July, the contractor that did our kitchen 6 years ago is coming back to take out the floor (and the tile on top of it), put new underlayment down the correct way (glue and screw) and then leave with the debris. Forever.

The reason he's taking it out is that when he put it in he merely nailed the underlayment down. Since then, the nails have all worked their way up and broken the linoleum tiles - I have breaks and little holes all over the place. Soooooooo irritating and I just want the whole damned thing GONE. He came back last year to replace the formica counter because it was all prying up. Again: sooooooo irritating. Will we use him again? Hmmm... He's really a nice guy. Really. But when we had him give an estimate for a screened porch, it was clear from the bid he'd rather not work for us any more. So, okay.

Dean and I will turn to and put the new tiles down (18" self stick tiles in two shades of beige - like the tile I laid in my studio that still looks brand new! - we'll lay on the diagonal) as soon as he leaves. Jakie will stay overnight at Animal Inn so we'll have the balance of Monday and then until 5:30 on Tuesday to get the floor done. Should work. Just a hassle working around the appliances and moving them in and out. But IT WILL GET DONE!!!! Yipppeee!!!

And then I get to wash the walls, prime and paint: Sea Breeze. Aaaaaah. A nice turquoise just like it's name. A calming, cooling change from the red. (I am so done with the red. I'm gettin' it outta the hallway too! Changing that to a corally orange. Yesireebob!)

Everyone on HGTV seems to be doing the reds and yellows I've had for the past decade. And they call it Tuscan which makes me C-R-A-Z-Y. If I hear "I want it to be Tuscan" on one more show or read it in one more magazine I'll go postal. Seriously.

So...in a week I will be over my Red Kitchen with the Black and White Checked Floor (laid on the diagonal, of course) Moment. (And I am, henceforth, also over using "Moment"!)

Praise the Lord! Change is good!

Damned good.

13.7.08

Sunday Morning had a piece on a little dog (but big artist!) named Tillie - short for Tillamook Cheddar.

Her website is now one of my favorites; very clever. Check it out by clicking here.

I sooo want to go to her Mid-Career Retrospective!

(Jake says ARF! - I think he wants to go, too!)

12.7.08

Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's the fact that I've broken my right heel, my left ankle (twice) and have a steel plate and 13 screws imbedded in said ankle. Maybe it's that I've broken my tailbone and a vertebrae in my neck. Maybe it's that I've had brain surgery. Maybe it's that my coordination and balance have never been stellar (but are vastly improved since the surgery!) and I'd have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time if I ever wanted to give that a try (but I really try hard these days just to concentrate on where my feet are and don't need the distraction of gum for heaven's sake!)

Or maybe it's that I'm just smart...

But whatever the reason, when I saw this advertised at my podiatrist's office as a Really Great Alternative to Crutches, well, I just wasn't convinced!

I have visions of me on this thing that give me nightmares...

You can, indeed, keep the crutches, but I'll take the walker and a wheelchair over this anyday!

7.7.08

You don't get anything clean without getting something else dirty. - Cecil Baxter

This quotation used to frustrate the hell out of me, but now it makes me smile.

Everthing is eternal. All those little atoms and molecules that make up the world; swirling and twirling, morphing, rebirthing, never dying...

Maybe once upon a time I was dust that irritated some housefrau with my perseverance, huh? It wouldn't surprise me in the least. Especially since I've always embraced the biblical sentiment ...for dust you are, and to dust shall you return. Keeps me humble.

So I'm not going to clean today; I'm going to rearrange! (And I'll bless all the little dustbunnies I stir up - just in case.)

4.7.08

God Bless 'merica Haiku
(Read aloud with a really thick country twang!)

Friday four July
Fireworks sparkle in night skies
A nation at play
k

3.7.08

Summer Haiku

Orange butterfly
Rests wings on fuschia bee balm
Bright summer color

30.6.08

Two more hours and I'm officially a former Dickinson College employee!!!

I have been having soooo much fun driving around in Toujour La Maxx - our new-to-us 2005 Malibu Maxx Lt that has so many bells and whistles I'll never be able to list them all. But suffice it to say it has one special feature that absolutely thrills me: the sound of the turn signal! It is the nicest, most perfect sound and reminds me of the sound of the turn signal in the car my grandparents had when I was but wee. Something about it just makes me smile. As do the heated leather seats and the sun roof and the moon roof and the 6 CD changer and the shelf in the back that becomes a tailgate table. Hot damn! We can tailgate in style now!!!

I've spent most of my time since we picked the car up on Saturday toodling around to various stores to get the this and thats I need to finish up the redo of Emily's old room...and the balance of my time I've spent puttering around in the room and the rest of the house.

Sooo...toodling and puttering. That's what I do now since I don't work at Dickinson anymore.

Toodle and putter. Putter and toodle.

Can't get much better than that!

27.6.08

Fireflies in Trees
http://scienceblogs.com/chaoticutopia/2006/11/oldschool_tech_meets_cuttinged.php

My favorite amusement park ride of all time is the Peter Pan ride at Disney World. Well, to be absolutely truthful, it's the only amusment park ride I like. I'm deathly afraid of heights, but on this ride you really feel like you're flying but you're never more than 3 feet off the floor of the very dark building that houses the ride. It's all illusion -all the fun with none of the fear! Anyway, you look down on all the little lights of the little towns as you fly high above them - on your way to Never Never Land ccording to Peter; "...the second star on the right and straight on til morning!") and the illusion is so perfect it can take your breath away. I'd swear that Peter and the Boys were right there with me singing "we can fly, we can fly, we can fly!!!"

Tonight my garden is sparkling with fireflies - hundreds of them! - and I feel like I'm on the Peter Pan ride each time I venture out...indeed, it's really hard to come inside!

Magical, magical, magical!!!

It was a good day when Walt dreamed up the Peter Pan ride, alright.

But it was a perfect day when God dreamed up the firefly!

26.6.08

Augh.

Last night was a bear. First time I've ever gone the whole night without sleeping. None. Nada. It just wasn't happening. At. All.

On the bright side, though, I did design and build (in my head) at least thirteen variations of radiator covers for each of the old radiators in our home. Developed a really cool hinge system for them, too, that I realized, about four hours into it, made absolutely no sense. So I moved on to turning the third floor front room (currently where Megan has stashed all her stuff - it was her room) into a wonderful office for Dean. Bright, clean, and crisply contemporary with furnishings from IKEA. I wondered what colors he would choose for the wall. Then I decided the little back room could be a meditation/yoga space for me. Because sometime during the looooooooong night I decided I really would like to have a space dedicated to that. But of course, being practical, I figured it wouldn't hurt to throw my sewing table in there, just in case I didn't feel like meditating sometimes. So much for an uncluttered, calm space. I scratched that idea and left my sewing table in my studio.

During the rest of the night, I painted and refinished the dining room table and slipcovered the sofas. I repainted the entry hall, the dining room, the music room and living room and the kitchen. Which reminded me I wanted to take the leaf out of the kitchen table and have it round again, creating more space in the kitchen. And why have four chairs in there when it's just the two of us for most of the time? So I took two to the basement. Whew. I decided on what type of carpet to look for to have installed on the front stairs that are currently bare and scare Jake since there's nothing for him to grab onto. And built a storage system for the second floor landing and designed my dream bookcases for either side of the fireplace in the music room. The same music room I had just repainted...

My little pea brain was busy, busy, busy!

I finally got up at 7:30 after Dean and Jake went downstairs and I realized sleep was a lost cause. As I poured a cup of coffee to try and jolt myself out of feeling uncomfortably fuzzy, it hit me: I bet the iced decaf coffee I had at Starbucks at 3:30 yesterday afternoon wasn't really decaf!

Ya think?!?!?!?!?

Geez.

25.6.08

Perfect days:

1. I was all set to paint a room, but the garden called after I lingered over coffee on my terrace with the roses and birds. The next thing I knew it was time for dinner. I preheated the oven while I washed off the evidence of planting 10 azaleas, two butterfly bushes, and deadheading perennials in a tepid shower turned SPA with a shower puff filled with my all-time favorite Original Spring Green by Vitabath. Squeaky clean, I returned to the kitchen to pop a Five Cheese frozen pizza in the oven. Five minutes before it was done, I topped it with diced tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese and put it back in. When it came out, I sprinkled it with a handful of chopped fresh basil from the garden and declared it finito! Two slices, a white wine spritzer...aaah!. Jon Stewart and the Colbert shows on DVR and then to bed in my incredibly comfy Sleep Number bed beside the world's most kind and generous man...

2. Taking Jakie to puppy daycare and then stopping to surprise two dear friends as they start their day throwing in Dickinson's ceramic studio - and having them happy to see me! Getting to the room I ignored the day before - with the walls I had washed after scraping dustbunnies over the weekend. Embracing the Zen of Painting with the perfect shade of green; a whisper of lushness that is Laura Ashley's Pale Apple Green I by Valspar. What a joy to be wrapped in color I love. Dinner with the perfect man and the perfect chili (if I do say so myself!) and off to bed early.

So many Perfect Days lie ahead. And Dean assures me that spending time this way doesn't get old. How could it???

I am a happy girl!

23.6.08

Well, wonders never cease...it appears we will be adding a new member to our family! One with four wheels, an engine, and a name: Maxx!

Next Monday we will pick up a 2005 Malibu Maxx LT to take the place of my beloved Carly St. Cloud; our 1990 Taurus (white - hence the "St. Cloud") who breathed (gasped is more like it...) her last less than 200 miles after turning over 176,000 miles. I feel like I've reached the end of an era. We got that car when Emily was barely two and Meggie not yet five...and here they are all grown up and adults!

Maxx is Berry - a pretty, dark red metallic on the outside and sports beige leather inside. (Now ain't we gettin' all fancy-schmancy??? Whoo-ha!) He has all sorts of bells and whistles including a sun roof and a moon roof, and automatice this and thats all over the place. I will read the manual since I fear pushing something and finding myself ejected and flying through the air! Best of all he only has 16k miles, so I figure he's going to get me to the nursing home before he dies.

Let the race begin!

18.6.08

Meggie and I went to see the documentary Blindsight tonight at our little theatre downtown. I highly recommend it - especially if you've been wont to wallow in whining over dust on your newly painted walls. (Me to self: It's just DUST you idiot! And pretty insignificant dust in light of the movie, so GET OVER IT already!!! )

Anyhoo...at the end of the movie is this clip and I've been smiling ever since:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=BI6OAnu4Vzo&feature=related

Doesn't that make you just want to sing along... at the top of your lungs???

I plan on singing that tomorrow while I scrape the walls of painted-over dust and then repaint. And, yes, I'm washing the walls after I scrape, just to be sure the Pale Apple I doesn't get messed up!

Cheers!

17.6.08

I'm soooo frustrated.

Spent all day painting Emily's room (or, rather, her old room!) using the paint we bought 6 years ago. A lovely shade of green even though it's a bit mintier than I recalled. (Dean said it was the shade used in 1940's hospitals and I was thinking 1950 dental offices...)

I even took it to the paint store where I bought it and had them shake it up again.

Looked great until I just looked at it a minute ago. With the overhead light/fan it looks fine, but when you turn that off and turn on a lamp on a side table, all these hairy little bumpy things show up ALL OVER the wall. Everywhere.

Best I can figure it was a perfect storm; old paint, too fluffy of roller perhaps, and having both the window a/c on high and the overhead fan on. I had vacuumed the baseboards and edges of the room, but maybe the walls were dusty, or what I missed on the floor got blown up on the paint and incorporated with the second coat. Who knows. All I know is that tomorrow I will have to use a straight edge and scrap all the walls, vacuum them AND the floor, go buy new paint, and paint the room all over again.

Maybe someone out there knew I really would have rather had the walls a more yellow-green than minty. Like Laura Ashley's Apple I at Lowe's.

So, it turns out that even though I'm frustrated, I'm grateful.

And besides...I'm retired! I have time to paint and repaint and repaint again if I want to!

But hopefully once more will do the trick. And Apple I should look just right...

11.6.08


So...

I'm sitting here in my garden, surrounded by pink roses and lush green trees. My lavender has begun to bloom and I can just catch a faint whiff of what is to come. Is there anyone who can't be charmed by the scent of fresh lavender?


A bright pink tablecoth is on the round table and I'm shaded by the lime green and white umbrella (complete with tassels!) I bought on sale at Pier 1 several years ago. I'm listening to the water dropping from Pan's pipes into a shell-shaped basin and I can hear all sorts of birds who seem as happy as I to be enjoying this morning, this garden...this Eden. My coffee tastes especially good.

It's lovely to know I have nowhere to go, no one to see, nothing pressing to do. So very easy to stay in the moment in a place and time like this!

I think I'll just sit here a while and take it all in...

Hope you have a wonderfully peaceful morning, too!

10.6.08

Observation on the second day of not sitting behind a desk:

Not working is a lot of work!

:-)

Karen Anne does the happy dance!

9.6.08



This is the mermaid weathervane that sits atop Old West; the beautiful stone building on Dickinson College's campus that was designed by Latrobe - who also designed our nation's Capitol Building. She looks down on the campus - and a statue of Benjamin Rush, the founder of the college.

During my tenure at the college, I identified with the mermaid (both of us were happy enough to be there though neither of us seemed to fit in) and looked up at her every day as I walked to get a cup of coffee or go to a meeting. I always thought it sad that the college went with a generic logo when it could have developed something really exciting and unique with the mermaid. It could do worse than tap into a bit of the mermaid's magic and joy! (And it did!)

When it came time for me to leave, writing about her was easy:

Broken Symmetry

A kindred Fish out of Water,
she calls to me daily.
Swimming high above with outstretched arms,
she joyfully embraces both the blueness of the sky
and a world ripe with possibilities.
Her urgent beckoning mirrors my mood...

Where did she come from?
Why is she here?

She brazenly bares her breasts to a
ponderous Benjamin Rush
and flagrantly flips her tail
to ant-like mortals who ignore her lively dance.
Attentive only to the seriousness of solemn stone walls
that can smother souls as surely as they can seduce egos,
they pass silently but for whispers to themselves...

Where did she come from?
Why is she here?

I cast my eyes upward
and am caught in her gaze.
In the glimmer of that instant
I remember.
I return.

Catching the tide, my heart dances
with the cerulean sprays of deep ocean waves.
Just as it has danced since my beginning.

Only now
I now why.

6.6.08

Today is my last day of work at Dickinson college and I just completed my exit interview. Now all that's left to do is have a nice lunch with friends, turn in my keys, head for home, and allow the next chapter of my life to unfold. Whoo-hoo!!!

I was pleased to find this as my horoscope for the day:

You are entering a convergence zone and it's likely that separate threads of your life will quickly and easily be woven together. There really isn't much you need to do, for the integration should come naturally now. Still, you'll need to facilitate this positive change by keeping your awareness in the present moment.

Here's to completion! But, more especially, here's to the magic of the Present Moment!

1.6.08

Choose joy.

Choose joy.

Choose JOY!!!!

21.5.08

The Bryn Mawr Graduate!

Emily and Jessica, her "Garden Party Girl" at the Garden Party following Saturday's Convocation

The three big loves of my life! ( The fourth, Jake, wasn't allowed to come...)

20.5.08

My Jake is 2 yrs. old today!!! Happy Birthday to my favorite big boy puppy!!!

13.5.08

Cyclones. Earthquakes. Wild fires. Tornadoes. Floods. Drought. Famine. Genocide.

We are being presented with so many opportunities to step up and show our humanity and love.

So many...

12.5.08

Geez Louise.

So I was walking through K Mart over my lunch hour, and was more than a bit surprised to see a bag of candy (I think it was Nestles -maybe not - but some name brand anyway) with each little candy bar in the bag sporting a camouflage wrapper.

Camouflaged candy bars???

Yessireebob! I'm sure those will make all the men and women in uniform feel just dandy. Especially those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean there ain't nuthin' that says "I support the troops" like sendin' 'em bags o' cami-candies.

I truly believe they'd feel a lot more support if we finally got our act together and just brought 'em all home.

As in: NOW.

8.5.08

I'm making progress. I have moved from whining about my weight to whining about my wait. I'm chairsitting. Like I used to make the girls do when they misbehaved. But I haven't misbehaved...at least I don't think I have...

I can't, as strange as it sounds, take chairsitting sitting down. I have places to go, things to do, people to see, rooms to clean, gardens to weed, dances to dance! So instead of sitting, I basically bounce in my chair. And when the going gets really rough I switch the chair out with a desk-height exercise ball and sit/bounce on that.

And I'm here all by myself. The faculty is off grading or testing or doing whatever faculty do when they aren't here. And our department administrator took the rest of the week off. And the students aren't anywhere to be seen either.

Just me here. Passing the hours bouncing as I chairsit.

Augh.

6.5.08

Thirty years ago today I married my wonderful husband! We're celebrating by enjoying a lovely dinner at a little restaurant we can walk to from our home. I made a 4"x4" black and white print of the rose I've used in the banner for this blog and have matted and framed it as my gift to him. The rose looks like and unfolding heart to me - just as my heart continues to unfold the longer I'm married to Dean. It will be an early evening since I have to work tomorrow...

At work, which is maddeningly quiet and slow (I'm so glad I have only 21 workdays left!!!), I'm taking advantage of the last few weeks I will have access to PhotoShop for a while:

2.5.08

Okay. So maybe it's time to quit the kvetching. Quit the whining. Quit the whole "woe is me" scenario.

The past day or two I've been fortunate enough to noticed people who have crossed my path. People who are morbidly obese. People with cerebral palsy. People in a variety of physical bodies which, for one reason or another, provide definite challenges to the soul who occupies them. Or at least it appears so.

It's been humbling.

I'm in a body that has a propensity to retain roundness. So what??????

It is in generally good health and has seen me through a good share of insults - both real and imagined - and it's done so without very much support from me.

So maybe it's time to reconsider the whole issue.

Ya think?

1.5.08

Round and round and round I go... getting round, rounder, roundest... (But today I do sense a change - in spite of all my misgivings and false starts. The quiet fluttering of Hope?) I wrote this yesterday:

30.4.08

Another morning of waking up to myself, wondering where I've been.

Uncomfortable in this body and always, it seems, in conflict with the physical nature of being.

That makes me sound a bit crazy, but I'm not. Just aware.

Maybe that's why I "go to sleep" and am surprised when I'm jolted, for some reason, "awake" as happened this morning.

Surely there is some peace to be found if I focus on being compassionate and loving instead of allowing this constant negative chatter to continue; chatter I employ to belittle myself and hold myself back.

Surely there is some peace...

29.4.08

When the world is too much with you and the responsibilities and cares of being an adult create a massive depletion of the Joy that normally nurtures and sustains your soul, it's nice to take a break and make an effort to recapture the splendor of: Possibilities.

So, if you believe (or even if you don't!) clap your hands as you turn around three times saying "I believe!"... then enter HERE!

There is a certain comfort in holding space in your heart for the wee folk... There's even more comfort in being one!

28.4.08

I was pleased that I was actually able to produce, in a mere 30 minutes, a relatively good poster for the annual studio students show:

25.4.08

I was surfing the web the other night and found my way to Sister Joan Chittister's site. What a remarkable woman. It comforts me to find women who persist, in the trenches of organized religion, and find their voices. Or maybe it's that they are reclaiming them from long ago and showing the rest of us it can be done. They manage to find their way in what, to me, is an increasingly foreign land. I admire that. This prayer she wrote truly spoke to my heart:

A Prayer for You

May your journey
through the universal questions of life
bring you to a new moment of awareness.

May it be an enlightening one.

May you find embedded in the past,
like all the students of life before you,
the answers you are seeking now.

May they awaken that in you
which is deeper than fact,
truer than fiction,
full of faith.

May you come to know
that in every human event
is a particle of the divine
to which we turn for meaning here,
to which we tend for fullness of life hereafter.

24.4.08

I love this quotation...describes how I've often felt in my life. (Maybe a little too often.)

Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen.
- John le Carre

23.4.08

Things are coming together design-wise! How to get my various enterprises and "styles" to work with one cohesive "look" has been a real challenge but I think I'm getting there. Here's the front and back of the new card I came up with. And I've added the red flowers to the new banner for this blog...I just love doing this stuff!





22.4.08

One of the faculty is pregnant and we're presenting her with a wonderful rocking horse that even makes whinnies and clip-clop sounds! Guess who got to make the card???

21.4.08


So I've been playing around with the avatar and banner for my Etsy shop; feelin' the need for something bright and fun and graphic. You can click here to see it on the site. It could translate easily to some fun wrappings, hang tags, etc. that would fit well with the pieces I'm designing to sell (fun, quirky, graphic, using some surprising materials). I'll post pictures when I get batteries for my camera. I had so much fun this weekend playing in the studio and asking "what if..."!!!

So when am I going to be ready to start selling? Hopefully by the fall so everyone can do their Christmas shopping at Karen Anne's!




20.4.08

My horoscope for today (which I just now read) started out with:

"The Full Moon in your 6th House of Habits brings awareness to your daily routine."

OMIGOD! I had absolutely no idea I had a "6th House of Habits" and what is even worse (I think it's worse anyway...) I don't even know what a "6th House of Habits" is!!!!

Am I doomed???

(Thank heavens today is almost over and the only bad thing that's happened/happening is a tornado that may or may not be heading our way even as I write this...but not to worry; I've got my glitter shoes on and am all set to click my heels together if need be...)

I thinks it's time for a martini. With THREE olives. You???

18.4.08


I'm remembering last May and can't wait to sit in the garden again, listening to the birds and sipping tea while reading a good book. (Blink is my current read...)

17.4.08






















Our magnolia is blooming!

16.4.08

Amen! (This was posted today on Common Dreams)

Obama, Bitterness, Meet the Press, and the Old Politics

by Robert Reich

I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 61 years ago. My father sold $1.98 cotton blouses to blue-collar women and women whose husbands worked in factories. Years later, I was secretary of labor of the United States, and I tried the best I could - which wasn’t nearly good enough - to help reverse one of the most troublesome trends America has faced: The stagnation of middle-class wages and the expansion of povety. Male hourly wages began to drop in the early 1970s, adjusted for inflation. The average man in his 30s is earning less than his father did thirty years ago. Yet America is far richer. Where did the money go? To the top.

Are Americans who have been left behind frustrated? Of course. And their frustrations, their anger and, yes, sometimes their bitterness, have been used since then — by demagogues, by nationalists and xenophobes, by radical conservatives, by political nuts and fanatical fruitcakes - to blame immigrants and foreign traders, to blame blacks and the poor, to blame “liberal elites,” to blame anyone and anything.

Rather than counter all this, the American media have wallowed in it. Some, like Fox News and talk radio, have given the haters and blamers their very own megaphones. The rest have merely “reported on” it. Instead of focusing on how to get Americans good jobs again; instead of admitting too many of our schools are failing and our kids are falling behind their contemporaries in Europe, Japan, and even China; instead of showing why we need a more progressive tax system to finance better schools and access to health care, and green technologies that might create new manufacturing jobs, our national discussion has been mired in the old politics.

Listen to this morning’s “Meet the Press” if you want an example. Tim Russert, one of the smartest guys on television, interviewed four political consultants - Carville and Matalin, Bob Schrum, and Michael Murphy. Political consultants are paid huge sums to help politicians spin words and avoid real talk. They’re part of the problem. And what do Russert and these four consultants talk about? The potential damage to Barack Obama from saying that lots of people in Pennsylvania are bitter that the economy has left them behind; about HRC’s spin on Obama’s words (he’s an “elitist,” she said); and John McCain’s similarly puerile attack.

Does Russert really believe he’s doing the nation a service for this parade of spin doctors talking about potential spins and the spin-offs from the words Obama used to state what everyone knows is true? Or is Russert merely in the business of selling TV airtime for a network that doesn’t give a hoot about its supposed commitment to the public interest but wants to up its ratings by pandering to the nation’s ongoing desire for gladiator entertainment instead of real talk about real problems.

We’re heading into the worst economic crisis in a half century or more. Many of the Americans who have been getting nowhere for decades are in even deeper trouble. Large numbers of people in Pennsylvania and across the nation are losing their homes and losing their jobs, and the situation is likely to grow worse. Consumers are at the end of their ropes, fuel and food costs are skyrocketing, they can’t go deeper into debt, they can’t pay their bills. They aren’t buying, which means every business from the auto industry to housing to even giant GE is hurting. Which means they’ll begin laying off more people, and as they do, we will experience an even more dangerous downward spiral.

Bitter? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And as much as people like Russert, Carville, Matalin, Schrum, and Murphy want to divert our attention from what’s really happening; as much as HRC and McCain seek to make political hay out of choices of words that can be spun cynically by the mindless spinners of the old politics; as much as demagogues on the right and left continue to try to channel the cumulative frustrations of Americans into a politics of resentment - all these attempts will, I hope, prove futile. Eighty percent of Americans know the nation is on the wrong track. The old politics, and the old media that feeds it, are irrelevant now.

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written ten books, including The Work of Nations, which has been translated into 22 languages; the best-sellers The Future of Success and Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Reason. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Mr. Reich is co-founding editor of The American Prospect magazine.

14.4.08

I'm trying to bloom where I'm planted but I'm also wondering why it often seems I'm doing so between two very hard places. Nevertheless, here's me...and in my head I'm hearing Maya Angelou reciting "Still I Rise"...


13.4.08

In which we discover that Walt Whitman was really an almost 58 year old woman:

Do I contradict myself?/ Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.) - Walt Whitman

(Sound like anyone you know????)

11.4.08

Spring is here! Yes indeedy!

10.4.08

When I was little, and living in Norway, I would make daisy chains to wear in my hair.

9.4.08

Oh. Never mind. (geez!)