Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolution

Okay, I am still of the mind that making New Year's Resolutions is a very useful tool for improving myself, making a difference in the world, and creating new habits.  It's a time of new beginnings - why not take advantage of that?? (Sort of like the ingrained reflex in the fall to buy new office products......a conditioned response from childhood for back to school readiness.)

For the past few years, I've switched from making a long self-improvement list to trying to summarize the goals for that year into one word.  I might make a sub-list of what that word means to me, or what it might look like.  But I no longer make a list of things that will later scream at me of my failure when I don't accomplish them.

Goal for 2013:  SIMPLER

That really shouldn't come as a great surprise to any of us, considering what I've been chattering about for the last 3 months. My sub-list, or thoughtful responses to what simpler might look like, may include cutting back on unnecessary spending (and involving my spouse in that venture), clearing clutter and excess from closets/garage/drawers/computer/bookshelves/studio/storage unit, mailing cards and letters more often, and including more 'green' thinking and activities into daily well as anything else that surfaces while I read about the simpler life during this year.

That's it.  (Guess it really shouldn't be too complicated, considering my goal word.)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Slower and Simpler - Reading List

Thought I'd share some of the books and blogs on simpler living that I'm going to sample in the New Year.  Can't vouch for any of them yet.  But if I find some wonderful nuggets, I will definitely post them!

One follow up:  I started reading Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich by Duane Elgin

 Choosing Simplicity: Real People Finding Peace and Fulfillment in a Complex World by Linda Breen Pierce

Less is More: Embracing Simplicity for a Healthy Planet, a Caring Economy and Lasting Happiness by Wanda Urbanska

The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet Luhrs

Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth by Jim Merkel

Graceful Simplicity: The Philosophy and Politics of the Alternative American Dream by Jerome M. Segal

The Circle of Simplicity: Return to the Good Life by Cecile Andrews

Living Simply: Choosing Less in a World of More by Joanne Heim


Saturday, December 29, 2012


Not sure where I've been, but I just ran across the concept of "Seachange".  In my case, obviously, it does entail the sea.  Interesting....  another article from Slow Movements:

A seachange is a radical transformation; a dramatic change in one’s life. “Seachange” doesn’t mean a change to the seaside, although many people undergoing a seachange have moved to the coast or to beach areas.
  It means revaluating your life and making dramatic changes to ensure you live your values, and that you can look back on your life with satisfaction. It is about getting in touch with what is important and following through to make what is important a living experience. Seachange is a subset of
The desire for a seachange is driven by an almost insatiable hunger for self-fulfilment or real happiness. Most western countries are driven by GNP (gross national product) indicators, and this translates to people being driven to make more money. We have been fed a lie – that more money is better; if we have more money we will be happy. There is only one country in the world that seems to have the right idea – Bhutan. In Butan Gross National Happiness (GNH) is used as an indicator of development.
Seachange has become a buzzword that has been the subject of government reports and academic studies. It seems most people would like a seachange but not all people are brave enough to make the change. And this desire for a dramatic transformation is not new. People have been escaping, or dreaming of escaping, from high-pressure metropolitan lifestyles for decades or longer. What is different now is that people in large numbers are really escaping  and making the change.

Gee - I was part of a movement and didn't even know it!  Love the name, though.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Extreme Herding

This is absolutely amazing!  I simply had to share it. We all know that I love the lights at Christmas, but this is simply unreal. I really encourage you to watch it.  Creativity at its best!!  And an inspiration to think outside the box.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Back to the Island!!


It seems like forever since I was on Lopez!  We're packed to the usual.  You know, that harp does take up quite a bit of room!  Finally taking a TV (for movies ONLY - no cable at the house) this trip - it will be much easier for two of us to watch together for our New Year's Eve  movie marathon bash. 

Beading projects packed - check.  Basket class lists and materials for kits - check. Crochet projects - check. Cedar bark project - check. Bills to pay - check.  2013 Daytimer - check. Guess I'd better bring some clothes as well - just doesn't seem as important as the above.

Excited to spend over a week there - absolutely!!  Are we there yet???

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After

A busy day after Christmas - finishing up another puzzle (puzzle #4 - now it REALLY feels like Christmas!), cleaning up after entertaining all day yesterday, and finally getting things packed up to go to the island!!  I still miss Bailey so much, especially in getting things ready to head to Lopez.  I think it may be time to see if another kitty wants to join our family after I get back from teaching in Texas.

So the main packing issue this trip?  Collecting the materials for making class kits!  And of course, the selection of movies for us to watch on New Year's Eve as we count down to the New Year.  I'm still so full from the rich food yesterday that it's impossible to even think about what groceries we may need.....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Blessings

Two of my favorite Christmas Blessings - doing a puzzle with my daughter (3D this year!) and lunch with my two grandsons.  Simple pleasures!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Slower & SImpler - Mindful Living

As I pondered why I yearn so much to be on Lopez, one thought was simply that the island encourages me to live in the moment.  Here is a great article on just that, mindful living, found on another website dedicated to this slower living concept:

Mindful Living

Many of us, professionals and regular people, alike are feeling their lives are overly hectic or emotionally out of kilter, and are looking for ways to restore the balance. We are looking to leading a mindful life.
Living a mindful life seems more difficult now than it was in the past. The fast life is all around us – fast food, fast cars, fast conversations, fast families, fast holidays. We may be living great lives but we aren’t ‘there’ for them. We don’t take the time to linger over food, over friends, over our family etc. We are not savouring our life and are starving of the real connection to our life.
The solution is self-explanatory. We slow down and connect with our life. But often it is easier said than done. Each fast aspect of our life is necessary for other fast aspects to happen, and we have been fooled into thinking we need, or even must, be fast and have what the ‘fast life’ gives us.
If we don’t listen to our bodies and to that little voice in our head that is telling us to slow down we may succumb to the myriad of health conditions that are a result of leading fast, stressful lives. The biological costs of ignoring stress are staggering, manifesting in cardiovascular and other systemic diseases and even, new research shows, in accelerated aging. The psychological costs are equally large with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other emotional illnesses associated with unmanaged stress.
To be simplistic, the solution is to pay attention, on purpose, in a systematic way, in the present moment. That is, we need to be mindful. This is the answer. We can develop a wise relationship with our sensory experience through mindful meditation. Mindful living is a way of life that urges people to find calm by connecting with the present moment.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has spent much of his professional life bringing the medical world’s attention to the wisdom of the body and the healing that can happen when we get in touch with our senses and our mind. He has been a proponent of mindfulness – a Buddhist concept that can be best described as awareness. Awareness of everything, awareness of our senses, our body, our mind. Jon believes in using that awareness to learn to open up new dimensions of well-being and integrity, of wisdom and compassion and kindness in ourself.
He says: “Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.”
When we practice mindfulness in our everyday life we are less caught up in and at the mercy of our destructive emotions, and we are then predisposed to greater emotional intelligence and balance and therefore to greater happiness because living mindfully gives us more satisfaction in our job, in our family and in our life in general.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We're Still Here

Well, we're still here.  Honestly, the best part about the end of the world hoax is all the party planning and celebrations that were created. (My husband and I took in a matinee.....he asked me to go to a movie with him to celebrate.  I asked him what time the world would end...we didn't decided on a matinee just to be safe.  Uh-huh - quirky thinking at its best.)

So just to help clarify the situation, I want to share the blog below which helped me understand the bigger picture and just what it meant that the Mayan calendar "ended" today.  Actually, it was only ONE of their calendars.

So whether you choose to read the thoughts below, or not, hope you had a WONDERFUL day yesterday!!!

It had as its basic units a day (called a k’in) and a 360-day period called a tun. The Maya understood that a physical year was five days longer than a tun, and had other calendars to deal with that. They had longer units, too, like the ka’tun—just shy of 20 years—and most importantly for apocalypse aficionados, the b’ak’tun—roughly 394 of our years. The starting point for their calendar (Year Zero, if you like) is 3114 B.C., the date they figured the Earth was created.
Knowing all this, we can match their calendar to ours and convert any date they used to our more familiar system. If you do the math, you’ll find that we are nearing the end of the 13th b’ak’tun. In fact, it ends on Dec. 21, 2012.
That’s today. Friday. Cue the spooky music.
The thing is, there is no suggestion, not even a hint, in Maya writing that they thought the end of this current b’ak’tun had any connection to doomsday. It’s entirely possible it may have even been thought of as a time of celebration (just like we celebrate New Year’s Eve).
The Maya also had bigger units of time, including the piktun (which was either 13 or 20 b’ak’tun), and the alautun, which was—get this—63 million years! So it doesn’t sound like they were predicting the end of the world ever, let alone by this weekend.
Anyway, it hardly matters. Just like our calendar, theirs was based on cycles. At the end on a cycle, you reset all the current units and move the biggest one up a notch. It’s what we do on December 31: Reset to the first day of the first month, and increment the year by one. Happy New Year! Same thing with the Long Count. After the last day of the 13th b’ak’tun, they’d start over at the next one.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Basket Class Prep

Yesterday I finally buckled down and worked on getting the rest of the materials and kits together for teaching basket classes in January for the Texas conference.  I love getting organized, spokes cut, materials all packaged up, patterns printed, even the waxed linen wound on spools (well, okay, I do have more of THAT to get done).  I'm not sure why I tend to procrastinate on this part of the job.  It's a little tedious, but so rewarding.  Maybe it's that little worry in the back of my mind that I may not have enough of some material on hand?  If so, then putting it off certainly doesn't make any sense, now does it???  Ah, just some of the joys of teaching.

And part of it, I now realize, is that I have to actually clean off a large work area in my studio in order to have the space to get this done.  Hmmm....maybe that's a bigger part of the puzzle than I imagined ........and an interesting insight.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I love living in the Northwest.  I love the mountains, and the water.  I love that it is green all year round.  And I love the rain - usually.  But trying to drive in this constant downpour is getting a little old, even for this native. 

I am truly ready for some snow, now!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stressless Holiday Preparations

Being a Baha'i, Christmas decorations and baking and gift-giving have new meanings for me.  Gone are the "must do" lists.  They have become (as they should have been all along) only those things that I really want to do.  I no longer feel the pressure to do things perfectly, and I definitely don't have to do EVERYTHING.

Today I'm just enjoying the simple pleasures of receiving Christmas cards in the mail (especially because this year I got mine comfortably mailed out early in December), making homemade gifts for the neighbors, making sure the postlady and sanitation engineers received their gifts, making holiday dinner plans with friends, finding the perfect little stocking stuffers for family members, and honestly - thoroughly enjoying the Christmas lights and decorations that my neighbors have put up (one thing that we don't do) as I drive home through my neighborhood.  Somehow I'm really seeing them this year, and appreciating them completely.

I also made the final menu decisions for Christmas breakfast and dinner and the shopping lists are written.  Without the pressure of "having" to do it all, I'm enjoying each step, each tradition, that I am doing.  That's what it should have been all along.  So why did I put all that extra stress on myself before?  Not really sure, but I definitely love this "attitude adjustment"!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fear and Gun Control

I've avoided writing about the tragic shooting in Connecticut because my gut reaction is simply to run away and be "safe" on Lopez.  Not very productive or responsible, I realize.  A good friend posted a link to a thoughtful blog, portions of which I want to share below.  She found the words, when I could not.

Here are my five observations from the past couple of days:

Prayer and activism are not mutually exclusive.

For many of us they are inextricably connected. We don’t need to criticize those who are praying. You don’t have to pray or even believe in prayer, but be respectful (or at least quiet).

Politics is easier than grief.

To skip over feeling and rush to policy-making dehumanizes the process and weakens policy.

Blame is simply the discharging of pain and discomfort.

It has nothing to do with accountability. Accountability requires long, difficult, respectful conversations. Blame fizzles out with rage, where accountability is in for the long haul.

Self-righteousness is a sign of fear and uncertainty.

It has nothing to do with activism or change. The loudest and most vitriolic among us are often the most afraid. As my friend Harriet Lerner says, “Change requires listening with same level of passion that we feel when we speak.”

You can't shame a nation into changing any more than you can shame a person into changing.

Shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, violent behaviors than it is to be the cure. We need courage, vulnerability, hard work, empathy, integrity (and a little grace wouldn't hurt).

I believe we need common sense gun laws. I believe we need better access to mental health services. Neither one of these things will happen unless we’re willing to listen and to speak up about our own experiences and share our ideas. We can’t afford to be the silent majority on these issues.
Yes, I think I will need to follow her blog more closely.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Electricity is out because of the storm this morning. Talk about a real life lesson in living simply!!!
Candlelight, and readjusting my schedule and to- do list moment by moment.
Definitely a day for curling up with a quilt and good book.
Hmmmm, may have to find a real book if my Nook runs down.....such are the questions of my day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Slower and Simpler: Snowflakes

We finally have a forecast for some snow in it.  Ah, I so love the snow....not that we get very much here.  Hmmm, maybe that's why I love it?  I don't have to deal with it ALL winter long?

My perfect Sunday?  Softly falling snow, a fire in the fireplace, and a good book.  Today I have the latter two, and my fingers are crossed for the snow to at least make a brief appearance.

·         "Guinness Book of World Records" says the biggest snowflake was 8 inches by 15 inches.

Snowflake photos with a quotation from Thoreau: "How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated! I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat.
Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity, so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand."

Snowflake photos with a poem from Longfellow: Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garment shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-field forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Struggle to go Back to the Mainland

Each trip back to the mainland now is more for doctor and dentist appointments, meetings, my part-time work, and seeing family members.  More and more activities and necessities are being moved to Anadaré for daily living.  This transition has certainly come much faster than I anticipated.  But I was warned by other Lopezians....once you get a foothold on the island, it sort of sucks you in.

I do feel like I'm in a time warp of sorts.  Nothing seems quite real - on either shore.  But this state of being, instead of feeling unsettling, is rather useful to help evaluate all of our material goods and put things into their proper perspective.  I'm sure it will eventually all settle down.

I do know that is a struggle to return to the mainland when planned, once I am ensconced on the island.  I mean really a struggle.  Why would I want to leave my nest of peace, quiet, nature, and inspiration??  Oh, well there is that whole thing about needing to earn some money.  But other than that....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Small Details

We received a priceless Christmas gift yesterday.  A friend made a calendar filled with her own photos of Whidbey Island that also includes the tide charts.  Awesome!!!  What a perfect present!

I also have a whimsical addition for Anadaré. I took youngest grandson to Build-A-Bear for his birthday, but of course had to also join in the fun.  We now have "Pez", a black bear in a khaki outfit, all set for fishing and birdwatching on Lopez.  Well, I do need to make his binoculars, but he's almost all set.

It's the small details that make a home!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Back in America

I'm back in America.  Driving to the ferry in the morning I saw a flock of geese.  Waiting for the ferry I saw two bald eagles.  Riding on the ferry was relaxing, watching the gray islands slip by.

After getting on the mainland, I noted:
- no one waves to each other
- there are way too many cars
- those cars are driving too fast
- there are SO many State Patrol out (see item above)
- did I mention too many cars????
- the grocery store is busy, the gas station is busy, life is just busy

I think I am now an islander.  I'll be visiting the mainland for two weeks, then will be coming home again.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Island Book

While perusing the amazing variety of books offered at the Lopez Friends of the Library sale a few weeks ago (where else can you purchase a reusable red bag imprinted with the library logo and fill it to the brim, or past,  for $20???), I discovered a little treasure:  Reflections on Life in the San Juan Islands by Mary Kalbert.  A signed copy, no less!

A few gems from her musings (found in the introduction) that particularly strike a chord with me include:

"There is a particular question asked of every islander who wasn't born here.  It may come early in a budding friendship, or much later, but at some time the question 'How did you get to ....[the] island?' will arise."     This is so true!!  It happens every single time that I meet someone new!

While visiting the island (Mary lives on San Juan, but this certainly works for all of the islands) for the first time, she remarked: "But I felt something stirring, a deeper yearning, something at that moment I could not articulate."   And I've tried to articulate that "something" for myself.  To me it is an energy of Lopez, a vortex if you will, that resonates deeply within my very being. Well, that, coupled with childhood memories of growing up by the saltwater and rural living.

"We discovered that each of us had felt 'taken' with the island, an unspoken sense of homecoming we could not explain."  I will venture to say that every one of us who have come to live on the islands have felt this very same thing.  It's just that somehow we found the courage to act on it, or maybe just the willingness to take the leap and follow our heart, instead of our head, for a change.

Moving to the island probably is a little bit crazy.  But we crazies seem to be in good company.  Perhaps that is why everyone is so friendly, and it feels like family.  Each of us made that decision to act on our dreams, and embrace The Rock as home.

If you want to read her book, you may find it on either on Amazon or for a signed copy, on Mary's website:
Reflections on Life in the San Juan Islands

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lidded Beaded Vessels

I am totally enthralled with making small lidded beaded vessels.  I weave during the day, then reward myself with beading in the evenings.  Although it's hard to get a good picture of these charmers, I'll share what I can.

 The pattern is in Geometric Beadwork by Jean Power - a great book!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Slower and Simpler - Holidays

Every year I still need to remind myself to keep the holidays simple.  It has become easier over the years since I became a Bahai, but my family loves to celebrate, and it truly is easy to get caught up in the season.  I found this guide to simplify the holidays that is very helpful:

My goal this year?  It is encapsulated in one phrase in the site above that jumped out at me:  Focus on the outside less and inside more.  That will cover all aspects, from too many parties to over-buying, over-eating, and splurging. 

What is really important?  The meaning of the season and what is going on inside - my intent.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reading Lists and Book Clubs

My name is Sally and I am addicted to reading.  Have been since a child.  I started a book club 26 years ago and it is still going strong.  So I think I'm ready to find a book club to join on the island.  After all, with the rain coming down and winter setting in, what better than to curl up with a good book (or my Nook) in front of my new fireplace?

From what I can gather, there are quite a few book clubs here on Lopez.  I don't know if any are accepting new members, but my search will start today.  I will ask in the book store and the library.  And may even chat with some folks in the grocery store and craft store.  It's a friendly island - this shouldn't be too hard!

Goodreads posted its list of the best books, in all genres, of 2012.  If you enjoy reading, this list is a joy to have on hand, so I wanted to share it with you.  Instead of not knowing what to read, you'll have a list of too many books that are just begging to be read.  These books are chosen by the readers, not the critics, which makes them even more valuable in my eyes.  And I have discovered that it's perfect  if I want to try a new genre and have no idea of where to start.  There are certainly other lists on-line, such as bestsellers and for book clubs.  But to me, this is really the best, all inclusive list around.

So I'm sitiing here with a cup of tea, listening to the sound of the rain on the roof, snuggled in a quilt in front of the fire with my Nook.  Well, yes, I'm sorely missing Bailey, but that's to be expected.  And yes, I'll get to work weaving in a little bit.  But I'm in a really good place in my book....... and it IS a weekend....

Friday, December 7, 2012

Basket Gathering on Shaw Island

Walked onto the ferry yesterday to go to Shaw Island.  The basketweavers, who belong to the San Juan County Textile Guild and live on all of the islands, meet once a month on Shaw for a basket gathering - to weave, share, instruct, and inspire one another.  First of all, simply traveling to the event by ferry was fun - part of that island life that I'm embracing!  Even better? Walk-on inter-island traffic on the ferries is free.

One member picked the walk-ons up from the ferry dock.  Discovered that travel from Lopez to Shaw (and the return), as compared to travel from the other islands, is the most awkward trip for timing  - somewhat geographically undesirable, even up here!  Two of us came from Lopez - we were the last to arrive and the first to have to leave due to the ferry schedules.

It was a fun day - with 19 weavers of all levels (including alot of beginners). Going back to the ferry we hit "rush hour" on Shaw - 5 cars were on the road heading our way, and 3 cars got off of the ferry - wow!  The nuns no longer run the ferry dock, but they do run the very little store by the dock.

Today was one of those days where I really felt like an islander.  Love it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cozy Fireplace

What an amazing little electric fireplace!  It is so warm and comforting as the weather gets chillier.  I can't believe the difference it makes in the room.  And I can just put it away for the summer months.

Who would have thought??

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tribute to Bailey

Bailey passed away yesterday, after a long (and crazy) life.

I will greatly miss my traveling companion, my shower buddy, and lap warmer.  He was also my alarm clock, my conversation partner, and constant shadow.


I'm sure the tears will stop one of these days....  Rest well, dear Bailey.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Distraction

Needing a distraction yesterday from worrying about Bailey as we wait for lab results (and still waiting this morning), I ran across this artist on MSN that uses as his palette really, really dirty car back windows.  Simply amazing - first the concept, then the talent!

‘masterpieces from the world's greatest 'dirty car artist'

The guy who scrawls "Wash me" on a stranger's filthy car might think he's hilarious but all he has done is ruin a potential canvas for Scott Wade. The self-described "Dirty Car Artist" has to drive for days around the limestone-and-clay roads near his Wimberley, Texas, home before he can start one of his ingenious masterpieces. OK, so maybe this version of the Mona Lisa isn't a masterpiece. But Wade's originals are as spectacular as his knockoffs, made even more so by his chosen medium. Sadly, they last only until the next rainstorm.

0001.jpg - This image featuring Leonardo's "Mona Lisa" with Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" is shown at its peak. These images drawn in the dust are obviously quite impermanent. One of the cool things about them is how they change over time. More dust accumulates as the car is driven down the road. Early morning dew streaks and dots the image, creating a patina. A light shower creates a deeper patina...     Photo Credit: Scott Wade

Monday, December 3, 2012

Life's Moments

How easily I'm distracted from writing here or even thinking clearly on what needs to be done today, when Bailey is so sick.  He's been losing weight recently, but acting his usual crazy self.  However, this morning he's no longer eating or drinking, and I'm dreading what the vet will have to say when I take him in today.

So please forgive the lack of upbeat chatter - life really does include the sad moments as well as the glad ones.  If not, how else would we know when we were happy, if we had nothing with which to compare it?

I need to sit with Bailey on my lap while I have my morning tea.   I know you understand.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Slower & Simpler Sunday - Deadlines

As I prep for travel teaching, in order to get everything done, I realize that I create deadlines for myself.  You know how sometimes a word, a common word that you use everyday, suddenly just sounds funny?  So I looked up the origin of "deadline":

What is a DEADLINE?
It orginates from the american civil war:
Confederate captain Walter Bowie wrote: "On the inside of the stockade and twenty feet from it there is a dead-line established, over which no prisoner is allowed to go, day or night, under penalty of being shot."
Do you have a deadline? How does it feel?

So.....I'm working on finding a better word for it:  goal, target, aspiration, objective, intention.....okay, I'm obviously still working on it.  But somehow the old word just no longer fits into my plans for a slower and simpler life.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Decluttering - Again

In my island home I realize that I really can live with less. So once again, I'm setting a goal to intentionally declutter - including my homes, studio, office, computer, life. (Not all at once!!)

Gail Blanke, the author of “Throw Out 50 Things,” has three ways to determine when to toss something:
  • If it weighs you down, clogs you up or makes you feel bad about yourself.
  • If it just sits there, taking up room and contributing nothing positive to your life.
  • If you agonize over it for too long. Don’t make the decision more complicated than it has to be.
Homes:  My own goal is to throw away, donate, or give away at least 10 things a week.  Hopefully as I tackle one room/area/space/drawer at a time, I will beat that number.  And I won't bring anything new into the house without tossing two items in its stead.

Computer:  My goal is to defrag, clean out RSS feeds and bookmarks, really clean out my email logs, and organize the desktop and links into categories.

And there are so many articles, blogs, and books on the subject (no, I'm not going to print out or buy each one - see goal above), I shouldn't lack in inspiration.  Just a few that I've found to motivate me and get started:

Yes, it does seem a bit early for New Year's Resolutions - but since those are notoriously hard to keep, it's probably better that I don't call it that.  Let's say more of a life-style change.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Painting Anyone??

Beginning yet again another list (and pile) of things to take to the island next week.  Lists are getting shorter, so we may soon be down to the original goal of only food and clothing that need to be packed, plus projects to work on, of course.

New interior doors should be in this week.  New locks and hardware on all the doors should be installed as well.  I'll soon start taking names for those who want to come up and help paint the trim and the doors in exchange for a weekend retreat experience.  And I may even throw in some homemade cinnamon rolls for additional enticement.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Slow News Day

Oh my heavens - reading the news headlines on-line (MSN) is beginning to sound more like those titillating newspapers in the grocery store.

Read all about it: Pope has not canceled Christmas!

VATICAN CITY - And so it came to pass that in the eighth year of Pope Benedict's reign, some tabloid and social media decreed that he had canceled Christmas.
The day after Benedict's latest book "The Infancy Narratives - Jesus of Nazareth" - was published on November 20, Vatican officials found some headlines they were not expecting.
"Killjoy pope crushes Christmas nativity traditions," read one tabloid headline, claiming that Benedict had snubbed traditions such as animals in nativity scenes and carolling.
"Pope sets out to debunk Christmas myths," ran another.
Holy Scrooge! Some blogs unceremoniously branded Benedict the new Grinch that stole Christmas and one rocketed him to the "top of the grumpy list for 2012."

Young voters helped pass laws legalizing marijuana in Washington and Colorado, but many still won't be able to light up.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Most universities, including those in Washington and Colorado where the legalization of marijuana just passed, have codes of conduct banning marijuana use, and they get millions of dollars in funding from the federal government, which still considers pot illegal.
With the money comes a requirement for a drug-free campus, and the threat of expulsion for students using pot in the dorms.
Does the rise of PSY mean the world is ending?
PSY’s hit music video “Gangnam Style” is so popular that it has become YouTube’s most watched video with more than 835 million views. But will it be “Armageddon Style” on Dec. 21?

Social media is linking Nostradamus’ prophecies and pop star PSY's music video, and wondering whether it will hit 1 billion views on YouTube on Dec. 21, a date some people refer to as the day the world ends.
Nostradamus is credited with this prophecy in 1503:
"From the calm morning, the end will come
When of the dancing horse
The number of circles will be 9”

PSY is from South Korea, which translates to “calm morning,” and his music video “Gangnam Style” is about a horse-like dance. It has already garnered more than 800 million views and would be the first video to get 1 billion views on YouTube.
Nostradamus’ prophecies have been credited by many believers for predicting some major historical events and disasters, including the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, and the Sept.11 attacks.

Christmas is cancelled!  It's the end of the world!  And oh darn - we still can't smoke pot.

Really?  I need to go find a good book.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Wave


Yes, we've been home from Lopez for one day, and I'm already planning my next trip up.  The more that I stay there, the more that I simply need to be there.  My neighbors here on the mainland look at me strangely as I wave to them as we pass - forgetting where I am.  There was an article in the Seattle paper this summer about just that:

LOPEZ ISLAND — One hates to define a place by its clichés, but sometimes there's truth to be found.
"On Lopez, everybody does 'The Wave,' " an Orcas Islander told me before I embarked for Lopez.
It's a bit like what you see on the back roads of Hawaii, where locals salute each other with the "hang loose" sign.
But the Lopez wave isn't that demonstrative. In fact, it's barely a wave at all — more a lifting of one finger from the steering wheel when cars pass.

And yes, the "Wave" changes how you drive - one of your hands always has to be at the top of the steering wheel to be ready to wave.  Actually, I tend to lift 4 fingers off of the steering wheel as my wave.  And the local sheriff also waves back, by the way.

But in addition to just feeling friendly, when you constantly think about waving to anyone that you pass, you find that you tend to spend more time thinking of others, and not getting lost in your own "stuff".  Perhaps a case of "doing" eventually changes your "thinking"?

I just know that when I'm not there, I really miss it.  Life seems so disconnected and abrupt back on the mainland, now.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Joys of Home Ownership

Ah, the joys of home ownership!  As we were leaving Anadaré yesterday, we discovered a water leak in the hole where the shut-off valve is located.  Sigh.  So this morning I located the number to call for our water association, and they are looking into it.  Best bet:  the unapproved trench dug a month ago for another home, that burrowed under our water pipe, and poorly filled in later, is the culprit.

But I'm still realizing that needing to take care of such issues while off-island is still more difficult than if we lived there full-time.

Yes, the solution to this is pretty obvious:  move there full-time!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Special Island Memories

So quiet with the kids gone, but gently holding the memories of our time together this last weekend.  Throwing rocks on the beach, walks in the woods, seeing eagles and starfish, building gingerbread houses, playing board games, sharing homemade soup, laughing, loving, snuggling - parts of sharing our island retreat and creating special island memories for all of us.

The only time I'm not totally happy here on the island?  When I have to start thinking about straightening, cleaning, and packing up to return to the mainland.  I look forward to the day when I won't have to leave - ever.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Slower and Simpler Sunday II

I found this wonderful quote on the World Institute of Slowness blog.  Thought provoking!

The paradox of our time!

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We've been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more
information to produce more copies then ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall men but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It's a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.

The 14th Dalai Lama

Saturday, November 24, 2012

First Walk to the Beach

Love, love, love having the family here.  Here is their first walk to the beach to catch the sunrise:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Apple Pie for Breakfast


Celebrating Thanksgiving with just the two us was really rather fun.  Breaking all the rules, we had apple pie ala mode for breakfast!  (Something I have always wanted to do, but of course, had to set a good example for the kids.  It was my idea - but dear husband readily agreed. And I'm not talking left-over pie.....the pie that I made for the Thanksgiving meal.)  Really, how different is that from having pastry or doughnuts for breakfast, though??

A walk to the beach, weaving on a cedar pouch,  a lovely turkey dinner, practicing the harp, and watching a movie.....all ingredients for a perfect day.  And interestingly enough, all of the wild turkeys have gone inland and evidently are laying low - maybe they aren't as stupid as everyone thinks.

Now looking forward to a visit from all the kids and introducing them to our island life.  And it will be nice to have our little house full of family for the first time - of many times to come, I hope.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving on the Rock

Preparations for Thanksgiving this year will be simpler, in keeping with island life.  My husband and I will feast alone, anticipating the arrival of the kids and grand kids the next day.  So we will have a small turkey - but one is still required even with only two of us, in order to have the requisite leftovers for the next day!

 I baked the apple pie on Wednesday, and set the table with the few decorations and candles that I brought for the occasion.  We did make one jaunt into the village for a couple of things that I forgot to bring.....and I think he needed to get out of the house for awhile.  I've been able to take walks and get down to the beach to view the stormy waves, but he's been house-bound as his knee heals from surgery.

So food preparations are not the main focus this year - such a nice reprieve.  Rather, we have time to talk about what we are truly grateful for, to recognize what we appreciate in our lives, and call our family and loved ones to tell them how important they are to us.  A quieter holiday offers time and space for peaceful contemplation.  Anadaré gives us the opportunity for reflection on the important things, on the relationships that we cherish, and the abundance in our lives.

What am I MOST grateful for, aside from my Faith, amazing family and friends? The opportunity to possess this glorious haven on The Rock - although it appears that I may be the one to have been possessed instead. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Too Tranquil?

This morning I discovered an interesting problem - I think I am too relaxed and tranquil to write my morning pages (as part of working The Artist's Way) every day!  Usually there is so much "stuff" rummaging around in my head - things I worry about, lists of things to do, and all the miscellaneous garbage that could interfere with creativity.

Simply being here on the island relaxes me - body, soul, and mind - so completely that I just sat there, pen in hand, doodling.  And writing over and over there wasn't anything niggling or bothering me.  Oh, I know there are some days that it's HARD to write (I've been doing these pages for years) - but this was different.  I am simply calm inside. 

I did jot down some thoughts for new projects and designs, but there was no outpouring of the usual sort.  I just feel cleansed, and content.

Isn't this what we long for?  So instead of writing, I think I'll go practice the harp.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nancy Bingham - Potter

During the Artist Studio Tour in September, I met Nancy Bingham, an amazing potter, painter, and sculptor who conveniently lives on my road.  I bought just the perfect tea mug from her (and having the right tea mug is a huge part of my morning routine) that had a precious little bird on it.  I knew it was mine the minute that I saw it, since we live on Wren Road and my home is named Anadaré ("I will nest").  Since then, I have used that mug every morning while on the island.

Sadly, last Friday, while washing the dishes, a dish fell over in the dish drainer and knocked my little mug off the counter onto the floor, into a shocking number of pieces!  I told myself at the time, as some choice words were said, that I shouldn't get so attached to material things.

That same evening, while attending an artist reception for a new show in the village, I serendipitously  ran into Nancy.  I told her my tale of woe, and she graciously invited me to stop by the next day with the pieces, as she was just getting ready to make some more mugs and she would try to copy it.  I did, she will, and I'm feeling so blessed.  (Plus, when I walked up to her place from mine, she was in her kitchen just patching up a neighbor who had experienced a bad fall from her bicycle.  Nancy used to be an EMT - good to know!!!)

Isn't island life wonderful and connected??  If you'd like to contact Nancy to see more of her work, her email is  She is quite the talented artist, and friend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The History of the Twinkie

Hostess Brands, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Hostess Cupcakes, and Wonder Bread is going out of business (see full story:  It really is a departure of an era for those of us labeled Baby Boomers....we grew up with Hostess products.  We tried to buy one last Twinkie to toast it's passing, but there were none to be found on the island (guess we weren't the only ones wanting to have one last taste)! Actually, then I checked ebay - and yes, there are many boxes offered there to the highest bidder. So in tribute to Hostess and fond memories of our childhood treats, may I present (with an addendum of it's sad demise in 2012):

The History of The Twinkie

1933 - Twinkies were introduced by The Continental Baking Company in Indianapolis, which also made "Wonder Bread" and had a snack line your probably familiar with called Hostess. One of their bakers named James A. Dewar got the idea for the "Twinkie" while he delivered one of their products, a cream filled strawberry shortcake. The machines to make these sat idle when the strawberry season was over so he came up with an idea to use them to make a snack cake filled with a banana filling, and only charge a nickel for a package of 2. It was good idea as money was tight for people during the great depression.

Dewar came up with this name when driving by a billboard that had an ad for shoes from the "Twinkle Toe Shoe Company". He shortened the name to ....Twinkies....


Just like the song went "Yes We Have No Banana's " popular during the WWII because bananas were rationed, Hostess had to come up with a different filling.
They switched to vanilla creme and it was popular so they never changed back.
The Twinkie rose to popularity in the '50's in great part due to Hostess sponsoring the Howdy Doody show, featuring the twinkie.

During the 60's when there were huge fears of a nuclear attack, Many bomb shelters were built. Twinkees were one of the most popular items to have because it was said that they "stay fresh forever".

It has become an American Icon, even president Clinton put one in a time capsule.

They remain as Hostess best selling snack cake producing half a billion a year!

With excerpts from The History of Food, by Chef Stephen Holloway

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Slower and Simpler Sunday I

Slower and Simpler Sunday

A friend shared about the blog Six Sentence Sunday (, and coupled with my desire for a simpler, slower life, especially while on the island, the two concepts congealed for an idea of my own new blog for Sundays.

My thought is that I'll try to write on Sundays about this slower, simpler way of life.  Some of my own thoughts or issues, some books that I've found, and obviously links to websites will be the "simple" gist of it.  Just  an idea that was rummaging around in my head this morning as I tried to sleep-in - a process made impossible by Bailey who needed to see his two-legged servant upright.  While part of "slower" might involve sleeping in for some folks, obviously that is too much to ask in this household!

I did find a book that seems to encompass both the slower and the simpler aspects of my quest:
Almost Amish: One Woman's Quest for a Slower, Simpler, More Sustainable Life

The book also has a 4-star rating, and is available for the Nook....uh-huh, is that just wrong to want to read books about simpler life-styles on my e-reader????

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Birthdays Are Good for You

Yesterday was my birthday - the number (63) while starting to SOUND old, is just a heart and brain just don't seem to feel old at all.  And I find, as in many things, I am more and more like my mother - she never lied about her age and was always proud to be who she was.

So for my birthday, I chose to celebrate "my" way:
   -  At Anadaré with my husband and Bailey the Cat (and still amazed that I am really here - on this
                day last year I never would have dreamed that we would have a home on Lopez and I
                would be celebrating my birthday here.)
   -  Breakfast of bagels, lox and cream cheese  (such a treat!!)
   -  Learning a new technique:  Byzantine chain maille (started making a gold and black necklace)
   -  Started learning to play the harp (my husband surprised me with a rented 34-string harp with
                DVD and several books to teach myself to play - he knows me so well).  Well yes, most of
                the first hour was tuning it......but even that was fun.
   -  Walks to the beach for agates and driftwood - pleased with myself that I actually checked the tide
                 tables so I'd know when low tide was (old dog and new tricks comes to mind)
   -  Attended an artist's reception for a show opening (jewelry and fiber artists) right here on Lopez.
                 Saw some amazing jewelry made from beach pebbles.....really!
   -  Dessert and tea at a local restaurant was the plan, but the restaurant was closed, so bought some
                 local ice cream and had a sundae back at the house.
   -  And so many birthday cards and phone calls this year - wow!  I feel so very loved.

Looking back on my 63 years, I've come to know that prayer works, family and friends are so very important and vital to me, I'm responsible for my own actions and health, forgiveness is really just as simple as letting go, and life is here to experience fully - every single minute.  Take nothing for granted, be thankful for all things (big and small), and simpler really is better.

And I most quote one Hallmark card that I received from my sister-in-law:
     Laugh so hard that you go into
     Silent laugh mode, and you come
     Dangerously close to falling out of your chair,
     But you don't.
     Happy birthday.  That happy.

And it was.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ferry at Night


Bailey was not cooperating at all yesterday for the trip up to the island.  He actually hid, initiating a full-on game of hide-and-seek, with me being "IT", of course. Finally found him, easily got him into the carrier after that, and we made it to the ferry with time to spare.  So much for my bragging that he's such an unusual cat! 

He also talked quite a bit more on the way up.  I think, if I was interpreting it correctly, that he wasn't overly pleased that my husband was coming with us this trip.  The two of them were glaring at each other for most of the ride, as it was.  Yes, at certain points, I do question my sanity of insisting that the cat travel with me.  But only briefly.

We were the first car in the front and center of the ferry - and it was a bit unnerving to have front row seats as the captain navigated the black night and even blacker waters.  I think that was the first time I've been on a ferry at night, come to think of it.  And the first time in colder weather (it does cool down quickly, and you need to leave the motor off, so am making a  note to self to have a blanket in the car).  I realized that I my ferry travels have mostly been in the summer months. 

Which just makes me feel even more like an islander!  But we're settled in, unpacked, and already enjoying the peace and tranquility (including Bailey).  It is SO worth any hassle of getting here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Slower Life Style

While rushing around running errands yesterday, chauffering to doctor appointments, helping dear son with his new apartment, and actually being out of the house "doing" things for over 12 hours, I had some driving time in the car to reflect on the magnetic attraction of Lopez and the time there to SLOW DOWN. 

I found an interesting article on living a slower life style. (This is only a small part of it - I encourage reading the entire thing.)
Against such ingrained habits, the slow movement says, essentially: slow down and live better. Honoré calls it “a cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better.’’ He emphasizes that does not mean shifting from the fast lane to the breakdown lane, but rather finding “the right speed’’ for life’s tasks, and “living life rather than rushing through it.’’ The slow movement urges changes in lifestyles and workplace habits that move away from multitasking, competition, and compulsive consumerism. The end result, advocates say, will be better physical and mental health, and more social interaction that can tighten bonds between individuals and their communities. The movement’s guiding precept is this: Savor experiences rather than marking them off your mental checklist before racing on to the next thing. “Once you get this simple idea in your head,’’ Honoré says, “it affects everything you do: sex, parenting, exercise, travel, design, food, medicine, you name it.’’

And there is actually a World Institute of Slowness that has some fascinating articles, a blog, and YouTube clips about it.

I'm certainly not the first to hunger for a slower life!  Think I'll take a break from my to-do list, slow down, and read some more.....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holidays and Ferries

In planning for a visit by my kids and grandkids for the holiday, we were faced with one of the ever present realities of island life - arranging your plans around the ferry schedules.  I understand that it seems to be a bit of a hassle for them, but it's just a fact of life for us.  And I'm definitely of the persuasion, that to make it even less of an issue, maybe I just won't ever leave the island!!! (Oh I so wish....)

We are still getting used to island life ourselves, and the following part of an article explains it well, and mentions the lovely feeling I have every single time that I get on the ferry in Anacortes to head to the island. It's my transition to my island world.

Lifestyle in the San Juan Islands
Life in the San Juan Island is different from life on the mainland. Everything is a little slower in the islands. It doesn’t matter if you live there or are visiting; life in the islands isn’t high speed. That slower pace starts with getting on or off the islands. On the mainland when you want to go somewhere you just get in your car, on the islands you consult the ferry schedule and then try to figure out how early you must leave to go wait in line to catch the ferry. In summer and on weekends the line can be two or three ferries waits.
In the islands the slower more relaxed life permeates everything. The fact that every move needs to be planned in advance changes the way people live and the way they do business.
The slower pace of life on the islands makes them a good choice for a vacation where you want to relax. There are no busy highways or rush hour traffic here. A 30 minute to one hour ferry ride seems to take you a million miles from the nearest freeway.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


My life on Lopez Island is one without a cell phone.  It is a simpler, different life style than the one we have become accustomed to, but in truth, I did have to get used to it.  Now I actually look forward to it - it is so much less stressful.  Heard an interesting news report about our reliance on cell phones, that actually is a named addiction:  nomophobia.  Just one more reason to look forward to my island time!!

Your cell phone can be more than just an electronic leash if you have trouble separating yourself from it. People who are severely addicted to their cell phones suffer from "nomophobia."
It's a serious medical problem that 66% of the population suffers from and can cause many people to suffer severe anxiety or panic attacks, "Call, text, instagram, twitter, surf the internet, everything," Khadijah Haywood, a cell phone user says.
And if you have trouble leaving your cell phone behind, that feeling could be more than just separation anxiety, it could be a new medical term called "nomophobia." "I just get real scared, like something's going to happen to it when I know it's not. Even if I'm at home and I just leave it in my room I have to get it like real quick," Haywood explains.
"Nomophobia means no mobile phone phobia," Dr. Elizabeth Waterman, a Psychologist explains. Dr. Waterman says symptoms include panic and anxiety when separated from your phone, compulsively checking your phone for messages, and having your phone come between you and your relationships.
"For some people who use the phone excessively, we know that the brain is actually responding to the phone as if it is a drug," Dr. Waterman says.
But Haywood says her relationship with her phone may not be a sign of "nomophobia."
"I just rather be a teen with a phone," she says, it may be a sign of the times.
"It's definitely the generation, everyone that has a phone. Everyone is protective of their phone," Haywood says.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beaded Urn & Tide Tables

Tide tables!  I remembered to save the tide tables to my favorites list.  And would you know, they only pick a few specific areas to chart, so I would normally just choose one as close as possible to our place, but my little bay happens to be one of the ones that are listed.  And yes, I'm even noting the times of the low tides to be able to plan to get down to the beach for beachcombing.

We'll be on island for much longer this trip, so the preparations include not only groceries for a holiday meal, but arranging house and outdoor kitty sitting for the mainland house.  And of course, those endless lists in continuing to stock the island house.  Hmmm, need to remember a few holiday decorations this trip as well.

As I prepare for celebrating Thanksgiving, I mentally note all for which I am thankful - something I could do daily.  Our health (and the inconvenience after surgery is such a  good reminder of those things that we so readily take for granted), the abundance in our life, the gift of Anadaré, the time to weave and create, and of course my family and loved ones.

This weekend while caring for my dear husband post-surgery for his knee, I worked on some beading projects.  One is below - photo is from the pattern (mine isn't quite done - just missing the elongated crystal topper), but love the rather unusual little urn.  I learned a lot about shaping that will be put to good use in future projects!  It's about 2" high with out the topper.

Pattern may be purchased at;products_id=5956, if you are so inclined.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hospital Pager

My time on the mainland is finding it's own rhythm - that of "taking care of business" (as I hum from Bachman-Turner Overdrive.....). 

My husband had to have minor knee surgery day before yesterday, but I'm afraid I couldn't take much of it too seriously, when (as I was the designated driver to take him home) they handed me a pager just like you get in a restaurant, to notify me in the waiting room or hospital grounds when he was ready to be picked up!  And I wasn't alone - most of us in the room would smile or chuckle when a beeper went off.  But really - if they are going to do that - perhaps they should at least offer some hors d'oeurves when we pick up the patient?  It's hard to break the trained response to the connection of the beeper and receiving food.
Okay, just my thoughts on progressive efficiency in the medical field.  And by the way, he is healing well, thank you.  (But our doggy bag to take home only held his no-slip socks and a prescription - rather disappointing.)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Island Haiku

A breath of salt air
Gulls wheeling, driftwood treasures
My island refuge.

Weave, write, dream, create
Winged freedom - inspiration
The whispers of life.

Ferry returning
Which life my reality-
Simply where I am?