Wednesday, April 30, 2014

One Drawback

So one definite drawback (and yes, that word jumped out at me, of course) of island living?  I have to go off-island to get my hair colored and cut.  Ah well - it's not that often.  (I'm just not ready to have long, dismally grey hair.)
So I'll make a day of it and do a little exploring in Anacortes.  Thankfully I got a lot of work done yesterday, so a day away won't put me too far behind.  There is always hand-work to be done while waiting for and riding the ferry.

I am still adjusting to island life.

  1. 1.
    a feature that renders something less acceptable; a disadvantage or problem.
    "the main drawback of fitting catalytic converters is the cost"

    synonyms:disadvantagesnagdownsidestumbling blockcatchhitchpitfall, fly in the ointment;

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nose to the Grindstone

As I sat down to write my to-do list for the day, full of phone calls to make, two baskets to start, and some bases to prepare for weaving, the phrase of putting my "nose to the grindstone" came to mind, with everything that I need to get done.

And then the words sort of stood apart, all by themselves.  What in the world do they mean - where did they come from?? Inquiring minds need to know!


Apply yourself conscientiously to your work.


There are two rival explanations as to the origin of this phrase. One is that it comes from the supposed habit of millers who checked that the stones used for grinding cereal weren't overheating by putting their nose to the stone in order to smell any burning. The other is that it comes from the practice of knife grinders when sharpening blades to bend over the stone, or even to lie flat on their fronts, with their faces near the grindstone in order to hold the blades against the stone.
All the evidence is against the miller's tale. Firstly, the stones used by millers were commonly called millstones, not grindstones. The two terms were sometimes interchanged but the distinction between the two was made at least as early as 1400, when this line was printed in Turnament Totenham:
"Ther was gryndulstones in gravy, And mylstones in mawmany."
The Middle English language there is difficult to interpret but it certainly shows the grindstones and millstones as being distinct from each other. If the derivation was from milling we would expect the phrase to be 'nose to the millstone'.
A second point in favour of the tool sharpening derivation is that all the early citations refer to holding someone's nose to the grindstone as a form of punishment. This is more in keeping with the notion of the continuous hard labour implicit in being strapped to one's bench than it is to the occasional sniffing of ground flour by a miller.
nose to the grindstoneThe first known citation is John Frith's A mirrour or glasse to know thyselfe, 1532:
"This Text holdeth their noses so hard to the grindstone, that it clean disfigureth their faces."
The phrase appears in print at various dates since the 16th century. It was well-enough known in rural USA in the early 20th century for this picture, which alludes to the 'holding someone's nose to the grindstone' version of the phrase, to have been staged as a joke (circa 1910).

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tracy Grammer

Tracy Grammer graced us with a concert last night at our Lopez Center for Community and the Arts.  As well as being entertained by a very talented and gifted performer, I was captivated with her stories of how and where the words and music for the songs had been inspired.

As an artist, finding inspiration is a basic fact of life. To hear her talk about ideas, being so very aware and observant of the world around, waking up with the start of new creations, and the Muses as separate beings was inspiring in itself.  That she is participating in a challenge to write a new song every week, conceptually based on the word for the week, forces me to look at my own work and perhaps create a challenge for myself - definitely not as ambitious but still one that dares me to stretch and grow.

One my very favorites:
Along with twenty-one other ladies, I am writing a song a week for all of 2014 as part of theRealWomenRealSongs project. Here's my week 6 submission. The prompt was "puzzled." The song is called "Were You Ever Here?."

Absolutely a great evening with friends filled with creative insight and vision - I applaud all that worked to make it happen.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Slower & Simpler - Try a Purchase Pause

When I read this sparkling little gem of an idea, A Purchase Pause, I was struck by how very profound it was, as well as so very simple and succinct. One of my favorites:  if you don't know what matters most to you in your life, buying things may be your way for searching for meaning.  Really, think about it!  But I find all of her ideas very useful in my choice to live with less clutter, which means with fewer "things".

The Power of a Purchase Pause

I left my sweatshirt on a plane while traveling in March. I wore it frequently, and it was a staple of my tiny wardrobe. I called the airline, searched lost and found, and when I couldn’t find it, I wanted to replace it immediately.
Instead, I decided to implement a purchase pause. Even though I really wanted an alternative for my lost item, I knew I didn’t need it.  Fast forward almost a month, and while there have been a few times that I wanted to wear a sweatshirt, I didn’t think about it much. It didn’t prevent me from enjoying life or doing the things I normally do.

The power of a purchase pause allows you to …

  • save money
  • limit impulse buying
  • consider your purchases
  • avoid buyer’s remorse
  • bypass emotional shopping
  • create time (once you declare a purchase pause, you can stop searching sales and spend less time in the dressing room)
  • gracefully bow out of trips to the mall (sorry, can’t make it … I’m in the middle of a purchase pause)
I used to buy whatever I wanted, even if I didn’t have the money. I also bought a bunch of stuff I thought I wanted, but lost interest after a few weeks or days. I shopped because “I deserved it” or because “it would make me feel better” or because “that new gadget would make me be a better ________.”
I always had what sounded like a reasonable excuse to buy. I also had a pile of debt, a garage and shed full of stuff that I didn’t use, and all of the side effects that come with that including discontent and stress.
Shopping never fixed anything.


1. Fake the purchase. Before you buy one more thing, imagine buying it. For example, if you want to buy a new pair of roller blades because you saw some people at the park having fun on skates, fake the purchase. Go through each step of the process. Imagine walking into the store, handing over cash or card, and bringing your new roller blades home. Are you so excited that you put them on and take them for a spin, or do you have to go back to work or clean your house first? Maybe you wait to try them until the weekend. Then it rains on Saturday, so you have to put your outing off a week. When you do get out, do you love roller blading and start using them every day or once a week, or after time do they work their way to the back of the closet while you look for something else?
When you finally give up on the roller blades, are you still paying for them? Roller blades might not be your thing, but whatever the item, fake your next purchase and think through the first 30-60 days with your new purchase. Still interested?
2. Buy it on paper. Declare a shopping fast for the next 30 days. Instead of buying it with paper or plastic, buy it on paper. Write down everything you think about buying along with the price. Keep track of the items you want and the money you would have spent buying them.
At the end of 30 days, look at the total amount of money you saved and ask yourself if you want to spend it on the items you listed or use it for something else. It’s easier to justify one purchase at a time, but when you total your expenses and realize how much you are spending each month, the individual purchases may seem less important. If your monthly total is $800, would you go out and buy everything on the list or use the $800 differently?
3. Define need vs. want. Get honest with yourself about your purchases. What percentage of your purchases are needs versus wants? Buying something you want isn’t a bad thing, but call it what it is.
4. Know what matters most. Use what matters the most to leverage your shopping decisions. If you don’t know what matters, buying things may be your way of searching for meaning.
Instead, identify a few things that really mean something to you. It will be different for everyone, but some examples might include:
  • school tuition
  • paying off debt
  • travel
  • quitting your job
  • donating money to a cause you care about
Maybe there is a physical item that you really want like a new computer to grow your business, or a bicycle so you can ride to work. Whatever it is, identify it and whenever you are considering a purchase, ask yourself what you want more, Roller blades or a trip to Spain?
5. Make rules. Challenge yourself to stick with a few shopping rules so you can fully embrace the power of a purchase pause. Before purchasing, wait 30 days for anything less than $100 and 60 days for everything that costs more than $100.
You don’t have to be a shopaholic to benefit from a purchase pause. Most of us have purchased things we don’t need or want and later regret the decision to buy. With a small time out, we can fully consider our purchases and make informed decisions about what really makes us happy.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Do It Now

When people ask me how I manage to get so many things done, the simple answer is that I do things "now".  It's not a fancy philosophy, just practical. Even if I tell myself I only need to start the project or whatever it is, by the time I get going on it, the momentum usually carries me through, right then, to finishing.

The follow blog says the same thing, just in different words:

The right moment

You might be waiting for things to settle down. For the kids to be old enough, for work to calm down, for the economy to recover, for the weather to cooperate, for your bad back to let up just a little...
The thing is, people who make a difference never wait for just the right time. They know that it will never arrive.
Instead, they make their ruckus when they are short of sleep, out of money, hungry, in the middle of a domestic mess and during a blizzard. Whenever.
As long as whenever is now.

So here is to NOW (and I don't mean the National Organization for Women....that's a different topic, different blog).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Common Denominator

In the waiting room at the ferry dock yesterday (as I was going to Shaw Island to meet up with other textile guild members for our monthly basket day), several of us struck up a conversation.  As the topics meandered from weather, gangs on the mainland, the new female deputy sheriff, and domestic violence, it was apparent that each of us was truly listening to one another, learning, and sharing.

Essentially, we were being Lopezians - respectful of each others views while seeking our common ground: based simply in that we live on Lopez and love it here. I think each of us walked away with possibly new information but definitely with a sense of connection.

Ah, the magic of Lopez.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chimera Gallery

I'm delighted to now be not just a memeber but a working member of Chimera Gallery on Lopez Island, as well as just elected to their Board.  (I'm actually feeling like an artist!!)  It is not often (hmmm....never?) that I have asked my readers to "like" a facebook page, or visit a specific website.  But just this time I do ask that you maybe take a moment to do so....I would love to show off my readership connections to my new Board.

If you would?  If you could?  Just this once?  Please?    (my personal link isn't on the website just yet)

I promise I won't ask anymore of you.  And don't worry, if you choose not to, I still love and appreciate you!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Perfumes and Scents that Change

Perfumes have always changed and smelled differently on me.  And out of respect for many people who are allergic to scents, I am very careful when, where, and the amount I wear.  But I am so disappointed that the gardenia and plumeria scents that I brought back from Hawaii, that I used to wear all the time, are just awful on me now!  It is so disheartening!  There had been very few perfumes or colognes that I could wear anyway, and now to have these off the list saddens me.  I was so looking forward to having some light florals to wear for spring, without going through the whole process of trying them in the store and walking around while they settle in or going through the hassle of asking for samples and spending the time trying them at home.   As Pooh would say:  Bother!

Perfumes react to your own body chemistry, making certain notes smell differently on your skin than someone else's. It's important to test perfumes out on your skin and allow the fragrance to settle, to see which scents complement you before purchasing a perfume. Changes in hormones, diet and medications can also alter the way a perfume smells on your skin, even if you've been wearing it for a long time, so it's important to have a variety of perfumes that suit you.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Am in the midst of changing my work plans for the day.  I was hoping to go gathering driftwood and rocks for weaving, but it's a bit too windy for that to be comfortable today.  So I'm having another cup of tea and then will switch gears, stop procrastinating, and work on my book.

Instead of continuing to research, outlining, and making notes, the next step is to start putting it all together.  In a word, WRITE the first draft.  I keep telling myself that I need more material, need to research more, need to wait.  My other self is getting pretty adamant that I simply need to start the actual writing....if it needs more background, I'll then know it.

So with tea at the ready, and kitty on my lap, here we go! Actually, having Sophie on my lap helps....she is content, and I'm more likely to stay put so I don't disturb her.  I know, I know - whatever!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fainting Goat

While perusing yarn stores in Seattle, we stumbled upon The Fainting Goat - a gelato store.  While enjoying some fabulous gelato, we of course looked up fainting goats.  And yes, they do exist!

To view them, please see:

myotonic goat, otherwise known as the fainting goat, is a domestic goat whose muscles freeze for roughly 10 seconds when the goat feels panic. Though painless, this generally results in the animal's collapsing on its side. The characteristic is caused by a hereditary genetic disorder called myotonia congenita. When startled, younger goats will stiffen and fall over. Older goats learn to spread their legs or lean against something when startled, and often they continue to run about in an awkward, stiff-legged shuffle.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Slower & Simpler - Procrastination

In trying to simplify my life and part with the accumulated dross of a lifetime, I find I am quite creative in procrastinating.  This blog has an interesting list - some that help, some that inspire, and some that simply make me smile.

29 Inspiring Procrastination and Productivity Quotes

by Henrik Edberg

You know what you want to do. You certainly know what you need to be doing.
But you’re off somewhere else.
Because procrastination has once again swept into your mind and actions.
And so you escape.
Onto Facebook, into a video game or a movie or simply by doing easier and less important tasks.
I am no stranger to this. I have been there hundreds of times, especially during my early twenties when I was I college.

But what can you do about it? Well, today I won’t be sharing what has been most helpful for me to minimize my own procrastination.
Instead I’d like to offer 29 of the smartest, most motivational and insightful thoughts from the people who have come before us on procrastination and on getting things done.
  1. “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.”
    – William James
  2. “If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”
    – Olin Miller
  3. “It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
    – Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  4. “Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.”
    – Denis Waitley
  5. “How soon ‘not now’ becomes ‘never.’”
    – Martin Luther
  6. “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt
  7. “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
    – Stephen King
  8. “A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
    – Karen Lamb
  9. “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
    – David Allen
  10. “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”
    – Napoleon Bonaparte
  11. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
    – Martin Luther King, Jr.
  12. “Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”
    – Dale Carnegie
  13. “Think of many things; do one.”
    – Portuguese proverb
  14. “Procrastination is the thief of time: Year after year it steals, till all are fled, and to the mercies of a moment leaves the vast concerns of an eternal scene.”
    – Edward Young
  15. “To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.”
    – Eva Young
  16. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
    – Jim Rohn
  17. “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
    – Pablo Picasso
  18. “The least productive people are usually the ones who are most in favor of holding meetings.”
    – Thomas Sowell
  19. “Follow effective actions with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
    – Peter Drucker
  20. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
    – Anne Frank
  21. “Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.”
    – Denis Waitley
  22. “Much of the stress that people feel doesn’t come from having too much to do. It comes from not finishing what they started.”
    – David Allen
  23. “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”
    – Peter Drucker
  24. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work in hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus. “
    – Alexander Graham Bell
  25. “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”
    – David Allen
  26. “Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
    – Lao Tzu
  27. “It is not really work if you are having fun.”
    – Pierre Omidyar
  28. “Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost legendary. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Perseverance and determination alone are omnipotent.”
    – Calvin Coolidge
  29. “Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.”
    – Napoleon Hill

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chalk Guy

These drawings on a flat sidewalk are absolutely amazing: to see many of them.  I would love to see one in person.

But first of all, who is Julian Beever?

According to Wikipedia:
“Julian Beever is an English, Belgium-based chalk artist who has been creating trompe-l’œil chalk drawings on pavement surfaces since the mid-1990s. His works are created using a projection called anamorphosis, and create the illusion of three dimensions when viewed from the correct angle.”

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Quick Trip for Yarn

Am just returning to the island after a quick trip to the mainland for, well, mainly yarn!  While there, I sneaked in bit of other "necessity" shopping, of course.

Just wandering through yarn stores is such a pleasure.....I'm surprised that it's not fattening!

Thursday, April 17, 2014


Oddly, two books that I am currently reading are on the same topic.  (I usually have one fiction and one non-fiction book at the same time so I can have some variety.)

"What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty is the fiction choice from my book club. While it does have some heavy topics like divorce and memory loss, it is superbly written.

 What Alice Forgot

My non-fiction choice?  "The Answer to the Riddle is Me" is written by David Stuart MacLean, as a memoir of his amnesia.  Why oh why these two books, right now, at this time???

I have no answers.....I'm just enjoying both books.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Island Prescriptions

Island prescriptions for a restful sleep and productive day:

Alarm clock:  bird song
Sleeping aid:  fresh air
Breakfast:  organic eggs and berries
Exercise/gym:  a walk to and along the shore
Commute:  to my kitchen
Work:   weaving a basket

It translates rather well, I think.

 So there are artificial ways to be awakened by birds, I learn...I just happen to have the real thing!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

100 Amazing Books to Read in a Lifetime

When I stumbled upon Stumbleupon, I had no idea what a gift it could be.  They recently shared "100 Amazing Books to Read in a Lifetime". 

Their list (below) is excellent, although I'm disappointed in two areas.  First, I've read all but 3 on the list (I was hoping for some wonderful new books I had not yet read).  Second, two of my favorites are not on the list:  Egalia's Daughters by Gert Brantenberg by  and Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl.  But it is definitely a list of books worth re-reading.  The books, not the list.

Here are the top 100 books on their list:

Monday, April 14, 2014

Salish Sea

I was reading something yesterday that referred to Lopez Island as being in the Salish Sea. Finding that extremely intriguing, of course some research ensued.  Part of what I discovered is shown below.  It just seems right to name it after the indigenous people, rather than various explorers.  Since I was raised in Gig Harbor, you might say I've always lived by the Salish Sea.  No wonder it feels like home on the island!
The Salish Sea includes the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Strait of Georgia, Puget Sound, and all their connecting channels and adjoining waters, such as Haro StraitRosario StraitBellingham BayHood Canal, and the waters around and between the San Juan Islands in the U.S. state of Washington and the Gulf Islands in British Columbia, Canada.

Origin of the term[edit]

The first known use of the term Salish Sea was in 1988, when marine biologist Bert Webber from Bellingham, Washington, created the name for the combined waters in the region with the intention to complement the names Georgia Strait, Puget Sound, and Strait of Juan de Fuca, not replace them.[3] The adoption of the term, he said, would raise consciousness about taking care of the region's waters and ecosystems. Webber's efforts are credited with the official recognition of the term in Canada and the U.S.

Coast Salish peoples[edit]

The Coast Salish are the indigenous peoples who live in southwest British Columbia and northwest Washington state along the Salish Sea and share a common linguistic and cultural origin. The Coast Salish are seen as one of the main cultural and linguistic branches of a larger group known as Salishan or Salish. There are five recognized divisions of the Salish language family, with Coast Salish and Interior Salish being the primary two. The Salish family consists of 23 separate languages.[4] European and American explorers first encountered Salishan people along the Pacific Northwest coast in the late 18th century. The first detailed information was obtained by the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-1806.[5] The term "Salish" was originally applied only to the Interior Salish Flathead tribe living in the region of Flathead Lake, Montana.[5][6] By the mid-20th century it had been extended to cover all people speaking a similar language.[7] The Flathead Nation continues to refer to their language and culture as Salish.[8][9] A variant name for Flathead Lake is "Selish Lake".[10] The name Salish Sea was coined only in the late 20th century. There is no overarching title for this area or even a commonly shared name for any of the waterbodies in any of the Coast Salish languages.
The waterways of the Salish Sea were important trade routes for the Coast Salish and they remain a source of food and other resources for the indigenous peoples. The basin includes territory of the Northern Wakashan Kwakwaka'wakw and Southern Wakashanpeoples (the Nuu-chah-nulth, Makah, and Ditidaht) and, formerly, that of the Chimakum (a Chimakuan people related to the Quileute who no longer exist as recognizable group, having been wiped out by the Suquamish and others in the 19th century).[11]

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Slower & Simpler - Never Compare

Most of my unrest or dis-ease in my life is due to comparing myself to others, or how I used to be at age 30, or perfection.  An insightful article on the subject may be found at

But this picture says it all:


Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Way With Words

For anyone trying to learn English (and I am so very thankful that it's my native language), the idioms and idiosyncrasies make it so difficult.  However, it is also fascinating to study this ever-changing tongue and how usage changes over time.

There is an NPR program called "A Way With Words" ( that is wonderful.  It's one of the few podcasts that I download and listen to regularly.

It also makes me realize that my interest in words and their roots is a mere hobby, compared to the intense and often all-consuming interest it holds for others.  I dabble, they are consumed.

A Way with Words

A public radio program about language examined through history, culture, and family.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Freedom To Be An Artist

There are so very many choices of what I could do today - what an awesome life this is.  A deer is munching her way through my front yard.  The hummingbirds are already fighting over the feeder and it is barely light.  And I'm prioritizing my day, wading through the myriad of options and projects confronting me.

I think today will be driftwood preparation (sanding, varnishing, drilling) outside on the deck, weaving on a random weave cedar basket that seems never-ending (I always see more to do on it no matter how much more I work on it), and then into the village for training to work at the gallery.  But before any of that, I think a walk may be in order, down by the water that looks like it is still as glass.

After a life-time of working in the corporate world, even though I've been retired for a few years now, I still relish my freedom to be an artist, work for myself, and be able to plan my own schedule and work day.  These are the gifts of my island artist life:  appreciation for what I have and an inspiring place in which to work.  Not quite sure that I am deserving of this blessed life, but I will NOT take it for granted.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Feeling a bit scattered today.  The new ideas and projects from the retreat are vying for space with my present commitments and weaving that needs to be done.

This little bird word art was created with, one of my favorite creative websites. It sort of makes the mess in my head "pretty"!  Certainly doesn't accomplish anything on my to-do list, but it's nice to look at and makes me smile.