Wednesday, May 4, 2011

To Plant A Tree

This is the year my house will get a tree. Or more than one.
It has roses and grape vines, lush grass and abundant weeds; vigorous perennials and yummy strawberrys, heavenly lavender and large bushes - but not trees anywhere. So now it's time. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

How to train a spoiled/annoying/dang cute little dog?

    I have a dog - a little toy - and dang she is so cute. She loves to cuddle and follow me around - but she is spoiled rotten. I didn't realize this until our other dog found a new home - but this girl is super spoiled. She was always submissive to the other dog but now that he is gone - she is "top dog" and it's showing.
    So how do I train this girl? I've been to some training classes (different dog) and know some of the techniques but they aren't working for her! I've heard - don't give your dog too much attention - it spoils them, they think they are in charge - but she's way too cute. So today I practiced "ignoring" and some basic training. I've gotta get her to get some manners fast though. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Inspiration: Blind Photography

    His name is Pete Eckhert. His seeing eye dog's name is Clancy. He is blind, and is a photographer. He didn't get into photography much until he went blind. "Sound gives an image just like light gives an image," Pete says. "Sound wraps around images and if your in the sound's shadow it will give you a description of where and what the thing is your looking at." 
    His images are ethereal, incorporating double exposures using a Mamiyaflex TLR. 
    To see his photos and an amazing video go to this link here

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Happy Superbowl Sunday

    It's superbowl Sunday. I'm not a huge football fan - OK, not really a fan at all - but superbowl is special. It's American. And the commercials are hilarious even if I can't ever get into the game. OK - Tiger Wood's commercial last year - not so great. But everything else... is it horrible I Tivo it for the commercials, skipping the game? Nah, I don't think so (though I know several people who would). 
    Happy Superbowl everyone. It's like a holiday after all. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Empty Feelings & Finding Purpose

    What does it mean when you feel "empty?" Are there no feelings going on? I often have this out of sorts, "empty" sort of feeling - notably at night - the day is done, I should feel relieved, but instead there is a gape: now what? People with depression understand this feeling well - it is often a warning sign, our minds telling us something is up. In my long experience dealing with depression, I've learned to heed these warning signs. 
    One of the things that has helped me get out of this slump of emptiness is a gratitude journal. I often find myself thinking about the things I'm most grateful for to be a catalyst to reorganize my thought processes, moving into a more productive way of thinking. Another thing that helps me is sunlight - there is very little right now, and I desperately need some. I have a lamp that treats SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder); think I will go sit by it for awhile.
    In the meantime, here are some things I'm grateful for:

  • My child's eyes, knowing, wise, full of tears and then joy almost simultaneously 
  • The color of the sky right before a summer storm - that vibrant blue that crackles with energy
  • Charcoal pencils - instruments of power for the images inside my mind
  • Cold that shocks and wakes me up making me shake and feel alive 

    I often ask myself while feeling these empty feelings, what am I doing? What should I be doing? What do I want to do? I know what I want to do - I want to be at a beach, walking in the sun, letting the ocean swell around my feet. That isn't feasible at the moment but what is? What is meaningful? 
  • Drawing, creating - anything - is meaningful, as is writing (creating)
  • Smiling at someone is meaningful - letting warmth in, connecting
  • Holding my husband's hand is meaningful to me
  • Listening to someone is meaningful - just listening, not trying to be heard, but actually hearing
  • Being here, being alive, being a spirit being of LIGHT - that is meaningful - my existence is not accidental, it matters

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Creature Comforts - The Perfect At Home Pedicure

     It is extremely cold outside. Too cold for snow, too cold to want to be out there (though not as cold as yesterday). Time to pop in a movie, make some cocoa, and indulge in some creature comforts - in this case a pedicure, at home.

    Step 1. Establish your space. The movie - check. Cocoa - check. Nail supplies? Here are the basics: 

  • Polish remover - non-acetone is a good gentle choice, bump it up to the heavy duty stuff if you are removing a lot of polish
  • Cotton Balls
  • Cuticle Pusher
  • Callous Remover
  • Cuticle remover gel & tool
  • Lotion
  • Base Coat
  • Polish 
  • Optional - Nail Art Stickers
  • Top Coat
  • Toe Separators
  • Optional - Quick Drying Polish Drops, Spray, or top coat
  • Clippers
  • Nail Files
  • Optional - Foot spa mmmmm
Step 2. Do the pedicure!!
  • Immerse in foot spa, or clean feet well in some other way.
  • Trim toenails straight across to prevent ingrowns and not terrible short. 
  • File with course end, then smoother end.
  • Use callous remover - the ped egg is good, but don't be too rough - or a simple pumice stone can do the trick. 
  • Apply cuticle remover gel and let sit for the instructed time, usually 1 minute. Wash off well, push up cuticles with cuticle pusher, and trim if desired with trimmer. 
  • Lotionize!
  • Wetten cotton puff with nail polish remover, wipe down each toenail with puff - this preps for polish. 
  • Insert toe separators - in a pinch use t.p. 
  • Apply base coat. 
  • Apply two coats of a high quality polish - I prefer OPI, China Glaze, or Essie (in that order). Make sure it is free of the nasty chemicals the FDA warned about - it should say "toulene free, DBP free, phosphate free," or something like that.
  • Let the polish dry a few minutes before applying a sticker (with tweezers) if you want stickers.
  • Apply top coat. 
  • If you want, apply quick-drying drops (OPI & Essie make great ones) or spray (OPI & Sally Beauty have good ones). 
Step 3. Relax, keep your feet up, and watch your movie!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day - Top Ten Gifts

    There were several Saint Valentines, according to wikipedia, and no one's quite sure which one inspired Valentine's Day or whether it was the collection of martyred Saints. In any case, it's now as much a holiday as any other, and here are 10 things to give (or request).

1. These cute pillowcases for him & her - perfectly sweet. 

2. A (worth reading) book to improve your relationship, or find one. 

3. Something for the kids in your life.

4. A great movie - this one made me laugh and cry. 

5. Valentine's Day Cupcake Kit - need I say more?

6. There is something sensual about a locking diary...

7. Something for him.

8. Make your own cards for a personal gesture.

9. I love Canon for their gorgeous vivid prints.

10. Because no Valentine's List would be complete without chocolate...

Monday, January 31, 2011

I want this: Salt & Chocolate

    This sounds too good - Salted Chocolate. So many gourmet salts are around - fluer de sel, that famous french salt, himalayan pink sea salt, grey salt, salt from Hawaii - and they all taste amazing on chocolate. It goes especially well with caramel, which I find sometimes overly sweet - and incredibly good with dark chocolate (but not too dark - that stuff has it's own tartness going for it). 
    Lindt makes a tasty bar that is at the grocery store, but it's not quite like the following ones. Yum. 

    A fun blog about chocolate - famous San Francisco Chocolatier's Salt & Chocolate Event

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thoughts on Anger

    Have you ever gotten really angry about something actually very slight, not very important at all? Of  course you have, it's human nature. What is it about anger? Why does it feel one up then make us crash so badly?
    I've often heard that anger is a masking emotion. A mask, to cover fear - pain - or even perhaps a mechanism, a survival one, to be a catalyst of change.
    Apathy is something I feel all too often - and sometimes a sharp dose of anger is what is needed to propel me out of the apathetic state and into a pro-active, living state.
    What about the one's that never allow themselves to feel or acknowledge their anger? Who even claim, they never get angry? To me, this promotes a victimized mindset. Healthy anger, expressed appropriately, is a great tool of the human psyche - to deny it is to repress, and repression only leads to further pain.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting out of the ditch

    Mom called it "being stuck in a rut." I like to call it the ditch. That dark spot when the bad days outnumber the good, when I don't want to do anything, when the grey winter sky matches my grey blah mood. Apathy turns to isolation, which turns into pain and fear. 

    Getting out of this is hard - but here are some ideas.

  • Yoga. Just your basic stuff - little sun salutes and so on. From a video (they are everywhere) or the web - or a book. I prefer a book actually, but a class is best. The class really makes it impossible to completely shut down, isolate, and though it uses up a ton of energy - to leave my grey cloud - the benefits are amazing.
  • A Funny Movie. Think Adam Sandler. Or Jim Carrey. Something stupid can do the trick, or something sophisticated. The key is to laugh - alot. Laughing releases endorphins.
  • A little bit of super dark chocolate. This seems to especially help with the nightly serotonin drop. 
  • A meditating walk. Breathe in the air, feel your body - stop being numb in the shell of panic attack, anxiety, depression. Move your muscles, feel the cold.

Yummy Organic Lip Balm

    I found this yummy lip balm at Ulta today. For Christmas my husband got me the Summer Fruit kind (with a Fuchsia container) - which my kids promptly got into. I'm guarding it closer now cause this stuff is awesome. It's not too strong. It's mostly organic. And the shape is intuitive and artistic. The price ain't bad either. (It's a ton of lip balm). 


     Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I was 19, and not surprised at all to learn about the diagnosis - it runs in my family just like hazel eyes and long toes. I was promptly placed on the popular SSRI of the time - Prozac. In the years that followed I went on and off different meds - SSRI's targeting serotonin, nor-epinephrin, dopamine, and so on. Meds for anxiety, meds to sleep. Meds to wake up. All these drugs made for a messed up me - more messed up than I was prior to the diagnosis.
    In the early days I discovered a few things that helped. Things like sunlight, meditation cd's, and shopping. Yes, shopping. For that special something - that gave me a lift and kept me going for awhile. 
    Later on I would discover other things - service, exercise, and special combinations of vitamins that helped me get off most of the meds. And of course, Art. As time goes on I learn more and more how to be happy - because it takes a lot of effort for me, but is vitally important to my existence. 
    So this blog is about my discoveries - what I like, what works, what brings a smile, what hurts. For more info about shopping as therapy, check out this Discovery Health article, Good Health Comes In Small Packages.

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