Thursday, May 27, 2010

Then, When and Now

Recently I was turned onto Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now.  (
 I am on a Spiritual Quest after being asleep for oh so long.  How amazing it is to realize that I have spent so much of my life in my brain, thinking about the past or the future, quite ignoring what is going on right now.  Right Now.  So I am in the process of retraining my brain, and let me tell you, it is so easy to forget and start dwelling on what I need to do next or later or what someone said or did in the recent past. 

I dwell.  I fully admit it.  If my feelings get hurt, I replay it over and over like a tongue on the gum where a tooth used to be.  I am almost 40 years old.  Isn't it about time I stopped worrying so much about what other people think about me and my decisions and my actions and my thoughts?  How liberated I might feel!  Oh, oh, here I go again . . . thinking about what "might be" in the future.  See what I mean?

So, back to Tolle.  I recently purchased The Power of Now and A New Earth.  I started the first one, haven't even cracked the second one yet.  (Another side note, if you like to get books cheap, try Abe Books online.  It is awesome!)  According to Tolle, our brain gets in the way of our Spirit.  Ego likes to step in at every opportunity and tell us what to think and feel about everything, drowning out the Divine and intuition. 

After looking into this author a bit more, I discovered that he had written a children's book, Milton's Secret, (  which I borrowed from the public library and read to Jake.  Twice.  I figured introducing him to the concept of not lettin himself get carried away by the "what if's" and "if only's" as soon as possible could only be a good thing.  The book is very enjoyable.  The pictures are beautiful.  The little boy, Milton is gorgeous. 

Milton is young, perhaps in 1st or 2nd grade.  He is bullied by a big kid who makes fun of his name and pushes him on the playground, threatening to do so again real soon.  Milton is sad and scared.  He dwells on his fear and it grows.  He can't really sleep.  He is skittery at school, looking out for the big kid.  One night as he is tossing and turning, he doesn't hear his cat getting into a fight outside, as he is too worried about what might be in store for him the next day at school.  In the morning when he goes to feed his cat, he discovers him bloody and torn.  Milton and his mom bandage the cat up and Milton takes to the couch with the cat, who starts purring.  Milton is amazed that the cat can be happy after what he has just gone through.  Milton's grandfather explains that the cat is not dwelling on the past or the future, but is content in the Now (which is simply cuddling on the couch with his boy).  Grandpa goes on to explain about Life and how it is in everything, but is ignored so often by humans who are so much in their heads about things that aren't even happening at the moment.  Through a cool dream sequence, Milton starts to feel less fear and more joy with life.  He happens to be in the school bathroom when he spots the bully looking at himself in the mirror, obviously discontent and full of pain himself.  Milton gains insight into the boy's behavior and is able to feel even braver. 

What a crazy concept, to not worry about all the possibilities that may happen, or to replay the past like a bad movie scene stuck on skip.  It takes real concentration and awareness.  It takes bravery, as our ego and intellect feel the need to glom onto these thoughts as a way to create a barrier against more pain.  Unfortunately, we miss out on the joy of what is going on this second.  This amazing second that is here and gone with each breath.  When my son is telling me about something in his day and I am thinking about dinner, I miss out on that moment with my boy who is growing up so quickly.  That moment is gone.  To take a deep breath and let the impatience disappear and really enjoy the story and this amazing creature who is sharing his life with me is truly a gift. 

I am grateful to have been introduced to this way of sacred thinking and being.  I am learning to meditate and calm down more often.  The concept of a Higher Power is making me smile again.  I am pleased.  Thanks for listening.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


This was a kitchen goddess weekend. I spent hours and hours in my little, colorful kitchen making 2 dinners and jam. Lots of jam.

Growing up, I made jam with my Grandma Boyd. She was kitchen goddess extraordinaire, but didn't even know it. She just did what she had to do. Feed people. She grew up on a farm and lived through the depression. She washed baggies and foil. She was not a pack rat, but was careful not to be wasteful. She taught me the fine art of jam making.

Apricot, strawberry, plum. Those were her standards. I have made jam a few times since she has died, and think of her every time. Especially when I break the rules.

My grandma's food always tasted the same. Delicious, but identical to the last time she made it. And the time before. Always. Why? Because she followed directions to a "T" and never wavered from them. If it called for 1/4 tsp of butter, that's what it got. She pulled down the same ancient and yellowed cookbooks for meals she had made for the past 50 years. I am not cut from the same cloth.

I am a rule breaker.

Sometimes I break the rules on purpose, sometimes on accident. When she was alive, I used to store stories up until our visits, just to regale her with my latest antics, to which she would shake her head and exclaim, "Judy!" in a manner that told me she was slightly shocked but didn't love me any the less for it.
I spent a lot of my childhood in her kitchen. She would tie a big "flour sack" towel around my waste and I would stand on the step-stool, stirring and tasting and rolling and creating with her. Cookies, pies, frosting, dinner, lunch, and as I got older, I was initiated into the world of jam making.

She used a clamp-on meat grinder to break down the fruit. I use a food processor. Or my hands. I am a very messy, hands-on cook. Her kitchen would look used, but very organized. Mine has fruit splattered on the cabinet doors after a batch of jam. But you know what? Jam tastes good not matter how messy or neat you are while making it.

On Friday afternoon, I stopped by the little produce stand in Bonsall and bought a flat of strawberries for $20. I stopped by the store for some sugar and canning lids. I ventured into the basement for jars and canning pots and utensils.

In the past I made the jam according to the recipe that came with the box of pectin. This year I decided to make jam according to a book she had given me a few years ago. The main difference is that the sugar and berries sit together for 2 hours to get good and juicy. The boxed directions never had me do that. I crushed enough berries for 2 batches, and realized I had half the flat left. Sigh. I wrote pectin and sugar on the shopping list. Looks like a long weekend of canning ahead. I didn't really mind. Why go small?

The first 2 batches of strawberry jam turned out optimum. Then my "rule breakin" personality started peeking through and I decided to make the second two batches with rhubarb. On Sunday, I bought 2 lbs of rhubarb, skinned and diced it, mixed it in with the strawberries and sugar, then took off to fly kites with my guys.

I couldn't find any recipes that had the strawberries and rhubarb together in any of my books or the pamphlets, so I decided to wing it. Not the best idea for jam, as it might not "set" properly (get solid) but hey, I could always label it "syrup", right?

While at the store, I decided to go "economical" and buy the powdered pectin, rather than the liquid I had used the day before. The powder was about $2/box. The liquid was almost $7 (for 2 packages in a box). Chaos further reigned when I read that the sugar was to be added after the fruit had come to a boil when using the powder. My fruit had been macerating in the sugar for a few hours. I plowed ahead.

14 jars later, I am not sure if it will be labeled "jam" or "syrup" but it tastes delicious. I called my co-worker and friend, Lorie, and asked her if she would be up to baking some bread for work. I would bring the jam. We would pig out. She was happy to oblige. Monday will be some good

Sunday, May 16, 2010

San Jilgueros Preserve Trail

Today, Erik and I took Jake, his bff Emily, and our dog, Kodi on a walk at Fallbrook's San Jilgueros Preserve Trail. It is located off of Mission Road, just before Fallbrook High School.

I drive by it twice a day almost everyday, and yet I hadn't visited it in over two years.

We have been inspired recently to do more physical activities lately as a family. Today we walked the dog and threw a baseball and admired the view in this gorgeous place.

This is a nature preserve, with a water-effecient botanical garden at one end of it. The paths meander and cross each other. It is not very strenuous, which was just fine with us today. We sighted a whole bunch of lizards, Erik pointed out which plants to steer clear of, and a couple of flowers were picked and presented with love.

Jake and Erik had been at it a little bit before we drove here today, as Jake was being rude (a problem he has) and Erik was not putting up with it. Emily, Kodi and I waited a little anxiously in the car as they worked it out.

Happily for all of us, the wind of discontent blew away as we drove the 7 minutes to get to this little patch of heaven that runs along a busy street and under the flight path of the local, small plane airpark.

The walk wasn't without a bit more quarreling, (Jake is known as a contrarian, after all), but all in all, the sunshine and fresh air did us good.

In the Arms of an Angel

In the arms of an Angel fly away from here
From this dark, cold hotel room, and the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of an Angel; may you find some comfort here

So I'm lying in bed tonite, the lights are off, I have read for awhile and am ready to sleep. Pandora Radio is playing on the computer. I am a big fan of Pandora Radio, where you can type in an artist you like and it creates a playlist of the artist and similar music. Tonite I had typed in "Bonnie Raitt". The outcome was surprising. Very little country or rock, lots of emo chick stuff. Just my style.

Anyway, I thought I'd just go to sleep with it running, as it stops by itself if you don't answer it's prompt of, "Are you still listening? We don't like to play to any empty room", when "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan came on. The acoustic version.

This song always brings forth a spirit of sorrow for me. Back in 2003 I was listening to Sarah's "Mirrorball" live album a lot. Danielle van Dam had just gone missing and San Diego was on serious alert to find this 7-year-old girl who had been taken from her bedroom during the night. Being a new mom myself, I felt the pain of this incident to the core. I inwardly dedicated this song to her. I listened to it time and again, sending love, strength and courage out to her.

When her little naked body was found in the desert, I was devastated. Her family was under fierce scrutiny and the public didn't like what it was hearing. Her mom and dad were involved in some activities that many frown upon. Fingers were pointed and hearts hardened against this family who were suffering so much.

I was working at "The Come On In! Cafe" in La Jolla as a baker. One day as I walked out of the kitchen towards the front door, I realized that Danielle's mom was sitting at a table by herself. I recognized her instantly and her guarded look told me that she knew I knew who she was. I gave her a little smile and kept walking. Once inside the restroom around the corner, my heart told me not to let this opportunity slip away.

Once back in the kitchen, I wrote her a letter, expressing my grief and sorrow for the horrific situation her family was going through. I felt outraged at the strangers who felt they could "justify" what had happened to the little one because her parents made decisions they felt they themselves would not do. I also told her about the song, how I had dedicated it to Danielle and would forever associate it with her.

I sealed the note and gave it to her, along with a cookie. The energy around the woman was high as I handed her the letter. She may have been assuming the worst of me.

Later, I brought some desserts up to the front of the store and she stopped me, thanked me, and gave me the remembrance pin that is shown at the top of this blog. She let me hug her.

As I lay under the covers tonite and sang the song, I was again awash in the pain of the tragedy that the van Dam family went through. I wondered about her 2 brothers, how they were faring. I wondered if the family has perhaps found some peace these few years later.

So here I am, sharing my heart with you, weeping and typing.

Danielle will always be remembered in my heart.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stephen King's "Under the Dome"

I am a huge Stephen King fan. Huge. He is on my short list of people I would like to hang out with. Even though some of his stories absolutely terrify me (The Shining, Pet Semetary, Carrie, (and I will never read Cujo again)), he has a way about him that is comforting. It's like he says, "Dear Constant Reader, I will tell you a story now. You might get grossed out. You might cry. But you're gonna enjoy yourself and I'll hold your hand from time to time. Trust me."

My favorite book of his is The Stand, which is about the United States after a superflu bug is set loose from a military base and kills 99.9% of humans (and dogs). It is a monster of a book, weighing in at about 4 lbs. Seriously. I have read it at least 4 times.

Last year, Under the Dome came out. As usual, I waited until I got my hands on it at the library. I am on the waiting list for the audio version, but found it in regular form the other day when I took Jake to replenish his supply of audio books. (He was sick and bed-bound. Nothing like a little Goosebumps to make you feel better, I guess!) King's latest tome caught my eye. Without thought, I picked it up, cradling it like a long-lost babe. (I had been waiting A YEAR!)

Now this book is 1074 pages, including his Author Note (in which he stated that he started the (now lost) manuscript in 1976.) I have a huge pile of books by my bed (and I am currently reading at least half of them, have more books by my comfy chair in the dining room with bookmarks sticking out of them, a book in my car, plus two at work. This "Dome" book pretty much negates anything else for the time being. (Although I have to admit being pretty into John Joseph's autobiography, The Evolution of a Cro-Mangnon and will find a little time to keep chugging through the life-changing Women Who Run with the Wolves (by Charissa Pinkola Estes).

Chapter one of Under the Dome begins with a woodchuck being cut in half when a mysterious dome slams down around a town. Birds in full flight slam into it, breaking their necks. A woman is learning to fly a plane. It rams into the dome, body parts raining down with fiery plane pieces. Another woman is gardening, her arm outstretched. It is lopped off.

It's gonna be a good one. Stay tuned.

Hammock Therapy

So I bought a hammock about 6 years ago with birthday money. It is one of the rope kinds on a metal stand. We were pretty into it for awhile, and two of my brothers have slept on it. But for the past few years, it has just been moved around the yard and not really utilized. A few weeks ago, on a Monday afternoon, I was feeling a bit frazzled and emotionally overwhelmed due to an extremely busy weekend. I had about an hour before it was time to get dressed for yoga, and the hammock had been calling to me. Weird, since it has been around for so long, but not so strange, considering I am getting more in-tuned with my inner self these days.

I grabbed a couple of sheets, my eye-pillow and this really cool pillow my Aunt Ruth had made especially for the hammock and headed out. I laid the first sheet down, climbed on, covered myself with the other sheet and put on my eye-pillow.

The world of stress slowly dissapparated.

I was now involved in a world of bird song, cars driving by, my dog panting, the wind rustling through the grapefruit tree overhead. Bliss.

Wind has always been my element of choice. I am forever in awe of its power. It rocked me gently and sang me a sweet song. I felt shielded from passersby, thus not self-conscious in the least.

I had set my phone alarm so I wouldn't miss yoga. By the time it rang, it was as if I had pressed reset on my nerves.

Since then, I am no longer a stranger to Hammock Therapy. I have added a blanket to the pile of necessities, as the wind chills me down after awhile.

Erik's been sick for a few days and today when I got home, I could feel the stress emanating off of him. I decided it was time he experienced the bliss and healing of just chilling out and letting the wind carry away any current mood he was feeling. He obliged. It was lovely.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Technical Difficulties

So, remember when I was talking about the "Big Brain" computer in "Desk Set"? Well, I'd like to ramble a little bit about the blessings and curses of modern day technology for a bit.

Our school library circulation system is computerized, as are most libraries these days, I suppose. Every book we own is in the computer by barcode. Every student and faculty member has an account. The computer remembers who has what and when it is due.

Last week the server crashed. The server is our "big brain" that stores all this information. Now we don't know who has what. There are over 3000 students in our school. The last day before summer break is 24 school days away. Hundreds of books are currently who knows where. The tech guys (including my hubby) did their best to extract the information but to no avail. We are technically, "s.o.l."

We were able to re-establish the system and re-enter all the students, but the information on the books now dates back to last year. All the seniors who graduated are now back in the system. All book check-out information and fines from last year are back on the computer as current information. Sigh.

Now we get to spend our time pulling up old records, deleting all fines, starting fresh accounts, while putting on the face of "we know what we are doing". Good times.

Dennis and I have decided to start a "bring back your books for free" campaign. We have toyed with the idea of offering candy to students who bring back their books. This is probably not in school policy, but in the interest of getting our books back in a time when we have no budget to buy replacements, hey, what's a little rampant sugar abuse?

Wish us luck.

The other technological fun I had this week was when I subbed for the copy guy, Mike, when he was at a district meeting all day yesterday. We have 3 copiers in the back room. Two are pretty basic and students and staff are allowed to use them. The third is named Xena and very few elite members get to touch her. I am one of the elite. She is awesome, spewing forth papers like crazy. Until there is a jam and everything shuts down. Her digital moniter shows where to look to get all the errant papers out, but considering the papers are racing through her system at a million miles an hour (literally), there are a lot of papers in a lot of spots that are stuck and Xena won't finish your order until you get them all out.
(Here's me and Xena. What I am holding is a magnet of the TV Xena Warrior Princess.)

At one point, Xena was swearing that there were papers stuck inside her, even though I thought I had checked all her hidey holes and one of the other copiers was down, and there were 6 students waiting to use the 3rd, (and only working) machine. Let me tell you, my body heat went WAY up at this point. Nothing like being sprawled out on the floor, opening this door and that, moving this lever and another one over there, searching for papers like unwanted Easter Eggs, while a bunch of "cooler than you" kids watch. I had to step out, put my hair up, take a big swig of water, murmur my mantra of peace, then move on. I put forth into the universe the picture of all the machines working again, and eventually, they were. Phew. Was sure glad when Mike got back!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day part 2

Off to Oceanside. First stop . . . In-N-Out, where I knew two of the patrons as students from the school where I work. The place was was packed. Nothing like pink lemonade and a burger.

Next stop, Home Depot. The only 5-gallon buckets available were in Home-Depot-Bright-Orange, and I got 6 of them. Next in the cart went 2 huge bags of soil. I also allowed Jake to pick out a carniverous plant, which he has been asking for for awhile. He chose a Venus Flytrap, who is now named "Seymore". Lettuce plants were "out of season" (?!?) and the low, plastic box-type planter I wanted for them was $16. Wasn't going for it. (Did I mention I like to shop for deals?) E mentioned that he thought we might have lettuce seeds at home, so I let that idea go for awhile (and he was right). Throw in a bag of vegetable food and a bottle of Round-up and we were set.

Off to the beach.

It was overcast and windy. Rain had sprinkled on the way over, but wasn't doing so now. We were amazed by the huge flocks of seagulls and couldn't wait to feed them. Jake had grabbed his Dragon kite as we were leaving the house, so we picked a spot where we weren't too close to anyone. After laying down a sheet on the sand, Jake and I started throwing bread.

It was surreal.

Hundreds of birds cawing and squaking and flying really close to us. I heard Erik behind me mention that he had seen a movie about this. (Flashback to the first time I saw Hitchcock's "The Birds", I was 10 and hospitalized for pnemonia. It was showing on the tv set bolted high on the wall. I was the only one in the room and watched it, mesmorized and creeped out. I have been an avid Hitchcock fan ever since.)

Once the bread was gone (and we were mercilessly un-pooped-upon), it was time for the kite. Jake and Erik put in some really good effort, despite the kite's weight and the ebb and flow of the wind factor. At one point, Jake was running down the beach, kite in the air and following him; narrowly missing another kite and the life guard tower. I was content to sit/lay on the sheet and zone out on the sound of the ocean. We decided that next time we should bring all our kites. (We have about 6 and this is the first time we have taken any of them out. Thanks, Jake!)

I never did get my feet wet.

Next stop, the coffee shop for some brew and a cocoa for the boy. His was covered with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings. He was stingy about sharing a taste with his dad and then spilled a bunch of it down his shirt. We discussed karma.

At about 5 p.m. we were home again. Jake went next door to hang out with our dear friend, Jim (aka Mijee). He kept the boy occupied while we went out for dinner at Trupiano's. I had some champagne and we split a fabulous salad with artichoke hearts and feta, then I pigged out on a chicken and pasta dish with asparagus and garlic cream sauce. E went for a trio plate that turned into a duo since they were out of lasagna. We took home some Tiramisu to share in bed while watching the latest "Desperate Housewives". I shamefully admit to being hooked on the show and at one point Erik murmured, "Run, Linette" as the character was unknowingly caught in the house with the teenage killer. I smiled on the inside. My hard-a#$, punker hubby has been drawn into a nighttime soap. Don't tell anyone. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mom's Day 2010

So today is my 10th Mother's Day. I count the one in which I was pregnant, because I remember being included in the celebration with the mom's in my family. It was one of my first memories of my mom celebrating an occasion with my in-law family. I know Erik's Grandma Thompson was there, and I think my Grandma Boyd was too. I received some cards. I smiled from the joy of the inclusion into that society known as Motherhood.

I am still smiling.

This morning, after eating some delicious breakfast created by Erik, (and did I mention he did all the dishes, too?) listening to Jake pound on the piano behind me and screech his hyperness into audible existence, I smiled. Erik and I gave up on conversation, walking into a different room to finish planning our day. Of course, our crazy-haired-bursting-with-life child followed.

Today we are headed to Home Depot to spend my gift certificate on 5-gallon buckets and soil for tomatoes. I am really into the idea of growing tomato plants this year. Our soil is rock-hard and houses gophers that love to eat roots, so I decided to follow some online instructions on how to grow them out of buckets. I also want to get some lettuce plants.

When I was a child, I preferred reading over helping my mom and step-dad in the garden. A few times, I would show interest and my mom would show me how to plant the fragile little flower plants into the plot in front of the house. After a few minutes, however, whatever I was reading would call me loudly and I would escape within its pages.

Gardening has been a hit and miss process for me since becoming an adult. When we lived in the San Bernardino Mountains, we didn't bother planting anything in the ground. My mother-in-law had little success and we were busy spending our time doing other things. In Ocean Beach, we belonged to a community garden for a summer. I spent hours weeding and planting and watering in the strangely-vibed community garden, rife with emotional unhappiness between the self-proclaimed leader and its other members. I grew fava beans, then had no idea what to do with them. My favorite success there were the gorgeous iris's that bloomed. Our plot was originally for 4 of us, but I spent the majority of time there.

When we moved to Fallbrook, there was already a garden plot, lined with chicken wire and wooden boards around the edges. These precautions did not stop the gophers, however, and they were happy to eat my chard and lettuces as soon as they got a chance. I give up easily sometimes and this was one of those times.

Last summer, however, a friend and co-worker, Julie, e-mailed the staff of the school where I was the librarian and offered seedlings to anyone who was willing to go to her house with dirt and containers. I couldn't resist. She gave me tomatoes, bell-peppers, watermelon, cantelopes, and other stuff. I went to the Dollar Tree and bought some baskets and other cheap planting containers. I lined the baskets with some weed-cloth we had on hand and filled them with soil. I was pleasantly amazed by the sense of excitement I felt when pulling in the driveway and seeing my container garden working. I was a faithful waterer. To be honest, however, not much produce was yielded from my labors. My neighbor, Carla, let me have a few extra jalepeno plants, which thrived, and my potted orange tree produced fruit for the first time ever, due to the watering.

I was inspired, however, and this year I pulled out those Dollar Tree containers again and planted flowers. Instant gratification, as they were not from seeds. I also have 6 strawberry plants blossoming. And a few sunflower seeds sprouted and have been transplanted from the recycled trays in which they started life to random other pots shared with plants where they are welcome. And did I mention the tomato seedlings? I am not the type to carefully plant one seed in each little pocket in the container. I sprinkled gobs of them all over the surface of whatever funky plastic container I had on hand, and lo and behold, they sprouted! Lots of them sprouted. Thus, the interest in growing them upside down out of buckets. I had seen the commercials for the kits one can buy, and figured cheap people like me have figured out how to do it without buying the kits. The beauty of online searching came in handy, like it so often does, and I printed out some ideas. So. Off to Home Depot.

My other big plan today is to go to the beach. I scored a huge bag of rolls from a wedding we attended a few weeks ago, and after eating as many as we could, and they started tasting stale, I laid them out to dry. The seagulls will love them and I always love being at the beach. Jake thinks he will go in the water and we will allow him to, but I am not fooled into thinking that it will be warm. I have already told him that I have no intention of anything but my feet getting wet.

So, now I am the only one not ready to go. Gonna remedy this and fill you all in on the rest of our day later. Thanks for listening!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

More on Power Tools

So I thought Jake (our 9-year-old son) would be bored to tears if he went to the woodshop with me today and so I hooked him up a few places to chill, but he really wanted to come, so I packed us a lunch and we were on our way. First stop, Hank's Hardware on Main Street. His interest in everything told me that we could spend hours there and he would be a happy kid. (My eye was especially caught by the travel hammocks, but more on my new-found-love for hammocks another time). We headed to the back of the store, following the directions of the clerk, who said that they only carried white paint, that the staff member would make our color. I had taken home some color sample paper-tab-thingies that you get for free from the display and taped them on the wall. I only liked most of them! I ended up picking out "Winters Solstice" which is a pale purple. (We also checked out the 5-gallon bucket display, as that is what I want for mother's day, to plant tomatoes upside down in.) Then, off to the woodshop.

My friend, Robert, lives and works out of his wood shop. Unfortunately, he has to move soon, so I felt like I really needed to finish up this desk that has been taking up a lot of his time and space for awhile. Jake helped me sand down the primer coat I had applied last week. He lost interest pretty quickly, and we entertained him with a) letting him build with the big box of random shaped and sized wood pieces, b)letting him ride around on this motorized scooter thingy that lives in the shop, although after Jake bumped into a few too many things, he got self-conscious and stopped, c) watching Robert cut wood with the "Dragon" table saw, which is notorious for eating flesh. It is the one machine I wasn't allowed to use. Fine with me! Finally,(d) what really sparked Jake's interest was when he was given a huge piece of plywood and pencils and could draw anything he wanted. The finished piece is in front of our fireplace right now, showing a mighty territorial battle between tiny humans and lots of mythological monsters.

Meanwhile, I painted. At first, I was aftaid it was too light, but as the pieces started drying, I started to fall in love with the cool, calm, pretty desk I am going to take home soon. Now to figure out what has to leave our house so it will fit!

Power Tools

So I am scarfing down some scrambled eggs with turkey hot dogs and some sourdugh toast, knowing I have no business on the computer as my friend is expecting Jake in 20 minutes, but I couldn't resist! Today I will be painting a desk I have been renovating at my friend's cabinet shop. Should I go for dark blue or purple? It needs to match the walls of my bedroom, which are . . . blue and purple! Sound crazy? Absolutely! There is not a white wall in my house, thanks to my girlfriend, Jess, whom I bought the house from. She rocked the decor and I haven't changed much.

I have been fiending for a desk to call my own for ages. Once I started doing school library work, having my own desk and (gasp!) office has turned me into a person who really revels in her own space! (Like I wasn't this way before, huh?) E and I have been sharing a desk for years and the time has come to remedy that.

Back when we lived in OB, Ned Mathews built me a small, "secretary" type desk that could fit in a closet. The table top folded down compactly. I moved it with us to the house and it has been languishing under dust and bug poop in the garage for way too long. Once I wormed my way into Robert's Cabinet shop, I was inspired to haul it out. (It helped that E was cleaning out the garage and was happy to see it gone!) Erik's one request was that I make it less boxy. Thus . . . POWER TOOLS!!! Guys, if you grew up in your dad's garage, you have no idea what kind of thrill a grown woman gets when "plugged in" and hoisting a nail gun!

So, enough for now. Finish up the breakfast, take Jake to play at Emily's and get grubby with paint! Talk to you later!

"Desk Set" with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy

So I just finished watching "Desk Set" (1957) starring the romantic duo, Katherine Hepburn (sigh) and Spencer Tracy. I had seen this movie years before, but I must say that watching it from the point of view of a librarian truly changed my filter. In the movie, 4 lovely ladies are the "Reference" department for a major company. They are surrounded by books and maps and answer their phones all day long, giving out information. Along comes Tracy, playing the part of an "effeciency expert" who has created a "big brain" (a huge, sci-fi looking computer) that threatens to take over their jobs. It was with a bittersweet smile that I thought about how the "big brain" (otherwise known now as the Internet) has indeed taken over the job of ladies in business wear and high heels, tromping all over the room, looking up facts and getting back to their corded phones. I think about how the language arts classes in the high school where I work needed poems for their class and few looked in the hundreds of poetry books we have in our collection. The Internet happily fetched poems that were "good enough" to use, as the students had the one, 45 minute period in which to get it done. No need to pour over the books, finding one that speaks to their soul, and I didn't have to shelve the books, either. Give and take, I suppose. As I watched the flick, the back of my mind was embracing the romance building between the two characters, knowing that Tracy and Hepburn had been lovers in real life. Their chemistry was sweet. I love old movies. I love the often spontaneous inflections that are glossed over in today's well-pieced-together flicks. Don't get me wrong, I am pulled in by the beauty of many modern movies and love the amazing special effects as much as the next guy, but there's just something about the old black and whites that can really draw me in. Thanks for listening. Stay tuned for more babblings.