Wednesday, August 22, 2007

taking my toys away

If it weren't enough that ALL of the books in my house are in boxes (I'm pretty sure I can hear them whimpering, but maybe it's just me) it looks like we're going to be without internet access at home for the next while as well. The laptop is going for a service + new battery while it's still under warranty. I will be going a little crazy in the corner. I supposed this is one way to get to me to focus on the packing that must be done. Thank goodness for lunch break access from work, but I'm guessing that posts will be thin on the ground until we get this little baby back. See you in the new diggs.

Monday, August 20, 2007

three cheers for!

If you're looking to add a little interest to your wardrobe, I highly recommend . specializes in one - of - a- kind, vintage, indie and retro items. I recently made my first purchase (can you guess what it was?) and was blown away by their service.

A little over a week ago I saw their ad on for this incredible silver tree pendant. I loved it, but I knew I'd be moving in a couple of weeks. I wondered if I placed an order, would arrive in time? I fired off an email to ModCloth to see if they could give me a ball park figure. I hit send and went to lunch. When I got back from lunch there was a response telling me that their FedEx International was guaranteed to deliver in 6-10 days. Impressive. Needless to say I quickly placed an order.

Today, right on schedule, my necklace was delivered. When it arrived it was exactly as pictured, carefully wrapped in blue tissue paper and accompanied by a $5 gift certificate towards a future purchase. I am a very happy customer. If you're looking for something different be it one of a kind accessories, vintage shoes, dresses or original wall art head over to I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

dream a little dream of me

Some dreams are so strange you have to share them. Last night I had just such a dream.

The strangest part of last night's dream is that I was in it twice. I was there, experiencing the action and then there was another me, the omniscient observer. As the dreamer of the dream, the real me (at least I'm pretty sure it was the real me) could hear the thoughts of both participant me and observer me and, here's where it gets really strange, I was not agreeing with myself.

The dream took place in a tattoo parlor. I had just received my first tattoo. The dream started just as the artist was wiping down the finished tattoo and saying, "There you're done. Do you want to see it?" Participant me went over to the mirror, took a look and was thrilled with the result. I couldn't stop looking at it and saying things like "it's so beautiful! I love it!" The artist was there beside me equally thrilled with his work. "It turned out so well" he said. "You've got an amazing piece of art."

And while the party over by the mirror celebrated, observer me was less enthusiastic. "I got it on my left calf?" I asked. "I would never get a tattoo on my calf, left or right. And it's so big, look it goes almost all the way to my knee and wraps around the sides." Observing me was not impressed with myself. Participant me then turned so that the tattoo was visible to the other me and we got quite a shock.

What the first me and the artist had been gushing over was the worst tattoo I have ever seen. Inexplicably it featured a life-size tube of toothpaste, a few playing cards and a hand written list done in the artist's own hand writing. I think it was a list of song titles. The other two continued to marvel at the brilliance of this piece of ink while observing me went a little crazy in the corner. "I got that?!" I asked myself (although I don't think I could hear me). "What was I thinking?"

It was certainly an odd experience to watch myself celebrate and rail against a single thing at the same time. Three dimensional me really never would get a tattoo on my calf. I'd be much more likely to go with back of the shoulder. And I think it's safe to say that it wouldn't feature toothpaste, playing cards or song titles.

I checked my leg when I woke up, just to be sure.

Photo courtesy of Jawad Zakariya. Used with permission under Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

a little moving gift

Moving day is getting closer. It's starting to show itself in the growing piles of boxes stacked around the house and in the shadows and spaces where things are missing. Yesterday I decided to get myself a little moving present.

I find comfort in symbol and ritual. I can understand why people build cairns and get tattoos. I came across a quote a while ago that says, "Put something where you can see it so your mind will remind your heart." That really resonated with me. There are going to be times when your heart can't see past your emotions, but if there's something you can look at it can remind the logic in your head of what you already know is true.

To that end, I got this figurine. It's the "Happiness" statue from the Willow Tree collection. What struck me about it is that her hands are open -- she's not holding on to anything. She has been given this incredible moment, one that she would not have been able to experience if she had her arms crossed, or her hands clenched. Instead, she has opened her arms wide. She was ready to receive the gift because her arms weren't already full of other things.

I imagine that you'd have to stand pretty still for birds to land on you. I can picture the moment that must have preceded the sculpture -- a girl, hands empty, arms open wide waiting with her face turned to Heaven. Did she have any idea that something wonderful was about to happen? Did she even see the birds as they were arriving? Was the gift already hers before she guessed it was coming? Was she just basking in joy of sun on her face when this new wonder appeared?

For me, there's a lot to let go of in the next few weeks. There are things that I have to put down. In the midst of the fear of empty arms, this little figurine is a wonderful reminder that empty arms aren't barren or forgotten; they are ready and expectant.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Oregon Christian Writer's Conference

Back in January I was invited to come and give a workshop at the Oregon Christian Writer's Conference. With much fear and trepidation, I accepted. The conference was this past week and while I'm still tired, it was an amazing experience.

Arguably the most encouraging thing that happened was walking back into my room that first day and finding these flowers waiting for me. My parents knew how nervous I was about speaking and so they sent these to cheer me up. It worked! As I told them on the phone, I didn't know you could send a hug FTD. Once the lilies opened they made the room smell lovely and every time I saw them I was reminded of all of the support I had behind me.

As for the conference, I don't think I've ever been in a group quite as open and welcoming as this one. There were all levels of writers in attendance from newbies to those with 20+ published works. It didn't seem to matter if this was your 15th year at the conference or your first, everyone was interested in what the other had to say and more than willing to share their expertise.

I met some incredible people all of whom had stories that need to be told. Between us I think Gail and I have a list of two dozen authors whose work we want to use. The days and nights were full and by the end of the week so was my head! There were so many ideas, so much to many stories floating through the air. I had a writing teacher at Trinity who used to say "Scientists will tell you that the world is made up of atoms, but they're wrong. The world is made up of stories." That's certainly what it felt like last week in Canby Grove.

It felt a little strange to be one of the "experts" when so many of the attendees had been to a million writer's conferences and this was my first one. The workshop went pretty well. It was short -- who knew 6 pages of notes wouldn't get you through 45 minutes? -- but it was the last one at the end of a full week so I don't think people minded. They all asked a lot of questions so I think it went OK.

It's been a wild summer. First the conference with my first ever workshop and now I need to focus on packing up and getting ready to move. Hard to believe that there are just a few weeks left. I feel very close to the surface of myself these days. It's like the protective layers have been stripped away and I'm just right there. Exposed? Accessible? Maybe we have to lose our shells to be flexible enough for what comes next.

ps. If you ever want to feel like a movie star, walk through a major airport with an armful of lilies. I have never had so many strangers come up and start talking to me. It was better than a puppy. And can you believe it? The customs guy in Vancouver actually let me keep them :)