The way to love someone
is to lightly run your finger over that person's soul
until you find a crack,
and then gently pour your love into that crack.
~Keith Miller

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Still looking at Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. [via] I love that it is not about the concentration camp experience exactly, rather his thinking transcends the "predicament" and moves towards what I label as "significance assigned or inferred".  Not to diminish in any way the horrors of _________, I appreciate a mind/soul who survives to share something greater then the justifiable bitterness that such an experience would arouse.  So ... these people who tell us of their "take away" from time spent in hell (rather then a guided tour through their hell) ... I am impressed by these people.  It is as I noted years ago ... they came through the fire, but their garments (the earth-suit and soul) are not singed, indeed they do not even smell of smoke.  And ... it is meaningful to me because I believe that each of us spends time in our own very private hell.  Life has hellish moments which may sear a soul ... or not.  No one would choose suffering, but ... it does provide a vehicle towards ... growth, soul growth.  Viktor ... excellent example of victim -> victor.  He did the "ride" without discussing the cost.
So ... I am spending my quiet time with Dr. Frankl ... he graciously informs me.

One of the ideas expressed in the book is the necessity for personal meaning ... uh, why am I here, yes ... both big and small.  We need to accomplish "tasks," reach or at least aim for higher goals to truly live.  I love to tackle things.  Last night I mentioned to my husband that I feel as though I am nickel and dime-ing my time away.  Lotsa little jobs for a mom to do, which I am very happy to do, just ... there is very little satisfaction there.  Maybe the soup pot of me is on simmer ... .

Frankl does has an interesting look at fantasy.  He "talks to his wife" as he toils, he imagines simple delights, like walking into his home and flipping on the light switch.  So ... I'm thinking about the positive applications of fantasy lately.  The book came at a good time in aid of that vein of thought.  Last night ... I dreamed I was seeing Hawaii.  I've never been there, but I guess I was reviewing images of Hawaii as I rested.  It smells very nice there and I noticed the greenness of the place seems to pervade the air ... maybe the color is multiplied by the humidity.  I also noticed the "lines" of Hawaii are different then most places ... I saw the geography as winding and sensuous.  I think I would very much like seeing Hawaii for real ... slowing, as in a glider of some sort.  A fantasy... .

This summer I will begin to learn about the traditional Hawaiian Cuisine.  Cooking, I absolutely can do.

The other truly delightful dream I remember from last night ... a strong man gave me a big red foam glove which held my hand in a certain position making it possible for me to do one handed cart-wheels.  At first he held me and ran with me in his grip, basically hurling me into a flip which when I instinctively reached to break my spill, wonderfully resulted in a cart-wheel.  Oh, it was so much fun.  I asked for assistance in the dream again and again until finally, I was able to chance vaulting myself.  Upside down is a lot of fun.  I woke up very happy ... giggly, which is rare for me (the giggly part).

Pic to remind me of to "recipe" ... this was a dinner everyone enjoyed:  Meatloaf with sweet potatoes
And ... I found a new project chair (This one I promise to sell if one of the kids doesn't absolutely love the finished product.  I am going to inlay turquoise into the details and repair/upholster it properly ... poor little mess!)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sammy and I are back to our long walks.  This clover is one of his favorite pit stops.

I feel as though I've been in every possible "prom dress" shop in the state ... and finally on to Georgia for not "the" dress, but, "a" dress.  Mission accomplished.  Out of everything she saw (and tried on), this one was her favorite.  We found it at a consignment shop ... originally sold for over a thousand, they were asking less then half that which was still more then we intended to spend on a dress to be worn once.  It is elegant.  I'm glad that she doesn't have super flashy taste in formal wear.  That was the big problem, everything seems to be Beyoncé inspired.  I loved spending the time with her.  Feel very fortunate to have time with my practically adult children.  

I am reading Viktor E. Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning It resonates most closely to the conclusions I have arrived at myself.  I think I will outline the book here in a few days. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Recent Randomness and Gifts from Friends

in the minds of those that give them their lives ..

21 March 13

Some how I am a bit too swamped to note my thoughts, so ... just a quick note this morning.

The other day on Improved Clinch I read a provocative comment which may be summarized by the commenter's closing line: "See, my life is already pretty full and I don’t have time for other people’s nonsensical issues, like presidents and such, so I just ignore them and avoid them and they only exist in the minds of those that give them their lives, rent free."
I particularly like the comment and I think it stands on its own well ... in the context of where my mind most wanders to when given free reign.  I believe in deciding for myself what I believe.  I believe it is my obligation to myself, a thank you note in a way, for the gift of my life, to live it as authentically "me" as I might.  And by that I mean ... think/feel/live to my capacity without striving to impress other's.  Maybe that means I don't really care what you think.  Boy, this could sound really bad ... I care what you (the yous around me) think, but it seems important to me to recognize that I ascribe significance to stuff rather then blindly accept whatever the larger or smaller society want to dictate.  I get to decide what matters to me ... and how I want to respond to it.

One of my buddies has a habit of chronically complaining.  He notices that I don't spend much time on little things (I decide they are little things and swish them away causally as a horse does with his tail ... everyone's life is swarmed with little things) ... he asked and I told him ... I think it's extremely important to focus your time/efforts not on small things.  We really have a couple of commodities to play with in my opinion, time (which comes without any guarantees) and this ...

The Last Freedom
We who lived in concentration camps can remember
the men who walked through the huts comforting
others, giving away their last piece of bread.
They may have been few in number, but they offer
sufficient proof that everything can be taken from
a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms
-- to choose one's attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one's own way.
  ~ Viktor Frankl 

“Whatever the sentence Your Worship sees fit to impose upon me for the crime for which I have been convicted before this court may it rest assured that when my sentence has been completed, I will still be moved as men are always moved, by their conscience." ~Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela

 ... unknown amount of time to be spent, the necessity to consciously choose one's attitude, one's own way of responding to life, and it seems to me that both of those may be best guided by our conscience.  I believe we answer for ourselves (and just to note here, I think we are largely unaware of one another's "burdens" and limitations)

("This is a very sensitive matter, highly personal, and you will appreciate it if I don't make any comment." ~Mandela ... saw while looking for the above quote.  Great way to say that.)

and that set of thoughts with this ... Fantasy.  



The faculty or activity of imagining things that are impossible or improbable.
Imagine the occurrence of; fantasize about.

A strong Addiction usually with something that is not real and probably will never be.
Reality sucks. I much rather live in a fantasy. ~Urban Dictionary

Why would anyone want to conduct a "real" life or even significant aspects of their life in  fantasy land?

I know we ascribe significance as we see fit, and I appreciate that, but I love the idea of holding on to what is real.  Last night I began to learn a bit about the Fantasy Prone Personality.  I do understand how something which is "fantasy" can seem "real"  or at least momentarily real.  I just think we cheat ourselves when we duck out on reality.  Anyway, I'm thinking about some of that stuff.  And it's not as straight forward as one may wish it to be (lol).  What's real is dynamic ... fantasies seem to me to be "stuck".

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The birds are chirping.  Our home is in an old neighborhood where the streets wind around large clusters of mature trees, mostly oak and pine, also a liberal sprinkling of ornamentals.  It is truly glorious here when the spring flowers burst forth, azaleas and camellias bloom, and best of all the birds. Morning sun is pouring in on me and I can hear old church bells ringing from a mile and a half away, best of all the birds.  The birds are singing high and low, near and far.  I think they are recommending Spring.

I just gathered these two little branches from the front yard, one from a Redbud tree, the other from what I know only as a Tulip tree.  They are plentiful in the low canopy around here.  Also blooming is the ornamental Cherry and Dogwood ... and the wild bursts of yellow at ground level, the Forsythia bushes. Pretty spectacular.

I am excited about something ... the Mediweight Loss plan to get fabulous.  I've been saving up my money for this ever since I moved the winter coats forward in our closets.  It's kind of expensive, but I think it's going to be the nicest thing I've ever done for myself.  Tomorrow makes a week.  I am thrilled with the whole process. Perfect for me because I like to keep track of small details and monitor minutia.  You keep a detailed food/calorie journal, drink what is (even for me!) a ton of water (128 oz. + 2 bottles of electrolyte enhanced water, for me that's another 40 oz.).  I was wrong about the caffeine - they suggest you limit caffeine, but don't require it to be cut out completely.  There are also vitamins and an appetite suppressant ... and the injections (ouch) of a proprietary formula of B12+, and a B6/B1 combo which is optional, and I'm not exactly sure what the advantage of it is, I just know it stings like hell.  Says in their literature that it boosts metabolism, increases energy, enhances the function of both the immune and nervous systems ... and promotes skin growth and muscle health. It's offered for an extra ten bucks.  I'll decide after the first shot if I'm up for the big whammy.  (I had one last week.)
What else?  They did an EKG and a full blood panel on me last week.  I'll get the results of that tomorrow.  I'm glad to have done that for baseline information for my general health anyway.  It seems like it's easy to skip the over fifty tests when you are in (self-diagnosed) excellent health.

Tonight I finish up my Boy Scout Merit badge class for the aviation merit badge.  The boys are in for a huge treat ... one of my old flying buddies (himself an Eagle Scout) is going to tour them through the CJ hanger and open up the plane for them.  I love it!  What I'm seeing is a bunch of kids who have never seen an airplane of any kind up close.  It's so much fun to share their wonder and joy.

Last thing and this is ironic I think ...I have been looking for a job lately.  A little job that doesn't detract from my family commitment, something for maybe a day a week.  What I've found is everybody wants you to volunteer your time, but few are willing to pay for your time.  I've done tons of volunteer work over the years ... tons and tons ... and working with a bunch of women on stuff that doesn't really make a difference is a lot less satisfying then one might anticipate, but I digress.  Maybe I am eccentric ... I don't know, but I am okay with my own company most of the time.  Anyway ... the thing ... someone said they found their job by praying that whatever God wants them to do will just drop into their lap.  I'm not sure about that type of praying.  It's just outside my comfort zone of how to talk with God ... like I'm unwilling to beat the bushes and just wanna be spoon fed.  Anyway ... I tried it.  And ... last night an old friend called to say, "Hey, I think I have a little gig for you".  As I understand it, it's basically assisting an elderly lady with her financial business, and helping her get organized in general (my strong suit). The irony is that I have recently began to work writing a story about a woman who I think of as about my age who loses her husband and doesn't know much about finances (the story will be more interesting then that if I do it, that's just the educational thrust of the plot).  So there's that ... but this is what really makes me laugh.  This lady is the epitome of an old Southern Democrat ... I am looking forward to becoming better acquainted with her.  She stays very busy doing good things for people who need help.  A good person and a super smart person as well ... she was a close friend of my  original neighbor who I was quite fond of.
C.S. Lewis writes about how easy it is for us to appreciate people with whom we have the most common ground.  This will be an opportunity for me to stretch myself towards knowing someone that I normally would not have much time with.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


the story that grace tells

Gosh I love how those birds on the feeder can just fly away ... when they are startled, or when they are done, when they want to make room for their buds.  Whatever their reasons are, whenever they choose to they can be w a y over there in just a second or two.  Very cool, exactly what birds are supposed to do when the danger dong dings ... or when it's just time to fly.

Today the Pastor began the sermon with this question, which was really more like an invitation or an encouragement to see the larger picture I think.  It's hard to see the larger picture ... I think.  It's hard to see over the walls we ourselves build.

"What is the story that grace tells in your life?"

And he went on to say we all have stories.  He told us about a visit to Vancouver prior to the Olympics.  Apparently, as part of the general spiffing up process, the street people, homeless, broken by drink and drugs .... messed up folks, prostitutes ... street people were "relocated" and social services were bumped up to support the effort.  He said a lot of Christian people intentionally chose to relocate to that specific area where the hurting folks were re-situated and to make a long story shorter, one couple had a very young daughter whom the prostitutes were very fond of.  Her sweet little joyful presence melted many a wall which choice and circumstance had conspired to build around the hearts and imprisoned souls of these fallen sisters.  Many of these ladies came to know the restorative power of the saving grace of Jesus Christ via the presence of this child in their every day broken lives.  Pastor didn't say this, but I think they saw themselves, their way back selves, in the sweet face of a little child ... and I think they traded what might have been for what could yet be.  Audacious courage spun of grace.

"Before people can see Christ through you, they may need to see themselves in you.

 The sermon was drawn from Matthew 10:1-4 which enumerated the twelve disciples which Christ selected.  Pastor said that these guys were an unlikely group at best, among their number, four fishermen (just small business men trying to make the a living), the insurgent Simon Peter, and a tax collector, Matthew, who would be shunned/scorned for colluding/collaborating with the occupying Romans.  Just people.  Real people who might have been a fairly good representation of the Jewish community found in ancient Israel.  People with life experience who found themselves transformed by ... grace.

I've been thinking about exactly that quite frequently this past year.  We find ourselves broken.  We are broken, but agile at shielding that broken part of our lives from view.  We hid our brokenness.  It is very difficult to be transparent ... and I'm talking about in those places where one is safe to do so and it is appropriate to do so constructively.

... on a slightly different track, also in church today a trio of young women sang ensemble and then each had a little solo bit.  One of the girls sang a couple of words and then just stopped singing altogether.  I do not know what startled her, why she was done.  She stayed right there though with her head dropped and her hands shielding her ... what?  Humiliation?  Mortification?  Did the message of the song hover in some inner chamber touching the soul of the singer so intimately that to continue public worship became impossible?  I really don't know what happened in her heart to make the song stop, but it was a perfect picture of what the Pastor would be talking about.  She probably thinks she messed up.  But ... I saw myself in her, and I bet others in the congregation did as well.  I saw someone step up to the plate and opened  their heart, and it's scary to risk like that ... with one's soul wide open to sing the song that is in them.  It's very difficult to open up your heart and expose your soul ... as really singing in front of people (and even while alone) seems to be about to me.

"Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart." ~ Pablo Casals

So, something happened which snapped her song off and closed her soul ... off, and I really really hope she doesn't respond to that by building walls.  It's going to take some grace.

(Maybe sometimes it's grace that makes it possible for the caged bird to sing.)

Friday, March 15, 2013


Photos found on line ... gotta learn more about Belize, a couple of new friends came back from there with absolutely stunning photos, and glowing reports.  I could settle for seeing just places in the USA, my husband doesn't particularly care to travel, but ... I think I'm going to have to see Belize with my own eyes.  Even the name sounds cool.

 those very white lines are gravel "logging" roads ... I thought concrete, but my flying buddy knew better, all that green represents cash crops
 as the trees do, so does all the water ... amaze me ... we are definitely not in Texas anymore (6,500MSL)
 never had been to this airport before ... it sure is in a beautiful location ... GAD ... lots of helicopter traffic, it's a drop zone ... I was in the air everytime I saw a helo, so no pictures of those guys.  The jet jocks were "slumbering" in the upstairs viewing loft of the FBO while they waited on their PAX.  It worked out that they had time to let my little passengers board their plane for a quick tour ... the kids, most of them first time fliers, were wide eyed impressed.  Very nice ... very hospitable ... I love these small town laid back airports and the people one comes across in them
270 squared
 the airport is situated under the Western departure path from Atlanta ... contrails were precisely spaced and reminded me of rock star friends who sit in those seats way up high ... may God bless.
 squeezed the last orientation flight in just before sunset ... a brother and a sister, he handled the airplane quite well ... better then a lot of people I've flown beside actually ... it was my honor to give him his first flight ever.  loved it that they got to go up together, she had her front seat slot earlier in the day ... I just hate to see the backseat empty when a rider is available

continuous moderate (for our gross weight) chop til we cleared the mountainous area (here at 9,500MSL) ... with fifty knots on the tail, it didn't take long ... wish i had the shot of our approach lights and the beautiful runway and taxiway lights at the home field ... home field looked especially lovely after a long day.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bacon Guinness Chocolate Pancakes ... and

St Patrick's Day breakfast: 
Bacon Guinness Chocolate Pancakes with a Frothy Whipped Cream Head and Guinness Chocolate Syrup

I won't be serving this tall stack on St.Patrick's Day ... wow, chocolate syrup and bacon ... beer.
Something about this is very amusing to me.  Anyway, St.Patrick's Day meal planning has been fun.  It's an under appreciated holiday I do believe.

When he learned in 1995 that he had Alzheimer’s disease, William Utermohlen, an American artist living in London, immediately began work on an ambitious series of self-portraits. The resulting body of work serves as a unique artistic, medical, and personal record of one man’s struggle with dementia. 
(See the self-portrait series in more detail here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a few things which were hiding in the front hall closet ...

with my older brother ~ early sixties

late 70s

one of my babies
early 90s

water color ~'96

"fully feathered"

copy of above with prisma and water color wash
I probably like just pencil best
all these many years later I still see this under the plastic cover of my binder
a sketch in progress with only the detailed feet and shadowy hands
it is a portrait of my childhood

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chicken with Cuban style black beans, Spanish rice and a flour tortilla (topped with grated pepper jack)

Bean recipe slightly modified from here:

  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper or banana pepper or cubanelle, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar ... this really snaps the recipe ... delicious!
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat, add the onion and pepper and cook until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cumin and oregano and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the beans and broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, mix in the vinegar and cilantro, optionally mash 1/4 of the beans to make it creamy  (I did).

The chicken is a boneless skinless breast which I boiled to cook because I like to create our own broth ... once cooked through I cubed the chicken, sprinkled it with onion power and garlic powder and tossed it in to a hot olive oil coated skillet ... just to golden brown.  Pretty straight forward.

This is two different things:

  • On the left a sliced tomato baked in layers with with mozzarella cheese and sautéed asparagus ... olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sometimes I layer in sautéed onions and add Italian seasonings.
  • On the right; cottage cheese topped with chopped veggies ...  red and orange and yellow peppers, celery, green onions with tops (sometimes I use red onion instead) mixed together with two very finely grated garlic cloves ... salt and pepper to taste. 

Roasted Beet Hummus  

it's very delicious ~D

Prep time
Total time
Super creamy roasted beet hummus featuring a whole roasted beet, lemon, plenty of garlic flavor. Perfect with chips, pita, veggies or as a sandwich spread.
Recipe type: Hummus
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 6
  • 1 small roasted beet
  • 1 15 oz. can (1¾ cup) cooked chickpeas, mostly drained
  • zest of one large lemon
  • juice of half a large lemon
  • healthy pinch salt and black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 heaping Tbsp tahini
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. See roasting instructions here.
  2. Once your beet is cooled and peeled, quarter it and place it in your food processor. Blend until only small bits remain.
  3. Add remaining ingredients except for olive oil and blend until smooth.
  4. Drizzle in olive oil as the hummus is mixing.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, lemon juice or olive oil if needed. If it’s too thick, add a bit of water.
  6. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙ of batch Calories: 165 Fat: 12 g Carbohydrates: 12 g Sugar: 1.2 g Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 3.4 

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Early morning light ... casts rainbow colored prism fancies on the wall ... this morning it was just great to see the sun shining soft light in ... Spring is whispering.

This is a small old (like 1940's old) country store which was re-openned today for exploring and estate sale browsing.  An old guy told me that these are for mules, like a saddle blanket, but for setting up a plow pull.

 This scale was in the hay barn ... very cool contraption.  The hay was loaded on a platform suspended above a rock lined "well" for lack of better information which was set up to weigh stuff (like cotton or hay).

 Old tractor ...

This ... I don't have any idea what it is, but I admire the form and workmanship.
Favorite sights today: All the very fine old wood and high quality craftsmanship.  As I do my little research on architects/architecture some one spoke on the idea of reusing/repurposing old structures as "harvesting man hours" ... ummm, beautifully stated!  I love the idea of magnificently wrought architectural elements living afresh in new structures.  I love that the thoughtful work of hands now long at rest might be honored even in these days of consumptive disarray.

sushi prep

Thursday, March 7, 2013

4C ... &V


sash b4 characters name was "glittered" on

cardboard for signs clean both sides

and two school lunches ... 
hummus for Four sushi for Five

school lunches