Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween is in the Air

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays; my other favorite is Valentine’s Day.

I think my favorite part of Halloween during childhood was trying to decide what I was going to be—and of course knocking on doors and collecting candy.

I have a photo that my mother took at my grandparent’s house. I looked like a Mexican princess in a red lacy dress that came all the way down to my feet. She had pulled my hair back tight, red rouge on my cheeks and lips. But from my memory of that photo, I looked miserable. It must have been her costume choice.

As I grew old enough to select my own costumes, I enjoyed being happy clowns on several occasions. But as I grew into my teenage years, into my twenties, and beyond, my favorite Halloween costume was always a gypsy. I used clothing that I already owned, adding my own creativity, pairing different pieces that I had bought on a whim because they were unique; and though I wouldn’t wear them under ordinary circumstances, I knew a day would come. Since I haven’t always worn much makeup, if any, I also enjoyed painting my face up with dark eye shadow around my eyes and adding other colors that would add to my gypsy look. My whole face would become a different version of myself, colorful and mysterious.

I loved being able to embrace a different side of myself, a wilder side that Halloween provided the outlet for me to express.

I’m not a partygoer, so I don’t dress up anymore, but because this year I’m in the spirit, I bought myself a huge clown tie that I found at the .99 cents store. I saw it a week ago and thought I’d wear it to work. That’s about as dressed up I’ll get this year.

One more bonus is that my significant other and I may join his cousin and her husband to take Little A. Man trick-or-treating. He will be three soon. I hope my significant other is able to get off work in time, so we can join in the fun of Halloween from my favorite point of view—that of a child.

Along the lines of tricks and treats, we are bringing Little A. Man a picture book called The Escape of Marvin the Ape by Caralyn and Mark Buehner. Hopefully he doesn’t have this one. I found the book in a children’s bookstore a few days ago. I was drawn to large picture of Marvin on the cover and thought he might like it. The illustrations are wonderfully realistic and detailed and the writing supports each image as we follow Marvin along to the different places he visits. And if you look really close, you will see a few hidden surprise images, but you have to look very close or you might miss them. My significant other and I had fun searching for the images. Those that I missed he saw and vice versa.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evening Pages

This may be a scattering of thoughts. I’ve felt a bit odd of synch with my blog because I’ve gone back to my personal journal pages and those have been a rambling of my thoughts. Sometimes those thoughts make their way to my blog and sometimes not. I’ve  been rethinking a lot of things and I do best when I’m preoccupied and don’t have too much time to over think. I tend to sometimes allow my thoughts to go everywhere and other times they are more focused. It could be that I’m winding down or winding up, depending on how I look at it.

I’m rolling along somewhat unexcitedly in my short story writing class. Yes, I have written a few scenes; and yes, I’ve written a couple of stories, but overall the experience wasn’t what I expected. I’m definitely glad that I’ve taken other creative writing courses in the past. Now, I have one more perspective to add to my collection. I think I may be outgrowing the community college course format.


Mr. Squirrel I almost ran over you.
I kept my eyes out for you
when I drove the winding roads.
I saw you with your cute
cheeks filled with nuts. You started to run.
I pushed the breaks hard. Next thing I knew,
I was clenching my teeth in hopes
that you made it across.
When I looked back, there you were
wiggling your bushy tail; you
zipped across, with those cute cheeks,
filled with your bounty,
bound for your winter home.


Have you checked out the iTunes U Apple App? They have a large selection of free course material from different universities that you can access. I’m currently enjoying a course: History of Children’s Literature through La Trobe University in Australia. The instructor is David Beagley. In this particular course I only have access to the audio, but I have enjoyed what I’ve listened to so far. Very insightful, and this is a strong area of interest for me right now.

Sunday I took myself to a used bookstore to sell a stack of books. I realized that the books I was taking could easily be checked out from the library at a later time if I still wanted to read them. Because I’m on a children’s book kick, that was my mission. I just wanted to browse what was there on the shelves. I was so excited when I saw a familiar book that I had completely forgotten about: Petunia by Roger Duvoisin. I just remember the cover with Petunia on it on a red background and that’s it, so I had to buy it to add to my books. I also saw a couple other books that I wasn’t familiar that I felt were worth having.

Some years ago I found myself buying an out of print children’s book from an online bookseller. There were a few other titles that I recently decided that I wanted to own, also out of print. So there I was on Sunday night, pressing the buy button, half feeling bad about the need to possess these books and half feeling what the heck, we only live once and these books may be even harder to find at some later date.

I’ve managed to finish a few other books…though this month or perhaps it’s the season, or perhaps there’s a cycle I’m in and that cycle is: scattered.

In getting ready to say goodbye to October,
I imagine myself enveloped in deep gray clouds.
Sitting atop a tall wall of white brick that looks onto a castle.
I hug my knees close to my body, listen to the night air—
this quiet feeling will carry me through winter.

November is Picture Book Month!

How exciting that November is Picture Book Month. I had no idea but lately as I’ve been visiting different children’s book websites I thought I saw something but clicked on. Then it was clear when a fellow blogger had shared the news in her blog
Now I have an even better reason to celebrate the picture book in November! 
Learn more about the celebration and how you can share in the fun:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Left Handed Doodle

Any type of creative expression, whether the end result is “good” or “bad” is healthy for our whole being.

I am reminded of an older woman that I met years ago. Our paths crossed for one brief summer and then our paths separated and we went our own ways. She was a great woman and had quite a mind—she was a visionary, a rebel—a strong spirit that was ahead of her time. She was a retired teacher and high school counselor, jobs she both loved, yet you could hear the disappointment in her voice at not being able to make real needed change and commitment within the faculty. She was also a writer—not published, but she wrote prolifically to her muse. Toward the end of our short relationship I became drained. I realized that though I enjoyed being a sounding board for her, learning from her, and understood and empathized with her, I was becoming depleted. Her unresolved energy was rubbing off on me, and left me feeling sapped and cranky.

Though, a fond memory that I take from our short acquaintance is when I shared my artwork with her one day. It was a mandala that I had been working on. I used drawing pastels on a blue midnight blue background. A healing energy emanated from it. She took it from my hands and admired it. She wanted to draw something too. She wanted to use her hands and imagination, reach into herself and see what would happen. Her beautiful crystalline blue eyes widened. I told her to go for it.

Several days later I saw her at the coffee shop. We said our hellos and started talking. She pulled a folded piece of paper from her bag and said she had something to show me. She unfolded the page timidly and there was a picture that she had drawn. I remember a sun and I remember liking her picture very much, but most important, I was proud of her for not being afraid of how childlike or how “bad” her drawing might have become as she set out on the blank drawing page that was new territory for her. She was willing to try it, rather than say, I can’t do it, I’m no good, or I can’t draw.

If we tell ourselves we can’t enough times, we will start to believe it.

We can do anything we set our minds to.

A large part of the joy for me is in the doing—coming to whatever task it may be, standing at the threshold, and taking that first step.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear Monday

Well, Monday, here you are again—a start to the five days that lead to Sunday. I’ve gotten used to you. I don’t dread you any longer. I try to find the joy in you and your other six brothers and sisters. Today, though, dear Monday, I’d like to have an extra day—just one more. I know this isn’t possible and that I must begin motivating myself to get out the door.

These past few days, weeks, months, I’ve jotted down little something’s in my private notebooks and journals, both of the paper variety and the electronic. I’ve had ideas come to me, things that I want to write about. I have starts—that’s a step in the right direction. All the little bits and scraps, though, have added up to so many directions and pieces that it becomes a challenge to decide where I want to go or if what’s there is enough.

And sometimes, like a record that skips and stays in the same spot for a time, that’s where I find myself. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, really. I know that when it’s time the lever will be jiggled and the skipping and repeating will subside. It’s just that I’m aware of it and being aware of it brings a sense of self-consciousness. At the same time, writing it out here, will release me for the time being; it may even cause more self-consciousness. It’s all part of the process—that is one of my mantras—and I can’t help coming back to it over and over again.

It rained last night, Monday, while I was sleeping. It rained and rained until this morning; and right now, I can see the sun bursting through the back window. It’s tempting me to come outside, to smell the freshness that rain brings. I suppose this morning, Monday, I would like to stay cuddled up with a book, write some more, drink some tea because I’ve had my fill of coffee for the morning. I would like to know what I’m preparing for dinner and I have something in mind, but nothing concrete, nothing that jazzes me, that beckons me into the mindset of wanting to be in kitchen. I want the kitchen to grab me, twirl me around and make me dizzy with joy.

Well, Monday, thanks for listening. It’s time for me to go to work now. It will be a fine day.


Monday, Let’s go have a Yummy Day!

A Few Children’s Picture Books

There are many books in this genre that I will simply never get to, many will have slipped by, and new ones will be published at a rate that I cannot keep up with. I am most pleased when I find a storybook from my childhood that I had forgotten about until I come across the cover art in another book, a blog, or browsing the library.

One book that recently resurfaced was Bread and Jam for Frances (1964) by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban. I saw Frances on the cover and I was immediately transported to a small part of my childhood. I remember the pictures and how all that Frances wanted to eat was bread and jam, yet I didn’t remember if this story was read to me or if I was able to read the words. Most definitely I was able to read the pictures, including the wonderful expressions and emotion of Frances and the Badger family. Mr. and Mrs. Badger are kind and understanding parents and that comes through in the illustration and the story.

Looking at the illustrations, I also feel a calm in the artwork. Soft pencil work; the only colors used, besides the black to create the outlines and add shading, are pastel pink, pastel blue, and the white space that is not shaded in. It’s really quite lovely and I wonder if this also drew me to the book as a child.

Two books that I learned about from a literacy website that I hadn’t read are Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears (1975) By Verna Aardema, pictures by Leo and Diane Dillon; and Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China (1989) by Ed Young.

I’m so glad that I have experienced both. I love books from different cultures or that retell a story, as in this case, Red Riding hood.

When I started to browse the library catalog looking for more Red Riding hood stories, I found that there were several versions and retellings of the story. One that caught my eye that I’m waiting to arrive at the library is a Cajun rendition. I’m very curious about that one.

The version that I checked out is called Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa (2007) by Niki Daly. Pretty Salma is on her way to her granny’s home. Her mother tells her not to talk to strangers and to go straight to her granny’s after she picks up some things for her at the market. Along the way she meets a dog and there’s where the trouble begins. It’s a colorful story both in words and pictures with a good message for kids to remember not to talk to strangers; at the same time, the story is fun to read.

Two more:

Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955, 1983) by Crockett Johnson. I don’t recall if this was a childhood book for me, but what I do remember is seeing Harold and his purple crayon on one of the children’s programs that I watched. It’s a vague recollection, but when I see the cover of this book, there is something very familiar about it that triggers this television memory. I love this imaginative book and might choose it as a read aloud to bring along as a choice for when I’m paired with a student.

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! (2004) by Mo Willems. This is my second Mo Willems book. My first was Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! I enjoyed that one, but found it also to be a bit odd with that strange one-eyed pigeon. But, I found The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! an absolute delight. It had me laughing the moment I picked it up and flipped randomly to a page in the library. I decided to check it out and am glad I did. This will be another book that I will add to my bag of books to choose from to read aloud; and even if a child has already read it, I bet they would love to read it again and again. I think I’m becoming a Mo Willems fan and that pigeon has rubbed off on me. I like him. I know Mo Willems has several other books, so I have some catching up to do and look forward to getting caught up on his other stories.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

GIANTS & A Clown

My brother, who is twenty years older than I am, took me to my first baseball game when I was a young girl. It was the Oakland A’s. He didn’t know it, but I had a crush on Jose Canseco. I remember how shy I was. I remember wanting the free bag that the stadium was giving away, but we didn’t make it in time. My brother said to go ask someone if they didn’t want their bag. I clung to him. He nudged me. I started to walk towards someone, and then turned back. Then, he came with me, approached someone and they gladly gave up their free bag for that shy, very timid girl. Those were my first memories of baseball.

Friday night I was watching the Giants game. I’m not a big sports fan, but I have watched baseball on and off over the years and have tuned in to the Giants, especially the past week. My significant other is a huge Giants fan and last week he said he wanted to go see them play on Sunday (today) if they made it. I said I might be interested. I’ve been to one other game this year with him, his father, and one of his cousins. It was fun. Last week at work, for our team meeting, the boss wanted to go somewhere that we could watch the Giants. They won that day!

So on Friday, I watched the game, hoping they would win—and win they did. Barry Zito did an amazing pitching job and all the other players did their part.

During commercials I had a small blank canvas in front of me, along with my Sharpie markers. I wanted to draw out a fall scene, but couldn’t get my ideas out. I didn’t want to be defeated by the blank canvas, then a clown popped into my head. I’ve always liked clowns and have been a clown for Halloween on a few occasions, so from my imagination, I started drawing directly on the canvas without worry. I started to color him in. I decided to keep him like that for now, but plan on filling in the color later. I like how simple he is and feel that he has a lot of color already with only the four places that I filled in. Maybe I should make him a Giants clown.

Today, we’ll be at the GIANTS game. It will be an exciting day at the ballpark!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Happy Girl

I’ve been having so much fun this early morning before the workday begins. I read a few Children’s picture books that I will post to my blog in the coming days.

My desire to draw has cropped up over the past several weeks and I’ve doodled a few abstract finger drawings to accompany a few of my blogs. Yesterday I was looking through one of the books I checked out at the library called Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun by Carla Sonheim. And while I was flipping through the book, I decided to try drawing one of the simpler drawings onto my Doodle Buddy App and the result is the image you see for today’s blog. It looks very similar to the original, except I didn’t color in the background and my girl actually looks happy, whereas in the original the girl looks either surprised or scared. I was thrilled at my end result. A move toward art is refreshing and a long time coming.

I also checked out another astrology book from the library and have several others in route. How I love libraries! The book is called Creative Stars: Using Astrology to Tap Your Muse by Trish MacGregor. With a title like that, how could I resist? I planned to start reading it this morning, but I got involved with other books and, one book led to another search, which led me back to the online library catalog, and that led to putting more books on hold. It’s endless.

And before I actually get to my job, I’m planning on stopping in at the library and picking up a few books that I know are on the shelves. I’m so excited. I love nothing more than being inside a library—and inside books.

I thought that today’s happy girl picture fit in with today’s energy. I thank the author of the Drawing Lab book for the inspiration. I can’t wait to begin more doodles and get back to drawing—incorporating it into my life—and learning more.

I hope that you have a wonderful day and a pleasant weekend in whichever way suits your fancy


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Evening Pages ~ A Couple of Books, Reading, and Fancy Rice

A couple of weeks ago I started reading a book called Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. I finished it this morning. I was pulled toward this book because of my future volunteer work as a reading tutor for young struggling readers. I would have likely checked it out otherwise, since the topic is interesting to me. I don’t have kids myself, but as many of you know, I still love children’s picture books and check them out periodically—more so now as I love knowing that I will be sharing and learning about new picture books from this opportunity.

What I found most interesting in Reading Magic is that when parents started reading to their children when they were just months old how much this impacted their reading skills as they grew older, as well as instilling a love of reading.

I recently attended the training for those of us who will be tutoring. After going over the details of what we could expect, what the goals are when we sit with our students—one-on-one—as well as some techniques to help engage the children, I felt ready. But, I will remember to go into this without expectations. We were instructed to bring a few books to our first tutoring session just to be prepared, since the students may or may not bring their own books. 

After first learning some nuts and bolts in training, we were then paired up with a partner and took turns reading to each other from Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion with pictures by Margaret Bloy Graham. I was paired with an older gentleman in his late sixties. When we were done reading, I asked him a question and it led to him telling me that he had kept all of his son’s children’s books that he had read to him when he was a child. He said that his son didn’t understand why he kept them and told him he should get rid of them. To his son, he replied, one day you’ll thank me. I told him that was fantastic and that I wished that someone had saved all my children’s books.

I’ve continued to re-explore my astrology chart and have re-visited several astrology books and added a couple to my collection. I’ve looked at my houses and re-looked at my ascendant and rising sign in more detail. I definitely re-discovered insights that made sense and shed some light on things I’ve long “felt” and have known on an intuitive level. Each time I put my chart away and come back to it, it’s like coming back to it for the first time—in a way. It has been very satisfying thumbing through the different books and absorbing the information. It can be overwhelming because there are so many different pieces to look at and some authors focus more on one piece than the other. One small thing that I forget is that there is a lot of fire in my chart. I feel that fire in myself often—even without the chart. It’s all interesting to me and satisfies my quest for continuous learning in the astrology department. But, it’s almost time for me to put it away again, until next time.

I finally made my first risotto—mushroom risotto—only it was from a healthy dinners magazine and was sans the butter. That must be why it had sausage in the recipe, which I didn’t care for. Next time I make it, it will only have mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and the other ingredients that make a risotto a risotto. When my significant other sees it on the plate, he only sees rice, so I’ve started calling it fancy rice with him. I’m just happy that I finally made a risotto. I enjoy ordering it when we go to restaurants that have it on the menu. Each risotto I have had has been different, as though the personality of the chef comes through on each plate.

Another book that I recently purchased, and I wasn’t looking, but my eyes caught Dante’s Inferno on the store bookshelf in the same section is a small book of haiku poems called haiku mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart By Patricia Donegan. I’m savoring this one morsel by morsel. What I like is that each haiku selected by the author also has a short, thoughtful reflection on each haiku and a small bit about the author. I’ve felt inspired and further quieted by this small gift of a book.

slice of moon
brushes up high
cradles me inside


Sweet dreams…or sweet morning…wherever you are.

Monday, October 15, 2012

waking from morning

waking from morning
stillness ripples
crow’s distant call

Friday, October 12, 2012

Spanish ~ In My Grandmother’s Kitchen

A memory rises from my grandmother’s kitchen. I saw a little bird outside, through the sliding glass door. I pointed and said, “mira, un pájaro.” My grandmother scolded me in the nicest way and even made me laugh. “No! No es pah-ha-doh. Se dice pájaro” (“No! It’s not pah-ha-doh. You say pájaro”), and she would say the word for bird in her perfect Spanish. The j and the d pronounced properly, blending with the other letters to create one beautiful word.

I had no problem with Yo quiero comer, porfavor, I want to eat, please; or Tengo hambre, I’m hungry. As an adult I still say and feel the English versions of these phrases—I’m always eating and I’m hungry often. Some things don’t change. And my grandmother would always have me say aloud a simple prayer in Spanish after I was done with my meal…gracias a Dios que me dio un pan para comer. Amen. Thank you God for giving me this bread to eat. Amen. The sense of thankfulness that my grandmother instilled in me also hasn’t change. There are many beauties in the world that remind me of all there is to be thankful of—even when I forget.

I was first exposed to Spanish as a young girl through my grandparents. My grandmother didn’t speak English, only Spanish; my grandfather spoke both English and Spanish; and my language memories with my mother are fuzzy. I don’t recall her speaking to me in Spanish, but it’s very possible she did.

I wish that I could say that I was bilingual or fluent in Spanish. It used to be one of my life goals to become fluent. I wanted to become fluent before my grandmother passed. I know that I will continue learning at my slow pace.

After my grandmother passed away, I stopped speaking Spanish. Before that I wasn’t always able to understand all of her stories. When I would visit her in her older age, her stories became longer and more detailed, but my comprehension couldn’t keep up. I had to rely on the words I could decipher, filling in the blanks with her expressions and body language. I was only able to communicate simple phrases. By this time I was in my mid-twenties and my comprehension had dwindled.

On a few other occasions I tried speaking Spanish with other Spanish-speaking people, but I became too self-conscious, knowing I didn’t sound like an authentic Mexican. I felt like an imposter.

When I was in my early thirties, I had planned on getting a bachelor’s degree in English. I hadn’t fulfilled the foreign language requirement and had a choice: Take a Spanish class—I didn’t have the patience for five months of textbook Spanish—or take a Spanish translation test. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose in attempting to translate a short excerpt from Spanish to English.

I remember finally finding the small office at the college campus where I would take the test. I was told I could bring a Spanish/English dictionary and something to write with. I had a choice of three different one-page passages. Settling on one that I believe was about history, I had one hour to complete the translation. I was surprised at how much the sentences made sense. I felt giddy at not being completely in the dark. There were several words that I had to look up in my dictionary, but it didn’t slow me down. I felt surprisingly comfortable with grammar for the most part.

When I completed my translation, I felt good, but knew there might be a few small grammar errors. I handed the pages, the original and mine, back to the assistant. I would have to wait a week or so before I knew how I did.

The results came back and I passed. I felt so proud of myself beyond words.

All of my slow progress fed into this one moment. What that experience did for me—even though I didn’t end up pursing an English degree—is that it provided the space for me to reflect on where and how I had learned to read Spanish. I took French and Spanish in high school, but I don’t recall doing well in either because I wasn’t interested in school at the time. There weren’t Spanish books in my childhood home and no one read to me in Spanish or showed me Spanish language books.

The only thing I could connect is that I had remembered what little I soaked in from my grandmother and I was able to recognize the written words by sound. As I read the words, I could hear them and it was then that I realized that though I couldn’t speak Spanish very well, and at times if someone speaks too fast in Spanish I can’t follow, I could actually read it. Of course my reading fluency is not where I’d like it to be. I have two books of fiction in Spanish that sit on my shelf. One day I hope to get through them.

Over the years, I’ve picked up a book here and there to learn more Spanish and to reinforce what I know. I took a class in Asian literature that was taught by a Chinese-Mexican-American professor. This class opened me up to further explore my second language and Mexican-ness. And since then, I’ve continued in small chunks.

Language is fascinating and it still fascinates me. I admire those that can learn several languages fluently or even one language really well. When it comes to certain tasks in life, I simply don’t have the patience unless I’m immersed—Immersion seems the best way to learn a foreign language.

At times I think and write in my Spanish, especially if I’m speaking to my grandmother in my mind; occasionally I will write a simple poem in Spanish and then translate it into English. My Spanish writing skills are limited for now, but I do feel as though I have another soul when I write in Spanish—I’m like a different expression of myself when I think and write in my grandmother’s tongue. I cherish that. That is my connection to the Spanish language, to my Mexican heritage, and it begins in my grandmother’s kitchen.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Few Bits


Today is a good numbers day. It’s a day of order: 10, 11, 12, and each of the two digit pairs becomes 1, 2, 3. These little things tickle me.

October has brought cooler weather, which I welcome. As I was preparing dinner yesterday, out of the corner of my eye I could see the sky changing to deep ruby. I walked over to the bedroom window and admired the view. The clouds looked full and gray. Later that evening, I smelled the first rain. It wasn’t much, but it was something. At last!

Something led me to dust off my astrology chart and take a look at it. I do tend to do this every few years, sometimes each year. I think I’ll be spending more time re-exploring astrology, going deeper. I have several books that I’ve used, cookbook style books, and some that deal with certain areas of astrology. I’ve also unloaded plenty and kept those that I thought would be most useful at the time.

The other night I dreamt of a space. It was dirt and kids were flattening out the dirt, as someone would do when they are getting the land ready for building. I was at the outskirts watching and behind me, as if it was the most natural thing were boxes built into the dirt of stones and crystals of all shapes and sizes. Mostly earth toned stones—deep reds, oranges, browns, and plum purple—and there was a section of boxes with white crystals—flat, diamond shaped, round—I picked one up and held it to the sun so that I could see rainbows.

On top of my many visits to the library, the last few days I’ve felt guilty because I’ve purchased a handful of books, real books and Kindle books. Today, I took myself to the metaphysical store and purchased two more astrology books and a tiger’s eye stone. I’ve long been a student of astrology—slowly and in spurts—and I’ve recently felt that I want to go back to the basics, to get reacquainted with all of the signs, as well as the planets, and to become more familiar with the twelve houses. I still struggle with aspects, but with a little more persistence, I’m sure it will fall into place.

Thinking about it…I think it was three days ago when I took my chart out and while I was reading from two books that I chose allowing myself to land where my intuition guided me, I was amazed how much I can still learn about myself each time I re-examine my chart. It leads me to see things that may make sense and that I couldn’t quite put a face to. I also had a report from many years ago that was prepared for me. I skimmed some of what it said. Even though I’ve spent time with my chart, have had it read by an astrologer on a few occasions, there is always something that opens my eyes and that’s just looking at my natal chart without looking at current transits and happenings. We are such cyclical creatures and astrology feeds into that. It’s wonderful that there are many different tools out there for our use toward self-reflection and self-discovery.

I was slightly disappointed with how workshop week has gone in the online short story writing class. We were placed into groups for workshop, which is fine. It turns out I’m in the group where only one other person has provided feedback on our stories. Apparently all the other groups have gone back and forth on feedback and have had a productive week.

There are four other group members in my group besides myself. The deadline has passed, so now we’re on to a new week. We have one more week of workshop where we’ll post our revised stories or a new story for critique. I prefer when we do the whole class postings. It seems classmates tend to respond to what interests them. I think what I miss is that with the whole class critiques, we have the opportunity of peeking in and seeing the scenes and feedback that others leave. This time, it’s like I’m in a void. There is nothing much happening for this week. Onto next week and looking forward to getting back to the whole class format.

Well, I’m off to read my new astrology books and hopefully I’ll also have time for the other books I’ve been dipping in and out of!

Una flor de luz

Una flor de luz
para mi abuelita
en el cielo
en este día.


A flower of light
for my grandmother
in heaven
on this day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Evening Pages

Today was a good day. Work was productive. It felt as though people that I passed on the streets were in a good mood, and the office was in good cheer.

When I looked out the window this morning while I was getting ready to start the day, the clouds were a nice tone of deep gray. The cool air was a refreshing welcome to the past few hot days. Fifteen minutes later, the gray was breaking and white clouds were mingling with blue skies. Outside, walking to my car, I felt a lift in my step.

I have until tomorrow to put the finishing touches on my short story. I was glad that its rough beginnings were well received. A part of me though feels that I may have trapped my characters in their world. I feel on one hand glad that a few classmates were intrigued by the story; on the other hand, I don’t want to disappoint, but I may have to completely reshape the story because as it stands there are too many loose ends that don’t work together. It might turn out to be a very different story, possibly less interesting than my first free write.

Interestingly, the tarot card that I drew this morning turned out to provide inspiration for my story. I felt it this morning and was able to think it out in my mind on my way to work. I’ll have to see if I’m able to bring the insights to the story’s page.

Mostly, I’m happy it was a good day. 


Friday Thoughts

Have you been closed off in some way?

She stops. She doesn’t know the answer. It draws her completely blank.

She has settled for her job, appreciative that she has one, yet knowing that much of the time her energies feel drained, her creative juices curtailed. She clings to the cloth of appreciation, thankful to have a job, thankful to have flexibility and a little extra time. But is she fully utilizing that extra time? She has sought out meaningful activities that involve doing some good. Even with those, there is an expectation on her part of wanting to make a difference, yet knowing and learning that a part of making a difference in her chosen way is by just being there. Said out loud, it makes sense. Put into practice, the challenges rise, of not knowing how to gauge her usefulness. Not knowing…Being useful. That is what she wants most to be, but she wants to be useful in a meaningful way.

This is the answer to her question: Patience, perseverance, intention, trust.

A man shared with her that he had a friend from his college days that was successful. I don’t know how he defined success. I suspect it was in the traditional fashion but also I think the man followed his passion. The man that shared with her said he regretted not following a different route. He wished he had taken drama, writing—any liberal arts courses. He lacked focus, he said. Never really knew what he wanted to be when he grew up; instead, he followed a practical route. She told him he could still take those classes. She said that it would be better to at least get a taste before he has later regrets when it’s too late—too late to satisfy his passion and curiosity in some small way. That would be regretful.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I have a feeling I will always work in a small office setting in some administrative capacity. I’ve often fantasized about what I would do if I won the lottery—say a million dollars. Would I change anything? I used to imagine giving money to my brother and uncle, a few charities, buy a house. I even wondered if I would quit my job given the chance. Hey, I won the lottery! Why not? My co-worker was a bit surprised when I actually had to think about it. For him, there was no question.

I have to admit that more recently when I’ve run this fantasy through my mind, I’m just as stuck as any normal day. I don’t know what I’d do, except maybe set aside money for a day when I may need to go into an assisted living facility. It’s a ways out there, but these are things I think about sometimes.

She found that it was time to draw a single card for the day from the Tarot deck. It had been a while. She fanned cards out on the table, closed her eyes…IV Trumps – The Emperor. A powerful card. (She uses the Aleister Crowley deck).

Whenever I post the card I choose for the day, I feel that the card is also for whomever may land here. I may have pulled it, but perhaps it also speaks to someone on someday.

A concise summary for the card from the Angeles Arrien Tarot Handbook to mull over is this:

The Emperor as an Outer Mirror

When you are drawn to the Emperor symbol or pull it from the deck, he represents the power of your owning and demonstrating your own leadership and paternal gifts. The Emperor indicates your ability to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially.

He represents your ability to be responsible for your life style, career, and personal life. Basically, it is a good time to move, travel, resolve fatherhood issues or issues with Aries or paternal people in your life, to start new ventures, and to be open to new opportunities. It is an important time to stay in your power and not abandon yourself in anyway, yet experience new opportunity.


~To transformation and new beginnings with purity of heart~

~Peace & Love to all~


p.s. (The POV shifts couldn’t be helped. They felt natural and I kept them as the words decided to come out.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Finger Painting ~ Small gift to my Mother

Yesterday I went to my bookshelves and selected The Nine Muses: A Mythological Path to Creativity by Angeles Arrien. I opened to a random page and landed on Erato: Muse of Love Poetry.
I love this quote that she has in the margin of the page to begin this section:
Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination
Nature’s canvas is stenciled into my being, and if I could wander the hills everyday for hours and lose myself in Nature and my imagination, I would turn into a bumblebee or a butterfly. But I take every bit I can stuff into my imaginary pockets. The long slender pods that hang from trees that I don’t know the name of; the bees buzzing from flower to flower in search of nectar; the small cracks in the street where small lakes of grass have nestled themselves into the pavement. This isn’t just a regular linear crack. It’s a miniature square patch and it could easily be a pendant for a necklace. When the rains come, I know just where that particular crack is and I will be sure to walk to where it is near the gas station at the intersection. It’s not my usual path any longer, so I’ll have to make a special trip. And last night I heard the honk of the Canadian Geese. I don’t usually hear them at night. It was the most comforting sound, like a church bell that had caused me to take pause, to breathe, to smile, to feel at home.
I’ve had a desire to make an “artist’s date”—a paint date—with myself for several months now. I’ve wanted to take the acrylic paints out of their box, buy a new canvas, and paint away. I want to feel the brush in my hands, squeeze the paints out of their tubes, smell them, feel the textures from the brush to the canvas, and watch the colors interact. I want to become the paint.
When I was a little girl, I always wanted to play with my finger paints. Mother wouldn’t let me finger paint as often as I would have liked. I understand that it was probably a bother, the process of setting up the paper, watching that I didn’t make a mess and then she would have to help me clean up.
The combination of landing on Erato, thinking of painting, and my memory of finger painting as a child, this morning I was pulled to doodle a finger drawing using an App called Doodle Buddy. That’s the photo that you see here.
A small gift to my mother, filled with love, sent to her during the month of October, the anniversary month of her death.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I almost missed The Secret Garden

I shared previously about the book that Anita Silvey edited, Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s book, and also shared a video of her discussing the book. Toward the end of the video, she shares a story from a conference that took place in Texas. An 11-year-old girl walked up to her and said, “The Secret Garden is my favorite book too.” Anita then asked the girl, “Well, what did you learn in it?” The girl replied, “I learned that no matter how broken you are or how difficult things seem, you can be healed some day and you can be made whole.” Anita said to the girl, “You really understand the message behind that book. It’s a very powerful message."

I related to those words. That exchange—the girl’s experience and what she gained from the story was enough to make me want to read the book—a book that I have long known about only by title, yet hadn’t entered the world that lay beyond. I started with a sample copy on my Kindle and after reaching the end of the sample, clicked the purchase button without hesitation.

When I began reading the story, I had no idea how or where it began or that young Mary Lennox was such a sour puss of a child because of her upbringing. From the beginning until the end, I was pasted to the pages. I loved being a part of the transformation that Mary and those around her went through. Great beauty developed within the garden and in the hearts and souls of the children. This is now a book that I can include amongst other treasured stories—a truly magical book.