Well, that was quick! I got the idea for this yesterday, luckily I had a card already black-gessoed. I wasn't even sure if I was going to squeeze out another soul-themed card this month, but I'm glad I did.
I was in an elevator yesterday, going up to the 16th floor with a gaggle of other female office workers, all of us "of a certain age". One lively woman was giving her opinion of her company's recent choices in promotions, which she didn't agree with. Her words were peppered with *f*-ing this and *f*-ing that and very disparaging comments about the intelligence of the promotees. It was clear to see why she has been overlooked for advancement. I find it very inelegant when any adult swears profusely in public. For some reason I'm quicker to forgive it in teenagers or very young adults, although I still find it distasteful. What I do know is the energy in that elevator was the kind that would eat and eat away at me for the rest of the day. It's already tomorrow and I'm still thinking about it. I've been known to let fly with my own profanity and frequently. I just do it in a more private setting. Is that really any better though? Is there a time and a place for blue talk? I think Mark Twain put it best when he said, "In certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer".
The theme for the month of February at Weekly Gratitude is "soul". What with birthdays, illness and other unmentionables, my creativity has suffered a hiatus. I spent the first three weeks largely uninspired and not a little disheartened about it. But before the month was through, I managed to feel this out and I like it.
It's been a bit of a rough ride these last weeks, plenty going on that is knocking me off center. But I have received some lovely things in the mail that are pulling me back to where I thrive. The first came from Sheila in England, as my latest Gift of Jewels, Selah's project. The words, Just Be, made my brain slow down and I took it as a message from something bigger than me and my life.
Then right on the heels of that beautiful message, Paula sent me an angel postcard, and even the envelope was art.
OK, OK, it's been an easy winter. We have had little snow the last 6 weeks. Very little snow. My backyard was starting to look, well - revolting. And I walk my dogs, a lot. Twice a day, three times a day when I'm not working downtown. But there is always the pee that happens after chasing a squirrel through the yard and up the tree. Or the midnight pee, or the 3:00 a.m. pee. Then there's the territorial pee and the oh-what-the-heck-pee and the I-forgot-to-go-while-on-the-one-hour-walk-so-I'll-just-do-it-now-before-I-go-in-the-house-and-sleep-for-the-next-four-hours-pee. But this plunged me over the edge: a note came home from school yesterday advising parents to check their children's snow suits. Apparently, with almost no new snow to speak of, and with irresponsible pet owners walking their dogs through the school yard, the halls and the lockers in the school building have been smelling like dog excrement. Beauty. Riley did have a pair of mittens last week that were stinky. I thought it was just a case of them not drying out fully before they got wet again. They were washed as soon as I caught the whiff. Now I know what it was and I'm disgusted.
This morning I woke to about 6 inches of fresh stuff and it's still coming down. I should be grateful because it kind of takes care of the yellow snow matter. *sigh* Instead I'm wishing for sunnier climes.
I don't love fruit. I love seasonal fruit like strawberries in June and apples in September but I love canned fruit. There is just something about a perfect piece of fruit, already washed, peeled, de-pitted or seeded in sloppy, slurpy fruit juice that makes me swoon.
And, I think I'm in love with my Olbas inhaler. It's a little tattered because I've had it for so long, but it's like an old friend that can clear my head with one deep breath.
I don't remember the first link that brought me to Kim at the Queen of Arts, but I can say she has had a profound effect on my life, creatively and otherwise. I have had the great fortune to meet her in person twice so far and visit her blog often enough that even Riley knew her face and her art before he met her. She is not only the Queen of Arts but she is also known as Big Heart Walking by her family and many friends. Again, a name popular enough that Riley knows her as such as well. So I shouldn't have been surprised by what happened last week on a night when I was feeling so sick, a night that iMan was out working and the dogs had to be walked after supper which meant that Riley had to get dressed up and come with me. He usually does come with me when the weather isn't so wintry and we have some great one-on-one times. As I was dragging myself down the street he stopped to pick up a chunk of snow that was heart shaped and said, "Look Mom, it's like Big Heart Walking". And we started to talk about the Queen of Arts because he had met her the week before and his memory is like a steal trap. He asked me to tell him more about what Big Heart Walking means so I told him he was like a Big Heart Walking too because he is so gentle and kind and thoughtful and because he doesn't say a bad word about anyone, even people who are mean to him. And then we started naming other people we know who are Big Hearts Walking in our life. Later in the walk he found another chunk of heart shaped snow so he put them both in the hood of my coat because he was tired of carrying them around and my hands were full with dog leashes. The next day he asked me to take a picture of the snow chunks so he could send some love to the Queen, because that is the kind of soul he is.
Yesterday Riley came home from school with a grand total of one valentine.
I thought there must have been some mistake. He had written out his valentines earlier in the week, one for each person in the class, including the teacher. I had told him to do this, since that was the valentine protocol when I was growing up. He was pretty upset, claiming the other kids got "piles". Today was a pedagogical day so I left a message at the school office for his teacher, asking her to call me. Since I didn't hear back from her, I tried to compose an email but can only come up with some pathetic, whiny mother-script complaining about the unpopularity of her son. I'm wondering if Riley is having some social issues in his class, I know there are a couple of kids who pick on him because his French is not always correct, they make fun of him for that. The last parent/teacher meeting went swimmingly though with no mention of this. Wouldn't I have seen the signs before now? How does a mother glue her son's heart back together in time for Valentine's Day? Am I so off the mark thinking that at this age kids should give all the other kids in their class a valentine, leaving no one out?
Well, yeah, I'm feeling better, more or less. But what a week. I dropped off the face of blogland for a bit. Priorities, priorities. I couldn't even muster up a wordless wednesday yesterday. I have fallen so far behind in reading and commenting that I'm not even going to try to catch up. I'm starting up fresh today with some advice from an old friend. Talking to her yesterday, griping about this and that, she quite simply told me to compost life's crap. So my new mantra is Compost ! Compost ! Compost ! I love the imagery around it, the symbolism of putting in what is old, past it's date, giving it some time and turning out new, rich material for everything to feed on.
Everyone in the U.S. mid-Atlantic will want to smack me upside the head with their shovels but I'm going to shout from the rooftops that it has been a tolerable February so far. We haven't had a storm in over a month and we've seen plenty of the sun. By midday I'm even seeing melt.
And bits of grass. I love how the snow melts around objects first, ringing them.
And since the sun was out early this morning I couldn't help but involve the Queen of Arts in my capers, I grabbed one of her rocks and set out for the waterfront, deciding to leave a little inspiration behind. I may have needed this message more than anyone today.
I'll be the first to admit this movie is like watching paint dry but listen to the crackling at the very beginning. It's the sound of the ice breaking up and floating away. The idea that the worst is over, that spring is not far off made me want to cry with joy.
I am unwell. It started yesterday at work. At first it was a suspicious thought - uh oh, am I? I think I am... And an hour later it was - yup, definitely, I am. So I trotted downstairs to the pharmacy and bought a bottle of Cold FX. I am currently in the accelerated phase of this virus where I feel like absolute crap, throat on fire, achey, murky eyes, slight nausea, able to sleep if I even think about lying down. Which all makes sense because earlier this week I came down off a pretty stressful situation in which I had to let something important go. So I might disappear for a couple of days. Or a miracle might happen and I'll be back on top of my world tomorrow.
When the winter started I had plenty of birds at my feeders. Lately they aren't being emptied so fast and the only ones I have seen are Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal. I suspect there are some spoilers in the neighborhood, offering better fare than my black sunflower seed. My grandmother used to put bread smeared with peanut butter out in the winter, to put some oil in their feathers she said. Suet studded with seed is popular but not something I can offer as my dogs eat the droppings and end up with the turkey trots. I must say I feel a little slighted and that the Mr. and Mrs. are humoring me, tossing me a bone, by gracing my feeder. They are beautiful though, so I'll take them any way I can.