Friday, April 30, 2010

What to wear?

4-30-10 pondering brain
Next Friday I will be participating in the Art Show in KC. It’s only runs from 5:00 to 7:30 PM, which will be perfect to give me experience in knowing if I will ever be interested in selling my art at an all day art festival... sometime in the future.

Now I’m thinking….. What do I wear?

I need to look like a creative person but also look as normal as possible.
(giggle giggle)

One thing I know I can wear will be this new bag my friend Molly recently gave me. It’s perfect! Molly knows me so well and I trust her style. I suppose I’d better preview my art show outfit for her, so she can give me the Molly stamp of approval.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where are you willing to CUT?

4-29-10 logical brain

My eye landed on the tag-line of a Letter to the Editor in Tuesday's KC Star newspaper: American Must Unite. "Oh good" I thought.. That sounded interesting!

Reading on, the letter by S. Wynkoop of Wichita stated: “Instead of us fighting one another, we should band together to fight the politicians. It is time that we tell them how fighting mad we are at them for not doing their jobs”. ….

OK, the letter made a good point. Often it does seem like the Republican and Democrat parties BOTH thrive when they try to divide us into opposite corners like snarling bit-bulls. Often I get emails (from both parties) soliciting donations based on needing funds to stop something the other side said or did.

However, this Letter to the Editor, even though calling for solidarity, went on with the usual disdain of being over taxed, and it appeared their point was an attempt to divide “us” and “them”; this time into the citizens verses them dirty politicians.

The Letter closed: “As long as we are fighting among ourselves, they continue to get their plush retirement plans, cheap insurance programs and self-imposed pay rises for part-time work that never gets done. It’s no wonder we have to find things to tax so we can continue to pay for their luxuries”….

Sure there is some truth to that, but people are also missing the BIG Picture of the national budget and the current deficit. People seem to be uneducated on knowing where most of our tax dollars are spent.

Congress salaries are just peanuts when you compare it to the money spent in other areas. And the deficit was not caused by too many Congress luxuries. It was caused back when we had Bush tax cuts for the rich, along with starting two wars which were not paid for, but instead was put on your grand kids' credit card.

An interesting article shows that many people don't want cuts made to the areas where most of our tax money is spent Click here:

Here is a chart from that website:

Here is a great cartoon explaining in easy terms how our budget could be changed to pay for important programs..... without raising taxes! The organization "True Majority" seems to make a lot of sense to me!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Red-bud trees

4-28-10 sunny brain
I saw some sunshine on Tuesday, finally! However temperatures have still been chilly. Lows in the 40's and then highs in the 50's.... now getting close to 60+ today. A few pictures taken last week in Des Moines on Franklin Avenue. I had my camera when I took a morning walk and I enjoyed the red-bud trees which line this street close to the DM house.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Rainy April weekend

4-27-10 bla...bla...bla... brain

The rain put a damper on our weekend plans. Saturday we were to do a group Mini Cooper drive to the Arboretum in Overland Park. Our group of about 22 people did meet for breakfast which was fun, but by the time we drove to the Arboretum, the rain was pouring down too heavy to even attempt a walk in nature with an umbrella, so we turned around and went home.

This is when an old friend showed back up in my life this weekend. I was interested in having a brief visit, but then found myself as an uncomfortable hostess. The old friend visiting was “boredom”. I use to be good friends with boredom back in my single days, and I learned to enjoy boredom back then, as a time to rest and to day dream.

Then my life got so busy that boredom hardly ever came around and I hardly ever missed him…. Except in passing, with a little nostalgia, I would say…. “I remember the days when I would just lay around and not have anything urgent to do, sleep until noon, and just take the day very slow, having plenty of time to be aware of the details of my surroundings.” Boredom and I would spend a lot of time out in nature together, and that was rewarding.

As my life now seems to fly me, at lightning speed, I did think of boredom in that way which one might miss an old friend… But like a reunion with an old friend, a visit can be pleasant enough, but soon one also realizes that we have out grown each other….. and there is a sadness to that, mixed in with relief knowing that I have moved on….

Yet I’m also questioning my relationship with my current best friend “busyness”…. Wondering just how healthy and enduring this relationship can be. Oh, I can be fickle… never fully satisfied with my relationships with boredom or busyness. I have even found myself lusting after a new friend. Her name is “balance”. She is so attractive, but doesn’t come around much. I guess it’s her absence which makes my heart long for Ms. Healthy Balance.

In our attempt to ditch boredom this weekend, Greg and I found a new pizza joint to try when one of our favorites had a 45 minute waiting time….. and we went to a movie down at the Plaza. (“The Runaways”… an interesting story about how Joan Jett got her start back in the 70’s in an all girl band)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pet-Peeve words

4-26-10 soggy brain
It was a rainy weekend in KC, thus I had a pretty restful, lazy few days. Of course when I have too much time on my hands, my mind starts to wander.... and wonder about about the silly things in life..... like my PET-PEEVE WORDS.

A few years back my pet-peeve saying was “a perfect storm”…. it seemed to be used a lot during the Bush years…. Way OVER-used if you ask me. Now, I have a new pet-peeve saying…. It’s “transparency” ….. this will be the new over-used word during the Obama years. …and I swear if I hear it one more time I’ll scream.

I’m afraid the words “Tea Party” will be in vogue for quite some time now too... and already getting old for me. So I figured the only way to stop this was to join a new group on Facebook called “The Coffee Party” . Thanks to my Brookside friend Julie for suggesting this to me. The Coffee Party has 206,396 friends on Facebook the last time I checked on Saturday.

Their statement is: "The Coffee Party Movement is a non-partisan grassroots effort to restore civility and reason to our public discourse and accountability to our political process. We are interested in honest, respectful, fact-based dialogue with people across the political spectrum to begin seeking solutions to the challenges that face our nation."
The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

Life in the USA in year 2010... I'd say it's a perfect storm to create the need for more transparency in our politicians, Wall Street, and our Banks!! Life is never dull, even on a rainy weekend in KC.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Early Rhubarb

4-23-09 time in the kitchen brain
I made by first Rhubarb sauce last weekend, and I made my first Rhubarb Crisp a few days ago, and here it is only mid-April. Usually Rhubarb is enjoyed in May.

Last year in my blog, I noted I had Rhubarb at the end of April. Click link to get recipe if you are interested. Easy and good! This time I mixed some strawberries into the crisp.... yummmo!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day

4-22-10 celebration brain
(my drawing of iris done 2007)

This is the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. As a Jr. High student back then, I took to heart the message of Earth Day. I try my best to respect, love, care for, and fight for nature.

I have even been willing to embarrass myself, by dressing as a frog in the Beaverdale Parade a few years ago. I was a member of the Social Justice committee at my church, and we successfully pushed our church away from using Styrofoam cups.

“Being Green” has started to take root (finally) and many people have taken small but important steps towards caring for God’s Creation.

Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are, by accident of fate, alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. –Carl Sagan

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Peace Head

4-21-10 creative brain
I finished the last of my framing projects last night so am nearly ready for the May 7th Art Show in KC. Now I only need to print off some business cards.

I realize I probably need to keep my "day job", since I fear I won't be able to earn enough money as an artist... only because, once I get something framed, I want to keep it for myself. This painting looks perfect in my sun room! And I especially love the "wildness" of this one.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kansas City Art and Hor D'Oeuvres

4-20-10 "creative frame" of mind
Here is the official announcement for the Art event I will be participating in Kansas City.

Last week while watching Dancing with the Stars, and/or American Idol, I have also been working on framing some of my work for the show. I will be having a small display of about 7 pieces.

Here are three of the small size, 8 x 8inches. I call these "Little Pieces of Peace". My friend Kelley is always reminding me that I need to group in "threes". One more large picture to frame and I'll be ready.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sabbatical Day

4-19-10 seeking the spirit brain
The weather was delightful this weekend in Iowa. Sunny and low 60's.

Sunday afternoon several neighbor friends (my Peace Sisters) were lucky enough to enjoy the beautiful spring afternoon out at a private lake/big pond, south of Des Moines. It's Carolyn's sister's place, they call Jay's Lake.... This was a short sabbatical from the busyness of spring cores.

It was nice to relax a bit, since Saturday Greg and I did some yard work at the Des Moines house and I was feeling worn out. Funny how my body gets more easily stiff and sore after only a few hours of work. There was more work to be done, but knew it was important to rest on Sunday, so I could start the work week off energized.

Here are a few pictures of the spring country side. We enjoyed the healing effects of nature, friendship, and just a little wine too.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Forbes rates Des Moines on top

4-17-10 proud brain
Who knew! Forbes

Forbes rated Des Moines, Iowa as the top spot for the "BEST place for business and careers" of Midwestern cities with reasonable business costs, strong economic outlooks and a solid quality of life.

Oh no, the secret is out! This should help keep housing prices stable here in Des Moines.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea, Taxes and Freedom

4-16-10 pondering brain
Yesterday was tax day which was no big deal to me. Greg and I had our taxes prepared in February and even had a refund this year which was in the bank a week or two later.

I’m weird I know, but I have never minded paying my taxes. (Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s) Mathew 22:21

And it’s not so much that this is in the Bible, but I am willing to pay for all the services, benefits, safety/protection, freedoms I have to live happily in the USA. I say, if you don’t want to pay taxes, and don’t want a strong government… move to Mexico or Haiti. (and experience the freedom of taking care of yourself)

And a news fact that you won't hear on FOX news is that THIS YEAR we are paying LOWER TAXES! The federal taxes were cut by billions shortly after President Obama took office. Along with many tax credits which were in the economic recovery package.

Which brings me to the “Tea Party” group. I’ve been trying to figure them out…. Hard to do, since they seem to be made up of people with varying opinions within the Tea Party itself. I’d like to ask, where was all the worry and protest about the deficit in the 2000’s, when we starting spending millions and billions of dollars in Iraq? So it’s OK to spend on killing people, but not spend money on helping US citizens get some health care? This I do not understand.

Also, I heard Tea Party people “want more freedom”….. what does that mean? I personally can’t think of a freedom I don’t have that I feel I now need. However, I do have a few friends who are lacking the same civil rights as I do when it comes to benefits of a civil marriage or civil union…. But for some reason I don’t think the Tea Party people are worried about the omission of these civil rights.

There was an interesting article in the KC Start newspaper last Sunday about the Tea Party equating them to the group of people supporting Ross Perot in the 1992 elections. I was one of “them” crazy people, but we were not out protesting….

We Perot people were reading books and organizing, and listening to Ross Perot give details in charts and graphs showing the problems with the US budget and deficit spending at that time,...(A deficit created by Reagan and Bush#1)... and Ross (bless his heart)… had real ideas and solutions…. I don’t see much of that with Ms. Sarah Palin. She seems happy enough to just show up and tell a joke of two, make fun of the opposition and collect her speaking fee. It’s very much like an appearance she would make as a beauty pageant winner.

(Oh boy- am I wound up today… I’d better quit before I offend too much.... But hey, this is MY blog and I do have the freedom to say what I want to here!)God Bless American.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tulip love

4-15-10 nature brain
First it's the crocus, then I enjoy the daffodils, then it's the tulips. I love drawing and painting tulips! Below is artwork I did back in 1999 called "Real Estate of Hope".

I am amazed at the ability of tulips to close up at night, then when the sun is out, they open wide,... only to close again.... until they seem to lose their elasticity... kind of like the skin around my smile and neck.... too stretched out to return to normal.

Mother nature has been glorious this month, unfortunately she has been a bit too generous with the pollen. This is the first year I've had to take some medication to control allergy symptoms. Others I know are also complaining more this year.

When I think back about all the snow we had this last winter, I then am willing to suffer a bit with the pollen, because I'm loving the sun shine!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Weather- priceless

4-14-10 grateful brain
Mother Nature is being kind to us here in Des Moines. I believe she is trying hard to make up for the cruelty we suffered over the long winter months.

Here are a few pictures from around the neighborhood. The tulip trees are beautiful, as well as other ornamental trees and bushes.

Also yesterday, neighbor cat- Max, was out giving me some attention.

I’ve started walking again and enjoying the exercise. Here are the new shoes I bought several weeks ago in KC. They are called “Shape-ups” by Skechers. I love them! They are the most comfortable shoe to walk in. They have this rounded bottom which makes you walk “heel first”…. This is suppose to be like you are walking in the sand, which is good for your joints and back. I recommend these!

PS: Neighbors Chris and Paul are getting their back yard re-done with patio and water feature. Here is the work so far.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring planting KC

4-13-10 growing brain
If you look closely at this picture, you will see a line of marigolds, 36 to be exact. I tried to rest on Saturday, but with such beautiful sunny skies, temperature of 73, all I wanted to do is be outside. With a trip to the hardware store, it was hard to pass by the garden center without coming home with something. I picked out some yellow, orange, red and combination. Sunday, I did rest.

Now I'm back in DM, digging dandelions!

Monday, April 12, 2010

What not to wear?

4-12-10 doubtful brain
I am pleased to report that I survived the 2 and half day training session last week but, I’m a bit exhausted still.

It’s sad to say, one of my biggest struggles last week was deciding what to wear, not only for this training session, but I also struggled finding something decent to wear to church Easter Sunday. This winter I was totally lazy and often just worked in sweat pants and hoodie sweat shirt, or even in my Pjs.

So I’m going through one of the fashion conundrums: What is appropriate attire for a 54 year old woman? (mature woman trying to be hip)

Recently, I have been viewing myself falling off the edge in slow motion. The edge being “normal”. I fear I’m heading downward towards extreme eccentricity. Sure being whimsical and dressing unique can to fun and endearing (as I have been told), but I think it is time to start dressing and looking a bit more age appropriate.

Ann is inspiring me by wearing skirts to make more of an effort with her appearance.... BUT....I recently received hand me down jeans from my 16 year old neighbor gal… Paige, they fit! So I decided to add to my wardrobe…. Now I question if I should be wearing these low cut style of jeans. (You have to be careful with "muffin top" with these low cut jeans)

I recently also bought this fun hat, only $10... But I’m never sure if this really is attractive, or just convenient for a bad hair day.

Funny story about the hat, which happened two weeks ago in a restaurant while I was in KC: I was approached by a man who said his wife liked my hat and he wanted to know were I bought it. I told him Des Moines Iowa, in a local coffee shop. This hat was from Paraguay where the owner of the coffee shop gets their coffee beans. (or something like that... thus the reason the price is so cheap)…. So silly me, I offered to buy one and send to his wife. He gave me a 10 bill and wrote his address on a piece of paper. I have fulfilled my promise and sent off the hat late last week.

So maybe I don’t feel so bad about wearing the hat, knowing another middle age women will be wearing it also… somewhere in KC… But I’m still not sure about the “hip” jeans. I like them, they are comfortable… so what the heck! ??

Please girlfriends..... Stop me when I cross that line of dressing too young. I think I need a wardrobe make-over SOON!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A new earth

4-9-10 TGIF brain
The tree people showed up yesterday and ground the front tree stump out.

I'm surprised at myself, I don't really miss the tree much as I thought I would. I actually like the open feeling now. I am also excited to have a clean plot of soil which holds endless possibilities.

I'm still feeling a bit worn out as this work week comes to a close. I plan no projects for the weekend, only some rest and relaxation- I hope I can stick to that plan. Of course the rest and relaxation means relaxing in the car as I drive down to KC later today.

These are some signs of spring in Des Moines this morning....tulips, serviceberry tree and peony. I know I will be jumping ahead into spring in KC later today. Their trees were leafing out last weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The efficient laborer

4-8-10 slow paced brain

"The truly efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task, surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure" -Henry David Thoreau

Although this doesn't sound very practical in today's fast-paced world, something about this quote from Thoreau resonates with me.... and after the last 3 busy and long days conducting training, I think I will try to embrace the spirit of this quote- at least for today.

I do have much to get organized and I need to regroup for my next work project.... but today I will not rush myself.... and often, with a relaxed attitude, I find I actually can accomplish more than I think.

Although this morning it is only 35 degrees, the sun is shining bright and the birds are singing. I predict a pleasant day ahead!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Back in Iowa

4-4-10 Sunday evening brain
I arrived back in Des Moines Saturday evening and was happy to not only be greeted by neighbor cat Max, but my front daffodils were in full bloom. They look so bright and cheery scattered around in the brown dormant garden. But green is starting to show here and there. I was really surprised to see my rhubarb showing up already.

Easter was a nice service at Westminster. I sat with the Carey's and with neighbor Sue, then helped with the Easter flowers after the 11:00 service. Sue invited me down for lunch and her daughter Paige made us some delicious sandwiches and dessert was strawberries dipped in chocolate. The weather was mild 60's and I took long walk with Sue and her dog and she caught me up on the news.

However, it took my sister emailing me a story to learn of news Saturday during an Easter Egg hunt at the Beaverdale park,a few miles from our house here, that teenagers found the body of man. Not sure of the details yet, but appeared to be a homeless man. I later did get around to reading the newspaper and saw the article there.

This week I have a repeat performance, giving another round of training, this time in Des Moines. So I'll be using my energy for this and I may not be blogging much the first part of this week.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter weekend

4-3-10 holy brain
Pictures of our experience with (Easter?) Bunnies.... taken in Arizona, in the Tempe area. Bunnies, eggs and candy??? Funny how these things get connected with Easter.

I guess children would not have as much fun searching for "an empty grave"... even if it was filled with candy.

For me, Easter is about new life, re-birth, the freshness of spring, forgiveness, salvation, and a new path/journey to enlightenment. Easter is about miracles coming true.

Wishing you a joyful day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

TGIF: Good Friday

4-2-10 celebrating brain
First of all, Happy 85th Birthday to my Dad!

My week in KC is winding down. The warmer weather here made for a perfect week to work out in the yard... mostly raking. However, Wednesday night Molly brought us some heavy duty clippers (gas power) so Greg could try to get the fence hedge under control this year. This reminded me of our annual bush/tree trimming we do up in Charles City for my Dad, along with the help of friends Steve and Vanni!

We created more work for ourselves by creating a large pile of brush! Thanks to Molly for her help, and thanks to Jeff, Molly's husband and our lawn care company, who carried off our big pile of brush on Thursday.

I'm noting that the Forsythia have bloomed over the last few days, thanks to the 80 degree temps. This is 10 days later than last year. How do I know that? I read it in my 2009 blog book!

PS: Happy Birthday also to Mr. Curtis!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fresh air

4-1-10 fool'n brain
In February, like many, the winter was starting to take it’s toll and my outlook began to suffer. I had started this below, as a draft blog entry:

I believe, at times, I am starting to get tired of this "split-in-two" life.
At times I feel like selling the house, quitting my job, moving.... and changing the name of my blog to.... "Starting from Scratch".

I was feeling overwhelmed by the snow, tired of taking care of the DM house on my own, and missing Greg.

Happily, this week spring fever has hit me! For some reason I’m experiencing memories and the feeling of spring in Iowa City, during my college years. This has me feeling “fresh” and wide open to new possibilities. I was thinking that during college, being away from home, I also at that time was living a life “split in two”…..and I was OK with that. I lived with the uncertainty of my future as well as enjoying the unknown multitude of possibilities and could unfold. Life felt exciting and unpredictable.

So as this new month of April starts….. I am now feeling grateful for my opportunity to be “split” and appreciating the “double” blessings my two lives present to me.

But as you can tell..... my brain keeps processing it all over and over again. This split life is manageable for now.... and even fun in a lot of ways.... so enough said on this topic until autumn when I turn 55. I recently found out that regular retirement from the University starts at age 55. Something to ponder later this year.