Monday, February 17, 2020

Fourth Kind of Divine Madness


Thus far I have been speaking of the fourth and last kind of madness, which is imputed to him who, when he sees the beauty of earth, is transported with the recollection of the true beauty; he would like to fly away, but he cannot; he is like a bird fluttering and looking upward and careless of the world below; and he is therefore thought to be mad. And I have shown this of all inspirations to be the noblest and highest and the offspring of the highest to him who has or shares in it, and that he who loves the beautiful is called a lover because he partakes of it.

--Phaedrus/Plato




We've been enjoying some hikes at Eagle Creek this mild winter.




On Saturday, I figured we'd have another day of getting our "new house" organized, and I was pretty excited about it. Larry came downstairs, looked outside, and said, "Let's do something today. Let's go to Turkey Run." He probably didn't expect that I'd be up the stairs and changing into hiking clothes before he could finish his sentence. I didn't know I wanted to go hiking that day, but I'm glad I found that I did!

It was a beautiful, peaceful, snowy day in the forests, ravines, and valleys. Watching the snow gently fall in huge flakes while hearing birds singing overhead is a sound like no other. It reminds why I need to get out and enjoy the Winter. Although it's cold, and the plants are mostly covered in snow or dead, you get stillness and beauty and no crowds. We had a wonderful day together and covered a lot of ground in our boots.

Afterwards we went to a brewery nearby and then out for some pretty authentic Mexican food. It was a wonderful date!!!!






















Thursday, February 6, 2020

Friday, January 24, 2020

Last Days of Bacheloretting

I've been a bachelorette for almost fourteen years.

I see "bachelorette" is not a real word, evidenced by the squiggle line under it.

I decided to try to find a non-derivative word for "independent woman," and all of them were derogatory: spinster, old maid, damsel (might not be derogatory but it's always used in tandem with in distress), lonely heart, lady of leisure, and divorcee.

This state of being an independent woman needs a better word than bachelorette, a word that suggests a state of waiting for marriage.

I found these words to add to my vocabulary.

Virago: A virago is a well-traveled woman who demonstrates exemplary and heroic qualities. The word comes from the Latin word virāgō, meaning variously, vigorous, heroic maiden, a female warrior, heroine. The word virago has almost always had an association with cultural gender transgression. A virago, of whatever excellence, was still identified by her gender. There are recorded instances of viragos fighting battles, wearing men's clothing, or receiving the tonsure. The word virago is also used disparagingly, to imply that a virago was not excellent or heroic, but was instead violating cultural norms. Thus virago joined pejoratives such as termagant, mannish, amazonian and shrew to demean women who acted aggressively or like men.

Vituperator: a woman who speaks her mind, often with harsh or abusive language. A hellion. A madcap. A fury. A siren.

Termagant: violent; turbulent; brawling; shrewish

Mad MOzElle: like Madamoiselle, French title *of respect* equivalent to “Miss”, used in speaking to or of a girl or unmarried woman, but *way* more fun

Liberated, free

Autonomous, self-reliant, self-sufficient, self-determining, sovereign, individualistic

As I write all of these words, I realize that I will not stop being these things.

Autonomous. That's the word we fought over. That's the word I kept saying. Result: success. 
Fourteen years of being Autonomous, making and living with my own decisions.

Self-reliant: something else we fought about. 
Result: success. Either fixed it myself or found someone who could.

Every word listed has the same result: success. None of them came easy. Blood, sweat, tears, bought or borrowed.

Things I did on my own:Taxes. I failed. I hired an accountant. I succeeded.

Mortgage: paid off 12 years early.

Maintenance: Watched my house. Listened to my house. Inspected. Tinkered. Maneuvered. Called a pro. I didn't turn into Grey Gardens. Trees came close to my house. I had them cut before they grew into my house. A raccoon came in my house. I had him evicted. 

Beautification: new paint, new floors, new windows, new landscaping, new trees, new flowers.

Neighborhood: became a member of my community. Neighbors know me. Look out for me. Depend on me. Smile when they see me. Except for Bill's kids who are dicks. 

Defense: defended my home against a violent drug and arms dealer who moved in next door. Leaned on him, enlisted law enforcement, got him evicted. 

A Gathering Place. Parties. Dinners. Brunches. Poetry Readings. Play rehearsals. Yoga studio. Concert Venue. A hostel. My home became a hearth for food and art and artists and hurting people and happy people.

My sanctuary: with my dog and my cat in our cozy nest. I cooked for myself, I camped in my back yard, I planned travel, I worked, I looked for work, I read books, I wrote poems, I wrote plays, I wrote songs, I wrote books, I wrote journals, I wrote letters, I dreamt, I wept, I dried the tears of friends, I laughed, I loved, I stumbled, I got up, I nurtured, I lost, I forgave, I remembered, I learned, I believed.

Saturday my nearly decade-long partner, Larry, moves in with Abby and me. It's been in the works a while now, over a year. This past week, I've relished every moment in my house, doing nothing particularly special, except enjoying the hygge I have been creating for many years now.

 How have I been Mad MOzElle-ing? With homemade mini pizzas and brownies and red wine and watching Food Network and playing with my cat and purging and cleaning and relaxing and reflecting and luxuriating. 

Last night I reflected on the life I built here and why I built it, and how I stayed and why I stayed. 

Fourteen years. I remember my very first night alone. I cooked, cleaned my kitchen, watched TV, and wrote, and I remember it feeling right and free. 

I reflected on the phases of my life and the people who have come and gone, and the ones who never left and said thank you to it all.

I am leaving behind a certain part of my life, a certain part of me. 

I said thank you to the me of that phase of my life. 

I said to that self, well played, self, well played.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

To Punch Depression and Kick Anxiety in the Beanbag

Things I did this week:

semiannual dentist visit
annual doctor visit
submitted interview/notes/story for Pets for Patriots: Christian and Bella
bought new socks
bought cozy new hat
walked before work
walked after work
appreciated January sunrises
appreciated January sunsets--they are particularly spectacular in January no matter the weather
picked up trash in neighborhood
started reading good detective book, "The Intruder" by Tana French
worked out after work: bike, elliptical
cleaned out guest room: prepare for Airbnb guests
cleaned guest bath
created new vases of sea shells collected in Indian Shores
helped Larry purge to ready for his move NEXT WEEK!
slept over ten hours three times this week. decided not to fret about sleeping ten hours three days this week
new idea: cook Caribbean food
new hope: know the tingle. that feeling when an idea gives you the goose bumps.
new word: hygge: Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. 

Some pictures for my 2020 Vision Board:

Image result for january sunrise

Image result for january sunset

This is the best bookshelf idea! Turn the space under the stairs into a cozy home library by using floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves -- and don't forget the lighting! #basementremodel

From thermometer shower taps to bookshelf staircases, you'll love these ingenious and fun home designs.

Creative And Genius Bookshelf






Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020 Vision

I hear people talk about Vision Boards, and I think of the craft projects we made in elementary school where we cut out pictures of things we liked and glued them to a poster board.

A Google search brought up this article  on vision boards from HuffPost.

"So, what's the big secret to creating a vision board that works? It's simple: Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want."

In less than a second, I identified the two things I want to feel: Calm and Strong. I didn't have to think about it. I already knew it. 

I find calm and strong to work in tandem. I feel it when I'm walking long distances, surrounded by the sky, nothing obstructing my view. I felt it walking the desert at night in Utah and Nevada near Lake Powell--not just calm, but strong. I used that exact word--strong--when I described an evening at our campground, watching a sun set silently into the desert. I felt strong walking the shores of the Gulf for hours on end, sometimes walking slowly, sometimes very quickly, taking huge strides to match my huge smile. 

The water and space brings me a calm, and that calm makes me feel strong and present. Here I'm talking about vision boards, and I name the two things I want to feel daily instead of only when I'm on vacation somewhere beautiful, and I realize that part of the calm and exhilaration I feel on long sandy shores or in the desert at evening (I don't like the desert in the daytime) is partially due to my ability to see for miles around me. 

I don't like crowds, cities, crushing of bodies, harried events. I don't like feeling closed in, pressed, my view obstructed. I don't know if this is a preference or a condition or an explanation. But it's my life, my body, and I don't have to put myself in those situations if I don't feel like it.

When I think of calm, I think of order and composition and tidiness. I think of things put in their places, nothing strewn or neglected. Noise is disorder. Small talk that delivers no insight or beauty is noise. Clutter obstructs my view. View is flow. Water flows. Vision flows.

When creating my top 3 of 2019, I questioned my initial appraisal. How could I say I enjoyed two weeks on a beach more than two weeks of road tripping all over the most beautiful and diverse places in our country? (Redwoods and Crater Lake and Oregon Coast and valleys and the Cascade Mountains?)

Was it the timing? Or was it a feeling?

It was a feeling. I loved how I felt on the warm beach, hearing the waves night and day, indoors or out. I loved the calm. And I loved how strong I felt walking about nine miles per day on the shores.

I feel strength in calm. Calm comes from order. Order means I am not seeing clutter in my surroundings. I am not hearing chatter around me or in my brain. It means I have accomplished what I needed to do.

2020 Vision for me is going to be Calm, Strength, and Vision.





Top 3 of '19

Traditional New Year's exercise

Top 3 of the year

1. Two-week trip to Indian Shores, Florida, in December.
2. 17-day trip to Oregon and Northern California in September.
3. Spending time at my parents' lake house on Indian Lake. 

Runners-up
4. Trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes
5.  Working with Pets for Patriots
6.  Going to Larry's college reunion in Kansas



Fourth Kind of Divine Madness

Thus far I have been speaking of the fourth and last kind of madness, which is imputed to him who, when he sees the beauty of earth, is tra...