Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Old Soul, Same Soul

A number of years ago while she still lived in Lansing, Santa Fe artist Jane Rosemont hosted a soul collage workshop, bringing in a certified Soul Collage leader to guide us through this creative process.

Based on the book by Soul Collage, by Seena Frost, the idea is to create cards (these were 5x7 or 5x8) that express elements of your soul. It could be your family, your frustratrations, your faith, your secrets.

I recently found my cards and what intrigues me these many years later is that they still very much reflect the me of today. For example, there is never enough time. 
Trying to manage my time and find enough time to do anything and everything I want is, was and will remain one of my greatest challenges. This card reminds me that there is never enough time, so make the most of what you have.
I wear a mask everyday. Do you? The smile when you'd really like to chew someone's head off? The "Sure, I'll do it!" when you really would rather not. My theatre background has stood me in great stead over the years, never so more than now as I find my temper gets a little shorter. Really, aren't we always on stage a little bit?
And yes, sometimes it seems as though everyone wants a piece of you, doesn't it? That no matter what, you can't climb out of the maze of everyone asking for something or needing something. Sometimes it seems like there is a never-ending route for your escape, as signified by the fire escape in the background. Do you go up or down? How far can you go to escape?. The hands in this image also symbolize my deadlines which are continual. I love deadlines -- they keep me on track. But sometimes everyone's deadlines are at the same time.
Grief. When I did my soul collage workshop I was going through grief and loss issues, still mourning my Dad, my friend Patricia and others. I am still going through grief issues and I suspect I shall on a regular basis as I age and see others begin to leave this earth. This card symbolized being at the very bottom on a rocky terrain as a ship sails away with the one you love leaving only memories. The green mound and the flowers symbolize life and future, rebirth of spring -- and of course the ladder tells me there is a way out. I just must be ready to climb those rickety steps to escape.
Finally, the lion represents one of the chakras and it is also my astrological Leo symbol. To me, this also indicates my inner strength -- that while I may have some vulnerabilities, I am to the core strong, a fighter, a survivor. And yes, I also have big hair.

I was glad to discover these cards and I'd recommend the process as a good (and creative) sorting out of yourself. And it was interesting to rediscover -- the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Coming Out of the Shadows

I'm getting my smile back.
Recently I have spent a lot of time looking at this.
It's a nice back yard -- but it's not that nice! And because it faces east, it isn't long into the day before there are long shadows over the back yard.
I have had a lot of shadows these days as you know. 

But while there is still winter and more to come, and while all things aren't so well as I'd like, I have to say...
...there is a little bit of color poking through!
The sky is bluer and the whites seem brighter, just like I am.
The markers that guide me seem clearer, more accessible. 
So much of this is thanks to you -- to your kind words of support, calls, emails and sweet kindness.
The last of my IVs are done, and now it's just a waiting game to get up to par and get my groove back all the way. It's taking a little longer than I thought, but we're getting there.
My heart is very full of gratitude. Thank you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Carpe Vino! Cork Poppers Tackle Chardonnays & Cabernets!

I'm getting caught up with posts that should have been done long ago. Our last Cork Poppers gathering focused on Chardonnays and Cabernet Sauvignons. All the wines in this tasting were $10-$20 at our local grocery.
(Excuse the fuzziness of these photos. Even without too much wine, I was fuzzy with my camera, and the speed settings were off! Honestly, it wasn't the wine!)

Wine guide Dick explained that chardonnay is considered a full bodied white wine, fruity and buttery.

We started off with three whites. The first was Bogle Vinyards 2011 Chardonnay (California). It was spicy and very crisp but with lots of great fruity tones. It was my favorite and at $10 a very good wine for the price.
Next up was Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Columbia Valley 2010 Chardonnay (Washington). This was aged eight months in oak barrells (the other was half-aged nine months). 
It did have a nice finish and was on the buttery-silky side. But I didn't like it as well as the first. (However, a LOT of people in our group of 11 did. A preference thing -- yours, too!) At $10, those who liked it were very happy with the price!

The third white was Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills (H3) 2009 Chardonnay. This was $14 and frankly, I didn't like it nearly as well as the first, either. It had that creamy finish and maybe I just don't like that finish. (Sincere apologies for this photo, but it gives you an idea of the bottle)
(Interesting to me: I generally don't like oakey wines, but this was aged in stainless steel which I generally prefer, but still didn't like so well. Better than number two, though!)

We switched to reds with Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Dick explained that both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots are considered medium red wines (Pinot Noir light red and Syrah/Shiraz full bodied red). 
Maybe my taste buds were off. On my notes I wrote "Clayton said 'great for after work'" and I noted "tasted sour to me; is it my meds?" This one was $10 and many folks did indeed like it.

Columbia Crest H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) was next. It had the most alcohol -- 14.5% (the others 13.5) and should have been considered a fortified wine. (I didn't get a photo of this bottle)

Rick said "It makes you pay attention" and Roger said he would like it with a steak or a hot dog
(Cheryl said that talking to Rick is like talking to a Pomeranian, her breed of choice -- but a tad high strung, I think. So was Rick.)

Next was Chauteau Ste. Michelle 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington's Columbia Valley. I liked this one very much. Others noticed a nice complexity, while Clayton said it would be a great wine to read the paper with.
Of all the reds we had, I said I liked this best and Pat agreed. At $14 it's a little high, but doable.

Finally we enjoyed Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 from Bodega Catena Zapata, Mendoza Argentina. We all agreed that it was nice but fell a little short, but may have been over chilled (the wines were outdoors and we are in Michigan winter, after all). 
I'd give this another try on someone else's dime before spending $19 on it, but Dick did point out that it should have been decanted.
We also learned that wineries need only be accurate within 1.5 percent of the actual alcohol percentage. At 14% the alcohol tax goes up and some wineries will understate the percentage at the top to avoid the tax issue.
Our hostess Barb had organized a Mexican feast with enchiladas to die for!
My contribution to the meal was guacamole and a corn salsa.
As always her table was beautiful.
Each place setting had a colorful bag of beans to take home. (I might add they made excellent soup in Rick's hands with spicy sausage and lots of herbs!)
Individual centerpieces capturing the theme of the evening, combining our wine theme with the Mexican one.
Everyone chips in with our pot lucks and I have to say no one left the table hungry!
And the women left the table with special party favors -- their own centerpiece!
And as always, it was most of all time with good friends, laughter and tastiness. Can't beat that!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be My Valentine!

This is a strange Valentine's Day for me. There may be a lovely dinner awaiting me but the evening will be cut short so I can get on my IVs.
There's something terribly unromantic about that, and yet, I feel like I'll have the most romantic Valentine of all.
We all know that there is much more to loving than the thrill of romance. Sure, I love flowers more than anyone (even though I have a terrible track record keeping them alive). Chocolate is always great, but my hips need little more of that. And being the card woman I am, nothing is better than a perfect card.
I've had some pretty good romance in my life. We all love fireworks.
But does it hold up in the end? Or does it make a big burst that gently falls down to earth? (Or comes down with a thud or a fizzle?)
Real love is so much more than that. Real love is having someone make your dinner when you are so tired it's all you can do to drive home from work. (Yes, I'm still working.)
Real love is having your partner sitting beside you in the doctor's office asking the right questions that you are too fuzzy to ask.
Real love is having someone rub your back and neck and shoulders that are so sore from coughing there is simply no relief and every bone in your body is screaming "help me!"

Real love is having someone help you learn to be your own advocate and who reminds you to listen for the signs, to know if you are better or worse, and then do something about it.

Real love is someone who reminds you that when you say all the praying you've done hasn't been working that maybe it just hasn't worked yet. And reminds you that others are praying for you, too.
Real love is sitting right beside you when you cough to the point of frenzy, almost gagging -- uncontrollable and painful. And holding you till you stop.

And real love is still holding you when you cry and am discouraged. Real Love lights a lantern to help show the way.
Real love talks you down from the ledge when all you can see is darkness and absolutely no hope of change or healing.

Real love looks at at you when you look like hell and sometimes says so, but you also know he doesn't mean it in a bad way but in a worried way. (This is an old picture. Unfortunately, I look much worse right now.)
Real love doesn't look at the kitchen that is messy or the bed that is (uncharacteristically) unmade with scorn, but either helping or turning the blind eye with no criticism.

Real love knows that some big things can seem small -- it's all in how you look at them. And if they don't seem as big as they really are, maybe they're a little easier to deal with.
Real love looks out for you when you're lost and knows what to do to help you get back where you belong.
Real love listens when you rant about how frightened you are and how much you hurt and how much you just want to be able to be home and heal but just can't.
Real love rides out like the White Knight to help you fight your battles, especially the ones with the evil villains that rip at you mercilessly every single day.
Real love will make you laugh when you are sad -- but he'll also let you be sad. Because sometimes that's the right thing to do.
Real love knows that when you put a lock on a bridge in Paris and toss the key in the river, it isn't just a tourist thing. It's because you both know you'll never need that key.
Real love knows that you're not the girl he fell in love with 17 years ago. He knows you are so much more and he'll be there -- good times and bad times. Because he knows you'll come back.
I hope that everyone in the world will have a real love like mine. The ones who take you dancing, on fancy trips, buy you pretty things -- they are fine and I hope they do that, too. But just make sure they still love you when you look like a truck has run over you and just about all you have to give at a moment is your thanks for their love.
 And if you do, you will be happy. Happy like me.
Happy Valentine's Day!

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