afraid of heights…

Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.  ~ John Lennona97765_g269_10-canyon

the new year is here…and finally for me, i can feel it.

As I have alluded to, i changed my life last spring.  I wish I could have written aloud to others during this past 8 months journey, but it was simply too personal.

But today, on this morning, i feel like I have poked my head out of the dark…that I have crossed a huge chasm- HUGE…and I am looking back at it with astonishment.  And all of the fear and apprehension of seeing it looming ahead for so many months is gone…and I am lighter because of it.

I have learned some things about myself:

  • I am capable of doing what I set my mind to
  • Being separate from people is more about emotional distance than physical distance
  • I don’t control everything, nor is everything my fault or responsibility
  • Having time and permission to create is essential to my mental health
  • I need very few ‘things’ to be happy
  • I can spend an obscene amount of money on groceries, if I don’t keep track!
  • Its OK to ask for what I need and its OK to say ‘no’ to what i don’t want.

I have also learned that before one of these epiphanies, I tend to get really emotional- like crying-in-the-produce-section-of-HyVee emotional…embarrassing, as I am counting my items, thru tears, to see if I can use the ‘express lane’.  But that is another thing I have learned…feel your feelings…nothing wrong with that.

One of my daughters has the quote above tattooed on her feet, and she has repeated it to me on and off thru the past 8 months.  Until recently, I am not sure I really understood this part of my life correctly.  And who knows? I may not have it figured out now either…but the first major chasm is behind me


Let it be…

We have reached one of those milestones of life…you know, first steps, first day of school, first date… first signs of menopause………………excellent.  One of those things that you know is coming, that you are prepared for, that you even empathize with others about, while secretly being glad that you are not as OLD as they are.  Well, its here…and I am.

So I dived into reading about this period of life, researching how to cope with it herbally, within diet.  You know, what to eat more of, and what to avoid, to alleviate symptoms.  I am sort of an anti-medication person…well, not sort of- I am.

Of course, it was all the usual things- avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, along with any fast food etc.  This makes perfect sense.  The sugar isn’t hard to avoid, except for red licorice…which is a blog post all its own.  I am not a real drinker, so no real worries there.  I don’t eat meat, so except for a wild hair for McDonalds fries sometimes, I don’t eat fast food.

The caffeine…*sigh*  … I love coffee.  I know its not great for me…I have gone without at times but always go back.  I have endured the caffeine withdrawal headaches for 3 days until I could stand the mornings without caffeine.  I have tried to drink herbal tea in the mornings, which is a nice hot beverage, but really?  My sister makes the best coffee in the universe.  I make OK coffee, but for some reason, her coffee is heaven.  I can be doing fine, drinking my wimpy herbal tea in the morning, and then I visit her…all resolve slips away at the thought of a cup of her coffee.  Sitting on her porch steps drinking a cup of her coffee in the early morning mist…that is what perfect is made out of.

We have gotten off track… I decided that cutting down on my caffeine intake would be good- so i bought the “half caff” organic, water decanted coffee beans at the HyVee.  I felt pretty good about this.  I was being responsible about this caffeine addiction thing I have.  I was still enjoying a bit of caffeine, still drinking pretend coffee, feeling normal, yet I was doing a good thing…less caffeine.  >pats self on back, while nodding<

A jeep I was behind while drinking my espresso, and the planets aligned in the universe…sending me a message.

last week I ran out of my ‘half caff’ beans…and i didn’t have time to get to the HyVee…so as I rummaged thru my freezer on a harried morning last week, all I could find was Italian espresso beans…are you feeling it?… do you see the end of this story?  I know, I know…I hear you…you are saying, “why, Pat? why, if you are committed to your recovery, would you still have espresso beans in your freezer?”

And to that I would say, “let it be.  Some things are not meant to be messed with…”

Sometimes you have to climb…

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.  ~Anaïs Nin


I took Journi to a new playground a few weeks ago.  There were new things there, namely a climbing wall.  Watching her negotiate it was amazing.  She looked at it from a distance for awhile, walked around it.  Soon she walked up and took hold of the footholds, almost as if testing them for strength.  She sat on a protruding edge, and felt the surface all the way around.  And then, almost without a backward glance, she began climbing.   When she was done, she had no fear of it, no worries and it became part of her play.  She found no need to conquer it anymore, she had found her way thru.

Considering the idea…

I have changed my life.  Thru a series of events that pushed me to act, to no longer settle for what was, but to reach for what could be, i packed up my favorite things and took a new job.  I moved 6 hours from where I have been for 12 years and found a new place to live.

To say that this is scary is an understatement.  Exciting, breathless, and sometimes lonely, that too.  I have not been without a husband and/or child(ren) since I was 19.  This is like leaving home for the first time, except this time, i don’t live in a dorm room and hoard extra change for postage stamps.

Sometimes you just have to begin climbing…

In retrospect tho’, now that I have been at my new residence for 2 whole weeks, I think I probably followed some of the same principles as Journi.  I considered this idea, living on my own, leaving the familiar, for months- even years.  I tested the strength of where I was heading, found a new job, doing something I have always wanted to do.  I backed away from the whole idea at one point, believing that I was probably crazy, and relegated myself to stay where I was.  But then I just started climbing…probably seemed sudden to some…but I had been contemplating the possibility for years.

I think the fear will go away in bits…I am finding my way thru…

hippie heaven

i was part of something awesome today…

I have a friend who knows things…you know those people who seem like they know everything?  Like they just don’t act like they know everything and really don’t- they really do know just about everything.  Anyway, she, in passing, said “Bountiful Baskets” to me, and then said over her shoulder, “look it up online”.  So i did.  I couldn’t seem to get my mind around it, and visited the website several times…each time I figured out a bit more.  It seemed that one could buy a “basket” of fresh produce for a nominal price, and that “baskets” were delivered all over…there were several states represented, and I could pick it up here in town.  But you had to order and pay for the basket ahead of time, at a very specific time, and pick it up at a specific time.  So I followed the directions and ordered- plus some other stuff that sounded good, like an Asian Veggie Pack, Wheat Bread, and Italian Olive Oil Bread.

My pick up time was at 12:30 on Saturday.  All week I was worried I would forget…I forget things.  Like totally forget and then whatever it was, is over.  So I had reminders all over, and told people to remind me.  Finally I decided to go early and volunteer to put together baskets, so i wouldn’t be late.

When I got there, I was greeted by very nice people and rows and rows of white laundry baskets on the floor- there was probably 80-100 baskets.  The wonderful woman leader, I think her name was Sarah, explained what to do.  When the truck came, we would help unload and fill all the baskets with the produce.  Simple enough.  There were perhaps 20 people volunteering and I thought it was a bit of overkill on the volunteering.  Not so!  When the truck came, the produce just kept piling out of there! We had sweet corn, broccoli, cauliflower, pomegranates, apples, oranges, pears, kiwis, butter lettuce, brussel sprouts, bananas and more!  I was stunned!  I was expecting maybe a few apples, bananas, lettuce…it was amazing, beautiful fresh produce.  And all of the volunteers just pitched in together.  I helped put broccoli in baskets, and sweet corn.

We had the sweet corn for lunch, and I made stir fry with my Asian veggies tonight- there was bok choy, green onions, garlic, Thai basil, celery, pea pods, and fresh water chestnuts! There was a piece of some type of root, that I suspect was ginger, and I grated some into the stir fry as well.  It was stupendous! The veggies were so fresh, like they were picked today! 🙂

It was truly hippie heaven…amazing produce with people working together to create something that helped other people…

I was part of something awesome today.

Make each day.

When i meet a new person, i note variousities about them, but one thing i do notice rather quickly is whether they are a “maker”, a “meeter”, a “helper” or a “muller”… these are my own terms, and they are not all inclusive, but there are people whose mission seems to be meeting people, and those who are just born helpers.  Some are thinkers, and spend countless hours figuring things out, and of course there is us- the ‘makers’…we make things.  We bake, we sew, we knit, we fix, we create, we photograph, we build, we are makers.

This morning, i was considering the New Year, yes, trite, I know…a New Year post…but I was.  Its a new year, a new start…and i was thinking about what i need to do this year, to make it a more worthwhile, more satisfying year.  And the phrase “make every day” wandered thru my mind, and it resonated with me…in both forms of its meaning…to create something of value each day, but also to create the day- to unwrap it each morning, as a package of wealth, something to be treasured and used…not one of those gifts we get and re-gift to someone else because it is trivial to us- but to consider it, to turn it over and examine it and to decide how we will make use of it.  Whether its to make a list, or a trip, to meet a friend or walk a mile…don’t let a day pass without making it, that is my goal.

And for you my friends, for this coming year, I wish you breath…that you will find breath in your lungs to bless others, to sing, to race, to laugh, to dance, to learn, to enjoy, to be thankful, to make change, to spend time in the light…and to make.

Much love,


as i am.

Several years ago, while in a store helping one of the girls shop for a prom dress, i spied a woman with an armload of clothes.  She was about my size, tall and robust (that’s code for a fuller build).  Entering and exiting the dressing room several times, i watched her go from clothes rack to clothes rack, selecting this shirt and those pants.  Clearly she was having a wonderful time, and admiring her figure in the tri-fold mirror every so often.  She was trying on nice clothes, fun clothes in bright colors.  I have thought of her many times, and even now, she is so fresh in my memory.

Like many women, i have always felt ‘too big’.  There are various factors that enter into this feeling, but regardless, its been in me for so long, i considered it a truth.  Looking back at earlier pictures, I realize i have never really been too big…at times, i have been painfully thin.  Yet, if you asked me at that time, i would have told you that obesity was just around the corner.

If I consider reality, just for a moment…and accept myself as I am, I would have to admit that i have worn the some of the same clothes for over 10 years(because i don’t like buying clothes unless i feel ‘thin’)…that tho my weight has fluctuated ten pounds up or down…even 20 here and there, I am still the same.  That the dieting, the weird food combinations, the ‘eating what i want’, the junkfood, the fear of obesity…none of it has changed my weight much…and i have to wonder, if looking back at pictures from this time, will i regret all the time wasted on worrying about being “too big”?

This body, which houses me, my creative spirit, my humor, my energy, my ability to let others shed pain…this body is enough, and perfect for its purpose, which is to love.

And its time to accept, just as I am.

What about you…just as you are?

much love,


Spinning with grace


“is this the way? is this how you hold it, Aunt Pat? Do I pinch like this?” I was sweating.  In my mind, teaching my 5 year old niece, Grace, to spin had been such a lyrical task.  I would show her the wool, the colors, and the textures, and I would explain how the wool came to be sheared, and dyed and carded.  And together we would learn the parts of the spinning wheel, and I would show her how the flyer spun the wool and wound it onto the bobbin.

It wasn’t going that way at all- she was miles ahead of me and treadling the wheel at warp speed.  I was trying to catch up with her thought processes, still wondering in some small corner of my mind, why she wasn’t enamored into stillness by the colors and the textures of the wool.  Determined to recover, I entreated her to treadle more slowly, giving the wool a chance to spin before it was consumed by the flyer orifice and bobbin.  She slowed a bit.

Taking this small window of opportunity- this itty bitty breather- I asked her to stop.  I peeled a narrow rope of wool from the roving.  Handing one end to her, we drafted from both ends, like a spaghetti noodle between two.  At that point, we pulled it apart in the middle.  With her focused on drafting, i was able to demonstrate how much stronger the wool was when it is twisted, rather than the fibers laying side by side.  This made the critical impression.  She showed everyone else in the house, even her next door friend, what ‘strong wool’ we were making.

Teaching can be challenging. But so often what you teach isn’t the craft itself, but the qualities associated with it- patience, diligence, craftsmanship, and appreciation for other’s work. Grace will never look at machine made yarn in the same way.  And I found that the only way to teach effectively was to abandon my lofty ideas of how it was going to go, and roll up my sleeves, catch up and get to the objective of the whole thing- making strong wool.

tomorrow we are dying with Kool-Aid, and carding…

Testing….testing…is this thing on?



Tomorrow morning we head out to the cliff dwellings in colorado, but i don’t want to take my laptop since we are travelling light. So this post is my personal test that I can truly post from my droid. Being a digital immigrant (fabulous article by marc prensky, if u haven’t read it, google it & make time), I tend to be distrustful of new technology and reluctant to trust what they are hawking here in a foreign land…I just hope I find good coffee.

I put a wordpress app on my droid with high hopes. So far, I see my texting shorthand being the #1 issue…i forget..I’m 50 now, u know.

I’m going on a trip 🙂 Stay tuned for pictures from the road…

P.S. Here is a smile from journi 🙂

how to begin.

the only joy in the world is to begin…~ Cesare Pavese

beginning…i have trouble beginning.  Of all of the creative parts of a project, beginning is the toughest part for me.  I can go thru preparations, gathering, mulling, but the actual STARTING…that sticks me.

Once i start, its gravy.  I can see all the things that work and don’t work, what falls apart, what worked better in my head, what LOOKED better in my head, and it is energizing to actually SEE in a concrete sense what i have been seeing in my head, what i have been theorizing.

So how can you get yourself to START?

Here it is- step by step

1. Put your hands on your sketch or if you have no sketch, close your eyes and picture your finished project in your head.

2. Gather your materials and put within reach in your work space.

3. Picture your finished project in your head.

4. Deep breath…reach up high, and reach down and touch your toes.

5. Picture your finished project in your head.

6. Pick up each of your materials and put them each down.  Do this several times.

7. Picture your finished project in your head.

8. Put everything away for the day and go for a drive…just kidding 🙂

Actually, this is the sticking point- do it! Put pen to paper, start writing, or pick up your paint brush, or put the clay in your hand – but it is time to try to make what is in your hand match what is in your head…

and here is the deal…if this project was going to go easy, you would have already done it- so be prepared for 2 or 3 or 27 false starts or practice/trial runs…in fact, try to figure out how NOT to make it work first- trying the beautiful floaty, ethereal idea you have in your head first may be what is stopping you flat.  So test your ideas out on trials first and see how it goes.  Get those out of the way!  Don’t even attempt to make the first thing you try the Golden Finished Product.

I have, at times, been paralyzed by the fact that i only had enough of a certain material…i didn’t want to waste it if the project didn’t go right, so i just didn’t begin.  In this situation, practice with a lesser equivalent of your coveted material, or pull it out of your project- its a problem.

once you know what will work and what won’t, that beautiful floaty ethereal idea in your head will begin to take on concrete dimensions in your head, AND in your workspace.

Go forth and conquer!

I’m all adither!

Forgiveness is the release of all hope for a better past. – Alexa Young

 i’m going on a trip!  i never go on trips, like just for me…i go to visit my kids, to a training, a conference, a leadership seminar… and the whole time I am gone, i am thinking i should be home…that there are things i might be doing, if i were spending this time …

  • sketching
  • potting
  • spinning
  • writing
  • working on my kiln
  • glazing pots
  • writing a business plan
  • blowing bubbles with Journi

it doesn’t mean i WOULD do these things if i had stayed home, but it is a quick and easy, convenient way to guilt myself out and make sure i don’t enjoy whatever trip i am on…

but i’m 50 now, you know.

 i am making a concerted effort to enjoy each moment, to breathe it in…to live every day of my life.

a few days ago when my husband said, “we need to just take off for a week and go somewhere” (keep in mind, he doesn’t like to travel, he likes being home with the pets and his garden and Journi)…my mind stuttered a bit, with all the reasons that we couldn’t, shouldn’t go… and really…where would we go anyway!?  (do you see me shaking my head at the ridiculousness of the whole idea!?)

out of nowhere…a gypsy spirit struck me this morning, whispered in my ear …and i remembered a long ago (my god, Michaela was 5!…she is almost 20 now) failed trip to the cliff dwellings in Colorado…why not!?

and really…seriously….why NOT?! 🙂

so you may see some road tripping blog posts coming up quite soon! stay tuned!

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