Sunday, February 28, 2010

29 Gifts--Days 21 to 28

I've almost completed one cycle of the 29 days of giving. It's been a positive experience. And I would like to think it has changed me somewhat. Here's what I have done so far: Sunday, Day 21: Champagne, collage piece, and a card to my snow angels for clearing our sidewalks and driveway this winter. Monday, Day 22: Retail flower therapy. Bought more flowers for the library to adorn the desks. Tuesday, Day 23: Brought an extra protein bar to a bandmate during rehearsal. (Steve's in on this--it was his idea.) Wednesday, Day 24: Sent a card with a necklace to a friend (she attended our Beanery gig and gave me socks from Japan.:)) Thursday, Day 25: Gave flowers to patrons who looked like they were having a tough day. Friday, Day 26: Brought in fizzy water for our staff meeting and left a large tip at lunch for one of my favorite servers. Saturday, Day 27: Made a collage card and brought a photograph for a friend at dinner last night (it was an overdue present for her birthday.) Sunday, Day 28: Bought a cool photograph at ArtPost today. J is a terrific artist/photographer. And she is a friend, so it is even more meaningful. Monday, Day 29 (and March 1): I do not know yet. We shall see.

Sunday Night (Reprise)

"Viva Las Vegas" --Mixed Media Collage lcs.2010
It's Sunday night again. I'm at the dining room table, typing away, listening to the closing Olympic ceremonies on television to my right. Moshi the kitten is perched on the ledge of the couch, watching me type. Java is sprawled out on the floor, belly up, waiting for some attention (I just gave her a belly rub.) Latte is upstairs on the bed, lazily sleeping this winter's evening away.
It's been a bittersweet weekend--but mostly sweet. Steve hosted the bi-weekly game in the basement Friday night. There are a lot of pirates yar-ring and causing a lot of mischief in their adventures in the imaginary land of Freeport. Saturday, I slept in, caught up on emails and chats with friends online. Saturday night, I attended a band rehearsal--rough rehearsal--and then went to dinner with friends at Ciao's. Dinner with good friends made for a better evening.
Today I had coffee talk and lunch with a friend at The Chocolate Cafe and then visited friends Jake and Kay at ArtPost. That was nice. An artistic outlet is always nice. It's always a fun time and an art history lesson when I visit J & K. I finished another collage tonight while watching the tube. I haven't decided on a name for the art piece.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

29 Days: Catching Up

I haven't forgotten my 29 days of giving. I'm still doing it. As a result, magical things are happening. Cami was right. It is changing my life and uplifting my spirit. I believe I left off at Day 15. Let me see what I can remember from this week. I know I mindfully gave something every day.
Tuesday, February 16: Gave a flower to a patron.
Wednesday, February 17: Gave my volunteer a hug. I just love her!
Thursday, February 18: Bought a new stuffed rat to blog and entertain some of my blog readers. Its a very creepy looking rat. It freaked Steve out a little. (If you want to know the back story, refer to posts in 2008-2009.)
Friday, February 19: Attended dinner and supported a friend who is getting married and agreed to purchase and wear a dress (wedding #8!)
Saturday, February 20: I bought sodas and lunch for a friend.
Sunday, February 21: I'm not tellin' until later. :)
Well, off to working on bills and reports! -xo

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michiana Monologues

*Alert: this blog post contains adult content. You've been warned! :)
Tonight, Steve and I attended the 3rd Annual Michiana Monologues at IUSB. It was awesome! The Michiana Monologues, inspired by the tony award-winning Vagina Monologues, are based on stories of girls and women in the community. Women submitted their stories anonymously to the website. Stories are then chosen by an editorial staff. After the stories are submitted, there is an auditon for women to present the stories in a series of monologues. Some of the stories are somber, others are uplifting. Some women are dressed up, others are dressed casually. Everyone gave a great performance. I particularly loved the big boob haikus. Absolutely hysterical. I can totally relate to the Victoria's Secret haiku, as they do not cater to women with blessed ta-tas. (Only in recent years did they expand their bra sizes to cater to the bosomly blessed.)
Outside the theatre, tables adorned the hallway. There was a place to purchase the stories from previous and current monologues. There were also trained counselors present in case people needed to talk, due to content of some of the stories performed. I visited St. Margaret's House and purchased another beautiful scarf. The proceeds go towards the house and the programs that are offered. Something that was also cool was the silent auction. People donated goods and services and people bid on them. I donated a framed nature photograph and someone bought it! Steve and I enjoyed going to the Michiana Monologues. It was not just a performance or play, but an event. We'll attend next year.
P.S. Oh, yes, I forgot to get Steve a "Vagina Friendly" button that one of the men was wearing at the event tonight.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 15: Card for a Friend

Monday, February 15: Card for a Friend Today I went out and purchased a card for a colleague (and friend) who recently had heart surgery. We signed it at work. I will mail it out tomorrow, sending positive thoughts his way. The 29 Days has shifted my thinking. Although I am not a big spender, I am now more focused on giving and letting go of things. It's liberating.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Night: 29-Day Gifts

Sunday, February 14, 2010
Day 14: Chocolates!
It was a good day. I spent the afternoon in libraryland and the evening with a dear friend at the chocolate factory. I picked up Steve a box of chocolates. He was really pleased to have them.
It's an unoriginal idea for Valentine's Day, but Steve loves chocolates and I love Steve.
I look forward to seeing what gift I can come up with for day 15. It's fun sending out and giving gifts mindfully. I'm grateful to have my blog so I can document the gifts (and it keeps me on task to keep with it. I always have the best of intentions.)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

29-Day Gifts: Days 12 and 13

Friday, February 12: Collage for a Friend TGIF. What a strange week for me. Despite the fact that I am still fatigued and winded, I still managed to drag myself out of the warm covers at 6:00 a.m. to be ready to leave for art by 7:00 a.m. It's not easy some mornings, but it's always worth it. I then go to libraryland. I'm behind because I keep getting sick and then other projects and fires to be put out take precedence. I'm trying to take it easy so I don't relapse. Then I cannot locate a document and I am annoyed. (It turns out this document is most likely online but needs signatures. Damn it.) So, I do my desk shifts and then in frustration, I re-organize my office. It's something I need to do occasionally so I can regroup and get back on task. (Eliminating inner clutter=eliminating outer clutter.) I am about 80% finished. The top of the desk needs work now, but it will be in great shape by Tuesday. I still believe grief makes me stupid. I'm still doing absentminded tasks and making errors. But I guess that's what being part of the human race is about. It's Freeport Friday. The gamers visit the house. It was fun to listen to them laughing downstairs. And I made a friend a framed collage. I weave recycled paper, wrapping paper, and old photographs together from small strips. It was fun to do. Saturday. February 13: The Gift of Time I slept in today. No rehearsal. Steve and I left for Cassopolis to attend the funeral of a family member of a friend. We were going to stop in and pay our respects, but we wanted to stay and support our friends. And I'm glad we did. We visited the Cass County Library because we couldn't find the funeral home. It was neat to see another library. This evening we ate pizza at Barnaby's with friends. We stayed for a long time and caught up. We left later then expected and now am catching up on reading and writing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nearing the Eve of a Thirteen

Tonight, I received three text messages on my cell. In the darkness and privacy of my parked car, my vision blurred as I attempted to read the words. The icy fingers of grief grabbed me by the pulse of my throat and temporarily threw me into the familiar and shadowy corner of hell; the swirling gray mass of despair that shrouds my being. I learned tonight that a friend of the family died tonight from cancer. And my sadness is exacerbated by the fact that this loss is yet another reminder of the loss of my mother; and the fact that we are nearing the eve of a thirteen. My heart goes out to my friend, his wife (now widowed) and his family. My heart breaks for all of us.

29-Day Gift: Day Eleven

Thursday, February 11: Day Eleven: Letting Someone in Traffic
Tonight I was driving home from the library and someone had their turn signal on. I let the person in, and she waved. The fact that she acknowledged my courtesy was a gift to me

29-Day Challenge: Day Ten: A Card and Pizza

29-Day Challenge: Day Ten Yay. Steve delivered a handmade card to a friend of mine today. It made her day, so it made mine. Also, one of my lovely staff members is now a grandmother, so I ordered pizza to be delivered at the library for staff. I love my friend and I love my staff.
Good things happened to me today. Steve made homemade spaghetti for us, and my snow angels blew out our driveway and sidewalks. I'm totally getting them more champagne (Tabor Hill Spumante.) We're lucky to have great neighbors and friends.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

29-Day Giving Challenge: Book Review

Tuesday, February 9: Day Nine: Book Review
My gift today is to write a book review on my blog for my friend Izola, who is a writer. Z, this is for you. :)
In 2009, Izola Bird wrote and published her third book, a non-fiction read entitled The Witch Who Stole My Husband, published by Pendium Publishing House, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. The book is about adultery and in this particular case, a story about the other woman with a co-conspirator: the mother-in-law. The chapters are short (which I like), written in a conversational and passionate voice, and takes the reader through a journey of how adultery unfolds in the home. Izola shares what to look for, how adultery can create a path of despair and make the wife feel helpless and even insane, but also uses her faith in Christ for resilience and strength. There is a glossary in the back of the book with Biblical passages.
I can see Izola's book being discussed among friends over coffee or in someone's living room for book club. I see Izola reading passages from her book in the cafe at the bookstore or library, or discussed privately with a women's circle in church. Her book is available through Amazon.com and Pendium Publishing House.

The Cat Zoo: February Hibernation

It's been quiet here at the cat zoo. Here is Moshi sleeping. Perhaps the kitties are really miniature hibernating bears? One more day at home co-habitating with the beasts and then back to libraryland. I look forward to seeing everyone again. The fireplace at the library has kept everyone warm and toasty this winter and creates such a nice ambiance for our patrons. :) I will miss cozying up with the fur children at home, but they need cat chow and a place to rest their whiskers.

29 Days: Days Eight & Nine

Monday, February 8: Day Eight: Mailing Packages
I sent out a few packages to friends while waiting for my scripts to be filled.
Tuesday, February 9: Day Nine: ?
This one will be tricky since I will be home today. I'll sleep on it.

The Help

With the exception of the Club LaSalle show (I guess show is the updated term for gig, but a gig is a gig), I've been pretty much holed up at home with prednisone and other meds. It's the annual winter cootiefest for me, perhaps my body's way of saying "Slow Down." And I need to listen, because I'd much rather be hanging out with cool people at my cool library digs than sleeping at home. Seriously. I've been trying not to do too much and overdo it. But I did address a few packages to friends (still on my 29 days of giving) and still have more to do. I'm doing more collages using my friend J's technique of weaving the recycled items and thinking about what I'm making and why. He said that's what makes it art: the fact that you are thinking about it. Good advice. I also finished a book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I highly recommend it. The story takes place in Jackson, Mississippi from 1963-1964. The story is about relationships between maids and housewives, but there's so many layers within the book. It's been on the New York Times Bestseller List for awhile, so in a sense I am doing reader's advisory at home. Yes, it's number one on the list. I hope there is a sequel: I am interested in reading more about the characters. One more day of rest and then back to libraryland. I'm looking forward to seeing if people have read this book and their reactions. Anyhow, I need to start another book soon.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Club LaSalle: Mad Dogs and Irishmen

Performing at Club LaSalle was fun. I slept most of the day still recovering. Steve volunteered for Science Alive at the Main Library. In the late afternoon, we packed up the percussion and left to set up and do a sound check. The venue is cool and comfortable: brick walls, elegant seating, leather couches in the back. After the sound check, we opted to have dinner at Hacienda. Our dear friends B & B spotted us and joined us. They also visited the club to hear us perform. Time passed too quickly and we had to get back, since I had to change and then go back to the club.
We presented a nice show. Patrons appeared happy. They gave us compliments. I met some nice new people, including a blues guitarist and his wife, other musicians, and two future gamers/groupies/roadies named Collin and Richard. As shown in the photograph taken by Steve, people were dancing to the music, which is always a positive sign. I appreciated my family and friends who came out to see us. Thank you. We will be performing at Club LaSalle on March 17 and then at the Box Factory in April. It's good to be playing and performing again. I didn't realize how much I missed playing music until I started playing again.

29-Day Giving Challenge: Days Six and Seven

Saturday, February 6: Phone calls
After waking up and resting, I called and/or texted family and friends I haven't spoke with for awhile to say hello and catch up.
Sunday, February 7: Grocery Shopping, Dishes, and Cat Patrol
Today, since Steve has been my wonderful roadie and does so much around the house, I did the marketing today. I wrote a list, cut coupons, and went grocery shopping. I wondered why there were a lot of people wearing Colts sweatshirts: tonight's the Superbowl! I also am doing dishes and keeping the cats entertained while Steve is trying to grade. (He does stuff like this for me all the time.)

Friday, February 05, 2010

29 Day Giving Challenge: The First Five Days

Monday, February 1: Donations Cami's book emphasized that the gifts don't have to be big. In fact, sometimes the smallest gifts are the most important. Sunday night, I cleaned out two bags of clothes from my side of the closet and bagged them up. When you give your items to Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul, there is usually a receipt for tax-deductions. I usually document and pick one up, because you can deduct a lot of your taxes. When I dropped off the items to St. Vincent de Paul on my lunch hour, I did not get a receipt. Tuesday, February 2: Gratuity I am usually a generous tipper, but being mindful that I am making someone's day and perhaps making up for the cheapskate who does not bother to tip. I was having lunch at the Volcano, a delicious pasta restaurant on the west side of South Bend, and I gave over 20% to one of my favorite servers. (I don't do this to get anything in return, but I always get stellar service.) Wednesday, February 3: Kit-Kat Bar I went to the doctor today with respiratory infections, and as I am wating to have my scripts filled, I looked at the candy section. One of Steve's favorite candies is the Kit-Kat bar, so I purchased one for him and gave it to him. As I was thinking about him, I am grateful to have Steve in my life. Thursday, February 4: Card I sent out a belated birthday card to a friend. She is not expecting the card, so the surprise will be an added bonus. Friday, Februrary 5: Compliment I have not done this yet, but I need to call someone back. When I do so, will pay that person a very nice compliment. Thoughts I was discussing this with a colleague & friend that when one thinks of something as a gift, rather than a chore, it becomes meaningful and fun to do. I can tell already that my way of thinking is changing.

Happy February: 29 Gifts

Welcome to February. Admittedly, I slept through most of the first week. This is the time of year when respiratory ailments hit me. I ignore it for awhile or work through it until it knocks me off my keester. It won this round and punched hard, leaving me with a gorgeous fever blister on the right side of my mouth, as a reminder to slow down. And just in time for tomorrow night's gig at Club LaSalle. Well, that's what makeup is for. Enough commiserating. On to more important things, like books.
If you know me pretty well, I tend to be a gift-giver. It's one of the ways to express love. I just wish I had enough time and enough resources to send gifts to everyone I love all the time. In Janaury I picked up this book and visited the website 29gifts.org. I joined online and you are supposed to do this in a 29-day cycle or start over. Well, I think I kept track for 5 days and then lost count (must be the ADD.) So, February 1 was a day I actually started and kept track and will post on my blog to keep true to the idea.
29 Gifts is a great idea, a great read, and a great inspiration to me. I have so much respect for Cami Walker, the author and creator of this concept. She was striken with a horrible MS flare and she used 29 Gifts to turn her life around through positive thinking. You can order the book online, read it at your favorite library (yay libraries!), or puchase it at your favorite bookstore. Then you can refer to it, or better, you can give it to someone as one of your 29 gifts.

Labor Day Weekend: Library, Gaming, Rock Band, and Kayaking

Isn't it interesting how a simple, one-line post on social media can inspire a person to write more about it on a blog? Yes, that is w...