Archives for the month of: September, 2014

Dew drops glisten on tufts of grass.
Tiny clear jewels, they sparkle and glisten.
Birch trees canopy the surrounding grass,
familiar ghosts upon this land.
Water gurgles from the fountain.
Cars whizz by. A blue bird rests upon a branch,
he flies away.
A small slice of solace to this noisy day.

3:33 a.m. Thats what time the clock said two separate mornings when I looked up, unable to sleep, wondering how early or late it was. I thought that was peculiar. I did finally go back to bed.

I haven’t been thinking too much about it, but thoughts of possible changes have been on my mind. My boss told us that he intended on selling his practice. He doesn’t know when or if it will happen. He said it could be one year, two years, or maybe more.

I’ve gotten so used to his ways and it wasn’t always easy. He’s mellowed with age, though he still has his moments.

When the time comes, it could be interesting, new, fresh. I could stay or maybe I’ll find another job. For now, we continue on.

One thing’s for sure: We’ve reached a certain comfort in our working relationship and it makes me laugh. I know to stay away when he’s in a bad mood or focused. Just yesterday he called me a weenie because I was hesitant about something, maybe even being a bit of a scardy cat. I think that’s a first, though. I don’t know if he’s called me that before, but he said it in a playful way.

It’s been hammered into my psyche not to take things personally with him, and I think I’ve just about mastered this one; after 10 years, I sure hope so. Among other things, this job has been a good lesson in that; though, in general, I’m still working on that.

He’s pretty laid back and most of the time, he does’t take himself too seriously. But, he definitely seems ready to retire.

I know that we won’t know until we know. I look forward to change and of course there’s the uncertainty. But, it’s too easy to get stuck, and as much as I enjoy my job, assisting and keeping the office in order, I do sense that I’ve been stagnating for quite some time, which is probably why I continue taking classes (though that has slowed down too), both for personal enrichment and for job enrichment.

Though, yesterday when I was walking back to class from a break, I felt that I was ready to leave classes behind. It was a strange thought. I’ve always loved learning and I still do, but maybe I’m done with the institutional setting. I’m not sure. I just know that’s but another small change. I just want to make sure I don’t lose the parts of me that have fueled me and ignited my passion.

But come to think of it, I think the class has everything to do with it. Sure, it’s interesting to learn about Federal taxation from a basic theoretical framework, but is it exciting? Does it get my juices flowing? Not exactly. I think that must be what I felt yesterday.

I’ll just have to keep reading for joy, keep writing, and following where the pen leads me.

Ocean waters hug at my feet and legs,
pull me into the ocean.
The waves tease–
as I edge away, I tease back, hair flowing wild with the wind.
I stand there looking out at the vast ocean,
lost in my thoughts that are blank and serene.
The waves crash upon the shore, run like white horses.
I continue walking along,
feeling my feet with each step, secured in the wet sand.
And then, something catches my vision, out of the corner of my eye.
A fin. Two fins. Then three!
Then I see clearly, not too far from the shore,
a group of dolphins swimming along with the waves,
being playful with each other. I can’t take my eyes from them,
and I think this is the first time they’ve been so close.
All the other beach goers close in, cameras in hand.
We all watch in awe as the dolphins swim on by.

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Autumn brings with it many colorful festivals that I look forward to experiencing from year to year.

Over the weekend we went to an art and wine festival. Last year when we went it was rainy, but the clouds cleared by the afternoon and it was a perfect day. This year, there was no rain, and the suns rays were beaming down on my head. People spilled out of the streets filling every free space of concrete. At the section where people were buying their drink tickets, It seemed that with each step I took, I bumped into someone. Once we were out of that section, we were able to enjoy the different vender booths. I had my water in my bag, and I was munching on my “Silly Spud” potato on a stick sprinkled with parmesan and garlic, while hubby sipped on his beer. I had never had a Silly Spud before. It was a whole potato that was cut into a swirl, attached to a stick and lightly fried to a crisp, then sprinkled with a dozen choices of toppings, from sweet to savory. It was delicious and fun to eat!

As we made our way to the end of one side of the street, we saw that there was a pet adoption booth setup, so we stopped. We looked at one doggie, then as we walked around, we saw the cutest puppy, curled up, just about to take a nap. Hubby and I looked at each other at the same time and we knew–we we’re thinking the same thing.

My mother-in-law has been back and forth about wanting another dog after the passing of her dog, her long-time companion. They still have a dog, but he favors my father-in-law, so in a way it’s really his dog. They have a special bond. Her birthday is coming up and I had thought that it would be nice to get her a dog as a gift, but the more thinking that goes into it, and not knowing, nothing happens…so many variables to consider. So, when we saw this precious little puppy that reminded us a little bit of her last dog and of the dog before that, whom I didn’t get a chance to meet, we we’re that close to adopting this rescue dog for her. We asked about the dog. They tried to rouse her awake so we could see that she was also playful. We could tell that she would be a cuddler and that was one of the things on the top of the list for my mother-in-law.

The process was pretty straight forward. We had to fill out a form, have an interview, go over a few things, sign a contract, pay the fee, and we could take her home. We filled out the form, and said that we had just gotten to the festival, that we were going to walk around for a bit, then come back to finish the process and take the cutie home.

I felt excited. I knew that when my mother-in-law saw this puppy, she would fall in love. And somehow in our guts, we had a feeling it would work out, including the new puppy getting along with their dog, Lucas. We didn’t even hesitate for a moment that this was the right thing to do. It felt good.

I’m glad we had time to continue browsing the different vender booths, but it didn’t take us long before we returned to take puppy home. I carried her in my arms, speaking to her, and telling her we were going to her new home, and that she was alright. She was a little nervous, but she didn’t squirm much until the loud music scared her. I held her close, and talked to her all the way until we got to my in-laws house. She did great in the car. She’s a curious girl, looking everywhere, trying to see the world. She’s four months old.

When we handed puppy to my mother-in-law her face lit up. She’s yours we said. She was a little bit surprised, but so very happy. Puppy’s new name is Petunia, and she’s a happy, happy girl. She’s made herself right at home with her new mama and she get’s along splendidly with Lucas.

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“Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.”
— Ralph Marston, American writer

The morning has run away from me. Beautiful orange carnations stare out at me, my cup of tea is empty. I hear a dog bark and bird tweets. Last night I knew I had more studying to do. It’s never really done. Just as I finish one chapter, I have to begin on the next to prepare for the next week’s class. My teacher is quite responsive. I’ve emailed her a few times with questions. She’s also organized and passionate about her subject. She even begins the class with a tax joke.

So last night, I don’t know if I was procrastinating or if baking soothes me. I’m not a baker. But when I was a little girl I did bake often and I don’t know when I stopped. Now, I tend to focus on suppertime meals. Or maybe it was spurred by a new 13 by 9 inch baking pan that I bought a few weeks back that I didn’t end up needing and the fact that when I had oatmeal for breakfast yesterday morning, I noticed that the oats had reached their expiration date. I didn’t want to waste them, so I thought I’ll make the vanishing oatmeal cookies recipe on the lid. I didn’t know if I would actually go through with it since we had a full day. I saw that I had the option to make the cookies into bars by using that handy pan that I already had still with it’s sticker on it.

I did make the oatmeal bars, slightly burnt on the bottom. Next time, I may need to pre-heat the oven for less time and bake 30 minutes instead of 35. The bars were quite delicious though, but I feel so bad making them when I see how much butter and sugar is involved. I need to find healthy alternatives to baked goods.

So that’s my new mission: Healthy and tasty baked goods with less butter and sugar.

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Things that made me smile today:

Being in the shower and feeling the onset of a migraine begin to subside after taking a pill.

The raindrops on my truck.

Knowing there was rain on the way to help with the fires in Tahoe, Yosemite, Weed, and other places that need Mother Nature’s help.

The fluffy clouds and the grey clouds. I saw a Scotty dog in the folds of the thick white mass.

Approaching a stop light and pausing to watch a little girl and her mother walk through the crosswalk; the little girl began skipping, then her mother joined as they skipped on by.

Getting to work and saying hello to Shorty the plant through the window as I always do.

The quote of the day: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.” –Helen Keller

Art of the day: Claude Monet’s Cabin of the Customs Watch, 1882 – Oil on canvas. A cabin nestled seaside overlooking the ocean, lovely tones of moss green, sea greens and blues, and sail boats a plenty.

At the end of my shower thinking about the old adage that laughter is the best medicine and thinking how lucky I am to get a dose every day from my husband. : )

Dropping the soap and laughing instead of cursing.

Reading the first few pages of a miniature prayer book that I got at the Carmel Mission Inn…reminds me of my grandmother, my angel.

And the day has only begun.

More smiles to come. : )

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I’m being drawn back to Natalie Goldberg’s books on writing. It’s like visiting with an old friend. Uplifting and inspiring.

Yesterday was a good day. I felt that I had a lot of energy and I was especially chatty at work and had so much spinning around in my mind. I kept going back to my co-worker’s office to let him know just one more thing…usually it pertained to work in some roundabout way. From our last team meeting, we learned through a sharing that our boss used to eat up Ian Fleming’s books when he was in fifth grade. He was devouring them so quickly and steadily that his mother became concerned and asked the teacher to see if she could get her son to add something else to his reading mix. I’ve only seen the movies, but now I’m curious to read something, anything by Ian Fleming, so through Kindle Unlimited, which I’ve given a try for 30 days, I’m going begin reading one of his books. The book I chose is Thrilling Cities, which is a travelogue covering 13 cities that he visited between 1959-1960. It began as a series or articles and then turned into a book.

Kindle Unlimited. $9.99 each month. 10 books at a time. First time users get a 30 day free trial to read or peek through 10 books at a time. The Kindle Unlimited library is supposed to have over 500,000 books to choose from. I like going page by page and I couldn’t possibly keep clicking through that many pages, so I clicked as far as I could, noticing that many of the titles are parts of series and romance novels, neither of which I like reading. I also don’t particularly enjoy mysteries, unless books are involved.

The interesting thing is that most of the books that I would want to read are also available as e-books in the public library system. My problem is that I get impatient waiting for popular or new titles that have long waiting lists. What made me finally decide to give Kindle Unlimited a try was that they had The Storied Life of A. J. Fickry available. I had been waiting to check it out from the library for weeks. I had nothing to lose. 30 days for free and I would get to finally read this book. I downloaded it and finished it in a couple of days. It turned out to be such a satisfying read. I must admit that after a particular scene, I wasn’t sure if I was believing it, but I kept going and went with it. I’m so glad I did. It was really a heartwarming book about love, life, second chances, and of course the power of story and books.

One great thing about Kindle Unlimited for me is that it has gotten me to read a couple of books that I might not have. I had been curious about Water for Elephants when it came out, but I didn’t have it high on my radar. Scanning through the popular titles on KU, I saw it there and gave it a try, all the while in my head I’m thinking it’s free. 30 days. See what you can find. I had vaguely recalled reading the first few pages some time ago and felt pulled in, but not ready to commit. When I started reading it this time, I was in for a great surprise. I had no idea that I would enjoy the book as much as I did. The storytelling, the characters, the tension. The circus completely came alive for me and the interesting historical background and tidbits rounded out the story. I felt that I wanted to be there, but I didn’t need to go, because through this book, I was there.

I also read Without Reservations by Anthony Bourdain. I didn’t plan on ever reading his book because, although I enjoyed his culinary adventures on the travel channel, I didn’t know if I could handle his cockiness on the page. I loved it. It was yet another glimpse into the the world of being a chef and he laid it all out there. I have begun reading his follow up that he wrote 10 years after this one: Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People who Cook.
And because of his book, it led me to George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. And it’s available as part of Kindle Unlimited!

I have several other Kindle Unlimited books that I’m dipping in and out of. Each time I find another title, if I already have 10, I have to return one.

My 30-day free trial has expired and for now I’ve decided to pay the $9.99 because I have 10 books downloaded and I like the ease of being able to read them without worrying about a time limit, and also because I don’t necessarily want to own the e-books. At some point, I’ll cancel my subscription. For now, I’m enjoying the convenience, and hope to find a less cumbersome way of exploring the library.

And of course, a few of Natalie Goldberg’s books are part of the Unlimited library, so instead of fishing my books out of the boxes in my garage, they are part of my 10.

Love this quote from an accounting e-newsletter:

“I have become my own version of an optimist. If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door, or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.”

–Rabindranath Tagore, Indian writer

**

One never knows where they will find gems. : )

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I have started to noticed the change in the season the past few weeks, nothing that stands out; subtle changes, mostly hot days that end with a softer light. No drastic sunsets. But the way the change feels is in this photo that is actually from late January of this year. It’s from Treasure Island looking out at San Francisco.It has a loud quietness about it and that’s how I feel these days–ready to settle into Autumn with its earthy jeweled tones and early dark skies. I imagine pulling my turtle necks out of their hiding places, readying myself for cooler days.

Second class meeting is tonight: Federal Income Taxes. I thought it would be a good class to take to make work more interesting, especially during the slow time, and to challenge my mind. I’ve actually wanted to take the class for some time, but it’s only offered once each Fall and it fills up fast. I’ve been at my job so long now that I’ve reached a point where it doesn’t make sense to give me any more raises, so last annual review, I suggested to the boss that he pay for my course and books in lieu of a raise. He agreed. I was glad. So far, it’s more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I’m going to stay on top of it as best I can and see how it goes.

My calendar quote from last week was from Rainer Maria Rilke: “Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers.” I can relate to this. I feel like I’ve lived my life this way, knowing that one day I will stumble into something different or maybe the same, the questions always there, but with the hope that one day the answers would be more definitive.

I have had moments these past few days that have also made me feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my ordinary existence.