Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Where Does The Time Go?

Methinks I see the wanton hours flee,
And as they pass, turn back and laugh at me.
~ George Villiers

Has it truly been a year and a half since I posted last?? How is it possible that this much time has gone by, in the blink of an eye?

Much has happened since I last wrote... my middle daughter got married; hubby and I celebrated our ten year anniversary; my stepson graduated from high school and started at our local junior college; my oldest daughter got engaged (and her wedding is this weekend. Egad!); and my youngest daughter will bless us with our first grandchild next month. I've thrown more bridal showers and baby showers in the past 18 months than I can shake a stick at!

In between the big events, many books have been read, a couple of quilts have been created (that's my grandson's quilt in the photo above) and a few aches and pains from being another year older have settled in. I also became the president of my local branch of AAUW, which keeps me busier than a one-armed paper-hanger!

Life is sweet these days, but I find that I still must remind myself that attitude changes everything. Even when I'm surrounded by so many happy things, I have to tell myself to focus on the good stuff. I went through a down period a few months back where I had to literally tell myself, "Choose to be happy, Pattie!" For some of us, it's just easier to focus on what's missing, on the negative.

If you happen to be one of those people, here's your wakeup call: life is slipping through our fingers! Take time right this minute and list all that's good and positive in your life. For me, it's babies and weddings and being creative and busy. It's giving and receiving love to family and friends. It's being blessed in more ways than I can begin to count.

How about you? What's right in your life?

Until next time (which will be sooner than 18 months - I promise, Leslie!)...

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Promise of Spring

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Remember me? Gosh, it's been a long time since I've posted anything. I just haven’t been into blogging these past few months: reading, writing, or otherwise. But I have thought quite often of the friends I've made here, and have wondered how you’re all doing. Funny how we touch each other's lives, even though we've never met. Many thanks to those of you who’ve written and wondered where I've been. Your emails have meant more than you can know.

I've certainly been busy: quilting, reading, overseeing a hardscape re-do on our backyard (I can't wait start planting!) I've become more and more involved with the American Association of University Women, helping to raise money for science-camp scholarships for local middle-school girls. I'm also deep into plans for my middle daughter's wedding in May. It's a joyous time, and a hectic time - all rolled into one! Somehow, I bet you can relate (is anyone’s life not hectic these days??)

Some of you may remember Mark, the first student I tutored at the jail? He was released in December, in time to spend Christmas with his family. I'm now tutoring a new inmate, Salvador, who's in his mid-30's and reads at a third grade level. My time with him will be short: he'll be released mid-February. My goal is to help him realize that he can learn, and that reading is enjoyable. We're hoping he'll transition into an adult literacy center in his community once he's released.

My whole reason for posting today was to share a couple of photos of my neighbor’s trees. The pictures are nothing special, even though the blossoms are! I can’t help thinking of how much of the country is suffering in this bitter cold winter we're having. Here in southern California, the trees are in glorious bloom.

So take heart, everyone – and keep your spirits up: spring is coming!

Until next time…

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Craziness of the Season

It is Christmas in the heart
that puts Christmas in the air. ~ W.T. Ellis

The day before yesterday, I was getting ready to go to my quilt guild's annual Christmas potluck and quilt give-away. I was running behind and multi-tasking like crazy: blow-drying my hair, putting on make-up, finishing the appetizer I was bringing to the party, etc. My heart was racing; I felt frantic. There was just too much to do in too short a time.

You know the feeling?

But as my frenzied emotions were building to a crescendo, the strangest thing happened. I literally heard a voice inside my head say STOP! YOU'RE MISSING IT!

I took a deep breath and realized that I was letting this magical time of year slip through my fingers.

I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. I'm known among friends and family as being a little over-the-top about the season. But here I was, focusing on all the things that needed to get done, the lack of time, the frantic feeling of being overwhelmed - and I was missing it.

This was a real turning point for me. I don't want January 2009 to roll around, bringing of feeling of sadness that the holidays weren't all I wanted them to be. By golly, I am in control of how my holiday season will go - and I want it slower, more meaningful, and lots more enjoyable.

How about you?

I must admit that even after living here in southern California for almost ten years, it doesn't quite feel like the holidays without snow – or at least, cold weather. It's even tougher this year because we're having exceptionally warm weather. I saw people doing holiday shopping yesterday in shorts and tank tops! But the skies are incredibly blue these days, which can't help but lift one's spirits. And that should be what the Christmas season is all about, don’t you think: brighter spirits, gratitude for all our blessings, and remembrance of the true reason we celebrate this time of year.

So I'm making a conscious decision to slow down and enjoy the moments of this season. I know it won’t always be possible: I'm bound to go a little crazy with everything that still needs doing. But I made an attitude adjustment day before yesterday so that even as I'm running around, I'm doing so with a smile on my face, a “Happy Holidays!” on my lips, and a Christmas carol in my heart. Ho ho ho!

Hubby and I are hosting our annual holiday Open House this Saturday night. It's a chance for us to throw open our doors and let family, friends, coworkers and neighbors come by for a few minutes, or a few hours. We usually have somewhere between 50 to 75 people attend, but I think we'll have a smaller group this year (everyone is so busy!)

The festivities start at 6:00 - hope you can stop by!

Until next time...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
~ William Arthur Ward

When was the last time you gave a silent “thank you” for all the good things in your life?

I think I’ve accidentally omitted that piece of the happiness puzzle lately. I seemed to be more focused recently on the things missing in my life, rather than on all the many blessings that are right under my nose. I have a tendency to do this if I’m not careful: I look at what’s wrong instead of what’s right.

That stops today.

The November issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a wonderful article that I’ve read through a couple of times now. It addresses the benefit of counting our blessings all year round – not just at Thanksgiving. Here’s the paragraph I've been mulling over:

...Research shows that making gratitude a part of everyday living promotes good health, elevates happiness, and boosts relationships. Psychologists say that perpetually grateful people are optimistic and energetic, which helps than handle stress and illness better than those who focus on the negative.

This is not new information to me: I’ve known it for years now and preach it to anyone who'll listen! But remembering to put it into practice myself is a whole different story. It’s amazing to me how easy it is to give in to that pull toward the negative.

When I think about it, gratitude is what’s been missing lately during this time of “I don’t give a darn about anything” mood I’ve been in. I’ve been lethargic, pessimistic, and let’s not even talk about the amount of food I’ve been consuming to make all those icky feelings go away!

There’s a wonderful quote in the magazine article mentioned above. Patricia Carlson of the nonprofit A Network for Grateful Living, states: “Gratefulness has to do with experiencing the fullness of life. Sometimes we look at it as a play on words – it’s the great-fullness.”

So – attitude changes everything! I’m flipping my switch and turning on a grateful outlook starting today, not just for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, but for every day of the year. I'll need to stay focused and stop those "poor me" thoughts from sneaking into my brain. But I know that being aware of all that's good in my life, then taking the time to say "thank you" for those blessings, will make a huge difference.

Care to join me?

Until next time…

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity. ~Dorothy Parker

Hi - remember me?

I used to post to my blog on a fairly regular basis. I used to read blogs on a regular basis, as well.

Lately, I haven't done much of either.

Nothing's really been wrong - I think I've just been in a state of ennui. Yep, that's it: a general lack of interest. Not just in blogging - in everything. I think I'll blame it on hormones. I blame everything on hormones these days!

Oh, I've kept busy...

I've been tutoring at the jail twice a week.

Mark is doing extremely well, and really keeps me on my toes. We've moved into high gear because he's due to be released December 23. I want to expose him to as much GED preparation reading and writing as I can before he enters an adult education program in January.

I've been quilting.

I finished this little cowboy-themed table-topper for two dear friends of mine who recently married. I'm also working on several Christmas gifts, which I can't post here until after the holiday, just in case certain people read my blog!

I led a discussion for the first time at my book club.

We talked about the book Pope Joan, which is fascinating for those of you who love historical fiction, like I do. It takes place in the 9th century, so we had an interesting discussion about women's roles then versus now. Thank goodness a lot has changed! Was there really a female pope? Read the book and see what you think.

And today, I volunteered for four hours at a local polling place.

I think this is what drove me to blog after such a long absence: I want to share with everyone what a wonderful experience it was this morning, to be part of the voting process. We had been warned of issues that might come up with voters or demonstrators, asking us to document things with camera phones, etc. I was pretty upset about it all yesterday, wondering what in the world has happened to our country that we're so bitterly divided.

But opening the polls this morning at 7:00 AM and finding a line of cheerful and proud people waiting to vote contradicted every bad thing we'd heard might happen. Yes, we are still very much divided in our nation, and I hope whichever person is elected will work very hard to unite our country once again.

However, the greatest thing I saw this morning was a Mom and Dad with their young adult son. It was his first time voting. They were taking pictures of him in front of the fire station where we were located, standing next to the "polling place" sign and the American flag. The young man was grinning from ear to ear, pointing to his "I Voted Today" sticker. I know it sounds corny, but it was a proud moment to be an American.

* * * * *

So, I'm hoping that my feeling of ennui has passed and I can once again feel engaged in life. The holidays are fast approaching and this is way too busy of a time to feel blah! Forgive me for not keeping up on your blogs, but know that I'm going to do my best to catch up on things.

Until next time...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just for Fun: Four Things Meme

We are driven by five genetic needs:
survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun.
~ William Glasser

Quite some time ago, Wendy over at The Bend in the Road tagged me with a meme, which I completely forgot about. Oh, I created it right away - I just forgot to post it. Boy oh boy: my memory is like a sieve these days!

So after a little updating to make it current, I present...

Four Things About Me

Four things I did today:

1. Facilitated a Healthy Lifestyle meeting of six women, where we discussed the role of spirituality in leading a balanced life. What do you think: does it play a part?

2. Watched last night’s episode of Brothers & Sisters. Love that show!

3. Laundry (are you jealous??)

4. Tutored Mark at the jail on more GED preparation. Adverbs and adjectives and paraphrasing – oh my!

Four things on my to-do list:

1. Email my sister the directions on brining a turkey. We usually have Thanksgiving here, and I brine the bird every year. She’s hosting this year, and wants to learn how to make such a moist turkey.

2. Quilt. I haven’t had a chance to do so in over a week, and my fingers are itching to sit at the sewing machine!

3. Vacuum (again – are you jealous??)

4. Light a fire under our contractor to get the backyard finished.

Four of my guilty pleasures:

1. Crossword puzzles. Love ‘em! I’ve always got one going.

2. The computer. Emailing, blogging, surfing the net. I spend waaaay too much time on this thing!

3. Strolling through bookstores. I could spend hours picking out just one special book to read.

4. Taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon. Heaven!

Four random facts about me:

1. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre. I used to perform, a long time ago. Now I just act like I know what I’m doing!

2. I’m addicted to reading magazines. I subscribe to all kinds: Time, Ladies Home Journal, Psychology Today, McCall’s Quilting, Country Home, Cooking Light, Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, etc., etc., etc.

3. I am a history buff, and find the cultural and social history from 1890-1950 to be especially fascinating.

4. I love the Christmas season. Everything about it: the decorations, the smells, gift giving, the carols. I usually start listening to Christmas music in August. Yes, really.

* * * * *

Ok, that's it for me. Please feel free to play along and tell us four things about you.

Until next time...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Halloween Costumes of Days Past

One should either be a work of art,
or wear a work of art. ~Oscar Wilde

I ran across some photos that I thought might be fun to share - photos of Halloween costumes past, many moons ago. Since it is getting to be the time for trick-or-treating and Halloween parties, maybe one of these will spark an idea. All the costumes you're about to see are hand-made, which is very obvious in the earlier shots! Please click on each photo for better details.

There were four of us who used to dress as a group, in some kind of theme. The bottom photo in this group of two was actually our first attempt: we went as The Four Seasons. My ex-husband (left) was Summer, I was Winter, Chris was Autumn, Scott was Spring. It's very hard to tell, but our hats lit up. We hid battery packs inside the hats to run the lights.

The top of the two photos was the next Halloween. Our theme was The Las Vegas Strip. We each went as a hotel: Brian was The Aladdin, I was The Stardust, Chris was Caesar's Palace, and Scott was The Flamingo. I think I'm probably dating us here because I'm not sure that all these hotels exist any more! Again, it's hard to tell but not only did our hats light up, but so did our costumes. In the photo, you can perhaps see the twinkle lights in my skirt, but when we'd walk down the street, we lit up the night!

Finally, the last year we did a group theme - well, it was the pièce de résistance! We recruited friends and family to take part, and we became The Seven Deadly Sins. Scott knew a professional photographer, who took a few shots of us in all our sinful finery!

From left to right: Greed (Brian's hat said, "Money is the root of all evil," and he had play money and coins popping out everywhere); Anger (my hat said, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!" and my sash was a red dragon); Envy (aka Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch. Kim went around the entire evening saying, "Marsha! Marsha! Marsha! It's always about Marsha!"); Vanity (Claudia wore a gorgeous peacock headdress with hand-mirrors for a necklace); Sloth (Lisa dressed in pj's with a pillow behind her head, covered in candy-bar wrappers); Gluttony (that's my sister Marilyn, with food and drink all over her hat and clothes); and finally, Lust (Scott's costume speaks for itself, and you don't want to know what's in his hat!)

Here's another shot:

Once again, the hats and the costumes lit up, thanks to those hidden battery packs. With seven of us all lit up, you could see our glow coming from a mile away! We won first place at the parties we attended, although we had to duck through every door frame. Those hats made us mighty tall!

* * * * *

As I said, this was a long time ago, in a different life. My Halloween costume these days resembles a tired housewife at the end of a long day. I'm no longer covered in lights and sequins, but rather in pet fur and quilting threads! And I wouldn't have it any other way.

But it is fun to look back, and remember! Thanks for joining me on a trip down memory lane.

Until next time...