Monday, October 31, 2016

#Write31Days: 32 • wrap-up


Monday 31 October: wrap-up

Taking a final 5 minutes to reflect on my month of October #write31days2016 of blog posts.

Unlike some participants, I didn't choose to write to my own theme, though I can imagine doing so another time—it might lead to a short self-published book and I even could design my own book cover! Last year I sat down for 5 minutes every day and wrote. At the conclusion all my posts appeared to be the same length (with a couple of exceptions) and most of them wouldn't have needed much serious editing if I'd done them as regular posts.

This year? As I wrote in my final "only" post of this series, I've been somewhat disoriented. Related to #write31days2016, at the start of the series my only partial home internet wouldn't allow me preview what I'd written, but it did let me publish. I couldn't link myself up to the host page, but happily blog friend T did that for me. Then wifi router went down completely, but I kept randomly writing to each prompt anyway, but not necessarily each day separately. When I got internet back I backtracked and caught up, again noticing I tend to be very legalistic (in addition to amazingly disciplined). The idea is to have fun, become a better writer, and meet people. This. Is. Not. A. Contest.

The best part of this year's series is that I created a separate blog graphic for most of my posts and will be able to (but may or may not) keep designing until I have a unique illustration for each in addition to my series button. For several I used an iteration from my long ago trio of Truro House sketches; I 'd already made a few dozen Truro House versions, but I always enjoy updating, changing, and renewing my own old art and photographs.

#Write31Days: 31 • only


Monday 31 October: only

Again from Carl Sandburg, "Only an ocean of tomorrows, only a sky of tomorrow," except with any apparent only there is never is a lonely, everything always is interconnected with the rest of life.

I've been feeling and – at least to myself – acting disoriented, disconnected, isolated from the rest of the planet, even as I listen to traffic swirling on the city street below me, even as I observe evidence of life happening all around me. The late Jewish theologian Martin Buber told us the "I" of Jesus, of Socrates, of the Buddha, always possessed a strong sense of legitimacy because every time they spoke, every time they said "I" it never was solitary, isolated, and only; their "I," their very being always was interconnected with every thing else, with every one else. One of my goals is to become more aware of already being part of the endless network of life that's not an only, but that's formed of elements that each by itself still is a one-of-a-kind only. Just as I am unique, only, yet connected.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

#Write31Days: 30 • cut


Sunday 30 October: cut

"Cut" carries more than a few negative connotation! Cutting remark, cut that out, cutting room floor, didn't make the cut (though sometimes they did make the cut). Sheryl Crow, "First cut is the deepest." After that they hurt less and finally hardly matter at all?

Let's imagine some non-negative – positive – cutting ideas. KIrigami—Japapese cut paper art. Cutting squares or other shapes for quilting. Cutting out new clothes from a pattern. Cut up the veggies on the island to add to the stew; salad veggies still are in the fridge for when you're ready. You can slice, dice, chop, julienne, cube or...? Taking a cutting from plant to root for yourself and grow another or to give to a friend so they can grow a relative of your original plant. Cutting hair into a fresh new style, or simply cutting off all the dry split ends for a radical improvement.

That's about four minutes this time.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

#Write31Days: 29 • date


5 Minutes about Dates and another Recipe

I always default to thinking all the palm trees in southern California must be date palms, but that's only partly true. Date palms were the first variety introduced to the region; the fan palm is the only native californian palm tree. I did some research and discovered:
Only phoenix dactylifera – the true "date palm" produces the large edible dates that are cultivated and sold today. There are hundreds of named varieties of phoenix dactylifera date palms, and one of the most famous is the large soft Medjool date palm, while the most widely grown date is the semi-dry Deglet Noor date palm. Phoenix dactylifera date palms have been cultivated since the beginning of recorded history. The name of the ancient land of Phoenicia actually means "land of palms," and many ancient Phoenician coins have images of date palms!

Date palms are mentioned in the bible, and their leaves were carried as symbols of victory by kings thousands of years ago. Date palm leaves were also used to hail Jesus during His entry into Jerusalem. Today Christians have Palm Sunday, and Muslims break their Ramadan fast each night by eating a date. Islam regards the date palm tree as the tree of life, and ancient traditions place it in the Garden of Eden.
The entire article is fascinating.

Continuing my own commentary: you know about quick breads that essentially are great big gigantic muffin loaves? One of my favorite quick breads is my late grandmother's recipe for Coffee Date (Nut) Bread. I never imagined it was her-very-own creation, but the number of hits for it I found online still amazed me! I enjoy it with cream cheese, and even more so spread generously with butter. Another pleasure-filled date memory is the date-banana shakes I used to get at the roadside shake, malt, burger, and smoothie shop some afternoons on my way back home after jogging on the beach. "Some afternoons" it had to be, because I know it was majorly calorific.

Especially for fairly mature guys, Hawaiian shirts are popular in southern California. What images, pictures, etc. typically romp around on Hawaiian shirts? Palm trees, old-fashioned woody type station wagons, ocean waves, hibiscus, surfboards, starfish, flip-flops, other sandals—I'd guess palm trees outrank everything else, and they'd need to be date palms.



Coffee Date Bread

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" loaf pan.

Ingredients

• 2 cups chopped dates
• 4 tablespoons softened butter
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ⅔ to ¾ cup brown sugar
• 1 cup strong hot brewed or instant coffee
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• 1-¾ cups Unbleached all-purpose or unbleached flour
• 1 cup finely or coarsely chopped walnuts or other tree nuts, if desired

Instructions

• Place dates, butter, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour the hot coffee into the bowl, stirring to combine.
• Allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes.

• Add the egg, vanilla,, baking powder, and flour, beating gently until smooth. Stir in the walnuts.
• Pour the batter into the pan, gently tapping the pan on the counter to settle the batter.
• Bake the bread for 45 to 55 minutes, tenting the loaf gently with foil after 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning. Remove the bread from the oven when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, or an instant-read thermometer reads about 200°F.
• After 10 minutes, gently turn the bread out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap tightly, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

Friday, October 28, 2016

#Write31Days: 28 • eat


Friday 28 October: eat

#write31days Fridays continue with Kate Motaung's prompt—eat

Come let us eat, for lo, the feast is spread.

We've almost concluded Luke's year in the Revised Common Lectionary. Shared meals, aka "table fellowship" are a major feature of the gospel according to St Luke; throughout his narrative of Jesus of Nazareth's earthly life and ministry, we meet Jesus arranging to feed crowds and throngs of people, dining with religious professionals—pharisees. We find Jesus eating with sinners and reprobates (gotta love that word), inviting himself to dinner at the home of tax collectors—Zaccheus! At his last meal with his followers, Jesus tells them the Passover finally will be consummated in the fullness of the reign of God. Late on the day of resurrection, the first day of the new creation, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, gives bread and then – then finally! – people recognize him. Sign of the kingdom of heaven in our midst!

Luke's gospel also specializes in great reversals, the reign of heaven that's an "upside down kingdom" in conventional terms. The upper-crust (I use that expression intentionally) lounged and reclined at the banquet table:

People will come from the east and the west, the north and the south, and recline at the feast in the kingdom of God. And behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last! Luke 13:29-30

As a whole, Luke is my favorite gospel and this is one of my favorite topics. And this is Five Minute Friday. I need to stop writing.


Mexican Cornbread Salad

Make 12 side dish servings

Ingredients

• 1 9 ounce package Cornbread Mix
• 1 4.5 can chopped Green Chilies
• ½ cup Mayonnaise or Aioli
• 1 cup fresh Cilantro, chopped
• ¼ cup Lime Juice
• 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
• ½ teaspoon Salt
• 1 head Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce—best shredded
• 1 15 ounce can black Beans, rinsed and drained
• 1 15 ounce can black Olives, rinsed and drained
• 1 11 ounce can whole kernel Corn, drained
• 1 8 ounce package Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
• 1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped
• 6 Plum or Roma Tomatoes, chopped
• 3 green Onions, chopped
• 1 pound cooked Chicken, chopped

Method

• Prepare Cornbread Mix according to package directions, adding Chilies.
• Cool and crumble.
• Make Dressing Mix by combining Mayonnaise, half of the Cilantro, and the next 3 ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Layer a 4 quart bowl with

• ½ of the Lettuce and ½ of the remaining Cilantro,
• ½ of the Cornbread, ⅓ of the Dressing Mix, and
• ½ each of Beans, Olives, Corn, Cheese, Bell Pepper and Tomatoes.
• Repeat layers.
• Top with remaining Dressing Mix and Green Onion.
• Chill.

Sides & Salads

recipe from Jennifer Jones


five minute friday button

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#Write31Days: 27 • bouquet


Standard, classic, old-fangled and new-fashioned, too. What's not to love about a fresh, unwilted, bouquet or arrangement of flowers almost anywhere? When I lived again on The Other Coast at the end of the last century, I attended a demonstration and instruction class by a floral designer that showed us how easy it can be to create a basic, well-balanced arrangement. Close to 100% of my art and design is 2-dimensional rather than 3D, but I know getting experience and exposure to sculpture and other 3D art forms would enhance my flat drawings and design layouts. There is almost nothing more attitude-changing than a lovely brightly or subtly colored bouquet on a table, a desk, a bookcase or anywhere else. If it's in your place or space and you're like me, you try to keep the flowers blooming by trimming off and taking out the fading ones—dead heading. Ya know something? There are few things that provide more sense of relief than when you finally agree a bouquet has run its course and you actually throw it away.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3 word wednesday: live generously together

Kristin Hill Taylor's Three Word Wednesday linkup this week explores how to Live Generously Together

3 word wednesday buttonDue to "internet connectivity" troubles I haven't participated in Three Word Wednesday for a couple of months. Last week's Wide Open Spaces grabbed me, and I even grabbed one of my watercolors of the Arizona desert as an illustration, but the linkup deadline passed and since I've been doing #write31days and had paid work to catch up with, I let it go. There will be [many] more Wednesdays.

Over too long a time I've had major difficulties finding opportunities that draw upon and exploit my abilities. I keep remembering senior pastor in City of History telling me, "With your abilities, you can afford to be generous." I find it very easy to speak up, step up, and offer to do almost any task related to my gifts for art, design, and music, to my interest in food and hospitality. I have a healthy sense of my abilities, strong memories and some pride in the work, effort, and time is has taken me to achieve my current levels of proficiency. I also try to maintain a strong sense of noblesse oblige, not act "superior" or "better than," go to the sidelines rather than offering to help or maybe even do something another person is struggling with. I've developed habits of kindness alongside developing my gifts and skills.

That's my first take on generous—living in community so my background and experiences can enrich the individuals around me, yet (per one of Kristin's shoutouts) noticing being sensitive to other people's needs and their vulnerabilities. It also means complimenting others when they contribute—generosity with my observations rather than retreating into my own ongoing pain; generosity with my praise.

After telling us the Bake Sale story, Kristin asked, "how do you teach your kids about giving? What are some service projects that have worked well for you?"

No human kids at home right now, but I'll let the service project question segue into a review of some church and community direct service I've especially liked. In every case these take valuable time that otherwise could be spent doing something recreational or earning a few $$$. For the most part, food events have been the best! Sharing a meal tends to be a leveling time—though not always. I've written here about Thursday night community dinners at Church Around the Corner in Previous City more than once. Probably a half-dozen times, at least. Sharing a meal often is an experience that creates cohorts, colleagues, and equals. Even if one party (like the kitchen staff and servers at Church Around the Corner) have prepared and offered the meal, as soon as we sit around the same table as com-panions those distinctions don't matter much. Yes, we hosted our friends and neighbors, church members, choir parents and friends of the congregation, but most weeks a local retailer generously provided most of the food. This picture proves I [almost] always loved the salads the best!

It's time for me to finish up my daily October #write31days post, but I'll include a reason Thursday family dinners impacted me so. More than a dozen years ago in my formal pilgrimage in faith I wrote, "Both my experiences of inclusion in the community and those of exclusion from the community – especially the community of faith, but also in many places and spaces in the world outside of and beyond the gathered People of God – have been significant to my growth in faith." Most cutting, hurtful, and devastating have been those times people have excluded me from eating with them. In middle school or high school? Almost never. I refer to times I was a reasonably chronologically and behaviorally mature adult, excluded by my peers.

Kristin's kids held a bake sale to help a ministry in Guatemala.

#Write31Days: 26 • confront


Wednesday 26 October: confront

Confront a person or situation; initiate a confrontation; engage in what people perceive as confrontational behavior. As one of those words and attitudes that often gets bad press, "confront" doesn't necessarily mean negative or scary. Why did I say that? Because of my reputation for (quote) "overdeveloped skills in reconciliation, accommodation, and peacemaking, I do everything imaginatively possible to consider where the person who said that, did that, or neglected to do whatever it was might be coming from. Imagine their entire human history, or at least the past ten or twelve years, or at very least what's gone on with them during their time with this organization. I do everything imaginable not to have a reason even to question them, let alone confront them. You know about assertiveness training. Do I need that? Probably. But the irony is I cannot count the number of people who have perceived me as assertive or even as aggressive—as in confrontational.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#Write31Days: 25 • sign


Tuesday 25 October: sign
Sign on the window says lonely.
Sign on the door says no company allowed.
Sign on the street says you don't own me.
Sign on the porch says three's a crowd.

Bob Dylan
As an artist-designer and as a theologian, sign and symbol are my currency. I talk about, around, through and in celebration of objects, words, and ideas that dynamically point beyond themselves to something else, often something very other than. Scriptures and sacraments are the symbols of the church. Sometimes we include the confessions (catechisms, creeds, statements of faith) in the symbols. We talk about two major sources that formed the fourth canonical gospel, the one that grew out of the community of John, the beloved disciple. What were they? The signs source and the I Am source.

I've de-signed my illustration for this prompt using a variety of the typeface Helvetica, one of the most popular, enduring, and ubiquitous ever. On sign-age for streets and roads; airports and airplanes; malls, Tar-Jays, Crate & Barrels. Packaging for every type of product that exists. There's also a newer, slightly changed and more refined takeoff, Helvetica Neue. Helvetica does the whole sign idea of clarity and communication exceptionally well.

Questions? I love discussing symbol, sign, and meaning. So gimme a sign or call me, maybe!

Monday, October 24, 2016

#Write31Days: 24 • global


Monday 24 October: global

My global illustration came from my digitized analog graphic of Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...

Despite each of the four canonical gospels being written to different audience and thus from different perspective, despite the NT epistles being addressed to different assemblies and therefore custom-fitted for the original recipients, then later often redacted for other local churches as the physical letters made rounds, Saul/Paul of Tarsus and all Jesus of Nazareth's followers knew the good news of the gospel belonged to everyone everywhere. But two centuries ago the oikoumene [compare "ecumenical"], the whole, known (by Rome, Greece, their neighbors), inhabited world was tiny compared to our 21st century knowledge that we think probably has become genuine knowledge of most people and places that inhabit the globe of planet earth. Wouldn't you love to be surprised and find out otherwise?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Reformation 2016

reformation 2015

reformation 2015

scripture quote font is "Be Still And Know."

Reformation 2016 font is "LA Street Kids."

Church is in West LA.

#Write31Days: 23 • blowout


Tire blowout? Not fun and often dangerous. Blowout retail sale? Can be enticing if the product(s) interests you and you have some spare change. Anxiety-making and dangerous if you don't. Relationship blowout? hmmmmm. Finishing touches on your new haircut or style can be a good blowout.

Dictionary definitions usually strike me as sophomoric or younger, something a 4th grader might do to open the paper she wrote on an assigned topic. But this time maybe it would be a good move, since I'm not clear what blowout means.

No one said all these 5 minute romps were supposed to be thoughtful, intelligent, or a blowout. Or even longer than this one is.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

#Write31Days: 22 • off


Saturday 22 October: off

What can I write about a word like "off"? Living off the grid, off-label attire, off-brand vehicles. However you roll with it, off is the opposite of "on." Turn the lights on or off. I've been having an off day today. Last week I was so totally on, it had to be Santa Ana winds blowing in those positive ions!

Off-center – also know as ex-centric – is one of my fave "offs". Having said that, there are times being centered is a good thing, can be a good choice. But eccentrically off-center is better than on when it comes to fashion, home furnishings, lunch, movies, and music. Just sayin'... Because most times it means you've thought for yourself and felt your own feelings rather than going with popular trends and opinions. Being Your Own Person. Not someone's clone.

Rock On? Rock Off!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

#Write31Days: 21 • park


Friday 21 October: park

Five Minute Friday host Kate Motaung provided today's park prompt.

There's a revered history of municipal and other public parks in the USA. This topic is a where do I start challenge! National Parks I've visited and loved include Capitol Reef, Zion, and Bryce in Utah. Chincoteague and Assateague in Virginia are part of the National Seashore, similar to parks in recreational promise. Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg and environs, Tennessee. All of those take multi-day excursions from almost anywhere you live, though I guarantee they are more than worth the planning, the expense, the time. I believe every state in the USA has designated state parks that are less expansive and extensive than national parks, but still remain in the special trip together category. Small local parks—some not more than an acre or two or three. You've enjoyed a few! A couple months ago I visited famous medium-sized Griffith Park that's both a tourist and a local attraction. But for this FMF I'll feature Grand Park in downtown Current City. My header pic provides a sample of the bright street furniture where people hang out to read, visit, eat lunch, draw, play, study, and pray during the day.

Define park? Let's try a section of land set apart for human and critter pleasure, filled with well-cared for plants, flowers, paths, benches, shelters from sun, heat, rain, wind...

five minute friday button

#Write31Days: 20 • weekend


Digitized analog photograph by Kasia Górska;

graphic presentation by my suntreeriver design identity.

Thursday 20 October: weekend

Concepts and practices of work week, weekend, vacation, holiday came alive in the wake of the industrial revolution. I've always been happiest about my employment when I haven't been trying to a rock so-called standard Western Monday – Friday, daylight hours, Saturday – Sunday (weekend) off. Needless to say, I still recognize the need for maintaining work / rest / play / socialize / solitude balance. Whenever I served in local churches, Saturday and Sunday were heavy duty work days with tying together worship and sermon prep on Saturdays, teaching, leading or assisting at worship, sometimes preaching on Sundays. During M - F I tried my (very) best to schedule a sabbath day or half day most weeks, to arrange social and recreational activities that about half the time included church friends and members, otherwise people I knew from other places.

Considering weekend as a general concept instead of a being permanently anchored only to Saturday and Sunday, activities including sabbath, participant and/or observer sports, beaches, museums, zoos, concerts, and restaurant outings all can contribute to weekending sensibilities. A marked departure from your activities related to you paid work is the main idea.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

#Write31Days: 19 • notice


Wednesday 19 October: notice

The vacation bible school curriculum we used in Previous City asked the kids ("campers") to look around themselves, outside themselves, and notice "God Sightings" throughout the day and report them to their class at church. The theologian in me wants to remind everyone God's presence is hidden, paradoxical, free and elusive. In fact most often we don't notice God was there in a special manner in a place, setting, or situation until afterwards when we look back and begin assessing and appreciating what we experienced. As God told Moses, "You cannot see my face; you only can see my back." In other words, you only can tell that I have been there in retrospect, after the God Event is over.

This coming Sunday for my adult SS class we're discussing one more lectionary (RCL Pentecost 23C) reading from the pastoral epistle 2 Timothy. Although it's not officially within the formal canon of Paul/Saul of Tarsus's undisputed letters, one Pauline characteristic it retains and exploits is the manner in which the author – who presents 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy as Paul's retrospective life summary testimony – is the recognition of the constant presence of Jesus Christ along with the power and work of the Holy Spirit. Look around you and notice! God Sightings!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

#Write31Days: 18 • neighbor


Tuesday 18 October: neighbor

This is a month long series of unedited free writes, but ya know what? I'm going to copy/paste from my urban wilderness blog where I keep notes and handouts from classes I've facilitated, from a few someone else has led but I've participated in. Why? Not only did year C – Luke's Year – in the Revised Common Lectionary bring us Good Sam earlier this fall; I've been discussing a lot of Jeremiah with my adult SS class, a whole lot about the neighborly tradition of Deuteronomy that's so very consent with Jeremiah's theology and prophecy. Calling it "neighborology." I linked to the entire post, and this excerpt sure ain't five minutes' worth, but in this torn, tattered, weary, war-mongering world, all of us need to acknowledge everyone is a neighbor.

Neighborology: the Word about the Neighbor – Jeremiah / Deuteronomy

As sometimes happens, the RCL brings us texts closely related to the events of the past week in the USA. First, a relatively rare excursion into Deuteronomy, the covenantal, neighborly – neighborology – text par excellence, very much in the tradition of Jeremiah, despite its long historical sweep.

Deuteronomy is one of the five books of the Pentateuch, Ha Torah, the books of the law. However, rather than being rigidly legalistic, practicing Torah is a fluid, stretchy, flexible enterprise that's always on the side of grace, mercy, love, and distributive justice. Despite its being in the covenantal tradition of Jeremiah, Deuteronomy is compiled from sources that range over about five centuries, from the United Monarchy of Saul, David, and Solomon at least through the Babylonian exile and likely into the post-exilic period of Persian hegemony. Deuteronomy moves beyond theory and ideas to practice and reality, showing us covenantal neighborology in action. Deuteronomy demonstrates Torah neighborology lived out on turf and in time.

Deuteronomy 30:14 "No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe."

Better translation is "the word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart and you will do it." Double meaning of commandment and promise on You will do it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

#Write31Days: 17 • study


Monday 17 October: study
"Ain't a-gonna study war no more.
Save the country.
Save the people.
Save the children.
Save the country.
Now."

–Laura Nyro
For some prompts in this October five minute free write series I've designed new illustrations; for some I've posted only my series button. One of the beach houses in the Truro trio has become part of several new web graphics. This header image is the dining room from the parsonage in City of History. BTW, nowadays people usually talk about the pastor's "office," but in former times it always was the pastor's study. This dining room only had the semi-lean-to bookshelves and nothing else, so I didn't exactly ever "study" there. This also is one of my fave photos. Originally it was a Polaroid® scan? No, the original was a Polaroid® snapshot. I've done some truly amazing things to enliven it and added styles and pop in Photoshop.

So despite being a seminarian I didn't study in that room. Where did I study? At work, at school, at the coffee shop. The usual places. What was my formal course of study in school at that time? According to my "about" page on this blog it was "justice, righteousness, and Jesus." So that means whatever my interests, I ain't a gonna study war no more, no where, no way. I never ever did.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

#Write31Days: 16 • little

Intro:I've probably mentioned Creative Market's weekly freebies of 6 graphic design assets. If you're an artist, artistic, a designer, scrapbooker, blogger or teacher, you could use a lot of them, so you might want to add Creative Market to your weekly calendar as I finally did. Even if your software doesn't support open type, it is so worth it. This microbus was from Watercolor Travel Set by Kristy Kvilis, and a Creative Market offering earlier this year.


"Little" is the prompt. As buses go, this VW van is small. It is tiny. Some people used to call these "micro-buses." Did you ever read Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful? It has been a long while since I read it, but a neighbor advised me to be sure to read Small Is Beautiful, to learn how beautiful small can be before starting seminary. The late Robert Farrar Capon liked to remind us God saved only the last, the least, the little, and the lost. words that describe everyone at times, at least now and then. What is it about little? Small? Micro? Kristy illustrated her Volkswagen (as in the regular people, the little people, the plain folk) with a surfboard alongside. MIcrobuses were such a surfer transportation rage, and some surfers still work them. Elsewhere in the Watercolor Travel Set, Kristy included hibiscus lei flowers with her microbus. The whole organic, basic, homemade, house-made, locally grown, neighborhood sourced earthbound lifestyle. I'm out of minutes—and I don't mean phone minutes. But please consider trying to be littler, to lighten up all around and live littler, too.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

#Write31Days: 15 • move


Saturday 15 October: move

Why not write about the time-worn, exciting (to me) experience of a move to another house, apt, flat, condo? Maybe in a different part of town, a different city, state or country? I'm one of those rare people who loves to move, but by that I mean sorting through everything, donating and discarding what no longer works (even if I've lived in that place only a sweet few months), packing up the keepers, and then making a way into a new mode of waking up mornings, turning in late evenings, savoring breakfast, probably painting a few walls and finding a handful of new or new to me decorations.

That's what I love to do, "love" as in a high level of commitment to the activity. Preferably staying put for a year or two or three, but not necessarily if something better offers itself. What I do not love, like, condone, or more than tolerate is having a lot of my belongings in storage. As usual, before leaving Previous City I intentionally sorted and donated more than I'd care to list here or anywhere, and in the process, three of the pieces I'd planned to keep forever disappeared, though it's a long sad story that's not as simple as it may appear on screen. I am tired and weary and fed up with the spare bed, extra room, stray couch routine. One of my housemates from three (I think, but not sure how to count) abodes ago texted me knew what I meant because she'd worked as a buyer of international goods and knew about – insert long list of expensive, costly, rare, pricey china, paintings, textiles, artifacts. That's not at all, not remotely what I meant. I want to live with my $10 set of stoneware and the pictures I bought at 99 Cents Only.

Friday, October 14, 2016

#Write31Days: 14 • mail


Friday 14 October: mail

Way back in the day, I had AOL dialup and though I usually turned down the sound so didn't hear a thing unless I had headphones on, I really liked "You've got mail!" Because electronic mail, e-mail, or email (current usual truncated spelling) was something new and novel to me and to everyone.

But what a treasure slow mail, sometimes called "snail mail" has become. Just as in the olden days, looking at the postmark and stamp transports you to that city or country. Ever notice even with everything overseas going via air, europeans and asians typically use lighter-weight paper? Different handwriting, but people also learn different styles of cursive or manuscript in different parts of North America. Midwestern Scrawl? California Casual? Taking the message out of the envelope after opening it carefully was a heartfelt, time-honored ritual. But what if we're not talking friendly letters from aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, or penpals? I'm not including bills or collection notices in this post, but every so often a piece of snail mail would be more disheartening and devastating than exciting. So that's fiendly mail rather than friendly?

I have several differently numbered Dead Letter Office fonts; for my illustration I chose continental USA places New York, New York (NYC) because what's not enticing and exciting about The Big Apple? If you're been reading this blog you'll know my heart is in Detroit because the Motor City, Motown never will lose my heart and my affections, though most likely I won't move there because of the weather. Buzzards Bay, near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. An unexpectedly funky name for a town, and think how well you could depict the town's name?

This is a Five Minute Friday post from Kate Motaung, so I'm including her mail blog button.

five minute friday button

Thursday, October 13, 2016

#Write31Days: 13 • aware


Thursday 13 October: aware

Taking 5 to consider aware, esp my own awareness levels.

As I sometimes stroll, sometimes zoom through my work days and through the urban streets around here, at times I observe and clearly notice every single solitary little tiny detail of everything surrounding me. Other times I don't have the remotest awareness of even the large, big, overwhelming scenario over my head, under my feet, by my side.... seems as if I tend to one angle or the other. Is that good? Or is it bad? Neither, I'd say, but it helps me to know because in some cases one needs to be a better (participant)-observer, at other times blissful unawareness is fine. I like to attend the weekly half-hour long Mindfulness Meditation at the Hammer Museum. The idea behind mindfulness is not necessarily being aware and – mindful – of the people, things, and events around me (though it can include that, of course). It's to immerse yourself more fully in the moment, which starts with being aware of what your body's doing as you breathe, as you sit, as your heart beats, your ears hear.