Thursday, November 20, 2014

Superpowers...

          I don’t mean to brag, but I have several enviable superpowers.  I’ll do my best to share them all with you, but since one of my superpowers is forgetting simple things at inopportune times, I may be prevented from remembering every single one.  On that subject, as I write for this blog or for my novel, I often forget the simplest and most common words.  Just the other day, it took me 10 minutes to think of the word….wait…I can’t remember the word I couldn’t think of the other day.  See?  That’s just one of my many superpowers.
            I can stretch two loads of laundry, a half-day job, into a full week of laundry-induced torture, and STILL not fold the clothes.  That, my friends, takes talent…no…power.  Superpower.  And while I’m on the subject of laundry, I have a distinct superpower that allows me to avoid ironing.  I can manipulate my dryer’s power to perform ironing duties for me.  Only on the most special occasions, does my iron come out of the cupboard…and it is brief and only used to impress…as well as press.
            I am frequently stunned to realize that my husband will be home in 15 minutes and I haven’t given a single thought to dinner.  I have a superpower that allows me to think of something to make for dinner, and have that dinner on the table shortly after his arrival, using meat I’ve pulled from the freezer to do it.   He will compliment me on the meal, not having a clue there was no thought of it 20 minutes before.  
            I have the innate ability to choose the wrong line in any situation.  When I choose a line it will instantaneously stop moving the moment I position myself in it.  A computer will go down, a cash register will run out of tape, an employee will take a break or a person ahead of me in line will have a problem that will take ten times the average amount of time to resolve.  For example, the other day, I saw a shorter line at the Costco gas station.  I pulled in, feeling smug victory, when I noticed a large gas-guzzling motor home pulling up to the pump ahead of me.  I waited for 10 minutes before switching lines and still beat the motor home to completion.  While I pumped my gas, the lady behind me commented “I can’t believe how quickly the line went today!” I just smiled.  I didn’t mention that I’d spent 10 minutes waiting in another line before choosing that one.  I wouldn’t want to reveal my superpower to just anyone.
            I can find a wonderful thing at a yard sale or thrift shop, hold on to it for years and then in one stroke of genius, create something out of it completely unexpected and cool.  And that’s not all.  I can NOT think of what to do with a thing years after purchasing it, decide to let it go, giving it away to a charity or selling it or throwing it in the garbage.  Then,  days later, in the middle of the night think of the perfect way to re-purpose it and wish I had it again, knowing full well it’s long gone.  I’ve done that over and over – which qualifies as a superpower. 
            Also, where yard sales are concerned, I can recognize valuable items, purchase them for a song and sell them for many times what I paid.  The bakelite jewelry I bought for 75 cents and resold for 400 dollars is an example.  Definitely a superpower.
            I have the ability to get the uncontrollable giggles at the worst possible times.  If a friend is involved, this superpower is magnified 100 times and conversely, friends can turn a superpower into a nemesis.  Somber times are when this superpower can cause great harm…giggles and sobriety do not mix.  Giggles are my kryptonite.
            Even though I am a woman, I have a superpower that crosses the boundaries of gender.  I can grow whiskers.  Not only that, my chin will be as smooth as a baby’s bottom for days on end and then, within hours, two whiskers will grow as though I were a burly mountain man with full beard-growing capabilities.  For this reason, I have to be on guard at all times so that I am not mistaken for a No-Shave November participant.  Although some claim this is a symptom of age, I choose to see it as a superpower.
            I have the ability to completely empty my mind of coherent thought when someone makes a comment that deserves a quick retort.  I will sit there, staring, unable to string two words together until the moment of opportunity has passed.  The conversation will change, the person will leave or I will move on and then it will hit me!  The perfect response.  The most scathing come-back.  The cleverest “gotcha”.   Some may call it “timely come-back disorder”, I choose to see it as a superpower…involuntary self-control.  I’m able to dis-engage my mouth due to my frozen mind.  It’s saved me from plenty of trouble and therefore is one of the superest of powers.
            Finally, I have the superpower of procrastination in every area of my life.  Some would see this as a character flaw and they would be wrong.  When one procrastinates, one must gain talents in other areas such as the speed with which one completes tasks.  The superpower comes into play with the quality of the work that is produced.  I have found that the quality of my work is superior when it is done under the pressure of time.  My brain is super-stimulated and obtains superpower qualities of brilliance.  You might be surprised to know that the bulk of this piece was written this morning as I drank my coffee and wondered why I hadn’t done my writing sooner.  Perhaps it’s the element of regret that adds that extra little je ne sais quoi that is the tipping point of inspiration. 
            While some may think that superpowers have to be of the superhero variety, seeing through walls, invisibilty, the ability to fly and insta-freezing villains, they would be wrong.  They are the little quirks and talents that make you unique.  Things you do without even trying, because superpowers just are.  They are possessed without effort.  A gift.  Embrace them and be SUPER!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Raspberries in November...


Today is/was paint a bench day and garden clean-up day...
It's going to freeze hard this week and the garden is just kaput except for some kale...
So I filled the yard waste bin with all sorts of slimy broccoli stalks...
Black tomato vines...
Pepper plants covered in half-opened blooms...
Which makes me think very highly of peppers...they were willing to go the extra mile...
Give it all they've got...
They had hope...
Albiet false hope...
I gathered up the zucchini vines,
Squash vines...
I found a forgotten slimy onion.  Yuk.
And as I was pulling a pumpkin vine, I noticed that a branch of the vine had taken off on its own and created a very green pumpkin hanging from the fence...well, hello there!
Too bad it won't reach its full potential.
With half of the garden yanked from the ground, the bin was full...
I dragged it to the street, thankful that a machine will dump it into the truck...no person should have to lift that heavy thing...
And as I went to put my gloves back in the shed something red caught my eye.
RASPBERRIES!
In November!?!?
My raspberry vines had saved the best trick for last...
They were tasty, however, the sun hasn't been shining, so they weren't as flavorful as those that ripen in summer...
But I was happy to have a little taste of summer on a day when the last traces of warm days were going into the waste bin...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Paint is my Friend...



I love paint.
Just a little bit of paint can go a long way to changing things up.
And it's fairly cheap...considering the amount of joy it brings!
So I've had a red and beige powder room for the past 12 years...with a wallpaper border separating the two colors.
I really liked it.
But the words "wallpaper border" sort of give a clue to how outdated it was...
So I spent a lot of time putting the words "powder room" into Pinterest.
Too much time, most likely...if you've ever been on Pinterest, you understand.
I decided on gray, which is risky.
So many shades, so many ways it can go horribly wrong.
I chose Behr Sterling...and I got Marquee paint to cover the dark barn red.
I love the Marquee paint!!  It IS as good as the commercial makes it seem..
And the color...
It's fabulous!
The tiniest hint of blue, bright, fresh...perfect for a bathroom.
One thing happened that I hadn't expected:  my tired wood floor perked right up next to gray.
Gray + wood floors = FABULOUS!
I find myself peeking in the powder room just to gaze...
So satisfying.
That brings me to the fireplace.
As I scrubbed the gray paint off my hands and arms and...feet...
(Did I mention that I am the messiest painter on planet earth?)
I glanced over at my red and slate tile fireplace and noticed that the red did NOTHING to compliment the tile...how did I not see that before?
As I examined it in contrast with the gray, I noticed all of the brown tones in it...
They were so drab next to the red.
And then it hit me.
Chocolate brown.
or
Coffee Brown.
Let's compromise and go with Mocha, shall we?
I had some paint left from painting my bedside tables a couple of years ago so it would be "free" to change the fireplace!
My husband, though he loved the bathroom, rolled his eyes when I announced my next project.
He should be used to my decorating frenzies by now...
Honestly.
So today, when he left the house for a couple of hours,
I painted the fireplace.
It's best to do these sorts of things when he's out...
(Did I mention that I am the messiest painter on planet earth?)
He came home too early, however, and I could feel the tension in the room as he walked by...not nearly as excited as I was about the transformation taking place.
Sometimes he just has NO IDEA!
I asked him if he liked it.
"Maybe I'll like it when there's not tape and paper everywhere." he said, irritated.
I could already see how much better it looked.
It was obvious.
So I finished...while he tried not to see the mess and open paint can in the middle of the floor (it was on a tarp).
And I took down the tape and paper and cleaned up the mess and then I asked him:
"Well?"
 And he loved it.  He completely agreed it was much better than the red!
Oh, the satisfaction!
Things usually happen in threes...
My next project is the bench my dad made us years ago.
It serves as a coffee table...and we use it for seating when we have lots of company.
It has a wood base and the top is painted red.
The top will be painted gray this week.
Because I learned that gray + wood = FABULOUS!

Have I mentioned that I love paint??

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Day of Fashion Impairedness Awaredness...wait...

If you're fashion impaired and you know it hug a zucchini!
The day began with an exchange between my husband and I about what he was wearing.
We don't know what we're talking about when it comes to fashion
Plain and simple.
The ironic thing was that I was preparing to go with my 73-year-old mother to Portland, Oregon to shop...
For clothes..
The conversation went down something like this:

Alex: "Heth, does this color go with this shirt?"
Me: "No"
"This?"
"That's better, but..."
"How about this, I like this"
"I don't know"
"I'm wearing it"
"Are you meeting with anyone important today?"
"No"
"Good"
"Wait, I don't think this looks right"
*sigh of relief* "Change the shirt, that's the issue."
"That's much better"


The thing is, I really don't know if the shirt was indeed the issue or if the pants were the issue.  
Surely there is SOMETHING that can be worn with that shirt...right?
He's worn it before.

So back to my trip to Portland...(the reason we shop in Portland is because there's no tax in Oregon, so we save almost 9% right off the top after spending $40 on a tank of gas...I know, I know)
My mother and I were shopping for clothes for our trip to Europe.
One must dress appropriately in Europe as I understand it...
I don't actually know because I've never been there.
But I needed boots.  
I don't know how to wear boots or what to wear them with, but we're going in winter, so boots would be helpful I think.
And pants.
And sweaters.
And a necklace because, don't laugh, I don't know how to wear necklaces.  
"Put them around your neck" I've been told
But it's not that simple if you're fashion impaired.
Trust me.
I put them on and they look wrong.  
Just wrong, I can't explain it.
The wrong length, the wrong size, the wrong metal color...you name it.  It's that kind of wrong.
So we went.
And knock me down with a feather,
I bought all kinds of cute things and tall boots that zip up and have a cute buckle thing,
and a necklace and earrings and sweaters and pants...
Because my 73-year-old mother helped me.
Which, honestly, worries me.
Will I look like a page out of the polyester section of the old Sears catalog?
Have I lost all sense of age appropriate sportswear?
Wait, did I just use the word "sportswear"?
Have I, in fact, turned into my mother?
And did I mention that as I was picking out a sweater and mulling over colors she told me that I don't look good in red...as I stood there staring at her in my red jacket...
I argued with her then...
"What are you saying?  I'm wearing red, I look good in this!"
"Well, not really"
"Seriously?  You're telling me this now?  You let me leave the house in an ugly colored coat?"
"..."
wow mom.
Note to self...tell someone they're wearing a bad color BEFORE they leave the house to go out...
Wait...that won't happen because apparently I don't know a good color when I see it!
*sigh*
There are worse things to be I suppose...
Fashion impaired is a pretty benign condition in the grand scope of possibilities...
I could be my husband... asking ME for fashion advise...
ha!

p.s. - I have been studying Pinterest fashion pins...and by studying, I mean, looking at outfits and marveling at the beauty of the choices...the harmony of color and style. And I have to say, I love good fashion...I'm always impressed when people can just DO it, put great looks together and not think twice about it.  I want to get better at it...I really do...so I'm studying...and maybe some day, getting dressed will be a joy, rather than a really bad guessing game!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

NaNoWriMo!


Have you heard of it?
NaNoWriMo?
It stands for National Novel Writing Month.
You write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I first heard about it 3 years ago...
I saw blog posts from writers who'd succeeded...
I read about their victory...writing an entire novel in a month.
WOW!
So this November, I am going to throw my hat in the NaNoWriMo ring.
I even registered on their site...
I really, really, really want to do it.
The point is, the DOING of it.
Not the marketability of it after the 30 days.
The DOING of the THING.
Writing a novel...really, really doing it!
And who knows.
It might be a masterpiece...or...
Not.
Or perhaps it will be the bare bones of what could be...
Finally a finished skeleton of the novel I've been wanting to write.
The thing is...
Perfectionism is my greatest nemesis.
I want to produce good stuff.
Nothing wrong with that.
But when producing good stuff prevents me from producing anything,
That's when there's a problem.
I think NaNoWriMo is a genius way to get writers past their barriers...
By putting a time limit on their goal...
Get to it!
So during November, National Novel Writing Month,
I will be busy.
Writing.
A lot.
So if I don't answer emails or comment on Facebook posts,
Don't be offended.
And if I do answer emails and comment on your Facebook posts,
Tell me to get back to writing because...
It's NaNoWriMo!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Gemma...


I was in Chicago last weekend.
My daughter goes to Moody Bible Institute there and
My other daughter was running the Chicago marathon.
It was a weekend of cheering and fun with my girls and my son-in-law.
It was also a weekend of inspiration.

I was waiting for my daughter to meet me after her PCM (practical Christian ministry) in the projects.
She didn't arrive at the appointed time and wasn't answering her phone.
An hour and a half later, she arrived...
She had been listening to a girl...a transexual...tell of her twisted and heart-wrenching childhood...of her parents constant abuse.
She was so damaged...physically, emotionally, psychologically...
How can parents do that to their own child?
My mind doesn't compute.
My heart cannot fathom.
She shared details of her life with my girl and another...honestly...painfully...hopefully...
The girls listened and loved.
They didn't judge.
They didn't tell her what she SHOULD do...
They told her how precious she is...
And she is.
Whatever she's into or doing or fighting or addicted to...
That's residual.
SHE is precious.
I don't know her name, but I pray for her...

Then I was in the Lifeway bookstore that is housed in the first floor and basement of my daughter's dorm.
I shopped.
I flipped through books, admired artwork, examined Moody trinkets...
And then a small hispanic woman touched my arm.
She wanted me to help her choose a book to give to her granddaughter.
"She is in trouble.  I am so worried." she said in broken English.
Her heart was right out there for all to see.
Her face was etched with concern.
She loves her granddaughter deeply.
No question.
I asked her a few questions...how old is she, do you think she will read a book?
"God can do anything, a book is all I can think to do."
Yep, he can.
Even a non-reader will read a book if God prompts.  Touche.
We looked at devotionals for teenagers...then it struck me.
She's probably not a typical teenager and these cutesy devotionals are going to insult her perceived level of maturity.
And I wanted a book that was dated...that had devotionals for each day of the year.
It's always been uncanny how the devotion for any given date will always be apropos...God is like that.
I immediately thought of "Jesus Calling".
We put back the books we were considering and walked to the display.
She smiled and agreed, this was the one.
She thanked me profusely and I hugged her.
She asked me to pray for her granddaughter...Gemma.
What a beautiful name.
What a beautiful life.
I wonder if Gemma knows how deeply her grandma loves her.
I hope that Gemma will know that she has a Heavenly Father who loves her deeper still.
Pray for Gemma....for all of the hurting souls in Chicago...for that matter, in every city.
It's so easy to rest in our easy lives...in our loving families...
And forget that there are those that struggle.
Who have always struggled.
Who have never known love...
Yet...
May they know with certainty, that God Himself, loves them more than they can fathom.

Psalm 86:15
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Filing Cabinet Re-do!


We have a fabulous surplus outlet in our town.  I bought this awesome heavy-duty 3-drawer legal size filing cabinet with art deco-ish details for $15.  It needed cleaning up before I began my transformation and a little elbow grease produced this dark gray ugly cabinet...clean but unappealing otherwise!

Do you realize how many choices there are in spray paint these days?  We went to Lowe's to choose a color.  "It will only take a minute" I told my husband as he was speeding home to catch a football game after church last Sunday.  10 minutes later, we were still staring at the spray paint, although it had been narrowed down to three colors.  No, four.  Three.  Five.  Two.  Wait.  I can't choose!  It's not like paint is the ultimate commitment...it's easily changed.  But I wanted to do this once.  I chose.  Green with a hammered silver accent for the drawer fronts.  I asked my husband how he liked it and he picked up a blue which I hadn't yet considered.  I loved it and bought it and off we went.  Done!  Don't look back!

Turns out, the blue we chose is very similar to the color of our house.  No wonder we like it!  And the silver was returned and this champagne glittery color replaced it!  It's actually brushed nickel, but it looks sparkly and champagney...so there you have it!  It's a much happier cabinet now...I will print fabulously fancy labels for each drawer and it will store my writing resources and all of the writing I've done and have yet to do!  

So, go get yourself some spray paint and make an ugly file cabinet into a thing of beauty.  Honor it for its hard work, holding things that are important to you...you'll be glad you did!