Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sharing Trees

As a transplant to Colorado, I am admittedly partial to the trees of my home state of California.  I have, nonetheless, always enjoyed the Fall in Colorado; its mountains filled with lodgepole pine trees and aspen trees -- painting the hills beautiful shades of yellow and orange. 

Over the last few years, whether traveling by air or driving along Interstates, I have been watching the epidemic of a failing forest devastating the beauty of the Colorado mountains. I had heard the stories on the evening newscasts and picked up an article or two about it but I had paid very little attention to the articles. Some might find this incredible but I had never been a fan of the mountains (or the cold and snow).  To me, they were just another annoying barrier that I had to go through to get to my beloved beach and desert.  It wasn't until last year, on a drive on Interstate 70 headed west, that I really noticed the total devastation. It is now undeniable and enough to melt the heart of this die-hard-hot-weather beach babe. 

Mountains that I had lived by for many years and had come to take for granted

Now entire areas of the forests in Colorado are almost gone.

A phenomenon of rising regional temperatures, drought, forest fires and insect infestations (pine and twig beetles), it is predicted that the lodgepole pine tree will be completely wiped out within the next few years (an area the size of Rhode Island).

The aspen trees will be gone before the new century is over if the course continues unheeded.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains are changing forever in our life time and I wonder about the implication of this in our childrens' life times. 

Nothing ever happens in a vacuum.

Take a good look around you as you drive through your neighborhood.  Learn the names and the history of the towering green giants that are shading your home and giving your children something to climb. Check out those scenic overlooks on your next road trip. Get a window seat on your next trip on a plane and leave the shade up.  Try to see the world and the gifts that mother nature has given us through new eyes.  It's just one more lesson that I've learned as I get older -- never-ever-never take something (or someone for granted.)  Gone is sometimes forever.

Look deep into nature,
and then you will understand everything better.
~ Albert Einstein ~

Friday, August 13, 2010


As I continued makeover work on the master bedroom, a old feeling penetrated its way into my subconscious. Like buried thoughts and messy memories cluttering my mind, the room had also been neglected over time and other projects.

Instead of feeling the usual enthusiasm and inspiration, I felt...


Snubbed...ignored...minimized. Little words that can invoke powerful feelings.

Growing up a military brat, it was a feeling I was all too familiar with. It wasn't until high school that I felt like I belonged. I was 15 when I discovered I could move people with words.  I had been writing as long as I could remember but it was a high school creative writing teacher who read my words out loud. It seems funny to me, and almost a little bit precious, when I remember those first weeks of having my secret exposed. She was a tough educator and I was a broken child. Writing wasn't something to be embarrassed about, it was a gift to be cherished.

Finding my place in the writing world gave me the time to discover intelligence and wit. Two attributes I was going to need during some very tough years. Like those who can decorate without a second thought, I can paint a picture with words alone.

As I started the final coat of paint on the dresser, I thought about how much time I put into each and every posting. I wondered if those who beautify see an empty room the way I see a blank piece of paper. It occurred to me that a makeover of a piece of furniture and a makeover of a paragraph are more similar than they are different. Each of us strives to find perfection.

Varying items and varying topics, staying with the familiar, as well as the interesting.

Trying to stay original, I look for new and different things for my stories and my home.

The words can come as easily as the drapes that were given to me by a neighbor.  Yet other times, it winds up costing me more than I expected to having to add sheers from the dollar store to complete my window dressing.

Although decorating is fun to me, it does not come naturally. So I try to read other blogs faithfully everyday. I am always looking for ideas and opinions from those whose style I admire.  

Reviewing and learning, I had hoped to gain the easy camaraderie that flows between those with so much talent. It saddened and frustrated me when I realized this hurdle remains stubbornly in place.

Writers are mostly a solitary bunch, living inside their minds and a wall of unwelcome shyness. The simple act of asking for an idea or opinion always gives me hesitation. It is not done easily nor without moments of second guessing myself. How much of my darker side will appear and will they dismiss when they realize that light and breezy is a look I'm trying to achieve through eyes that view the world as a not-so-friendly place? A heart that never quite recovered and a restless soul that longs for safety.
Finishing the dresser and thoughtfully trying to add just the right pieces on the dresser, that old feeling begins  to recede. I look at the results and smile -- making over a room can make over your mood. 

Reminding myself that I write for me and I write for my friend, I pick up the phone to let her know the new posting is going up.  As I hang up the phone and nudge the dresser back into place, I smile at her enthusiasm and delight.  I think of the second sentence in the serenity prayer and nod at its undeniable wisdom.  I make a mental note to ignore things I cannot control and look over at a blank computer screen next to an unmade bed.  There's always a new thought to write and a bed that might need a makeover. Thanks goodness for decorators...and writers.   We are not so different after all. 

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smarty Pants

Due to pain issues and because I'm feeling a little bit like a smarty pants socks, I just have one little before and after picture to share with you.

Laundry room before - where the orphan socks were.

Laundry room after - May I present - The Sock Drawer!

This was a little brown wood and wicker drawer shelf that I picked up at Goodwill on sale day:  Total cost of drawer and white paint on hand: $1.00

I haven't even begun tackling the extremely limited space in the laundry room. It sorely needs much work but I very easily pretend I don't see it. Wink.

For now, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.  
                                                                                                                                                                     Helen Keller
P.S. I was thinking about stenciling " THE SOCK DRAWER" across the top of the drawer. What do you think??

Monday, August 2, 2010

Decorating With One Eye Open

I was absolutely thrilled to finally get some comments and advice on my redecoration education . Living with a schizophrenic son --whose condition hasn't been stabilized yet --has caused an additional strain on our emotional budgets.  He simply cannot tolerate very much intrusion into his world and that includes company --- even family.  So I am out here all alone, trying to find my decorator way.  All things considered, we are okay.  The biggest bother being that I have to rely on the good folks out there reading my blog for advice and opinions.  A big highlight of my day is checking the blog for comments.  Thank you so much to each and every one of you who take the time to read my postings and an additional thank you for those who take time to comment.  

Last night, the consensus seemed to be that there are a lot of things scattered about in my bathroom.  Hugz for being so gentle. I got the message loud and clear -- there needs to less, instead of more.  Thanks for the restraint in not saying, "Lady, how many friggin candles do you need in  that tiny bathroom?"  After I got over the 25 seconds of bristling, I took another look.  I stood in the bathroom and tried to see what you see.

After a few minutes, it became clear to me what the problem is.  Take a look at this picture.

And now take a look at the picture as seen by those of us who are nearsighted:

That is what one of my eyes sees without my glasses.

Now this is what the the other eye sees:

Retinal artery stroke about six years ago left me with one eye that is almost useless.  I have no central vision in the eye and damaged peripheral vision.  In fact, where you see dots, I see dots in motion due to varying degrees of damage.

As a result, my brain tends to ignore completely what is coming from that eye.  Consequently, I tend to see rooms in blocks of vision as opposed to the whole room.  I see the left upper, the left middle, the right lower, the middle, etc.  It is how my brain has adjusted to the loss of vision and the loss of depth perception. 
(Arrrrr, thee be saucy wenches!)

sorry, I couldn't resist.

I stood in the bathroom for 5 minutes trying to get a better whole picture.  No dice.  My brain has adjusted in order to help me walk without tripping, drive within the line and go down  stairs without falling.  Depth perception correction has its own problems.  Even looking at a picture of the room isn't much help as my brain still cuts the picture into blocks.

This all goes on in the matter of a second or two.  It's difficult to explain -- It's like looking into a room through a very lacy curtain for a split second, then more of a tunnel vision view.

I asked my son to take a look.  He stood there for a couple of minutes and then said, "Mom, she's talking again.  The voice is telling me to cut myself."  Sigh.  SIGH!  "Well, tell her to shut up unless she has a decorator degree."   Ignoring the bitchy voice, I kept pointing out things to him.  "Mom, if it makes you happy, then leave the things where they are, do you know where the Ativan its?"  All in one breath.  Small sigh.  Son wanders off.

After awhile, and because Leverage was about to start, I gave up looking and headed for the kitchen. One must have a snack when one watches Timothy Hutton for a whole hour across the small screen.  For the rest of the night, I considered the issue but didn't take another look.

This morning the situation remains the same.  Because of the "blocking" going on, it is difficult for me to see that a room is "busy" or cluttered.  Due to the same depth perception issues, it's why I have less white and more blue than I really want.  It's why I switched to silver accessories from gold before everyone else did - silver catches the light and lets you know it's there. It's why there are necklaces in my bathroom and not in my jewelry box. 

For now, I can only take your word for it.  And compromise.  The shelf stays up but knickknacks will be minimized a little.  The yellowing paint will be painted over with as bright a white as I can acquire and the cabinet will be painted the same color.

After I paint the walls and cabinet, I will retake the photos and ask for your thoughts again.  Now that you know the problem, it may make it easier to voice your ideas and suggestions.  I have a tough skin and my feathers only ruffle for a  few seconds so feel free to suggest away.

I have a brother-in-law who is a true hoarder. In fact, his hoarding is so extreme, their house was considered for that show on A&E.  Every time I go to their house, I come home and start putting things away, while chanting the two rules I used to live by: If it can be replaced for under ten dollars, throw it out and if you can't pack your two bedroom condo in one day, then you have too much stuff.

Maybe it's time for a trip over there...