Creative Explosion: A Movie, A Book, and Two Singers

Color Explosion

You just never know when or how that creative urge will arrive. I mention this only to explain my lack of posts lately. Right in the middle of a Mahjong game last week, I had a vision. Which explains why I couldn’t win to save my soul. Have been lost in color, ideas, creating. When that happens, I have no concept of space and time. I think it’s Tuesday and I’ve come up for air. For a moment. To share some GREAT creations of others.

Movie

If you haven’t seen it, please check out “Heartbreaker. This romantic French comedy made me laugh out loud a number of times and smile throughout. The film was made in 2010 and is set in Monaco. Directed by Pascal Chaumeil, it stars Vanessa Paradis, Romain Duris, and Julie Ferrier and they are brilliant! Even if you are Grumpy Grumbleson, you will be in a great mood after watching this. Just sayin’.

Book

My youngest daughter recommended a book to me. Donald Miller had me at his author’s note: “Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It’s as if they are showing you the way”. The title, “Blue Like Jazz” is a beauty, but it’s the subtitle that indicates you are in for a thought-provoking ride … “Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality”. His writing is anything but traditional; I find myself wondering how he got in my head while reading this. I think he and author Anne Lamott would get on famously. Two of my favorite passages so far are:

“My mother had given me her Texaco card for my date, so on the way home I stopped in for some Cheetos and donuts. I sat in the Texaco parking lot and thought about poor Romeo, begging for love, running off with his woman, and then accidentally dying. Some dates go terrible, it’s a fact.”

“At the time I was attending this large church in the suburbs. It was like going to church at The Gap.”

And this from his blog, ” My flight out of Nashville was cancelled and I found myself, suitcase in hand, standing outside the Nashville airport dismayed because all I wanted to do was go home. But there was a part of me that wondered if something good could happen, if I couldn’t “create a reason” for being stuck in Nashville. I made some calls and the night turned out to be great, one of the best I had that season.”

More, please.

Singers

Christopher Jak does it for me. Favorites: “Hold On Tight”, “Squeeze”, and “Begin to Cry”. Awesome.

I like David Gray. This singer/songwriter is most excellent at what he does. His latest album is Foundling, which should be available on iTunes. Previous to this release, my favorite DG songs are “You’re the One I Love” and “Babylon”.

That’s enough for now …my muse is calling me ….

Later.

Advertisements

Batter Up!

I like baseball. Because it is civilized, it’s not gladiator sport, and the players have so many kookadoodledoo superstitions. You never know how the game is going to go, so baseball, to me, is mysterious. Like life. Haven’t watched any baseball games lately, but have been doing some reading.

My youngest daughter and I went to a bookstore in Austin recently. Under their “events” section, there was a listing featuring Anne Lamott as a speaker at some future date. I freaked. My daughter isn’t familiar with her. I encouraged her to get familiar with A.L. because I love her words. Especially those describing her personal journey through life.

Right now, she is my best book friend. I usually reread her work about twice a year. She is the most … everything. But I love her words because she is most human and not afraid to share. Which leads me to share some of my favorite quotes of hers that are speaking to me today.

 “I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

  “I thought such awful thoughts I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of a cat dish” 

 “The difference between you and God is that God doesn’t think He’s you.”

 “You can practice being right or practice being kind.”

“It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It is weight training for life.”

“Expectations are really resentments under construction.”

I like the way she rolls. I wonder if she likes baseball? My other favorite quote, alas, is not hers; I don’t know who it belongs to.

“Life  often slides curve balls our way. What we must remember is that we may get knocked out of the batter’s box this inning, then hit one out of the park the next.”

I don’t know where you are in this baseball life – still training, benched, or up at bat. I’m ready to play. Let’s cheer each other on. And never, ever, ever, ever give up!

Later.

Watering Dead Plants

Sitting on my patio, I looked over to see three dead plants. The same three dead plants I’d meant to throw out for … months. Just lazy. Nevertheless, someone waters them every week. They are dead. Water is wasted. While it is an incredibly optimistic action – feeding something that will not eat in hopes it will magically spring back to life – it is, in the end, futile.

It’s all about change, isn’t it? Watering dead plants is symbolic to me. Resisting what you know to be true. Refusing to acknowledge what is, hoping what isn’t will resurrect itself. Change is inevitable in every inch of our lives. Feeding what was, what we knew and were comfy with, is at the very least, a waste of time. And energy. And emotion. Yet we do it sometimes, because change means … something new, something we haven’t welcomed in and snuggled up to. Miracles and epiphanies (small, medium, large) do not happen on demand. And watering the dead plants is a roadblock to anything happening. Life blockage.

When I was raising my daughters, many of their little peers had daily schedules that would rival – and exhaust – the busiest of executives. I opted out of this for a number of reasons. I knew there would be plenty of time for them to be overwhelmed and unprepared. So, when they would ask me what we were doing on any given day, my answer would usually be the same:  “Let’s see what the day brings.” And roll with it.

 I cannot for the life of me remember much – if any – bad coming from this “program”. But I do remember many days filled with surprises, relaxation, and activity. We didn’t water any dead plants. Because my girls trusted me. Because they knew if I was willing to roll with it, then certainly they could as well. Because they trusted me.

I’m not watering the dead. I will not honor the impossible by blocking the possibilities. It’s all about trust. And I am firmly convinced – even though I waver/stand steadfast – that a power higher than me has, once again, showered me with possibilities. My job:  trust. Keep eyes wide open.  The result?

 

Later.

Please Kick Me … Gently

I’m in a pickle. Call it mental paralysis. Not a pity party. A swift kick in the butt is not going to get me going again. I find myself back at square one, for the 2376th time and am feeling all the items listed in photo. Baby steps. Haven’t been able to take one. Want to. Have done everything I can think of to get this little engine started. But often times, better ideas come from others. That could be you.

What inspires you? What tiny or giant “thing” creates that “aha” moment? I live by the credo, “fall down 7 times, get up 8” yet I am having difficulty getting up. Any and all suggestions will be thoroughly considered and most appreciated. Two things you should know if/before responding: I am harder on myself than you could ever be (all things medical, therapeutic, etc. are under control) and I am interested in what works for you, what you do and how you do it.  If you so choose:

Bring it on!!!!!!

Ready, Willing, & Able Do Martha’s Vineyard

Hydrangea Heaven

Several weeks ago, I went on the perfect vacation. It was perfect because I was afforded four amazing days with Cowgirl and Lady Di.  Many years ago, we found that we play very well with one another. We think we are collectively hilarious, therefore, we are. At one point, we all lived in the same city. Today, I am still a city dweller,  Cowgirl lives on the rolling range, and Lady Di is a citizen of the world, our own Carmen Sandiego.  She presented Cowgirl and me with a Most Awesome Invitation back in March, inviting us to her home on Martha’s Vineyard. Oh, my … what a glorious backdrop for our reunion. 

A view from the porch

Another view from the back porch

Looking up from the edge of the water; so beautiful until I lost my balance and fell into swampy sidelines in my flipflops

Our ride for the week, compliments of Little Didi

When we weren’t laughing ourselves silly, we were eating. And laughing ourselves silly. 

Party favor from dinner the first night

First of all, the word “charming” applies to this island. It is lush, it is green, there are no traffic lights. The towns are delightful, the temperature is divine, and when driving around the countryside, you would swear you were in rural England. And the food is FRESH, FRESH, FRESH.  Evening One, we had dinner at Saltwater, 79 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven. Di and Cowgirl had halibut, I went for fresh corn chowder topped with fried clams (perfection) followed by a fried green tomato with lobster salad. Have never tasted a better bread pudding in my life, and I’ve eaten A LOT of bread pudding. Do stop by. 

Lunch Day Two

Truffle fries at Atlantic

Atlantic,2 Main St., was the perfect lunch spot as we “did” Edgartown on Day Two. The ambience was so great; the restaurant is right on the water. All I remember is the enormous platter of truffle fries that arrived at our table perfectly crispy and hot and divine. I’ll have lobster, again. 

Don’t have a photo for Dinner Evening Two but I promise it was miles past delicious and, of course, charming at State Road, 688 State Rd., West Tisbury.  Didn’t hurt that we were seated next to Amy Brenneman; television does not do her beauty or delicacy justice. But I digress. Fresh snap pea soup, not thick but incredibly savory. And I hate peas. I know the lobster was delicious because that is what I ordered… again. Di had halibut, Cowgirl went for a house made fennel apple seitan imposter sausage something. The desserts were beyond. Upon leaving, we were given a box of muffins left from the morning menu. I told you everything is fresh. 

We’d go to a farmer’s market here and there.  Little flower stands, featuring whatever was picked in the morning, lined the lanes wherever we drove. Did I mention “charming”? I do believe we made it to every little shop on the island. First stop, Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven; it is a boho-groovy-urban Anthropoligie-On- An- Island sort-of-place; it’s also famous because Carly Simon is a partner. 

Very cool magazine

Picked up the early summer copy of edible VINEYARD; published four times a year, this magazine is full of great articles, information, recipes, and design.  You can check it out at http://www.ediblevineyard.com 

My favorite shop was Nochi in Vineyard Haven where I found great vintage silverplate “reclaimed” from old hotels. 

Flowers like these are in front of most shops

The last evening we went back to Edgartown, with its cobblestone streets and great buildings (promise not to say the “c” word again).

Roadside fence with ROSES

Historic place next to historic church (?) and roses, of course!

Dinner at eight at Alchemy,71 Main St., more good food. The menu was interesting and adventurous in a very Episcopalian way (later about that). Cowgirl found the cocktail of her dreams, a magic lemon gimlet, Di went halibutting again and I had the strangest salad ever. Billed as “The Salad the Chefs Eat”, it was described as having all sorts of great veggies tossed in red wine vinegar with a blob of buttery mashed potatoes on top. What? Yep, and it was the best! Couldn’t face another lobster, but of course, we had to have dessert. Waddled out, stuffed ourselves into the MINI and shot off for home. We were quite sad to think we were leaving this heaven the next day, but of course, once home, we found everything  panty-wetting(?),  pant-wettingly (?)  damn funny. So we had to stay up and laugh more. 

The next day, after great coffee and more laughing, Lady Di, the ultimate hostess, ferried us to the airport. Cape Air runs nine-seater planes up and down the coastline. Cowgirl turned green again (she was green on the way over, too). I jumped in the copilot’s seat. 

It is really hot sitting up front

The view is pretty good

Cowgirl remained green until we hopped onto the tarmac at Logan. We hooked it through terminals to meet our next flight home.  It was a perfect trip, you know the kind, where you don’t want to ever leave but you have to. And the memory stays perfect. 

Lady Di - LOVE YOU, MEAN IT!!!!!!!!

LATER……….

My Mom Rang The Bell Today!

You probably don’t know what I am talking about; I hope you don’t.  But it is a Red Letter Day in my family.  My mom rang the bell!  She was diagnosed with breast cancer at Thanksgiving, had surgery in December, and started radiation treatment in January.  She is a patient at M.D. Anderson.  When you finish chemo or radiation treatment, and you are finally free to walk about the plane, you ring the bell near the front desk of the treatment area.  Everyone waiting there celebrates.  She was surrounded by her new friends – people getting treatment from all over the world.  They have been together every day for six weeks.  Her cancer – and treatment – has been an amazing, life-changing experience for her, in the best way.  And she has never been more beautiful.  My mom rang the bell today!  God is so good.

Love: Don’t do the Math

Love is not reserved for any special interest group, religion, or community.  Love is for everyone, no matter what you believe in, no matter who you are.  The word “love” has immeasurable definitions, as it means something different to each of us.  Whoever we are and wherever we are.

I am member of a Christian Life Studies group.  We meet every Thursday morning during the academic year.  We are studying Luke now.  Our fearless leader, Sharon, is truly a shining, gentle light , blanketing the rest of us in peace, love, and wisdom before, after, and during that special 45 minutes each week. The other women in this group are engaging, interesting, smart and special to me.  As of late, I’ve been a slacker regarding my studies.  I show up anyway.  Yesterday, while thumbing through my information, I was staggered by what I read.  Several sentences from this guide, edited by Leon Taylor and published by Life Publishing Company, jumped off the pages. 

“The arithmetic of love is strange, love is not diminished by being given away.”  I’ve never put love and arithmetic in the same sentence or even the same thought process.  Am still pondering this concept, but I believe that it’s about focusing on the giving, period.  No thought of getting anything from the use of love as a verb.  Just putting it out there because.  Because we all need it, because it so powerful we can’t begin to grasp the ripple effect it contains, because love has the ability to transform us.  So we actively love as many as we can, deleting the mental reciprocity notches.  Loving others isn’t an equal opportunity process; throw out the scales.  Just do it. Per the guide, “…love knows the value of one.”

I am mathematically challenged.  There are people I don’t love, people I don’t even like. I struggle with the concept above even though I know it’s the right path for me to take.  A repeat offender in the petty grievance division.  I read, from the same guide, “Delusion is no respecter of persons … In their delusion, they (people) often defend the indefensible with a contemptible attitude that exalts self and maligns those who threaten them.” Uh, okay. Taking that personally. I have to work to flush the mind garbage blocking anything that even resembles love.  Don’t have to cozy up to people who bug me but do need to replace negative reactions with something different.  Maybe it’s hoping/praying for their well-being.  Perhaps it’s giving them a hall pass because everyone has bad days, weeks, years.  And I, more than anyone, am prone to bad behavior towards others. Hate when that happens.

My plan of action is to love the unlovable – at a distance. Put hopeful thoughts for them out there. Catch,release. Keep my trap shut.  Freedom.  A softer heart.  Passing out, not on, love.

It’s been said many times that “mercy is not getting what you deserve and grace is getting what you don’t deserve.”

Love + Mercy + Grace + Forgiveness = Whatever!  Has to be  good.

I like that equation. Maybe I even love it.