A quiet start to an amazing New Year

fireplace in luxury cabin

How I’ll spend New Year’s Eve in my dream home/cabin in New England someday. 😉 Image courtesy of RedWolfFalls.com

It’s New Year’s Eve and I know there are tons of people with plans to attend fun parties with friends, family, and/or coworkers. I haven’t gone to any type of New Year’s Eve party in many years and while there are aspects I miss such as being with friends, I’m content to just stay home.

My daughters are off with their father to attend a friend’s party where there will be other children their age and lots of fun to be had via the Wii, board games, and other toys. I had them on New Year’s Eve last year and we just hung out at home and snuggled on my bed until midnight to watch the ball drop. I think the girls were asleep by then, heck I think I was half asleep by then.

I have some freelance writing projects to work on today and errands to run before I stop at my mom’s house for a visit and one of my notoriously long bubble baths. I’ll be leaving her house before it gets dark because I don’t want to be on the roads with party goers who might already be inebriated. Once home, I have a bottle of inexpensive sparkling wine to pop open (or twist the top off of), grocery store oriental for dinner, and a cheddar cheese ball to snack on amid beading, creating new paintings, and exploring a new area of craftsmanship I’ve been wanting to try for months. After that, I’ll be snuggled up on the couch with my circus of animals as the electric fireplace heater creates a warming glow.

It will be a quiet New Year’s Eve for me, but that’s okay because I know in my heart that 2015 is going to be an amazing year for me full of new accomplishments, opportunities, and exciting discoveries. Happy New Year!

The power of just being

famous quotes

Quote artwork from students at my daughters’ school

Today was a lovely day. There was a fresh “dusting” of four inches of light, fluffy snow this morning and the flurries continued during the day transforming the world into a snow globe every few hours. As the girls and I stayed in all day, I was fine with the snow falling and didn’t even mind the frigid temperatures in the teens. The power of just being with my daughters kept me warm all day long.

I am someone who has often struggled with relaxing and just being in the moment. I’m always thinking of what comes next, which is ridiculous because I can’t foresee the future. There’s nothing wrong with planning for the future, but stressing over it is a waste of time. Things have a way of always working out for the best and the power of just being confident in that is immensely freeing!

The more I explore my creativity to learn new skills and improve ones I already have, the more at peace I feel. I feel so closely connected to my own heart and spirit when I’m tapping into my creativity that it’s impossible for me to be anything but content and happy. I acquired some new canvases yesterday and I’m really looking forward to discovering who I am as a painter now because it’s not who I used to be. I used to be able to create my “masterpieces” in only a few minutes, but now it takes me a bit longer to find and express my inspiration. I’m certain that accepting the power of just being creative without wondering where it will take me will bring me to exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Never underestimate the power of just being you and exploring everything that makes you unique. As I’ve read from several inspirational quotes, there will always be someone in this world that needs exactly what you have to offer, so keep at it!

Better to be odd…

better to be odd and memorable

I’ve been called odd more than once in my life, several times in fact. But that’s okay, I like being odd, it’s way better than being normal and boring. 

What makes me odd? Well I suppose that’s a matter of perspective and I’ll let you make up your own mind.

I’m not materialistic, never have been, never will be. My favorite stores to shop at are craft stores, not big name, fancy clothing stores. I need to create things with my own two hands, not garb my body in the latest trends. My idea of a “mani and pedi” is trimming and painting my own nails. When I buy shoes, it’s because I need shoes, not because I couldn’t resist some latest style. Considering most of the “stylish” shoes these days are skyscrapers heels I can’t even walk in, I won’t be in style ever. When I replace my phone, it’s because something on it is broken, not because I want the latest and greatest gadget. My service provider is Virgin Mobile because they’re the cheapest for everything I need without an expensive contract where everything seems a la carte.

While I’m a big fan of romantic comedies, my favorite movies are the Star Wars movies and my favorite show is Star Trek The Next Generation. Yes, I love both Star Wars and Star Trek and I see no need to pick one I like more than the other because they both have merit to me. I’ve read The Hobbit and don’t understand why they felt the need to make a zillion movies out of such a short book. I adore Marvel comic book movies and can recite The Avengers almost line by line. I can also recite almost every line in The Princess Bride and any true fan of that movie knows that’s not such an “Inconceivable!” thing. 😉

When I first meet people, I tend to be shy but once I’m comfortable, my blunt sarcastic side comes out. I come up with some zingers that surprise even me sometimes. I talk a LOT and have even had someone else press their finger to my lips more than once to stop my rambling. I’m also a great listener and loyal friend to those few who truly understand me and don’t want to change me. I don’t want to be changed because I love who I am, frizzy wavy hair, clumsiness, wit, geekiness, rambling and all.

Last night I was told I was odd yet again and from that, I came up with a little bit of insight. I realized that my peculiarities make me rather unique and impossible to forget. I bet there are people I met years ago that I haven’t talked to in forever that still remember me even if they don’t want to. To that I say, “Better to be odd and memorable than normal and forgettable.” And you can quote me on that. 😉

Kittens on keyboards


I had a very productive day of the usual chores and a bit of beading bliss before I picked up my daughters at 4. I hadn’t seen them since Thursday afternoon and while that doesn’t sound like a long time, for me it really is.

Once we were home, we enjoyed relaxing. The weather wasn’t as nice today as yesterday so going outside didn’t appeal. Jaycie played with toys, Jordan helped me with some Trivia Crack questions and we had homemade pizza for dinner.

This evening, Jordan got her new keyboard out and was playing it on the couch while I was working on beading in my dad’s rocking recliner and Jaycie was playing with Littlest Pet Shop. Angel was sitting on the back of the couch watching when Jordan decided to grab her and help her play Mary Had A Little Lamb. It was quite adorable and I managed to snap a couple pictures before Angel decided music wasn’t her thing.

My life might not sound like the most exciting thing in the world but I’m happy and very fortunate to have unique entertainment that includes kittens on keyboards. 🙂

Those who can’t teach, do

blue and red abstract painting

My final painting of the night. Not my usual style.

Recently I’ve been sucked into a game called Trivia Crack thanks to my fellow SNHU students. It was mentioned on the online student social media platform and now many of the connections I have on there are playing it. Well, I suppose they could have been playing it for years, but I only just learned about it.

While I enjoyed Trivial Pursuit to a degree, eventually everyone would get tired of playing it and we’d name a winner before all the pie pieces were won. I often surprised myself with the random bits of information I’d know that helped me answer questions. Thankfully, Trivia Crack doesn’t take nearly as long as Trivial Pursuit, though I’m finding it just as mentally challenging…and frustrating.

Ridiculously enough, my worst category is Art, followed closely by Sports which isn’t a big shocker. My best topic is Entertainment which makes sense because I know all sorts of random movie and television trivia. Nonetheless, my lack of “knowledge” in the Art category perturbed me. I do consider myself an artist but no, I don’t know a whole lot about art history and such. According to the game Leonardo, Michelangelo and Picasso were all left-handed, but I’ve found some websites that dispute that. Either way, I refused to let a trivia game get me down so I decided that since I could never teach Art or Art History, I’d paint some art in the art present. There’s that saying “Those who can’t do, teach” so I just reversed it to “Those who can’t teach, do.” I’m clever like that…

starry night

My first creation of the night.

I haven’t created any new paintings in many months but tonight felt like a good time. I cranked up my music, got out my paints, prepped three canvases, chose the colors, selected several brushes, and went to town. I’m reasonably satisfied with my creations, especially since I’m rusty, and it was a very enjoyable experience. Painting reassured me that I still have that creativity inside me even if I don’t know the name of Picasso’s second cousin’s best friend’s cat. 😉

seal painting

My second painting of the night.

Getting back out there


The lovely blue sky today

The weather lately has been decidedly un-winterlike with temperatures in the 40’s and no sign of snow. As much as I would’ve liked a white Christmas, I can’t control the weather so instead, I made the most of it.

When I was sick, I didn’t walk Jazzmin at all and I’m trying to make up for that now. We aren’t going on walks as long as they were before I got sick, but we’ll get our stride back eventually. Jazz is just glad to get back out there and put pawpads to pavement.

As the weather isn’t bitterly cold, I can pause during the walks to enjoy the scenery and listen to the birds. I love my walks the most when I can linger and appreciate the world around me. Jazz might be happier walking for eternity, but I’m not a dog, I’m a human who likes to truly experience being out in nature.

That warm glow

christmas tree

Every year I’m fortunate enough to have my daughters on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Last night we had my mom over for dinner and the girls got to open the presents from their grandma. They received some Frozen themed gifts and funds for picking out toys and I’m sure it will be an interesting adventure taking them shopping. After gifts were opened, we just hung out in the living room, enjoying that warm glow of being together. The kittens amused and amazed all of us and Jazzmin gave her best “woe is me” act even though I took her for a nice, long walk yesterday afternoon.

Frozen sheet sets

Gifts from Grandma

Last night I was once again grateful that my girls are heavy sleepers, as I always seem to sound like a herd of hippos when I’m setting out gifts. Santa and I were both delivered our gifts successfully though and the lovable kittens slept all night on my bed. Angel usually sleeps with me but not Daisy so it was nice that they both kept me warm. It was as if they knew that it was the magical night of Christmas Eve.

I was the first to wake this morning and I eventually ended up rousing my girls around 8:30 a.m. I consider myself quite lucky that they sleep in on Christmas morning since my older brothers and I always seemed to wake our parents at some unreasonable hour. Jaycie was already awake but Jordan was a big sluggish.

waking children

Jordan looks thrilled. Lol.

Eventually, we got it all together and headed out to the living room where the tree and gifts were. The girls were quite happy with the gifts from Santa, which were two Nerf Rebelle weapons, and I’m sure they’ll have more fun with them outside when it’s nicer. Jordan made me a matted printout of my favorite poem “Cats Sleep Anywhere” with cute drawings as the border and Jaycie gave me a felt Christmas tree ornament she’d made in school. They also gave me a dream encyclopedia, which is quite perfect as I’m always having unusual dreams.

As I’m tired of stepping on, around, and over little toys in my living room, I got the girls a different take on “toys” this year. I got Jaycie a Nintendo 2DS for her to play her favorite games on and Jordan a keyboard to create lovely music on. There wasn’t a mountain of gifts for them to open up, but then again, that warm glow doesn’t come from gifts. They don’t quite understand that yet, but they will someday.

stocking gifts

The girls checking out their gifts from Santa.

Nerf Rebelle Bow

Jordan and her new Rebelle bow.

plush cheetah cub

Jordan really loved her stuffed cheetah cub!

plush Garfield toy

Jaycie loves Garfield books and finally has a stuffed Garfield.

Yamaha keyboard

Jordan playing on her new keyboard.

Overall, I had a great Christmas morning with them before they went off with their father to celebrate the day with his side of the family. I headed to my mom’s house after lunch to indulge in a nice, hot bubble bath and some yummy appetizer food in the form of shrimp, crab cakes and bacon wrapped mushrooms. It was more like an earl y dinner than appetizers but that’s fine by me. It was nice seeing my mom on Christmas day and giving her the pairs of earrings I’d made for her.

As I write this, I’m now home and relaxing on my couch. I’m staying in for the rest of the night and basking in that warm glow that comes from adoring kittens, a pathetic pup, and knowing that my life is exactly as it’s supposed to be right now. I am blessed to have two beautiful daughters, a loving family, sweet pets, a roof over my head, a job I love, and a heart that still believes that the right one will find me eventually. Moreover, even if that right one never comes along, I know that the warm glow doesn’t come from anyone else, it comes from inside me and it’s up to me to keep it shining bright.

Snuggles, jingles, and ribbons

It’s been a fun-filled day and I’m going to sleep very soon to await the arrival of Santa. Nonetheless, I don’t want to break my December blog streak so here are some pictures showing highlights of my day. Much more than this happened, but I’m writing this on my phone and that’s where these pics are. Nothing wrong with improvising. 😉


The kittens snuggling with me this morning.


Jazzmin in her jingling jingle bell collar wearing the cat's collar on her head


Jordan's ribbon styling of my hair.

Belief and Bald Eagles

bald eagle in field

Bald eagle in the field behind my house today.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’m a huge believer in signs and I actively look for them every single day. Sometimes they appear when I’m not looking and sometimes they happen at exactly the right moment to lift my spirit. Today was an example of the latter.

Quite often I ask to see some sign in particular as an indication that a particular wish will come true, that I’m on the right path, or that someone I’m thinking of is thinking of me too. Several months ago I asked for a very specific sign to show me that something would happen within a year’s time of when I asked for that sign. The sign I requested was very big because the wish I had was just as big. I figured if the powers that be saw fit to send me that sign, then I couldn’t doubt anymore and I’d have to put all my belief in that wish coming true. The sign I asked for was to see a bald eagle.

While driving home from New England after my last trip in October, I saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree. Or at least I think it was a bald eagle. I glimpsed it so quickly that I wasn’t exactly sure. Well, today the powers that be saw fit to erase any doubts from my mind.

This afternoon I was looking out my kitchen window toward the large farmer’s field behind my yard and much to my bewilderment a bald eagle swooped down and landed in the field. I’m quite sure my mouth dropped open to the floor and I completely forgot the issues I’d been dealing with in that moment. I stared in disbelief and the bald eagle sat there with his back to me and his head turning periodically to survey his surroundings.

bald eagle sitting in field

bald eagle in New York State

sitting bald eagle

I quickly grabbed my Canon PowerShot camera and took a couple of pictures through the kitchen window. They were blurry due to the screen so I decided to try going out onto my deck to take some pictures. I crept as quietly as I could out my deck door and stepped lightly across the deck to the railing. The bald eagle remained where he was with his back to me, though I’m quite sure his gaze turned in my direction. Despite the high winds, I held the camera steady enough to take several pictures. Unfortunately, the zoom on my camera isn’t strong enough to get good detail at that distance. Hoping to get better pictures, I went back inside, loaded film in my dad’s old Olympus OM-1 camera, put the longer lens on and crept back outside. Looking through the viewfinder on that camera I was better able to see the details on the bald eagle and I took a few pictures. I won’t know if they came out until I have the roll developed who knows when, but I’m hoping I got at least one good one.

Curious to see how close the bald eagle would allow me to get, I put my shoes on, grabbed my Canon again and walked slowly out into my back yard. I paused to take more pictures as I walked and I made it as far as my back pine tree before the bald eagle decided that was close enough and took flight. He flew across the field and disappeared into the trees and I was awestruck by the enormity of his wingspan and the palpable power of his spirit.

bald eagle in flight

bald eagle flying

As I walked back toward the house I was smiling in pure joy and just thinking about the entire experience still makes me smile. It’s no small thing to see such a beautiful creature in such an unusual location. Though I live near a lake, it’s miles away and there isn’t any water with fish very close. To have a bald eagle plunk himself down in my back field was a sign bigger than any neon billboard. I feel truly blessed by his visit and it was the universe’s way of reminding me of the strength of belief and bald eagles.

Believing in Magic

I still believe in the magic that is Santa Claus. Yes, I said it. I believe in all types of magic because a world without magic would be dreadfully boring. Being alive is magic in itself and those who don’t see that are missing out more than they will ever know.

I used to write daily about magical worlds and characters, but the muse that helped me do that still hasn’t returned. I catch a glimpse of her now and then but she’s gone before I can stop her and ask her what it is I’m missing that made her leave. Even though I can’t write about magical creatures and beings that wield magic, I know magic still exists all around me. I tap into it every day when I explore my creativity and I see signs of it from soaring hawks that call at me to catch my attention.

One of the strongest types of magic in the world is the magic of love. Love is a powerful force that connects every living being, every spirit, every natural force. Love among humans is ridiculously complicated and far from the perfection portrayed in fairy tales. Perfection is something that exists in a non-magical world and as I’ve already said, that’s far too boring for me.Regardless, I don’t believe that love should be a constant struggle and that love with the right one feels effortless at its best moments and worth the fight at its worst moments.

Although romantic love continues to elude me, I’m sure the universe has its reasons for keeping it from me at this point in my life. I catch glimpses of it, the same glimpses I get of that elusive muse, but it’s gone before I can even hope to grasp it. I have a feeling that when I do finally rediscover the magic of romantic love, I’ll also get that muse back and that both elements will remain in my life, never to leave again.

While the idea of Santa Claus leaving the right one under my tree as a gift this year is amusingly optimistic, I don’t expect it to happen. The man in red is far too busy bringing happiness and magic to the children of the world and he knows that in time, I’ll bring the right one to me just by being my unique and magical self.

Holiday traditions

cutout sugar cookies Better homes and gardens

The cutout cookies we made.

Today was a day of accomplishing tasks and finding time to relax. This morning I did some work and then headed over to my mom’s to make cut out sugar cookies with my girls. The girls slept over at their grandmother’s house and it sounded like they slept in for once. I slept in too, which for me is anything past 6 a.m. Despite Jazzmin staring at me as if she was going to explode, I lingered in bed until 8 a.m.

For the cookie making, I rolled out the dough and then Jordan and I used my unique assortment of cutters to make cookies. We made shapes like bunnies, ninjas, reindeer, hockey sticks, cardinals, footballs, and snowmen. The usual sort of holiday cookies for my family. 😉

cookie cutter demo

Jordan helping make the cookies.

After lunch and cookie making, it was time to pose for the traditional holiday family photo. We really only started doing pictures of all of us again last year,  but it’s a tradition nonetheless. My family isn’t very big but we’re close-knit, sarcastic, unique, and lovable. Thanks to my skills with the 10-second camera timer, we managed to get a couple good pictures. We even got one with my mother’s cat, Romeo in it!

family photo by xmas tree

My two darling daughters. =)

family photo

Me, my daughters, my mom, my oldest brother, and Romeo the cat.

When the girls and I returned home this afternoon, I finished up the rest of my college work for the term and did a little bit of freelance work. After that, it was time to relax and just enjoy being together. The holidays have passed quickly as usual, but I’ve been doing my best to savor every moment and I think that’s the most important holiday tradition of all.

Musings of a bookworm

beautiful library

If I went in here, I’d never come out…

I had a busy day. It was a good day, but a busy day. I treated my mom and my daughters to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and while we got way too much food, I hadn’t been there in a few years and it was worth it! We then went to Barnes & Noble, the only remaining bookstore anywhere near where I live (and it isn’t close) and my girls each picked out a book they wanted. My mother found what she wanted as well.

I love all bookstores and wish they weren’t going extinct. I love that one especially because it’s two stories, full of more books than I could read in a lifetime, and has comfortable chairs to sit on and relax. Alas, I wasn’t able to find a book I wanted because it would have taken me hours to do so and my girls don’t have that kind of patience. I completely understand because I was young once and remember that once I got what I wanted, I was ready to leave.

I’m still glad I took my girls there though because they each got books I know they’ll read, which is a very big thing for Jaycie. Jordan loves to read and usually has 2-3 books going at once, but it’s harder to get and keep Jaycie interested in anything that isn’t Garfield or My Little Pony comics. This evening when we were at my mother’s house, I heard Jaycie reading her new book out loud and though it’s a My Little Pony Book it has a story and far more words than pictures. I’m all for whatever gets my girls reading!

I imagine eventually I’ll find the time to spend hours alone in a bookstore figuring out what I want, but today was not that day. I don’t have much time to read these days anyway as my freelance writing has picked up considerably. Eventually I’ll get back into reading something or other, but for now I’ll just dream of sitting on a bookstore floor flipping pages in one book while there’s a pile of several more around me. Such are the musings of a bookworm.

Manners amid the manic

Christmas shopping took far longer than I expected today and I’ve now vowed to have better gift ideas next year to avoid the mayhem. With so few shopping days until Christmas, the roads and stores are packed with people and it all feels rather manic.

Nonetheless, I retained my manners amid the manic mayhem. I stopped to let cars out of plazas, I held doors for people, I said please, excuse me, thank you and even bless you when a fellow shopper sneezed. Was my courtesy always returned? Nope. But that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s the right thing to do and it’s how I was raised.

So while other people were pushing, pulling, grumbling, huffing, letting doors close in my face, and driving like maniacs, I was being kind, considerate, patient, and caring me. I was exhausted and frazzled by my last stop but I didn’t let it get the best of me. I can’t say the same for others though.

I’m relieved to have my shopping done and though my girls won’t be getting much this year, it will be enough. Someday they’ll realize that Christmas isn’t about getting gifts, but for now I’ll let them be kids. Kids with good manners like their mama, of course. 😉

Sweet company


Tonight’s band concert for the middle school and high school was the last holiday concert of many over the past few weeks. It was a great concert to end the season with and I thoroughly enjoyed the music…and the unexpected company.

As it isn’t my night with the girls, I went to the concert solo and expected to be sitting alone through the entire thing. Happily, I was wrong. I had just sat down and was arranging my camera and phone on my lap when I felt a familiar sweet presence. I looked up to find my youngest daughter Jaycie grinning at me in her bunny earmuffs. I thought she had just come to say hi, but it turned out that she wanted to sit with me for the entire concert. To say I was happy is an understatement!

Jaycie settled beside me and I encouraged her to remove her earmuffs and jacket before she melted in the hot auditorium. The concert began shortly after and we both watched and listened with great interest. During one of the band changes, Jaycie looked over at me smiling and said “I love you, Mommy!” and gave me a sweet little kiss on the cheek. That certainly made my night! 🙂

Jaycie is a very sweet soul and I’m so grateful she kept me company tonight. It made the concert truly magical and warmed this mama’s heart.