It’s a good thing blog Sunday fell on today and not say, three days ago.
I am sorry to report that I have been in the worst ongoing foul mood for the entire week. I was having feelings of frustration, depression and lots and lots of righteous indignation. The what and why of it doesn’t bear repeating here, but to set the scene: it was ugly.
But yesterday that all changed. I finally made it to a yoga class after about oh… two and half years of procrastination! Why did it take me so long? It felt great, I could mostly keep up with the class and I managed a head stand (well, I was next to the wall but I was psyched). Later that day I got a pedicure with a friend for her 40th birthday, and today I’m writing to you from the lodge at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort; watching my son and some friends slicing down the sparkling white mountain on their snowboards.
We’ve got skittles and beer. Of course I’m feeling better!
I’m grateful for the turn around of course but I have to say in my defense that even before the snow sports and the yoga, I was trying to fight the good fight this week. In the midst of my bad feelings I did my best to stay focused on the positive things. I tried look around me and cultivate thankfulness for all the things that are Right in my life, instead of what is Wrong. And while not eliminating the pessimism, it did keep it in check so I guess it’s a technique I’d recommend.
Here’s what I came up with – my laundry list of what kept me going until the clouds parted. These are the things around me that I’ve been loving and appreciating and being inspired by all week long. Some big, some little. But these are the little gems of goodness that can keep a bad day from seeming really awful, and I for one think they deserve recognition
For starters I’m loving… these giant plastic snowflakes that I bought from the Dollar Store back before Christmas. They are a foot across and I have three of them hanging in my picture window. I couldn’t seem to take them down with all the other holiday decorations back on January first. I love the way they shimmer like real ice and they way they echo the shapes of the bare trees outside and remind me that despite the bright sky we’re still in the middle of the bitter winter season.
I’m also loving….that funny little pumpkin, the only pumpkin we managed to grow in our freshman garden this year. It’s oddly misshapen and covered in strange warty bumps, and I’m not sure if that is because of the variety of seeds we threw in the garden or whether it has something to do with the powdery fungus that attacked the vine mid-summer and decimated it. At any rate we’re all rather fond of this little pumpkin, as demonstrated here by Royal. It’s kind of seasonally off-kilter to still have it on the table, but I feel curiously proud whenever I see it and it makes me happy so….why not?!
I am loving…..the smell of these beautiful narcissus bulbs (which thanks to being forced) have just bloomed in my living room. Little white six-pointed petals have burst out of the tip of every stem. Watching them begin to break through the sheath which encased the buds was like seeing a baby being born every day!
The bulbs in a sweet little star-shaped planter were a gift from a friend at Christmas. Thanks to our heater and an artificially warm environment, they have sprung up quickly and grown to almost a foot and-a-half tall since then. Their fragrance is intoxicating and the smell is thick in the room every morning when I get up. And if my kids go to smell them and bury their noses in the flowers, they get lost in the scent like little bees and forget to re-emerge.
Simultaneously, while this was happening we were also reading a book of Greek Myths to the boys at bedtime, and my five-year old was especially taken with the myth of Narcissus and Echo. You know the one where Narcissus is in love with his own reflection and is transformed by the Gods into a flower; condemned to lean eternally out over the water’s edge to catch a glimpse of himself.
Towards the end of week I noticed that the flowers were beginning to lean too, as if burdened by their own beauty and heady scent.
I am loving …..Frogs! I found this little statuette of a frog king smoking a pipe at The Thrift Store on Fruitridge Road awhile ago and it’s been the little mascot of our house ever since. He finds his way into all my seasonal mantel displays; he has presided over Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall and he’s been perfect for all of them.
I love him so much I had to include him here, but then serendipitously I saw this gorgeous water-color on my niece’s Facebook page where she was displaying some of her work from her high school art class.
I am so impressed with her talent and he’s the perfect companion for the King don’t you think?
While in frog-mode I was searching google images and I stumbled across Scrapologie, this great blog of vintage images and design where I found lots of sweet little froggies , the lifelong friends of faeries and forest critters everywhere.
I am loving…the look and the style of ‘Old Hollywood’. The mood, the glamour and the effortless production of fantasy. …
Plus I’m just starting work on this year’s school auction and that’s our decorative theme. Say no more.
I am loving….the fantastic gifts my sister Oami got my kids for Christmas this year. Two stand-outs are this great crocheted Owl hat, (as featured on East Twin’s post: North Carolina Gift Guide) by Smallcappello and these cool golden thunderbolts from Smallfly which are designed to attach to the laces of the kids Converse, creating an instant “Mercury-messenger-of-the-gods” effect. Awesome!
I am loving…..Evangeline. For those of you who do not know about this Sacramento institution, purveyors of everything weird and wonderful, you gotta take time to check out their website. And for any out-of-town readers, if you are ever in the area you must take a trip to the cheesy tourist trap neighborhood of Old Sacramento and see the store in person.
We headed down there last weekend to stock up on gag gifts for the “Totally Gross” birthday party that I’m planning for my soon-to-be 11-year-old. Fake vomit, play cat poop, bloody rubber fingers…Evangeline’s had absolutely everything we were looking for!
And they’ll have everything you’re looking for too. Are you into Betty Boop? Zombies? Tropical Tiki-themed tchotchkes? Gothic girls wear? Whatever you like, they’ve got it. I always forget that this is the only place I really want to shop for birthdays, holidays etc. Stop by soon!
And I have to admit, I’m also kind of loving…. Old Sacramento itself. I know it’s a totally tacky place with a plethora of old-time candy barrel shops and even a bit creepy sometimes; being located adjacent to the West Sac footbridge and all, it’s rife with cranksters.
But there is just something I just like about it. Especially the day we were there with the fog low and grey on the river, the quiet rocking sound of the docked riverboat The Delta King, and the barren strands of trees.
I am loving….Exit through the Gift Shop. I just watched this documentary last week and had to watch it again the other night. If you haven’t heard of it you can follow these links to get the synopsis and factoids, but in brief it’s the story of the how the street art movement grew up from underworld graffiti; to Shepherd Fairey’s iconic Obey stencils; to the incredible phenomenon of Banksy and his political street art being auctioned at Sotheby’s. I loved seeing the footage of the artists at work – stenciling, spraying, and rolling giant photocopies of their designs onto twenty-foot walls. Just as I was getting deeply immersed into the movie my husband pipes up, “you know this is all a hoax right?”
Turns out there are a rumors that the film itself is a giant social-statement/visual farce masterminded by Banksy to expose the narcissistic nature of the Art world. At first I didn’t want to believe it but after doing some research I’ve decided that like Neda Vanovac writes in this excellent piece on the matter, the film may be a hoax but who cares?
Banksy’s art is stunning, smart, powerful and ever-changing. It is amazing what he has pulled off and it was an inspiring pleasure to watch it unfold. Both his technical skill and inner courage are beyond what most of us encounter in our daily lives and so his art is really a gift to us all. So despite the unlikely chance that Bansky will sue me for copyright infringement, for your enjoyment here are some choice pieces to chew upon:
Lest y’all think that all I do is it around watching movies and living vicariously through others, let me say that more than almost anything else I am loving….Mother Nature.
There are so many gorgeous places to get out and walk and enjoy the surroundings of the fertile Sacramento valley, and in the past couples of weeks I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few.
First up, the Sacramento National Fish and Wildlife Refuge. It’s an hour’s drive North on Interstate 5 but worth every minute of the car trip, especially if you stop at Granzellas for a deli sandwich on the way. Once you get to the refuge you can take the driving tour (the closest thing to a safari I’ve been on) and view the amazing sight of flocks and flocks of birds relaxing in a protected environment: soaring, preening, and floating sleepily on the water.
Although you are required to stay in your car on the tour, there are a few viewing platforms available complete with high-powered telescopes to stop at. And it’s worth it.
I’ll tell you what, watching an eagle dive-bombing terrorized ducks live and in person is so much better than sitting on your couch watching it on Animal Planet. I can attest.
Another favorite spot I am loving…the greenbelt that runs along the American River near the Sunrise bridge area. We went for a family walk there last Sunday with the Labedski-Belsons and the Marquiss-McKay clan (throw in the Sabini/Powers/Della Ripa family and it sounds like a meeting of the United Nations).
Again the hazy wintery landscape, the low rolling tussocks of river rock and grass, and the gentle flow of the river were a balm to my anxious soul. The only downside was the rude attitude of one of the many extreme bicyclists whizzing by, who got crabby because our kids were walking four-abreast on the shared pathway. True they were in his way, but hey you’d think after the hours of cycling some endorphins would’ve kicked in and he’d be high and happy on Life.
No matter, the river and the walk and the company of friends did the trick for me and by the end I was feeling really blessed.
So….that’s the list so far.
But the thing with loving is that it’s an ever-increasing spiral. The more you experience love for what is around you, the more you notice what there is to love. So I’ll end this post with an informal survey for you readers (to be pondered privately or shared with us here):
what are you loving??