Got the Blues

Before we left Texas, I’d harvested a bunch of the red fruit (tunas) of prickly pear cactus where we were camping. I’d made prickly pear juice quite a learning curve, with quite a few sticky (ouch!) issues.  And I had another bag full of tunas thinking I’d do it again, using my new wisdom, and make thick syrup to give as gifts for swirls in Margaritas.

Passing through Santa Fe, we were invited to return for Mad-Stock, a Woodstock themed celebration of music, peace and love. I decided I’d make tie-dye shirts for the guys our of the prickly pear juice! Both said they didn’t mind wearing hot pink… what a washout!!!  After all my work; cooking them in the hot juice for an hour, then letting them sit overnight in plastic bags, when I untied them they were gorgeous. When I washed them, this color faded completely away.

Now, you know full well that if I spilled any on a good white blouse, it never would have come out!

I was even more determined now, and after looking through Pinterest, I decided to try again, this time using an old friend from the 70’s…  RIT dye in a lovely Indigo Blue.
I used some of my old tying techniques (I used to love doing tie-dyes in pretty patterns, but simple, beautiful colors) incorporating tying stones into the folds, simple pleat-and-band, and Japanese Shibori folding and resistance techniques.

I followed RIT’s instructions TO THE LETTER, and when I pulled them from the dye bath (done in a 3-gallon bucket in my kitchen sink) I was over-the-Moon thrilled! Indigo blue! Shibori folds! Gorgeous circles with marigold-like patterns within!

Still following instructions carefully, I washed and dried them, and what I pulled from the dryer 40 minutes later was a pale imitation of what I had put into the dryer.  My well-defined lines of indigo and white had become a soft cream and denim blue design. Sigh. I went to bed that night feeling like a failure…

Turns out the failure was in RIT’s isstructions, for when I looked online there were completely different guidelines than on the box. Had i known, I would have gladly taken all the extra time they were proposing. I hoped the guys would still wear them.

The next morning when I awoke, the first thing I saw on my FB feed was this post by a friend, Lynn – “Failure is an event, not a character flaw.”  That changed my mind, what I did failed, but now I know where to pick-up next time. This was entirely too much fun, too relaxing, and too fulfilling to quit. I’m not ready to take orders yet, but I see a lot of Blue in my future!

 

XO DONNA



Mother’s Day

 

It’s been raining cats and dogs, accompanied by thunderbolts and lightning. Although it’s just past breakfast-time it’s as dark as night and the volume is MUCH louder in our motorhome than in a traditionally built home.  Read More


Where the Wild Things Are

Looking out at the lake, I see my reflection in the window as I write… and to quote my dear departed friend, Nancy, “I look like the wrath of God!”
Even though I took the time to blow my hair dry this morning, the winds have been blowing steadily at 20+ mph, something no amount of styling product can endure.

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Grey Haired Beauty

Notice how when you begin to think about, or buy, a new car suddenly they are everywhere? I decided to grow out my hair to it’s natural color, whatever that was, a few months ago. Now that it’s grown out, and it’s grey, I’m checking out all of the other women close to my age sporting grey hair. Appropriate word… because some women really do “sport it” by wearing bold colors and jewelry, and makeup that highlights their eyes and lips. I admired lots of these women in Santa Fe, whether their hair was long or short.

In the ”hippy-ish” towns of Silver City and Bisbee I saw women who embraced their silver strands as just a natural part of growing older. I saw everything from short shocky haircuts, to gleaming streaming flaxen hair with rainbow-bright streaks atop gorgeous global, open-hearted, chakra-balancing, essentially-oiled, inner-peace clothes.

Both groups felt like women who loved the power of being women, and wore their crowning glory atop faces that radiated lives being well-lived.

That’s what I want, although right now it’s in that Ugly Duckling stage between a pixie and something else. And without color it’s as fine as frog-fur, but with my experience I’m certain  I can come up with something I’ll grow to love.

The last group I noticed was all the women who had become pale water-colors. Pale hair, pale skin, fading eyebrows, dressing in pastels and beiges. We ate lunch in Las Cruces one afternoon and the restaurant was full of women my age and older, and all but one seemed content to have grown invisible. I wondered when their fire went out? Why?

My conclusion: no matter your age, grey hair in and of itself, doesn’t make us look old. What’s going on in our mind about who we are, and what our worth is, those make a woman look old. My solution: the same things I discussed in my book, “Sick and Tired… & Sexy, Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness,” about taking care of yourself first.  

Make the time to do a quick 5-step make-up; tinted moisturizer, fill-in your brows, mascara, a touch of cream blush and a swipe of lipstick.  Wear colorful clothes, they lift your energy. And jewelry. Have a good haircut that is appropriate for your hair, face shape, your ability to style it, and your figure.

To steal a line from a men’s clothier  – “You’re gonna love the way you look!”

XO Donna

 

 


Christmas Countdown

Two days till Christmas Eve… and an intimate family dinner. Three days till Christmas, and a raucous pot-luck supper filled with games, good cheer, and friends old and new.

44D52D36-52BD-4380-8A6B-30A0917ACBEBI love the tradition of sharing the foods associated with these holidays. When we were children, as a way to decorate the tree, and probably keep my sisters and me occupied, we used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as a garland on our tree. It took a few days to accomplish, but we enjoyed the time spent with our Mom, having her undivided attention while eating a piece of popcorn for every one we strung!

Feeling sentimental, I did it again for the first time in years, and adorned my tiny tree. Now, all is right with the world.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season, and a Healthy, Prosperous, New Year!  Remember… the very best gift you can give, is that of your time and your attention.

XO Donna


Stuck in Paradise

I’ve felt stuck for almost two weeks now. In the 20 months since I’ve retired I have published a book. I’ve downsized and moved twice. And I’ve taken two month-long trips. Busy, busy, busy. Right now I need to be here in Austin, TX to help my son for a while, and this feeling has set in. It’s been a personality challenge my whole life: if I am not going somewhere, or doing something, (or making plans to go somewhere and do something) I feel stuck.

Another downside of that trait, is that when I don’t stay busy, I tend to stall out and have a hard time getting motivated again. Does this ever happen to you?

I was discussing this with my sweetie the other day, and he was flabbergasted. “How can you feel stuck? You have your writing. You’re busy with your son. You have a couple of projects you wanted to do. And, look around, it’s like a resort here… it’s got a nice walking path, there’s great roads to ride the bikes on, a gym, a beautiful pool, a hot tub, horse-shoes, and even a putting green.”

“But yet, I feel stuck, even in the middle Paradise. I realize this is a very nice problem to have in light of all the terrible things going on in the world at the moment.
“Don’t discount or dismiss your problems,” my therapist always told me, so I will follow her advice, stay with my feelings, and find a way to get through this.

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Here are some steps I know I can take to get UNSTUCK whenever I find myself feeling stymied:

DEFINE THE PROBLEM: get a timer and some paper. Across the top write “Problem.” Set a timer for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and just start writing everything that comes to mind about this problem, allowing anything that comes up. It often isn’t what I thought it was, after all.

DEVELOP A PLAN: Next, write “Actions” across the paper. 15, 20, or 30 minutes again, and I brainstorm all of the actions I can take. Let your imagination run wild. You never know what will appear when you are distracted by your ‘race against the clock.’

DO SOMETHING: Review this list for an actionable first step. If none jumps out, go for a walk. Movement usually begets movement. When I come back to the page, I pick a couple of ideas and put them in an order I am willing to do them. Putting a date next to them so I have either a deadline, or a timeline, works to keep me in motion.

Trust that this will benefit our growth… even if you don’t see how yet, and be grateful for the good that will surely follow. All because you took that first step!

XO Donna


This Old Thing

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We are now living in, and loving, our motor-home. The RV resort where we are staying greatly contibutes to our overall enjoyment of this experience with it’s beautifully maintained grounds, the view and privacy we have, and the ability to exercise daily. Read More