As I Wander

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My blog has always been a mixed bag of topics ranging from poetry, musings, and crafts. This space started with the idea of simply following wherever my muse leads me. To my great surprise, I ended up with an audience of readers. More surprising still, after five years you’re all still here and growing!

As I look back on early posts, it’s amazing to see how much this blog has evolved. This year, in particular, has seen a major shift towards poetry as opposed to lengthy articles on crafts, books, and travel. As much as I still love reading and traveling, that’s not where my muse wanted to go. I believe this change is the direct result of both inspiration (thanks to a growing fascination with haiku) and the need to write poetry as a form of catharsis.

In the early stages of the poetic shift, I second guessed myself, wondering if my readers would continue to make this blog part of their day. Let’s face it, poetry (and haiku in particular) is not everyone’s thing. However, I realized very quickly that I didn’t start this journey using smoke and mirrors. Following my muse meant being honest about what inspires me and what that inspiration creates. To do anything less defeats the purpose of this blog!

As the new year approaches, I’d like to thank all my readers for the continued support. I’m amazed every day how many of you show up to read, like, and comment every time I post. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t boost my confidence and encourage me to continue this quest of creativity.

I don’t know what my muse has in store for me in 2016, but I will surely be listening to her with an open mind and motivated pen. Change is certainly in the air as poetry and other pursuits are finding a bit more balance with one another. My muse and I look forward to continuing the journey with you, dear readers.

Here’s a look back on 2015, courtesy of WordPress.com. It was a great year in the blogosphere!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 49,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 18 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

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Happy New Year! 🙂

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c.b.w. 2015

Low Tide

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low tide gravel
crunches and slips
the birds peck

 

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Photo: Thames at Low Tide, London, c.b.w. 2011

Words: haiku, c.b.w. 2015

Call me crazy, but I think the Thames at low tide is beautiful. Last time I was in London I got to walk along the shore of the Thames on chilly, rainy day. It’s one of my favorite memories of a city I love.

Coloring Is Finally Cool!

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Years ago my Grandma taught me coloring is fun, relaxing, and even therapeutic. The recent explosion in the popularity of coloring books tells me the rest of the world has figured out that she was right.

When I was a kid, I had the usual simple coloring books – Barbie, Garfield, and Rocky & Bullwinkle. I actually still have them and do occasionally indulge in a little childhood nostalgia by coloring one of the few remaining blank pages.

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My old childhood coloring books. Bullwinkle and Rocky was my favorite.

However, as I got older the need for a challenge and creative inspiration lead to the discovery of Dover coloring books for adults. Intricate images of botanicals, animals, geometric design (everything from Turkish tiles to stained glass windows), mandalas, and even Medieval Tapestries kept my colored pencils endlessly busy.

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Some of my favorite coloring books. I will happily spend hours and hours on a single page.

Not only was coloring a great stress reliever throughout college and beyond, it was something I did with my Grandma and sister. We shared coloring books, colored pencils, and the best conversations. As we sat and colored in teeny tiny spaces, we talked about everything, laughed, and had an all out wonderful time together.

We also created a few masterpieces along the way …

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Both of these came from the Decorative Tile Designs coloring book. Grandma’s is on the left and mine is on the right. 

When Grandma started having small strokes, we immediately saw a difference in her motor skills and speech. Yet, we still pulled out the coloring books. It turned out coloring was an amazing source of physical therapy. Holding colored pencils and having some control over where the color went made it possible for Grandma to retain a bit more dexterity. Not to mention the mental exercise of maintaing focus.

Coloring helped hold her together a little bit longer, even after dementia began to set in. Towards the end colors started going a bit outside the lines, but she was still with us – sharing laughter and stories.

One of the more meaningful things I inherited from my Grandma was her stack of coloring books. I keep them safe along with my own. Every once in a while, I’ll pull one out and color a page or two. It brings back beautiful memories and makes all my stress melt away at the same time.

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Grandma’s Coloring Books. In particular we all loved working the Floral Alphabet book.

At my local bookstore, what started as a small display of coloring books has grown into three entire shelves. People are flocking to it and actually buying coloring books filled with fancy shmancy designs. It makes me smile and I hope they find the same joy I do every time I open a coloring book.

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The coloring book display at my local Barnes & Noble. I’ve got my eye on the travel book. That looks like fun!

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c.b.w. 2015

Scribble Diary: Insomnia

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A small bout of insomnia gave me a little extra time over the weekend, so I pulled out my Scribble Diary. When I opened up to the next blank page, I knew it was meant to be – the prompts perfectly matched the day I had as well as some fairly recent events in my life.

Choice Of The Day:

My insomnia likely began because I got home late after a nice date with my husband. We noshed on Chipotle burritos and then headed to the nearest Half Price Books to peruse the used CDs. This is one of our favorite things to do because it’s the only place to find the music of what we call our era – the 90s – at an affordable price.

We spent a good hour combing through every CD, but then it all came down to the ultimate debate of what to get and what to put back. How nice that my Scribble Diary had a spot to record this momentous occasion! I’m already jamming to A Boy Named Goo as Goo Goo Dolls are among my all time favorite bands.

What I Can Hear Right Now:

Late night sounds are strange in my house. My dog was very upset that we were up waaaay past his bedtime and he wasn’t shy about letting us know he was annoyed. His high pitched whining is a lot like power drill on it’s highest speed.

Confession: I love true crime shows. Especially Dateline. I watch them all the time and my love of these shows baffles everyone I know. The happy-go-lucky, creative, nerd likes murder shows???? Yup, and my favorite true crime reporter is Keith Morrison. That guy can tell a story! Aside from him, I think my obsession with Dateline is two-fold. I’m fascinated by forensics and investigator methodology, but I also find comfort in knowing the bad guy is behind bars.

While the rest of the country is buried in snow, it’s 73 degrees and the crickets are going nuts outside my window. Summer is already trying to creep in and deep fry the air.

Something To Be Proud Of:

See A Haiku Victory!

Not To Do:

Obviously, sleeping was not in the cards so it ended up on this list until about 1 a.m.

Even though I had plenty energy the laundry pile was not going anywhere. And why should it when there’s another load in the dryer? I might as well take it all upstairs at once, right? Rationalizing is hard work.

John Carter was on television, so we decided to give it a try. I only made it through about half an hour before I decided this was a bad movie. The books are probably great, but the movie is just awful. No wonder it tanked.

In Conclusion:

A pretty good day!

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c.b.w. 2015

Are You Sure?

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There are days where I question the choices I’ve made. Truth be told, days like this are becoming more frequent. It’s like every element of my life is playing a little game with me called, “Are you sure?”

Honestly, I don’t know.

Perhaps, its a mid-life crisis attacking a bit early. Or maybe, I am just ready for a change. Admittedly, I am a creature of habit. My very organized self likes a schedule and gets a little thrill when everything works out as planned. This aspect of my personality was a mild quirk when I was younger, but after 14 years of teaching, it’s become a full-blown neurosis. I’m starting to realize this is making life a lot less fun.

Although, this feeling of “life doubt” could also be tied to what I consider a noticeably missing piece of my existence. Travel. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, I traveled extensively overseas. I saved and planned for it, because it was such an important part of my life. However, the last three years have been tough. Between budgets constraints and family concerns, I haven’t really gone anywhere. The fact that my bucket list has largely gone ignored is starting to bug me.

Then, there’s the undeniable fact that I’m tired. Exhausted, actually. Working 10-12 hours a day at a job that is getting increasingly more stressful and frustrating is starting to wear me down. As much as I love the art of teaching, it’s getting difficult to love where I work. I don’t know if it’s just one of those challenging years or if I’m reaching a point of total burn out. Thankfully, my students aren’t picking up my general feeling of frustration (I know this because they constantly tell me they like how positive it is in my classroom). At the same time, I am perusing job postings for possibilities that lie beyond my current station.

With all of this going on in my head, it’s surprising to me that I remain a total optimist. A little funk never wiped the smile off my face and it probably never will.

My family and my writing keep my fire burning. As my novel reaches the final stages of becoming a polished piece of work, I find myself excited to take the next steps. When it comes to the game of “Are you sure?,” this is the one thing where I know the answer is a definite “Yes!”

After a crappy day at work, I love escaping into my dreamworld where my novel finds its way into print. I can wander into lines of poetry and fuss over plot holes while drinking my Muse Juice (Cafe Mocha). When all else fails, there is the beautiful dream of being able to write (and maybe knit a little) all day long. Lucky for me, my husband and furkids are cool with joining me on this journey.

Of course, the game of “Are you sure?” has the added bonus of motivating real change. Besides reconsidering my job situation, there have also been a number of discussions regarding a change of location. We’re thinking the Pacific Northwest might be a nice change of scenery within the next few years. A road trip to scope it out is in the planning stages. Am I sure about moving? Not really, but I’m excited to explore the possibility of something new.

Aside from considering major life changes, I’ve started stuffing money aside for a trip to Amsterdam. My bucket list is in dire need of a check mark and my soul craves the touch of a new experience.

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c.b.w. 2014