keep your peepers open!

keep your peepers open!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

heavy metal

I am traveling this week. Years ago I adapted a less is more attitude when it comes to packing. I decide on a simple color scheme, throw in a few washable pieces that I can mix and match, figure out two pairs of shoes that I can dress up or down, always carry a shawl that works with everything, and never leave home without a pair of flip flops, walking gear, packable hat, and a small bottle of laundry detergent. This is so different than the days of lugging a stuffed bag with so much stuff in it that I could barely close the darn thing and rarely wore most of what was contained inside. Nowadays, I put on every single piece of clothing I carry and feel oh so very satisfied when I get home, unpack my dirty things and toss them in the hamper. That said, there is something a little off when your pocketbook weighs more than your suitcase and the ratio of jewelry pouches to outfits is 7 to 3.

I’m a chicklet who puts on clothes based on what earrings I’m feelin’. How am I to know what I’m going to want to adorn me three days from now? So choices must at my fingertips and I mean lots of them or I could get the shakes! What else can I say except once an addict always an addict. I’ve traded over dosing on fabrics for heavy metal comas (and I had the audacity to buy yet another pair of ornamentations for the ear at my favorite airport haunt while in transit... how many ounce, I mean pouches is that?).

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, April 25, 2010

big top

My mother used to say she was running away to join the circus. We’d laugh as we breezed by her to join our friends outside not really understanding what she meant. This past Friday, I had a Murphy’s Law kind of day as I prepared to be out of my office for a week. It started peacefully enough as I took a few photos on my walk to catch the shuttle that would whisk me off to the doors of my place of business. But as soon as I crossed the threshold it was anything but bliss! At 3:48pm, I scribbled a short note that read,

“Dear Friends and Colleagues –

I have had enough! I am running away to join the circus. Farewell, I will miss you.”

I am one who believes in play dates, frequents the spa, and receives a daily message that provides a moment for me to stop and breathe. When the world begins to move at such a dizzying pace that I can’t find let alone catch my breath, thankfully I have a plethora of creative outlets that allow me to escape and renew if only for just a few seconds. For example, I was riding the shuttle one afternoon recently and saw two vintage lamps by the side of the road. I closed my eyes and immediately began to design a room in my head as the tension from the day drained into the seat. During a meeting, my eyes glazed over listening to a self-absorbed person who was clueless to the fact that almost everyone around the table had zoned out. As she rambled on, I jotted notes for a spoken word piece and let my fingers do the scrolling through pictures on my I Phone. On Friday, 30 minutes of trying on jewelry at Maruka's while chatting with my friend who is the owner was the perfect respite to restore peace in my valley... and ok, yes to bring a little more bling to my earring collection.

I completely get the desire to flee the drama that is life, appreciate that my mind and body tap me on the shoulder when it’s time to hang a sign on the door. However, since I have “gone fishing” before both figuratively and literally, I think I’m going to head for the big top. At least I get to dress up and I hear there is a tent going up a few blocks away offering opportunities to be daring on the flying trapeze so…

keep your peepers open! ®

graphic courtesy of Word clip art

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


it’s raining not pouring
not a sound of snoring
to be heard.
light drizzle with a few sprinkles here and there
face wet not from mist.
a flood of tears
down sorrowful faces
dabbing at silent sobs rolling dripping
showering me saturate the hall
wash us like a shower as …

…I walked through the mist, turning right or left depending on the corner, until I arrived at the aquarium. Descending the stairs, the air was dewy; my feeling of disconnectedness content in the dark underground away from all the other emotions I checked at the door. Peering into the embedded tanks of this cave, I felt the physicality of wet without having to physically immerse myself in the enclosed wetness where fish of all kinds darted, glided, drifted. I silently flooded them with everything inside of me, many swam to the glass, looked. A small flat black one with white polkas dots seemed to repeatedly strike a pose, nuzzled his face against the side of the tank like he wanted to tell me something…did it know, do they grieve…

…under the surface
feelings float undetected
completely enveloped
by a sea that makes no distinction.
we are bathed in suspension
waiting to emerge.
anointed, connected...

keep your peepers open!®

Sunday, April 18, 2010

waste not

I am not big on breakfast but give me a salmon croquette or cold fried chicken accompanied with hot corn bread or a warm croissant to compliment a bowl of my favorite summer fruits -- juicy peaches, red ripe raspberries, orange cantaloupe, green honey dew -- any given morning. My family is from the south. When I visited my relatives in Little Rock, AK back in the 90’s, my 80-year-young great aunt was up well before sunrise stirring around in the kitchen. I thought I got up early, but by the time my nose woke me from a comfortable snooze in a room filled with clean morning breeze, she had prepared chicken and dumplings as the main course for the fresh melon she had picked from out back, cut and placed in a lovely bowl to whet my appetite. I hated to tell her that I was no longer used to devouring big country breakfast meals and hadn’t done so in years. I was raised on scrambled eggs, pork bacon or sausage, toast or biscuits made from scratch (I never leave home without my recipe securely tucked in my bag). When my grandmother from Virginia came to visit or we were at her house in Hampton, the platter may have also been graced with oh so salty Smithfield ham, grits, and her own fruit preserves, maybe some fried fish.

My palette totally shifted after I left home and went to college. There was a restaurant/bakery on Columbia Road called Avignon Frères that introduced me to the croissant. I visited them as often as I could to treat myself to one buttery fold of dough -- delicate golden flaky crust outside, soft velvety melt in your mouth inside. They were so seriously scrumptious that from the first bite I knew that petit déjeuner would never be the same for me. Sometimes I would scoff it down, more often with slow deliberation I would pull it apart extending the pleasure it brought to my tongue, mouth and tummy. If I had a little extra change, I would sit down at a table and order a dish of fruit to accompany my delicacy. I refer to it as such because as a student, I didn’t have lots of money to throw away, this truly was an indulgence.

Thinking back, a croissant was one dollar if that; when you’re an unemployed student trying to finish your degree every penny counts. But I knew how to turn a simple thing into a luxury that I relished, something I forgot when I graduated and started making money. It took a financial downfall on my big old tush to remind me that being able to afford something as small as a piece of baked bread was all that was needed to make my day. I am grateful for what I learned and rediscovered in the valley of I can’t pay my bills. When I climbed out, knees scuffed clothing tattered, I was a better gal who took nothing for granted. The lesson has since taken on another meaning as I attempt to be more mindful about being wasteful; buying only what I will eat then eating it before it goes bad takes some doing. My friend who pens has adapted that attitude when it comes to food, both in shopping for it and preparation. She takes great care to plan meals for the week in an effort to waste nothing and gives a whole new meaning to appreciating every single item purchased. Good things come to those who do not waste, I am taking copious notes from her which brings me back to breakfast.

I make it a practice to eat something every morning but have never returned to the type of meal my family ate when I was younger. A heavy breakfast weighs me down plus I NEVER liked eggs in the first place unless every mouthful was paired with a morsel of bacon or sausage. I will whip up a batch of scones or buttermilk biscuits if friends are around along with baked spiced apples doused in a secret liqueur and a baked egg and crab dish that I actually enjoy. However, fruit, croissants and a glass of champagne is my preference but a buzzed mind is a terrible thing to waste on a weekday so on occasion that’s the weekend treat. Cold pizza and champagne is good…ok, another Sat/Sun meal…well, let’s just say my Monday – Friday AM taste leans towards breakfast lite from foods more commonly found on lunch and dinner menus sans the alcoholic beverage. Come to think of it, I always did like pancakes for dinner.

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

the shining

After a quick shower on a morning when I could have luxuriated in a leisure one, I am now in a crazed dash to get my “you know what” out the door! Why must I piddle? I wake up and get out of the bed with time to spare almost every day. Then somehow some thing diverts my attention and before I know it, I am completely absorbed in either meaningful or more often than not what feels like meaningless activity. Part of my AM ritual involves a sort of speaking meditation. Today as I pondered over men, dating, etc., I uttered two words -- shining knight -- that stuck in my head and caused me to stop getting ready, jot down some notes and yeah, make me late. A blog in progress, I knew it was going to be a hasty hop through the water.

Women have been known to use the phrase knight in shining armor when describing what I can only say is a fantasy man. I’d been guilty of dropping it in conversation, dropped it when during another meditation I was confronted with a couple of glaring truths. 1) I was not looking for a mate to save or rescue me which is what a knight in shining armor did for the distressed damsel in storybooks from my youth and 2) that metal suit really is quite a heavy outfit for an intended. Those four little words are an expectation that can knock a guy off his horse right onto his “what you know." So I found it interesting that knights shining or otherwise had entered my consciousness once again.

I considered shining knight…to me it says there is a luster about him that has caught my eye…a better start with less demands me thinks. Now shining also means unblemished, faultless, which takes a spell to discover meaning give him time to reveal who he is. Another synonym for shine is have a gift for. Perhaps if we let the dance between them and us move gracefully, the gleam in our eyes will be real not blinded and the gift of the relationship we desire will be bestowed upon us… then he can sweep us up onto his horse and ride off into the night (sorry, I am a sap for fairy tale endings and am sure working on one of my own).

Haste may indeed make waste, so the above is my homage to the art of piddling. A slow roll on occasion and making time for quiescent moments may take you exactly where you want to go and just maybe with whom so…

keep your peepers open! ®

graphic courtesy of Word clip art

Sunday, April 11, 2010

light bright

I’ve never been keen on chandeliers dripping with crystals or any type of elaborate lighting fixture. I lean towards clean line softer illumination and cannot tolerate those bright overhead florescent bulbs prevalent in so many public spaces. Abominations that simply massacre color, I can count the number of times I have tried on and bought a tube of lipstick only to get outside and know instantly that it is so the wrong shade. Thankfully some stores will now let you correct your mistake; we love you Sephora for allowing us to bring our “misticks” back!

Earlier this year, I headed over to the Rufino Tamayo exhibit at the Meridian International Center here in Washington. I knew it wasn’t a traditional gallery space before I got there but was not prepared for the view at the top of a semi-circular driveway. Standing between the stone entrance walls with the gold address plaque, I was enthralled with the old mansion surrounded by lots of trees on quiet Crescent Place (and the street really is that shape which made the whole experience even more charming for me). I feel like I’ve stumbled on a gift from some unseen benefactor when I find peaceful escapes within the hustling bustle of a city, pinch myself even more when the dichotomy are just steps from one another. I skipped up the drive like Dorothy approaching Emerald City and once I set foot inside the doors, it was difficult to depart. I roamed from room to room, each almost devoid of furnishings, carefully absorbing the works of art in this new found oasis. On my third meander, I looked up and was enchanted by the ornate dangling chandeliers, circled through a fourth time to appreciate the ceiling art noticing the varied cuts of each crystal, the way light reflected in and through them. Having taken glass classes, I wondered how long it took to fire and form every piece of these hanging installations that more than likely went unnoticed in the presence of the collection installed on the walls. When I finally did tear myself away, I had a new appreciation for those decorative fixtures and though I still prefer more simplistic lights au naturale, I marvel at jewels above me, sparkling, twinkling, chatting with me…

The next day while piecing together a collage goddess, it dawned on me that I had been including pictures of lamps, lampshades, light fixtures and chandeliers in recent creations; my id was trying to tell me something. Perhaps its message was to continue bringing light to others through my work, maybe a reminder to let my own light shine, lighten up, or not to allow my light to dim or be snuffed out by disparaging remarks and insignificant individuals; all of the aforementioned applied to me. I made a mental note and kept pasting. One morning, the most miraculous rays of light beamed from behind the clouds, stopped me mid-stride, lifted my head, caressed my face with their radiance and answered. What was spoken is not important to share, that I was available to hear the enlightenment is what matters.

Just remember…light is not always needed for us to see so be alert and as always…

keep your peepers open! ®

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

on spring break

...back on Sunday. Until then…

keep your peepers open! ®

Sunday, April 4, 2010

blooming buds

Cherry blossom time in my town is kinda crazy for those of us who live near the Waterfront. The Tidal Basin is overflowing with folks, dogs, baby strollers, cameras, tripods, and oh my goodness traffic galore even at 6:45AM! The sidewalk around the water is one continuous breathing swarm of awe negotiating a spot to stop and snap or just look; keeping yourself from falling into the drink is a sport unto itself! Almost all of my photos were underwhelming, but honestly I could have cared less this go round. They were taken with a joyous spirit brought on by just being out early on a morning that I must say made me feel privileged to be alive. The stroll around the basin with my best friend, sun rising over the shimmering water was exceptional, just glorious. And despite the chaos, swapping snowflakes for snow blossoms blowing from the trees is a more than marvelous situation that I’ll take any day!

Happy Easter, Happy Passover and wherever you are in the world on this spring day…
keep your peepers open! ®
PS – There are so many other beautiful trees that spring to life in spring, here are just a couple more.