Monday, November 14, 2011

Wine of the day!

Alright! New wine today... :D

Todays wine is Old Vine Red. Lot Number 55, California Red Wine, Bottled by Marietta Cellars.

Smell: Oaky with a light fruit note. Very light and fragrant. Beautiful and simple. Fruity and jammy.

Taste: Wow jamborie goodness! Lovely balance of jammy goodness and light oak finish. I dare say that I could drink the entire bottle in one sitting if I wasn't careful.

Think I've found my new favorite wine, actually... This one is probably better than the Gnarly Head Red Blends or Klinker Brick Old Vine Zins...

Very tasty goodness!

The label on the back says:
"Old Vine REd is a proprietary red wine made to replicate the field blends of many of the old vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Predominantly comprised of Zinfandel, Old Vine Red is characterized by intense spicy aromas, bright fruit, and a solid structure. Since 1978, this wine has been the 'red house pour' in many fine restaurants across the nation."

Woo! That is some good stuff! Okay... I'm doing feeling pretty good now, so I think I'll have some more wine and eat some dinner. Yep yep!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wine of the day!

In wedding planning, I've decided that to make it special, I'm going to add a few little special touches instead of going over the top and making it some sort of fete or gala or something else equally ridiculous.

So, I'm going to get some really good wines. Today I went to the local liquor store (Liquor Mart) and picked the brains of the assistant wine manager. I picked up four bottles to start. Tonight, I'm trying the first one.

Oraison, a Cotes-du-Rhone wine from Vin De La Vallee Du Rhone. Made in 2009.

Smells very soft and clean, especially for a red. There is an underlying jam scent with a lilt of spiciness. Its very inviting in its soft scent, which makes the taste an even bigger surprise.

The first sip is very peppery mid-tongue. The scent carries up through the taste a hint of fruit. There is a lingering body throughout my whole mouth. A nice meaty red that has enough complexity to give up a little more flavor with every sip. This is the kind of wine that could hold its own against a serious steak or a heavy Italian dish.

The label says:
"This rich and round Cotes-du-Rhone wine is made from Grenach (80%), Shiraz (10%), and Mourvedre (10%). It is produced on one of the best pebble terroirs of the Rhone valley, where poor soils and strong Mistral wind naturally concentrate the grapes. With flavors of black cherry, thyme and cinnamon, this wine pairs perfectly with cheeses and red and white grilled meat. *In French, Oration means prayer"

I feel like the pepper outweighs the fruit, but after 1/2 of the glass, its a lot easier to taste the black cherry and cinnamon. The thyme is harder to pick up, but it could be what I'm tasting as the pepper note.

Good all around. Would be better with a steak or heavier meal, I think...
Still like Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin better. :D

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Ah... life is back in full swing once again.

I had a short hiatus during my recent, and unplanned, unemployment, which left me in a bit of a funk.

But no more! Along with starting therapy, I've also started at Great Clips in Longmont. We've been busy with the back to school season and it is the second busiest salon in Colorado, so I'm optimistic about it staying pretty steady.

This is my last full weekend for a while, so I'm making the most of it by updating my website and cleaning/organizing the house. As a nice break, I was perusing a website from Key West Florida, and found a nice little extra that I'd like to try:
Sub Tours!

They're basically in one of those yellow bubble mini subs, like the one that Andy Samburg from SNL was driving around during Shark Week on the Discover Channel.

Well, I better get back to it! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


What better way to get things out of my head? I started writing a new story a couple of days ago. This one features a character named Rebecca. She's a little crazy...

That, along with reading my books seems to be helping get things right. I'm also applying like a fiend. There has to be something to be said for persistence, right? Now, where did I put that paperwork? Hmm...

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jobs and the future...

I guess the long and short of it are that I should get a part-time job... at the least. Maybe two. One way or another, I've figured out that I need to start making about $1300-$1400 per month. Thats $350 a week. If I'm figuring hourly, that could be anything from $10 an hour (take home) for 35 hours, or $14 an hour for 25 hours.

Obviously, if I could do the the second of those, would be the best. That way, any other freelance that I might do, as with my company, Goddess To Go, would be extra. Also, I would be able to pay an equal share of utilities and mortgage and be an equal partner with Sean.

I'm not really sure, beyond knowing what I need, of what to do... What do I do now, seems to be the big question.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Be Nice! ...wait, what?

Everyone has their own little idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. Mine are different from yours, and yours are different than mine. A lot of people have ones that line up and thats where you get your lifetime friends or most celebrated rivals.

I've noticed recently that a fair amount of my characteristics and idiosyncrasies are based on my need for honesty. On a base level, I don't trust people when I first meet them, or I trust them too much and get burned. Any time someone has to "put on a face" or "act as someone" in an environment that isn't related to theater, my guard goes up. That contrived and forced niceness feels fake and somewhat malicious.

I know that its a defense mechanism because I do it too. Trying to cater to everyone and be the best, most glowing example of whatever it is that I'm attempting has been a crutch of mine since before I can remember. Because the best get noticed. The best get praised. The best get attention, and therefore, are loved.

Its a silly notion, that attention = love, but how can there be love without that, right?

The idea reminds me of those if-then questions on standardized tests from when I was a kid. If Blue is always Green and Green is always Yellow, then can Yellow be Red? Or some such question.

Love is always attention, but attention is not always love.

I'm reading an amazing book from a woman named Sonia Choquette, about balancing your chakras and renewing your spirit called: "True Balance" Its an interesting approach to not only rediscovering balance, but also in finding out who you are and ways to balance that in order to find peace with yourself. This passage about an overactive third chakra, or power/intelligence center, caught my eye this morning:

"Another indication of an overinflated power center is an overbearing personality. An expanded energy field does have a strong influence on others, but often in undesirable ways. Sometimes, this imbalance reveals itself in subtle and manipulative behaviors, such as using flattery and gift giving and always being the nice guy (unless crossed), in order to gain quiet control over others and consequently feel safe."

Did you just hear that exploding sound?? That was my mind. My mind is blown. Not only have I done exactly that, for YEARS, but it was all, in fact, a way to exhibit a kind of quiet control. I didn't want to muscle my way into a place of power, but I did want a sort of subversive control of the situation... so I'd needle, and I'd prod, and then when people would call me on my crap (which always happened eventually), I'd get extremely upset.

Why so sad? Fear of losing control, fear of losing attention, and fear of not being the best. Because if I'm the best, most attentive, most needed, most in control, then I'll be beloved above all others, right? Not so much...

...and thats kind of the point. Love is not contingent upon being the best, it just is what it is, and it doesn't care if you win the competition or are the prettiest or are the best singer or whatever. Thats what I'm learning. Its a pretty nifty thing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A tree falls...

On Friday, one of our large trees in the courtyard in front of our building fell. At 2am. After the rain had stopped and so had the wind, actually.

What we didn't see was that the other tree had tried to fall as well, is still teetering and is very close to falling too. What's keeping it up? The dumpster shelter next to it. Our grounds people have blocked off part of our parking lot for our safety until the tree can be removed. That was supposed to happen this last weekend. Tree is still there. LOL

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1st!

"Hurray, hurray... the first of May! Outdoor "smootching" starts today!" LOL

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 8

Okay! Two things to remember when sculpting women: First, their shoulders and hips should work out to be fairly close in circumference, and second, they have muscles too, they're just much more smooth.

You might have noticed that the neck is a lot shorter now and the shoulders are not nearly as wide. I'm going to trim up the head shape a bit too, but I'm also going to add hair. One thing I'm noticing as I look back at the pictures is that I really need to change the hands... but that can wait, I think... For now, I need to work on those hips, and maybe add some hair. Yeah. Really long hair is what I'm thinking...

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Easy A"

If you haven't heard about it yet, there is a fairly new-ish movie out from Director Will Gluck by the name of "Easy A". Normally, I avoid modern teen movies much like I avoid people I suspect might have the plague.

Yes, I rented "Twilight", but only to see what the hype was all about. Actually, when I was watching it drag on and on, I was tempted several times to throw my shoe at the television. As a hairstylist, I was coerced into watching it by several of its fans, a few of which were my age, and a few that are much older than me. No, I didn't like it. Insipid is a word I really like for the plot and vapid is a word I really love for the female lead... but this isn't about that.

If you have any love of John Hughes movies (Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or Some Kind of Wonderful to name a few), GO WATCH Easy A. It had the quick wit, smart plot and breezy humor of a tribute to John Hughes. Of course, no one could match his stark honesty and brilliant storytelling, but this really came through for me.

Starring Emma Stone, who was also in Superbad, its a rollicking take on High School Drama. This is what Netflix says: "High school is the setting for this freewheeling comedic twist on Nathaniel Hawthorne's 19th-century novel The Scarlet Letter. Ambitious student Olive decides to boost her popularity by pretending to be the school slut."

Check out the trailer here:CLICK HERE!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 7

Get some meat on those bones!

I'm still thinking that I want a different pose for the arms, but at least with the telescoping arms and head, I have options.

The next step in sculpting a figure is to add musculature. Every figure has some sort of muscle structure, even if its underneath a layer of bulk and a larger set character. We're doing a female nude, so we have to rough in the muscles first, and soften them later.

Something to keep in mind when you're doing this: Don't worry if the neck is too long or the shoulders too wide or whatever. Just get the clay on there and rough it in. Its just like sketching, but with forms instead of charcoal. Detail comes later...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 6

Clay!! Whew! Finally time to put a little clay on this thing.

Oil-based clay needs to be warmed up in order to make it more pliable and easier to work with. This generally involves a small oven. Lucky for us, they're very easy to build. Get a file or paper box, line it and the inside of the lid with aluminum foil. Using a standard clip-on lamp that you can buy at any hardware store, measure and cut a hole that is about 1" smaller than the diameter of the metal bell on the light. Don't forget to line the hole with foil as well. A 60 watt light is perfect for this.

Cut smaller sections of the clay and place in the oven. After about 15 minutes, you should be ready to get started. Start with a basic skeletal structure to begin. Pelvis, skull, arms, legs, feet, ribcage, etc.

This would be a good time to check out a book about anatomy. That way, you can use the pictures as a reference for where structures reside.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 5

Base! How low can you go? Death row? What a brotha know? ...Wait, I think they meant Bass, hunh? Oh well...

Lets build a base! This is where you need the wood and the pipes.

First, you have to figure out what kind of post you want. Since we've built her up at a neutral trial run, I'm going for a pretty neutral position. Less exciting, but more practical for learning purposes. Mark where the feet will anchor. If you think about it ahead of time, its also a good idea to mark where the flange with attach too.

Make some holes with a 1/4" drill bit where you've marked the feet. On the opposite side of the board, use a spade bit to make a recess so that when you attach the feet you won't have a wobbling base. Attach the feet from the bottom so that the nut attaches through the feet. If you plan ahead and have enough of a variety of pipe segments, you'll have just the right height for the back support of your armature. Obviously, I didn't do that. :D So, thats why I had to shim the front of the flange before I screwed it down. But it works... Chalk another one up to "learning".

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 4

So, now we have the basic body of the armature done: Legs, torso, shoulders and neck. Yes, in the picture, its standing propped up on my laptop. :D Classy!

Ok! Lets get to work on some arms! From the center pivot to the end of the fingers is the length we're going for. Go back and forth, folding but not cutting, until you have what will end up being 5 ends after two of the folds are cut. Measure the finger length using the armature map. Hold the wires where the wrist pivot lines up. Twist together on the arm part. Cut apart the fingers and wrap them with a thinner wire. Make sure that you DON'T CUT THE FINGERS down to real hand size. LOL I jumped ahead... then I watched that part of the video. You'll see later... Ha ha ha Anyway, here's the pic of the twisted arms:

Remember when I told you that this is a "telescoping armature"? Oh yeah... the arms and head COME OFF! So, of course, we have to make some sort of apparatus to facilitate that. In the video, he uses lengths of square copper tubing with epoxy putty. I think I'll explain this better on the next round. But, next round I'll also be using the correct materials too!

In the above picture is Sean's example figure for how people are structured in 7.5 heads. Epoxy, armature with the shoulder sockets attached, my armature map, some brass tubing and wire cutting pliers. With the help of a smaller tube that has some already hardened epoxy, pack the epoxy into the larger brass tubing on the insertion side. Make sure that the brass tubes are the correct length of the neck and collar bone sections. Trim and score the wire where the epoxy needs to attach. Maybe halfway through the tubes. Clean out the excess epoxy with rubbing alcohol on a q-tip. Be careful not to use too much rubbing alcohol, as it makes the epoxy very gooey and takes a lot longer to harden.

Measure and cut the insertion tube. Be careful not to get any epoxy on the outside of the tube and that the arms are trimmed down far enough that the points all line up on the map. I also marked which arm goes where.

Next, we'll make the base and attach the pipes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 3

Now we have a plan!

In yesterdays picture, you could see the beginnings of an armature for the upper body. Today comes the fun part: cutting lengths of aluminum armature wire for the actual armature. Well, it would be if I had watched the video instead of plowing on... again. :P

But, moving on... The armature will be supporting approximately 2-3 pounds of pastalina (oil-based modeling clay, which I'm really hoping is mildly recyclable after molding. Cause its a little expensive. Not bad as far as clay goes, but I'm cheap.).

The base will be a 12"x12"x1" wood board. The supports for the armature consist of galvanized steal pipe attached to the board with a flange and wood screws. The supports on the feet are bolted to the board from the bottom and ancored with some of the 2part epoxy putty.

Here is the picture from part 1. You can see the pipe sitting on the table. The t-section will actually reside in the navel of the armature.

Now, obviously, I'll have to use slightly smaller pipes to support my smaller armature. But you get the idea.

Alright! Next, we draw from the top of the sternum on the front view of the armature map down through the center to about 1/2 way between the navel line and the crotch. Then, from that point, draw to where the insertion of the leg would be and then straight down to the bottom of the foot. Repeat this idea for the arm: Sternum to shoulder, elbow, wrist and a little ways beyond the hand for the fingers (like 1/4"). Be sure and make pivot points for where the hip is, knee, elbow, wrist, ankles, etc.

So, since we're going to make the arms and head removable, we're going to measure the wire about 1/4" beyond the shoulder pivot and down along the spine line and through to 1/4" beyond the foot. Loop and go back up past the navel and cut. Repeat on the other side. Straighten out the wire, except where the foot loop is. Twist the overlap together and epoxy into the t-pipe section where it would sit comfortably inside the sculpture. This is where it would be easier to show you, but since I did it a little different, I think I'll cover this on the next sculpture attempt.

Mine looked like this when I was done putting the armature beginnings along with the wired on head piece.

Now would be a good time to mark with small pieces of duct tape where the knees are for later reference.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 2

Okay! Things are coming along now... Its kind of like baking a cake or sewing a dress. There are certain things that really need to be established BEFORE you start cooking or piecing together... or building armatures.

So, first things first. What are you making?

I'm gonna start very simply and do just a simple female nude. Women are just more fun to sculpt. Men are all bulges and hard lines while women are curves and softness. Plus, with less extreme angles, I think it will be easier to mold down the road. Or, at least, thats kind of what I hope. :D Once you figured out what, you need to sketch out what it will look like. This is more of a stylized character picture. Since I'm doing just a nude, I skipped this step.

Next is the plan.

For constructing a figure, you need an armature that will support what you're trying to build. To make the armature, you need whats called an armature map. This is sort of a sketched out character that fits into the scale of what you're making. Humans are classically 7.5-8 heads tall. If you're doing a 10 inch figure at 8 heads, there are 8 lengths dividing the character/armature map.

From the top line down: Head/crown, chin, nipples(or just below if male), navel, crotch, just above the knee, mid-calf, ankle and bottom of foot.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adventures in Sculpting, Part 1

As some of you know, I get wild hairs from time to time and start projects.

As more of you may know, I love to sculpt. There is something about the three dimensional aspect of the medium that draws me. Probably a little of that is why I love doing hair as much as I do.

In any case, I've started a new little side project involving sculpting a telescoping figure for molding purposes. The reason behind this is simple: if the arms and head are removable, then it will be easier to mold later. At least, thats the hope.

I've never attempted anything like this before, and with the help of some extremely good videos and my better half and professional illustrator, Sean; things are going very well so far. :D

These pictures were from my first attempt. As you can see, I was drinking a little wine with my sculpting... which I think was part of why attempt #1 was less successful than I had originally hoped.

In these pictures are some of what I've been using:
Tres Picos Borsao Garnacha 2008 (wine, and not one I'd recommend), oil-based modeling clay called Pastilina, pipe armature support, EP-400 Epoxy Putty, 300ft of 18 gauge wire and a sketchpad with a pencil.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

One day at a time

"Change yourself and your work will be different." Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

If A + B + C = D, then A + B + C = D every time. If you keep adding the same things together, you'll keep getting the same results. A + B + C does not equal P.

What if the only variable that you have control over is yourself? Well, if the desired result is different than the result that you've been getting, then the only choice is to change yourself.

I've been working at trying to change my attitudes and how I look at the world around me. Trying to temper my proclivities to better fit my place in this life, but I kept getting the same results.

Thats when I realized that it wasn't the change in myself that was needed. It was the change in where I was that needed to happen. A flower can't grow in a dark closet. Just like a jungle cat doesn't do well in the arctic circle. I'm not meant for big corporate structure.

So tomorrow I say goodbye to the last three and a half years in an environment that I just didn't belong in and move on to something new. Something fresh... something different... something new...

I'm excited to see the new outcomes. Aren't you?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hello Again...

"Faith plus dynamic dreams plus real working at it is a go-ahead formula that gets you where you want to go." Positive Thinking Every day by Norman Vincent Peale

How I interpret this is that you need a combination of belief in yourself, the forethought and creative inspiration of what you'd most love to do, and good ole-fashioned hard work to get where you want to go.

Now, how does one go about doing that?

I think that first off, you should know where you're aiming for.

Realistically, what is the end result that you want to accomplish? What is your goal?

Okay! Now, what are the obstacles in your way and are they overcomable?
If no, then you need to adjust the goal. If yes, what are the steps that are needed to overcome obstacle 1, 2, 3, etc?

Now that the obstacles in my own life [Going to school in the first place, getting my license, getting out of my current job (my last job is Friday)] are out of the way. I have the biggest obstacle yet to come: Finding a new job.

But I have found a little bit of a bright spot in this crazy quest of mine; A booth rent in a small shop in Boulder. When I went in there yesterday evening to look inside and get an idea of whether or not it was even a possibility of a place to work, I was very pleasantly surprised. Not only was it pretty nice inside, the man and lady that owned and operated the shop were very nice and quite helpful. Easy to talk to and comfortable.

Something else that really resonated with me was actually something that Sean's Mom says quite a bit: "You have to do what feeds your soul."

Which is exactly what the lady said during the 45 minutes we all were talking. I'm thinking that there is something to that, actually. Maybe I'll end up there... who knows?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Serenity NOW! :D

"Practice word therapy - Serenity, urbanity, imperturbability, equanimity. Say those powerful, mind-healing words over to yourself every day. Let them recondition your stressful attitudes." Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

This one reminds me irresistibly of an episode of Seinfeld. In this episode, George Castanza is told that if he says, "Serenity now..." that he can manifest serenity for himself. What George forgets, however, is to breath and believe that it can calm him.

By the end of the episode, not just the word, but the feeling loses its meaning for him altogether. Granted, if he had actually found the serene feeling that he had been searching for, the episode and the character would cease to be funny.

But it makes me wonder... how much of my world is colored by perception and how much of it is my own creation?

Perhaps its time to manifest my own destiny. Time to "shit or get off of the pot" as a few of my family members say. If I can't change my own situation, then I'll be doomed to live in this same reality for how ever long. No one is going to come and save me. Its time to be my own white knight.

Time to take action... SERENITY NOW! Or, in my case: Positive change NOW!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


"One of the few greatest satisfactions of this life is to handle problems efficiently and well." Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Community Spirit

"Miracles are in all sizes. And if you start believing in little miracles you can work up to the bigger ones." Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

Ah... Music!

There is an interesting thing that happens when a group of people plays for another group of people. The people playing are pouring their hearts out(figuratively) through the creation of music on instruments and with voices...

The people in the audience (when in a receptive mood, cause this isn't always the case) then feel a swelling of joy in the music and reciprocate that feeling of love of music and for the ones performing it...

This is why performers have such trouble off-stage. Could you imagine if your own self-worth was tied to this intense level of performance induced communal love? Naturally, after the show was over, you'd have some trouble sleeping. Then, when the show closes, you have to find another show or possibly find yourself in depression.

Been there... done that... drinking or going out after the show with the cast does help the not being able to sleep part. But the depression is something else entirely. If you've never felt that incredible rush of hundreds of people cheering for you or even singing along with something you're on stage singing... then I'm not sure I'm the one to explain it. Its a deeply spiritual Communion.

That being said, Go Out and SEE The Airborne Toxic Event!

My significant other and I went to see them last night with the Colorado Symphony in Boetcher Hall. It was incredible. There is something to be said for the communion of spirit that happens at a great show. They did it very well and we were all very happy to see them. :D

Ah... Hair!

The women of the village are gathering today, my friends. The lovely and talented Cora Kemp is finally getting her hair cut off so that she can donate to Locks of Love. When she heard about this, Melinda decided to join us to get a trim as well... or it might have been Jenn LeBlanc... I'm not sure, actually.

But nonetheless... We're gonna have fun, I think... :D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Smarter, not harder...

"People who are really efficient seem to do things easily, with a minimum of effort. In so doing they release maximum power." -Positive thinking every day by Norman Vincent Peale

I am good at what I do. Generally, its because I try and find the most efficient way of doing things and use that route until its well worn.

I have deep tire treads of efficiency at work, actually. Maybe that's why I'm suddenly scared of what tomorrow might hold. Let me clarify: tomorrow, I take the second of two tests to get my Cosmetology license.

If I pass this 'written' exam, I will be handing in my notice to my current employers and getting another job in this new field. Its the culmination of two years of school and marks the start of something that I always end of worrying about.

Beginning something new.

Once I'm in a position, I'm great. Once I know the lay of the land, I can build on the efficiency and efficacy that is my nature and I'll be successful in whatever I put my mind to... but its the starting of these endeavors that I always have trouble with.

Its great to envision what you might do... what could happen... but its a whole other thing to actually go and do that thing.

What if I really go after something I want, for once, and then fail utterly?

What if I'm not good at business after all? Will my dreams of opening a salon and spa of my own never come to pass?

Or will I end up unsuccessful, fat and alone at the end of my struggles with a large debt and bankruptcy looming in the wings?

Or... will I be wildly successful?

I just don't know. I don't have a map for this... and I seem to have lost my compass. All I can do is study for the test and pass it. From there? I just don't know...

Monday, January 17, 2011


"If you think lack you tend to create a condition of lack. Shift your thought pattern to one of abundance and believe that God is now in the process of giving you the abundance you need." -Positive Thinking for Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, January 16, 2011


"Its always too soon to quit." -Positive Thinking for Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Life Celebrated

"Cushion the painful effects of hard blows by keeping enthusiasm going strong, even if doing so requires struggle." -Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

This quote fits today a bit better than the actual quote in the book. Granted, it fit yesterday's struggles at work to a T, which is more than a little disconcerting in a fascinating and sort of prophetic way.

That being said, today is a low-key memorial for a dear friend of mine. As a former Renaissance festival performer, I have a colorful collection of wonderful friends. Each more interesting and big-hearted than the last.

Last week, our tightly knit community of rag-tag individuals received some very sad news. A great friend and very good man had passed away. In this amazing and warm community of people, Norman David Morris was by far one of the best.

I've long been of the opinion that funerals are not only depressing, they're a little on the insulting side. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the religious aspect of remembering their lives and giving them to whatever deity is the most fitting for their memory, but to be honest, I find it all unnecessarily sad.

Celebrating a life lived seems much more fitting to those who really touched the world with their warmth. We lost Norm too early for my taste, but if given the option, he probably would have been someone I'd have kept around for a good many years.

In the spirit of our renaissance family, we're raising a glass to the man tonight. The most fitting libation that I could think of is Scotch. As a reenactor, Norm was most commonly outfitted as one of three things: A Danish prince, a Viking, or a Scotsman. As a good Scotsman, he was known to often carry good Scotch.

My first season at the CORF, it rained a few weekends very hard and became very cold very fast. I learned quite quickly who had flasks of very potent and very warming liquors. Its a very useful thing to keep on yourself, actually. A flask can calm nerves, create friends and keep one warm on a cold day.

The first person to ever hand me Scotch was our dear friend Norm. I was dressed that season as a Nun with comically enhanced features (including giant, out of proportion fake breasts). It was a hot costume in the sun and a freezing cold costume in the rain.

As a potent liquor with its quickly warming effects, it was my favorite libation for bad weather. In fact, because of that effect, now every time it rains I crave Scotch. I blame Norm for that. *grins* So what better way to celebrate the passing of this great man than to get together with good friends and raise a glass of Scotch to him?

Sounds like a plan to me!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Willpower and Guilt

"Cultivate will power, that massive creative force that God the creator built into you. Do not let it remain flabby but strengthen it by use and exercise."

"Have absolutely no sense of guilt about being happy and successful if you operate honestly and with a sense of social responsibility."
-Positive Thinking Every Day by Norman Vincent Peale

Yes, I want a cookie. I also want a big house, a dog and a sexy body. I want beauty, success and peace of mind. But I really want a cookie.

Needs are a different animal, though, aren't they? I need to eat healthy and exercise. I need a roof over my head and a place to sleep. I need to be hygienic and to cover my bills. I need to think positive so that my worries don't corrode my well being and to avoid developing ulcers.

How does one achieve these basics when it seems like everything is in your way? How do you reconcile your needs with your desires? No, I don't need a new car or liposuction or excessive makeup or a personal assistant or fame or fortune or any of that self-serving drivel.

I want it, though.

I want the whole stupid storybook. A house with a yard and a dog. A husband, a child or two and love. Wondrous success and extra money. Travel and fame and free time and doting and unconditional forgiveness... I want it all.

The biggest problem that I seem to run into with all of this, is that I feel supremely guilty about the whole thing.

Yes, I want a cookie, but I have to justify that I did good enough to deserve a cookie. Sometimes this feeling multiplies and roils in my stomach until I start to wonder if I deserve food at all. Then I get overly hungry or irritable or my hypoglycemia kicks in and then I overeat. Which makes the whole process that much more raw and emotional.

Do I deserve to be happy? What makes me happy in the first place? Why?

Until I can let go of the guilt, I don't know if I can be truly happy. I'm working on it, but its difficult when a lack of will power is paired with deep guilt. I want to be better, but I don't know what to do except for practicing everyday with little things.

Only one cookie. Let the past go. Prepare for the future, but don't mourn for futures that have not come to pass. Take joy in simplicity and do not harbor guilt over things that cannot be changed or on successes that others have not shared.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Act your age?

"Live your life and forget your age." -Positive thinking every day by Norman Vincent Peale

How old am I again?

Sometimes I feel ancient. Older, somehow than the dirt under my feet or the breezes around my body. Older than the rain or the streams that flow. Fire seems to be my only compatriot, though sometimes I feel that I'm older than that as well.

But sometimes I feel so young and fresh and naive that nothing seems to make sense.

I know that there is a season to every life and to every incarnation of life. Kermit the frog actually put it very well when he said that "life is full of meetings and partings... that is the way of it."

But to say that one should forget the years in favor of living to the fullest is a grand idea. Its a truly ancient concept with parallels in every major religion. Its the idea of putting aside distractions to live and love and go on.

This, I believe is why the Muslims do not have pictures depicting their religious icons and beliefs. Its also found in Christianity with Jesus encouraging his followers to give away all of their possessions and to follow him. Its in the Zen Buddhist path to enlightenment in the form of bringing forth all the discomforts and hells that we've created for ourselves, acknowledging them and then letting them go.

Get out of your own way, and there is happiness around the corner.

Life is full of trials and tribulations that can make us feel like fumbling newborns in a world wrought with pointed edges. It can weigh on us until we feel like our hearts will implode from loss.

But it is also brimming with simple joys. The beauty of new fallen snow, the laughter of children, the babbling brook, a warm fire, a soft breeze... and the comfort of loved ones. It doesn't matter how old we are, we are still here; and we're here for each other.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome to the New Year!!

"When you wholeheartedly adopt a 'with all your heart' attitude and go all out with the positive principle, you can do incredible things."
-Positive Thinking Every Day" by Norman Vincent Peale

Hi there 2011!

Welcome to the new year everyone! So far so good out here in Boulder.

We had a nice day full of behind the scenes hockey from HBO, a wonderful hockey game set outdoors and a fantastic meal of pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans. I even got in a little sauerkraut for good luck.

The biggest thing is to keep on going and to keep positive. Look to the good in life and let it into your heart. Think positive, surround yourself with goodness and you'll start to find yourself doing better and feeling better... and doing incredible things in the end.

Here's to make 2011 the best year ever!