Monday February 09, 2004

Circle of Words - #6

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Rendezvous with the Authentic Archaeologist

We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides
The spirit bloweth and is still
In mystery our soul abides.

-Matthew Arnold

Pretend you are an archaeologist and you are going back examining your own life. How many layers would there be? Meaning how many different people would you say you were... sure all of us were once a baby..then toddler...and so on...but at what point can you remember being a certain "someone" and than someday that certain "someone" evolved into another "someone". Different stages in our lives directly cause us to develop into a certain person that may not have been the same as the one before? How many layers do you have...and describe them the best you can.

Making Your Own Imprint

God is in the details.
-Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

All of us have our own personal style that is seen as we make our own imprint on life. Let's consider the following just for fun! You are moving into a new house that is completely empty! You get to start all over-from scratch!

  • What are some of the specifics for your ideal home...in terms of architectural features to furnishings that you must have?
  • Are there any items from your childhood that you would love to have in your new home?
  • Your closet and drawers are empty...what would you buy...what style, colors...etc. Would you actually want anything from your present wardrobe?
  • Your kitchen cupboards are bare...what would you want? What type/design of dishes...linens...etc.?
  • What other kinds of things do you picture in your perfect home?


My thoughts

Rendezvous with the Authentic Archaeologist

I changed "me" every time I started a new school. I don't suppose I did this (at least not consciously) between kindergarten and first grade, but I did it consciously between 6th and 7th (Junior High), 9th and 10th, 10th and 11th, HS and College, College and Grad School, 1st and 2nd grad schools.

I don't recall making any particular changes between Grad school and my first job although I may have done so. I have been making minor tweaks with every job but they're very minor.

Each transition is one in which the people at the next location don't really know me. I can start with fresh first impressions.

Making Your Own Imprint

The thought of having to create and furnish a home from scratch gives me the screaming meemies. However, this is only hypothetical. Perhaps I could hypothesize winning a lot of money and doing a makeove. :-)

Any house of mine needs plenty of space and plenty of rooms. It needs, at minimum, a large master bedroom w/ en suite bath, a guest room, an office for each of us (Rich and myself), a large living room, and a library. It needs a sunroom and one or more screen porches. The front and back porches should both be enclosed — screens in the summer, windows in the winter. Except for the enclosed front porch, we have this now :-)

I have things from my childhood in my current house - books, a few stuffed toys. I'd keep them with me. I like my current house and its contents very much. I'd probably just keep most of it.

Furnishings would be mostly a combination of Danish modern wooden tables and La-Z-Boy recliners. All side tables should have two levels. The dining room table should be extendable for at least 12 people (I don't have this now). I'd probably choose much of the same furniture we have now, only newer. I like our dishes (Corell). I like my clothes too!

What other kinds of things do you picture in your perfect home?

I've thought about style and design quite often. If I had land to build on and could build my own home... Privacy and space would be my primary considerations.

I'd like a house with a central courtyard, at least 20 feet on a side, preferably more, entirely surrounded by house and open to the sky. I'd like plenty of windows facing into the courtyard and only a few facing out to neighbors and the street. Window-less walls should all have built-in book cases! Perhaps a top story done like a sunroom, with all walls glass to 3 feet above the floor (bookcases below :-) and a glass ceiling.

I'd like plenty of room and plenty of rooms - office, computer lab, workshop, laundry, library (a large 2-story library with floor to ceiling bookshelves on four walls and a second-level catwalk). I'd like a kitchen in which two people could walk around without bumping each other. I'd like a guest suite with a small sitting area and its own bath as well as a master suite with sitting area, walk-in closets, and large bath.

As long as we're doing a blue-sky wish list, I want at least 5 acres and I'll take a small orchard out back with fruit trees and perhaps almonds. And a duck pond :-)

Circle of Words - #6 - posted by Vicki at Mon, 09 Feb, 11:34 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday February 04, 2004

Circle of Words - #5

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Creating an Authentic Lifestyle for Yourself and Those You Love

It's a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
-Somerset Maugham

1. Most people can learn to live without certain things in life. Patience allows you to wait gracefully and gratefully for the best to arrive and you know it will. Can you think back to any moment in your life where you thought something in particular would never come...and finally it did? If you think about it, whatever that thing was that finally did happen (or you did receive) was all because of choices that you made. What if you would have made a different choice than what you did...where do you think you would be today?

Buried Dreams

Where there is great love there are always miracles.
-Willa Cather

2. Everyone can think back to a time when they said to a friend or parent....I'm going to be an astronaut when I grow up...or I nurse...or doctor. And many of us even as adults have said by next year we will be in a different house...I will have a different job...etc. What about your dreams? Do you have any memories of something that you wanted to do with your life but the timing was off...you failed...there were unforeseen circumstances that just caused this dream to be buried so deeply it never came true. And now that you are where you are today...does part of you still wish that dream would have been a reality?

Meeting the Inner Explorer

There is only one journey. Going inside yourself.
-Rainer Maria Rilke

3. You have just received the ultimate ticket to your first-class fantasy. On this journey you get to go anywhere you want to go....all expenses paid..full-time baby sitter...no worries, everything will be taken care of for you! Where would you go? Who would go with you? How long would you stay there? And what would you do once you were there? (Describe it in detail if you would like!)


My thoughts

Creating an Authentic Lifestyle for Yourself and Those You Love

If you think about it, whatever ... was all because of choices that you made. What if you would have made a different choice than what you did...where do you think you would be today?

I can think of two things:

  1. Figuring out what to "do" after College, then getting out of School and finding a job
  2. Buying a house
As for the first, the answer is easy. I made all of the right choices (although some of them certainly seemed wrong at the time! :-) Had I not tried a Forensic Science grad school program, I might not have decided to fall back on Microbiology. Had I not chosen Microbiology, I might not have gone to the University of Maryland, where I met Richard, was introduced to Unix, figured out what I really did want to do, and proceeded to work toward that goal. Had I not met Richard, I would not have had the necessary support and assistance to make the goal a reality.

Had I not been miserably unhappy at UMD, with an advisor I couldn't stand and a project I didn't care for (and had I not been the kind of a person who will do practically anything to get out of a miserable situation!), I wouldn't have dumped my advisor, causing the department to drop my TA-ship, which led to Dr. Colwell "adopting" me as one of her students aand providing me with a thesis project, giving her support to my plan to do computer analysis of biological data (something that "wasn't being done yet" at that time in Maryland).

Things do have a way of working out... sometimes.

As for the house — we planned, we saved, and we were very lucky in renting a house from terrific owners who had a policy of never raising the rent on tenants they liked! The Satos were very proud of the fact that so many of their tenants moved out only because they had bought their own homes. It was Mr. and Mrs. Sato's hope that all of their "good" tenants be able to become home owners, so they held the rent steady to give those tenants a better opportunity to save toward their own houses.

Buried Dreams

...And now that you are where you are today...does part of you still wish that dream would have been a reality?

Actually, no. I really like where I am today. When I was in grade school and Junior High, I expected to become a scientist one day. But frankly, when I got to College I realized I dont much care for "bench science". I'm not particularly interested in research or long experiments. (Plus, I really didn't like holding my breath near the incubator or washing my hands so many times during the day!).

So I noodled around, tried out a couple of grad programs (see previous question) and then I met Richard. I had taken a computer programming class in High School and also half of a double major in C. Sci. in College; I already knew I liked programming. I just didn't know how much I liked programming until I didn't have to punch cards to do it! And that was it. I found my dream career. Then "all" I had to do was find an advisor to help me get a thesis project so I could achieve the first step in that career.

I know what my dream is, and I've been holding constant to that dream (with a few minor teaks here and there) for over 20 years now! The hard part at the moment isn't the dream, it's the reality. The job market is slow and competition is fierce. I know what I want to be doing; finding someone to pay me to do it is not so easy.

Meeting the Inner Explorer

Where would you go? Who would go with you? How long would you stay there? And what would you do once you were there?

Where would I go? Don't take this personally but... I would go Home! I'd take my Hubby with me and we'd stay home until the money ran out. We'd read, work on personal projects, finish the back deck, redo the dining room floor. We'd enjoy ourselves and our cats and our projects without having to spend our time performing tasks for other people.

I've never understood how the phrase "get away from it all" came to include gettng away from home. A baby sitter for the kids?! Our kids are feline and I don't want to leave them with a sitter. I want to be with them. Home and family is where I belong.

Circle of Words - #5 - posted by Vicki at Wed, 04 Feb, 15:27 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 27, 2004

Circle of Words - #4

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

An Artist Is Someone Who Creates

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how...The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
-Agnes De Mille

1. Are you a leader or a follower? Do you ever wear that wild and crazy shirt out to dinner even though it's too young or too not you? Or do you stick with the styles for your appropriate age and such? What if you received a handmade beaded necklace from your daughter or friend that was just a little over the top...would you wear it with pride or tuck it away in a drawer? Do you wear your hair like the latest trend..or do you just wear it as it is what works for you?

You Are an Artist

Inside, you there's an artist you don't know about...Say yes quickly, if you know, if you've known it from before the beginning of the universe.
-Jalai Ud-Din Rumi

2. Most of us think of artists as someone who paints, sculpts, writes, acts, and so on. But this is untrue. Each one of us is an artist. We all create a unique work of art every day of our lives. We each do something unlike anyone else, which in turn makes us unique. Every choice you make creates some type of art. In what ways do you see yourself as an artist? And is there anything you would like to do to show your creative side that you are not doing already?

Discovering Your Authentic Self

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
-Oscar Wilde

3. What is required for you to have a great day..the kind of day where you love yourself and everything about your life? Is it something as simple as a long bubble bath, play time with your children, or the fact that you are having a good hair day? Or does it take much more than that...like a raise at work, a new home, a new car? And then the other extreme...what things make you not so in love with yourself? And which would you say you are more of - in love with yourself -or- not?


My thoughts

In an interesting bit of synchronicity, I only recently purchased and have begun to read a book called "Creating a Life Worth Living" by Carol Lloyd.

You are actively searching for two things: the creative life you want to lead and the way to create and maintain that life so you are as sane and as happy and as financially solvent as you want to be...
...
The only thing this book does assume is that you are an artist.

"Hey, wait a minute, I'm not an artist."

Well, maybe not in the limited sense. I define artist in the broadest possible terms—not only the literary, visual, and performing arts, but all those careers and personalities that demand that you create your own life.

[cf. "Creating a Life Worth Living", Carol Lloyd, 1997. Introduction

An Artist Is Someone Who Creates

Neither a leader nor a follower be.

I'm fiercely independent. I always have been. I would wear the shirt without thinking that it was wild and crazy, without considering where I was wearing it, simply because it's my shirt and I like it. Spouse and self do make small concessions - when we're employed, we each wear collared polo shirts (and jeans) instead of t-shirts. But I've never followed the crowd particularly. I don't go out of my way to stand out, either. I wear my hair the way I want to, I don't wear makeup, I would either wear the necklace with pride or not wear it because I'm not a jewelry person, but the decision would have nothing to do with what "other people think".

Some years ago, an acquaintance informed me that his 17-year-old daughter "admired" me. Yech. No, please. I don't want to be "admired". Respected, perhaps; admired, looked up to, "followed" - no! I'm me; you're you. Make your own life.

You Are an Artist

Actually, I do write. I write technical documentation and expository essays. I try to be creative in my writing (friends have told me I succeed at this :-). I create programs and web pages. I used to do crafts; I'm still crafty although I don't work in those media anymore. I have a fine sense of humor; I'm a good problem solver; I have many creative ideas (most of which involve my computer). I fit Carol Lloyd's definition of an artist (it's the primary reason I bought her book, although I hadn't read that part in advance).

And is there anything you would like to do to show your creative side that you are not doing already? — I'd like to get paid for what I do.

Discovering Your Authentic Self

All that is required for me to have a great day is a lot of time at home. Time with the kitties, preferably including a nap in the afternoon. Time with Rich, preferably including reading and relaxing in the evening. Time with friends over dinner. Time to read and respond to email, write in my journal, write for my weblog (and read other people's weblogs). Time to think about projects I want to think about. Time to do projects for myself.

I'm not so in love with myself when things aren't going as planned, when the stress of multiple things that have to be done gets to me, when I'm frustrated by some problem I don't seem to be able to solve, when I get trapped into an argument I didn't want to have.

These days, the former me is in control more often than the latter. Vicki Hyde rarely makes an appearance. I'm unemployed; that actually accounts for a great lowering of stress in my life and a correspondingly large increase in the time I have available to devote to my own projects. (The only down side to unemployment is the money thing :(

Circle of Words - #4 - posted by Vicki at Tue, 27 Jan, 09:12 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 20, 2004

Circle of Words #3

Circle of Words is a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Each question will first start off with a quote from someone famous, or not so famous, which relates to the topic of the question. There may be one or several questions afterwards.

[ I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. The year is now over...no new questions will be posted. I am continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in 2004. ]


Your Personal Treasure Map

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
-Matthew 6:21

1. What if someone told you that all you needed to do to make your dreams come true is to create a personal treasure map. In this map would be all of the things you want in your life. These things can be people, things, a certain job, a location...etc. Well I can't tell you that the things on your map will come true, but I can tell you that everything in your outer world is created in your mind first. With that said...what would be on your personal treasure map for say...10 years from now?

Embracing Joyful Simplicities

Year by year the complexities of this spinning world grow more bewildering and so each year we need all the more to seek peace and comfort in the joyful simplicities.
-Woman's Home Companion, December 1935

2. We all have great moments in our lives that are marked by events such as the day we got married, the day we finally got our dream job, our baby was born...etc. The days that we will never forget. But what about all the little things? These are the joyful simplicities the engage our senses...that nourish our body and soul. Such as the smell of your favorite homemade soup filling your kitchen. The joy of the sun shining through your living room window on a summers day. The warmth that fills your heart as you peek at your rearview mirror and see your children playing in the back seat of your car. What types of joyful simplicities do you have in your life? Try to name at least 3 things...or more!!

Creative Excursions;The Gift of Time

I celebrate myself, and sing myself
I loafe and invite my soal...

Walt Whitman

3. When is the last time you went on a creative excursion? What this means is something that you do by yourself... for yourself. This is where we take away the title of wife... mother... student... teacher... etc... and look inside ourselves. When is the last time you did something that made you feel good. Something that celebrated yourself... that showed your creative side... or your energetic side, or even your really needed a break from life's daily routine side? And don't feel bad if you can't think of something, this is very hard to do. But maybe this will give you the extra push to not feel guilty the next time you really want to do something for yourself.


My Personal Treasure Map

Just draw the map and find the treasure. What a wonderful dream.

X marks the spot for Home and Family. I'm there, with Richard and the furkids. I'd like to adopt another kitty (or two) over the next decade. They come when it's time.

Health is on the map, somewhere over the river. There is a rope bridge to cross and crocodiles in the river, of course. Health, reduced physical weight, good test results for the usual annual tests, decent rates for medical insurance... (that last is drawn as a treasure chest).

A job is on the map, with the requisite dotted line path between here and there. The destination is marked with a skull and crossbones; there's a patch of quicksand and a nest of serpents marked on the map between that job and where I am, as well as an area marked "Watch for Falling Rock". Jobs are necessary to have but difficult to get (especially good ones). Once caught, they can be slippery, often hard to enjoy, frustrating to keep and do well at.

There are trees and parks drawn on the map and pleasant paths beside a lake and through the woods. There's an ocean marked at the far edge. There's a small village of "friendly natives" (friends and family) we can visit for meals and storytelling. A larger village is just over the crest of the hill; we can go there for supplies.

It's not a very large map; it doesn't need to be. For most of what I need, X marks the spot. I'm already there, with Richard and the furkids.

Joyful Simplicities

I call these Treasures. I started recording mine in mid-December 2003 after discovering Participation Positives on the web. I also discovered Heart's Gladness and have been recording some of my larger and more expanded (expansive) treasures under this heading.

Some of my greatest Treasures, my "Joyful Simplicities" are these:

    My hubby and the cats, first, last, and in-between-times
    A hug from my sweetie
    A joke and a laugh shared
    An invitation for a walk
    Head butts and requests for attention from one of the furkids
    A kitty on my lap while I read
    Sitting with my sweetie in the evening, both of us reading, sharing silence and an occasional read-aloud passage
    Cats snuggled with me in bed, at night or during naps
    The view from our eastern windows
    The grey squirrels and birds at the feeder
    Home

Creative Excursions

Ah. I go on these a lot. Ever since I discovered weblogs, I've been writing more. I write for me. I write for my friends and my family. I write for you, the unknown reader. I enjoy the memes and the writing prompts. I enjoy thinking of what parts of my life to record. I enjoy sharing my discoveries on these pages.

Throough the weblogs, I've met new net friends. I've started a personal journal again (after more than a 20-year hiatus). I've joined a pair of journaling mailing lists. I've started a Yahoo group called InsPURRation. I've posted more creative messages to the mailing lists I belong to.

It's very likely that a large part of the reason I can do this is because I'm currently unemployed. I have the time; I have the energy. I'm not being pulled in many directions at once. I hope I'll be able to find the resources to continue when (note that I optimisticly say when) I find a job.

Circle of Words #3 - posted by Vicki at Tue, 20 Jan, 11:17 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 12, 2004

Circle of Words - #2

I cannot believe that the inscrutable universe turns on an axis of suffering; surely the strange beauty of the world must somewhere rest on pure joy.
- Louise Bogan

1.   Do you ever sit back and just smell the flowers? Do you ever lay in the sun and appreciate just life in general? Do you look at the good in things...or are you always searching for the bad? Do you spend minutes and hours worrying what might happen, instead of realizing you control your own destiny...you can make it happen....or not?

Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.
- Russell H. Cornwell

2.   We all have within us dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled. "Diamonds to be Discovered" so to speak. But how many of us really take our dreams and turn them into reality? If you could do anything right now, what would you do? What would you be? How would you do it? And why haven't you done it already?

If your everyday life seems poor, don't blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.
- Rainer Maria Rilke

3.   Procrastination. Procrastination is our worst enemy. It is what makes us tell ourselves that we will start the diet tomorrow. We will clean the kitchen floor tomorrow. We will tell our husbands that we love them....tomorrow. You get the idea. We are all guilty of some type of procrastination. What types are you guilty of? And don't you think it's about time you stop thinking about what you should be doing and plain old just start doing it!? Every time you procrastinate you are robbing yourself of an opportunity. Even that clean kitchen floor will make you enjoy the evenings dinner more knowing that it is done and you don't have to do it tomorrow.


[ I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. I am continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in 2004. ]

My thoughts

Appreciation: I sit back and appreciate as much as I can (possibly more than I should sometimes!) I also try to look for the good if possible.

I've seen the bad. It comes whether you prepare for it and worry about it or not — and all the worrying and preparation in the world won't protect you. So hold onto the good and don't let go. Hug the spouse, pet the kitties, thump the dog, spend time with your friends. Appreciate today, it won't come again.

Dreams: Do we? Do we all "have within us dreams that are waiting to be fulfilled"? What do I dream of...? I dream of an independently-wealthy life. I dream of not having to commute to a job. I've had that once or twice. I dream of making it permanent. I dream of being able to take (or not take) contracts based solely on my interest.

With the current lousy job market, this dream is further out of reach than it appeared to be 5 years ago. I dream of noth needing to work for a living, for some manager type on some project not of my choosing. If I could do anythng right now? I'd work at home, on projects I enjoy (and only on those). Ah, that would be the life!

Procrastination: I've gotten better at handling household maintenance. I know that if I decide to clean the counter "later" it will only get worse. And I've been practicing complimenting people now instead of "sometime" for years. I tell hubby I love him today, too, as well as tomorrow (I love you, sweetie).

The thing I put off most often is starting new projects; once I get into them I'm usually fine, but starting is always very difficult. Oh, and getting up in the morning. I try to postpone that for as long as possible (even though I know, intellectually, that I should get up and start working).

Circle of Words - #2 - posted by Vicki at Mon, 12 Jan, 18:59 Pacific | Comments (0)

Monday January 05, 2004

Circle of Words - #1

[I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. I am continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in 2004.]

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
-Zora Neale Hurston

The New Year brings upon us many resolutions that will go unmet. Instead of a resolution...how about an aspiration. What are your hopes for this new year?


We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides
The spirit bloweth and is still
In mystery our soul abides.


My hopes for this year include:

    ...for Rich's job to continue and for him to continue to be happy with it

    ...for me to find paid employment that I like, especially and most preferably paid employment that doesn't take me out of the house 5 days a week

    ...continued health for me and mine

    ...contentment; satisfaction; a sense of accomplishment

    ...positive results from the low-carb program

    ...time with family and friends

Circle of Words - #1 - posted by Vicki at Mon, 05 Jan, 00:39 Pacific | Comments (1)

Saturday December 27, 2003

Circle of Words - #50

Circle of Words was inspired by Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The book is in journal format; the book (and the original meme) end with this set of questions. From the meme's founder:
This is the last week of the Circle of Words questions. I will leave them available so you may start back at the beginning if you joined later in the year. Or you may purchase the book (check info at the COW webpage) and begin your own journal entries/questions.

I had much fun writing the questions and hope you have enjoyed them.
- Candi, Circle of Words

I did not join Circle of Words until it was in week #48. I will be continuing with the meme, starting from week #1, in the new year.


It's a Wonderful Life

Instead of the usual "Why can't we make movies more like real life?"  I think a more pertinent question is "Why can't real life be more like the movies?"
- Ernie Pyle
1.   Are there any movies or actors in a particular movie that you think closely resemble your life? If you could choose a movie or actor to be your real life, which one would you choose?

Two Lives

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
- Joseph Campbell
2.   Do you ever feel as though you would like something in your life to be different, but you would have to give up something in order to get there? Do you think you will ever be able to give up this thing to get what it is you want? Do you think your life is better now or would it be better if you made this change?

Pray the Journey is Long

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may only be the beginning.
- Ivy Baker Priest
3.   Life is a journey. We try to live each day to its fullest and pray that we will be here again tomorrow.  What do you see in your future?  If you could peek ahead into your life what would you hope to see in 10 years? In 20?


The Movie — Boring answer #1: I can't think of a movie (or actors) or even a book that resembles my life. If I could choose, I wouldn't. I like my real life just fine, most of the time. Besides, most movies have too much action and not nearly enough cats!

Second LifeDo you ever feel as though you would like something in your life to be different, but you would have to give up something in order to get there? Boring answer #2: No. There are things I wish were different but nothing I might give up would change that.
Way way back when I was starting College, I expected to get a BS, then a Masters, then a PhD and become a Biochemist. So, in many ways, my life has already changed from what I had "planned". I think it changed considerably for the better.

The Journey — In 10 years or 20, I hope to see myself still with Richard, here in this house. If all goes well, I'll have had one or two decades of work behind me in at least one or two jobs I enjoyed! I hope for a healthy journey for all of us, a long happy life for each member of our current kitty tribe, sufficient wealth to get us thorough without stumbling, a sense of satisfaction, contentment, and a reasonable dose of happiness.

Circle of Words - #50 - posted by Vicki at Sat, 27 Dec, 12:06 Pacific | Comments (0)

Wednesday December 17, 2003

Circle of Words - #49

Circle of Words was inspired by Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy currently on the "Bargain Books" list at Barnes&Noble.com (hardcover for only $4.98 while supplies last). Here are this week's entries.


Legacy of Love

All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
- Leo Tolstoy

1.  Not all Christmas celebrations are filled with happiness. Some are difficult to handle due to a recent loss of a loved one, divorce, or other painful event.  Have you had a Christmas like this? What do you remember about this particular Christmas?

Meditation for Women Who Read Too Much

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
- Louisa May Alcott

2.  Do you enjoy reading? What sort of things do you read - books, magazines, etc?  What do you feel you get out of reading?  Does your joy of reading helps you in your own life experiences, how?

A Birthday Ritual

The birthday of my life
Is come, my love is come to me.

- Christina Georgina Rossetti

3.  Today is probably not your birthday, but it does come every year. How do you usually celebrate your special day? Do you enjoy the day or do you dread the idea of being one year older?  Happy Birthday to you on your special day!! May each and every year be better than the one before!


Celebrations — Yes, I have had a Christmas like this. It was... difficult... not something I care to remember. In the past 5 years I've been working on reducing stress. I have "given myself permission" to opt out of the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season.

Reading — Do I enjoy reading? Do cats enjoy naps?

I read everything — books, technical books, magazines, newspapers (when I see them), and the backs of cereal boxes :-) I read for pleasure, for knowledge, and because there's something in front of me with words on it. Mostly, I read fiction. I get many things out of reading, including information, entertainment, and travel. Through books I can travel to other worlds and meet people I would never have met otherwise. I'm sure my reading has an effect on my "everyday life experiences", but I'm not sure I could enumerate how; reading is simply an integral, necessary part of my life, like breathing or cats.

Birthdays — A very merry un-birthday to you (to me!)

My birthday falls at the end of January, precisely 5 weeks after Christmas. When I was little, I would always ask for special presents "For Christmas or My Birthday". I love my birthday; it's my day. I have more of an affinity for birthdays than for Christmas. I don't think about age (I have never given much thought to age, not to mine or to anyone else's). I often celebrate by taking a day off from work (when, that is, I have a job!)

Circle of Words - #49 - posted by Vicki at Wed, 17 Dec, 00:50 Pacific | Comments (0)

Tuesday December 09, 2003

Circle of Words - #48

I'm trying something new. Circle of Words is one of several "memes" on the web right now. It's been ongoing for almost a year now; this is week 48 and I've only just found it!

Circle of Words is

...a weekly set of questions that are somewhat personal, spiritual, and will explore your inner most thoughts and feelings. Hopefully these questions will provide you with a little bit of  personal therapy and allow your readers a little peek inside your soul.

Each question will first start off with a quote from someone famous, or not so famous, which relates to the topic of the question. There may be one or several questions afterwards.

This week's questions are (surprise :-) about Christmas.


Only Seventeen Shopping Days Till Christmas

Giving presents is a talent; to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well.
- Pamela Glenconner
1.   Do you enjoy Christmas shopping? Who do you enjoy shopping for? Do you find it frustrating to shop for certain people? Who and Why?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

There is only one deprivation. . . and that is not to be able to give one's gifts to those one loves most.
- May Sarton
2.  The holidays sometimes cause us to try to do too many things at once. Our loved ones may go without because we offer our time to others. Do you tend to spread yourself too thin at the holidays? What types of things do you commit to that you wish you wouldn't?

There is a Santa Claus

Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

- Francis P. Church

3.  Do you remember how you found out that your parents were actually Santa Claus? How old were you? If you have children, do they still believe? If so, what sort of traditions do you carry on in regards to Santa. Do they write a letter, leave cookies, etc?


Giving Presents — I answered a similar question last Friday.

I don't much enjoy shopping in general and over the past decade I have become less and less enamored of Christmas shopping - the rush, the pressure, the counting (dollars and people), the crowds, the traffic, the requirement. So, a few years ago... we stopped. We don't do this anymore. Our relatives and friends are free to buy/make/give us presents or not, as they choose, and we are free to do the same.

That said, I do enjoy buying and giving gifts, once the pressure is off to do so for a specific number of people on a particular day of the year. I find it much easier now that we discover, buy, and give gifts when the mood strikes, when we see something that would be perfect for a special person.

Time — Again, we've "given ourselves permission" to opt out of the stress of the holidays and we've told our relatives that they may feel they may do the same in respect to us. The holidays are a pleasant time now, a time to rest and relax.

Santa Claus — What?!?! My parents were Santa Claus?

I think I always knew that my parents were Santa's helpers. And sometime around the time I was 12 or so, I became a helper too, sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night to hang a special ball on the Christmas tree, then coming back upstairs to fill stockings for Mom & Dad. After all, why should only us kids get all the fun.

When I was a child we always hung stockings but we never left milk & cookies. Maybe, if we'd had a fireplace and chimney, things would have been different ;-) Rich and I don't have human kids and our furkids don't much care if Sandy Claws brings them a special treat or not (although 4 cat children in the house does rather limit our decorating possibilities).

I find I prefer to believe Francis Church's 1897 response to Virginia O'Hanlon.

No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Circle of Words - #48 - posted by Vicki at Tue, 09 Dec, 15:38 Pacific | Comments (1)