Monthly Archives: January 2013

+16 Personal space

+16runtreeWhen I need to clear my head, I run. A year ago I never would’ve imagined myself uttering those words. Every step forward is a physical reminder of my inner strength and when I don’t think I can go any further, I pray. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Yesterday, I ran with a pack of angels. Normally, I run alone. (Pictured above is my most favorite running trail)

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+15 Family trumps all

+15 Family trumps all

I always find ice and snow captivating. This morning I awoke to ice-covered trees. The landscape reflected shades of gray and white with warm flecks of rust and gold. I embrace the feelings that a gray and desolate day can hold. Little glimmers of hope amidst desolation. A visual representation of the valley of death with a shadow of light hinting at the coming renewal.

I spent the better part of today thinking I’d be writing a poem about what was occurring in nature but life and the mundane had other plans. My son needed to make a recipe from Madagascar to bring into his Global Cuisine class. What we thought was going to be a simple coconut pudding turned out to be a late night cooking fest. The recipe stated that it only served 4, so we doubled it in order for us to be able to sample some at home. Little did we know that the Madagascaran (?) appetite must be huge because the recipe made enough to serve at least 20. While the recipe’s name indicated it was a pudding, it most certainly was not, nor was it a cake by any true definition of the word. It involved boiling large quantities of coconut milk and then cooking a whole box of Cream of Wheat in the milk with a fantastic assemblage of spices. The topping was made out of carmelized sugar which took an eternity to achieve the correct consistency. Below are a couple of photos of the “cake” and my son experimenting with the carmelized sugar.

What was learned in the kitchen tonight? My son is enjoying listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has a knack for choosing the most time intensive recipes as this was not our first foray into lengthy food creations (don’t get me started on homemade ravioli), and that spending unplanned time with my son in the kitchen into the wee hours of night will always mean more to me than expressing myself through a poem.

So… family trumps all.

+15cake+16

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+14 Just another day

+14 Just another day

I worked on my intertwined tree drawing a little more today. I have ideas swirling around in my head now of possibly incorporating the tree with this week’s theme of nemesis. We’ll see. This tree is becoming particularly hard to finish drawing because I am using a photo as a reference and the branches are getting to tiny to see so instead I have to replicate them on my own. This kind of tree bends and twists in ways that I am not used to and I don’t feel like I am doing a good job of conveying that fact.

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+13 Nuts and bolts

Today was a nuts and bolts kind of day… literally. Jeff and the coal boiler installer, Matt, worked in the basement on the new boiler non-stop from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm. The kind of work they did is just not the same kind of work you’d be doing in a modern house… Jeff had to chip away at the cement to change the opening from 4″ inches to 8″ inches to accomodate the exhaust pipe (I *think*). And, because a metal plate from the new (used) boiler was missing, Matt decided to cut a piece of sheet metal from the old boiler and fabricate it into a usable piece on the new boiler. This kind of work fascinates me and reminds me of times long gone by. I wonder what would happen if our country had to suddenly start manufacturing more of it’s own products again rather than outsourcing to other countries. Would our population know what to do? Would we be able to think mechanically or have the right tools? I realize there will always be a segment of the population that passes on knowledge or studies that sort of thing, but I tend to think that this type of knowledge was more commonplace a hundred years ago. Matt shared with us that he never imagined that he’d be getting calls from all up and down the east coast asking him questions about coal boiler installation and burning coal. I realize that coal is looked upon as “dirty” and damaging to the environment, but the truth, at least for residents of Pennsylvania and nearby states is that burning coal creates a smaller carbon footprint than oil when you factor in that it is local to PA and surrounding states and doesn’t have to be shipped from overseas or very far at all. I am looking forward to burning coal because it will also represent not being dependent on another country for my heating source. I will be paying a little more than 1/3 of what I was paying for oil equaling more money in my pocket and less in the pockets of foreigners. Oh, and I’ve been told that coal keeps houses warmer than oil or gas heat… but, I’ll give you the 411 on that fact once I have experienced it for myself.

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+12 My muse for nemesis

+12 My muse for nemesis

Today during a conversation over breakfast with my husband and eldest son, the inspiration for my Soulful Saturday theme of “nemesis” came to me. I know exactly what my nemesis is and I am using a painting by one of my favorite artist’s, Gustav Klimt, to inspire me further. In particular, “The Three Ages of Woman,” featured in the photo above is what came to my mind when I figured out what is my nemesis. I truly hope I find time to devote to the project this week since it’s been next impossible to do anything more than live and research coal boilers recently.

As a side note, here are some things I am grateful for this weekend:

1- Being able to see a tiny bit of God’s plan at work.
2- The unexpected help of a complete stranger expecting nothing in return in helping us with this coal boiler process.
3- The much appreciated help of friends coming together to figure out the logistics, lend tools, and lend muscles in moving the very, very heavy coal boiler into the basement via very small stairs.
4- The generosity of friends providing hot showers throughout the week.
5- Breakfast out with my eldest son and youngest daughter and hubby today. It’s always amazing to me how the participants in Sunday breakfast change each week. There used to be a time when it was all 7 of us. Now, that combination changes on a weekly basis.

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+11 Soulful Saturday, week 2

+11 Soulful Saturday, week 2

This week’s theme is nemesis. Feel free to share a link to your drawing, painting, poem, short story, photograph, etc. below in the comments section when you have completed the project.

Last week’s theme and entries can be found here.

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+10 Intertwined

+10 Intertwined

My Soulful Saturday contribution for this week. It is not finished. The physical side of life occupied my time and my mind for most of the week. Keeping this daily journal is going to help me get over the guilt I have for not “doing more”, “creating more”, etc. It’s easy to tell myself in retrospect that I wasted my time when thinking back on various periods in my life. But, this journal is a time tracker and so far has revealed to me that my time for the past ten days has been spent the way it needed to be spent in order to take care of my family and myself.

Tomorrow, I will be posting the theme for week 2 of Soulful Saturday. If anyone wants to join me in creating a piece of art, writing, etc. please feel free to do so.

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+9 Thank you. I’ll keep my problems, you keep yours

There’s a saying that God never gives us more than we can handle. In most cases, I believe this is true. Today, I am keenly aware that I choose my problems over those around me. I’d much rather be dealing with my lack of heat and generating money for a new heating system, than be looking down the nose of cancer with very little prospects of surviving. I’d much rather be shoveling the dirt out of my 112 year old basement than sitting in a lawyer’s office wondering if I will ever receive justice.

Good things happened today; unexpected breakfast with a friend at my favorite place, enough money in our bank account to make the deposit on the new heating system, sweet texts from my baby girl.

Thank you, God, for not giving me more than I can handle. Please help my friends. Image

My nemesis, the 60+ year old broken boiler in the scary basement.

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+8 Creatively surviving

Or, how to live in a house without hot water and heat. Rather than bore you with the details, I’ll just say that anytime I lose heat or power, I realize how grateful I am to have these modern luxuries and how hard daily life must be for those who do not have them.

Since I haven’t been doing anything creative artistically speaking, please check out these entries from this week’s Soulful Saturday theme:

Celebrine’s entry

Renee Cauller’s entry #1

Renee Cauller’s entry #2

I’m sure both artists/writers would love input on their work.

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+7 A haiku for today

Cold feet, frozen toe

Broken heater, find refuge

Warm body, warm soul

 

For more haiku, good and bad, click here.

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