Putting It All Together

There is something extremely satisfying about taking bits and pieces and putting them together to make something new. Something wonderful. Something unexpected.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you handle it. If Life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If the lemons are rotten, take out the seeds and plant them in order to grow new lemons.

Louise Hay

One thing I, like millions of other folks, have discovered is that while the Rest of the World may be chaotic, focus on simple things, simple steps can restore peace and order.

Quilters take big pieces of fabric, cut it unto small pieces and the sew it to other small pieces to make a big piece once again.

Cooks and bakers combine ingredients to make things that not only feed your body, but your soul.

Musicians take sounds, combine them with other sounds and magic happens.

For some, this process is a new and potentially scary endeavor. For others the process is not only a necessary way of basic survival, but a trusted ally in good and bad times.

Sending you warm thoughts and virtual hugs.

Rediscovering

What to do when you’ve done it all. More than once.

By now some of us have baked far too much, cooked more than we thought we were capable of, cleaned until we can’t clean any more and have become bored by what we normally look forward to watching.

There is something special about rediscovering things you used to do, but for reasons no one remembers, you stopped doing.

Me? I pulled out my CD collection, turned on the DVD player and started rediscovering my music collection.

Streaming is a great option, but as many have discovered not everything is available to download or tuck into a playlist. My CD and DVD collections fill the gap left when what is available just isn’t interesting at the moment.

I have to admit, I do forget that my ancient DVD player has the capability to do more than play video. It is a nice surprise because not only does it allow me to play my music, it plays it through my TV which has pretty amazing speakers. Win/Win!

So far, I’ve pulled relaxing works to listen to. I may move into some soundtracks or rock and roll or <shrug> who knows?

What I do know is that there is something to occupy that space in my head that isn’t overwhelmed by all the outside noise. Not that the Outside Noise isn’t sometimes necessary, it is just a bit too much.

So, if you are feeling a bit lost and in need of Something Different, why not dig into your stash and see what treasures you can find to replace the Outside Noise and restore some joy?

Around The House

Or, How to Freak Out The Cat Without Trying

Today was a Finish Up Project Day. Why? I have no idea other than I just needed a change. ๐Ÿ™‚

I finished clearing out the laundry area. This was done after steam cleaning the floors, putting shelving back into place and stocking it with a better organized group of Things I need To Have Handy But Don’t Need Every Day.

This project has been going on long enough Bella Cat discovered the Interesting Hidey Spot Beside and Behind the Dryer. It no longer exists as the shelving resides next to it and the steamer has a new home behind it. ๐Ÿ™‚

As I mentioned floors have been steam cleaned, or vacuumed, depending upon location. Trash taken out. Dishes done. Laundry done – and (miracle!) out of the dryer.

Bella had been lounging on the bed when I started steaming the floors. Sadly, it was at that same moment she decided to see what I was up to. Picture: Cat stuck in doorway, terrified of The Thing in Mom’s hands. I finished what I was doing and she flew past me to come to a screeching stop in the Living Room and wonder what had happened to all the Stuff.

This cat Really Does Not Like Change and the afternoon was full of it. Smells were different. Spaces were no longer there. (!!!) Spaces were once again there. (!!!!) Windows were opened and fans on. That funny thing that made some noise but lots of funny air. And, let us not forget, the vacuum was out and about. Yikes!

Bella has once again discovered the Library window and has been enjoying every second possible watching Outside and napping while Mom Works.

She has also discovered the front door and has been seen stretching out to luxuriate in the sunshine.

I’m willing to think she has recovered from her stressful day. Me? I could use a nice glass of wine, a hot shower and a nap. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bread Follow Up

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a very old Sears machine that I love.

When I moved, this machine lived in storage for far too long, and as a result I ended up buying a different machine for the interim. When the storage locker was cleared, the second machine went to the second hand shop with my blessing. It made great dough, it was a lousy baking machine.

My machine, old as it is, does all the functions perfectly.

If you are considering a machine, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good machine. Good Housekeeping has done a great review on 6 Best Bread Machines to consider.

Why buy a machine instead of making bread by hand? You can have flexibility to create bread while doing something else entirely. (You don’t do all your laundry by hand, right? Same principle.) You have control of the ingredients in the bread. No additives or chemicals to keep it shelf stable. If you have dexterity issues, the machine takes the “work” out of the process.

If you are considering a machine, please keep in mind you will need space to use and space to store the machine.

Whatever you decide, good luck!

Spring Has Arrived!

Ever since I first moved to California, Spring arrived with Naval Oranges.

Now, for some that might sound a bit odd, but please consider. Southern California has basically one, maybe two, seasons. Summer and Wet Summer. After a while, unless the Weather Angel gets a bit on edge, it is pretty much the same, day after day.

For a girl from the Midwest, who was used to having Four Entire Seasons, this was…a touch confusing. I could totally lose track of where we were in the year simply because there was nothing to highlight the changes.

Outside my window, the trees were either Evergreens or Palms. And then one year I went to San Francisco in October and was totally blown away by all the red, yellow and orange leaves. Yep, San Francisco has trees that are not Palm Trees. Wow! I’d forgotten what Fall looked like.

My dad thought I was nuts, but he also thought that 40 degree weather isn’t “cold”, either. To be honest, from his point of view when the weather got down to the 20’s that was cold. If it did that in Southern California people would be in shock, if not the hospital.

Anyway, back to Spring. Today I got my First of the Year Naval Oranges.

With all the things going on right now, that small touch of sweetness brought a bit of normal back. Better than flowers in the yard. Better than blue skies. Better than warm temperatures. Better than chocolate.

I hope you find what makes Spring for you. Enjoy it. Embrace it.

Old Friends

โ€œFriendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: โ€˜What! You too? I thought I was the only one.โ€

C. S. Lewis

I’ve been having a conversation with a new acquaintance about our interactions with some old friends. It has been a very interesting, and enlightening, discourse.

Some of these folks I’ve known for 5 decades, give or take. Others came along at varying intervals. My acquaintance, however, is a bit younger and that perspective is different.

Disclaimer: Our conversations have focused on a shared love of the various parts and pieces of “Star Trek” et al.

As I’ve contemplated our discussions, it occurred to me that the relationships we have with people, and characters, are built on how we connect. That spark of recognition, understanding, curiosity that began the connection.

I’m a long time Trek fan, but I also have similar connections with characters of other works; Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” series, Tolkein’s “Lord of the Rings”, “NCIS” et al, to name but a few.

For most of my life, I’ve been around people who never quite understood why I enjoyed certain things. Science Fiction was way out of the comfort zone for many folks I knew. I was a reader, something else that confounded people, and that didn’t begin to include the types of things I read. To be around people who enjoy books is a rare and wonderful pleasure. To be able to share a media franchise, like “Star Trek” can be great fun. “Outlander” books are my preferred version because they are Gabaldon’s work unfiltered, unedited, unchanged. Tolkien gives me nightmares along with some truly amazing stories. Being able to talk with people who have similar reactions is very enjoyable.

There is something about being around people for a long period of time. You get to know them. Their habits, quirks, warts and all. One may be a bit of a curmudgeon, but underneath has a heart of gold. Another will give you the shirt of his back, no questions asked. A third loves the adventure, just isn’t quite sure when, how, etc.

Each brings something to the table – as we do ourselves. That is something I would venture is rarely thought about. ๐Ÿ™‚

On a recent episode of “Star Trek Picard” I spent time with old friends that have been a part of my life for around 35 years. Coming together again after so many years was full of joy, serenity, safety and comfort. This was a group of people I knew and trusted and they were just as I thought they would be. Riker cooking, Troi keeping watch, Picard looking for a place to just be. And those of us who came along for the visit sitting in the background watching, listening, remembering. There is a lot to remember.

As I reflect on 50 odd years of Trek, there is, indeed, a lot to remember. Good and bad, happy and sad. A lot of the person I am today came from those people. More, perhaps, than the ones I spent time with outside of the book, TV or film.

I’ve always thought of “Outlander” as being up in Grandma’s attic reading journals from her trunk. The story spans such a large time period there is a lot of people, let alone history, to take in.

A recent episode of “NCIS” brought home the idea of how these characters become part of a family – the viewer’s family – in ways we don’t always recognize.

Gibbs watched Bishop do something that would have been inconceivable when she first joined the team many years before. Watching him stop and observe her, and then smile, made me smile. The kid, who, when she first came along preferred sitting on the floor with her laptop, was growing up and turning into quite a formidable agent.

I had a similar moment many years ago during a first run viewing of “Star Trek: The Search For Spock”. I was sitting in the theater surrounded by hundreds of other fans and there was a moment where Kirk plotted to embark on a scheme that Starfleet would not sanction. We all knew he would find a way to do want he needed to do and we all shared a knowing chuckle as the plan unfolded. We all knew that no matter what, we would be right at his side, too. We trusted him that much and what was at stake was far too important.

In my life there have been very, very few people that I know I can trust that way. I suspect it is a similar situation with many people. We like to think that our group of friends will always been there, but reality tends to show otherwise for a variety of reasons.

As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I treasure those few people, ‘real’ or not, who share the pleasure of their company along with many years of memories. They are true treasure.

“Not all treasure is silver and gold, Mate”

Captain Jack Sparrow

Pondering Time Travel

A while back I came across a couple of people who are costumers by trade and by design. These folks are interested in clothing from different eras. Very. Different. Eras.

In the midst of listening to a couple of vlogs, a comment was made about their journey being, in some form or fashion, time travel.

Hmmm

It makes sense, if you really think about it.

Some folks absolutely love antiques. They fill their homes with furniture that was made long before the current owners were born.

Some folks love reading books or watching TV or films set in time periods that are definitely not their own. Or, more precisely, their current time period.

People love foods that are prepared the way Grandma used to make it or love vintage recipes.

Some folks thrive on Old Time Radio shows and/or music.

All of these things are, essentially, an attempt to time travel.

Yes, even when the person(s) is watching science fiction and looking forward, that, too, is time travel.

We tend to look at this fascination with old things as a more reflective and nostalgic exercise, but maybe…maybe it is an attempt to create a time and a place where the ‘now’ is a lot less chaotic, busy, noisy, cluttered existence.

Not exactly ‘easy’, just different.

What do you think?