Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Breathe Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Kate Nolan. The fancy-dancy random number generator picked your comment as the winner! I will be in touch soon to mail out your necklace. Enjoy!

Words that speak to me...

The Art of Disappearing
By Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.
If they say we should get together.
say why?
It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.
When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On Belonging

Most days in this world and in most places I have felt a lack of belonging. Growing up I didn't associate myself with any crowd in particular. I never belonged to a church congregation. I never belonged with the popular girls at school. When I moved to a rural town in my early teens I most certainly did not belong there.

Wherever I went I felt alone.

Even today as a mother I feel like the one who is always waiting in the shadows. I am the quiet observant one. I am the woman who will sit on the edge with a stiffness to her posture and a serious look on her face. I am the mom who sometimes finds it too hard to get out of the car and converse with others mothers at the bus stop. I am that woman.

But why......?

The answer came to me last week from the mouth of a wise woman (an honest to goodness wise woman). She told me: "You don't feel like you belong therefor you don't." How true these words rang. It has started to occur to me in the recent past that I alienate myself. I create stories in my head about how I don't belong, that I don't fit in. I think the roots to all of this are even more intricately multifaceted then those words alone.

The truth is I deeply desire to connect with like-minded individuals. I want to belong and to have a tribe. Just. Like. Everyone. Else.

The truth is I haven't always been surrounding myself with like-minded individuals in the past, instead I smothered my own voice and drowned out the whispers of my authenticity.

The truth is that I am only starting to become intimate with the deeper truths of myself. How could I possibly interpret where I fit in and where I do not if I could not see where I stood by myself?

The truth is that usually no one is intentionally leaving me out. I am the one choosing not to participate.

The truth is sometimes I won't always fit in and that is OK

The truth is I believe that the labels we perceive others have and those we assign ourselves keep us from experiencing true connection.

The truth is there is room for me if I let there be.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Officially my transformation to Altered Muse is complete. I am here now in this space, sitting with it, soaking it all in. I like it here. It is comfortable and feminine. I think the name fits. I'm proud to share it with others. In the spirit of re-branding myself and my website I also created a new Facebook fan page if you feel so inclined to "Like" me.

I hesitated even creating one at all but I had one previously strictly for photography. I wanted to create a new home for that as well. In all my recent soul searching the name photographer no longer feels like a comfortable fit to me. My new name better fits my creative spirit and all my projects. From jewelry to photography and even to the Blank Slate Project. I don't want it to be about getting fans. I want it to be about connection. About continuing conversations from here. A place to meet up and share. I hope you will see it that way too.

Also: Don't forget I am giving away a necklace to celebrate my new Etsy shop, you can enter here! There are only 2 days left to get your name in for a chance to win. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Goodbyes and what they mean

14 years ago I convinced my skeptical father along with my step-mom to venture to the human society "just to look." We left with a 6 month old spunky dalmatian/something puppy mix. I suggested a name: Nikita. As in Peta Wilson: Nikita, not from the show that is currently airing.

That dog had her ups and downs. The very first time they brought her over to visit my then fiance and I she raced through our yard and tore her side up on the standpipe faucet. Stitches followed. A few years ago she developed a peculiar lump on her tail and had to have it amputated. That girl had quite the life. She loved chasing squirrels, running just for the sake of running and begging for food. The kitchen was her favorite hangout. She was terrified of hot air balloons and fireworks. She had daily allergy pills in her diet and a pink tinge to her skin from scratching, but she thrived.

I've never been much of a dog person, I tend to gravitate towards the smaller furrier foes of the dogs. But Nikita was still our pet too. We loved her. Today we had to say goodbye.

At the veterinary office I allowed the tears to flow as she took her last breath. She was there and then she wasn't. Only a shell of what she was is left. We talked about how she might decide to be a bird in another life. My daughter, Hailee, showed her how to sit like a Buddha (her current fixation). On the drive home Hailee made us laugh, providing the comic relief we needed as only a 6 year old could. She doesn't quite grasp the concept of death but yet she doesn't question it either. She seems comfortable with it. Hell, I don't even understand the concept of death. It all happens so quickly, in an instant life departs from our fragile shells of a body. We are here and then we aren't.

I don't have a belief system on where we go to next. I am still searching for that answer. I do know one thing. When you gaze upon the body of someone or something that has departed even though they may appear to look exactly as you remember them. Something is just slightly different. Like a small piece or detail is missing. Like their soul has departed perhaps. I'm sure I will never fully be able to wrap my head around the beauty and complexity of it all.

But we all march on, don't we? Death is part of Life. The shadow to balance the light. The sadness ebbs and flows like the tides but as time goes on so do we and the pain lessons. I'm OK with that. Feeling present in the sadness right now but allowing my life to go on at the same time. Showing my daughter what it means to cry and laugh. To feel.

Rest well Nikita, or run well. Wherever you are, be well...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Giveaway!

In celebration of my new Etsy shop opening this week I am giving away one of my newly created necklaces! "What's that? Necklaces!" you say. Oh yes I am spreading my creative wings! I have been sitting with the idea for months. It actually was the main reason the transition to Altered Muse took place. I spent days toying around with names that would symbolize all the creative passions I explore. This rebirth opens the door for new possibilities and doesn't leave me boxed into one specific title or hobby.

To enter simply leave a comment below by April 27 telling me the one word you find peace with. What word helps you feel uplifted or grounded? What word keeps you present or takes you back? What word is your word? Is it your word of the year or something else? I will choose one comment at random on April 27 at 9:00pm PST to receive the Breathe necklace pictured above.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A new path...

So here I am again. Starting over with a new blog. Only its not really starting over. I know you all are here with me on this journey. All my past posts have traveled with me instead of being deleted or left behind. I am once again staggering along on my crooked path. I love it here in my new home, in this moment. I hope you will too.

My inner critic has been raging at me; yelling at first then nagging. Why am I moving to a new site? Why does it matter? Why am I changing names again? Why to Blogger and not to a self-hosted site? Because this just feels right in this particular time for me. Because I need simple. Because I wanted to leave the work of creating a beautiful home for my words to someone who could do it best. Because I have changed and my site needed to reflect who I am now.

I know I have been building up the anticipation for weeks around this. I was hopeful it would have been ready sooner but fate had other plans and I was given an opportunity to practice patience. Something if you really knew me is not the norm around here.

I would like to thank Danielle Moss for helping bring my vision to light and giving Altered Muse a home. She put a lot of hours on this in between dealing with a crisis at home. Plus as an added benefit she got to deal with my indecisiveness and neurotic impulses. She deserves an extra gold star for all her gorgeous work!

So welcome to Altered Muse! I am so happy to have you here. Please pull up a chair and stay for awhile. I have more excitement and announcements coming soon!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Subtle Signs

Spring! by Shutterbug Cel
Spring!, a photo by Shutterbug Cel on Flickr.
Slowly, Spring is making her way to Idaho. Very slowly I might add. This winter has felt especially long and brown. We had little snow but plenty of cloudy cold days. I cannot wait for more sunny days.The Forsythia bush in our yard is my first hint of the change coming.