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El-D took me out on a date last night. I got all decked out and then asked him who he thought I was going as.  He dubbed my look Spunky Spice; I dubbed his Incognito. 

Pockets of free time are bursting open in my world – time for dates and other joys – a welcomed gift following a frenzied semester that is nearly over.

Here’s what I love most about December: all the busy-busy of autumn finally finds its way back to stillness. It’s Nature’s time for sleep and dreams.

Only four days in to December, but sleep and dream, I have.  Strange dreams go on and on across years of life, a parallel universe transversed in a single night.

December means time to catch up with old friends, which brings to me to the story of beauty secrets that inspires this post.  The other day I saw a friend I’ve known for many years.  About six months have passed since our last visit. On this occasion she surprised and delighted me by speaking the words every woman wants to hear.  She said,

“Everytime I see you, you look younger and more beautiful! What is your secret?”

Never being one to accept compliments gracefully, I laughed in her face at the absurdity of the remark.

Afterall, I do keep mirrors around the house and I can see Time’s lines etching across my face.  And let me assure you, I know the number of wayward silver hairs wildly weaving through my tresses: sixteen.

Having more social grace than I, she persisted, “No, seriously, what’s your secret? Do you use Oil of O’lay or what?”

I should also explain that my friend and I were in a pretty dark room, so her projection of beauty was  clearly being cast by her own inner light.

Her sweet words got me thinking about the many magazine and internet pages we have devoted to sharing beauty secrets.  So much “beauty” is out there being sold and prescribed: pills, products, lotions, serums, and surgeries. Take your pick.  From eyelashes to fingernails — you can find your beauty fix.  Adornment at these fringes, is that beauty?

Perhaps beauty isn’t in the products we add, but in what we take away or avoid.

Let me tell you another little story.  Around age 8 I began painting my nails – fingers and toes. I collected a rainbow of colors and at least an hour each week was devoted to removing polish, filing, and repainting. This strange obsession of mine went on for a quarter of a century! It wasn’t until my 30s when my nails beneath the paint had turned brittle and yellow that it finally occurred to me I was putting toxic chemicals on my body – and wasting  a lot of time and money in the process. In the elegant words of Sweet Brown,

“Ain’t nobody got time for dat!”

So I stopped.  Without the distraction of the poisoning Mint Candy Apple polish at my fingertips,  I had more time to think about and do other things. Time has to be filled somehow. Shortly thereafter, I also quit eating meat. My conscience could no longer abide the behavior. I’ve never made the connection between these two decisions before now, but I was doing a bit of thinking at that time about the environment and consumption and how I wanted my existence to contribute to the world.  Life went on. My nails grew back healthy and natural. It took awhile to get used to seeing them all naked and unpainted, but eventually I came to realize naked is pretty sexy.

As I write this, I realize how often beautiful and famous celebrities choke the airwaves with their beauty secrets. Why should they get all the attention? We ALL have beauty.  And sometimes our best kept beauty secrets are hidden even from ourselves.  Let’s own up to it.

So what’s my beauty secret?

Beauty comes from prioritizing radiant health and a clear conscience.

What are your beauty secrets?  Please share them.



More Flowers!

More Flowers!

Daffodil Duck (aka Daffy)

Daffodil Duck (aka Daffy)

This week started with me falling out of my house.  I fall often and each time I wind up here writing about it. Sadly, I’m not kidding.  There was the  “how-did-I-wind-up-here?” fall and the “fall-and-jump-back-up-nope-nothing-to-see-here” experience and the “fall-wearing-a-skirt-and-cuss-like-a-sailor-while-showing-panties-to-everyone-on-campus incident — all are clickable and readable to meet your schadenfreude needs.  I do aim to please.

Monday’s fall was a new kind for me.  It was the sort of fall that goes on forever –  all slow motion. I existed in a precarious state of unbalance on the threshold between the house and garage for a very long time, knowing the fall was inevitable, but trying my hardest to will it not so. My mind and body finally surrendered to physics. Even after I acknowledged I was passed the point of no return there was time to observe and consider many things.  As the fall went on and on, I registered that the baby ducks’ water needed changing; that my trajectory, if not corrected, would land me in the pile of fresh cat puke at the bottom of the steps; that the glass of grape juice I was holding was lifted up in toast-making fashion (Cheers!); that I needed to swing my satchel across my back so my computer wouldn’t hit the floor.  I  completely bypassed the three steps leading from the threshhold down to the cold concrete ground of the garage.  Grape juice and ice flew up into the air and  then rained down on my head, shirt and pants as time went back to normal at the point of impact.  It was a spectacular descent if I do say so myself – all action movie hero-like. The computer was saved, nothing was broken, and I avoided the cat puke.  My one disappointment was that no one was there to serve as a witness.

There was no where to go from that point but up.

It’s been a lovely week.

Baby ducks Giggles, Olaf, and Chopper are doing well…

got my ducks in a row

got my ducks in a row

Giggles, on the far left in the picture above, is clearly the diva of the bunch.

work it girl!

Giggles – Work it Girl!


I finally got around to giving Herman a glorious toupee.  Herman is the planter I made last summer out of a hypertufa concoction.  We went for a punk rocker mohawk style for this season.  Don’t ask me what’s up with the stick. I didn’t put it there. A little friend must have decided his ‘do needed more something….

Herman the Hypertufa Planter

Herman the Hypertufa Planter


I also finished an ensemble because Skattur insisted something should be done.  El-D built the boxes from pallets, I mosaiced the middle pot from broken dishes found in the barn, and the doggy on top came from the Goodwill.


pallet planters and mosaic pots

pallet planters and mosaic pots

Next week I’m aiming for Faerie Houses….




Before last week I’d only visited Vegas once. On that trip the company couldn’t have been better.  We saw a fantastic show (Mystère), a fascinating exhibit (Bodies), and we drank champagne while watching the Bellagio Fountains dance to the tune of an Elvis song. The whole affair lasted about 36 hours, which was enough Vegas to last me several lifetimes.  The excess of it all was… well… excessive.   If America was Panem of the The Hunger Games, which I guess it is in Suzanne Collins’ post-apocolyptic world, then Vegas could be the Capitol. And I’d probably live somewhere around District 11. That’s how far removed I am from Vegas.

These days I am quite content to work in District 11 and watch the flowers bloom and the bees buzz, ya know? So I was ‘meh’ about going there for a business trip last week, but it was something I was compelled to do.


By day two in the Capitol I felt like this:



…as a result of too much everything everywhere.

I realized then we needed to make a major detour, lest I start attacking things Katniss-style. And that was when I stumbled upon exactly what was needed: a place to watch the flowers bloom and the bees buzz.


The wonderful Sharon Prier led the way.  She guided us on a hike through Red Rock Canyon, which culminated in a beautiful yoga practice.  It was the highlight of the trip.  Thank you so much Sharon for your guidance and presence.

Red Rock Canyon Yoga Hike

Red Rock Canyon Yoga Hike


 Any worthwhile detours you’ve taken lately?

Please help me identify these beauties.

Pretty Thing 1

Pretty Thing 1


Pretty Thing 2

Pretty Thing 2


Pretty Purple Thing 3 & Pretty Pink Thing 4

Pretty Purple Thing 3 & Pretty Pink Thing 4


I am much obliged.








One of the blogs I read, Garden Variety, featured artist Lynn Karlin today. You can check out her gorgeous work in the link below:

On a Pedestal | Lynn Karlin’s Vegetable Art.

Do you know why the caged rose sings?

Why does the caged rose sing?



This week as the roses are making one last glorious stand against the imminent winter,  I have been running around the yard cheering them on.   Today’s bright chill and tonight’s impending freeze threatens to squeeze the life right out of them.  A surrendered rose is such a sad (though still beautiful) sight.  But tonight we gather close tonight around the fire.


November 2013 016


It’s not just the roses creating a spectacle. The pineapple basil, of all things, has decided to shoot off some fireworks during its last hurrah.

November 2013 007


November 2013 010

Nickel “You Can Call Me Flower if You Want to” Kitty 

And there’s Nickel Kitty, who appears to be a little disgusted by all the attention being lavished on the flowers.

November 2013 022


Vase: $1.00 from the Goodwill

Flowers: Free from God.

Fall Beauty: Priceless.

(Who needs Mastercard?)


june garden 020

hydrangea magic

If you believe in magic, come along with me

We’ll dance until morning till there’s just you and me.

And maybe, if the music is right,

I’ll meet you tomorrow, sort of late at night

And we’ll go dancing, baby, then you’ll see 

 How the magic’s in the music and the music’s in me.

–The Lovin’ Spoonful


butterfly song

The musical harmonies throughout Nature are going on all the time. Everything that moves, sings as it moves; and ‘all things are moving, Nothing is absolutely inert, consequently everything sings, and the stars in their majestic cyclical motions, and the planets in their orbits, sing the Song of the Spheres; but our senses are not attuned to take it in. . . .

sunflower singing

sunflower singing

They sing, all these entities, from the music in their own spirit-souls; they can do naught else but sing. They are harmony in their inmost being, and this harmony wells up as from a fountain and comes out and expresses itself in song.

— G. de Purucker

the lettuce tree orchestra

the lettuce tree orchestra

Dedicated to El-D…

(I love you, you know.)

Tulsa October 026

The Lotus

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying,
and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.

Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my
dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.

That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to
me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.

I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this
perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

—Rabindranath Tagore

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