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I woke up this morning “full of awesome” with my new tiara!

“If you can’t find the sunshine be the sunshine,” the optimists say. I’m here to tell you, being the sunshine is a lot of work…and considerably messier than one might think, actually. The present state of at least three rooms in my house could best be described as, “there was an explosion at the rhinestone factory.” The shimmering mess of it all extends beyond my home even; yesterday, as I was going about my mundane rounds someone plucked a errant sequin off me. That reminds me of this time I went to the doctor because I was positive I would soon die from the reaction I was having to poison ivy and the physician squinted at me and said, “I think you have glitter in your hair,” before stammering, “Oh, no…I’m sorry… I see now that’s intentional.” (It was gold hair tinsel. I was feeling festive). I responded that it was totally ok and that I actually get that squinty look a lot. I went on to explain that I work with children and I just have live with the possibility that I could be covered in unintentional glitter at any point in a given day, so I just chose to embrace the sparkle. My filter kicked in before I got to the part about belly dancing, so the rest of the transaction unfolded according to the normal rules of social conduct.

But let’s get back to my tiara. I made it for under $6 from an ugly headband, plastic zip ties, fabric glue, and rhinestone adhesive sticker sheets…and maybe like three prayers and possibly a curse or at least a cuss word. Ok, maybe two.

Here’s its “before” picture:

I may add something else to it to give it a little more pizzazz before it makes its big film debut tomorrow. We’ll see.


Have you ever liked a song so much that you listen to it a gazillion times and you think you have the song all figured out, then years pass and you grow out of that song and move on to other songs until one day you hear the same old song again, but suddenly something in that old, tricky song has shifted and a whole new world of meaning opens?

Of course, it’s the listener that’s changed, not the song, right? Hmmmm…or is it?

No man ever steps into the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.


Or perhaps it’s the zeitgeist that changed. On a grand scale, I think this happened in the collective consciousness with the song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” on the wake of the “Me Too Movement.” What seems like the innocent flirtation of one era turns into nefarious intent in another era.

Recently I experienced a song’s shift (in a good way) when I heard Madonna’s “Vogue.” ‘What just happened here? ‘ I wondered to myself after hearing the song with these 2020 ears. There was a lot more depth there than I remembered there being in 1990 when I first heard it. (Can y’all believe that song is 30 years old now?!) I had to go look up the lyrics and then the etymology of the word “vogue” to discover that in addition to the “fashion forward” meaning of the word, it’s also a boating term indicating the “drift, swaying motion (of a boat).” It’s from Old French voguer, meaning “to row, sway, set sail.” [according to vogue | Search Online Etymology Dictionary (]

So this week in my classes we are going on a sailing adventure.

All you need is your own imagination

So use it that’s what it’s for

Go inside for your finest inspiration

Your dreams will open the door

-Shep Pettibone & Madonna/Vogue

Two weeks away from home seems like a really long time, especially in August when almost everyday marks a celebration of a loved one’s birthday or anniversary.  Then there’s the garden where the roses and clematis are just starting to re-bloom. The cucumbers are ripening on the vine and becoming ready for pickling. In August there are lush, ripe vegetables calling out everyday to be picked and eaten. It’s so hard to step away from the beautiful sight of what you spend so much time nurturing and from what nourishes you.

On the other hand, two weeks is not nearly enough time away when you look up from the roses and sense the frenzy of fall chaos rapidly spinning towards you. Is there a way to put the brakes on the flow time?

Yes. Yes, there is. I have found the answer to the problem of time and I’m here now to share that wisdom with the world.

Here’s how to make time slow down to a crawl: schedule yourself a 12-hour bus ride.  Make it an overnight ride leaving at 8:30 p.m. and arriving at the destination at 8:30 a.m.

So that’s the answer.  You’re welcome.  I’ll now give the play-by-play of the experience in case you need to live it vicariously.  I can’t imagine why you would, but hey, it’s your life.

I had no idea how lucky I was the first 4 hours off the trip with all my leg room in the spacious aisle seat and with my silent, sleeping neighbors. Time nearly came to a complete standstill when I found myself on the layover at our first bus stop. To my left a small child bawled in his unsympathetic mother’s lap and to my right an adult woman bawled into her cell phone. Sandwiched in between this much human tragedy I began to question my own life decisions, as one does, at 1:08 a.m. in a Nashville bus station. The stereo sounds of misery abruptly ended a few moments later when a grown man wearing a Burger King crown walked by and belched; it was a sight and sound unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. The burp itself had a sustained reverb that went on for way longer than anything like that ever should and the deep bass notes echoed against the station’s cavern-like walls, floor, and ceiling.  It was so startling that everyone put their suffering on hold to take a moment of stunned silence.  To some degree, the King’s burp was a relief felt by all.

The next leg of the trip I had a window seat and my new found friend, Tall Tom the Talker, had the aisle.  When he wasn’t talking or asking questions, he was asleep and taking up all of his seat and 2/3 of mine. At least he smelled nice. Before this bus ride I had actually bragged to someone about my ability to sleep anywhere. Those words alternately haunted and entertained me as I sat squashed up against the bus wall shivering from the cold. I wiled away the hours staring at the candy wrappers and trash that bygone passengers had crammed into the metal grate below the tinted windows.

At 5:40 a.m. I found myself in Knoxville, where there was less crying and more mullets. One man’s mullet defied the “business in the front, party in the back”  rule.  His mullet’s party crashed rebelliously through the front door of his business. It featured two braided pigtails styled to cascade forward over his shoulders and down his chest nearly to his waist.  He completed his ensemble with a red t-shirt, cut-off blue jean shorts, rainbow socks, and red tennis shoes.

The time warp continued as I stood in line waiting to board the third bus past the time we were supposed to be departing.  On the last leg of the magic bus ride I watched the sun rise over the mountains of North Carolina.  Twelve hours is all that elapsed on that bus ride and there was a time change somewhere along the way so the trip was only 11 hours, technically. But I was awake and present in those 12 hours (yes, 12) and I’m here to tell you eternity was in the felt experience.

In a recent post about her closet, Michelleatplay posed the question, “What does your closet say about you?”

I’m not sure what my closet says about me, but I had to laugh as I remembered what the Resident Teaologist had to say about it when she walked by…

It looks like either a stripper’s or a drag queen’s closet.

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Hm…maybe she’s right.

1-09-13 ISS 035

This might be a bit outside the norm…

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Several times since we’ve moved in to Peace.Love.Home I’ve spotted a trio of horses in the pasture next door.  I’ve ridden a few times in my life, but I wouldn’t consider myself a horse person.  Still, which each sighting of the trio, my heart quickens a bit.  With their heads bowed to graze, tails swishing and skin twitching, they are mesmerizing.  This week The Devil and I ventured to the fence for a closer look.

The Devil made fun of my attempt to call them over. “It’s not a dog,” he laughed.

 A few kissy sounds, whistles, and tongue clicks later…

Um….Hello, Puppy

I love to get the last laugh, especially when it’s not alone.

Whoa, Nelly!

The horse smelled fantastically horsey.  He shook a dirt cloud on me, sniffed, sized me up with both sides of his head, and then waited expectantly for me to pet his soft, snorty nose.  I was happy to oblige.


Little by little we’re completing projects.

As my belly dancer friends know, I’ve been trading in my sequins, glitter, rhinestones, and beads for this….

I am so “the sexy”

Yesterday I sold my bloomers and daggers.  I’m not kidding.

Upon a moment’s reflection, I just realized that this makes the second time I’ve posted my underwear on my blog.


I guess technically, they’re not my undies anymore, they’re Beth’s.  HaHa, Beth, I posted your undies!

In case you’re just joining the panty adventures and have missed these important highlights, here are links:

Blogging Panties

Gonna Make Me a Panty Quilt

….and honestly, I have no idea how I’ve strayed so far from the original point. Now, where was I?

Oh, yes. Projects! I’m completing them.

I hung fish in the forest!

Now I have six fish swimming in the trees among the birdhouses.  Oh, I know! Let’s play a game: How many fish can you spot in the picture below?

We also finished the herb garden.  It was a joint effort.  The Devil made the planters and A-frame stand out of pallets.  I made the labels out of forks and tin-can lids.  (That last sentence made me feel very ‘Adam Sandler’ in his Pedro skit, “I once made a hat out of a lobster and a stick.”)

Those planters hold basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, carrots, and arugula. Yum!

There are many, MANY projects in the works.  Not enough time to report on them all. Please tune in later for updates on the rennovations to the cottage.

Today a guest post from one of my ashram-mates: The Little-Orphan-Annie-haired Noelle of Be The Breath.  She’s an excellent dancer and a beautiful soul. And, I’ve seen her naked…

Ashram Lessons: 5. How to Survive an Ashram? Get Naked.

June  17, 2011: Journal Entry 1-I’ve only been here five minutes

“…Holy crap, what the heck was I thinking? It feels as if there is no working AC. The only thing more suffocating than the lack of air circulation is the chatter of my fellow devotees. Who are these people? Seriously, who cares if you can balance your entire body on your pinky finger? I can do a kartwheel, mofo. Good freakin’ lord, what have I done? Is there really no air?”

June 21, 2011- Journal Entry 5-Shifting

It’s odd. For the past several days, I pleaded with the universe to let me go home. Begged, cried in the 30 degree shower, and thought my heart was turning inside out and upon itself. Yet today, something shifted. I find myself wishing I could stay forever. Why?

June 30, 2011: Final Ashram Journal Entry-And now it’s time to say goodbye…

“Maybe I should suggest a commune. Then we could all stay together forever. Please universe, don’t make me go home. My peace is here; my heart is here. I don’t want to leave the protection of the ashram and these beautiful soul sisters. This has been one of the most important experiences of my life.”

Feeling a bit schizophrenic? For several weeks in the summer of 2011, I was too. My first days as an ashram resident led me to believe that a pamphlet on the proper fitting of a straitjacket should have been included in the required reading. I suppose feelings of insanity, anger, resentment, and frustration are to be expected when you are forced to strip out of what your mind thinks and move into what your heart knows. Pre-ashram, my mind created the challenges of finding an electrical outlet for my hair straightener, hoping I was flexible enough, and wondering what character I should portray to make these yogic folks accept me. My heart, in contrast, didn’t say much prior to the ashram, and really, I didn’t even know where the heck it was. At the time, I thought it didn’t matter. Who needs a heart for yoga? I never once considered that this experience would be difficult on any emotional level.


I quickly learned that in order to survive an ashram experience, one must find their heart, and—what the hell— get naked.

Metaphor, my friends, metaphor.

Prior to the ashram, the prevailing question in my mind was, “Who would you like me to be?” Give me some sort of impression as to what type of person you favor, and that is the person I will be. My true heart would tell you that I am an introvert in public, but a semi-pro/fake Javanese dancing fool around friends. Every morning I repeat the fifteen names of the former Soviet Republics and their capitals to assure myself that I still have some mental dexterity (Chisinau, Moldova, etc). It devastates me when other people feel embarrassed and I worry that I will never be good enough to change the world for the better.

Lame. Weird. Too exposed. Too honest. Too vulnerable. So really, who do you want me to be? I will clothe myself in whatever will make you like me more and show no hint of who I truly am.

I learned that doesn’t work in an ashram. In an ashram, the best attire is you. If you won’t strip down to who you really are, leaving all masks, veils, and facades behind you, the kind yogi will give you a hand with the prescription of some pretty tough self reflection.

Like a weird version of Ayurvedic Survivor, where the game-like challenges are endless meditations, yogic adaptations, and digestive manipulations, we all found ourselves in a desperate fight. There was no time or place to look pretty; we were too busy surviving. There was no need to put up an illusion because as in any great struggle, the real you will eventually emerge—the good and the bad. In those first couple of days at the ashram, I would have paid any amount of money to leave, any price to not have to feel what it was to really, truly be me. I didn’t know that person and it was uncomfortable to find her, but through meditation, contemplation, and yes, digestive imbalances, there she was.

Shockingly, the real me fell in love with the yogic folks. The real me felt embraced and liked by them. My occupation didn’t matter, just as they weren’t disgusted that I wore my curly “Little Orphan Annie” hair for those two weeks (I never did find that electric outlet). We laughed and cried together, said ridiculous things and sang/chanted, but most of all, we helped each other feel an innate okay-ness, even love, in being who we really are. They saw my heart, just as I saw theirs…and those hearts were bright and beautiful. In my newly cultivated freedom to say what I really feel, I can now state that I hope that those friends know what enormous roles they played in the story of my life…you can find their names in the index. I can also now freely state that I love them and the courage they gave me to be me…naked and all (again, metaphor. This isn’t that kind of post).

So where is the lesson in all of this? There is no true lesson, only a reinforcement of common knowledge. Be you, for that is the only way to true happiness. Free yourself, as no one can do it for you. The divine is within you, so have the courage to strip away all of the labels and facades that we assign ourselves and find it. Look in the mirror and be cool with what you see. People are good and kind; this includes you. Maybe most of all, when things are hard or require strength of heart, they are most likely a powerful catalyst towards positive change. Once upon a time, I learned all of this at an ashram. I will never forget it.

SoKaN will be at St. Ann’s Block Party with a booth today and tomorrow!

Here’s a preview of what we’ll have.

I’ve turned into one of the Nutters.  Skattur has got me stacking things on top of other things now…

Elitist Jerk has turned from knitter to quilter to beader.  Her latest creation?  “Beady Peeps”

And Skattur? She’s completely out of control…

St. Ann’s School

6529 Stage Road

Bartlett, Tennessee

The hours are:

Friday, April 27,  5-10

Saturday, April 28,  11-10

Please drop by if you’re in the area.

The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. 

 ~Erma Bombeck

…live and create.  Live to the point of tears.

~Albert Camus


The talent and creativity  continues to unfurl week-to-week.  It’s exciting to witness.

Beady Boop’s been busily beading….

The Nutter needs a foot for her souless (yes, souless!) sandals.  Or maybe your foot just needs adorning with her beadwork.

Meanwhile Skattur has been mastering the art of stacking cute things one atop the other….

The totums will add a bit of Mad-Hatter-esque whimsy to any garden.

SoKaN will be peddling all sorts of interesting wares at St. Ann’s during the Bartlett Block Party, April 27-28.  Please come!

The next SoKaN meeting is next Sunday, 3:00 at the super-secret Nutter’s Headquarters.

The website is up, but I’m still having difficulty posting to the blog….stay tuned.

Welcome to the second post in a series celebrating environmental stewardship.

A lovely friend recently launched her website.  She used to be a professional cupcake baker.  She’s amazing. Please visit it! I’m in awe.

…and be sure to read the wonderful story in “beginnings.”

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