Sunday, January 31, 2016


I have decided to try to learn Spanish.

Okay, that seemed random...but there is a connection here.

There are fantastic free apps for learning languages these days, so my method is spending 10–15 minutes a day (most days) on either Mango Languages (which, by the way, is totally free with your Champaign Public Library card, and if you live elsewhere, please check with your local library!) or Duolingo (which is free). To supplement, I attempt to read children's books. It's difficult! I'm not learning it very quickly at all, but it is fun, and I will plug away at it. Hopefully in a year or so, I'll have made some progress.

One of the books I am in the middle of trying to read is Pan y Mermelada Para Francisca. It's a tough book for beginning Spanish students like me. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Bread and Jam for Frances! The story is adorable, and the illustrations are even more adorable! Wish me luck in finishing the book. Gracias.


PS: Here is the cover of the book.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Why was I thinking about the word FOOLS today? Well, I was. And I decided that finding a great quote having something to do with fools would be my task this evening. This is actually the last line of a Churchill quote. The entire quote goes like this:

"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes." Love it. So true.

I haven't the mental energy to expound upon this tonight. Please talk amongst yourselves. And leave me a comment if you so choose. :)

That is all.


Friday, January 29, 2016


"Let's Dance" is definitely among my favorites of David Bowie's songs. I have really good associations and memories around it, and it always puts me in a good mood.

On another note, I have always loved Bowie's eyes being two different colors. Caused by a schoolyard fight, the left eye's pupil was permanently enlarged, giving the illusion that the irises were two different colors. Extremely visually cool, nonetheless. Unique.

"Let's sway... under the moonlight... the serious moonlight." What a great line.

Go listen to some Bowie. You deserve it.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Music is powerful. Listening to music, writing music, creating music, performing music... it is all healing on some level. It's even magical at times. What would I do without it? I hope I never have to find out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I love so many female singers. I love so many rock/pop/alternative bands from different eras. One band that was not on my radar when they were popular was an English pop band called The Sundays. The band put out three records from the late 80s into the 90s, and I have all of them. It wasn't until the late 90s when my friend and fellow singer/songwriter/guitarist Robynn Ragland introduced me to The Sundays via their first record, "Reading, Writing and Arithmetic," and I was hooked. What a unique sound! The combination of Harriet Wheeler's vocals with just one guitar track (at least much of the time on the first record), bass, and drums (David Gavurin, Paul Brindley, and Patrick Hannan) was magical.

While they did have a few hits, my favorite songs tend to be the little known ones (as is often the case).

Have a listen to a couple or all of the following! Hope you enjoy!







Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Fear is underneath so much of human suffering—for that matter, the suffering of any living sentient being. Humans are the only beings on this planet (that we know of) who can be aware of their own awareness further develop mindfulness awareness so that they can learn not to fear fear! I guess I would restate my first sentence like this: Fearing fear is underneath so much of human suffering. We fear so many things. Anxiety of a form of fear. Many of the things we fear are things that are inevitable. Many things we fear are the same things millions of others fear. The feeling of fear is universally shared, regardless of the source of the fear. Fear will always be there! But it's just a feeling! It's not who we are. It's not the "final feeling." It comes and goes, just like all of the other guests that visit our "guest house." The way to begin to cease fearing fear is to simply welcome—bow to—fear when it arises. Try to drop the story line in our thinking and just focus on the raw emotional experience of fear. How does it feel? Become curious. Pay attention to the physiological responses that are happening in our bodies. What is our breathing like? How does our stomach feel? What's happening in the body? Breathe it in. Forgive the fear for being there. Forgive yourself for having fear. Be compassionate and gentle with yourself as you place your fearful mind in the loving, cradling arms of compassion.

The phrase I chose for my design today doesn't exactly say what I'm trying to express. "No fear" conveys the idea that we can actually get rid of fear, but we can't. It's part of being human. There are definitely things that scare us to which we can learn to respond differently. We can, to some extent, realize that we need not fear things over which we have no control, such as death. Every single living being has to die. Every one of us! We can learn to overcome fears of such things as flying in planes, particular animals or insects, and other things like that. Some people can even overcome the fear of public speaking! Public speaking, by the way, ranks very high on people's lists of their top fears (various studies have shown this). Anyway, fear is such a huge topic. I believe that allowing fear to just be when it does arise will help us far more than pushing it away. Maybe my phrase should have said, "No fear of fear."

On another note, a singer/songwriter I love named Abra Moore has a song entitled "No Fear." So there's that.


Monday, January 25, 2016


I think our society is so overly focused on self-improvement. We're always getting messages that we're not good enough in one way or another. It leads to so many problems for individuals. Not that there's anything wrong with taking actions to better oneself... to get healthier... to become more skilled at something by practicing... to continue to learn... to try to be more compassionate, loving, and so on... The problem is this. Rather than accept and love ourselves exactly as we are first and then do things we want to do to "improve" ourselves, we tend to think of ourselves as bad or wrong or not smart enough or not talented enough or not dedicated enough or whatever. And, that's what drives the need to push ourselves to get better. Why is that a problem? It's a problem because we'll never get "there." It's a constant striving to measure up, to be good enough, whatever enough is. We don't realize that we ARE good enough NOW! Right this very moment, we are. We are not problems that need to be fixed or solved, and yet that's what so many people believe. And our society perpetuates that mindset.

Many years ago, because my Aunt Wilma introduced me to his work, I started listening to/reading Eckhart Tolle's books and live retreats on CD (actually, long enough ago that it was cassette tapes!). I read The Power of Now and several other books, and I have several of his books/seminars on CD to which I still listen. I actually really love listening to him speak more than read the printed words on the pages of his book. Something about his voice and the way he says things is so calming. If you have never listened to him, I highly recommend it. He is a remarkable individual... a spiritual teacher of great importance to me. He was probably the first of my spiritual teachers, actually. For me, it was the beginning of learning to live in the present moment, to accept myself and everything else exactly as it is in this very moment. Can I always do that? Absolutely not! I just keep practicing. I'm back into meditating daily (almost every day) after a two-year or so period of not meditating. I'm also getting better at catching myself when I'm speaking to myself in negative ways, trying to escape the present moment in one way or another, and ruminating about things over which I have no control. It's a path, and there is not a destination. Life is the path.

Too "self-helpish?" :) I know, I know. I write about this kind of stuff way more than I should, rather than writing about design! I guess I like to share my inspiration for the content of my designs when it comes to these phrases.

"I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!" ~Stuart Smalley (Saturday Night Live character) LOL - I had to throw that in there. Find it on Youtube. You'll get a chuckle.

May we all accept and have compassion for ourselves just the way we are right here, right now.


Sunday, January 24, 2016


I was so moved when I came across this photo by Christopher Campbell on It's so beautiful. It actually reminds me of one of my earliest memories. I was about two and a half years old, and my family was in Montana. I fell into the hotel swimming pool (or maybe I jumped in...), and my memory of this is SO strong—it was like slow motion as I went under. I kind of curled up and felt like I was inside an egg as I was floating. And then my sister pulled me out and it was over. Probably just a few seconds underwater left a life-long memory. It was like going into another realm. I remember also that once I got out, I thought there was soap in the water because my eyes were burning from the chlorine! Anyway, even though this image doesn't exactly convey how my experience must have looked, it's how I felt in some way.

This image could be seen as this girl floating in some kind of ecstasy. The way her body is curving with the bubbles coming from her mouth/nose gives so much movement—very slow—to the image. I'm just captivated by it.

Then, as I looked further into it, I saw drowning. I think it's because of the way she's just... I don't know... floating with her head falling back, knees relaxed, deep down in the water. It was just a thought. But then I felt compelled to find some kind of quote about drowning to overlay on the photo as my daily phrase. The poem I decided upon is by Emily Dickinson. Whether the phrase (which is the poem's title as well as its first line) is befitting of the image, I'm not exactly sure.

I read a few analyses of the poem. I'll give you a few:

"Don't let the image of a drowned man floating face up haunt you to the point of missing the paradox in the last four lines: death is an eternal resting place, yet few of us are in a hurry to get there." From

"This poem is about how drowning is not so bad. It talks about a man who tries to come up to the surface three times, only to see the sky but fall down forever, where he encounters "The Maker" and sees his familiar face. The poem ends talking about how even though it is shunned or ignored, we must admit or acknowledge it." From

"Although "Drowning is not so pitiful" (1718) is a poem about death, it has a kind of naked and sarcastic skepticism which emphasizes the general problem of faith. The poem's directness and intensity lead one to suspect that its basis is personal suffering and a fear for the loss of self, despite its insistence on death as the central challenge to faith. " From
I'm now inspired to read more Emily Dickinson poems. Do you have any favorites?

Also, if you are able to leave a comment here, please do so. I've been told that you actually can't leave comments even though I have received some... maybe you have to have a gmail account to do so. Any light on the matter would be appreciated!

By the way, the poem is below.

DROWNING is not so pitiful
  As the attempt to rise.
Three times, ’t is said, a sinking man
  Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
  To that abhorred abode
Where hope and he part company,—
  For he is grasped of God.
The Maker’s cordial visage,
  However good to see,     
Is shunned, we must admit it,
  Like an adversity.

Friday, January 22, 2016


The first time I saw the movie Pulp Fiction, it had just come out, and I was truly disturbed by the shocking scenes of violence. I still liked the movie a lot, but it wasn't until the second or third viewing that I saw the sick humor and realized that the pulp fiction genre was like that, and it was cartoonish. There are so many great scenes in the movie, the acting is fantastic, and the way Tarantino put the whole thing together is brilliant. It really has become one of my all time favorite movies!

I tend to be drawn to movies, TV series, and books that are twisted in one way or another. Lately I've been watching a series called, "The Following." It's so violent! I find myself wondering why the hell I want to watch these things!? I've come to the conclusion that I watch/read these fictional horrors to avoid dealing with the ones that are real. Stephen King said, "We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones," and he was talking about writing, but the same thing goes. It's an escape, a distraction. It's intense and mostly pretty unrealistic, but I do suspend my disbelief and get into the stories regardless.

Twisted, violent, horror-filled, psychologically thrilling stories are by no means ALL I enjoy watching and reading...I don't want to give you the wrong idea! It's just one genre that I do like. Now, I can't watch things that are too realistic or depict animals suffering. And there are just some subjects that are too close to what happens in real life. For me, it's an escape from some of that, in part, and also, such as with David Lynch movies, I enjoy the truly bizarre and unpredictable. 

Back to Pulp Fiction, The characters, "Pumpkin" and "Honey Bunny" are just too funny. That they would call one another these silly pet names and commit robberies and shoot people together is ludicrously funny.

Now, I'm going to go read my wonderful book, Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien, a true account of a woman who dedicated her life to a barn owl that had been rescued at only a few days old but had nerve damage to his wing and needed a life-long home. It's an amazing story, and it's told so well! I LOVE this genre too! :)

All of that being said, if you have never seen Pulp Fiction, it must go on your list. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Whenever I'm suffering—depressed, panicked, down on myself, afraid, stressed, sad, dreading, anxious, etc., etc., etc., I find that my mental habits lead me to spirals of thinking that keep me stuck in either the past or the future. In other words—and I have learned this over many, many years and with many, many therapy sessions, spiritual teachings, support groups, meditation sittings, life lessons, and talking with others—the only way to not suffer is to be in the present moment. The nature of our human minds is to think... to be carried away by thoughts and feelings... to cling and be attached to things... to focus on wanting what we don't have and not wanting what we do have... to resist the way things are... to be identified with our minds, our egos, our "little MEs," our views and opinions... to worry about the future... to regret things from the past... to resist the present moment exactly as it is. Why is this our nature? Who knows? But I believe it is. However, we can—if we practice and if we actually really, really, REALLY want to develop mindfulness awareness and presence—learn to first accept our mind's natural tendencies and then learn that we can change our mental habits that we have strengthened for years and years. We have to simply (thought by no means easily), every time we become aware that we are suffering, come back to the present moment. We can learn to do this through meditation, for one thing. This is not to say that we won't feel all of the feelings I mentioned in the first sentence. They will be there. The poem, "The Guest House" by Rumi explains this so well (you can find it in this blog from sometime within the last couple of weeks). We can let all of the feelings be as they are. We can let go of the need for perfection. We can learn to accept ourselves exactly as we are in this very moment... with this mind and this body. We can learn to accept what is. In the moment that we are in. The only place and time that life actually happens is in this moment. Everything else is a thought form.

I feel like I'm leaving out something important. No doubt that I'm leaving out lots of important things. Most importantly, I think, is that lately I need to remind myself that life is in this moment, and if I'm not here for it (by being stuck in past and future thoughts), I'm missing my life. Even during times of sadness, fear, anger, or even pleasant feelings, I can remind myself that I can deal with anything that is happening in this very moment; what I can't do is deal with something in the future or the past because it doesn't exist except in thought form. It also helps me let go of what I can't control (which is almost everything!).

I'm going to go meditate now. By the way, I found a great app called "Insight Timer" that I have on my phone to use for guided meditations (it has TONS of great guided meditations!) as well as just a timer for basic sitting meditation. There are a lot of cool features, and the great thing is that it's free!

May all beings be free from suffering.
May all beings enjoy happiness.
May all beings realize that everything they need, they already have.
May all beings experience kindness, love, compassion, and understanding.
May all beings know they are connected to all other life.
May all beings be at peace and at ease.
May all beings learn to live in the present moment.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016


This is a "stream-of-consciousness" piece. I just thought, "Oh, my..." for no particular reason, decided to use it as my phrase for the day, and just began working, having no idea where I was going as I created the first loops into the O and continued that way from there on out. I kind of like it. It's not all that easy to read, but it doesn't have to be. It's more just art.

What does it make you think of?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Disclaimer: My inner teenager is writing this, or at least contributing.

I love a lot of 80s music. It was the decade when a lot of things happened in my life (and otherwise), musically speaking (many would argue that a lot of 80s music was garbage... I tend to disagree). I was in my teens and 20s then, going out to hear bands, going to parties, living it up! Part of the "scene." I was in my first band in the mid-80s. It was horrid. But it was a band, and I was loving it!

During that decade, many female musical artists and bands came forth and were in the limelight. The Pretenders, Pat Benatar, The Go-Gos, 'Til Tuesday, and one of my favorites, The Bangles. I wanted to be Susanna Hoffs. (It's funny to look back now at the 90s when I spent over three years in the 80s band, The Brat Pack, in which I got to sing songs by all of the above and more! What a blast.)

Anyway, today "Hero Takes a Fall" (from 1984) came across my ipod shuffle in my car. I listened to this song over and over when it came out. The Bangles (still putting out records and touring, by the way) was the ultimate chick band. So Beatlesque...the harmonies, the songwriting... I never got to see them live, but I would have loved to. Susanna Hoffs was the coolest thing about the band, to me. I loved (and still do) her voice!

Give it a listen: SONG LINK ("Hero Takes a Fall")

And PS: I thought she was gorgeous then, and she's still gorgeous now!



(Photo with blue background: Susanna turns 55)

(I don't have photo credits; if any of these images are yours and you'd like them removed, please let me know and I will do so immediately. Thank you.)

Monday, January 18, 2016


What can I say about this? I think it's enough to just read the transcript of Dr. King's speech below.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. You live on.

Transcript of speech by
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
August 28, 1963. Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago a great American in whose symbolic shadow we stand today signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beckoning light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination.

One hundred years later the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.

One hundred years later the Negro is still languishing in the comers of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land.

We all have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to change racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice ring out for all of God's children.

There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted citizenship rights.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

And the marvelous new militarism which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers have evidenced by their presence here today that they have come to realize that their destiny is part of our destiny.

So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its Governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and before the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the mount with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the genuine discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, pray together; to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom forever, )mowing that we will be free one day.

And I say to you today my friends, let freedom ring. From the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire, let freedom ring. From the mighty mountains of New York, let freedom ring. From the mighty Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill in Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we're free at last!"

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Can't get enough Bowie music these days. Been listening to his songs almost exclusively. Today, Paul and I had a long conversation about his music, songs, records, tours, and more. I'm learning a lot! As I've said before, the songs of David Bowie's that lie earliest in my memory are "Fame," "Young Americans," and "Golden Years." I think those were the first three of his I'd ever heard, and I was a kid, maybe in sixth grade or so. It's so interesting to listen to them more carefully now. They're brilliant.

"I'll stick with you baby for a thousand years...
Nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years." - DB

Friday, January 15, 2016


This poem by Rumi is so full of truth. I love it.

The Guest House
by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Still have David Bowie on my mind.

In fact, I bought his new CD today. I've listened to a good deal of it, and I really like it and find it interesting, especially in light of his likely mindset during the writing and recording of these songs.

However, I also find myself going back and listening to his older songs—the ones from the 70s and 80s that I have always loved.

The 80s for me (and lots of other people!) were definitely times of partying and good times; at least quite of bit of them were. I went out to bars a lot, particularly to hear live music but also just to go out with my girlfriends and have fun. I had a killer stereo in my car, and we often took my car for that reason. When I think of the music of that era, I always think of the song, "Let's Dance." It epitomizes the 1980s to me. Especially when cranked up loud!

So that song was my motivation for today's phrase.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


It was sunny for much of today. It's been bitterly cold and windy, but the sunshine makes it tolerable. For some reason, though, tonight I was thinking of fog. I don't know if I heard a phrase about a foggy mind...or maybe my mind was feeling foggy. Who knows what triggers these thoughts? It doesn't matter, really. Fog is both beautiful and scary, which is an intriguing combination. I love its eeriness. It partially hides things from you. It causes things to look unreal or surreal. Driving in fog is terrifying. It seems like it has a life of its own.

I decided to search for photos and poetry about fog, and this is what I came up with. Hope you enjoy.

And, by the way, there is an amazing song called "Fog" written and recorded (her first record when she was only 17!) by Megan Johns, one of the most talented singer/songwriter/musicians I've had the pleasure to know, perform with, and admire so much. I miss you, Megan!

Here's a LINK to "Fog" by Megan Johns, for your listening pleasure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


David Bowie.

His body is gone, but his spirit—through his artistry, originality, music, films, and everything else that he left to us—will always live on.

Monday, January 11, 2016


When I woke up today and turned on the news (which I usually don't do), the first thing that I saw was that David Bowie had died.

I thought that I must have misheard... I knew he had just released a record and thought I must be mistaken in my half-awakeness. But no, it was true.

This was a very sad day for so many people. Bowie was such a brilliant, unique, creative individual, and his catalog of work is immense and incredible.

I can remember—maybe even in grade school—listening to "Young Americans" and "Fame." Probably others at that age, and then many more as I grew up. I didn't get "into" Bowie to a large extent, but I did always like his music a lot and appreciated his songs, talent, voice... He was a force... a true original. He was influential to so, so many musicians and other people. I have a feeling—and this is a shame—that I'll probably get much more familiar with his music now that he's gone. Today I've listened to nothing but Bowie songs on Spotify as I worked, both at my job and at home. I feel like I've missed out on so much. I'm really very moved and saddened by his death, and I especially feel great sympathy and empathy for my music partner, Paul, for whom David Bowie has been one of the very greatest musical influences in his life since he was a kid. Bowie's death is a great loss for Paul among millions of other people.

Paul, this is for you. Thank you for suggesting the phrase. Love this song.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


This evening, I made my vegetable soup (actually, it's "Phil's Soup.") I make four gallons of vegetarian soup that I put into small containers, freeze a bunch of it, and eat it for lunch just about every day with a boiled egg (from a local farm where the hens are treated with kindness and live happy lives).

Making this soup is quite a process, especially when you consider the quantity. My husband's workout buddy, Phil, was the one who gave me the recipe. It's a weight-loss soup, but really it's just a good, healthy soup with tons of veggies... and very, very tasty! At the bottom of the post, I have included the recipe for "Phil's Soup" for anyone who would like to try it.

I'm taking a long time to get to my point about this phrase.

While in the kitchen making soup, it's fun for me to have some fun music playing. I get silly and dance around while I'm cooking (sometimes). Today I decided to select a funk station on Spotify. That's some fun shit. :)

The song "Love Rollercoaster" takes me back to my junior high school days. There was a great urban legend that everyone at the time knew, and that was that a girl had fallen off of a rollercoaster and died, and somehow this had been recorded on tape. You can hear, very faintly, her scream in the background during the breakdown section of the song. For whatever reason, we all believed it! Ha!

I had the idea of the letters of ROLLERCOASTER being shaped like one... so here it is.

I'm gonna go have some soup.

Phil’s Weight-Loss Vegetable Soup (and diet)

2 cups chopped celery
2 cups chopped onion
2 large bell peppers
2 cups chopped carrots
2 cups green beans, snapped
1 cup radishes, chopped

(I also add broccoli, zucchini, spinach, kale, green onions, butternut squash, or any other good veggies!)

Combine all of the above and sauté in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (I use olive) and 2 tablespoons broth (low sodium chicken or vegetable broth) for 5-10 minutes.

Now add:
1 cup mushrooms
28 oz canned low sodium tomato sauce
16 oz canned stewed or crushed tomatoes (no additives)
3 cloves garlic minced (I use about 30 times this amount)
4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 package dry soup mix (veggie or onion)
2 cups shredded cabbage

Bring to a boil.

Add in:
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon chili powder
Spice to taste (and add other spices, like curry, if you like)

Cook over low heat until veggies reach desired tenderness, roughly 30-45 minutes.
(I have been making double batches. I either use 2 pots or my gigantic 4 gallon stock pot!)

45 calories per cup
320 mg. sodium per serving (2 cups per serving)

If sticking to the exact diet:

They recommend 10 days every three months, a minimum of 3-4 servings per day, and 8 glasses of water a day.

As much soup as you want and all the other fruit you want besides bananas.

As much soup as you want and all the other vegetables you want plus one serving of starch (rice, potatoes, etc.)

As much soup as you want, all the fruit you want besides bananas, all the other vegetables you want besides corn.

As much soup as you want, bananas, milk, and yogurt.

As much soup as you want, tomatoes (at least 4 servings), and one serving of lean protein.

As much soup as you want, all the other vegetables you want besides corn, and one serving of lean protein

As much soup as you want, as much fruit as you want besides bananas, all the vegetables you want besides corn, and you can add no-sugar juices if you want.

After DAY 7, start back at DAY 1.

Saturday, January 9, 2016


It certainly has been a rainy day! Pretty dreary. The kind of day that invites you to light some candles, curl up with a blanket (and cat or dog) and some hot chocolate, and read a book all day. Alas, I had put off going to the grocery store yesterday, so today I HAD to go. Oh well. I just got a little wet, that's all! It really was no big deal. And once I got home, I was able to stay home the rest of the day and evening. I did curl up, the way I described above, and read for a bit this evening.

Side note: The book I'm reading (rereading) is Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of An Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien. I am participating in a genre study at work at the library, and the genre is animal stories! I absolutely LOVE animal stories, especially true stories. THIS book is so amazingly wonderful, as is the other book I'm rereading for the genre study, The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton. If you enjoy reading animal stories, I highly recommend both of these!!!


Side note over.

The phrase was obviously a play on the song "Rainy Days and Mondays" by The Carpenters. In the song, the chorus line is, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down." For me, Mondays are just fine for the most part... rainy days can go either way. If there are several rainy days in a row (especially with no sunshine), my mood is affected for sure. I'm working on not letting things like the weather get to me. There are lots of things I can do to combat the seasonal affect disorder symptoms I sometimes feel. I can turn on lots of lights, light candles, turn on some uplifting music, and do something productive or fun in the house. I can curl up with a good book or movie. I can meditate.

Today's rain was pretty intense and may turn into snow over the weekend, but it is what it is!

Friday, January 8, 2016


I find that the more I develop mindfulness awareness, the more I notice that I and others spend a great deal of time complaining, lamenting, dreading... finding things about which to be unhappy—or focusing on the negative.

Here in Champaign we have been very lucky this year regarding the severity of weather in the fall/winter so far. We've hardly had any winter to speak of! And snow, ice, and cold temperatures are predicted for the upcoming weekend. I'm not hearing many people complaining, but some are getting into the dread state of mind. (Mind you, the forecasts around here are 50% correct, at best.)

One of the things I'm really trying to do is focus on the positive as well as accept what is. It's January, for crying out loud! We're going to have winter weather! And as much as I have an aversion to freezing cold, ice, and high winds, there is BEAUTY in every season. That's why, when I came across this amazing photo of a winter scene on, it was the perfect opportunity to express that thought.

I'm making a choice to focus on the beauty around me... to look for it... to appreciate it... to be in awe of it.

Just look around.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I have decided that I want to learn Spanish! Just because. So I am spending 10–15 minutes on the Duolingo app every day (today is my first day). Duolingo came with high recommendations from several people I know, plus it has great reviews. I hope I stick with it! I know so very little Spanish to begin with—only stuff I learned from Sesame Street way back when plus the words and phrases you commonly hear, such as this one.

I love the way Spanish sounds. I love the trilled Rs. I love how it looks in print. It's very useful to know Spanish just about anywhere in the U.S. My community has a large Spanish-speaking population, and I think it will come in very handy at my job as well.

I'm excited!

I'll be looking for people with whom to converse!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


My wonderful music partner and BFF, Paul Sabuco, has introduced me to so much good music (and hopefully he would say I've done the same for him... one of the best things about loving the same kinds of music is being able to share and inspire one another).

One of the bands he loves is Jellyfish. I had never heard of this band until I heard him play a few songs in another band he was in at the time. WOW! Amazing. They were only together from 1989–1994, at which time one of the members formed another band called The Grays (which included Jon Brion, musician/producer with whom I was familiar from his work with my all time fave Fiona Apple, but also appeared on Jellyfish's last record). The Grays had even a shorter career, having only put out that one record (I believe).

To make a long story short, I had created a Jellyfish "station" on Pandora and came across The Grays. This was some time ago, probably over a year. I remember mentioning the band to Paul at that time, and he probably listened to some of their stuff with some interest, but it must not have grabbed him at that particular time because this week he told me he has a new favorite record. I asked him what it was and he said it's by The Grays ("Have you ever heard of a band called The Grays?" he asked me), called "Ro Sham Bo." Ha! 

So, needless to say, I listened to the entire record on Spotify (and actually bought the mp3 version of the whole record on Amazon). I was re-enchanted as well, and now I'm listening to it pretty much non-stop. I'm listening to it as I write this.

I thought the album title, "Ro Sham Bo," was probably just some kind of nonsense word(s) they had made up. So I looked it up and found that it does have a meaning... It's the "Rock Paper Scissors" game, basically! It seems to usually be spelled out as one word—Roshambo. There's all KINDS of stuff on the Internet about it!

Here's a website that goes into the possible etymology through history: THE WORD DETECTIVE (LINK)

I'll be damned.

Anyway, Jellyfish and The Grays are both fantastic power pop bands that warrant a listen.

Check out these songs:

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I have an assignment at my job to design a poster with just these words. It's for a book display by a particular author on the occasion when it's needed, so it's a "generic" sign and will be used multiple times over the years.

This is just one idea... I thought I'd try my "hand" at one of my phrases and show it to my manager tomorrow. Even if we don't end up using it, maybe I can find just the right typeface and background to create the appropriate mood. Also, it has to be an 8.5 x 17 vertical poster/sign, so the dimensions of this one aren't right.

Anyway, it's good to have authentic reasons to create these phrases sometimes, and I appreciate the possible opportunity to be able to use this work in my actual design job. :)

Monday, January 4, 2016


I could write for days about opening one's heart to the world and allowing it to be touched. I listen to teachings about it, read about it, practice it...

Having said that, I'm going to make this simple.

So much suffering could be alleviated by letting our hearts be touched. So much suffering is caused by the heart—through time and conditioning and self-protection—closing off and becoming "hard." We seek comfort and avoid pain. What we don't seem to understand (so many of us) is that in order to feel joy and peace and love, we have to also feel sadness and turmoil and fear. In order to feel things deeply, we have to practice opening the heart and allowing it to be touched by both the comfortable feelings and also the painful ones.

We can't have light without darkness.

May we all be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
May we all enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May we be awake with an open heart and an open mind.
May our hearts be touched by both joy and pain so that we can truly be compassionate and loving to others and ourselves.


Sunday, January 3, 2016


I was over at my parents' house today, just hangin' out at the kitchen table, talking about this and that. We got on the subject of various foods that we like but that aren't all that good for us, such as chocolate, cheese, etc., and the word "moderation" kept coming up... "It's okay in moderation."

My dad told me of this Oscar Wilde quote, so today's phrase is for you, Dad!

Saturday, January 2, 2016


When I'm trying to think of a phrase for this project, sometimes I take a well-known phrase and come up with a different way to say it.

Today's is a very simple example of that. :)

I encourage you to do this:

Friday, January 1, 2016


When I thought about this phrase—and I don't know why I thought of it—I felt a lot of pressure from myself to make this a really well- and wisely-designed piece! Oy.

It has its "wise moments," but I could have done a lot of things differently. Overall, I'm happy with it. It's nit picky stuff that bothers me, such as the margin being too small at the top above the word, "DESIGN." But I'm simply not motivated to go back and change it at this point.

Sometime, after I've completed my year's worth of these (only 134 to go!), I hope to select the very best ones and maybe self-publish a little book or deck of cards or set of prints. If I use this one, it will be reworked to some degree.

I guess my point is that design is something that takes a degree of planning and preparation, as well as a process, to come to the completed "product." Since I'm doing one of these per day, there isn't a great deal of that going on... but definitely some. You can probably tell which ones are the most wisely-designed. I know I can.

Happy First Day of the New Year!