Can't you just hear it. That eery Vincent Price cackling noise in the background. It quivers a little and I think I heard it whisper, "If you think you're going to get decent coffee out of me, you're nuttier than a fruitcake Missy!" I backed up and gasped! You see, here's what happened...

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a dyed in the wool latte drinker. The very thought of my latte in the morning fills me with glee, and after all the animal chores are over in the morning I croon at it, and pat it's little cap which I then take off to put in the water, and grind the beans and fill the little coffee basket which you crank into place, and Oooooh, the smell of that strong coffee brewing, well, I blush, it just makes me swoon. Then there's the frothing of the milk and that is an, well, one almost hates to say it, ecstatic experience. It gets you all flustered and red-cheeked and your knees wobble a little and your heart lifts as the foam rises and rises and when you can finally put the espresso and frothed milk into a latte bowl the size of Texas, well, there are not many things in life that can compare to that. And the first sip... Ohhhhhhhhhh.... (Do you hear the moaning and wailing?)

Three days ago, my espresso machine died. Just up and died. Left no suicide note, no, "It's been grand, I'll miss you," nothing! And to make matters worse it played tricks on me. I filled it with the coffee, the water, got the milk pitcher all ready, and turned the machine on. The light came on and so I puttered around doing a few things because it always starts slowly. But I kept checking and checking and it wouldn't do a thing. I drove down the road, in my tattered old caftan since I didn't have to get out of the car, and bought TWO lattes to go, just in case.

Now, mind, I was still reeling in grief, disbelief and denial, so the next day I turned on the machine again, still filled with the coffee and the water, because I was quite certain that it was just having a bad day and surely it would pop on and say,"Just kidding!" It was not kidding. It was dead as a doornail. It took me until today to actually take it out and throw it in the dumpster. Well, I can't tell you how totally grief-stricken I am. So I came back in and got out my French Press. I looked at it at an odd angle, tilting my head and squinting my eyes. It had a funny look on it's face and it rather unnerved me. It cackled that hideous cackle, it's plunger went up and down like in a Stephen King movie, and I quivered and ran from the room praying loudly and shaking like a leaf. "BE GONE YOU DEMON, BE GONE." Then, I heard the whimper...

It really isn't such a bad little machine, and truth be told, it's feelings were just hurt. I had long since stopped using it once I could afford my own espresso machine, and the poor little French Press was crushed. I tried to tell it I was sorry but it turned it's little spout away from me, sniffling. I told it to buck up! I've got enough trouble around here with the cockatoo eating through the wood molding around the door frame and the macaw trying to destroy my favorite antique mirror and there just ARE some pugs that despite how many thousands of times they go out and pee 15 times while out there, they will come in straight away and poop-de-doop right on the floor. Pugs are sly too. No matter what they do they look up at you with that little puggy face and you just don't have a prayer. Here comes the poop bag with Mama Maitri muttering under her breath, just to look up in time to see another pug, who shall remain nameless, and who is the chubbiest one of all, sneaking out of the kitchen after trying to eat other people's food.

Never mind the fact that I found a page online that was called "35 Symptoms of Menopause," and I'm fairly certain I have all of them. Nosirree, I'm heartbroken over the espresso machine and I'm not taking any attitude from the French Press.

Now, if I can just remember how to grind the beans the right way...


I wear funny shoes in many colors. This
pretty much sums up my whole life...

And so yes, I live with a dozen animals in a tiny cottage. And I had assumed we would move well before now allowing us more space inside, a fenced yard for the dogs, a big room to weave and spin in, a big garden space, and so on. But life happens and right now it's happening to us all. For financial reasons I can't move for awhile. And the carpet has just been torn up down here but it's been cleaned well and is being painted a wonderful coffee with cream color. And there are area rugs all around and it's starting to look liveable. And then there's the fact that practically half of my household that was moved into a storage space to give me more room until the supposed move now isn't going to happen and it's all got to come back because keeping it in storage is too expensive long term. And Oh My God, today I realized that this is just perfect! Let me explain.

I have had my dearest friend helping me reorganize my cottage the last few months and he and his helpers really have done wonders, and I love him to pieces for it, but... I was feeling so overwhelmed because of a number of personal reasons, I let him pretty well take over and the outcome was that what he considered unimportant, and "messy" was the disarray of a working artist's life. My looms came down off the living room walls, all of the things that I was used to having around me were gone, packed and put in the storage unit, my fiber, spindles and spinning wheels were put in storage along with a lot of other things to make some very necessary space, but I do not do well with change and all of a sudden it looked like I was living in someone else's house. It looked sparer, for sure, but the things I held dear were gone. At about the same time my mother started taking a serious downward turn after fighting cancer for 4 years, and this week she has decided to stop the meds. The end is near and I am numb. And in November my beloved African Grey Parrot disappeared. I had hand raised him from a tiny baby and had him for 10 1/2 years and the bond between us was profound. I was like a sinking ship, and haven't been able to pull myself out of this deep blue funk for months.

I gained weight, my meds had to be raised because my bi-polar disorder went out of whack again and my clinical depression plummeted. But today... today something changed.

Jeff and I had a long talk today. And we came to the joint realization that the things had to come back and he is going to help me get it as organized as possible. He said he could see that I was suffering from too much loss, and that they had taken too many of my things. They meant well, and I appreciated it, but it was too much. I didn't even understand what was wrong. but other than the obvious losses past and soon to come. there was something more. And all of a sudden I looked at my concrete floors and joy flooded through my system. These floors are not only much healthier for the animals and I. This is an artist's home, and my art was gone. My heart and soul were deflated like balloons gone flat. For me, with my odd string of diagnoses, and being a writer spending most of my time in my head, my art takes me out of my head and into my hands and creates a balance that is very much needed.

And so today I thought what a funny little life I lead and yet how it works just perfectly for me. With my odd conglomeration of things around me, the animals, growing things and books and fiber and spindles and hand carved crochet hooks and all manner of looms, well, they make me feel complete. Jeff was trying to help me have what he considered a neater more balanced life, but no one can decide what we really need, no matter how much they love you and you them.

And so my things are coming home, and it will be crowded and artsy, and I will be filling my walls, once again, with my small and lap looms, skeins of yarn, big bunches of herbs hanging upside down to dry (currently there are several bunches of rosemary hanging on the walls and the aroma is heavenly), and I am cutting roses just as they come into full bloom to dry along with other blossoms for my handmade potpourri. I am puttering in my small garden when I'm outside with the dogs, and I am sniffing the roses and taking in their deep perfume, so heavenly, and then laughing looking down at my Crocs, these funny, odd shoes that not only are the most comfortable thing I've ever worn, after foot surgeries and breaking both feet and reinjuring them more than once, I don't care how they look, I care about having happy feet! I truly believe this is one of the glories of midlife, the acceptance of all of who we are, and living our lives proudly, even if few people understand.

So the losses will come and I can't stop them from coming, but with my fiber and art supplies around me, I will have something to balance the grief, and I seem to need small crowded places to feel cozy. I am going to need to have all the coziness I can muster in the weeks ahead.

So yes, the world works in mysterious ways, and for some of us, "normal" life is peculiar to the world around us, but the best days are the days when we know that "normal" for us is what makes us feel happy, safe, and fulfilled within ourselves.

And so the snoring pug on the arm of my chair, the big black dog on his bed beside me, and the other puglets in their new cushy beds, with sleeping birds all around me, and the knowledge that soon my fingers will be weaving fibers through the warp on my loom fills me with an unexplainable happiness. There is always a balance in life if we are honest, if we don't try to be other than we are, if we wear our funny shoes with pride, and think that the morning glories beginning to sprout might just be one of the most magical things in the world, and we don't mind gallumphing through the world rather chubby, with odd clothes, checking dumpsters for possible pieces of art. and cut and weave wisteria branches while still soft so that they can be a permanent loom for a special weaving after the wood is dry, and writing about all of my dreams and loves, foibles and feebleness alongside the joy that I find every day in some way. Yes, this is just right.

I am waiting, now, like a child at Christmas for my things to return. I want to bury my hands and nose in my fibers, and look forward to dyeing and spinning this summer.

Such a lucky woman am I, with this odd and precious life.

Revel in everything you are, and live your life fully with everything you have in you. Be true to yourself. And wear funny shoes. I highly recommend them!


"If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive."

~ Eleonora Duse ~

A little patch of borage that I plant all
over my garden. Miraculous blue
stars that
capture my heart with
their simple beauty...

I am a garden writer and photographer and I have designed many a garden. I planted 100 roses in one garden and 60 in the next. I have planted many many kinds of perennials, annuals, plants in pots and plants from seed. Flowering bushes and small trees that will one day grow large, far up in the sky. The borage above grows easily from seed. I am constantly reading and studying. Holding tiny seeds, knowing that they will grow into great flowers, is one of the greatest joys ever. Here is a picture from a few years back when I planted all kinds of sunflowers in a vast array of colors, and many of them, like my hollyhocks, grew taller than me...

I grow organically and one of the great delights of spring is to order containers full of lady bugs and pods of praying mantis that will hatch. Gardener's friends, and soil friendly too. I also buy several containers of live worms to put into the soil. They will eat their way through soil making it more friable, leaving waste in the soil that is
nutritious for the soil. When you live in the small things of the world, even the tiny, you are rewarded many times over with a glory unknown in this big, big world.

Small things that touch the heart and make one glad to be alive...

I am a very serious wisteria wrangler. I love them all out of proportion and covet them in a most unseemly way. Driving home from errands yesterday I saw several stands of wisteria that will be wonderful pickins in the dusky darkness. I never gather anything from anyone's garden, an abomination to be sure, the wisteria I cut are wild grown in little patches on the side of the road, long forgotten, in country spots whose owners are long gone, the house in a pile of ruins, and the enchanting wisteria taking over a large area. I bring home arms of wisteria that perfume the whole cottage. This is the season of wisteria. This is some I cut two or three years ago, not long ago, with a pruner in one hand and Big Dog Moe on a leash walking with me...

A small and tender thing...

Yesterday, while doing my errands, getting into my sweet old van and sitting outside the post office for a moment before leaving, I saw an elderly woman go just around the corner of the building with a small bag of cat food. She bent slowly and took handfuls of cat food and put them, here and there along the wall and the fence opposite. Then she walked ever so slowly back to her car and drove off. One of those little grandmotherly type people in an old car whose head one could barely see above the spinning wheel. She was feeding the feral cats. I spoke to her and told her what a lovely thing that was to do. She said she'd been doing it for years, feeding feral cats, that someone had to feed the little ones.

I drove home feeling blessed and renewed. There are so many wondrous things around us all the time, if only we have eyes to see. I hope I have that tender spirit and will perform those small kind acts all the days of my life. I do little things all the time that go unnoticed. Perhaps that is the greatest joy of all...

"What will you do with your one wild and precious life?"
~ Mary Oliver ~

I will plant Secret Gardens wherever I go...

"Absolute attention is prayer."

~ Simone Weil ~

I am in a state of absolute attention when I write. This is one of the ways I pray. I become very silent. Not just not speaking, but quiet inside. When I write I hear that "still small voice." When you look at the cat above you know that she is in an absolute state of grace, and it made me wonder how often we pay attention to the world around us, rapt attention, awareness, and how often, sadly, we race through life to "get it all done" and the world whizzes by and we miss so much. When the world is a blur we cannot truly feel the energy that surrounds us. We are numb. We are not fully alive. We are not complete.

And so I slow down. I watch my pug Babs, a wee little elderly girl, blind and deaf, and yet so alive, waggle herself because she senses me coming. I pick her up and hold her in my arms like a baby. I look into her clouded eyes and I can feel vibrant energy in this tiny little girl. I kiss her nose, her forehead, her closed eyes when she blinks. Babs makes me more aware, alive. Her energy awakens my entire body. I live with many animals, and they live in the moment, they give everything around them absolute attention. They see things we cannot see, and hear things we cannot hear. Their eyes widen and their nose quivers and their body is perfectly still as they concentrate on the world around them, what is coming, what is going, what is near. They don't miss a thing.

I have been having an interesting experience. I have written about my carpet being ripped out. It was very old, and stained 7 years ago when I moved in, even though it had been cleaned. But as the animal numbers rose it became more difficult to keep it clean, and the elderly pugs would have accidents that I tried diligently to clean, but you can never fully clean what penetrates carpet, and so for health reasons, for the animals and I, the carpet was ripped out and I am walking on smooth, cold, concrete floors. And here's the thing...

Last night I sat in the silence and I noticed things I had never noticed before. With no carpet to soften and buffer the sounds around us, we miss an incredible amount of little happenings every single moment. In a room with no carpet, sound echoes. Everything is louder, the parrots shrieking, deafening, the dogs toenails clicking on the floor, a sound I'd never heard before, not even on the linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms. There was a liveliness around me that was palpable in the stillness of the night, and it made me acutely aware of how much I miss, how much we miss in this carpeted world. It was a profound moment. I meditated and the world around me felt more alive. I was in a state of absolute attention, I was in a state of grace.

I find myself anxious to find out what will happen once the floor is painted. One would think that would make no difference, paint on concrete, but I bet it does. Even a couple of coats of paint will change the sound of a pin dropping, an amazing sound in this small space, that tink sound as it hits the floor echoes off the walls around me, and I listen in awe.

This morning, as I meditated, I sat staring at the tall grasses just outside my window and watched the subtle movements as the soft breeze made the grasses sway, very slowly, as there wasn't really a wind blowing through, just a gentle breeze. I was one with the grass. I found myself swaying with the inbreath and the outbreath in rhythm of the swaying grass. It was a revelation.

In this moment I am listening to the sound of my cockatoo's toes and beak grabbing the metal bars of her cage, climbing up the cage and over to her playstand. I tickled me. I laughed. She lives in pure joy. She lives in the moment and reminds me to do the same.

I hear Maya, my blue and gold macaw, cracking a sunflower seed in her beak. I would not have heard this sound in the room once wall to wall carpet. I would have missed a moment of life that is precious to me, and I am in awe of her psychic awareness. It never fails that no matter what she is doing, if I sit very still and stare at her, really feeling her, watching the way she moves, picks a piece of food up in her foot to eat, she will stop what she is doing and turn and look at me, staring back. For a moment our eyes are locked. She knows. She has such an acute sense of awareness she feels a shift in energy. I envy this. She doesn't miss a thing. Parrots are prey animals in the wild and have the ability to hear very clearly for long distances. Their very lives depend on it. I wonder if we would pay closer attention if we realized that our lives depended on being that aware, and the thing is, our lives do depend on it, we simply do not take the time to realize this. Hours, minutes, seconds pass at the speed of light, and then days, weeks, months, years. I wonder how much I have missed? I realize that the slower I go, the more time I have. Our very lives are extended by absolute attention, and that which we notice is a prayer.

I am going to move through this day as mindfully as possible. I am going to let the concrete floor teach me what it will, because I will be moving some time in the next year or so. I won't always have concrete floors. I will be an attentive student.

I feel the almost invisible tiny hairs on my face move slightly with a bit of breeze. Again, a revelation. A kind of joyful aliveness I hadn't noticed before.

I am going to treasure this day because I know I will not always remember. I trust in my practice of mindfulness, when I don't forget, when I'm not caught up in my own humanity. Much of my life now is spent seeking more and more of that absolute attention. I want to pray...

"I look around the small cottage where I live in Topanga, a rural area in the Santa Monica mountains, and wonder who I am and how I came to live here in this way. Animal images predominate. Bones, fetishes, totems, Mayumi Oda's Kwan Yin as the Goddess who gave names to the animals presides over my study. On another wall, there is a painting of a blue bull by Maureen Piper. Everywhere there are photographs of Timber Wolf, who lived with me for 14 years, and Owl and Isis, the hybrid timber and arctic wolves who are my companions now."

"... I want to be more than a tourist in the natural world; I want to change my habits of Western mind. This means shattering the ego and ideas of species superiority and privilege. This means recognizing animals as other intelligent beings who may understand humans better than we understand them and who live far better than we do within the net of Indra, the shimmering ecological relationships between of all things..."

Deena Metzger, "Coming Home"
from Intimate Nature: The Bond
Between Women and Animals

I have been reading this very dear book, a compilation of women's poems, stories, relationships, history, and ancient lore, with animals. I have found kindred spirits reading this book and it is so spirit-soothing it is like a cup of chamomile tea for the soul. We are creatures of the earth, as are our animal brothers and sisters, and yet many people treat them, even when they love them dearly, as less than in some way. They are not less than. They are our companions on the journey through life. I live with 12 animals and I never call them "pets." I call them my animal companions.

Also, when reading the quote from the chapter by Deena Metzger. one of my favorite writers, I felt like I was reading my own story, or a very close approximation thereof. I have feathers, fetishes, totems, statues of Kwan Yin, whom I adore, the mother of maitri or maitreya in Buddhism. Interestingly she is thought to be connected to the Virgin Mary in Catholicism. and her love of animals echoes the work of St. Francis. Many branches of many "religions" coming together in one flowing stream of spirituality.

I know that my animal family possesses a kind of knowledge and deeper truth than I do on many levels. When I lost my beloved grey parrot Henry in November, after handraising him and having him for over 10 years, the ever present parrot on my shoulder, I wept for weeks and all of my animals surrounded me, or were on me, lying next to me, all vigilant. They got me through the worst of my grief, and yet I will never stop missing my sweet boy. He was my heart and soul. He was my soulmate. We had a connection and communion I cannot describe. My heart breaks just writing about it.

I have written about, and laughed about, the peculiar way (in most people's eyes) that I live. More animals than furniture. Seeds everywhere and the elderly and infirm pugs I adopt do tend to have "accidents" on a regular basis, but I take in the ones no one wants, one deaf, one deaf and blind, two who were badly abused. We go outside many many times a day, but still, there will be those accidents to clean up. For all of the people (and trust me, there have been many) who say something like, "Well, I'D never stand for THAT!" They'd rather get rid of the "troublesome" dog than clean up after the poor little one. Just wait until the person who gave up the animal is in a nursing home depending on someone cleaning them up and perhaps they will understand. My animals are far less flawed than I am. I am blessed to have them.

Everyday I get up at least twice before I'm up for good because the three eldest dogs, Coco (deaf) the little fawn pug is 12; Babsie (Deaf when I got her and now blind but she gets around just fine because we have a small space here and she knows it well... ), the wee little black pug is 13; and my darling Big Moe, the lab-doby mix I've had since he was a tiny puppy from the Humane Society is now 14, and sadly beginning to slow down a bit, seem to need to go potty as early as possible. It might be 6 when we get up and go outside, but then Mama Maitri goes back to sleep and so do they. About an hour later all five of them have to go out, including Harvey and Sampson, at about 9 and 10 the middle-aged gentlemen. Everybody goes out again and this time I give them their milk bone treats and fresh water bowls and then, yes, Mama poops out again. I work very late or into the wee small hours so early morning is not my best time. Now, here's the thing. two things really, and I find them fascinating.

All of my animal companions are so in sync with me that people are amazed. Five dogs and six parrots, 2 of them big parrots, a cockatoo and a macaw, known as very loud birds, have fallen into my routine and they seem to know that I often have a hard time of things and my medications will wear me out, and so mid-day when I take a nap right among them, they are so silent you'd not imagine there was an animal in the place. In fact I've peeked and when I go to sleep they all do. As soon as I'm up they start peeping and cheaping and talking and the dogs are dancing around wanting to go out, but not a movement or a sound as long as I am napping, usually with Sammie asleep on part of me, which is dear and comforting, like a soft, warm teddy bear, whose breathing helps me drift off, pug snores and all.

Something that I noticed this morning is that the first time I go out, very early, not one bird, who are all around us, only Blossom the cockatoo needs covering, make one sound though I am up with the dogs. I am completely silent. We go out, we come in, I go back to sleep.

The second time I get up, an hour or so later, when I also get the dogs their milk bones and fresh water, it is enough activity that Maya, the macaw, and the smaller parrots notice and make some noise. Maya might even let out a few macaw shrieks, but I totally ignore it. I am totally silent, and within minutes so are they. I can sleep another hour or more before I get up, get the dogs out and in again, feed all of the animals and get them fresh water, singing to them the whole while, and let the 2 big parrots out. As long as I am home, even when I'm napping, they are out of their cages. They simply go to sleep on top of their cages. They are amazing.

This morning, after lying down for the 2nd time, Solomon, my beloved Blue Crown conure, started in with his loud conure call which got Maya shrieking to beat the band. I lay perfectly still, covered my eyes as I do once it is light, and lie there completely calm, breathing slowly and easily, on my side with silky warm Sam against me, and they didn't make a move. I knew that after a few minutes they would stop. They realize I am going back to sleep and they are silent as a mouse. I breathe in and out, meditatively, while they do their screaming, but it is soon out of their system. Again, they are in sync with my needs, and I with theirs. We co-exist as a near perfectly balanced family.

When I was going back to sleep from 8 to 9:30, amazingly late for me, I woke up in sheer silence. They would not make a sound until I was up. And I thought about the many people who have animals in their homes but miss this deep connection. They holler at the birds to be quiet, they scold or punish the little elderly dog for having an accident, and more. But I know, as I am lying there wanting peace and the parrots are having their little round of sounding off, that they are doing just what they are supposed to do. Birds herald the morning whether wild or domesticated. I am connected to their needs as well. And once again we go back to sleep together.

I am taking this all in as I realize that you can be ordained and yet not fully understand your direction, your vocation, your mission. As an interfaith minister. my ministry also includes the animal kingdom, domestic and wild, animals in need of rescue to loving homes, as well as animals in the wild on the brink of extinction. And so I walk the Franciscan path, follow the teaching of Kwan Yin, Mother Mary, and read the Bible alongside Buddhist literature. I am learning. I am learning what path I need to take, and very often my animals are my teachers. I am sitting silently and allow the parts and the pieces of the ministry I am building float to the surface slowly, oh so slowly. It will all coalesce when the time is right. And the animals have so much more to teach me.

And now it is nap time before my helpers come today. Life moves forward, but the animals and I lag behind a bit. We are never in any hurry. Sampson is already asleep and snoring beside me. The animals know, they just know. They pick up on my low energy vibe and become quiet and ready for me to say, "Time to take a nap," and then we all do, a family at peace...

Love and Blessings to all of you from all of us. It's time for our nap. I know you'll uderstand.


Well! This morning I was in the mood to peruse some of my favorite blogs. There is one woman I have been following for years and she delights me no end. And her blogs, multiple, that started out as one called Pioneer Woman With A Cell Phone, dazzled me, and she has several blogs going now, all linked together, and from the start I have most dearly loved her section on "Garden Art/Junk."

WELL, today as I was perusing her site I came across another site that KNOCKED MY SOCKS OFF!!!

You shoulda seen the birds dancing
and going to town from all the
excitement. Pugs of course really
only live for two things. Food, and

I really do want you to see this amazing woman and the house she built herself over 28 years. It is one on the most amazing things I have ever seen. And remember, next time you think, "Aw, I don't think I can do that," that one woman built a gorgeous, amazing, positively stunning house with her own hands. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, so to speak! And truly, we CAN do anything we want to if we put our minds to it.

So this amazing woman is Dorothy Ainsworth. Click on her name and go to her site. You will be breathless, you won't be able to breathe looking at the pictures, and it will change your whole outlook on life.

There is a wonderful quote attributed to Yoda from the Star Wars movies. He said,

"Do or not do, there is no try."

Since I heard that quote something in me really changed. Yes, you can choose to do or not do, but as soon as you say "try," you know good and well you are NOT going to do it. I'm sure Dorothy Ainsworth had her moments, but she did not "try." She did it.

This will inspire me for sometime to come.


Click on the teapot to read it's
story, and see more enchanting
teapot and coffeehouse homes
and structures...

I am odd. I am peculiar. I don't want to fit in anywhere and I want to do things my own way. I am the kind of person who would go out to get the mail with my flamingo hat on. Trust me, you've no idea. Here's what the flamingo hat looks like in the ad....

The flamingo head actually stand up nearly 3 feet and the legs dangle over your breasts. It is startling to say the least. And I have gifted some of my favorite peculiar friends with these hats. They are about $5 on eBay, and there are several places that carry them. So I go outside with mine on just to irk or frighten somebody (If you can be the "mad woman on the hill" not much of anyone bothers you...) as I'm getting the mail. It's so much fun. I say if you can't startle or alarm your neighbors you're not living right. But that's just me.

Of course when I go out I do like to wear my favorite jewelry. I wouldn't take a room full of diamonds for this necklace. And Lord, I look so smashing in it!!!

Tell me the truth. Have you ever seen anyone look more fabulous? Lord, I rock in my flamingo light necklace. They are also around my kitchen windows and my garden is full of flamingos...

Anyway, I have gone astray and had a bit of flamingo madness. It happens to the best of us. All I was trying to point out is that somebody who not only decorates with, but wears flamingos, is not going to be the kind of woman who wants an ordinary house. Now look at these... (I'm going to pick one picture from the page but if you'll click on the house you can go straight to a world of fantastical houses. Alice in Wonderland would be thrilled!

Now who in their right mind would not want to live in a shoe?

And then there is Dan Price. This man stole my heart in the early 90's when I started to subscribe to his hand drawn and hand-lettered funky little 'zine called The Moonlight Chronicles. He still makes them today. You've just got to visit the above page. Click on the name and you're go to a land you never dreamed existed. You can also see and read copies of the chronicles online here. But the best thing of all is that Dan lives in a little Hobbit Hole in the ground he built himself in a meadow that he lives in, as well as building all kinds of other wonderful things. Please watch the videos below when you have the time. But I warn you, your life will never be the same again. They just bring with them an air of enchantment.

There are three wonderful YouTube videos that I urge you to watch. I don't want to put the videos here because they make the page load too slowly, but here are the links to the three I'd love for you to see....

Interview With Dan Price

The Man In The Hole


Part Of The Solution - Part 1

Yes, Dan is my hero, but it would be hard for me to live in an underground Hobbit Hole with 6 parrots, 5 dogs, a beta fish and 2 snails. Not to mention hordes of books, monstrous piles of fiber everwhere, not to mention the dyepots and the boxes and boxes of dyes, spinning wheels and looms everywhere. But I dearly want something odd.

I fell in love with an old yellow farmhouse but sadly before I could do anything about it, it sold. Still in all, I believe when the time is right, I'll find a shoe or a hat or a something or other to live in. I'm still on the hunt. Let me know if you find one, and I'll leave you with this hat house that is on the page of unusual houses above, wherein you click on the shoe!

So, it's time for me to go babysit my wee little grandson Lucas whom I try to teach as many odd and peculiar things as I possibly can before his parent catch on! And I will be dreaming of odd houses, and someday I know I will find just the right one...

Happy Days and Love and Joy to one and all,


i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

i carry your heart with me
by e. e. cummings

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles

~ e.e. cummings ~

When I was in gradeschool I was first introduced to e.e. cummings and I fell in love with him. And this poem was it! I was so in love with this poem I memorized it just so I could run around outside shouting it, and everything was mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful and I thought those were the two most wonderful words I had ever heard, and everything was "far and wee."

I'm quite certain I was a very odd child, and I much preferred books, my dogs, and nature to anything else in the world. It made me love hop-scotch and jump-rope, and I wanted to meet bettyandisbel and whistle with the lame balloon man and go running wild into a meadow holding on to balloons of every color!

And here's the thing... I will be 55 on April 30, and while I look like somebody's grandmother, which I am, I am still that giggly, giddy little girl inside and I shout out that poem to a room full of parrots and pugs and 2 snails and a fish and big dog Moe.

I was outside with the five dogs a few times this morning and while I'd fall over on my head and do serious damage if I tried, INside I was running far and wee, and the sun was shining brightly, the bit of breeze on this warm spring day just delicious, the earth is waking up and living growing things are everywhere! Narcissus and grape hyacinths and Siberian iris -- gorgeous! -- and the bright yellow flowers of the Japanese kerria are starting to bloom and roses are in bud everywhere.

... and the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful...

And I hope I meet a goat-footed whistling balloon man today and we will whistle and play marbles and there will be piracies a-plenty! I feel giddy with joy. It's spring, it's my birth-month, spring is so full of hope and joy and new things -- potent possibilities abundant -- and the little balloonman...

Well, at least here the little pugs are snoring and the parrots are playing-eating-sleeping and I am about to go into the kitchen and make a latte the size of Texas and watch the wild birds in the garden just outside the windows while I froth the milk and though I am 5'8" tall I will stand up on my toes like a little girl trying to see out of the window better, and I will wait for that first enchanting night when I stand, late, doing dishes, and it is black outside, and the light over my sink draws moths to the window, but most especially delightful are the tiny spring peepers, the little green frogs that are so perfect, their little feet suctioning to the window, and he looks at me and I at him and his eyes grow wide and so do mine and the sink is running over with bubbles and the little lame balloonman is far and wee and it's beautiful and it's amazing and it's... just... spring!

I feel giddy and happy. I hope you do too...


... who just this week drove past a house with the whole front yard filled with those marvelous pink plastic flamingos and thought it was the most magical things I had ever seen. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.......

I have certain books that are always near me, they are like comfort food, food for the soul. Sometimes I don't even have to open them. I've read them so many times just having them near me reminds me of many things, specific passages, favorite quotes, and it just makes me happy. One of those books is Sue Bender's Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home. In this brief section she is speaking of one of her great teachers, Yvonne Rand, and Yvonne's gardener, Aloush. I would like to share this with you. The title of this little section is called Sufficient.


Yvonne has a gardener, a Mayan Indian from Chiapas, whose name is Aloush. He comes two days a week, works effectively but quickly, and knows a lot about plants. "I learn a lot from working with him," she told me one day. "I also like working with him because he is very quiet."

Yvonne and Aloush eat lunch together. Aloush eats a modest amount, which always amazes her because he works very hard. At the end of the meal he says,

"Sufficient, Yvonne, it is sufficient."

And the way he says sufficient is convincing and there is also a boundary about it. She is not to insist by putting more food on the plate or badger him to eat more lunch.

"It is sufficient."

This particular section really hit me, and it makes me feel very open, and very tender. It is also a reminder.

I put post-it notes on the edges of my computer as reminders. One that I have had there for some time says, "It is enough." I put this up as a reminder to me as it became increasingly important to me to simplify my life, and be very mindful about consumption of every sort. Whether it is eating, or spending money on unnecessary things, or any other place in my life where I might overdo. And no, I don't always remember, but I keep on trying.

It is enough.

And then, when I reread the above and was typing it out here for you, something really struck me and it was the difference between boundaries and walls. We have begun to realize that it is not good or healthy to build walls that separate us from other people that we love, or even those we dislike or feel unsafe with, because sometimes we cut ourselves off from too much of the world in doing this. Conversely, a great many people never learn how to set healthy boundaries. We have to learn to set boundaries that make us both feel safe and set us in the perfect center of our real lives. We need to learn to say No, kindly, but firmly. This is a good exercise. In the days ahead notice when you have put walls up around you, vs. healthy boundaries. Notice how both of these particular things affect you. Don't beat yourself up if you feel you've "done it wrong." There is no "doing it wrong," simply being aware, and learning more about ourselves and the world around us. Understanding more about our relationship to people, places and things.

And then let go.

Don't carry it with you. Note it, be aware of it, let it go. Each time you notice something new, note it and move on. In the process we learn more than we can realize or understand in the moment. That's okay. Just keep on keeping on, and one day you will wake up and see a new person in the mirror, maybe not so much physically different, but the soul inside burns a little brighter. We are new people in a whole new world.

It is sufficient. It is enough. We need nothing more...