Monday, September 30, 2013

My Boy (Needs a Haircut) and Some Thoughts on Running

Day 26: Sept. 30, 2013

Running makes me hungry. I get so hungry that I end up eating myself into a food coma well before dinner is ready. And I'm not sitting there savoring the food either. Usually I'm stuffing my face with nuts, chips, chocolate, cheese, whatever I come across in my kitchen while I'm washing dishes, making dinner, or straightening up. This doesn't happen to me with other forms of exercise. I can swim hard and not be famished within ten minutes. I can get a good workout on the elliptical trainer and control myself until pre-dinner drinking. Its weird. Running is sort of useless in this way.  I just end up eating every last calorie I burned within an hour of burning it.

Another thing is that running hurts. I've been advised to get the shoes that aren't actually shoes with the toe slots, which I plan on, but in the mean time my knees tend to get sore and tender, and since I never leave enough time to stretch, my muscles get tight and I often spend the rest of the day hobbling around in agony. The roller is excellent when I remember to use it. Its that hand held bar you can roll on your legs, and your muscles loosen up all nicely, and I tend to get involved in lots of stretches when I use it, but somehow I only use the dang thing once every ninety days.

Despite all of these drawbacks, I can't seem to stop running. I tried after I banged my knee into the corner of a drawer and couldn't run because of the pain. For three months I became an exclusive lap simmer, then added some elliptical in there, until finally, I could run a couple of miles and the knee felt ok. During this period, I was having panic attacks that I would never run again, trying to convince myself that swimming was a perfectly wonderful substitute (I actually love swimming, so this seemed plausible and reasonable.)

Here's the problem. You can't just put on your shoes and jog bra and go swimming. And you don't get to swim all over town to see the sights, the people, the clouds, the changing light, the rainbows. You can't fit swimming in at the last minute, because you have to have time to get to the pool, change the clothes, take a shower, sit in the hot tub, the sauna, the steam room, etc. And I'm new enough to swimming that I don't achieve the zen like state I do from running because I'm always kind of wondering if at any moment, I might start to drown.

I guess for me, Running is in my blood. My parents did it when I was little, and when I was in fourth grade, my PE teacher asked me to run the mile in the middle school track meet.  I did and came in second and from then on, I ran with my mom after school. On my tenth birthday, she gave me the choice of going on a run or going to the bakery to buy a birthday cake to bring to the family party, and I chose going on a run. Running has lifted me out of slumps, depression, ruts, gutters. Its just that for me. I'm looking forward to getting those shoes with the toes, though. As long as they live up to the hype. Who knows, I might just run another (1/2) marathon.


Coffee: No coffee for me today, but I'm still going strong with  my cup whenever I buy it, so that's good.

Cups and Bags Challenge: No emails today.  That's ok because I saw a lot of reusable cups around town today and felt encouraged. If you use a reusable cup to buy some coffee or any drink, email me here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com and I'll send a dollar to Bring Recycling!

Watercolor:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Rainy Tree

Day 25: Sept. 29,2013

Today is Day 25. A fellow mom friend asked me if so far I resent this daily task I've assigned myself. I would be lying if I said I jump for joy thinking about finding time to write in between butt wiping and dish washing, but I'm definitely not resentful yet. I enjoy the writing when it comes out easy and I really enjoy the watercolors.  I remember on my eighteenth birthday buying my first journal at a bookstore. I wrote in it all about how I hated this, loved that, found this to be interesting, boring, whatever popped into my head. By the time I was twenty two, I had ten or fifteen journals filled from front to back with free associations. After I graduated from college, while floundering around trying to figure out what to do with myself, I hid away in my dim apartment and read every word in those fifteen journals. It took about a week. Never until now have I considered writing anything for anyone else to read.  

I had to write papers in college on historical topics, (I was a history major.) This was not my forte. I had one professor say simply, "I don't know how to help, I am at a loss, C-." That was fun. This is why when I was applying for teaching jobs a year after graduating, I had my brilliant (seriously brilliant) English major friend write my cover letter.  I thought that was entirely brilliant in itself! My college career wasn't all flames and tears. My senior year I figured out how to write a topic sentence followed by supporting evidence and wrote some good papers for an English lit class. That was exciting. I wish I still had those.

I have this quality that once I decide to do something, I do it.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  I signed up to run a marathon that's happening in a week, paid the money, wrote out the training plan. I'm not running the marathon.  But the one marathon I did run, I ran six days a week from Jan. 1 to April 28.  I didn't miss a day. With the expectation that I'm going to write and paint every day for a year, I have no doubt that I will hate the project at least part of the time. I will kick and scream, but hopefully not at my husband, because I worry that he's already annoyed with me about this. Or maybe he's annoyed because its raining sheets around here, and everything is getting wet. Either way, I will write and paint, and find time for other aspects of my life, otherwise, I will be in trouble. (I find ending these little essays painful.  Sometimes it takes me just as long to end them as it does to write the rest of it. And I still don't like the ending.) (There's always tomorrow.)


Coffee: Delicious decaf enjoyed at home while watching the wall of water come down outside the window. (will it ever stop?)

Cups and Bags Challenge: $22! Email me at cupsandbags@yahoo.com if you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, and I'll donate a dollar to Bring Recycling!

Watercolor:








Saturday, September 28, 2013

For Real, is that True?

Day 24: Sept. 28, 2013

Tonight's watercolor cracks me up because it looks like the girl has a look of incredulity on her face.  She's thinking, whatever you just said is ridiculous but I'm going to pretend I'm interested. Or maybe she is genuinely interested but finds whatever has been said to be untrue at least from her perspective. My sister and I play this game a lot. When we happen to be out together, at a restaurant, or a coffee shop, we'll make up scenarios about what the other customers are thinking, what they do for a living, are they on a first date, in a long term relationship, do they have kids at home, no kids, you name it, we explore the possibilities. My husband finds this game utterly ridiculous and rude as it requires you spend lots of time slyly viewing the other customers or in my case, staring at them unabashedly.

To me, this girl in the watercolor expresses herself with her eyes. And her lips are enormous. Perhaps she's observant and smiles a lot making others around her feel welcome to communicate. Just looking at her makes me feel amused because she seems amused. And she seems beautiful, not because of her facial features, the size of her nose, or lips or her eyebrows, but because she seems so genuinely interested in whatever she's looking at that she must have opinions that go deep. 

I remember the moment I became aware of my own profile, and how it looked to other people. I was young. I can't remember my exact age. I used a hand mirror in combination with a wall mirror to examine my nose, my chin, my lips. This was a heavy moment for me. I was crushed. I decided right then and there that my nose was flawed and my profile was not beautiful. I would spend hours manipulating my face in the mirror to see what it would feel like with a different face. 

It took a long time to realize that people don't really care what other people look like. Sure there's the constant barrage of images of "beautiful" women and men, the perfect body, the perfect facial features. What people really care about and are attracted to is how other people feel. (This word feels important which is why its leaning in a little.) But seriously, someone who welcomes others with their eyes and their smile and their feelings is going to be more beautiful than someone who is always sad or worried or wondering if they are beautiful. Noses, lips, eyes, and eyebrows are only important in how they are used to express what is inside. I know, I know, trite! But, somehow this concept is really exciting to me right now. Its cool to realize that your face has value other than as an object for someone else to look at. There is so much more to say on this topic, but I think I'll just look at my girl in the watercolor and make up scenarios about her. I'm pretty sure she's awesome, and I love her. 


Coffee Today:  One decaf at the grocery store! Like old times. 

Cups and Bags Challenge: Up to $21 today. Hoping to share the blog with lots of folks in New York next week who will get the Reusable cup conversation going!  Email me here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com if you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, and I'll donate $1 to Bring Recycling.







Friday, September 27, 2013

Boobs, Men and Babies

Day 23: Sept. 27, 2013

I'm not sure when I started waiting. Probably in middle school, waiting to get boobs. I wore my first training bra in sixth grade. I wore it on the days we had P.E. and had to change in the girls' locker room. Then the waiting became very predictable. In high school, waiting for college. In college, waiting to find a man and have a career.  Then waiting to find a place to live, then waiting to find the right house, then waiting to HAVE BABIES. Then having the babies and waiting until they could play on their own in self sufficiency. In the last six months or so, its possible I've emerged from all of this waiting. I've surfaced from a deep sea of baby mania and looking ahead, and I'm seeing my life right now for what it is. Not for what is to come. Part of it for me is that I'm turning forty and I sense that just about half of my life has been lived, give or take ten years or so. I feel like I'm in the process of deciding that I'm all done waiting.

There are two kinds of waiting, long term and short term. Short term waiting can be fun, like, "I can't wait for my kids' nap time!" (i.e., a cup of decaf and chunk of dark chocolate.) Or,"I can't wait for my kids' bed time!" (i.e. two beers and three episodes of Glee.) Or it can be self destructive, like those mornings when all you think about is nap time and you don't notice that your kids are drawing on the walls and eating your husband's deodorant.

Long term waiting is not all bad, but mostly. At least for me, I'll wait and wait for the contractors to leave, and they never do, so I miss out on opportunities to enjoy the gutted out bathroom and the door less bedroom and the homey chaos of linens and towels and toiletries lining the walls of the hallway. And more seriously, long term waiting creates for me, a general feeling of emptiness. Because I'm waiting for something that doesn't exist. That future in my head is not real, and if I'm going to dwell on fiction, it might as well be a well written novel, like Jane Eyre.  Sometimes I catch myself in this mode and I force myself to stop what I'm doing and watch a spider for fifteen minutes. Or paint a watercolor. Or listen to myself breath.

And if I think about it really hard, I have to admit to myself that its fun to dream about the future. But the problem is that what I dream about in my head is often way better than what happens in real life, so then I'm disappointed.  There's been a long drawn out scenario brewing of that vacation or the final nail on the house remodel, or whatever it is I'm waiting for, and then it comes and not only does it not match up to my dream, but also I've probably moved onto the next dream, so the thing I dreamed about for months and years turns out to be chopped liver.

Today I played a fifteen minute sonata for violin and piano with an amazing pianist at a retirement home, and I tell you, it was fifteen minutes of pure fun and feeling present. I was really tired before playing, so I had zero energy to be nervous, and the audience was amazing, just so loving and interested, and we hadn't rehearsed it since playing it six weeks ago at a more formal event. It would be cool if every day there was something like that.  Well, here's something.  A couple of days ago I wrote about wanting to "make a difference." Duh. I can totally get out and play more. At retirement homes, at schools, maybe, places where there might be interest but limited resources. Here I go, dreaming about future me hopping around from retirement home to retirement home. Oh, and I could change it up, sometimes bringing my guitar and singing the three songs I wrote back when I was 24. And I could invite all my music friends to join me! FUN! Stop. Breath. Go watch the spider in the corner.

Coffee: Two cups of green tea. Did you know that green tea contains mood enhancers?

Cups and Bags Challenge: Ok people, wait for it... Today we had 3 reports of reusable cup usage! I'm very proud of the users. We're up to $20!

Watercolor:




Sunset?

Day 22: Sept. 26, 2013

I could tell the story about how I became a runner in fourth grade. Or the story of how it took me five years to get pregnant, or the story about how when my husband asked me to marry him, I said yes, but then a few months later said no.  I could tell the story about how I quit my job to practice violin from morning until night. But instead I'm going to paint a watercolor and turn out the light.


Cups and Bags Challenge: We're up to $17. I was about to give up when I got two more emails and got all rejuvenated! (Email me here: www.cupsandbags@yahoo.com if you use your reusable cup to buy a drink and I'll donate $1 to Bring Recycling!)

Watercolor: (Uh, well, there's always tomorrow.)















Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Until the Cows Come Home

Day 21: Sept. 25, 2013

I just called my husband and left a long message for my mom. Oh, my goodness, what is going on? Do you ever have those days? There's a lot going on in my life right now. I'm playing a concert for a retirement home on Friday, a Symphony concert tomorrow night, and I don't have a lot of time to practice for either since I would rather write this blog and paint my watercolor. And I'm going to New York next Wednesday for four days, which is giving me mixed feelings, mostly excitement, but also some nerves.

I was talking with a friend this morning about people's "things." Right now, my thing is to cringe when I see a disposable coffee cup. Her friend cringes when she sees kids on Halloween dressed up as animals on the verge of extinction. Like a polar bear or a tiger. And we were about to dive into what I think is such an important topic about how we can all sit around until the cows come home talking and writing about our "things," but not really moving our bodies to do anything about it. This is something I've struggled with ever since trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I'd say, since my late teens.

When I was eighteen I participated in a summer program called Summerbridge. It partnered high school and college students interested in getting classroom teaching experience with low income and low opportunity kids who wanted an academic challenge during the summer months.  The teachers worked hard to create lesson plans (I taught French and social studies) and the kids worked hard in their classes and at home doing homework. The program was also full of fun workshop experiences for the students and the teachers. Once Branson Marsalis came with his band and the whole program learned and sang together Jeremiah was a Bull Frog in multiple parts and verses that the kids made up themselves.

It was always going to be teaching for me, although at one point I thought it would be working at a non-profit. For me "non-profit" was anything that paid very little but provided a service for the community. I wanted something that would "make a difference." My teaching career has been varied, and now I teach violin which is exactly right for my life. But the nagging question of what I can do to "make a difference," lingers in my mind. This blog might be my attempt at that, but I recognize that all I'm really doing so far is utterly self centered and self serving. Perhaps I can slowly transform this into something more than that. That would be nice, I think.

Coffee: Green Tea today! Green tea is becoming more regular on the suggestion of my wonderful neighbor.

Cups and Bags Challenge: $15!  If you use a reusable cup to buy a any drink anywhere, post a comment below and I'll donate $1 to our local recycling co., Bring Recycling!

Watercolor:




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Orleans, I Love You!

Day 20: Sept. 24, 2013

In high school my teenage boyfriend would pick me up on a school night and we'd go to a coffee shop to do our homework. The first time I did this, it blew my mind. I was sixteen years old and felt like I was thirty. In hindsight, what really blew my mind is that my parents were ok with this arrangement and I was, in fact, at a coffee shop doing my homework. (Am I going to feel the same way when my kids are sixteen?)  I think I learned a lot from those experiences.  For one thing, my boyfriend was extremely smart. He helped me with AP Calculus and AP Physics, topics I sadly have no memory of today. And I learned that ambiance matters.

The memories I have of my home town look like paintings in my mind. Old buildings. Amazingly old houses with huge columns and ornate balconies. There are rows and rows of these houses lining pot holed streets with enormous live Oak trees in the back yards and two blocks over the houses are falling down and people sit on the stoop waving as you pass.  At some point in my teens it hit me that New Orleans architecture is one of a kind. I've lived in a few places since moving away, and nothing comes close to its charm and beauty.

I often think about how my children will have a totally different palette in their minds growing up in the Pacific Northwest.  They will grow up with the trees. The rain and the fresh air. The rivers and the mountains and the ocean. Wherever they end up as adults, they'll see and feel the elements that surround them here in the core of their bodies, kind of like how I hear the music of the all night brass bands, and see the rows of old houses like paintings in a museum. Every year I think about taking them there, but I'm not sure they'll get it. In many respects this is deeply sad to me. I can see why people choose to raise their kids where they were raised themselves. On the other hand, we don't live there anymore and this place where we live now is a gift in itself. And I'll take them to Mardi Gras one day, and we'll do it right, and they'll love it.

One decaf Latte enjoyed in a reusable cup.

Cups and Bags Challenge: up to $14 for Bring! (If you use a reusable cup to buy a drink, email me here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com, and I'll donate $1 to Bring Recycling!)

Watercolor:








Monday, September 23, 2013

Smelling Books

Day 19: Sept. 23, 2013

When presented with a gift, or something new, the first thing I do is smell it. I enjoy smelling things. I was leaving the house today and had a whiff of fall.  I'm not sure what that means exactly, just that it smelled good, and I stood there for a second breathing in. Unfortunately for me, at this stage in my life, much of my day I smell poop. Poop in my son's diaper, in the trash can in the bathroom, from our septic tank, which on some days is more pungent than others. The only benefit to this is that once the smell is removed, the relief is tangible.

I like to smell books, however I'm not sure this matters.  I think if I read "I like to smell books" in some one's blog, I would groan, then fake puke and then close the window. Sometimes I'm not in the writing mood, but I've committed to writing so I have to write. O.K., here's something. Today in the grocery store I had the song, "I can't make you love me" running around in my head. Often, when I'm alone in public, I'll sing at the top of my voice. I did that today in the store. Usually, people look at me, then shrug and go about their business. "I can't make you love me" is a good song, but I often confuse the lyrics and sing "You can't make me love you," instead.

As for smelling books, it doesn't matter if they're old or new, or what kind of paper they're made of. I like to put my nose in the binding and breath deeply. The sad part about this is that I now read almost exclusively on a Kindle. The base model that requires light to see it. I read every day now, whereas before the Kindle I read very little. Right now I am reading Jane Eyre. I love this book mostly for the soap opera like plot, but also for the descriptive language. Jane Eyre is an amazing narrator with great story telling skills. Her ten year old self is not only entertaining but relatable, and now that she's an adult, she is very wise. I've read this book a couple of times and I've seen the movie, but somehow I keep coming back to it. For one thing, it guarantees I'll be asleep at night within ten minutes of getting into bed.  And I also find it hilariously funny, which means now you know how weird I am.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Up to $12! (If you use a reusable cup when buying a drink, email me here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com, and I'll donate $1 to Bring Recylcing!)

Watercolor:






Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weather Comin'

Day 18: Sept. 22, 2013

Today I saw sunlight explode through a crack in the clouds while it was pouring down rain. I was fixing the goat fence and chatting with Wendy (one of the male goats) when there it was, a blast of light pouring through the forest at the north end of our property. It looked like there was a light on in a dark room. I didn't see a rainbow, but I imagined there was one somewhere. The rain was strong and the light was strong.

Yesterday while jumping on the trampoline with my daughter, it started to rain. She doesn't like to get wet, unless she's swimming. But for some reason, yesterday, she wanted to stay while the raindrops came down hard. We whooped and hollered. We sang raindrop songs and got soaked. It reminded me of a time tubing in Louisiana on a flat, hot river, and the rain began and we opened our mouths to drink it and let it plaster our hair to our heads. Rain in Louisiana is hard and fast, and doesn't last very long, but that day, we were in it.

Two days ago, the wind was blowing hard and it was raining leaves. Straight off the top of huge oaks the leaves poured down on our heads. At one point they blew towards us on the road and we pretended they were bad guys chasing us. My son wanted to crush them. I told my kids, "I think there's weather comin' so we better get home." I love saying, "weather comin'." Like weather is a person coming to visit. A friend who will make a big mess. Someone who will give you something to write about once they go home.

Today's coffee: two homemade decafs and a green tea.

Cups and Bags Challenge: Same as yesterday. (Read day 6 to find out what this is!)

Watercolor:












Saturday, September 21, 2013

Too Hard Boogier

Day 17: Sept 21, 2013

I crack myself up.  Today during Symphony rehearsal, I could not stop jamming and boogying in my seat. We rehearsed Debussy's Iberia, Ravel's Bolero, and Bizet's Carmen Fantasie. It helped that I was in the back of the section (we violins rotate seating every concert,) and my stand partner was absent. The Debussy is not whopping hard for the violins, but some of the rhythms are tricky. We're often waiting for our turn to play, and the third movement has a steady beat going during which its hard to repress shaking my butt. However, it was during Bolero that I really got my jam on. What an awesome piece. I'm not a rocker in the classic sense. I know the names of a few bands, like Led Zepplin, of course, ACDC and, uh, what's that one my husband loves, oh yeah, ZZ Top. And I can even sing along with some songs here and there. But Bolero tops all of these bands.  Every song from all of these bands. I'm sorry, it just does.  The snare drum alone is enough. It beats the same rhythm from beginning to end starting softly and becoming louder and louder until you realize that its blowing you out of your seat. And then, almost every instrument in the orchestra passes around a melody which grows in complexity with the addition of extra rhythm or harmony. We only played it once through today, but I was going nuts by the end. I was ready to throw down my instrument and break out into full body dance mode right there.

I didn't play the violin in college. Instead, I joined an a capella singing group. At this particular school, there were eight a capella groups ranging from totally cool all men's groups, to completely dorky coed groups, with some all female groups sprinkled in. Not surprisingly and with the utmost pride, I was in the dorkiest of all coed group. We sang jazz and classical music. We had the music majors and the future professional singers in our group. We were the group who dreaded the joke portion of the "arch sings" that happened every week because no one ever laughed at our jokes. I loved my a capella group. And I was always the one boogying just a little too hard during concerts and in rehearsal. I actually didn't know this about myself until I saw The Video. There is a video that exists, unless by some lucky happenstance it has been destroyed, which reveals the true me: the bubbling energy, the butt shaking urges, the weird facial expressions, all which I have learned to repress, or maybe the better word is refine, unless I am sitting alone in the back of the orchestra. In this video, we were performing in a huge hall in our most formal dress for a large audience, I can't remember exactly where. It was shot from the front row of the hall, so the perspective is screwy. We were positioned in a semi circle, probably about fourteen of us, and everyone was singing with expression and energy, but keeping their bodies relatively still and composed. After a few seconds, your eye wanders about three quarters of the way around the semi-circle, and you see a totally ridiculous person gyrating, flailing her arms, bouncing up and down, and wiggling her head all over the place. When I first saw this, I almost died of embarrassment. As I grow older however, I fall more in love with the memory of this video. Somehow it reminds me to love the music and to feel it in my body. And when I can do that, I know the path I've chosen is the right path for me.

Today's coffee had whip cream on top.

Cups and Bags Challenge: at $11!

Watercolor:




Friday, September 20, 2013

I Painted a Head

Day 16: Sept. 20, 2013

Today I painted a head. I consulted my drawing book called Heads and Portraits and followed the directions for making a head. I made a grid to proportion the face correctly. I put the eyes, the eye brows, the nose, the lips and the forehead all where they were supposed to go. I used a pencil to sketch first, then filled it in with color afterwards.

I had a range of feelings while making this watercolor. Initially, I was pissed. I didn't really want to draw a grid and conform to specific lines. But I wanted to make a face that actually looked like a face, so I kept on. Once applying the color, I became more excited. But, here's why. My watercolors are kid watercolors from Rite Aid. I don't know anything about mixing colors, nor do I have a wide variety of hues. So I figured, what the heck, lets paint a purple face, or a green face. With red lips and blue eyes. Lets just see what happens if I start applying color without thinking. I started with the eyes and lips, which I love, even though they are not realistic looking. Then the hair, the eyebrows and the nose. I decided against corloring the face itself. I felt I might drown my little head in the process.

I enjoy painting watercolors and writing essays, but so far, having to think hard about it makes me feel constricted. I love it when it comes easy. Duh, don't we all.  This reminds me of training for the one marathon I ran in when I was 33. After hard ten mile runs, I would think, I will never make it. No amount of running will make this 10 miles I just ran feel easy. But I had a lot of time to run, so I did and soon ten miles did feel easy. Soon, four miles felt like absolutely nothing. And on the day of the marathon, I felt amazing. Yes, it was hard, and I cried from mile 22 to the end, but I did it, and the first 22 were a breeze.

Will this happen again?  Will one day I sit down and paint a head without feeling constricted? Or will I write a post and read it back and think, yes, that's good, and that was easy? For right now, I don't know the answers to these questions, and that's fine. And I'm not sure the answers are important. What I must do is keep on keepin' on. So here's today's effort, and I hope you haven't fallen asleep, and if you have, hopefully, its bed time for you and this is what helped you slip into dream land.

Oh man, my coffee today was delicious as I bought some fresh beans from Trader Joe's (along with six pounds of dark chocolate (!!))

And we've made it to double digits for Bring! $10! Please spread the word about this silly idea of mine even if you're embarrassed for me while explaining it to people. Email me (cupsandbags@yahoo.com) or send a facebook post if you use a reusable cup instead of a paper cup when buying a coffee (or any drink.)


Today's head:





Thursday, September 19, 2013

56 Million per Day

Day 15: Sept. 19, 2013

Last night in the shower, I realized why I've had anxiety for the past couple of days. I want my blog to eradicate the use of paper coffee cups across the universe, and it hit me that its not going to. Sometimes I carry anxiety around and its like this little gnawing sensation in my chest. Like thinking I had lost a CD from the library, and it turned out to be in my mom's car. Like the time I decided I needed to become famous as a singer-song writer. I tried this for a while. I bought a guitar and wrote three songs. I didn't become famous and I didn't become a singer song writer.

I wonder exactly how many disposable coffee cups are bought at shops and drive through kiosks every day. A million?  A billion?  Probably a billion.  Let me google it... So,according to some random websites I just read, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee each day, 14% of which are consumed from disposable cups. So that's 56 million paper cups thrown away every day in the U.S. Which may account for most of the cups in the world, so a billion per day for the whole universe is probably high. But check this out, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour. Oh my god. That is so many. And although the plastic bottles may be recyclable, I'm not sure about the little plastic tops!

Symphony season starts this weekend.  We have our first rehearsal on Saturday and the concert hall is right across from a drive through coffee place. I'm thinking about putting a little sign out, (if they'll let me,) about the blog and the Cups and Bags Challenge. I mean, I am thoroughly relieved that I don't have to eradicate disposable cups right here and now, but I feel like I should give it my best effort to at least blow the dandelion seeds of reusable cups into the wind and see what happens.

Sometimes if I let my mind go either in writing or painting or playing music or running or whatever it is, I can find the little seeds of anxiety and pick them out. And then the chest gnaw goes way for a while. My husband calls me a worry wart, and he's probably right, but at least I get to write and paint and run to figure out what exactly I'm worried about.

Coffee for me today: one decaf topped with caf from the library (got some watercolor books too!)

Cups and Bags Challenge: Up to $9 for Bring!

Watercolor:





Wednesday, September 18, 2013

40 Minutes to Go

Day 14: Sept. 18, 2013

Yesterday was the first day both of my kids were in school at the same time. Their dad loaded them in his big truck and drove away, then it was just me! First I washed the breakfast dishes. It took a LONG time, it felt like. Then I wandered around the house muttering that I wanted to maximize every minute of this freedom. An hour went by. Then it started raining like nobody's business and the house got really dark, like it was night time in the middle of the morning. I turned on the lights and began to climb the mountain of laundry in the bedroom. Then it really did get dark because the lights turned off. As in, the power went out.

There I was, sitting on the floor in the middle of a dark room strewn with clothes and other miscellaneous junk wondering where my hopes and dreams for my first morning off in four and a half years had gone. There was the dream of a yoga class, of a tennis lesson, of lots of productive violin practice, of maybe writing my post for the day. There was the dream of an hour in a coffee shop reading. Oh well, the power was out, the rain was coming down, the goats were panicking, and I had one hour until pick up. I left the laundry in a heap, called the electric company as fast as I could, answered incomprehensible questions about breakers and transformers, corralled the goats and sprinted to my kids' school. I parked, changed into my running clothes in the car, and with exactly 40 minutes to go, set out in the pouring rain on what turned out to be a beautiful run through the glistening raindrops of September.

Ironically, the highlight of my day was the moment I gathered my kids from their classrooms. My little boy saw me and burst into tears. And my sweet girl was so eager to hear about her brother's first ever school day. We celebrated with Lunch at Subway: two sandwiches wrapped in paper, a salad in a plastic bowl, two kids bouncing in the booth and a smile in my heart.

I think this blog is turning me into a tea drinker.  No decaf today.

Cups and Bags Challenge: $7 is a good number.  I like this number.  Let's see, if you want to know more about the C and B Challenge, read Day 6, Cups and Bags Challenge (I don't know how to turn this into a link.)  And email me here, cupsandbags@yahoo.com, if you use a reusable cup to buy a drink of any kind!


Watercolor:







Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moonshine

Day 13, Sept. 17, 2013

Sometimes when I'm camping and the moon is really bright I feel like there's a light on in my tent and I have trouble sleeping. This happens in my bedroom too. We have windows all around us and when the moon is full, I often ask my husband if there's a light on somewhere. Tonight there is a full moon and it reminds me about how my dad reads a book to my daughter called Many Moons about Princess Lenore in her sick bed asking her dad, the King to bring to her the moon. The King consults a wizard, a Lord and a mathematician to retrieve the moon and bring it to his daughter, but none of them can figure out how to do this. The King is distraught, but is saved by the court Jester who consults with Princess Lenore to find out what she believes to be true about the moon.  It turns out, it is merely a ball made of gold and is the size of her thumb nail. So the next day, the Court Jester brings her a little gold ball on a string and she is delighted.

It so happens that when I was nine years old, I played the role of the Jester in Many Moons, the fourth grade play. I remember this so vividly. I had to sing a song with the lyric, "the moon, the moon, the most mysterious lunar star," and I find myself to this day singing this lyric to myself all of the time. I also find myself having dreams about the friends I had in elementary school. I remember all of them so vividly and their phone numbers too. When the moon is full, it is so bright, so vivid and so beautiful, and it seems like this is what its like to be a kid. Its like the moon is shining out of their eyes soaking every thing with light burning memories into their brains that they will carry around forever. And I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter what the memories are, just as long as somewhere in there, they remember being consulted about what they believe to be true and that truth being honored.

Today I had a truly delicious cup of decaf from the gas station.
Cups and Bags Challenge: Still at $7, but totally pumped because Bring posted the blog on their facebook page!

Watercolor:




Monday, September 16, 2013

Green Smoothie

A toddler can know exactly what he wants to say but not have the words to say it. This is how I feel while painting with watercolors. I can see in my mind's eye what I want to put down on the paper, but my hands are like little toddlers babbling nonsensically. If I can muster the energy, I might just get a book at the library to see what I can find out about painting.  Just wait, people, (but don't hold your breath!)

Here is another confession.  Lately I've been drinking caffeinated tea instead of decaf. Actually in most cases, in addition to decaf.  I've been so totally hammered every morning this past week, that my stash of caffeinated tea reserved for guests is quickly diminishing. Its funny how right after some caffeine, in my mind, I'm all happy and waxing eloquently about my children and my life. Sadly, this wears off.

Today, my son poured green smoothie all over the carpet in his sister's room and dumped a bag of chips on the floor so that he could pick them up with his bulldozer.

My daughter had her first day of Pre-K today, and it broke my heart. (I know, gag.)

Coffee today: again, none, (but as stated above, a big cup of caffeinated tea along with a HUGE dark chocolate serving was thoroughly enjoyed.)

Cups and Bags Challenge:  One report of reusable cup usage!  Yay.  That's $7 for Bring. Remember to email me at cupsandbags@yahoo.com.

Watercolor:








 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Husband

My husband is on a mission to redecorate our kids' rooms. Today he constructed a frame for a huge mirror he hung in my daughter's room.  He took us all to Home Depot to buy a ballet bar that he'll hang tomorrow, and a "road rug" for my son on which he'll drive his cars and trucks.  He found a little toddler bed on Craig's list, for my son, with Lightning McQueen and Mater on it that he's very excited about purchasing.

I don't know how it happened, but I am not a decorator. I like a clean house, and I appreciate a well decorated home, but this skill does not exist for me.  I also don't shop well for clothes.  My husband, on the other hand, is an excellent shopper.  He is an excellent cook too. Again, not my strong point. I remember overhearing a conversation he was having with one of his friends shortly after we moved in together in which he was fretting the possibility that his culinary experiences were going to go downhill.

My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years.  You can count our similarities on one hand and our differences are numerous.  Nonetheless, we go really well together.  I like to run, he likes to play baseball. I'm ok letting the house fall to pieces, he must be working around the house until it's perfect. I love to drink coffee, he hates the taste of it.  I love to drink beer, he hates the taste of that too. He can't live without chicken wings, I can't live with them. He loves to plan his kids' rooms, I'm happy if they're tidied and vacuumed.

I feel like we are going to make it to the end together.  We just will.  We love each other and respect the other's passions. And we know this about each other, that when we get to spend time just the two us, that thing that brought us together in the first place shines bright between us.

With that said, having very young  kids is absolute hell for a marriage. At least for one that thrives when the adults get to be alone together. I mean, think about it. All of a sudden, there are insane people demanding your attention 24 hours a day precluding you from any alone time with your yourself, much less with your spouse.  If we make it through the young years, we're going to make it, I'm sure of it.  The good news is that I'm about to turn 40 (!!!) and I'm pretty sure we're going to celebrate by ditching the kids for a long weekend somewhere spectacular, like the motel down the street, or maybe the local ski area, or maybe Nicaragua.

Coffee count: None for me today.

Cups and Bags Challenge: 2 more emails! Way to go.   We're up to $6.  Very excited.  And thanks to all inquiries regarding coffee drinking habits.  If you drink coffee at home, fabulous, but this doesn't count in the challenge.  If you have a choice between paper and your own cup and you use your own cup, email me here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com.

Water Color:



Saturday, September 14, 2013

On Love

Day 10: Sept. 14, 2013

I'll be honest, a part of me loves my goats more than I love my children. They are straight forward and they have close to zero needs. I find myself staring at them while they chew on blackberries, while they forage in the lemon balm, and I feel peaceful. I will watch them and wish I could watch for an hour, or a whole afternoon. My children are lovely, they are the lights of my life, but they are needy and they are not peaceful.  

Lately, my human kids and I have been spending a lot of time at home, playing, fighting, painting, jumping, running, and really enjoying each other. Since our goats are still babies, and still new at our house (we've had them for two weeks,) I've been enticing the kids to be out back a lot, eating lunch on the play structure, walking the goats in the forest, playing soccer in the grass next to their fence. At one point, my kids were in the sand box, and the goats were still out, resting near by with their heads perched on each other's back. It was a rare moment.  My free and independent adult side of me, which loves my goats more than my children, merged with the mother side of me which is filled to the brim with all of the complications of motherhood--the love, the panic that they are going to school next week, the feeling that at any moment they might ask too much and I'll boil over. I think its important for these two sides to merge every once in a while. Both sides are legitimate and both sides have problems.

On the coffee front, today I went for a very enjoyable morning run without my kids and stopped at a bagel/coffee joint afterward.  I had my cup! Its funny, as soon as I decided to use the cup all the time, I just use it all the time. I'll let you know when I forget the cup and I'm foaming at the mouth for some decaf and can't have it because I forgot it.

Cups and Bags Challenge: No new emails today. If you use your cup, email me here! cupsandbags@yahoo.com.  (I know you're out there!  As my best friend from high school will ask me occasionally, r u alive?)

Watercolor:




Friday, September 13, 2013

Stay Focused on the Good!

Day 9:  Sept. 13, 2013

I feel like I've seriously diverged from the roots of this blog; telling stories about old cross country coaches does not address reusable cups vs. paper cups.  For example, I started two posts today, one about hiking in the south of France, and one questioning the difference between private journal writing and public blogging. Both topics are interesting, but neither discuss the value of creating less waste. So far, my mom is my hero, for using a reusable cup three times in the last 7 days or so! She might be the sole reason the Cups and Bags Challenge makes it to 100.  And my other hero is a dear friend who inspires me everyday and who reported that she used a paper cup and forgot her reusable grocery bags three times this week!  I laughed a long time when I read that in an email.  Its true. We all have our thing.  She for example has a super kick ass backyard garden, with a nice compost pile, lots of veggies and fruits growing for her consumption every summer and into the winter too. And then, there are my neighbors who have garbage pick up only once a month in the little can.  And they have a kid too.

Where I grew up, people put unlimited garbage bags on the street for pick up every week. No extra charge. When we moved and had to pay to throw away "extra" garbage bags, my husband and I were peeved. In our home town, you could put a couch and a refrigerator on the street and the garbage guys would throw them in the truck and take them away.  Oh, and there was no recycling. Coming home after college, I lived next to a couple who had at least ten bags on the curb every week filled with shredded paper. I never figured that one out.

I guess for me, creating less waste is learned.  You see other people doing it, so you think, ok, I can do this too. Coffee cups and grocery bags are doable for me right now. Which is good because it makes me feel hopeful. I've become observant of the myriad ways people conserve and grow more hopeful, for me and the world. Stay focused on the good, people! It's nourishing and will spur more good.  Use a reusable cup sometime and see how it makes you feel. You just might become addicted!

Cups and Bags Challenge: 4 reusable cups used.  That's $4 for Bring Recycling.  Keep it up, people.  Don't forget to email me: cupsandbags@yahoo.com.

Watercolor--my sweet goats:




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mr. Grant

Day 8, Sept. 12, 2013

I had a cross country coach in high school who was totally insane.  His name was Mr. Grant, and he would shriek at the top of his lungs while running along side us during the meets.  He would pop up along the course shrieking and gesticulating wildly.  And this was mellow compared to his finish line behavior.  At the finish line he was just plain insane until all of his runners had crossed the line, at which point he would shout out his congratulations for what always seemed like an endless amount of time.

One distinct memory I have of Mr. Grant was my very first day of practice my freshman year.  He sent the team on a three mile run, which for me was doable, but intimidating. Somehow, I ended up alone in front of the pack and when Mr. Grant came upon me on his bike (he hadn't been following us, but was meeting us somewhere in the middle of the run,) I had stopped to walk. I thought he was going to say, good job, front runner, but instead he said, "never walk. Slow down if you have to and concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other."  That was it, and he took off to find the rest of the team.  I was sort of flabbergasted. I just kept running and tried to watch my feet one after the other.

Not surprisingly , this is the advice that comes to me on a regular basis.  No matter if I'm actually running, or just pissed at how my day is going.  It goes along with my other favorite mantra, "don't think about tomorrow until tomorrow."  The thing is, Mr. Grant has no idea that what he said to me is still in there.  He was fired after one year for being a nut ball.  I mean, he was so crazy that the team, the parents, the other teams at the meets, everyone was uncomfortable.  We the runners were freaked out to be associated with him.  We were also fourteen years old and not very accepting of anything beyond cute and nice.

The truth is though, that I secretly loved Mr. Grant.  I never spoke this out loud. I thought he was a fine coach and it didn't really matter to me if he was insane or not. Kind of like how it doesn't really matter to me if my kids brush their hair or eat food that's been dropped on the floor. I try not to say this out loud either (too late,) and I try to present my kids to the public well enough. I don't know.  Sometimes I feel out of place, like I should agree that a crazy man doesn't make a good cross country coach and I should be more vigilant about my kids and their gross habits.  I guess its a good thing that they have their dad in their lives. He's a very moderating, sensible influence on all of us! (He is right now rolling his eyes:))

Cups and Bags Challenge Update: One more email today!  We're up to 3 reusable cups used!

Watercolor:




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Space Aliens

Day 7: Sept. 11, 2013

It seems I've hit upon a theme in the watercolors.  There's a drawing framed in my husband's parents house of a figure drawn by my husband when he was in fourth grade (I think.)  It might be sixth or even tenth, I can't remember exactly.  But I can see it distinctly in my mind, except for the legs. The legs are fuzzy for me. The shoulders are square and the sides of the body slope diagonally to the waist.  I remembered this drawing the other day and thought I would try it.  I've never in my life drawn a proper representation of a person.  Or one that makes any real sense.  Not that these make a lot of sense.  They kind of look like space aliens.

Today I painted the watercolor with my daughter. She was painting too, and she kept asking to trade paint brushes. She wanted to know why I put hair on top of the eyes.  She painted a figure herself, a big oval with eyes and a big red mouth and a line of hair over the eyes. She said, "I painted this to make fun of you."  And she kept painting and painting until the whole paper was filled with princesses and fish and all sorts of other items important to her right now.

Cups and Bags Challenge Update:  Two emails today. Thank you!!!! Two reusable cups utilized, hooray! Keep it up all you coffee buyers!  Here's the email: cupsandbags@yahoo.com

As for me, no decaf at all yet today.  I have high hopes of running, practicing violin and cleaning my entire house after my kids go to bed.  Then maybe I'll have some decaf.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Watercolor:







Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cups and Bags Challenge!

Day 6, Sept. 10, 2013

I have an idea.  For every time someone uses a reusable cup, I'll donate $1 to our local recycling company, Bring Recycling, http://www.bringrecycling.org for up to $100.  And I'll also eat an extra dark chocolate square to celebrate!  If you buy a coffee with a reusable cup when you otherwise might have bought a disposable cup, send me an email here: cupsandbags@yahoo.com.  I'll call this the first Cups and Bags Challenge.  I'll keep everyone up to date on our progress to keep motivation high.  And if this takes a week, awesome, if it takes a year, awesome.

I accidentally had this idea while running yesterday. The idea came to me in the middle of my favorite running game, "find the bungalow I would move into if suddenly thrust entirely on my own."  I know, morbid. It turns out, all I really care about in a bungalow is a big covered front porch.  These all get 10s and the others get 1s. Anyway, my mind turned toward the blog, and what first popped into my head was a domain name: cupsandbags.com. So, that's working now.  Then I thought, what about a little logo, to print on actual coffee cups and grocery bags! This is why running is both wonderful and dangerous. You start getting ideas. The idea of getting readers involved really got me excited, and I started to imagine parades with giant reusable coffee cups and throngs of people cheering and road races, and opening a coffee shop with no disposable cups (my husband is so happy I run.)  So after all that died away, what was left was the Cups and Bags Challenge.  I figure, this should be easy, and possibly fun, and even if just one person switches to reusable cups for one week, its worth it.

So, join me if you want! It'll be fun, and I'll post a daily update. At some point maybe I'll have a fancy website with tickers and flashing lights and banners and things.

Today we went to the grocery store and I remembered to bring my bags, hallelujah.  And I made a pretty tasty cup of decaf during nap/break time, hallelujah.  And by some miracle, I managed to stay sane!

Watercolor:












Monday, September 9, 2013

Hair

Day 5, Sept. 9, 2013

My favorite way to enjoy my decaf when I'm at home, is after my two year old is in his nap, and my four year old is "on break" and I have a giant chunk of dark chocolate from Trader Joe's in hand.  This rarely happens though because I usually dive into my dark chocolate while I'm doing the breakfast dishes, and I make a decaf while my kids are playing together thinking I'll have a moment to myself. Today that moment turned into reading books about the human body with my kids who were both sipping "hot" tea. There was lots of spilling and fretting over the hottness of the tea, and why was my decaf a different color, and what would my decaf look like with hot tea in it.  It didn't look great, althought it still tasted fine. The truth is, the decaf I make kind of sucks.  It just doesn't taste very good. Thankfully, this provides a nice contrast between my decaf and the decaf I buy at coffee shops which ultimately is a benefit.

Sometimes my kids drive me to the brink of insanity and I start to question myself as a human being.  I start asking myself  lots of questions like, why can't I go for a run at a moments notice?  Why can't I control my anger? Why does my little boy like to hum large objects at my head?  If I yell at my kids will I ruin their lives?

At those moments, I would like to rewind and do over.  Or maybe I could introduce chanting into my life. Remember "Num Yoko Arenge Kyo," from the movie about Tina Turner?   Or I could use my love of decaf to my advantage.  Before yelling, or before my blood starts to boil because my kids won't put on their shoes, I can pause, make some decaf and breath. Except then we'd never get anywhere.  Maybe this should be my policy. Don't ever leave the house!

Then I wouldn't get to buy decaf.  Or write this blog.  And my daughter would never brush her hair again, which would frighten the goats too much.

Well, today was another success.  No disposable cups bought and no grocery bags either. One homemade decaf with hot tea enjoyed.

Watercolor Du Jour:







Sunday, September 8, 2013

Little Black Dots

Day 4: Sept. 8, 2013

You know, when you sit down and stare at your water color paints, and you have zero clue what to do, its weird.  There's a moment there when you feel like puking.  Like you just want to vomit water color paint all over the little blank paper to see what would happen.  I'm sorry if that's really gross.  Its just how I feel when there is nothing and it has to become something.  I think I want the something to be something.  To be good or brilliant or recognizable.

My kids' paintings are amazing, not because they are good, brilliant or recognizable.  My kids just don't give a rat's ass what anybody thinks, and the result is pure energy on paper. I don't remember painting as a kid. I do remember feeling awkward in art class. Like I had no clue what to do while all the other kids seemed to dive right in.  A project in our senior year of high school required us to replicate a Goya painting; the point was to draw light flooding out of darkness. This was completely beyond me where as a lot of my classmates were amazing at this.

Well, and then there's writing.  This writing thing is intense.  Again, there's that moment when there's nothing and it has to become something.  Then you think, oh my god, someone else is going to read this.  No thank you.  I'm only doing this because a cup spoke to me, and I accidentally bought a book, and I've started it so now I have to finish it.

And the thing is, playing the violin has none of these elements for me.  You don't have to create something out of nothing. The little black dots on the page tell you exactly what to do, and you do it, and then its gone. In the mean time, you get to move your body and you get to discover someone else's genius.  And the best part is that you get to put all of your passion into the music and suddenly, it is your creation.  This is how I like it.          

Today's watercolor:















Saturday, September 7, 2013

Just Put 'em Back in the Cart, Please

Day 3: Sept. 7, 2013

I love my grocery store.  But if we were a married couple, my friends would be urging me to get a divorce. Its that I love the store for all the wrong reasons.  I love it for the coffee bar. And the gelato bar.  I love it because there's classical music blaring from the loud speakers. I love that I can rock out to a Mozart Symphony while picking out my macaroni and cheese in a box.  I love it because the guys in the fish department explain to me what to do with the fish once I get it home.  And the people at the check out counters tell me stories about their kids as mine are dripping vanilla steamer all over the conveyor belt.

And once I'm in there, I am dazzled by many useless items that nobody needs.  Like very expensive goat milk soap that you can cut yourself with a soap cutter.  And a million varieties of chocolate candies perched on surfaces of varying heights.  It has an olive bar with mozzarella balls and marinated garlic cloves.  By the time I am halfway around the store, I am in a trance, mesmerized by the mood lighting and the 55 varieties of nut butter on the shelves.

The problem is, when it comes to things that people actually need, like food, its pretty basic and way overpriced.  I know this to be true, and I still go there.  I am manipulated, lured, and used, but I keep going back.  I don't know.  I figure, we're all going to be dead and buried in the ground in the end, so why not enjoy my grocery shopping in the mean time? My husband wishes I would just get a divorce.

Anyway, this is not what I wanted to write about today.  I wanted to write about how I hate the parking lot. And how I often park on a neighborhood street perched on a hill above the parking lot.  There is a large stair case that leads from the street down to the lower level requiring a walk past some restaurants and a pet store with kitties in the window.

Very recently, I put my foot down about the grocery bags.  I stopped buying them.  But I have yet to remember to bring my own bag to the store.  When I get to the check out, I think, hell, I'll buy a couple of bags this time, but find myself telling the bagger person to just put the stuff back in my cart with no bag.  So then we get to the grand staircase and I give each of my kids an item to carry up. The three of us traipse up and down from the cart to the car until all the groceries are accounted for.  Someone always passes by on their way down.

No coffee today.  I will have it tomorrow, amen.  And my husband said he declined a bag at both of the two stores he shopped at today.

Watercolor of the day:








Friday, September 6, 2013

Steamers

Day 2: Sept. 6, 2013

Its day two and I have a confession to make.  I buy my kids vanilla steamers at the grocery store, every time we go.  Each in a disposable cup,  with whip cream and sprinkles on top. Once I brought three reusable cups into the store with me and I thought this was going to work. It turned out I needed extra grocery bags to carry the cups once it was all over.  And the thing is, the kids get bored with the steamers once they pick off the sprinkles and suck the whip cream off the top.

I don't know how I got started on the steamers.  Maybe its that every time I go to the store I buy myself a decaf.  And my kids are witnesses.  And then, I'm always a little afraid.  Two kids and one me in the store and really, all I want to do is drink my decaf while pushing the cart around.  This will have to change, I am sure, and I think I am less afraid now.  They are older and I have a lot more time on my own to purchase and sip my decaf in peace.  And truly,  I don't remember having delicious treats handed to me every time I went to the grocery store with my mother, and she and I, we're still friends.

Today was good.  No disposable cups purchased!  One decaf in a reusable cup enjoyed.

Here is today's water color:













Thursday, September 5, 2013

It Spoke to Me

Day 1: Sept. 5, 2013

I drink decaf and I shop for groceries a lot.  I am a mom and I play the violin and I don't consider myself a writer and I definitely don't consider myself a visual artist.  I have a husband, two goats and two human kids all of whom make me mostly happy, but sometimes piss me off, which I'm pretty sure is normal.  I love to hike and camp and be on vacation doing these things, which happens sometimes, but not that often.

And the thing is, I really like to buy coffee at the grocery or anywhere, for that matter.  So one day, I actually looked in the garbage can after tossing the 5th disposable coffee cup that week, and I got really freaked out. There were so many coffee cups in there.  It was like a sea of coffee cups.  An entire ocean of cups just waiting there to get dumped into the actual ocean.

That day when I got home, I looked in my cup cabinet, and there was a reusable coffee cup with a lid.  I looked at if for a while, and I swear, it spoke to me.  It said, "use me, and write about it."  I know, weird, because I'm not a writer, and I'm not sure if writing about it is the point. I've been using it along with a couple of other cups my husband brought home from work ever since.  I'm not sure how long ago that was.

I love the cup.  It reminds me that there is hope for the future.  That maybe the coffee cup sea is a tiny bit smaller because of it.  And if I forget the cup at home, I am despondent until I can get home and make my own cup of decaf.

And something else happened, too.  I accidentally bought a book.  Its called A Daily Creativity Journal, 365, Make Something Everyday and Change Your Life.  I was at an art store with an artist friend of mine who was giving me advice about what art supplies to buy for my kids, and I picked up this book absent mindedly.  I carried it around the store absent mindedly and bought it along with the other supplies I was holding in my hand.  So there it was.  I had this book and decided to read it, and now I'm doing a 3x5 water color every day.  I'm on day three.  And I'm fully expecting for my life to change.

I have no idea what else is going to happen, but I'm going to work hard at three things every day for one year:

1)At all costs, refrain from buying a disposable coffee cup or grocery bag
2)apply water color paint to a 3x5 piece of paper
3)write a daily paragraph, a sentence or a word or two about 1) and 2)

Here's today's water color: