Happy National Hat Day

IMG_5197perle in snow 3perle snow 2014 -Happy National Hat Day.

I have many hats. Some are plain functional; some are fashion statements. But whether functional or fashionable, all hats serve a woman living in the South. The southern sun will bake you to leather if you don’t take care.

Functional hats: Most people call them baseball hats. When I lived in Texas, we called them gimme hats, because most of them were free handouts with various company logos – gimme one of those please. I’ve never bought a one and I own many.

Not my favorite hat, but they are useful in my life. They shield me on my morning 5-mile walkabout from the sun’s summer rays, falling acorns and pinecones, and from the errant bird relieving itself from a tree branch or on the fly. I’ve worn them on the tennis court, playing water volleyball, Frisbee golf, gardening and more. They not only shield me from the sun, but just as important, they keep my wild naturally curly hair in check.

Fashion and function: My battered Fedora gets the most compliments, but it serves me well in winter. It keeps my head warm, protects me from the winter sun. And, as I hate umbrellas, it and my London Fog take the brunt of rainy days. Berets and Boggans are for the coldest winter days when the sun rises late and walkabout is over while it’s a hint on the horizon, and when the sun sets early and I have places to go.perle hatted 22

So much of life in the south takes place outside: barbeques, weddings, receptions, fairs, Doo-Dah Days, Art in the Park, Parades, and on and on. So, I have a selection of straw hats for summer wear; my outback vented canvass hat; and I have fancy hats for weddings and dressy parties.

I am grateful to a lady I met when I was very young. I’ve long ago forgotten her name, but not her words, “Take good care of that pretty face. Clean it well, moisturize and above all else, wear a hat to protect it from the sun.”

Yes ma’am. I’ve been hatted ever since.

 

My One Word Resolution

My one word resolution for 2016 is Persistence.

I rarely wait until New Year’s Day to decide what one word I will choose to inform my actions through the coming year.  I begin on Solstice – darkest night. It is when the new year begins to me as we the wheel turns minute into the light and spring and rebirth.  I feel hopeful and full of the possibility that like nature, I too can begin again, be renewed, and choose new paths.

I light my candles, recite my small mantra (aka spell) and sit and sip and ponder the past.  I drew a card from the major arcana of my Tarot deck.  I spoke volumes about my current moment and showed so many possibilities.

Long story short my One Word is Persistence.

Why? Simple as I sat and looked back at 2015 I saw the myriad of projects started but never finished. Paintings in varying stages of completion, but not yet done; Essays – ditto; blogs – ditto; and query letters for a completed children’s picture book – ditto.

And so I chose Persistence.  I’m not going to do everything all at once.  I started by taking the Painting-a-Day Challenge for January.  I will paint one new painting every day of January and complete one unfinished one from my archive.

I will post one Blog a week – that’s easy as I write in my journal on a daily basis and it’s just a matter of transcribing an edited version for publication.

I’ve taken the following quote – one of my all-time favorites and posted it above my desk.  I paired it with a photo I took long ago of a flower growing in the middle of a sidewalk blooming where it was planted.

pic persistence 2016

 

 

 

 

Is Your Cat Psychic

“Cats are kindly masters, just so long as you remember your place.”- Paul Gray.

Jazzmine knows I’m leaving for the day. Don’t know how, but cats seem tojaz waiting 2 have that sixth sense.  I can pass the front door a dozen times a day to place things in my outgoing stack and she does nothing.

But today is Wednesday – Mom’s day out.  We go out all day: we shop, talk, lunch, shop, talk, happy hour, shop.

Jazzmine seems to know, so today my many trips to the front door are watched with considerable interest.  The little cupboard by the door is my staging area for things to take with me when I leave the apt. The top shelf holds keys, change, hats, outgoing mail (there’s less every year in this digital age); the closed second shelf holds 3 purses, business cards, kitty treats; the open third shelf holds books for the library; large jar for mom to decant some canned peppers, umbrella and the bottom shelf is shoes (I usually take them off when I get home).

This morning, each time I pass the front door, she nearly trips me then jumps up on the coffee table and speaks to remind me that I’m not allowed to leave until she is handed at least 4 treats.  I made the mistake of giving them to her early once, but 30 minutes later when I was actually ready to walk out the door, she demanded more.

Treats doled out, and I’m out the door.  One stop to make on the way – Sneaky Pete’s.  One of Mom’s favorite breakfasts (and mine) is a Sneaky Pete’s hotdog and a beer for breakfast before heading out for our Wednesday adventure.  Sort of kicks the day off the day as a celebration.

Today, we’ll head straight to the Summit and work our way back to Hoover from there.

Later y’all and cheers.

Monkey Brain in the Kitchen

Monkey brain: So I had this tad of leftover cornbread in fridge and I thought, hmmm. Crumble it and make a quick cornbread dressing.

But it wasn’t really enough, so I messed up my clean kitchen and made a quick batch of fresh cornbread.

Now having a messy kitchen I decided to deal w jalapeños from potted garden and pulled out the mini food processor, a can of tomatoes and voila hot sauce for later guacamole lunch which was going to be breakfast, but really how could I not have a hot from the oven wedge of buttered cornbread. And it went on from there..

Now to clean the mess.

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Nothing So Certain as Change – a Sad Parting

End of era – for me at least.  I will not be renewing my P.O. Box, and I feel as if I’m losing apo box 1 friend.  Actually, In a way I am.  The people who work there are a friendly helpful crew.  I’ll probably still take them my annual gift of 3-4 tins of cookies as I have for the past 25 years, but alas, it will be the last.

The post office has always been open 24-7 for those of us who have office hours of our own and need access in the wee hours of morning or night.  Now, because of the unwashed who use it as a nighttime squat, leaving their trash and on occasion vomit, the Post Office has announced office hours of its own and the rest of the day the doors will be locked.

po box 2I’m not sure how those who have jobs outside the home will make it work.  Fortunately I work from home and it doesn’t affect me except in principle.  I loved stopping by and picking up my mail after an evening out or on my early morning walkabout (rain, shine, or snow), but they won’t unlock the doors now til 7:30, and I’m home from my walk way before that. Worse still they’ll close early on Saturday and totally close on Sunday.

I’ve had a post office box on Southside since 1990.  It’s always been staffed by a terrific bunch of people that I’ve enjoyed doing business with.  It’s up for renewal and at $33 for six months, it’s a bargain for the security they’ve given me over the years. footprints snow po box

My first 2 apartments on Southside, the one on 15th Avenue (10 years) and then the one on 14th Avenue that burned in 2011 (also10 years), had exposed and unsecure mail boxes easily accessible from the street.  The day I moved in on 14th  in 1990, my neighbor came home to find his mail and an empty box of CD’s rifled and strewn across his front steps.

I immediately went to the Southside Post Office right next to the Golden Temple and got a box, and I’ve used it for 25 years.  My neighbor did, too.  I considered it a business address, but now I wonder if it’s necessary.

I live in a more secure 4-plex now; the boxes are inside; the mailman climbs the stairs to deliver packages to my door; I only have one magazine subscription that’s print; all my bills, bank and credit card statements, etc., are digital; payments from Amazon and other places that owe me money go thru PayPal or digitally credit my a special credit union account set up for such payments – separate from my house account at another bank.

Sad to say, but my PO Box is no longer necessary. I might of kept it just because it’s been part of my routine for so long.  I picked up change of address forms, but opted to do the deed online instead. Later I’ll order new business cards from VistaPrint and probably omit a physical address and opt just for email, as that’s pretty much how people contact me these days.

I waited until the last possible pay by moment, November 10, to let the box go.  I stopped by to say goodbye to the crew.

Up there with the certainty of death and taxes there is change.  Death comes and you’re no longer here to know it on this plane; taxes are a constant and expected, but change, oh change. Of the three, I think change is the more difficult.

To Write or to Paint?

Well NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is here and I rose early to get my wordcount done (1773 done).  I could write more and will probably do so later in the day, but I’ve been sidetracked.

What is it about me, that I’ve barely touched a paintbrush, pencil or pen to draw or paint all summer long. I blame my ennui on the sweltering summer heat.  But now on this cool rainy Sunday with the Nano challenge of writing 50,000 words before me I’m working on unfinished paintings.

Madness to dilute my time in one of the socially busiest months of my year. What can I say. Here are 4 that are finally ready to post to Etsy unless they disappear via Blog. Acryllic, pencil and/or pen on rescued (I gather wood from construction sites and upcycle it and lessen the burden on our burgeoning waste)

Psykhe (9"x11-1/2")

Psykhe (9×11-1/2)

Meowling at the Moon 1 (3"X9-1/2)"

Meowling at the Moon 1

Sundrenched Village

Sundrenched Village (3″X9-1/2)”

Meow Amour

Meow Amour (3-1/2″x16″)

Do you do errands on Saturday?

Forget walkabout, today was all runabout. 

PepperPlace Farmers market (goat cheese and Kale); Western Market (last 2 marked down pkgs of drumIMG_0387sticks); corner of 11th n 19th on Southside/ checked PO Box (bills, party invites –  no checks – sigh), scored a cozy mystery in a series I’m reading, Rachel Rays new cookbook and 2 mini snickers from trick or treat bowl, returned one overdue book and paid  fine across street at library, picked up mint at Golden Temple on other corner to go w parsley n mint from my potted garden for tonight’s tabouli salad to go w leftover kibbee dinner(courtesy of mom); Kangaroo and CVS for weekend’s cheap beer n wine. 

Whew. Then home to cozy corner of couch with balcony door open behind me aIMG_0389nd new fleece throw and Jazzmine  across my lap against the chill. I will sip and read and pat cat until time to put dinner in oven w side of tabouli.

Tonight @ midnight 01  I’ll begin my 2015 nanowrimo novel. Later y’all.

Write a Novel in 30 Days

It’s that time again – National Novel Writing Month. Every year thousands of the aspiring sign up for the challenge – write a novel of at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.

Begun in 1999:

“The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That first year there were 21 of us, and our July noveling binge had little to do with any ambitions we might have harbored on the literary front. Nor did it reflect any hopes we had about tapping more fully into our creative selves. No, we wanted to write novels for the same dumb reasons twenty-somethings start bands. Because we wanted to make noise. Because we didn’t have anything better to do. And because we thought that, as novelists, we would have an easier time getting dates than we did as non-novelists.” -Chris Baty – NanoWriMo.org

In 2014, over 350,000 signed up for NanoWriMo.  I’ve been doing it since 2004, and although I’ve written the requisite words, I’ve never pursued the pen and sword 2arduous task of editing a final marketable draft.  I had the excuse of a full-time job and life, but as I retired from Dilbertville early in 2013 I could not use that excuse that year or last.

Now, it’s 2015 and I’ve signed up yet again.  I’m still painting, but I’m determined to get my daily word count in before I pick up a brush.  I may have to do what I did the first time – leave the house and write at a coffee shop, the corner bar and anywhere that’s not my studio.  The library is far too quiet for me.  I need noise.  Noise makes me focus harder on what I’m doing.

The hardest part is all the parties and family functions that are strewn throughout the month of November.  I’ll be trying to exceed the daily 1667 words per day so I can bank enough to make up for those days, that just don’t make the mark.

We had our kick-off for the Birmingham Region last night.  Big shout out and thanks to The Homewood Public Library for hosting us along with weekly write-ins and our Municipal Liaison, Jared “Tycho Brahe” Millet.  Anyone looking for me on Nano, my handle is perlesrose – my close friends will know it’s shorthand for perle(alias)rose.

Summer is late and I’m glad

Sunday and it’s the last day of May.  I pulled the kitchen calendar from the wall and sat down at the kitchen table to flip the page to June and add dates from my iPhone calendar.  The back daerie balcony jaz  2oor is wide open, kitty gate in place.  Jazzmine preens and watches every moving creature in the back yard, but her kitten days are long gone. She never attempts to leap out.  Not sure she could at her age and weight even if she wanted to.

I am amazed that this old place is still so cool inside when I know it’s a very warm 80-something outside when I took the trash to the alley just now.

Perhaps the daily rain storm is a contributing factor, indoor garden 2but I also know that old buildings built before there was air conditioning were designed for air flow.  I have windows open in the back bedroom and the dining room and the kitchen door, which all face west.  I have the door and windows to the screened in balcony open wide as well.  That, the ceiling fans and a few strategic box fans have been keeping it very comfortable in here.  The minute I open the kitchen door in the morning, the air moves through the place at an event quicker and cooler pace.

I love living on the second floor – I can keep windows and balcony open year round.  The onlbalcony aerie new w bistroy thing I do close when night falls or I head out to run errands is the kitchen door.

However many days I can delay cranking up the central air, I’ll cherish.  I hate shutting myself off from nature and the outside world – the trains passing through in the wee hours; the birdsong and chattering squirrels that wake me in the morning; reading on the balcony loveseat; sitting at my small bistro tablejournaling, sipping and watching the life ebb and flow on the street below.

How to Build a Walking Habit – Easy as 1, 2, 3

I manage to go walkabout almost every morning of the week rain or shine, although a reIMG_9214ally bad storm might keep me in on the stationary bike.  Walking is one of the single best habits you can build into your life, and it will serve you for a lifetime.  It’s a habit I acquired by a very simple method – preparation.

  1. Get clothes ready the day before. Shoes, socks, shorts, undies, t-shirt are right there in a neat stack by my bedroom door.  I started putting them in a vintage hat box, because of Jazzmine. Typically curious cat that she is, she is wont to relocate a shoe or sock, or use the clothes as her napping spot. The hatbox solves that and looks more aesthetic as well.
  2. Fold laundry in workout sets. When I do laundry, I fold my work out clothes in similar stacks then put them in the drawer. The following day as I toss the dirty clothes into the hamper, I simply put out a new stack in the hatbox.
  3. Put other essentials by the door. Keys (of course), a small pad w/pen (seems I always get great ideas while walking and a tablet comes in handy), my iPhone to take pix of things that strike my fancy and for safety should I need help (never know), and a hat (baseball in good weather, boggan in winter). Hats are necessary (keeps the sun out of your eyes, and bird poop out of your hair).

IMG_9213I started this habit in my 20’s, as I would have to be up at 5a.m. to get my 5 miles in, come home, shower, change, make breakfast and get to work by or before 8a.m.

Now that I work from home, I still walk early (5 or 6a.m.).  There are a variety of reasons for this, two of which have to do with living urban.

  1. The air is fresher early in the morning before the morning commute picks up.IMG_9216
  2. The distant surf of cars has not risen so loud that it drowns out the sounds of nature.
  3. The early walk raises my metabolism and primes my me and my body for the rest of the day.

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