Food For Thought ~

At 20, we worry about what other people think of us.

At 40, we don’t care about what other people think of us.

Weekend Cheer from The Queens of Quite-a-Lot

Weekend Cheer from The Queens of Quite-a-Lot

At 60, we realize they haven’t been thinking about us at all!

And, I think that’s a very good thing.  Happy Friday.

Advertisements

I Hope You Dance ~

I’m kicking up my heels and drying out my webbed feet in sunny Palm Springs this week.  There is nothing better than hanging with a flock of silver haired snowbirds to make you feel young.   Last night we met Betty and her two girlfriends at the front desk.  She’s my kind of gal.  Sporting a bejewelled pink jean jacket, a crown of silver hair and a hearty laugh, this lovely lady is a role model for living and loving life.  Betty is looking for fun and I’ll bet she even turns a couple of old foxes’ heads and gets called out for a whirl or two around the dance floor when they bring out the Tommy Dorsey cover band.

Click on the photo below to watch an awesome dance number.  I think it’s time to dust off my dancing shoes.  How about you?

Life is really about grabbing the gusto no matter your age or the color of your hair.  To quote the lyrics of a favorite country song  ~ “And when you have the chance to sit it out or dance… I hope you dance.”

Simple Pleasures ~

Since I appear to be the only one working while all around me my peers are, one by one, slipping quietly into retirement, I still enjoy the simple pleasures of knowing which day of the week it actually is and feeling that wee spark of happiness when Friday finally rolls around again.  Count your blessings…however small they may be.

Mr Ricky

Mr Ricky

Here’s what Mr. Ricky and I will be doing this weekend while hub’s watches football, football and more football – snuggling under the covers to stay warm and dreaming about all of the things that make us happy.  Oh, and we’ll probably eat something tasty too.

Happy Friday!

Happiness is not a goal…it’s the by-product of a live well lived. 

Making Mandalas for the New Year

It was mid December when this intriguing invitation appeared in my inbox ~

What new intentions do you have for this coming year?  Rather than make a list of resolutions meant to broken, create a powerful visual reminder that 2013 offers four seasons and twelve months of hope, healing and joy in the form of a mandala or sacred circle. This mixed media project will include watercolor and permanent markers, with lots of creative options to make your mandala express your life’s journey this coming year.

No artistic background required. All materials included.

To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what I was signing up for, but I was drawn by the idea of this new use of an ancient tradition for creating a visual road map of the year ahead.  No artistic background required.  All materials included.   I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

We met at 10 o’clock on a very cold, cloudy and windy first Saturday in January.  Eight women and one brilliant facilitator.  The class was held at Via Artistica, a light, bright and very inviting space dedicated to supporting creative expression for people at all levels of artistic experience.  Kristen Carpentier, who created and facilitated this workshop has helped hundreds of women (and a few brave men) use art as a way to explore and promote personal growth. This woman has a gift and I for one am very glad she has chosen to share it with the world! IMG_1063

We had a real Artists in the group which I always find intimidating, but I got over myself pretty quickly and on to the business of quieting my judgmental monkey mind and letting whatever bubbled up work its way onto my watercolor paper.    We drew cards for direction – I randomly chose Risk and Passion and Willpower  Right on target!IMG_1062

Mandala is a sanskrit word for circle and creating mandalas is a Buddhist form of meditation that is hundreds of years old.   If you are interested in learning more about the Mandala, its history in Buddhism and other ancient traditions, here’s what Wikipedia has to say .   For this workshop, the guidelines were simple, the supplies plentiful and the paints sparkly and colorful.  We started with a big square of paper, a dinner plate to trace the mandala circle and then played for the next two hours and watched as magic happened around the table.   I had no idea where I was going when I sat down at the table, but I have to say I absolutely love what I created.  IMG_1094

Creating the space for reflection, setting intention and then sharing in a supportive group is a great way to start a new year, or a new month, or a new plan of any kind.  There will be more mandalas hanging on my wall in the year ahead.

Thanks Kirsten and Via Artistica.

Hanging with Oprah ~

RISK ~ That’s my word for 2013 and as I said, I’m going for it. Damn the torpedoes and all that.

I decided to jump right in and sign up for not one but two creative classes.  They are online and they are both fabulous.  Great inspiration, ideas I can put to use immediately and daily and weekly projects that are already moving me out of my comfort zone.   I’m loving every minute.  Old dog + new tricks = grand new adventures!

One of my goals for 2013 is to step into the blogging world in a whole new way.  I’ve got some big plans to hatch and lots of work to do.  I am excited to go down this path wherever it leads.

Everyday Magic is a photography class led by blogger, photographer and creative living inspiration, Tammy Strobel.  Tammy and my classmates from all over the world are helping me see the magic in so many of the everyday moments I have overlooked or taken for granted as I rushed through my days.  It is just so darned cool.

The second class is called Juicy Blogging with writer, editor and blogging pro, Britt Bravo.  I just started a couple of days ago and I have already learned and tried so many new ideas I am about to burst with enthusiasm.  I know I will be much better blogger as I begin to share our Just a Backpack adventures with a larger audience.

Both classes have daily lessons.  Today at Everyday Magic our theme was  “A Day in the Life”.   Britt’s writing assignment was to do a blog post that contained mostly photos.  Sounded like the makings of a fun blog post to me.

Here’s how it played out…

Oprah was waiting for me when I opened the mailbox

Oprah was waiting for me when I opened the mailbox so we decided to go on an adventure together.  (well I decided)

Driving Ms. Oprah

Driving Ms. Oprah.

Lunch?  Of course.  We both had the apple/goat cheese salad

Lunch?  Why yes.   We both had the apple/goat cheese salad. 

Quick trip downtown to Union Station for a pickup.  Oprah was dash-surfing for a better look

A quick trip downtown to Union Station to pick up a friend.  Oprah rode on the dash to catch a better view.

Even Oprah loves a good sale.  Me too!

Oprah loves a good sale.  Me too!

See's chocolate?  Why yes, let's get a 1 pound box and eat it on the drive home

See’s chocolate? Of course!  Let’s get a one pound box and eat it on the drive home.

Perfect ending to a perfect day.  Starbucks, tea, chocolate and a little bit of Oprah wisdom.  It was my Oprah Aha Moment.

Perfect ending to a perfect day. Starbucks, tea, chocolate and a little bit of Oprah wisdom. It was my very own Oprah Ahhh! Moment.

These classes are gifts I gave to myself.  They fit me perfectly and have already brought me hours of joy.   New sweater?   Don’t really need one.  Meeting new people and making a few synapses fly in my brain?  Now that’s a gift that will last a lifetime.

What gifts have you given yourself lately?  If not…what are you waiting for?   You deserve it.  Just like me.

526,600 Minutes ~

It’s January and like almost everyone else, I’ve been thinking about the year ahead.   All day the song 526,600 minutes from the musical Rent has been playing in my head.  That’s a whole lot of minutes – a whole year’s worth to be exact.  What a gift.  And an awesome responsibility as well – to make the most of each and every one of those 526,600 minutes.

Every January I like to take a walk down memory lane, review the previous year (the good and bad and the I can’t believe that really happened) and then set my my intention for the year ahead.  I’ve given up making new years resolutions, but I do like to have a goal or two and a bit of a road map.   I chose  RISK as my guiding word for this year.   As hubs and I continue to move deeper into uncharted waters, my willingness to embrace risk will be key to the success of our backpack and rollie retirement adventures.  I’ve never been a big risk taker.  It’s time.  I’m going for it.

Here’s my 2013 Wordle.   I know it will be a great visual reminder of where I want to keep my focus and intention as I move through the year.
l3A1NQ

If you want to play with your own Wordle, check out their website.  it’s easy and lots of fun.