A Joyful Hat

I was perusing downtown McMinnville last Friday as part of my weekly field trip habit to spark joy in 2023.  I ducked into a new little shop on a side street full of an eclectic mix of candles, plants, clothing, artwork and the like when I spotted the hats. They were displayed on the wall in subdued colors of black, grey, and navy. The hats were wide brim with wire inside for personalized form with tops of a low, bent, wizard shape- not so high to be audacious but just high enough to evoke a bit of Gandalf or Harry Potter.  Cool- but such dark colors.

Then in the next room, I spotted the red one perched on a coat rack above a trendy wrap.  I placed it on my head.  It was perfect.  Now I am not one to buy conversation piece clothing but had to have this hat (aging gives you license to not care what people think.) It would be a bit of joy to parade around in and make me feel just a tad magical.  Plus the wool blend and wide brim were a practical combination for the cold, rainy days of W. Oregon.  It would also be a blank canvas for some pins I had collected with nowhere else to display.

I paid for my purchase and wore my red hat out of the store.  People smiled.  One lady called out from across the street, “I love your outfit!”

Maybe it is a magic hat.

Joy, my word for 2023

P.S.

When I looked for a poem that celebrated red hats I found the Red Hat Society, an Internatonal organization dedicated to women over 50 who want live life to the fullest. “The Red Hat Society is a worldwide membership society that encourages women in their quest to get the most out of life. We support women in the pursuit of Fun, Friendship, Freedom, Fitness and the Fulfillment of lifelong dreams.” On their outings they wear red hats and purple clothing.

This poem is from the Red Hats of Manitoba

A Red Hat Poem
My hat I wear with great aplomb
It makes me feel so bolder
For though I’ve passed the “50” mark
I don’t feel any older
Than when I was a sweet young thing
Just barely out of my teens
And wearing out my platform shoes
And wide bell bottom jeans.
But now I have a purple frock
It really is a shocker
all finished off with “Big Red Hat”
With ostrich feather topper.
I know the colors really clash
To me, it does not matter
I’m proud to say, I’m in the club
I’m a “50” plus “Red Hatter”



Who knew it's a thing?  Perhaps I will join.  I've got the red hat.  All I need now is some purple clothing to go with it!

Tune into my other blog about sustainable living at onesweetearth.blog

Sparking Joy in 2023

Boganuary WordPress Challenge Jan. 1

From my new Lisa Condon calendar.
Mars

The New Year 2023 Started with some good omens, sunshine for one- always welcome in my corner of NW Oregon at this time of year.  The other was my 60 lb Cattle dog mix, Mars, jumped in the shower with me.  Since I got him 2 ½ months ago he’s always seemed fascinated with the shower, sticking his head in and catching streams of hot water.  This morning, thinking he really did want a hot shower, I said “come”, and he gleefully joined me.  If you are a dog lover you would see the delight in that. Plus, it’s an easy way to wash your dog.

I gave up the New Year’s resolution tradition years back seeing it as a recipe for disappointment.  Instead, I have a word (or words) of the year that can act as a guidepost for my annual journey.  I keep them posted in my journal and day planner to deep up the intention.  Last year’s were commitment, generosity, and focus (focus was a repeat from 2021).  I am happy to report I had a decent outcome with those.

So without further adieu, drum roll, my new word of the year is JOY.  After 3+ years of pandemic and political turmoil, a knee injury, and the passing of numerous friends and family, I’m ready for some.  I have this saying, “ spend as much on yourself as you do your car and your house.”  I’m so due for a little repair and maintenance.  This includes…

  • Shopping for some new clothes and ditching my threadbare clothing
  • Monthly massage & chiropractic for my poor aching back
  • Artist’s dates, library dates, field trips, and other little self-care tidbits that put some spark back in my life.

Author and home organizer, Marie Kondo begs the question “does this spark joy?”  That will be mine for the coming year.  I hope you take some time for joy too in 2023.

A Toast for 2023

It’s the season of new

the Earth has spun through the heavens

and arrived at the place we call the beginning

a bookmark we humans have put in the order of things

the New Year, the first day of the first month of the 23rd year of the 21st century

All is new, yet all the same

a cycle in a continuum of millennia

yet a comfort that we have a fresh start in our minds

Shall we proceed then with our new slippers

virgin calendars full of exotic pictures

day planners devoid of marks

and forge on with gusto?

for we have been given another turn

a blank canvas to paint another 12 months upon

Let us mix up our palettes with new intentions

hope, faith and the unseen circumstances that will surely find us

stroke, splash, and drip with abandon

make your marks with love, touching others with color

bringing forth new memories

painting this Earth a brighter place

The Zen of the Pause

The day after Christmas there’s this cosmic exhale.  It’s like a switch flips from the hysteria of the holidays to thinking about the New Year to come and cleaning up the mess of the old.  It’s the time of not doing, not shopping, not cooking, and not decorating.  It’s a time of regrouping.  It’s a good time to read, reflect, and rest.

Austin Kleon calls it Dead Week.  I prefer to call it the Pause, the little grace period between old and new.  So as I pause, I wish all my readers, the ones I know and the ones I’ve yet to meet…

                          HAPPY PAUSE!

                                   See you all in 2023

Winter Solstice 2022

We have arrived at the Winter Solstice, the tipping point where we in the N. Hemisphere mark the point where the earth will begin to rotate back to the sun’s full exposure. The Winter Solstice marks the longest night and the shortest day of the year.  While our modern calendar denotes it as the first day of winter, there are those of us from the time of the ancients that mark it as a time of hope and new beginnings as the light returns each day, bit by bit.

Winter Solstice

On this longest night
we hover on the brink of change
plants shudder in their sleep
animals dream
as do we
for the brightening of the coming days

and a poem from my friend and poet Bethany Lee

Assembling at Solstice

Every year
your soul remembers
your first time here
on the dark side of the sun
How you wondered
beyond language
at this descent into night



Your mothers sang you the songs of joy
dipped tapers 
lit wicks against despair 
Your fathers polished harnesses
by firelight, quietly
trusting in reaping’s return
These are the days for polishing
for trusting and for singing
for gathering the wisdom 
of those who make their lives by hand
These are the days for stories by candle
of lamps that stayed burning
of stars in the sky
of new life coming always 
into the unexpected places
like snowbanks and stables 
and endings and springtime 
Alone our souls remember the darkness
Together we summon and kindle the light

Bethany Lee



 
Happy solstice everyone!

Illustration and Winter Solstice poem by the author.

Check out my other blog on sustainability at onesweetearth.blog

Planting Seeds in Winter

Today I went out in the brisk sunny air to do some planting.  First came the garlic that takes up an entire bed in my garden.  Then it was on to plant Pacific NW native wildflower seeds that I ordered from Steele Acres.  I marvel that some seeds need the harshness of winter to flower in the spring.  Perhaps we do too.

Even seeds sown in winter

Bring forth flowers in the spring

While planting I noticed a some delightful tiny groves of mushrooms and a miniscule very late violet in the very right side of the last picture. You never know what you might find out in the garden…

Photos, sketches and poem by the author.

Please visit my blog on sustainable living at onesweetearth.blog

Aftermath

Four months after being diagnosed with heart/lung cancer my husband’s daughter and my stepdaughter, Heather died peacefully last night in the hospital surrounded by family and friends. A beautiful young woman living the peak of her dreams. She is missed.

Heather and her husband Jerald
She is gone now
After she took her last breath
we exhaled deeply
bearing the pain of loss as her pain is no more

Our loved ones are like trees
they grow providing shelter and food for our souls
and when they fall they leave an empty space in our hearts
Yet in this very space is light
so their seeds planted within us will flourish
with the memories, stories, and lessons
that they have left behind in their wake

We hold our sadness close
continuing our journeys as better people

In memory of Heather Ann Woltz Winfrey

July 24, 1984 – October 27, 2022

Age 38

Daughter, step-daughter, wife, sister, and friend to many

Heather welding with her Dad

What to Do When You Don’t Know How Else to Help

My husband’s daughter, Heather was just readmitted to the hospital with the final stage of cancer. Last Sunday we had her and her husband Jerald over to share a meal with us. Reflecting on this experience afterwards, I wrote this poem…

Stage 4
The hiss/swish of her oxygen unit keeps time
like a hydraulic clock in the background
We converse and laugh 
carefully avoiding the minefield of reality
the dark mist that surrounds us all
Her lashless eyes morphine heavy
Her head chemo bald
The nasal cannula that hangs from her nose
connects her to the lifeline of air

The decline of her shocks me
There is no longer room for miracles
How can I help in her mortal struggle?
All I can do is prepare a homecooked meal
with apple crisp for dessert
We savor it in the company of family
around the table in the warmth of my kitchen
Maybe that is enough

Beyond the Golden Gate

I had the privilege of sailing on the San Francisco Bay with dear friends, John and Diane and their friend Bob,  on their 41-foot sailboat, the Giselle, last week.  I grew up in the Bay Area and had never gotten the opportunity before- in fact, I had never been sailing

We departed from the Brisbane Marina on a blistering hot 100-degree day with an audience of pelicans, cormorants, and gulls parked on the break of the marina as we left. The bay with its breezes offered welcome refuge from the heat, especially as we neared the Bay Bridge with its collision of currents and choppy waters. The Giselle tipped side to side from one 40-degree angle to the other as we tacked into the wind.  This requires a lot of coordination and movement from the 3- person crew as the sail needs to be released and winched from side to side.  I was merely ballast and shifted position from port to stern as the situation called.  Oh yes, and I was the wench who held the wrench for the maneuvers.

Continue reading “Beyond the Golden Gate”

Resilience

We returned from four days at Paradise Campground, a favorite camping spot in old growth forest on the McKenzie River here in Oregon last week.  It was our first visit since a devastating wildfire swept the area in the summer of 2020.  This was one of our favorite camping and kayaking spots. We were devastated when it burned.  The fire destroyed thousands of acres of forest taking a multitude of homes and businesses with it.  Thankfully, the upper McKenzie where we would be camping was spared.

Continue reading “Resilience”

Pausing to Ponder Pelicans at Netarts Bay  

image by the author

We’ve had a bit of a heatwave here in Oregon this past July. Temps hovered in the high 90s to 100 degrees for over a week. Even though I had AC installed in the house as a result of the catastrophic heat dome a year ago in June, Raymond and I were feeling a bit housebound. For a reprieve from the heat we headed out to Netarts Bay on the coast to kayak for the day.

Coincidentally, also seeking the bay’s refuge was a population of brown pelicans who were aerial feeding- quite a sight. Watching them was the highlight of my day. This poem came to me shortly thereafter.

Continue reading Pausing to Ponder Pelicans at Netarts Bay