Category Archives: Delight

Mind your own happiness, thanks.

( Orpha’s birthday cupcake-love)

We should try never to let our happy frame of mind be disturbed. Whether we are suffering at present of have suffered in the past,there is no reason to be unhappy.  If we can remedy it, why be unhappy? And if we cannot, what is the use of being depressed about it?  That just adds more unhappiness and does no good at all.  — His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

The good news and the bad news:

Much ado about HAPPINESS this sunny season.  First, it’s summer… and that’s supposed to make instant Happy, right?  No school.  No alarm clocks.   I am home with the kids for the summer, and that’s a really happy thing.  For me.  Mostly.   The kids however are having a harder time keeping their happy on.  I mean, it’s HOT, right?  And everything EASY FUN to do equals money, it seems.  It’s a challenge.  Things that seems perfectly fun to me are met with “groan, not today….”  So, I am trying to just let it be.  I am also attempting to pursue some ideas even when met with the gripes, in hope that it’ll catch on.

Me?  I am totally into the “life’s too short” thing right now.  It is hard to balance the things that bring happy with the things that ought to be done category though.  I had a huge fit of battle with this incongruence after we got home form the beach.  On vacation, even with kids along :) , there is a great deal of “scheduled enjoyment.”  You plan meal times, walks, beach time, sightseeing… all (hopefully)without the crap of life.  You come home and POW!  the normal crap du jour is waiting plus whatever you avoided while away.  I tend to get way bogged down in that.  I am trying to get better at NOT.

Here’s my plan for penniless joy.  I am trying to give this a place in my ocd list of the day.  ( You make those too, right?)  To list the billions of things that I want to get done, and to include some joy.  I never do that.  It’s usually what is allowed after the list is exhausted for the day.

This is all very shorthand– You can fill it out and make it meaningful for you.


~BE in beauty

~Notice what’s  right in front of you.  All of it.

~Do something NEW.  Learn a new something.  See a new something.


~BE with a friend, or someone you love.

~Count yer blessings.  Really.

~MAKE. Create. Art. Something useful.  Something awesome.  Something good to eat.

~ Be inspired.

~ Change something.  Make it better.  Or just different.

This is a work in progress.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Please– let me know if you have any summer home-runs… I’d be glad of it!

I’ll leave it with this…

“Sounding the same call for joy whenever possible, the Hebrew sages say that when you are first welcomed into Heaven, a record is revealed to you of all the many times in your past when you could really have been happy and really enjoyed some moment but failed to do so, and then you are called to repent of each and every one of those moments.”


Oh my STARS!  It has taken me a week to write this one damn post!  In the meantime I have had a stomach/gi virus that is just killing me!  So I am getting caught up on lying around, and doing some baby knitting, and I just started a book last night called The Geography of Bliss– One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Place in the World.  I’d picked it up at the library last visit along with some travel books to research all of the travel that isn’t happening this summer.  The book is pretty great thus far…

Eric Weiner, a veteran foreign correspondent for National Public Radio, has covered a multitude of catastrophes and maladies from more than 30 countries over the past two decades. For The Geography of Bliss, however, he decided to tell the other side of the story by visiting some of the world’s most contented places. his site

It’s funny and thoughtful and often wise.  I was drawn to it immediately because  I ( and many of my dearest) have had so many years of  “happiness resides in _____, and we just need to find a way to move there.” :)   Fill in your choice–  you probably know what I mean. So if you have fits of that sort of thinking, or are having a little wanderlust epizootie, like myself, you may want to check it out.

I think Jimmy said it best–

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So, wow, it is zipping along, this summer.  Four and a bit of weeks left until I return to the Montessori Kid Factory.

I’ve been so crappy about taking pictures and  blogging.
Here are a few shots from the road thus traveled.  Be on the lookout for more soon.  And flying pigs, probably.

I will do my best!

Shangriladidah on 94th st.

Lily’s learns to KNIT!

The new family member– Bob the budgie– bequeathed to us by the neighbor Bob, who is not a budgie.  Here is the Bantam pecker who roams his yard, is NOT our pet, and drives all of Reisterstown crazy.

The Mid Atlantic Hedgehog Show

Both girls got awesome ribbons for being awesome Jr. handlers.  It was a fun day.  Sort of like a hedgehog pageant and olympics rolled into one!

The Artscape and peanut adventures ( see Jim for more)

Lastly, here’s Punkin all doozied-up.

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Yummi Yogi Tea

There’s something I want to share with you. The secret recipe for my addiction. I love tea. Love it. There is a very special tea, which I suppose could be classified as a Chai, that you drink at the conclusion of Kundalini Yoga classes. The recipe is of the Great Yogi Bhajan. It is my favorite tea in the cosmos. I know that my sisters want this- and thought I should put it in a place where it can be easily found… It will always be in the pages to the side as well so that you don’t have to sift through the wordpile to find it. Enjoy. It’s delicious hot or cold, and will keep you happy.

As a note– I sometimes change the mix to suit specific things…add fenugreek and/or dill. And tumeric since my knees have become so kvetchy. It’s good. It makes your house smell delicious! When it is finished you just pour it through a strainer and enjoy.

(Thanks to Alexia for giving me the gift of this tea and yoga.)

Yogi Tea

Make at least 4 cups of Yogi Tea at a time. It’s a good idea to make large batches at a time, and store it in the refrigerator without milk; then add milk when you want to drink it. It can stay fresh in the refrigerator for about a week.

For ONE cup, the measurements are:
10 oz. water
3 whole cloves
4 whole green cardamom pods (cracked open is best)
4 whole black peppercorns
1/2 stick cinnamon
1 slice ginger root
1/4 tsp. black tea (optional)
1/4 cup milk

Boil the spices for 10-15 minutes, with the top on the pot(just leave it open a crack to let a little of the steam out). Add black tea and steep for 2 minutes. Add milk, then bring to a boil. Remove immediately from the stove, and strain. Add honey to taste.

For 2 quarts use:
20 cardamom pods
20 peppercorns
15 cloves
5 or more slices of ginger root

1 tbs. black tea

Boil at least 30 minutes. Add 1 qt of milk.
Yogi Tea is also available in pre-mixed packages, and in tea bags. (See References for address of Ancient Healing Ways.) Yogi Bhajan says about Yogi Tea: “If you take a really a good amount of Yogi Tea, it will keep your liver very well. It is said to help the liver. And when we started in the sixties, people who had drug habits, who couldn’t even move, we put them on Yogi Tea.” Yogi Tea is actually a combination of foods. It is a tonic to the nervous system. It can help to balance your system when you are feeling out of balance. It has been used often as a remedy and preventative measure for colds, flu and diseases of the mucous membranes. Black pepper is a blood purifier. Cardamom is for the colon. Together they support the brain cells. Cloves help support the nervous system. Cinnamon is good for the bones. Ginger helps strengthen the nervous system and is very good if you have a cold, flu, physical weakness. It can help women when they are experiencing menstrual discomfort, such as cramps or PMS symptoms. You can try making Yogi Tea with extra ginger when you are feeling a cold or the flu coming on. If a man takes a cup of Yogi Tea after intercourse, it can help to replenish his body. In addition, Yogi Tea diluted with milk, can be very helpful to a child who is experiencing the pains of teething.

Excerpted From The Master’s Touch, by Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., pg 308

Here’s the Yogi’s specific tea for joint health.

It is very yummy too.

Golden Milk

1/8 tsp turmeric
½ cup water
2 Tbsp. almond oil (cold pressed)
8 oz (1 cup) whole dairy milk
honey to taste
Optional: seeds of 4 cardamom pods (boil with turmeric)

Boil turmeric in water for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the milk and almond oil and bring to a boil. When the milk is boiling, turn off the heat. Add the turmeric mixture to the milk and serve with honey to taste. The turmeric should completely surrender to the water. The cardamom seeds may be cooked with the turmeric for added flavor, but they are optional. The oil provides lubrication and energy to the system, while turmeric makes the bones and joints more flexible.

If desired, add sweetener (honey or maple syrup) to taste. You can also make it frothy by putting it in the blender – use the lowest setting. Drink warm. It’s a great bedtime drink.

Excerpted From The Grace of God Manual and Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., pg 28
This one has always eluded me… but in case you are feeling hardcore. :)
wings in the armpits.
Trinity Root Healing Drink

1 medium onion
1-3 inches ginger root, peeled & sliced thin
1/2 bulb garlic, peeled
1 quart milk, preferably goat milk
1 tsp. turmeric

Finely chop 1 onion, peel & slice the ginger, and peel the garlic. Place these into a pressure cooker along with the milk. Bring to full pressure and cook for five minutes. Cool off pressure cooker and strain the milk into an iron frying pan. Simmer the milk for 15 minutes. Strain and serve.

Note: If a pressure cooker is not available, the same mixture can be made in a crock pot overnight. Just add some extra water, and cook on low. In the morning, strain and serve.

Yogi Bhajan’s comments on this drink: “I drink it every morning. In the goat’s milk we boil onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric at night on a slow fire, and next morning I drink a glass of it. Within minutes you will feel a change. You know how you will feel? Like wings have sprung from your armpits. That’s how you feel. The time has come that you must start taking care of yourself. Medical costs have gone so high, you don’t want to be sick. These are preventive things. These are very good things.”

Excerpted From The Master’s Touch, by Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D., pg 314
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Oh my gnomes! (OMG) Natch.

Instructables re-post.

This is an absolute genius costume…. behold:

to gnome me is to love me.

garden gnome and his garden.  dress is based on vintage vogue pattern 2962 using silk taffeta.  made an underskirt with lots of layers of tulle. large silk fabric petal shapes added to waist.  added faux flowers, leaves, birds, nests and bugs with fabrictac (great glue).   headpiece using floral wire and faux ivy, mushrooms, foam ears, and a bird (it’s in the back).

glued leaves and flowers onto a vintage purse for my handbag.

gnome consists of fleece pants and top, large ‘fur’ slippers’,  wig is huge blonde wig which i deconstructed and attached to the fleece hat.  pipe was a purchased plastic sherlock holmes pipes covered in a thin layer of clay.   painted with browns and greens, attached moss and twigs, filled with moss.

fun costumes.  it was a great night :) .

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In Pursuit of Art and Happiness… The Mini Museum and Rocaterrania

I mentioned that last weekend we went downtown for the new show at AVAM — Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness
October 3, 2009 – September 5, 2010

“The quest for human rights and the search for personal fulfillment, as proposed in the 1776 American Declaration of Independence, provide the starting point for this international exhibition. Works by the last surviving descendant of the Tsars of Russia, Iroquois Indians, French Revolutionaries, illegal immigrants, Algerian War veterans, Guantanamo Bay detainees, Holocaust survivors, incarcerated prisoners, African-American civil rights activists and Iraqi doctors are among the 86 visionary artists to be featured.”

It was, as usual, a joy.  Many emotional and touching pieces. Explorations of freedom– what it means, and what images it conjures for each of the artists. The artist who was the last surviving descendant of the Russian Tsars chronicled his adventures on shrinky dinks. :) Two of my two absolute favorite encounters of the day were related more to the freedom we have to be outrageously creative, even to create our own world and reality.

First, the incredible genius  (in miniature, no less) that is Richard McMahan.  (A great site on him.)

Here’s from the Raleigh City Paper–

McMahan’s Mini Museum exhibition features over 1,300 miniature paintings that are replicas of the world’s finest art, some of which now reside on canvases no larger than a postage stamp. Miniscule Egyptian tombs, cave drawings, and handmade furniture are included as well.

McMahan is a resourceful artist. Most of his collected paintings have been copied from photographs taken for National Geographic. So while he may not have gone far to see them, the paintings, and by extension McMahan’s work, represent the creative process and all its varied journeys. Examined from this angle, McMahan’s work is extensive not only in its scope, but also by way of its impact.

Take for example the work of Pablo Picasso. National Geographic decided to write a story about his work. A journalist and cameraman were dispatched. When the piece went to print, it traveled to homes across the United States. One of the magazines wound up in Richard McMahan’s hands (He owns every single issue of National Geographic from 1939 to the present). McMahan was captivated; he read the story and studied the photographs. He took his brush and did his best to recreate the artwork. He completed his rendition and kept it in his home. This process was repeated hundreds of times for various painters.

I am not sure how many pieces AVAM actually had in the display… there was a WALL of them… A sampling that gives a taste of R.M.’s talent and single minded focus to represent for himself and others these pieces of work which he feels are important/noteworthy.  It wasn’t just the sheer presence of so much TINY ART, which was enough to make me twitch with glee… It was the obvious and obsessive care and craftsmanship that went in to this collection.  His tiny reproductions are pretty fanatical in their quality and accuracy.   I loved this comment made by him on another blog which made the statement “McMahan’s sculpture work (the “twigs” in the second image are carved pieces of wood) is wonderfully exact.”  (Here is the borrowed image as I could not find another.)

The artist himself responded–

Richard W.McMahan said…
Hi there to everyone in cyber~space who have questions about my show I just want to give a clarification on a comment made on this blog about one of the paintings in my show,the question was asked about the twigs in one of the works at the mini museum show,Well those are not carved,they are tree roots that I found in my back yard,I had to find some that were small enough for the project,I usually make everything from scratch because I make everything from paper & cardboard as well as other things before they go into the trash,the artist who did the work in question used real twigs & other found objects for his work so that’s what they are,I hope you will enjoy the show even more after knowing this bit of information because I get a lot of questions about what everything is made from.


Remember  that AVAM shows art  by “outsiders”, folks who are untrained formally but chock full of  the muse, determination and indomitable creative spirit.  He hand-makes the frames / display after the ones of the original pieces as well.   Painstakingly Glorious.

My only complaint was that there were maybe 2- 3 shelves of them that were way above eye level.  So,  while one definitely got to appreciate the prolific scope and amazement of the mini-museum,  I wanted to really look at them.  I read that at another show they displayed his artwork with magnifying glasses.  That would have been really appreciated.  It’s really just crazy-beautiful.  Here is a nice little documentary on Mr. McMahan.

Second on the wow-o-meter was  New Jersey-born illustrator Renaldo Kuhler, who created an imaginary country universe called Rocaterrania, somewhere between the border of New York and Canada.  He created it’s entirety –it’s past and present, culture, society, language, alphabet…

“Fantasy is like fruit and desert, and reality is like meat and potatoes and green beans, or beef stew.  Something like that…”

These two pieces are not really representative of the bulk of his work shown…. The details of this invented and imagined culture are stupefying.  Journals that depict the gorgeous hand-drawn alphabet, sketches of street lamps and ornamentation on the buildings, a re-creation of his desk and part of his work area…. There was a wonderful drawing of the Rocaterrania Sewage Treatment Plant which was exquisitely “prettied up” to make beautiful the messy business thereof.

There is also a documentary on Mr. Kuhler which they were showing as part of the exhibit and which could be purchased a the museum store.

He spent most of his working life at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, making painstaking portraits of various animal species, though he was primarily a self-taught artist.  He claimed that art-school was a disaster for him as a younger man and that he learned more about drawing “by talking to an art teacher in a barroom.”   Amen.  Also, “I would prefer to be known more for my scientific drawings than my imaginary country,” he says, “but I don’t have any objection. Either way is fine.”

Indeed.  I recommend that you should stop by and “meet” his work if you are local.  I loved the new show and our family will certainly return–  I could spend another few hours just exploring the work there of these 2 artists.

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