Wellness Wednesday: What I’m Working On

Happy Midweek, Friends! I started writing about Wellness topics on Wednesdays because I noted that so many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me as I journey to wellness and balance and make mistakes along the way.

I am tardy for Wellness Wednesday this week, but I am okay with that.  Because I am working on Letting It Go.

Holiday Collage

Tis the Season

This is something I have been working on for some time, in many forms.  I lost some friendships over the past couple of years and that really made me realize a couple of things.  Sometimes I just need to let them go.  Even though they may have been wrong and I may have been right, it just doesn’t even matter anymore.  We didn’t need to be friends anymore and I didn’t need to even tell them so.  I let it go. (Ok so one still hasn’t returned my things.  I admit I am keeping a Messenger open in case that happens. Alas.  Maybe I should just let that one go, as well.)

I downsized from an SUV to a sedan, and I had to learn how to deal with trunk storage efficiency.  (still learning) Then my office was being remodeled and I had to work in a different city. I took advantage of the time to review my boxes and remove what was old and unnecessary.  I was able to shred a ton of old papers, have one box contents imaged digitally, and for another- I am going to transfer the cd files to the digital archive. Progress!

A donation truck comes round our neighborhood tomorrow.  I was saving some clothing items for a former co-worker’s son- but it’s been years since I’ve seen him.  So tomorrow, out they go.  Sing with me now (to the tune of Let it Snow): Let it go, let it go, let it go!

I am so blessed as I have some wonderful friends and family members who are such outstanding beams of joy- but perhaps it has made me have high expectations of others.  I’m learning to tone down my levels of expectations and realize that other people have their own stuff going on and sometimes they just can’t see their actions.  When my daughter’s friends parents (who only have one child) don’t even acknowledge my older child,  I admit that does make me kinda furious inside.  But likely they don’t know better,  they don’t have older children and so sometimes don’t even know how to talk to them. Other people may have their own blocks, or they’re too far invested in their perceptions that they aren’t likely to change.  Can I let them go?  Some people I can let go, as long as I don’t see them.  Right?  Bueller?

I admit I have high expectations of myself.   I wrote two books, one musical, and recorded an album.  Why aren’t I more successful? Why can’t I find time to sit down and write my next book?  Why don’t I have more savings? Why did I forget about that school thing? Why didn’t I see that email?  Why can’t I keep up blogging three times a week?

Why can’t I just love myself and let myself be?

I am pretty aware, and I do have a lot going on, but I also have a pretty good support system and many tools available to me. I can focus and start using them to my advantage.  You know how when you have the right mindset, things just come to you?  Like that year when I truly believed that I was lucky, and I kept winning everything.  I want to live there.  I’m working on it.

Lots of times I do one thing, or see another, and then I think: Is this my thing?  Maybe this could be my thing.

Like that time I wrote a book.  Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I wrote that essay on how Harry Potter helps my family with Autism. Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I started making collage journals.  Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I started travel writing.  Maybe this could be my thing.

The thing is- they are all my thing. I am me, and I am comprised of all these things.

I just discovered a crafty planning community.  I love the integration of scrapbooking elements with planning.  Remember I like to Plan, to Have Fun.

Integration.  Maybe this is My Thing.

What’s Your Thing?



Monday Music: Billy Joel and the Triangle

Sirius XM Satellite Radio launched the Billy Joel Channel a couple weeks ago and I have been in musical heaven.  His music has been such a strong part of my life since the 70’s, really.  I remember the family vacations and road trips in the 80’s when we finally figured out that everybody likes Billy Joel, and no one needs to suffer through the other generation’s music choices. (I enjoy many styles of music, but when my father’s favorite Willie Nelson and my mother’s favorite Julio Iglesias sang a duet- that was too much for my teenage sister and I to handle.)  His classical affinity shines through his melodic rock, and his lyrics are so poignant.  (More about Billy Joel’s music here.)

 When I was a teen, we would watch the videotape “Billy Joel Live from Long Island” on VHS over and over.  To be honest, we probably rented it from the video store next to 31 Flavors, and likely copied it onto Beta.  This is still one of my all-time favorite concerts to watch: such entertainment and skill, a great collection of songs, a fantastic band.  A percussionist who actually played a lead pipe with a hammer.  This video hasn’t been properly converted to DVD, but I just picked up a used VHS on amazon.com , so I could show my kids. (Yes, I still have two working VCR‘s – I run my upstairs DirecTV through my VCR so I can tape more shows.)

 My son is now playing percussion in high school band, as I did.  He plays glockenspiel, snare drum and tympani, and accessory percussion, which is so much fun!  (I still have a box of fun percussion instruments from when I used to be a travelling piano teacher.  But somehow I seem to have lost my vibraslap.  I wonder if my last church choir job still has it.  Although I can’t see how they would use it in their liturgy.)  He’s playing a lot of Triangle right now. I told him about the time I sight read a triangle part in a Christmas medley, stressing out about counting the rhythm correctly, before I had figured out that it was “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (really a random medley, that wasn’t even one of the official carols in the medley, they just snuck it in the triangle part.)  3, 1, 2-and 3-and, 1, 2, 3-and, Roll, (2, 3,) 1. (mute)

 I told him about how at one of the Billy Joel concerts I attended in the 90’s, there was this fabulous auxiliary percussionist.  She was so awesome, I wanted to be her when I grew up.  She played all the percussion, saxophones, and she even sang vocals, belting out the high notes.  And I told my son she had the most epic triangle solo, ever.

Billy Joel has always been great about using the lighting for effect in his concerts.  There are a couple of songs just screaming for this, and it works brilliantly.   In “You May Be Right,” there is the lyric “turn off the lights…” and for a split second the entire stadium is pitch black.  It’s wonderful.  There are also songs in which he stops in the middle, before continuing again.  “All for Leyna” contains such a stop, in it, all the instruments drop out as Billy sings/shouts “STOP!” – very effective!  “River of Dreams”  has a natural break in the middle, which Billy is prone to elongate, heck, even sing another song in the middle of this break.

So in “An Innocent Man,” the quiet calypso has a sweet, constant triangle: Ding, Di-Ding…  On the Billy Joel Channel I have heard a live version with the fabulous Crystal Taliefero singing the “I AM….” triumphantly, as I remember seeing it in concert.  (The video I found on YouTube has Billy singing the entire chorus.) After the bridge, the stadium is again drenched in darkness, all except for a single spotlight shining on Ms. Taliefero as she plays her Triangle in all its glory.


Check out this video for the best triangle solo ever at 4:28!



Wednesday Wellness: Reflecting on Holy Week

This week is the confluence of Spring Equinox, Holy Week, and a Full Moon Eclipse.  My friends and creatives, are you feeling a little March Madness?

One of my favorite words is juxtaposition. As I quiz my son on geography, I find myself delighted with the word “confluence .”  I happened upon this gem of a question: What is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and Uruguay? (Rio de la Plata)  Isn’t that question just filled with musical words? Alas, I digress.

I, myself, am a confluence of sorts. I’m Pacific Islander and Caucasian, light and dark, religious and spiritual, traditional and liberal, a zip-liner and a bookworm.  Maybe my constant struggle for balance is rooted here.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So as I attempt to harmonize my new understandings with the faith of my childhood, I give you these for your consideration.

  1. The Miracles of Santo Fico

I reread this book every year at Holy Week. It is a delightful tale of a dysfunctional  parish in a forgotten town. Think: Chocolat in Italy.  It reminds me how even in the bad times, miracles occur. I love I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. It’s a slow beginning but I just love the character interactions. Many times I’ve stayed up too late, reading until I got to a favorite scene.

This is the first time I’m reading it since visiting Italy. I have to say, now that I’ve experienced the unforgiving sweltering heat of July, I can really empathize with these characters even more.

Finally, I remember my dear friend Alva who has now gone to heaven. Last year, I gave her a copy and she read along with me. I miss her so, and she was gone too soon. Now reading this story I remember our special connection. And I hope one of her friends or family members finds the book so that they, too, can enjoy the Miracles of Santo Fico.

2. The Passion Live

This brave production tells the story of Jesus’ last days via popular music and is set in New Orleans. It’s a blend of old and new, traditional and contemporary.  It’s refreshing, although the em-ceeing, reporting, and commercials I could do without.  But we are human.  (see #1) the songs are available on iTunes and the live broadcast is available on Hulu.com.

3. Check Your Alignment

Reaching into my wellness toolkit, I modified a breathing meditation/ visualization in which I sent love and energy to parts of my body- to my chakras.    Chakras are centers of energies: there are seven. Here is a good overview by renowned meditation expert and author Deepak Chopra:    As a poet, have come to understand the chakras as virtues:  Stability, Creativity, Confidence, Lovingkindness, Truth, Clarity, and Peace. I have found as I focus on chakras, my feelings become more balanced. Keep in mind that the thing you desire just may be overstimulated, and you may have to pull back.  My heart chakras, Lovingkindness, has long been out of balance, as I tend to be too generous with my time, to the point of self-neglect. Who’s with me, here? Anyone? Bueller?  I’ve got a long way to go.

Spring Blessings, Joyous Passover, & Happy Easter.



Do you honor Spring Equinox and/or Holy Week? What do you do? Please comment and share.  I’d love to hear from you. 

Friday Friends: Melissa Flickinger & Paperbacks and Wine

Happy New Year, Friends!  Today I am delighted to spotlight the illustrious Melissa Flickinger, Book Marketing  Manager at Booktrope and blogger at Paperbacks and Wine. Melissa hosts the best book release parties on Facebook. Take it away, Melissa!

1. How did you get started in book promotion? What are some things you do?
I started out in joining street teams for my favorite authors. I became passionate about helping authors spread the word of their latest releases and eventually found a job doing just that. Now, I work full time setting authors up with book tours, events and continue to help share their amazing books with the world.
2. Tell us about Paperbacks and Wine!
Paperbacks and Wine began as a private book lovers group over a year ago. As it progressed, I decided to create a book blog where I could not only share reviews of books, but also open it up to feature new authors as well as a few original pieces from yours truly.
3. How did you come up with Reinvention as a theme?
The idea of featuring a Reinvention theme came from my own research in Buddhism. As we grow and change there is often a need to reinvent ourselves into this new person. I thought it would be cool to feature guest posts from other authors who experienced a Reinvention in becoming a writer. It got a great response.
4. What is in store for you in 2016?
In 2016, I will be writing more and focusing on expanding PBW to feature more authors and events.
5. Do you have any premonitions about 2016?
Premonitions? Not really. Sorry, this one really stumped me. LOL. I hope to see my blog doing well and myself finding time to write more. 😉
6. Which new releases in music/ television/film are you currently enjoying and/or looking forward to?
I am reading Room by Emma Donoghue, which is set to be a major motion picture. So I am really looking forward to seeing how they portray this story on film.


You can follow Melissa & Paperbacks and Wine on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Google+.

Melissa currently studies Human Relations and Creative Writing at University of Iowa. She has a strong interest in psychology (specifically mental health disorders and addictions). Her love of reading led her to a career in book management with Gravity Imprint of Booktrope Publishing, Forsaken Imprint of Booktrope Publishing and Booktrope Editions.

She is a self-proclaimed book nerd, coffee addict and loves all things pumpkin. When she’s not nose deep in a new book, she enjoys running, writing and listening to film scores–especially Carter Burwell and Danny Elfman.

Melissa has written several short stories and is currently writing her first supernatural horror fiction.

Blog Sites:

Facebook Blog Page: paperbacksandwine • Twitter: @MelissaFlicks

Author Sites:

Facebook Author Page: MLFlicks



Friday Friends: Is My Crazy Showing?

Friends, it is my honor to introduce you to my own Dear Sister today on Friday Friends!


 My sister Debbie is undeniably creative and talented: she is quite the baker and cake decorator, the “Hostess with the Most-ess,” if you will, and more.  I was delighted when she started blogging.  She’s so generous- now you can learn how she bakes her fantabulous and delicious cakes, and many of her other crafty creations,  which mostly coincide with holiday decorating, visiting Disneyland in style, and throwing marvelous grande theme birthday parties.  She’s created a grand piano out of fondant for my birthday, and a Harry Potter book for my son’s birthday, just to start.  Her parties are often featured on the website http://www.catchmyparty.com

Now you can read about how she and her friends drive down to Los Angeles almost every year to catch the Red Carpet at the Emmy’s –  often talking with television celebrities!  Seriously, she chats it up with famous people! And then sometimes they get on TV. How lucky is she?  (P.S.: Stay tuned for exciting news: Debbie and her friend are going to be on a Game Show soon! We can’t say anything yet, but it will be on TV!)

Debbie’s philosophy of “crazy”- is everyone’s a little bit “crazy,” some just let it show more than others. If your “crazy” is showing too much, just tuck it back in 🙂

This year she began a journey with the KonMari method of organization according to Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidy-ing Up:  The Japanese Method of Decluttering and Organizing.”  Deb has documented her reading and realizations and photographed her process, on what she calls her glutton-free journey. (She what she did there?)

I am so proud of my sister and her achievements.  She is so talented and generous and I have learned so much from her!  I hope you stop on by at http://www.ismycrazyshowing.com and say hello!  You can also follow IsMyCrazyShowing? on Pinterest and on Facebook.

DWYER_SISTERS_retouchedsquareThis is one of my all-time favorite pictures of my sister and me ❤

And just look at us now, today!

Love You, Deb!  ❤