November 29, 2010

Day One, or The Gypsy.

Fifteen Fun Facts About The Gyspy.
1. Hello. I'm me. *shakes hands* Nice to meet You.
2. I'm a wanderer by nature and an artist by heart.
3. I love Winter, snow, and ice (but loathe chicken soup and rice), and I would take the fog and rain over sunny days.
4. I'm number four of eight children- being in the middle has granted me a sense of invisibility in my family, which affords me more room for mischief.
5. I'm excellent friends with the Cheshire cat, and on good terms with Mad Hatter and March Hare.
6. I read. Lots. Lots of lots. And drink tea whilst reading (I've come to start pairing books and teas in much the same way people pair food and wine).
7. I grew up in Northern California, right by the beach, but I've since relocated to Idaho. This will soon change.
8. I have wanted to be everything from a robot to a veterinarian, to an artist, to an astronaut. It varies.
9. I adore beautiful things, collect them the way crows snatch shiny objects off of windowsills.
10. I'm 5'5" and my general appendages ( arms, legs, feet, fingers, etc) are the reason some in my family refer to me as "stubs/ stubby".
11. I want to travel the world, someday, and paint the things my heart sees.
12. I'm a born-again, Bible believing Christian.
13. I watch far too much British television.
14. In my own little world I'm a famous pastry chef with a never-ending cheese supply.
15. I knit the way normal people breathe- all the time and sometimes like it's the only thing that's keeping me alive.

Accepting A Challenge or In Which The Gypsy Takes Some Pictures

While browsing through some photos on Facebook recently, I found a friend's photo album that is currently a work in progress for an idea that I find rather intriguing and fun. It's a thirty day photo "challenge" following a set of guidelines or rules, and I decided, after brief pondering, that I would accept the challenge myself, and adapt it for my blog. It's nothing too fancy, and I have tailored some of the rules to make it more fun and a little more challenging. It goes as follows: for the next thirty days, I shall post 1-2 pictures each day to fit the following criteria.

1. A picture of yourself with fifteen facts about you.
2. Pictures of you and the person you are closest with; one at the early stages of friendship and one current.
3. A picture of the cast from your favorite show(s).
4. A picture of your night (needs to be descriptive of the activities and atmosphere).
5. A picture of your favorite memory.
6. Pictures of someone you would love to trade places with for a day, and someone you would not.
7. A picture of your most treasured item.
8. A picture that makes you laugh.
9. A picture of the person (people- can't be more than two), who has gotten you through the most/been there for you.
10. A picture of you and the person you do the strangest things with (this includes the most mischief as well).
11. Something you loathe.
12. Something you love.
13. Your favorite musician(s).
14. Someone you can't imagine life without.
15. Something on your bucket list.
16. Someone who inspires you (can be famous).
17. Something/someone who has had a huge impact on your life recently.
18. Your biggest insecurity or something you feel self conscious about.
19. Your favorite Disney movie (preferably something with you watching it/involved in activity about it i.e. a themed birthday party).
20. Somewhere you'd love to travel to and live.
21. Something you wish you could forget.
22. Something you are going to work to become better at.
23. Your favorite books(s)
24. Something you wish you could, but is out of your power to, change.
25. Something of your day (same particulars as #4).
26. Something that means an indescribable amount to you.
27. You and your favorite family member.
28. Something/someone you fear.
29. A picture that always makes you smile.
30. Someone you miss.
There can be no more than three photos per day, and photo editing is allowed, although raw shots are encouraged (we all know I'm going to edit these pictures to the point of absurdity. I can't help it!). A brief explanation and/or description about the photo is required as well.
Doesn't that sound fun?! I plan on starting today, but I will begin another post as this one is already long enough.

November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks (And A Course In Cut-Throat Shopping)

That single word, thought, idea is filled with so much different meaning to nearly everyone around the world. Here in America, it is also a Holiday, and a rather important one at that. It marks not only the historic celebration of our nation's first inhabitants and their beliefs, but also a time where we can come together with family and friends, and reflect on all that God has given us. I will admit that I was repeatedly meaning to post about it yesterday , but I kept finding other "more important" things to do. So I have finally found a chance to sit down, Black Friday morning at about 6:45 AM, and do some writing and reflecting. And I am quite sad. But I'll get into that in a bit. For the moment, I'd like to focus on Thanksgiving itself.

We owe this great date to President Lincoln or, more importantly, Sarah Josepha Hale. At the age of 74 she wrote to President Lincoln on September 28, 1863, and strongly suggested that the day of Thanksgiving, an occasion that was, until then, held annually and chosen individually by each state, be made an official and permanent holiday. Since the last Thursday in November 1863, it has been held on nearly the same date every year. Lincoln signed and sealed the document announcing it an official, annual Holiday of thanks on October 3, 1863. Very little has changed since. Imagine: in the midst of a Civil War that threatened to divide our country, everyone made time and space in their hearts to sit down and give thanks together. Maybe it was the fact that people were able to do this that gave America hope that all was not lost and saved the nation.

Even today, we still sit down together and feast in commemoration of the Pilgrims and Indians' three days of feasting. They too were sitting down to eat and give thanks in the midst of trial. Only the winter before they had been living in fear of the "redskins" and restricted to five kernels of corn per-person at mealtimes. Imagine the contrast of those meager vittles to great spread they were now partaking of together with their new allies and friends. My own heart is filled with a warm gratitude when I consider all that God has done for my family, and I try to give thanks accordingly.

And yet I am sad. All throughout the day yesterday I was busy with preparation and activity. Like everyone else I posted a Twitter and Facebook mentioning how thankful I was, and was very merry the entire day. The friends who had invited us for dinner fell victim to a bad cold and flu, so we had to break out the emergency supplies. Stovetop stuffing and chicken, not turkey, was the order of the day, as well as cranberries, mashed potatoes, and veggies. We had been planning on taking H'ordeuvres and dessert, so we were well equipped on that front. However, despite thinking well of things and cooking good food, I found that as I lay in bed last night I was filled with the worst possible feeling: that of deep regret. I had been busy the entire day, and I had barely, for one moment, given thought to true thanksgiving and appreciation. I was devastated with my own blithe disregard of an entire day dedicated to slowing down and dwelling on what I've been given. Another reason for my sadness is the Black Friday obsession. Thanksgiving used to be the only Holiday dedicated to being non-materialistic, but now it is dedicated to perusing the ads for the next day's sales and even, in recent years, getting deals in the day before. Employees should never be forced to work on Thanksgiving, especially considering the crazy schedule for the following day. I'm not going to get on a soapbox and preach, it's far too early in the morning for that, but I am going to let this thought linger and hope that your conscience is pricked as much as mine is when you think about our nation's obsession with material goods and sales.

Here are some pictures of our day and the food we served. The closest we came to serving a turkey is our friend below, whom I dubbed Friedrich. He was very tasty and probably the healthiest thing available.

Now. Black Friday.
My mother has only gone out three times, and this is my second second (as of this year. Last year I stayed home and watched my sister's infant son while she got in some quality shopping time with our mum). Black Friday smarts aren't hard to learn, and you don't need years of experience to know how to best go about getting deals and beating the crowd. The hardest thing is finding parking spaces and staying calm amidst crowds of frenzied people. (Note: people as individuals are okay, but as a large group they are panicky and dangerous. Proceed with caution.) My mother and I are rather low-key, and we only went to Target. We were probably the nicest people in the store, letting others pass between us as they ran to get their items, and sharing our cart space with the other people in line next to us. All in all, we were able to get all we wanted, and I was able to replenish my wardrobe for under $30, as well as buying us both a Holiday Starbucks drink. Please people, let's not be greedy- there's enough stuff to go around, and fist-fighting for toys is hardly mature, nor is it setting a good example for the children you are presumably buying the gift for.

My personal suggestion is to buy on Amazon and, most importantly, on Etsy. Etsy is the greatest option, because it supports the craftsman and artist, as well as upholds free market and keeps the economy moving. I speak not only as a seller and artist, but as student in an in-depth Economy class. Many of the sellers are having Black Friday sales, and you have the added option of personalization in many cases, as well as getting to meet the friendly and unique sellers.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a safe Black Friday. Christmas is but a month away, and I'm already uploading my favorite tunes onto my iPod, and preparing to walk to work in the snow (we got a couple inches this past week). Many blessings and good cheer to all my readers.

November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Time!

When it comes to cooking in the October and November portion of Fall, one of the first things that comes to mind is pumpkin (the first thing that comes to my mind is giant pink elephant, but this is beside the point). Pumpkin pie, pumpkin mash, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin tea! Pumpkin. So, naturally, when the first chance to use pumpkin came my way, I seized it with eager, flour covered hands. After perusing the Internet for a recipe, I finally came across this one for pumpkin cookies, which, while being delicious, could use some tweaking. In my case I added some dried cranberries, although I would suggest some extra sugar (maybe even a little brown sugar) as well- the cookies aren't quite as sweet as I would like, and for the real sweet tooth they wouldn't be nearly sugary enough. However, I'll let you be the judge. Here are some shots I took during today's cooking session.

And best part about this recipe? The super-duper, very easy cleanup. :)

Not only do these cookies taste great, but my kitchen smells ah-mazing, despite the fact that there are a couple of smelly teenage boys and two small children milling around the premises (At this rate my next blog post will probably be about my adventures in trying to persuade my siblings that good hygiene is not, in fact, of The Dark Side. That, and they're far more likely to get a cookie out of me than Darth Vader. And mine are almost guaranteed to be tastier ). In the mean time, I have every intention of enjoying this rather lovely cup of pumpkin tea (courtesy of Zhena's Gypsy Tea) and then going for a long, three mile walk.
Oh! I almost forgot! I have big plans of hooliganry and adventure tomorrow with my fellow MissFit and favorite Drifter of a best friend, Grace Sterling. We're going on rampage in Boise and out towards Mountain Home, and our plans include ice skating, puddle-jumping, movie-going, and mischief-making. There will also be laughing and pictures that I hope to get up here, but I'm writing this mostly as fair warning to all readers in the Greater Boise Area - we're coming. *evil laugh*.

November 9, 2010

Feels Like The End

Who do you turn to when the one you love is no longer the one you hold?
What do you do when you're facing the end?
Where do you run when you have no where to go?
When do you decide that you can finally breathe again and move on?
How do you cope when you can't see or feel past the current moment?

These are the thoughts and feelings that are running through my head right now. I'm not sure where to turn at a time like this- friends? Family? Art?


The same being I'm being told I could blame for my current situation.

How can I blame the creator of the world for anything, when he is the very reason I'm even here? How presumptuous! I can only assume that there is a better plan for me, and move on from the one I thought I was in. It won't be easy. In fact, I can already tell that it's going to be hell. But I won't spend my time sitting on my wings and crying, when I could be up and flying.

I walked into the middle of a field today, and stood under the expansive shade of a giant oak tree. I leaned up against its solid trunk, strong and sure, and felt the smooth pulse of the incredible energy running through a hundred thousand veins, giving life to the red and gold leaves adorning his head. This tree has more strength than I do, and it can't even move from the place in which it stands.
I leaned over, picked up one of the many small acorns scattered at my feet, and held an entire world in my hand.