Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dreamers to Doers!!! Terry Needs your vote

Hello Bloggedy Buddies -- this is from the land of Martha Stewart who is running a contest of some pretty terrific business women who are making their dreams come true. Some of these spectacular women are building their business for themselves, by themselves, which is no small thing. But one special contestant is building her design business while she significantly helps women in shelters feel... well, more homey, less needy

Terry Grahl designs and decorates women's shelters. Imagine being in a situation where you have no place to go... or rather the only place to go is cold and gray and scary, furnished entirely with castoffs and leftovers. You've gone from a bad situation to a bleak one -- a further burden standing between you and normal life.

Enter Terry Grahl who designs cheerful and charming rooms and public areas via her non-profit business, Enchanted Makeovers. Terry transforms women's shelters into places of peace and possibilities. Her rooms are designed to lift the spirit and to help a woman feel whole and valued, less like a second class castoff herself. What could be better than that?

If you believe in the work Terry is providing, follow this link and vote for this wonderful woman:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Where in the World has Jenny Been?

Hello, hello Blog Buddies -- I do apologize for disappearing for a while. It's been a kind of crazy summer. I did not disappear for any real good reason other than I had nothing much to say.

Well, it has been busy-ish, sort of. Early in the summer my son and his wife bought a dear little house. This took what felt like forever to close and then another big chunk of forever for them to paint, pack and move. It's a very dear house... with a darling yard... in which reside the most vicious chiggers! I offered up a spreader and the meanest chigger killer I know -- you haven't lived till all your public and private parts have been bitten up by chiggers. Eek! You will thank me for not documenting that bit of news on my wee blog.

At some time over the summer we started the Great Porch Project. If you recall I took the porch down last spring -- not this past spring but rather spring of 2008! It's been a tragedy of architects. The project is frankly too small to be bothered with, although a flurry of architects and plan drawers promised to squeeze it in on the side. They never did. One after another promised, though none delivered till finally I tracked down a woman architect who kept her word. Her drawings passed the building permit process. Hooray. So now I have a building permit. We have dug and poured the footers, which passed inspection. The framing for the floor is now complete and is awaiting inspection. This has been such a slow laborious, frustrating process that I'd just as soon not blog about it.

Other little odd things have included finding a cousin who has been missing for most of 40 years. We were very very close as children and then... life happened. I saw him once for a few minutes, at a family funeral some 15 years ago. And then poof, gone again. It was wonderful finding him again, finding him safe and sound and living very nearby. This would have been an eventful blog post... if not for the tangle of emotions that come with it. People don't make themselves scarce for no reason...

Here's another not so fun tidbit -- I've been sidling up to a diet, unsuccessfully for several months. Do you know how Oprah announces that we should not spend another summer fat. Well I did and I am not real happy about it. In fact today I feel very fat. Harrumph.

There are projects going on, but nothing ready to show. The beginning stages, fiddling with designs and colors, even deciding which projects are going to stay and which will never see the light of day... hardly worth a blog post.

So, I have been sort of busy, I have been at wit's end and largely witless. I didn't mean to slip away... I just didn't have anything much to say. I'm hoping all of you have had a much more fascinating and productive summer than I have... this can not have been hard.

I am here now, waving happily and cheerfully to all of you. Now that autumn is upon us... I'm hoping that a change of season will bring about a change of attitude and momentum. A girl can dream.

There we are, Dear Blog Buddies -- I am back.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back from another Polo Weekend

I Love polo. I have been around polo for all of my adult life. It was entirely by accident. I grew up on a small farm. Surrounded by big farms. One of the big farms included a polo field and a family who was very involved in polo. Their youngest daughter is my age -- I've known her since before kindergarten. This is how I came to polo. Polo involves a lot of work, a lot of hands. Mowing the field, taking gate fees, hiring goalies, finding grooms, finding an announcer, preparing food for the refreshment stand, preparing food for the after game picnic. One does not even have to see a polo game to be thoroughly wiped out with the work required so other people can see the game. But if you actually do get to see the game it is very exciting -- like football and golf... on horseback.

It is loads of fun. You meet the nicest people. There is lots of food and an endless stream of interesting drinks.

This adorable Castle Cake is for a very lucky Princess whose 1st birthday happened to fall on game day. I'm guessing that someday, if she asks very nicely, she will get her very own pony. And why not?

As often happens polo games center on some charity or another.

This particular game supported an Indianapolis program called HELPING HER HEAL. It is a very cool charity that supplies the needs of women who are undergoing cancer treatment. (I say women because this program focuses on women's cancers -- breast cancer, ovarian, cervical -- women's cancers.) And what needs are provided, you ask. Any need. If the a woman needs her electric bill paid, Done. If a woman needs school clothes for her child, Done. If a woman needs transportation to her treatment, Done. Is that the right kind of charity, or what? Over the last several years polo teams have diminished somewhat -- once upon a time there were more than 300 teams nationwide. Cincinnati, where I live, used to play Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington, Louisville, Darlington and Sewickly. Of these the only Team I know remaining is in Indianpolis. So every year my boyfriend is asked by the people who own the Indianapolis team to come announce their two biggest charity games. By association I get to come too. Lucky me. He announces and I schmooze, even though he is a much better schmoozer than I am.

So there we are, at the polo game again this weekend -- I hope they raised a whole bunch of money for a really worthwhile charity. I know there were a bunch of people who certainly had a terrific time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Gift

Have you seen this book? THE GIFT OF A YEAR. It's lovely. It's a book club selection of an on- line women's business group I belong to. I never would have thought of this on my own. The Gift of a Year... to me... Oh My Goodness, just like you, I have so many things to do for so many other people each and every day, how could I possibly give myself a year?

Um, but wait... how could I not? Whose life is this? And how much time are we talkin' here? Every waking moment of every single day devoted entirely to me. (All me -- all the time?Frankly I am not that interesting. By the middle of the second day after a very long nap I would be bored smack out of my mind.)

But all me in small doses... I think I like that. According to the book everybody's gift to themselves is as individual as they are. One woman gives herself a year to redecorate her house. Another one admits she's sick to pieces of where she lives, where she works and who she's involved with and that this year she plans to remedy all of that. One woman simply wants a year of naps and catching up on reading -- essentially to slow the crazy-making pace she's been on.

And me? What do I want from a year?

I want to take care of myself. It isn't just about dieting, getting skinny or looking good in cute clothes, although that would be great. But what I want, down to the core, is to energize my body in ways that will result in my body energizing me.

I've hired a trainer, I've restocked my pantry and my fridge. I work out. I plan my meals. I think about what I'm doing. Wine, yes. Buttered popcorn, no. I need every brain cell and every muscle I've got left. I'm not interested in getting older and grayer and slower. What I want to do is get older and busier and to go go go in ways I could not when I was younger, child-encumbered, work-buried.

Did it ever occur to you to give yourself the gift of a year? What would you give you? Foreign language? Foreign travel, belly dancing classes? A great yard? I might give myself some of that too -- but I am thinking, first things first -- who knows what getting in shape might lead to. And by way of a small me, this could be the start of something big.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just for Giggles

You know it's a good day when it starts with a bucket on your head...

And if life doesn't hand you enough obstacles, make your own.

I'm just sayin'... it's a choice... cry over spilled milk or party like it's 1993.

So, Yo Dude, rock on

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grace Loses Her Hens

I haven't any photos for this one -- only that link to our local paper -- The Cincinnati Enquirer -- which ran a story regarding Grace Harpen being forced by her township to get rid of her three backyard hens.

Please check it out -- this is so unfair, and frankly just plain crazy. People can keep potbelly pigs, pythons and dangerous dogs... but a hen is a nusance! I am outraged. It isn't that Grace lives in the center of Manhattan -- she lives in an ordinary neighborhood of ordinary houses. There are no sidewalks. The neighborhood is neither grand nor pitiful. And yet the township considers hens to be "livestock" (though not pot belly pigs) and there is an ordinace against livestock.

I am not sure how, but I'd oh-so-much like to help change this ordinace -- whether at the township level or at the state level. If anyone has any ideas, please share. I'm not yet ready to organize a letter-writing campaigne, but at some point I may beg for letter-writers.

Please read Grace's story. I've known her since we were 12 -- she's my oldest friend in the whole world and the the most inoffensive person I've ever met.

Thank you so much Blog Neighbors -- if you have any ideas, spill them.

I was at the pet store, see...

I am tickled and delighted to announce the newest member of our family -- Little Miss No Name!!

The acquisition of this dear little baby girl is entirely a blog phenomenon... Some weeks back I was showing off my new and improved dining room, with the pretty plaid drapes and the inspired china rack designed by me... where tucked in the back corner was an old fashioned bird cage, a decorative thing, an after-thought really. But someone (Dori) asked if anyone lived there.

Live there? A bird? Me, a bird keeper? I am planning to get chickens (the rule is I can not get chickens till after I get the blessed front porch restored... if it were up to me I'd have the hens, a hen house, a hen run and phooey on the porch, so i have to put in place rules designed to keep me in line.) But I'd never really thought about a bird. Not the way I'd once thought about a kitten. When I got my first indoor cat some thirty years ago I was 6,000 miles from home, pregnant and if I didn't get something in my arms to mother soon I liketa died! I desperately wanted that kitten. I sought her out, carried her home, named her Gillian and she was my right-hand man, er, cat, for 18 years. But a bird? I'd never really thought about... not till someone (Dori) merely queried if someone lived in that bird cage.

My Boyfriend wondered the same thing... was I ever going to get a bird for that cage? Silly Boyfriend doesn't know the difference between someone wanting a bird and someone wanting a bird cage. He understood the former... but the latter blew his little male mind.

But then we went to the pet shop to get water conditioner for the pond... and as long as the parakeets are right there, we could at least look... Oh my heavens. That is always my swan song... just a peek.

So now I have this dear wee bird who has no name. I have a little list going... but I'm really kind of stuck. Wee Birdy needs a name -- so would you be so kind as to make suggestions and help me name this little nameless bird?

(Isn't this better than a dead fish story? Yes, a live bird trumps dead fish every time.)