Tuesday, July 31, 2007


You can blame (or thank) Carl Jung for some of the labels we use for ourselves and personalities. But the thing is, he didn't see the label description as fixed -- he saw it more as fluid. However, after taking the test and reading my description, I don't know that I've changed very much through the years. You may be more familiar with this framework as the Myers Briggs personality test. You can take a self-test here. If you take it, be sure to report back:)

I am INTJ. When I read the description of my personality, and thought about me now and me of years ago, I remembered being 6 years old and my Sunday School teacher telling my mom, "Connie's hard to get to know." I didn't understand what she meant. I remember thinking, "She hasn't asked me anything. If she'd ask me about something, I'd tell her." So as a child, I reacted the way I would probably react now, except now I might worry about what her response to me meant, and think maybe I should try harder to be easier to know.

I think taking a test like this validates who you are in your own sense of self and makes us more accepting of who we are. It's like when my description says "INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upo
n anything that takes their interest" then I relax a little with who I am in that regard, and accept who I am a little bit more. And yes, there are times I really wish I could be one of those other groups of initials -- maybe be more expressive with my feelings, but then I start to analyze it and, well you can figure out the rest.

I find it absolutely fascinating that answering just 72 seemingly random questions can tell you this much about who you are. Carl must have been a genius, coming up with this.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summer's Fifth Night

Summer's 5th night. I don't know where this comes from or what it means, but at Utica Square it means Thursday and it means music. Last night it meant Red Dirt Rangers and hundreds of people. I love that people are so willing (and eager) to make an event out of nothing. Make-shift tables with silver ice buckets, gourmet salads, wine in fancy plastic glasses (some people even brave enough to bring everyday "crystal"), kids with balloons, dogs in silly clothes, couples in matching shirts, and people who dance, dance, dance. The guts that people have when it comes to dancing. That's a whole 'nother story.

I wish I had those guts sometimes and could give up the inhibitions that keep me from flailing my arms and really moving to the music. Every now and then it happens and it feels so good. Where does that self-consciousness come from? Upbringing and culture play a big role. Growing up Baptist plays a role. Other possible reasons? Not having dance lessons as a child? No rhythm?

Some people can't dance and they don't care. They just like to move. Damn that perfection streak I was cursed with!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cat Box Zen

I don't know when it started, at least several years ago, but scooping the cat's litter box is one of those "in the moment" experiences for me. Something about raking the sand smooth, making it flat and clean. It's not that I look forward to it or even enjoy it, it's just that when I do it, I'm concentrating on it. It's at that moment that I always think maybe there should be a book about the mindful doing of everyday chores. Dusting might make the list, as long as you used a rag, not a feather duster. Feather dusters are too quick to "take care of business and move on." Let's start a list. Feel free to add your own here:)

Monday, July 16, 2007


A sister may be one of the more complicated relationships there is, next to the one between mother and daughter. She's the one person who knows the most about you-- how you grew up, what you got by with, your flaws and weaknesses. She can be your harshest critic and your best friend, all at the same time. You grow up with one role, but somewhere along the way it changes. For me, it changed in my twenties. My sister went from being a pest to someone I recognized as being smart, funny and, basically a nice person. Even though we grew up under the same roof with the same parents, expectations for us were very different only because of birth order. It's a strange phenomenon.

I’m the first born in our family and sometimes I hate it that I feel so responsible. My sister is very different. Her coping mechanisms are different and her needs are different. Lately, I have to keep reminding myself to relate to her in her present life and understand her current needs instead of relating to her as my little sister and feeling like I’m somehow responsible for what she does. Old roles are hard to dislodge, I guess.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The First Line

I've spent the entire day, off and on, worrying about and working on my book project. My day looks something like this: Write 12 lines in 2mm letters. Cut candle wicks and put felt pads on chair legs. Write 12 lines in 3mm letters. Trim tree branches and suckers. Write letters using a fluid-writer. Fill bird feeder and sweep utility room. Go to Target. Mix a lovely green gauche, try it in several different pen nibs. Make a decision. Write first page for book (the title only, for crying out loud). Photocopy, cut 'n paste for layout. Go to friend's house to see new grandbaby. Do pencil layout for rest of book that might work. Take a deep breath. Write the first line which is "A Story About Three Bowls." Have a glass of wine even though I don't like my "w" in Bowls.

The question now is do I have another 8 hours to devote to writing the next line???

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Whistle While You Play

The house painters arrived this morning at 8 a.m. and I could hear them whistling. Imagine -- whistling as you're going to work. It made me smile, even though I felt trapped inside with the windows masked. I can't whistle. I've never even been crazy about whistling, but this morning it sounded happy and carefree.

And speaking of happy and carefree, yesterday I watched Sam and Henry jump off the side of a boat, over and over, proud of the biggest splash, never getting enough. Water skiing was a piece o' cake for them. An exhibition of exhilarated freedom with dance moves, hand signals and what I imagine to be a feeling of power that comes with knowing the secret language of communicating with the boatmeister. What they didn't know was they were creating big memories for me and for them. It was a perfect summer day and if I could've whistled, I probably would have done so all the way home.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Empty Bowl

I have a project for my class that is to make a manuscript book with Japanese binding. The actual construction is very simple, but trying to figure out what to put inside is the killer. I started practicing my letters yesterday and wanted a paragraph or story to write out. Serendipity prevailed and I have the text for my book. About bowls -- the text of which I'll share another time.

A couple of things. One, Reggie keeps saying practice with good materials, good paper, good ink. I'm discovering that it's almost as important to practice with good words, good thoughts, good quotes. Because you're writing so slowly, the words and intent of the words become part of you without you really knowing it. Two, it goes without saying that good music effects the practice. My music for this entire course has been Joshua Bell, Romance of the Violin. I start that music and my body just relaxes. I even think my cat likes it:) and misses it when I don't practice.

I'll confess. I had my practice sheet scanned to insert here, but when it was enlarged, I didn't like the way it looked. It looks okay small (2mm letters) but not good enough to enlarge. Maybe later:)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Hello July

The first sip of coffee. Nothing beats it. A little Jonathan Bell, the beginning of a new month, new determination, getting back on track. I'm so ready. June was a whirlwind month for me. There's probably a better word, but suffice it to say my energy was like taffy, pulled and stretched, twisted, and in the end I just wanted to throw it away and start over. I love the beginning of a month -- always filled with mini resolutions. I'll practice (my letters) everyday; I won't drink so much wine -- those are my two big ones.