Weekend ~ 1/31/14 ~ Year of the Wooden Horse

Year of Horse Logo

I tend to gravitate towards the Chinese New Year as the marker of new beginnings more than the western holiday on Dec. 31st. It’s the Piscean water rat in me demanding satisfaction. And like any fresh start I question the state of my life, health, wealth and most importantly matters of the heart.

Today the year of the Wooden Horse begins and the Water Snake slithers out. Last year I pondered what the snake would mean to me. I had surmised that being a rat made me snake food. And 2013 certainly left me feeling consumed, digested and spit up. Even as a little girl it was the water moccasin that kept me from enjoying our pond.  Oh, and the snapping turtles. I can only hope the Horse will be more generous.

The thing is, as difficult as 2013 was it also offered me an opportunity to change, to shed my skin and be reborn. In my case it was even literal-one kidney, cancer and all that-Which caused an existential crisis of sorts. After surgery the thought “What would my legacy be?” permeated my mind. What have I accomplished? What is really important to me? What do I still want to do before I die? –Which can be sooner than one expects- my big Aha in 2013.

It is said that 2014 will be a year of travel.  As Feng Shui Master, Chen Shuaifu says, “Horses are legendary for their ability to run long distances on great journeys.” I predict I’ll travel this year. Perhaps I’ll even move to that window on the water and write. Chen warns that as a rat I need to be careful of being stepped on in 2014 and that it might be a bad year for investing. Like the year of the snake this year will be challenging for the rat. I will need to hone my patience and be careful not to exhaust myself. This is already my goal, healing my priority. That said I plan to push back a little, reject the scenario I can’t move forward. I am going to finish some of my projects and market them to the world.

Speaking of projects I still can’t share the final Toile design until the lawyers due diligence. But I got a sneak peek at the final box design and can’t wait to show you the culmination of all my hard work and brag about Bevee Bags. Trust me you’re going to want to buy one…….or two……….or three…….. okay one in every color. For now check them out on Twitter and follow along as they launch the line.

Commercial break over: Now let’s talk about the nature of a horse as it can point to what the year will bring and if you look at your own personality hint to the challenges and triumphs ahead. Horses love crowds, are exceedingly witty and have great communication skills. So networking will be a big part.

Earlier this week I was reading an interview in Forbes of Chase Jarvis. As always he is a wealth of inspiration. The nugget that stuck out the most (this time) was the importance of relationships when creating. Allowing for collaboration and giving your friends the opportunity to share what you do. Chase’s advice was Make Friends. “The world of achieving career success is a world where community is front and center.   Your network – however you define it – is a huge, requisite key that will help unlock your future.” I am woefully bad at this. My friends don’t even know I blog.  I suspect this will be one of my challenges and growth opportunities in the year ahead.

Horses are also active, energetic, straightforward, with a positive attitude towards life. This I can channel to propel myself forward. But after 2013 that shouldn’t be too hard. Suddenly I wonder what a Leo Fire Horse would be like…….Hally Berry, hmm, softer then I’d imagined. Finally horses are independent. This I have in spades so I’ll mark that up as one of strengths in the coming year.

Sadly the wooden horse is associated with warfare so fierce battle cannot be ruled out. But I just went to battle at the tail end of the year of the snake. Either way I’m strong and ready to be victorious in my endeavors going forward. But I know when to be careful and how to take time off, to replenish my personal energy and rejuvenate my soul. These will certainly come in handy under the Horse’s force.


Blast from This Blogs Past

  • 2012: Nicknames ~ Great Dane
  • 2013: Monday Meditation on Tuesday ~ IF
  • 2013: Photo Pair ~ Bon Temps

    The Weekend Reading List


    Something Extra

    I have always loved Kate Bush’s song. Color me surprised to find a fabulous cover.

    This woman’s Work ~ Greg Laswell

    Lineage ~ #fridayfictioneers ~ 1/31/14

    claire-fuller-2Copyright -Claire Fuller



    “Amy did you see this?” John tossed me the morning paper.

    Stradivarius stolen from Milwaukee symphony concertmaster

    “Hmmm. That’s terrible. I’m heading out to the shop”.

    Grandfather Lipinski had taught me to shape curves, gently bending wood, balancing tone shave by shave releasing her glory. I made violins as he had. Like our ancestors before us. As he’d taught his apprentice Antonio to do in Cremona; Yet Gypsies we were called. And a Genius he was touted for centuries.

    Opening Poppa’s ornately carved chest I withdrew my birthright. Lips caressing velvet varnish, my chin upon her rest “Welcome home”.

    Word Count: 100


    P.S. Please make sure to read the others.



    This is one of those Friday Fictioneer moments. Where a photo sparks multiple directions. Some days I can barely write the one story and then on other days like today, my inspiration split, two come forth. When this happens I try and make an executive decision and cull the lot. Not today.

    On my way into work this morning the news of the stolen Stradivarius came over the radio. I have an intimate connection with the violin which is a story for another time. But my obsession with the sound of the Strat is well known in my family. None would be surprised to hear I wished I’d stolen this masterpiece, the violin Ex-Lipinski. Just to play her for a moment (even horribly) would be incredible.

    But when I first saw Claire’s photo my initial thought, actually memory, was of my first kiss, if you can call it that. It took place in 6th grade Woodshop. So of course I wrote that story. Which I am posting below for safe keeping.


    Learning to Smoke

    We’d cleaned our stations, sawdust swept, tools returned-my miniature rocking horse nearly complete. Upon the workbenches we awaited the class bell. Mr. Handly instructing “Sit still”. My BFF and I hurriedly gossiped.

    Bobby and Frankie sat on the other side. As first steadies in sixth grade go we’d never actually gone anywhere. Everyone just knew, including us, that Bobby was MY boyfriend.

    Little hairs perked upon my neck, Bobby tapping my shoulder. Mid-Giggle I turned. Thrust back suddenly he planted his kiss. Head hitting the vice I sprung up, flushed, sore, bell ringing and ran red-faced seeking solitude. 

    Rogue Illustration #14 ~ Nubian Queen

    Nubian Queen -logo

    So busy this weekend running around downtown sans camera I failed to snap a shot of the gorgeous queen as she strut by. If you read yesterday’s post you know the discussion she inspired-about the beauty of black women, aging gracefully and their ability to have a close shaved head with glorious results. I only wish I had done a quick sketch to remember all the little details of what she wore. My coat is not nearly as spectacular as the real thing. Hers hasda taller more asymmetrical collar. The coat seemed to swirl around her and as she moved past. It was like a modern art piece in action. She was fully clad in black, only textures adding dimension between her layers. She was simply stunning.


    Store armbevægelser, the Art of Flirting and the Last Word

    My girlfriend came to visit. For the sake of this post I’ll call her the recruiter. Being from Denver she was instructed to be on the lookout for Bronco bashing- upcoming Super Bowl and all that. Her assignment was to document anything negative she saw and send it off for fodder in the greater Denver area. Now I thought she should take a picture of the butch guy in Seahawks drag with boa and blue fishnet because honestly he was faaaaabulous! Instead she was shocked to see how polite Seattle fans really are. One store’s sign displayed both teams helmets with the question, “Who will win?”

    Of course there were 12th man signs hanging all over town. She had no idea what that meant. So I filled her in explaining that the 12th Man, A Seattle Superfan’s love is so large it registers on the Richter scale. Belying the fact I’m not at all sporty. Seriously I don’t care about the Superbowl. In my younger feminist years I used to rage about the number of women beaten by their husbands on SBS. So really could care less. And even if I were sports inclined, as a previous Colorado resident and now Seattlite, I’d have a win win scenario on my hands.

    Now the recruiter and I have known one another since college. We lived together in Munich during our 20s. Upon our arrival in Germany we were trying to find our way around, navigate the U-Bahn and such. We hung languidly on the subway straps darting from one stop to the next. Two guys nearby began talking about us, labeling each-the girl next door, the athletic one and our third friend, the pin-up. The recruiter replied to their characterizations in Spanish with ease. They turned six shades of red. No doubt sure we’d never understand. We were Americans in Germany after all. They felt safely cloaked in their native tongue. Though, as it turned out, Jan spoke seven languages fluently. Again sports, athleticism and I were linked.

    Now I love being a tourist in my hometown. Frankly I’ve needed to get away, to have a wee vacation. And her visit was the perfect opportunity. So we headed downtown, Fluevogs our destination. I’ve heard all about this store and their magnificent shoes but had never been. I fell in love with these purple boots though the price tag was more than I wanted to plunk down. Subsequently I keep dreaming about wearing them. Oh and a shorter bright blue suede pair.

    Next we traipsed around Pike Place market. I don’t handle crowds very well but did my best to push through. And normally I’d bring my camera but not this weekend. I just wanted to experience the day. And the recruiter graciously agreed to sit every 20 minutes or so to let me recoup my energy. My stores aren’t fully replenished, yet.

    She was feeling noshy so we grabbed some Greek yogurt to-go at Ellenos, marionberry for me, passion fruit for her. We had a saucy exchange with the guy at the counter as he assured us we would want the largest container. That by the time we were licking the container clean we’d regret such a small portion. Honestly I did want more even before I had finished my serving.

    After walking around window shopping and people watching (my favorite pastime) we decided it was time to eat something more. I’ve been craving pâté. This is the only way I can digest organ meat- which apparently is very good for SIBO. And liver frankly is never my go to choice.  So where else was there but Le Pichet for a charcuterie plate and glass of wine. The recruiter felt very civilized- I, French. In the corner, my eye caught an artist sketching scenes in marker. Even the underside of his page, ink seeping through was really good, a little Hooperesque. Suddenly I felt whisked away to Paris. “I really must go” I thought to myself. (I’ve already picked out the apartment I’ll rent near the Musee D’Orsay).

    More walking, sightseeing, and shopping ensued. The only thing on my agenda was to take her to my favorite little hole in the wall, a throwback speakeasy, Bathtub Gin & Co. These days I don’t go out much and heading downtown on a weekend is extremely rare. So I had to hit my favorite gin joint. The owner, Marcus, can pour one strong and deadly concoction. And if I was going to try an alcoholic beverage in my still healing system he was the man to create it (especially with all my limitations). He made me a last word. Which as my friends will attest, I occasionally like to have.

    The recruiter got a tequila concoction. Of course after sharing tequila  made her “friendly”. Not that a Leo needs encouragement in that area. She is naturally social and chatty. By evening’s end we’d talked with everyone in the bar- the Law Students, Zesty the hairdresser, the Danes and the Deep Thinker- a poet out with a buddy from Portland. Interestingly the only time I’ve been bought a drink by a man was in Germany. No doubt due to the recruiter’s bubbly nature even back then. Not my intense nature as recruiter (as well as others have) pointed out.

    We chatted away at our end of the bar, reminiscing, catching up. At some point in conversation the recruiter pointed out that Marcus was just the kind of aloof, hard to figure out puzzle I’d be attracted to. He reminded her of my first husband who actually grew up across the street from her. I assured I’ve grown up. I’m no longer interested in a guy who when asked if he has a girlfriend replies, “That’s what she likes to call herself.”

    She shared her tendency to melt for any man with an accent; her first husband a Brit. This soon became troublesome when the Danes arrived. Danger Will Rogers! So the law student next to us pointed out. She and I high-fived one another as the recruiter honed in.

    The recruiter commented that black women age so much better than white women, remaining youthful looking. Earlier in the day a stunningly chic Nubian goddess with shaved head passed us on the street. A look the recruiter relayed that white women don’t pull off quite as well. The younger ladies next to us, the Law Students, shared photos of their fabulously beautiful Mammas. Overhearing us discuss divorce and exs one suggested we try dating a woman. Now, for me, that would be akin to playing house. Usually it’s my gay friends that try to peddle conversion not another heterosexual woman. As a sidebar the only time I was ever actually propositioned by a woman was in this very bar.

    They also shared their ink. One gal’s lower back covered with a large scrolling tattoo basically labeling her property of her Ex-gang affiliated boyfriend. The recruiter talked about tattoo removal. She has a friend that owns such a business and I spoke to cover art, having tattoos of my own. I was tickled that the Danes were surprised I was the one of the two of us with tattoos. They assumed it would by the recruiter not me inked.

    Now Zesty, the hairdresser at the other end or the bar, was drawn to our conversation by catching the tail end of something I said, apparently not talking as quietly as I imagined. Or perhaps sound carries over the polished surface of a wood bar. But “……..and I never stripped again” was all he heard. Now this is a much longer story about my youthful 20s involving my boyfriend and a bee sting. One I was sure I’d shared with R before. But now the cat was all the way out of the bag- dancing across the bar for everyone to hear. 

    The bulk of our evening was spent talking to the Danes. I told you R has a thing for accents. They were in town on Microsoft business, though one actually went to school in Kansas. Of all places I thought. Their English was far better than our Danish. Seriously what is with all the extra letters? Or the letter that is actually two letters combined?

    I commented that American woman tend to have a reputation with Europeans and Dane1 said “Loose”. “Exactly”, my reply. He laughed and said the American women were known for “store armbevægelser”, large gestures (see what I mean about the letters). Expressive and dramatic was my translation, flamboyant even. The recruiter called it gumption.

    We were talking about the differences in our cultures, men and women, marriage and children. They wondered if American men participated in the household duties 50/50 with their wives as this is common place in Denmark.” No” our answer. Each of the Danes had two daughters and the recruiter has two sons. So they had lots to share among themselves including pictures of their wives and children. The Danish are beautiful looking people. Dane2’s daughter had model good looks. But it was the a photo of her fully clad in hunting gear carrying a pheasant she had just killed that made me think that’s my kind of gal- Beautiful and strong.

    Flirting also became a topic of discussion. I learned long ago Europeans are much more relaxed with flirting. And like I said they were both married men so everyone calm down (that’s for the American women reading this post). We talked about the art of flirting and yes flirted appropriately. Asking how to say something in another language is a quick way to get to know people.  Trusting they aren’t feeding you something obscene to laugh about.

    When asked about flirting technique the recruiter said she would take the indirect, coy, approach to let a man know she was interested and give a smize (smile with your eyes) over her drink. When asked what the direct approach would be I replied stroking your bald head. Dane1 laughed, head smooth shaved. Earlier in the evening Hairdresser Zesty had displayed the proper technique of hair, neck and jawline caress upon the recruiter. We all agreed that touch and the return of touch was the largest indicator between men and women of interest and attraction.

    Dane1 shared he’d learned that giving presence is the most important thing to intimacy and making relationships successful. I was amazed to hear a man say this. I was ready to move to Denmark right then and there.  Now we were venturing into my territory. The deep end of the pool as one of my girlfriends calls it. After a few moments of nods, the conversation continuing amongst the other 3, the recruiter commented she would rather have a man clean the house or fix something for her then diamonds any day. It dawned on me I was not on the same page. I had misinterpreted. So I interrupted. “Wait, did you mean give presents as in giving gifts?” “Yes” Dane1 replied. Doh! This entire conversation could have been a chapter in Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages.

    At the end of the evening the Danes headed to their hotel for an early morning start and the deep thinker and his buddy took the seats next to us previously vacated by the law students. The Thinker placed his leather bound Zine on the bar. The recruiter sniffed and tasted their libations upon invitation of course.  She Joked that the poet looked like a Greek fisherman and said he and I had much in common- our thoughts on the weightier side than most. I wasn’t going to make another assumption so I took the liberty of snatching up the poet’s journal. His secret Flood theory exposed-the philosophy of hot women and conceptual method of attracting women.

    The evening came to a close. My body beginning to ache I was ready for bed. I bid my fellow deep thinker and Marcus à bientôt and we made our way out into the night. Only to realize 6 hours had gone by in a blink.